When you purchase poppets from my website, they are charged and ready to go– all that’s left is for you to add a ‘personal’ touch with a photo, a lock of hair, a signature, etc. But did you know that there is a ritual to ‘breathe them to life’ ? Well there is, and I’m passing one on to you which I wrote myself. It would be preferable to work this magic within a cast circle. If you aren’t a practiced occultist, know that this ritual is not a requirement– but I won’t tell you that it doesn’t make a difference, because it sure can.
[Image] Assemble those items that correspond to the four elements– a bowl of water, a lit candle, an incense of your choice, and a bowl of salt.
1. Cast your circle & call the quarters.
2. Have your altar prepared, the color of your altar cloth, the herbs and stones present all corresponding to your intentions.
3. Upon this altar place the items belonging to the elements.
4. Take a few moments to ground yourself, to gather your energy, to fill your mind and this magical space with your intentions for this poppet.
5. Lay the doll upon the altar.
For the element of Earth:
Take a handful of salt and sprinkle it across the figure, saying:
“I infuse you with Earth, that you feel physical touch.”
For the element of Air:
Take the doll in your hands and hold it in the smoke of the incense, turning it, moving it, that it is consumed with the smoke, saying:
”I infuse you with Air, that you think.”
For the element of Fire:
Lay the doll upon the altar once more and hold the burning candle above it, saying:
”I infuse you with Fire, that your passion be unquenchable and you feel the heat of my fury (or love, hate, etc.)”
For the element of Water:
Dip your right hand into the bowl of water and sprinkle the water upon the poppet as it lay on your altar, saying:
”I infuse you with Water, that your emotions be overwhelming.”
6. Leave the poppet lay on the altar. Take a deep breath and slowly lean over it, until you hover above it’s mouth, your own lips almost touching it. Exhale now, allow your breath to escape from your body in one long warm draught of air. And this breath shall enter the poppet and give it life.
7. Open your circle, dismiss the quarters. Do with the poppet what you must, according to your intentions.
(waxing/44% of illumination)
During this Moon phase, there is a slight slowing down of enthusiasm due to an emerging desire to produce tangible results from the energy being expended. The issue of values enters into the equation and an urge to tie together the data available so that you can utilize current opportunities. There is still plenty of forward motion, and this is a great time to continue initiating and progressing forward. This Moon phase favors gaining more information and the input of others to further your plans.
Moon 24° Aries opposes Mars 24° Libra
Moon enters Taurus
Moon 3° Taurus sextiles Mercury 3° Pisces
Moon 4° Taurus sextiles Neptune 4° Pisces
Something REAL needs to manifest and will happen in your life
The Aquarian New Moon has defined a specific REAL event in your life - between the New Moon and today - you've had a lot of things happening - many REAL events - and undeniable REAL events - however when Moon enters Taurus 10am GMT - 11am Europe - 3:30pm India - 7pm Sydney Australia - 5am USA EST - will create an earth-moving shift in your life.
I've defined Moon in Taurus as "something real needs to manifest" and that's because the New Moon in Aquarius - wants and needs to prove to you that your life is changing and you ARE being liberated - so it needs to DO something REAL - to prove to you that it has a REAL power of transformation.
The astrological chart for 6th February 2014 - Moon in Taurus
The blue lines define the "Good mood" - adaptability, flexibility and change which is crushing the fixed red lines. Everything is fluid - moving - unpredictably good - and changing for the better - world is a good place with a good aura. The only people who will get ANGRY are people that want to live-in-the-past and hate change. Many of the positive moments will be positively triggered by the Moon in Taurus - as it will make you FEEL FANTASTIC - and get your life moving in REAL terms - with REAL events happening.
During the past few days - Moon in Aries has made you think a lot - and Moon 24° Aries opposes Mars 24° Libra has certainly created a HUGE amount of energy - that you know you MUST change something in your life - and you feel you MUST do it today. The ironic thing with Moon in Aries - is it makes you want to EXPLODE - because something has deeply affected your mind, thoughts and aura - and it makes you want to BATTLE the things that are wrong with your life - but Moon in Taurus will show you - there's no need to FIGHT the world nor DO battle with anyone - because your aura will make the right things "just" happen - WITHOUT any confrontation.
When you see a "GUARD DOG" protecting a building - there's no need for the DOG to say anything - you "know" what the message is - likewise Moon in Taurus - will help you EMIT an AURA to the world - that defines what you are and what you want. Based on what you've been thinking about in the past few days - "things" will just happen today - with great ease and without any effort. Which will prove to you that when the time is right - everything that destiny wants to make "happen" - happens.
Moon enters Taurus creates coincidences in REAL life - things will happen - and not because YOU decide to make them happen, or plan them to happen, or want them to happen, or force and push them to happen - but - "things" will just happen - like magic !
From the moment Moon enters Taurus - you will become QUIET and introvert - even though Sun in Aquarius is making a facet of you extrovert - Moon in Taurus - means you will be contained and living WITHIN yourself. No-one will bother you - nothing will disturb you - because from WITHIN you - Moon in Taurus will make you peaceful and calm - it will be a contrast to the mayhem and intensity of Moon in Aries.
From the above astrological chart - you can see that the numerous blue lines of stability formed by Moon in Taurus - Mercury & Neptune in Pisces - therefore it is clear that Moon in Taurus is going to bring a LOT OF STABILITY to make your life worth living - and the way it will do this is creating and manifesting something GOOD in your life.
Moon 3° Taurus sextiles Mercury 3° Pisces
Moon 4° Taurus sextiles Neptune 4° Pisces
Both these aspects are very close to each other - and will ensure a profound aura of PEACE and TRANQUILITY in your life - your mind and thoughts will be calm and from within you - you will be emitting a stability to the world - whilst being 100% detached from the garbage in the world. Have you ever tried talking to yourself and asking for things - in your mind - without saying anything ? On Wednesday you will be able to focus your mind to ASK - and you will receive - your ability to attract good things and avoid bad things will be controlled by your thoughts - so use your mind wisely and you'll be surprised.
(Mar 21 – Apr 19)
Although you wish your life was less complicated today, you might have more work to do before you can separate yourself from the noise you have created. Your path may seem clear now, but it still could take quite a bit of determination on your part to reach your destination. Be careful not to slip into denial and fall back into complacency. There are changes that need to be made, so don’t give up the good fight. Your passionate persistence is your secret weapon.
(Apr 20 – May 20)
No matter how much you might want to focus on your feelings, it’s challenging to stop your mind from spinning around in circles today. You are thinking about so many different things and the thoughts continue to fly by, just out of your grasp. Frustration arises if you attempt to make use of your fantastic ideas, but there’s no reason to be overly concerned about productivity for now. Instead, just sit back and enjoy the show.
(May 21 – Jun 20)
You don’t want to wait quietly on the sidelines and let something important happen without adding your two cents. In fact, you may be so sure of your convictions today that you are driven to speak your mind whether or not others want to hear your opinion. Keep in mind that you will be better off in the long run if you limit your comments to only the most critical issues. Your words will have more impact if you choose your battles wisely.
(Jun 21 – Jul 22)
Your flexible attitude allows you to temporarily minimize an unresolved issue today. You can easily let go of emotions that were bothering you in return for a bit of spiritual refreshment and social enjoyment. However, you might not be ready to relinquish all your feelings, but at least set them aside for a while without judging anyone too harshly. Spending some quality time with your friends or family is more restorative if your heart is fully open to the experience.
(Jul 23 – Aug 22)
You may be lost in contemplation today, as you Lions drift off into a rather complex dreamscape. However, ignoring the interpersonal dynamics at work is not a wise move since the current situation could be complicated by someone’s unexpressed feelings. As much as you want to escape into your inner world now, you must meet your professional obligations before slipping away to explore your imagination.
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)
You might have already scheduled some fun for yourself today, only to discover that nothing is going to happen quite as you thought. You can still enjoy yourself, but it won’t be without a bit of confusion creeping into your life. Bring yourself back to your center and shrug off the minor inconveniences or you could inadvertently make things worse. Remember the best way to minimize stress and impress others is to keep your sense of humor intact.
(Sep 23 – Oct 22)
You can get all wrapped up in mental gymnastics now, even though your stoicism may prevent you from talking about your worries with others. You feel like you should be more lighthearted today, but there are serious issues that just won’t go away until you deal with them. Even with singular focus, resolution probably won’t come quickly. In the meantime, do something creative with your irritation instead of spreading it to others.
(Oct 23 – Nov 21)
Ironically, you are aware of life’s simplicity and its many complications at the very same time. With the evocative Moon moving through sensible Taurus today, your primary drive is toward experiencing pleasure. Yet, as a Scorpio, you always enjoy delving into a good mystery. Be careful if it appears that someone else can ameliorate your need for complexity, for this is just an illusion. Like it or not, your fate is completely in your own hands.
(Nov 22 – Dec 21)
Returning to the basics isn’t what normally motivates you, but simplification just may be the most critical theme in your life now. You are at a significant intersection today, and taking the on-ramp to the busy freeway might not be your best choice. You could have a very positive influence on your environment, but you must step out of the fast lane and onto the road less traveled so you can create the type of connections you want.
(Dec 22 – Jan 19)
Rethinking your core assumptions or reinventing your image offers the best chances for success today. Since this transformational process may continue for a while yet, it’s wise to review and reevaluate last year’s accomplishments while they are still fresh in your mind. Strive to put closure on as many loose ends as possible over the next few weeks to make plenty of room for your future exciting endeavors.
