Beltane Is Upon Us! Magic, History, and Traditions!

Beltane: (Bealtaine, May Eve, Valpurgis) – April 30th/May 1st

Incense: Lilac, Frankincense

Decorations: Maypole, Flowers, Ribbons, Reves, Floral Decor,

Colours: Green, Pastels

Spells best done: Fertility is the best! But Protection, Divination and fae magic can be done.

The Fire Festival of Beltane:

Beltane derived from the Irish Gaelic “Bealtaine” or the Scottish Gaelic “Bealtuinn”, meaning “Bel-fire”, the fire of the Celtic god of light (Bel, Beli or Belinus).

This festival is also known as Beltane, the Celtic May Day. It officially begins at moonrise on May Day Eve, and marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year. It is celebrated as an early pastoral festival accompanying the first turning of the herds out to wild pasture. The rituals were held to promote fertility. The cattle were driven between the Belfires to protect them from ills. Contact with the fire was interpreted as symbolic contact with the sun. In early Celtic times, the druids kindled the Beltane fires with specific incantations. Later the Christian church took over the Beltane observances, a service was held in the church, followed by a procession to the fields or hills, where the priest kindled the fire. The rowan branch is hung over the house fire on May Day to preserve the fire itself from bewitchment (the house fire being symbolic of the luck of the house).

This is a holiday of Union–both between the Goddess and the God and between man and woman. Handfastings (Pagan marriages) are traditional at this time. It is a time of fertility and harvest, the time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that we have sown. Celebrations include braiding of one’s hair (to honour the union of man and woman and Goddess and God), circling the Maypole for fertility and jumping the Beltane fire for luck. Beltane is one of the Major Sabbats of the Wiccan religion. We celebrate sexuality (something we see as holy and intrinsic to us as holy beings), we celebrate life and the unity which fosters it. The myths of Beltane state that the young God has blossomed into manhood, and the Goddess takes him on as her lover. Together, they learn the secrets of the sexual and the sensual, and through their union, all life begins.

Beltane is the season of maturing life and deep found love. This is the time of vows, handfastings and commitment. The Lord and his Lady, having reached maturity, come together in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust to celebrate the joy of their union. This is a time to celebrate the coming together of the masculine and feminine creative energies. Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, he desired the Goddess. They fall in love, lie among the grasses and blossoms and unite.

The flowers and greenery symbolise the Goddess and the Maypole represents the God. Beltane marks the return of vitality and passion of summer. Another common focal point of the Beltane rituals is the cauldron, which represents the Goddess. The Welsh goddess Creiddylad is connected with Beltane, often called the May Queen, she was a Goddess of summer flowers and love.

May Day

May Day has long been marked with feasts and rituals. May poles, supremely phallic symbols, were the focal point of old English village rituals. Many people arose at dawn to gather flowers and green branches from the fields and gardens, using them to decorate the village Maypoles.

The May Queen (and often King) is chosen from among the young people, and they go singing from door to door throughout the town carrying flowers or the May tree, soliciting donations for merrymaking in return for the “blessing of May”. This is symbolic of bestowing and sharing of the new creative power that is stirring in the world. As the kids go from door to door, the May Bride often sings to the effect that those who give will get of nature’s bounty through the year.

In parts of France, some jilted youth will lie in a field on May Day and pretend to sleep. If any village girl is willing to marry him, she goes and wakes him with a kiss; the pair then goes to the village inn together and lead the dance which announces their engagement. The boy is called “the betrothed of May.”

Spirits and Faeries

 

On certain nights, faeries and spirits roam the world.  Beltane is one time famed for faery rades and the Wild Hunt.  Ghosts and other spirits are also believed to travel freely on this night.  Some practices were aimed at attracting these visitors, most at driving them away. To celebrate the ethereal aspects of Beltane, consider creating a faery garden with plenty of things that sparkle and jingle, and plants beloved by faeries.  The traditional faery color is green, but they adore most bright colors.  Snapdragon, meadowsweet, hawthorn, and foxglove are good altar flowers.

