Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter, a time of sharing and looking within

     The Winter months are upon us once again. The days are shorter and the nights are longer.
     Our ancient ancestors saw this as a season of death and decay. Our families today are not as close as they were in the past or I should say our survival today isn't relied on family closeness. Back in the days of our ancients the families lived mostly in one house; brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents, parents and etc and most of the time along with the livestock. So in order to survive they had to been a closeness.
     Out in the world of nature, our ancestors saw the death and decay that the winter months brought on. Nights were darker, cold and silent. Not as many animals that we used for survival were around. The birds migrated to warmer climates. The bears went into hibernation. The deer or stags migrated as well with most of the predator animals following.
     Most of the trees lost their leaves, which has fallen down to the earth covering her as a blanket. The forest looking as a graveyard of skeletons. So our ancient ancestors had their reasons to see this as a season of death and decay.
     With the temperatures dropping and the nights getting longer, most of the families stayed inside around their fires.
     This would be the time that ancient stories of heroes and heroines would be told. Stories passed down from generation to generation or from clan to clan. Grandparents would share and passed down traditions to their children, the same with mothers and fathers. The men would take this time in preparing and repairing tools for hunting or gardening. I'm sure they would also spin their tales of hunting and the one that got away. The women along with their daughters talking and teaching about herbs. The art of sewing and making clothes for the following spring.
    While the world outside the homes seem to be in a state of death, the family on the inside was in a state of living, sharing and being close. It was a time of reflection and preparing for the following year. It was a time in preparing for the sun to come again. This was a time of the elders.
     The elders of the clans or the family teaching and sharing with their children the art of surviving and living on.
     In today's time, we don't have to have the closeness as our ancient ancestors did. We don't have a fire that we huddle around to keep warm.  We don't have to go out and hunt for food or store for the winter months. We don't see the winter months as the season of death and decay as our ancestors did. We have lost something. Our families have lost a lot of the closeness that we need.
     Just as our ancestors did, we still have the 'holidays' when we get together and share. That's probably why celebrating the holidays are just as important as back in the ol' days. The meanings of these celebrations may have change through time, but they are still just as important.
     Take this time when you are inside, sheltered from the cold outside, to not only get close to those you love, but also get close to yourself.  Take this time to reflect upon yourself. Take a look within.  Remember those things that you learned in the past year. Prepare yourself for the coming year. Learn and teach yourself how to apply these new lessons to make your life better.
     Now only is this a time when Mother Earth or Mother Goddess mourns for the lost of her lover and awaits for him to return, but she also takes the time to prepare for the coming year. She is looking within her and preparing for her lover to return from the Otherworld. Also while he is there in the Otherworld, he is as well, taking a look within himself preparing to return and bring back the warmth. They both are taking the time to be alone to their selves, learning, preparing and growing from within.
     You too should take this time to look within your own Well of Wisdom and look at all that you have learned in this past year. Take the time to go to your Elders and learn from them before they are gone through the Veil. Take a dip in their Well of Wisdom. You'll be amazed at what you can learn. Also go to the younger generation of your family and friends and share with them the things that you learned.
     As Christmas suppose to be, truly celebrate this season with the gift of giving. Giving not as in gifts or monetary wise, but sharing apart of yourself. Don't forget to treat yourself as well.
     Blessings As Always,
       Grannulus