(Jan 20 – Feb 18)
Inner conflict may stress you out as you begin to reconsider a logical decision you recently made. Unfortunately, your feelings might not fall in line with your rational analysis today as you expected. Thankfully, your dilemma isn’t all that obvious to anyone else; nevertheless, a special person could come to your rescue now. Remain open to receiving good news from a friend or family member, for it can provide just enough hope to settle your angst and nudge you in the right direction.
(Feb 19 – Mar 20)
Your current indecision gets in the way of finalizing your plans. Naturally, you want to do what is best, but your good intentions may go awry today, especially if your expectations are unrealistic. It’s difficult to say no to anything that sounds like fun, even if it isn’t very practical. Instead of needlessly complicating matters even more, rely on a second opinion from someone you trust before making any commitments now that you will later regret.
Y [bw-isa] our Rune For Today
The Ice Rune, represents stagnation and a passionless existence. Your life’s course may seem blurry at the moment, but if you persevere you will move onto better days.
Today's Tarot: Star
What has traditionally been known as the Star card is about reconnecting one’s Soul with the Divine — the transcending of personality, family, community and reputation. It has to do ultimately with the freedom to be one’s Self. The Soul is responding to celestial influences — forces that can provide the personality with a stronger sense of purpose. The Star card helps us to remember our exalted origins and our attraction to a Higher Union.
This card could also be called the “Celestial Mandate” — that which refers us back to our reason for being, our mission in this lifetime. The Star reminds us that, in a sense, we are agents of Divine Will in our day-to-day lives. If we let go of the idea that we are supposed to be in control, we can more easily notice and appreciate the synchronicities that are nudging us along. In this way, we become more conscious of the invisible Helping Hand, and we better understand our place within — and value to — the larger Cosmos.
Today's Spirit Animal Oracle
hat Which is Behind You
Wake up! Cardinal is chirping at you—bringing a message of personal power. Stop shrinking from your destiny. Stop pretending that you are less than. If you are unsure of your path, ask Cardinal to fly with you—it’s certain he will help you focus, gain clarity, formulate a plan, become self-assured, and step out into the world with the confidence befitting a person of your power.
Your Current Place
This masked bandit can make you laugh with his antics, or make you angry when you realize he’s made off with your food! Raccoon is incredibly curious—to the point that he’ll walk into a potentially dangerous situation just to see what’s up. Like Raccoon, are there situations you’re barging into before you have all the information? Might want to re-think this one.
That Which is before You
Porcupine has appeared in your reading today to bring a message of innocence and trust. Although Porcupine can throw quills when cornered, he is gentle, loving, and non-aggressive. Is there an area of your life that need Porcupine energy? Have you lost the ability to trust??
Spring Class Roster
Well it's that time again and spring class enrollment is now open for registration. So come and see in full detail about the class for you~
LEGION OF PAGANS SPIRITUAL MINISTRY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION OF MAGICK
SPRING CLASSES REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN
January 6th 2014
***Visit website for detailed information***
~~~ THE BASIC WITCH CLASS~~~
CLASS REGISTRATION CLOSES ON FEBRUARY 9TH
CLASS ORIENTATION BEGINS ON FEBRUARY 10TH. ALL STUDENTS MUST CHECK INTO THE CLASSROOM
DESCRIPTION & OUTLINE
This class will be following the teachings of the old Celtic Aoumiel Witch.
We will be studying each chapter of Folk Magic, Fairy Lore & Herb Craft.
The course will take 8 weeks but can stretch out depending on what the mini test scores are per-week. We want to make sure that you have an understanding of what you are practicing.
(Instructor-Falling Star-aka Diana S.)
~~~BEGINNERS HERBOLOGY 101~~~
For centuries Witches have grown there own herbs for magickal,
culinary and medicinal uses. A garden or container with herbs,
can focus on elementals, planetary influences, a particular deity
or particular spell work, such as protection, prosperity or love
magick. The possibilities are endless.
You will learn how to grow,harvest,dry and use 50 basic herbs in
a Witches daily life.
Class is a 12 week course
(Instructor-Elder Airwolf-aka Donna M.)
REGISTRATION IS OPEN THROUGH FEBRUARY 23RD, ORIENTATION BEGINS ON FEBRUARY 24TH.
This class is a progressive from level one of the Basic Witch and students registering for this class must have had previous training. If you have not taken the first class with the LoP your will be asked for documentation from prior training and an aptitude test to gain entry.
In this class the witch will be learning about the Sacred Connection to Nature, Balancing Light & Shadow as well as some more on progressive spells and casting arts of the craft.
(Instructor Elder Airwolf-aka Donna M.)
~~~WELCOME TO THE HERBS & POTIONS~~~
The next progressive class of Herbology 101
Within the Herb & Potions class
you will discover, how to use
Witchy Herbs as the art of healing.
You will learn how to combine Witchy
Herbs with Astrology, Tarot, Gemstones
and Planetary correspondences to
enhance your magickal spells and rituals.
I also will include some Herbal Potions,
that will be a great benefit to every
Required Book need for Class :
The Master Book of Herbalism
By Paul Beyerl
Registration begins on January 6th 2014 until minimum quota is met. Notifications will be posted.
This will be a 12 week class.
(Instructor Elder Airwolf-aka Donna M.)
Earth is our ability to manifest desires helping to ground energy and focus. It is passive in nature and represents both the womb and the grave by bringing forth and taking away. It is stationary, without the active ability to create. It is the final outcome and is related to the flesh and all physical matters. It nourishes, affirms, sees, touches, smells, senses, feels and holds. It is both sensual and practical. It can be stubborn and generous and has instinct rather than feeling. Earth is slow, steady ever changing while remaining the same.
Most Earth people have the essential quality of strength and are practical, liking organization. They are steady and solid in efforts being both builders and defenders with a strong sense of responsibility. The Earth signs are concerned with reality and the constants of home, family, and work. They are sensual, and tend to be conservative in their approach to life. They are kind and cautious and it takes much to win their trust and friendship. Once you have it though, they are loyal forever. They are attracted to power and have a negative side of power games, possessiveness, and manipulations. They can forgive with little effort or hold a grudge for years
The Earth is the body of the Divine. It is Goddess, and the genderless Sacred. The element of earth is associated, in the Northern Hemisphere, with the direction of north (it's associated with south in the Southern Hemisphere), and with animals such as bears, wolves, stags, and horses. It's also associated with forests and fields and the powers of growth, fertility,mystery, and rebirth. With earth magick you can attune yourself to Nature's
rhythms, her cycles of growth, death, and rebirth, and so understand the rhythms of your own body as you age and mature, and the events of your life as you grow, create, outgrow things, and begin again. Earth magic helps you manifest your ideas and desires, tap into your creativity, create prosperity,
and give birth to the life you want.
This also makes me think of a Hedge witch who reg connects with nature and uses much herbs and natural plants for healing , magick, etc
Isis yes a Moon Goddess but Earth Goddess She taught Her people agriculture healing and magick
There are many more if you search just wanted to name a few.
Earth Magick is the most powerful way to become a part of the Earth. It is not recycling or activism. What Earth magick is, can be summed up in this way; Earth Magick is the art of becoming one with the Original Goddess Power that created the Earth. There are many ways to do this, by spell, by ritual, and by summoning the power directly from the environment around you. If you are run down you can draw power and peace from the trees and plants around you. However, you must first ask permission to do so and bless the plant or tree once the power has been taken. The actual act of taking the energy is by reaching out with your will and “breathe” in the Earth Power. It is revitalizing and relaxing and it eliminates stress. In directing Earth energy, one simply needs to gather a stone, some dirt or a leaf from a tree and use it in your ritual or spell. It adds the “Earth” to your working. Also, you may create an amulet by taking a stone or other natural item and charging it for a specific purpose. Some natural items contain their own “energy” and do not require charging. A four –leaf clover for instance is said to bring good luck. Also certain stones, such as load- stones and other semi-precious stones contain specific magickal properties. Crystals have long been used in magick as power centers and batteries to store the power of the Sun as well as power loaded by the magick user. Burying a spell in the ground is one way to utilize the Earth Power to accomplish a desired result. Also, you can call the Earth element into your spell or ritual to give your goal a “kick” of Earth based energy if the goal falls under the ruler ship of the element. Some of the goals ruled by the Earth element are, Good Luck, Finding Hidden Things, Protection, All Things Relating To Child Birth, Healing, Stability, Self - Control. There are others but that is a basic list. The being attributed to this element is the Gnomes. They are beings that live in the Earth, but are probable arch types for the Earth Spirit or Earth Angel. As with all beings or Powers called to your circle for a specific ritual or tasks be sure to “banish” or bid them back to their places in peace and with harm to none.
I know that I am a deserving person of love and of romance.
I am grateful for the love that I receive every day, in whatever positive way that it comes.
I am always sending love out to everyone that I know and the entire planet.
Today is filled with love.
Andy Rooney's thoughts on women over forty, Do you agree with him?:
As I grow in age, I value women who are over forty most of all. Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over forty will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think.
If a woman over forty doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting.
A woman over forty knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of forty give a hoot what you might think about her or what she’s doing.
Women over forty are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.
Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.
A woman over forty has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn’t trust the guy with other women. Women over forty couldn’t care less if you’re attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won’t betray her.
Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over forty. They always know.
A woman over forty looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over forty is far sexier than her younger counterpart.
Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one! You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.
Yes, we praise women over forty for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of forty-plus, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some twenty-two-year-old waitress.
Ladies, I apologize.
For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,” here’s an update for you. Now 80 percent of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig, just to get a little sausage.
The Feast of Brighid
Observances and Observations
The Yule ends with the Eve of Oimelc. Heed the poet Herrick: toss out your Yuletide greens, they've absorbed all the reek and malign humors they're going to. Soon they'll start releasing them back into the air. So out with them, every leaf and berry with your general housecleaning. Let them be mulch or compost, and the Earth balance and embrace them. Do you see Yule trees end their glory on the curbside? Yours deserves better! Burn its remains, or leave them in a wild place. Then bring in fresh boughs to see out the Winter.
The coming season is one of in gathering. Earth gathers Her forces to burst forth in the Spring, and Her people prepare for A fresh start. What projects will engage your efforts in the year to come? In what new directions will you press? Now comes the time to get our ducks in a row. We reassess and refine our resolutions.
We will turn the pages of nursery catalogs, mapping gardens, penciling in new herbs and shrubs of virtue to plant on our plots of ground. We will stretch our sluggish bodies and set them in motion,,anticipating days outdoors. Pounds put on over the Yuletide will come off, we are determined!! Lady Day should see us leaner and speedier.
But Oimele is more than a boundary-stone between seasons. Pause and listen.
Life stirs in the Earth. You help. The maiden Fire-Goddess Brighid embodies this awakening. Her deep fires rise and warm the roots of trees, Her crown a ring of light. Wear a candle-crown in Her honor. Remember: ancient dancers stamped and pounded on the ground. Bearing torches they formed blazing wheels that revolved and uncoiled and snaked across the fields, blessing them with holy fire. You quench every light and kindle new fire in Her name. From this you light every lamp and know all Nature greets the growing light.
Her maidenhood notwithstanding, Brighid cares for lovers. She rules marriage, childbirth and the family, the hearth Her shrine in every home. Girls, say the grannies, seek Her help to find a bonny mate. Read omens in the ashes. You have no proper fireplace? Make do! Besides poetry and healing, She rules inspiration and smithcraft. Young men, show your sweetheart your devotion, lest a better make off with her heart.
Ewes are Her sacred beasts. In their byres lambing begins. The milk flows. Oi-melc: "ewe's-milk." Pour a libation of milk, or a milky posset made with (Irish?) whiskey.
Gather at midnight with torches and a bucket of hot spiced ale, if you know an orchard that wants wassailing. Go to the eldest tree. Blow horns, bang on pots, make a din. Wake the tree spirits! Sing them the carol exhorting the trees "to blow well and to bear well." Drink a health to the trees. Soak a crust and wedge it in the crotch of a branch. Walk the aisles, singing and slinging a ladleful of wassail on every tree.
No leaf opens. Earth seems to sleep in deep silence; yet life stirs. You help. You are The Wise.
Imbolc is also known as Candlemas, St. Brigits Day, Brides Day, or
Groundhogs Day. The word Imboc means "in the belly". It is the celebration
of the return of the maiden of spring. During this time we see the first
stirrings of life and spring. The Celtic Goddess Brigit/Brigid, pronounced
"Breed", is honored on this day. She is the triple muse Goddess who brings
fertility of the upcoming spring. She is also a fire Goddess who rules over
healing, inspiration, poetry and smithcraft. One tradition is to make Brigit
a bed. This entails making a corn dolly to represent the Goddess in her
maiden form and making a phallic wand and placing them side by side in a
basket. The corn dolly is called a biddy. Another tradition is that a
Priestess should wear a crown of 13 candles. Some do this to represent the
young maiden bringing forth the light of spring and some traditions use this
to represent the Mother, because it is the Mother Earth who is quickened at
Lore: It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, tolight
every lamp in the house, even if only for a few moments. Or you can light
candles in each room. This is to honor the Sun's rebirth. If snow lies on
the ground outside, walk in it for a moment and recall the warmth of summer.
With your projective hand, trace an image of the sun on the snow.
Colors: White, Yellow & Pink
Symbols: Candles, The Bride, Burrowing Animals, Grain Dolly & Sun Wheels.
Deities: God and Goddess as children, All Virgin Goddess'
Stones: Turquoise & Amethyst
Ritual Oils: Jasmine, Apricot, Carnation, Sweet Pea, Neroli & Olive
Food: Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy,
since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Spicy and full bodied foods in
honor of the sun are equally attuned. Also peppers, onions, leeks, shallots,
garlic and chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishs containing
raisins, any food symbolic of the sun are traditional.
Candied Violets: After picking a large number of violets, spread them on a
cookie sheet to dry for a few hours.
Then beat an egg white to a froth, paint it on each flower with a fine
brush, and (carefully!) pour fine white sugar over the flowers to coat them.
You can color the egg white purple for variety if you wish. (Gum arabic can
be substituted for the egg whites.)
Feather Cake: (Candied violets work beautifully for garnishes on this cake.)
First, rub to a cream 2 tablespoons soft butter and a cup of sugar.
Next, add a beaten egg yolk, half a cup of water and whole milk mixed, 1
and 1/2 cups of sifted flour, and a teaspoon each of baking powder and
vanilla. Beat an egg white stiff as meringue and fold it gently into the
mixed batter. Bake it at a low heat--325 degrees Farenheit--for 25 minutes.
Don't jump up and down or jar the cake while it's baking or it'll fall and
be full of holes. You can add chocolate glaze and/or candied violets when it
comes out of the oven.
1/2 dram Pine oil
1/4 dram Lavendar oil
4 or 5 drops of Cinnamon oil
1/4 dram Sandalwood oil
1/4 dram Frankincense oil
1/4 dram Myrrh oil
Mix well and bottle.
3 Parts Frankincense
2 parts Dragon's Blood
1/2 Part Red Sandalwood
1 Part Cinnamon
Few drops red wine
To this mixture, add a pinch of the first flower (dry it first) that is
available in your area around the time of Imbolc.
Here is a poem, not necessarily about Imbolc, but it has a feeling of
rebirth and renewal to it. This is from "Seasons of the Witch", by Patricia
(Copyright 2004, Creatrix Books. Used with permission.)
Yours are the hands
of a magician
like iris transmuted
into wild blue flags
what you touch escapes
from cultivation instantly
like roses collapsing
You touch me and
suddenly lawns grow
rampant with bedstraw.
A fieldstone path dissolves
into a canyon. Cedars crush
an orgnamental hedge.
An ancent order reasserts
itself, and this, from your
one charm: you know
no garden long withstands
the sorcery of freedom.
Somethings change quickly.
Farther north, the slow
responses: glaciers stir.
Migrations swell like canticles.
And the lockd sea opens
to tthe seeking whle
its savage revelations.
SAINT BRIDE OF SCOTLAND
“Oh the blessing of Brìd on the child of my heart” —Scottish Lullaby
In Scotland Brigid was known as Bride and like her pagan predecessor reigned
over fire, over art, and over beauty, fo cheabhar agus fo chuan (beneath
the sky and beneath the sea.) As she presided over the birth of Spring, so
legends tell that she was the midwife at Christ’s birth. She was called
Muime Chriosd, “Foster-mother of Christ”, while the divine Child was known
as Dalta Brìde, “the Foster-Son of Bride.” Sometimes Brigid was conflated
with the Virgin herself, for in the Highlands and Islands she was often
addressed as “Mary of the Gael.”
Her presence was invoked at childbirths, as Alexander Carmichael recounts:
When a woman is in labour the midwife…goes to the door of the house, and
standing on the door-step, softly beseeches Bride to come in:
‘Bride, Bride, come in!
Thy welcome is truly made,
Give thou relief to the woman,
And give thou the conception to the Trinity.’
Highland women also invoked Brigid’s presence at the hearth-fire, the center
of the home. The hearth was not only the source of warmth and cooking but
also symbolized the power of the sun brought down to human level as the
miraculous power of fire. Every morning the fire was kindled with
invocations to St. Brigid, the “radiant flame” herself:
I will build the hearth
As Mary would build it.
The encompassment of Bride and of Mary
Guarding the hearth, guarding the floor,
Guarding the household all.
THE FEAST-DAY OF BRIDE
Bride put her finger in the river
On the Feast Day of Bride
And away went the hatching mother of the cold. — Carmina Gadelica
It was said: "from Brighid's feastday onwards the day gets longer and the
night shorter.” Although this refers to the time of the winter Solstice, the
felt truth was that the goddess brought back the growing light. On the eve
of Là Fhéill Bhrìghde (St.Brigid’s Day), the Old Woman of Winter, the
Cailleach, journeys to the magical isle in whose woods lies the miraculous
Well of Youth. At the first glimmer of dawn, she drinks the water that
bubbles in a crevice of a rock, and is transformed into Bride, the fair maid
whose white wand turns the bare earth green again. Another version of the
story of Spring tells how Bride is a young girl kept prisoner by the
Cailleach all winter long in the snowy recesses of Ben Nevis. She is rescued
by the Cailleach’s son who elopes with her despite his mother’s attempts to
keep them apart with fierce storms.
