Thursday, November 4, 2010

Witch Bottles

Witch Bottles goes back hundreds of years but it became famous during the Burning Times. Originally the bottles were use to ward off witches that were thought to be doing harm to some individual or a family, but today their usage changed to protecting people, homes or property from harm or negative forces. Their origins have been dated back to the 1500s.
     Many are found during archaeological digs around England and some from early American digs. The last historical witch bottle was found in a cabin built in the mid 19th century in Pershore, Worcestershire in the United Kingdom. The type of bottles that were being used during the 16th and 17th centuries were clay bottles known as 'bartmann' or 'bellermine' bottles. The bottle was given as a satirical comment against the Cardinal Bellarmino, who was at the time against the Reformation. The Bellermine bottle had a figure of a bearded man which at the beginning was said to represent the bearded cardinal. Later on through time it became to represent the Devil.  Wonder how that came to be?
     The bartmann or the bellermine bottle not only had the bearded man with a grim looking face but also it had a round belly and a medallion of some type of floral or natural imagery. Similar bottles were manufactured in Holland and Belgium. The technique wasn't mastered in England before the 1660s. The manufacturing of the bottle was rare in Britain.
     Glass bottles were used for the witch bottle but not common because glass was easier to break than the clay. The witch bottle would loose it's power when the bottle was broken and remained hidden.
      The bottles were mostly hidden under the hearth of the home because that was the only area in the home that was open to the sky. Many people at the time believed that's how a witch could get into the house and harm the occupants. They were also hidden under the front porch, under doorways and inside walls. Some folk traditions teaches that when you bury the bottles, the evil is attracted to the bottle instead of the intended victim(s). The evil then gets trapped or impaled on the nails that are usually placed in the bottle and drowns in the urine, thus lifting the curse. Some also believed that if you heated the bottle until it exploded would kill the witch who cursed you or you're love one.
      When the bottle was active,  it was suppose to cause the witch to suffer in agony thus causing the her to show up at the door, begging for the curse to be lifted by breaking the bottle itself only if she promises to reverse her curse.
      The contents of the original bottle contained many personal items such as urine, hair, bones, nail clippings as well as thorns, needles, pieces of wood and in some cases heart shaped pieces of cloth. The urine was a very important ingredient in folk traditions, but finding one with urine is very rare. The urine in the bottle symbolized the target of the curse, same with the human hair. These contents was designed to not only direct the curse to her to suffer the same agonies that she intended but also to turn the curse back onto the cursor.
     Through time the usage of the witch bottle has changed. In the modern time the bottle(s) are used to capture negative energies that are targeted at the constructor of the bottle, their family and their home.  The bottles are also used for financial gain, for helping with artistic creativity, to call forth positive energy and for improving health.
     I found researching this folk tradition of our history very interesting and educational. I just recently built some new steps to my front deck, so I'm going to make me a witch bottle to protect myself and my home from them unknown 'uglies'.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Abhartach: Ireland's own Dracula

Everyone has heard of Bram Stoker and Dracula. When people think of vampires, they don't think of Ireland having vampires in their mythology.
     Abhartach, also known as Avartagh, was Ireland's own Dracula and many scholars believe that the story was the original inspiration for Bram Stoker to write his famous novel about the Transylvania prince, Vlad the Impaler.
     Abhartach was an evil magician who had very strong dark powers and was very evil to his subjects. In some tales it is said that he was a drawf and others state that he was just deformed real bad. Avartagh, which he also known as, in Gaelic for dwarf.  In the Dark Ages, he ruled a small kingdom in Derry. This was a time when Ireland was broken up into many small kingdoms and was ruled by chieftains who usually fought with each other. Abhartach's subjects hated and feared him so much that they called upon a neighboring chieftain named Cathrain also known as Cathan to kill their evil ruler.
     Cathrain took on the challenge and killed Abhartach, then buried him upright because he was so evil and didn't deserve a descent burial. The grave didn't keep him for long for he returned and treated his subjects worse by demanding a bowl of blood drained from their veins for food and tribute. Cathrain returned and killed him again. For a second time, Abhartach returned and asked more tributes from his subjects.
     In aggravation and desperation, Cathrain seek the advice of a Druid and in later tales it was an early saint that gave him advice. In this version, Cathrain's name is changed to Cathan. He visited a saint who live in Gortnamoyagh Forest on the very edge of Glenallin. It was said that a lone saint known as Eoghan or John lived here. According to local folklore, there exist a formation of a 'footprint' in stone and is said to be where John flew up into to the sky to go say Mass.
     Rather it be a saint or a druid, Cathrain was given the advice that Abhartach was of the undead and could not be killed. Abhartach was one of the creatures known as neamh-mairbh meaning the walking dead and also a dearg-dililat, a drinker of human blood. Abhartach couldn't be killed but he could be restrained. This task could be done by 'killing' him with a sword made from yew, then piercing his heart with a yew stake, buried upside down, thorns and ash twigs must be scattered around him and then a giant stone must be placed on top of his grave to keep him in.  Also holy thorn bushes must be planted around his grave.
     Of course, Cathrain did this and there in his grave, Abhartach remains til this day.
     In 1997, there were attempts to clear the land where the grave exists. Workers were attempting to cut down the thorn tree that arches over the grave until their chainsaw malfunctioned three times.  Also while attempting to lift the great stone off the grave, a steel chain broke and thus cutting the hand off one of the workmen and his blood soaked the ground around the grave. Needless to say, they got the point and left the grave alone and still exists there today. Abhartach's grave is now known as Slaghtaverty Dolmen and in local folklore it is known as The Giant's Grave. I tried to find pics for this post but couldn't find any. I thought that was odd. The grave is also known as Leacht Abhartach ( Abharach's Sepulchre ).
     The tale of Abhartach or Avartagh was first collected or written about in Patrick Weston Joyce's The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places in 1875. As I said, many scholars believe that this story of Ireland's vampire is believed by many scholars to have been the original inspiration for Bram Stoker to write his famous novel Dracula.  This isn't hard to believe when Bram Stoker lived in Ireland. His mother was born in Sligo and his maids were from Kerry so it's not hard to believe that he heard about the dreadful being. Even the name Dracula has an Irish connection. Dracula in Irish was droch-fhoula pronounced droc'ola meaning bad or tainted blood.
     I found this story very interesting because I've never heard of this Irish vampire and not really thought about Ireland having vampires in their mythology. Seems you can find vampires everywhere and in every culture. I hope you find this article as interesting as I did.
  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reconsider Columbus Day