Sunday, November 29, 2009

December Dates

Dec. 1 - Romania Union Day
           - World AIDS Day
Dec. 5 - Sinterklaas in the Netherlands
           - Father's Day (King's B'day) in Thailand
           - Aleister Crowley's death, 1947
Dec. 6 - Independence Day in Finland
           - Constitution Day in Spain
           - Saint Nicholas Day in Greece
           - Jacob Sprenger's death, 1495. He was the co-author of the Maleus Maleficarum.
Dec. 7 - Pearl Harbor Day in the United States.
           - An ABC of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente published in 1973
Dec. 8 - Constitution Day in Romania
Dec. 9 - Egil Skallagrimsson's Day, in the Asatru Religion. A day of remembrance for the Viking hero.
           - Birthday of Margaret Hamilton, 1902, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of
               Oz
Dec. 10 - Human Rights Day in the United States.
             - The 1st Garderian Coven formed in America in 1963.
Dec. 12 - Independence Day ( Jamhuri Day ) in Kenya
Dec. 15 - Bill of Rights Day in the United States
Dec. 20 to Dec. 22 - Solstice: Winter Solstice in the N. Hemisphere. Summer Solstice in the S. Hemisphere.                                                        
Dec. 23 - The Emperor's Birthday, a national holiday in Japan.
Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve.
Dec. 25 - Christmas Day.
              - Feast of Frau Holle, a Germanic weather goddess.
Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 - Kwanza
Dec. 27 - Birthday of Gernia Dunwich, a Wiccan author.
Dec. 28 - Janet & Stewart Farrar began their first coven together in 1970.
Dec. 31 - New Years Eve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving


Lots of people knows of the story of the thanksgiving day that the pilgrims had with the Wampanoag Indians at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. They had a rough start with their new adventure in the New World, but with the help of the Wampanoag Indians they survived. So they decided to have a day of thanks giving together with their saviours. To bad their saviours didn't know what laid ahead for them in the future years. I believe things would have been different.
     The date and location of the first Thanksgiving is a topic of much debate. The most accepted is mentioned in the above paragraph but there are many other claims of different dates and different locations.
    - One claim is on Sept 8th, 1565, in Saint Augustine, Florida. Spanish explorer Pedro Menediz de Aviles invited ( how nice of him ) the Timucua Indians to a meals of thanks.
    - Another one is Dec. 4, 1619, a group of English settlers arrived at Berkeley Plantation on James River now known as Charles City, Virginia.
    - The year of 1513, the landing of Juan Ponce De Leon in Florida.
    - Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's service of thanksgiving in the Texas Panhandle in 1541.
    - 2 other claims in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 & 1610.
    - A Canadian claim was Martin Frobishner in 1576 on Baffin Island.
      Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thrusday of November, Thanksgiving Day in 1863. Now during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, Thanksgiving wasn't still a fixed holiday. In 1933, the month of November had five weeks, so Franklin Roosevelt celebrated Thanksgiving on November the 30th because the country was suffering The Great Depression. The business leaders of that time pushed Mr. Roosevelt to moved it one week earlier, but Roosevelt wouldn't be moved not until 1939.  Money talks!!!  That's when Franklin Roosevelt declared that Thansgiving Day would official be the 23rd day of November.
     Well still not everybody was happy about that!  Imagine that! Many people were upset that Roosevelt would change a long standing tradition. Schools had to reschedule their vacations because they already had the schedules planned out. Football games had already been planned.  Smaller business were upset because they were afraid that the bigger businesses would grap the upper hand at the holiday shopping. So during that year some people had two Thanksgivings.  Mr. Roosevelt should understand you can't make everyone happy.
     After two years of public outrage Congress finally passed a law on Dec. 26,  1941, ensuring that all Americans to celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.
     Thanksgiving probably did start off as a religious holiday, but now has become a secular holiday which is mostly celebrated in Canada and the United States.  It is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of Oct. in Canada and on the 4th Thurdayd of November in the United States.

     I'm sure that the early English, Dutch and Spanish settlers of America had a lot to be thankful for, but let's not forget about the Native Americans.  What did they have to be thankful for?  stolen lands, diseases and deaths.  I try not to celebrate this day as a  holiday as it is protrayed in today's society.  I don't decorate my home with the usual Thanksgiving decorations, the little statues of pilgrims and Indians side by side in harmony becaue that's not the way it was. I do decorate my home with the theme of a harvest as it originally was celebrated, in my opinion. I do spend the day being thankful for all the things that the Goddess and God has given me; my job(s), my home, my family and friends and etc. Yes, I go and eat a big dinner with my small family and be thankful that I have them.  I also take the day, light a candle in memory of the millions of Native Americans that has died and suffered because of the first day when the first European settlers came to America.
     I think the last picture says it all. LOL    

