I Am Imbolc

I Am Imbolc

I am the dream of awakening.

I am the returning of the light.

I am the tough green shoot pushing up through the pavestones, I am the first kiss of sunlight on the unfurling petals of the snowdrop. I am the wind which whispers the gentle pull of home to the migratory bird.

I am the drop of ice melting on the mountainside with its great dream of the ocean.

I am the sap rising in the blossom tree just before it reveals its sticky buds to the sky; I am the riotous celebration humming away beneath the earth’s mantle of frozen sleep.

I am the rousing of the bee from its winter slumber, and the soft pad of the mother-wolf’s paw on the snow as she prepares to birth her pups.

I am hope, potential, rebirth and promise. I am the kindling breath which transforms the flicker of inspiration in your creative core into a blazing torch.

Give me the silent crescent moon rising over the sea and I will build you a bridge of silver light so you can walk up and lie in it.

Give me the frost-hardened wilderness and I will breathe radiant green life over it.

Give me the healer, the writer, the craftsperson and the storyteller, and I will replenish her essence and make her new again.

I am Brigid, Bast, Inanna and Hestia. I am the fierce protectress of the sacred fire.

Tonight I bestow my gifts of power and courage at the hearth of your soul: power to step out of the shadows of self-doubt and negativity which have held you in darkness for too long, power to shed all that which no longer serves you, and courage to clear your heart and mind for the dawn that awaits you.

I am the time to honor your unique gifts for their true worth and to protect and nurture your creative self as you would a child. I am the deep longing of the spirit which refuses to be consumed by a narrative of fear and chooses instead to place itself vivaciously on the side of love.

I am the stirring in your belly which knows exactly what you are capable of — and that it’s time the world found out.

I am the fire within which will not be contained any longer.

I am the quickening, I am the serpent uncoiling, I am Imbolc.

I am the dream of awakening.

Caroline Mellor lives close to the sea and the green hills of southern England with her daughter, cat, and husband. As well as being a mum, writer and massage therapist, she enjoys traveling, one-pot cookery, gardening, Yoga, and drinking red wine. When not partaking in one of the above, she is probably daydreaming about her next holiday. You can connect with Caroline through her Facebook page or her blog.

Imbolc 2016: Facts, Dates, Traditions And Rituals To Know

Hail, Brigid!

01/29/2016 07:29 pm ET
  • HuffPost Religion EditorsThe Huffington Post

For many in the U.S., the only ‘religious’ event this time of year is the Super Bowl. But for many pagans and Wiccans, February 2 marks the important holiday, Imbolc, and their attention may be focused somewhere other than the television screen.

GMNICHOLAS VIA GETTY IMAGES
Imbolc is one of four major pagan sabbats, or holidays.

1. Imbolc is one of four major pagan sabbats, or holidays, along with Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. In between these sabbats, pagans celebrate the seasonal solstices and equinoxes.

2. Imbolc is pronounced “IM-bulk” or “EM-bowlk.”

MICHAEL KRABS VIA GETTY IMAGES
Imbolc falls on the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

3. Imbolc falls on the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Although it is attributed to the ancient Celts, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and indigenous groups are also believed to have celebrated an equivalent holiday.

4. Nowadays Imbolc may be related to Candlemas and Groundhog Day, and indeed there is evidence from early Irish lore surrounding weather divination this time of year.

ANNIE GORMLIE/FLICKR
Imbolc honors the Celtic goddess, Brigid.

5. Also called Brigid’s Day, Imbolc honors the Celtic goddess of fire, fertility, midwifery and the young. Many Pagans will pay tribute to Brigid by arranging an altar and ‘invoking’ the goddess through prayer.

6. The term ‘Imbolc’ derives from Old Irish and means “in the belly,” or alternately “ewe’s milk.” The interpretation lends significance to the holiday as a celebration of fertility, reproduction and the young — all overseen by the goddess Brigid.

