Easter Egg

Tags

, , , , , , ,

 

Artist: Vladimir Kush

Sunrise by the Ocean. Artist: Vladimir Kush

At Equinox some of you may have journeyed with us to meet Ostara, we hope this proved to be a rewarding & stimulating experience.
You may be wondering what to do with the egg you brought back with you, if so we have a simple working that you may wish to perform along with us this Eastertide.

Over the past few weeks we have been meditating upon our eggs & what use we may put them to. With the theme of nourishment being the most prominent, we devised the following work, which incorporates both visualisation & meditation.

During the Easter period perform this visualisation/meditation exercise at a time which suits you.
Ground & Centre using your prefered method, relax & begin the exercise:

1. The purpose of the visualisation is to bring about the integration of the astro-mental egg into the ethero-physical densities, in order that your egg having received Ostara’s blessing, can be absorbed & so nourish your being.

Visualise your egg in detail, feel its weight, texture, colour, etc. Now see your egg before you resting on the floor, see it grow/expand until it is approximately the same size as yourself. Visualise yourself stepping into your egg (here take a physical step forward). Now pause for a moment and sense your egg all around you, begin to absorb the egg into your aura by visualising it diminish/contract until it is at its original size. Now see/sense your egg at the centre of your being. (This may be at your solar plexus, heart centre, or wherever it would be located as a result of any centring exercise you perform). Now take a moment to reflect on how it feels to have your egg at the centre of your being. Allow the egg to gradually fade, the nourishing properties are distributed throughout your being.

2. Meditation: The various forms of Nourishment – Physiological (food, liquid, breath). Sensorial (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch).
Cognitive (mental stimulation & learning). Emotional (interaction/support & feelings). Spiritual (faith, religion & magick etc). Aesthetic (beauty & inspiration). Social (family & friends). Moral, Cultural etc.

For the second part of this exercise meditate on sources/forms of nourishment. Where do you receive nourishment from in your life?
How do you receive & give nourishment?

An alternative to the above: You can devise any method you wish to integrate your egg, for example you could simply visualise peeling it and eating it. The energies will be distributed in the same way.

We at SRTB wish you all a Happy & Peaceful Easter.

 

Advertisements

Spring Equinox Pathworking

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Goddess OstaraWishing all our followers a very Happy Spring Equinox.
We are working on our website and will have it up soon, at which time the Course will be available. In the meantime we would like to share with you a pathworking that we have written for the Spring Equinox and which we will be working later today. Please feel free to join us, as we head into Springtime.
Blessed be SRTB

Equinox Pathworking

Find your own way into sacred space. (You may wish to cast a circle, light a candle, burn some appropriate incense). Close your eyes, relax and begin rhythmic breathing.

Finding yourself walking on a path, you come to a gate, take careful note of its appearance, colours, symbols etc. When you are ready, open it and pass through. You find yourself in a meadow, the air is fresh and the early morning sunlight is warm against your skin but there is still a freshness to it. What do you see here?……………….. In the distance there is a small wood, out of the corner of your eye you glimpse a flash of grey, you scan the meadow to see what it is & spot a large Hare, which is staring back at you. The Hare stands up on its hind legs and boxes the air, you move hesitantly toward it, making eye contact, you sense that it wishes you to follow. Making your way toward it once more, it darts off in the direction of the wood. Following behind, occasionally losing sight of it, but the glimpses you catch ensure you are on the right track.

