Asatru Labels Laurie Cabot Etnicity of Deity Outdoor Altars | Plant and Animal Oracles | The Pagan Garden
Though a country be sundered, hills and rivers endure; And spring comes green again to trees and grasses Where petals have been shed like tears And lonely birds have sung their grief. ...After the war-fires of three months, One message from home is worth a ton of gold. ...I stroke my white hair. It has grown too thin To hold the hairpins any more.
Du Fu -A Spring View (750 AD)
This Little Witch I
s everyone else as ready for Springtime weather as I am? I appreciate winter, I even like snow on occasion, and iceskating, but right now, I am longing for the sun. I dream of running out of the house in just a short sleeved shirt, or even a sweater. I’m tired of hunting for my gloves and scarf. Still, early flowers have emerged in my garden, and every once in a while, the sun is out enough for it to get a little bit warm. It feels like it’s time for the Spring 2013 issue of Little Witch! This issue, we have a sunny Spring focus: Calandriel takes us through the preparations of
a garden, Lunadea helps you decide whether an outdoor altar is something that could be of value to your practice, and Linda gives you all the inspiration you need to go out there and enjoy the Spring. On top of that, we also have a guest writer, Vernon McNew, who shares a little about Asatru—Norse Reconstruction— Linda discusses the plant and animal oracles of Carr-Gomm, Heron Dawning has written a beautiful portrait of Salem witch Laurie Cabot, and I discuss the value of the Pagan label to the Pagan community, as well the importance of proper depiction of deity in this latest issue. I hope that, after reading this issue, you feel inspired to go out, to get your hands dirty and work in your garden. Clean up everything left over from Fall and Winter, and prepare for the new. Spring is right around the corner, and I welcome it with open arms. Enjoy this beautiful season, and meet us back here come Summer. We’ll have much more for you to read.
In this issue: 4 5 6 8 9 10 12 14 15 18
The Goody Bag Plant and Animal Oracles Examining the season The Magic of Spring Pagan world The Pagan Garden Witchy Things The Pagan Label Merry Meet Laurie Cabot The Feasts Discussion Etnicity of Deity Branching out Asatru By the firelight Beware the Sidhe Practical Pagan Outdoor Altars
Blessed be, Elani Temperance
The Goodie Bag
Plant and Animal Oracles - By Linda Zoet
lose your eyes and let both animals and plants pass before your mind’s eye. Which vision of animal or plant stays with you? What else do you see in the environment around it? Is there knowledge to be gleamed from the image before you, and does it make you think about your situation or emotions? This is what the plant and animal oracles could mean for you. The oracles will not predict the future, and you won’t be able to plot your life with it, so why use these cards? Because they make you think about your situation, and they ask you to look at it with a different perspective. They advice and support. Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm have created two sets of oracle cards; one focused on animals, the other on plants. Both were illustrated by Will Worthington, and because of this, they can be used separately, but can just as easily be used together to combine the knowledge and
wisdom on plants as well as animals into one deck. Each card shows a specific plant, flower, or animal in its natural environment. A description of the plant or animal can be found in the accompanying book. After the description, an in-depth look at the card follows. Interprative descriptions are given for both standing as reversed cards. To round off the section, a bit about the tradition behind the subject follows. Different patters are explained in the back of the book. They can be used for different readings. The ‘pentagram’-pattern, for example, helps you search for wholeness, healing, integration and spiritual development. The pattern of Airmid’s cloak can be used for a general reading in a situation where it is unclear how you should act. The various patterns and the possibility to combine the decks help you shed light on a large variety of issues that you need aid in, or give you a fresh perspective. As with all forms of divination,
you will sometimes be shown messages you do not want to see, or have been denying. Be clear about the question you want to have answered, and be aware you will sometimes get an answer to a question you hadn’t even asked. Chances are you were worrying about it, regardless. Try to listen to those messages and learn from it. You’ll be better for it in the end.
