Seasons of the Moon
Volume 1 - Issue 4 - Lammas 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 - Banshee - Artemisia - Phyllis
Webmaster: Heathwitch

Issue 4 - Lammas 2004: Contents

cornfieldGoddess Work
Astrology of the Seasons by Arteal
Moon Moon, Mother Moon by GrannyMoon
Goddesses Of Seasons by Heathwitch
Rituals And Intent: A Conversation by Pixelluna
Using (A Few) Symbols by Pixelluna

Traditions
A Desperate Lammas Prayer by Luna Blanca
Witch Works: Spells and Rituals for Every Season by Banshee

Poetry and Artwork
For You Are Not Alone by Desert Star

Reviews
The Twelve Gifts of Birth by Nessa CresentMoon

 

Goddess Work

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

Lammas is upon us. This is the first of three harvest festivals. This is when one celebrated their first harvest and the promise of abundance. There would also be ritual to ensure the rest of the harvest season would be plentiful. When I think of harvest and abundance it is the planet Jupiter that comes to mind. Jupiter is ruler of the zodiac sign Sagittarius. Jupiter rules expansion on all levels. Think of this HUGE planet. It is larger than life and that is what Jupiter represents. Jupiter is abundance, generosity, optimism, success, and good luck which is all related to Lammas. Let us also not forget that Jupiter rules wisdom, higher education, travel (over seas), and religion. Lammas is a wonderful time to include Jupiter in your ritual. Pay honor to this planet and perhaps it will wink at you.

So when should your ritual take place? I highly recommend Lunar Lammas on July 31. There will be a Full Moon in the unconventional sign of Aquarius. This will be the second Full Moon in July and that means a Blue Moon. Talk about a bit more magical umph! The Moon will be full at 2:05 pm EDT. This is when the Full Moon reaches it's peak and will begin waning at 2:06 pm EDT. Full Moon rituals will continue to be powerful for the next three nights though. So do not stress if your ritual will take place after 2:05 pm.

With the Moon in Aquarius you may feel a desire to be a bit more inventive with your ritual. Go with that feeling. Remember that Aquarius is inventive, unique, abstract, with tendencies towards being eccentric. It is also a humanitarian sign. Remember the saying to give is to receive. Part of your ritual could include a giving quality.

Lammas will officially take place on Monday August 2. The Moon will be is softer, empathetic Pisces. Before Neptune was discovered Jupiter was the ruler of Pisces. This makes this date also a good day to celebrate Lammas. Your ritual taking place during a Pisces Moon will perhaps cause a quieter ritual with less flash. A Pisces Moon might cause you to have quite a simple ritual. Perhaps one of gratitude for all you have or a prayer of what is needed.

If you think about it these dates make a perfect 2 part ritual. The first part a feast on the 31st and the second part giving thanks for all you have received on the 2nd. Have a very bountiful Lammas.

(Just a reminder Mercury will be retrograde from Monday August 9th until Thursday September 2nd. This is when the planet appears to slow down in the sky and then go into reverse. This causes delays in all forms of communication. We can feel it up to a week before the planet goes retrograde. This is NOT a time to start new projects or sign contracts. The best way to handle a Mercury Retrograde is back up your computer, finish those old projects sitting on a shelf, and remember to breath slowly. Think of it this way. Mercury retrograde means rest, redo, reevaluate, reconsider, and revisit. These are the lessons of Mercury. The closer you follow them the easier this and future Mercury retrogrades will be on you.)

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.

Back to Top

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

The Waning Moon

The Waning Moon begins after the moon is half illuminated during the Waxing Moon. At this point, the moon starts decreasing in size. The crescent you see in the sky is facing to your right. This is the Goddess in her Crone aspect: wise, experienced, and settling into physical decline.

The Matriarch or Crone, gives wisdom, magical knowledge and the power to see into the future is the Moon as she wanes into darkness. Hecate and Aradia, "Queen or Protectress of the witches''. They are called, supreme Goddesses of witchcraft and protection. Like Cerridwen she is usually perceived as a dark mother in the crone aspect, but like Cerridwen also she can take the form of a young woman.