To protect against unwanted entities, see the previous section on purification and protection; but also add that salt, iron, and the making of much noise are traditional for Beltane defenses.  Plan for an indoor observance in this case.

 

Fertility Charms, Potions & Spells for Beltane:

  1. Solitary Beltane Ritual:

Preparation

Prior to this rite you should have made ready a wooden wand. This should be a branch from an Oak or Hazel tree. Remember, do not take the wood from a living tree!

The wood can be cut into the rough shape of a phallus in which case it should be of the appropriate size and shape. On the other hand, a simple branch, peeled of its bark, and about 13 inches long and half an inch thick is also acceptable. Place the wand upon your alter within the Circle.

Prepare a dish of earth and place it upon the alter beside the wand.

The Rite

Cast the Circle and invoke the Lady and the Lord. After the invocation, dance and chant to raise power for magical activities and then earth the power into an unlit candle, placed inside the cauldron, at the center of the circle. Chant the following (or make up your own!):

Beltane! I dance with delight on Beltane’s night. All senses freeing, I dance for being. The flower and the flame of love’s own rite shall blossom. Sun embrace Earth, bright.

Light the candle to the Sun. This is the Beltane fire, our modern substitute for the hilltop bonfires of our ancestors. The Bel fire is an invocation to the Sun God to bring blessing and protection for the coming year. This is sacred fire with healing and purifying properties. As you light the candle, be aware of its power and significance. Say:

I light this candle to the Sun. Now take up a dish of earth. Bless it in the name of the Goddess.

Lay your hands upon it and say:

I bless, consecrate, and set apart this earth, in the name of the Triple Goddess. May this be sacred earth, set apart for magic. For earth is of the Goddess, being her sacred body. Remember that the Goddess is not only of the Moon, but of the Earth and of the farthest stars. She is the Triple Goddess of the Circle of Rebirth, the Mother of All Life. Decorate the dish of earth with flowers.

Now, take a wooden wand and oil it with vegetable oil. Bless it in the name of the Lord of the Day, the youthful, ardent one, the Lord of Life, the God of the greenwood. Pass it swiftly through the candle flame, the Bel fire, so that it becomes magically imbued, ‘charged’, with power. Place the wand upon the dish of earth, saying as you hold it there:

As the wand is to the earth, so the male is to the female and the Sun to our blossoming world. Joined, they bring happiness. May the God of Life give ___ {something you want, for example, peace on Earth} May the Goddess bring it forth! Sit quietly for a while, and picture the blossoming of what you have desired in life. The spells and invocations of all of us, all working on themes like these, must eventually bear fruit, because life is on the side of peace. Leave the earth and wand upon the alter.

Walk deosil three times around the circle, then spiral into the center. Go evenly, with grace, meditatively. Sit beside the candle flame, allowing yourself to feel peaceful. Gaze into the flame.

The next part is different depending on whether you are man or woman.

For a Woman: visualize a red rosebud in your womb. Always your womb is the source of your creative power, whether you are pregnant with a child, an idea, a work of art or an intention. Close your eyes and picture the light from the candle streaming into your womb so that the rosebud blooms, unfolds. Hold the image for a while, feeling the silkiness, smelling the scent, the freshness, seeing the color of the fully open rose within you. Feel the strength and power of your own fully blossomed capabilities. Say:

I am woman, strong to conceive and to create, to give birth and to tend. As I am daughter of the Goddess, and blessed by the God, may I ___

{here name what you wish to bring forth in life. For example bring healing to others or write my book whatever matters to you}

Feel the strength and creative force within your womb, the center of your being. See the power being channeled, flowing into the desire you have just voiced. Open your eyes. Always, the rose is within you.