WE all know who Columbus was?   Many of us know what he did to the Indigenous people of the Caribbeans and North America. Columbus Day is coming up and  I, Grannulus, created of this blog site supports what these groups of Indigenous People of North America and the Caribbeans are gathering together,  fighting for and voicing their opinion on.
   Please check this website out and if you agree then, please, sign the petition.
    
   http://www.reconsidercolumbusday.org/Home.html

   Thank you & Blessings,
     Grannulus

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October

In the present day calendar, the month of October is the 10th month, but in the Roman calendars, October was the 8th month. October got it's name from the word 'Octo' meaning eight. The Saxons called this month Wyn Monath, which was considerd the season of wine making. It was also once named 'Winmonth', which also meant wine month. Other names for the month which marked the beginning of the Autumn season, was 'Teo-monath' (Tenth Month) and 'winter-fylleth' (winter full moon) in some of the Old Saxon traditions.
     Servants and farm lavourers would work from October to October. They would go to the nearest 'Mop' fair to hire themselves out for the next year. A lot of towns and villages still carry on this tradition on Old Michaelmas Day which is October 10th.
     Oktoberfest, the German celebration originated on October the 17th, which was the wedding day of King Ludwig I.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blue Bottle Tree

Here lately, while living my uneventful life I have been coming across things dealing with the blue bottle trees; television, reading and videos. I took the notion of doing some research on the blue bottle tree that has become popular in many gardens especially across the South.
     Blue bottle trees were sometimes called spirit trees and were thought to be a relic of African culture from around the Congo area. The natives of the Congo area would leave plates around their deceased love ones' graves to honor them. When they were captured and brought over to America as slaves they brought with them many of their traditions and cultures.  The plates turned to blue bottles and they were hung on trees.
     The trees are used to keep out evil spirits from one's home. Some say that the blue bottles were very effective against many demons, evil spirits and 'haints'. The 'plat-eye' was attracted to the tree as a moth to a flame.  The 'plat-eye' is a nasty goblin, a demon or a evil sorceress who would appear to men as a beautiful woman then lure men to the swamps of the low lands of South Carolina. When  people esp. men would disappear without a trace in low lands, the old-timers would say, "The plat eye gotta 'em."
       In Gullah culture, a evil spirit is someone who was improperly buried. These spirits usually come out at dusk. The light that is reflected in the blue bottles; making them shine and sparkly, lured the spirit inside.  The spirit goes inside the bottle because of their curiosity. Once inside the bottle, the spirit can't get out. Some say that it's stupid and can't figure on how to get out. When the sun comes out in the morning, the spirits are destroyed and vaporized. Some traditions say that you can hear the spirits moaning in agony when the wind blows through the trees. Another tradition, the bottles are taken off the tree, then corked and thrown in the river. For more information on the Gullah culture, go to the following websites:  http://www.ultimategullah.com/culture.html
http://www.knowitall.org/gullahnet/
http://www.gullahgourmet.com/culture.php
     What species of trees were the bottles hung on?  Well, I found two types of trees that are supposedly traditionally. One is the crepe myrtle because the myrtle tree has a connection to the Old Testament and the Hebrew's escape from slavery. Now I did some research and I didn't come across anything that favored that information, but just because I couldn't find anything on it doesn't mean it's not true. Many African cultures were mixed with Catholic beliefs in the South. My guess was because the crepe myrtle is found through-out most of the Southern states. Almost every lawn or property had a crepe myrtle especially around or near the front of the homes.
     The other tree is the cedar tree because it was believed that their branches turned up towards heaven.
     In many different cultures, the tree is a symbol of the family and it's connection to the homeland; it's roots reaching deep within the soil of the homeland. The trunk representing the family and it's branches, of course representing the individuals, thus the idea of the family tree. 
     Today you can find many spirit trees decorated with different colored bottles, but traditionally blue is used. The color blue is believed to ward off and guard from evil spirits. If you travel through the Southern states, you may see doors, porches and the ceilings of porches painted blue. This was done to keep the evil spirits from crossing the threshold into the home. The blue bottle tree was the first defense from evil spirits, keeping them from getting even closer to the house.
     As I said, the idea of having a blue bottle tree in your yard or garden is becoming popular. Is it because people are getting more 'spiritual' or just fitting in with the Jones?  Some trees aren't trees at all, but some people are making their trees out of iron rods weilded together to look like tree or actually old artificial christmas trees stripped of their 'leaves' and stuck in the garden with the blue bottles.
     With this sudden interest of blue bottle trees, I sure that I will find myself making me a blue bottle tree. I have a nice maple tree outside that I planted myself over 15 years ago when I first moved here. Hmmmmmm.......