The Druid Animal Oracle & The Druid Plant Oracle Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm $10,- to $20,Available in bookstores and esoteric stores, but also on amazon.com
Examining the season The Magic of Spring - By Linda Zoet
round us, the earth is slowly awakening, but Winter has not relinquished its crown in its entirety. Winter and Spring are caught in an intricate dance where first Winter, then Spring take control. Swirling through nature, they decide who is the temporary leader. You can feel, and see it, in everything. This is the time of year where you can go out in the morning and face a snowstorm, yet come back to sunshine and a lazy afternoon spent in the garden, sipping tea. It is definitely the season of change. The sun is slowly starting to show itself more and
the world is literally starting to defrost. The seed that found shelter in the cold earth, can now find the space it needs to grow and develop into the beautiful plant it was destined to be. The birds who fed themselves on feed put out by helpful humans have slowly started to test their beautiful lilts. Slowly, we become accustomed to being awoken by singing birds, not our alarm clocks. In the windowsills, nurseries for young sprouts appear, hoping to nurse the seeds into a little more maturity before they go into the ground. Ducks in the pond alternate their mode of transport from swimming, to walking the thin layer of ice that still appears
incidentally. Cats in the neighborhood choose a spot outside over a spot inside to bask in the sunâ€™s strengthening rays. A cold wind still blows through the streets, designed to drag away the old. It creates a vacuum, which will soon be filled with the new green and fresh energy of the season. In places the wind canâ€™t reach, people, animals and plants enjoy the surprisingly warm sun. This is the season to invite nature into your home. Why not decorate your house with crocuses? After they have bloomed, donâ€™t throw them out. Plant them in the garden instead, this way, they can return in the coming spring and brighten your garden.
Activities for Spring time Make spring rolls with a wrap filled with salmon, cheese, lime, and fresh herbs. Let down your
hair and put your favorite music on. Dance until you feel the energy return to your body.
Spring is the seasons to be active and engaged, so enjoy every moment of it!
aving a garden almost seems like a given in the Pagan community, but how do you start one? As a very important first step, your garden needs to be prepared, this happens in Fall and Winter. You must plan out your garden: what will be its purpose, what is in it now, what would you like to keep, and what has to go? On top of that, you need to regard the dimension of the space and which part(s) of it you want to use for your gardening project. It might be that you only have a balcony, or a garden that’s completely tiled over. If that’s the case, you will be forced to work in pots, or you will have to take out a few tiles from the tiled over garden, When you start removing plants, it’s important to know how to remove them in a way that’s constructive and lasting. For annual plants, it’s enough to pull them from the ground. If you remove them from the earth, they will dry out and die.
Plants with rootstock (thicker roots that spread and form new plants on the tip of them) like stinging nettle and bishop’s weed need to be removed completely before the ground is used for anything else. This means removing all the roots as well. A handy way to do this is to remove everything you can find of the plant, including the roots, and then to let the ground settle for a week or so. After this time, the shoots of new plants will have come up, and they become easier to locate. Pull them out—root and all—and repeat if you feel it might be necessary. It seems like a lot of work, but failing to remove these plants completely before the ground it re-purposed will mean you are left an overabundance of weeds, which will crowd out your desired plants. In the long run, it will save you a lot of time if you prepare the ground well. If you remove these weeds in the late summer, or early fall, you will have a good amount of time to see if anything new comes up. Remember that most weeds survive the winter
much better than the plants you want in your garden. Before you start sowing, its important to look at the location and the soil type of your garden. Check if the spot is rich in sunlight, and if the soil is clay based or sand based. You will recognize clay based soil by the sticky lumps in the ground, and sandy ground is often lighter, and brittle. Mid ground (usually dark brown, cohesive but not lumped, full of organic material like bits of leaves, twigs, etcetera, left over from previous years) is the most fertile of soil, and is rich in nutrients. If your garden soil contains a lot of clay, you might want to break the soil before winter, so the ground can freeze and break. While you’re breaking the soil, you might want to introduce sand or compost to mix the clay and bring out a nutrients rich soil that’s that will serve as the perfect bed for your plants. If you’re adding compost, do so as early as possible, preferably right after harvesting. The longer the compost stays in the ground, the
The Pagan Garden - By Calandriel an Cuiileur
more the nutrients are absorbed into the soil, and the more fertile the land will become. Adding compost to sandy ground is also highly encouraged. Where compost breaks up clay type ground, and helps with water drainage, compost mixed through sandy ground will make it slightly more compact, due to the organic material that is introduced. This will help sandy water retain enough moisture to sustain plant life, and the compost itself will introduce valuable nutrients to a nutrient-poor environment. The third preparatory question becomes: what to sow, and when? Sowing and planting is best done after the daytime frost has gone, and the chance of frost during the night has lessened considerably. Some plants are better equipped to deal with cold (union, carrot, spinach, etcetera), so these can be sown from late February, or the beginning of March—if the frost is gone—until the end of Fall. It’s always a possibility to sow a few resilient species early in the year, and to see if they
