This Is Why They Burned Us

nude women in a circle

Rebelle Society

I give my blood to back to the Earth. Watching her drink it into her rich, dark soil. Feeding her with my elixir of life, the recipe tucked into the soft folds of my womb, held in the marrow of my bones for centuries.

This is why they burned us.

They did not understand how we didn’t fear death. How we could live more fully each time we bleed. Why we worshiped with reverence the cycles and rhythms of the earth. How we honored that sacred dance of the seasons mirrored in our own human flesh.

This is why they burned us.

We tender warriors of heart, keepers of the womb, protectors of the earth. Because our love for Nature and our devotion to Her scared them. For love that powerful strikes fear in the hearts of those who are unwilling to be soft, in those with ears that are closed to the heartbeat of the Earth. Who choose not to hear the love songs of Spirit all around us.

This is why they burned us.

Trying to domesticate and eradicate the wild in our bones. That emerges on the Full Moon. That seeks to howl and retch, scream and cry, sigh and sing life back into our bodies when they have become heavy or feel broken. Because we see the medicine in all things, the medicine all around, and we know that the purest medicine is the medicine within.

And medicine this strong can dismantle systems, bring authority to its knees, and is the embodiment of sovereignty.

This is why they burned us.

Because our worship is of no man, of no one church, of no one god. We call forth and invoke Spirit in all forms. Seeing God, Goddess, and Spirit in every plant, animal, and elemental being. Our palms and knees covered in dirt, as we sink ourselves onto the soil, finding our home, our holy place, our sanctuary in the wild.

This is why they burned us.

Because women in their bodies are a force of nature that cannot be tamed. We demand softening, reverence, and the type of integrity that comes from a wholehearted willingness to feel the connection to the whole world, to all living beings.

This is why even when they tried to burn us, we live on. As mothers, sisters, lovers, midwives, healers, artists, dancers, grandmothers, teachers, as all the flavors and forms of the Feminine. Because the whole world needs this medicine. Especially right now.

So answer the Wild Calling of your souls, sisters. Burn bright in your power, my loves. Give into your feral nature. Sing the songs of the ancient ones. Pour your blood, tears, and love into the Earth.

Do not fear. Let your heart flame be seen. For no flame of hate can burn as bright as the Love that you are.

You are holy.

You are whole.

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Herbs for the Deceased and to Help Connect with Them

poppy death painting

Der Tod by Hans Baluschek, 1895.

ACONITE is a VERY POISONOUS herb, and should only be administered by a qualified healer. It has been used to help the dying (at the time of death) transition comfortably to the stage after death. It can be planted on a burial, and used in an incense in ritual. The roots can be placed on an ancestor altar, especially around Samhain.

ANEMONE can be used in a ritual fire after the deceased has past over to encourage reincarnation.

ASPHODEL has traditionally grown on graves and washing the corpse. Gather in a bunch and tie in a red ribbon to aspurge the body in ritual.

BASIL is associated with love and protection, and is excellent to be used in an incense. It is used to help bring dignity and courage to one facing death. Can be incorporated into the ancestors’ feast on Samhain.

BAY LAUREL is used for communication with the dead, and is sometimes used in funeral wreaths. Can be used in dishes for the ancestors’ feast at Samhain.

BIRCH is often associated with rebirth and reincarnation. Blessings for the deceased can be written on birch bark and can then be buried or burnt with the corpse.

BLUEBELLS are planted on graves to bring peace and blessings, and may also be used to decorate the altar at the funeral, or on Samhain.

CHERVIL can be drank to aid one to in rituals of communing with the dead.

COMFREY is a helpful herb to help one get over the loss of a loved one. Excellent to plant in the garden in memorial of the deceased.

CYPRESS is associated with endings. Can be used to ritually bathe the body of the deceased.

ELDER is an excellent wood for a cremation pyre, or a sprig of elder can be buried with the deceased. Elderberries are excellent to decorate the funeral altar, or the altar at Samhain.

FRANKINCENSE can be burned at the funeral ritual, or in ritual while communing with the dead for purification, and spiritual transformation.

