Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Questions on Yule–from the Deepest Well

This post is in response to questions posed by Aine over on The Deepest Well blog.

The questions pertain to Yule and doing a ritual.  The Yule rituals I have been in have all be done with my coven, the Coven of the Rising Phoenix.

Do you perform ritual at this time of year?

Yes.  Funny thing is that I have always done a ritual at this time of year.  Now the ritual may not have been of the Yule variety but what my family and I did every year since I can remember can be considered a “ritual”.  Every year we would all load up in a car and travel to the Grandparents houses to celebrate Christmas, eat to capacity and open gifts.  It was quite ritualistic. 

I still adhere to the family gatherings as work allows but I now have one more ritual to perform; the ritual to celebrate the returning of the sun, the Yule ritual.

Do I use someone else’s script, my own, or do I combine them?

I choose to combine them.  I find that combining a ritual that was written by someone else with piece of my own design it makes the ritual richer.  I might add a line to the calling of the quarters, or I might completely redo them but keep the rest.  For this year’s ritual I found a great ritual online that expressed exactly what I was looking for in some respects but not in others.  So I took what I needed, augmented where I needed and added what I needed and BAM!…Yule Ritual. 

Well maybe not so much BAM.  As I began to create the ritual, placing the parts and assigning parts to people I found myself with another’s mind.  Having never experienced divine intervention I was quite taken aback.  A part of the ritual, the working, was going to be making a Yule potpourri whilst chanting and charging the herbs.  I was “told” that is not what should be happening and I was given a “nudge” toward what should be done for the working.  I will admit that what I did write out and that we did do was quite magickal if I do say so myself.

Do I perform the same ritual every year or change it up?

The Yule rituals have been different each year with this year’s being the first one I have created for the coven as well as the first one my partner and I have hosted in our home.

What associations do you associate with Yule?

For me personally I will always associate this time of year with gathering with family and friends, whether it be for Christmas or Yule.  I will always remember waking up on Christmas day, getting all dressed up and going to church services with the family and then heading over to one of the grandparents house for dinner and gifts.  The smell of my grandmother’s cooking, my grandfather sitting in his chair in the kitchen, listening to the radio, usually a ball game.  He never did watch them on TV.  The sight of my other grandparent’s huge tree, decorated and stuffed at the base with wrapped gifts.  The anticipation of what was wrapped in the brightly colored and shiny paper under the trees and the joy of ripping said paper apart to get at what was hidden.  The screams of delight at toys and the silence toward clothes.  The warm and loving smiles from my parents and grandparents no matter how we reacted.  Even the hard times, for with out them we are less then we are now.  The shyness felt when confronted with relatives that I hadn’t seen since the last time.   Sitting in front of the TV, watching Rudolf, Frosty, and Charlie Brown all on the same night.  Eating too much candy and still wanting more. 

As my grandparents pass beyond the veil traditions are lost and associations change.  New traditions emerge and families that were at one time split return together to celebrate as one again.  Change in beliefs opens up new associations and new traditions.  Celebrating the returning Sun and the promise that in a few months warmth will again venture across the land if only for a time.  Gathering with new people whom I now consider another family as I celebrate with them.  Turning the Wheel.

 

Remember your past.  Keep hold of the traditions that you have whether they be relevant to your spiritual path or not.  They are a part of you, they make you, without them you are diminished.  Create new traditions and keep them as well.  Celebrate and Honor as you choose to do but remember your families, friends and the Divine in all that is.

 

Blessed Be!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Pendle Witches–Returning from the past

November 14 2011.  This was the first day that I heard of the Pendle Witches, specifically Alice Nutter.  Alice was charged with witchcraft in 1612 in the Lancaster Witch Trials and was later hanged.  The village of Blacko was the site of where Alice was seen at Malkin Tower, also known as Stansfield Tower and Blacko Tower, with what was deemed a witch’s coven. 
Now a memorial statue to Alice Nutter has been commissioned to mark the 400th anniversary of the trials.  It will be placed in the village of Blacko.
Statue plan to celebrate ‘Pendle Witch’ Alice - Peek Into The Past - Pendle Today
The next day I found more information on the Pendle Witches and the planned statue from the BBC.
Statue of Pendle Witch Alice Nutter to be commissioned
I was very intrigued by this news that after 400 years, what happened to these victims of fear and confusion will now be memorialized.  It shows that people are finally realizing how wrong the trials were.
What happened next is kind of eerie if you think about it. 
December 8th, 2011.  The BBC reports - 'Witch's cottage' unearthed near Pendle Hill, Lancashire
The story even hopped the pond and was reported by Fox News -
Centuries-Old Witches' Cottage and Mummified Cat Unearthed in Britain
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/12/08/centuries-old-witches-cottage-and-mummified-cat-unearthed-in-britain/#ixzz1gF2LuBFg
You have to admit that it is quite interesting that only a month after the planned memorial was announce that this ‘cottage’ was unearthed.  Add the fact that within a wall of the building the mummified remains of a cat were found and it is hard to dismiss the claims that it belonged to one of the witches of Pendle.  Admittedly there isn’t any ‘concrete’ evidence that a Pendle Witch resided within the walls of the well preserved building.  This hasn’t stifled the talk and the supposition among the locals and witches from around the globe.
Is there some supernatural link between these two events?  Are the spirits of Alice Nutter and the 10 other villagers, who were executed for witchcraft, now setting out to uncover more history of their lives?  What will be found next?
Next year will be the 400th anniversary of the Lancaster Witch Trials, which were held on the 18th and 19th of August, 1612. 
This is an image of the original title page from The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster
Potts
The trial not only accused the women of Pendle but also other people, men and woman, from around the area of witchcraft.
It is nice to see that this information is now becoming mainstream and not relegated to the tabloids alongside who had the newest alien baby or the new date for the end of the world. 
I am going to keep a watchful eye out for the next installment of the Return of the Pendle Witches.
Blessed Be.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Journals now available.

