Seasons of the Moon
Volume 1 - Issue 3 - Beltane 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.

Seasons Of The Moon Editors and Council: GrannyMoon - Teal Moon - AmberSage
Assistant Editors: Heathwitch - Kelly - Artemisia - Phyllis
Webmaster: Heathwitch

Issue 3 - Beltane 2004: Contents

maypoleGoddess Work
Astrology of the Seasons by Arteal
Moon Moon, Mother Moon by GrannyMoon
Goddesses Of Seasons by Heathwitch
Gardening by the Moon by Phyllis
Sacred Space by Majka Zmaj
Faerie Circles Love Spell by Mystic
Chakra and Crystal Healing by Majka Zmaj

Traditions
Beltane Ritual by Lotus Moonwise
My First Beltane by Lexi
Celebrate Fertility/Mini Maypole by GaiYin
Diverse Traditions and Thoughts: Beltane in Germany by Freya

Recipes Fit For A Goddess
Just for Fun Ice Cream Recipe by Nessa Crescent Moon

Poetry and Artwork
Poetry by Pamela Fernandes
Birth Journey by Bramble

Reviews
If You Like Harry Potter You'll Love These Books! by Luna Blanca

Order Announcements and Branch News

 

Goddess Work

Astrology of the Seasons
A Column by Arteal, HPS, Order of the White Moon

There are two very nice dates to celebrate Beltane this year. We will first look at the traditional date of May 1. It is on a Saturday this year. The Moon will begin in Virgo, but the will go Void of Course at 7:32 am EST. It will then enter Libra at 2:04 pm EST. Libra is a wonderful sign for the Moon to be in on Beltane. The Moon will be almost full and in the sign of cooperation, beauty, fairness, harmonizing, and loving. Doesnít it just sound like Beltane? I should also add that Mars and Venus (the planets of sex and romance) will be in the sign of Gemini and will only be 4 degrees apart. That means these two planets will be on the same page all day and will work well together in ritual and magic.

The other date I would like to discuss in May 4, which is Lunar Beltane. The Moon will be in Scorpio (intense, powerful, passionate, penetrating), but will go Void of Course at 5:38 pm EST. The Moon will be full at 4:33 pm EST and there will be a total lunar eclipse at 4:30 pm EST. Mars and Venus will still be in Gemini with a few degrees separating them. This date has much more emotion behind it and runs deeper then the previous date with the Full Moon Eclipse in Scorpio. If you can begin your ritual or magic before the Moon goes Void of Course there will be much more force behind it.

Either one of these dates are good for ritual or magic; although I do prefer Lunar Beltane. This is a wonderful time to dedicate yourself to a deity. This is also a good time for love magic, but not to get a specific partner. You could also work with your partner to enhance your own relationship. Remember that Beltane is the sacred marriage of the Goddess and God so relationship issues, love, and romance are highlighted here. You could also focus on giving thanks if you asked for love since last Beltane and your wish was fulfilled.

I would also like to mention what it means by Void of Course Moon. This is when the Moon will make no more aspects with other planets until it changes signs. When a planet makes an aspect to another planet it is communicating with the other planet. When the Moon is Void of Course it is lost and confused, unable to communicate with the other planets. There tends to be more accidents when the Moon is Void of Course. It is not a good time to do magic or start anything new. Some will not do magic or ritual during the Void of Course Moon at all. I feel as long as you start your magic or ritual before the Moon goes Void of Course you should still be on course.

About The Author: Arteal is an Ordained Minister and HPS of Moonlit River a sister branch and affiliate of the Order of The White Moon. Arteal is a Reiki Master and offers healing and attunements. She specializes in healing and divination. Currently Arteal is taking students in Chester, Delaware, & Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania and in Delaware. arteal@moonlitriver.com website: www.moonlitriver.com & http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MoonlitRiver.

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Moon Moon, Mother Moon
A Column By GrannyMoon, HPS, Order of the White Moon

The New Moon

The New Moon... a time to celebrate and honor the powers and traditions of the Maiden Goddess! She is young, free, independent...a warrior! Her names are legion, Diana, Artemis, Persephone, Kore, Athena, Sekmet and Luna are just a few.

The new, or dark, moon begins the two waxing quarters of the lunar cycle. During this phase, the moon is not illuminated in the sky. This is the point before the moon begins a new cycle in the sky.

Magick concerning any new beginning, attraction, healing, and growth is performed. A time to rest, to examine hidden issues; to plan for new beginnings. Scry to ferret out secrets and give thought. Cast purification spells and prepare yourself for the new cycle, using prayers, spells and meditation. Feel the confident energy of the Maiden Goddess and let Her guide you.

The Moonís passage brings Her special energies, opportunities and awareness. Live in harmony with lunar cycles and increase your health, happiness and spirituality.

Make your own New Moon Water, to use in your banishing and purification spells during the Waxing Moon.

New Moon Water
Fill a glass jar with water. Add a piece of black onyx to the jar and cap. Two days before the new moon set the jar outside at night where it can capture the moonís rays (it doesnít matter if its overcast). Bring it in every morning for the next to days, ending on the morning after the New Moon night.

Scrying Brew
Mugwort Tea, the divination ally of choice! This special tea will actually help you scry. Itís primary ingredient is mugwort, so drink most and scry the remainder!

For each serving, boil one cup of water. Add boiled water to a teapot in which the following have been placed:

3 tablespoons or more dried mugwort (not only good for helping us contact our inner wisdom, it is also very relaxing).
1/ cup dried oatstraw (good for nerves)
1 piece of cinnamon stick, 2 to 3 inches long, for itís delicious flavor.

Steep for 15 minutes. Strain and pour into a dark-colored mug, preferably black. Sweeten with maple syrup, honey or brown sugar, if desired.

Now sit comfortably in your "Power Place" with your cup. Sniff your Scrying Brew, feel the steam and warm as a breath on your face. Take a sip and savor the earthy flavor. As you sip become aware of your breathing. Is it shallow or deep, quick or slow? As you drink, be with your breath, without attempting to change it. When the tea is nearly gone, gradually turn your attention to the tea remaining in your cup. Gaze at it without effort, simply letting yourself be with the cup and the tea. The disc where the tea meets air might look silvery if it catches a lightís reflection. As you look pay some dreamy attention to the thoughts that flash through your mind, like fish. What are they? All over the world people are scrying and dreaming tonight. What images do you see? Take as much time as you can. You may want to leave the remainder of the tea in its cup on your kitchen altar as an offering for you long-forgotten kindred who knew how to do this ancient ritual.

New Moon Incense

1T. Verbena
1 T. Vervain
1 T. Mugwort
1 T. Rue
1 T. Hyacinth
1 T. Clove
1 T. Moonwort
1 T. Bay leaves

Grind together and add a few drops of Dittany of Crete oil and a few drops Jasmine oil until the scent pleases you.