During this phase, we perform rejection magick, magick to get rid of bad habits, magick to rid ourselves of negativity or to banish something from our lives. Have a ritual if there is something that you're trying to let go of, do a spell to decrease illness or pain or even decrease debts and decrease worries about money. A time to conjure addictions away, divorce, health and healing (banishing disease), stress, protection.

Wise and Creamy Salmon Soup
By Red Knight

The salmon is the wisest and most ancient of living creatures.

Ingredients:
1 pkg. cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 cup milk
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (to bring wealth)
1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh dill or 1/2 tsp. dried dill (for protection of home and job)
2 green onions with tops sliced (for purity)
1 can chicken broth
12 oz. smoked salmon, flaked, or 1 can, drained and flaked

Heat cream cheese, milk, mustard, dill, onions, and chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in salmon and heat until hot and ready to serve.

Healing Apple Crisp
By Raven

2 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 to 3/4 cup graham crackers, crumbled
2 T. butter, melted.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Visualize yourself in glowing, radiant health as you peel and slice the apples, squeeze the juice, and crush the graham crackers. Turn prepared apples into a 9 x 9 baking dish. Mix the lemon juice into the honey and our over the apples. (If the apples are very tart, use slightly less lemon juice and slightly more honey.) Combine the crumbled graham crackers with the butter and sprinkle over the apples. Bake at 375 F for 30 to 40 minutes (until the apples are tender.)

Serve topped with cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serves four.

Blues Eradicator Drink
By White Rabbit

You will need:
1 cup lemon balm leaves (you can substitute lemon juice)
large pitcher
1 bottle white wine OR 1 quart lemonade
plastic wrap
1 bottle ginger ale
lemon slices

Put the lemon balm/juice in the pitcher. Pour the wine/lemonade over them and chant:

"Wine and herb now mix together
Bring my spirit sunny weather
As I sip you, blues be gone
By breeze, earth, sea, and shining sun.

Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least one hour. Fill a tall glass with ice, then pour it half full of the earlier prepared wine and lemon. Finish filling the glass with ginger ale, stir and garnish with a lemon slice or two. Hold the glass high in a toast to the deities and chant:

"A happy life I grant myself
The joy of fairies, sprites and elves!
As I sip depression leave!
As I will so mote it be!"

Blessed Be!
Grandmother Moon
http://goddessschool.com

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.

Back to Top

Goddesses of the Seasons
A Column By Heathwitch

Lady of the Earth
whose body is the golden corn
which nourishes us;
Corn Mother,
your love for us keeps us alive
and for that we honour you
through feasting and play
under the bright sun
and the fields of your life;
for this, Corn Mother, we thank you.

At the height of summer our calendar turns to Lughnasadh, the first harvest. Also known as Lammas, the festival is associated with ripening grain and as it approaches so does the coming of Autumn. Our altars are filled with colours of gold, light brown, orange, and green, and are filled with foods and breads. Lughnasadh is a festival of plenty, so celebrate with your favourite foods and drinks, and honour Mother Goddesses such as Corn Mother.

Many native peoples see corn and grain as a Goddess -- the Goddess called Corn Mother. A fertility Goddess, Corn Mother rules over the earth, its plants and animals; with Spring Maiden, She influences human fertility. She has a special interest in agriculture and Her consort is the Sun Lord, whose light and heat are needed for Corn Mother's golden corn to grow.

The Arikara Creator God, Nesaru, fashioned Corn Mother from an ear of corn which grew in heaven. Corn Mother then came to earth and taught people how to honor the deities and to plant corn. She gives of herself to her people to sustain them and nourish them.

Corn Woman's colours are gold and yellow; her symbol is the corn. You can invite Corn Mother into your life by making a pendant out of corn or a corn dolly and placing it on your altar. A simple incense for Corn Mother is to take the corn silk and burn it in a small censer.