New leather journals are now available to our registered members of our store.  

We actually have two kinds this time around.  

We have the wonderful Leather Bound Journals with pages made of recycled biomass.  We also have a couple new smaller hard bound journals, perfect for a small diary or dream journal.

Here are just a sample of the new journals.






















Please visit our store at Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace to see all the wonderful leather journals we have.  Remember that these new journals are only available to registered customers.  Registration is free and with it you get access to our Members Only area.  You will also be able to get access to items before other non-registered shoppers.  

We hope you stop on by.

Blessed Be!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Grove on Facebook

I realized that we have had a page on Facebook for some time now and I never posted any information about it.

The URL for the page is https://www.facebook.com/GroveoftheAncients.PaganMarketplace.

Head on over and check it out.  Like it.  I have also added a 'box' to the sidebar of the blog that highlights what is happening on the page and there is a 'like' button there as well.  I just love addons.

Right now I am working on a promotion for our online store that the page is for as well as this blog.  More on that as I get things going.  It is turning out to be quite a challange to get it going.

I on the Facebook Page I am starting to post items of interest to the pagan community that I get from the web.  I will also be gathering the best of what I find and posting them here each week.  I hope you stop by and see what I can find.

I am going to get back to posting information on herbs again, those posts seemed to be very popular. 

So onward and upward.

Blessed Be!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Thinning Veil - This is Samhain

The thinning veil.  Now is the time when whispers of those who have passed before us can be heard on the cool winds.
The leaves are turning with bright yellow, oranges and reds filling the trees.  The harvest is ending as the last crops are picked from the fields.
Pumpkins begin to decorate the homes, their carved faces glowing from candle and light.  The Jack-O-Lantern stands guard.
This is SAMHAIN!!!  This is HALLOWEEN!!!

Now is the time to honor those who have passed before us.  We seek to speak to them once again, to ask questions, and to seek knowledge.  We do so with reverence and awe since we know this will only happen this night, the thinning of the veil.

Take up staff and cast a circle vast.  Welcome the spirits of element and guide, the Lord and Lady, beckon to our side.  Enjoy the night and seek you knowledge, let loose that has kept you and cleanse your way.  To the fire give all that is spent and cleanse your way.  In crystal, mirror and water gaze, seeking knowledge through the ethereal haze.  Dine with them who have eaten not.  Bid you farewell to those who were called.  Elements, guides, Lord and Lady to their halls.  Close your circle and yet be sure that what you have gained is hallowed and pure.  

Blessed Be!!!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Charge of the Goddess - Do you really know it?

The Charge of the Goddess has been around for some time.  The one that we are most familiar with was penned by Doreen Valiente the High Priestess of Gerald Gardner in the 1950's.  It is believed that the final work by Gardner and Valiente was derived from various sources.  Among these is the book by Charles Godfrey Leyland, Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches.

Normally during ritual the Charge of the Goddess is read by the High Priest and the High Priestess.  But during the last ritual I attended, our High Priestess was absent so I read the charge.  Now I have read the Charge before but never in a ritual atmosphere.  I will say it was different.  Reading it gave me pause and made me think.  Do I really know it?  How many read it and don't think about it?  They are just going through the motions.

I am going to post the Charge of the Goddess.  Full version by Doreen, not the version by Starhawk.  Read it and then really read it.  Think about it.  It is the pure Charge with all the old English so it might be hard to read at first but if you truly read it will flow easily.