Sources:

"Cooking Like a Goddess" by Cait Johnson
"Witchcrafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic" by Phyllis Curott
"Embracing the Moon - A Witchís Guide to Ritual Spellcraft and Shadow Work" by Yasmine Galenorn

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.

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Goddesses of the Seasons
A Column By Heathwitch

Lady of the Beasts
Sing of your magic
Greenwood Nymph
Dance in the green-glens
Virgin Huntress
Revel in the moonlight
Artemis, Artemis, Artemis!

Be joyful! Be blissful! Be playful! It is Beltane -- that time of year when we celebrate new life, fertility and the earth's ripe abundance in all its forms. It is the beginnings-time, when the divine union of the Goddess with Her Consort fertilizes ourselves and our lives. We celebrate this festival of fertility and fire by decorating our altars with greens and reds, fresh flowers and bright candles, and we honour Virgin-Mother Goddesses such as Artemis.

The Goddess of wild places and wild things, the Greek Artemis is a Lady of the Moon most commonly perceived as the Virgin Huntress. She roams the forests and mountains with Her band of nymphs and hunting dogs, in a chariot pulled by silver stags. A beloved deity to the Amazons, Artemis knows of the secret places in Nature where one can rest and regain lost strength.

However, these roles are not Her sole purpose: Artemis is also known as the patroness of nurturing, fertility and birth. Though Her priestesses did not consort with men, they and their Lady aided women in childbirth and defended women who were harassed or threatened by men.

Artemis' colours are silver, white, green and red, and Her symbols are the sickle, bridle, the crescent (waxing) moon and hanks of wool. She has a fondness for dogs, horses and stags, and is beneficial when dealing with animals or the elemental kingdoms. Mother of the Mysteries, Artemis holds sacred the amaranth flower, which blooms purple and crimson. In the tarot, She can be found in The Star and The Moon.

You can invite Artemis into your life by mixing an oil for Her (add 20 drops jasmine oil and 4 drops verbena oil to 20ml of base oil) and including it in a ritual or meditation dedicated to Artemis. Alternatively you could make an incense blend to honour this Goddess - try the following recipe:

1 part ox-eye daisy flowers
1 part hazel wood
1 part beech bark
1 part willow wood
ľ part wormwood
Ĺ part almond blossoms
ľ part cypress needles
ľ part fir needles
Few drops lemon balm (melissa) oil

You can also work with Artemis in ritual; She can be invoked to aid in all animal or elemental matters, any magick or sorcery, travel, healing and medicines, psychic ability, fertility (particularly female fertility), exercise and dance. She is also particularly useful in protecting and defending women against men. To honour Artemis you can use the following rite:

On the night of the Full Moon, set up an altar outside. On the altar have three candles, white, red and black. Behind the candles place a statue of a woman, with a quiver of arrows, and a dog at her feet. If you can't get that, a statue of a woman, and separate statues of dogs will suffice. Wolves have long been a symbol of the Moon, and dogs are domesticated wolves. Pick some beautiful flowers, especially white ones, and place them at her feet.

Cast your circle in your usual manner. Be seated at your altar and go into meditation. Then repeat the following invocation:

Lovely Goddess of the bow!
Lovely Goddess of the arrows!
Of all hounds and of all hunting!
Thou who wakest in starry heaven,
when the sun is sunk in slumber.
Thou with moon upon thy forehead,
who the chase by night
preferrest unto hunting in the daylight,
with thy nymphs unto the music of the horn -
thyself the huntress, and most powerful:
I pray thee Think,
although but for an instant,
Upon us who pray unto thee!

Then light the candles, and meditate on the Full Moon. You may light some incense such as jasmine, sandalwood or mugwort or wormwood. Place nine white stones or shells at her feet, forming a crescent Moon, with the points towards the statues feet. Now is the time to ask for a request if needed.

Thank Artemis for Her presence and say goodbye. Blow out the candles and take up your circle.

Have a blessed Beltane!

Sources:
Conway, D. J. The Ancient and Shining Ones. Llewellyn: Minnesota (1993).
Franklin, Anna. Magical Incenses and Oils. Capall Bann: Berkshire (2000).
Grimassi, Raven. Italian Witchcraft: The Old Religion of Southern Europe. Llewellyn: Minnesota (2000).
Marashinsky, Amy Sophia. The Goddess Oracle: A Way to Wholeness through the Goddess and Ritual. Element: Boston (1997).

About The Author: Heathwitch is a Witch, teacher and author. She runs courses and workshops on energy work, healing, Witchcraft and magic. High Priestess of the Circle of the Moon coven, Heathwitch lives in Cheshire, England. web: http://www.heathwitch.com - email: heathwitch@heathwitch.com

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Gardening by the Moon
by Phyllis, Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon

A co-worker friend and I were discussing our garden plans the other day when she made the comment that she would be planting her lettuce and tomatoes at the new moon during the month of May. I was quite surprised as I didnít think she was "that type". Whatever "that type" means.

"Sure," she replied. "There are some who think Iím nuts, but theyíre not the one out investing all that time and money. Why have a poor crop if you can avoid it."

My friend, by the way, raises all her own produce, and produce for her parents and her grandparents. Sheís not just a hobby gardener. A successful garden means food on the table in December.

Planting by the phases of the moon is more than just superstition, or an "old wives tale". Turns out the Farmers Almanac was right and all this has a pretty scientific base.

Consider this: After the new moon and before the full moon, the gravitational pull of Grandmother Moon is at her greatest and Mother Earthís gravity is slightly less, meaning plants that grow above the ground - such as broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, annuals and such - tend to stretch upward. It stands to reason then, that during the full moon (and after), the gravitational pull is lessened and Mother Earthís gravity increases, which in turn helps root crops to grow. Your carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes and onions will grow faster during this time. Now granted, the gravitational pull is barely perceptible, but as my friend says, "Why have a poor crop if you can avoid it".

We can take this a step further and plant according to the quarter moon as well.

  • First Quarter - plant seeds whose plants have their seeds on the outside, such as annual flowers, lettuce, broccoli and herbs.
  • Second Quarter - plant seeds whose plants have their seeds inside a skin, such as beans, tomatoes, melons, etc. Itís been suggested that if you mow the lawn during the second quarter you encourage growth.
  • Third Quarter - (and after the full moon) plant root crops, such as potatoes, onions, beets, carrots, etc.
  • Fourth Quarter - time to weed and if youíre like me and donít like to mow the lawn all that often, now is a good time to get the mower out. Mowing at this time is believed to slow lawn growth. Itís a good time to cultivate and harvest as well.

Donít forget when planting your garden to leave a small corner of your garden wild for the "garden faeries" who may take up residence there. They prefer things left natural. A few shards of clay pots and the like make nice hiding places and theyíll appreciate it.