The coming of Bride was celebrated in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
with heartfelt prayers and songs. Of these all are gone except for a few
evocative titles and fragments—“Mantle of Bride,” “Staff of Bride,” “Bride’s
Prayer—empty sea-shells on a forgotten shore. But thanks to Carmichael’s
work in collecting old customs, we do know more about the festivities of
this joyful time. On Bride’s Eve, young girls made a female figure from a
sheaf of corn, and decorated it with colored shells and sparkling crystals,
together with snowdrops and primroses and other early spring flowers and
greenery. An especially bright shell, symbol of emerging life, or crystal
was placed over its heart, called in Gaelic, the “guiding star of Bride,”
after the star over the stable in Bethlehem that led Bride to the Christ
child. The figure was named Bride or Brideag, Little Bride, and was carried
about the town in procession by the young girls who were called banal Bride,
the “Bride Maiden band,” all dressed in white and wearing their hair down,
personifying the spirit of purity and youth.
Everyone they visited had to pay homage to Bride and give her a gift such as
a flower or a crystal, while the mothers gave bannocks, cheese or butter,
reciprocating Bride’s lavish gifts of food. When they had finished their
rounds, the girls spent the night at a house where the figure was made to
sit in state, while the girls prepared the Bride feast for the next day.
The young men of the town soon came knocking at the door and were let in to
pay tribute to Bride, after which there were songs, dancing and much
merrymaking until the break of day. At first light, they all joined hands
and sang a hymn to Bride, and shared out the remains of the feast among the
poor women of the town.
The older women of the town also conducted a ceremony on the Eve of Bride.
They too made an effigy of Bride out of oats, lovingly decorated it, and
prepared for her a basket called leaba Bride, Bride’s bed. Carmichael
describes what happened next;
… one woman goes to the door of the house, and standing on the step with
her hands on the jambs, calls softly into the darkness, ‘Bride’s bed is
ready.’ To this a ready woman behind replies, ‘Let Bride come in. Bride is
welcome.’ The woman at the door again addresses Bride, ‘Bride, Bride, come
thou in, thy bed is made. Preserve the house for the Trinity.’ The women
then place the ikon of Bride with great ceremony into the bed they have so
carefully prepared for it.
In her hand they placed a small straight white wand, generally of birch, the
tree of spring, or other sacred wood: straight to signify justice, white for
purity and peace. Then, before retiring for the night they smoothed the
ashes of the hearth. Their dearest wish was that she visit them in the
night, and in the morning they eagerly examined the ashes for traces of her
presence: if they discerned the marks of her wand, they knew they were
favored; if the footprint of Bride was discovered in the ashes then they
were overjoyed, and knew to expect increase in family, flock and field in
the coming year. If there were no signs at all, they were downcast,
believing she must be offended. To remedy this, they buried a cock as an
offering at a place where three streams met—a three-fold confluence of
sacred power—and burned incense on the fire the next evening.
There are places in Scotland where St. Bride’s Day festivities are still
very much alive. For example, Canon Angus MacQueen on the Isle of South Uist
celebrates all the Celtic feast days with his parishioners, especially Là
Fhéill Bhrìghde, when the Brideog is carried round to each house on the
In Ireland, similar joyous rituals were enacted to welcome back the light on
Lá Fhéile Bríde, St. Brigit’s Day. An 18th century account tells how every
farmer’s wife made a special cake, the ale was brought out, the neighbors
came round and a festive evening was had by all. Fresh butter was churned
and always formed part of the meal; the more wealthy farmers gave gifts of
butter to poorer neighbors, along with some roast meat, to celebrate the
return of the bringer of bounty. At this time, Brigid herself was believed
to travel about the countryside, blessing the people and their livestock,
and so an offering of cake or bread and butter was left outside on the
window-sill for her. Sometimes they left a sheaf of corn too, as sustenance
for the white cow who traveled with her. Or a bundle of straw or fresh
rushes were laid on the threshold for her to kneel upon to bless the house,
or possibly so she – or the cow! – could wipe their feet before entering.
In many districts an effigy of Brigid was carried about from door to door as
in Scotland. Often the figure of Bride was fashioned from a churn-dash
covered with straw, emphasizing her presence in the dairy; sometimes it was
a child’s doll decked out for the occasion, and sometimes a young girl
dressed in white represented Brigid herself. The girl might hand out a
Brigid’s Cross to each household, for the saint’s special cross was an
important part of the Irish celebrations in all parts of Ireland. These
crosses of rushes or straw were made on St. Brigid’s Eve and hung in the
house and often in byre and stable too, to honor Brigid and to gain her
protection. The crosses took shapes that are not traditionally Christian,
but bear marked resemblance to symbols of the sun in cultures throughout the
world. One kind was actually not a cross at all, but a figure with three
legs, recalling the three-fold nature of the goddess-saint. It is, in fact,
an ancient Celtic symbol known as the triskele.
A less common design from counties Cork and Tipperary is a shape we should
by now be most familiar with: the circle-cross. An added beauty of its
symbolism is that the figure is formed from triple-braided straw rope, thus
marrying the sacred numbers of four and three. Another ritual object
involving these numbers sounds as if it is from a much earlier time. Known
as the Crios Bríde, or Saint Brigid’s Girdle, it was made from braided straw
rope and carried in procession with the effigy of Bride throughout the town.
At each house, the occupants were expected to pass through it, to obtain
Bride’s protection and good health for the coming year. As they did this,
the bearers of the crios chanted a verse. One version goes in translation:
Brighid’s girdle is my girdle
The girdle with the four crosses
And go out three times.
May whoever goes through my girdle
Be seven times better a year from now.
Rituals such as these anchored participants securely in the cosmic order
represented by the four directions and the three worlds: lower world,
physical world and upper world, mediated by the sacred presence of Brigid.
A wondrous force and might
Doth in these candels lie… — Barnaby Gouge: The Popish Kingdome
In keeping with the policy of the Catholic Church to subsume pagan festivals
into Christian feast-days, the Day of Bride became equated with Candlemas on
February 2nd, the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At
this time, forty days after childbirth, Mary was supposed to have gone to
the Temple at Jerusalem to make the traditional offering to purify herself.
As she entered the temple, an old man named Simeon recognized the baby as
the Messiah of Israel, and a “light to lighten the Gentiles.” So, once again
we encounter the archetype of the young Sun or Light come to redeem the
darkness, but now in Christian clothing. Certainly, the service most used
for this day in the medieval church made much of this symbolism, playing
upon images of the appearance of divine light in the darkness of human sin,
of renewal and rebirth of light in the dark time of the year, and of the new
light of heaven come to transform an old world.
In Britain, Candlemas was celebrated with a festival of lights. In the dark
and gloomy days of February, the shadowy recesses of medieval churches
twinkled brightly as each member of the congregation carried a lighted
candle in procession around the church, to be blessed by the priest.
Afterwards, the candles were brought home to be used to keep away storms,
demons and other evils. This custom lasted in England until it was banned in
the Reformation for promoting the veneration of magical objects. Even so,
the symbol of the lighted candles had too strong a hold on the popular
imagination to be entirely cast aside. Traces of the festival lingered until
quite recently in other areas of the British Isles like little lights that
refused to be blown out. In Wales, Candlemas was known as Gwyl Fair y
Canhwyllau, Mary’s Festival of the Candles, and was celebrated as late as
the 19th century by setting a lighted candle in the windows or at the table
on this night. Special Candlemas carols were sung by singers who processed
from house to house. One of these contains the lines:
Hail reign a fair maid with gold upon your chin,
Open up the East Gate and let the New year in;
The carolers had to undergo a contest of riddles before being allowed to
enter (an example of ritual at a liminal place.) When they were allowed in,
they might see a young girl with a baby boy on her lap, surrounded by
candles, to whom they sang once more and pledged in drink. She of course
personified Virgin and Child, but in a country where Catholicism never had a
strong hold, it is not difficult to discern a pre-Christian custom similar
to the Scottish welcoming of Bride behind the Christian trappings.
In the county of Shropshire, the snowdrop, first flower of spring, took the
place of candles, being named, “Candlemas bells,” “Purification flowers” or
– with a faint remembrance of Brigid, perhaps – “Fair Maid of February.” And
an interesting survival was noted in Cornwall, where until recently in the
town of St. Ives, a silver ball was passed around from 10.30 till noon on
this day throughout the streets and on the beach. It was started off by the
mayor at the parish church, and whoever holds the ball at noon receives a
small prize. The significance and history of this unusual and isolated
custom is not known. Does the silver ball represent the pale orb of the
Finally, traces of the festival of the growing light can even be traced to
modern America in the Groundhog Day custom on February 2. If the groundhog
sees his shadow on this morning, it means there will be six more weeks of
winter. The custom comes directly from Europe, and Scotland in particular,
where an old couplet goes:
If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
there'll be two winters in the year.
A Scottish rhyme about the Feast Day of Bride begins:
This is the day of Bride,
The queen will come from the mound…
In other versions it is a “serpent” that will emerge from a hole, an
allusion which Professor Séamus Ó Cáthain has linked to Scandinavian customs
regarding the reappearance of the hibernating bear. For this is the time
when the animal world begins to stir from its winter sleep in the depths of
earth, and life and light is ushered in by Brigid, the Queen.
I have included two solitary rituals this time, and one for a group. Enjoy!
