Just an FYI this site will be going down for maintenance in the next couple of hours. Should be up by tomorrow. I apologize for any incovenience.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beltane is Here!

Thursday, April 30, 2009
First off Happy Beltane, everyone! Here is a kid friendly ritual for you to enjoy with your children.

Supplies:

Supplies for Mini Maypole
Three small votive candles - I use yellow, green and red
And Bells for each participant


Ritual:

Have one of the kids ring their bell three times and say the following;

I ring the bell To cast the circle So Mote it Be!

Then an Adult or one of the older children casts the circle, saying the following;

I weave around us a circle With love and light Where we can Honor the Lady and Lord

Tell the kids to imagine a silvery-blue light surrounding them in a large circle. Explain that this "Circle of Light" means that we want to make this a sacred place to honor the Goddess and God.

Then you can light the yellow candle and say;

With this we call the Sun King. Horned One come to us!

Then you can light the red candle and say:

With this we call the Goddess. Soon to be the Mother. All Hail!

Have the kids ring their bells again. Let them know that they represent the voices of the faeries lifted in song as they called the children to dance the maypole.

Then pick up the green candle and tell the children that it represents the Earth. Light it and say;

The Earth is alive and strong. Blessings we send to the land.

This time instead of bells, have the children put their hands on the Earth. Tell them to think about love and to send it to the Earth.

Now you can make the Mini Maypole and weave the ribbons or crepe paper around it. Tell them that this symbolic of the Gods becoming one so that life may continue.

Now you can close the circle. Let the child who rung the bell first, now ring their bell again and say;

I ring the bell To close the circle So Mote It Be!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thirteen Goals of a Witch - Achieve Balance

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
We live in a world desperately out of order. A world that demands that we rush to gather more and more. That wants us to continue to be unhappy so that we can always seek out the next thing to buy that will "bring us happiness".

And as a result so many of us are hopelessly out of balance that we take pills to manage our stress and to "cure" us of the diseases that this stress cause in us.

As Pagans we should strive to break this cycle. To achieve in us the balance that is found around us in nature and in the story of the Gods and the changing of the seasons.

I am constantly amazed (although I shouldn't be) by the synchronicity of the world around us. Here I am talking about achieving balance in ourselves, while Beltane - a Sabbat about the union and balancing of the energies of the Gods - is nearly upon us.

This is that balance that I am talking about. As we learn to be content with our lives, to stop seeking the next new and big thing, and move towards harmony and balance the universe seeks to balance out against us. When we stop fighting our true Will, which is really just the Will of the Gods, we will have all we need provided for us. Oftentimes in ways that we can't even imagine.

So as we go toward this weekend maybe we should all take the time to examine our lives. Our we content? If not, why is that? Have we found that inner harmony? The balance that only faith can bring us?

I am interested in all of your thoughts. So feel free to comment or email me.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Great Rtie

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Beltane is almost here and I realized that I haven't yet talked about the even that the Sabbat celebrates. The Great Rite.

So first off, what is the Great Rite? Although many of you may know the answer already, the answer simply, is that it is the sexual union between the Horned Lord and the Maiden, Goddess of Spring.

But more complexly it is the union between the masculine and feminine energies present within nature and more importantly within ourselves. It is Shiva, the inseminator, descending into Shakti, the Divine womb. If you look deep within this then you will see that there is a great lesson to be learned. That without action there can be no growth. And that without thought and a container for action then there can be no fruit from acting.

This can also be described in the balance within Yin and Yang. Neither can exist without the other, if there is to be balance in nature and within ourselves.

I see that this is a problem in most religions of the world, Wicca and Paganism included, some religions have excluded the feminine energies of the divine and then there are those that swung the pendulum to the other side, excluding almost completely the masculine component to Creator. (I must say for fairness sake, that this is not always the case. No rule can be defined as all encompassing).
So over the next few weeks look at how you behave. Are you all action and no focus, no container for your activity? Or are you a thinker without action?
Either one is pointless and will achieve nothing or very little in the end.

Spend time in meditation this Beltane visualizing the athame dipping into the chalice. Also take the time in normal waking life to try to integrate the masculine and feminine energies within yourself, striving to be a more complete and whole person.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thirteen Goals of a Witch - Apply Knowledge with Wisdom

Thursday, April 23, 2009
My last post in this multi-part series was on Learning. This post will focus on applying that knowledge with wisdom. Many people tend to confuse these two, wisdom and knowledge, as one and the same. But they are far from that.

Any one can learn something and aquire knowledge but that hardly makes them a wise man, rather it makes them a learned man. Wisdom is defined as how someone applies that knowledge.

But what exactly does this mean? Well I think the best way to show it is to show what it is not. Many Pagans that I have met have a tendency to gossip and to start "Witch Wars". These same Pagans are the ones that tend to not know their Craft as well. How can we expect to be wise if we don't have knowledge to apply?

The next questions that arise here is, do we need wisdom and why? My answer is a resounding yes. Because if you have knowledge and don't use it than why did you bother to learn the knowledge in the first place?

But I am interested in all your thoughts. So comment below and see if we can get a discussion going with these kind of posts.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beltane Recipes - Meats and Drink

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
One of the traditional meats that was served at Beltane feasts in the lands of the ancient Celts was most likely pork. In fact sheep are still the predominant livestock in Ireland of today. Apples are also a popular fruit of Beltane. So I hope that you enjoy the recipe below.

Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Apples

3 whole, boneless fresh pork tenderloins, about 1 3/4 lbs.
Salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. corn, peanut or vegetable oil
1 tsp. dried or chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 onion, about 1/4 lb., peeled and cut in half crosswise
8 red, waxy potatoes, about 1 lb.
2 Golden Delicious apples
1/4 c. fresh or canned chicken broth
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Sprinkle the tenderloins with salt and pepper. Put the corn oil in a pan large enough to hold the whole tenderloins in one layer. Sprinkle with rosemary and turn the pork in the mixture to coat it all over. Place on top of the stove. Arrange the onion, cut side down, around the pork. Heat the pork, turning to make certain the pieces do not stick. Cook until the pieces are lightly browned all over. Place them in the oven.

3. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and put them in a saucepan with water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.

4. Peel, core and quarter the apples as the potatoes cook.

5. Drain the potatoes and arrange them around the meat. Turn the pork and continue baking for total of 30 minutes.

6. At the end of that time, scatter the apple quarters around the meat and return the pan to the oven. Continue baking 15 minutes.

7. Remove the meat to a warm serving platter. Add the broth to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Cut the pork into crosswise pieces and serve with the potatoes, apples and the sauce spooned over. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley. Yield: 4 to 6 servings. courtesy of cooks.com

Another great idea for dinner on Beltane is mead. But since it is alcoholic it is not always acceptable to everyone and is off limits to kids. So why not try a non-alcoholic mead?

Soft (non-alcoholic) Mead

4 cups spring water
1 cup honey
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
Bring the water, honey, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon to a boil in a non-metallic pan. Stir until honey is dissolved; heaviness should disappear from bottom of the pan. Use wooden spoon to skim off skin that forms at top of brew. Add lemon and orange slices, squeezing as they are placed in the pan. Cool completely; strain. Store in bottle in refrigerator. courtesy of clannada.org

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day - Children's Ritual to Heal the Planet

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Our world is in trouble. Between pollution, deforestation, and overfishing our land and seas are facing a threat that they can barely fight against. Now things aren't quite as bad as some environmentalists would have you believe. They continue to find new species of fish and other animals. And there have been great strides in combating pollution. It also seems to me that many Pagans look for something to do but find that a solution is hard to come by. So here is a ritual that you can do with your kids to lend energy to Mother Earth.

What is needed:

Six candles -- Red, yellow, blue, green, two white
A feather
A bowl of water
A bowl of dirt
Bell for each child participating (or you can share a single bell)

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 a white candle closer to the center and the red candle a little further out. 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. In the center put the other white candle. Walk with your children from candle to candle, ringing the 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 have the children sit and think on the Earth. For younger children you could have them imagine the Earth going to the Doctor to get better. For older children they could just imagine the earth, as pictured from space, bathed in golden or blue light. When you feel that the time is right then have them lay their hands on the Earth and say how much they love the Earth and all the animals on it. Have them ask for the Earth to be healed and strong.

You can take this time now to talk to your children about how we are all connected in the Circle of Life. You can tell them about the Elements and how they all are a part of each of us.
Earth my body. Water my blood. Air my breath and Fire my spirit.

Make sure that your children eat after this so that they can get properly grounded.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thirteen Goals of a Witch - Learn

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
After a one week hiatus I wanted to return to my multi-part series on the Thirteen Goals of a Witch. This weeks goal, which is Learn, relates back to my last post on Know Your Craft.

The two are related because to know your Craft you must first learn. But your learning can't just be on Wicca and Paganism. So much of our world is interrelated to the point that we must learn all we can about everything.

Personally I believe that most religions come from a common source, a starter religion if you will. This religion has over the millenia been scattered and diluted so that the whole truth has been lost. Because of this I study religions, all religions. And in all of them I find things that are the same and things that are only found in certain ones but should be in all of them.

As a parent planning on homeschooling I hope to pass this idea and my love of learning down to my children. 

For one to be whole and complete than they must never stop learning. 

Thoughts? Comments? Please post below and let us all know.

Blessed Be!



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Children's Story for Beltane

Sunday, April 12, 2009
The children came to their grandfather, crying out for another story. "Tell us grandfather about the Gods and what comes next in their story."
Smiling the grandfather said, "Well children, if you remember the Gods and the animals had just worked the magick to bring back Spring. And so they spent the next few months enjoying Spring and falling in love.
"So the faeries smiled knowingly and began to make a gift for the Gods. For they knew soon that the Gods would come together in love and be one. So they wove and wove until on the Eve of May their weaving was done. And there where the Faeries had worked so hard was a bower of flowers for the Gods. A bed made of flowers, sweet smelling and pretty to behold.
"Yet still the Gods tarried in the garden of the world. So the faeries called the children and taught them the dance of the Maypole. To bring fertility to the Earth and to urge the Gods to do their part in furthering the cycle. They went across the land gathering brightly colored ribbons and brought them to the pole that the faeries had erected in the forest glen.
"And as the children danced on that May morning, weaving around and around the pole they raised their voices in song. And finally the Goddess came to the God and they became one in that Divine Marriage, the Hieros Gamos.
"So, in celebration, the faeries lit a sacred fire from eight woods. Birch to represent the Maiden, white and pure. Oak to represent the Horned God, strong and mighty.
"Then rowan for life and willow for death. For all life must end to come again. Hawthorn to purify the union. Hazel for a wise child to be made. Apple to aid in fertility and grape for joy. Fir that the union lasts evermore. And when the fire was kindled and grew up to kiss the sky, couples and those looking for another gathered. With great joy these couples jumped the fire to share in its gifts. Wishes they asked for and such was the magick that all the wishes asked were granted.
"When the Gods left their bower of flowers that the faeries had led them to, they smiled and caused the Earth to grow even more bountiful. And because the faeries served so faithfully they were gifted with the first of the bounty of milk and honey.
"So my children that is why we weave and dance the Maypole and light the sacred fires. For it is on this day that the Holly King begins his life. And the magicks we weave help to bring him here safely, so that the cycle may continue forward.
"Now listen children to the hidden meaning and lesson to be found here in these few words. For you to be complete and to grow, you must also blend the two halves. The Goddess and God within.
"Know that great things will come from it. And be strong.
"Now run along children and play let me rest. I will tell you the next part of the Story of the Gods another time"
And the children went to gather ribbons for their own version of the maypole. For they all wanted to do their part.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Creation Stories - Hindu

Monday, April 6, 2009
A commenter last week talked about a Indian creation story that involves a cow. I have been unable to find that specific story but I figured that I would share one of the stories that I did find. Hope that you all enjoy. On a side note this will be the last creation story post until after Beltaine.

Before this time began, there was no heaven, no earth and no space between. A vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of the night.

