Hecate’s Sacred Lighthouse and New Goddess Stuff Blessed be my good news sisters! I have done all the required rituals and signed the sacred contract that will allow my autobiography to be published by Llewellyn Publishing in 2010. I know I’ve been talking about this book for a long time, and trust me I’ve been writing it even longer. I started when I first began keeping journals and now as I prepare to turn 70 years old this year it’s all becoming a blessed reality. And more good news, the Women’s Spirituality Forum has an all new store. Please update your bookmarks! We are going to be adding a lot of new items for you in the near future. Your purchases in the WSF store help keep our Goddess efforts going; efforts like this Goddess magazine.
This magazine is sponsored by the Women’s Spirituality Forum. Please help support our efforts to help keep the Goddess Alive! Bobbie and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary with a trip up the Northern California and Oregon coastline. It was spectacular! And I got to visit my grandson Max! It had been four years since I last saw Max. My, what a fine young boy. He continues to impress his granny with his appreciation for the details in life. This time it was feng shui and yoga, for which he demanded to know all that I know in about five minutes time. The innocence of youth! It was a wonderful adventure with lots of good food and some not so good. I think I had the best piece of coconut
cream pie in my life ever, while the bowl of clam chowder was probably the worst. And who knew you could order s’mores as a desert. They bring you a little hibachi, gram crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. My grandson thought that was special. On our way back down the Oregon coast, we stopped at a lighthouse called Hecate’s Head Lighthouse.
We hiked from this beach up to the lighthouse, and along the way we kept encountering Hecate. First was this photo on the right where Bobbie was taking pictures of a seagull and a black crow flew in for her close-up. Along the whole walk up there was a horrid smell of decay. Something was rotting out on the big rock in the photo above, which is Hecate’s Head in the water. Only Hecate could invoke that nasty an odor. Finally, we arrive at the lighthouse keeper’s house. I heard the voice before I saw the creature. Out of deep bushes came a black cat to greet me. I stopped to say hello and show my appreciation for her presence. It seemed like everyone had dogs, another of Hecate’s totem animals. I made friends with a woman who had two Australian Shepherds and we walked back down the path together. Such a sacred place to stop and enjoy for an hour or so. Hecate was there that day with us. Goddess blessed.
Hungarian Glad Woman Story Self-blessing Song by Z Budapest Aradia’s Chant by Rosmarinus Stehlik Lifetime’s WITCHES: Witches part 1 & Witches part 2 We have several new videos for you to enjoy this month! Bobbie and I made a couple videos of my songs, one is the Glad Woman song and the other is the Self-blessing song. I thought it was time I shared these songs more openly so you can learn them if you want to. Then, Bobbie and Rosmarinus made a video using Ro’s song Aradia’s Chant, which is very appropriate for this Samhain season. Also here are two videos from a Lifetime TV special called Witches that I participated in a few years back. And, deeper inside Goddess magazine we have a new feature for you from Flora which also has three videos.
We’ve been recruited by the San Francisco Examiner’s online news and information website to cover all topics Pagan. We’re syndicated in over 6,000 cities across the USA and Canada, and in over 160 countries. Breaking new ground, we’re the first writing team that the Examiner has allowed and we’re the first to write on Pagan topics. It’s a very big deal in terms of bringing the Goddess to a more global consciousness. We’re also looking for other women who want to write about the Goddess and Pagan topics in their own area. If you follow our advice, you can earn a little income for the Women’s Spirituality Forum, as well as for yourself and establish yourself as the Goddess voice for the Pagans in your area. You have to be able to write around four articles per week (300-500 words each). If you think you can handle that, then here’s the next step. Follow the instructions exactly please…. 1. 2. 3.
First, go to our Examiner Referral page and choose the “Religion & Spirituality” link. Next, on top of the categories is a link to be able to choose your location … “Openings in San Francisco (Change Location)” … click it and choose the city closest to you. Now you have to choose a channel topic to write under. Sometimes there is “New Age” and “Spirituality,” but if you want “Pagan” you will have to click the link that says “Write In Your Own Topic.” Which channel is best for you really depends on what most of your articles will be about. The most general one is the “Spirituality,” and that gives you a lot of flexibility in writing. Once you chose, this brings you to the hardest part. Here, I’d suggest you do the work in a word program or something where you can write easily, Then, refresh their page, copy and paste your answers into their form. This page will time out on you. So, that’s why I’d do it on the side, refresh the page and then, past it in when ready. They ask you for your expertise, your insider knowledge and qualifications. If you’re working with the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1, the Goddess magazine, the Dianic University, etc. you can say that you’re a student of Z Budapest’s. Give them my contact info, and then let me know so I can endorse you. And the most important step is last! At the bottom of this form where it says “I was referred by an Examiner:” … here you enter Pagan Examiner. If they accept you, then the Women’s Spirituality Forum will get a few bucks as well for the referral. How cool is that?!!
Have you seen my newest websites? psychicreadingssite.com We’re just getting started on it, so bookmark
it and check back often. Also all new is the Women’s Spirituality Forum Store. We updated it to the newest shopping cart software, so have a visit there too and update your bookmark! Blessed be,
Z Goes to Generation-z via New Media Are you plugged in to the new media social networks? You should be! If Z can do it, we all can. Twitter, Facebook and Skype are all free to use. Learn more, just click on the images to the left. If you want to be informed, get announcements of when you can participate with Z live … these are the venues Z is using. Don’t miss out … get yourself plugged in!
Z Lectures Live on Skype! Get Skype, create an account, then post your new Skype name to the DU’s Z’s Cauldron’s Skype discussion. We randomly invite those who ask to be invited to Z’s live lectures via Skype. You wanted to experience Z in person, here’s how to do it. Plug in!
Witch Bottles Maybe they should be called “wish bottles” because that’s the magic behind making a Witch Bottle. The use of Witch Bottles predates the 1500’s, and gained popularity as a magical device to ward off evil during the burning times of the European witch trials. Specifically, those bottles were made to ward off evil witches, which is entertaining if you think about; using a witch’s spell to keep that same witch at bay. But that’s exactly what people did in a period between the 1600-1700’s. During this period of time, the bottles were made of clay and often had a human face molded into one side of the bottle. As often happens, the faces changed from their pagan origins to those of Christian influence. The German Christians created a witch bottle they call a “bartmann” or “bellermine” bottle, so named after a Roman Catholic Cardinal named Bellarmino. As time progressed the faces on the bottles changed from the quaint bearded Cardinal to that of the Devil; and side note here, pagans don’t believe in the devil. The Witch Bottles were primarily used to ward off all forms of evil. Often, the contents of the Witch Bottle would be rusty, bent iron nails, human hair, sharp glass pieces, urine, etc. All of which were meant to provide great amounts of discomfort to any evil entity that might encounter that Witch Bottle. The Witch Bottle was then placed in a safe and strategic place inside the house of the person who wished to be safeguarded. These bottles are often found upside down under the hearth stone of fireplaces, under floor boards or plastered into the wall of the house. All of which were meant to be kept secret from anyone who came to visit that house. If evil spirits came visiting on their own or with a human escort, the evil energies would encounter the wrath of the Witch Bottle’s protection. Once these Witch Bottles were placed into their protective hiding spot, there were not disturbed again. Today, as people renovate these old homes, they make shocking discoveries when they unearth these centuries old Witch Bottle. The History Detectives produced a great episode on the Witch Bottle. Great YouTube Video on Witch’s Bottles: http://www.youtube.com/v/6S_GJX1ejFg&hl=en&fs=1&
Itâ€™s important to point out that much of what we know about Witch Bottles comes from the discoveries of these banishing, protective curse lifting bottles embedded in these old homes, but not all Witch Bottles are for banishing or protection. Todayâ€™s modern witches use Witch Bottle much the same as their pagan predecessors did. Many make a Witch Bottle to protect their own home from any evil energies. Using a wide mouth jar, we still add bits of rusty sharp objects, thorny plants, broken glass and mirror, hair, finger and toe nails, menstrual bloods and of course, urine. The jars are sealed and placed into the same protective locations under the house near the front door or buried outside on the property. Some modern witches just set their Witch Bottles by the front door for all to see.
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Witch Bottles also have other uses. As pagans, we have reclaimed our ancestral heritage and we use the bottles for all sorts of spells. Any kind of spell can be cast and contained inside a Witch Bottle. The one we’ve seen used most often is a Witch’s Bottle for healing and health. In those bottles you might find healing herbs, rocks, hair, pictures from healthier times, sea salts, etc. These types of Witch Bottles are often buried on the owner’s property and left to decay within the earth, thus carrying the prayers of the one who wishes to be healed into the other realms of existence. We’ve just touched on a few uses for the Witch’s Bottle. Think you might like to try your hand at it? We have some simple Witch Bottle spells for you at http://dianicwicca.com/witch-bottle-spells.html.
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What is Z Up to Now? PantheaCon, February 12-15, 2010. PantheaCon is where Z will host the Dianic Clergy in-person training this year. And, also joining us there will be many of the sisters from the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1. We’d love for all of you to come join us! There’s going to be a lot of Dianics there! It would be wicked fun to have other Dianic covens join the fun! I scheduled Z to speak on a lot of radio shows during the month of October because it’s the Season of the Witch. Pencil these dates and times into your calendar because they’re live shows … and you never know where Z will go! Always fun! The Dianic University Calendar: Oct. 3 - Z Budapest on W.I.C.C.A.N Talk Radio 8pm PST Oct.10 - Z on Goddess Radio 9am PST Oct. 17 - Z Budapest on the Mona Magick Radio Show UK 5pm PST Oct. 18 - Z on Olympia's Tarot Radio Show 1pm PST - Z on The Unexplained World Show 8pm PST Oct. 20 - Z is giving a lecture at Sonoma State University on the Herstory of the Dianic Tradition and the Women’s Spirituality Movement. Oct. 22 - Z on Paranormal Women Talk Radio 4pm PST Oct. 23 - Z on JaiKaur Radio Show 7am PST Oct. 25 - Z Budapest on Hex Eduction Radio 7pm PST Nov. 1 - Z on Witchtalk Radio 1pm PST And the BIG announcement is that there’s going to be another Goddess Festival in 2010! Pencil in the magickal date and manifest attending on Sept. 9-12, 2010 at the most beautiful time of the year in Northern California. More information is coming soon … follow Z on Twitter to stay updated on all that’s going on.
This magazine is sponsored by the Women’s Spirituality Forum. Please help support our efforts to help keep the Goddess Alive!
WIN FREE BOOKS CONTEST Congratulations to our October Free Books Contest Winner! Claire Palermo who will be reviewing Women's Rites, Women's Mysteries
Goddess women … submit your name to win … Llewellyn gives you a chance to win a free copy of one of their books, and in return you agree to read it and write a book review for Goddess magazine. You get a free book, their authors get a little free press and we get to offer this cool contest!
This month one special book to give away for free! Annie Wilder’s Spirit’s Out of Time Book Review Contest Rules
Must be 18 years or older.