stick. If they do, you can introduce more of them. This also ensures the plants will mature in sequence, which is especially helpful in the case of vegetables. You can also raise up a few plants indoors, and plant them outside once they have become a little better equipped for the outside. Not that these plants will be used to a higher temperature, so an unexpected bout of frost might very well kill them. When planting these seedlings, make sure that the forecast is clear. Vegetables thrive in a sunny spot, on nutrient-rich mid soil, and perform best if they have been allowed to mature a little indoors. Alternatively, you can buy young plants and plant these into the garden directly. Examples include lettuce, spinach, beans, broccoli and cauliflower. You will want to plant herbs on a slightly sand, slightly shady, piece of ground. Compost introduced in the Fall will make all the difference in Spring and Summer, while the plant matures. Herbs enjoy a nutrient-rich spot. A good few herbs thrive in a shady spot,
thyme, lemon balm, tarragon, chervil, basil, chives, dill, marjoram, parsley and fennel amongst them. A good guide when sowing seed directly into the soil is to plant the seeds at their own depth. Make a small trench in the soil with your finger, and measure out the depth by the size of the seed. For a garden variety bean, this is about a centimeter, for union seed about four millimeters. Place the seeds into the trench with a little space between them, cover up the seed, and water it carefully so to seed doesn’t wash away. Because you have planted the seeds in a row, you will be able to spot their location easily, and you’ll have a much easier time removing weeds from the bed. We hope this tutorial gives you a foundation of knowledge to start your own garden with, and we wish you a great time in planting, taking care of, and harvesting, vegetables, fruit, and herbs. In the next issue, we’ll continue with the latter two, maintaining your garden and harvesting the spoils. Until then!
Witchy Things The Pagan Label - By Elani Temperance
Pagan religion is a religion that is not Jewish, Christian, or Islamic and self-identifies as Pagan.’ It’s one of the most wide-spread definitions of Paganism out there, one of the most standard, and also one of the most general. Within the Pagan label, it is said that the only defining factor we have that binds us together, is the fact that we are are not in one of the big faiths. In general, us Pagans feel we define what the Pagan label means, but the term ‘Paganism’ has been--and most likely always was--defined not by those in it, but by those passing judgment upon it from the outside. Yet, the label consists out of commonalities found within most practitioners. For most, it is the biggest reason to subscribe to the label in the first place: finding a home, a family, a group to belong to. Experiences of the divine vary. It has always been that way, and it will always be that way.
Especially in our current— individualistic—society, everyone is encouraged to walk their own path. Part of that walk means figuring out what the Gods mean to you. We are a varied bunch and some question who should and should not be able to lay claim to the name. Paganism as a whole, and many of its branches, still have a lot of growing up to do. We are not united. We bicker amongst ourselves. We are not proud of the Pagan label and most branches fight to stand on their own despite the label. We focus on the individual (or Tradition), not the community. And this is fine; it is how Paganism was conceived and it has naturally progressed into this state. Yet, if we look at the big religions—the religions that have found a way to stay viable to this day—they have their unity in common. Do all the branches under the various labels love each other? No, not at all, but they (in general) don’t fight the overarching label.
While the label is fairly new, Neo-Paganism has been around for such an amount of time, the term is no longer new. We’ve come together and put the label out there. People outside the label might still consider us fringe, and they might still think we’re a little bit weird, but there is a distinction being made by the general population, who decide what we are and what we do. Religious, nature-loving, free. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don’t. There is strength in the Pagan label, and it is time for Pagans to truly start defining what Paganism means. We all identify ourselves differently under the Pagan label, but towards the outside, towards the major religions, we need it. Because if we ever want religious rights, if we ever want to be understood instead of feared, if we ever want to leave our fringe position behind, then we need to stand behind our Pagan name. Not because it’s accurate but because it matters to be heard.
Merry Meet Laurie Cabot - By Heron Dawning
aurie Cabot, the official witch of Salem. Born in 1933 in the state of Oklahoma, she was interested in her psychic gifts at an early age. Raised Catholic she sought answers to her questions in Christianity first, until she met a witch who encouraged her to look beyond Christianity. At the age of sixteen she was initiated in a coven. In the late 60’s Cabot decided to life the rest of her life fully and openly as a witch. She began wearing only black robes and black eye-make-up, in line with an, according to her, ancient witch tradition. In 1970 the governor of Massachusetts declared her the official witch of Salem in appreciation of her work with children. Cabot opened her own store in Salem in the year 1971, started her own tradition of witchcraft, wrote books about the subject and later created the Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple, an organization that focuses on witchcraft as a science and practicing it for the betterment of the world and those who live in it.