ANDREUSK VIA GETTY IMAGES
Seed and bud imagery may be used in Imbolc rituals.

7. Imbolc observes the waning of winter and approach of spring. Pagans often use fire and other forms of light to encourage the lengthening of day. Seed and bud imagery may be used, as well, to promote the growth of new life ensured by springtime.

8. As with many pagan holidays, food and music are essential. Dishes for Imbolc tend to incorporate seeds, dairy and other spring-evoking foods.

EDITOR B/FLICKR
Celebrants often prepare talismans to use during Imbolc ceremonies, including the Brigid’s Cross.

9. Celebrants often prepare talismans to use during Imbolc ceremonies and then keep in their homes. These include a Brideog — a small straw doll dressed in white cloth — and a Brigid’s Cross, also often woven from straw.

10. Imbolc is a time for spring cleaning. Some clean their homes, take ritual baths and de-clutter their lives in other ways. This is believed to create space for the goddess to come into people’s live and for new seeds to take root in the coming spring.

Tarot Card of the Day: Two of Swords (Time To Make a Decision)

two of swords

From my personal diary:

In this card we see a woman standing in a green robe with her hood over her head so that we son’t see much of her face. She holds two swords crossed in front of her. The two swords are identical showing that she has  a balanced mind. She faces a white swan who sits high above her in a very twisty tree. Directly in front of the swan, hanging from the tree branch, is a red heart hanging from a piece of red thread. It seems as though either the swan is offering her heart to the woman or that that is the woman’s heart hanging from the tree and she must get past the swan to retrieve it.

There is another white swan close behind the woman. It is standing on the ground with its face upturned to her and seems to be offering her a flower, but because her back is turned, she doesn’t see this offering. It could be a willful turning away or simply something she does not notice because her attention is focused on what is in front of her.

This woman has a decision to make, but she is currently at an impasse, She either doesn’t want to make the decision, in which case she would be in denial. On the other hand, it could be because she can’t see what is behind her, she may not have all the information she needs to make her decision. The swords represent that her decision must be made using her logic and intellect rather than her intuition and emotion.

At the top of the card, there is a waxing moon (not waning) showing that whatever decision she makes will form a new beginning for her. There is a need for a truce here so that a decision can be made logically and intellectually. This woman needs to realize that she cannot avoid a situation by not making a decision one way or the other. She may be in denial of her emotions about this situation and although this calls for logic and her intellectual gifts,s he would be wise to unblock her emotions and thereby come out of her denial. The Goddess is all around her represented by the two swans, the twisted tree which is flowering and the new moon above, but she cannot see all of this because all of her attention is focused on the stalemate at hand.

The stalemate or impasse may also be her attempt to protect her self from some unknown factor. She needs more information in order to dig deeper so that she can make her decision to find out the truth of the situation. However, this will require a temporary lowering of her swords to do that.

Tarot of the Day: Discussion of the Five of Pentacles and a Bit on Grief

little girl fairy blonde

five of pentacles

From my personal diary:

A woman sits with her body curled in on itself and her head rests on her knee. Her face is not visible. She is surrounded by a transparent gray-ish bubble. Directly over her head, and inside the bubble, is a pentacle inside its own bubble.

She sits on the higher of two pedestals. Directly below her grow green and flowering vines which have penetrated her bubble. Directly in front of her, only inches from her outstretched arm, is a colorful butterfly inside its own bubble as well. On the pedestal below her (she sits on the higher one) is a chameleon looking at her as if he/she is expecting something.

The backdrop is a mottled and veiny gray wall. Coming directly from the top of the bubble which surrounds the woman, is a crack in the wall which is basically straight.  There is one wobbly part (almost as if it wasn’t sure of itself), but then it continues on straight to the top of the card. I also find it interesting that the crack in he wall comes directly out of the bubble that surrounds the woman. As if, in creating this bubble for herself, the energies she has created have affected the wall itself and caused it to crack.

