Happy Lughnasadh or Lammas, whichever you wish to call it!
As the full sun rises on this beautiful Summer day, I can feel the heat around come to the crest in its pendulum swing. Things will start to cool after this burst of warmth and the harvest time will be upon us. To celebrate this wonderful Sabbat, I am getting in touch with my Kitchen Witch side (thanks very much to the amazing treasures contained in this month’s Sabbat Box).
::The Story of Lammas-Lughnasadh::
Celebrated on the Eve of August or August 1st in most traditions, Lughnasadh is an Irish Gaelic name for the feast which signals the death games of Lugh, the Celtic god of light and child of the Sun. The Sabbat is often called Lammas, or Loaf Mass, as well.
The Wheel of the Year;’s story tells of the Sun God transferring his power into the grain during this time. He is then sacrificed when the grain is harvested. A dying, self-sacrificing and then resurrecting god of the harvest. Who by doing so saves his people. This tale, as you can probably tell, influence later religions. It is also said that this funeral was not actually for him but for his Mother, Tailte.
As the grain grows and ripens, the power of the sun goes into them. The first bread of the season is made from what has been harvested. This is where the Saxon hlaef-masse, or loaf-mass, now Lammas, comes in. Seed grain was also typically saved for planting the following year’s crop. Allowing the Sun god to rise again in the Spring as the new green shoots are seen. There are many traditions and customs all over the world which celebrate this time and you can also see this in the tales of the Harvest Goddesses and a procession of the Maiden turned to Mother now becoming a Crone.
This is the time for bread-making and corn-dollies. Goddesses celebrated on this Sabbat commonly include: Demeter and Ceres, and any other harvest deity. Trees associated with Lammas are Hazel and Gorse, with the herbs Sage and Meadowsweet being associated with this Sabbat. Additional herbs associated with Lughnasadh include: All Grains, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, Pears. Colors associated with Lughnasadh are gold, yellow, and orange for the God and red, brown, and also gold for the Goddess.
::My Altar and Ritual::
Today, I’m getting in touch with my love of cooking and home. The gifts I mentioned above came with a sweet, little cookie stamp in the shape of a pentacle and a recipe for Honey Almond cookies. I’m going to be making these for my celebration at the Sekhmet Goddess Temple tomorrow. Although, I will admit that I am a little hesitant to go into a hot kitchen while it’s in the 100’s outside and I’m pregnant and hot anyway. Oh well.
I’ve also decorated my altar with a beautiful corn dolly statue, which is a nice change from the real thing which can flake and breaks down. This dolly can hang out all the way through to September. The altar is also be covered in beautiful golden trinkets that remind me of the Sun and all it has given us to survive and flourish, and with it being Leo season one of them is a golden lion leaping up inside the round circle of the Sun.
A specially created Lughnasadh incense and candle is burning on the altar and filling my nose with spice and flowers and sunshine. Sashes of yellow and red and orange lay draped across the top of my altar and I’ve anointed myself with a custom Lughnasadh blessing oil. Sitting in the setting sun and soaking up all the goodness, I’m taking this time to thanks the Harvest Deities and the Sun for another prosperous year under their guidance.
This is the time to reap what we have sown and take stock for the coming Fall and Winter. I am feeling very connected to the cycles this year as my belly has grown with the sun and it will soon be time to harvest this little one and welcome Baby Moon into the world.
Bright Blessings All Around!
Aside from doing a ritual to recognize the changing season, here are a few other ways to celebrate this Sabbat.
Create and/or decorate ritual items like a Stang, or if you’re feeling the Kitchen Witch vibe your cooking tools like a wooden spoon.
Take a walk through the woods and spend time meditating on beautiful surroundings.
Make bread and enjoy it with friends and family
Make a wicker man and put all of your bad habits into him and then toss him in your ritual bonfire.
Make a corn dolly.
Harvest any plants you’ve been growing and use them to make something yummy or beautiful for the coming Fall.
Drape yourself in yellow or the rays of the Sun and pull in the warmth and growth this Sabbat offers.
This Sabbat is a wonderful time to be grateful for all that is coming into begin because of the seeds you planted earlier in the Wheel of the Year. Take stock, enjoy, and as always enjoy the tiny, crazy ways the world is expressing its joy and beauty.
Winter Solstice, a time of quiet on the longest night. This is the moment where the pendulum hovers at the time of darkness ruled over by the Holly King and the Dark Mother.
As this cold, long night reaches its peak, the pendulum swings back. Now we journey toward the time of light, of energy. The Bright Mother and the Oak King will reign over this other half of the year.