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The most popular bird of the month: Turkey


Before we sit at the table for our Thanksgiving dinner or supper with our family and passing around the turkey, I thought I would write a blog about the ol' bird.
     Ben Franklin thought that the turkey was the best bird to respresent our nation instead of the bald eagle. He thought that the turkey a more respectable bird than the eagle, which he thought was a bad moral character. Wild turkeys back then were different that our turkeys today. The turkeys of his time were brightly plumed and a cunning bird of flight. You could see wild turkeys flying in the sky in flocks. Domesticated turkeys of today can't fly.
     Turkeys have lived in North America for almost ten million years.
     Now the Apache Indians thought that the turkeys were cowards, so cowardly that they would not eat them or wear their feathers. They thought that if they did they would contract their coward spirit. The Aztec Indians domesticated wild turkeys for food. When the Spanish explorers came over and saw the turkeys they took a few back with them to Europe. Through time these types of domesticated turkeys made their way back to North America. The English colonists brought them with them to the New World and used them for food.
     The turkey could have gotten it's name for many different reasons. One could be from the call that it makes when it's afraid, "turk, turk, turk."  Turkeys can literally be scared to death. The Air Force was doing some test runs trying to break the sound barrier. In a field near by, a flock of turkeys died because of the sound of the test runs. Now everyone has heard that the turkey will look up in the sky when it rains. This has not been seen nor investigated. For right now, that's a rumour.
     Another way the turkey could have gotten it's name was when Christopher Columbus 'discovered' the wild turkey, he thought it was part of the peacock family. So he name them "tuka" which in the language of India meant peacock.
     The Native Ameican Indians name for turkey was "firkee."
     Only the adult male makes the gobble, gobble call. The adult male is called the tom turkey while the female turkeys are called a hen. They make a gentle clucking or clicking sound. The chicks are called poults.
     The wild turkey has excellent visions. They can see in a field of vision up to 270 degrees. That's why it's hard for hunters to sneak upon one. Turkeys don't have external ears. They can also see in color but they do have a poor sense of smell.
     When we have an image of the turkey in our heads, we usually see a bird that is puffed out and struting the woods or some barnyard. That's not the turkey's usual stance. It doesn't last long and it's a mating strut to attract the hens. Normall the male turkey looks as simple as the female turkey.
    
*****************************************************

How The Turkey Got His Beard
After the Turtle won the race from the Rabbit all the animals was wondering and talking about it a lot among themselves, because they had always thought the Turtle was slow. But the Turkey was not satisfied and told the others there must be some trick about it. Said he, "I know the Turtle can't run--he can hardly crawl-I'm going to try him."
So one day the Turkey met the Turtle coming home from a war with a fresh scalp hanging from around his neck and it was dragging on the ground while he traveled. The Turkey laughed when he saw it and said:, "That scalp doesn't look right on you. Your neck is too short to wear it that way here let me show you."
The Turtle agreed and gave the scalp to the Turkey. The Turkey then put it around his neck. "Now," said the Turkey, "I'll walk a little while then you can see how it looks." So he walked ahead a short distance and then turned and asked the Turtle how he liked it. The Turtle said, "It looks very nice; it becomes you."
"Now I'll fix it in a different way then let you see how it looks," said the Turkey. So he gave the string another pull and again walked around. "O, that looks very nice," said the Turtle. But the Turkey kept on walking, and when the Turtle called out to him to bring back the scalp, the Turkey only walked faster and then ran away.  Then the Turtle got out his bow and by his magic shot a number of cane splints into the Turkey's leg to cripple him so that he could not run. This is why the Turkey have that many small bones in the their leg. The Turtle never caught the Turkey, who still today wears the scalp from his neck