Cabot often speaks of the importance of not only reading but also practicing often and regularly. This helps you with the exploring of your own path. According to Cabot it is important to choose a tradition. This gives you the required guidance and structure to help you to learn and advance. She calls herself a Celtic and pre-Gardnerian witch, and has distanced herself from what she calls ‘the new Wicca’ and more eclectic traditions. Cabot’s tradition underlines the importance of integrity as a witch and the cultivation of your own personal power. This power is important for doing good for your environment and yourself. Witchcraft in this tradition is seen as a religion, path, art and as a science. Although Cabot has a traditional side, she also shows herself to be quiet modern. By means of all sorts she speaks to those
that wish to learn about witchcraft: her website, Facebook and even Youtube. She gives online tarot readings and her store has become an online shop. The flamboyant Cabot with her distinct appearance and services for witches certainly is not media shy. This move has been critisized, labeling her ‘exorbitant’ and ‘attention-seeking’. This woman just past her eightieth birthday has never let herself be stopped by comments of this kind and still is active for that which she stands for. As such she is currently in the process of creating the Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple. Laurie Cabot occupies herself with this because she sees the value of witches having their own physical place to gather. A place and organization where witches from all kinds of traditions can openly be united and acknowledged.
http://www.lauriecabot.com http://www.cabotkenthermetictemple.org http://www.youtube.com/user/LaurieCabotOfficial
arch: 22: Dionysia, Greek festival of Dionysos,
God of wine 23: Egyptian festival of Isis, Goddess of love and war 25: Egyptian festival of the cutting out of Sobekâ€™s tongue 26: Egyptian festival of Anubis, God of mummification and the afterlife 27: Egyptian festival of Min, Goddess of love 30: Roman festival of Salus, Goddess of public safety and welfare 31: Roman festival of Luna, Goddess of the moon
pril: 1: Veneralia, Roman festival of Venus, Goddess of love and beauty 1: Egyptian festival of Hathor, Goddess of joy, feminine love, and motherhood 2: Egyptian festival of the Ennead, maintainers of order
3: Egyptian festival of the counting of Thoth, God of wisdom and learning 4: Egyptian festival of the judging of souls by Maâ€™at, Goddess of order 4-10: Magalesia, Roman festival of Magna Mater, also known as Cybele, mother Goddess 5: Lady Luck Day, Roman festival Fortuna, Goddess of good fortune 9: Lumeria, Roman festival of the Lemures, the spirits of dead family members 12: Cerealia: Roman festival of Ceres, Goddess of harvest 14: Egyptian festival of Horus, Osiris, and Ra, Gods of the sun, the dead, and sun, respectively 15: Fordicidia, Roman festival of Tellus, earth Goddess 15: Egyptian festival of Bastet and Horus, Goddess of cats and God of the sun, respectively 16: Delphinia: Greek festival in honor of Apollon, God of light and divination 16: Egyptian sacred day of Ra 19: Cerealia, Roman festival of Ceres, Goddess of corn 21: Egyptian festival of Wadjet, patron and protector of Lower
Egypt 21: Palilia, Roman festival of Pales, Goddess of sheperds and flocks 23: Vinalia Prioria, Roman festival of wine, sacred to Jupiter and Venus 23: Greek festival of Bellerophon, slayer of Chimera 23: Norse festival of Sigurd, dragon slayer 25: Robigalia, Roman festival of Robigus, God of corn 26: Mounikhia, Greek festival of Artemis as the moon Goddess and Mistress of the animals 26-May 3: Mayan festival of Chac, God of rain and new fruits 27-May 2: Floralia, Roman festival of Flora, Goddess of fruitfulness and flowers 29: Egyptian festival of Hapi and Amun, God(dess) of the Nile, and God of air, respectively 29: Olympieia, Greek festival in honor of Olympian Zeus
The Feasts By Elani Temperance
ay: 1: Beltaine / Samhain 1: Celtic festival of Belenus, God of fire and the sun 3: Roman festival of Bona Dea, Good Goddess 5: Thargalia, Greek festival of the birthdays of Apollon and Artemis 5: Egyptian festival of the children of Nut, Goddess of the sky. Her children are: Osiris, Set, Isis, Nephthys, and sometimes Horus 9, 11, 13: Lemuria, Roman festival of the Lemures, those who died violent deaths 14: Egyptian festival of Hathor 15: Egyptian festival of Bastet and Hathor 15: Mercuralia, Roman festival of Mercury, God of merchants and travellers 17: Roman festival of Dea Dia, cosmic mother 19: Celtic and Irish festival of the Sacred Spring, on which wells and springs are adorned with flowers and greenery in honor of the Goddess Brigid, Goddess of fire and blacksmithing 28: Bendideia, Greek festival
in honor of Thracian Goddess Bendis 29: Ambarvalia, Roman festival to the agricultural deities 30: Egyptian festival of Maâ€™at, Goddess of cosmic order