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Bear God & Goddess

Dea Artio was a Gaulish Bear Goddess of the Continental Celts. There are inscriptions in reference to the goddess found in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany and also Gaul ( France ).  Her name is derived from the re-constructed proto - Celtic root word - arto meaning bear. Her name literally means The Bear Goddess. She was considered a goddess of harvest, fertility and wildlife. The Autumn season was considered her time because a female bear usually conceives in the Autumn season and spends her hibernation time being pregnant.
     There is a small bronze statue housed in the Historisches Museum in Bern, Switzerland which was found in Berne ( bear city ).  The statue depicts her seated before a huge bear near a tree and in her lap she holding a saucer containing fruit and flowers, in offering to the bear. Most of her images she is actually the bear itself.
     Artaius or Artio was a bear god in Gaul ( France ) and particularly in present day Switzerland. The Romans had identified him with the god Mercury. Some scholars believe that King Arthur himself have have originally been a god and was derived from the Gallic god Artaius.  Artaius has also been identified with another Welsh figure, Gwydion.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September

The word September comes from an Old Roman Latin word, 'septem', meaning seven. In the calendar that the Romans were using, the month of  September was the seventh month. The Romans thought that the month was looked after by their god, Vulcan, god of the forge and fire. They thought September, because of the association with Vulcan, to be associated with fires, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
     The Anglo-Saxons called the month of September, Gerst Monath, the Barley month because this was the time of the year that barley was harvested and was made into a very favorable drink called barley brew. September was also called Haefest monath or the Harvest month. In medieval England, harvesting traditionally began on the 24th of September.
      In 1752, Britain decided to leave and abandon the Julian calendar and started using the Gregorian calendar. When they decided to do this, then September 3rd instantly became September the 14th. This change upset a lot of people, whom flocked to the streets and protested saying, "Give us back our 11 days!" Many thought that their lives were shortened by this decision.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peridot / Birthstone of August

Peridot pronounced pear-uh-dot is the official modern birthstone of the month of August. The current assignment of specific gems to respective months was standardized by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912, has since been accepted. 
     Peridot is found in varying shades of pale green lime and olive green. Though out times and history the gem has been confused with the emerald. The peridot has more of a hint of yellow or gold tint to it than the emerald. It is widely believed the name comes from a Arabic word, 'faridat', meaning gem. Another thought of origin comes from the French word 'peritot'; meaning unclear because the color of the gem is supposed to be unclear. A third theory is that the word originated from a Greek word 'peridona', which means richness. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC., houses the largest cut peridot which is a 310 carat gem.
     The peridot can be found near Egypt and the Red Sea. For over 3000 years, it has been mined from St. John's Island and also in Myanmar in Burma, Australia, China, Brazil and Arizona. The finest quality of peridot is found in Pakistan.
Traces of the 'evening emerald' or 'emerald of the evening' which is was known by the Romans, can be found in Egypt. In those time it was also known as the 'Gem of the Sun'. As I sad before the peridot was confused much with the emerald. Some believe the emeralds worn by Cleopatra herself were actually peridots. Peridot was mined in Ancient Egypt on an island called Zeberget, today known as St. John's Island.  Legends stated that it could not be easily seen durning the day, so it was mined at night. The island was infested with serpents until a pharaoh came along and finally had them driven into the sea. Ancient Egyptian priests used cups made of peridot so that they could be closer to the goddess of nature because in ancient times the force of nature was thought to be present in the peridot. It was thought to be a gift from Mother Nature to celebrate the annual creation of a new world.
     Due to the Crusades, many churches throughout Europe counted the peridot among their vast treasures. Napoleon, himself, used the peridot gem to assure the empress Josephine of his love and admiration.
     Peridot is also mentioned in the Bible under the Hebrew name, 'pitdah' which was used in the fabled breastplates of the Jewish High Priest.
     In Hawaii, the gem which are formed through volcanic activity ,symbolizes the tears of the goddess Pele. Transparent green grains of peridots are found on the beaches of Hawaii, but they are to tiny to cut.
     The Peridot is one of the few gemstones which come in one color only. It is called as Chrysolite, a variety of olivine. It also one of the most difficult gemstones to polish. As we see, though-out history, the peridot was thought to have great mystical powers. It was associated with good luck, good health, peace, enhances prosperity, growth, strength, faithfulness, truth, fame, dignity and love. It was also believed to have the powers that help to repel evil spirits and overcome nightmares.
     National leaders of former times who wore the gemstone in public was thought to be gentle, fair and wise. It was believed that whoever wore the peridot would bring the wearer power,  protect them from evil spirits and to bestow upon them the power to ward off anxiety, enhance speech articulation, inspire happiness, strengthen and regenerate the body and mind. The power of the peridot was enhanced even more if it was set in gold , had to be pierced and worn on the left arm.
     I didn't find much on the remedies of the peridot except for two. If you hold a peridot under the tongue was suppose to lessen the thirst of a person suffering from fever. Ground peridot if taken internally was once used as a treatment for asthma. Providing this information, I am not recommending it. LOL

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Video Tribute to Isaac Bonewits




hicwitch
Re: The video tribute to Mr. Isaac. you may use it thanks for the wonderful words

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Isaac Bonewits 1949 - 2010

Breaking News: Isaac Bonewits 1949-2010

A Friend of Witch School, and Friend and Honorary Elder of our Tradition Isaac Bonewits has passed away this morning. 

A Discussion/Tribute: http://www.witchsch ool.com/forum/ topics/breaking- news-isaac- bonewits

A video Tribute: http://www.witchsch ool.com/video/ isaac-bonewits- tribute

Here is the official Announcement; 

Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits, founder and Archdruid Emeritus of of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, one of North America's leading experts on ancient and modern Druidism, Witchcraft, magic and the occult, and the rapidly growing Earth Religions movement, died today after a short struggle with cancer.

Mr. Bonewits first came into the public eye when he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Magic and Thaumaturgy (1970). During his tenure there, Mr. Bonewits worked with many renowned professors including Nobel Prize Laureate Owen Chamberlain. The work he did for that degree became his first book, Real Magic: An Introductory Treatise on the Basic Principles of Yellow Magic (1971).

In 1983, he founded and became the first Archdruid of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) an international fellowship devoted to creating a public tradition of Neopagan Druidry. In 1995, he retired from a leadership role due to complications from eosinophilia- myalgia syndrome. ADF has grown to become the best-known Neopagan Druid group based in North America. At his death, Mr. Bonewits held the title of ArchDruid Emeritus.

During his forty years as a Neopagan priest, scholar, teacher, bard, and polytheologian, Isaac Bonewits coined much of the vocabulary and articulated many of the issues that have shaped the rapidly growing Neopagan movement in the United States and Canada.