GARLIC is used for protection, and can be put on a grave, and cooked in dishes for the ancestors’ feast at Samhain.

HOLLY is associated with resurrection and renewal, and can be buried with the deceased or used to decorate the funeral altar.

IVY can be planted at a grave to celebrate the life of the deceased and to encourage rebirth.

LAVENDER should be planted in memory of the deceased either on the grave or in the home of a living loved one to bring peace.

LEMON BALM is associated with immortality and happiness, and can be drank in a tea to lift spirits of the mourning.

LILY can be planted on a grave to represent resurrection.

LOTUS pods can be used as an incense burner to aid the soul seeking reincarnation.

MANDRAKE root can be buried with the body to protect the spirit and send it safely on its way. It also can be used to decorate the ancestor altar at Samhain.

MARJORAM can be planted on a grave and used in the ancestors’ feast at Samhain.

MINT can be used as a strewing herb to bring joy to the mourning.

MISTLETOE can be buried with the deceased for protection.

MUGWORT can be drank by the dying to gain inner sight.

MULLEIN can be used to cleanse the body of the deceased.

MYRRH was once used in embalming, but can now be used as an incense at the funeral to bring healing, purification, and protection.

OAK is a tree of strength, and is an excellent pick to plant in the memory of the deceased.

PARSLEY can be strewn on the path of where the body is being transported, and can be planted at the grave site for good luck in the after life.

PENNYROYAL is used to bathe the corpse to assist in the soul being reborn.

PERIWINKLE is a herb of immortality and can be used in a funeral wreath or used to decorate tombs. Often used in the passing of children.

POMEGRANATE can be eaten at the ancestors feast on Samhain to represent rebirth.

POPPY can be used in funeral wreaths or planted at a grave site to bring restfulness to the deceased.

ROSEMARY can be thrown into grave sites, carried on funeral processions, or burned as an incense. Can be used in the ancestors’ feast at Samhain, especially to commune to deceased friends.

ROSES represent love and purification, and are used in funeral wreaths and planted in memory of the deceased.

ROWAN is associated with protection. The berries can be buried with the deceased or used to decorate the funeral and ancestor altar, and can be planted on a grave site.

RUE can be burnt for karmic completion.

SAGE can be used as a smudge for purification, and ingested when communing with the dead, and to bring wisdom.

SANDALWOOD is an excellent purification incense that can be used during the funeral ritual.

TANSY was once used for embalming. It can now be used to aspurge the temple and the body of the deceased, and used to decorate the ancestor altar.

THYME makes an excellent ritual cup to drink before communing with the dead, and can be used in a ritual incense or bath for purification.

VIOLETS are appropriate flowers for the graves of children.

WILLOW is said to ease the soul at the time of death if it is planted by the deceased in their lifetime. Willow baskets can be used as offering containers for ancestors.

WORMWOOD can be used as an incense for transformational healing for the mourning, or to bring insight to the dying.

YARROW can be grown on graves in in the gardens of the mourning to bring protection and healing.

YEW is associated with immortality and endings, and was often planted in graveyards to protect the bodies of the deceased.

THE LAST SAMHAIN SUPPER OF THE HOLY GHOSTS: RESURRECTING OUR WOUNDED WOMEN.

Rebelle Society

October 31, 2016   

samhain godesses

I am setting the grandest table for them, these women of my childhood religion who so wholly embodied the woundings of the global Feminine collective.

Teardrops are falling on my grandmother’s silver as I straighten and perfect each place setting, and my heart-drum beats out a mournful dirge as I light the black candles.

One by one, I summon them, bidding them to join me on this Samhain night when the veil is so thin that I can hear the wails of burning women tied to stakes, and the gasps of holy healers swaying at the noose ends. I summon them, these women I was told to shun, and I take my seat at this Last Supper of Holy Whores, this so solemn Samhain celebration that is my highest ritual.

I call on the Mystery to resurrect the Divine Feminine dark, and I set fire to the sweet-grass braids while I whisper their infamous, ill-reputed names.