SOLITARY IMBOLC RITUAL
First, set up your altar in a way that makes you happy, and brings to mind
the themes of Imbolc. You'll also want to have on hand the following:
Seven candles, in red and white (tealights are perfect for this)
Something to light your candles with
A large bowl or cauldron big enough to hold the candles
Sand or salt to fill the bottom of the bowl/cauldron
Prior to beginning your ritual, take a warm, cleansing bath. While soaking,
meditate on the concept of purification. Once you're done, dress in your
ritual attire, and begin the rite.
If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.
Pour the sand or salt into the bowl or cauldron.
Place the seven candles into the sand so they won't slide around.
Light the first candle. As you do so, say:
Although it is now dark, I come seeking light.
In the chill of winter, I come seeking life.
Light the second candle, saying:
I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.
Light the third candle. Say:
This light is a boundary, between positive and negative.
That which is outside, shall stay without.
That which is inside, shall stay within.
Light the fourth candle. Say:
I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.
Light the fifth candle, saying:
Like fire, light and love will always grow.
Like fire, wisdom and inspiration will always grow.
Light the sixth candle, and say:
I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.
Finally, light the last candle. As you do so, visualize the seven
flames coming together as one. As the light builds, see the energy growing
in a purifying glow.
Fire of the hearth, blaze of the sun, cover me in your shining light. I am
awash in your glow, and tonight I am made pure.
Take a few momemnts and meditate on the light of your candles.
Think about this Sabbat, a time of healing and inspiration and purification.
Do you have something damaged that needs to be healed? Are you feeling
stagnant, for lack of inspiration? Is there some part of your life that
feels toxic or tainted? Visualize the light as a warm, enveloping energy
that wraps itself around you, healing your ailments, igniting the spark of
creativity, and purifying that which is damanged.
When you are ready, end the ritual. You may choose to follow up with healing
magic, or with a Cakes and Ale ceremony.
What You Need:
Seven candles, white and red, and something to light them with
A bowl or cauldron with sand in the bottom
Imbolc Solitary Ritual from
Theme: Welcoming the increasing light
White altar cloth
Five, white candles
Pen and Paper
To prepare for the ritual have a ritual bath with some bath salts. Play some
relaxing music. Set up your altar with the five unlit candles - one for each
element and one in the center to represent the Goddess.
Call the Elements and the Goddess:
Hail to the Spirit of the East, Element of Air. The winter winds blow cool
breezes all around me. Please join me tonight. Light the candle in the East.
Hail to the Spirit of the South, Element of Fire. The warmth of fire makes
me aware of the coming new season. Please join me tonight. Light the candle
in the South.
Hail to the Spirit of the West, Element of Water. The melting snow flows
into the rivers and provide much needed water the earth. Please join me
tonight. Light the candle in the West.
Hail to the Spirit of the North, Element of Earth. The fruits from the last
harvest are providing nourishment during these winter months. Please join me
tonight. Light the candle in the North.
Great Brigit, Guardian of poetry and smith crafts. I am honored to have you
here and to bask in the light of your eternal flame. Please join me tonight.
Light the candle in the center of the altar.
Tonight I celebrate the return of the sun and the rebirth of light.
Work and Meditation
Sit in front of your altar and think about what you would like to manifest
in your life. When you are finished, write your thoughts on your piece of
paper. Place the paper in the cauldron and light it to release your thought
to the Elements and the Goddess. While the paper is burning say the
May the Great Lady Brigit, radiant flame,
Protect all your daughters
No fire, no sun, no moon will burn me
No lake, no water, no sea shall drown me
No arrow of faerie nor dart of fey shall wound me
May Brigit's water heal me
May Brigit's winds inspire me
May Brigit's fire warm me
Under Her protection, I go in peace. *
Drink from your chalice and offer blessings.
If you would like to make a corn dolly, now is the time to do that. As you
are braiding continue your thoughts you want to manifest. When finished,
open the circle.
Release the Goddess and the Elements
Great Brigit, Your welcoming light is increasing all around me. Thank you
for joining me tonight. Hail and Farewell. Extinguish the candle in the
Spirit of the North, the earth begins to show new life. Thank you for
joining me tonight. Hail and Farewell. Extinguish the candle in the North.
Spirit of the West, the rivers are filling and the waters are warming. Thank
you for joining me tonight. Hail and Farewell. Extinguish the candle in the
Spirit of the South, the days continue to grow longer and are beginning to
warm. Thank you for joining me tonight. Hail and Farewell. Extinguish the
candle in the South.
Spirit of the East, there is a hint of March winds swirling around. Thank
you for joining me tonight. Hail and Farewell. Extinguish the candle in the
The Circle is open but remains unbroken.
Imbolc Ritual for a Coven or Group from
This is a Sabbat of purification and rebirth. This Ritual was written with
emphasis on personal and coven purification and renewal in mind.
White altar cloth
Candles to represent the Goddess (lt. green) and God (lt. yellow)
Small white flowers
Incense (cinnamon, vanilla and myrrh)
Small white candle for each coven member
Ice or Snow
Medium sized pot with blessed soil
Seeds in small pouches (herb or flower)
One white pillar candle
small candle holder (left empty for later use)
Angelica and/or bay leaves
Small white and/or yellow flowers
Sweep the area in a deosil direction. Outline the circle in angelica or bay
leaves mixed with small white and/or yellow flowers. Place a candle at each
of the four quarters. Prepare the altar thus: Place the Goddess candle (lt
green) on left with a bowl of ice or snow in front of it, surround the bowl
with small white flowers. Place God candle (lt yellow) on right with a pot
of blessed soil in front of it, surround the pot with acorns. Place pentacle
in the middle between the bowls. White pillar candle in the middle at the
back. Incense in the back. Place any other tools and props desired according
to personal preference.
When all members have arrived the ritual may begin. High Priestess (or
whomever is leading the ritual) should ask that all members join the circle
with an open mind and heart and only good intention. After the circle is
formed, HP casts the circle by holding out her right hand over the circle of
leaves and flowers. Walk the circle and as the outline is traced, envision
flames of pure white light rising up and cleansing all negativity and
blocking all outside influence and banishing it outside the circle. (this
can be done before the arrival of the coven members if preferred)
HP then approach the altar and greet the coven thus:
“Merry meet on this Imbolc eve. Amidst the darkness the Lady is stirring,
gently awaking from frozen dreaming. The world has awaited this time, the
return of the maiden, and her promise of the springtime come.”
Call the Corners, starting in the North:
“Powers of Earth, the maiden awakes! Honor us here and grant us your growth
and stability.Come and join in our circle of light.”Light the earth candle.
Move to the East:
“Powers of Air, the Maiden awakes! Honor us here and grant us your
inspiration and harmony. Come and join in our circle of light.” Light the
Move to the South:
“Powers of Fire, the Maiden awakes! Honor us here and grant us your healing
and illumination. Come and join in our circle of light.” Light the fire
Move to the West:
“Powers of Water, the Maiden awakes! Honor us here and grant us your
receptivity and purification. Come and join in our circle of light.” Light
the water candle.
Return to the altar and invoke the Goddess and God saying:
“Be with us now Ancient ones, hear now our call. Guide us this Imbolc Eve
and grant us your light.”
Light the Goddess then the God candle.
At this point, have a handmaiden (or 2) begin to pass a small white candle
to each person in the circle, moving in a clockwise direction. While they
are distributing explain the upcoming ritual:
“Imbolc is a time of purification and rebirth, a time of cleansing and new
beginnings. Take a moment to reflect on your life. Think of the aspects that
you want to change, the things that hold you back, the things that no longer
have a place in your heart and your mind.”
HP, take the Goddess candle from the altar and beginning in the North
present the candle to each member to light their own candle. And says:
“As you light your candle, envision all of those things flowing away from
you. Imagine the all of the barriers and the bonds stripped away, leaving a
clear path to your new goals. Know that you can achieve these goals with the
blessings of the Goddess.”
When all candles have been lit, return the candle to the altar and take your
own candle and do the same as the other members. (A small candle holder
should be placed on the altar for the HP to place her candle in during the
rest of the ritual)
Have the handmaiden now pass a seed pouch to each member in a clockwise
direction as before.
“Imbolc marks the recovery of the Goddess after giving birth to the God. The
growing periods of light awaken her, and grant the god strength. The warmth
of the Sun fertilizes the earth, causing seeds to germinate and sprout, and
thus the earliest beginning of Spring occurs. I ask you now to come forward,
each in turn and place your hand over the bowl of ice(snow) and give to it
your good intentions and blessings for this coven in the year to come. I
then ask that you take the pouch of seeds and plant it in the bowl of Earth,
along with your hopes and blessings for growth and prosperity for our
Have the handmaiden hold each persons candle as they plant their seeds.
After all members are finished the handmaiden and then the HP should
complete their planting.
When all have completed their planting, open the floor to any dedication
rituals or renewals that members wish to perform. Any other meditation or
spell work that is desired should be done at this point as well.
HP approach the altar and using the Goddess and God candle light the white
“Behold the God and Goddess, Lord of the Forest and his Bride! Once again
the Earth is blessed with life anew inside. Seeds shall soon begin to
sprout, and the creatures shall young bear. For this is the Promise, the
Cycle of Life, that is born of the love They share.”