Source: www.tracker-outdoors.com/moon.htm.

About the Author: Phyllis is a student with the Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon.

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Sacred Space
a Column By Majika Zmaj

Our Most Sacred Space

Sgt. Howie (shocked): 'But they are naked!'
Lord Summerisle: 'Naturally. It's much too dangerous to jump through the fire with your clothes on!'
--from "The Wicker Man"

Recently I was amazed and saddened by the depth and breadth of womenís issues with their bodies. Many women have survived great pain and the scars they have are devastating. Their stories of overcoming those trials are inspiring, but often there are parts of them that are still not whole. Some of us have not had great pain, but day-to-day are scarred by a barrage of unhealthy messages about our bodies from society and media. We are often our own worst enemy, condemning women who are "a little too comfortable with their bodies", or worse, condemning ourselves for not meeting some artificial standard.

Let us take this Beltane season to heal some of those scars. Let us learn to love our Goddess-made bodies. We know that to love others and the Goddess, we must love ourselves. Letís start by loving that beautiful big toe on your left foot. Look at it! What a wonder it is! It helps keep you upright; it propels you forward. Have you ever seen such a lovely toe! When was the last time you thanked your big toe?

Silly - yes. But itís a start. Love your feet. Pamper them. Treat them as you would your other sacred spaces. Decorate them for the season. Dedicate them to the Goddess. Every time you look at them, say a prayer. Now - work your way up. Donít stop at your knees! Your entire body is sacred. Treat it that way and INSIST that others treat it that way as well.

There are those scars though, and other hurdles to overcome before we can love our bodies. If you canít stand in front of a mirror without wincing - consider a ritual to remove your "bad self-talk" and replace it with positive affirmations. Jump the proverbial bel-fire from self-doubt to self-love.

Donít try to tackle it all at once. Donít try to jump too big a fire. Work on a few pieces at a time; one scar at a time. I think this ritual is most effective if done sky-clad. It is just you and the Goddess. Pick a warm safe place and offer yourself to her and ask her help. To celebrate this sacred sabot, offer your Body to the Goddess - your most sacred space.

Ritual Outline:

I believe you should write your own rituals. This outline is just to give you inspiration or motivation. For more information, search for Beltane on the web or in your favorite Goddess reference books.

  • Plan ahead. Have all you need within hands reach or within your circle.
  • Tools you might include in addition to your normal ritual tools : your Bel-fire: candles or small cauldron fire if indoors (see BE SAFE, below); paper to burn; images of the Bull and/or Goddesses that you plan to invoke.
  • Consider calling a Goddess of Fire (or two) - ask them to help you burn away your self doubt, insecurity and pain associated with your body. Ask them to fan the flame of passion, health and vitality to better serve the Sacred.
  • Write your "bad self-talk" on pieces of paper. One thought on each small piece. "Iím not pretty enough." "Iím too fat." "Iím what other think I am." "Iím uncoordinated".
  • Create a short positive mantra to say while you burn your "bad self-talk" in the Bel-fire. Something like: "I am a vessel of the Goddess and she glows within me" or "Goddess bless me head to toe, make my inner beauty glow".
  • While the fire is still burn, jump over it and with great relish and with meaning say a final affirmation that your body is sacred and to be cherished. A little (or not so little) Xena warrior yell would be appropriate here as well.
  • Save the ashes from your Bel-fire. Use then, by rubbing a small bit on your skin or putting in a talisman, to renew this self-affirmation & self-blessing. Use them whenever you need a little self-esteem boost.

Other Suggestions for your ritual:

  • I see this as a ritual for one woman. But you could easily incorporate a significant other or other women.
  • BE SAFE. Plan for mishap where your fire is concerned. Even one candle can burn down a house. Be sure to place your fire on a fire proof surface and allow for the possibility of "tip over". If you burn paper, be sure you have a fire proof container to drop it into.
  • Be sure to include sensual delights of the season in your ritual: strawberries, spring wine, flower pedals, scented oil.

Meditation (visions to get you started):

  • Imagine you are standing in the Druidís England, its night and all around you can see the Bel Fires burning. You can smell the smoke, but you also smell the spring grass, dewy in the twilight and hear the joyful noise as people leap the fires and participate in "unashamed sexuality and fertility".
  • Imagine yourself setting on the ground. You become one with the earth and your roots reach deep into her. You fly high above your body now and look down on the golden hills and fertile valleys that is your body. You are the earth and the earth is the Goddess. Feel yourself nurtured by the sun and cradled by the heavens.

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 pixelluna@oddpost.com. Her other interests include cooking, web design, blogging, beading and writing. Her current home is in North Carolina.

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Faerie Circles Love Spell
by Mystic, WMS, Order of the White Moon

This is primarily a love spell and ritual, but can be adapted for other things. There are some things you will need to get together before starting:

  • a large piece of construction paper, large enough to have four circles of descending size on it, and with enough room left in the middle for writing your wish
  • a black magic marker, and something to color with...either color crayons, colored pencils, or colored markers.
  • some tape, some glue, scissors, and some colored construction paper.

Making the Mandala.

  • For the first and largest circle, draw faeries all along the circle (make a circle of faeries), drawn with the magic marker. You don't have to be an artist, you can just draw stick figures with wings and enough room on the wings to color them.
  • For the next circle inside the largest one, draw mermaids around in a circle. There again, you can draw stick figures with fishes' tails and make them big enough so you can color the fishes' tails.
  • For the third circle just smaller than the mermaid circle, draw or glue flowers and color them...they can be either as elaborate or simple as you would like.
  • For the last and smallest circle, draw hearts in a circle and color them. If you don't want to draw hearts, you can put a circle of pink and/or red gemstones in a circle.
  • (optional) You can make a fifth circle with the gemstones. The main thing is to leave enough room in the middle to write your wish.

Flower for Your Head (or neck)

Make a bunch of flowers out of construction paper, using glue and tape. This you will use around your head like a "head lei". You could use real flowers or silk flowers if you choose. If you already have a head circlet, weave real or silk flowers into it. If you would rather make yourself a necklace lei, that is fine as well. You can make the lei before starting the ritual.

Now you are Ready...

Get your materials all together for your mandala and head lei. Then, before you get started, visualize a golden sphere of light, all around you and over your head and below your feet. You can cast this circle either with visualizing, or with your wand or athame. Then put on your head lei or necklace, and do your mandala.

When you are through with your mandala, write your wish (in a love spell, you can write BRING ME MY TRUE LOVE), in the middle of the circles on your mandala. Then chant or say this spell:

"Faeries, faeries who are near me
Only faeries of light can hear me.
Bring me love, sweet love,
to hold me tight
And keep me happy
day and night.