Mother of Babylon, I welcome you and your revelations to this table. On this ghostly night, I remember you for your Witch-warrior nature and your kinship with nature. I can read the language tattooed on your body, and I have memorized the truest apocalyptic verses. You represent the end of their days, and their condemnation of your leadership is fear-born and unholy.

You will give them their last rites, and I will stand with you while you draw a phantom pentagram over their hearts.

The ghost of the wild Mother materializes, riding her seven-headed wolf and glowing an ethereal red.

They feared the future you represent, the Wild Rising and the genesis of pan-human equality. They tell little ones you embody all that is evil and unjust, but many know the truth. You are the collective feminine wound of our stolen right to affect change, to vindicate our dead, and to unearth the bones of the socially powerless. You are our right to grieve, and our divinely sanctioned right to share our own prophecies.

They called you a whore, but tonight I will call you Mother.

The wild one dismounts her beast and takes a seat at the table’s head. I pour wine for her and crush my eyes closed, readying myself to call in the next guest.

Mary Magdalene, I welcome you and your devotion to the Sacred Masculine to this table. I remember you for your passion and your grace, and I have heard your lover beg me to resurrect you with my words. You are the holy partner, the eternal Creatrix, and you will not be shamed.

The ghost of the red-hooded She-God appears holding a baby in her arms, and the Mother of Babylon raises a fist high in solidarity.

They feared your sexuality and your intimate, heart-born connection with the man they worshiped as their savior. They do not tell their daughters you were the lover of Christ, but I will. They do not speak of your divinity, but I will raise my voice for you. You are the collective feminine wound of our stolen cosmic birthright to make love to our Gods, to drink the holy water, and to pray with our bodies.

You, Lover-Priestess of Magdala, are the pulse-beat of the universal heart, and you are our right to hand-craft our own religions. They called you a whore, but I will call you Mary, Lover of Christ.

She lowers her hood, taking a seat next to the Mother, and I spoon some of my Witch’s brew into her bowl. Still more ghosts are all around us, and their curious whispers nearly drown out my call to the fallen queen.

Jezebel, I welcome you and your devotion to this table. Tonight, I remember you. This is a memorial service to your spiritual conviction, your bone-deep spiritual autonomy, and your refusal to bow down to a God that was not your own. I am giving your crown back to you, and I am tattooing your name on my belly.

The royal woman who was denigrated for her beliefs appears in all her adorned glory, and both the Lover from Magdala and the Mother of Babylon bow their heads in reverence to the one they called an idol-worshiping adulteress.

They feared your spiritual freedom, and they denounced your religion. They beat you, and they tried to rob you of your worth. They still use your name to restrict the sexual liberty of women, and they have bound you in their so-called holy book to be forever the unchaste one. You are the collective feminine wound of stolen spiritual agency, and all women feel your pain.

They called you the fallen queen, but I will call you Jezebel, Priestess of Baal and Lover of Mystery.

The queen takes her seat at the table, leaving just one empty chair, and I butter some bread for her. We four sit in silence for a time then, readying and steadying ourselves, raising our frequencies so high that we sprout wings from our backs and milk-white crowns from our heads.

I feel her before I call her, and these words pass from my lips in an accented tongue I do not speak, and yet I understand my meaning:

Lilith, I welcome you and your brave heart to this table. On this sacred night, I remember your refusal to accept the conditions they set for you, and I remember your liberation from the sweet floral prison built to contain your sexuality, your wit, and your fem-force. You are a fire-walker, sent into the desert to repent the sin of feminine independence, and you risked much in the dangerous search for your own house.

No, you said. No, I will not apologize for knowing my worth. No, I will not submit to your will. No, I will not surrender to the hand of those who would harm my daughters, and by the grace of all things holy, I will not bow down to a God that thinks me less than a man.

There is an earthquake in my bones, and I shiver, waiting. The candles dim, threatening to die out, and then the flames extend so high, white-hot and sparking. All of us — the Mother, the Lover, the Priestess, and I — bow our heads in womb-felt reverence, and she appears.