Must be a member of the Goddess magazine email list.
Free books must be shipped to addresses in the USA or Canada.
Send entry to zbudapest (AT) gmail.com. Title it “FREE BOOK CONTEST.”
One entry per member’s email address.
Winners are notified by email.
Mandatory information: Full legal name, address, city state, country, postal code, email address.
Book Review Winners Obligations
No negative reviews.
Write about what you did like about the book.
In your own words, write a 300-500 word review of the book.
You don’t have to recommend the book, but you can if you want to.
Work must be all your own writing.
Book reviews must be completed and email to us 30 days after receipt of book or sooner.
Book reviews must not be published anywhere else for 30 days after publication in Goddess magazine. Then, you go to Amazon.com and Powells.com, and publish your review with an additional sentence at the end “This book review was originally published in Z Budapest’s Goddess magazine.”
All reviews become the sole property of the Women’s Spirituality Forum. We will publish your review at BookReviewBlogger.com and in the Goddess magazine.
Oct. BOOK REVIEws Vampires in their Own Words, Walking the Twilight Path and Haunting Experiences book review by Bobbie Grennier (Book Review Blogger)
I’m going to do something I haven’t done before and review three books at once, but all from the same author. Since this is our Halloween issue of Goddess magazine, it seems appropriate to review several books by Goth author Michelle Belanger. I’m also going to preface my review of her books by saying that I really hedged on whether to review her books or not. I often found myself mumbling under my breath, “No way!” or “Oh no she didn’t!” There’s a lot that I don’t agree with Belanger about, but there are also things that I do. Maybe I can share my opinions with all of you, and you decide if these are books you’d like to read or not. Michelle Belanger is best known as the psychic vampire of the Goth world. She is an outstanding writer, but for me, her content is sometimes difficult for me to chew through … pardon the pun. I found myself appreciating her use of the English language as a skilled writer, but not loving the content too much … although that did vary from book to book. I think this was because I find Belanger to also be an outstanding self-promoter and marketer. She’s a master at taking common experiences that we all have, and renaming it to the macabre so that it appears to be a fresh idea. Her younger readers wouldn’t know the difference. I’m going to go a little Andy Rooney on her for it … I find it annoying and yes, I’m old. I enjoy a lot of elements of the world of Goth, but I personally feel that what Goth is and what vampire is are two totally different things. Belanger’s most well known book is her Vampires in their Own Words anthology. If you want to get into Belanger’s world, it’s a good book to start with because she tells you a lot about herself. Well, actually she does that in all her books, but more so in this one. For Belanger, the world of vampirism is that of a psychic vampire; one who feeds on the energies of others for her own well being. It is a sub-culture, and even within this sub-culture you will find a wide variety of opinions about what it really is all about. Kind of sounds like pagans doesn’t it?! The world of vampirism also includes the sanguine vampires who actually do drink blood. Coming from someone who enjoys a good medium-rare steak, this is a little too much for me. But does that take away from the book? Not really. You want to read about vampires, then this is a good book for you with topics
on awakening to vampirism, the compulsion to feed and feeding practices, donor ethics and etiquette, and vampire traditions and codes of behavior. The next Belanger book I read was Haunting Experiences which is a series of weird paranormal experiences that Belanger has had in the younger years of her life. Also very well written in terms of language, but the content was not as strong as other books I’ve read on similar topics. There are no conclusions to any of the stories being told, and that’s frustrating to a reader who wants some closure. Although it could be argued that most paranormal stories don’t have a strong conclusion … that’s what makes them mysterious. There are some interesting paranormal stories in this book, and I think mostly my indifference to this book comes about because I would have handled many of the situations Belanger found herself in very differently. For example, an older woman in a haunted hotel room with me as the night desk, I would have moved her to another room right away instead of leaving her there to endure a rotten night of hauntings. But again, these are stories from Belanger’s younger days, and in youth we don’t have as much insight and wisdom. Walking the Twilight Path was my favorite of the three of Belanger’s books. That is until I got to chapter sixteen, and then I was horrified. What I liked about this book was all the research and information Belanger has done on the topic of death. It’s a topic that very few people want to discuss, and frankly that few publishers are interested in publishing. And, it’s a necessary topic because death is a part of life. So, I would recommend this book just for the information on death, but I’d also say to disregard everything in chapter sixteen. What’s in chapter sixteen you ask? Well, Belanger set this chapter up to be her grand finale in this book. This chapter holds the big ritual experience that Belanger wants for her readers. What I have against this chapter is that in the ritual she invokes good and evil and invites both to come and consume or feast on the participants of the ritual as well as herself. No one in their right mind who has ever experienced real evil would ever invite it into their lives, what to speak of offering themselves up to it. Never! Like I said, I was horrified by this ritual and I was enjoying this book until I got to this chapter. Overall, Belanger is a writer with inner-male voice and awesome writing skills, but for me she lacks some common sense approaches to her own humanity. I’m sure she’d say I didn’t get it or I missed the point. But you know, I did get. I just didn’t resonate with it, and that’s really the point of book reviews as we share our points of view with our reading audience who probably share similar tastes. For most of my audience, these books will be troubling for you. You be the judge.
Beyond 2012 book review by Ghislaine Yergeau When I first saw Beyond 2012 by James Endredy, all I noticed was the “2012” and I thought, oh no, not another book about the end of the world. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Beyond 2012 is exactly as promised: a “call to personal change and the transformation of global consciousness”. Sounds at first blush like a tall order, if we humans are to make changes that will save the planet in two short years. And yet, the author shows how it’s not only possible, but is well underway. Endredy gives a quick but comprehensive overview of why the world is taking note of the date 2012: first, the Mayan prophecies, the Hopi, Christian eschatology (end of world prophecies), then prophets Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce, and finally, natural ecological disasters and global warming. While there’s no denying that our Earth is presently undergoing major upheavals of planetary proportions, the situation is not hopeless for the human race. On the contrary, we are now at a very exciting time in the development of human consciousness. One change in human consciousness that we’re seeing more and more is what he calls “the rise of the feminine” across the planet, and this is reflected in changing values and a rising consciousness of the environment, of our One-ness with our Mother, the Earth. He points to two great hopes that these changes have started and will continue to occur; both have to do with communication. One is the female model of web-like communication which makes possible the instant sharing of ideas and creative solutions, through the internet and other modern technology. The other is the growing understanding that we (humans) can communicate with the spirits of nature (which he calls the Kakaiyeri ) , and nature does respond. This has to do with the interconnectedness of all life, of everything on the planet: animal, vegetable, mineral. Endredy speaks of ritual as one of the most powerful tools to encourage and drive the necessary changes. He says: “At first, the perception was mind over matter, then matter over energy, for all matter is energy. Now you are being asked to meld mind and energy in a conscious manner. Many of the ways of doing this are what you call shamanic practices (…) working with energies (…) to amplify the consciousness of the Luminous Self so that enough people awaken to save your world.” He goes on to describe how consciousness can be amplified through ritual, where the energy of intentions is concentrated and intensified.
Reclaiming, raising, and using personal energy must happen with focused intention. One of the first tasks is to identify and block or heal energy leaks and drains in our lives, be they mental, physical, environmental or spiritual, and the author challenges us to do this simple exercise and take action. He further challenges us to take the “Golden Rule” one step further, to what is called In Lak’ech by the Mayans, which is translated as “you are my other self,” or “I am another yourself” and on a galactic level, “I am everything, and everything is me.” We, as a species, need to understand that we are all part of the same living organism, which is our planet and galaxy. I recommend Beyond 2012. Do make sure to pay particular attention to the “Native American Code of Ethics” in chapter 11 – a code we can all incorporate into our daily lives!
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Goddesses I thought you might enjoy hearing about a couple of Goddess images fairly recently rebirthed. Z and I wrote a short article about each of them.
Celtic Goddess Senua In 2002, archeologists unearthed an unknown Celtic Goddess in the near Baldock location in Hertfordshire area of the British Isles. The discovery was part of the Ashwell horde which contained a gold and silver Roman figurine of a goddess, a pedestal with inscriptions, 26 gold and silver coins, jewelry, remains of sacrificial piglets and other bone fragments several centuries old. What’s big news about this horde discovery is that it’s very rare to find a new goddess. In fact, it’s been a few hundred years since the last similar discovery was made.
Pedestal to Senuna
A horde is a hidden treasure or collection, usually of precious items. This particular horde was a small shrine to a forgotten Celtic goddess named Senua (Senuna). We know this because the pedestal that supported the goddess figurine had the name “Senua” engraved on it. In fact, there were several inscriptions. One read "To the goddess Senua … Firmanus …willingly fulfilled his vow." While another said, "Servandus Hispani willingly fulfilled his vow to the goddess." The first being a Roman and the second a Spaniard. Both men had left offerings to the goddess Senua as payment for her good graces upon their lives. The silver figurine of Senua was badly damaged by its time in corrosive soils, but it was still possible for archeologists to make out her features; her hair done up in a bun, a hand gracefully covering her female sex. This goddess figurine was stylized the same as the goddess Minerva with spear, shield and owl. But nowhere were there inscriptions to Minerva; it was clearly a shrine to Senuna.
The curators at the British Museum believe that “Senua was probably an older Celtic goddess, worshipped at a spring on the site, who was then adopted and Romanized - twinned with their goddess Minerva - by the invaders.”(1) The ancient Celtics put most of their offerings into water. For them, water was a vital life force and a channel through which they could commune with their goddesses. Many of these types of shrine were established a natural springs, and it’s believed that the shrine to Senuna was no different. Besides the figurine of the goddess Senua, there were also plaques of gold and silver upon which the curators discovered engravings which held the sentiments of the goddess’s devotees. These plaque also showed what the curators had at first believed to be the goddess Minerva with her spear, shield and owl. It wasn’t until the curators x-rayed the plaque that they discovered they were rebirthing a new goddess within the cosmology of the British Isles. The name given to the goddess upon these plaques was clearly Senua, and not Minerva. The jewelry that was discovered with Senua was comprised of gems and glass beads; there was a cameo of a lion trampling an ox skull symbolic of victory over death. There were other artifacts found there also, but the curators are still working on them in an attempt to reveal more hidden messages from the past. The curators think that the shrine to the goddess Senuna was established by ancient Celts upon the location of a natural spring, and when the Roman invaders came, they assimilated the goddess Senua with their concept of Minerva. Thus, forever mingling the two deities together throughout time. Clearly the offerings to Senua went unanswered by this Celtic goddess, as far as Roman victory was concerned. But, the Celts would say, Senua was always our goddess and never could the Romans claim her. However you view it, this find was a great piece of goddess culture rebirthed for us. 1 – Maev Kennedy, Senua, Britain's unknown goddess unearthed, Guardian, 9-1-2003, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2003/sep/01/arts.highereducation
Aphrodite Goddess of Love Discovered Buried in ancient Roman soils for over 1,500 years, archeologist unearthed three clay figurines of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. According to the researchers, it was clear that the pagan worshippers of Aphrodite had wished to hide the three goddess figurines, as they were found complete. "It is possible that during the fourth century [CE], when Christianity was gradually becoming the governing religion in the Roman Empire, there were still a number of inhabitants in Sussita, Isreal, who remained loyal to the goddess of love, and therefore wished to hide and preserve these items," suggests Archeology Professor Arthur Segal, one of the excavation's leaders.