To the rest of the world the year itself is coming to an end. But we know this is only a tipping point. Nothing is “ending.” In fact, each day will get longer and longer. This is a time of beginnings.
We look forward to ushering in the hope and promise of this lighter half of the year. Our solstice is a time of renewal. It is also a time to let go of that which is no longer serving you.
This winter solstice meditation will allow you to ease yourself into this new half of the year. Welcome the turning of the Wheel and step into the light as your best self.
As you begin your meditation, follow your typical habits. Get comfortable, relax, and take a deep breath. Feel the Earth beneath you as you sit or lie down. Feel the air around you. Feel the fire within you. Feel the water as your blood flowing through you.
Think on this affirmation, “I lay to rest all the worries and all the negativity of the old year.”
When ready, hold your hands to your chest to form the Dharmachakra Mudra.
To do this mudra, pinch your left middle finger with the index and
thumb of your right hand. Put your index finger and thumb together with both hands, this symbolizes the Wheel of Life. The left hand represents your inner
world, and the right hand represents the external environment. This mudra brings the two worlds together. During this meditation think of one wheel as the ending half of the year, and the other wheel as the new half.
Take another grounding breath and think on something you wish to release. As you inhale, pull all the energy connected to that item into your lungs. Then, exhale and as the air leaves your lungs imagine yourself blowing out the negativity, the habit, the thought, holding you back. Blow out all that doesn’t serve you.
Take six more breaths, totaling seven. Inhale and release as before. Think of something you wish to let go and blow it out of your life. Imagine your breath as a cool rush of Winter air. Let it sweep clean the things from your past you don’t need.
When you have completed your seven breaths, think on a symbol, a sigil, that represents what you wish to achieve in the coming months. Brew the image in your mind like a hot cup of tea, filling you with warmth and power.
With the image solid and strong in your mind, open your eyes and draw it on a piece of paper. Hold it tight to your chest and fill it with your intention.
Work on this goal each day and when you feel you have accomplished it, or are ready to move to a new goal, burn the paper in a sacred fire.
The time of darkness is ending and a new light lies around the corner. The Wheel of the Year turns again and each time it does we have a chance to learn something about the world and ourselves.
Let go of the past, welcome the future. Be present, be hopeful, be the light.
The full moon of December is named the Cold Moon and reminds us of the cold winter nights in the Northern Hemisphere. This full moon is also called the Long Nights Moon because it occurs very close to the Winter Solstice or Yule— the shortest day of the year and the start of winter. Yule falls on Wednesday, Dec. 21st, this year.
The December full moon is the third super moon in a row, following the super moons of October and November. It’s also the last full moon of 2016. With full moon magick of fruition and reaping what we have sown at the new moon, this final full moon of the year is a time to realize your final goals of this past year.
Every garden needs tending, especially that which holds the fertile ground of your words. Gemini tells you to prune and refresh your words. Your words nourish your soul and connect you to your truth. Don’t fail your words and they will always be there for you. A divine fertilizer in a garden which flowers in your footsteps.
The Gemini Full Moon also brings up questions of integrity. What type of person do you say you are? What words are you using? How are you using them? Do you speak thoughtfully, carefully selecting the thoughts you express with your voice? Are you more unfiltered? This Moon assists us turn ourselves to the truth inside us. It provides a talking stick to a voice of wisdom residing deep in our unconscious. This time can also show us times when we could be using our words better.
“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.”
Conversations can often wind down an unintended path and leave you wondering how you got to that not so pleasant place. You may end up saying things you didn’t mean to and feel it would have been better to have bitten your tongue. Take note of these situations. Pay attention to your emotions when you are talking and even writing. Do certain words affect how you feel? Take the time to learn these patterns and then adapt yourself to these unpredictable situations.
~Gemini and Sagittarius Connection~
Gemini repreaents thinking and communicating on a grade school level. Gemini was where we found our first friends and our first sentences. This house rules primary connections, both social and mental. The lessons we learned as children often become ingrained in our personalities. Saying sorry when it’s not needed, being overly apologetic. The language we incorporate as children literally lays down the foundation for how our brain works.
Sagittarius, the sun house opposite this Gemini Full Moon, shines a light on its lessons. Sagittarius informs thinking and communicating on a more elevated level. A college level of speaking. Words change to incorporate philosophy and are ever looking for more wisdom. This house asks you to consider how other cultures think.