Charge of the Goddess
by Doreen Valiente
Now listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride, and by many other names.  At her altars, the youth of Lacedaemon in Sparta made due sacrifice.
Whenever ye have need of anything, once in a month and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place, and adore the spirit of me, I who am Queen of all Witches.
There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will I teach all things that are as yet unknown.
And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be truly free, you shall be naked in your rites; and yea shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.  For mine is the ecstasy of spirit, and mine also is joy on earth; for my law is love unto all beings.
Keep pure your highest ideals; strive ever toward them, let nothing stop you or turn you aside. For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth, and mine is the cup of wine of life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Vessel of Immortality.  I am the gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man.
Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before.
Nor do I demand sacrifice; for behold, I am the mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the earth.
Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of heaven, Whose body encircles the universe.
I who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters and the desire of the heart of man.
I call upon thy soul to arise and come unto me.  For I am the soul of Nature, who gives life to the Universe.  From me all things proceed and unto me all things must return; and before my face, beloved of gods and of men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded, in the rapture of the infinite.
Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.  Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And thou who thinketh to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou knoweth the mystery; for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

Read it out loud as well as to yourself.  Feel the power as the words are spoken allowed.  Read it during your daily devotion as a way to honor the divine.
Copy it into your book of shadows.  Keep it and know it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Egyptian Gods, like you have never seen them.

The sands of the desert stir and swirl.  The winds rise and fall.  Clouds gather and darken the sky.  The gods are coming.

Egypt hosts a diverse group of gods from the glorious Isis to the preternatural Seth.  Traditionally these gods have been depicted in the same way since the origination in the Nile Valley from 5000 BCE to 300 CE.

Now that has changed with these new statues of Isis, Anubis, Bastet, Horus and Seth.

The Goddess Isis is one of the more famous and popular goddesses of the Ancient Egyptian pantheon, Isis is the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus. She is often viewed as the ideal mother, as well as the Goddess of magic and nature. Isis is also viewed as a champion for sinners, slaves, and those who are down on their luck, and was revered by the poor and the wealthy alike as the goddess of fertility.  As the wife of Osiris, she is also viewed as the protector of children, and the dead, and it was said that the fertility of the Nile valley...read more.










Perhaps most famously recognized as the Egyptian god with the head of a jackal, Anubis is the ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife. Within ancient Egyptian culture his position among the gods was sacred, and of great importance, as he is the guardian of the dead. Anubis is the patron god of embalmers, who preserve the dead, and is also often viewed as the Lord of the Dead, who guards the scales of the underworld and weighs the heart of the dead against a feather, determining the place of the deceased within the underworld. Here he is portrayed as a stern figure, with the burly, broad-chested body of a man and the traditional jackal-head, set with a serious expression. With the feet of a jackal,...read more.








Shown here in her the form of a woman rather than a Lion or a domestic cat, the Ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet is portrayed as the epitome of the feminine divine. Regarded as a goddess who protected Egypt, its royal family, and its people, Bastet was particularly revered, as were all cats within the land. She was also associated with beauty of movement, agility, strength, caution and other such feline qualities that she was said to embody. In this case, she is imbued ...read more.











One of the most important Gods of the deities of the ancient Egyptians as well as one of the historically oldest, Horus is the Falcon-headed god of the land of the pyramids. He was revered as the God of the sky, and as such it was said that the moon was his left eye and the sun his right. He is also the Egyptian god of hunting, and war, who warred at length with Set at the instruction of his mother, Isis, who set him to protect Egypt from the lord of the deserts. Here he is shown as a barrel-chested man with jet-black skin, and the head and face of a Falcon. Upon his head sits a royal...read more.







Seth (also found spelled as Set) is the ancient Egyptian god of the desert, storms, darkness and Chaos. Indeed, in ancient Egyptian culture his very name meant to be an instigator of confusion, a deserter, or a drunkard. He was known for his conflict with Osiris, whom he attacked out of jealousy and envy, dismembering Osiris and throwing his pieces into the Nile. This conflict also brought about his contention with Horus, who was the son of Osiris and Isis. Here he is portrayed with jet-black skin, as are many of the deities of ancient Egypt, with the body of a man and the head of a ...read more.












You will notice that each of these figures now depict the ancient gods and goddess of Egypt in a more 'human' way.  Personally I find this more pleasing and more how I see the gods.  I don't see them as the blocky figures on a cartouche.

Now is the time to feel the supreme power of the Egyptian gods with theses effigies.  Let one or all grace your altar or sacred space.

At this point in time it is unclear as to whether other gods such as Osiris, Hathor and Sekhmet will also be honored by this makeover.

All of these statues and the traditional ones are available in our store at Grove of the Ancients Pagan Store.

Fly on by and check out our annual Samhain sale too.  Sign up with the store to get our newsletter and get special discounts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Angelica - An Angel of an Herb

Woodland Angelica

Botanical Name: Angelica Archangelica

Family: N.O. Umbbelliferae

Folknames: Root of the Holy Ghost, Archangel Root, Garden Angelica

Cut Angelica









Angelica is a biennial plant.  While growing during the first year only leaves appear; during the second year a stem grows up to 6 feet tall.  The flowers bloom in July, are small and numerous.  They range in color from yellow to green.  Angelica favors a damp soil and can be found near rivers and bodies of water.
Angelica is native to Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland and Iceland where if favors the northern regions.  It is cultivated in France.  I can also be found in Germany's Harz Mountians and in the Rodna Mountains of Romania.