Why The Turkey Gobbles
The Grouse had a fine voice and a good halloo in the ballplay. All the animals and birds used to play ball in those days. The Turkey didn't have a good voice, he asked the Grouse if he would teach him how to have a fine voice.  The Grouse agreed to teach him, but the Turkey had to pay for the lessons, and the Turkey promised to give him some feathers to make himself a collar. That is how the Grouse got his collar of turkey feathers. The Turkey learned very fast. The one day the Grouse asked the Turkey to try his voice. "Now," said the Grouse, "I'll stand on this hollow log, then when I give the signal by tapping on it, you must halloo as loudly as you can." So he got upon the log ready to tap on it, as a Grouse does, but when he gave the signal the Turkey was so eager and excited that he could not raise his voice for a shout, but only gobble. Now ever since then he gobbles whenever he hears a noise.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fleetwood Mac: Rhiannon

The Goddess Rhiannon

Rhiannon is the beautiful Welsh underworld goddess who travels though out this earthly plane on a speedy horse. She is always accompanied by magical birds that would make the dead wake up and the living fall into a seven year blissful sleep.
     She also was the Welsh horse goddess, the same as the Gaelic goddess Epona and the Irish goddess, Macha. She could also be equivalent to the Roman-Celtic goddess Rigantona, the Great Goddess. Rhiannon could be interpeted to mean the "Divine Queen" of the fairies. The moon was also considered her sign.
     She was the daughter of Hereydd the Old. When it was time for her to get married, she had many suitors. Two of those were Pwyll, a chieftain of Dyfed and Gwawl, the son of Clud. She went against her family's wishes and married Pwyll. Now Gwawl being a sore looser, along with his father, laid a curse upon Pwyll. Rhiannon couldn't have any children for many years and Pwyll blammed her so he mistreated her.
     She finally gave birth to a son name Pryderi meaning "Worry." As a baby, Pryderi was abducted. Rhiannon was found with blood smeared on her mouth and checks. So it was thought that she killed and ate the child. Her punishment for the crime was she had to be Pwyll's gatekeeper. When she meet visitors at the gate, she would tell them her woes and bear them on her back to the door for seven years therefore she became symbolically transformed into a horse.
     Later it was found out that she was falsely accused by her maids, when their son was found. The maids, who was watching the baby, found Pryderi was missing. They were afraid of being punished so they took blood from a puppy and smeared it on Rhiannon's mouth and checks while she was asleep. Then they accused her of killing and eating her own son.
     After Pwyll died she went to live with her son. Pryderi went to fight in a war between Britian and Ireland. In the war, Bran the king of Britain had died and Pryderi brought back his head to Britian. Pryderi was one of seven survivors of the war. When he got home he made his mother, Rhiannon married Manawyddan, the brother of Bran.
     Again trouble follow Rhiannon, her and her son was cursed by Llywd, the son of Kil Coed and friend of Gwawl. He was still a sore looser. Llywd turned her into an ass and her son into a gate-hammer. Manawyddan came to their rescue. Through his cunning and cleverness, they were released of the curse.
 
This photo is the work of  The Ink Witch.
Blessings,
Grannulus

***********************************************
Story of Rhiannon

     Pwyll met Rhiannon when she appeared as a beautiful woman dressed in gold, riding a white horse. Pwyll sent his horsemen after her, but she was too fast. In fact, she was riding no faster than Pwyll and his knights; her horse's swiftness was a mirage she created for Pwyll's and her benefit because she wanted to be married to Pwyll.  He finally chased her himself. Asking her to stop, Rhiannon told him she would rather marry him than the man who was being forced upon her, Gwawl. After a year from that day, he won her from Gwawl by following Rhiannon's advice to trick Gwawl into climbing into a magic bag that Rhiannon had given to   Pwyll, striking an agreement to free him in exchange for Rhiannon.
     Rhiannon gave birth to a son after three years of their rule. On the night of the birth, the child disappeared while in the care of six of Rhiannon's ladies-in-waiting. They feared that they would be put to death, and to avoid any blame, they smeared blood from a puppy on the sleeping Rhiannon, and lay its bones around her bed. Pwyll's counselors imposed a sentence on Rhiannon for her crime. She had to remain in the court of Arberth for seven years, and to sit every day outside the gate telling her story to all that passed. In addition, she was to carry any visitors to the court on her back.
The child appeared outside a stable of Teyrnon. Teyrnon found the child outside the stable. He and his wife adopted him. The child grew to adulthood in only seven years and was given a foal.  Teyrnon realized who the child was and returned him to Pwyll and Rhiannon, who named him Pryderi.
Pryderi married Cigfa and became Prince of Dyfed after his father died. He then invited his stepfather, Manawydan to live with him in Dyfed. Dyfed turned into a barren wasteland. Only Rhiannon, Pryderi, Cigfa and Manawydan survived. While out hunting one day, Manawydan and Pryderi saw a white boar, they followed. Pryderi and Rhiannon touched a golden bowl that the boar led them to and became enchanted. Manawydan and Cigfa were unable to help them until they captured a mouse which was actually the wife of Llwyd, Rhiannon's enemy who was seeking revenge for her treatment of Gwaw. The the spell was lifted

