Imbolc in Southern Hemisphere – Lammas in Northern Hemisphere

Blessed Imbolc to those of us in the Southern Hemisphere.  Although it is still cold and wintery the gardens are starting to sprout and give us their beauty as we head towards Spring.    Stay warm and toasty and enjoy the brisk days.  Blessed Be!

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Imbolc Lore

Posted on February 2, 2015 by ladyoftheabyss

It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house-if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honor of the Sun’s rebirth. Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window.

If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.

Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine. Spicy and full-bodied foods in honor of the Sun are equally attuned. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins-all foods symbolic of the Sun-are also traditional.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

Imbolc Ritual

By Scott Cunningham

A symbol of the season, such as a representation of a snowflake, a white flower, or perhaps some snow in a crystal container can be placed on the altar. An orange candle anointed with musk, cinnamon, frankincense or rosemary oil, unlit, should also be there. Snow can be melted and used for the water during the circle casting.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.

Recite the Blessing Chant.

Invoke the Goddess and God.

Say such words as the following:

This is the time of the feast of torches,
when every lamp blazes and shines
to welcome the rebirth of the God.
I celebrate the Goddess,
I celebrate the God;
All the Earth celebrates
Beneath its mantle of sleep.

Light the orange taper from the red candle on the altar (or at the Southern point of the circle). Slowly walk the circle clockwise, bearing the candle before you. Say these or similar words:

All the land is wrapped in winter.
The air is chilled and
frost envelopes the Earth.
But Lord of the Sun,
Horned One of animals and wild places,
Unseen you have been reborn of the gracious
Mother Goddess, Lady of all fertility.
Hail Great God! Hail and welcome!

Stop before the altar, holding aloft the candle. Gaze at its flame. Visualize your life blossoming with creativity, with renewed energy and strength.

If you need to look into the future or past, now is an ideal time.

Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.

Celebrate the Simple Feast.

The circle is released.

—Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

Lammas – Northern Hemisphere

Blessed Lammas to those in the Northern Hemisphere as you enjoy the summer sun and slowly meander towards Autumn/Fall.  Blessed Be!

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Lammas History: Welcoming the Harvest

By Patti Wigington, About.com

The Beginning of the Harvest:

At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.

This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures:

Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone.

In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A Feast of Bread:

In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas — it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season.

The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church.

Honoring Lugh, the Skillful God:

In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh’s influence appears in the names of several European towns.

Honoring the Past:

In our modern world, it’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it’s no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one’s crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

Symbols of the Season

The Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and you may feel like decorating your house accordingly. While you probably can’t find too many items marked as “Lammas decor” in your local discount store, there are a number of items you can use as decoration for this harvest holiday.

Crafts, Song and Celebration

Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lammas (Lughnasadh) is also a time to celebrate talents and craftsmanship. It’s a traditional time of year for craft festivals, and for skilled artisans to peddle their wares. In medieval Europe, guilds would arrange for their members to set up booths around a village green, festooned with bright ribbons and fall colors. Perhaps this is why so many modern Renaissance Festivals begin around this time of year!

  • Sickles and scythes, as well as other symbols of harvesting
  • Grapes and vines
  • Dried grains — sheafs of wheat, bowls of oats, etc.
  • Corn dolls — you can make these easily using dried husks
  • Early fall vegetables, such as squashes and pumpkins
  • Late summer fruits, like apples, plums and peaches

Lugh is also known in some traditions as the patron of bards and magicians. Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family.

New Release – Shere Khan by Jade Kerrion

Today I have a New Release for you, Shere Khan- The Masters Reimagined, by my friend Jade Kerrion.  It’s a great telling of this story and well worth reading, I loved it.

Shere Khan

 

Description1

Uncover the truth Rudyard Kipling conceals in his unforgettable masterpiece, The Jungle Book.

One-hundred rupees for the skin of Lungri…

A mysterious Chinese girl arrives in India, determined to claim the bounty on the man-eating tiger. Intrigued by her unrelenting purpose, Rudyard Kipling follows her into the jungle on a mystical adventure that will transform Lungri–The Lame One–into Shere Khan–Tiger Lord.

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

Q – Is this based on the Kipling or Disney version of The Jungle Book?

