Archive for April, 2012

Blessed Beltaine

by on Apr.30, 2012, under history, ritual tools, sacred days

Hello dears!

Blessed Beltaine!  May this holiday bring you love and joy as you gather with your dear ones to celebrate the full blossoming of Spring.

Shrub Rose

 

There are some disagreements about exactly when Beltaine should be celebrated.  This is one of the four bonfire holidays, or fire festivals.  Currently, we are between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.  Beltaine celebrates the stepping thru from the otherworld into life.  It is the joining of male and female forces into conception and birth.

Some urban (and suburban) witches choose to celebrate this holiday on April 30, the night before May 1.  In most modern neo-pagan traditions it’s become fixed there, because of our contemporary dependence upon the fixed calendar.  One traditional witch I know tells me that in some circles, Beltaine is a week long holiday, a gathering of the tribes, as it were.

With my astrological bent, I focus on a bit of a different anchor for this holiday.  I was told many many years ago, and I personally agree with this, that originally the long gathering of the Beltaine celebration peaked when the Sun hit 15 degrees of the sign we associate with this holiday – Taurus.  There is a beautiful and symmetrical logic to this view, if you will but look.

Traditionally, the four bonfire festivals occur in the ‘fixed’ sign attributed to one of the four elements.  If you look at the wheel of the year, with it’s twelve signs, there are three signs in each of four elements: cardinal, fixed, and mutable.  And each of these three phases of the elements is a different expression of that element.  Beltaine is celebrated in Taurus, the fixed sign of earth.  Another example is it’s polar opposite Samhain, or Halloween to you muggles, which is celebrated in Scorpio, the fixed sign of water.

Why fixed?  And why 15 degrees?  Well, the fixed sign of an element is the fullest expression of that element.  Taurus is earth.  It is a force of fertility and creativity, and yet it is also firm in it’s grounding and manifestation.  If the water element harkens to potentialities and the impulse to create, the attraction of polarities, and coming together in love, then earth is conception, pregnancy, and birth.  It is definitely here and now, and we can ignore the earth element only by proceeding with our eyes closed, risking running into the stone wall right in front of us.  However the earth also provides us with the path supporting our feet, and soft moss upon which to rest, as well as the trees that cover and shelter us.

15 degrees of Taurus is the exact center of the sign.  It is the fullest expression of the most fixed of the earth signs.  In rock language, that would be granite.  It is at this moment that we are able to manifest that which we would bring into our lives.  It is traditional on Beltaine to jump over the bonfire for luck in the coming year, and to bring your wishes into manifestation.  It is also a night in some traditions when men and women would pair off after a certain amount of celebration, Beltaine ale, dancing, and bonfire jumping, and other miscellaneous partying, and vanish into the night woods or countryside.  Any child of that celebration night would be considered a holy or sacred babe, a lucky child.

Flower Child

 

Historically, May Day is another incarnation of this holiday, the May Pole, with its maidens dancing with ribbons and wrapping the pole, and its unashamedly phallic symbolism, is in itself enough of a description of what this celebration is all about.

A word to you wand-makers, this is your holiday!  Take your wand out and bring it to your Beltaine parties.  Put it on the celebration altar for blessing, and carry it with you over the bonfire.  If you are celebrating by yourself, forgo the bonfire jumping and use a candle in a jar or one in a cauldron for safety’s sake.  If you haven’t yet chosen or applied your decorations to your wand, it does not matter in the least!  This is an ongoing project that may last quite a while until you feel it is done.  But now is the time to wake the current in the wand that was sleeping when you cut it and claimed it for your own. Wake it with chanting, dancing and drumming.  Wake it with song and blessing.  Wake it and enjoy!