With the Gemini Full Moon opposite the Sun in Sagittarius, a calling to monitor the root thinking behind our feelings (Moon), and live more fully in our soul (Sun) can be heard. A calling to think, speak, and live with our highest level of integrity of self. At this time we can re-write negative thinking habits and live from a spiritual, expanding foundation, not a habitual one.
~The Moon And It’s Message~
Anchor yourself in uncertain waters.
Go ashore. Find solace in your truth. Your spirit. Your heart. Waves both big and small will always be a part of the sea, they are also a part of life. Find structure and comfort in knowing who you are. Search for new horizons. Set your course for far off lands of mystery and fulfillment. Look to the stars overhead and allow understanding to flood your mind. Know that the waves of the emotional sea are adventures not obstacles.
~Moon Opposite Saturn~
A triangle stack of wood, ready for a fire. Build your foundation. If you want a lasting fire, you must stack your wood correctly. It won’t catch otherwise. Plans are life’s foundations, life’s structure. They can change but they offer us a place to begin.
~Moon Trine Jupiter~
Unveiling devine gifts. Goddess shines down upon you. Your intuition will lead you toward expansion. Trust this and the assistance will flow in. Your gifts are already here and live.
Most Blessed and Happy Samhain! Our Witches’ New Year is here!
As the Wheel of the Year begins again, so too do we have the joyous opportunity to take our harvest and make something magickal.
Now is also the time to honor our ancestors and be grateful for all the bounty they have wrought.
And as promised here is my Samhain altar and autumn images that I took.
And to help as all get connected with our ancestors on this most enchanting evening my Samhaim ritual. You can change this up however you like and it can work for a solitary practitioner.
Samhain, a Celtic-based holiday, is the festival where we honor the ancestors. Some traditions and groups really embrace this aspect of the holiday, while others do not. This will often depend on the strength of the group’s relationships with their ancestors. Some Wiccans and pagans revere their ancestors, honoring them each day, frequently communicating and receiving messages from them. Others may feel disconnected, and in a world when the ancient wisdom can be difficult to hear, it is even more difficult. But think on this. We all have loved ones who are now spirits, and this is the time to honor them.
For ritual, gather one candle for each person there, smaller candles work best. Also gather a bowl to place the candles in, where they will stand upright, or candle sticks for larger candles.
I often make an ancestor altar, as pictured above, and you can do the same. This process can be a ritual all in itself. It is sad and joyous to remember those we loved and look at their images decorating our altars. You can do this on your current altar or create a entirely separate one for this purpose. There should be room for the candles in addition to an offering. If you are doing this in a group, people can bring their own photos and place them on the altar as well. You can also use special items that were once theirs or which represent them. One large candle should also be atop the altar.
Once everyone has been given their candles, .address the idea of ancestors. Saying your own words or:
“On this eve of all evenings, when veil be thinned between the worlds, we honor those who have gone on before: our sacred ancestors.
Our ancestors shaped us and made us who we are. Physical ancestors, family going back who have now crossed over and spiritual ancestors, those to whom blood is not shared but are connected to us through love. Those who have shaped us through their example and actions. All have made us who we are and we honor our physical and spiritual ties to them.
Visualize your ancestors. The people in spirit you will honor and remain forever linked. They are here. They have always been here. For in the Otherworld there is no space, no time as we know it. The spirits are limited by neither. Think on your particular ancestors. Imagine them here, standing among us. See them clearly. Hold them in your hearts.
Beloved ancestors, we address you. Honored ones, holy ones, we know you are always with us. In some moments we can hear you speak to us. And even when we can’t, we know you are here. We call upon you and ask you to enter our circle. On this eve set aside just for you, we honor you. We remember you. Accept this offering in token of our love and respect.”
Now, light the large candle on the ancestor altar. Next, make your offering. A libation of water or wine, or an offering of flour or cornmeal is a good choice. Do what feels right. As you offer them, hold them up and imagine light pouring into it, filling it with positive energy.
Now direct those around you to do the following, saying whatever you wish or:
“One by one we’ll approach the altar. At your turn, think of your ancestors. Then, light your candle in their honor. Place it in the receptacle and leave it to burn. Speak to them. You can speak your words aloud or project them from your heart. They will know your message.”
If I’m in a group I typically go first so they know what to expect. Then I step to the side, moving clockwise, so that the others can go. Once everyone has gone and moved clockwise like I did, we should all be back in our original places.
Then, join hands and begin a chant. You can also dance if you wish. I like to say:
Beloved spirits! Loved ones who have passed unto the veil!
Those gone before but still with us! Connect to us now and forever!
Our soul lives many lifetimes and the bond of love always remains!
