“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 ~

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pagan Prayers

I came across a site the other day where someone was asking if Pagans said prayers. I admit I was a little taken aback . . . doesn't everyone with faith pray? Apparently, not everyone thinks so.

Triple Goddess Rosaries

Mother Mary Rosary

Green Tara Mala
(This gorgeous piece was custom made by Jayne at Infinite Spirit)

So, just to set the record straight, this Pagan prays. I pray my Goddess rosaries and my Mary rosary, and I also pray with my mala dedicated to Green Tara. I pray to the God and to the Goddess. I pray in the morning and evening and when there's something in particular I need guidance on or when I need reassurance or peace. There are a multitude of ways to pray and as many prayers to say them.

When I first started out on this path I searched for books that contained Pagan prayers. I found several that spoke to me and I'm always on the lookout for inspiring Pagan prayer books.

A few of the books on my shelf:
Living Wicca - Scott Cunningham
Goddess Bless - Sirona Knight
Be Blessed - Denise Dumars
Dewdrops in the Moonlight - Shanddaramon

The books I've listed here are just a few that I found helpful and inspiring. My most recent purchase is a book called 'Earth Psalms' by Angela Magara. It is a lovely book filled with 150 psalms that warm the heart and feed the soul.

Due to the hurricane in Angela's area (she was part of the disaster recovery team) and then an illness, shipping of my book was delayed. And although it was unnecessary, Angela sent along an extra copy of the book which she has graciously autographed.

I've given it some thought and can't think of anyone I'd rather share this book with than you, my followers. So I'm having a give-away! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and I'll enter you in the drawing which I'll hold on October 1st. Isn't that a great way to start the month of October?

And if you know of any good Pagan prayer books please don't hesitate to share!


Monday, September 26, 2011

To be or not to be . . . a Crone

I've been doing some thinking lately on becoming a Crone. Fall does that, with the Earth slowly dying making its way into winter and with the God making his descent, it's no wonder. And while I don't feel 50, there are signs that age is creeping in on me. Like the few gray hairs I'm finding, and the lack of energy or strength I used to have (alright I know I need to exercise and lift weights!). But with age also comes wisdom. I know myself pretty well, I'm strong in my beliefs, and I know what I will and won't put up with. I'm still learning though which is a good thing - gotta keep those brain cells guessing!

Some say that a woman enters her Croning years when she hits menopause. Others say when Saturn has returned twice in her natal chart, which for most every woman is at age 56. I'm guessing I'll know when the time is right for me.

And while I'm thinking about impending Cronedom, I also think back to my 'maiden' years, good years, but also painful growing years. I think back to my 'mother' years and the mother I was not to be. Those years seem like a blur now all leading up to this moment. This moment when I'm upon the threshold of becoming a Crone and deciding how I will live the next fifty years. Beautifully, I hope, with grace and dignity, insight, and with much joy and laughter.

And so on thinking about the 'triple' aspect of being a woman, I'm drawn to the Goddess in her triple aspect. The following are excerpts from the book The Witches' Goddess by the Farrars:
"The theme of the Triple Goddess is found in the mythology of all lands... She is Maid, Mother and Crone; Enchantment, Ripeness and Wisdom; the waxing, full, and waning moon.

Behold the Three Formed Goddess;
She who is ever Three - Maid, Mother, and Crone.
Yet she is ever One;
She in all women, and they all in Her.
Look at these Three who are one, with fearless love,
That you too may be whole."

The Farrars suggest envisioning the Maiden, Mother, and Crone as a rainbow in order to hold all three in your awareness at one time.
"Realize that the whole spectrum, with its shifting colors, is the one glowing rainbow. To pursue the analogy further - red/orange for the Mother, yellow/green for the Maid, and blue/indigo/violet for the Crone... Which wavelength predominates for you at any one moment depends on your own tuning. But make the effort to grasp the whole rainbow, and you are face to face with Woman, the manifested feminine principle..."
Wherever you are on your path of womanhood, take some time today to connect with yourself and with the aspect of the Goddess you are currently aligned with. Goddess, it's great to be a woman!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Practical Magic Blog Party

Welcome to the Practical Magic Blog Party here on 'I Heart the Goddess' and hosted by the lovely Anna over at 'Frosted Petunias'. Many thanks to our hostess for bringing us all together to share in our love of a magical movie! And pop over to the 'Practical Magic Blog Party' blog to find your way around all the lovely bloggers out there who are sharing with us today.