This year, the Sun will reach 15 degrees of Taurus in the small hours of the morning on May 5th at Greenwich, UK.  That will mean 10:25pm on May 4th, 2012 on the East Coast of the US. You can calculate from there to your own time zone.  This is the time of peak Earth for the year, folks.  I highly recommend doing some sort of ritual to bring your desires to fruition. If nothing else, plant something that will bear fruit into fertile earth, feed and water it well, and as you do so, pour your desires into it.  Allow it to carry the energy of that which you wish to bring in for yourself and your own life.  Remember, this is not a time to try to manipulate other’s lives, or to apply destructive force to something you do not want.  This is a time to celebrate and pull into being that which is good.  I will return in a day or two with a peak Beltaine ritual for the night of the 4th, if you so choose to use this manifestation energy!  May your efforts be blessed.

Thank you for reading my blog this past season, my friends.  I wish for many more posts that they may be of use to you for your enjoyment and edification! Blessed be.

Marie Angeli

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The Witch’s Walk

by on Apr.16, 2012, under philosophy, social remedies, special offers, witchy ethics

My dears,

There are those of you to whom the following subject is familiar, perhaps painfully so.  As for me, I find it as painful as fingernails upon a blackboard, and freely admit that I reserve the right to ignore anything said by, or promoted by, the like of extremists like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.  However, when it comes into your world and speaks to you personally, it becomes difficult to ignore.

Please let him shut up

I was working in my local food bank today.  I got to stuff sacks with groceries.  We worked hard, and couldn’t help commenting on the fact that the shelves had gaping empty spaces, were unusually empty, and we were serving more families than usual.  There were three of us volunteers from Trinity Episcopal, and I couldn’t help but think, ‘What nice people.  They are working so hard!’.  And I was right, of course.  They were nice, and we were all working very hard.  In the fullness of time, our conversation turned to life in these United States.

We talked about the increasing shortage of good food, the rise of prices, the fact that we were now only allowed to give peanut butter out to families with kids because of the recent doubling of the price, and the scarcity of our supply.

I noted that the ‘breads’ in our donate section were primarily sugary specialty treat breads, and that there was a distinct shortage of good solid complex carb bread, or for that matter, no whole grains of any kind.  No produce at all.  Lots of cans, though.  AND some good dried beans, a poor folks’ (remarkably healthy) staple.

We were just a gathering of country folk, talking about the hard times, the importance of being prepared for more hard times, about our pantries and medical supplies.  One of my companions was a retired nurse who had volunteered for deployment in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  She had qualified opinions on what it took to keep body and soul together.  I contributed a bit of info about canning and food preservation.  We talked about clean water and how important that was for any community.  We spoke about community, and the need for people to help one another.

Good people, doing useful work.

Suddenly, one of the ‘good people’ began to talk about a book he’d just read.  It was called A Patriot’s History of the United States.  Now I’ve heard of this work.  It has the reputation of being a work of pseudo-history cum fantasy, written as a neo-conservative response to Howard Zinn’s award winning and critically acclaimed People’s History of the US, and was thus eminently ignorable.  Until Glenn Beck recommended it to his disciples and put it on the NYT bestsellers list.  At some point it has become required reading for neocon Christian Reconstructionists, the fascist arm of the Protestant party.

My new friend talked about reading this work in conjunction with the Bible, and how he’d come to understand that the US was a Christian nation, founded upon Christian principles, and that the Bible was historically real and a contract for all people.  I blinked.  He began to talk about how the US has a duty to lead the rest of the world to a God driven form of government, all inspired by Biblical truth.  I blinked twice.  All this while continuing to fill and distribute food to clients.

Since the conversation, as it often does down here in the American South, then drifted over to the usual hatred of the feds and especially of the president, and I felt that my head was about to explode, I broke my cardinal rule.  You know, the keep your mouth shut and your eyes open rule.

Surely you know that the Bible is a collection of myths and cultural stories, and not a recording of history?   I said, not so innocently.  It’s a book of mystical revelation, not facts!  Smile and blink.  That worked.  The silence was as thick as the fog on a humid summer at dawn.  Blessed, echoing silence.

After about a half hour of this blessed silence, my friend smiled and agreed to disagree, “The Great thing about this country is…”, and we continued our ‘good work’.