A – Did you know that in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (not the reimagined Disney version), Shere Khan was first called Lungri? Did you know that Kaa rescued Mowgli from the monkeys? And did you know that Shere Khan was killed by stampeding buffalo?

My short story, Shere Khan, weaves around Kipling’s story, to tell another story of the conflict between the east and the west, of clashes between cultures and countries, and of a mystical world that runs parallel to our own. It tells you why the man-eating tiger named Lungri–Lame Onewas first and forever acknowledged as Shere Khan–Tiger Lord.

Q – What is The Masters Reimagined?

A – In The Masters Reimagined, ten authors unite to bring something new to the classic stories of literature we all know so well. Masters like James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling, Lewis Carroll, Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, and Shakespeare inspired the authors of the Alvarium Experiment in their quest to reinterpret, reinvent, and reshape the stories and characters through speculative twists and turns. This is the third project by the Alvarium Experiment, a consortium of accomplished and award-winning authors.

Q – Where should a reader start when selecting a short story to read in The Masters Reimagined?

A – Each story is self-contained and can be read in any order. The reader is free to select any of the stories at random to begin their experience. The book description will explain the premise for each particular story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author JADE KERRION defied (or leveraged, depending on your point of view) her undergraduate degrees in Biology and Philosophy, as well as her MBA, to embark on her second (and concurrent) career as an award-winning science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance author.

Her debut novel, Perfection Unleashed, published in 2012, won six literary awards and launched her best-selling futuristic thriller series, Double Helix, which blends cutting-edge genetic engineering and high-octane action with an unforgettable romance between an alpha empath and an assassin.

If she sounds busy, it’s because she is. Jade writes at 3:00 am when her husband and three sons are asleep, and aspires to make her readers as sleep-deprived as she is.

 

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New Release – Desperate to Die by Barbara Ebel M.D.

Today I have a New Release for you, Desperate to Die:A Medical Thriller, book three in the Dr. Annabel Tilsen novels by my friend Barbara Ebel, M.D.

Desparate to Die B Ebel

 

Description1

Euthanasia, suicide, and murder on the medical ward…

Is there a fine line between euthanasia, suicide, and murder? Medical student Annabel Tilson is deep into her internal medicine rotation when one of her patients dies of natural causes which may not be typical at all. As she undergoes a personal loss herself and is confused by the male friendships in her life, she realizes there are no easy solutions to difficult problems such as end-of-life care. Meanwhile, however, her patients’ lives are at stake.

˃˃˃ A thought-provoking, emotional, and riveting medical suspense…

Which is it? Are Machiavellian deeds being done or perpetrated on Annabel’s discharged patients and those on the medical floor? Or are painful deaths and intolerable situations being circumvented for some patients by an angelic protector? Get ready for a surprising and unexpected plot: the manner in which life ends…

˃˃˃ Book Three in the medical and personal adventures of Dr. Annabel Tilson.

Scroll up and grab a copy of Desperate to Die today.

*****

I hope you enjoy DESPERATE TO DIE! This is Book Three in the medical and personal adventures of medical student Annabel Tilson and is also a standalone story.
Book One: DEAD STILL
Book Two: DEADLY DELUSIONS
Book Three: DESPERATE TO DIE
Book Four: in the works!

Annabel’s novels are a spinoff from her father’s series, The Dr. Danny Tilson Novels, especially Book Four. Those books are:
Book One: Operation Neurosurgeon
Book Two: Silent Fear: a Medical Mystery
Book Three: Collateral Circulation: a Medical Mystery
Book Four: Secondary Impact

 

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First Chapter – IntrinsiC Connections

Today I have the First Chapter for you from IntrinsiC Connections, book two in the Petri Dish Chronicles, recently released by Mistral Dawn.

Intrinsic Connections

 

Description1

This second installment in the Petri Dish Chronicles finds Petri and her friends traveling from planet to planet in Daji’s spaceship, the Ruba, searching for a new home. But it’s a challenge for Petri to find a place where she can be confident that the dangerous secrets she carries within her will remain hidden, and Daji is losing patience with her indecision. As tensions between Petri and Daji reach critical mass, the most frightening part of Petri’s past catches up with her, and the question facing the motley crew changes from, “where will they live?” to “will they survive?”

*Please note: it is strongly recommended that this series be read in order, starting with book one, Rainbow Dreams.