Corn Mother's presence can be invoked when you are working fertility or prosperity magick. She is also a wonderful Goddess to invite into your Lughnasadh activities; simply invoke Her presence before you begin. Some ideas for such rituals and activities include:

Making a corn dolly; baking a loaf of bread (remember to give a piece to the earth in thanks); work prosperity magic; harvest herbs and use them in a Lughnasadh fire or incense; have a magical picnic and break bread with friends; attend or host a public harvest festival -- or role-play one of your own!

Always thank Corn Mother by dedicating some food to Her on your altar; afterwards, return it to the earth in thanks.

Have a blessed Lughnasadh!

Sources:
Conway, D. J. The Ancient and Shining Ones. Llewellyn: Minnesota (1993).
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

Back to Top

Rituals and Intent: A Conversation
by Majka Zmaj (Pixelluna), White Moon School, Order of the White Moon

[Authorís Note: Please pardon my poetic license. While all the material here is original (as credited) and authentic, this reporter was not lucky enough to sit with each of these wise women. The content below was taken from a discussion on the White Moon School Chat. Where I needed to add a word to make it "flow", it is in italic. For more information about how you can experience these discussions first hand, see the White Moon School of the Feminine Divine website].

This reporter (Pixelluna) was recently having tea with a group of wonderful wise women. I couldnít resist the opportunity to ask them a few of the questions that had come up in my spiritual journey. I just hadnít been able to get my mind around the concepts of rituals and spells. I had been raised in a main stream Christian household. The only rituals that I knew were the ones that I saw at church. The ones at my "progressive" church were in plain English and sometimes even welcomed participation. I knew the Catholics had really elaborate ones that started precisely at 10:00 am, only on Sunday and seemed (as an outsider) to be more of a spectator sport than a spiritual event. This experience did not seem to match what I was learning about rituals for those who included the Divine Feminine in their spirituality. So I decided to ask these wise women their thoughts on the topic.

Pixelluna: "Iíve just finished my first lesson that has a ritual in it. Iím not sure that I know what to do. Do you do rituals on a regular basis? Are they formal or... Iím not sure I get it!"

Ellen: "I believe a "ritual" can be as simple as lighting a candle with intent and maybe adding a short prayer. That can be done at need, and if you do it at Full Moon, this would be "incorporating moon cycles into your practice" in a small way. I try to do such a candle ritual every at my altar every day, before bed, and I also try to add 15 minutes of meditation. But I may skip meditation if I am too sleepy. If I need to send energy somewhere, or just feel in the mood, I might light some incense too."

Kerritwyn : "I do formal ritual every New and Full Moon........but I also do ritual 30 times a day............talking to the Goddess, to my guardians, throwing my roots down to the ancestors of blood and spirit, around to all energy and life, up to spirit angels and more guardians...........it's all about cycles, and feeling the bliss of union with all that is.......on every plane, the bliss of merging with all light and love and joy around you........the arching sky over you, the free birds flying, the green leaves waving.........it's all about how we are all part of all of it."

Pixelluna: "I like the idea of being able to incorporate ritual into your everyday life. But even 15-30 minutes a day really adds up. Iím not sure I would stick to that."

Nessa: "I breathe, eat, sleep, tuck my kids in, I do laundry, I cook, I clean, I read..... Itís all mundane but I believe it's the intent. I am a busy woman. I am a spiritual woman. Example: When I fold laundry, I do it with intent. Each item that is folded gets a blessing - I usually do it according to the color of the item. A red t-shirt may get a blessing for my DH [dear husband] to know that he is loved passionately. It has always been my way, to always integrate the mundane &the spiritual into one, not just on one day, or one hour."

Gaya: "I do daily devotions that vary from day to day...prayers in the shower...as I leave my bedroom each morning I stop at a small shrine on a bookcase and draw a tiny little crescent moon on my left wrist and say a short protection prayer...I try to take time once I get to work to light a small tea light candle on my work altar...Once I get home from work I will smudge and get rid of the day's energy...At the Dark Moon I do journey work...I try to do some type of a ritual at the Full Moon but my energy level is low then so most of the time I focus on dream work then..."