The veil does not dim your light but lets us feel your soft glow in times of need!
Beloved spirits! Loved ones who have passed unto the veil!
Those gone before but still with us! Connect to us now and forever!
Honored ancestors, we wish that our offerings please you. That you will keep us always in your hearts, as we keep you in ours. We will think of you always and honor our connections as the Wheel of the Year turns. Now at this time that we can feel you, see you, hear you the most, we honor you. We thank you for your contributions to our lives. Honored ancestors, may blessing be upon you! So mote it be!”
Then all repeat: “So mote it be!”
A Blessed Samhain to you all sisters and brothers and loved ones.
My personal pantheon is definitely what you would call eclectic. I feel connected to the Goddess or God and don’t necessarily stick to a single tradition or region. When I was first studying Wicca and I could see where my love of ancient mythologies and traditions came from, namely a deeply rooted pagan nature, I saw that there were so many with so much to offer. I did more and more research and I learned more and more about Goddesses and Gods of areas I had never thought about before. I celebrate quite a few female deities and they all have one thing in common. An affinity for creativity and the darker aspects of life and death. None of them could be considered push-overs either. A trait I work toward every day. Below I’ve listed the female deities I work with and who have spoken to me directly. You’ll see a great many are from Greek and Celtic Mythology. I have always felt pulled to their stories and have been connected with them since childhood.
Hekate- The Goddess who I love so, she is the first part of my magickal name. She is the Greek goddess of the Underworld, Magick, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy. Per the most genuine traditions, she is an ancient Thracian divinity and a Titan. She, from the time of the Titans, ruled in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea. She bestowed mortals with wealth, victory, wisdom, good luck to sailors and hunters, and prosperity to youth and to the flocks of cattle. However, all these blessings might be withheld by her if mortals did not deserve them. She was the only one among the Titans who retained her power under the rule of Zeus. She was honored by all the immortal gods.
I personally felt her call to me right away. She was the first of the Goddesses that spoke to me when I began exploring paganism and Wicca. She always seemed to me to be the great Gatekeeper of Wisdom in Magick and a remarkable sorceress. She also helped me to learn the value of death and how the cycle always continues, a fact I had a hard time coming to terms with when I was young and still have my moments with today.
Nyx- The second part of my magickal name. Nyx is the Greek goddess of the night, one of the primordial gods who emerged as the dawn of creation. She is the child of Khaos (Chaos, Air). In some myths, she coupled with Erebos (Darkness) to produce Aither (Aether, Light) and Hemera (Day). Then, alone she spawned a brood of dark spirits including the three Fates, Sleep, Death, Strife and Pain. In other myths, it is said that without any husband she gave birth to Moros, the Keres, Thanatos, Hypnos, Dreams, Momus, Oizys, the Hesperides, Moerae, Nemesis, and similar beings. Nyx is an ancient deity typically envisaged as the very substance of the night, a veil of dark mists drawn across the sky to obscure the light of Aither, the shining blue of the heavens. Homer calls her the subduer of gods and men, and states that Zeus himself stood in awe of her.
Again, a darker, powerful Goddess, Nyx subtly called my name as she led me into the darkness. Not for punishment or suffering, though you do have to pass through those things to get to the heart of her, but for salvation. Giving me an understanding of the night, of the black, of the empty. From darkness, there is light, from black there is white, and something must first be empty to become full. I identify with her because she is the base, the root, in which the stars anchor themselves. She is the slate wiped clean, so we can begin again.
Kali- Our Dark Mother, who is so misunderstood. I’ve written an entire paper on her and still her mysteries are vast. My short blurb from a newsletter I wrote-
“Dark Mother,” Kali is the Hindu Triple Goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction. Though many only her of her Destroyer aspect, she is so much more. She was the consort of Shiva and is often depicted standing over his dead form. While her fearsome side is truly not to be forgotten, it is this strength and power that represent her Mother aspect. Birthing her children only to call them back home to her at the time of their deaths, then taking them in to use in future create. An embodiment of the life, death, life cycle. For her Tantric worshipers, they believe they had to welcome her curse of death and much as her blessings of life. For a coin does not have one side and life cannot exist without death. They are integral parts of the same wheel of time. In her Crone, or Kalika, aspect she rules all forms of death and destruction, but she too rules all forms of life in her Maiden and Mother aspects. Kali’s creative word is that which we have heard often, Om. This chant giving life to what we put our intentions into. Kali gave birth to the gods and would devour them again to be reborn when their time had come. Vishnu, who often said in writings that he brought the whole earth out of the abyss, said of Kali, “Material cause of all change, manifestation, and destruction…the whole Universe rests upon Her, rises our of Her and melts away into Her…She is both mother and grave…The gods themselves merely constructs out of Her maternal substance, which is both consciousness and potential joy.”- from E.A. Rawson. She tells us when the time to let a thing die has come and when to begin creating anew. The priestesses tended her temples the Yoginis or Shaktis as Maidens, the Matri as the Mothers, and the Dakinis as the Crones. These women were also known as the “Skywalkers” and they took care of the dying, managed funerary rites, and acted as angels of death. Kali has also been worshipped in different lands, as her great influence stretches far. As the Black Goddess, known in Finland as Kalma, the biblical tehom or Tiamat, Durga, Sati, Uma, Devata, Tara, Lakshmi, these are all her names. In cemeteries and cremation ground she was worshipped, where even Roman tombstones invoked her with “Mater genuit, Mater recepit”- meaning the Mother bore me, the Mother took me back. So remember her is times when tough love is needed. Hear Her Truth– The time has come to let go of what must die. Life cannot move forward without Death.”