Mermaids, mermaids, in the sea
send my true love here to me.
Bring me love, sweet love,
to hold me tight
And keep me happy
day and night.

By Fire and by Air,
By Water and Earth
Send him fast,
for as much as he's worth!
So mote it be."

Spend some time visualizing your wish coming true and how happy you will be with the right partner. Then when it feels right, say goodbye to the faeries and mermaids, and see the golden sphere of light slowly dissipating.

This spell can be adapted for other things. The smallest circle can be green gemstones or drawn dollar bills colored green with $ signs on them, if money is needed. Use your imagination. Ask for your wish to be sent to you, and make it clear what that is, as well as writing it down in the middle of the mandala. I called this "Faerie Circles" because of the circles on the mandala and the circular head lei.

About the Author: Mystic is 59, divorced with 2 grown children. She is an artist and Reiki teacher, and lives in Mississippi. Her hobbies include reading, tarot, working out at Curves gym, and spoiling her nieces and nephews.

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Chakra and Crystal Healing
by Majka Zmaj, WMS, Order of the White Moon

For my personal reference, I am collecting information on the relationship between the astral, terrestrial, natural and civilized (language, etc) - in other correspondences. It always seems like when I need something - I canít find the book or website where "I know I just saw it!". So finally after years (Iím a slow learner), Iím writing these things in my own book.

The connection between chakras and crystals is a correspondence I often use. When healing myself, planning a ceremony or making a gift - this table has come in very handy. During my research I was inspired by Dr. Brofmanís story. He has an inspired story of self-healing. He has two wonderful meditations (that can be copied for your personal use) at http://www.healer.ch/. The quote below is from his story, I hope you find this useful and it sparks your curiosity about chakras and crystal healing.

"Each of us is a self-organizing autonomous system of consciousness. Each of us is an energy system. Energy flows through our Being, and is directed by our consciousness. This energy is in a state of movement, flow, and in a healthy organism the energy is harmonious, and flows smoothly. When the flow of this energy is blocked or interrupted, it is experienced by the organism as an imbalance, and the organism's tendency is to return to balance and harmony, to return to health. This tendency toward harmony is an aspect of love.

"You have in your consciousness the potential and ability to heal anything, on any level, in yourself as well as in any other Being, since it's all just energy. What remains is for you to realize fully and actualize that potential. Anything can be healed. You can heal anything."

Crown Chakra:

  • Color: Purple
  • Sense: Empathy
  • Crystals: Citrine, Amethyst, Clear Quartz, Labradorite, Zircon, Diamond
  • Connections: Spiritual connections, understanding, intelligence, brain, nervous system
  • Natural Therapy: Spend time alone on the top of a mountain or some other high place where you can experience magnificence and silence.

Brow Chakra

  • Color: Indigo
  • Sense: Inner Sight
  • Crystals: Lapis Lazuli, Flourite, Chrysocolla, Aurite, Opal
  • Connections: Intuition, clarity, vision, imagination, pituitary, side of face (headaches), endocrine
  • Natural Therapy: Allow yourself to relax and contemplate the deep blue starry night sky.

Throat Chakra

  • Color: Blue
  • Sense: Hearing
  • Crystals: Turquoise, Blue Lace Agate, Jade, Blue Topaz, Sapphire
  • Connections: Self-expression, speaking oneís truth, listening, throat, shoulders, arm & hands
  • Natural Therapy: Spend time outside absorbing the clear blue color of the sky. Also effective is any setting where blue water exists, especially where it reflects the sky. A lake, the beach, a wide river - all can be great sources of renewal for this chakra.

Heart Chakra

  • Color: Green
  • Sense: Touch
  • Crystals: Rose Quartz, Unakite, Rhodonite, Jade, Emerald
  • Connections: Relationships, self-love, balance, heart, lungs, circulation, immune system
  • Natural Therapy: Take a walk in any lush green setting, especially one that might include pink flowers. Noticing the feeling of the air on your skin is also helpful.

Solar Plexus Chakra

  • Color: Yellow
  • Sense: Eyesight
  • Crystals: Malachite, Tiger Eye, Picture Jasper, Topaz, Peridot
  • Connections: Personal Power, strength of will, self-mastery, self-esteem, stomach, gall bladder, liver, face, muscles
  • Natural Therapy: Spend time in bright, radiant sunlight, feeling its warmth on your skin.

Womb Chakra

  • Color: Orange
  • Sense: Taste
  • Crystals: Haematite, Amber, Carnelian
  • Connections: Emotions and sexuality, reproductive system, lumbar region
  • Natural Therapy: Relax in a body of water, a lake or an outdoor pool, feeling yourself supported and soothed. Looking up at a moonlit, starry sky can also be wonderful allowing balance of the feminine energies of this chakra. The combination of the above would really be powerful.

Root Chakra

  • Color: Red
  • Sense: Smell
  • Crystals: Garnet, Onyx, Obsidian, Fire Agate, Ruby
  • Connections: Work, home, family, health, structure, finances, trust, nourishment, security, skeletal, legs, elimination
  • Natural Therapy: Sit directly on the Earth, ideally looking at a red-orange sunset or sunrise, allowing the beauty and harmony of that setting to fill you and awaken your passion for life.

Sources:
Chakras: The Magnificent Seven by Paula Shaw
Healing and Transformation

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 pixelluna@oddpost.com. Her other interests include cooking, web design, blogging, beading and writing. Her current home is in North Carolina.

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Traditions

Beltane Ritual
by Lotus Moonwise

1) Purify Circle

2) Cast Circle:

"I cast this circle, creating sacred space, a temple between the worlds, where we may be present and connected to the Goddess and God. So mote it be."

3) Call Quarters

4) Intention / Invocations:

"At this joyous time, we welcome the Goddess, who is the Queen of May. With her coming, flowers bloom and life is renewed on the Earth. She gives us the freedom to live joyfully, to know ourselves and love ourselves. To give and receive love is a sacred act. She tells us to open our hearts, to sing, dance, feast, make music and love for all acts of love and pleasure are her rituals. She is the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars. She is the soul of Nature who gives life to the Universe. She is that which is attained at the end of desire. Great Goddess, Queen of May, we open our arms now and welcome you to this sacred space."

Light blue candle on altar.

"At this time, we welcome the Year God, who is the May King. With his coming, the wild things run free and the Earth flows with vitality. We welcome he who is the wild hunter of the forest deep, the fire upon the hill and the sower of the seed unto the soil of the Earth, the womb of the Goddess. He who is the stag, the tree, the mountain, the Horned One, love and consort to the Goddess. He who is gentle and fierce, with a sweet face and a dark one. Who brings terror to those who do not understand his mysteries. For through death comes rebirth and with the greatest darkness comes the brightest light. All things of freedom and love are joys unto you. And you are the protector of all things wild and free. Great God, King of May, we open our arms now and welcome you to this sacred space."