You arrive at the wood to find the Hare waiting for you, at its feet is a handled wicker basket, the Hare communicates that you should take the basket and follow into the wood. A sense of impending change is all around you and you hesitate as to whether or not  to trust this guide. You may wish to ask a question to ascertain its trustworthiness. (You may at this point choose to come back across the meadow and return to your everyday awareness). Alternatively you accept the invitation to follow on into the wood. The Hare darts ahead and you catch sight of it flitting between trees, what do you see here as you journey? ……………. New growth is just beginning to erupt from the earth, notice any colours, sounds, smells, you may wish to touch what you see.
Eventually you come to the centre of the wood, where there is a tall standing stone, your Hare guide is reclining at the base, you step closer and notice the symbols of ‘Three Hares and a Full Moon’ carved into face of the stone. Pause and reflect on this for a moment………………… Your Hare guide moves off once more and you see an egg lying in its place at the base of the stone. You bend down and pick up the egg, you feel/sense a pulsing within it, this reverberates within you and seems to be present within the land itself. It is as if all is at a tipping point, as if you are on the cusp of something.
Look at the egg carefully as it lies in the palm of your hand, notice its texture, weight, what is it made from? Notice its colour, shape is it perfectly smooth/oval? Is it a traditional bird egg or a wonderful faberge creation?……………. This your egg. You place it in the basket and look round for your guide, who is traveling swiftly toward the edge of the wood. You hurry after it and begin to notice the birdsong that has struck up, there is a hum in the air and it seems to you that the growth is more evident than on your inward  journey. Reaching the edge of the wood you see the Hare guide is standing beside a figure, as you get nearer you notice the figure is a beautiful young woman, with long golden hair, a fresh complexion and an air of dawn about her, as if by her very presence spring is becoming manifest upon the land. She is Ostara, goddess of the dawn, & herald of Spring. She beckons you to come closer which you do, offering her your egg she takes it in her cupped hands. As she holds the egg you may wish to ask her a question or listen to any message that she has for you………………… As Ostara hands you back your egg it seems to have an added radiance, a lustre that was not there before, this fade as if sinking into the egg itself and you replace it in the basket. She beckons you to follow her indicating that it is time for you to return  to your own place. Smiling, she turns & begins to walk across the meadow.
As you follow, you notice that as she passes over the land, flowers spring up in her wake. The air is now filled with birdsong, it is noticeably warmer, the sun a little brighter & ewes with their lambs bleat in the distance. As you reach the gate, you turn to bid farewell to Ostara & the Hare guide, filled with an awareness that Springtime has arrived.

Taking the basket containing your egg with you, pass through the gate, closing it firmly behind you, and return to your everyday consciousness.

Resolution Magick

Tags

, , , , , , ,

new year's resolutions
Traditionally, January is the month for making resolutions. Did you make any, if so, how are they going?

At New Year we are encouraged to give something up or to take up a new lifestyle. Whether attempting to free ourselves from a habit or seeking a positive change in our diet/exercise regime, the fact is most resolutions fail in this first month. Perhaps this is because our personal incentive is not engaged, (you are pressured into taking quick decisions), the value of such change often lies with our peers or the current values of society and not with ourselves. As magicians, witches, priests/priestesses & others in the esoteric community, we have the advantage of applying our magical skills, thus making our resolutions a magickal act of will. But do we?

In this post we endeavour to look at the ‘Magickal Act’ in its wider aspects, particularly in its relationship to resolutions.

It seems to us that learning your magickal craft in all its aspects has become less fashionable. The emphasis seemingly to be on the inner transpersonal, observance of seasonal cycles & cosmic consciousness. We believe this to be at the expense of ‘Practical Magick’, with its basic concept of ‘causing change in accordance with will’.
If we are to re-engage with our craft, we need to apply the knowledge & experience gained from inner work, realising our magickal aims by giving them actual material expression. Experience & confidence is built by ‘doing’ (action), in this way a firm foundation is laid.

There is a growing elitism among certain types of ‘New Age Mystic’, who look down on those who engage in Magick for personal advancement & gain. How far has this attitude permeated the magickal community? Has magickal confidence in ‘Enchantment’ been undermined? Working on a sorcery/folk magick level (Carol P.) seems to be passe, with some occultists seeing this as superstitious ritual or hoodoo, whereas they are in fact highly effective methods of everyday Magick. As someone once said to us at a gathering: “Hedgewitches are so quaint, but they don’t do proper Enochian or Quantum Magick do they?”
This ethos of anti-hedonism is critical of ‘Practical Magick’, when it is seen as serving the ego. We question this view & strongly affirm that the ego, far from being something that needs to be obliterated or brought under the control of our higher spiritual nature, should instead be integrated with the WHOLE person(ality). We think it is dangerous to assume that anyone who works Magick for purposes other than devotion, celebration or raising the vibration of the planet, is either on a left hand path or a selfish individual.
For us Magick is about the 3 pillars where an equilibrium is sought.  In the early days of our training we were encouraged to embrace all aspects of the great work, to devote time to meditation & inner exploration, to study both mystical & magickal texts, and importantly to work Magick for tangible results. If the desired result was not forthcoming, we were encouraged to look at why/where/how it didn’t work in the way we intended. In this way we gained knowledge, experience & responsibility, rather than indulging in an ethos of misplaced acceptance. i.e. ‘it was due to circumstances beyond my control’. When working with deity through means of petition & prayer, there is a fall back if things do not work out. Namely, it didn’t work because your deity deemed it wasn’t meant to. In reality the failure may have resulted from lack of clarity and/or intent.