Pixelluna: "Do you all worry about the phase of the moon when you do your rituals? Iím starting to notice more of nature around me...since I started my lessons...but tracking the moon, worrying about colors, having candles on hand...its just a lot to do at one time!"

Sunfox: "My opinion-the intent and the energy placed into it is where the power lies. The ritual is to get you into that 'space' and to invoke those deities that you will call to assist you."

Kerritwyn: "First of all Pixelluna, relax. It's all about being artful; in the waning moon, do rituals to banish, diminish, etc. In the waxing moon, do rituals to increase, etc. It's also about choosing your language to meet prevailing phases of the moon, days of the week, etc. But, yes, bottom line, it's all about energy and intent. When their IS NEED a shout into the ether does it."

Gwenhwyfar: "I don't usually wait for a specific phase of the moon to do my rituals if the need for the ritual is immediate. Instead I reword the intent of the ritual. For instance, if it is a waxing to full moon I might do a ritual to give myself courage if facing a difficult time. If the ritual falls on a waning or new moon then I would make my ritual about banishing fear. Both add up to the same intent, but work within the moon cycles. Most of the rituals I do can work within a duality like the example."

Pixelluna: "OK. I think I see it. Its intent thatís most important. But it sounds like you are all such experts! How do you fit in all the practice...how often do you do rituals? How often are they 'formal'?"

Sunfox: "Every day is a ritual, but not a formal one. I once had someone ask me, "what is a formal ritual?" To me that means, the bath prior, all the preparations, cleansing, setting up an altar, calling in the quarters, etc. I don't always have time for that, nor do I do it. There are times that I will do a full ritual/ceremony. Usually there is a special reason, and/or there are other sisters involved."

Leigh: "I have been slow to start doing regular rituals. I am probably a scatterbrain about that. I started a morning ritual with my tarot cards where I do a daily draw. I feel that counts as ritual. I am paying more attention to the moon and am starting to think about performing rituals and what I want to do. I am starting to see how the moon influences my life and will have an impact on future rituals. In a sense, I am starting to feel ready to do more formal, moon-based rituals. I think this is just a developmental thing. I think you should do what you feel you can handle. That is not to say you shouldn't push yourself in new directions - I think we all should - but just monitor what you really feel you are ready for. Maybe one small daily ritual is good for now. Or a weekly one. Whatever. I would start with what you know you can do - not over commit yourself - and build from there."

Laka: "I do a time-out ritual almost everyday. I sit in front of my altar, light a candle and listen to pretty music. Sometimes I read a page from 365 Goddess, sometimes I pull a tarot card out of my deck. Sometimes I meditate, sometimes I don't. I do whatever I feel needs to be done at the moment. I'm so used to having a set protocol in religion that at first (and sometimes still) I would freak out and think I was doing something wrong or that I wasn't doing it enough or that I was supposed to know everything. I'm working through those feelings. Personally in my life, I do what feels right as far as my "centering ritual", which is really just a fancy way of saying that I take 5-10 minutes for myself each day."

Pixelluna: "Wait! You mean there's a right way and a wrong way! What if I do something wrong?!"

Sunfox: "Regarding rituals going wrong - remember this, The Great Ones, Mother Earth, and/or whomever Spirit means to you have a sense of humor, thankfully! In the beginning and often not in the beginning, mistakes do happen. The higher power/s that you are working with know your heart, and know your intent. That will be what gets you through....and from personal experience, I am so glad that humor is so much a part of The Great Ones because I know they have had several laughs around me and my fumbling. I really think that for the most part, they delight in our human-ess. Unless we are blatantly being disrespectful of course."

Pixelluna: "I excel at human-ess...so I should be fine. And sometimes I do think someone out there is laughing. Are there other ritual tools or special places to do them I should know about?"

Nessa: "I have altars everywhere. I even have an altar at my desk at work. I also have a special sacred space in the corner of my living room that I use early morning and late night. My rituals may involve no tools at all or maybe doing a complete ritual in my head through visualization; or may they may involve a full layout. I celebrate the New moon with a group of Goddess friends; I celebrate 4 of the 8 Sabbats with a local coven; and the other 4 on my own with my family. My DH is not of the same spiritual path- but participates -- I keep those rituals very open &family oriented."