The buried clay goddesses were discovered when the researchers exposed a shop in the southeastern corner of the forum district of Sussita, which is the central area of the Roman city that was built in the second century BCE; existed through the Roman and Byzantine periods and destroyed in the great earthquake of 749 CE. The clay images are 23 cm tall and represent the common model of the goddess of love known to the experts as Venus pudica, "the modest Venus." This name was given to the figurines due to their upright stature and the goddess covering her Venus mound, her female sexuality, with the palm of her hand. Venus is the Roman name for Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The term “aphrodisiac” comes from the Greek name of the goddess. According to Greek poet Hesiod, she was born when Ouranos was castrated by his son Kronos. Kronos threw the severed genitals into the sea, and from the aphros (sea foam) arose Aphrodite. Because of her beauty, other gods feared that jealousy would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, and so Zeus married her to Hephaestus, who was not viewed as a threat. However, Aphrodite became instrumental in the Eros and Psyche legend, and later was both Adonis' lover and his surrogate mother. Aphrodite is also known as Kypris (Lady of Cyprus) and Cytherea after the two places, Cyprus and Kythira, which claim her birth. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Venus. Myrtle, dove, sparrow, and swan are sacred to her. The Greeks identified Aphrodite with the Ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor. Aphrodite had a festival of her own, the Aphrodisia, which was celebrated all over Greece but particularly in Athens and Corinth. At the temple of Aphrodite on the summit of Acrocorinth (before the Roman destruction of the city in 146 BC), sexual intercourse with her priestesses was considered a method of worshiping Aphrodite. This temple was not rebuilt when the city was reestablished under Roman rule in 44 BC, but it is likely that the fertility rituals continued in the main city near the agora. The discovery of these three totems of Aphrodite suggests that there was pagan resistance to the rise of Christianity, which at that time was the growing religion influencing the Roman Empire. As we know, Paganism never died out. It simply went underground, and in this case it did so literally.
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The Ancestral Dumb Super Ah, the Dumb Supper with its quiet reverence and deadpan conversations. How we pagans love a good Dumb Supper with our dead ancestors. Dumb Supper means quiet meal, and pagans hold it as a sacred event. It takes place on Samhain, which is the pagan All Hallows Eve or Halloween. Every Samhain witches cook a family meal, set an extra place setting, and serve up a meal on every plate at the table. The extra place setting is for all the family ancestors to come and enjoy a meal with the living family members. During the meal not a word is spoken. It’s a solemn event. The meal is served up, everyone eats, and the ancestors are remembered as the meal is consumed. It is thought that the quiet is helpful for the ancestors to be amongst the living. Thus, you would want to shut off all the appliances during this meal that make a lot of noise, like cell phones. When we do our dumb Supper, we bring photos of our ancestors to set around the ancestor’s place setting. It helps us to visualize them and remember them well. Try to make it a special occasion. You can even add some decorations or flowers that you think the ancestors might like. While it is a solemn occasion, it can still be appealing to the living and dead alike. The meal begins with a prayer and a welcoming of the ancestors, and then goes totally silent. The food is served up to all plates, and then everyone eats together. No one leaves the table until everyone is finished. Then, finally the silence is broken as everyone thanks the ancestors for coming to supper with them. After the meal is over, the living family feeds the ancestor food to the family pets, the earth or some take it to the cemetery and leave it on the ancestors grave sites. It’s believed that the ancestors ate of the essence of the meal and thus, shared the meal with their living relatives. One of the largest gatherings for the Dumb Supper is at the Festival of the Dead in Salem, MA (http://www.festivalofthedead.com/dumbsupper.html). This large gathering of witches plays music to invoke the ancestors at their Dumb Supper. Their “evening opens with a ceremony welcoming the dead, after which attendees are guided into the sacred space where the feast is served. From this point on, no one may speak. By remaining quiet, you will open your heart and mind to those who have crossed over. In years past, guests of the Dumb Supper have felt a ghostly touch, detected a scent of perfume, heard messages, and even witnessed physical manifestations of spirit energy.” The Festival of the Dead’s Dumb Supper is held in the Grand Ballroom of the Historic Hawthorne Hotel in Salem; a haunted site featured on the SciFi Channel's show Ghost Hunters.
Day of the Dead Día de los Muertos, meaning Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November first within the Hispanic cultures around the world. Originating in Mexico, this annual ritual dates back some 3,000 years in history. The rituals are about honoring and communicating with one’s dead ancestors, and was practiced among the Zapotec, Mixtec, Olmec, Maya, P'urhepecha, Totonac and Mexica societies. Why all the skulls you might ask? Back when this rite began, human skulls were kept in the family homes on displayed. During this celebration, they were used in rituals as ancestral symbols of death and rebirth. The 16th century European invaders attempted to put an end to this type of ancestral worship, but like many pagan traditions, they simply were observed in secret until such a time as the celebrations could be brought back out into a more culturally accepting environment. The Spanish conquistadors introduced the indigenous peoples of Mexico to Roman Catholicism, and thus we see the influences through the images of the Lady of Guadalupe; a more modern version of the Hispanic goddess Tonatzin. The Day of the Dead occureed in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar (in month of August) and it was dedicated to Mictecacihuatl, the mythical Queen of Mictlan; which was the world of the dead. The Franciscan friars attempted to convert the Day of the Dead into the Day of All Souls, and changed the name of Mictecacihuatl to Mary. Today we see these influences still, but know that these ancient goddesses are still worshipped by all their many names. We have a great Day of the Dead celebration in San Francisco! Say “Hi” if you see us there. We’ll be admiring the ancestor altars and watching the wonderfully costumed parade of the dead. Blessed be our ancestors!
Double Dippin': How my Family Celebrates both Halloween and Samhain Here in northeast Ohio the leaves are starting to turn and there is a nip in the early morning air. There are less hours of light as the day slowly gives way to the night. With each passing day, we descend further into the watery realms of darkness. Summer officially ends with the Celtic holiday of Samhain, but for now we are in autumn, the pause between. Autumn is the time to slow down, think about the past and dream about the future. Tank tops and shorts we trade in for hoodies and jeans; iced tea traded for hot mulled cider. The scent of the season has gone from the neighbors barbeque to bon fires and burning leaves. The lush greens, pinks, whites and other florals of summer have changed to the beautiful reds, golds and yellows of the changing leaves that reflect into an amber sky. Autumn is the time before winter when we are making our last preparations to rest. Autumn is also the beginning of the 'holiday season' as well which will last throughout the dark of winter and through the New Year. In the northern hemisphere, we began at the autumnal equinox of last month celebrated by many Witches as “Mabon” or the “Feast of Apples”. Other Pagans such as the Druids celebrate it as “Alban Elfed” while others still call it something else. By whatever name it is a time that marks the beginning of the end of the season of summer. Many of us celebrated this time balancing our spiritual selves with the mundane world. We've begun to put our “summer affairs” in order and finish projects we've been working on or tuck them away until next year. As we slowly begin to give release to those elements in our lives, both spiritual and mundane, that no longer serve us, Samhain gives us opportunity for that final “bon voyage” as well as allowing us to honor our dead. Samhain is a special time in our house. It is a deeply spiritual and solemn time reserved for solely honoring the spirit of death. Every year we pick a theme that we will work with and it begins shortly after the autumnal equinox. The girls and I carry out the Halloween decorations and slowly begin to change the decor of the house. After the autumnal equinox, we set up our family ancestor altar. It is a ritual in itself. If any we know passed during this year, we add their name to the book of dead that rests on the altar as well. From the “Feasts of Avalon” to Samhain, the family ancestor altar slowly continues to flow into the season with decorations, trinkets, poetry and pictures of loved ones we add daily. Many Witches we know celebrate Samhain as Halloween but for us, they are two different celebrations that coincide together. Halloween is for fun, for dressing up, for trick and treat, ghosts and goblins, haunted houses and hay rides. Samhain, however, is a bit different. We reserve it for honoring our sacred ancestors and those who passed on before us throughout the current year and throughout our lives. It is a busy time in our house indeed. So much for resting!
Halloween means pumpkin carving, parties, candy, cakes, cookies and ghost stories by firelight. Halloween is a time that my daughters allow themselves to transform into to beings from their own creative minds. They fall into character each time they dress up for their parties. It is astonishing to watch the transformations of personalities and shape-shifting that takes place as they bring the beings of their creation to life. We don't go out on beggars night but that doesn't mean we don't trick or treat right here at home. Plenty of spooky little pranks go on in my house during this time. October 17th brings a 14th birthday for Amaris this year so there's another party! My youngest 11- year old daughter, Atirah, has taken on the role of baker in the house this past summer. She's decided that she will take on the traditional task of baking all of holiday cookies, cakes and other goodies this season. She began by baking “Apple Mabon Bread”, a wonderful quick bread that our SBA sister Flora posted up on her You Tube channel. Since the major theme within both Halloween and Samhain is death, we take time to talk about it often. We walk through one of our local beautiful parks taking care to notice the changing and “dying” earth around us. We gather fallen leaves and some acorns and anything else we find of interest to add to our ancestor altar. We also talk about death and transformation through story, movie and song. Many nights we light a bon fire and sit around the fire drinking hot coco or tea often practicing the arts of divination as well. We tell stories around the fire and sometimes our stories are a little more serious and reflective. Sometimes the stories are just spooky and fun. There are nights we will sit indoors around the table with a lit candle looking at photos of deceased loved ones and remember. I will also share stories with my daughters of their grandmother, their great-grandparents and other family and friends who passed beyond the veil. We will take the time to think about our lives in the here and now and honor how our lives are a gift to us. Another part of our family tradition is “sacred spooky movie time”. We watch movies that range from funny to creepy to sheer horror (within reason). One of the favorites on the list for certain is “Sleepy Hollow”. The girls love it because they love how Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane. I love it because of Johnny Depp. Some of our other seasonal activities that revolve more around Samhain include collecting nonperishable food items as well as clothing from friends and family to present to charities. We visit nursing homes and spend time with the elderly. Having worked in nursing homes for years I know there are many elderly who have no family at all who visit so these times are meaningful for both my daughters and the residents of the nursing home. We visit the grave sites of my family, something I can only muster the courage to do at Samhain. We always bring three extra bunches of flowers to place on
random graves. My daughters will seek out what they decide be the loneliest grave and place the flowers there. We usually have a theme for Samhain that we work with; last year it was the “Fires of Transformation” and this year it is the “Ancestors”. Our prayers, our song, our music will reflect the ancestors in some way. Since I do not have an indoor fireplace, we leave novena candles lit for the ancestors. During the night, we put them out (for safety) save for one that embodies the spirit of them all. This candle burns throughout the day and throughout the night in a bowl of chilled water collected or charged during the previous full moon. It sits safely on the altar in my room out of reach of playful and curious kittens during the night. The week before the Samhain ritual our Samhain mini-rites begin. Each night during this week we will dedicate to a different group of ancestors or people we pick. We usually begin with the night of the 24th, and gather around the ancestor altar, offering gifts of song, poetry, story, and other creations we may wish to share. Samhain is a holy and sacred night of honoring our ancestors and the spirit of death as well as practicing magick. It is a celebration of transformation. Our rite itself is a beautiful one that is deeply spiritual and emotionally moving. The magick we will do will revolve around saying good-bye to anything that no longer serve us. Sometimes the rite will follow the theme we have chosen and other times it will be improvised on the spot but no matter what, we will always feel the spirits around us. It is a blessed time. October is a busy and exciting time for all of us. It is also a time of reflection and remembering our ancestors and those whose lives gave us so much. It is a time of learning about and celebrating the cycles of life. I am thankful that I am able to create and keep these traditions with my family. In teaching them to honor our past also gives them hope for our future.