To the left of the crack int he wall and in the top left corner we see a brightly colored and intricately designed stained glass window or painting. It is in the form of a circle with four pentacles inside and the pentacles themselves are inside their own circles. The colors inside the window or painting are basically green, purple, lavender, yellow, gold, white and gray. At the bottom of this circle, in the midst of a slash of bright yellow is a red heart, which is interestingly almost the same color as the butterfly

It seems to me that the main themes of this card are pentacles and circles. I know that when I get ready to cast a spell, I cast a circle to protect myself and I know also that the pentacles inside of a circle is a powerful symbol of protection as well. However, this is juxtaposed with the figure of the lone woman curled in on herself and since we cannot see her face, we have to assume that she also can’t see what is around her. However, the vines that are growing up from the Earth have penetrated her bubble and seem to be either touching her or moving into her. I can only think that this is the Goddess (higher power, Oneness…) attempting to ground her as she may be confused about something.

The woman seems very alone within her bubble. Almost as if she has protected herself so much and so well that she has pushed every other thing away. I know that within the Tarot, the sign of the Pentacle represents money or work. So, she has either lost money or lost work. Either way it’s a financial hardship and she has isolated herself within her bubble in her grief and sadness. She also could be experiencing emotional loss of something he has worked for.

The butterfly that hovers within its own bubble just out of her reach seems to symbolize beauty, hope, change, and/or metamorphosis. She would only have to lift her head a fraction of an inch to see it and reach out with the smallest of movements to pop the bubble surrounding the butterfly, thereby accessing its power for metamorphosis. However, at this point, she seems to be immobilized in her sadness.

I can’t help but think that if she would only move that the bubbles around her would pop and she could let in whatever pain or loss she has protected herself from. She seems to be stuck in a position where she feels sadness and/or grief, but is not letting it in wholly. It seems that if she did let it all the way in, she could finally deal with it and look up to see the beauty and hope around her. She could see that her heart is not in fact cracked in two, but whole, as is shown in the circle in the top left corner of the card.

I also think that the abundance of pentacles in the top left corner circle represent future work and financial successes if she could only come out of her bubble and recognize her own potential. This is a woman who has isolated herself with sadness and possibly self-esteem issues regarding her potential for success. She has experienced hardship and rejection and has decided that even though she is miserable that it is safer inside her bubble that outside of it. The problem with this, however, is that there is so much beauty and hope within inches of her reach if she would only move. If she would just move.

If anyone has anything else to add to this discussion, I would be more than happy to read it.

On a personal note, I pulled this card for myself yesterday when I was feeling particularly sad ( I deal with chronic depression.) and I was missing my mother terribly who died this past October suddenly of several heart attacks. It’s weird to contemplate that at my age and now with a child of my own, that I have no parents. I’m an adult orphan. It’s a weird concept to consider. I am feeling very alone at this time since I am in a new town and have yet to make any real friends. This is partly my fault since I tend to isolate myself and I have some health issues that prevent me from doing everything I would like to do socially. I am like the woman in the bubble who can’t see the beauty and hope for change beyond her own immediate surroundings. If I can only just move outside myself. I keep telling myself that. Just move. Just look around you. Let down your walls and experience life. It’s painful sometimes, but sometimes it’s joyful and hopeful. This is the thought I cling to.

I am also discovering that the grief I am experiencing from the death of my mother isn’t something that I can ever “get over” or “move through”. It has changed me irrevocably. I have to wake up each day with my first thought being, “I need to call my mom,” and then thinking to myself, “Shit, I can’t call her. She’s dead.” I found this floating around on the internet and it helped me so I thought I would share it with you all in the hopes that it may help someone else as well.

death is nothing at all

This was written by  Henry Scott Holland (27 January 1847 – 17 March 1918) was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford.

Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule

“Something in us needs to know that at the end of the longest night, there will be light.”

  • HuffPost Religion EditorsThe Huffington Post
12/16/2015 02:35 pm ET

In 2015, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Dec. 22 at 4:48 a.m. UTC. To calculate the turning point in your time zone, click here.