Gaya: "I am a gardener and most of my free time is spent in my gardens...weeding, watering, harvesting and I consider those times my major rituals...talking with the nature spirits in my yard...I guess my day is filled with little mini rituals... With time you will find what suits your needs, you just have to decide what you are looking for in your practice and go from there."

Ellen: "At full moon (Esbat), I make an extra effort to do at least this simple candle ritual, and I will burn incense, either some Artemisia or a concoction of my own. And I will cast a circle if I am not too sleepy for all that. I am less regular about observing New Moon Esbats, but I often do. I usually invoke Hecate on dark moons and burn some homebrewed Hecate incense. At Sabbats, during the past year I have begun circling with others. But before that, and on any Sabbat I still spend alone, I usually cast a circle and do some spell appropriate for that Sabbat."

Pixelluna: "OK. Iím being to see the whole pictures. I can walk in my garden and have spiritual, ritual time there. Or, as Ellen talked about, I can do a more formal ritual. I see now that I can do it my own speed...as long as my heart is in the right place. Intent ... you called it ... thatís whatís important. Any parting words before you need to get back?"

Laka: "I understand the confusion and getting things mixed up. It happens to me all the time! I was not helping it any by reading a ton of different books. I just decided that the best thing I could do is go with my gut. I hope you find what works for you as far as frequency in ritual."

Sunfox: "What is important, I think is authenticity, and integrity. For me, ritual has to be heartfelt, an inner connection with the "ALL".... intent is the force that moves the energy when I am working a ritual. So, I just try to keep it real and keep myself real."

Pixelluna: "Thanks again to all of you. I am so lucky to know you and thank you so much for sharing. Brightest Blessings to all!"

About the Author: Majka Zmaj (Pixelluna) 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 professional scientist and project manager in her mundane life. Gardening and beading are two 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, beading, cooking or other topics at pixelluna@oddpost.com.

Back to Top

Using (A Few) Symbols
by Majka Zmaj (Pixelluna), White Moon School, Order of the White Moon

"We must once again accept and harmonize the perceptual biases of both (the left and right brain) and understand that for thousands of years the left hemisphere has suppressed the qualitative judgment of the right and the human personality has suffered for it."
-- Bruce Powers, The Global Village

Rise up Sisters and embrace symbols!

If this inspires you and you are like me, you are going to go out an buy a book on symbols. Or two. Or three. Oh...and search the Internet. And put a message out on the chat. And....did I forget anything? Did I get them all? Are there other I need to research? Is there a tarot deck I can buy? (Can you feel the stress increasing?)

This article is about embracing symbols, increasing your focus and decreasing your stress. First, why symbols and why was Bruce (above) so hot on them? Simply put -numbers and alphabets are right brain; symbols and pictures are very left brain. Symbols are emotional and female. Alphabets are logical and male. Some historians maintain that symbols were replaced by the alphabet as civilization went from matriarchal to patriarchal. For this and other reasons it is an essential part of our study of the feminine Divine that we embrace symbols.

I have found that sometimes when I try to prepare for ritual, I get stressed. I worry that I am doing something wrong or that I won't be able to remember all the words I wanted to say. Usually I am trying to do too much. I am forgetting the importance of the why (intent) and focusing on the what. Recently, I have concluded that the distraction of the has also contributed to my difficulty "letting go" during the ritual.

So I am working on getting back to basics, back to the time before alphabets. My favorite symbol is one I have already embraced - the labyrinth. I have chosen that to be my one symbol to focus on for a time. I choose my intent and then find a way to use the labyrinth to augment or enhance my purpose. Using the same symbol over and over has increased its value to me and it power for me. It has eliminated some of the stress. I have also found that, slowly, my ability to "let go" and live in the moment is also increasing.

I do plan to incorporate other symbols into my sacred space and rituals. I'm in the process of adding my own symbols for the four corners. That would put my "symbol" count at 5. Toward my goal to simplify and not stress out...that's pretty good. Especially for someone that has 100's...maybe 1000's of types of beads; a fabric "collection" and over 100 cookbooks.

