Volume 2 - Issue 2 - Candlemas 2005
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.
Goddess of the Seasons
A Column By Heathwitch
Prophecy in your sight
Inspire me this day
Show me the world of Fey
Power Renown, draw near
Protect me without fear
May ink and quill flow free
For Blessed Ladies three
Your Fire ever a-burn
By its light I do learn
Secrets from birth to death
Wisdom within your breath
Poetess, healer true
Bring knowledge anew
Teach spells and sacred rites
Help me soar to new heights
Let inspiration flow
Oh Great Fiery Arrow
Yuletide is over, and though the land is still resting in the midst of winter, the days are gradually beginning to lengthen and the Goddess begins to plan. This is the time for new ideas, new thoughts, in the same way that the Earth's new growth phase beginnings to stir. At Imbolc our thoughts turn towards new projects, new plans, with creativity and inspiration brimming forth to carry us into spring.
Imbolc is a true fire festival, with colours of red, white and orange, with black accents. In line with this festival's name (the term "Imbolc" means "in milk" or "in the belly"), pregnant sheep begin to lactate and the natural world looks towards the joys of springtime. Soon, the land will be woken by the fire of the sun... A fire that, in the Celtic tradition, is ascribed to Brighid.
Brighid is the Celtic Goddess of fire, healing, poetry, and smithcraft. She is seen as a goddess of regeneration and abundance, and protectoress of domesticated animals, livestock, healers, poets and smiths. Also known as Brigit, Bridget, Bride or Brigandu, she is seen as an "unconventional" Triple Goddess -- three aspects of the one divinity, identical, and not part of the typical Maiden-Mother-Crone sequence. The three aspects of Brighid (the healer, the poet and the smith) were unified in the symbol of fire, for her name means "bright arrow," or simply the "bright one." Her sacred, undying fire at Kildaire was tended by 19 virgins except on the 20th day of each cycle, when the fire was miraculously tended by Brigid herself.
To mix an incense for Brighid, blend together the following:
1 part crushed rowan berries
1/4 part blackberry leaves
1 part birch bark
1 part willow bark
1/2 part bistort root
1 part oak bark
1/2 part snowdrop flowers
1/4 part flax flowers
Brighid's symbols are the fire, sun, snake, cow, and wolf. Her colours are red and white. She is the Goddess of fertility, wells and springs, and of creativity. To invoke Brighid, why not try the "The Forge in the Forest" ritual by Mara Freeman:
Light your candle. Gaze into the flame for a few moments, then close your eyes. You will still see the image of the flame against your eyelids. Now imagine it is growing brighter and brighter, and go one step further and imagine you are standing in a place filled with the warmth and red gold light of leaping flames… Imagine, in fact, that you are standing in the entrance to a forge in a forest, where a blazing fire is roaring, and in front of it stands a woman. Thick, auburn hair is tied back, but a few rippling curls have escaped around her face. She is dressed in dark green with sleeves rolled up to the elbows, revealing strong white arms. Brigit, for of course it is she, stands over a large anvil where all her concentration is focused on beating a sheet of soft gleaming bronze with a great hammer… At last, she looks up and smiles at you warmly. She has finished her creation and holds it up to the light of the fire for you to see. As you look at it, it appears to continually change shape: first it seems to be a leaf, then a globe, … and now it has become a star. Brigit laughs deeply, musically, and tosses the star into the air, where it sails into the night sky and takes its place among the glittering constellations…
And now Brigit turns towards you and asks: What have you come here to create? … You tell her of your vision, whether great or small, personal or for the wider community… and she beckons you over to the fire. As you look into the flames, pictures start to move and you see yourself at work, filled with enthusiasm and passion as you make your vision a reality… … You and your creation are surrounded and shot through with the golden light of inspiration. Brigit is there too, watching over you with love as you work, encouraging you and filling you with confidence and creativity… If any self-doubt or fears start to arise, see Brigit surrounding you with her mantle of protection: a warm soft cloak of green that makes you feel safe and inviolable… Now see yourself with your vision turned into reality, feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride… Thank Brigit for showing you this vision, and ask her to tell you what your first step should be towards bringing it into reality…. Listen carefully, and ask her questions if you need more clarity… When you have finished the conversation with her, see the forge suddenly glow even more brightly, so that all forms and shapes, including that of Brigit herself, melt into a suffusion of golden light… and now see that the light is just the candle flame reflected on your eyelids…Slowly come back to the room. Open your eyes and write down what she has suggested. In the coming weeks, call upon Brigit to help keep your inspiration alight.
Have a Blessed Imbolc!
Franklin, Anna. Magical Incenses and Oils. Capall Bann: Berkshire (2000).
Brighid, Goddess and Saint at http://www.brighid.org.uk/
The Wheel of the Celtic Year at http://www.celticspirit.org/imbolc.htm.
Finding the Goddess
by GrannyMoon, HPS, Order of the White Moon
"How did you find the Goddess"? I have asked this of many people and usually the answer
I receive, "She found me". Now how is that possible you ask?
I have studied witchcraft and the occult since a teen. My lessons came from the late
great Dr. Leo Martello himself. I did not join the feminist movement in the 70's,
as I was up to my ears in dirty diapers and dirty dishes.
However, I did order my herbs and other supplies from a tiny shop out in California,
calling itself, "The Feminist Wicca", it was run by a rather unknown witch by the name
of Z. Budapest. You could buy all the best herbs there in those days!
However, I did not follow the Goddess in those days, I thought of her as consort
to the God. The God and Goddess were so important to me, how warm, beautiful and sexy
they made me feel! My husband and I were young, two wild horses, we could run and play
with the best of them! Youthful, fresh and full of life. Giving love to our children
and loving life in general, so beautiful and health abounded! They were not sick a day
in their life and I thanked the God and Goddess for this.
The years passed with the birthday's of the children marking time. We grew older
as did our parents, friends and relatives. I didn't notice the silver in my mother's
hair or the gray in my own. But it was there. Waiting.
Grandparents passed away, then our fathers. While we mourned their deaths, we coped.
We had new life, new careers,new hope, in our children and in ourselves.
Somewhere in the midst of marking time with my children, grandchildren appeared.
I hadn't noticed that my children had grown, my girls had become myself.
The Maidens into the Mother. How was this possible? As I was analyzing that fact, I lost my mother to a horrific disease. How in MY perfect
world could this happen? This was MY mother! What a bad joke, it couldn't be true.
But it was true. The warning signs were there, but I had chosen to ignore them.
I felt that I had let her down, how could I let this happen to her? I was an orphan,
I was parent-less, thrown to the wind like chaff from wheat. Cast into the sea,
without a life boat.
As I was beseeching the Gods, the Crone slipped in unannounced. I did not recognize her.
Gone was the youth, the fresh beauty was replaced by aged beauty and kindness. Who was this divine woman?
The Goddess, the Crone, offered herself. We had become one, when I wasn't looking.
She offered me love and compassion, understanding and wisdom. She helped me to realize
that all things must pass. That death and dying was just as important as birth and
re-birth. We all must be prepared for the end, for it will surely come.
Women, I now know that we are all connected. My heart overflows love and compassion
for my sisters of the universe and for myself. They are my Mother and I am theirs.
We Are One... We Are Goddess.
(c) GrannyMoon 2000
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. Feel free to contact her at: GrannyMoon@goddessschool.com Website:http://goddessschool.com
In January I celebrated a birthday and thus entered a new numerological year. I am now at year five, The Hierophant, in a nine-year cycle. The Hierophant is a high priest, and like real life priests, he has both a positive and a negative side. On the positive side, he is a seeker after the Mysteries, a communicant with the Divine. He longs to break through the barriers of ego and doubt that hold him back, and often he succeeds. On the negative side, he gets wrapped up in strict moral codes, serving as critic to both himself and those around him. When faced with decisions, he gets so tied up in the "shoulds" that he has difficulty seeing what the real issues are. Even though I have just barely entered this numerological year, the influence of The Hierophant has already begun operating in my life in dramatic ways.
My cat of over thirteen years, Lion, fell ill a few weeks ago. Actually he had been ill for about a year, his health waxing and waning every few months, getting better, getting worse. But a few weeks ago he became much more ill than he had been before, too ill to move after he had vomited, too ill to get to the litter box, to ill to purr when I petted him. It broke my heart to see him in so much suffering, yet I was so attached to him, I didn't know if I could let him go. The Hierophant's "shoulds" immediately chimed up in such a loud chorus that I couldn't see the issue clearly. Was I considering euthanasia just because I was tired of cleaning up his messes, or was I considering hospice care just because I was too cowardly or selfish to let him go?
Since I couldn't see clearly for myself, I asked Granny Moon to do a Tarot reading for me. I also prayed and meditated that I would be given a clear answer. The answer came in just a few hours even before the reading came back - Lion was ready to transition. Everyone close to him (my partner, my friends, my family) affirmed this point, as did Lion himself. Those 36 hours after I made the decision were some of the hardest of my life. We had a 4:30 appointment at the vet for the next day, and I almost changed my mind several times. On the morning of his last day, he was a little better, purring some and letting me hold him for a few minutes at a time. I was wracked with doubt. Then he worsened in the afternoon, laying listlessly on the cold sink tiles. I asked myself, do I want to wait until no part of any day is a good day for him, or do I want to let him go knowing he's somewhat enjoyed his last day? My partner came home from work at 4:00, and we took him in together.
I strongly felt my circle of spiritual sisters during that time - many were sending prayers and energy and even holding vigil with us. My hope was that I could be the priestess I needed to be and help midwife Lion's spirit. I didn't want my sobbing and distress to be the last thing he heard. It was touch and go in the vet office. Yet I was able to draw in a deep breath of spiritual strength and suddenly I was that priestess. I was able to calmly look Lion in the eyes, pet his head, and talk to him sweetly as he passed. His passing was very smooth, much smoother than the vet had led us to believe it would be. And there was plenty of time afterwards for grieving.
Hierophant doubts continued to plague me a bit afterwards - did I do the right thing? - I kept asking myself, yet I knew clearly in my heart that I had. That same evening, an angel brought Lion to me and laid him in my arms, letting me know that he had crossed over peacefully. A few hours later, one of my spirit guides brought him back to me for a brief cuddle, and Lion let me know he didn't want me to be too sad. The visits continued for three days, until Lion let me know he needed to go, he had other things to do. His memories are still very strong with me, but his spirit has gone elsewhere. I'm glad I was able to let him go. I'm still sad, but no longer debilitated by my sadness. (Auralia's Reiki is helping.) And I know that now I'm sad for me, not for him.
Lion's death has given me a deeper understanding of The Hierophant at work in my life by helping me walk through doubt and fear into trust and faith. Rebirth -- The Ace of Wands in the Motherpeace deck - was the primary card Granny Moon drew for me. Birth, death, rebirth. We all live the cycle in so many different ways. Blessed Be.
Mind/Body/Spirit Cleansing for Imbolc
by: Lotus Moonwise
Although Samhain is commonly considered to be the Witch's New Year, Imbolc has always felt more like New Year to me. After going through winter "hibernation" mode, this is the perfect time to start clearing everything out, moving some energy around and making way for new things to come in Spring. Ever since I started practicing the Craft, this has been my favorite Sabbat of all because it brings Change, which I am so very fond of. Stagnation blocks creative power, so I usually do some kind of total cleansing at least twice a year, but preferably every quarter.
I like to set aside one or two weeks before Imbolc for this cleansing process, so that by the time the Sabbat rolls around, I'm fresh and new and ready to invite the new energies in. Here are some ways to cleanse yourself and your space:
· Do a total house cleanse, dedicating at least one day to each room.
· Go through each room and move everything. Create a system of organizing. Divide things into categories of what you know you want to keep, what you know you can let go of, and what you're not sure about. Also, as you go through the rooms, if there is anything that is not where it belongs or anything that doesn't have it's own place, set that aside for now.
· Be honest with yourself and let go of things you no longer need. If there are clothes in your closet that you haven't worn in a year, chances are you can let them go. As time goes on and our energy changes, our styles change, too. Make sure that everything in your home matches who you are NOW, not 5 years ago.
· If you come across anything that is broken, either repair it or replace it. Broken items in the house bring down the vibration. Remember that your house is a mirror of your soul.
· Once you're sure of what you want to keep, start arranging those items in a way that is pleasing to you. Take time to sit in the room and meditate. If you pay attention, the room will tell you want it needs. Often it is something much simpler than you might expect.
· A good way of increasing abundance in your life is to create an altar somewhere in a direct line from your front door. When energy comes into your life/home, it comes in through the front door. In my home, the front door and the back door are in a direct line. As I did rituals to increase abundance, I noticed that the abundance was coming in, but it was also going out very fast. Extra expenses would just keep coming up. It was "easy come, easy go". An altar situated between those two doors would magnetize the energy and anchor it into the house.
· Clean and re-dedicate your altars. Also cleanse and re-consecrate any ritual tools that you use.
· Placing a piece of rose quartz near your bathroom mirror is a good way of helping increase your self love and self esteem. You can also write some affirmations on an index card and post them here, since this is a place you're likely to see them everyday.
· To keep the abundance coming in, you need to complete the cycle by giving. Take the items and clothing that you no longer use to a donation center or a shelter. A continues outflow of energy insures a continuous inflow.
· This is also a good time to go through your computer and get rid of some clutter. Go through your email files, internet bookmarks, files saved on your hard drives and see what you truly need and what can be deleted. Organize the stuff you do keep into folders so you can easily find them when you need them. Many times I have done this and found useful things that had gotten lost in the mass of clutter. Clearing everything out also means your computer will work quicker and this is a metaphor for your mind working more efficiently. Once everything is clear, it's a good time to back everything up to prevent it from being lost forever if something happens to your computer. .
· This is a great time to get a makeover. Maybe you want to try a new hairstyle or try out a new style of clothing. Making changes can be very uplifting and that energy will carry over into all your creative projects.
· Address any medical concerns you have. Get a checkup, maybe do a spring "fast" or undergo a detox program.
· Meditate on what you need to do to nurture wellness in your body. Talk to your body - it knows what it needs to heal itself and if you listen, it will tell you. Sometimes what your body truly needs goes counter to the generally accepted ideal of what is healthy. Trust yourself. Each person and each body is unique, and the best source for answers about you… is YOU.
Your Emotional/Mental Self:
· This is a very important part of a total cleanse. If you don't already, start keeping a journal. Start to observe the thoughts you have. Do this without judgment or analyzing yourself - just observe. Notice if your self talk is nurturing or hurtful. If you notice negative thought patterns, write some affirmations to counteract these and say them daily.
· Write all your fears, concerns, hopes, dreams. Get clear about what you want this year, what you don't want this year, and what steps you can take to achieve your desires.
· This is a great time for divination focusing on the coming year.
· Create a visual representation of your goals for the coming year. I love to make collages, or what some call "treasure maps". It's a collection of images and phrases that becomes a powerful focal point for your energy. Put these up in places you're likely to see them often.
· You can also do a collage as a way to release your fears. Do that same thing, gathering images and phrases that represent your fears. Then you can either bury this or burn it.
· Another technique that is helpful in clearing out emotional clutter is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EMT) www.emofree.com The "Personal Peace Procedure" is a very thorough way of getting to the core of your fears and blocks, and releasing them in a pain free way.
· Write a "Statement of Intent" that outlines your personal philosophy on life and spirituality and your intention of how you will embody that philosophy in the coming year. This is a commitment you make to your self, your Spirit, and the Universe as a whole. Re-write this statement annually, since we are constantly changing, learning, and growing. Keep this statement in your Book of Shadows.
Doing all or some of these things will create a "clean slate" feeling. Then when you invite Brigid into your space on Imbolc, you will feel empty enough to be filled with Divine inspiration and creative fire.