October 31st is the night on which the Celtic feast of Samhain was celebrated and is still celebrated, under its later name of Halloween. Samhain is a celebration of the Witch’s New Year and the feast of the harvest endings. It is officially the third and final harvest festival of the Witches year. Samhain is a derivative of the Gaelic word Samhraidhreadh, which is literally translated to mean, “Summer’s end.” Another shade of meaning can be “one together” which echoes the idea that the meaning of the Samhain Festival is based on the fact that the world of the dead and the world of the living were “one together” as the veils between the worlds parted and ancestors were free to roam around and walk amongst us, the living. At this time of year, and Beltane, May 1st, the veils between the worlds are the thinnest. At Beltane beings wishing to be born, entered new bodies. On Samhain, the spirits of the dead come back and we revere and welcome our ancestors and our dead as they walk among us in this world for this brief time. Hallowe’en is the shortened version from All Hallows Even the Old English term, eallra halgena aefen which means All Hallows Evening as it is the eve of All Hallows Day. In Gaelic folklore, Feilena Marbh, “The Festival of the Dead”, was three days long. These holy days were lunar in origin. The timing of it was based on the moons midpoint between Autumnal Equinox/Mabon and Winter Solstice/Yule. This festival of the dead was for reaffirmation of our beliefs of the eternal cycle of death and rebirth. At this time, we celebrate the spirit world and honor our ancestors. Elaborate meals are cooked and places are set for those alive and those who are dead. It is meant to be a solemn celebration, but the living are expected to entertain themselves and the dead with songs, poetry, stories or dances. Divination is also an appropriate way to celebrate Samhain. If you are so mystically inclined, you can find this an excellent time for deeply communing with the Goddess. Prehistoric roots of this holy day are ones of it being a festival of unity through the Mother’s blood which binds the tribes together.
In Medieval Ireland, Samhain was celebrated in the royal court of Tara. The bonfires were lit at the castle as a beacon, signaling and the folk gathered in the hills to light their bonfires as well as a communal sharing of the sacred time and the sacred female blood lines. Bonfires were lit in the town’s centers and each family put out their own home fires to attend the festival. It was at this time, that the people of the community decided which things they needed to stock up on and which things to let go of. They may have made a sacrifice of cattle at this time. Often, there were two bonfires lit side by side. The people walked between the fires as a way of ritual purification for the New Year. The cattle and other livestock were walked through the pathway to be blessed in the New Year as well. Each family took with them a torch from the sacred bonfire. They would solemnly light their home fires with the communal flames, thus bonding the community through fire.
Ancient Samhain Festivals includes a Feast for Dead which was meant to be enjoyed by both the living and the dead. A family’s favorite dishes were cooked and a full place was set for the ancestors. A candle or a light in the west of the home would be lit, so the invited ancestors could find their way home through the worlds and through the between places. Medieval Irish death chants: Go home now, to the mother of winter. Go home now, to your springtime home. Go home now, to the mother of summer. Go home now, to your autumnal home. Sleep, oh sleep now. Sleep, oh sleep. Sleep against her sacred breast. Sleep, oh sleep now. Sleep, oh sleep. Sleep, this night, let her give you rest. - excerpted from Patricia Monaghan, The Goddess Companion
Samhain also symbolized the Goddess as Crone/hag. Her image as the Halloween Hag stirring the bubbling cauldron comes from the Celtic belief that all dead souls return to Her great cauldron of life, death, and rebirth to await reincarnation. We as witches embrace this powerful symbol of the Cauldron as the great equalizer. None escape this fate. We embrace it as a welcome and natural part of the circle of life in which this plane is only one part of. Yet on this day, when the veils are thin and we are between the world’s ourselves, we can communicate more easily with the dead and Goddess.
Many people honor their dead at Samhain, by making and ancestor’s altar. It is a witch’s altar with the specific intent of a symbolic representation to the Goddess of the witch’s ancestors. Photos or memorabilia that represents that person is displayed on an altar as an honor to their memories. The owl is a symbol of the sacred feminine, moon and the night. It is a bird of magick and darkness, of prophecy and wisdom. Many ancient cultures feared owls as harbingers of death. Just as many cultures revered the owl as a sacred symbol of the Great Goddess. The owl is frequently associated with witches as a familiar. An animal whose spirit we share qualities with and emulate at times. Our familiars can also be totems animals who it is our destiny as witches to work with. Owls are associated with clairvoyance, witches, the moon, and the wisdom that comes from being able to speak the truth from seeing in the dark. The word witch means “screech owl.” Witches are shamans, wise women, and healers. Screech owls have little tufts of feathers which resemble ears. These are considered to be indicative of being able to hear what is not being said, a quality that many witches do have. If you are working with the owl as a totem, it can mean that you cannot be deceived. You have the gift to extract secrets and hear the truth in any communication. Owl people are clairvoyant, like witches and owl people can see well into the darkness of others people souls. Throughout human history, the owl has variously symbolized dread, knowledge, wisdom, death, and religious belief in a spirit world. There are rock paintings on cave walls in France, dating back to the Paleolithic period of a family of snowy owls. Owls represent spirit helpers that assist shamans to connect with and utilize their supernatural powers. Owls signal our Otherworld and serve to assist the human spirit after death. The Owl Goddess is an amulet in Nancy Blair’s, “Amulets of the Goddess, Oracle of Ancient Wisdom”. In her companion book, she talks about the Owl Goddess. If you have called the Owl Goddess as your guide, She will help you see your way through the darkness. She will teach you to listen well and watch for information that comes to you by way of your third eye. If you have feared the darkness, fear no more as She will teach you how to live in the dark while waiting for the sunrise. That is what the Goddess tells us every Samhain, as the darkness quickly approaches. Fear not, the dark but live in there comfortably and safely. Know that winter and dark eventually ends and the cycle begins again. The sacred wheel of life is already spinning; you may as well enjoy the ride and trust Her to keep you.
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Click to view my video on how to make Samhain Sugar Skulls
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar 1 egg white 1 TBS corn syrup 1/2 tsp vanilla Cornstarch Food coloring 1 Paintbrush Large plastic bag Large container
In a large bowl mix the egg white, corn syrup, and vanilla in a clean bowl until all incorporated. Mix in the powdered sugar about two cups at a time until a dough ball forms and the dough is no longer wet looking. Remove dough from bowl and knead on a hard surface that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Keep kneading until dough is firm and stiff. Put about 1 cup of corn starch in the large plastic bag. Form dough into 1 inch balls and coat, in starch filled bag. Place starch coated balls into large container. Cover container tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerator overnight. When ready to form skulls, take sugar ball and cup in hands for about 5 to 10 seconds to warm the ball slightly, so it will not crack while shaping. When ball becomes slightly pliable, form your skull. Set on tray and let dry overnight. Decorate with food coloring. Next, let’s make Sweet
Skull Bread … view video here.
2 TBS Dry Yeast ½ cup Warm Water Pinch of Sugar ½ cup Soy Milk 6 TBS Flax Eggs (or 2 whole eggs) ½ cup Honey ¾ cup Pumpkin puree
2 tsp Ginger 2 tsp Cinnamon 2 tsp Nutmeg 2 tsp All Spice 1 tsp Sea Salt 5 to 6 cups of unbleached Flour
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F; grease a large glass bowl and set aside. In a medium glass bowl add the water, and then sprinkle in the yeast and sugar. After the yeast mixture foams, add all remaining ingredients except flour. Once the mixture is smooth, add one cup of flour at a time, making sure it is completely incorporated. Once dough is too tough to stir, put on to flat surface and start kneading the remaining flour in the dough Â˝ cup at a time. Once dough is springy and resists kneading, form into a ball,. Place dough into greased glass bowl, turn, cover and set in warm place until the dough has doubled in size; about 20 to 30 min. Punch dough once in center and remove from bowl, divide in two and place each half on a greased cookie sheet. To form a skull, form dough into a oval shape, with a greased knife, cut two horizontal slits for eyes, one vertical slit for a nose and one horizontal slit for the mouth. Gently pull apart the dough,
with greased fingers, so you can see the pan below. Cover and let rise to 75% of double. After the dough has risen, uncover and reopen eyes, nose and mouth holes. You can brush dough with beaten egg white before baking if desired. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 min. Remove from baking sheet immediately and butter or oil all sides of the bread. Let cool slightly before serving. Flax Eggs (3 TBS = 1 Whole Egg) 1/3 cup milled flax seed 1 cup water Mix thoroughly in a bowl and let sit. Once the mixture reaches egg like consistency, it is ready to use. Now you have to make the Sweet
Skull Bread Dipping Sauce to go with the bread â€Ś view
that video here!
Dipping Sauce/Glaze 1 bar or tub of cream cheese softened Powered sugar Vanilla Warm cream cheese in microwave or pan, add powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency, add flavoring. Serve bread with dipping sauce.
Woodstock on my mind Last night I went to the screening of Taking Woodstock at my neighborhood movie house at the Piedmont. The lines were long outside, but we had pre-bought tickets. I was at Woodstock you know, that biggest ever of pagan festivals. I still have my original ticket from Woodstock, uncollected and just like new. Woodstock was happening. We took the bus from New York; a Greyhound. There was already much fanfare, reporters from the New York Times, no less, were there to interview those hippies who were waiting for the Woodstock bus. Franklin from Australia gave an optimistic report to them. I know this because I was standing there when it happened. Yes, we are going for the music and peace. No, there would not be violence there. “But there are going to be a hundred thousand young people there, don’t you worry?” “No we don’t.” I was asked what I am looking for in Woodstock? I had to lie. I cannot tell them that I was in need of a good lay, but if it’s just a great concert with good drugs and nature, I am all for it. I said instead, “I am going to meet my generation.” In this new country, I had no other roots that included me in a meaningful way into American society except “my generation” that I happened to belong to. I was pedigree. I was of the Beatles generation, same age as John Lennon and Ringo Star. Times Magazine had chosen my generation to be on the cover for the Man and Woman of the Year in 1964; generation under 25. I barely made it, I was 24. But by 1969 I must have been very old for this crowd, I was 29. Franklin and I agreed when we got there he’ll make fire and stuff. Looking back its unbelievable how I trusted the Great Spirit to provide. I had cash, but no tent, no sleeping bag or anything else. Franklin was the same way. It simply didn’t occur to me that this might become a problem. Our bus stopped somewhere near Woodstock, the traffic simply stopped. We climbed out the window of the bus and started walking with the young masses.