I am connected to her so much. She shouts at me regularly to cut that sh*t out and do what needs to be done. I call on her in times of confusion and when I am scared to move forward, knowing that she’ll look me in the eye with that “are you serious?” face and get me into gear.
Morrighan- She’s dark, powerful, and misunderstood. I think I’m sensing a theme. Morrighan is a Celtic deity, often depicted as a Triple Goddess. She is in fact linked with several different Goddesses. A goddess of battle and death, sex and fertility, prophecy and wisdom. Her name means “Great Queen” or “Phantom Queen.” Queen of the Otherworld, the world of phantasms, faeries, and the dead. I have also studied her extensively and she is a beautiful mystery. Straight forward and fierce, proud and forgiving. The pains of life, the serenity of death, and the passion of sex.
She has also called to me most of my life. I remember learning of her because of an episode of Hercules and having to know more. She is still so shrouded but I feel she is guiding me down a path of wonder and painful knowing. I wouldn’t have it any other way. For more information, check out Feast of the Morrighan by Christopher Penczak.
Isis- Isis is a Great Mother Goddess. Isis, in Egyptian Aset or Eset , is one of the most important goddesses of ancient Egypt. Her name is the Greek translation of the ancient Egyptian word for throne. In mourning, she is a principal deity in rites for the dead. As a magical healer, she cured the sick and brought the dead to life. As a mother, she was a role model for all women. Isis had strong links with Egyptian kingship. She was most often seen as a beautiful woman wearing a sheath dress and either the hieroglyphic sign of the throne or a solar disk and cow’s horns worn on her head. In the Egyptian mythology, she follows a similar path to Inanna, descending to the Underworld to save her husband, Osiris, and then being reborn into the world. She is also connected to the Egyptian horoscope and I am born under her sign.
Another of my most favorite mythological traditions along with Greek and Celtic is Egyptian. I have always loved their stories and lessons. I even visited the Egyptian exhibit in the Natural History Museum in Chicago as a small child. I have been surrounded by books about their mythology all my life.
Now, not to leave out male deities. I do feel connected to one in particular and the aspect male energy tends to represent.
Cernnunos- Cernnunos, though mostly as a nature and fertility god of Celtic Mythology, has appeared in an array of forms and made himself known by several names to nearly every culture throughout time. He is best known in his Celtic aspects of the untamed Horned God of the Animals and the leaf-covered Green Man, Guardian of the Green World. However, He is much older. Cernnunos worked his magick when the first humans were coming into being.
This image of the wild Hunter has always appealed to me. I am most connected to this form of the God. I can see myself running alongside him in the forest not a care for material things or rules. I can feel the protective energy he radiates and the fierce determination to provide for his people. I call on him when the situation calls for a more masculine energy and when strength of body is needed. Not to say I only call on him then. In fact, I find the Gods and Goddesses work well together.
My pantheon. They fill me with hope, acceptance, trust, love, pride, esteem, wonder, and awe. With their sure hands guiding me I can become my best self.
Spells, remedies, and ritual celebrations for every Sabbat and Esbat!
Alright, start your broomsticks! (If only we really could fly around on those bad boys. My travel time would be cut in half!) Here’s where things get magickal. As inspiration strikes I will post new rituals I have made, spells, herbal remedies, and anything else the God and Goddess tell me to post. I encourage you all to comment with your own tips and tricks which have worked for you as well as asking any questions you may have. I’m here to help!
Check out all of the Magick & Ritual category for loads of enchanting fun!