Starting with this issue, I will be writing a column discussing the tarot and how we can use it in our everyday lives. My goal for this column is to be able to talk about the tarot in ways that everyone can relate to regardless of experience. It is not intended for beginners or advance practioners. Sometimes the topics may not be applicable to you at the moment. Other times you may feel they are too advanced. Still, I hope this column inspires you in some way and can inform you both now and later on.
When I refer to specific cards I will be using the MotherPeace deck. I chose this deck since it is a required purchase for students who are progressing through Level II. This gives many of us a common link and can even help expand your studies with this deck. However, you should feel free to use any deck that you are comfortable with for a particular activity or reading.
For this column I want to focus on symbols. Symbolism is a huge part of working with tarot cards. You may have already figured out that in order to start to making sense of a card (without the aid of a tarot card dictionary) you have to look at the picture(s) on a card and pay attention to a multitude of things such as: (a) how the pictures interact with themselves or each other, (b) the activities the pictures are engaged in, and (c) the color(s) used on the card you are viewing. Considering just these things - never mind the position that the card is in or how it relates to other cards in your spread - can be overwhelming. In fact, it wasn't until I was writing this that I realized color was actually important!
There are different philosophies on how to view the symbols found in the tarot. For example, Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, viewed the tarot as a set of archetypal symbols that could be used to help his clients. Jung asked his clients to use the cards to tell stories. He then used the information provided by his clients to develop a deeper understanding of the issues they were working on in their therapy sessions .
Though many people have agreed with Jung that the tarot can be used for personal transformation (Greer, 2002; Jayanti, 2001) or as a way to connect with the Goddess or other forms of spirituality (Noble, 1983), not everyone agrees on what the symbols in a particular card mean. For example, though there are many different decks we can use the cards can each be linked together in some way. Each deck has a Fool, though he may be drawn differently and contains different symbols. Decks are also grouped according to Major and Minor Arcana and within the Minor Arcana one can always determine which cards would be considered Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles even though they may be named something else.
This is all well and good, but what does it mean for you as a user of tarot? First, it means that there are multiple ways to read a single card. This may not be new information, but if you consider that just one card like The Fool can be drawn and represented slightly differently across decks then this means he has much to teach us. Each drawing will produce a slightly different interpretation because the symbolism will look slightly different (or in some cases very different). So while you may have lots of experience reading a card like The Fool within the deck(s) you currently use, looking at him across multiple decks may give your readings new insight.
At this point some of you may be feeling overwhelmed. You don't even know how to interpret the Fool in the one deck you own never mind thinking about this card across multiple decks! Don't think about that for now. Return to the idea later when you're ready. For the rest of this column we want to focus on how to identify the symbols in a card and make sense of them.
For this exercise you are going to select one tarot card and spend some time exploring the symbols in it and what they mean to you. I am going to ask that you put away any books you may have that provide you with definitions of the cards. I realize that this can be scary, especially for beginners. However, you want to learn how to listen to your inner self and make sense of the symbols as you see them. The books that you may have are still valuable - I am not saying to never refer to them! This exercise is just one way to help you learn the cards. I am going to list the steps for this exercise and model how to do it.
1. Select your deck and card: I used the Mother Peace deck. I shuffled the cards and asked to pick the card that would be the best choice for me at this time. I chose the 5 of Wands. You could select your card this way or you may hand pick it yourself.
2. Write down all the symbols you see and what they are doing: Here is my list for the five of wands:
· Colors: Red, brown, yellow, blue, gray, orange
· Number: 5
· Symbols: Women, bird, sticks/staffs, rocks, lion with head of woman, smoking volcano. How are the women interacting? They appear to be engaged in a dance or ritual. Within this ritual they appear to be dancing and doing their own thing. The only symbol they are interacting with are the stick/staff. Each woman is holding her staff and is using it in some way. None of the other symbols seem to be interacting with the women or each other.