For a Man: Visualize a bright flame. This burns within your sexual center, a point at the base of the stomach, just above the pubic hairline. It is your own male strength and energy which may rise through your body to be released as giving, fertilizing power, in any form, or may be the potency which impregnates, creating a physical child. It is the force which blesses and bestows, a healing and creative energy, like the shining Sun. Visualize also that you are sitting in a garden and that a rose tree is in front of you, the roses in bud. Say:

I am man, and in my passion is beauty, in my warmth is life. As I am son of the Goddess, and blessed by the God, I offer my strength and vitality to ___
{name the area of life, the place, activity, or commitment you choose}

Visualize the light streaming from you to a rose upon the tree causing it to unfold, to blossom. Your flame is lowered by this effort. Much has gone out of you, the flame sinks down. Wait and watch, until a pink light streams from the rose towards your body. At its touch, just above the pubic hairline the flame resurges. It burns higher and stronger than before. Open your eyes. The flame is always within you. (Credit from Mae Beth)

Beltane Charms 

Fertility Charms:

 

-Carry a bagful of hazel nuts to ensure your own fertility.

 

-Other herbs to ensure fertility are basil, hazel, poppy, cucumber, apple, pomegranate, acorns, myrtle, and all other nuts.

 

-Men should carry a piece of mandrake root to ensure their won fertility and sexual prowess, while the jasmine flower does the same for women. The first seven herbs listed above can be added to food and take internally to ensure proper fertility, or they can be introduced into sachets, as can acorns, myrtle and nuts.

 

-Bull Amulet: To increase fertility in women and men, wear a bull shaped amulet, or place on under the bed before making love.

 

-Fish Amulet: An amulet shaped like a pair of fish and made of gold or mother of pearl will increase fertility and virility, bring prosperity and offer you protection from people you hate or who have evil intentions.

 

-Goat Amulet: The symbol of the goat (sacred to Aphrodite and the Horned God) increases fertility when worn or carried as an amulet, and is especially favorable for those born under the sign of Capricorn.

 

-Ram Amulet: An amulet in the shape of a ram will increase fertility in women.

 

-Unicorn Amulet: The unicorn is a ancient symbol of chastity and protection, and it’s fabled born was said to be used in medieval times as an amulet to detect poisons in the food or drinks of kings, queens, pontiffs and popes. To promote fertility or increase sexual magnetism, wear any type of amuletic jewelry shaped like a unicorn.

 

-Goddess Amulet: of course a lot of females in the early pagan years would wear the goddess to ensure protection and to ask to become a mother, as mother earth herself gives and takes life.

 

-Magickal soil; What to do: Relax. Put the pot on the table and take up some dirt. Play with it loosely, so it doesn’t clump. Then visualize your plant growing healthy and full. Visualize this for a few moments. If you can, bring up nurturing emotions. Place the soil in the pot and then get another handful and do the same thing. Do this until it’s at a good height in the pot. Then stick the Seed in and make it all neat and nice. Don’t compact the soil too much if you can help it. Pour some water in and visualize the energy within the earth immediately going to work and feeding energy into the plant. Don’t forget to water your plants! Nuture your plant see it grow as if it was your child. This plant will be your child, so take good care of it.

 

Fertility Spells:

Fertility Gris Gris Bag Spell:

Fill a leather pouch with one each of these stones: amethyst, clear quartz crystal, chrysoprase and aventurine/ Moonstone. Place fresh rosemary or Roses under the bed when trying to conceive, and wear the pouch around your neck each time you try. This will increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Also have a warm bath and use rose oil, or rose petals to help the blood circulation around the body to relax.

 

Once pregnant, keep the pouch until after you deliver to ease your labor pains and help ensure a safe delivery. Before your baby is one month old, give the stones away, particularly to a friend who is pregnant or who is also trying to conceive.

 

Fertility Spell for Both:

Go and find an Apple Tree, try to collect the Sapp from the branches, and rub it into your hands or face. Also collect an apple to share with your partner.