Officially the first day of winter, the winter solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. This is the longest night of the year, meaning that despite the cold winter, the days get progressively longer after thewinter solstice until the summer solstice in 2016.

The winter solstice is celebrated by many people around the world as the beginning of the return of the sun, and darkness turning into light. The Talmud recognizes the winter solstice as “Tekufat Tevet.” In China, the Dongzhi Festival is celebrated on the Winter Solstice by families getting together and eating special festive food.

Until the 16th century, the winter months were a time of famine in northern Europe. Most cattle were slaughtered so that they wouldn’t have to be fed during the winter, making the solstice a time when fresh meat was plentiful. Most celebrations of the winter solstice in Europe involved merriment and feasting. In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul, or Yule, lasted for 12 days celebrating the rebirth of the sun god and giving rise to the custom of burning a Yule log.

In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated at the Feast of Saturnalia, to honor Saturn, the god of agricultural bounty. Lasting about a week, Saturnalia was characterized by feasting, debauchery and gift-giving. With Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, many of these customs were later absorbed intoChristmas celebrations.

One of the most famous celebrations of the winter solstice in the world today takes place in the ancient ruins of Stonehenge, England. Thousands of druids and pagans gather there to chant, dance and sing while waiting to see the spectacular sunrise.

Pagan author T. Thorn Coyle wrote in a 2012 HuffPost article that for many contemporary celebrants, solstices “are a chance to still ourselves inside, to behold the glory of the cosmos, and to take a breath with the Sacred.”

In the Northern hemisphere, friends gather to celebrate the longest night. We may light candles, or dance around bonfires. We may share festive meals, or sing, or pray. Some of us tell stories and keep vigil as a way of making certain that the sun will rise again. Something in us needs to know that at the end of the longest night, there will be light.

In connecting with the natural world in a way that honors the sacred immanent in all things, we establish a resonance with the seasons. Ritual helps to shift our consciousness to reflect the outer world inside our inner landscape: the sun stands still within us, and time changes. After the longest night, we sing up thedawn. There is a rejoicing that, even in the darkest time, the sun is not vanquished. Sol Invictus — the Unconquered Sun — is seen once again, staining the horizon with the promise of hope and brilliance.

This year the Circle Sanctuary, a prominent U.S. pagan organization headed by Selena Fox, will observe the solstice with an all-ages Yule celebration on Saturday Dec. 19 complete with music, crafts and storytelling.

 

Personal note: I don’t really believe that the Christian Jesus was born around the time of Yule. However, in my house, we celebrate Christmas and Santa and all of that. I focus more on handmade gifts and little things than materialistic things. However, since my daughter is 4, it’s hard to get away from those things since she is at the age where she wants practically everything she sees toy and clothes-wise. There is a real historic figure called St. Niklaus who would bring gifts to children at the Yule-time. Christmas has only been celebrated in the US since about the 1800s. In it’s current manifestation, it seems more like a holiday invented by the toy manufacturers to increase their profits. Historically speaking, we know that Emperor Constantine appropriated Pagan holidays for Christian ones ostensibly to make them more palatable to his people who had been Pagan for generations.

For me, personally, I believe that the spiritual universe is made up of male and female essences and to operate fully, they both need to work together. I believe that the dying god, the male esssence, is sacrificed (or dies in the winter) and goes into the Mother (Earth) for the winter in order to be reborn again in the spring. I’m thinking of a figure like The Green Man.

Incidentally, there is going to be a full moon this year on the Winter Solstice. If anyone is interested, this would be a good time to do your spells to bring you good things for the next year. If you have tarot cards, lay the deck out over night where the light of the moon can touch them. This will cleanse them and make it to where you are more connected to them through your spirit and/or spirit guide.

greenman10 (1)

I realize I’m probably prattling on about nonsensical things right now. I’m pretty sick with either bronchitis or pneumonia and am dosed up on Codeine flavored cough syrup. Regardless of my personal beliefs and opinions, I hope you all, my lovely readers, have a wonderful Yule time or Christmas time. Whatever you celebrate, may the new year bring you peace, joy, love and prosperity. This is my most fervent wish for all of you and for myself as well.