There was a sense of power right away. My generation was mobile and inventive. They came from everywhere. We arrived in a camping area, and I turned to Franklin, and said, “Man, this would be a good time to make fire.” He nodded, and took out his magnificent pipe. It was made from some kind of fancy Australian wood, white wood, with feathers and crystals, and gem stones dangling from its end. He started it up and passed it to me. Franklin always smoked very good grass. They were not like Thai sticks which were introduced into the country by the returning soldiers, but it was lighter and sweeter. As the smoke started encircling us people picked up their heads and headed for our pipe. Within minutes we had twenty friends from all over around the magic pipe. In the middle of it while there was a silence between tokes, Franklin said, “We need to crash somewhere. We brought nothing with us.” “No problem man, we have that big tent over there. We brought extra sleeping bags with us.” “Thank you man. Really appreciate it.” And that was that. We were covered. Flashbacks. Long haired young men building the stage. Their hair flowing in the breezes, as they were working feverishly, focused and beautiful. The stage wasn’t quite finished until late. Meet the commune with the big tent. John their top man was recently released from prison for drug charges. I could see the pain he had to endure and how it made him cautious. He shared his food. Mostly deserts. Sara Lee cheesecake. I recall hearing we had been declared a disaster area, didn’t know what that meant. I swallowed my cake and washed it down with orange juice. “Disaster area? What does that mean?” John knew. It meant there are no life sustaining resources on this land. What? We got everything. There was a sense that we had to teach the older warlike right-wingers generation how people don’t need to be policed, we behave very civilized on our own. A show of numbers was another signal. Watch it we are coming, and we vote. And burn draft cards. And burn bras and high heels. We didn’t count on the corporate greed that would soon co-opt our own culture, and continue to support the wars and militarism. We had actually believed that if “their” mind changed, because we were such well behaved young people, they would give up sending us to kill and block our way to prosper.
The place was awash with news. People had their radios on, and as more young people arrived they brought their own news. “The cool aid bus is here!” I peeked out from under the tent, and there it was. Ken Casey smiling and greeting people. Open for parties. LSD laced juices and music. Far out! At one point after a small break in the rain, carnations flowers had rained down on us. I caught one and kept it. Red carnations from a helicopter. “We love you man!” Before the rains, it was increasingly hotter. Sitting on my spot on the hill, I passed out briefly from sunstroke. Bosco from Dallas, a medical student brought me water and ushered me back into the tent. After the rains set in. I only listened to the music, but could not sit in the rain for it. It would take a serious acid trip to enjoy that. I needed to stay dry. I admired the few and shivering who stayed till all hours to witness the performances. Janis Joplin sang in sprinkling rain. Only late at night, when the rains thinned out at last, the concert resumed. I woke up and listened. In the daytime, there was survival. Get water, go to the bathroom … a whole hill away. I slowly made it up there, the mudslides were right there near the porta-potties, and while I waited in line I watched the young people mudslide and revel in it like happy grown children. I don’t know, it didn’t appeal to me. But watching was great fun.
The movie highlights is this mudslide. The rains were not cold, and the mud was smelling like good earth. The aftermath of abandoned tents, sleeping bags and stuff was a sight to see! The English schoolgirls who stayed here to attend, went out looking for souvenirs. Proof that they were here, for the other kids and posterity. Franklin vanished. I could have found him, but I knew our connection ended here. It was Bosco, the med student from Dallas with his motorcycle, who became a friend. We drove around the whole area, the Hog farm. He just liked a chick behind him on the seat. He was in a relationship back home. I enjoyed the company.
My story was mostly the listening from a tent, occasionally we had to make the water flow off the tent top, big splashes of water. I did take a naked swim in the beautiful lake. It felt like thousand of soft kisses all over my body. Water and little fishes, weeds submerged, tickled me. We had the full-visual impression of each other as humans, free dangling genitals and all. We were indeed a generation seeing ourselves for the first time. All equally human. And we loved ourselves. â€œBeautiful!â€? Was the most often used slang. Nakedness is truthfulness. There was so much joy, politeness, easy going laid back behavior. My hopes for the future had skyrocketed.
What fun it’s going to be living here in the middle of this human awakening. The young will eventually take over, end wars, abolish the draft, and support a loving civilization. I could really be a writer here, so much to reflect back. The movie ended with personal changes for all players, and I am sure Woodstock nation went on to change many things. There was one more viewer in the movie house, who was there. We high fived. Two young women turned to me and asked, “Did it really rain all the time?” “Not all the time, but a lot. Otherwise it was unbearable hot and humid.” “Was it really like the movie?” “There were no short haired men in Woodstock, I didn’t see any.” The two women definitely would have come had they been old enough then they said. They looked at me like I was the luckiest woman. We walked out and wondered how my generation aged in all this time. Many have passed away. Janis. Jimmy. Some like me, survived into the new century. Grass is still illegal. War is still in fashion, making the rich richer. The draft is gone. But how long? But, there remains a deep longing for Woodstock and the values it represented. Peace and happiness. There had been several other festivals using this name, but it was with pills and alcohol, and not grass. The drugs the people took helped in the peacefulness, love and gentility. The drugs are too aggressive today. This “Peace and Music” concept died later in the year at Altamont. The Rolling Stones hired the Hell’s Angels for security. A man was killed with terrible violence. We all woke up. “My Gawwd. Is it already over?” In Woodstock nobody died. A baby was born. A new Aquarian consciousness was put to practice. Young people can demonstrate peace and music to the old suits. We won. Briefly. Then, 4o years flew by. The new generation has to hold on to the dream much harder. Peace, music and arts, creativity instead of deadly competition can be continued. It’s still early in the century. We have to be stronger. Peace.
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The Queenly, Creatrix, Cantankerous Crones There are Goddesses who are mainly, and in a few cases, solely, associated with the word Hag. Far from our familiar definition of the word today, hag used to mean a woman who was a venerated wise elder, literally â€œholy one.â€œ Hag meant to be wise and holy, filled with the knowledge of the sacred. Now, of course, it means horrible, ugly, fearsome and all that goes with those ideas. In the evolution through the centuries of the stories, both still existing and lost, of these Hag Goddesses, they have kept the qualities of Age, Wisdom and Holiness, but have also gathered to them the attributes of being Terrifying, Ugly, and Capricious. They most often reflect the season of Winter with its cold barrenness, its difficulties, its Darkness and Death. Baba Yaga, The Cailleach, and Cerridwen are three of these tough, ancient and powerful Goddesses whose presence is still felt today.
Baba Yaga is described as being stick thin and bony as a skeleton, yet having a voracious appetite. Her teeth are made of iron. She fills the hut when she sleeps on her own oven and her nose is so long, it pokes through the ceiling. If one does get an opportunity to ask Her advice or help, and receives it, it is an act of great generosity on Her part as every request She answers ages Her another whole year. Luckily, She has a tea She brews from blue roses which restores the year to Her. Baba Yaga is the Earth Mother, wild and untamed, yet She can be generous and kind. As Wise Woman, She gives magical gifts and good guidance for the future, though always with a trial to go through in order to reach the desired goal. As Queen of Death, the Bone Mother, whenever She appears wild winds accompany Her, trees around Her creak and groan, leaves whirl through the air and with Her are spirits of the Dead, often shrieking and wailing. Baba Yaga guards the Fountain of the Water of Life and Death. If one was killed by sword or fire, then sprinkled with the water of Death, all wounds were healed and afterward, the corpse sprinkled with the water of Life, it was reborn. As such, She resembles Skuld, the Third Fate Sister. She is the Dark Goddess we approach with fear, but to have the courage to approach Her is to find our way through Death to Rebirth.
The Cailleach, meaning veiled one, is a Goddess so ancient that 2000 years ago when the Celts set foot on the lands which became known as England, Scotland and Ireland, She had already been worshipped since time immemorial. The Celts incorporated Her into their own pantheon of deities because She was so powerful. Yet almost none of Her stories survive because the oral tradition that was the Celts’ was swallowed up and made forbidden to even speak of by the Catholic Church as it came in to convert the peoples of these northern islands. Her name and power do survive in place names and landmarks throughout these countries. In Ireland, She is associated with the Cliffs of Moher, especially the one called Hag’s Head. The mountains that stand inland from the ocean there are called the Mountains of the Hag. Mountains were named after Her throughout those lands like Beinn na Cailleach (meaning woman and female lineage of the Cailleach) in Scotland, and are usually covered with clouds and frequent storms. Here are two invocations of Her from Patricia Monaghan’s book, The Goddess Path: 1. Her face had the blue-black shine of coal, Her one bony tooth was red like rust. Her hair was thick and dense and gray like brushwood in a dying forest. In Her head was one eye like a pool, swifter than a star in the winter sky. That one stone eye in the Hag’s head moved quicker than mackerel after a lure. 2. The Old One crouched in the branches of the old pollard oak, the last remnant of Her forest, the oak that grew in the cleft of the rock over the mouth of Her dark cave. She made that cave, scratched it out of the cold earth with Her bony hands. She crouched like wild beast ready to spring. She of the long nails, She of the long teeth, She ran through the hills like thunder The second of these was created from an actual personal sighting of the Cailleach recorded in a newspaper in the 19th century. A famous Irish poem says, “There are three great ages: the age of the yew tree, the age of the eagle, the age of the Cailleach”.
Though virtually nothing is known about Her worship or Her rituals, what is known is that though many other deities have disappeared from memory, She remains there in the lands once dedicated to Her. Ancient. She is almost indeed the land itself. She may have at one time been a Maiden Goddess, a Mother Goddess, but now all that remains are the stories of Her as Crone, as Hag. She has blue-black skin, only one eye over the Third Eye spot on the forehead which is preternaturally quick and can see everything. She has frosty white hair and wears a drab gray dress draped by a ragged, faded plaid. She is unfathomably strong and carries boulders in Her apron which she sometimes dropped and that was how the mountains were all created. She can claw caves out of the ground and the mountainsides with her fingers and made chairs for Herself to sit upon by moving aside parts of hills. She had a farm which She worked and hired men to work on it with Her. She made a deal with them that if She could outwork them, She would not have to pay them. Many a man fell for this, looking at the Old One, and then worked himself to death trying to outwork the Cailleach. But no man could. She also had countless lovers - all, naturally, younger men. They always died of old age eventually, but She could always move on to another younger man. No one would dare use the term “cougar” to this Power of Earth and Force of Nature! Not only could She move and create mountains, She controlled the seasons and the weather. Although She powerfully embodied the season of Winter, She was always defeated by Spring’s return, no matter how much of a fight She put up. There was a legend that She kept the Maiden (Spring), named Brigid, locked up in a tower all winter, and with human intervention, the Maiden was eventually freed each spring and the Cailleach retreated to Her cave to bide Her time until Winter came again. There is some indication that both these, the Maiden and the Crone might have originally been the same Goddess, but went through yearly transformations similar to the Native American Goddess, Changing Woman, the Goddess who endlessly renews Herself. The Cailleach was also associated with spinning. One was not to ever spin at night or to take the spinning wheel outdoors after nightfall as it might catch the unwanted attention of the Cailleach. She might call on you in the guise of a sweet old grandmother to test you or challenge you to take some wretched substance and spin it into gold or silver or something else fine. If you could not accomplish the task, you would be punished by Her for She was the Master Spinner and a perfectionist where spinning was concerned. This brings to mind later folktales such as The Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin. Could these be remnants of legends of the Cailleach brought by travel to Europe? In addition to the rocks, the cliffs and the mountains being associated symbols of the Cailleach, there are mythic traces which suggest an association of the Cailleach with the cat, specifically, a black cat. Black Annis, an English form of the Cailleach, appears in the spring in the form of a black cat. In the west of Ireland, there are bits of stories still told of a cat Goddess who lived in a cave and was visited for answers to questions like the Sibyl of Greek lore. Could this be the Wise Crone Cailleach, transformed to a cat?
Cerridwen is a Welsh Goddess who is the Keeper of the Cauldron of Transformation and Rebirth. The vision of Her standing tirelessly stirring the bubbling cauldron of Inspiration and Knowledge is forever associated with our contemporary culture’s concept of a witch. She also is the Wise Crone Goddess, who again, is formidable. Cerridwen lives on an island in the middle of a lake and had twin children - a breathtakingly beautiful girl and an equally breathtakingly ugly boy. The girl was fair and Light, the boy was unattractive and Dark. Being a loving Mother, She wanted to create a potion that She could give to Her son to make up for his outward ugliness - something that would give him beautiful and powerful inner qualities. So She concocted a potion which would take a year and a day to cure as she added specific and important herbs and ingredients at specific astrological times to make it extremely powerful and uniquely magical. Just three drops after the potion brewed for a year and a day would impart to Her son Knowledge of all things and the power of Transformation. She enlisted the help of two others - an old blind man who was to keep the fire fed so the potion would never get cold, and a young man, Gwion, to take over continuously stirring the cauldron when She had to go out to gather more needful ingredients. She was out harvesting herbs when suddenly she saw in Her mind a bubble from the top of the potion burst and spray onto Gwion’s hand. He yelped at the burn and instinctively put his hand in his mouth. In that instant, he was given the gifts meant for Cerridwen’s son. Cerridwen cried out in anger and Gwion started running. The cauldron broke in two as the rest of the brew was toxic and poisonous and it all spilled out onto the ground. Quickly, Gwion used his newfound power to change into a fish and swam away in the nearby stream. But Cerridwen, furious, was onto him and She became an otter and swam swiftly after him determined to eat him. Just as She was darting through the current nearing Gwion, he changed himself into a bird and flew upward out of the water. Instantly, Cerridwen transformed Herself into a hawk and pursued him with much more powerful wings. As She reached out Her talons for him, he changed into a grain of wheat and fell to the ground. Cerridwen immediately shape-shifted into a hen and began to peck all around the ground until She found the grain of wheat and ate it. At that moment, Cerridwen knew She was pregnant and decided to kill the fetus, but then changed Her mind. Nine moons later, She had the baby and the baby was incredibly beautiful. Her heart went out to the infant. Although She would not raise the boy Herself, She sent him out into the ocean in a soft, warm bag made of sealskin, knowing that the boy’s fate awaited him. The Irish Prince Elffin found him in the
water and took him home to raise him. That baby grew up to be the most famous and powerful bardic poet Taliesin. Taliesin had the power to transform men’s hearts and minds with his eloquence and melodies. The name Taliesin means “behold radiant brow,” or “beautiful brow.” The stories and legends of Cerridwen form the basis for the Arthurian cycle of legends. Taliesin became the Merlin so important as King Arthur’s teacher and mentor. And it is widely thought that the Holy Grail quested after by Arthur and his knights, was in fact, Cerridwen’s Cauldron of Knowledge, Inspiration, Transformation and Rebirth. Indeed it represents the Divine Feminine complete; generation, the womb and the tomb. Cerridwen is primarily seen in Her Crone aspect, though She was clearly also a Mother Goddess, representing fecundity, fertility and creation. She is closely associated with the Full Moon. Her sacred animal is the sow. She can be invoked as a Law-Giver, Dispenser of Wisdom and Justice. Her sacred stories remind us that we must all go through many changes in this lifetime and beyond, but we always return to the Mother and Her cauldron of Rebirth. Cerridwen teaches us the secret of Immortality; Death is actually an integral part of Life, where every Death brings a Rebirth and every ending a new beginning. The Hag, the Crone, are realities we need to learn to embrace as women in this age - and it is especially difficult to do so precisely because of the age in which we live. In this contemporary Western culture which is so youth-centric that women even in their thirties have plastic surgery to remain looking as young as possible, the idea of embracing old age seems as foreign as embracing death itself. It takes Courage to embrace the Hag. According to the stories left to us of these three Goddesses, it always has, but it has special significance now, to us. It is a harsh realization that when women get to be “of a certain age,” they might as well be invisible. They are discounted and paid little attention by society around them. They are ignored in restaurants and retail stores, and the dog they are walking will be greeted more often than they are. Older women live in more poverty in the United States than older men. And they live in poverty at a greater rate than younger women. Many women’s greatest fear is to be old, abandoned and homeless. And not without good reason. But I see hope in the fact that the largest generation, the Baby Boomers, is the generation now reaching their sixties and will soon be reaching beyond that in age.
We as women need to be able to look forward to wearing the jewel-like hues of the purple of power in our old age. Such a large generation should be able to turn the tide of respect toward older women. With such consumer power, we should be able to be the stars of commercials for products other than arthritis drugs, denture fixative and elder diapers. Wise Women in the past symbolized maturity, wisdom, intuition, knowledge of this world and others, authority and power. The patriarchal culture feared the Crone and set about to marginalize Her by ignoring Her and rejecting Her, even finally demonizing Her. She struck fear into men, and some women, because She could not be bound, slowed down or controlled by being made pregnant. Without Her monthly bleeding, She kept all her power within Herself and would use it as She willed. She personified that aspect of life that men longed to, but could not, control - death. The Hag was the prophet, the diviner, the healer and medicine woman. And when death came, as it comes to everyone, She was the midwife in the transformation to the next life. She still holds the power and mystery of life, death and rebirth within Her. At this sacred time of Samhain, let us set our hearts and minds to embrace the Crone and hold fast to us the Hag. If we are lucky, we too will become old and wise with greater sight, and within that will be our power and beauty, and we will know the mystery, for we will find it within ourselves. For behold, She has been with us from the beginning and She is that which is attained at the end of desire.
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ALL HAILS THE
ANCIENT LUNAR HAG
RECOVERING & RECLAIMING: COMING OUT OF THE BROOM CLOSET Halloween is approaching and along with it colorful displays of black, orange, purple, silver and gold are filling our stores with various costumes, masks, pumpkins, ghosts, goblins, black cats and of course... WITCHES! Too many here in the High Sierra, where we actually have a Nevada Day parade on Halloween, the Witch is still perceived as a seasonal novelty... but to those of us who honor the GODDESS she carries far deeper implications. Some see the Witch as a symbol of power, magic or mystery... and believe it or not, others still perceive a witch as the wicked old bony woman described to us as children in fairy tales of Hansel & Gretel or Snow White. Even though more women are coming out of the broom closet to reclaim the Goddess today, removing the stigma of the evil witch may take a while longer... especially in the minds of Patriarchal Theologians and their followers.
Many goddess women identify as witches and others do not, but it is still very important to bring the true implications of the word into the light, because to me a WITCH is one who knows herself as divine; one with spirit and nature; who aligns herself with the powers, cycles and seasons of nature; a priestess, healer, wise woman; virgin, mother, crone; created in the image and likeness of the Goddess herself..... and much more... Even in women’s circles everywhere, many are still reluctant to use the word witch. With the bad press witches have gotten over the years in Patriarchy, I feel it’s an understandable controversy. I couldn’t proclaim myself as a witch until after the Goddess revealed herself to me in 1985, I was too fearful and had too many misconceptions. I had to thoroughly understand the meaning of the word before I could state it with conviction and I struggled with it for years. Although something about it rang true deep down inside, I resisted the stigma because, like many, I refused to identify with the weird definitions attached to witches, and still do. It took quite a while to identify as a WITCH. Being raised Catholic didn’t help much and old ideas were deeply ingrained. I remember identifying strongly with Joan of Arc when I was a young girl in Parochial school, and when I was told that the church burned her at the stake for being a Witch I was shocked! In those days, a witch was described as an evil sorceress resembling a fiend or vampire. She did obscene rituals, worshipped the devil and cast harmful spells. I, quite frankly, never believed in a devil of any sort, EVER, so if that¹s what witches were I was definitely not one of them! (Whew!) I also developed a cloak of secrecy from my upbringing because unlike public schools, religious indoctrination was part of my daily curriculum and I had to conform or face serious trouble, and I was always in trouble. Daily studies of Church Dogma were required to prepare us for a good spiritual life... and we were frequently ushered to church for mass, novenas and holy days of obligation, prepped like little soldiers to receive sacraments like confession, communion or confirmation, so I had to play along, or else! In those days remnant energies of the Inquisition still lingered in the air. Patriarchal oppression reigned heavily so it was a gruesome ordeal. Church doctrine was enforced with fear, shame, guilt and punishment while incidents of domestic or child abuse were condoned, even sanctioned. We consistently heard stories about saints that happily suffered and died in horrible ways defending the church, so martyrdom was glorified and idolized. It was during this time that I heard the Joan of Arc story, and although the church later canonized Joan as a saint, this little tidbit of information steered me away from exploring the
subject of Witches altogether! At least for awhile. In the days of my childhood, Catholicism was insidiously rigid. Contradictions were endless, concepts irrational. Since none of it made any real sense, I openly defied those pushing it down my throat and balked at the twisted idea of a LOVING GOD who blamed woman for the fall of mankind because she ate a piece of fruit; condemned all women to a life of subservience; destroyed life by flood or fire; turned his favorite angel into a devil; delighted in human and animal sacrifice; molested and impregnated the young virgin Mary then ordained his only son’s violent death on a cross! And this very god has the unmitigated gall and audacity to send me to Hell if I tell a white lie or eat a hot dog on a Friday? I DON¹T THINK SO! (Eating meat on Friday was forbidden in those days) To me, this tyrant was totally and completely insane! Needless to say, my views and candid comments at school did nothing to promote healthy discussions, only to make trouble for myself. That's one of many reasons I left the church and I'll always be grateful that I did. After leaving the church at sixteen, I began exploring mystical arts of Astrology, Palmistry and Tarot while having kids, thus becoming accomplished at divination, including dowsing or water witching. That resulted in my friends kiddingly calling me a witch through the years... but when they did, I’d always brush them off because it made me feel very uncomfortable, even fearful. I didn¹t really understand why at the time, only that I was a little paranoid and didn¹t want folks getting the wrong idea about me. Today I can see that my paranoia was not only from a brain saturated with religious misogyny, but from ancestral memories of The Burning Times buried deep in my genetic make-up and cellular structure. Then, I lacked any real information to substantiate my fears, but today I know that my ancestral bloodlines were Italian Stregha that suffered and died in horrible ways during the Inquisitions. With lingering memories from past generations carried deep in my cells and subconscious through the years, it was understandable why I had resisted identifying myself as a Witch. I also understood why I kept a low profile during that time. It was the right thing to do, especially since the laws forbidding witchcraft and divination were still on the books.... and Z can verify that! As you can imagine... being stuck in the strange environment of Catholicism as a young girl took a lot of courage and mental maneuvering, especially for a female like myself, because if you think about it, I was
really a closet feminist and a witch and didn’t know it... surrounded by the very decedents that burned my ancestors at the stake! Not good. Of course, in those days I had no concrete facts about it all, just a lot of inner fear, rage and ambivalence that was finally brought to light and fully explained years later when I began embracing Goddess Religion... and today, through the recovering and reclaiming process I am proud to call myself a Witch. As many of you know, I’ve worked with recovering women for over 26 years and many hundreds have attended our Circle through the years. For some women, stepping out of the broom closet can be a delicate issue. They don’t want to jump off a precipice, jeopardize security or trigger events having detrimental effects, and it's a personal choice that must be handled with discernment. Old emotional patterns and religious mind-sets die hard, and many communities in America, including this one, still lack awareness and receptiveness, so certain considerations are of utmost importance. Some women are reluctant to arouse fear or unnecessary concern. Others are from conservative families and feel it's best to exercise a certain amount of caution when dealing with loved ones. Some don’t want to cause undue worry or elicit unwanted responses, and it's their choice. Others know that prejudicial attitudes could bring dangerous results and I’ve heard stories making these fears legitimate. Decent people have lost children in divorce courts, had jobs threatened, and actually been evicted from their homes because the neighbors feared a sinister cult of witches was forming when women met for Circle! No one should have to risk safety or security because of ignorance or prejudice, so in all cases it's important to exercise good judgment.