 

You ask a family member or friend who has not long had a baby, if you could have one of their baby’s nappy. After making love with your partner, you attach the nappy to your belly before going to sleep, and you dream of the child you want within your life. You do this until you conceive then rid the nappy once your pregnancy is safe.

 

Take a romantic shower or bath (preferably with your partner) and massage the Apple or Orange scented body cream into your skin, taking care around your tummy and pelvic area where the baby’s life will begin.

 

Imagine that you and your partner’s hands are glowing with a warm golden light, which is filling all this area with life and warmth. Visualize that you are pregnant as you gently place the pearls (fake if need be) around your neck and repeat these beautiful magic words:

 

“PRECIOUS JEWELS OF LUNAR, I OFFER THIS ADORNMENT IN HONOR OF YOUR POWER.  LET FERTILE LIGHT SHINE THROUGH ME. O SO LET IT BE DONE  BLESSED BE”

 

Egg wish spell for fertility:

“On an egg whose shell is brown or pink,

Sign these signs in grass-green ink.

[a simple sun, a male symbol, an encircled equilateral cross, a female sign,

then an upside-down 5-pointed star]

Bury it deep in an earth-filled pot,

Let this stand where the sun is hot;

Sow on its surface seeds of grass,

Water them well while nine weeks pass

Gather the crop, bind it with thread

Let it hang always above your bed

 

Getting Pregnant Spell

You will need the following:

–ace of wands, 10 of cups, the SUN,

–something for a baby you bought specifically for this ritual (a bib, a small blanket…etc…..),

–9 red candles.

Light the candles and lay out the tarot cards one by one.

Visualize yourself finding out your pregnant, staring at a positive pregnancy test. Repeat the following:

With these cards and with this spell- I call upon the good and helpful powers. I desire to start a family – I desire energy and love to continue.

This small item (hold up the baby item) is the token of the commitment we are ready to make. We are ready to love our children – we are ready to teach our children and we are ready to have our children. so it is – so it shall be!

Seal this spell with kisses and hugs followed by the actions necessary to start a family.

Seashells represent fertility. She can create a small seashell altar in her bedroom.

If she wants to add a deity, I’d use the Goddess of Willendorf.

Any round and fertile/pregnant goddess will work, and there are many!

Holed stones are also symbols of fertility.

Have her carry one her person or have her wear one around her neck as a charm.

Placing one by the bed or between the matters is also good. Eat healthy!

Diet plays an extreme part in fertility. Use visualization.

She must be relaxed. Also, studies show that when the man and woman climax together, the woman has a higher chance of conception. Full moons… In tribal times and pre-electricity, women would ovulate around the Full Moon and menstruate around the Dark or New Moon. One way to get yourself onto this cycle is to start paying more attention to the phases of the moon and also going out under the moon for even a minute or two.

 

Magic Fertility Potion:

For Men or Women to overcome infertility, increase sperm count and strengthen the sex drive,

burn one stick of musk incense as an offering to the fertility deity of your choice, and take twenty milligrams of royal jelly every day. –not only does royal jelly possess sexual rejuvenating properties, it is also reputed to increase the size of the male genitals is used often enough. and eat this! Globe Artichoke Cynara scolymus. Globe artichokes are under the Dominion of Venus.

 

Fertility and love spell for love – Prior to a love encounter, the body should be rubbed from head to toe with

powdered cinnamon. A small stick of cinnamon should be placed in the mouth before addressing the person desired. Oshun should be invoked during the encounter.

 

Fertility and love spell for Motherhood – A honeydew melon is bought in Oshun’s name. A short letter asking

Oshun for a child is written on a piece of brown paper, which is then placed inside the melon through a narrow slit made on its side. The fruit is then wrapped in a yellow handkerchief and a white candle is burned in Oshun’s name. At the end of five days the melon is brought to the river with twenty-seven cents.