Light red candle on altar.

5) Great Rite:

Raise athame. "Behold this blade, the essence of the God, the creative spark of light and life."

Raise chalice. "Behold this chalice, the womb of the Goddess, the fertile darkness from which all life springs forth."

Chant: "Lord and Lady, two made one, the dance of life has begun." Chant this while the athame comes closer to the chalice and finally is placed within it.

"Behold the union, two made one, male and female, light and dark, matter and spirit, as above so below, as within so without. Infinite balance is created in the union of all things."

"On this altar, we have lit a blue candle for the Goddess. Blue is the color of nurturing, tranquility. The color of water, the dark sky at night. We have lit a red candle for the God. Red is the color of passion and vitality. The color of the warrior and protector. Now, we light a purple candle. A symbol of their Union. Purple is the color of spiritual wholeness. It combines the two opposites, blue and red. It unites light and dark." Light purple candle on altar.

6) Maypole Dance:

Now we will weave our wishes into the Universe, as we dance with joy at the marriage of the Goddess and God. Men will take a hold of a red ribbon and women a hold of a white ribbon. Face each other in two half circles. When the music begins, we will begin weaving and dancing. As you weave and dance, envision what it is that you wish to weave into your lives.

Chant: "We are a circle within a circle with no beginning and never ending"

7) Blessings:

"This water holds sacred qualities. It was gathered on May Day from dewy leaves in the early morning hours. You will each now be blessed with this water." (Go around circle blessing each person)

"May you honor the union of the Goddess and God within yourself. May you embrace and honor all aspects of yourself, light and dark. May you find peace in your heart with this balance of energies and may you flow with the creative inspiration and spark of the Goddess and God. So mote it be."

8)Thank and Release Quarters and Dieties:

"Great Goddess, Great God, thank you for being with us this day. Thank you for allowing us to join with you and witness this sacred rite of life renewal. Go in peace and blessed be. Watchtowers of __________________, Guardians of ___________________, we thank you for joining with us in this circle. May you go in peace. Hail and farewell. Blessed Be."

8) Open Circle:

"The Circle is open, yet never broken. The joy and magick of this sacred space will go on in our hearts. May we always be mindful and present within ourselves and always connected to the Divinity within us. May we go forth into the world now as whole beings, fully balanced and full of self love. Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again. Blessed Be!"

Portable Maypole Construction

You will need:

  • 1 round pole - 10 ft high
  • One red ribbon per male dancer - 20 ft long each
  • One white ribbon per female dancer - 20 ft long each
  • One spare tire
  • Cement
  • Plastic Tarp
  • Twigs to make wreath (or buy a ready made one)
  • Spring flowers to decorate the wreath
  • Wood Stapler
  • Twine
  • Long sticks (to support the pole while cement is drying)

1) Lay out plastic tarp on a flat ground. Put the tire on top of it.

2) Have one person hold the pole in place, standing up in the center of the tire.

3) Have another person mix the cement and pour it into the center of the tire, covering the bottom of the pole.

4) Use long sticks and/or twine to prop up the pole, keeping it still until the cement can fully dry.

5) Once cement is fully dry, remove the sticks and twine that was propping it up. Set the whole pole on it's side, laying on the ground.

6) Arrange the wreath, either by putting together sticks into a circle shape, or by buying a ready made wreath from a craft store. Add fresh spring flowers to the wreath.

7) Attach the wreath to the top of the pole using twine and a wood stapler. Make sure it's secure.

8) Attach one end of each ribbon to the top of the pole, right under the wreath. Use the wood stapler to do this.

9) Put the pole upright again and voila, you have a portable maypole!

About the Author: Lotus Moonwise is studying to become a Priestess of the Order of the White Moon.

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My First Beltane
by Lexi, Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon

As I chose this title, I couldn't help but think that it would be perfect for a memoir, but I am new to the path of the Goddess; this will be my first Beltane ever consciously celebrated, so perhaps I can offer a memory of what it will be...

I am a re-enactor. I re-enact the life and times of women in the Revolutionary War camps. It isn't easy now, and was much harder then. Now, I scramble out of my officer's cot, where my Love lies cozy and warm, nestled in the woolen and linen coverings, to dress myself in the damp, cool darkness of the pre-sun morning, I lace my stays over my shift to comfortably support my back and chest, and pull on my petticoats and jacket overtop. Last night, I slept in my shift, the linen nightgown that people of that century wore as both nightgown and their sole item of underwear; it is practical, comfortable, and somehow, very womanly, falling gracefully about the body and arms. My tall stockings and shoes do not want to go on so I carry them down to the last embers in the fire pit, the last remnants of the night's campfire; in the diminishing glow, I can see clearly that my feet are sticky and green from dancing barefoot in the field last night around the fire, my little bit of Beltane, my first Beltane.

Because of the re-enactment, I could not celebrate my first Beltane with my new friends, and my family does not take any interest in the path of the Goddess. So I celebrated alone, but not, knowing my Goddess-loving friends were celebrating it too. After arriving and setting up camp, I started a fire for the evening meal, to welcomed our unit's members into camp as they arrived. Usually, we go out to eat as a group, but last night was special, it was May Eve, and this meal began my Beltane feast. The spit was set up and I meditated on the foods as I prepared them, giving thanks for the fertility that made this feast possible, and cutting them with my 18th century kitchen-knife-turned-athame to show that none had been overlooked. I doled out the food to the members of out unit as they returned from setting up camp, symbolically passing on the blessing I had received, and sharing it with our other members as they talked and lounged around the campfire. Once they had all left and retired, when the camp had grown quiet and heavy with sleep, I sang softly to myself and danced slowly around the fire, invoking the elements, the God, and the Goddess, inviting balance, fertility, and prosperity to all those who have shared with me.

Sitting by the fire, I have forsaken my shoes and stockings in true 18th century fashion (shoes were expensive and only worn in the field to impress or when the weather made it unbearable to be without protection). My feet are wet with the morning dew and I am kneeling in the cleaned out fire pit, blowing embers into flame. As the fresh wood catches, I sit back to watch, tying my hair back artfully, then don my linen cap, as I think about the feast to come, the next part of my first Beltane feast. My kitchen-knife-turned athame is ready and the food awaits. Re-enacting has become an important part of who I am, fundamentally changing the way I see the world and myself; now, so has the Goddess. I can't help but feel that the spirituality of the Goddess is a piece of 18th century woman's reality that is overlooked in historical re-enacting.

About the Author: Lexi is studying to become a Priestess in the Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon.

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Celebrate Fertility/Mini Maypole
by GaiYin, HPS, Order of the White Moon

Celebrate fertility as Spring is in full bloom by making or buying a birdfeeder. For the holiday, tie on some pretty pastel ribbons. As you fill the birdfeeder with seed, enchant it with this incantation:

Winged friends in bush and tree,
I leave for you this nourishing seed.
Bless our ears with your sweet song.
Be safe and well all year long.