Mr. Bonewits was internationally known as a speaker who educated, enlightened and entertained two generations of modern Goddess worshippers, nature mystics, and followers of other minority belief systems, as well as explained these movements to journalists, law enforcement officers, college students, and academic researchers.

His personal papers will become part of the American Religions Collection at the Library of University of California at Santa Barbara.

One of his most influential contributions was the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (the "ABCDEF"), developed in 1979 as a response to the Jim Jones People's Temple tragedy. It has been translated into many languages and used around the world to evaluate how dangerous or harmless an organization might be. It was the first such scale to use theories of mental health and personal growth to judge rather than theological or ideological standards.

His other books include Authentic Thaumaturgy (1979, 1998), The Pagan Man (2005), Bonewits's Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca (2006), Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism (2006), Neopagan Rites (2007), and Real Energy (2007), which was co-authored with his wife, Phaedra, as well as numerous articles, reviews and essays. As a singer-songwriter, he released two albums, Be Pagan Once Again (1988), and Avalon is Rising (1992). 

He is survived by his wife, Phaedra, his son from a previous marriage, Arthur Lipp-Bonewits of Bardonia NY, his mother Jeannette, his brothers Michael and Richard, and sisters Simone Arris and Melissa Banbury.

The Green Corn Festival / Ceremony

Through out the months of August, September and October, many different beliefs and cultures celebrate some type of harvest festivals. Even though many of my posts in the Grove deals with the European continent, I would like to talk about a Native American harvest festival known as The Green Corn Festival.
     Many tribes of the Native Americans depended a lot on the corn crop and many attribute even their origins with the corn.
     The Green Corn Festival was celebrated by many Indian tribes in one form or another. Many tribes held several festivals through out the year to say their prayers and thanks to their deities. This particular festival could last up to 3 days. The opening day of the festival varies differently across the Americas, depending on when the corn was ripe. The time of the festival is called for by the Keepers of the Faith or the Elders, who also instructed the members of the tribe when they could eat green corn, which refers to the ripe sweet corn. Mostly the corn was not to be eaten until the Great Spirits were given proper thanks. The act of thanksgiving was very sacred to the Native Americans. Many of the prayers of thanks was given in respect to the corn (of course), rain, sun and a good harvest.
     The Green Corn Festival, which was also known as the Green Corn Dance or Ceremony, was held in late summer of early fall. During the festival, many tribes held many dances such as the Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Yuchi and Iroquois.
     This festival was held also a religious renewal. Members of the tribes would clean out their homes, throw out ashes, buy or make new clothes. The tribal towns and homes would be cleaned of all the trash and broken items, would be put into a heap and then burned. Some tribes partake of a drink that would cleanse the body, as well. This drink was known as the Black Drink. This drink would cause the individual to vomit. You would probably ask, "Why would anyone cause themselves to vomit?" Well, this was considered to purify the participants from minor 'sins' and then they would be in a state of perfect innocence.
     During the Green Corn Festival, many youth who had come of age and babies were given their names. Many sporting events were played during this time as well especially a ball game which were at different times and had different rules depending on the tribe.
     At the end of the day, the members of the tribal towns would gather and feast. After the Green Corn Festival, some corn was left on the stalks to ripen even more. Dried corn and corn meal made from it was very important as staple food to the tribes during the months of winter.
     The Cherokee celebrated the Green Corn Ceremony by honoring Selu, the Corn Mother. It would last up to 4 days. Their festival had many sacred dances which were performed within a sacred circle. This festival began by all members of the tribal town going to a running body of water and cleaning themselves. A deep pit would be dug inside the sacred circle. A branch of wood that came from a tree that had been hit by lightning would be lit and used to bless the grounds for the ceremony. The coals from the thunderwood, the name for the wood that had been struck by lightning, would be used to start the fire in the pit.
     Many of the dances would last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours long. The War Dance would be perform by the men. There would be several other dances performed which would symbolize the planting and harvesting of the corn. Inside the sacred circle, the leader of the dance and shaman or priest would make offerings to the Thunder Beings and the ancestral spirits, thanking them for a plentiful harvest.
     The final dance would be the running dance. The entire assembly of people would enter the circle, forming a sinuous line circling the fire, like a snake. Dancers would use rattles make from gourds which was filled with small rocks and a stick of wood from the lightning struck tree. Only the war dance and running dance was accompanied by a drum.
All clan matrons would take coals from the sacred fire in the circle to their home fires. In some tribes, all would bring out their furniture and destroy them and then they would make new furniture.
     So you see the idgenious people of North American were no different in their harvest festivals as the European ancestors. People lived closed to Mother Earth and depended on this closeness. The seasons determined our way of life.  Just as then, we are ALL part of the Sacred Circle of Life.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lammas / Lughnasadh video

