“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.
Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.”

~ Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull ~

Friday, December 31, 2010

12th Night ~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!

12th Night
December 31st

"Thus ends the season of Yule as we prepare for the upcoming year. It's a time to remember from whence you came as well as a time to make plans for the near future. Take oaths, make promises, hold inventory so you know your present position in relation to where you want to be. Remember, "Luck often enough will save a woman (or man) if her (or his) courage holds” (The Celtic Warrior)."

Have you made your resolutions yet? I decided last year that resolutions, quite frankly, suck. I always start out with a big hurrah and by the end of the first week my big hurrah has fizzled, slightly resembling burnt bacon.

And so I simply agree with myself that yes, I will eat better, I will exercise more and I'll try to spend less money. I don't set dates as I consider myself a work in progress, trying all year long to accomplish tiny goals I set for myself daily, weekly or monthly. I don't need a resolution to tell me that I need to clean out my closet.

So in lieu of making resolutions this year, I decided that a simple prosperity spell would work well for all areas of my life. This one was written by Elen Hawke from her book 'The Sacred Round'.

A Simple Prosperity Spell

What you'll need:
- a fresh green candle with candle holder
- altar candles
- matches or lighter
- Patchouli oil
- a censer, cauldron or other fireproof container with charcoal
- Frankincense incense or a mixture containing Patchouli
- a bowl of water
- a container of salt

Cast your circle or simply do this spell at your altar. Light the altar candles and charcoal block for incense. While the charcoal is igniting, sit quietly and breathe deeply and calmly to ground and centre yourself. Place some incense on the charcoal.

Consecrate the green candle through the elements, then prime it with Patchouli oil, concentrating hard on your magical goal as you do so, voicing it in your mind over and over again, putting emphasis and energy into the words.

Now hold the candle to your third eye and concentrate hard on visualizing prosperity; see how circumstances will be for you when the needed prosperity arrives, be very determined; believe that your desire will come about; specify that it happens in a way that is right for you and harms no one, including yourself. Will energy into the candle so that your visualization is empowered. When you feel you have done enough visualization, light the green candle from the altar candles, saying:

"I light this candle to bring prosperity into my life.
To the free will of all and the highest
good for all concerned.
In the names of the Goddess and God, so mote it be.
Blessed Be."

Let the candle burn for a while (if you are doing this spell as part of another rite, then until the end of the ritual will do). When you snuff out the candle, visualize prosperity as though it is already a part of your life.

Relight the candle every night for a predetermined period of time. A good length is until the end of the moon's cycle (ie. until just before the next new moon). If you feel you need more time to reinforce the spell, then rekindle the candle nightly until the moon returns to the same phase in which you started. Be sure to leave enough of the candle to burn each night and make sure it's completely consumed by the end of the final lighting.

This spell could also be done with an orange candle and cinnamon oil. Using orange helps you to be more determined if you are feeling unsure about whether the spell will succeed. Green is good if you're prepared to let things flow in a gentle manner, coming to fruition in good time.

A little bit of fun from my favorite singer 'Pink' . . .

And a . . .

Happy New Year Wish

My Happy New Year wish for you
Is for your best year yet,
A year where life is peaceful,
And what you want, you get.

A year in which you cherish
The past year’s memories,
And live your life each new day,
Full of bright expectancies.

I wish for you a holiday
With happiness galore;
And when it’s done, I wish you
Happy New Year, and many more.

~ Joanna Fuchs ~

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 11

11th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Perseverance
December 30th

"If you give up, you die. It really is simple, isn’t it? No matter what you are doing, see it to its conclusion. Even if you try and fail, realize that the only real failure is not trying. Failure is evidence that someone has tried. Success is failure defeated."

'The Tortoise and the Hare' is a fable attributed to Aesop. The story goes that a hare, who thinks rather highly of himself and who ridicules a slow-moving tortoise, challenges the tortoise to a race. The hare soon leaves the tortoise behind, and confident of winning, decides to take a nap midway through the course. When he awakes, however, he finds that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, has arrived before him.

There are many interpretation's to 'The Tortoise and the Hare' fable. Some view the fable as morally ambiguous, while later interpreters have asserted that it is the proverbial 'the more haste, the worse speed', or have applied it to the Biblical observation that 'the race is not to the swift'. In Classical times it was not the tortoise’s plucky conduct in taking on a bully that was emphasized, but the Hare’s foolish over-confidence.

I view it another way. The tortoise, knowing full well that he couldn't beat the hare, decided to take on the challenge anyway. He started, continued and finished the race. He didn't tell himself that he couldn't do it. He didn't give up halfway through the race, he finished it. It was through his perseverance that he showed us that we too, even though we be tortoise's, can start and finish the race - any race.

We don't have to have boat loads of confidence to win at the situations in our lives. We just have to show up, put in our best effort and persevere.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 10

10th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Self-Reliance
December 29th

"Do not create co-dependent relationships in any way. Do not let your happiness, or your success, be determined by anyone else. Be responsible for yourself. Rely on your own efforts to secure your needs."

"I've learned to trust myself, to listen to truth,
to not be afraid of it and to not try and hide it."
~ Sarah McLachlan ~

I lived most of my childhood, adolescence and adulthood as an on-again/off-again Christian. It seemed to me that's what was expected, and being a people-pleaser that's what I did. It wasn't until this last year that I took a leap of faith and started to trust myself. To listen to my own inner truth. To rely on what that truth told me and to follow it, wherever it led me.

It hasn't been an easy path to follow. Being a solitary, I've had to rely on myself, to educate myself, to practice, to seek out new truths and to follow those truths, so long as they ring true. If at some point they don't ring true anymore, then I'll rely on myself to alter that truth so that it does ring true. It's an ever-changing landscape, but I know that I can rely on myself to stay the course.

One truth that is ringing ever-louder is that I have to be responsible for myself. For the truths or untruths that I tell myself, or if I choose to listen to others, what my portion of responsibility is in what they're telling me. No one has power over me. I'm responsible for myself and I have to rely on myself to tell myself so.

It's a process, and even at my age I'm still growing, still learning, still working on those parts of me that harbor the child within. You see, she still relies on me, and I'm not going to let her down . . .

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 9

9th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Industriousness
December 28th

"Life requires that we work hard. Never sit back and take the easy way out in regards to your ability to create a lifestyle for yourself. No matter the lifestyle you choose, know that your elevation in life, or lack of it, may be (but not always) the direct result of your depth of diligence. Do the best you can, and know that your efforts have been suitably rewarded."

Be the Best of Whatever You Are

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley -
But be the best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush, be a bit of the grass,
Some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie, then just be a bass -
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew;
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.

If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail;
If you can’t be the sun, be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail -
Be the best of whatever you are!

~ Douglas Malloch ~

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Monday, December 27, 2010

12 Days of Yule - Day 8

8th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Discipline
December 27th

"Our way is not an easy way. In many aspects, we fly in the face of the society around us. Stay true to the ideals of the ancient Celtic ways as they unfold in your life. Be diligent in the study of your beliefs. Stay true to the goddesses and to the great Celtic people."

Well, here we are on Day 8 of the 12 Days of Yule - a little more than halfway through the Yule season. While this time of year lends itself to spiritual matters, matters of the heart, and of one's beliefs, I find that the ideas coming to me each day are not necessarily of that sort. I guess because I practice, read and endeavor to be a spiritual person most days of the year so during this time my attention is also focused on mundane issues . . . like, well, the body. And with the calendar New Year fast approaching, resolutions are coming to mind.

My body is in a sorry state. I haven't exercised since it got so cold outside that it could freeze off any parts exposed in a matter of seconds. No excuse really, I could be exercising in the house. Apparently my body isn't aware of that - and I'm not telling. I'm eating carbs like they're going out of style and well simply put, I'm a bulging heap of mashed potatoes. Add to that the sugar 'fog' I've been living in and well, discipline . . .

So it's time to get tough with myself. To initiate some 'discipline'. Time to get the eating under control and to that end we're going back on our clean eating regime starting next week. Discipline . . . I'm also going to start using my Leslie Sansone walking tapes every day, starting tomorrow. Discipline . . . And I'll be hitting the weights on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Discipline . . . And I'd really like to use those beautiful new skates Brian bought me for Yule last year, let's say at least once a week. Discipline . . .

I'm making that my new mantra . . . DISCIPLINE . . . a simple word really and I think a much better word than 'motivation' (if I could just find some) or 'determination' (sounds like I should climb a mountain) or 'just do it' (sounds like nagging to me). The word discipline conjurs up a sense of responsibility. Responsibility to myself and no one else . . . just me . . . oh, and the muffin top . . .

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

12 Days of Yule - Day 7

7th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Hospitality
December 26th

"Welcome those into your house and your life as you can. In today’s world, we cannot trust everyone with whom we come in contact, but we can exercise caution and be as welcoming as possible. Similarly, be a proper and respectful guest when you are welcomed."

With most of my family up in Canada, a niece down in Florida, and one of my sisters on her way to Africa, I don't get to spend as much time with them as I would like. But they all know that my door is open to them at any time.

It seems that with my friends too, most of our time spent together is in eating out at a restaurant, taking in a movie, or hanging out at Barnes and Noble. It seems to me that the fine art of entertaining or 'hospitality' is just that . . . a fine art like that you'd see hanging in a museum.

With people spending so much time at work, running around doing errands, or grocery shopping, it can feel that when one gets home it's time to kick off the shoes, brew a cup of tea and just relax by a warm fire. It can sometimes seem that the mere thought of hospitality is enough to exhaust even the most stoic of us.

In the end though, when one does make the effort to invite a few family or friends over, the feelings of connection and being linked in to the world can be a pretty good tonic. Here's a toast to all of you who make the effort and to those of you who enjoy those efforts!

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 6

6th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Fidelity
December 25th

"We must remain loyal to who and what we are. Those around us need to have the ability to take us at our word, and our word needs to be our bond. Our handshake needs to seal the deal. The devotion to our deeds has to be of the utmost importance."

I have four dogs and three parrots, so it will come as no surprise to you when I discuss loyalty in regards to pets. Pets have a large sense of loyalty to their humans which may be more than human-to-human loyalty. There are some famous pets which include Greyfriar's Bobby who attended his master's grave for fourteen years; Hachiko, who returned to the place he used to meet his master every day for nine years after his death; and Foxie, the spaniel belonging to Charles Gough, who stayed by her dead master's side for three months on Helvellyn in the Lake District in 1805. The fact that Gough's body was alledgedly eaten by his dog was ignored in subsequent romantic accounts of the story.

In the Mahabharata, the righteous King Yudhisthira, at the end of his life, appeared at the gates of Heaven. He had previously lost his brothers and his wife to death, and when he appeared at the gates his only remaining companion was a stray dog he had picked up along the way. The God Indra is prepared to admit him to Heaven, but refused to admit the dog. Yudhisthira refused to abandon the dog, and prepares to turn away from the gates of Heaven. Then the dog is revealed to be the manifestation of Dharma, the God of Righteousness and Justice, and who turned out to be his deified self. Yudhisthira enters Heaven in the company of his dog, the God of Righteousness. Yudhisthira is known by the epithet Dharmaputra, the Lord of Righteous Duty.

In speaking of pets and the effects they have on our lives, one can only ascertain that there is a sense of loyalty on the part of the human as well. I myself have a sense of loyalty to my pets and thus they have come to depend on me for their food (breakfast at 8:00 a.m. sharp please), love, attention, play, and just hanging out. There is no doubt about the bond between me and my pets and the loyalty one feels for the other.

Ah, if only it were as simple as a pat on the head for the rest of us . . .

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Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 5

5th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Honor
December 24th

"Honor is the ability to hold your head high in all situations. We set standards for ourselves and live according to those standards. We are not encouraged to set low standards, rather, set high standards and work toward them continually, even behind closed doors."


(1818 - 1863) Ojibwa chief

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 4

4th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Truth
December 23rd

"Truth is as relative as the individual. What one person or group finds to be the Truth, another finds to be ridiculous. There is no universal truth. There is no one-way or right way of seeing things. What we accept as truth is merely that; our truth. No one person or group has the right to dictate their truth on anyone. Search for your own truth."

I watched the movie Zeitgeist yesterday which fits perfectly with today's theme of 'Truth'. In the movie it talks about the untruths that we as people accept and live with. We don't always know the untruths we're being inundated with and so we go along our merry ways, oblivious to the fact that our freedoms are being taken away . . . one by one.

Now, I'm normally an upbeat kind of person, preferring to focus on the positive side of life and giving people the chance to share their truths with me. But this movie got me mad . . . mad at the very people that we put our trust in, namely the government. Is this movie truthful? I don't know for sure, but it sure made me think.

This movie and others like it, newspapers, television, politics, organized religion, and the like are the whole reason why I DON'T read newspapers, watch television or partake in politics or organized religion. I guess you could say that I follow the old addage 'Ignorance is bliss'. Not that I'm ignorant of the world and what goes on in it . . . I just choose to focus on the positive. It's like in the movie 'The Secret' where they discuss the world, war, political unrest, et cetera. Instead of focusing on what you don't want (i.e. war) it's better to focus on what you do want, and for most of us that's peace.

And so today, I choose to reflect on the positives in life. The fact that I can follow my own religious truth is one of them. That I live in a place where I don't have to worry about stepping out my front door into a war zone. I have good, fresh food to eat. I have people who love me and people whom I love. I have warmth on a cold winter's night, and I have my own truths that uphold me and give me courage and strength.

Ma'at ~ Egyptian Goddess of Truth, Balance & Order

Universal Divine

I am better than my own prejudices,
my heart is deeper than my own pettyness,
my true spirit seeks the balance of harmony,
my journey as a human can unite me with all.

In our hearts, the eternal divine dwells.
I call it by one name of my understanding,
you call it by another name,
and others call it by other names.
The different names do not matter.
Divine is divine is divine and eternal.
It has names beyond counting
each name is true and sacred.

We are divided only by our own prejudices,
threatened by our own fears of the unlimited.
We see the indivisible power of spiritual eternity
and divide it into manageable bits of understanding,
leaving the greater truths beyond our feeble grasp,
clinging to a few facets of the unlimited divine
and defend our facets as the whole truth,
the only truth we dare to see and accept.

May my heart be open to understand more,
open to celebrate the facets held sacred by others
knowing that their truth is as true as mine.
Each path and every path to the divine is sacred
and deserving of my deepest respect.
Call it God, Energy or something else.
All names of the divine are true,
sacred, eternal and magic.
~ Abby Willowroot © 2008 ~

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 3

3rd Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Courage
December 22nd

"Courage is definitely an attitude of boldness, however, not the absence of fear. Courage is the carrying in spite of your fear. It is courage that allows us to live life in such a manner that we can be proud."

On this third day of Yule, I chose to reflect on the birth of the Sun-God and with him the coming of warmer days and of spring and summer. The Oak King has come forth and slain the Holly King, sending him into the netherworld.

It is a time for joyous celebration, of LIGHT, and of reflection over the past year. Because Yule exemplifies the adage, "The greatest darkness comes before dawn," it is an opportunity to embrace the darkness one last time before the growing light takes hold. In doing so, we also present ourselves with something else important; a time to purge ourselves of that which is no longer useful, and an opportunity to make room to receive all the gifts of the returning light.

Charge of the Sun God

I am the Light that bursts through the Darkness
And the smile on the young child's face.
I am the warmth that melts the winter chill
And the sparks that dance from the old fireplace.
I am the smell of oranges and apples
And the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.
I am the holly, the ivy, the mistletoe ball,
And the jocularity of the Great God, Jove.
I am found in the twinkling of an aged eye
And in the hope of children everywhere.
Yes, joy and love and warmth am I.
Where kindness abounds, I, too, am there.
I am your brother, your father, the wise one
And I warm you gently in the light of my love.
I lighten your worries, bring good health and speed growth
By shedding my rays down on you from above.
But remember, my children, be grateful
For my brother, the Darkness, and winter's deep chill
For without them, there would be little reason
For this holiday season of peace and good will.

~ Dorothy Morrison ~

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 2

2nd Day of Yule – The Winter Solstice
December 21st

"The Winter Solstice represents the shortest day and the longest night. From this day onward Caillech Bheur gains strength and eventually breaks winter's spell. Celebrate Caillech's return and the fertility she brings!"

Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon 'Yula', meaning 'wheel' of the year) is usually celebrated at the Winter Solstice. It is a Lesser Sabbat or Lower Holiday in the modern Pagan calendar, one of the four quarter-days of the year, but a very important one. This year it occurs on December 21st with the Solstice being at 5:38 p.m. Central Standard Time. Pagan customs are still enthusiastically followed ~ the burning of the Yule log, the drinking of Wassail, and lighting the tree (which in times gone by was lit with candles). It is a time for reverence, joy and celebration.

On this beautiful and most celebrated of nights, the Mother Goddess gives birth to the Sun-God, thus setting the 'wheel' in motion again. The days start to get longer and we can look forward to warmer days and the coming of spring.

Tonight Brian and I will be celebrating the Winter Solstice at Circle Sanctuary, which I'm really looking forward to. We'll most likely celebrate at the weekend with our ham, some spiced cider and the burning of our Yule log. However, I am planning on getting up during the night (early morning) to take in the lunar eclipse and perhaps celebrate in my own quiet way with a nice cup of tea. Maybe I'll even make some homemade muffins. After all, it's not in every lifetime that you get a chance to celebrate a solstice with a total eclipse of the moon.

Weather permitting, the lunar eclipse will be visible from 12:33 to 4:01 a.m. Central Standard Time Tuesday, with the total eclipse starting at about 1:41 a.m. The last time a lunar eclipse happened on a solstice was 372 years ago, in 1638.

Sunset Prayer

The longest night has come once more,

the sun has set, and darkness fallen.
The trees are bare, the earth asleep,
and the skies are cold and black.
Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,
embracing the darkness that enfolds us.
We welcome the night and all that it holds,
as the light of the stars shines down.

From our home to yours . . . may the Blessings of the Goddess be with you and yours and all joy and happiness be yours in the New Year!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

12 Days of Yule ~ Day 1

I'm participating in 'Lady Cattra's 12 Days of Yule Blog Party' which begins today. If you'd like to particpate it's not too late. Pop over to Lady Cattra's to get all the information . . .

1st Day of Yule – Mother’s Night
December 20th

"Mother's Night welcomes in the Season of Yule. As we encourage the return of Caillech Bheur (the feminine aspect of the Sun) we honor the feminine all around us. Honor the Creide, Cerridwen, Morrigan, all Mothers, Great Grandmothers and your feminine ancestors. Raise a horn to the glorious women who give birth to us and to the feminine spirits that support us. Give this time in honor to all Mothering aspects."

A belief and trust in protective maternal deities seems to have been strong among our Pagan ancestors for many centuries and continues even today. The earliest written records of these beliefs began during the first century C.E. and predominate in the lands of the continental Germans.

The core areas of the matron cult were in ancient Germania, eastern Gaul, and northern Italy, but it reached as far as present day Scotland, Frisia, southern Spain and Rome. More than 1100 votive stones and altars to the matrons or mothers have been found to date, over half of which are dedicated to beings with clearly Germanic names; others are of Celtic origin. The Germanic folk and the Celts apparently shared this belief.

On this night, children (as well as some domestic animals) were committed into the protection of the 'Mother' deity. 'Mother's Night' wrote the 8th century monk Bede, coincided with Christmas Eve. In his account of the Pagan calendar in 725 AD, the Venerable Bede wrote:

". . . began the year on the 8th kalends of January [25 December], when we celebrate the birth of the Lord. That very night, which we hold so sacred, they used to call by the heathen word Modranecht [Mother's Night], because (we suspect) of the ceremonies they enacted all that night."

On Mother's Night, just as the children had once been committed to the protection of a goddess, ancestor, or the female deities known as the Disir (the ancestral mothers, the first of each of our ancestral line), the ceremony became Christianised and the 'mother' was naturally equated with the Virgin Mary.

But what was the ceremony?

An account written in the 19th century recounts the experience of one woman who remembered her grandmother carrying out the ritual. She explained that, once the children were in bed, the old woman rose from her place by the peat fire and made her way over to the cradle where the youngest lay. Raising her hands over the slumbering infant, she spoke aloud:

"Mary Midder had de haund
Ower aboot for sleepin-baund
Had da lass an' had da wife,
Had da bairn a' its life.
Mary Midder had de haund.
Roond da infants o' wur land."

This ritual was repeated over all the children, while her grandfather sat raking the peats in the hearth. The old man was also thought to have been reciting something but, unfortunately, his softly spoken words were inaudible.

The altar I put together to honour my own Mother and Grandmother's. I also have a picture of Hecate to represent my ancestral mothers and all 'Mother' goddesses.

A Blessing for Mother

With the first light of sun,
Bless You.
In your smile and in your tears,
Bless You.
When the day is done,
Bless You.
Through each day of all your years,
Bless You.

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