The original incarnation of the Feminine Divine, this wild-haired, bare-breasted, and dark-skinned force of nature who descends all religion, sees straight into my marrow. Her black eyes bear down into my soul’s deepest wounds, and suddenly she knows all of my secrets. I would have begged her to consume me then, to swallow all of my energy and use it as she sees fit, but again I speak without trying:

They twisted your story, Dark Goddess, as they have stolen and molded the stories of every woman who sits at this table. They used your names to teach their lessons, and kept you shackled to a book you never read and a God you did not worship. You are the collective feminine wound of social inequity, oppression, and isolation. Lilith, they called you the Mother of Demons, but I will call you Dark Goddess, Mother of All.

The rawest human form of the Feminine Divine takes her seat at our table, and I slice her some forbidden fruit as the candles blaze. We hold hands, and the scene is like no other. The Mother’s seven-headed beast is snoring softly at our feet, and the baby of the God-among-men and his red-hooded lover is cooing softly, mesmerized by the fires.

When I join hands with them, Lilith to my left and the Mother to my right, I can feel them inside of me. My guts twist with the red, throbbing ache of our shared wounds. I feel the Mother’s wound of stolen prophecy, the Lover’s wound of denounced body prayer, the Priestess’ wound of spiritual subjugation, and the Dark Goddess’ wound of inequity, the original sin.

I feel it all, and I pray for death; the collective feminine scars are so egregious, so unbearable, I have nowhere to keep this pain. I am in agony. I am birthing a billion black holes from my belly, and they are ripping their way out of my soft flesh. I want to bleed out, but my guests will not let me.

I am pulled from my pain by their hands, and my thoughts are lucid again. I feel the merit of their vindication, and sit, slumped and breathless, while they pray-howl in unison over our Samhain supper:

On this holy night, we bless this table with our tears and our rage. We sit together in solemn solidarity, and we invoke a total transmutation of the collective feminine wound. We invoke the Mystery’s cool, cosmic wonder to come forth and quench our thirst for change.

Their voices grow so loud, I feel my body will combust with the pressure of the sound, and I surrender to their invocation fully, with all that I am or will ever be.

We are calling on the Sacred Feminine to rise up, to groundswell under our feet and swallow up the outmoded religions of this world. We are calling on holy wildfire to incinerate any ropes that bind the hands of the oppressed, and we are demanding to be heard. Hear us, women, and know you will not be tamed by their laws. You are She-Gods, and for this, you are feared.

Hear us, all who value the Feminine, and know it is your time. Hear us, and affect the transformation of spiritual systems that would keep you in the dirt.

Hear us, for we are owed. We have suffered much in the tragic names of piety and morality. We have been burned, scorned, pushed from windows, and shamed. Our power has been locked inside countless cages, their laws, their commandments, their moral codes. Tonight we say no more, and tomorrow we rise.

Tonight we have risen from our unmarked graves to ignite a bonfire of the Feminine Returned, and tomorrow we will visit the dreams of anyone who will have us.

We are the ghosts of the Holy Feminine, and we will haunt the churches that banned us. We will take the titles they said we could not have, and we will wear their most sacred robes. We will stand and sing with their choirs, and the Sunday-dressed women will whisper of the spectral, wild-haired ones. We will stand bare-breasted in front of their stained glass windows, and we will wail when our names our mentioned.

You cannot have us anymore. We are not yours to use, Priest. Find other tools of indoctrination, for our stories do not belong to you. We are the Spirits of the Wounded Feminine, and we demand justice. We will shred any mask you make for us, and the dead do not get tired. Our energy is self-renewing, ever-flowing, and all-encompassing. We are here, and we are staying.

Their last words hang in the air. The candles have been snuffed, and I am alone in the dark, left with nothing but my resolve.

Samhain Wake Ritual 

samhain altar
Set up a cauldron or spirit bowl in the center of the altar or table. Around the cauldron, set pictures of the dead and any keepsakes you have. In the cauldron you can set a mix of spirit communication herbs with a candle. A gourd or pumpkin can be used as well.Light incense and candle. You can call in the dead by calling their name and inviting them through the veil to you. Everyone can speak about the dead, share stories and play music. When done, I am sure to let them know the candle is for them to draw strength and power from for travelling. When ready, you can send them on their way. Here you can close up the rite or allow them to stay. After this, I usually make food and offer the dead some as well. I allow the dead to come and go.