Symbols can be incorporated into your sacred space. You may have already done this. Do you have pictures on your alter? Are the crystals on your meditation table arranged in a pattern that is pleasing to you? Is your herb garden planted in the four quadrants of the compass? All of these are examples of ways to incorporate symbols into your daily lives and sacred practices. (and you didn't buy a book or have to memorize anything to do it!)

I hope you enjoyed sharing my experience with symbols and my sacred space. I'd love to hear from you. If you have a sec...please write me about your sacred space!

For more on symbols see:
The Alphabet Versus The Goddess by Leonard Shlain
A recent addition to Patricia Telesco's collection: Labyrinth Walking: Patterns of Power is an excellent book. It includes information on the uses of labyrinths, mazes and mandalas. For selecting that one symbol that you are going to concentrate on - the second half of the book as a "encyclopedia of emblems, sigils and symbols".

About the Author: Majka Zmaj (Pixelluna) 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 professional scientist and project manager in her mundane life. Gardening and beading are two 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, beading, cooking or other topics at pixelluna@oddpost.com.

Back to Top

Traditions

A Desperate Lammas Prayer
by Luna Blanca, Head and High Priestess, Order of the White Moon

"If there's Anyone out there, please help!"

These words began my journey to the Goddess near Lammas 14 years ago today. I was desperate, an alcoholic at the end of my rope. I hadn't prayed in seven years, but in a starburst of sanity, I felt I should at least give prayer a try before I killed myself or killed my husband, both of which I was seriously contemplating.

I wasn't disappointed. An answer to my prayer came immediately. I didn't like it, but it came. The answer directed me to a 12-Step program, a place I had been carefully avoiding for years. I put off going for a week or so, but when I finally got up the courage to walk through the doors, I stayed. Somewhat surprisingly, I found the Goddess in those rooms.

When I was told I would have to choose a Higher Power to pray to, "No male gods!" was my immediate response. I had read about The Goddess before. She had been gently nudging me through my study of early feminist performance art. She had even been suggested to me by an audience member who watched my own performance art. The piece she saw was entitled "Crosses: A Pilgrimage," a performance in which I regurgitated my abuse growing up in the hands of a fundamentalist church and which I ended by releasing the arms of a wooden cross to form a peace sign with the closing words, "I prefer my crosses broken." "Have you ever explored the Goddess?" the woman in the audience asked me. "I think She would be good for you." That woman was right. The Goddess was just what I needed, and I have been praying to her daily for many years now.

According to Cynthia Eller in her 1992 study of women in the Goddess movement (1), many women who come to the Goddess later in life were extremely devout as children. I fit this profile. As a child I enjoyed a profound relationship with Jesus, God the Father, and the angels. I had no problem sitting quietly through long services, even as young as five. I enjoyed the hour-long prayers that closed many services, kneeling at the altar, communing with the Divine, even enjoying trance journeys to the foot of a marble throne (an experience I later found to be shared by Jewish mystics). At night, I prayed six angels around my bed (north, south, east, west, above and below), and dreamed of becoming a missionary. I devoured stories of missionaries abroad as other young people devoured bedtime stories. As a teen, I was a youth leader, sent by my church to an international discipleship training conference so that I could come back and teach others. I was sincere. I was spiritually alive! Prayer was the breath of life to me. But something wasn't right.

"However devout and earnest they were as children, spiritual feminists say they had a rough time with traditional religions, and found that their inner spiritual self did not ultimately fit in there. . . (2)" Because my spirituality was so alive, because I felt so directly connected to The Divine, I simply couldn't believe some of the preposterous notions church leaders insisted I must believe, like the notion that all non-Christians were going to hell, that if I let a boy touch me sexually I would go to hell, and that women must obey their fathers, their husbands, and their pastors instead of their own inner-authority. As I neared the age of maturity, I could no longer remain in the church.