Thank and release the Corners:
“Powers of Earth we thank you for your gifts of growth and stability. Go now
with our blessings.” Snuff candle
“Powers of Air we thank you for your gifts of inspiration and harmony. Go
now with our blessings.” Snuff candle
“Powers of Fire we thank you for your gifts of healing and illumination. Go
now with our blessings.” Snuff candle
“Powers of Water we thank you for your receptivity and purification. Go now
with our blessings.” Snuff candle
Return to altar and snuff the Goddess and God candle.
“We honor thee Ancient ones and thank you for your guidance and presence
here this night.”
HP walk the circle and grant each member blessings. Then close the circle by
walking with your right hand over the outline and envisioning the pure white
flames you called before moving into each coven member to grant them
protection and peace.
“This concludes our Imbolc ritual. Please join us for the feasting and
festivities to come!”
Leave the white pillar candle burning on the altar until it burns itself
out. When the ice/snow has melted and warmed to room temperature use it to
water the seeds that were planted. Keep any remaining water to use for
future watering of the plant. The resulting plants should be used for future
BRIDGET BRIGHT by Hedgewytch
She is known as Brigid Bright,
Goddess who shines against the night.
At Cille Dara, at the setting sun,
Her sacred flame is kept by one.
Nineteen times the earth turns round,
As sacred springs come forth the ground.
Twenty times the sun has burned,
And now the Goddess has returned.
Alone she tends her thrice-bright flame,
Born of her heart that bears her name.
The Dagda knows Brigid as Daughter,
Triple Blessed by fire and water.
Poets call her name to inspire.
And healers oft gain from her fire.
Wayland too would know her well
As hammer and anvil ring like a bell.
A sorrowful cry did she give meaning,
When first she brought to Eire keening.
Oh Sacred Fire against darkest night,
Burn for Brigid, for Brigid Bright!
Fire in the head...to quicken us.
Fire in the cauldron...to heal us.
Fire in the forge of the heart...to temper us.
Come in, Brigit, you are a hundred times welcome! - Irish invocation
Once again, it is time to welcome in the early Spring and the festival of
Bride, the Goddess who brings Light and Life to the land. The ancient Celts
called it Imbolc, the time when the new lambs were born and the Earth is
beginning to thaw, and new, impossibly fragile-looking green shoots start to
emerge through the bare soil. This miraculous emergence into light is one of
the major themes of the holiday, which later came to be known as Candlemas,
the Feast of Candles. An old Scottish rhyme tells us that this is the time
when Bride emerges from the Earth, just as in the Greek myth, enacted at
this time of year as part of the Eleusinian mysteries, the goddess
Persephone came out of the underworld and Spring returned once more.
These myths are not only about the return of Spring to the land, but also
the return of the Soul – traditionally depicted as feminine – from its
dwelling in the obscurity of the subconscious mind. In the western world, we
tend to get so caught up in material pursuits that the soul is forgotten
most of the time – even though we never feel truly at home to ourselves
without that connection. At the dawn of the modern age, a poet wrote that
“affairs are now soul size.” His words are even more true today: with the
escalating crises in the world from wars to global warming, now is the time
to fully awaken into what each of us has been called to do during our time
on Earth, to emerge into a life that catches fire from the soul-flame within
each of us.
When humanity listens to the voice of the soul, rather than being seduced by
the astral glamour of consumer-driven culture, then the Soul of the World,
the Anima Mundi, will also emerge, like Bride or Persephone, from deep
within the Earth where it has been hidden, and its long estrangement from
the human race will be over. This is the true meaning behind the Quest for
the Holy Grail, a symbol of the Divine Feminine that was withdrawn from the
world when our insatiable desire for dominance turned it into the Wasteland.
For the Grail to be found, for the Wasteland to be restored to the Courts of
Joy, we must learn to become co-creators in partnership with all the Living
Intelligences of our planet: human, animal, faery or Devic.
Candlemas is marked by the lighting of candles to brighten the long February
nights. This also gives us an opportunity to rekindle our own inner flame
upon the shrine of the soul. So light your own candle this season, and as
you do so, see this tiny flame as a spark of the One Light that shines
through all the worlds. Then sense your own inner flame within your heart
and know that you, too, are a spark of the Divine. Breathe in the peace of
this knowledge, and listen to your soul telling you how to fully awaken into
Light in the emerging year.
An Inner Journey Meditation to invoke Brigit:
The Forge in the Forest
Light your candle. Gaze into the flame for a few moments, then close your
eyes. You will still see the image of the flame against your eyelids. Now
imagine it is growing brighter and brighter, and go one step further and
imagine you are standing in a place filled with the warmth and red gold
light of leaping flames… Imagine, in fact, that you are standing in the
entrance to a forge in a forest, where a blazing fire is roaring, and in
front of it stands a woman. Thick, auburn hair is tied back, but a few
rippling curls have escaped around her face. She is dressed in dark green
with sleeves rolled up to the elbows, revealing strong white arms. Brigit,
for of course it is she, stands over a large anvil where all her
concentration is focused on beating a sheet of soft gleaming bronze with a
great hammer… At last, she looks up and smiles at you warmly. She has
finished her creation and holds it up to the light of the fire for you to
see. As you look at it, it appears to continually change shape: first it
seems to be a leaf, then a globe, … and now it has become a star. Brigit
laughs deeply, musically, and tosses the star into the air, where it sails
into the night sky and takes its place among the glittering constellations…
And now Brigit turns towards you and asks: What have you come here to
create? … You tell her of your vision, whether great or small, personal or
for the wider community… and she beckons you over to the fire. As you look
into the flames, pictures start to move and you see yourself at work, filled
with enthusiasm and passion as you make your vision a reality… … You and
your creation are surrounded and shot through with the golden light of
inspiration. Brigit is there too, watching over you with love as you work,
encouraging you and filling you with confidence and creativity… If any
self-doubt or fears start to arise, see Brigit surrounding you with her
mantle of protection: a warm soft cloak of green that makes you feel safe
and inviolable… Now see yourself with your vision turned into reality,
feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride… Thank Brigit for showing you
this vision, and ask her to tell you what your first step should be towards
bringing it into reality…. Listen carefully, and ask her questions if you
need more clarity… When you have finished the conversation with her, see
the forge suddenly glow even more brightly, so that all forms and shapes,
including that of Brigit herself, melt into a suffusion of golden light… and
now see that the light is just the candle flame reflected on your
eyelids…Slowly come back to the room. Open your eyes and write down what she
has suggested. In the coming weeks, call upon Brigit to help keep your
Prayer for Brighid's Day
Brighid's Day is February 2nd. It makes sense to honor a hearth goddess in
the dead of winter, when, in the old times, families would be gathered
around the hearth to warm themselves with fire and companionship. This may
also be used to bless the stove or fireplace of a new house.
Brighid, Our Lady, queen of our hearth,
goddess who guards the heart of our home,
threefold flame who shines in the center:
we honor and praise you,
we offer you our words of worship.
Queen of Poets, may our lives be creative.
Queen of Smiths, may our lives be useful.
Queen of Healers, may our lives be healthy.
Your family is standing before you here,
confident you will do what is right.
May Imbolc be a blessed Sabbat for you, and may the promise of spring's
glory bring warmth to your hearts and souls.
Well the wheel turns once again to Imbolc and I have provided a post today with this months events and Imbolc Solitary Ritual set for a sunrise service. If you need one for a group shoot me a message and I will be happy to post for you. Not only does the wheel turn we also celebrate Hecate's crossroad supper to follow on the 14th Valentines Day a Snow Moon. We will no be embracing a new moon until the first of March but I will share the Hecate Crossroad Supper for the 8th.
Hekate Suppers At The Crossroads
A practice particularly associated with the sacred three-way crossroads of Hekate was the Hekate Supper, or depina Hekates. It may be that these offerings were made to appease ghosts and keep them at the crossroads, avoiding trouble from them whilst traveling etc. Alternatively these offerings were described as being made to placate the goddess and ensure that she would look favorably upon those who made regular offerings.
It has been suggested that the crossroads was sacred to Hekate due to her having been abandoned at a crossroads as a baby by her mother Pheraea, and then rescued and brought up by shepherds. This Thessalian tale comes from a scholiast to Lycophron's 3rd century BCE play Alexandria, and was a late invention.
Aristophanes recorded that offerings to Hekate were made "on the eve of the new moon" which is when the first sliver of the new moon is visible, signifying a possible connection with Hekate as a lunar goddess, rising, like the moon, from the underworld on the night of the new moon.
There are also references to the offerings being made on the thirtieth day of the month, but keep in mind that this was calculated on the Greek calendars, it would vary from state to state as there was no uniformity in the calendar system being used.
It has further been suggested that the offerings made at the Hekate Suppers were a form of charity, and certainly the consumption of the food by the poor was noted by Aristophanes (5th century satirist):
"Ask Hekate whether it is better to be rich or starving; she will tell you that the rich send her a meal every month and that the poor make it disappear before it is even served."
The 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia, the Suda, paraphrased this quote and added the following:
"From her one may learn whether it is better to be rich or to go hungry. For she says that those who have and who are wealthy should send her a dinner each month, but that the poor among mankind should snatch it before they put it down. For it was customary for the rich to offer loaves and other things to Hekate each month, and for the poor to take from them."
Various sources mention different foods offered to Hekate at the suppers. These were:
Magides - A type of loaf or cake
Mainis - Sprat
Skoroda - Garlic
Tigle - Mullet
Psammeta - Sacrificial cake somewhat like the psaista
Oon - Eggs (raw)
Tyros - Cheese
Basunias - A type of cake
Another type of food offering which was left to Hekate on the eve of the full moon was the amphiphon, a type of cake. Amphiphon means light-about, an appropriate name for this flat cheesecake which was surrounded by small torches.
The supper, or leaving of offerings at the crossroads was one of the hardest practices for the Christian church to stamp out. Records indicate it was still taking place in the 11th century CE, and it may well have continued far longer.
Immigrant Number One
In 1892, she was the first foreigner to arrive at Ellis Island. By 1893, she was an American mystery.
Annie surely knew to expect that other immigrant, the tall one from France. Not yet six years in the harbor, the Statue of Liberty was already famous, even as far away as Cork, for her inscription welcoming the wretched refuse if not for her cold, suspicious face.
What Annie wouldn’t have expected was Ellis Island. When her parents had come from Ireland four years earlier, they’d been brought to Castle Garden, which was neither a castle nor a garden but a scandal-ridden immigrant station at the tip of Manhattan. Maybe as Annie and her two younger brothers waited out their last frigid night on the S.S. Nevada—they had arrived in the harbor on the evening of December 31, 1891—someone explained to them that things had changed. They and the 145 other steerage passengers would be among the first immigrants sent to a new facility whose opening was planned for New Year’s Day.
How could Annie have cared about that? She and Anthony and Phillip had not left Ireland unchaperoned—had not endured the twelve dark and airless belowdecks days of the crossing, including Christmas!—to be the first of anything. They just wanted to see their parents and their older brother and sister, who by now were young adults of New York. To that end, the less attention the better. There were tales about immigrants being rejected for any reason, from a limp to a lie, and all three Moores, probably to save their father money on the passage, had understated their ages.
If Annie wanted to make as little of the big day as possible, the press had the opposite idea. Perhaps it was for the papers’ benefit that the two other ships whose passengers might have had the honor of inaugurating Ellis Island—the City of Paris and the Victoria—were overlooked in favor of theNevada. It sounded so American. And perhaps it was on the press’s behalf, too, that a “rosy-cheeked” Irish lass headed the line to get off the barge as it moseyed into its slip, amid foghorns, bells, and shrieking whistles. How perfect that it also happened to be her 15th birthday! (Too perfect: She’d turned 17 the previous spring.) But this was not the only detail the press seems to have invented. “As soon as the gangplank was run ashore,” the Times reported the next day, “Annie tripped across it.”
Maybe. Or maybe, as other versions have it, she was so visibly upset by the emotions of the day that the Italian gentleman who was actually first in line insisted she take his place. Or was it a German man, who was shunted aside in favor of the English-speaking youngster? Surely she would make a better ceremonial subject for the Treasury Department dignitary who’d come from Washington to welcome Ellis Island’s first immigrant. Nor was that the end of the pomp: A Catholic chaplain blessed Annie, and the island’s commissioner handed her a gold Liberty coin.
It seems doubtful that Annie said, as the Times also reported, that she would never part with the $10 piece, but would “always keep it as a pleasant memento of the occasion.” Is it more believable that, as family lore maintains, she barely kept it five minutes? Supposedly, her father, a longshoreman, took it for safekeeping—it was a week’s salary, a month’s rent!—and that night, to celebrate the reunion of his family, drank it away in the saloons of the dismal Fourth Ward, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Annie may have stepped off the boat and into American legend—the first of 12 million to pass through Ellis Island in its 62 years of operation—but as an actual person she seemed to dissolve the minute she reached Manhattan. No less than in Arizona today, immigration then held a complicated place in the developing country’s psyche: both romanticized as the source of American versatility and demonized as the source of, well, immigrants. Given that, Annie might understandably have preferred to be ignored. In any case, it wasn’t until decades later that the press looked her way again, and by then she was unfindable: “If she is still alive, she is 100 years old,” mused the Times in 1977. She had landed at the impossible intersection of several dead ends. The Ellis Island building she’d inaugurated in 1892 burned down in 1897, the Nevada was scrapped the year before, and if she had a grave, no one knew where. Still, as impossible as it seems that someone so lost to history could ever be found again, Annie Moore was not only found but found twice, in two different incarnations—and this past winter we even got to see what (some say) she looked like on the day she arrived.
If that image was until recently lost, others, largely fanciful, filled the void for the few immigration hobbyists and Hibernians who valued her. In 1986, one such image, on a Belleek commemorative plate titled “First Sight of Miss Liberty,” sparked the memory of an elderly woman named Margaret O’Connell Middleton. The bonny young Annie on the plate, Middleton announced to her family, was her mother: an Irish girl who had come through Ellis Island, moved to Indiana, and kept going west. In Texas, she married a man descended from the Irish patriot Daniel O’Connell. Together, they were among the earliest settlers of Clovis, New Mexico, where they owned the town’s first hotel and where her husband died in 1919, a victim of the flu pandemic. Four years later, on a trip back to Texas, the feisty widow was mowed down by a streetcar, leaving five orphans, including the 10-year-old Margaret.
This American story—plucky immigrant turned pioneer discovers wealth and dies picturesquely—hit a nerve. Once family members excitedly announced themselves as her descendants, and provided photographs and lore to annotate the tale, the Widow of Clovis took her place as an iconic American. An Irish-American group began raising money for a statue on Ellis Island, which now included in its materials her prototypical tale. Within a few years, Annie Moore was being celebrated in the names of pubs, in bronzes, in brochures, and even in song. “And the first to cross the threshold / Of that isle of hope and tears,” warbles Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, “Was Annie Moore from Ireland / Who was all of fifteen years.”
Fifteen, seventeen—what’s the difference? The girl arrived in New York closer in time to George Washington than to us. How much can you recall of your great-grandparents? Could you vouch for what you think you know?
When Geraldine Donovan heard about this New Mexican Annie, she told her relatives it was baloney. Her grandmother was the real Annie Moore, she said, and she’d never lived farther west than Madison Street, on the Lower East Side, a stone’s throw from where Geri herself still lived.
For it turned out that during the years of Annie’s obscurity, there was a private legend being kept alive by that invaluable fixture of every immigrant clan: the crazy maiden aunt. It was a difficult tale to pin down because this Annie had died before Aunt Geri was born. But Geri frequently visited Annie’s husband—no descendant of Irish nobility but rather the son of a German baker—before his death in 1960. Pop Schayer, as she called him, was a warm, dapper old man, with marvelous blue eyes, a neat bow tie, and, despite the waves of tragedy in his life, a happy disposition. He was full of funny stories, like the one about his wife’s getting a gold coin at Ellis Island.
Geri wrote to churches and the Irish Echo, trying to set the record straight. But she was a woman of little means for whom the Internet didn’t exist—and it did not help her credibility that she also insisted that Pop Schayer’s father, Simon the baker, had invented the macaroon.
Meanwhile, the Widow of Clovis reigned. It would be fifteen years before anyone questioned her story. But when Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, a professional genealogist whose double last name is the result of her marrying a tenth cousin, was researching Annie Moore for a 2002 PBS documentary, it became clear that something didn’t match. Document after document showed that the widow wasn’t an immigrant: She was born in Illinois. Smolenyak contacted Ellis Island, which is run by the National Park Service, and a historical society in Ireland, but they were, she says, uninterested: “They probably thought I was crazy.”
The only solution was to find the “right” Annie Moore—though, to a genealogist, hers was a wretchedly common name. Without knowing whom she married, it was needle-in-a-haystack work. Smolenyak dropped Annie from the documentary and put the matter aside but remained troubled. It was one thing for there to be no Annie Moore, quite another that a false one was still being promoted. In 2006, she took to her blog and issued a challenge to the “genie” community: $1,000 to the first person to figure out what really became of Ellis Island’s inaugural immigrant.
Even if she’d read blogs, it was by then too late for Aunt Geri. She had died in 2001, still frustrated that the truth—her truth—was unknown by the world and would probably always remain that way.
That truth was a harsh one. The five-story brick tenement at 32 Monroe Street to which Aunt Geri’s Annie Moore was taken after arriving in Manhattan sat at the center of a one-eighth-square-mile rectangle in which, having traveled 3,000 miles to get there, she would spend the rest of her life. The Fourth Ward was at the time “one of the oldest and worst sections of shantytown in the city,” as Caleb Carr described it—the home turf of dozens of Irish gangs named for the very streets Annie would live on, shop on, pray on. They make a litany: Water Street, where her parents soon moved. (It was common for tenement renters to change locations every May Day, when many leases were up.) Batavia Street, “the most Dickensy street in New York,” in one contemporary description, where Annie probably met her husband, who lived above his father’s bakery there.James Street, where in 1895 she married him at St. James Church—surely the only beautiful place she’d ever know in the neighborhood. Rutgers Street, where the couple set up home and where their first known child, William, died at age 20 months in 1898. New Chambers Street, where the 1900 census found them living with daughter Catherine and son Joseph Jr. Oliver Street, their home for more than a decade, where Theodore and Julia were born and Winifred, Walter, and Edward died at, respectively, 3 months, 3 years, and 3 days of age. Finally, Cherry Street, where Mary Anne was born; where Henry, Annie’s last known child, died in 1919; and where Annie herself died in 1924—so fat, says a family story, that firemen could not carry her down the stairs. They had to haul her out the window.