History and Uses

For detailed information on this interesting herb see here.


Healing with Angelica

It has been reported that Angelica relieves the symptoms from the Colds, Flu, and Bronchitis.  It is also known to be used as a digestive aid and a relief for arthritis.

For an Infusion: Steep 1 teaspoon of leaves or seeds, powdered, in one cup of water.
For a decoction: Use 1 teaspoon of dried root per cup of water.  Boil then simmer for 2 minutes.  Let cool for 15 minutes then drink up to 2 cups a day.  It will be BITTER.

Angelica is poisonous if the roots are not dried so be sure to dry the roots completely if it is grown.  Angelica should not be given to pregnant women.  Internal use of Angelica may cause photo-sensitivity.

The FDA includes Angelica in its list of safe herbs.  Be sure to adhere to the previous information.  As always consult your doctor before using any herbs and if you develop problems after taking the herb.


Magical Uses and Correspondences

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Deity: Venus

If the plant is grown is it believed to be protective.  Because of this it is a good additive for all protective mixtures as well as for exorcisms.  Bathe with the roots to remove curses, hexes and spells that have laid against you.  To protect your property from evil; sprinkle the root of the Angelica plant around the boarder.


We sell this great herb in our store at Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace as well as hundreds of other herbs and items.

photos found here and here.




Thursday, September 22, 2011

After a bit of a hiatus while I dealt with some serious personal issues I am back and will be posting some new things soon.  It is too late to post anything on Mabon since it on tomorrow.  Samhain is coming up next so I will be working on that next.  I will also be getting back to my herb postings since that seemed to draw people. 

Thank for being patient and sticking around. 

Blessed Be!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Clean Your Altar. Yes, you.

"In a dark room a table sits, covered with the trappings a witch.  The chalice and blade once sparkled in brilliance like the morning dawn.  Candles that once burned brightly now sit dark and shadowy.  Forgotten is the power that once flowed freely as spell was spoke and ritual performed.  Absent are the deities and elements that journeyed at a plea or an offering.  Now a fine layer of dust has covered those symbols of the craft like a soft cloth and obscured them from the view of those that would use them.”





I imagine this might describe an altar or two out there.  I know it has described mine at least once maybe twice.

We all have lives outside of the craft and at times our altars can get relegated to becoming just another spot for the car keys or the loose change from your last soda or mineral water purchase.  Unless your altar is in secluded sanctuary where no one ever sees it then don’t be surprised if it accumulates items other then what is supposed to be there.  I myself have absently placed all sorts of mundane items on my altar, from keys to clothes.  Yes, clothes.  No I wasn’t using a t-shirt as an altar cloth.  No matter how hard you try there will eventually be something on your altar that shouldn’t be there and you may not have done it.
I have found some items on my altar that I have no idea how they got there and I can only assume that my lovely house fae have helped out again. 

So…

You have found your altar under a pile of stuff, now what.  (Even if your altar isn’t buried it can still benefit from a good cleaning.)

First get a small bowl or bucket with a cleaning solution mixed with fresh water.  I prefer to use a solution that I make myself that way I know it won’t damage any of the items I wipe off.  Also remove all the items off the altar, including the cloth if you use one.

Clean the cloth/surface

If you use and altar cloth remove it and if it is washable then give it a once through in the olde washing machine.  If it is a commercially made cloth be sure to read the cleaning instructions.  If you have a cloth that is not able to be machine washed then perhaps a hand washing with a Woolite type product would be better.  Again, check the cleaning instructions.

Not everyone uses an altar cloth and if you are one of those people, and you know who you are, just give the surface of the altar a good wipe down with the cleaning solution you have.  Don’t forget to gently scrape of any wax from those nice candles.  Dry the surface with a clean towel. 

I like to press my altar cloths so they look crisp.  I have also heard it is nice to use a lavender water spray as you iron.

Replace the cloth on the altar as you choose.

Clean the tools

Now that the surface of the altar is clean and ready for our tools it is time to clean those tools.

Using the cleaning solution gently wipe down all of your tools.  This includes any statues that you may have.  Any porous items should be wiped with a clean dry rag and in the case of wood items a good wood cleaner could be used.  Be sure to dry all items with a clean towel before replacing them on the altar.

If you have a nice silver chalice you might notice that it is not as silver as it used to be.  Fingerprints cover the surface from all the times you have held it in a toast to the Goddess.  So how to do you get it back to the bright polished silver?  Toothpaste.  Yes, I said toothpaste.  It is an inexpensive way to polish your silver items.  Now before you run to the bathroom and grab the tube from the medicine cabinet you need to know one thing.  It has to be the true toothpaste, not a gel or mixture thereof.  It is best to get a brand like the traditional Colgate© or a natural toothpaste from your natural grocers.

“To clean off tarnish, coat the silver with toothpaste, then run it under warm water, work it into foam, and rinse it off. For stubborn stains or intricate grooves, use an old soft-bristled toothbrush.”