I took the leap and left. I moved out of my parents' house (while they were on vacation), broke off my engagement to a "nice Christian boy," found a job, an apartment, and started classes at a local university, all within the span of two weeks. And I stopped praying. I slammed the door on my spiritual self. It was the only way I could escape. I didn't stop believing in The Divine per se. I simply couldn't think about that any more. Is it any wonder I turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of such a deep loss, the loss of my spiritual connection?

The spiritual withdrawal wasn't easy. I continued to have panic attacks about hell for years afterwards, occasionally coming close to passing out in inconvenient places, at work or in the classroom, when the word "hell" was mentioned. At times I would slink into a Youth for Christ meeting on campus or into a street ministries church with a tiny shred of hope for reconnection, but the result was always the same: A resounding, "NO! You do not belong here!" The same thing happened, unfortunately, when I read Rudolph Steiner, Edgar Cayce, or Shirley McClain: a sense of panic, a steel door firmly closed. I was incapable of opening it again until the day I had no choice: pray or die.

Relearning to pray in 12-Step meetings (where "God" is firmly a "He") wasn't easy. I survived by sniffing out the feminists, Buddhists, and New-Agers for support and validation. I survived by crossing out words in the literature and scrawling angry remarks in the margins, by refusing to say "The Lord's Prayer" in unison at the close of meetings, and mostly by developing a meaningful relationship with The Feminine Divine. The first few months of my sobriety, I did nothing but stay locked in my room all day (away from my abusive husband, now long-divorced) and attend meetings at night. I read constantly; I read everything I could find about the Goddess. I journaled. I wrote new prayers. I read about ritual and created an altar, but I wasn't ready to start a ritual practice yet.

Throughout my fundamentalist Christian childhood, I was jealous of my Catholic friends and the rich ritual practice in their churches. They had Mary to pray to; their churches had statues and candles and incense! I wanted that for myself. When I read Diane Stein and Z. Budapest listing Mary among Goddesses, I finally found a hand-hold to help me begin my own feminist spirituality practice. I prayed to Mary. When I cast my first circle (something I was frightened to do for a long while), I invoked Mary. I rewrote the "Hail Mary" and said it often. I talked to Her as a friend, looked to Her for guidance. Yet I shunned all else "Christian," especially Christians themselves. I saw them all as the worst kind of controlling hypocrites, as the right-wingers I grew up with. I could not believe there was any such person as a "liberal Christian." I had become exactly the kind of bigot I so despised.

Ironically perhaps, it was the "other Mary," Mary Magdalene, who reopened my heart and my eyes. Seven years into my Goddess journey, I had a profoundly moving experience while reading Clysta Kinstler's The Moon Under Her Feet, which portrays the Magdalene as a priestess of the Great Mother and Christ as a willing sacrifice in the hieros gamos ritual. I started sobbing and I simply couldn't stop. After several days of this, I entered a trance state where I met Christ in a rose garden and drank from the silver chalice he offered me. It was the cup of forgiveness, the cup of healing. Yet the message was clear. I didn't need to become a Christian again. I simply needed to make peace with my past and with the spiritual choices of others. The Christ Presence still visits me occasionally, but most of my prayers are to the Goddess.

Today, my spiritual practice is a rich eclectic blend, folding together the spiritual principles I have learned through my studies in Christianity, Buddhism, Paganism, Mysticism, The Unitarian Universalist Church, Goddess Spirituality and even 12-Step meetings, which I still attend. Today I include in my prayers the ritual I once so envied of my Catholic friends: statues, images, candles, incense, prayer beads, and chanting. I drum up energy and send it out to those in need; I open my chakras and drink in the energy I need. Prayer is once again the breath of life to me. I honor it. I believe prayer saved my life in that moment of desperation 13 years ago. And I believe prayer keeps me alive today, this spiritual connection, this way of communing with The Divine.

Notes:
1. Eller, Cynthia. (1992). Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America. New York: Crossroad. Chpt. 2
2. Ibid. p. 27.

About The Author: Luna is a college professor and spiritual teacher who lives in 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.