One of the many things I took away with me from the movie was the use of candles. They seemed to be in every room in one way or another, bringing their sultry light to the scene. For me candles conjure up magick, mystery, and a sense of wonder and enlightment. They light the darkness and warm our hearts and minds to the possibilities rising from the smoke.

And so my party post is all about candles and the infinite uses they have in our lives, both mundane and magickal.

Candles in the Mundane World

Candles have been in use for thousands of years, yet little is known about their origin. There is no historical record of the first candles, however clay candle holders dating from the 4th century BC have been found in Eygpt. The earliest people credited with developing the "wicked" candle are the ancient Romans, before 3,000 BC. They used rolled papyrus and dipped it repeatedly in melted tallow (cattle or sheep fat) or beeswax.

Early Chinese candles are said to have been molded in paper tubes, using rolled rice paper for the wick, and wax from an indigenous insect that was combined with seeds. In Japan, candles were made of wax extracted from tree nuts, while in India, candle wax was made by boiling the fruit of the cinnamon tree. The first known candle in America dates to the 1st century AD. Native Americans burned oily fish(candlefish) wedged into a forked stick. Early missionaries in the southwestern United States boiled the bark of the Cerio tree and skimmed the wax.

In the middle ages most western cultures relied primarily on candles made from animal fat(tallow). A major improvement came when beeswax candles were introduced in Europe. Unlike animal-based tallow, beeswax burned pure and cleanly, without producing a smoky flame. It also emitted a pleasant, sweet smell rather than the foul, bitter odor of tallow. Beeswax candles were widely used for church ceremonies, but because they were expensive, few individuals other than the wealthy could afford them in their home. Tallow candles were the common household candle for Europeans, and by the 13th century, candlemaking had become a guild craft in England and France. The candlemakers(chandlers) went from house to house making candles from the kitchen fats saved for that purpose, or made and sold their own candles from small candle shops.

In America colonial women discovered that boiling the grayish-green berries of bayberry bushes produced a sweet-smelling wax that burned cleanly. However, extracting the wax from the berries was extremely tedious. As a result, the popularity of bayberry candles soon diminished. The growth of the whaling industry in the late 18th century brought the first major change in candlemaking since the Middle Ages,when spermaceti, a wax obtained by crystallizing sperm whale oil, became available in quantity. Like beeswax, the spermaceti wax did not elict a repugnant odor when burned, and produced a significantly brighter light. It also was harder than either tallow or beeswax, so it wouldn't soften or bend in the summer. A pure spermaceti candle is the measure for candlepower. Candlepower is a common term for describing light output. It is based on a measurement of the light produced by a pure spermaceti candle weighing one sixth of a pound, burning at a rate of 120 grams per hour.

During the 19th century most of the major contemporary candlemaking developements occurred. In the 1820s, French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered how to extract steric acid from animal fatty acids. This led to the development of stearin wax which was hard, durable and burned cleanly. Stearin candles remain popular in Europe today. In 1834, inventor Joseph Morgan helped to further the modern-day candle industry by developing a machine that allowed for continuous production of molded candles by using a cylinder with a movable piston to eject candles as they solidified. With the introduction of mechanized production, candles became an easily affordable commodity for the masses. Paraffin wax was introduced in the 1850s, after chemists learned how to efficiently separate the naturally-occurring waxy subtance from petroleum and refine it. Odorless and bluish-white in color, paraffin was a boon to candlemaking because it burned cleanly, consistently and was more economical to produce than any other candle fuel.

Candles in Magick

Candle magick is probably one of the simplest forms of magick to perform. All that is needed is a candle and some matches (Witches prefer matches to lighters because sulphur - once known as brimstone - has been believed since the Middle Ages to possess the power of purification). Candle magick can also be seen to be complete within itself as the body of the candle is made up from the elements of Earth and Water. Fire is added by lighting the candle and Spirit is represented by the wick, as the wick is where the potential of the candle lies and will be unfolded with. With the candle lit, the flame of your intent will burn.

Candle magick has been used for centuries for magick and ritual. Candles are lit at the Sabbats and Esbats and is a practice that is used in many different religions, cultures and traditions. Candles invoke the divine, they create a sense of ceremony and they are fascinating to look at. Candles can be purchased anywhere, by anyone, without anyone blinking an eye or suspecting magick and witchcraft!

The flickering flame of a candle can help you to focus on your wishes, making your heart's desire come true. Try using candles the next time you want to make something happen in your life!

Unwittingly, you probably performed your first act of candle magick when you blew out the candles on your birthday cake whilst making a wish. This tradition is based on the three principles of magick; concentration, will power and visualization. You concentrated on the candles, blew them out with all your might and visualized your wish coming true - absolute magick!

Choosing a Candle

1. Choose a plain candle of uniform shape. Having unusual or large candles can be distracting and is therefore not suitable for magickal use.

2. Candles used for magick should always be virgin (unused) at the start of the ritual. Using secondhand candles or other materials in magick can have disastrous results as they might have picked up vibrations from previous use, even if it was just on a dinner table.

3. If at all possible, making your own candles for magickal use will increase the magickal potency of the candle many times. It is very easy to make your own candles. Simply heat the wax until it liquifies and then pour it into a mould which is threaded with a wick. The wax is left to cool after which the mold is removed. Essential oils and colors can be added to the wax for extra effect.

4. Charge your candle before using it in ritual. This can be done by annointing it with oils associated with the ritual or magick you intend on performing or by simply touching it and charging it with your own energy. Whilst charging the candle, visualize the north and south poles - rub the oil into the candle starting at the center and rubbing down towards south; then starting at the center again, rub up towards north.

Below are some charts for astral color, candle color and days of the week correspondences.

Candles in Ritual

In Wicca and related forms of neo-paganism, the candle is frequently used on the altar to represent the presence of the God and Goddess, and in the four corners of a ritual circle to represent the presence of the four elements being Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. When used in this manner, lighting and extinguishing the candle marks the opening and closing of the ritual.

Candle Magick for Mabon

I thought it would be nice to include a Mabon ritual here for those whole celebrate this Sabbatt.

You'll need:
- An unscented candle in a harvest color such as yellow, orange, or brown.
- Your choice of Money Oil or essential oil of cinnamon, orange, or ginger.
- Something to inscribe the candle with such as a pencil, stylus, or athame.
- A pinch of dried basil, sage or dill.

If you normally cast a circle or invoke Deity, do so now. Using the pencil, stylus or athame inscribe your intent upon the candle. For example, if you need money to pay the bills, carve that on the candle. If you just want extra fun money, write that on the candle too. If you're not sure how much you need, you can use symbols of money such as the dollar sign ($) or a runic symbol. In traditional runes, Fehu is the sign of wealth, prosperity and financial gain. And since I'm into runes, I've included the Fehu symbol here.

Once you've completed the inscription, anoint the candle with the Money Oil. If you don't have Money Oil, use another essential oil that brings prosperity; cinnamon, orange or ginger are all good to use. Focus your intent into the candle, drawing abundance to you. Rub a small amount of the dried basil, sage or dill (all herbs connected with money) into the oil. As you do, clearly visualize how you will be using the money that comes your way. Will you use it to pay off debt? Buy a new car? Take a class for personal growth?

Light the candle and meditate on the flame. Continue focusing on your intent and imagine it building, first as a small spark, and then growing into a large ball of light. Maintain this image as long as you can, and then release it into the candle flame. Make sure the candle is in a safe place so as not to be a fire hazard (a bowl of sand is perfect for this) and allow the candle to burn out on its own.


I hope you enjoyed visiting today and remember to keep the 'magick' lit in your life.


Mabon Blessings

Wishing everyone a Happy and Blessed Mabon. If you missed my Mabon post, I hope you'll enjoy it now!

I also added a Mabon Apple Harvest Ritual to my 'Sabbat and Esbat Ritual Pages' if you're looking for a simple, yet meaningful, Mabon ritual.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Need for Change

Fall is in the air and with the turning of the Wheel, I'm feeling the need for a change here on my blog. So, as I always do, I popped over to Sharon's blog 'Plumrose Lane' for a needed autumn fix. And she didn't disappoint.

There are several fall themes to choose from, but in the end I went with 'Golden Moments'. Isn't that just the best name? It makes me want to reflect on each moment this fall, relishing the changing of the leaves from green to their golden fall colors, the crispness of the fall air and the darker mornings making it way too easy to sleep just a little longer.

So, please excuse me whilst I dust off the corners, clean behind the elements and prop up my new banner and blog design.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Pagan Pride Project

Do you know who The Pagan Pride Project are? Don't worry, I didn't either until I came across the website for the Pagan Pride Day here in my area (see post below).

The following is directly from their website that you can visit at The Pagan Pride Project.

Statement of Purpose:
The Pagan Pride Project is a non-profit organization. The primary purposes of this corporation shall be the advancement of religion and elimination of prejudice and discrimination based on religious beliefs.

Mission Statement:
The mission of The Pagan Pride Project is to foster pride in Pagan identity through education, activism, charity, and community.

Defining the Mission Statement:
We try to keep our purpose balanced through the inspirations of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth:

Air: Education
We're never going to be able to practice our spiritual paths openly if we don't give the public accurate information about what we do and do not do.

Fire: Activism
People aren't necessarily going to go out of their way to find out what Pagans really do. We have to have the courage to act on our convictions and do what we need to do.

Water: Charity
We know that what we do returns to us. We need to demonstrate this by offering compassion to our communities where it is needed. When we share our own abundance, we show that we trust the Gods to share abundance with us in return.

Earth: Community
We're never going to be able to practice openly if we don't know anyone else in our local Pagan communities. We need to weave networking webs in our cities, in our towns, and in our rural areas. We need these webs to support one another. That support will also show those who would restrict our practice that we are not just a few isolated wackos, but are a growing congregation of people who adhere to a faith that, while different, is as valid as their own.

Don't you just love the use of elements in their mission statement? I know I do! And it makes so much sense. If we don't have accountability for our faith, who will do it for us? Each one of us has a role to play and we must play that role with love, grace, dignity, responsibility, by being informed, and by the way we live our lives.

I'm proud to be a Pagan . . . and I'm proud to share my beliefs in whatever way I can.


Pagan Pride Day

On October 1st Pagan Pride Day 2011 will be held here in Middleton at Lakeview Park. I'm so excited and am looking forward to attending my first 'pride day'.

The day begins at 10:00 am with an opening ritual. There will be vendors, workshops and entertainment. There are two workshops that I'm particularly interested in attending. The first is 'Green Burial & Green Cemetaries' presented by Kelly Dwyer. Kelly will lead a discussion on green burials and green cemeteries and what they consist of, how greening the end-of-life is both a personal and an environmental healing process, and how greening the end-of-life relates to Paganism. Kelly also provided support and service to Circle Sanctuary's, Circle Cemetery, and the cemetery's first green burial in the Spring of 2011.

The second workshop I'll be attending is 'Living Heathen 101' presented by Christine Ponder. Lately I've been interested in Asatru, particularly in regards to runes, so this workshop will provide some much needed information. Christine will provide a basic overview of Heathenry/Asatru, history, lore, values, and beliefs, and will provide clarification regarding some ideas and dispell common misconceptions.

There are a few other workshops that I'd be interested in attending, like the one on Dianic Wicca and the one on finding which form of divination is right for you, unfortunately they're at the same time as the other two.

So along with the workshops, strolling through the vendors and catching some of the entertainment, it will be a full day and one I'm looking forward to. And if you haven't already, maybe you'd like to catch Pagan Pride Day when it arrives in your area.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Apple Harvest Full Moon

I was fortunate enough to join the Apple Harvest Full Moon Circle out at Circle Sanctuary this past Monday. It was a gorgeous evening that began with apple pressing and some sweet freshly pressed apple cider. I met some lovely people and before I knew it, it was time to join the circle for the ritual.

Led by Selena Fox, we did a beautiful meditation with an apple, performed a healing circle, and raised our cups of cider to the glorious Goddess as She rose above the trees illuminating the night with Her beautiful white light. The sky was clear and She shone down upon us with Her smiling face and enveloped us in Her loving embrace.

It really was a night to remember. And the thing that I took away with me was the feeling of connectedness with like-minded souls and a connection to the Goddess that you only get when you go out into nature and commune with Her.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never forget . . .

9/11 Patriot Day Comments


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gypsy Dreams Blog Party

Please join me today for the 'Gypsy Dreams Blog Party'! I put together a little 'gypsy' tale for you and I hope you enjoy it.

I also hope you enjoy traveling amongst all the other 'gypsy' blog parties today! What fun! Visit 'Gypsy Dreams' to find your map to all the creative and inspirational posts today.

“We are all wanderers on this earth.
Our hearts are full of wonder,
and our souls are deep with dreams.”


Friday, September 9, 2011

Mabon Blessings!

The Wheel of the Year is turning into fall and with that comes the fall harvest Sabbats. Mabon falls on September 23rd this year and I'm looking for the colors of fall and enjoying the cooler weather after a summer filled with extremely hot and humid weather.

Mabon, which falls at the Autumnal Equinox, is the second harvest celebration. As at the Spring Equinox, it is a time of balance between light and dark. In the autumn, we move from light to dark and from warmth to cold. It is a time to gather the harvest of summer, apples, grapes, corn, wheat, and vegetables such as squashes and gourds, and prepare for the long winter ahead. It is also a time for thanksgiving and enjoying the bounty set before us.

One of the best known harvest mythologies is the story of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter, was a goddess of grain and of the harvest in ancient Greece. Her daughter, Persephone, caught the eye of Hades, god of the underworld. When Hades abducted Persephone and took her back to the underworld, Demeter's grief caused the crops on earth to die and go dormant. By the time she finally recovered her daughter, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld. These six months are the time when the earth dies, beginning at the time of the Autumn Equinox.

The Sumerian goddess Inanna is the incarnation of fertility and abundance. Inanna descended into the underworld where her sister, Ereshkigal, ruled. Erishkigal decreed that Inanna could only enter her world in the traditional ways, by stripping herself of her clothing and earthly posessions. By the time Inanna got there, Erishkigal had unleashed a series of plagues upon her sister, killing Inanna. While Inanna was visiting the underworld, the earth ceased to grow and produce. A vizier restored Inanna to life, and sent her back to earth. As she journeyed home, the earth was restored to its former glory.

In the British Isles, the ancient name for the goddess of this time was Modron, which means 'mother'. Sometimes she was pictured as a trio of women, each seated on a throne. Together, they were called the 'Mothers'. They were responsible for abundance and sustaining the life of the people in the Celtic myths, as was Modron's son who was stolen away into the underworld. Whenever we feed the hungry, we honor the Mothers.

This Sabbat takes its name from the god 'Mabon'. He was called 'Mabon, son of Modron', which means 'son of the mother'. Mabon is such an ancient god that most of the stories about him have been lost. All we know is that he was stolen away from his mother when he was only three nights old and imprisoned until he was rescued by King Arthur's companions. Because Mabon knows what it is like to be imprisoned, he is also the god of freedom. He frees animals from their cages and loosens the bonds of all those unjustly imprisoned. He protects all things wild and free. His totem animals are the owl, blackbird, stag, eagle and salmon. We honor Mabon when we protect animals and when we work for freedom for all people.

The Mabon altar can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. For a simple altar you can have an arrangement of some of the things harvested that will keep for a few weeks like winter squash, dried corn, wheat, pumpkins, and pomegranates. Autumn leaves, a bouquet of late-blooming flowers, a picture or figurines of animals are also appropriate for your Mabon altar.

Candles in various shades of autumn colors like yellow, red, rust, and orange are also nice additions. You may also add fresh herbs like juniper berries, sage, campunala and cloves. Crystals are also a nice addition and I've included ones like carnelian, red tiger's eye, garnet, orange calcite, and citrine. You can also include incense such as sandalwood and myrrh.

Be sure to get outside as much as possible now and enjoy the sunlight. All too soon, we will be enveloped in darkness and cold as the wheel turns into winter.

Mabon Blessings!