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Unlucky Friday the 13th.

     Why is a Friday that is the 13th of any month so unlucky? I went and did my homework and found out a lot.
     Anyone who seriously suffers from the fear of Friday the 13th is suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia. I'm glad that I wasn't asked to spell the word in any spelling bee. LOL It's a combination of three Greek words: Paraskevi meaning Friday, dekatreis  meaning thirteen and phobia meaning fear. There are approximately 80 million people who suffers from this. They refuse to go to work, drive or do anything on this day.  Some buildings, hotels or offices, whose floors goes past this number will skip this floor. There is no 13th floor. A lot of hospitals skips numbering a 13th room.
     Where did this fear come from?  It's not really as old as you would think.
    To many of the pre-Christian cultures the number 13 was lucky. The ancient Egyptians believed that life is part of a individual's spiritual ascension in 12 stages and the 13th stage being 'death'. They saw death as a glorious transformation for the individual not an ending of life.
     As with everything else that had to do with the ol' religion, Christianity tried to degraded the number 13 and Friday itself.
     One of many lies that they spread was one about Frigga or Freya, a Norse Goddess who was a free spirited love goddess. A goddess of love, marriage and destiny. The wife to Oden. When the Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountain top and then labeled as a witch. Imagine that!  It was there that her and eleven more witches, plus the Devil would meet and plotted ill deeds of fate against mankind especially the Christians. Therefore we had the number of people in one gathering being 13. Since the last supper of Jesus Christ and his diciples had 13 members at one table and the 13th guest was Judas who betrayed Jesus then the number 13 was unlucky and evil. Friday being named after Frigga / Freya, a witch then Friday had to be unholy itself.
     The connection between the superstition of Friday the 13th and the Knights Templars is a more recent popular belief due to the book and movie, The Da Vinci Code written by Dan Brown. The Knight Templars was knights who protected pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. These knights became very wealthy over time. In-fact some say they invented the banking system. Anyhow, King Phillip became jealous and envious of their wealth and power decided they were worshippers of Baphomet ( a Christian version of the Devil ) and had them excecuted on Friday, October 13, 1307.
     The Battle of Hastings has a connection to the superstition as well. Friday, 13th of October 1066, King Harold II decided to go to battle on Saturday the 14th. His soldiers were very tired, weary and worn because they had traveled from a battle near York, three weeks earlier. King Harold would not let them rest before they battled again, therefore the English lost and King Harold II was killed.
     To many pagans and heathens Friday was a holy day, a sabbath day. It was a day of worship and rest. Well, the Christians decided since Sunday was their sabbath and Friday was the sabbath of the heathens, then the day had no place for the Christians, so they announced it to be the Witches' Sabbath.
     Here is a list of ways they degraded the day.
     - The Crucifixion of Jesus took place on a Friday.
     - It was a Friday that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit which ended up with them getting banished from the Garden of Eden.
     - The Great Flood began on a Friday.
     - The confusion at the Tower of Babel was on a Friday.
     - The Temple of Solomn was destroyed on a Friday.