How real is your Magick? Is it making a difference in your life? Do you actually believe it will work? As for motive, your Magick should meet your inner values & desires, not be dictated by whatever school of thought is currently in vogue.
Reflective magickal practice is all very well, however there are important questions you may wish to ask yourself. Where and when do you use your magick? How do you manifest your priesthood within your community? If you do not like what you see around you, what do you do about it magickally? Be the change you want to see!
There is much to be said for revisiting the basics of ‘Practical Magick’, making totems, amulets, talismans, sigils, tools, robes & constructing spells are all physical tasks….all ways of getting your hands dirty so to speak.

Approaching our resolutions with the above in mind, we see that there are steps to be taken for them to be effective as ‘Magical Acts’. Before we can reap a harvest, we need to select, plant and then nurture our seed/seedling. When we try to manifest a new lifestyle or change an ingrained habit overnight, we often set ourselves up for failure. Instead of a clear intention, our goals & motives are not aligned with a true desire to succeed.
Added to misdirected inner intention there may also be an outside investment in your failure, psychological pressure & often a humorous collusion when your intentions come to nothing. The latter coming from friends, family & the media, “well no one keeps to their resolutions do they?” This often instigates a magickal act in itself, the one where you successfully fail.

To have the best chance of success & to assist us in our endeavours, we can use both current & influencing energies that we have knowledge of. i.e. Tattvic tide, moon phases, astrological information, wheel of the year, etc.

We were taught the Magickal axiom To Know, To Will, To Dare, & To Keep Silent.
What does this actually mean and how can it be applied to our resolution Magick?

Know – knowledge of esoteric science AND of yourself. Continually learning, questioning and expanding.

Will – It is the channel by which you bring about the outcome you desire. Action. It is willing change through a disciplined approach but is not will power.

Dare – Having the courage & confidence to take the necessary steps.

Keep Silent – Walk your talk, don’t over talk about what you are doing. It is also about keeping quiet in your own mind, if you continually go over it with yourself, you do not release the magick and it fails to reach its target.

With regard to your resolutions, identify what you want, be realistic, make a plan, have the courage to do it, act upon your plans & don’t talk/think about it too much.
In a future post we will return to this topic, taking a more in depth look at the actual nuts and bolts of the magickal act itself.

SRTB wish you luck in your endeavours, may your resolutions be realised.

Blessed Be

Twelfth Night Musings

Tags

, , , , ,

Twelfth Night Cake

Twelfth Night marks the end of the Christmas season, historically it was an important part of the Christmas celebrations. For a more detailed look at this feast, its customs & traditions, see our post from last year.  https://sangrougeterreblanc.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/farewell-christmastide/ 

Casting our minds back to Advent when the Christmas season began, through our meditative work, we brought into our hearts & hearths the gifts/themes of Hope, Love, Joy & Peace. A thank you to those who accompanied us in our Advent work as we journeyed towards our individual Christmas hearths. We hope the work proved meaningful in your celebrations & we would like to share with you a photo of our Advent altar.

Midwinter Altar
For us the season was a time of reflection and rest, it was also a time for looking towards the New Year & what it may bring. The Epiphany gifts to the infant Jesus of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh, signified his Kingship, Priesthood & Sacrifice. Take a moment to ponder on the gifts you received during your Midwinter repose.

Emerging from our Winter reflections came the theme of New Year resolutions, initiating in us thoughts about affirmation & resolution. Leading us to consider their parallels and relationship to magical acts, and indeed how we transform a seed thought into an outward manifestation in our lives.

Our next post will endeavour to explore this subject more fully.

Until then Blessed Be…… SRTB

Hail the New & Farewell the Old !

Tags

New Year

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

As the spirit of 2014 flows westward across the globe, we wish our readers, followers and fellow bloggers a Healthy, Peaceful & Prosperous New Year.

We look forward to another year of blogging at SRTB.

The Gift Giver & Father Winter

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Santa

At this time of year we are expected to emanate peace & good will to mankind, & to celebrate a birth/rebirth. We at SRTB notice that alongside this very dominant theme,  and woven into our winter mythology, are the archetypal strands of ‘Father Winter’ & ‘The Gift Giver’. It is upon these facets that we focus our attention for our Midwinter/Christmas post.
These two aspects of the winter archetype have been in our opinion somewhat neglected, with the gift bringer being reduced to a jolly old elf whose image is derived from a coca-cola advertisement. The Disneyesque image of ‘Jack Frost’ is all that seemingly remains of the once powerful ‘Father Winter’. (This is not to demean either of these as valid contemporary archetypes).

Let us now take a closer look at the primary forces behind these two entities. One delivers the gifts to the hearth; bringing warmth & cheer, the other drives us inside, out of the bitter winter air.
At Midsummer where the green abounds outside & there is no need to bring it into the hearth, we see an outward movement, and relish the long days & fine weather.
In contrast, Midwinter with its long nights finds us bringing in the green, as outside is inhospitable & hearth fires replace the sun; this is an inward movement the perfect time for reflection, inner journeying, & storytelling. The Midwinter gift we receive being the rebirth of the Sun.

Does the gift giver exist?……. There is an old Basque saying “That everything that has a name exists, if we believe it does”. Whichever magickal model you work with, be it Archetypal, Deific or other; it is our belief that those of us who celebrate this season, are manifesting the ‘Gift Giver’. As Santa descends the chimney, delivering gifts to the hearth, so does the Christmas spirit enter into our hearts.

Children delight in the magical image of Santa Claus, with his treasure laden sleigh &  team of flying reindeer. Rudolph is the light bearer/way shower & Santa’s guide, keeping him on course during his nights work.
With christmas trees & decorations appearing in shopping malls in September, it is maybe harder for adults to retain and experience the midwinter magic of childhood.
What are the origins of this figure that inspires such delight & anticipation in the young? When the the tales of St Nicholas (4th century Bishop of Myra) spread throughout northern Europe, they collided with the culture and myth of Norse folk. Where once Odin rode his chariot, pulled by his 8-legged horse, Sleipnir filling the boots/sacks of children in exchange for the gifts that they had in turn left out. These gifts were often carrots or straw for his steed, in much the same way that children today leave out a mince pie and glass of cheer on Christmas Eve. The boot became a stocking, the eight legged horse became the team of reindeer. Those aspects of the veneration of Odin were under Christianity, put onto St. Nicolas. Who now as ‘Sinterklaas’ received a nordic look, a white beard & a sleigh, thus enabling Christians to keep old traditions alive whilst remaining faithful to their new religion. In the British Isles the once prominent Germanic Woden, did not merge with St Nicholas who was not part of the British psyche. Instead a new character emerged analogous in appearance to Dickens’ 2nd spirit in ‘A Christmas Carol’. Thus Father Christmas was created…..An elderly white bearded tall man, wearing fur trimmed green garments and dark boots, carrying a large sack.
A contemporary tale finds one of Odins Warriors left behind during the wild hunt, in a story which provides a different take on the origins of Santa Claus.
http://tarotcanada.org/GermanChristmas.html

Although the gift giver has traditionally been seen in male form, the feminine archetype does find expression in traditional figures & tales, such as Strina/Strenia, La Befana and Babushka.
Across Europe the Gift Giver is often found paired with a companion, appearing in the guise of Knecht Ruprecht (Farmhand Rupert), Krampus, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), Belsnickel (Wallop), La Pere Fouettard (Father Whipper) and others, dependent upon local tradition. These companions often appear as cloven-hoofed, black-faced, horned demons clad in black rags or as sinister or rustic versions of Nicholas himself, carrying sticks or sacks and either bound with or dragging heavy chains.
Tradition has it that children hang up their stockings on Christmas Eve, in hope that that they will receive the gifts they desire. They in turn leave small gifts for Santa and his reindeer before retiring to bed. On awakening next morning, if they have been good they find their stocking full of gifts. Those however who do not say their prayers, behave badly throughout the year, do not sleep or fail to leave an appropriate offering, find that Santa has left them nothing. Perhaps his companion has taken the presents or replaced them with decidedly unwanted ones, for instance in the UK a common childhood threat is “If you don’t behave, you will get coal for Christmas”. Those children whose conduct is found particularly wanting, suffer far worse at the hands of the companions; being beaten with sticks or stuffed into the sacks and taken away to be drowned or eaten.
These companions may be predate Christianity, their origin being local gods, spirits or faeries. According to Jacob Grimm (Deutsche Mythologie) these characters were synonymous with the pagan house spirit, (kobold, elf) which could be benevolent or malicious, but whose mischievous side was emphasised after Christianisation.

