Monday, August 29, 2011

Fuel for the Heart Fire

Warning: Some of the pictures in this post are very hard to look at.  You may want to skip it if you’re feeling super emotional today.

A couple stories from middle-class America that make me weep: Birth Rape, Circumcision 

Felix from Kenya, suffering from malnutritionFor many years, I have avoided things like this.  I turned my head from pictures of suffering children, because I can’t bear to look at them.  I gave money to charities, and I have a sponsored child in Uganda.  But I couldn’t read stories about heartbreak and tragedy unless there was a happy ending because someone else had already stepped in.  I could barely get through stories of children or babies or women suffering—whether it was from circumcision (male or female), or abusive relationships that left women feeling like death was the only option, or bullied children, or children malnourished in Africa because their mothers weaned them too early because of their own malnutrition or unethical culture dumping, or any myriad of things that have left me shaking in fury and sobbing with empathetic grief.


A dead child's hand is visible beneath the rubble of a building in Gaza.        VIDEO: Justice for Disfigured Afghan Woman 'Bibi' Aisha

Last week was epiphany week.  As I turned away from the picture of sick and starving child in Africa that was in my textbook for an English class (its placement was intended to showcase the strength of emotional argument, pathos), I suddenly forced myself to turn back.  I looked at that naked little girl, her bones sticking out, a tired and miserable expression on her face; I looked at the gentle hand of her mother that caressed her stick-like leg; I willed myself to accept the emotion that comes with seeing the effects of war, devastation, and human rights violations.  I let myself feel the anger, the grief; I refused the crushing weight of hopelessness.  I channeled my feelings into a special fire in my heart, feeding the determination I have for the course of study that I’ve chosen.
It’s not just about traveling and learning, fulfilling my lifelong dreams—it’s about relieving suffering, changing oppressive culture, spreading love and light in dark pockets of the world that have been filled with anger and grief for too long.  It’s about being strong and connected and having hope in spite of it all.  I have privilege, I have means, I have health and strength.  My maternal instinct will not sleep, and it will not go quietly into the night.

A word on the pictures: I found much, much worse and chose not to use them because it can become another form of exploitation.  Each picture is linked to a site that explains what it is and the horrible story connected to it.

Friday, August 26, 2011


gorgeous identity
of beautiful Me
residing in a cocoon of my awareness

how imminent is the writhing of labor?

leap into the time river
shed me
become Me

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I have a dream

Alison walked solemnly to the table covered with the snowy white cloth.  Her sixteenth birthday had been celebrated exactly 8 days ago with the usual cake and ice cream, and her friends from church and school had showered her with little gifts.  Amidst the piles of sparkly shower gel and earrings and colorful notebooks was a brand-new lavender leather-bound set of scriptures with her name engraved on the cover in silver script.  She looked back at them now, sitting on the pew with her father and baby brother.  Her father smiled widely at her, pride beaming from his face.  She quietly smoothed her best church skirt, then lifted her hand hesitantly to the pristine fabric in front of her.  Her hand caressed it gently, the deep blue-black of her skin contrasting sharply as she followed the contours of the water trays underneath.
Alison’s ordination to priestess had left her humbled and awed at the feeling of power she had felt during the blessing.  Her mother and father had both laid their gentle hands on her head, though her mother was voice.  
It was her mother that she now went to join sitting behind the sacrament table. Organ music had started playing, and the murmur of people crowding into the chapel filled the room, along with the warmth brought by the extra body heat.  Alison could smell the bouquet of lilies sitting by the pulpit, its fragrance almost as heady as the sensations coursing through her.  She felt nervous, exhilarated, terrified that she’d get something wrong and have to do it again, anxious to begin, and fully happy to be worthy to perform such an important rite.
She took her place carefully beside her mother, and pulled out the card with the blessing typed on it to study.  She really didn’t want to have to redo it because of a silly mistake.  The bishop started the meeting and Alison tried to listen to the announcements and sustainings, but couldn’t focus.  Her head whirled with thoughts on power and priestesshood and the sacrifice of Christ as he knelt in agony in the garden of Gethsemane.
As the strains of the sacrament hymn filled the chapel, Alison and her mother quietly lifted up the white tablecloth and began to tear the chewy bread into bite-size pieces and fill the exposed bread trays.  The song finished, though the organist played an extra verse so they would have time to finish.  Finally, it was time.  Alison knelt carefully, and her mother slid out the microphone for her, and she prayed:
O God and Goddess, the Eternal Father and Mother, we ask ye in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of your Son, and witness unto ye, O Goddess and God, the Eternal Mother and Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of your Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
There were tears in her eyes as she finished, but she stood up composedly and helped her mother hand the trays to the young men and women standing reverently in front of the table.  She sat down, feeling drained physically, but spiritually on fire as she watched the sacred emblems being passed to the families waiting in the pews.  The deacons and deaconesses and teachers lined up at the back of the chapel, and her mother stood up, offering an arm to support Alison to stand as well.  The sacrament passers filed back down the aisles and handed their trays back.  The water was uncovered and Alison’s mother knelt and prayed:
O Goddess and God, the Eternal Mother and Father, we ask ye, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this water to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of your Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto ye, O God and Goddess, the Eternal Father and Mother, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
The solemn young women and men stood to receive the trays of water, and Alison—not bothering to fight back the quiet tears that streamed down her face—passed them with a trembling hand.  She sat with her mother, and her mother embraced her.