But my hair continued to stand up, and the feeling of tension stayed with me thru the afternoon, and all the way home.  When had my little cypress Episcopalian church, my bastion of Anglican tolerance in a sea of Baptist this and Presbyterian that and born-again tents popping up like mushrooms…  When had Trinity been infiltrated by this fascist belief system that no amount of logic could dislodge, that covered poisonous hatred so deeply that even truly good people were brainwashed into embracing it, even as they went about their day doing good works?

(For those of you who don’t know me, or who haven’t read my bio – I am a witch in the Western tradition.  My heritage holds traditional witchcraft, Western Mystery Lodge tradition, and Episcopalian Christianity.  I embrace them all, having also practiced Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism.  There is a place for all faiths upon the Tree of Life, and ‘each to their own’, to me, creates a beautiful kaleidoscope within the Purple Ray of mysticism.  Christ sits firmly upon the throne of Tiphareth, the Sephirah of the Heart.  And there are a plethora of Pagan Gods all over the place, up and down the Tree.)

To be sure, I am in no way bashing Christianity.  I’m bashing Fascism.  There is a rise in these groups that join fascism together with religion.  In Islam, they are Al-Qaeda and its knockoffs.  In Paganism, they are white supremacists.  A belief in divine purpose, combined with a nationalist jingoistic fervor, the belief that YOUR belief is the only truth and should govern how others behave.  How much scarier does it get than that?

The path of the Mage, or the Witch, is a path of tolerance.  We are attempting to understand, by listening and observing, rather than reacting.  We are human, surely, in our reactions to things that make us distressed or uncomfortable.  And it goes without saying that if you see evil in action, such as a child or animal being abused, you must act – lest by your inaction you become part of that evil.  And it is also true, and very difficult, that a Mage must judge their actions to know if by acting they will make the evil worse.

But how can you listen to the unseen, how can you walk between the worlds when your mind has locked closed on itself.  Your attention totally on your own thoughts.  Your doorways of perception shuttered down so that they no longer can see anything except the propaganda posters you’ve plastered all over the inside of your own head.  Somehow, I had to be able to get to a place where I could acknowledge that inside this little country church that I love, where I sing in the choir every week, there are forces of reactionary rage and blindness at work.  That within the hearts of these ‘good people’ exist both paradigms, tolerance and love combined with chaos and hate.

Similarly, I had to acknowledge that my local coven was circling not to celebrate the lights and the seasons, but working out their anger and hatred of everyone who had ever hurt them, a High Priestess acting out her fear and pain magickally, rather than experiencing the Joy of oneness with nature and the flow of Life.  I had to walk away from my participation in coven, something I’d done in 5 states over 35 years, and be willing to walk as a solitary once again.

As a witch, you must to be able to hold the dichotomy, the concept that one thing can have completely contradictory realities, the ‘real’ and the ‘astral’ for example.  The good and the bad in other people and their beliefs, in governments, in corporations, in life.  When you can see past the surface differences in things, people, events, places and times, then you can begin to notice the connections between them.  The similarities that reveal that we are all part of the net of the stars.  When you can see this net, these connections, then you will know when your magick has merit, when you are acting in concert with the flow of Universal Life Force, and not simply acting out.  You will be able to discern a Path between the Points of Light, and be able to avoid the pitfalls of Chaos.

As a witch, you will practice Silence, Observation and Discernment.  You will try to understand.  These practices will help open your mind to the Unseen, and make you fit to truly Serve others.

My loves, next time we will look at some magickal languages and symbols that you might wish to use to decorate your wand, in greater depth.  If you wish to read ahead, look at Freya Aswinn’s Leaves of Yggsdrasil, and anything you can find on the Ogham.  You might want to also get ahold of a good dictionary of symbols.

AND, for those of you who would like to participate in the eBook questionnaire, please read THIS ARTICLE, and let me know your opinions!  I thank you for your help.

Until then,
Blessed Be!
Marie Angeli

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All Text and Images © 2010 - 2014 Marie Angeli

Readers are welcome to reproduce portions of this blog either physically or online, but only for personal or educational purposes, and only if credit is given.  No portion may be reproduced for profit, or resold in any form.

The Tao

One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.
Lao Tzu
Joe's
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