     Here is another list of superstitions in connection with Friday and the number 13.
     - If 13 people all sit down at a table together at once, they will all die within the year.
     - Don't name your children with names that have 13 letters.
     - The British Navy named a ship Friday the 13th. It left the dock on a Friday 13th and never was seen again.
     - A baker dozen consist of 13 loaves. The 13th loaf was for the devil as an offering so he wouldn't spoil the other 12 loaves.
     - President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month nor would he have 13 guests at any one meal.
     - Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on 4/11/70. The numerology adds up to 13. The explosion happened on April 13th.
     - The first person to die in a car accident was killed in New York City on September 13, 1897.

     So there you go a little history on the date of Friday the 13th. To some it's a very unlucky day and to some it's a lucky day. I know that when anything bad happens on this date when we realize the date, most of us says,"Oh! It's Friday the 13th."  I didn't even know what day it was until late this evening. So have a......



A boycott against Bath and Body Works

Dear Readers,
  There is a boycott being held against Bath & Body Works because a manager was fired for being Wiccan and she was called a "devil worshiper." Click on the link below for further information.

A boycott against Bath and Body Works

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Connecticut Witch: Alse Young

In 1647, Alse Young was the first woman to be accused and executed of witchcraft in the thirteen American colonies. Very little is known about her. She had married a carpenter, John Young from Windsor, Connecticut. John had brought himself a small parcel of land in Windsor in 1641 and then sold it in 1649 after the execution of his wife, then he disappeared. Like similar cases of witchcraft cases, Alse Young was a woman without a son when the accusations was made, which meant that she would be eligible to receive through inheritance her husband's estate.
     She had a daughter, Alice Young Beamon who was also accused of witchcraft in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, 30 years later.
     Alse was hanged at the Meeting House Square in Hartford, Connecticut on what is now the site of the Old State House.
     Let's remember Alse Young and her daughter, Alice Young Beamon. May their spirits find rest.
     Remember the Burning Times!

The Old Hag, Gwillion

     In the folk lore of Wales there is a name for a hag-like fairy called Gwillion or Gwyllion.  In some stories she's called the Old Woman of the Mountains. She is sometimes described wearing a cooking pot on her head in ash covered clothes and an apron thrown over her shoulders. She roams the mountains herding and caring for her goats, which has long beards. Wednesday is known for being the Sabbath of the Welsh fairies, it is then she combs their beards. She is also known for taking the form of a goat herself.
     She is part of a race of fairies that have a great dislike for humans known as the Gwithin. They love causing travellers in the mountains to become lost. Many people have found themselves following an old woman ahead of them. She always stays ahead. She never turns her face back so no one has ever seen her face. After some time the follower will find him/herself lost then she disappears with a cackle. Many times the Gwillion or Gwyllion will just bother or frighten someone by sitting on the side of a path or road, just staring at them, her eyes following them as they make their way down the winding path. There are traditions that states she also crys out "Wwb!" ( "wow-up!") or "Wwbwb!" pronounced Wooboob. It's a Welsh cry of distress. Sometimes you would hear her right next to you and the next moment across the valley over to the next mountain.
      One time the Gwithin had the power of flying but lost it. The reason isn't known. Maybe it had something to do with humans. They are seen walking the roads of the mountain during stormy nights but the Gwillion do not like stormy weather and will find shelter in a lonely, single house. In the community of Aberystwyth it is said the inhabitants being terrified of the curse of the Gwithin, allows the Gwillion to find shelter in their homes on stormy nights. The Gwillion are also afraid of anything iron or steel. If you ever corner one with an object, say a knife, made out of iron or steel then you will have a wish granted. Afterwards though the entire race will hate you and you will find trouble traveling in the mountains. In the Lanhyddel Mountains of Monmouthsire, she is said to haunt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Sacred Yew Tree