Mini Maypole

If you don't have room for a full-sized maypole, make a mini one using a wooden dowel or old wooden spoon. Secure an odd number of pastel ribbons to one end, and stick the other end in a small flower pot filled with florist foam or some other thing so the spoon/dowel stands erect in the pot. Cover this with Spanish Moss or excelsior(which isn't as crumbly as Spanish moss) and weave the ribbons under and over each other as with a real maypole. Secure the ends with raffia when the weaving's done and decorate the pot with little silk flowers; if you use Oasis to stick the spoon/dowel in and keep it moist, you can stick small fresh flowers into it with florist picks.

About the Author: GaiYin, Reiki Master and High Priestess in the Order of the White Moon, is 39 years old and lives in Maryland, USA.

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Diverse Traditions and Thoughts
A Column By Freya, HPS, Order of the White Moon

Beltane in Germany

The name Beltane implies "fire of bel" and is also known as May Eve, and May Day. It signifies the height of Spring and the sensuality of life.

Celebrations traditionally begin with the lighting of Beltane bonfires at moon-rise on May Day eve to light the way for Summer. A ritual in form of the Maypole dance is performed, representing the unity between the Goddess, manifesting as the May Queen and Flora (Ribbons), and the God (Pole).

Beltane clearly is a festival of passion, one of the two greatest Sabbats in the Pagan year, second only to Samhain, which lies directly opposite it on the Wheel.

Traditional Symbols for Beltane include:

  • Maypole (With the take-over of Christianity, the life-affirming Maypole became the death-affirming cross. Thus, in the Christian calendar, this was celebrated as "Roodmas".)
  • Ribbons
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Cakes and Wine
  • Bead
  • May Fires

Colors, Herbs, and Flowers symbolic for Beltane include:

  • Pink
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • All Greens
  • Honeysuckle
  • St.Johnís Wort
  • Mugwort
  • Almond
  • Daisy
  • Marigold

Traditional incense include:

  • Frankincense
  • Rose
  • Mint

A Traditional Beltane Menu includes:

  • Chopped Salad With Tarragon Vinaigrette
  • Honey and Ginger-glazed Chicken
  • Oven-toasted Italian or Cuban bread
  • Strawberries and Vanilla Syrup

In Germany, many customs are connected with Beltane. It is not only significant in terms of Religion, Mythology and Spirituality. The first of May is also Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit). The International Workers' Congress in Paris designated May Day as a public holiday in 1889, and in 1919 the National Assembly in Weimar declared it a public holiday in Germany. It is observed by holding meetings, marches and giving public speeches, mostly organized by trade unions.

Beltane is also known as the feast of Saint Walpurga, and Walpurgis Night, which means "Night of the Witches."

The many customs on this special day include the ceremonial plantings of young trees. The Maypole is put up and there are dances around it. In some areas, a whole village may gather around a Maypole. Usually a May Queen is "elected" and she will ceremonially declare winter defeated and opens the dance.

Everybody holds hands, dances, and drinks Mai Wein, a German drink, dedicated to springtime and flavored with fresh Waldmeister (sweet woodruff).

Traditions also include the decoration of ones home and dance halls with Maigloeckchen (Maybells) , young gras and spring flowers.

In Bavaria, May 1st is an especially important day. It has been the custom for centuries to cut a tall and straight tree, a day or two before May 1, place it in the middle of the village and decorate it with a wreath of spring flowers and colorful ribbons. One of the traditions is to attempt to steal the Maypole of the neighboring village the night before, and to hold it for ransom, usually a couple kegs of beer. At the same time villagers had to make sure that their Maypole was not stolen by their neighbors.

A variation of this tradition includes the cutting of a Fir tree on May Eve by young unmarried men, branches removed, decorated, put up in village square, & guarded all night until dance occurred on May Day.

This article is put together by means of what I remember about Beltane when growing up in Germany and an excellent web site on German traditions available on-line

About the Author: Freya is a 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. She can be reached at: hpfreya@yahoo.ca and www.sistersinfreyasmoon.com Freya has founded the Sisters in Freya's Moon, a Canadian branch of the Order of The White Moon, based in British Columbia.

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Recipes Fit For A Goddess
Recipe Column

Ice Cream a Go-Go
by Nessa Crescent Moon

1 tablespoon sugar
10 to 12 ice cubes
Ĺ cup milk or Half & Half
2 tablespoons rock salt
ľ teaspoon vanilla

Put in a sandwich-size Zip-Loc band and "zip" closed.
Place the rock salt in a second baggie (gallon size)
Place the first baggie inside the second baggie
Cover with about 10 to 12 ice cubes (about ĺ of the way full) and zip closed.
Shake and roll filled bag over and over until frozen (about 15 to 20 minutes)
As the ice melts it does leak a little so itís best to do this outside.

(Received from a student in a high school Chemistry class).

About the Author: Nessa Crescent Moon is studying to become a Priestess of the Order of the White Moon.

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Poetry and Artwork

Poems Of The Goddess
A Column of Original Works

Each Day as we live
We pass people and things
we never stop to See
As we open our hearts
our eyes open too

See before you the miracles
of light and life
Live in the moment to
experience all that is
before you.

Imagine the arms of Spirit
surrounding you as you seek
the light and love of the world.
Imagine the peace you have
Your heart filled with love,
contentment and peace

We are spiritual beings
Beings of Light
Beings of Love
Share what you hold
Accept what you have

Know you are loved
Feel the peace
accept it

Remember all spirits are one
Pray for the ideals you want
Pray for all you wish
You will receive
You can accept the
manifestations of Love, Light
and Peace

By Pamela M. Fernandes
February 12, 2003

About the Author: Pamela is studying to become a Priestess in the Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon

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Birth Journey
by Bramble, Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon

Jacobís Story- The beginning

My first pregnancy didnít go very well. Much like many first time moms I read "What To Expect When Youíre Expecting" and felt like I knew it all. My husband was on deployment, and we had just moved so I knew no one. I spent most of my time in bed watching television and eating. In my 6th month I suddenly put on 10lbs in a week. My weight continued to spiral up and I developed pre-ecclampsia. It wasnít diagnosed until I went into labor at 37 weeks. At that point I had put on over 65lbs.

I was fortunate enough that my husband came home two weeks before I went into labor. We finished putting together the crib and got a small vacation away. At 37 weeks to the day I went into labor around 1AM. Things started out normally enough, nice easy regular contractions. We called labor and delivery and they told me to get a shower, eat something and call back when the contractions were about 5 minutes apart. So I showered, which was wonderful, and I got a bowl of cereal. The contractions had picked up some so we called back and they told us to come in. Once we were at the hospital they checked me and I was only dilated to 2cm. They were going to send me home but my urine had protein in it and they decided to admit me.