 

Simple Pregnancy Spell:

Repeat to each direction (east, west, etc.)

“To you my child, my body is open,

To you my child, my mind is open.

To you my child, my heart is open.

By Earth, Fire, Wind, and Sea,

Into my arms you will be.”

(Last two lines are said while looking at your cradled arms)

So Mote It Be!

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Moon Goddess’ from most cultures

The Moon Goddesses are important in many cultures around the world where they form a central role in mythology. The moon is associated with the divine femine as in many tribal societies the feminine cycles were linked to the phases of the moon. The Moon was important in ancient calendars, helping people to measure time and to determine when the best time was for planting and harvesting crops. This fertility aspect of the lunar Goddess is reflected in large numbers of the entries below.

22698MoonGoddess

Many of the lunar Goddesses, like Hecate and Cerridwen are also associated with magic and the intuitive nature of women.

Night Deities are great to do a trio with a moon and star goddess for a triple goddess ritual!

Aega (Greek) – A beautiful moon deity. Her mother Gaia, the ancient earth Goddess, hid her in a cave during a Titan attack on the Olympic deities to prevent her from being taken away.

Aine(Celtic) – Goddess of love, growth, cattle and light. The name of this Celtic Goddess means “bright” as she lights up the dark. Celebrations to this Goddess were held on Midsummer night

Anahita (Persian) – A river Goddess who was also Goddess of Venus and the moon. Her name means “pure” Or immaculate one” as she represented the cleansing and fertilizing flow of the cosmos.

Andromeda (Greek) – Although today she is linked with the stars many scholars believe that Andromeda was a pre-Hellenic moon deity.

Anunit (Babylonian) – Goddess of the moon and battle. She was also associated with the evening star and later became known as Ishtar.

Arianrhod (Celtic) – Goddess of the moon and stars, her name means “silver- wheel” the wheel of the year and the web of fate.

Artemis (Greek) – The Greek Goddess of the hunt, nature and birth. This maiden Goddess is symbolized by the crescent moon.

Arawa (African) – Lunar Goddess of the Suk and Pokot tribes of Kenya and Uganda. Her parents were the creator God Tororut and his consort Seta.

Athenesic (Native North American) – A moon Goddess of several north central Native American tribes,

Auchimalgen (South American) – This moon Goddess was a Deity of divination and a protectress from evil spirits.

Bendis (Greek) – Bendis was the consort of the sun God Sabazius. Her cult flourished in Athens during the fifth century BCE.

Britomartis (Crete) – In addition to her lunar attributes she was also the patron Goddess of Cretan sailors.

Candi (Indian) – The female counterpart to Chandra, ancient Hindu lord of the Moon. The two were said to take turns: one month the Candi would become the moon and the next Chandra fulfill the role.

Cerridwen (Celtic) – This crone, Goddess is most famous for her cauldron of wisdom. She was the mother of the great bard Taliesin, and is deeply linked to the image of the waning moon.

Chang- O (Chinese) – The Chinese Goddess who lived on the moon She is celebrated to this day on full moon night of the 8th lunar month.

Coyolxauhqui (Aztec) – Aztec moon Goddess, her name means “Golden Bells.” She was the daughter of the Earth goddess, Coatlicue and the sister of the Sun god, Huitzilopochtli

Dae-Soon (Korean) – Moon Goddess

Diana (Roman) – Diana was the Goddess of the hunt and wild animals. She later took over from Luna as the Roman Goddess of the moon, responsible for fertility and childbirth.

Gnatoo (Japanese) – One of twelve Buddhist deities called the Jiu No O, adopted from Hindu mythology.

Gwaten (Hindu) – She is derived from the Hindu God Soma, and is portrayed as a woman holding in her right hand, a disk symbolizing the Moon.

Epona (Roman/Celtic) – This horse Goddess was associated with the night and dreams. In western Ireland,legends still abound of hearing the hoof-beats of her horse as she rides west to escape the rays of the rising sun. She was also a Goddess of magic, fertility and feminine power.