SO OLD GODS TURNED INTO THE DEVIL?
St Nicholas defeats the devil binds him in chains and forces him into a period of servitude. It is interesting to note here that beating & devouring naughty children is fine  as long as it is the Devil doing the dirty work and not the Saint, although clearly the former is in the service of the latter.
Today we are left with a diluted Odin archetype transformed into a jolly old man, with his companions now harmless elf toy makers. The original pairings (still surviving in parts of NorthernEurope/USA) carry a true-life message, that life is not all gifts and joy and that hard lessons are to be encountered.

Let us turn our attention to the other archetype in our narrative ‘Father Winter’. In popular culture the best known is Jack frost, the trickster who nips your nose & toes and trips you up if you’re not careful. In the days before double glazing he would leave behind an incredibly beautiful pattern on window panes. During his reign we have fun building snowmen, having snowball fights & playing winter games.
There are many feminine expressions of this cold archetype i.e. The beautiful but lethal Yuki-Onna a Japanese spirit of winter, who uses her icy breath to leave snow bound  travellers as frost coated corpses or to lead them astray to die of exposure.
The Callieach, known as the old hag of winter, begins her reign at Samhain. With a giant hammer she strikes the earth until cracks of frost appear and the land is covered with ice.
Skadi, the Norse embodiment of winter, is known to have a short temper and affect the winter weather, in her more helpful aspect she is attributed with creating snow shoes and skis.
Louhi, a Finnish witch goddess, kidnapped the Sun and Moon and held them captive inside a mountain, resulting in the world’s first Winter Solstice. She was eventually forced to return the celestial bodies allowing the light to be restored.

Literary figures include the ‘Snow Queen’ and the ‘Queen of Narnia’, she who seduces with gifts of turkish delight, but be warned, if you displease her she will turn you to stone. This treacherous seduction is reflected in Narnia’s landscape, which although held eternally in the grip of winter is a Kingdom where Christmas never comes. Here we identify a powerful theme, a slowing down, an inertia, a solidified Earth which is at rest from growth. We know however that nothing is completely without movement or without hope of the eventual gift…. The return of the Sun, ‘The Christ Child’ or Aslan.

The following brings together many of the above themes, in the evolving tale of ‘Ded Moroz’. Originally a sorcerer god in Slavic myth, he froze people and kidnapped children, requiring parents to pay him a ransom in return for their offspring.
Under Orthodox Christianity he was transformed, adopting traits from the ‘Sinter Klass’ of the low countries, to become the Russian ‘Santa Claus’. By the end of the 19th century he had become the most popular of the various gift givers in Russia.
Following the Russian revolution Christmas was discouraged on the grounds that it was bourgeois, instead celebrations were moved to the New Year and Ded Moroz was reinstated as the New Year gift giver. It was at this time that he acquired a female helper/companion named ‘Snegurochka’, a Snow Maiden from folklore. She is often depicted in long silver-blue robes and a furry cap or a snowflake-like crown. She is a unique attribute of Ded Moroz; no traditional gift-givers from other cultures are portrayed with a female companion, as far back & as far as we are aware.

The development of Ded Moroz under both religious & political influence sees this destructive/icy figure becoming the benevolent bringer of gifts. The twin aspects of the Winter archetype are both contained in the one. He is both taker & giver.

We at SRTB wish you all where ever you may be a Happy, Bright & Peaceful Mindwinter/Christmastide!

Old Frostie

Advent

Tags

, , , , , , ,

As promised we present our Advent post.
The work below is similar to that which we have performed in previous years during the Advent Season. Should you wish to accompany us on this years Advent journey, you will be most welcome.

We understand that many of you will not wish to follow a traditional Christian path asking: “What has Advent to do with me?” Our focus here is upon a ‘Spiritual Advent’, which can be practiced/performed by those from any tradition.
Those who wish to make the Solstice their focal point, will need to begin working during the week beginning 25th November, so as to have four clear weeks in which to reach completion. Those who wish to retain the four Advent Sundays will need to start the work on Sunday 1st December.

Advent means ‘coming’. It is an anglicised version of the latin adventus, which is in turn a translation of the Greek word parousia, meaning presence or arrival.
The ‘Christian Season of Advent’ marks the anticipation of the Coming of the Birth of Jesus Christ/the Christ Child. We do well to remember that Christianity is just over 2000 years old, whereas the ‘Winter Solstice’ marking the darkest time and the rebirth of the sun, has been celebrated for much longer. Whether Odinist or Roman Catholic, you cannot fail to find significance in the joy of anticipation which exists during this season. Devotional types may pick out a singular theme to work with, we at SRTB will be taking a Noetic multi layered approach, which encompasses the Solar/land cycle, World Teacher/Logos & Transpersonal elements.
The Advent Season marks the rebirth or renewal of the Indwelling Light (the Light/Christ within us.) The birth of Sol Invictus/the Golden Child. The Descent of Sophia/the sacrifice of spirit into matter & the Sun cycle at Midwinter, with its anticipation & preparation of the feasting & celebrating, before the lean, hard times. For as the light is rekindled the worst weather is yet to come.

Several years ago we devised the following work, constructing altars & spending each evening in meditation, reflecting upon the meaning of the season; its significance both esoteric & exoteric. It was a powerful experience which enhanced our understanding of Advent.
If you plan to work outside of the Advent Sunday cycle, adjust the dates in accordance with your tradition or preference. From experience we feel it is more productive to begin the work on a particular day and then perform the next part of the work on the same day during the following week and so on. The concluding work being done on Solstice itself; most importantly there needs to be 4 candle/theme meditation periods before the 21st, with the central candle being lit on that date.

The themes for the work are  HOPE, LOVE, JOY, PEACE. These are not just aspects of our lives, they are embodied qualities of the archetype, being or energy, whose coming is anticipated. You may wish to work with those deities, elements, archangels, evangelists, elemental kings, etc. which correspond to each of the four themes.

 Schedule: (following traditional Advent Sundays)

Light incense of your choice at the start of each session i.e. (Frankincense, Pine, Myrrh etc). For those allergic to incense replace with an acceptable substitute.

Sunday  1st December  light candle  1  Meditate/Reflect upon HOPE
Sunday  8th December light candle   2   Meditate/Reflect upon LOVE
Sunday  15th December light candle 3  Meditate/Reflect upon JOY
Sunday  22nd December light candle 4  Meditate/Reflect upon PEACE
Tuesday 24th December light candle 5 Meditate/Reflect upon ARRIVAL

Once lit allow your candle/T-light to burn for five minutes minimum. Each week you will need to light the next candle from the preceding one, increasing the number of lit candles so as to symbolically increase the light. At Solstice/Christmas Eve you will end the work with all five candles burning.
We at this stage engage in a communion to mark the moment of arrival.

The candles may be of one colour OR you may use the 3 + 1 system with the 3rd candle being different. The central candle (5) can differ in appearance from the others i e. a votive, vigil candle or a lamp etc.

Our work here concentrates on the more spiritual aspects of the Season. It is regrettable that in our more secular society, the advent calendar has become a countdown to the arrival of the ‘gift giver’ and the number of shopping days left till Christmas!

Wishing you all Light & Love
SRTB

Hello All!

As you may have noticed, we have been absent from our blog of late. This being due to adverse life events that have been thrown in our path, everything from technological gremlins to personal trials. The lessons have been hard but the harvest plentiful. Our realisation being, to let go of the that which we cannot do anything about in order to concentrate upon that which we can. However, normal service will be resumed shortly. We look forward to bringing you an Advent post in late November/early December and hope you will continue to visit our blog.

Blessed be
SRTB

Grain Month

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

The eighth month of the year begins with the festival of Lammas (Loaf Mass), celebrating the first loaf made from the first cut of the grain. The days are hot and often humid, the unrestrained vegetation begins to wilt and wither.