All of a sudden I was hooked up to IVís and stuck in bed. It took them 11 tries to get the IV in (seems to be a problem with that hospital, took them 15 tries at a later date when I had my gall bladder removed). I was put on magnesium sulfate for my blood pressure and given a catheter, which was excruciatingly painful. I was in agony stuck on my back in bed with all these things hooked up to me. The nurses were rude and barely acknowledged me; my birth plan had been completely ignored. I asked for an epidural and was told it would "slow my labor".

I only found out later that the magnesium is often used to stop labor and the epidurals can lower blood pressure so I may as well have been given one so I could rest. My water broke about eight hours into my labor and I was dilated to 5cm. The contractions instantly became unbearable, lying in bed felt like the worst place to be and I only wanted to get up but was denied because of all the monitors and tubes.

The nurse came in and gave me a shot of stadol without telling me what it was or even asking. When I started to freak out when I asked what they had given me (I had stated from the beginning I wanted no narcotics because of the potential harm to the baby) they said it was because I was "making too much noise" and they couldnít have that. Almost immediately the babyís heart rate dropped to 30 beats per minute from 140. They rushed me into the operating room and hooked me up to an ultrasound machine and screwed an internal monitor to my sonís head. That still makes me cry today to think they put a screw in my childís head. I was finally given my epidural, but the anesthesiologist was horribly rude to me, telling me I had "too much extra padding" for him to get it in right. The same man told a friend of mine the same thing. The epidural only worked on one side and I had to be given a spinal as well. They had me sign forms consenting to a cesarean section. I began having trouble breathing and stopped breathing all together momentarily. The spinal had been done too high and froze my lungs. I threw up. I donít know how they got in under control, next all I remember is being shaved, then cutting and tugging and pressure as they pulled out my son. They didnít even show him to me.

My husband had been allowed in the room at some point and got to go see our son. He wrapped him up and brought him to me for a few short seconds then they left the room to give him his first bath. I was then stitched up and wheeled to a recovery room. I remember getting the worst shakes, they kept asking me if I was cold and put a warm blanket on me. Later I learned the shakes are a common side effect of all the drugs. No one there told me that.

I slept a long time after that. My husband says it was nearly a full day before I got to see my son. He was brought to me and I tried to breastfeed. It was hard because of the tubes and incision and the gown had to be pulled all the way down to free my breast. My son was very groggy from all the drugs but he managed to latch on and nurse. The nurse told me to pinch him so heíd cry and open his mouth wide enough to latch on. I was appalled. The next day I was transferred to another room that I had to share with another woman. Sheíd had a vaginal delivery and was walking around like nothing had happened. I was so angry! I could barely stand without feeling faint. If I used the bathroom I passed clots the size of baseballs. I was finally able to shower, I had to use a chair because I couldnít stand. I remember dropping my soap and not being able to pick it up and I just cried. A nurse came in to check my uterus and pressed on it so violently, getting frustrated because she said it wasnít a normal shape and she was having a hard time finding it.

Any time I called for help picking up my son I was treated rudely, like they thought I was just lazy. I could barely lift him; I had no strength after the surgery. We had our son circumcised, I almost immediately regretted it; he came back shrieking. Whoever said babies donít feel pain has never had a baby. I later learned that babies have died from hemorrhage and infections from unnecessary circumcisions. I realize that itís my job as a parent to learn all of this but what happened to the job of a doctor to give their patients a right to informed consent? After twelve or more years of medical school you expect these people to have more knowledge and to share it with you but they donít.

After four days in the hospital we came home. It took me weeks to start feeling normal again. For the first two weeks I slept on the recliner because I couldnít lie flat in bed without pain. I found a Boppy pillow very useful for nursing, as I couldnít put my sons weight on my stomach.

After such a disheartening birth I had decided for a long time that I didnít want any more children. I felt violated like I had been raped. When my son got to be around 20 months old I started wanting another baby and was depressed because I felt like my only option was another c-section. Even my husband had said it would be easier because I wouldnít have to go into labor again. I told people all I really wanted was to run off into the woods and come back out with a baby. I didnít want anyone to touch me or poke me or come near me while I was in labor. I wanted the only people to touch my baby to do so with nothing but love. No monitors, no screws in my babyís head. Someone sent me a website detailing the birth of a baby named Grey Forest Walt. This woman gave birth with midwives on top of a mountain out under the sun. I was amazed! I didnít know people did this kind of thing. I knew some women had homebirths but I had always thought youíd be crazy to want it. I followed the links to her more recent birth, at home, unassisted and finally knew THIS is what I wanted. I did more research on unassisted birth.

I came across Laura Shanleyís website, http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/, and emailed it to my husband (who was again on deployment). At first he was surprised that I was thinking of another child. He didnít think an unassisted birth would be safe and asked me for some proof that the baby or I wouldnít die. Well, I couldnít prove that, mother and baby can die anywhere, even in the hospital but I was able to find statistic after statistic that repeat cesarean was unnecessary, that I was more likely to die in a car crash than having a baby. If I donít have a driving instructor in my back seat when I drive to the mall why should I have a surgeon there when I birth my baby? I also found some good statistics at http://www.unhinderedliving.com/stats.html. After looking over the info hubby agreed weíd start trying for a baby when he got home. I spent the rest of his deployment researching birth at a rate of near obsession.

I had dreams about this pudgy baby boy; I just couldnít wait to meet him. My husband got home the end of May and by the end of July we found out we were expecting. I had originally planned to have an unassisted pregnancy as well but I met a nice homebirth midwife and decided to get a few prenatals. It made my husband feel a bit better to get a professional opinion and it wound up being helpful for paperwork reasons later.

I joined several UC and natural birthing groups on yahoo and Ďmetí many wonderful women who offered up a great support network via phone, email, and even in person. My pregnancy progressed wonderfully. I was active, ate well, and felt wonderful. I had far less morning sickness than with my first son. We moved to South Carolina from Virginia at the end of my pregnancy. I hurt my back and we decided to get a hot tub to help my backache. What a wonderful thing to have for a pregnant woman! It took so much pressure off to be able to float in the warm water. This is where we wound up having our unassisted homebirth.

Ryanís Story

At 5:20am on March 28th 2004 I woke up because I just couldnít get comfortable. I used the bathroom and tried to get back to bed but couldnít get comfy, so I got up and got online for a while. I started feeling regular contractions about 15 minutes apart. I told my husband and said he could go back to sleep to which he replied "yeah, right". He ran to the store and picked up some milk and a few other things since he wouldnít get the chance later. I sat on my birth ball and sniffed a lavender aromatherapy pillow I had. I began to pace around the house, as contractions got stronger and closer together. I tried to eat but felt a little queasy so I drank some Gatorade instead. Iíd made up some of my own laborade ice cubes and sucked on those. I took a shower and when the hot water died on me all too soon I decided to get into the hot tub. The contractions picked up stronger and faster once in the tub and I started feeling pushy but after 20 minutes of pushing and it just not feeling right I decided to get out of the tub.