Hanwi (Native North American) – Goddess of the Oglala Sioux, she once lived with the sun God Wi. Due to a transgression, she was forced by him to become a creature of the night.

Hecate (Greek) – A crone Moon Goddess, deeply associated with the waning and dark moons. She is depicted as haunting crossroads with her two large hounds, and carrying a torch, symbolic of her great wisdom.

Hina Hine (Polynesian) – This Hawaiian Goddesses name means ‘woman who works the moon’. In her myths it is said that she grew tired of working for her brother and fled to the moon to live in peace.

Hina-Ika (“lady of the fish”) Once again we see the link between the lunar Goddess to the tides.

Huitaco (South American) – This Colombian Goddess was a protectress of women as well as a deity of pleasure and happiness who was always battling with her male counterpart Bochica, a God of hard work and sorrow.

The crescent as a neo-pagan symbol of the Trip...

The crescent as a neo-pagan symbol of the Triple Goddess. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ishtar (Babylonian) – Some myths say she is the daughter of the moon, others the mother.

Isis (Egyptian) – This powerful and widely worshipped Goddess was not only a moon deity, but a Goddess of the sun as well.

Ix Chel (Mayan) – A Central American moon Goddess and the lover of the sun. Poisonous snakes were her totem animal. She was also Goddess of childbirth

Izanami (Japanese) – This Goddess controlled the tides, fishing, and all destructive sea phenomena

Jezanna (Central African) – Goddess of the moon and healing.

Juna (Roman)- A Goddess of the new moon . She was worshipped mainly by women as she was the Goddess of marriage, pregnancy and childbirth. Her Greek equivalent was Hera.

Jyotsna (Indian) – A Hindu Goddess of twilight and the autumn moons.

Komorkis (Native North American) – The Blackfoot tribe celebrated her as the Goddess of the moon.

Kuan Yin (Chinese) – A Buddhist Goddess. Modern feminist Pagans believe she far pre-dates Buddhist origins. She was a Goddess of the moon, compassion, and healing,

Lasya (Tibetan) – A Goddess of the moon and beauty who carried a mirror.

Lucina (Roman) – A Goddess of light with both solar and lunar attributes. She was Christianized as St. Lucia, a saint still honored at Yule in many parts of Europe.

Luna (Roman) – An ancient moon Goddess, the namesake for the Latin word luna meaning ‘moon’. Her name also forms the root of the English words ‘lunar’ and ‘lunatic’.

Mama Quilla (Inkan) – As the Goddess of the moon she was the protectress of married women. A large temple to her was erected at the Inkan capitol of Cuzco. She was associated with the metal silver. Eclipses were said to occur when she was eaten and the regurgitated by the Jaguar Woman.

Mawu (African) – She ruled the sky with her twin bother, the sun God Lisa. To her people she symbolized both wisdom and knowledge.

Metzli (Aztec) – In Aztec mythology mother moon leapt into a blazing fire and gave birth to the sun and the sky.

Rhiannon (Celtic) – A Goddess of fertility, the moon, night, and death. Her name means ‘night queen’. She is also known as Rigantona.

Sadarnuna(Sumerian) – Goddess of the new moon

Sarpandit (Sumerian) – Goddess of moonrise. This pregnant Goddess’s name means “silver shining” referring to the reflective quality of the moon.

Sefkhet (Egyptian) – According to some myths this lunar Goddess was the wife of Thoth. She was also the deity of time, the stars, and architecture.

Selene (Greek) – A mother Goddess linked to the full moon. She is widely worshipped by Pagans today,

Sina (Polynesian) – This moon Goddess was the sister of the sun God Maui. She was sometimes called Ina.

Teczistecatl (Aztec) – A Goddess of sex, symbolized by the four phases of the moon: dark, waxing, full, and waning.