5 Awesome Beltane Celebration Ideas for Solitaries

 

Posted by Leandra Witchwood on Thursday, 16 April 2015 in Culture Blogs

5 Awesome Beltane Celebration Ideas for Solitaries

Beltane is a time for fun, mythology, food, and happy indulgence. It is great to spend the day in the sun with those you admire. Group outings and coven experiences are wonderful this time of year.

BUT….

Groups and covens are not the only ones allowed to have all the fun. I have been a solitary for MANY years and I have yet to miss a Beltane celebration. Why should I? There are so many fun and inexpensive things to do. With or without a coven or group, you can have a blast.

The best part of going at it alone is, you don’t have to clear or coordinate your plans with anyone! Why? You call the shots!  There are no misunderstandings about when and where to meet. You don’t have to hear anyone complain about this that, and any other issue than may pop up. The only winer in the group is you, so if you can tolerate yourself you’re in business. *chuckle*

In this post I will take you through some of my favorite solitary Beltane activities. Many of these activities are flexible so you can include friends and family if you choose. So here we go!

 

1. Host a Solitary Beltane Tea.

beltane tea

We all know Beltane is the counter to Samhain where the veil once again thins and we are able to commune and communicate with our ancestors and departed loved ones. The practice of having a silent Dumb Supper during Samhain is very common. Why not extend that tradition to Beltane with its own twist?

Serve your tea as you would your Dumb Supper, just make it more colorful with spring flowers and your favorite tea foods and treats. This activity is flexible, invite others to join you if you like. Make sure you take time to fully connect and honor your ancestors and departed loved ones.

2. Get out in Nature.

beltane nature walk

This an inexpensive way to feel the energy Beltane has to spare. Go on a hike, walk in the park, or even visit a botanical garden. Anywhere you can see, listen, smell, and touch nature is a good place to visit. Find a place to sit and quietly meditate or just relax while you feel the breeze and listen to the birds.

Another idea (one of my favs), is include planting as part of your outdoor ritual. I am sure there are plenty of flowers, herbs, etc. you still want to get in the ground. Why not make planting your remaining seed, seedlings, and plants a part of your Beltane ritual? It’s perfect.

3. Attend a May Day Festival

beltane may day festival

Out here we have the annual May Day Faerie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. This is a great event where adults and kids dress up and everyone plays. There are drum circles, belly dancing, bubbles, and lots of faeries.

The nice thing about events like this is that you don’t have to attend with a barrage of friends and family in tow. You don’t even have to dress up. Just show up! Sometimes going alone gives you the best experiences. You meet new people, dance like nobody is watching, and play with the fae. Look for similar events in your area where you can get out and have a great time.

4. Stoke a “Bale” Fire.

beltane bale fire

To me Beltane is just not Beltane without Bon or Bale Fire. Don’t worry if you don’t have a large outdoor place to do this. You can use candles, your fireplace, or a small fire pit; whatever you have available will do. I usually use our outdoor fire pit, which is fairly small and fits nicely on our deck. Your fire can be big or small, either will do.

OH! Don’t forget to take the opportunity to do some fire gazing…

 5. Make a Beltane Craft

beltane craft

Crafts are a favorite in my home because I have a young heathen to entertain. Traditionally, I like to make head/hair garlands, and wreaths. The wreath is for the front door and the head garland I use for some Beltane Magick. Find a craft you have been itching to create and do it!

Making Beltane Special

It does not matter if you have a group to celebrate with or not. Beltane can be an enriching celebration when you get creative and try something new. Sometimes the best spiritual experiences are the ones we discover alone. There is no disruption, or distraction. It is only you and your ability to experience the energy of the moment.

 

Walpurgisnacht is coming!

So ready your bonfires, get all of your old wooden things and load your little dolls with all of the ill-health and bad things that happened for the last year and get ready to burn them on April 30 or May 1 and celebrate the coming year! I will post more as the holiday approaches.

walpurgisnacht dance

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.