Back to Top

Witch Works: Spells and Rituals for Every Season
by Banshee, WMS, Order of the White Moon

Lammas, August 1 or 2, is the first of three harvest Sabbats. Traditionally, this is a grain centered Sabbat, as August would be the appropriate agricultural time to harvest the planted grains from the fields. Modern day pagans can easily see why this Sabbat would have been important to our ancestors, but wonder what it offers to us in the present. Lammas is a perfect time to give thanks for the bounty we all experience everyday and to delve into different aspects of magickal workings.

Lammas Altar Decoration

Lammas, being a harvest festival, is characterized by ears of corn, loaves of bread, and fresh fruit. Try decorating your altar with these items to capture the essence of Lammas.

Lammas Magick

Because Lammas is a food-centric Sabbat, in my opinion, it is the perfect time to practice a little kitchen witchery. Kitchen witches imbue the food that they prepare with magick. For example, one could bake an apple pie. While mixing the ingredients and throughout the baking process, visualize the qualities of the apple (love, health, abundance) filling those who will partake of the pie. Image all of those magickal associations of the apple filling the eaters with love and health and abundance.

I suggest baking fresh bread, any dishes that involve corn would be more than appropriate, any type of fresh fruit pies, fruit salads and homemade beer. Donít forget to bring some of your ritual items to the kitchen while you cook and cast a magick circle for your workings!

Lammas Ritual

Simple rituals are my favorite for Lammas. Being a Sabbat of abundance seems to call for a simplistic ritual to me. Try a very simple ritual with the normal process of casting a circle and invoking whatever deities you prefer, but keep it low key. Perhaps no magickal work will be done, but instead you perform a deep meditation on the abundance and blessings within your life. Or if you have need of something material at this time in your life, now would be the time to work the magick that will bring it to you.

Have a blessed Lammas!

About the Author: Banshee is a solitary practitioner from the Midwest. She is currently a student at The White Moon School, studying to become a High Priestess. Banshee 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 kelly@spell-bound.net.

Back to Top

Poetry and Artwork

Poems Of The Goddess
A Column of Original Works

For You Are Not Alone
From the Goddess ~

by DesertStar, WMS, Order of the White Moon

I hear you crying in the night
So softly the breeze carries your sighs
I see your heart breaking with hurt
I see your life filled with sadness
And your mind wondering which way to turn

Hush my dearest one
For I am hear,
I hold you in my arms
I understand the pain you feel

Hush my dearest one
For I am near
And forever you are in my heart

Hush my dearest one
And please remember dear
That I the Goddess am with you and your
Are not alone.

As I hear you crying in the night. . .

7-10-2004

About the Author: Desert Star is a Level 1 student of the White Moon School. She is an Arizona native studying Magikal Herbs and Herbal medicine, with an interest in plants indigenous to the Southwest Arizona Desert.

Back to Top

Book Reviews

The Twelve Gifts of Birth By Charlene Costanzo
Web Site Review By Nessa CresentMoon, WMS, Order of the White Moon

Strength, Beauty, Courage, Compassion...

"Use your gifts well and you will discover others, among them a gift that is uniquely you. See these noble gifts in other people. Share the truth and be ready for the miracle to unfold as the prophecy of the wise women comes true."

The full text is online at http://featherfew.com/12gifts3rd/12gifts_text.html.

The bonus is there is now a companion music CD that goes along with this! Not to mention that there are activity listings, and from the sales of the first edition of the book a foundation was established to provide a charitable and good works organization which would foster the goals and values written about in the text.

I purchased this book for my daughter, when she graduated high school. There is a wonderful page in the beginning that you can inscribe names, dates, and wishes on for the receiver of this book. The pictures are soulful, and the story line has a beautiful fairy tale quality to it.

About The Author: Nessa CrescentMoon spends her days in a library surrounded by books, computers, and young adults. She is mother to three children, and is a student of the White Moon School of the Feminine Divine.Nessa and her husband Aaron reside in the Quad Cities, Illinois with their family.

Back to Top

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

Back to Top

Get Seasons Of The Moon Via Email!

Subscribe here to get Seasons of the Moon delivered to your inbox immediately upon publication!


Seasons of the Moon Home