It may be hard for some of us to imagine going though this, but we must remember there are many unenlightened and uneducated people in the world. Freedom of religion doesn't always mean justice prevails. Many times it doesn't, and who has money to file lawsuits anyway? So depending on where we live, it's not only important but smart not to intentionally put ourselves in harms way if we want to live with some degree of comfort. Awareness and understanding will prevail as time passes, because the Goddess is becoming more and more visible every day... and hopefully, as she makes herself known to the masses, fear and ignorance will diminish. Many women today are being called to reclaim the Goddess from a deep place within. Some women already see themselves connected to the natural world when they come to the Circle... and many need sisters of like mind to clarity their experiences. That’s what makes my job easy. I’m merely giving away what a woman already has. I love holding circle and love using the term Women’s Spirituality instead of Witchcraft because it’s fresh and leaves room for discussion without immediate barriers going up. Being a minister helps too, because it creates a certain credibility that eases fear if people have questions, especially in conservative environments, so get those credentials sisters. Since we live in a fairly conservative community as well, most of the sisters here come out of the closet gradually. Some tell their families that they are going to a Women's Group that shares life experience, and that seems to be enough to satisfy the curiosity of most mates or family members. Women have been getting together for years, for showers, birthdays, quilting, card playing or sewing circles so it isn’t anything unusual, and most people are used to hearing about various groups that meet for therapeutic or spiritual reasons as well. Mates, family and friends often notice a positive change when a woman starts participating in Circles and Gatherings that honor the Goddess because she begins to honor herself, and that's good enough for them. Our Sisterhood is comprised of many women healing from patriarchal oppression and the various compulsive disorders and addictions associated with it, so when positive changes are witnessed the evidence speaks for itself... and loved ones don’t seem to care what it’s called... they're just glad it’s working. Those of us recovering from Codependence, as well as other dysfunctions, must at some point, address our fear of what people think. We must also quit people pleasing if it's costing our emotional and spiritual freedom. If Dianic Traditions are truly the path for us, we gradually come to terms with our choice and feel comfortable expressing it, and it happens one day at a time. We also feel good about stepping out of the broom closet when it's time and reclaiming ourselves as true daughters of the Great Mother. It makes us feel good, because it's the truth... and feeling good in our own skin is truly the essence of recovery and reclaiming... and our fundamental goal in healing. Being true to ourselves is the essence of Goddess Spirituality, and it is far more important than staying sick and miserable. When we truly come to that sacred place inside ourselves... and recognize ourselves as the divinity we really are...
we probably won't give a damn what others think anyway. All and all, it’s important to connect with others in the most harmonious and cooperative way possible if we want to work together for change and transformation and be of service to humanity. I have no problem sharing my spiritual convictions now... and speak openly about the Goddess in my recovery program as well... because I like to carry the message and leave the door open for women looking to reclaiming themselves. It’s attraction rather than promotion... and if this is truly the path for them they usually approach me. Although the Goddess needs to awaken more minds here in the High Sierras, many already experience a deep kinship with Nature and Spirit here in the high desert. She’s making herself known to more sisters every day, and I’m right here waiting to meet them... and hopefully, by the time I make my final transition, there will be circles of women everywhere.... drumming, singing, dancing and howling at the moon. That is my desire this Halloween season and I’m sure my beloved ancestors will back me up! In the meantime, Gaia’s Moon Lodge will be waiting for sisters that are meant to circle with us. I know that the women drawn to the Goddess path are probably closet Witches anyway; they’ve probably lived under false pretenses for some time and need a loving Circle of Sisters to support who they are, recognize their wisdom, honor their feminine spirit, reflect their sacredness and mirror the Ancient Mother in her many guises. So, I say to all you closet witches everywhere... Come out, Come out, wherever you are!
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Here are some ways to connect even deeper this Samhain. Correspondences for Samhain Flowers and herbs to use during Samhain are Mugwort, Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Oak leaves, Sage, Straw, Dandelion, Ferns, Flax, Fumitory, Mullein, and Thistles Some oil and incenses recommendations are Clove, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Mint, Heliotrope, Dragon's Blood, Camphor, Nutmeg, Mace, Cinnamon, Acacia, Copal, Frankincense, Basil, Yarrow, Lilac, Wormwood, Patchouli, Apple, Sage, and Ylang-ylang.
The colors for this time of year are orange and black. All black gemstones are especially appropriate for this time of the year. For example you may use these gemstones Onyx, Jet, or Obsidian. Different types of food to prepare are apples, pumpkin pie, pomegranate, pumpkin, squash, hazelnuts, corn, cranberry muffins, and bread Types of drinks to have are ale, herbal tea, and cider.
The decorations and tools to use are black altar cloths, jack o' lanterns, oak leaves, acorns, straw, balefire, besom, black cat, black crescent moon, cauldron, divination tools, grain, mask, bare branches, Hazelwood, and pictures of ancestors. The Goddesses to work with are as follows. The Goddess in Her dark aspect as the Crone, Hecate (goddess of fertility and moon-magick, and protectress of all Witches), Morrighan (Celtic goddess of death), The dynamic meaning is of death and transformation, Samhain is the Wiccan New Year, the time to honor the wisdom of the Crone, and celebrate the end of summer. Focus on bringing honor to the thinning of the veil between the worlds, death of the year, end old projects, and begin new projects. The purpose is to honor the dead, especially departed ancestors, knowing that they will not be forgotten; with clear knowledge of our path; guidance, protection, and celebrating reincarnation. During spells and rituals this is the time for foreseeing the future, honor and consult with your ancestors. Work on releasing the old, understanding death and rebirth, entering the underworld, fire calling, and recalling youâ€™re past life. A few customs to partake in and pass on are building an ancestor altar. Set a specific time a side to do divination. Make up a spirit plate and begin to dry up winter herbs. Play festive games with apples and carve up pumpkins. The element to work with is water and the threshold is at midnight
Memento Mori: Remembering the Dead It seems appropriate, as the veil between the worlds grows thin at this time of the year, to talk about a rite of remembrance for the beloved dead as well as for others who have passed to the next life. I was first exposed to this rite while I lived in Salt Lake City when I was in college. It was beautiful and powerful, and the whole community shared in its beauty. It was done a couple weeks before Samhain as a catharsis to get ready for the main observance of the Holy Day. I continue to do it alone as a solitary to prepare myself for the deep inner work I do around Samhain, and like Dia de Los Muertos observed in the local Hispanic community, it gives me a chance to commune with my loved ones and let them know they are not forgotten. The Memento Mori as I learned it and practice it is done in three sections: the first is the roll of the known dead from the Burning Times, along with a general acknowledgement of those who died during that horrible time whose names were lost or forgotten; the second is the roll of the dead from other religious and political persecutions and other tragedies that those participating wish to honor; the final section is the remembrance of the beloved dead of those present for the rite. The rite starts with the casting of a circle. One priestess stands at the East and purifies everyone with smoke and salt water as she allows them through the open gate in the circle. Once everyone has entered, the gate in the circle is closed and everyone is seated. Weâ€™d usually have some cushions arranged around the circle ahead of time since this ritual is quite long and it helps to deal with the psychic energy if everyone is comfortable physically. Next, a bowl with slips of paper with the names of those who are known to have died during the Burning Times is passed around the circle as many times as needed until all pieces have been distributed. Starting in the North, each person reads the name from one slip of paper, going deosil until all names have been read. The lead priestess then offers a remembrance for those whose names have been lost to time and enjoins everyone to say with her, â€œWe will not forget.â€? After this is done, the priestess then invites everyone to share the names of those who have died as a result of modern political or religious persecutions and other tragedies. If a name is not known or it was
a large group, the remembrance can be done by stating the victims of “X” event. The priestess should allow the group to share until she feels the energy of this section coming to a good conclusion then she should lead the group in once again saying, “We will not forget.” The final section of the rite begins with the priestess inviting those present to share the names - and other information as feels appropriate – of their own beloved dead, whether recent or long-departed. This can also continue until the priestess feels the energy coming to a head. At this point it is good to lead the group in a few appropriate chants such as ‘Hekate, Cerridwen’ to help with closure and allow the participants to more easily ground after the rite has finished. Once the priestesses sense that the participants are ready, the circle can be closed in whatever manner they wish. This is a rite where it is good to have ready an area where participants can sit and talk and eat so that they can completely ground from the deep catharsis they just shared. We always did this on a weekend so that it was less likely that people would have to leave soon after and try and sleep without the chance to really work through what they had just experienced. I still make sure to only do this when I have the next day (and preferably the next couple days) off work, especially since the rite itself can take a couple hours, depending on how many people show up. Also, it is good for those who plan and prepare the rite to bring, and encourage those coming to bring, lots of tissues. They will be needed. We always distributed boxes throughout the circle along with the cushions so that the energy need not be disrupted during the catharsis. This rite is very spiritually draining, as all good cathartic events should be, but it is a draining that causes cleansing and healing. I find that I am in a much clearer space emotionally, psychically, and mentally after my annual observance. I always do a house cleaning and energy clearing to prepare for the inward energies of the dark time of the year. It feels right to do so on a personal level. It also allows me to renew myself before the long introspection that comes with winter. In ancient cultures, the communities would join together for a group catharsis like this at different times of the year, depending on their calendar, because it helps to relieve the spirit of emotional and psychic and make room for joy. One of the most famous examples of this from Classical times was the gathering of people for the great festival of Dionysos, which involved the performing of tragic plays so that those present could release their own sorrows with the protagonists on stage and offer their grief to the God Who died each year with the vines. It is good to note that these great tragedies would often be followed by bawdy comedies or satires to bring laughter back. Thus may we be reminded that while grief and remembrance are good and necessary for the spirit, it is also necessary to not wallow in those emotions, but to let them flow and let them go and experience happiness and laughter as the joyful beings we are by birthright as daughters of the Goddess.