The Yew was a very sacred tree to our European ancestors throughout the ages. The tree is associated with immortality, renewal, regeneration, everlasting life, rebirth, transformation and access to the Otherworld and our ancestors.
     It is a very slow growing tree with tough and resilent wood. It was used for spears, spikes, staves, hunting bow especially the longbows of the Middle Ages. Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood and his merry men. Robin Hood used a longbow to rob the rich. Many believe that his longbow was made out of the Yew tree. In-fact, Little John's longbow was thought to be found and was made out of Yew. It is now in the hands of a private collector. That's interesting. 
     Some arrow points were tipped with poision made from the Yew. The entire tree is very poisionous. It is one of the reasons why it was called The Death Tree. It was fatal to cattle if they ate any of it. Birds won't eat any of the berries, which covers the tree at Midwinter. The sap from the Yew is also red as blood. A bleeding Yew was considered a Holy Tree. During the depth of Winter the tree is still green. If you observe a the tree, you can see limbs and faces in the trunk. The tree knows nothing of old age or death and it doesn't lose it's strength. They can become hollow early in their life. They have the ability to send an internal shoot down into the hollow cavity which re-roots. This shoot becomes another trunk within the hollow. This brings the idea of an eternal tree.

     Many churchyards of Europe have Yew trees somewhere. Most of the ancient Yew trees that you find in churchyards are at least 1000 years old and some maybe 3 or 4000 years old. Dating a Yew is very hard since they grow incredibly slow. A lot of these ancient Yew trees in the churchyards were there before the churchs were built. Many times throughout our ancestors history, Christianity would build over prevous pagan sites. Imagine that! Many Druids' groves contained Oak and Yew trees.
     The Yew was believed to contain the spirits of our ancestors. The tree would be planted on sacred mounds of the dead so that the Yew would be their vehicle by which they would travel to the Otherworld.
     The tree has been part of funerary and burial customs. Sprigs of Yew were thrown under or on top of the bodies while being put into the grave. It was sacred to the goddess Hecate, guardian of the Underworld. It was considered most protective against evil, means of connection to your ancestors, bringer of dreams and otherworld journeys. It was a symbol of the old magick. Celtic shamans would inhaled a resinous vapour which the tree gave off during hot weather, to receive visions.
     In the north, the Yew was used for dowsing to find lost property because it would enlist the help of the ancestors. In Scotland, it was believed that if a person grasp a Yew in the left hand may speak to anyone he pleases without that person being able to hear, even though everyone present could. This way you could insult anyone without them hearing you.  The Yew was also sacred to the Fraser Clan of Scotland. The Highlanders believed it brought them good luck and kept evil spirits away.
     Many of the ancestors would actually go up to a Yew and speak to it, believing that the dead could hear them within the tree.
     If was considered unlucky if Yew were brought into the house with the Christmas Eve decorations, it was a sure sign that someone in the family would die before the year was over.
 

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Irish God; Donn


In Irish mythology, Donn was known as the Dark One, Lord of the Dead. He was also known as the father of Diarmuid Da Duibne, who he gave Aengus Og to be nurtured. He was though of as the father of the Irish race.
     He was known as the chief of the Sons of Mil ( the Milesians), a mythological race who invaded Ireland, driving out the Tuatha De' Danann.
     According to myth, when he stepped on Ireland he was greeted by the lovely goddess Eriu. She asked him if he would honor her by naming the island that he was planning on conquering, in her name. Donn dismissed her and her request. He also scorned her. This was a bad mistake. Eriu prophesied that he would not step foot on Ireland again. The god of the sea, Manannan Mac Lir, caused a storm to engulf Donn and the Milesians and drowned Don of the coast of Ireland. This area became his final resting place and it is where Tech Duinn ( House of Donn ) is said to exist. Another version says that Eriu forbaded him to step onto the shores of Ireland therefore he lived on the rocky islet at the end of the Beare Peninsula.
     This became the place where the dead went before they crossed over to the Underworld. Therefore he became the Lord of the Dead.
     In Knockfierna, County Limerick was also Donn Firinne's residence. Cnoc Firinne ( the Hill of Truth ) takes it's name from Donn, who is said to forewarn the local people of bad weather by gathering up rain clouds around him on the hill. Here he is also known as the fairy king Donn of Knockfierna. There is a large earthern fort on his hill and a number of dolmens known as the 'Giants Graves' stand there today.
     Sometimes he is seen riding on a white horse on stormy nights, when people would exclaim, "Donn is galloping in the clouds tonight!"