*Please note: this story contains adult themes and material and is not intended for readers under the age of 18. If violence or explicit sexual content offends you, this may not be the book for you.

chapter
Dust and grit swirled around Petri as she lifted a hand to shield her eyes from the harsh glare of the star that the planet she was currently on orbited. In truth, it was one of three stars, but by far the largest. The other two had nearly burned themselves out and were well on their way to becoming black dwarves. They did little more than light the night sky enough for most beings to navigate easily. It was rarely completely dark on this world.

Which was good, she reflected as she gazed out across the desolate landscape, since the remaining star made daytime travel difficult. It dried the lone planet that circled it and its older sisters to a world-spanning desert and created convection currents in the atmosphere strong enough to ensure that the parched soil remained suspended in a perpetual, whirling cloud. That is, when the dirt wasn’t busy coating anyone hapless enough to be out in it.

Sighing, Petri raised the scarf she wore to protect her airways over her mouth and nose and stepped away from the building she had just exited. It had been almost three days since she had been outside its walls, and she half-expected that her friends would have left her here. It was what they wanted, after all.

Thinking about Chessie and Sadaka, Petri grimaced. She wasn’t being fair to them. They just wanted her to stop arguing with Daji so much. Which made sense, considering that they only lived by his good graces. Still, he made her so angry sometimes she couldn’t help lashing out. Sighing again as a nearly overwhelming exhaustion washed over her despite the way she had just glutted herself and her power, Petri remembered how frustrated she was the last time she saw him. That had been right before she had stalked off his ship in a fit of temper. Sometimes she thought he was deliberately refusing to try to understand her point of view.

Stopping suddenly, she looked around again and realized the swirling dirt had disoriented her and she was going in the wrong direction. She peered through the haze trying to discern enough landmarks to make her way back to where she hoped the Ruba would still be waiting for her. It wasn’t easy, since there were several large, low-lying buildings in the small township, and they all looked the same; low to the ground, with no sharp edges, and coated in the ubiquitous pale gray sand. Most structures only had their entrances above ground, as the constant erosion from the airborne grit wore down anything built on the surface.

The shipyard was similarly underground, with a landing panel that was only exposed to the elements long enough for ships to land on and take off from it. The rest of the time, the landing strip was sheltered beneath a structure that was indistinguishable from half a dozen similar buildings in the area. Huffing, Petri acknowledged that the planet was named appropriately.

It was called Sheol, after an ancient human mythological afterlife full of shadowy souls who ate clay and lacked self-awareness. Petri couldn’t remember all the details of the myth; devoting time and attention to learning extraneous trivia was still a new concept for her and she hadn’t quite mastered it. But what she did recall certainly seemed to describe this planet with astonishing accuracy. Even down to the lack of sentience in the local residents.

She couldn’t blame them; this place was deadly dull, and she’d go brain-dead too if she had to spend a week here, never mind years. That was why she couldn’t understand Daji’s motivations and determination to leave Chessie, Sadaka, and her on a planet like this. The thought of it was enough to set her temper off again and start a cold ball of panic building in her stomach.

Petri could understand him wanting his ship back. They took up space and it cost money to feed them. That was one of the reasons she spent so much time in the building she had just left; a local bar and flophouse, where a new dolly was a novelty and much welcomed by the locals. Even after she gave the owner of the establishment his cut, her pockets jingled with hard currency, evidence of her popularity. She intended to give it to Daji to cover at least part of the cost of their passage and board.

But what she found maddening was that every time she suggested a planet for him to leave them on, he rejected it. Petri wanted a developed, well-populated world; one with cities that were big enough for her and her friends to lose themselves in. As a trader, Daji traveled to a variety of planets, many of which would satisfy Petri’s criteria.

But the kind of world that Petri was thinking about inevitably had a sophisticated bureaucracy with reams of laws regarding who could immigrate to their worlds, what background information was required from applicants, and extensive health testing and communicable disease prevention precautions. It was the health and disease testing that was the sticking point for Daji.

Chessie had the diddling skills to create new profiles and backgrounds for the three of them that would satisfy the bureaucrats, and Daji had no problem with that type of rule breaking because, as he said, it didn’t endanger anyone. But he insisted the health and disease tests couldn’t be faked.