Be sure to empty all the ashes from your incense burners too.  Many times I light a charcoal disk and realize that I am smelling incense when I haven’t placed any yet.  It was actually the unburned incense that had fallen through the screen and is resting on the ashes from the previous time.  Some people would say to dump the ashes outside, I just empty them into the trash since all the power of the incense has been spent and sent.  Of course, don’t dump hot ash in the trash.  DUH!

Empty out your offering bowl.  This should be done outside to make one final offering.  Wipe out the bowl and dry it with a clean towel. 

Mirrors, crystal balls, and scrying bowls, wipe them off so that you can again see clearly what you are being shown.

If you have any other items that you place on your altar be sure they are clean and fresh.

The Little Thing

Here is one thing that everyone should do when they are setting up their altar. (Or at least I think so) 
Candle wicks.  New candles come with long wicks as a rule and many people just light that long wick and move on.  Most candle makers say that the wick should be cut to about ¼ inch in length. Why? Well I have found that if I do this then the candle burns more evenly. The wick should be trimmed whenever it gets very long.  If have a torch when you light the candle it is time to trim the wick.  Be careful when trimming a used wick as you can inadvertently break the wick down to the wax and then the candle is finished.

Finishing up

Now that the surface of your altar is clean and dry and your altar cloth is places as you like it is time to reset your altar.  How you do this is completely up to you, there isn’t a right or wrong way to set up an altar. 

After I have set my altar I like to give it a quick smudging and blessings with my favorite incense.

Keep it clean.  The best way to do this is to use it.  Your altar is less likely to gather dust and cobwebs if you are using it daily or every other day.  If you notice a bit of dust on an item, give it a quick brushing with a cloth or even a Swiffer Duster©, they work great for altars.  A complete wash down should be done at least once a month or as you feel the grime accumulating.

Remember…
Keep it clean and let the power flow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice - Media in error

Today is the Summer Solstice.
Celebrations abound all over the world. Stonehenge is particularly busy today. So I decided to check around the web and see what new articles were around about the solstice celebrations and goings on. There were a few on just a simple search. But I was surprised when I read these ‘news’ stories. Here is what is a few of the articles said.
“Prior to the arrival of Christianity to northern Europe, cultures celebrated the arrival of the June solstice because it was seen as one of the few times of the year when magic was at its most powerful. These days, the June solstice is celebrated as the start of summer, although at tourist destinations such as Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, Memorial Day often marks the start of the "summer season" for tourism. But lest we think of the June solstice only in terms of suntan oil or maypole dances marking "midsummer" solstice celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere, it's also an opportunity to pause and remember those who are sacrificing their summer so that others may learn about climate, or Mars, or the cosmos as a whole – never mind penguins, fossils, and krill.” – Pete Spotts, Christian Science Monitor
“As per some Pagan beliefs, this point of the year marks the marriage of God and Goddess and a celebration of growth and life.” – IBTimes Staff Reporter, International Business Times
“The Swedish celebration is called Midsommar. Like European pagans have done for centuries, this celebration can include singing and dancing around objects such as a flower-studded maypole or a large bonfire. “ – MyFox Houston
Okay…so…yea…wait…Maypole? Maypole? Really? The marriage of the God and Goddess? Really? *shakes head and walks away. The problem with the Fox quote is that they have said that all European Pagans celebrate the way the Swedish people do.  This is far from the truth. Since when did the Summer Solstice move to Beltane? As you can see I chose articles that clearly show exactly how much people don’t know what the Summer Solstice means. I would have thought they would have done some research or something. Of course I am going to send messages to the editors of these stories and inform them of the mistake and point them in the correct direction. I also see this as evidence that there is a need for education on what people of pagan faiths believe and celebrate and why. I also encourage everyone to watch when Pagan events are reported on to see if they are accurately portrayed. This will help with continuing education.
This is my activism post.  I don't do these often, it takes something to really annoy me for me to post under activism.
Have a Blessed Summer Solstice!!!  Blessed Be!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Solstice ~ Litha ~ Midsummer June 21st 2011


A solstice only happens twice in a year, December 21st and June 21st.  The upcoming solstice is the Summer Solstice;  the day is the longest and the night the shortest.  The sun is also at its northern most point during this day because of the tilt of the earth on its axis.

The summer solstice is also known as Midsummer and Litha.  Midsummer's Day is June 24th.  This is one of the four solar celebrations, the others being Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, and Autumn Equinox. 

The celebration of Midsummer's Eve was from ancient times linked to the summer solstice. Some people believed that mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings.

Litha is a time to celebrate fertility, abundance and nature in full bloom.  It is a time when the Oak King is killed and the Holly King take his throne until the return of the Oak King at Winter Solstice.  During the celebrations, children and adults play games.  Craft activities that are perfect for this sabbat are; creating amulets with herbs of Rue and Rowan, create protection pouches from white cotton and Rue, whole wheat bread, salt, and star anise seeds, make a Solar Wheel, make a Witch's Ladder.