Blessed Be.

Coffee Magick 101: Wake Up People !

Magia photo by Daniel Lobo. Text added. Licensed under CC 2.0

If we follow our minds down the path of Coffee through time we find that the history is rich. For those of us who can’t live without it – coffee is everything ! The following is a quick overview of coffee magick , drink it in!

Voodoo and Coffee

Coffee Veve for Maman Brigitte photo by Lilith Dorsey

New Orleans Voodoo pairs coffee with everything from blessings to bourbon. The city is known for it’s preference for coffee with chicory. Natives of the crescent city often add eggshells to cut the bitterness of the blend and give it a flavor all it’s own. This however is much more than just a beverage, coffee is used as a medium for drawing ritual Veves. These are ground drawings laid out in elaborate patterns to both call and honor the Loa, or deities. Most often they are made with white flour or cornmeal, but when laying out a divine space for Maman Brigitte, the ancestors, or Papa Legba, coffee can be the sacred sprinkle of choice. Veves are laid out using both hands to represent the journey into both the visible and invisible world, Veves can be some of the most beautiful and powerful creations to behold. For more information check out Veves Sacred Cell numbers for the Gods . Coffee is also used as an offering, be sure to see my New Orleans Ritual Voodoo Coffee Recipe.

In Haiti’s Vodou religion coffee is also used an an offering for the ancestors. Known as Les Baron and Les Gede, these powerful ancestor energies live on through the offerings they take. Coffee is only one of many offerings they are given including, liquor, food, flowers, money and just about everything a person living, or dead could want.

Santeria and Coffee

Santeria, also known as La Regla Lucumi has a deity called Eleggua. Eleggua likes it dark and strong. Hundreds of thousands of worshipers prepare a coffee offering for their Eleggua/Exu every Monday. It usually goes along with his cigar and literally starts the week off “rite.” Coffee, like the Orisha Eleggua himself, is a portal, gateway to possibility if you know how to utilize it properly. Many systems of magick have discovered this fact about coffee.

Crowley Coffee

Coffee Magic Godmorgon. Kaffet känns extra magiskt denna morgon. :-) by

It is almost impossible to talk about Magick without talking about Aleister Crowley. His own mother referred to him as “the beast,” and he loved it. Apparently the beast loved coffee too and he wrote the following invocation (which can be found on The Hermetic Library Blog :)

 

O coffee! By the mighty Name of Power do I invoke thee, consecrating thee to the Service of the Magic of Light. Let the pulsations of my heart be strong and regular and slow! Let my brain be wakeful and active in its supreme task of self-control! That my desired end may be effected through Thy strength, Adonai, unto Whom be the Glory for ever! Amen without lie, and Amen, and Amen of Amen.

Coffee Divination

“If you want to improve your understanding, drink coffee. “ – Rev. Sydney Smith 1771-1845

Tea leaf reading has stolen the historic spotlight here, and most people are unaware of Coffee divination as a magickal system. Reading coffee grounds, tea leaves and the like is officially called Tasseography. In the book Cafe Nation by Sandra Mizumoto Posey writes “ Coffee divination is once again enjoying widespread popularity because of the beverage’s long-recognized ability to energize….Sufi mystics knew centuries ago that coffee had the ability to aid in meditation and prayer.”

Turkish culture genuinely loves it’s coffee too, and for them the ritual is complex.TurkishCulture.org explains the basics of coffee divination telling us to begin by drinking out of only one side of the cup and when the cup is done place the saucer on top and make a wish. The site tells us that some believe that the cup can “ tell the past but only foretell forty days into the future.” Basically the method is to use scrying as a tool to interpret what you see in the grounds and or foam left in the bottom of the cup.