A word on plagiarism..

I have not been as careful as I ought to be when borrowing pictures from the vast resources of the internet.  I intend to edit them all so that when you click on them, they will take you to site from which I lifted them.  I also intend to add a permanent statement to that effect somewhere on my page (whenever I figure out how...).  I truly don't mean to use pictures without giving proper credit where credit is due--or at least going one step back in the chain of borrowing :)

To any artists or bloggers I may have stolen from: I'm sorry!  May only good things happen to your websites as a result of my unintentional theft!

And just for variety, a New New Testament scripture

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
 12 And we beseech you, sisters, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lady, and admonish you;
 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
 14 Now we exhort you, sisters, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all women.
 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any woman; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all women.
 16 Rejoice evermore.
 17 Pray without ceasing.
 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of Goddess in Christ Jesus concerning you.
 19 Quench not the Spirit.
 20 Despise not prophesyings.
 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
 23 And the very Goddess of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray Goddess your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Today's she scripture, courtesy of Jena!

Alona 48: 11-18

11 And Moronia was a strong and a mighty woman; she was a woman of a perfect understanding; yea, a woman that did not delight in bloodshed; a woman whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of her country, and her sisters from bondage and slavery;
 12 Yea, a woman whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to her Goddess, for the many privileges and blessings which she bestowed upon her people; a woman who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of her people.
 13 Yea, and she was a woman who was firm in the faith of Christ, and she had sworn with an oath to defend her people, her rights, and her country, and her religion, even to the loss of her blood.
 14 Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives.
 15 And this was their faith, that by so doing Goddess would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of Goddess that she would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger;
 16 And also, that Goddess would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lady would deliver them; and this was the faith of Moronia, and her heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving her people, yea, in keeping the commandments of Goddess, yea, and resisting iniquity.
 17 Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all women had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moronia, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of women.
 18 Behold, she was a woman like unto Apphia, the daughter of Metea, yea, and even the other daughters of Metea, yea, and also Alona and her daughters, for they were all women of Goddess.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And a barrier falls.

This morning, as I was looking through the page of sacred symbols to find a good description of how I'm using the spiral, I found the triquetra.  Now, I've seen it before in many places, but I've never given much thought to the symbolism of it.

The triquetra (pronounced try-KET-ra, Latin for "three cornered") is a Celtic knot with a triangular design symbolizing all trinities including the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother & Crone); the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth, and the realms of Air, Earth and Sea which, to the ancient Celts, represented the entire Universe. To Christians, the triquetra has been used to symbolize the Holy Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Ghost) In fact, many cultures and religions have considered the number three to be holy or divine for millenia. A symbol of three interlocking circles looking somewhat like a three-leaf clover without out stem has been found on religious statues in India that were made 5000 years ago.