Rituals held during this sabbat can be for honoring Mother Earth, celebrating life and growth.  This is also a perfect time for dedications and re-dedications.

Solstice Correspondences:

Deities: Amaterasu (Shinto), Aten (Egypt), Apollo (Greek), Hestia (Greek), Horus (Egyptian), Huitzilopochtli (Aztec), Juno (Roman), Lugh (Celtic), Sulis Minerva (Celtic, Roman), Sunna or Sol (Germanic)

Symbols and Decorations: summer flowers; images of the sun; statues of earth goddesses, faeries, earth gods; sun wheels; seashells; yellow, red or orange candles; blades; daisy chains; stone circles

Traditional colors: blue, green, orange, red, yellow, gold

Flowers: daisy, honeysuckle, marigold, red roses, sunflowers, foxglove, buttercups

Herbs: Chamomile, cinquefoil, fennel, lavender, mugwort, thyme, oak, hemp, St. John's wort, dill, marjoram, rue, rosemary, fern, sage, pine, garlic

Foods: citrus, curries,  peppers, onions, strawberries, summer squashes, tomatoes, honey,  green salads, roasted or grilled pork, blueberries, any sun-shaped, round foods (bread, tortillas, pizzas, etc.)

Drinks: sun tea, herbed teas, ale, mead

Animals: bee, butterfly, robins, snakes, wrens

Mythical creatures: faeries, fire birds, thunderbirds

Stones: amber, tiger's eye, jade

Direction: South

Time of Day: Noon


Have a blessed Litha.

Be sure to check out our store for all your Litha supplies.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ethics and Money

Sunfire over at Pagan Blog Prompts has posted another interesting question for us to ponder.  Now normally I post on the prompts over on my personal blog at My Pagan Path and the Crossroads but I decided that this would be a good topic for the business blog.


Here is the text of the prompt.  
How do you feel about being paid for certain services of a pagan nature? Like Tarot/Palm/Astrology readings? Often these services are seen as personal, due to the nature of the readings. Some people find it unethical to charge for these services.
Where I live in Denver, Colorado there are many "Psychic readers" who have their sign out advertising readings.  Of course these people charge for the service.  It is unclear if they are pagan or not as I have not visited any of them, I get my readings from friends.  Most of them are run out of their residences with only a few around here actually being in a business atmosphere.  


Here is my thought on this.  


If a person is doing the readings and they are relying on the income from said readings to supplement the household that is fine.  
If a person is doing the readings and they rely on the income solely then for sure that is fine.
If a person is doing the readings as a hobby, or to just pass the time, then they should not be charging for it.


This is just for those individuals that offer readings.  The charging for spells is something completely different and in my opinion a very unethical thing to do.


There are tons of websites around that offer spells for a fee.  The 'witch' even cast the spell for you on some sites.  When I first began to explore my path I found these sites and instinctively knew that this was wrong.  I thought about trying to find links to some sites to give examples but then decided, "why give these sites more traffic?".  People that charge for spells and rituals also open themselves up to legal recrimination if the receiver of the spell doesn't feel they got 'their moneys worth'.  There have been a few stories posted around of just such a thing happening, unfortunately a quick search turned up empty.


So that is my thought on this particular prompt.


Thanks to Sunfire for supplying us with great topics for when we hit the wall.


Blessings,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quote of Joseph Campbell

Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as fact, then you are in trouble. - Joseph Campbell

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Deities of the Desert - the Egyptian Pantheon

Egypt is the land of sand, the Nile, the pyramids, and a large pantheon of gods. There are many gods within the ancient Egyptian belief system. Some have fallen into being unknown while there are many that have remained in the forefront of people’s minds.

The many gods of Egyptian mythology were grouped into what are known as Pesedjets. Pesedjets were then divided into the Great Pesedjet, Lesser Pesedjet, and Dual Pesedjet. The most common known deities in Egypt are also referred to as ‘the nine’ or The Ennead and the Great Pesedjet. The Ennead consists of Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. Here is more about ‘the nine’.

Atum – He is the most ancient of deities after Nun. He is said to have rose out Nun as a mound of earth of his own creation.

Shu – Created by Atum by either spatting him on to the ground or by masturbation. He is the god of light. He is the twin brother and husband of Tefnut. He is the god who separated the goddess Nut from her mate Geb there by creating the sky.

Tefnut- Also created by Atum by either spatting her on to the ground or by masturbation. She is the goddess of moisture. She is the twin sister and wife of Shu. There are many tales of this goddess in ancient texts.

Geb – Also known as Seb or Qeb in the Book of the Dead. He is the son child of Shu and Tefnut. He is the Earth and the bother-husband of Nut, the sky.

Nut – She is the goddess of the Sky and the sister-wife of Geb. In some stories she is said to give birth to Ra each day so that he can journey across the sky to be swallowed by Nut to be born again the next day.