Lughnasadh

Lughnasadh pronounce Loo-na-sa,  marked the beginning of the harvest season. The harvest of the first fruits of the land.  A festival celebrated on August 1st, some celebrated July 31st. It's one of the longest celebrations in the Sacred Wheel. In some countries and traditions it could last the whole month of August. Farmers would reaped the first ears of wheat, oats and barley. Lambs would be weaned from their mothers so that they could mate and conceive new off springs that would be born the following year at Imbolc. Lughnasadh was in honor of Lugh, the Shinning One and the warrior of the Tuatha De' Danann. He was also known as the Master of All Skills. He was a sun and agriculture deity. In Wales, he is known as Lleu.  Many of the festival gatherings were held outdoors with a masculine type of atmosphere with horse racing, settling legal matters, story telling, feats of magic, commerce and trading. Their were competitions of skills in archery, weapons and etc.
      Some say that Lughnasadh  was originally started by Lugh in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg. He name came from the Old Celtic word, Talantiu, "The Great One of the Earth."
     The story goes that she had cleared a great forest so the people could farm. The area according to legends puts the place as the whole county of Meath in Ireland. It is well known that this is the richest farmland in Ireland. Tailtiu collapsed from exhaustion and as she laid dying she asked her son Lugh to hold funereal games every August in her honor. So the most famous Lughnasadh festival is held at Teltown, which is said to be the burial place of Lugh's foster mom. The residence of the area believe that as long as these festivals were held, then Tailtiu would make sure that every household would have plenty of corn and mild and there would be peace. She also promised that the weather would be fair for every festival.
     At this gathering, there was a special kind of trial marriage which was called a Tailtean or Teltown marriage. This kind of marriage only took place as this gathering. A couple who were seriously in love would take their vows to each other by holding hands through a hole in a standing stone. This marriage would last for a year and a day. At the next year's Lughnasadh, the marriage, if they wanted to, could be dissolved by both parties ritually walking apart from each other. One going north and the other going south. There were other marriages as well some lasting one day and one night while others lasting a week. This was in honor of the tradition that a plentiful harvest could not be won without the goddess' help. Before a new king could be inaugurated, he had to undergo a ritual marriage with the goddess of the land. Only she could give him the right to rule the land and the people; the king ( the people ) and his queen ( the goddess, the land).
     In the Christian era, the festival became known as Lammas. The name was derived from hlaf-maesse ( loaf-mass). This was when a loaf was made from the first ripe grain and then taken to the church to be consencrated  upon the altar. The modern day church took up a ritual of blessing the fields before the harvesting.
      Lughnasadh has an older name, Bro'n Trogain, which refers to the fertile earth. In Roman Gaul, it was changed to become known as the Feast of Augustus.
     The first part of the word Lugh -nasadh, was in honor of Lugh, the nasadh is a word meaning remembrance. The part of the festivals that had a mourning theme. Lughnasadh was also a remembrance of the passing of the old king, god or year which was idealized by Lugh.  There were procession and celebrations of the arrival of the new king, new god or new year or the rebirth of the sun. There's a tradition of a funeral procession in the Lancashire Wakes area of England called the Lyke Wakes Walk which crossed the Yorkshire moors, groups of usually young men carries a empty coffin for 40 miles. Traditional ceremonies may have been literally funerals for sacrificial victims both human and animals, effigies and symbolic representations of the dead. These were carried in processions and led to be burial in the appointed burial grounds. Many paid tribute to the dead by casting offerings into pools or down in deep burial shafts of warriors and heroes.
     Other traditions consist of bonfires into the night with drinking and dancing, with wrestling matches, activities testing the skills of the men, trading and selling the first fruits of the land, hand fasting rituals. Farmers would give their workers white gloves as presents but this served another purpose of not getting dirt into the flour.  Many farmers would take the first grain and make what we call today corn dollies also another name is Kern baby or corn maidens. They would save them and then plant them in the ground for the next planting.
    Today many pagans and Wiccan celebrate Lughnasadh by remembering the Sun god Lugh and his union with the Goddess, Earth. The union bringing fruits of the land. Also celebrating and showing thanks to the deities for their sacrifice.  Many make bread in shape of a human, then ritually eating it. This is a time to thank the Gods and Goddesses for the harvest of not only food but also the lesson that we learned, new friends, family members and the success of achieving goals that we have set in our lives.
   

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Tuatha De' Danann

Through out history and the mythology of Ireland, the Tuatha De' Danann held an awe to to the young and old at heart. Their mysterious origins and their mystical presence has captivated the people of Ireland.
     According to legends they were the fifth group of invaders that settled Ireland. They came to Ireland in ships floating on clouds on May the 1st, Beltane. Some say that the dark clouds that they supposedly arrived on where only smoke from when they burned their ships on the shore of Ireland after they arrived, making sure no one left the Emerald Isle.
     The Tuatha De' Danann also known as the Tribe of Danu', the ancient goddess Danu. There isn't much known about this ancient deity which some scholars thought was the raw & chaotic Mother Earth. Danu was considered the mother of the Peoples of Danu. Legends say that the De' Danann came from four ancient cities; Failias, Gorias, Morias and Finias where they acquired their magickal skills in art, science, poetry and magic.  They brought with them four ancient and magickal treasures that were given to them by four druids; Morfess, Esras, Semias and Uislias. One of the four treasures was the talking stone of truth called Lia Fail. This stone was sometimes called the Stone of Destiny because it would reveal the true king of Ireland and it stood at the Hill of Tara. Another one was a great magickal sword called Freagarthach also known as The Answerer. This was a sword that Lugh and Nuada wielded in battle. The third was an invincible spear also known as the Spear of Lugh. It never missed it's target and it was always straight to the point. The last was the Cauldron of Dagda. This cauldron could feed everyone in Ireland without ever going empty.
      When they arrived upon Ireland they encountered a race of people that had already inhabited Ireland, the Fir Bolg. These encounters ended up in a series of battles, the first being known as the Battle of Magh Tuiredh, on the West coast.  They were lead by their king, Nuada. During the battle, King Nuada lost his arm. The Tuatha held a tradition that their king could not be blemished, so Nuada was replaced by Bres, who was a half-Formorian and became a tyrant.
     Dian Cecht was the physician of the De' Danann, he replaced Nuada's arm with a silver arm that was able to work like a regular arm so he could replace the tyrant Bres. The silver arm idea work and Nuada was reinstated as king.  Miach, Dian Cecht's son, recited a spell, "Joint to joint of it and sinew to sinew" this caused the flesh to grow over the silver arm over a period of 9 days and nights. Dian Cecht became jealous of his son, because his 'work' was better than his father's, so he killed his own son.
     Bres, being angry and probably humiliated because Nuada replaced him as king, ran and complained to his family and his father, Balor, who was King of the Fomorians. Thus begins the 2nd battle again at Magh Tuiredh except this time it was against the Fomorians. In this battle, King Nuada was killed by Balor and his evil, poisonous eye. A warrior of the Tuatha De' Denann named Lugh defeated Balor. Lugh was known as the warrior and the master of all crafts in the Tuatha. There was nothing that Lugh couldn't do. After the 2nd battle, Lugh became the king of the Tuatha De' Denann.
     As with the history of Ireland, another wave of invaders took place, the Milesians. They were thought to come from the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, present day Galatia and Northern Portugal. The Milesians were the descendants of Mil Espa'ine, the Goidelic Celts.  When the Milesians came upon land they encountered three goddesses or queens of the Tuatha; Eriu, Banba and Fodla.  All three of them asked one request that the island would be named after them and the request was granted.  Eriu is the origin of the modern name for the Emerald Island, Ireland. Banba and Fodla became the poetic names of Ireland.
     The three kings of Ireland were Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht and Mac Greine, the husbands of the three goddesses; Eriu, Banba and Fodla. They asked the Milesians for a three day truce. The Milesians agreed and they laid anchor at  9 waves distant from the shores. While they laid out from the island, the Tuatha De' Denann called up a magickal storm, trying to drive the Milesians away, but they had a 'secret weapon', Amergin.  Amergin called out and calmed the storm. The Milesians landed and defeated the Tuatha De' Danann.  After the defeat, Amerigin was called upon to stand in between the two tribes. He decided to divide up the land between the Milesians and the Tuatha De' Danann. He gave the Milesians the land above ground and the People of Danu was given the land below ground. The Tuatha agreed to the arrangement and slid silently into the Sidhe mounds being led by Dagda, the good god and they slid into the myths and legends of Ireland. Some stories and scholars says they retreated into the world of Tir na n-og, the Land of Youth.  Where their homes and their world could not be seen by no mortal man because of their magic. Through time the Tuatha De' Danann gained another name, the People of the Sidhe. This is where they remain young and seemingly immortal. They can live a long time, but they can be killed and destroyed but only through magickal means.
     In the stories of the Ulster Cycle, the Tuatha De' Danann were seen as Celtic deities but in the Fenian Cycle, they were degenerated into the Fey People.  The People of the Fae / Fey didn't start off having pretty tiny pixie wings as they do in today's children tales. They were human with tremendous supernatural powers. Their height ranged from tall to short and their appearance were beautiful or ugly.
     Thus the stories of the Tuatha De' Danann begins. These were an magnificent race of people who filled many legends of Ireland and their footprints are imbeded in the landscape of Ireland lasting up til this present date.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Water Fae: The Kelpie