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Iâ€™m surrounded by Ancestral Spirits, and they have chosen to stay. Yes, I called upon them, but Samhain is at hand. And right now, we can all easily hold hands, creating a perfect circle of protection against this threat. Iâ€™m face-to-face with a dark shadow, and the Spirits have crossed to provide aid - Hekate, Queen of Witches, be with me along the way - protecting as they begin to channel their energy through me, and we break an ancient bind that had to end. Hekate, Triple Goddess, has been teaching all along. We celebrate our Ancient Mother, and October is Her month. Samhain is one of the most ancient celebrations that humanity still celebrates today. The Catholic Church gave it their all to destroy this primordial call. They failed to silence our voice within us. Our Earth Mother remained with us no matter what was done. We continued dancing, celebrating, and contemplating at this time of year. It is also our New Year, and we contemplate, but not alone. Ancestors come to visit and spirits are mingling among us. They also like to celebrate as they share with us what they wish to let us hear or show us, when we honor them. This celebration of Samhain is also called Halloween, All Saints Day, and the Day of the Dead to name just a few. It is filled with the sound of children laughing - and some may scream due to fright, colorful masks, adornments, elaborate costumes we continue to use today to scare away the spirits, even though people today may not know that was the purpose for using them. A knock, knock, knock on the door is often heard on October 31st. What you give may make their day, brightening their future, even if they do not understand our ways. This is a season to give, and dare you harm or give with ill intent, bad luck will follow your days. By honoring the dead, you continue one of the oldest forms of worship known to humanity, one that is practiced by many Witches, Pagans and even those who have a different faith â€“ the practice of honoring the dead on November 1st. Build them a beautiful altar. Each one of us knows our ancestors best. We have never lost touch with those who have passed away, as they come to us in visions and dreams, and we can go to them when in need. Right now, it is an easier journey for all involved. Place their favorite things on the altar, and add their pictures to
meditate. Offer their favorite foods and have the table set for them. Do not forget their favorite wine or add the kind of flowers they loved in life. This brings part of nature to your altar and adds beauty for all. Speak to them as if you could see them right there, chances are they are there and can hear you speaking loudly and clearly and appreciate all you have done. The living and the spirit world intermingle. The veil that separates our worlds has thinned out, and our worlds come as close as they can. So, it is easy for those who have departed to join us and share this day with us. If you cannot see them, you may feel them. It may be a memory, words, thoughts, or you might even feel them around you. Do not doubt what you feel, see or sense. Hekate, Queen of all Witches, Ancient One, we honor You during Samhain. We celebrate the ones who have passed away and we celebrate the New Year as well. Your rites have been lost through time, but Your ways are found within us and You share them with us if we listen when You call.
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UPCOMING LIVE EVENTS Pagan Examiner – Read the articles written by Bobbie and myself. Z’s Calendar of Events – Want to know where I am appearing? Goddess Festival 2010 – You think the last was good? Goddess is Alive! Pantheacon 2009 – A very large number of Dianics are attending this year. Join us!
The Goddess Temple of Orange County Events at The Goddess Temple of Orange County are designed for women - Sunday services
Temple of Diana - a religious and educational organization in Wisconsin that provides services to nurture the spiritual needs of women though healing, empowerment, and celebration. Circle of Aradia - provides services that nurture the spiritual needs of women in Los Angeles.
The Sacred Circle ~ Recovering & Reclaiming Ancient Ways to Heal our Lives Events in The Sacred Circle are for members only, unless otherwise stated. Call JoAnna 775-882-1599 for membership inquiries.
SUBMIT YOUR WORK TO GODDESS CRITERIA Goddess magazine accepts previously unpublished work for consideration. Publication preference is given to work that reflects the Goddess magazine attitude.
HOW TO SUBMIT If you have work that fits our criteria and you would like to see it published in Goddess magazine please send it via e-mail to zbudapest (at) gmail.com. Send in within the body of the E-mail. No attachments will be read. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for response. Include in your submission any and all author information you would feel appropriate to share with others.
RIGHTS AND CONDITIONS We require "First Serial and Electronic Rights." We hold these rights for the month when the work appears, then publication rights revert back to the author. We also hold the right to keep the work in our archives for the duration of the site. If the piece is first published on Goddess magazine, we ask this be acknowledged if subsequently re-published. All work is subject to editing.
PAYMENT Goddess magazine is owned by the Womenâ€™s Spirituality Forum, a non-profit organization, supported by the hard work of volunteers and donations. As a result, we are unable to offer monetary compensation. If you would like to help support the site, please donate using our secure contribution PayPal account. DONATE HERE
Dianic Wiccan Clergy Priestess Overview It is the goal of the Women’s Spirituality Forum to provide our members with herstorical and philosophical foundations of the Dianic Tradition; including ritual and spiritual practices from which to provide Clergy Priestess services to the public. Dianic Tradition is an ancient Goddess and woman-centered, Earth-based, feminist denomination of Wiccan religion. We are a teaching tradition. In the Dianic Tradition, clergy are required to complete course work that enriches their understanding of the sacred feminine Craft through cognitive and practical hands-on experiences to use in their roles as clergy priestesses to the Goddess and Her women.
What is Dianic Clergy? Clergy is a Greek word meaning “heritage” and from its origins, developed into a name for the persons who kept records and practices of the heritage. In the Dianic Tradition, we refer to the Clergy Priestesses as the active keepers and practitioners of our traditions, records and practices. These are Goddess priestess women who provide spiritual support to women (and their families) worldwide; and support women’s rights as feminists.
Ordained Dianic Clergy is not the same as an Ordained Daughter of Z Budapest. Ordained Daughter is an honorary title for exemplary community service gifted by Z Budapest directly. It has no legal ties to the Women’s Spirituality Forum.
What can I do with this? Ordained Dianic Clergy can perform public rituals, including marriage rites, under the legal auspicious of the Women’s Spirituality Forum non-profit status. The Women’s Spirituality Forum, Inc. is a 501 ( c ) (3) tax-exempt religious, educational, and charitable organization. Income you earn as Dianic Clergy and keep is not tax deductible. Income you donate to the Women’s Spirituality Forum, Inc. is tax deductible. The same is true for portions of the income donated to the Women’s Spirituality Forum, Inc., but only the amount of the donated portion would be tax deductible.
What is expected from students enrolled in this program? The Womenâ€™s Spirituality Movement, which reclaimed the Dianic Tradition, was based on two principles of action; movement happens through the written word and through the physical doing. We will require both from you. Expect to produce high quality materials that you will use in your Clergy Priestess practice. We expect you complete your training in a reasonable amount of time. You may not complete this training in any less than a year and a day, and not more than three years and three days. We have made concessions for lifeâ€™s complications during your period of training by allowing you longer than a year and a day to finish, but also realize that this is a very serious and intensive program for only the most dedicated of Goddess Women. Live In-person trainings are required. Online classes in the Dianic Wicca University are required. More on requirements and fees. Ordination as a Dianic Clergy Priestess is required before you will receive any acknowledgement of successful completion. This ordination must be inperson at an event of our choosing. You will be required to complete an academic body of work using a variety of mediums (written, video, audio, etc.). You will attend in-person events where you will be required to perform leadership skills and be observed. If you meet all these requirements satisfactorily, you will receive ordination as a Clergy Priestess and an official certificate. Who should apply? Women-born-women who live their lives as females, and are seeking to enrich their lives and the lives of others by becoming knowledgeable about and intending to become practicing clergy of the Dianic (Feminist) tradition of Wicca, an Earthbased theology, as founded by Zsuzsanna Budapest.
Statement of Dianic Wiccan Faith As a Goddess and woman-centered, Earth-based, feminist clergy, you must support, defend and be prepared to propagate the basic principles of Dianic Wicca as follows: 1. Maintain a living practice the Manifesto of the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One. 2. Practice the Dianic Wiccan Rede code of ethics that honors the Earth and Her creatures, "And it harm none, do what thou wilt." 3. Honor a feminine aspect of deity.
Ethics of the Dianic Wiccan Faith
Manifesto of the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One (Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries p.1-2)
Dangers of Magic (Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries p.10)
Only the Women’s Spirituality Forum can ordain clergy under the auspices of their non-profit status. While other non-profits might have their own clergy, their credentials are not substitutions for the training and credential of the Women’s Spirituality Forum.
The Application for Dianic Clergy Priestess is online
Goddess Resource Links Z Budapest Website Dianic Wicca University Online Dianic Nation Women's Events Z's Blog Z's Events Schedule Z's MySpace Calendar Z's University Calendar Z's Books Summoning the Fates Holy Book of Women's Mysteries Celestial Wisdom Grandmother of Time Grandmother Moon Goddess in the Office Goddess in the Bedroom Holy Book Herstory Have you ever wondered the who, what, where and when's of the creation of the Holy Book of Women's Mysteries? We've put together a web page that highlights the answers to these questions.
Please share the Goddess with your friends. Have you done your self-blessing today? We do self-blessing every day. In fact, it's the first thing I do every morning when I rise as I'm preparing to get dressed. It's good mental health. Do your self-blessings and life will be sweeter. The SelfBlessing is on page 120 of the Holy Book of Women's Mysteries.
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Goddess Magazine from Z Budapest and the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One celebrating Women's Spirituality, Dianic Wicca, the Goddess Movem...
Published on Sep 29, 2009
Goddess Magazine from Z Budapest and the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One celebrating Women's Spirituality, Dianic Wicca, the Goddess Movem...