Xochhiquetzal (Aztec) – This magical moon Goddess was the deity of flowers, spring, sex, love, and marriage. She was the wife of storm God Tlaloc. She is also the patroness of artisans, prostitutes, pregnant women and birth.

Yemanja (Native South American) – She was the Brazilian Goddess of the oceans symbolized by a waxing crescent moon. Yemanja was also considered to represent the essence of motherhood and a protector of children.

Yolkai Estsan (Native North American) – A Navajo moon deity fashioned from an abalone shell by her sister Yolkai, the Goddess of the sky. She was the Navaho Goddess of the earth and the seasons, and is also known as White Shell Woman.

Zirna (Etruscan)- A Goddess of the waxing moon. She is always depicted with a half-moon hanging from her neck, indicating that she was probably honored at the beginning of the second quarter phase of the moon.

Yule!

YULE is amazing!

It is a time to spend with friends family and live in harmony!

It is so easy to create an altar for Yule

Burn: Bayberry, Chamomile,frankincense, rosemary, sage.

Decorate: w/ Holly, Juniper, mistletoe, moss, oak, cedar, pine cones, evergreen blessed thistle.

Use things from outside to be the green cheep witch just because you didn’t buy something from a store does not mean it is not just as good! It comes from your heart as does all magic!

Also deck the halls is a pagan solstice song you and your coven can chant !

Here is a chant that is perfect for Yule!!

God Rest Ye Merry Pagan Folk

“Gods rest ye merry pagan folk
Let none of you dismay.
Remember that the Sun returns
Upon this Solstice Day
The growing dark is ended now
And spring is on its way

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy
Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

The winter’s worst still lies ahead
Fierce Tempest Snow and Rain
Beneath the blanket on the ground
The Spark of life remains
The Sun’s warm rays caress the seeds
To raise Life’s song again

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy
Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

Within the blessed apple lies
The promise of the Queen
For from this pentacle shall rise
The orchards fresh and green
The Earth shall blossom once again
The air be sweet and clean

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy
Oh tidings of comfort and Joy”

The date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar.  Yule is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences.

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun’s “rebirth” was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.

Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were “wassailed” with toasts of spiced cider.  Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun.  The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not “die” thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit tthe residents. Mistletoe was also hung as decoration.  It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift… it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.

A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.

Many customs created around Yule are identified with Christmas today.  If you decorate your home with a Yule tree, holly or candles, you are following some of these old traditions.   The Yule log, (usually made from a piece of wood saved from the previous year) is burned in the fire to symbolize the Newborn Sun/Son.

Deities of Yule:  All Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid’s flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda’s cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.

Symbolism of Yule:
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).

Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule

Spellworkings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.

Deities of Yule:
Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.

Full Moon Names

English: Moon over cumulus clouds

English: Moon over cumulus clouds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Full Moon Names and Meanings

Many human cultures have given names to the full moon throughout the year. Different full moon names can be found among the Chinese, Celtic, Old English, and New Guinea cultures, to name a few. In addition, Native American tribes often used moon phases and cycles to keep track of the seasons and gave a unique name to each recurring full moon. The full moon names were used to identify the entire month during which each occurred.

Although many Native American Tribes gave distinct names to the full moon, the most well known names of the full moon come from the Algonquin tribes who lived in the area of New England and westward to Lake Superior. The Algonquin tribes had perhaps the greatest effect on the early European settlers in America, and the settlers adopted the Native American habit of naming the moons. They even invented some of their own names that have been passed down through time.

The names given below aren’t the only ones that have been used. Every full moon, with one exception, had variations on its name among various Algonquin tribes, not to mention other tribes throughout North America. But the names below are the most common. Some of the variations are also mentioned.

January: The Wolf Moon
In January snow gathers deep in the woods and the howling of wolves can be heard echoing in the cold still air. Some tribes called this moon the Snow Moon, but most often it was used for the next month.