As I said before, I have been very busy around here lately.  One thing that I have been busy with is doing some research about the world of the Fae and the inhabitants in our world from their world. I decided to post some of the information that I have found.
   In this post, I'm going to talk about the water spirit called the Kelpie. It was known as a shape shifting water faery. In some tales, it was a horse lingering near rivers, streams, lakes & lochs. It usually had very smooth skin like a seal but very cold to the touch. It would lure it's victims by appearing to be a lost pony, especially to children, and them tempt or lure the person to jump on it's back for a ride. Upon it's back, the victim finds him or herself stuck to the horse because the skin becomes adhesive. Then the Kelpie gallops into the water down to the deepest depths where it drowns the individual and then consumes them, except for their heart and liver.
   Some tales, the Kelpie shows up as a beautiful maiden sitting by the river which then lures men into the water ending in the same fate. 
  If you are very observant, you will see that the Kelpie as a horse or a women, will have wet hair with seaweed or a wet, dripping mane.
  To some, the Kelpie is a huge hairy man that jumps out upon it's victims from the vegetation along the banks of some body of water. He grabs his victims with a crushing grip.
  In some European countries, the Kelpie took the form of a half-fish and half-horse, as the mer-people.

  In Orkney, it was known as nuggle.
  In Shetland, called the shoopiltee, the njogel or the tangi.
  On the Isle of Man, cabbyl-ushtey or the glashtin.
  Wales, caffyl dwr
  Sweden, the Backahasten, the brook horse.

  Some thought that the Kelpie's shape shifting abilities came from his large nostrils. This water horse could also create the illusion that would keep itself hidden. When it would be in the water and scouting for victims, it would just keep only it's eyes above the surface of the water.
  The Kelpie was also thought to warn when storms were approaching by howling and wailing. In some stories, it was said that it's tail would produce a thunderous sound with it's tail when it entered the water.
  Don't fear the Kelpie if you could get a bridle on it, which is a very dangerous task, but by placing a bridle on a Kelpie would subdue it and it's shape shifting powers. To have a Kelpie was a wondrous thing for it had the strength of 10 horses.
  A clan member of the Mac Gregor clan had saved himself from the powers of a Kelpie near Loch Slochd by being able to place a bridle on it. It is said that the Mac Gregor Clan this day has the same bridle and it is passed down from generations to generations.
  One famous Kelpie known by many people is known today as the Loch Ness monster, Nessie. She is known as a Kelpie.
  The movie, The Water Horse, is about a young boy who finds a Kelpie and befriends it. I've seen it and it's a good movie. Check it out!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sioux Prayer Request

Sioux Prayer Request

To All Nations & My Relatives,

Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.

We, from the heart of Turtle Island, have a great message for the World; we are guided to speak from all the White Animals showing their sacred color, which have been signs for us to pray for the sacred life of all things. As I am sending this message to you, many Animal Nations are being threatened, those that swim, those that crawl, those that fly, and the plant Nations, eventually all will be affected from the oil disaster in the Gulf.

The dangers we are faced with at this time are not of spirit. The catastrophe that has happened with the oil spill which looks like the bleeding of Grandmother Earth, is made by human mistakes, mistakes that we cannot afford to continue to make.

I asked, as Spiritual Leaders, that we join together, united in prayer with the whole of our Global Communities. My concern is these serious issues will continue to worsen, as a domino effect that our Ancestors have warned us of in their Prophecies.

I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel our united prayers for the sake of our Grandmother Earth are long overdue. I believe we as Spiritual people must gather ourselves and focus our thoughts and prayers to allow the healing of the many wounds that have been inflicted on the Earth. As we honor the Cycle of Life, let us call for Prayer circles globally to assist in healing Grandmother Earth (our Unc'I Maka).

We ask for prayers that the oil spill, this bleeding, will stop. That the winds stay calm to assist in the work. Pray for the people to be guided in repairing this mistake, and that we may also seek to live in harmony, as we make the choice to change the destructive path we are on.

