Monthly Archives: July 2012

Lammas Esbat

Merry Meet All,

The Full Moon approaches!! The Full Moon shines on Lammas/ Lughnasadh. This is a special auspicious time. Full Moon and Lammas together. I encourage you all to take advantage of this turn in the Wheel of the Year and the moon’s waxing energy.

Lammas is the First Harvest sabbat. On August 5th, the Celtic Tree month of Hazel begins. The Sun reaches fifteen degrees Leo on August 7th. It is Lammas cross-quarter day. Lammas is a time of harvest and the sacrifice of the god Lugh to ensure the success of the harvest. Apples, wheat, oats and grains, and corn are harvested at this time of year. The god Lugh is honored at this time of year.

The word Lammas from the Old English phrase hlaf-masse, which means loaf mass. Lugh was a god of many skills, a Celtic craftsman god. He was the patron of bards and magicians. Lugh was called sam ildinach, which meant he had many skills. In one legend, he arrived at the hall of Tara, the hall of the high kings of Ireland. The guard at the door told him they would admit only one person with a special skill- one blacksmith, one wheelwright, one bard, etc. Lugh possessed all those skills at once. Each time the guard refused him. Lugh asked the guard if the guard would admit one who possessed those skills at the same time and finally, the guard admitted him entrance to Tara.

Lugh was a skilled warrior. His weapons were a mighty magical spear. In battles, the spear tried to fight on its own and flashed fire, tearing through the enemy lines unchecked. The Celts regarded war as a way of life, and smiths were special too. The smith is called Goibhnui. The Celts loved the number three. Everything was in threes, and so it was that there were three craftsmen who created a triple-god form. The 3 craftsmen created enough weaponry for an entire army- the Tuatha De Danann’s battle from the mighty Formorians.

To honor Lugh/ Lughnasadh, place sickles and scythes upon your altar as well as sheafs of grain, fresh picked fruit, and loaves of bread for your Lammastide altar. Or place symbols of your own creative achievements. Grapes of wine, handmade corn dolls, ears of corn, fall flowers, straw braids or onion garlands. Put a statue of Lugh on your altar and pray to acknowledge what you have achieved or learned since the last Lammas. Share a harvest ritual with your coven or family. Put together a Lammas cornucopia, make an apple candleholder, or a cornhusk chain. Use your imagination. You can get more ideas from about.com for ways to celebrate and honor Lammas.

Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Broomsticks & Cauldrons A magickal journey to the Goddess: Ancient Divination

Broomsticks & Cauldrons A magickal journey to the Goddess: Ancient Divination

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Ancient Divination

Merry Meet All,

As promised, I am going to talk here about divination. I have been busy and have not been able to post here. If I had more hours of daylight, it would be a different story.

There are different methods of divination. They share a long history and varying techniques. Divination is a way of seeing into the future. Some methods you may be quite familiar with already, such as pendulums and tarot cards. I enjoy research though and finding out about the methods that are not often heard of. I read a fascinating book about the methods of divination practiced by our Celtic ancestors. It may come as a surprise.

The seers and prophets of the Celts were highly favored by the people. The way they performed divination was by literally putting their thumb in their mouth. I am not referring to Cerridwen and Taliesin here.

In the Netherlands, the space between thumb and finger was called Wodenspanne, a link with the Germanic God Wodan. Sometimes the seers and prophets bit their tongues to gain knowledge. I do not recommend you all try that.

The Tale of Sigurd the Volsung tells of how he put his thumb in his mouth and gained knowledge. The tale is a fourteenth-century saga. He slayed a dragon. Sigurd was taught by Regin, a smith bearing supernatural powers. His mother married again and saved the broken pieces of the sword (makes me think of the Shards of Narsil from LOTR.)Regin’s brother shape shifted into a dragon Fanfir, and guarded a great treasure, which Regin coveted for himself. Odin favored Sigurd and gifted him with a great horse. Regin reforged the sword and egged Sigurd on to kill the dragon and get the gold. Regin intended for Sigurd to die. Odin intervened, and instructed Sigurd to build deep pits so the dragon blood would flow in them, which Sigurd did. Regin drank some of the blood and Sigurd cooked the heart of the dragon, checking to see if the dragon heart was ready. As soon as he did, he burnt his thumb and gained knowledge from the speech of birds who warned him of Regin’s true intentions. Sigurd drew his sword and chopped off Regin’s head. He claimed the treasure and went on to many adventures.

The tale above is one of many tales of ancient seers and prophets. Sigurd was not perceived as a seer but the tale is still popular. Christian monuments from the Isle of Man depicted a man roasting a dragon in a pit and eating the dragon meat. A stone from a Viking cemetery showed a seated figure with his hand to his mouth standing near the slain body of a dragon. He was shown as the victorious slayer of the dragon and owner of the treasure.

The Irish story of a man named Finn Mac Cumaill. He was a warrior and a poet and seer. His teacher was named Finn, who desired to eat the flesh of a special salmon, that would gift him to knowledge where nothing would be hidden from him. He instructed Demne, the boy, to cook the salmon. Demne brought the salmon to him, and Finn asked if he ate any of it. Demne replied that he had burnt his thumb and put it in his mouth. So Finn realized that Demne was the one meant to gain sacred knowledge and gave him the name Finn. The boy ate the salmon and “whenever he would put his thumb in his mouth and sing through teinm laida (chewing of the pith),” hidden knowledge would be granted to him.