February: The Snow Moon
Snow piles even higher in February, giving this moon its most common name. Among tribes that used this name for the January moon, the February moon was called the Hunger Moon due to the challenging hunting conditions.

March: The Worm Moon
Snow slowly begins to melt, the ground softens, and earthworms show their heads again and their castings or fecal matter can be found. Other signs of spring gave rise to other variations: the cawing of crows (the Crow Moon); the formation of crusts on the snow from repeated thawing and freezing (the Crust Moon); and the time for tapping maple trees (the Sap Moon). Christian settlers also called this the Lenten Moon and considered it the last moon of winter.

April: The Pink Moon
Flowers begin to appear, including the widespread grass pink or wild ground phlox. Other variations indicate more signs of full spring, such as Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, and Fish Moon (common among coastal tribes).

May: The Flower Moon
Flowers come into full bloom and corn is ready to plant. Also called the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.

June: The Strawberry Moon
Strawberry-picking season reaches its peak during this time. This is one of the few names that was universal to all Algonquin tribes.

July: The Buck Moon
Buck deer start growing velvety hair-covered antlers in July. Frequent thunderstorms in the New England area also resulted in the name Thunder Moon. Some tribes also used Hay Moon.

August: The Sturgeon Moon
The sturgeon, a large fish common to the Great Lakes and other nearby bodies of water, is most easily caught during this month. The reddish appearance of the moon through the frequent sultry hazes of August also prompted a few tribes to dub it the Red Moon. Other names included the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.

September: The Harvest Moon
Many of the Native American tribes’ staple foods, such as corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and rice, are ready for gathering at this time. The strong light of the Harvest Moon allowed European farmers to work late into the night to harvest their crops. The Harvest Moon does not always occur in September. Traditionally, the name goes to the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, which falls during October once or twice a decade. Sometimes the September full moon was called the Corn Moon.

October: The Hunter’s Moon
After the fields have been reaped, the leaves begin to fall and the deer are fat and ready for eating. Hunters can ride easily over the fields’ stubble, and the fox and other animals are more easily spotted. Some years the Harvest Moon falls in October instead of September.

November: The Beaver Moon
At this time of year the beavers are busy preparing for winter, and it’s time to set beaver traps and secure a store of warm fur before the swamps freeze over. Some tribes called this the Frosty Moon.

December: The Cold Moon
Winter takes a firm hold and temperatures plummet at this time. Sometimes this moon is also called the Long Night Moon as the winter nights lengthen and the moon spends more time above the horizon opposite a low sun. The full moon name often used by Christian settlers is the “Moon before Yule”.

Blue Moon
Note that due to the 29-day lunar cycle the exact dates of the full moon move every year. Most seasons have three full moons, but because of the variation some seasons have four full moons. The term “blue moon” was used to identify one of these extra full moons. A mistaken definition in the March 1946 edition of Sky and Telescope magazine claimed the blue moon fell on the second full moon of the calendar month. This mistake caused widespread misunderstanding until it was finally corrected in 1999.

Being born a Witch

Some of us are just natural witches, with knowledge, ingredients and intuition. Others are in need of a little more practice and have to work just a bit harder to have a bit more knowledge. This does not mean that one is better than the other by any means! The one with the natural ease into the life of a witch can be selfish and greedy or snobby like some people are not true sisters of our kind. The other can have a harder time understanding things but get there and be the most humble and best sister or brother that you could ask for. It is out job to all love one another and to know that every witch, wiccan, pagan, seer, druid, or castor is all different even in the same coven. This does not make us a better witch to have more knowledge and not use it, and there IS something inside us that calls us to where we are. And it can’t be explained and it can’t be defined; but we all made it to where we are because something somewhere inside us told us to look, and we did, and we found, and we stayed. Because we are witches. We were all born to become witches. Spirit does not make mistakes! Blessed be sisters and brothers merry meet again some other times!