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer.

Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember

June 21st, World Peace and Prayer Day/Honoring Sacred Sites Day.

Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children's future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),

Chief Arvol Looking Horse
9th generation

Healing of the Waters / Soltice Global Toning

Healing of the Waters

Solstice Global Toning
June 21, 2010
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

HEALING THE WATERS OF THE WORLD Solstice Global Toning on Monday June 21st 12:00 noon in your time zone Let us collectively link up with the heart of Gaia, mother Earth, for healing the waters of the world, focusing on the Gulf oil leakage as an entry point

On the longest day of the year at the peak of the solar energy, let us put the power of collective prayer into collaborating with mother Earth to co-create healing and harmony between the planet and us, her children. Though some humans behave in ways that may ignore the sacredness of her body, many of us are interested in living in ways that honor and revere this precious planet. Let us unite in focused prayer, offering our gratitude for the gift of this Earth and all that is provided to us with such grace and abundance.

For those of you who have seen the movie "Avatar", we have an image of a sincere individual linking his heart with the heart and Spirit of life, to bring about right action during a distressing situation. We collectively have the power to do this as well.

During this time of intentional prayer, first imagine your heart synchronizing in rhythm with the heart of the Earth and all her amazing creatures and elements. Then add the power of sound, using your voice and the spirit of your breath, creating the sound of the heart, "AH" as you align and send your healing prayers on this Global Tone.

If it is appropriate, please go to the AH Toning Chamber at the Temple of Sacred Sound to enhance the power of this Solstice Global Toning.

This sonic prayer will flow like a wave of cleansing, healing waters over the planet as compassionate beings in each time zone link up with their fellow beings to bring love across the Earth.

web: http://www.healingsounds.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

Juno

      As I was doing some research on the month of June, as I have tried to do for every month since I started the blog, I couldn't find much of anything, but I did find one interesting thing.
     The month of June comes from two possible explanations, one is in the honor of Juno, Queen of the Gods in the Roman world. Also the name might have come from the word juniores, meaning young men and juniors.
     I did some further research on the Roman goddess, Juno, and found some very interesting facts that I thought you, my readers, would enjoy as well. Upon further investigation of the Roman goddess, her mystery got deeper.
     In the Roman world, Juno wasn't just a goddess but also a protective spirit of woman, marriage and birth. Men had their own protective spirit which was called Genius.
     As the goddess she was considered the protector and special counselor of the Roman state and the queen of the Gods. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister / wife of the chief god Jupiter. She was also the mother of Jurentas, Mars and Vulcan. Under the name of Regina 'queen', she was the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman empire. With Jupiter and Minerva, she was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol in Rome. The peacock with many eyes was her symbolic animal. In Greek mythology, Juno can be identified with Hera, but Juno was quite the opposite of Hera. Juno was sometimes depicted wearing a diadem on her head.
     In Roman mythology, Juno had many, many different names which was used to describe the different faces of Juno or the Juno.
     These are a few that I found:
       Juno Moneta meaning She Who Warns
       Juno Virginetis - Juno of the Virgin
       Juno Matronalis - Juno of the Married Woman
       Juno Pronuba - Juno of the Bride
       Juno Jugalis - Juno of Marriage
         * This is probably why June is famous for having the most weddings of the year.
       Juno Caprotina - the Fertility aspect
       Juno Lucina - Goddess of Celestial Light
       Juno Fortuna - Goddess of Fate
       Juno Sespita - The Preserver
       Juno Regina - Queen of Heaven & Protector of the Roman people
       Juno Martialis - The virgin mother of Mars
       Juno Caprotina or Februa - the Goddess of Erotic Love
       Juno Populonia - Mother of the People
          and the list goes on.

     As the Juno Moneta, she guarded over the finances of the Roman empire and she had a temple close to the royal mint. From this title, we get the word money.  On many coins she can be seen in many forms. The most common coin shows her as Juno Lucina with a child in her arms with two more at her feet. She is also shown as Juno Regina in which she is shown with a scepter, patera, veil or a peacock.  A legend came from the Juno Moneta. There was a Gallic attack on Rome by Brennus in 390 BC. The Romans had retreated in a citadel. While there, they were awakened while they slept one night by some geese, which was sacred to Juno. Thus the geese alerted the coming of the Gaels.
     Under the title of Juno Caprotina, which was her fertility aspect. Here she is associated with goats and figs, which were symbols of fertility. The Romans held a festival in her honor which was called Nonae Caprotina or the "Nones of Caprotina". It was held on nones or the 7th day of July. This festival was celebrated mostly by the women and slave women of Rome.
     The festival of Nonae Caprotina comes from when Rome had survived a siege by the Gauls. The Gauls had taken advantage of Rome's weakened position during that time period. The Gauls demanded to have the Roman women in marriage. If their demand wasn't made they would destroy the city. While the Senate was deciding on what to do, a slave woman name Tutela and a group of slave women dressed themselves as free women. They went to satisfy the men Gallic men. Later during the wedding feast, the Gauls got drunk. When they feel asleep, the slave girls took their weapons while Tutela climbed up in a nearby fig tree and waved a torch to signal the Romans to attack. After the victory, the Senate gave the slave women their freedom and a generous dowry.
     In remembrance of the victory, the Nonae Caprotina was celebrated with fig branches and the milky sap of the fig tree were offered to the Juno. Festivities, feasts and rites were held in the fig grove of the Campus Martius also known as the Plain of Mars.
     There was another festival called Matronalia, which honored Juno Lucina, goddess of childbirth and of motherhood. This festival was celebrated the first day of the year. This date was thought to be associated with the dedication of the temple to Juno Lucina on the Esquiline Hill in 68 BCE.  Woman would participate in the rituals at the temple. The women would wear their hair loose. The Roman law dictated that women would wear their hair up. The women were also allowed to wear no belts and not to knot their clothing in any place. The women would also prepare a meal for the slaves of their households and they would be given the day off. On this day lambs and other cattle were sacrificed to her.
     So needless to say, when I thought I couldn't find anything on the month of June, I found a treasure trove of history, legends and information. I found this journey learning about the Roman goddess Juno, a very rewarding journey. I hope that you feel the same.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I want to apologize to my readers for not posting anything here lately. It has been real hetic around the home front this month. When things slow down I promise that I will be posting again.
  Blessings,
    Grannulus

A Call To Create A Rolling Thunder

Phaedra Bonewits has put out a healing request for her husband, Isaac Bonewits (teacher, elder and author of many Craft classics, including Real Magic). Isaac has been fighting colon cancer for quite some time
now, and has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, he has progressed to the point where he is just not
strong enough to survive another round of chemo. His doctor has told
them that Isaac needs a miracle.

Therefore, Phaedra would like the magical community to kick in the magic
and do a "rolling thunder" healing ritual on the night of the Full Moon,
May 27th at 9pm.

A "rolling thunder" ritual, for those who have not ever participated in
one, creates an effect like a global rolling thunderstorm. The basic
idea is simply that you do the ritual based on your own magickal
traditions at 9 pm, in your own local time zone.

Therefore, the East coast does it at 9 o'clock Eastern; central does it
at 9 Central; 9 for those in the Mountain time zone; and yes, 9 o'clock
local time for those in the Pacific time zone. The energies roll from
one time zone to another.

As for what healing and magical techniques are used, Phaedra does not
care. Her only other request, outside of it being done at 9 pm local
time is that you use the following chant to link the energies raised:
"Isaac's tumors fade away. Thirty more years with Phae."

WHEN: On the night of the Full Moon, May 27, 2010, at 9:00P.M. in your
time zone

HOW: Create a healing ritual within your tradition and that is joined
with the rising energies with this chant:
         "Isaac's tumors fade away. Thirty more years with Phae."

THEN: It will comfort Isaac and Phaedra to know when your ritual is
done. Let them know: phaedra@neopagan. net

WHY IT MATTERS:
Isaac Bonewits is one of North America's leading experts on ancient and
modern Druidism, Witchcraft and the rapidly growing Earth Religions movement.

A practicing Neopagan priest, scholar, teacher, bard, and polytheologian
for over 35 years, he has coined much of the vocabulary and articulated
many of the issues that have shaped the rapidly growing Neopagan
community in the United States and Canada, with opinions both playful
and controversial.

As the author of several books including Real Magic, Authentic
Thaumaturgy, Witchcraft, Neopagan Rites, and The Pagan Man, numerous
articles, reviews and essays, many songs and albums, and
"spellbinding" lectures, he has educated, enlightened and entertained
two generations of modern Goddess worshippers, nature mystics, and
followers of other minority belief systems, and has explained these
movements to journalists, law enforcement officers, college students,
and academic researchers.

Isaac is the Founder and Archdruid Emeritus of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A
Druid Fellowship (the best known Neopagan Druid organization based in
North America), a 3° Druid within the United Ancient Order of Druids
(the best known Mesopagan Druid order), a retired High Priest in both
the Gardnerian ("British Orthodox") and the N.R.O.O.G.D. ("California
Heterodox") traditions of Wicca (Neopagan Witchcraft), an initiate of
Santeria (Afro-Cuban Mesopaganism) and the "Caliphate Line" of the Ordo
Templi Orientis (Aleister Crowley's Mesopagan magical tradition), as
well as a member of other Neopagan and Mesopagan Druid orders.

He has been a member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans
(CUUPS) for three years. Having survived four previous spouses (and vice
versa), on July 23, 2004 he was handfasted to CUUPS co-founder, tarot
expert, writer, and Wiccan Priestess, Phaedra Heyman Bonewits (hope
springs eternal).

Articulate, witty, yet scholarly, Isaac is currently writing books on
Druidism, Witchcraft, Neopaganism, dualism, and polytheology.

Isaac wishes it officially known that he is not "A Pagan Spiritual
Leader," but merely one of the Neopagan movement's better-known
Unindicted Co-conspirators. ..

Folks, Isaac has given much to magickal communities the world over. We
can certainly give this gift back to him. Please forward this to your
tribes and Circles.

May the Goddess weave this miracle on his behalf.
Blessings,
- Beth Owl's Daughter

Monday, May 3, 2010

Goddess Maia

The month of May was name after the Goddess Maia. In Greek mythology she was a daughter of the Titan Atlas and Pleione ( another name for Aphrodite). She was the eldest and loveliest of the seven mountain nymphs known as Pleiades. Maia was the mother of Hermes with Zeus as the father. Hermes was not only the messenger of the Gods, but it was said that he also invented magic, therefore Maia also became known as the grandmother of magic.
     Later, through the tales, Zeus placed in Maia's care the son of Callisto, Arcus. Maia became known as the mothering goddess and the goddess of midwifery.
     In the Roman mythology, she was not only known as Maia but as Maia Maiestas, an earth goddess. She symbolized youth, life, rebirth, love and sexuality and also the goddess of spring. Instead of Zeus but by Jupiter she was the mother of Mercury. In the Roman culture she was worshipped as the good mother.
     As I said she was one of the seven mountain nymphs; Alcyone, Celaeno, Electra, Merope, Sterope and Taygete. According to legends when Pleione was traveling with her daughters through Boeotia, she was attacked by Orion. Along with her daughters, she managed to escape him by hiding in the tail of the bull,
Tarus.  Orion searched for seven years and never found them. Zeus pitied the girls and placed them into the night sky where they would forever be out of the reach of Orion, who constantly pursued them.
     Maia, along with the six other Pleiades, has her own star located in the constellation of Tarus. Some would say that she is the brightest star but in reality she is the fourth brightest star.
     Another explanation of the origin of the Pleiades is that Maia and her sisters mourned their father's punishment and humiliation. Atlas had taken part in a revolt against the gods of Olympus. As his punishment, he was made to bare the world on his shoulders. The gods felt sorry for the girls and turned them into doves to spare them anymore pain. They flew to the highest heaven and became the shining stars, the Pleiades.