Monday, September 17, 2012

The Wheel of the Year: Autumn Holidays

We have two important pagan holidays coming up this fall: the Autumnal Equinox, also known as Mabon; and Samhain, also known as Halloween, or All Hallows Eve.

The pagan definitions of these holidays have almost become clique: the autumn equinox celebrates not only a day with equal amounts of darkness and light, but also the final harvest that will see us through the long hard winter months ahead; and Samhain, celebrating not only a night of enhanced spirit activity and ancestral adoration, but also the last of the slaughter of livestock, in order to store our meat for winter. Well, these meanings and their significance were all very well and good back in the day, but in the modern world I'm not going to have to worry about starving to death just because there is a hard winter, and quite frankly, I'd never be able to slaughter anything.

So what is the significance of these holidays to the modern pagan? Why do we still celebrate them, and what do they mean to us?

I think, for one thing, we have some innate deep-seated unspoken need to have our lives punctuated by milestones, whether personal milestones like weddings, graduations, and births; or societal, communal, and spiritual milestones. There’s a strange reassurance that the universe works in an ordered and predictable manner and time table. And maybe this is comforting to us because so much of life is unexpected, unpredictable, played without a script, and undeniably finite.

Long after we are but a memory, there will still be people celebrating these autumnal holidays, punctuating the end of summer, welcoming with open arms the predictable end to the season of light and warmth, and retreating into the dark and comforting confines of winter and the still peace that it will bring. Every season, and every seasonal celebration holds its own kind of magick and adds to our lives in a way that helps us to explore the possibilities, survive the inevitable, and move toward the future.


September

Named for: “Septum”, meaning ‘seven’
Anglo-Saxon: Haerfest-monap
Birthstone: sapphire
Flower: morning glory

September Moon Magick:

Wine Moon
Herbs: lilac, mugwort, marjoram, rose, thyme
Stones: sapphire, bloodstone, rainbow obsidian
Scents: gardenia, rose, lilac
Colors: brown, yellow-green, amber
Trees: hazel, larch, bay
Deities: Demeter, Ceres, Isis
Elements: Earth/Air
Astrological Influences for September:
Virgo:
ruled by Mercury, receptive/feminine, mutable/earth
Libra:
ruled by Venus, projective/masculine, cardinal, air

Pagan Holiday:

Autumn Equinox/Mabon
September 21

This day brings equal hours of light and dark, a second celebration of perfect equality. Beyond this day, light will gradually fade as the dark season descends upon the world. At this time of year, the ancient Druids would burn a large human-like wicker figure as part of their celebration. This figure represented the vegetation spirit, and indeed, the heralding of the dark season would bring an end to the growth and flowering of summer.

Modern Pagans may celebrate this holiday with many of the foods connected with this time of year in their area. For us this would include pumpkin pie and apple cider. Decorations may include leaves of autumn hues, sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds.

Herbs: marigold, myrrh, thistles, sage
Altar Flowers/Herbs: asters, mums, pine, ferns, milkweed, honeysuckle
Feast Foods: autumn berries, nuts, roast game, root vegetables, cider, wine, bread
Animals: stags, goats, blackbirds, canines, owls, birds-of-prey
Incense: cedar, myrrh, patchouli, pine, sage, sweet grass, oak moss
Rituals/Spells: drying herbs, gathering late harvest, past life work, harvest moon rituals, making willow wands, harmony spells, protection spells for winter

 
Some of the above information was taken from my online book:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Friday's Magick: Finding a Lost Friend

As I'm getting older, I find I'm becoming more nostalgic, often thinking about people whom I haven't seen in years, or decades. If you've had someone on your mind, whether a childhood friend, college classmate, or old beau, and you have no idea how to get in touch with them, here's a spell for you...


Day: Friday (relationships)
Planet: Venus
Moon Phase: waxing to full (to bring that which you desire to you)
Colors: pink and green

Items needed:
1. an image of the target, or a name paper
2. a white or pink candle
3. command and compel oil
4. drawing powder
5. a fireproof container
6. pink silk bag
7. Optional: any memorabilia connected to the target

The Method:
1. An image of this individual would be ideal, but if you don't have access to this, create a name paper for them. Do this slowly, deliberately,lovingly, calling their name and asking them to come to you with each letter you write. For added magickal momentum you can write their name in the witches' alphabet.

2. Anoint a white or pink candle with command and compel oil and roll it in drawing powder. 

3. Place the spell candle in a fireproof receptacle for burning. (Emphasis on 'fireproof'.) I use my cast iron cauldron.

4. If you have retained any mementos from this individual, such as jewelry, buttons from their clothing, tickets from a concert or movie which you both attended, etc., place these items on your altar, near the candle.
After you anoint and dress the candle, light it, and set the image or name paper on fire in its flame. Drop this into the cauldron with the candle, and allow the candle to burn itself out.

Gather the cooled remnants of this spell together; place them in a pink silk bag; and sleep with this charm beneath your pillow for seven nights.

Within a moon phase, you should be reconnected with this individual; and this often comes about in strange and completely unexpected ways.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The New Age

Late last night, after the last of my weary travel-worn guests were checked in, and the clock was ticking down to it's final moments before I could bolt and run for home, I read my horoscope in the daily paper: "You can't please everyone, so spend time improving your appearance, emotional well-being, and love life. It will be to your benefit to focus on you." I realized that my return to Singledom was like the coming of a New Age, a turning point, a milestone, a new beginning, the next phase, filled with decisions, new opportunities, new experiences, and as yet unknown adventures.

The realization in itself was an epiphany.