As I read this, my eyes stuck on the Air, Earth and Sea, and I felt a tearing sensation in my heart.  My mind flew to every picture I've ever collected of Ireland that I've gazed at in yearning.  About one third of my ancestors are Irish, and I've always closely identified with them.  I've wanted to visit and maybe even live there for as long as I can remember.  I tucked that dream away--not realizing how deeply it had embedded itself--when I joined the military.  Then I re-tucked it away when I got married to someone who had pretty much zero interest in living anywhere that he couldn't go snowboarding.
Dingle Ireland 11
Earth, Air, and Sea

I took this opportunity to check the study abroad options for my school.  I probably shouldn't have looked, because I started crying and hyperventilating as the thought "this is impossible" kept running through my head, over and over.  "We don't have the money." "Sprout can't be away from me for that long." "Tree can't take care of Sprout by himself if he's going to school full time."
As I read through Women Who Run With the Wolves, I search myself for answers to the sometimes troubling questions that are posed.  Where have I broken?  When did my wild self get so suppressed?  Why do I struggle with cycles of depression and anxiety so often?  Why does the thought of going to school terrify me because I am so used to freezing up at difficult or lengthy assignments?  Today, I was able to answer myself with this: If I never get to at least see Ireland, a part of me will stay withered and dead.
I need to travel--it's my passion, my goal.  I have a wanderlust that must be satisfied in order for me to truly fill the space I have been given.  The driving force inside of me that points me to Ireland is only part of it.  Tree told me to try to make it happen anyway, darling that he is.  So maybe it is possible, if I can just believe it.
It's a good experience to realize something deep inside yourself needs to be fed.  I recommend doing it with a box of tissues and a pair of hugging arms nearby though...

What's in a name?

Some people may wonder why I call my blog Spiral Grove.  I’m certainly not the most hardcore Pagan out there—in fact, I still consider myself a Christian and a faithful Mormon.  The Pagan side of me is intertwined with the whole of my life, and my practice does not interfere with the core doctrines of my church.  It does, however, most certainly interfere with the culture…

I chose the name Dryad, because if I could truly live inside a tree, or communicate with trees on a deeper level than is possible as a human, I would.  And so I wish to live in a grove.  There's something about trees that touches me deeply--the solidity, the majesty, the green life that's there even in the dead of winter.  And of course, the tree is an ancient symbol of Goddess.  From the Maxwell Institute:

Let us now focus more precisely on the nature of the veneration that was paid to the divine consort among the Israelites. What was the "asherah" that stood in the temple at Jerusalem and in Samaria? Asherah was associated with trees.44 A 10th-century cultic stand from Ta‘anach, near Megiddo, features two representations of Asherah, first in human form and then as a sacred tree. She is the tree.45 Perhaps we should think again, here, of the Israelite goddess figurines: It will be recalled that their upper bodies are unmistakably anthropomorphic and female, but their lower bodies, in contrast to those of their pagan Canaanite counterparts, are simple columns. William Dever suggests that these columnar lower bodies represent tree trunks.46 And why not? Asherah "is a tree goddess, and as such is associated with the oak, the tamarisk, the date palm, the sycamore, and many other species. This association led to her identification with sacred trees or the tree of life."47 The rabbinic authors of the Jewish Mishna (second-third century AD) explain the asherahas a tree that was worshipped.48

I identify myself as a seeker right now.  I seek to find myself, my inner core, my soul and spirit, to truly know the eternal part of myself that has always existed, and not always been housed  in flesh.  From
spiral symbol Spiral
The spiral is an ancient symbol reflecting the universal pattern of growth and evolution. The spiral pattern appears again and again in the natural world from the milky way galaxy to snail shells. The living spiral does not begin or end, it is an ongoing process of innocence, discovery, community, and the essence that connects all things.
My hope is that my spiral will never end, that I will never stop seeking and growing and evolving.  My hope is to become a true dryad to the great Mother Tree/Goddess/Heavenly Mother, while strengthening ties with my Father and Brother.  My hope is to connect with Gaia (as I am calling the spirit of the earth), and to feel that connection with all of nature and humanity so that I may further my quest to become a peacemaker, a force for change, and an empathetic and strong mother.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Half Moon meditation

I am still in this tiny little town in Colorado, where the stars are quite visible at night when the clouds from the mountain are scarce.  I needed some healing and peaceful energy tonight, so I went out to look at the moon and stars.  It was fairly quiet, besides the dogs barking in the distance, so I was able to focus.  I didn't know what I was going to do, nor did I have any ritual in mind.
My thoughts were drawn to some things that Shiva Rea says during a lunar meditation on her yoga DVD that I absolutely adore.  She mentions the healing light of the moon and stars, and opening yourself to receive it as it pours down your spine.  So I stood facing the moon and closed my eyes, imagining the power and energy of the moon that draws the ocean tides and affects the blood running in my veins soaking into the palms of my hands as I held them out face up.  I stood like that for awhile, becoming more aware of my surroundings, and I started to chant in my head things like "I am the tree.  I am the ancient rocks beneath my feet.  I am the blade of grass.  I am the barking dog.  I am everything."  I contemplated the concept that I first read about in books by Orson Scott Card of the interconnectedness of everything--actual energy connections and webs that connect every species.
I actually felt my hands tingle, and I felt the connection I had to the spirit that every piece of matter houses.  My hands and arms seemed to lift themselves into a circular shape, as if I was carrying the moon, or maybe a manifestation of the Mother aspect of the triple Goddess--acknowledging my responsibility as a daughter of Eve to mother all things living.
I finished by turning my hands over and sweeping them in two arcs down and away from my body and exhaling a goodbye.  As I walked back to the house, I placed my hand over my heart and imagined a spark of moonlight glowing inside of it, keeping the peace I had found.

And so went my very first, very own, personal ritual of the moon.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ok so I really wasn't going to post again today but...

This site is wonderful in so many ways:

Thanks Jena!!

And just so you know why I love it so much, here's one of her pictures (obviously copyrighted):

Tree searching

Anne Sudworth

I am currently on vacation in Colorado, and I am surrounded by glorious trees.  There's even running water.  On Sunday I'll be going into the woods after church--hopefully before the locals come out for picnics and things--and cutting some tree branches--like wands, but not really with that purpose--from specific trees to add to my home altar.  Thanks to Jena, I know which ones I want to find specifically in order to channel the energy and spirit of healing associated with each.  In a perfect world I'd have the live version, but at least this way I can consciously meditate on the symbolism and draw on the energy that Mother Earth/Gaia can provide.  There is some wonderful information on different metaphysical properties of trees here and here (I have shamelessly copied information from each of these websites, so credit goes to them).

Here are the branches I'm looking for:

Alder - Alder is sacred to the constellation Pisces, the Fishes. It is a wood which lasts a long time submerged in water and is often found on river and lake banks.  In Elvish Eranor Fearn comes from the root feä, meaning "fey" or Faerie magic. This rune invokes astral protection as well as physical and can open the mind to the deep wisdom of the watery element in the form of dreams. It can protect one from the emotions of others, especially warlike anger or bloodlust. It is particularly potent for protection against drowning or disaster by storm or flood. Its use in bridges, half submerged, symbolizes not only its power as a bridge between worlds, but its mentality, amphibiously aware of the conscious and unconscious worlds, the above and below, the overt and the hidden. Magical operations most applicable to Alder include: shielding against all ill-omens and destructive emotions; cultivation of the vision of inner and outer worlds; bridging of the above and below; preparation for conflict; shielding against unwanted intrusions from beyond.
For me, alder is for transformation and healing.

Oak - Oak symbolizes all solar heroes, those who venture out from their homelands to achieve great deeds and bring home wondrous treasures. Oak is one of the longest lived trees, thus embodying great wisdom as well as strength. The name Duir is related to dwyn, "door," or "portal," the great door of a manor dwelling. It is also, of course, often linked to drwyd, "druid" or "wizard." The acorn is associated magically with a helmeted head and so to the crown chakra. Natural branches of Oak are often twisted and gnarly and have a coarse, dark grain. It is a hard and heavy wood. Especially suited to magick of kingship and wise rule, personal sovereignty, authority, power, protection, sealing or opening doors, endurance, and invocation of wisdom, fertility, and abundance.
To me, oak is a wood with grounding and healing properties--both of which I need right now.

Rowan - Also called the Mountain Ash, and Quickbeam for its powers of bestowing and enhancing life, Rowan is sacred to Capricorn. It especially bears the power of the Dark Goddess, the Crone aspect of Mother Earth, and through her the power of fiery Abban, Vulcan, Lord of craft, mountain, and metalwork. Rowan flowers and bright orange berries are marked by the pentagram, symbol of the five Elements; the berries, often retained through Winter, symbolize the endurance of Life through the dark of the year.  A tree of astral vision and protection, particularly good for warding off evil spirits, Rowan traditionally is said to avert storms and lightning, and bring peace. The fondness of songbirds for Rowan berries, gives the tree a link to the bards, and the Goddess Brigid in her role as Muse of poets. It is a tree associated with serpents and dragons and sacred places, the leylines or dragon-lines of Earth energy. The dragon embodies primal energy, a strong force of creativity and natural flow, which cannot be "slain" or "tamed".  Especially suited for magick giving form and order, ritual, growth, fertility, protection, women's autonomy, poetry, weaving and spinning, and geomancy or work with ley lines.
To me, rowan is for protection and inspiration.

I would also love to get my hands on some willow--useful for emotional healing and lifting of depression.  But these are what I'm seeking for now.  I'll have to bring specific descriptions of them with me into the woods because I'm sadly ignorant of botany.  My love of trees has always been generic and all-inclusive.  I've never cared about what type of tree I'm hugging, but I feel that now it would be helpful to know my different trees in order to add more focus to meditations and rituals.  At the end of the day though, I'll talk to any of them--I'm not picky. :)

The Book of Erana part II

 13 And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of her—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lady Goddess would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of her holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation—
 14 For at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that, if it were possible, they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of our mothers.
 15 Wherefore, I knowing that the Lady Goddess was able to preserve our records, I cried unto her continually, for she had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.
 16 And I had faith, and I did cry unto Goddess that she would preserve the records; and she covenanted with me that she would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in her own due time.
 17 And I, Erana, knew it would be according to the covenant which she had made; wherefore my soul did rest.
 18 And the Lady said unto me: Thy mothers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.
 19 And now it came to pass that I, Erana, went about among the people of Nephi, prophesying of things to come, and testifying of the things which I had heard and seen.
 20 And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in Goddess. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us.
 21 And it came to pass that the people of Nephi did till the land, and raise all manner of grain, and of fruit, and flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses.
 22 And there were exceedingly many prophets among us. And the people were a stiffnecked people, hard to understand.
 23 And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of Goddess, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lady. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. And after this manner do I write concerning them.
 24 And I saw wars between the Nephites and Lamanites in the course of my days.
 25 And it came to pass that I began to be old, and an hundred and seventy and nine years had passed away from the time that our mother Leah left Jerusalem.
 26 And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of Goddess that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.
 27 And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Mother. Amen.

The Book of Erana part I

Erana prays mightily and gains a remission of her sins—The voice of the Lady comes into her mind, promising salvation for the Lamanites in a future day—The Nephites sought to reclaim the Lamanites—Erana rejoices in her Redeemer. About 420 B.C.
 1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Erana, knowing my mother that she was a just woman—for she taught me in her language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lady—and blessed be the name of my Goddess for it—
 2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before Goddess, before I received a remission of my sins.
 3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my mother speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
 4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto her in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto her; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
 5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Erana, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
 6 And I, Erana, knew that Goddess could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
 7 And I said: Lady, how is it done?
 8 And she said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.
 9 Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my sisters, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto Goddess for them.
 10 And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lady came into my mind again, saying: I will visit thy sisters according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy sisters according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.
 11 And after I, Erana, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lady; and I prayed unto her with many long strugglings for my sisters, the Lamanites.
 12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lady said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lammas 2011

I also had a celebration with just family and friends.  From again:

Tools, Symbols & Decorations
The sun, oak, birch & fir branches, sun flowers, lilies, red/maize/yellow or gold flower, love amulets, seashells, summer fruits & flowers, feather/flower door wreath, sun wheel, fire, circles of stone, sun dials and swords/blades, bird feathers, Witches' ladder.
Gods & Goddesses
(Celtic, one of the Tuatha De Danaan)
The Mother, Dana
(Lugh’s wife & queen)
(Roman grain goddess..honored at Ceresalia)
Johnny Barleycorn
Arianrhod’s golden haired son Lleu
(Welsh God of the Sun & Corn where corn includes all grains, not just maize)
Other agricultural Goddesses
The Waxing Goddess
The Waning God
Red, Orange, Golden Yellow, Green, Light Brown, Gold, Bronze, Gray
Bonfires, processions, all night vigil, singing, feasting, celebrating with others, cutting divining rods, dowsing rods & wands, herb gathering, handfastings, weddings, Druidic gathering of mistletoe in oak groves, needfires, leaping between two fires, mistletoe(without berries, use as a protection amulet), women walking naked through gardens to ensure continued fertility, enjoying the seasonal fruits & vegetables, honor the Mother's fullness, richness and abundance, put garlands of St. John’s Wort placed over doors/ windows & a sprig in the car for protection.
Animals/Mythical Beings
Griffins, basilisks, roosters, calves, centaurs, phoenix
Aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx, yellow diamondsand citrine
Grain, acacia, heather, ginseng, sloe, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, aloes, frankincense, sunflower, hollyhock, oak leaf, wheat,myrtle
Wood aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, safflower, corn, passionflower, frankincense, sandalwood
Astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune, abundance, magickal picnic, meditate & visualize yourself completing a project you’ve started.
Loaves of homemade wheat, oat, & corn bread, barley cakes, corn, potatoes, summer squash, nuts, acorns, wild berries (any type), apples, rice, pears, berry pies, elderberry wine, crab apples, mead, crab, blackberries, meadowsweet tea, grapes, cider, beer

Pictures from our celebration:

Lughnasadh 2011

From :

Lughnasadh, also called Lammas, is the Celebration of Harvest and begins what is called "the chase of Lugh". Lugh is the Celtic Sun God and He rains down upon the crops, living within the golden fields. This is the time of the first harvests. At this celebration we give thanks to the Earth for its bounty and beauty. It is from these harvests that we eat through the upcoming winter. Honoring the God Lugh, games and sports are played to celebrate strength and good health. The grain Goddesses Demeter and Ceres are also honored. This is a time to harvest the dreams planted earlier in the year.
In Ireland in 1169, under the jurisdiction of the last High King, Ruraidh O'Conchobhar, the last Lughnasadh games, feast and fair were held. Lughnasadh or 'Festival of Lugh' was a time of thanksgiving and reverence to the Land for it's sacrifices to us. This was a time to test and give thanks for the skills and talents that we had been given and had achieved.
It is said that Lugh (Llew, Lugos, Lugus), Master of All the Arts and Crafts, dedicated this festival to his foster-mother, Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg, who died from exhaustion after clearing a great forest so that the land could be cultivated. When the men of Ireland gathered at her death-bed, she told them to hold funeral games in her honor. As long as they were held, she prophesied Ireland would not be without song. Tailtiu’s name is from Old Celtic Talantiu, "The Great One of the Earth," suggesting she may originally have been a personification of the land itself, like so many Irish goddesses. In fact, Lughnasadh has an older name, Brón Trogain, which refers to the painful labor of childbirth. For at this time of year, the earth gives birth to her first fruits so that her children might live....

I was lucky enough to join a local coven for the ritual.  There was a lot of laughter and dancing and whooping with joy.  The high priestess cast a large circle and asked us to add energy to the loaf of bread she carried around so it would be blessed for the holiday.  Then we all feasted on a lovely potluck dinner.  Throughout the night there was fantastic lightning and storming with rain that was at times heavy and light.  At the end of the evening we all took away baskets that had beef jerky (for the hunt), granola (for the grain), dried fruit (for the harvest), and sunflower seeds.  I spread them around the edges of the fence around our home to give back to nature and share the bounty of the harvest.