The tests were no problem for Chessie or Sadaka. As humans, they would sail right through without so much as raised eyebrow from any of the medics. But as a human/Arcanum hybrid, Petri couldn’t allow her DNA to be scrutinized by anyone in authority. If she did, she would at best be executed, and at worst be turned into a research specimen.

She shuddered at the thought. One scientist on Upworld had discovered her secret and she’d had the misfortune of spending a few hours in his custody. She still had nightmares from the experience.

Daji’s solution to that problem was a world like Sheol, a backwater, sparsely populated planet that lacked the resources and bureaucracy of the more developed systems. On such worlds, there were often few, if any, laws regarding who could immigrate or what standards they had to meet. The only problem was, a planet like that was Petri’s own personal idea of Hell.

The idea of being stuck in a place like this made her skin crawl. She had no idea how to survive on a world with as few people as this one had. Yeah, since she was new she had attracted a lot of business over the last couple of days. Novelty went at a premium in such places. But she wouldn’t be a curiosity for long, and then what?

Would she be able to make enough as a dolly on such a world to survive? Because she didn’t know how to do anything else. Chessie had her diddling skills, but how much demand for those could there be on a planet that lacked even a central global network? Hell, this place still ran on a cobbled together system built off satellites! Petri had lost track of the number of times the lights and air filters failed over the last couple of days thanks to the finicky power grid that was the best the local government could afford.

And what about Sadaka? The girl needed to be in school, and the educational opportunities in such a place were limited at best. In all likelihood, the child would grow up to work in whatever industry had necessitated that a settlement be founded on the world they settled on. Here, that meant she would grow up to be a miner, working in dangerous conditions to extract the rare mineral, trefoil, that was used to make the shielding in spaceship hulls. She would rarely be allowed out of the mines; her life would be lived in darkness, breathing recycled air. That wasn’t what Petri wanted for the kid she had come to feel responsible for.

Worst of all, what if the people here discovered Petri’s secret? A thrill of terror ran down her spine. There was no place to run. No crowd to hide in. If anyone ever suspected what she was and she was trapped on a planet like this, she would be dead.

Petri had tried to reason with Daji. First, she had argued that Chessie and Sadaka could go through the health screenings, if he insisted, and that she, herself, was in perfect health. She couldn’t bring disease to a planet because she wasn’t sick. He had insisted there was no way for her to know for sure that she didn’t have some latent infection, and that it wasn’t just other people’s safety he was concerned for. Every world had its own diseases, and part of the screening process involved inoculating new arrivals against whatever endemic diseases were in residence.

He had pointed out that given where she and her friends had lived, they might have been exposed to any number of microbes and toxins and that, when combined with the microflora of a new world, might turn lethal. And that was especially true of her with her hybrid physiology. The only way to ensure everyone’s safety was to go through the immigration health protocols.

There hadn’t really been any way for Petri to argue the point with him; no one, least of all her, knew what surprises her unique biology held. So, she had shifted the conversation to the fact that planets like Sheol didn’t have the resources to combat new diseases the way more developed worlds did. That by coming to a place like this, she would put people in more danger, not less. That was when the conversation had devolved into a shouting match.

Daji had started babbling about something called “population density” and how it affected the way “emerging infections” spread and whether they took hold in a population or burned out. Apparently, the more people there were living in close quarters, the more likely a new disease would be to infect and kill new people. At least, that’s what she thought the gist of his lecture had been about. It had been over Petri’s head and she had felt stupid for not understanding something he obviously considered common knowledge. It made her angry, and she had stormed out and gone in search of a decent meal for her power.

That was another reason she had been so short-tempered. With her new-found control, she had been able to feed from Daji on a regular basis without draining too much of his energy and endangering him. It was enough to sustain her and keep her power from getting out of control, but feeding in such a way left her feeling constantly hungry. The fact that Daji shared his food with them, and she had enough to eat for the first time in her life helped, but it wasn’t enough. She needed to feed her power.

Knowing that her stay on this planet would be short and that she wouldn’t be feeding on any of her clients here more than once, she’d had no qualms about feeding deeply from them. The first few may have felt a little tired and in need of a good night’s sleep and a meal when they left her, but nothing worse than that. After she had taken the edge off her hunger, the rest wouldn’t have felt even that much of a drain. And they all left completely satisfied with her services.

Being fed on by Petri made her prey feel amazing. Daji described it to her as an orgasm that touched every cell in his body and left him floating for hours. And being full again felt just as incredible to Petri. After the last couple of days, her body sang with her power and she felt like she might just have the energy to tackle all the reading Daji and Chessie wanted her to do.

Having time and resources to devote to anything other than getting the basics needed for survival was a new state of affairs for Petri. Her entire life before this had been devoted to getting enough money to put food in her belly, a roof over her head, and protecting herself from those who wanted to take what little she had. Now, she had leisure time and Daji and Chessie were determined to help her fill it.

Chessie lived with her father as a child, and so had a little more security than Petri in her early years. Since she hadn’t had to scramble to survive, she’d had the opportunity to learn to use the rainbow. Those skills eventually developed to make her into the diddler she was now, but she had also learned to enjoy learning. She didn’t have any formal education, almost no one did in Under City, but she had learned how to research and find things out for herself. Now, she was determined to help Petri learn as well. And Daji cheered her on.

It wasn’t just Petri they were after; they both gave Sadaka a mountain of data to process, as well. But the little girl was incredibly smart and took to the education like fur to a Paka. She delighted in telling Petri about what she learned, which only made Petri feel even worse about her own abilities.

Because of her power, Petri had trouble focusing in the virtual world and controlling her surroundings enough to navigate through the material Chessie and Daji determined to be most critical. And the weird resonance that existed between her power and the digital environment made it extremely hard for Petri to concentrate. Not being able to fuel her power properly had only exacerbated the problem.

Sighing, Petri pushed those thoughts aside. Her power was now fully sated, and it was time she found out if she was stranded on this hellish world. She didn’t think so. Daji might have been angry enough to leave her, but she knew that Chessie would never abandon her. Still, if he had incapacitated the older woman in some way, it was possible Petri would have to find another way back to civilization.

After studying the town for a few more minutes, Petri thought she had the right building identified. Ducking her head against the ever-present wind, she hurried to find out if she still had a ride.

 

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Yule in Southern Hemisphere – Litha in Northern Hemisphere

Yule blessings to all of us in the Southern Hemisphere, it is a cold wintry day here on the mountain with the mist covering everything with its beauty.   Keep warming and Blessed Be!

Yule blessings

Yule

Yule is celebrated at the winter solstice (Or the midpoint of winter). It is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night.

Yule comes from the Germanic “Iul” meaning “Wheel.” Yule celebrates Winter, and the rebirth of the Sun God. As Yule is the shortest day of the Year it marks the Suns low point, as after this the Sun will begin to grow stronger again. It is customary to have a Yule log – this is a log (Traditionally Oak or Pine) that you burn during this time, and keep it through the year for protection, and add it to the fire of the following year’s Yule log.

If you do not wish to have a fire, you can use a log with holes drilled into it as a candle holder which will represent the Yule fire.  It is also customary to light many lights and candles as sympathetic magik to bring the Sun back, persuading him to emerge from the womb of the Earth mother..

Holly is traditionally worn by men, and Ivy by women at this time.  The Yule tree (Also known as the Christmas tree) was a wishing tree, the wishes for the new year hang in the arms of the universe.

You can make a Pagan Yule tree by making decorations from Rose Buds, Cinnamon Sticks, Pop Corn, Bags of Herbs, Crystals suspended from wire, Apples, Oranges, Lemons etc.  After you have made the tree, dance around it Deosil (clockwise), singing and making wishes. A time for Rebirth, reflection, new ideas, dreams, hopes and giving.

Plants for Yule:  Holly, Mistletoe, Ivy, Evergreens, Pine, Cedar, Bay, Juniper, Rosemary, Pine, Apples, Oranges, Nutmeg, Lemon, Cinnamon, Frankincense.

Foods of Yule:  All “Christmas” foods (eg. Turkey, Roasts, Potatoes etc.), hearty Winter foods (Stew etc.), Nuts, Apples, Pears, Caraway, Pork, Hibiscus or Ginger tea.

Stones:  Onyx, Obsidian, Jet.

Colours:  Red, Green, Orange, White.

Element:  Earth.

Planet: Saturn

Zodiac: Capricorn.

Pagan belief:  The Goddess gives birth to the God.  Some traditions have a Holly King and an Oak King as the God, and they fight at Yule with the Oak King winning, and ruling until Litha.

Yule Goddesses: Fortuna, Gaia, Heket, Lilith, Frey, Ma’at, Pandora, Shekinah, Tiamat.

Yule Gods: Apollo, Balder, Cronos, Helios, Janus, Lugh, Oak King, Holly King, Ra, Sol, Attis, mithras, Odin, Saturn.

 

Litha – Northern Hemisphere

 

Litha blessings to all in the Northern Hemisphere as you celebrate the Summer Solstice and revel in the warmth of the season.  Blessed Be!

litha9
Litha, or Midsummer, is celebrated at the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the Year, and the shortest night.

Litha celebrates the very height of the powers of the Sun and of Life. But it also acknowledges that after this date the Sun will begin to weaken and the days to grow shorter. Litha is a time of purification.  An Example of a purification Litha spell is to take a small herbal bag filled with Litha herbs/flowers, put all your problems, worries etc. into the bag, and drop it into the Litha fire to burn all those worries away.

Litha is also a time to pay attention to your dreams, as these could contain messages for the future.  This Sabbat is a good time to perform any Magikal workings, and jumping over a Litha balefire will increase the Magikal energy and give purification  Herbs and plants for ritual use can be harvested at Litha to make use of the high level of Magik power at this time.

Litha is also a time to make protection amulets, and bless people or animals.
Plants for Litha:  Mugwort, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild thyme, Daisy, Carnation, St John’s Wort.

Stones: Moonstone, Quartz, Pearl.

Colours:  Green, Orange, Yellow, Gold.

Element:  Water.

Planet:  Moon.

Zodiac:  Cancer.

Pagan Beliefs:  The Goddess is mature.  The God prepares for his death.  Some traditions have the Holly King and the Oak King fighting again, but this time the Holly King wins, and rules until Yule.

Litha Goddesses: Athena, Bona Dea, Freya, Hathor, Isis, Juno, Nuit, Artemis, Dana, Eos, Kali, Sekhmet, Vesta.

Litha Gods: Apollo, Baal, Dagda, Balder, Helios, lugh, Oak king, Holly King, Prometheus, Ra, Thor, Sol, Zeus.

New Release – Star Glory by T.Jackson King

Today I have a New Release for you, Star Glory, book in the Empire Series, by my friend T. Jackson King.

Star Glory

 

Description1

Nathan Stewart never expected to be homeless in the galaxy. But that is what happens when his starship Star Glory is ambushed by a fleet from the alien-run Empire of Eternity. His captain is given a choice–surrender and pledge that Earth will join the Empire as a Servant species, or Earth will be destroyed! Nathan watches all this happening from his job as an antimatter engineer on the Engineering Deck. But what can he do? He’s just a country boy raised on a Colorado cattle ranch. As two other Earth ships are destroyed, Nathan gets a wild idea that might save his ship. The idea works. The Star Glory escapes destruction. But the ship, his captain, his crewmates and Nathan cannot return to Earth without learning a way to defy the Empire. But learning about the entity that rules four arms of the galaxy and has now expanded into Orion Arm is dangerous. Nathan does his best to help his crewmates but will it be enough?

 

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Samhain in Southern Hemisphere – Beltane in Northern Hemisphere

As we begin to move away from Autumn and flow into winter here in the Southern Hemisphere we celebrate Samhain, stay toasty and warm in these cold months.  Blessed Be!

How To Celebrate the God & Goddess at Samhain

Posted on October 31, 2014 by ladyoftheabyss

In some Wiccan traditions, by Samhain, the Goddess has entered her incarnation of Crone. She is the Old One, the earth mother, the wise one we turn to when we need advice. She teaches us that sometimes we must let go in order to move on. The God, at Samhain, is the Horned One, the stag of great antlers, the god of the wild hunt. He is the animal that dies so that we may eat, and the grains and corn that once lived in the field before our harvest. We can honor these late-fall aspects of both the Goddess and the God in one ritual.

Begin by casting a circle, if your tradition requires it. Prior to starting the ceremony, place three sheaves of corn or wheat around the ritual space. You’ll also need a statue or other image of the God and of the Goddess at the center of your altar. Around the statues, place five candles — red and black to represent the dark aspect of the Goddess, green and brown to symbolize the wild God, and white for the hearth and home.