3. What do these symbols mean to you?: What is your interpretation of this card? In the five of wands I see it as a sign of both personal and group power. The women, in ritual, appear to actively be doing something together. I see the lion with the woman's head as a symbol of strength. I know that red means energy and is connected to Kundalini. However, I see the woman as maintaining their individuality within the group. Therefore, I believe they know how to express their power and identity both collectively and individually to get what they want accomplished.
4. Once you have done this, look up the meanings to any symbols you may have been confused by (but still don't look up the meaning of the card itself): I looked up volcano and found it means eruption of suppressed emotions. Smoke means emotions are getting heated. This adds to my above interpretation. I would now say that this card suggests learning how to express emotions as an individual or within a group. This still ties into my concept of power, but now it gives it a more in-depth meaning.
5. Look up the meaning of your card in a book: When I looked up my card in the Mother Peace book (Noble, 1983), I read that this card shows that an emotional conflict is taking place. However, the women in the group have agreed to work through it. The lioness is there to watch over them and be there if they need support. All in all, I would say I did a pretty good job making sense of this card and that the book reading now gives me more information to help me clarify it.
One final thought, you will notice that I didn't discuss all the symbols in my interpretation. Some of this was done for the sake of space and other times I realized that the symbols were not as significant as I first thought. For example, I listed rocks because they surround the women but overall they do not have much affect on the interpretation of the card. You should feel free to examine as many symbols as you want until you are satisfied. If you thought this exercise was easy, or you just want an additional challenge, try doing this again with the same card from a different deck. For example, I might try using the 5 of Wands from the Rider-Waite deck. See what you come up with and how it adds to your first interpretation!.
From the web:
Schueler, G. (1997). Chaos and the psychological symbolism of the tarot. http://www.schuelers.com/chaos/chaos7.htm
Greer, M.K. (2002). Tarot for yourself: A workbook for personal transformation (Second Edition). New Page Books.
Jayanti, A. (2001). Tarot for dummies. Hungry Minds Publishers.
Noble, V. (1983). MotherPeace: A way to the Goddess through myth, art, and tarot. Harper San Francisco.
About the Author: Leigh Hall is an Adept in the Order of the White Moon. She has been working with the tarot for approximately five months and continues to study and work with it on a regular basis. Currently, Leigh is completing her Level III studies through the Order of the White Moon
Witch Works: Spells and Rituals for Every Season
by Banshee, Initiate of White Moon School
by: Freya, HPS, Order of the White Moon
And the feast usually includes foods such as spicy Chili and Salmon for the main dish,
as well as plenty of grains and breads. The traditional drink is Honey Ale.
forgiveness from those you have hurt so the new season can be started with good conscience.
"ewe's milk", referring to the fact that Ewes are milked at this time. Thus,
the traditional Celtic belief of Brighit being "bathed in milk" draw the two
concepts of "lactating" and "washing" together.
Traditional symbols for Imbolc include:
Colors, Herbs, and Flowers symbolic for Imbolc:
About the Author: Freya is a High Priestess in the Order of The White Moon and founder ofSisters In Freya's Moon ~ Womyn's Path of Healing ~ An on-line school for women offering courses in various alternative healing arts, dream studies and Priestess training. Her web site can be found at: www.sistersinfreyasmoon.com firstname.lastname@example.orgSisters In Freya's Moon ~Womyn's Path Of Healing~is registered with the Private Post Secondary Education Commission of British Columbia.
Poetry and Artwork
About the Author: Evaluna Lilepona, is an Initiate in the Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon, she lives in Massachusetts.
Please join me in my quest
Light the fires within my heart
Guide me to my destiny
Open my hands, mind, and heart
To the truth, purity, and love
Of my feminine nature
Oh Blessed Goddess
Your Golden light
Shines upon my soul
Words cannot convey
The gratitude which I feel
My Ancient One
Take me now to the center of the sun.
About The Author: Lavanee is an initiate of The Order of the White Moon. Has a lifelong interest in healing and divination. She is a mother of three and a Reiki & Karuna Master Teacher and lives on the Pacific Coast of Canada with her husband and pets Buster and Jessie.
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