Osiris – Son of Nut and Geb and bother-husband of Isis. Osiris is one of the most popular gods in the Egyptian pantheon. He is the father of Horus the younger. The story of his death and dismemberment at the hands of his brother, Set, is epic; as is the story of his rebirth at the hands of Isis, Nephthys, Thoth, and Ra. Osiris is the god of the Underworld where he presides over the weighing of a person’s heart against the feather or Ma’at. Osiris is also seen as the god of agriculture since he is the god of re-birth.

Isis – Daughter of Nut and Geb and sister-wife of Osiris. Her commonest names are "the great goddess, the divine mother, the mistress of charms or enchantments"; in later times she is called the "mother of the gods," and the "living one." She found her husband after Set had encased him in a chest. She also helped her sister Nephthys and the god Thoth reassembles Osiris after Set had dismembered him. Isis and Osiris are the parents of Horus the younger. Isis is a very popular goddess figure from the Egyptian pantheon. Her popularity even surpassed the worship of Egypt into the Greco-Roman temples. She is known as the goddess of Motherhood, Magic, and Fertility.

Set – Also known as Sutekh in the Book of the Dead. Set is most commonly known as the god of chaos, which might come from his association with events in ancient Egypt that were terrifying, such as eclipses, thunderstorms, and earthquakes. Set has the distinction of being the only god to not have a common animal head on a human body. The head most seen as Set is referred to as the set animal since no animal know to humankind is like it. Other animals have been used as the head of Set but the unknown animal is the most common. Set is the god who became jealous of his brother Osiris and eventually destroyed him. Set is the twin brother and husband of Nephthys. All fish are sacred to Set.

Nephthys – Also known as Nebt-het in the Book of the Dead. She is the sister-wife of Set. She is seen as a nature goddess and represents the twilight time before sunrise and after sunset. She was very close to her sister Isis and helped her sister with the reconstruction of Osiris. She is one of the lesser known of the nine but she also has many stories.

Horus the Elder – Horus the Elder is not included in the Ennead. It is commonly believed that Nut and Geb actually gave birth to five children; Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Horus the Elder was also known as the Sun God before Ra. He was also confounded with the son of Osiris and Isis, Horus the Younger, with whom many attributes were shared. Horus the Elder is associated with the Hawk or Falcon in some texts. Horus the Elder is also known as Heru-ur and the son or husband of Hathor. The symbol, “Eye of Horus”, is a powerful protective talisman.

After ‘the nine’ there are many other deities that were worshiped by the Egyptian people. Here are few of the most common known.

Anubis – the name is actually Greek; his name in ancient Egypt is Anpu. He is the jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife. He was second to Osiris in the underworld and the Guardian of the Scales that weighted the heart of a deceased person against Ma’at.

Bast – Also known as Bastet the cat goddess. She personified the playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness.

Hathor – She is the goddess of love, music, beauty, motherhood, and joy. She is sometimes shown and a cow with the sun crown. Myth is she is also the pacified form of Sekhmet.

Ma’at - also known as Maat was the Ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Ma’at was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. The feather of Ma’at was used to balance against the heart of person after death, in the Duat.

These are just a few of the deities of the Egyptian pantheon. A good list of deities can be here and here.

Before you begin working with any deities it is always a good idea to do as much research as possible. Most people feel is best to represent their affinity for a particular deity by wearing jewelry that represents images of said deity. Having a statue of your deity is great way to show honor to that deity.

This is by no means a complete representation of the Egyptian deities.

Resources used include.

THE GODS OF THE BOOK OF THE DEAD

Wikipedia – Egyptian Pantheon 

Friday, May 27, 2011

In The Grove

I have tried to figure out what to post about today and I finally landed on a post called In The Grove.  I am going to attempt to do this every Friday if I can.

In The Grove will be talking about things going on in our store, in our lives, and maybe even in the world.

Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace is now going to saying thank you to its customers that have registered with the site and those new customers that register with the site. We are going to be give each registered customer a free gift when they place and order with us. The gift will be included in the order.

Just registering on the store site will NOT entitle you to a free gift, you must also place an order. We are doing this so that people don't just come to the site, sign up, take the gift and then never come back.

With such great items in our store such as.

Amber & Peridot Pendant
Amber & Peridot Earrings














and


Egyptian Mummy Athame Set






















also

Salem Box



















Stop on by the store and see what else we have.  Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Time to Clean for Spring - Cleaning Solution

It is that time of year again.  Spring is here and it is time to open those windows and doors and starting cleaning your dwelling.  From top to bottom from the little used guest room to the constant used living room, it is time to clean.  I have a cleaning solution that I use for my general everyday wipe down of the kitchen counters but I also use it to clean door handles, window sills, and any other places that need a wipe down.

The formula is quite simple and goes into a plastic spray bottle.

Ingredients:
White Vinegar
Borax
Water
Essential Oil of you choice
Herb of your choice (optional)
Spray Bottle
Funnel

How to make:

Add 1 teaspoon of Borax to the spray bottle.  Using a funnel will make this easier.  Next add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, again use the funnel.  Fill bottle with HOT tap water, not to the top of the bottle.  Leave room for the hose and other parts of the sprayer.  Add between 10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice.  You can mix and match your oils too.  Put on the sprayer and let the whole thing cool down.