August was named after Augustus Caesar, among Roman rulers only Julius and Augustus had months named after them permanently. Originally the month was called ‘Sextilis’, being the sixth month in a ten month calendar. Pompillius added January & February, pushing the sixth month to the eighth.
The Saxons called this month ‘Weod Monath’ or ‘Vetch/Weed Month’ as many plant/herb species are running to seed, which is dispersed at this time.

The Gods associated with August are John Barleycorn (Corn King, Jack in the Grain), Llew/Lugh and Crom Dubh.
Goddesses include Tailtiu, Demeter, Ceres and The Earth Mother; whose role as provider and nourisher is now overshadowed by the role of relinquisher. It is the slaying of her son that provides the means for us to thrive.
August Saints are Clare of Assisi, (founder of the Minoresses, known as the ‘Poor Clares’), Monica of Hippo, Augustine (Bishop of Hippo), Dominic (the first inquisitor), Bartholomew, Aiden (Bishop of Lindisfarne) and Oswald, the first christian king of Northumbria.

On the land, celebrations and the work of the Grain Harvest are underway with the workers toiling in the field, often under a blazing sun. Traditions associated with the first cut differed depending upon geographical location. In Scotland the first cut was an important ritual, the ‘Iolach Buana’.
 http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg1/cg1097.htm

The first loaf made from the grain would be shared and offered in gratitude for the harvest. A corn dolly would be woven from the first or last sheaf, hung from the rafters of the house and then ploughed back into the earth the following spring. On the Wheel of the Year, this is the first of the ‘Three Harvests’.

August festivals include, Lammas, Lughnasadh, the Transfiguration of Christ (6th), the Assumption of Mary (Marymass, 15th) and the Decollation (beheading) of John the Baptist (29th). The Burry Man makes his appearance at the Queensferry ‘Ferry Fair’, second Friday in the month. http://calendarcustoms.com/articles/queensferry-burry-man/

This month we contemplate ‘First Harvest’. Is our Harvest ready to be reaped? What tools or sacrifices do we need to make, to carry out the first cut?

Our meditation subjects are, ‘The land before the first cut’, and ‘As I sowed, so shall I reap’.

Thunder Month

Tags

, , , , , , ,

The seventh month of the year sees the post solstice decadence begin. The lush green of spring that ripened during June, now becomes overblown in the heat; the dog days of summer have arrived.

July was named after Julius Caesar, ‘Divus Iulius’ who was deified (made God) in the year 42 BC.
The month had previously been dedicated to Furrina, whose festival was celebrated on the 25th. Furrinalia was grouped with the other July festivals of Neptunalia & Lucaria, this trio being dedicated to the woods and water, which are illustrative of shelter from the searing heat of the season.

The Gods associated with July are thin on the ground, but taking a moment to reflect on the period, we feel that Pan is still an active presence. The Oak King is at his most powerful, as is the Sun God/hero, mature and in his prime, his demise yet to come. The Dark God/Holly King, born at summer solstice has yet to challenge the throne. We do not believe/subscribe to the school of thought that the battle between Holly & Oak / Sun & Dark God takes place at Summer Solstice. Some of you may find the following link of interest when considering this.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos052.htm
Goddesses include Furrina (see above), Lady of the Beasts, and the archetypal Mother Earth resplendent in her summer robes, bountiful and nourishing.
July Saints are Thomas the Apostle (Doubting Thomas), St Swithun, St Margaret of Antioch, The Magdalene, St James the Apostle, (the Greater) also known as ‘Son of Thunder’, which is apt considering July sees thunder storms aplenty. St Ignatius of Loyola, St Mary, Martha & Lazarus, this trio are named ‘Companions of the Lord’.

On the land animals grow fat on summer grass and await the butcher. Cereal crops ripen and swell in the summer sunshine, agricultural work is in full swing and will continue into Autumn. Most of us when freed from work, will seek the cool of waterside, whether stream, shore or seaside resort.

July festivals/customs include Grotto Days and Well Dressing.

This month we contemplate ‘Abundance / Decadence’. What is enough? Are we mindful of how we use the earths/our own resources? Do we take enough for our needs, too little or too much?

Our meditation subject is ‘the gift of nourishment’. Where is it coming from and how do we give it in return?