une: 1: Roman festival of Carna, Goddess of bodily organs 3: Roman festival of Bellona, Goddess of war 3: Kallunteria & Plynteria, Greek spring cleaning of the Temple of Athena, Goddess of wisdom, war, and crafts 7: Roman festival of Tiberinus, God of the river Tiber 7: Roman festival of Vesta Aperit, Goddess protector of virginal womanhood 8: Roman festival of Mens, Goddess of mind and consciousness 9: Vestalia, Roman festival of Vesta, Goddess of the hearth 11: Matralia, Italian festival of Mater Matuta, Goddess of the dawn
11: Arrephoria, Greek festival in honor of Athena 12: Egyptian festival of Mut, mother Goddess 13: Egyptian festival of Horus 13-15: Quinquatrus, Roman festival of flute players and Minerva, Goddess of war, wisdom, and crafts 14: Norse festival of Vidar, son of Odin 15: Ides of June, end of Roman festival of Vesta 16: Egyptian festival of Isis and Hathor 18: Egyptian festival of Min 20: Egyptian festival of Anubis 20: Skirophoria, Greek festival of Athena, Poseidon, Apollon & Demeter, Goddess of wisdom, war, and crafts, God of the sea, earthquakes and horses, God of light, and Goddess of agriculture, respectively 21: Summer Solstice - Litha / Winter solstice - Yule 21: Egyptian festival of Wadjet
n the Pagan world, there is a subconscious desire to depict any Deity we--especially Caucasian people--identify with, as white, or at least as light as possible whenever we envision them as resembling humans. Most images of Goddesses depict the Goddess at hand as white, thin, with long, flowing hair, and wearing an equally flowing dress; even when the Goddess in question is most likely not white, thin, with long, flowing hair, and wearing an equally flowing dress. There are entire studies on perception influencing self-image, done with children of different ethnicities. Often times, children of any ethnicity will pick the white doll over the colored doll, and draw themselves one or a few shades lighter than their actual skin color. This goes back to research done by psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark from 1939 to 1950. This reaction is a result of ‘whitewashing’, a process, result or act when a
person who is considered a minority adopts a lifestyle (including speech, mannerisms, clothing, etc.) that is attributed secludedly to those of European descent, white people. It also refers to the entertainment industry’s attempt at making ethnic characters more appealing to the white, money-spending masses by making exotic characters less ethnic and more ‘white’. Research shows that children as young as three or four years old can and will discriminate based on skin color. Around ten years old--when peer pressure sets in--children will (re)define their ideas about racism and people of other ethnicities. While never set in stone, it’s hard to change these thought patterns after that time. Human perception is colored by the color of our skin. It’s not odd we want to paint everything with the racial brush we were handed at birth, yet it’s not something that should be encourage. As the majority of Pagans are Caucasian, that means that most Gods and Goddesses
are, indeed, being depicted as Caucasian as well. Yet, a lot of the Gods are not Caucasian; the Greek Gods, for example, aren’t white, Their skin is a beautiful olive hue. Like the modern inhabitants of Greece, They have strong, full, hair (black or dark brown unless otherwise specified), thick eyebrows and a characteristically strong nose. The women are thin and finely shaped, the men muscular and proud, not because that’s the current vision of beauty, but because it was so in ancient Greece. While it’s perfectly understandable for a Goddess like Brigid or a God like Thor to be depicted as white, the Kemetic Gods--like Isis, Set and Osiris--are most certainly colored (if they represent as humans at all). Deities like the African Asa, Imana, and Juok are most likely about as dark as They come, just like Asian deities will look Asian (with different traits depending on their home ground). The list goes on (see the box to the side of the next page for a skin color index).
Etnicity of Deity
The ethnicity of the Gods matters. It tells us something about Them, it helps us to relate with Them, and helps us establish contact. Even if you’re not a Reconstructionist, social structures still apparent in the modern society these ancient deities were worshipped in, tells you something about the culture in the time when the worship of these Deities was widespread. Also, whitewashing is incredibly disrespectful to humans, let alone Deities. There is so much beauty in ethnic differences, and it would be a shame to throw that away over comfort levels, fear or ignorance. It’s a simple reminder of the beauty of diversity. Keep it in mind the next time you go through Google’s image database in search of images representing Deity and all you come up with is thin, white, women in flowing dresses, showing too much cleavage, and young, white, men. Perhaps you will look a little harder to find images that ring a little closer to Their home, not yours.