How to use:

Spray and wipe.  That simple.  You can use a sponge, cloth, or paper towel with this solution.


I personally use Lavender Oil mixed with Lemon Oil.  It give a wonderful scent.  In a test I also added a pinch of peppermint to the bottle and let it mix in.  I don't remove the herb but leave it to do it's work.  The peppermint was added because of its correspondence to cleansing.

I hope that you find this cleaning solution a joy to use as much as I have.

Happy cleaning and Blessed be!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bloodroot - A plant whose roots 'bleed'.

Botanical Name:  Sanguinaria Candensis

Family: N.O. Papaveraceae

Folkname: Indian Paint, Tetterwort, Red Pucoon, Red Root, Paucon, Coon Root, Snakebite, & Sweet Slumber.

BLOODROOT

Bloodroot is a perennial plant that grows low to the ground.  Its habitat ranges from Prairie Provinces of Canada, as far south as Florida and west to Arkansas and Nebraska, in the United States.  Bloodroot favors open woods.  The plant produces flowers in spring of white with golden stamens.  After the bloom fades the leaves grow larger and die down in the fall.  The autumn is when the roots of the plant are harvested.  The roots are actually rhizomes and when harvested they need to be stored in a dry place to prevent deterioration.   The seeds are spread by ants who take the seed pods to their colonies, eat the flesh of the pod, and take the seed to the ‘garbage pile’ where the seeds then germinate.

Historical Uses

The rhizome of the Bloodroot plant exudes a bright red sap when the root is cut or broke.  This red sap was used by Native Americans as a dye for clothing and for body paint.  The use of the sap for body paint is dangerous because of the damaged the sap can cause if applied directly.  It is thought that the sap was mixed with some there ingredient to prevent this from happening.
We DO NOT endorse the use of this herb for internal use as it can be very harmful even fatal if too much is ingested.  The following is for historical purposes only and is from Botanical.com.
Emetic cathartic expectorant and emmenagogue, and of great value in atonic dyspepsia, asthma, bronchitis and croup. (The taste is so nauseating, that it may cause expectorant action.) Of value in pulmonary consumption, nervous irritation and helpful in lowering high pulse, and in heart disease and weakness and palpitation of heart of great use. For ringworm apply the fluid extract. Also good for torpid liver, scrofula, dysentery. It is applied to fungoid growths, ulcers fleshy excrescences, cancerous affections and as an escharotic. Sanguinaria root is chiefly used as an expectorant for chronic bronchitis and as a local application in chronic eczema, specially when secondary to varicose ulcers. In toxic doses, it causes burning in the stomach, intense thirst, vomiting, faintness vertigo, intense prostration with dimness of eyesight.”

Magickal Uses and Correspondences

Bloodroot is a popular herb used in VooDoo as a protective ‘hex-breaker’.  Bloodroot is also popular for use in rituals and spell pertaining to relationships and marriage.  There are two kinds of Bloodroot used in these cases, the darker ‘King’ root for the male aspect and the lighter ‘Queen’ root for the female aspect.  The root would be placed in a red sachet and then placed within the bed of the couple to ensure a healthy marriage.
Bloodroot is also excellent as a protective charm for one’s home.  Placing a root within the home, out of reach of pet and children (remember it is poisonous) is said to protect from negative energies and spells.  Burning of the root as a powder is said to have the same effect.  (use caution when burning a known poisonous herb, burn in a well ventilated area or outside)
Bloodroot can be substituted for actual blood in spells that require such an ingredient.  Of course this should only be done if the spell or rituals DOES NOT require the ingestion of whatever the bloodroot was used in.  Again, it is a poisonous herb.
Bloodroots are primarily masculine but as stated before the lighter roots can be used in the feminine aspect.
Bloodroot’s planetary relation is to Mars with the elemental relation being Fire.  Bloodroot has no specific deity association.  Previous experience lends that if you are working with a deity who corresponds to Mars and Fire then the use of Bloodroot in spells and rituals is acceptable.

Of Special Interest

Sanguinarine is a part of the sap from the Bloodroot.   This was widely used in toothpaste to help destroy plaque.  While this use was approved by the FDA, it has been recently shown that the continued use of the toothpastes with this ingredient caused cancers of the mouth.  Sanguinarine is still used by some companies in their formulas.

In the End

Bloodroot is a very interesting plant.  It has been around for thousands of years and has made it mark through the use of its red ‘blood’ as a dye and through the use of one of its chemicals as a dental product.  Bloodroot is very poisonous and should not be used internally or topically.  It should be used for your magick workings as desired. 
As always, do your research!  Never use an herb before doing your due diligence and know what you are doing. 

Now for those who don’t listen.

For educational purposes only.   This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

For this and other wonderful herbs please visit us at Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace.