Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Imbolc Ritual

I mentioned in my last post that I had an Imbolc ritual that I would share with you.  I have done this ritual with a friend of mine.  It is perfect for a solitary witch and I am sure it can be adjusted for a coven. 
I took inspiration from a ritual I found in a book that I have (unfortunately I can't remember which one) so some part might seem familiar.  Feel free to use any parts of the ritual you would like, after all without allowing the sharing of knowledge we might not have rituals we have today.
This is a simple ritual to be done on the evening of Imbolc.  There is no meditation in this ritual but one can be added and I will note where I believe one would fit best.

Items needed for this ritual (if you follow all examples):

One white Goddess candle
One yellow God candle
One red candle for Brigid
Charcoal block (if not using stick or cone incense)
Incense for the sabbat or your favorite one
Four quarter candles

Imbolc Ritual

Setup your altar as you wish. Setup area where you will be having the ritual as you wish. Perform whichever ritual cleansing you prefer. Light charcoal block if you are using one for the incense.

Cast your circle as you normally would. When you sealed the circle say:

I cast this circle of light this Sabbat. I cast this circle to protect me in my magicks. May this circle be strong and full until it is no longer needed. This circle is cast to hold me between worlds as magick flows freely. As Above, So Below. SO MOTE IT BE!

Calling of the Quarters

I call upon the guardian of the east, powers of air, and the mighty Griffin.  Bring with you the first breaths of spring.  I ask that you attend my rite and offer your aid and protection. (light east candle)

I call upon the guardian of the south, powers of fire, and the majestic Phoenix.  Bring with you the warmth of the sun.  I ask that you attend my rite and offer your aid and protection. (light south candle)

I call upon the guardian of the west, powers of water, and the great Dragon.  Bring with you the new passions of spring.  I ask that you attend my rite and offer your aid and protection. (light west candle)

I call upon the guardian of the north, powers of earth, and the mighty Bear.  Bring with you the strength of the warming land.  I ask that you attend my rite and offer your aid and protection. (light north candle)

Invocation of the Goddess and the God.

Goddess of rebirth,
you again bring forth the God and the promise of spring.
Be with me during my rite as we celebrate the young God and the growing light.  (light the Goddess candle if you have one.)

God of Love and Protection.
You again lead the ever-changing dance of life.
Be with me during my rite as we celebrate the rising of the Mother and the fertility of the Earth.  (light the God candle if you have one.)

At this time I included a short bit about Imbolc and the lighting of the candle for Brigid.

Imbolc is the time with the Goddess is turning the wheel of the year back toward spring.  The sun grows warmer, as the days grow longer and the nights shorter.  Signs of spring begin to appear as the tiny shoots of the first flowers begin to emerge from the winter harden soil.  Trees begin to awaken with new branches and full buds waiting to open. 
This day is also the day to honor the Goddess Brigid, who with the fires bring inspiration, healing, and a desire to create.  We light this candle in honor of Lady Brigid and ask that she be with us this evening and bless this rite.  (light the red candle which symbolizes the Goddess Brigid.)

Imbolc is also a time of purification, a time for cleansing hearth and home from all the past energies and making way for new possibilities and happiness.  The besom cleans the mire from the floors of our houses so may our daily activities clean the mire from our lives.

*when I did this ritual I also had seeds set out that I was planning on planting for my garden.  Here is what I said.

Goddess Brigid.  I also ask your blessing be upon these seeds that they may grow in to strong plants and yield a wonderful bounty.  (place the seeds at the base of the red candle for the remainder of the ritual)

Now would be a good time for a meditation if you desire.

Night gives way before the growing God.
We feel the power alive in the world.
The Goddess walks the Earth again,
And sings us awake with wind and rain.
The promise of life is newly made,
Our winter's debt to darkness paid.
Blessed Be!

Cakes and Ale

Farewell to the deities and the elements.

Goddess of the brightening day.
I thank you for your presence at our rite, and ask you to be near me while we are apart; let your warmth revive me, your love support me, and your passion inspire me.

God of the growing and wild things.
I thank you for your presence at our rite, and ask you to be near me while we are apart; let your warmth revive me, your strength support me, and your passion inspire me.

Guardian of the north, powers of earth, and the mighty Bear, I thank you for your presence and protection during my rite.

Guardian of the west, powers of water, and the great Dragon, I thank you for your presence and protection during my rite.

Guardian of the south, powers of fire, and the majestic Phoenix, I thank you for your presence and protection during my rite.

Guardian of the east, powers of air, and the mighty Griffin, I thank you for your presence and protection during my rite.

Release the circle.

The circle is open but yet unbroken.
Merry Meet, merry part and merry meet again.

I hope that you find this ritual as wonderful as I did when I did it.

Many items for rituals can be found in our store at Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace.
Stop by and check it out.

Brightest Blessings.

Friday, January 21, 2011

IMBOLC - Feburary 2nd

IMBOLC – What is it?
Imbolc, also spelt Imbolg and Oimelc, is the second of February. It is also known as St Brigid’s Day. The festival was originally an Irish festival marking the beginning of Spring. It is one of the four cross-quarter days on the calendar, the others being Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain. Imbolc is an old Irish word for “ewe’s milk” or “in the belly”. It is a time of rebirth and fertility.

In the 20th century it returned as a religious festival in the pagan communities and is associated with the Goddess Brigid. Imbolc is also known as a “fire festival”. Fires are extinguished in the hearths and then relit and candles are placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun. Besoms are placed by the front door to symbolize the “sweeping” out the old to make room for the new.
Even though in some places there will still be snow on the ground and frigid temperatures, in other places flowers are starting their return from the winter hibernation. Look for these first signs of Spring.

Rituals during this time can be dedicated to the Goddess Brigid. Celebrations of fertility and rebirth can also be done during this time. Purification and new beginnings are topic for rituals during this time. I have a wonderful ritual that I will be posting later as an example. There are quite a few rituals that can be found in books as well on the internet. Imbolc Rite and Rituals has wonderful examples of rituals for Imbolc.

Colors for this Sabbat are traditionally Red and White.
Incense for Imbolc. This wonderful recipe is taken from The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews.

3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Dragon’s Blood
½ part Red Sandalwood
1 part Cinnamon
A few drops of Red Wine

To this mixture add a pinch of the first flower (dry it first) that is available in your area at the time of Imbolc. Burn during rituals on Imbolc, or simply to attune with the symbolic rebirth of the Sun, fading of the Winter and the promise of Spring.

Herbs for this Sabbat are many. Angelica, Basil, Bay, Benzoin, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Red Clover, Crocus, Copal, Dandelion, Dill, Fennel, Heather, Jasmine, Myrrh, Myrtle, Nutmeg, Oak, Primrose, Rosemary, Strawberry, Snowdrops, Willow.

Crafts and things to do.
Burn the Yule greens to send Winter away.
Make a Brigid Corn Doll
Make a Brigid’s Bed
Make a Brigid’s Cross
Make a Brigid's Crown

Celebrate this wonderful time of the year.

Blessed Be!

Thanks to Patti Wigington for some great information

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lunar Information for 01-19-11

Blessed Day!

Today is January 19th, 2011. A Wednesday.

Moonset is at 6:58am. Moonrise is at 5:16pm Full Moon is at 2:22pm

The moon will move from Cancer to V/C at 2:22pm and move into Leo at 3:14pm.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Religious Freedom Day

Today the President of the United States made a proclamation stating that today is to be marked as Religious Freedom Day. 

The proclamation follows.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 14, 2011 Presidential Proclamation--Religious Freedom Day




Our Nation was founded on a shared commitment to the values of justice, freedom, and equality. On Religious Freedom Day, we commemorate Virginia's 1786 Statute for Religious Freedom, in which Thomas Jefferson wrote that "all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion." The fundamental principle of religious freedom -- guarded by our Founders and enshrined in our Constitution's First Amendment -- continues to protect rich faiths flourishing within our borders.

The writ of the Founding Fathers has upheld the ability of Americans to worship and practice religion as they choose, including the right to believe in no religion at all. However, these liberties are not self-sustaining, and require a stalwart commitment by each generation to preserve and apply them. Throughout our Nation's history, our founding ideal of religious freedom has served as an example to the world. Though our Nation has sometimes fallen short of the weighty task of ensuring freedom of religious expression and practice, we have remained a Nation in which people of different faiths coexist with mutual respect and equality under the law. America's unshakable commitment to religious freedom binds us together as a people, and the strength of our values underpins a country that is tolerant, just, and strong.

My Administration continues to defend the cause of religious freedom in the United States and around the world. At home, we vigorously protect the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs. Across the globe, we also seek to uphold this human right and to foster tolerance and peace with those whose beliefs differ from our own. We bear witness to those who are persecuted or attacked because of their faith. We condemn the attacks made in recent months against Christians in Iraq and Egypt, along with attacks against people of all backgrounds and beliefs. The United States stands with those who advocate for free religious expression and works to protect the rights of all people to follow their conscience, free from persecution and discrimination.

On Religious Freedom Day, let us reflect on the principle of religious freedom that has guided our Nation forward, and recommit to upholding this universal human right both at home and around the world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 16, 2011, as Religious Freedom Day. I call on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that teach us about this critical foundation of our Nation's liberty, and to show us how we can protect it for future generations here and around the world.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Some will say, "What is the point of this, there is already freedom of religion."  Yes there is as stated in the United States Constitution's First Amendment. 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This amendment was shaped by the clause drafted by Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia General Assembly in 1786.  The following is an excerpt from the original statute;

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

This speaks volumes the during the 1700's our founding fathers valued a persons right to believe whatever they chose to believe and that it should not be infringed upon by anyone or any established government.  So why do so may not follow this simple statute?  Could it be lack of education? Most certainly.  I will admit that I was unaware of such a statute while I was schooled.  Another reason could be that they just to want to know.  They would rather be blind and dumb to the history of the United States and its laws.  The revolution was because of the religious oppression of the Church of England and yet today there are religious leaders who would see those who don't believe as they do oppressed.
Today is Religious Freedom Day.  Respect the beliefs of others, whether they be family, friend, or stranger.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Featured items in our store.

Today I am going to highlight the feature items in our store.  I am going to try to make this a weekly thing.

We have five items featured on the front page of the store Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace.  Lets start with the first one.

Soltice Leather Journal Book 

Portraying both the sacred Solstices, this beautiful leather-bound 4 1/2" by 6 1/2" journal is a wonderful representative of time passing throughout the year. The leather surface has been hand embossed and printed to portray the sun for both the winter and summer solstice in a stylized fashion, two separate images divided by the binding, which has be styled as the sweeping trunk of a tree. This conjures a sort of feeling that you can only find in the old styled art, reminiscent of the Celts and other such ancient peoples, a feeling that is only enhanced by the way the vines and leaves portrayed create Celtic knots, with patterns within the sun and the shadows it casts similarly taking on the shape of swirling mazes and mystic meaning. This makes it perfect for recording your craft throughout the year, whether you are creating a Book of Shadows or keeping careful track of the seasonal changes and the way the stars, sun and moon interacted with your magick throughout the year. Each page found within is made from cotton scraps found at the floor of garment factories and recycled biomass, such as fruit and vegetable husks, further enhancing this wonderful journal with sturdy, earth-friendly paper. This blank book is approximately 300 pages in length, with its pages stitched into the binding.
This book sells for $35.00 USD and can be shipped all over the world.

Hand crafted and stitched green-dyed leather this thick leather bound 4 1/2" by 6 1/2" journal displays on its covers two very distinct and different views of the Goddess. On the front she would seem a wholesome being, nurturing and gentle-featured as she sits in the lotus position. With her chest bared but for her concealing hair, she sits before a backdrop of a woven Celtic pattern, seemingly embracing a starry night in her hands, from which pours the waters of life. On the back cover, you will see a very different depiction. This is the Goddess of womanly wrath, beautiful even as she is frightening; the very image of a woman who will protect her children by any means, and strike with a wrathful hand. This beautiful duality, hand printed and embossed on the leather, shows us how the Goddess provides and destroys as a part of life`s cycle, making it the perfect setting for your witch`s book of shadows. Within this fantastic exterior you will find blank pages that are completely chemical and acid free, and indeed are not even made of tree-pulp! Each page is made from cotton scraps found at the floor of garment factories and recycled biomass, such as fruit and vegetable husks. Not only is this environmentally sound, but it lends to the book a quality that leaves you yearning to write every time you glance it. This blank book is approximately 300 pages in length, with its pages stitched into the binding.
This book also sells for $35.00 USD and can be shipped all over the world.

Created in the design of an old scroll or parchment case, meant to endure traveling in saddlebags and other such modes of travel, this Scroll Leather Sketch Book has been exquisitely crafted of flexible leather, allowing it to be bent and folded without damage to the paper within. The entire book measures approximately 15" by 12" and contains approximately 100 pages. Simply unbind the leather tie and unfold the cover to reveal fine paper perfect for sketches, paintings, calligraphy, poetry and more; each page is made of recycled biomass, primarily consisting of recycled cotton fabric and other plant fibers, creating a sturdy paper with a smooth texture. Use it to capture what you see in your artistic craft, or keep it as a traveling Book of Shadows, putting to pen all of the magic that you seek.
This interesting book sells for $50.00 USD and can be shipped all over the world.

Large Moon Goddess Wooden Book Holder 15"

Crafted out of a single piece of wood so as to create a seamless, folding book holder, as beautiful as it is useful, this piece would make a wonderful addition to any altar, or indeed any kitchen counter! When unfolded, it supports nearly any book, rising to a height of approximately 6" and a width of about 12 1/2" to help keep you from having to stoop over and otherwise keep your precious books up above your workspace. This not only helps to keep your books clean, but it also helps to preserve the life of their bindings. This is because the book does not lay flat within the cradle of the book holder. It is kept at a sort of v-shaped angle, allowing the book to open naturally without strain to the binding. Outside of these practical purposes, the book holder is a beautiful piece, with its upper portion decorated on both sides by the symbol for the goddess. This symbol depicts her in the ancient style of fertility icons, portraying her as a womanly figure, with her arms raised up above her head to form the full moon. This, combined with the waxing and waning moons by her side, creates a lovely display of the triple goddess, and is accented by the pentagram marking the fertile gifts of her divinity. The book holder folds flat to a length of 15" long and a height of approximately 1" for ease of storage.
  This wonderful holder sells for only $33.95 USD!  Shipping worldwide available.

A must have for anybody who brings their books with them while working on their favorite recipes and when working their ritual crafts, this wooden book holder will help preserve your book of shadows and other such books even as it makes it more convenient to refer to them. When folded flat, it measures approximately 15" long and 7 3/4" wide. However, it unfolds to create an "X" shape stand, with four stable legs to support the V intended to hold your book without forcing the binding flat. When opened like this, it stands approximately 8 1/2" high, 7 3/4" deep and 13" wide to lift your book to prop your book up for ease of reading and to protect it from possible spills.
This holder sells for $22.95 USD and ships worldwide.

So those are some of our items we sell.  They are features on the home page of the store.  In addition to these wonderful items we have over 3500 other items to tempt you.  We hope you stop by and check them out.

Blessings to all.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Deities - Of Gods and Goddesses

How many names do you know for Deities? Do you know what their attributes are? Do you know whether they're Celtic, Greco-Roman? Are they Norse, Hindu, Sumerian or Egyptian? Perhaps they're Asian, Mayan, Native American or African? Does it matter? How do they fit into your spiritual life? Do you feel that certain ones really fit into your life and some don’t?

The concept of deities has been around for a very long time although it is unclear when the belief in a deity or deities truly appeared. Early burials, as far back as 50,000 – 30,000 BCE showed at least a belief in the afterlife. Some cultures view deities as being “above” them, not interacting directly with their human “subjects”. Others see the deity as a supreme being to be fear and worshipped. In many pagan beliefs they see the deities as being both a part of them and not. Another way to think of this would be ‘within and without’.

What is this theism thing?

Monotheism is the belief in one deity, usually a god figure. This one god figure it thought to be the creator of all things. The common religions that follow this theism are Abrahamic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Baha’i Faith.

Polytheism is the belief in many deities and usually come together in the form of a pantheon or group of gods from a similar culture. Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Germanic, Norse, Sumerian, Incan, Celtic, Slavic, Hindu, Japanese, Aztec, Mayan, Native American, and African are all cultures that hold to the belief in many deities.

How this fits into Paganism

The above list of polytheist cultures can also be called a list of Pagan cultures. I am going to focus on the polytheism and the Wiccan beliefs. Within most Pagan cultures there is a the belief in a Goddess and a God figure. Most Wiccans hold to this belief, and every Wiccan possesses his or her own conception of the Goddess and God. The concepts are obtained through research into those deities and subsequent pantheons that interest us. Others might work toward those deities and pantheon that are a part of their ancestry. Still others will go to deities and pantheon that the coven they belong to. There is no wrong way to find the deities and pantheon that resonates with you.

Personally I feel a draw to Hecate and Cernunnos which are of two different pantheons, Greco-Roman and Celtic. My ancestry is German/Swedish so if I was to go with the pantheons of my ancestors I can go with Germanic and Norse. I find the Norse Gods interesting but I am not drawn to them on a spiritual level.

The Goddess

The Goddess is seen as the female aspect of deity. She is seen as many different things to many different people. The Goddess is most often seen as a healer, a provider of wisdom and guidance and the child-bearer. The most common concept of the Goddess is the Triple Goddess; Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The Goddess is also related to the Moon and its phases. This also corresponds to the triple aspect. Maiden is to the New Moon & Waxing Moon, new beginnings and virgin. She is Artemis, Diana, Kore, Athena, Nimue, Sekmet, Luna, and many others. Mother is to the Full Moon, creativity, child birth, fertility and manifestation. She is Semele, Isis, Hathor, Shakti, Yemaya, Cybele, Demeter, and many others. Crone is to the Waning Moon & Dark Moon, magic, prophecy, and wisdom. She is Hecate, Baga Yaga, Morrigan, Grandmother Spiderwoman, and many others.

The God

The god is seen as the male aspect of deity. Like the Goddess, He is seen as many different things to many different people. The God is most often seen as the Hunter, the Warrior, the protector and provider. The most common concept of the God is the Sun. Egyptians called Him Ra, Greeks called Him Helios, Romans called Him Sol, the African Yoruban tribe called Him Shango, and in Scandinavia He was called Baldur. The God is also associated with the two kings, Oak King and Holly King both which rule the seasons at different times of the year. The God is a complex concept, there are many different aspects, many more then I will mention here.

In rituals both or just one can be called. This is going to be the topic of one of my entries. Also I am going to break down each of the major pantheons that most people associate with and that is going to be over several posts.

Shameless plug time – We carry many statues to many Goddesses and Gods in our store at Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace.