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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Crone

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
In my third and final installment covering the aspects of the Goddess, we turn to the Crone. Ancient Hag of the boundless wisdom. I hope that you enjoyed the last two sections.

Charge of the Crone

Come closer my grandchildren sit at my feet and hear my words. Let me tell you the story of my life and the lessons I have learned. Know that I am the Darksome terrible Goddess, but I only bring terror to those who do not understand.

I am Hecate, the Crossroads. I am Morganna, Raven of Battles. I am the widow descending to the Underworld to find my lost husband and my future son. And I am the womb that they are born from.

Know that at lifes end I will be waiting for you; to guide you through death and into rebirth. And that I will be there at birth to guide you through birth into life.

To truly taste life is to worship me. For Magick and art are my domains and my greatest lesson is love itself. So let there be compassion in your anger, power in your humbleness and mirth balanced against discipline.

Yet remember that if you seek to remove my veil and see my true face you have only to look within for I am always with you from the beginning to the end.
Aspects

Who is the Crone? She is the one who, wrapped in mystery, brings the wisdom that is key to unlock the ancient mysteries. She is blunt and sometimes harsh but that is only because she has learned the value of unfettered honesty. The end of her life draws near and she has no time to indulge people in their illusions. She can be turned to when the world has baffled you, because she has lived a long life and more likely then not she has already solved the puzzle that faces you.

See her face in the dark of the Moon and the cool night shadows and look within to know that she has always been with you from birth through death. She is the tomb that is the womb that leads from death into the rebirth and new life.

The Crone goddess of the Welsh was Cerridwen. A shape-shifting goddess of divination and enchantment. Her cauldron is a symbol of death and of life. It represents the womb and the tomb through which we have all passed and will pass again.

Her cauldron can contain the elixir of immortality that allows us to pass through death and into rebirth to live again. It may also contain the waters of Knowledge. Which would make it the Grail that Arthur seeked so long for. For a king of the Celts ruled by the will of the Goddess.

The ancient race of the Slavs worshipped a Goddess called Baba Yaga. She is the old crone that guards the Water of Life and Death. She is oftentimes represented as the wild untamed forces of nature but as we know the storm brings the water of life allowing for rebirth.

Her symbols are the birch tree, the tree of beginnings and endings. She was also known as the White Lady as she is stiff and white and carved of bone.


Monday, December 29, 2008

The Mother

Monday, December 29, 2008
In my continuing series on teaching the different aspects of the Gods to kids, here is the section on the Mother aspect.

Rede of the Mother
Listen close and hearken to my words:

I who am Demeter, giver of fruitfulness and abundance; I who am Arianrhod, the Turner of the Heavenly Wheel; I who am Selene, Queen of the Starlit Heavens and Goddess of the Moon; I who am Hera, Goddess of the Hearth.

As I am the Goddess of the Moon. I am the bringer of change in your life. And although you may not see the wisdom, all I do is done for the betterment of each and every one of my children. But fear not for I am also Hera, Goddess of the Unchanging Hearth and I bring that growing power to each of your ventures, if they follow the Rede.

But also remember that for each of these gifts that I offer you, you must in turn spread your gifts to the people around you. Be a light in the world to show the way of love and the way of peace and passivity. But do not think that I counsel you to let yourself be trodden upon. Stand firm in your beliefs and for your rights. Yet do this while remaining calm and loving. And I assure you that if enough of you do this then it will spread like all wondrous things will and the world will be united in peace and love.

Let each person lead their own lives. yet counsel in love if you see them doing harm to themselves or others. Also lead by example. Live these words and others will follow. For do not actions speak louder than words?

I give you all my blessings and shower you in my Love. Blessed Be!
Aspects

The Mother is an aspect of the Goddess that at first glance seems self-explanatory. The Mother is the mother right? While she is that nurturing force, she is also self-sacrifice personified. But not self-sacrifice for its sake, rather she will sacrifice her needs and desires and even herself for her children and those she loves.

As the Maiden was the Virgin, so has the Mother commited herself to her lover and to her children. Now that she is grown older she can no longer worry only about today and how she is affected, for she has brought new life into the world and she carries that responsibility.

She is the gateway to life and the womb that grows the seed. She is the Moon and the Earth and the controller of tides. She is universal love and the path to peace.

Demeter as the Goddess of grain and fertility was an important deity to the ancient Greeks. She was the mother of Persephone who was also called Kore. And in that story we see the dedication found in this aspect. She never stopped seeking for her lost daughter and when she found her she braved all things, even death, to rescue her.

Before her marriage to Zeus, Hera was called the Queen of Heaven because she ruled over the heavens and the earth and was responsible for every aspect of existence, including the seasons and the weather. She was also known as Juno in the Roman pantheon, the Goddess of weddings. Her sacred animals were the peacock and the cow. The cow symbolizing Hera's watchfulness over her children and the peacock symbolizes her beauty and immortality. She has been called upon in olden days to bless and protect a woman's marriage. Bringing fertility and protection for her children.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Maiden

Sunday, December 28, 2008
One of the most often questions from my youngest is about the Goddess and God. So I sat down and wrote up some poems and guidelines to help explain the different aspects of Them. Today I figured I would share with you the work I did on the Maiden. Hope that you enjoy.

Song of the Maiden

Hear the words of the Maiden:

I who am La Primavera, The Springtime. I who am the promise of Life and the hope for immortality. The one who from beneath my dancing feet spring flowers. I who am the Virgin, untameable. Robed in white, pure and untouched by the world's strife.

I bid you to be merry in all you do. When you make love be sure to think of me for your little deaths are a chance for the beginnings of a little life. And at every birth think of me. For whether boy or girl I am also born there.

Every drop of rain is a blessing falling from my lips, so rejoice in the falling rain. I represent life unbridled, untamed. So I bid thee remember to be unashamed to sing or dance when the mood takes thee.

For every dance and every song is but an expression of the Song of Creation and the Dance of the Creatrix.

Count thy blessings every day and let not sadness take thee for every ending and misfortune leads to a new beginning and greater fortune. There is no room for sadness in the worship of Me.

Also remember not to fear the night for after every night there comes a new dawn. And I promise tht if ye look careful you can see me arrayed in clours wondrous on every morn at the rise of the Sun.
Specific Goddesses

This is the aspect of the Goddess pertaining to Youth and Innocence. She is the Eternal Virgin but not in the patriacharchal sense of a woman before sex or marriage but in the older sense of the word, a woman that belongs only to herself.

The Maiden aspect has many lessons for us. To love without bounds, to view the world through the eyes of innocence and to live in the moment. Through her we learn mercy and compassion. She is also a goddess of passion and gracefulness.

But as much as the Maiden lives in the now, she does not forget her duties. Nor does she let her innocence allow her to be taken advantage of. She is the Huntress, the Warrior Queen as much as she is the Midwife and the Gardener.

There are many Goddesses that fall into this aspect. One example is Artemis who was born after a short and painless labor. After her birth she then turned around and became midwife and nurturer to her Mother, Leto, and helped her mother to give birth to her own twin brother Apollo. Because of this Artemis became the Goddess of childbirth, the protector of children, and the goddess who listened most closely to the appeals of women. This Goddess' association with the wilderness around us, symbolized her own untamed nature. Because of her independence she became the best huntress of the Gods. She was also often depicted carrying a torch to light the way for others, leading them through territories yet uncharted.

There is also the Goddess Kuan Yin who's story best tells us about her. In her youth she was Miao Shan a maiden that wanted to become a Buddhist nun but was forbidden to do so by her Father. He tried to have her married off and when she refused he sent soldiers to kill her. She was saved by a tiger but then descended into the Land of the Dead and freed the souls in bondage there. Rose again and was greeted by Buddha himself who sent her into hiding on the isle of P'u T'o Shan where she reached enlightenment. Yet her suffering had taught her mercy and compassion so that she stopped short and turned back with the pledge to save mankind. That she would not reach enlightenment until everyone else before her reached there.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Yule!

Thursday, December 18, 2008
Yes I know that Yule is technically Sunday but I am going to be out of town this weekend spending time with family. So here is a children's ritual for Yule.

Supplies:
  • Four Candles -- yellow, red, blue, green,
  • A bowl of water
  • A bowl of dirt
  • A feather
  • Musical Instruments if you so wish
  • Bell for each of the children participating
Ritual:

Arrange the colored candles and other items in a circle around you. In the East put the yellow candle and the feather. In the South put the red candle. In the West put the bowl of water and the blue candle. And finally in the North put the bowl of dirt and the green candle. Light these candles as you set them out. Walk with your children from candle to candle, ringing a bell as you leave from candle to another.

Start in the East and tell them that it represents Air. Wave the feather at them so that they can feel the wind.

In the South tell them that here is Fire represented. Carefully let them feel the heat from the candle.

In the West talk to them about Water. Have them wash their hands in the water.

In the North speak about the element of Earth. Let them touch the dirt.

When you return to the Center talk to them about the Goddess and the God and how they are always there. Let them know about Love and the Blessings that the Gods can give us.

Now sit with your children and tell them about Yule. Talk about the battle between Holly King and Oak King after the rebirth of the Sun. If they are worried then you can assure them that the Holly King will return in the Fall. Last year I posted some poems around this time. They were 'Twas the Night Before Yule" and 'Twas the Night of the Solstice". You can read these to your children as well.

Have some fun and celebrate. Play some music and sing some chants. Raise some energy.

When you are done spend the rest of this Sabbat enjoying a huge feast. Take a look through the different recipes that I have posted in the last few weeks or cook some of your own. But most important of all spend time with family and friends.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Oak King

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The last time I talked about the God, I spoke about the Holly King. But the other half of that aspect is the Oak King. The ruler over the light half of the Year. He is the sapling and the young stag leaping through the woods. As you read in my children's story, he is the Sun King as well. Born on Yule he takes on the task to revive the Earth, his Goddess.

One of his other names is the Horned Lord. And as such I figured I would share a poem I wrote a while back entitled, 'The Charge of the Horned Lord'.
I am the Horned Lord, Cernunnos, guardian of the cycle of birth and rebirth. I am the youth of Spring and exuberant life. My breath is the warming Southern wind. I am the Oak dressed in Brown and Green. I am the protective hunter, King of the animals and I am the wild Pan. Lovemaking, laughter and feasting are all testaments to my power and might. To love is to worship me. I am the Lord of the Greenwood, The Sun King and Heaven's Lord among countless other incarnations. I give to man these gifts; little children of all ages, ecstasy of the spirit and of the body, and I provide the path to self-illumination.

I am the Sun and consort to the Earth Mother and the Star Goddess. I am the priest of the Sun. I am the gnostic upon the throne at the center of all life. And I am the leader of the Wild Rade that leads to the Underworld, which is your inner self.

I am the fire in every beating heart and the waters of the soul, the Earth of the body and the breath of the mind. Call on me as protector and warrior for I am the God of Battles.
I bring the rain, the ultimate promise of life, hear my voice and my laughter in the sound of the falling rain and be joyous.
Blessed Be!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gingerbread

Sunday, December 14, 2008
One of the most traditional dishes at this time of the year is gingerbread. My kids and I absolutely love the rich taste of the ginger and molasses. So this past weekend we decided to make some gingerbread.

We had originally planned on making a gingerbread house, but we have had to many failures at that project. So we settled on making shapes instead. Following is the recipe that we used. Hope that you all enjoy as much as we have.

Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Sift the dry ingredients together in medium mixing bowl
  2. Beat butter and sugar together in large bowl with electric mixer
  3. Add molasses and egg and beat well
  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture
  5. Press dough into thick flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap
  6. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight
  7. Roll dough to 1/4 thickness on lightly floured surface
  8. Cut into shapes
  9. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 300 degrees
  10. Cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes
  11. Remove wire racks and cool completely



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Holly King

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This season of Yule is his season. The time when he is strongest. But it also signals his end, for as the sun is reborn on Yule morning so does he pass away into the Underworld. But who is he?

He is Jupiter, streaking across the sky. He is Cronos, or Old Man Time. He is Odin on his eight-legged horse and Thor in his goat drawn chariot traveling the winter sky. A modern name for him is Santa Claus.

While He is responsible for the winter season and the suffering of the Goddess and the Earth. He is also responsible for bringing us gifts and the Earth a much needed and deserved rest.

So turn to him in this time of reflection and give thanks for that chance to breathe. And if you feel that you can't take the time, then slow down and ask him for that time. But don't let this resting time be a period of laziness. Instead let it be a time for renewal and rebirth.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yule Log

Sunday, December 7, 2008
One of the oldest and probably the most well known traditions for this holiday season is the Yule log. Traditionally burnt on Yule night to hold the darkness and winter at bay, since it was the shortest day and longest night of the year.

My family does not do this tradition because we do not have a fireplace. Although we could build a substitute that doesn't require one. To make a Yule Log that will last from season to season, follow the instructions below.

Supplies:
  • You need a log around 3 feet long. The type of wood does not matter. Although oak would be more traditional.
  • Four pillar candles. Red, Black, White and Green or Gold.
  • Drill and/or chisel.
  • Saw
Instructions:
  1. Measure out four spaces the size of the candles that you have decided to use. Aim to have them an equal distance apart.
  2. Then drill or chisel out a shallow depression that the candles can sit in without falling out.
  3. Saw off the bottom part of the log so that it can sit without wanting to roll.
  4. Then put candles in the holes. From left to right: Put the red, black, white, green or gold. These represent the Holly King and Crone. Then the Maiden and Oak/Sun King.
You can burn the Holly King and Crone candles until Yule night. A litle every night. Then light all candles on Yule night. Yule morning you can put out the red and black candles, since their season has then officially passed.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Crafty Decorating Ideas for Yule

Thursday, December 4, 2008
There are many crafts for Pagans to engage in for this holiday season. We all know the traditional crafts but may be lacking in the knowledge of how to actually make those things. So I figured I would post some instructions and ideas for decorating your house for Yule.

You can use cardboard and some gold and/or silver foil to make stars and suns. Or use paper to make snowflakes. My family coven decorates a grapevine wreath with symbols and silk flowers for the season. You can decorate it with holly and ivy, poinsettias, and pine branches.

For those among us who are uber-crafty you can make your own full fledged wreath, instructions here.

What kind of crafts does your household do for Yule? Comment below and let us all know.

Blessed Be!