I put some chux pads down on my bed and lay on my left side for a while as Iíd read that was supposed to slow things down but it didnít help much. I also started having some back labor at that point and needed my husband to provide lots of counter pressure on my lower back to help. I sat on the birth ball, showered again, and moved around a lot but the contractions started coming right on top of each other so I got back in the tub.

We sat in there a long time with my husband pressing on my back. I donít think I could have gotten through it without the water and his help. My son helped some cheering me on and held my hand on occasion. He mostly stayed inside watching movies. I used lots of vocalizing and breathing techniques to help as well. Around 2PM I started feeling pushy again and this time it felt SO good to push. I could tell I had hit transition because I started feeling like I couldnít do it and burst into tears for what seemed like no real reason. I was tired and wanted desperately to just sit and put my knees together but I could feel his head right in my pelvis and it just hurt to lean back. If I had one thing to do differently I would have taken prenatal yoga to stretch and strengthen my thigh muscles, I think it would have helped immensely!! After I started pushing I stayed on all fours with my husband pressing my lower back with each contraction. Boy were his arms tired the next day!! I eventually started to feel the head descend with each push. The contractions still hurt as they rose but when I pushed with them it just felt amazing!

My husband really coached me on and let me know he could feel the baby descending. At one point he accidentally poked the head and I felt my son move inside me it was so strange! I hadnít experienced any of this in my first labor. When the head began to emerge my husband said he felt something squishy and I reached down and felt something soft and pulsing and momentarily thought it was the cord.

I tried not to panic and looking back on it I knew deep down nothing was wrong but I had my husband call 911 just in case. (In retrospect even if it had been the cord, if it were still pulsing then it was still moving oxygen to the baby anyhow!) As he called I got up in a half squat, one knee up one kneeling, and I started to push like crazy knowing if the cord was there I had to get him out NOW. As he started to emerge more I realized it was just where the bones in the head fold up during delivery and nothing was wrong. I still pushed like crazy since my husband was still on the phone and he gave the dispatcher the play by play as if it were a baseball game; "The head is crowning, wait its out, wait thereís the body! Its out the baby is crying and fine!!" I felt the head pop out and the body shot out into the water after on the next contraction. He was born posterior-face up! I pulled him up out of the water and cried "I did it we have a baby!" the 911 dispatcher asked, "So, is it a boy or a girl?" we hadnít even thought to look yet!! We looked and told him it was a boy, he congratulated us asked if we still needed them and we said no, thanks so much and got off the phone. We went inside to warm up the baby. (I imagine at this point I might have shocked some neighbors as Iíd just given birth naked on my porch but no one has said anything yet!). The cord was very short and I had to waddle with him at my belly button level. It couldnít have been much more than a foot long.

My husband laid him on the bed and covered him with warm towels from the dryer. He was taking a long time for his limbs to pink up so we suctioned him a little and worked on warming him up. I couldnít nurse with the cord so short so we waited for it to stop pulsing and turn white and we cut it. I had wanted to wait for the placenta initially but it just was too awkward to care for him. I took some angelica tincture to help ease the placenta and my husband dried off the baby and got him dressed. I tried to squat over a bowl to deliver the placenta but I was SO tired I just couldnít do it. A few more contractions came on so I knew it would probably come out soon. I went and sat on the toilet and nursed my newborn son; the placenta fell out a few minutes later. I scooped it out and put it in the bowl Iíd originally planned to use, passed my son to my husband and got in the shower to clean up.

Even with all that hard fast pushing I only had a tiny tear that I didnít even notice till about a week later after it all but had healed up. My husband weighed the baby while I was showering; he weighed 8lbs 6oz. My first son had been 6lbs 11oz; it always amazes me how VBAC babies are so much bigger!!

Weíve been doing great since. He is now 11 days old and growing like a weed! Iím so grateful to have had my unassisted VBAC!!!

About the Author: Bramble is a student of the Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon.

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If You Like Harry Potter You'll Love These Books!
A book review by Luna Blanca, Head of The Order of The White Moon
In Association with Amazon.com

Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
by Carolyn Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede

Jane Austin meets JK Rowling in this delightful adventure set in turn of the 19th Century England where wizards just happen to be an accepted part of society. Through the letters of two young cousins, an adventure unfolds. Subtitled "Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country," this book is not to be missed!

Up From Jericho Tel
by E.L. Konigsburg

A deceased 1930's movie starlet opens a magical doorway for two young adventurers to solve a mystery from the past for her: who stole her emerald necklace when she died? The children experience invisibility and other fun magickal tricks while making friends with the cast of characters they visit. Konigsburg's other books for young adults are not magically oriented, but they are real page-turners. Check them out from your local library.

Attention Parents of Youngsters:

Half Magic and more!
by Edward Eager

Eager presents series of books for young readers six and up. This fun tale is the first. The story continues as the children grow up and have children of their own who also find magical adventures. The boxed set will get you off to a good start, but not all his books are included there.

Wednesday Witch and more!
by Ruth Chew

Chew is another fun author for young folks six and up. These easy-readers published by Scholastic feature independent young people meeting up with witches and magic of all sorts! Do It Yourself Magic is one of my favorites, but I recommend them all!

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 Luna@TheWhiteMoon.com

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Order Announcements and Branch News
by Gaya, HPS, Order of the White Moon

The White Moon School is excited to announce there are more branches and Orders offering the teachings on-line. High Priestesses Amber Sage, Arteal, Teal Moon and Gaya have now opened their branches. In addition to the branches headed by GrannyMoon (Sisters of the Burning Branch) and Rowen Saille (The Shining Cresent), High Priestesses Kerritwyn and Freya have opened their branch.

Gaya has founded The Sisters of the Mesa Moon, a branch of the Order of the White Moon located in New Mexico.

Arteal has founded Moonlit River, a branch of the Order of The White Moon, based in Delaware.

AmberSage has founded SilverMoonWalkers, a branch of the Order of the White Moon located in Massachusetts. Her school is open to women ages 16 and above.

Teal Moon has founded Isiliel's Grove, a branch of the Order of the White Moon located in Texas.

Lady Kerritwyn has founded The Rainbow Moon, a sister order of The White Moon, based in Pennsylvania. This online school is open to transgendered and transsexual people and their significant others aged 18 or older.

Freya has founded The Sisters in Freya's Moon, a Canadian branch of the Order of The White Moon, based in British Columbia.

Information on the schools can be found at http://www.thewhitemoon.com/order/schools/.

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DISCLAIMER:
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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