Place a plate of dark bread, enough for each person present, near the center of the altar, along with a cup of wine or cider. Circle the altar. The youngest person present will act as the Handmaiden, and the oldest as the High Priest (HP) or High Priestess (HPs). If you’re performing this rite as a solitary, simply take on both parts. The HPs lights the red and black candles, and says:

A pair of candles is lit
in honor of the Goddess.
She is Maiden and Mother throughout the year
and tonight we honor her as Crone.

Next, the HPs lights the brown and green candles, saying:

A pair of candles is lit
in honor of the God.
He is wild and fertile and animal
and tonight we honor him as the Horned God.

The Handmaiden takes the bread and walks the circle with the plate, allowing each person to tear off a chunk. As they do so, she says: May the blessings of the Goddess be upon you. The cup of wine or cider is passed around, and each person takes a sip. As they do, the Handmaiden should say: May the blessings of the God be upon you.

The Handmaiden then lights the fifth candle, for the hearth, saying:

This candle is lit
in honor of hearth and home.
The mother and father, the Goddess and God,
watch over us tonight as we honor them.

The HPs then takes over, saying:

We light these five candles
for the powerful Goddess
and her mighty horned consort, the God,
and for the safety of home and hearth.
On this, the night of Samhain,
when the Goddess is a wise Crone,
and the God is a wild stag,
we honor them both.

The Handmaiden says:

This is a time between the worlds,
a time of life and a time of death.
This is a night unlike any other night.
Ancient ones, we ask your blessing.
Goddess, great Crone, mother of all life,
we thank you for your wisdom.
Horned God, master of the wild hunt, keeper of the forest,
we thank you for all that you provide.

At this time, the rest of the group may also say thanks. If you wish to make an offering to the God and Goddess, now is the time to place it upon the altar.

Once all offerings have been made, and thanks given, take a moment to meditate on the new beginnings of Samhain. Consider the gifts that the gods have given you over the past year, and think about how you might show them your gratitude in the coming twelve months. As the old year dies, make room in the new year for new things in your life. You may not know yet what’s coming, but you can certainly imagine, dream and hope. Tonight, this night between the worlds, is the perfect time to imagine what things may come.

End the ritual in the way called for by your tradition.

Tips:

  • Decorate your altar with symbols of the God — antlers, acorns, pine cones, phallic symbols — and representations of the Goddess, such as red flowers, cups, pomegranates, etc.
  • If your tradition honors a specific pair of male and female deities, feel free to substitute their names in this ritual wherever it says God or Goddess.

By Patti Wigington

Paganism/Wicca Expert

Beltane in Northern Hemisphere

Beltane blessings to all in the Northern Hemisphere as you begin to feel the sun on your face and the warm Spring and Summer months come forward. Blessed Be!

Beltane1

Beltane Festival is held in honour of the god Bel.

In some modern traditions he is also known by the names, Beli, Belar, Balor, or Belenus.

In the myth of many modern traditions of wicca/witchcraft, Beltane marks the appearance of the Horned One, who is the rebirth of the Solar God slain during the Wheel of the Year. He then becomes consort to the Goddess, impregnating her with his seed, and thereby ensuring his own rebirth once again.

Beltane marks the beginning of summer’s half and the pastoral growing season. The word “Beltane” literally means “bright fire”, and refers to the bonfires lit during this season.

It is also a time of beginnings, the beginnings of many new projects.

Beltane is a fertility festival, concerned with Nature enchantments and offerings to wildlings and Elementals.

The return of full-blown fertility is now very evident.

The powers of elves and faeries are growing and will reach their height at the Summer Solstice.

The celts respected faeries, active at this sabbat, and were sure that these Little People would come to the celebration disguised as humans to ask for a part of the fire, which, when freely given, would give the faeries some measure of power over the giver.

Beltane is the cross quarter holiday between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice it is the time when the abundance of flowers and green is a welcome relief from winters drabness; it was traditionally a day for leaping the Beltane fires, which were lit to honour the sun god, and for celebrating fertility.

Beltane celebrates the blessing between Mother Earth and Father Sky and honours all life.

Both are times when the “veil” between the worlds is thought to be thinnest, and therefore magik can happen, such as visits from faeries or similar other-worldly occurrences.

This is a good time for invoking our spirit guides to help us.

A blessed Beltane to you!