The two tales above show two different methods of gaining arcane knowledge but they show how secret knowledge was gained. Today we may not even consider burning our thumbs on the slain heart of a dragon as a method of divination, but that was common then. The God Odin sacrificed his eye to gain knowledge from the well of wisdom. There are likely many tales of how secret knowledge was gained. Tolkien includes a sword that was reforged in his book The Lord of the Rings. It is highly possible that the tale above may be where he found the inspiration. He heavily borrowed from ancient mythology from different cultures such as the Celts and the Vikings.

The gods of the Celts and Vikings played important roles in the mythology as well as the idea of shape shifting in the tales here and the tale of Cerridwen and Taliesin.

Today the practice of divination continues and while there are no dragons to slay or dragon blood to drink, or special sacred potions in cauldrons, we still seek answers to hidden knowledge. It is a tradition that has never and will never die. I am listening to a song called The Celts by Enya. I wear Celtic jewelry and I have a Celtic cat keychain. The Celts art and mythology survived the test of time.

Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch

“The Seer” by Hilda Ellis Davidson, 1989.

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Merry Meet All,

How many of you have an animal familiar/ pet cat that sleeps on your table and gets his/ her fur all over your table? Want an affordable, easy-to-do solution to the problem? If so, read on.

I decided to do something about it. I created my own cat bed for my cat Lady Shadow. I went to the nearby fabric store and bought a yard of pink printed fleece. Sewing your own cat bed costs pennies and is a much cheaper alternative to buying one. The fabric cost me $3 and I bought stuffing. I cut a semi-circle out of the material. I sewed three sides shut and left a hole for the stuffing. I pressed the seam allowance and put the stuffing in the cushion. I sealed the cushion shut.

I love the material because it is fleece, which appeals to cats, is pink and printed with the word meow, and is decorated with polka dot cats and striped cats, and hearts. Purrfect!! I put the cushion on my altar and programmed the cushion and said a small chant, and hugged it for love. I made a catnip infusion and sprayed the catnip infusion on the cushion. I left it on the table for Shadow to find in her own time.

Soon, Shadow found the cushion on the table. I don’t know if it will always keep her off my table. I should have nipped that bad habit in the bud a long time ago. Before long, she napped on the cushion, and left her scent on it, which means that there is a strong chance she will nap there again- and not on my table.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Fires of Litha

Merry Meet All,

I am sitting here at my computer, trying to survive the heat. It is hot here. My garden is growing more beautiful and full every day. Recently I added more plants to the garden, like dill, petunias, pansies, globe thistle, cosmos, sedum, woodruff which makes a great groundcover, lemon verbena, bee balm, and beard’s tongue. Some of these plants will attract bees and butterflies. I can’t wait for the autumn harvest. Organic mugwort is growing wonderfully in my garden.

Mugwort likes full sun and grows 3-4 feet tall. Mugwort is related to the wormwoods. The bottom sides of the leaves are soft, and the tops are shiny. Mugwort is a popular Magickal Herb and still popular today. Mugwort is favored by those practicing divination. Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, is an useful herb. Its planetary ruler is Venus, its element is earth and its ruling deities are Artemis and Diana.

Mugwort is used in dream pillows. To make a dream pillow, sew two small squares of purple velvet and sew shut with Mugwort stuffing in the pillow. This will enhance your dreams. It can be burned with sandalwood and myrrh for scrying, and be made into an infusion before divination. An infusion of mugwort can be used to clean crystals and magic mirrors, and leaves of mugwort can be placed near crystal balls to aid in psychic workings.

Mugwort is used to consecrate tools of silver, and has an affinity with Moonstones and pearls. It is used in Midsummer rituals, and is sacred to Diana during rites in her honor. Prior to rituals, use in a ritual bath to purify yourself.

If you carry mugwort on your person, you will be protected from wild animals, poison, or sunstroke. Mugwort prevents elves and evil things from stealing and bunches of mugwort are used in Japan to purify spirits of disease. In China, they hang it over doors to protect buildings from evil spirits. Mugwort aids in lust and fertility, prevents backache, and might be able to cure disease and madness. If placed near the bed at night, it will aid in astral projection.

Mugwort is sometimes used as an emmenagogue when women are menstruating, it is said to help with the pain. It has nervine properties. It is an diaphoretic, aromatic, diuretic, and stimulant. It can help with the pains of childbirth and treat feverish colds. Mugwort and pennyroyal can be blended together as a tea- half a cup daily for three times a day, but not to exceed four days. Mugwort is a magickal tonic, and enhances one’s psychic awareness.

Consider growing the famous, magical, herb mugwort in your own gardens. Order from Horizon Herbs because they sell certified organic herbs. Be the envy of your witchy comrades in your coven. Mugwort is useful for your magic, divination, and health.

The photo above is the mugwort from my garden.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

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