- By Elani Temperance
Types of Skin Tones: Type 1: white (very fair) Pale white skin, may have freckles with red, brown or blond hair. The eye color may be blue, brown, green or gray. Examples: Very pale Caucasian, freckles, or Albino Type II: Fair or light-skinned European White skin with light or dark hair color. The eye colors are usually seen are blue, green, hazel, brown or gray eyes. Example: Fair-skinned Caucasian Type III: Medium, dark-skinned European White to light brown skin color with brown hair color. The eyes are green, hazel, brown and dark brown eyes are rare. Examples: Darker Caucasian, European mix Type IV: Dark intermediate, Mediterranean or Olive Moderate brown skin color with black to dark brown hair. The eye color is blue, green, hazel, brown or dark brown. Examples: Mediterranean, Asian, Hispanic, Native American Type V: Naturally dark brown skin color with black hair. The eyes are usually brown or hazel in color. Examples: Hispanic, Afro-American, Middle Eastern Type VI: Black Very dark brown to black skin tone with black hair and dark brown eyes with minute variations in color. Examples: Afro-American, African, Middle Eastern Source: http://tiny.cc/buzzle
Branching Out Asatru - By Vernon McNew
xplaining modern Asatru without offending someone is not an easy task. The problems arise, mostly, because Asatru is a recon religion (meaning that it has been reconstructed.) In the case of Asatru, there really is not a lot to go on. The native practitioners left us very little written material, what we have was written by Christian observers, and may or may not show a bias. The practice of modern Asatru runs the gambit from all out reenactment, to NeoPaganism with an Asatru flavor. For this article, the discussion will be confined to the â€˜reconâ€™ segment, but even at that, there are disagreements amongst modern practitioners. In its simplest form, Asatru is the worship of the ancient Gods of Northern Europe. Yet the practice of Asatru goes far beyond rites and ceremonies, it is an all-encompassing lifestyle. The Gods of Asatru do not generally meddle in the affairs of men, unless it fits their grander
plans. The Gods might be convinced to interfere, but only in times of great need. Most of the legends show us pictures of Gods and Goddesses who have their own lives, their own struggles, and their own problems. They are dealing with things on a cosmic level, rather than dealing with individual humans. That is not to say that supernatural beings do not routinely deal with people. In the Norse form of the religion, we see many lesser beings that inhabit the earth, and possess powers outside the reach of mortals. These beings are not Gods, but rather wights. Wights can and often do interact with mortals. If a boon is granted to a mortal, a Wight usually grants it. Another important aspect of Asatru is reverence of the Ancestors. The term ancestors refers to not only an individuals ancestors, but also to distant tribal ancestors. The ancestors are seen as being either with the Gods and Goddesses or as having passed on to Hel. In Hel, life goes on pretty much as it did on earth. Therefore, it is a far
different concept from the Christian version. The Ancestors are accessible to us, and able to pass things on to the Gods. There is a strong sense of connection, and of family ties throughout Asatru. Asatru has its own moral code. These are not commandments, but virtues that are held in high esteem. There are nine, and there are called the Nine Noble Virtues: courage, truth, honor, fidelity, discipline, hospitality, industriousness, self reliance, and perseverance. Asatru is lived, not so much practiced. There are rites held throughout the year, but for most of us, the day-to-day effort to honor the Gods and the Ancestors through our lives holds a higher importance. It is how we live and how we die, that determines our afterlife. Honor built here will still be ours in Hel. Vernon operates a semi-selfsufficient farm, and has been a practitioner of Asatru for 10 years. He can be reached at: email@example.com
By the firelight Beware the Sidhe - By Ragnild
pring is about to begin, but still the bitter cold of winter lingers and frost still covers the land like a blanket each morning. The snow has gone and people begin to travel again and there are those that take advantage of this. However, they are not human like you or I, my child, oh no, they most certainly are not.” The fire flickered across the old man’s face, showing the craggy lines and scars that littered it, serving only to enhance the grim look that was set there. Children and adults alike crowded around old Bear as he looked grimly into the distance, before he turned his gaze back onto the fire and spoke again: “Those that I speak of are not like you and I; they are Otherworldly. They live under the mountains and hills, hide in trees and streams, rivers and lakes, they guard over clearings, fields and forests and are considered to be kin to the fairer folk. They may be seelie or unseelie, but
each and every single one of them will not miss the opportunity to cause mischief when he or she can manage it.” Bear shook his head a little sadly at this. The faerie folk were often vain, callous and cruel where they could also be noble, kind hearted and generous, but he had never encountered any Fae that did him any good. The fire crackled loudly then, startling a few of the smaller children but they giggled once they got over the scare. One of the older children shushed them quickly, wanting to hear more of the old Bear’s tale. “On nights such as these foolish travellers, especially those that are not from these lands, find themselves on the road with too few supplies and clothing that is too thin. They will try and seek shelter but so very often they will be lead away, never to be seen or heard from again.” He had never quite given all the details of this particular story, but tonight he felt that it was time that he did. He had not always been an only child; there was a time when he