A giant cobra floated on the waters. Asleep within its endless coils lay the Lord Vishnu. He was watched over by the mighty serpent. Everything was so peaceful and silent that Vishnu slept undisturbed by dreams motion. From the depths a humming sound began to tremble, Ohm. It grew and spread, filling the emptiness and throbbing with energy.

The night had ended, Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu's navel grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu's servant, Brahma. He awaited the Lord's command.

Vishnu spoke to his servant: 'It is time to begin.' Brahma bowed. Vishnu commanded: 'Create the World.' A wind swept up the waters. Vishnu and the serpent vanished.

Brahma remained in the lotus flower, floating and tossing on the sea. He lifted up his arms and calmed the wind and the ocean.

Then Brahma split the lotus flower into three. He stretched one part into the heavens. He made another part into the earth. With the third part of the flower he created the skies.

The earth was bare. Brahma set to work. He created grass, flowers, trees and plants of all kinds. To these he gave feeling. Next he created the animals and the insects to live on the land. He made birds and many fish. To all these creatures, he gave the senses of touch and smell. He gave them power to see, hear and move. The world was soon bristling with life and the air was filled with the sounds of Brahma's creation.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Know Your Craft - Part 2

Thursday, April 2, 2009
I got a comment on my post yesterday on my multipart series on the Thirteen Goals of a Witch. And I decided that it deserved its own post in response. I don't know if they are a regular reader of my blog, but I figured this way they may see the response. Here is the comment,
It is also extremely difficult if you are new to the 'Craft' and there's no one but you. Covens are hard to find, let alone to join. As a solitary it is even harder to apply Wicca to day to day life when you are learning as you go along but frankly there are way too many books out there to even know where to begin.
So I wouldn't lay the entirety of the blame on the lay people. If you don't have a local pagan group around, it's even harder.
I do agree knowing your craft is important but it's especially harder when you don't have a 'support' group to help you grow in the craft.
This could have been me that wrote this comment a few years ago. I have spent twelve years in the Craft and until very recently, about three years, I have not found any normal Pagans in my area. They were either fluffy or they were not balanced.

So I struggled through with a friend of mine reading and trying everything even remotely related to Wicca and Paganism. I was blessed that later I found more Pagans to share community with. But oftentimes they were only as knowledgeable as me, or sometimes even less.

Yet in the last nine months or so, I have found a great organization. Family Wiccan Traditions International (FWTI). This organization besides embodying the idea of Pagan Parenting, that I believe in so strongly, has a fantastic training program for Clergy.

This program does not require more than a passing knowledge of the Craft to start. I am enrolled in the program and the First Degree was a lot of review for me, as well as things I had never done or had never heard of.

So if you are interested in a structured program then I encourage you to go over to their Community Forum site and sign up. You will get all the information upon sign up on how to enroll in the Clergy program.

I hope that this answers the issues brought up by the commenter from yesterday. But if it doesn't or if there are other questions you can either connect with me on Facebook or email me through the link at the top.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thirteen Goals of a Witch - Know Your Craft

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
In my continuing series on the 13 Goals of a Witch, we come to 'Know your Craft'. This is one that I feel is probably being the most neglected in the now. As I have talked about countless times, I have a problem with "sunday school pagans".

These are those who go to festivals and public rituals but don't practice on their own. They are also the ones who don't the know the history and deep practice of Wicca.

This tenet is one of the reasons I do this blog. I believe that teaching our children  the Craft and the basics of our beliefs is important to stem and hopefully undo the flood of fluffy-bunny pagans that are ever so common today. As an example I got into a debate last year on an email list about the lack of knowledge in the current Pagan community. To illustrate my point I said something about the Hieros-Gamos to which the reply was, "what exactly is the Hieros Gamos?"

But the blame can't lie just with the lay people, it also falls on the current and popular authors. Most of the modern books do not cover the history of Wicca much less the founder and the early practitioners and their practices and beliefs.

So it falls on us as parents to lead the next generation and educate them in our Craft.

What are your thoughts? If you are a regular reader I would assume that you agree with my last statement, but I could be wrong. Comment and let us all know what you think.

Blessed Be!