Coffee magic is a huge subject, and I could go on and on, look for more posts on this topic in the days to come, as soon as I’ve had more coffee ! And do me a favor, when you wake up and press those share buttons below, maybe more coffee will come out !

Patheos.com

In The Hole of My Grief

I’m still overwhelmed with grief at the passing of my mother. I feel like my days are just melting one into another. The only thing that gets me out of bed is my daughter. She needs me and I need and want to take care of her. I can’t say, however, that I’ve been in the best of moods lately. My emotions are all over the place. I’m so frustrated and angry and sad. Sometimes, out of the blue, my 4-year-old will ask me, “Mommy, are you still sad that Nana died?” I have to say “Yes” sometimes and other times I will say, “I’m still a little sad,” and then I will ask her, “Are you still sad that Nana died?”. She will invariably say, “No”. The last time she said this, I asked her why and she said, “Because Nana is in a better place. Her heart isn’t cracked anymore and she can run and play any time she wants to.” From the mouths of babes. I learn so much from her. I am so grateful that the Creator blessed me with her. I don’t always show my gratefulness through my actions, but in my heart, there is no one else in the world whom I love more than my daughter. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, I see many people saying what they are thankful for. Well, here’s my small list:

  1. My amazing daughter
  2. House to live in
  3. Money to pay rent
  4. Food to eat
  5. Car to drive
  6. My mom is with her Creator and is in no more pain and will have no more sadness ever.
  7. Heat in my house for when it gets cold
  8. Air conditioning for when it gets hot
  9. Electricity and the money to pay the bill
  10. Running water and the money to pay that bill

This is what I’m not thankful for: The pain and large hole in my life that my mother left when she died. On a purely intellectual level, I realize that grief is somewhat selfish. I mean, my mom is in a better place. Her life really didn’t end. Her physical body just gave out and her spirit went somewhere else where she can be totally fulfilled in a way that as a spirit trapped in my physical body I will never understand until I reach that point. Not that I wish for death or anything. I just realize that maybe I should be focusing more on the positive side of her death than the negative outcome it presents for me.

This is my tarot card for the day: The Knight of Cups

knight of cups

I’m not sure what this means for me. Does it mean that I will rise up above the waters of my grief to ride the waves and not drown (like I’m feeling now?). Does it mean that someone will come into my life who will pull me out of my grief and sadness and show me what it means to be happy and adventurous again? These court cards can sometimes represent an actual person, so I’m wondering if it does represent a person, who that person could be and if I already know them.

The Unicorn is a child of the sea – born of foam and restless waves, surging with the wild abandon of the surf. The Knight of Cups is her companion on the eternal quest.

He is the knight of the Round Table on the grand quest for the Grail. He is the romantic who seeks where his heart and emotions lead. He is the artist and the musician and the poet whose eyes see into the unseen nether-realms of imagination. He is the idealist who will not let physical laws stop him from riding with reckless abandon across the wave tops on his journey.

A Compendium of Demonology and Magic circa 1775

http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/compendium-of-demonology-and-magic-ca-1775/

The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

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Weise Owl

November 26th will roll in an intense Neptune-Saturn square. Saturn is currently in Sagittarius compelling us to hit the (philosophy) books and create structure around our ideas about religion, higher education, and foreign culture. How this is playing out for you depends on which house Sagittarius and Pisces are ruling in your chart. There are a lot of free astrology chart generators out there, find one and see what’s happening.

Neptune is currently at home in Pisces. Pisces rules dreams, that which is hidden, spirituality, euphoria, empathy. The list goes on. Pisces dissolves.

Starting on the 26th, this square unifies our ability to make our dreams real. The divine influence of Pisces can begin to dissipate outworn structures (Saturn) in our thinking making way for new connections with the sacred (Pisces). Saturn can create the scaffolding, the beginning of any real change. This union promises the ability to bridge the…

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