had had a sister. “I wish to tell you of such a night, much like this one, in which a foreigner wanders the night in search of something, or someone. Before I reach that night however, I must tell you about a young woman. She was very beautiful with long dark hair and eyes bluer than the sky on a bright summer’s day. Her name was Duana and she was my sister. Duana was an adventurous girl, and when our elders told her she must be wed, she did not stay; instead she took off in the middle of the night one summer, only to come back with child and a strong, handsome husband in tow. The elders were not impressed, but Duana did not care. Together with her husband, Lúd, she built up a good life, a prosperous life.” Those around the fire that had not seen as many moons as Bear had were surprised at this, but those that were close to his age only looked sad; they all remembered Duana. “Duana gave birth to a baby boy and it was healthy as can be, the youngling became ill within its first moon. It had been winter
when Duana had given birth, but the snow was melting and spring was near, much as it is now. When we all thought the worst would happen to Duana’s baby boy, an old crone passed through the village. She told us she was a wise woman and that she had helped many a babe in her day. Duana and Lúd were desperate; they had seen every wise woman, healer and druid in the area as their son got sicker, but none could help. They would accept the wise woman’s council and help in exchange for a thing Duana held closest to her heart.” Bear looked the group over that had amassed near the fire and saw that they were all listening with rapt attention. “Now, some of you might have
noticed that I said ‘something’, and if Duana or Lúd had paid better attention they would know exactly what it was that would be taken.” There was a murmur amongst the crowd as they speculated on what could be taken and the old man coughed politely to regain everyone’s attention, the fire now having died down a little and it flickered merrily and more gently. “The old woman, whose name she had said was Brenna, crushed some herbs and made a particularly fragrant tea with it. She let the babe drink some of it and told the couple to keep feeding it to the child, by a few spoons a day, until the cup she had used was entirely empty. With that advice Brenna left, but on the day the child had been fed its last spoon, she returned. Duana and Lúd were overjoyed; their son was cured and they could be a happy family finally.
Of course their happiness could not last. What was closest to Duana’s heart, other than the newborn, was Lúd, her strong husband who loved her with all his heart. Duana fought with the old woman, she could not give her husband away after all, but the old woman was adamant. If Lúd did not come, the babe would die and it was in that moment that Lúd realized that they had made a deal with one of the faerie folk. In their desperation they had invited her into their home, and now they had to abide by her rules because of the deal they had made. Lúd told Duana that it was alright; he would always be with her because their son was still alive but Duana could not cope with it. Lúd, heavy hearted, did leave however, not willing to give up the life of their son.” Bear shook his head sadly again. He had not spoken of his sister in years, but now the words came tumbling from his lips. Even though it hurt, telling the truth felt freeing. “Duana was heartbroken, but she had to stay strong for her
By the firelight son and she did, for a few years. She missed Lúd every single day with her whole heart, but she was a good mother to the boy, who grew up far stronger than he had been as a babe. Ever since he was a little boy he had been fascinated by the forest and the hills that lay beyond. I am quite certain that most of you have played in these hills, children. You have climbed those very trees that fascinated little Connor so when he was younger.” He was older than most of those in the village, and so this was a new tale to many of them and almost all of them had seen Bear stare at particular trees with an almost fond smile on his face at times. His thoughts were all but fond tonight however, as sadness and relief warred within him. “It was on a beautiful spring night when voices called out to Connor. He had seen about fourteen summers then. The lad said it was as though a siren’s song called out to him, but of course there were no siren there. No, all that could be found was the desire left within the boy from
when he had been cured as a babe by faerie magic. He kissed his mother on the cheek and she wept, telling him not to go in search of the voices, but the stubborn young man did not listen. The hills called out to him and so he would go.” He sighed, closing his eyes for just a moment. “I remember Duana coming looking for me then. We searched but Connor had already disappeared, never to return. It broke my sister’s heart and she passed away not but a season’s change later. Now all that reminds us are the sounds of Connor’s laughter that can occasionally be heard when you least expect it on those bright spring days.” A sad but respectful silence hung over the audience when Bear stopped speaking. Many of them had indeed heard the laughter on those beautiful days, and many of them likely would hear that laughter again, now knowing whose happiness it was that could be heard and what had transpired that had come at such a high cost.
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Beurzen en fairs (NL) http://tiny.cc/MagicalFeeling
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Outdoor Altars - By Lunadea and Elani Temperance
veryone who has ever been to Glastonbury knows that Glastonbury is full of tiny outdoor offering spaces. These altars often come to be spontaneously, focusing on special places. It’s a way of honoring the energy of the place, whether these are landwrights, guardians of the place, or Gods and Goddesses. You make an altar for worship, and as such, it is a place of refuge. Usually, practitioners create an altar indoors, but an outside altar is just as much of a possibility. Within certain religions—new as well as old—an outdoor shrine is even the preferred means of worship of the Gods, landwrights, and other guardians. If you have a garden at your disposal, you can choose to—in addition to your indoor altar, or as a replacement of it—make a (permanent) outdoor altar. Within a large number of Pagan Traditions, the garden is viewed as a place full of magick, a place where nature is close, and the
energy of nature spirits is palpable. If you can’t or don’t want to make an altar in your yard, there is always the possibility of creating one in a nearby park or other outdoor location where you can return to whenever you feel like it. Your outdoor altar can be just a beautiful place between the plants, but you can also turn it into a more traditional altar by decorating a (stone) garden bench, by stacking stones into the shape of an altar, of you can use a tree trunk, or a hole in an already available tree. Alternatively, you can also put your altar supplies at the foot of a large tree and use the created space for your rituals. Within many Traditions, it’s possible to simply do whatever you want with your outdoor altar. Other Traditions have very clear guidelines on how to create an outdoor altar; Reconstruction religions, for example, where outdoor worship is encouraged as the sacrifices can rise up to the Gods directly.
In Glastonbury and other magickal spots, outdoor altars come into being simply by hanging ribbons, wind chimes or amulets from nearby trees. In Glastonbury, flat stones with tee-lights and incense cones, and tree-holes filled with chalices, gemstones, incense, candles, statues, ribbons and coins, all serve as altars. If you take this route, do mind the environment, and animal safety! While you’re setting up your garden, this might be the perfect time to locate a beautiful spot for an outdoor altar. When you’re setting up your altar, keep not only your Tradition in mind, but also the weather. Setting up an altar is not just a matter of placing shiny objects on a flat surface; you’re working outside, so you might want to find a place that offers some protection from rain and wind. Sun is also a notorious melter of candles. Whatever you do, make it your own spot. You will surely find the outdoor shrine a great contribution to your practice.
Next in LWM colophone Little Witch magazine was launched in November 2010 as an initiative to bring a personal and universally Neopagan magazine to Neopagans and those interested in the Neopagan paths in both the Dutch and English language. Little Witch magazine intends to be a grounded, modern take on a life with Neopaganism and hopes to inspire and enlighten. Feel free to contact us with any questions, tips, remarks, or to just let us know what you think. CONTACT US AT: www.littlewitchmagazine.com Twitter.com/LWMag Contact@littlewitchmagazine.com
e, at Little Witch, hope the magazine kick-starts the Spring season. Itâ€™s time, after all. As always, we would love to hear from you about this magazine, and about the magazines to come. What did you think of this issue? Would you like to see something specific in the next issue? If so, let us know at one of the contact points to the left. For the next issue, we will have
a Japanese myth to spice things up, and Calandriel will continue her series on creating a beautiful and fruitful garden right in your backyard. We talk about the summer season, and about the summer festivals. Go out these months, and enjoy the season. Itâ€™s such a fantastically inspired one. If you want to start something new, this is most certainly the time to do it. Good luck with your endeavors, and we will see you again in three months!
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Elani Temperance (Elani@littlewitchmagazine.com) Art DIRECTION: Elani Temperance ARTWORK: Maaike Kramer (www.maaikekramer.nl) All images copyrighted WRITERS: Calandriel an Cuiileur (Calandriel@littlewitchmagazine.com) Ragnild (Ragnild@littlewitchmagazine.com) Aurelia Bellis (Aurelia@Littlewitchmagazine.com)