She was 50, and is it a surprise that the cause of death was listed as heart failure? This was no glamorous pioneer lady, hit by a tram, no slim and highbred colleen as the drawings and bronzes suggested. She had spent nearly every year of her marriage pregnant with, giving birth to, or burying a child. Three of the survivors would go on to have children themselves, but only one—Geri’s mother, Catherine, known as Kitty—would outlive their father, who continued to work at the fish market nearby and never remarried.
This Annie was not the kind of hero American stories are made of; no wonder the world seemed bent on wiping out any vestige of her. Even the tenements she lived in were cleared, to make room for high-minded mid-century projects like the Alfred E. Smith Houses. About all you can see of Annie’s life now is her church, though you’d be hard pressed to find anyone Irish inside.
Much of my family came through Ellis Island in the years immediately following Annie. So did much of America’s: Estimates say at least a third of the country can trace its origins through that bottleneck. For a fee, online ancestry sites help curious descendants open some of history’s archives. The results are sometimes a shock. In the 1930 census, I found my paternal grandmother disavowing her Lithuanian heritage. Elsewhere, I found my maternal grandfather living with more siblings than I’d ever heard of. And then I found something even more unexpected: U.S. patent No. 320,003, dated June 16, 1885:
Be it known that I, Simon Schayer, a citizen of the United States, residing in the city, county and State of New York, have invented a certain new and useful Article of Manufacture in Confectionary … My invention relates more particularly to that class of confections known as “macaroons” … My improvement consists in combining and arranging with such macaroons a filling or layer of fig preserve or paste, which in turn is provided with a filling of peanut or other nut candy or paste, the whole united and baked together … A most delicious and attractive article of food is thus produced, in which the different flavors of the ingredients are blended and combined, while the body of the cake is rendered soft, but tenacious and gummous, thus agreeably protracting the degree of mastication essential to its consumption … In order to enable others skilled in the art to make and use my improved articles of food, which I intend to designate as “fig-blossoms,” I herewith set forth the process of manufacture …
Maybe crazy Aunt Geri wasn’t so crazy.
Six weeks after Smolenyak issued her challenge, several keys, turned in succession, led to the “real” Annie Moore. One came from Brian G. Andersson, New York City’s commissioner of records; after reading Smolenyak’s blog, he tracked down the 1921 Declaration of Intent—part of the naturalization paperwork—of Annie’s brother Phillip. Thanks to information on that form, Smolenyak was able to confirm that this was the very Phillip she’d found in the 1930 census, living with a daughter named Anna. Anna’s listing in a subsequent death registry then led, after several false starts, to her son, Michael Shulman, who was in the phone book.
Shulman and his sister, Patricia Somerstein, believed all along that they were the great-nephew and great-niece of Ellis Island Annie. So when Smolenyak called, Shulman was delighted to tell her she’d hit gold; indeed, he shared the family tale of the $10 coin. But the clincher came when Smolenyak spoke to Somerstein, who recalled her mother’s stories of wonderful trips to the Lower East Side to visit Annie’s widower—a man who had once, she thought, lived above a bakery. Smolenyak asked his name, but Somerstein couldn’t remember. Then she suddenly blurted out “Gus Schayer.”
She had no idea that Gus was short for Joseph Augustus Schayer, or even how to spell the last name. Once Smolenyak figured that out, it took only a few minutes to unearth Annie from census records. Soon she had located all but one of her living descendants, and Commissioner Andersson had found a notation of the Schayers’ 1895 marriage in a ledger at St. James Church. Next, a death certificate in the Mormon genealogical archive in Utah led Smolenyak to Calvary Cemetery in Queens, where a disgruntled sexton provided a list of the names of the others buried with Annie in the unmarked grave. With one exception, the names matched those of her children.
The exception was a 1-year-old named James, whom Aunt Geri’s niece, Maureen Peterson, was able to explain. Geri had told her about a Mrs. Doherty, who lived at 86 Oliver when Annie lived at 90. “When the Dohertys lost their baby James,” Peterson recalls, “and were so poor they didn’t have any place to bury him, Annie offered her plot.”
In an age when the average life expectancy for white Americans was 47, and surely lower in the slums, Annie would have expected some children to die. Life was a cup of sugar: borrowed, replaced. Perhaps it didn’t grieve Annie the way it grieves us today. When Somerstein, who works in a pharmacy, asks me to read aloud the causes of death of Annie’s children as recorded in the Mormon archive—“aedema of lungs, exhaustion w/tubercular pneumonia”; “merasmus” (severe malnutrition); “diphtheria and broncho-pneumonia”; “haemophilia … bleeding from mouth continuously”: “enterocolitis for 24 days”; “chronic valvular disease”—she starts to cry.
“Diseases of neglect,” she whispers.
“Of poverty,” I suggest.
“Neglect,” she insists. “I hear that list and I think of Angela’s Ashes. I don’t want Annie to be an Angela! I think the Irish brought that kind of hard life with them. It has to do with the British presence. If you can have national low self-esteem and at the same time be very arrogant, that was Ireland.
“I guess I’m just comparing it to what happened to Jewish immigrants. My father, who was Jewish, was just as poor as my Irish relatives, but no one in his family died as a baby of malnutrition. The Jews created a lot of organizations almost immediately because no one helped them for thousands of years. The Irish trusted the church. What I don’t understand is how the church they were so loyal to betrayed them.”
This Annie was not the kind of hero American stories are made of; no wonder the world seemed bent on wiping out any vestige of her.
But perhaps the church didn’t betray them completely. How else but with its help could Annie, if not Mrs. Doherty, have managed to bury so many children?
The “wrong” Annie’s family, notified by Megan Smolenyak, was “cool about it,” she reports. They’d had a nice run for more than decade, being fêted and hobnobbing with the president of Ireland. It was all perfectly innocent: “You could say it was wishful thinking.”
The “right” Annie’s family had a more complicated response. They were fascinated to meet one another, for the first time, at a genealogical gathering in New York, and to discover how diverse the line had become, with Dominicans, Chinese, Jews, and Italians now among their ranks. They could not fail to note how much better off and better educated they were, too. Putting food on the table is no longer a top concern for any of them.
That a legacy has no monetary value does not, however, mean heirs won’t squabble over it. After Smolenyak split the $1,000 bounty between Somerstein and Commissioner Andersson, problems began. Both pledged their winnings toward the creation of a headstone to mark Annie’s grave in Calvary Cemetery, but by the time another branch of Annie’s descendants started asking Somerstein for her contribution, she and some other relatives had become leery of the whole hagiographic project. The design alone was budgeted at $12,000; it featured a Celtic cross in Irish blue limestone, Celtic knots, an Irish harp, two garlands of shamrocks, an etching of the $10 gold coin, and a sprig of cherry blossoms to represent Annie’s years on Cherry Street.
“I’m glad she didn’t live on Broome Street!” Maureen Peterson harrumphs. “Instead of such an exquisite headstone, a plainer one would have been appropriate, and then send some money for poor children here or in Ireland. To me, it’s just a weight on her chest.” As for Somerstein, she eventually gave her winnings to Jane Goodall’s foundation.
Nevertheless, the stone was dedicated at a ceremony in 2008. Among those in attendance was the tenor Ronan Tynan, singing the still-inaccurate ballad.
At a political moment in which new immigrants are welcomed with ever-higher walls, the competition to embrace Ellis Island’s first seems almost poignant. Formerly one kind of symbol, Annie Moore is now becoming another. But of what? The nearly bankrupt Save Ellis Island website lists a $500 membership level called the Annie Moore Society. A Gaelic phrase carved on the tombstone means “May their noble souls rest in peace.” “Some family members want everything to be holy,” says Peterson. “For them, she should have walked over on water instead of taken the ship.”
In truth, the Moore family story is not so noble; they were shanty, not lace-curtain, Irish, says Somerstein. Their story included, as many do, premarital pregnancy, heavy drinking, and, in the case of Annie’s mother, years in an institution. Or are those once-shameful facts now inseparable from nobility? “When she got off the boat, freezing her big butt off, her walk up Broadway was not to a fancy home,” says Shulman. “The great miracle is that starting with this totally down-and-out Irish immigrant, look what’s become of her family! And in a relatively brief period of time, compared with other countries. It’s the American Dream.”
It was Shulman who discovered one of the two pictures of Annie that are generally accepted as authentic. In his, she sits on a carved bench holding an infant—thought to be Kitty—whose coat is improbably trimmed with fur. The other photograph, found this winter in a scrapbook by Peterson, says “Mama Schayer” on the back, in Aunt Geri’s hand, and shows Annie years later, stout enough to fill a doorway, if not a window. She does not look the kind of person you would want to fight for a Fig-Blossom.
And then there is a third photograph, which Shulman spotted in Ellis Island’s archives. In it, a girl and two boys stand apart from a crowd at an immigrant station in the late nineteenth century. Though the Park Service’s archivists think otherwise, Shulman and Smolenyak believe the trio are Annie and her brothers. Shulman points out that the girl is the image of his mother. Smolenyak analyzes the woodwork in the background to support her case, and this March offered another $1,000 bounty to anyone who can prove her wrong. So far, no one has.
It would be nice to think she is right because it is a dour picture indeed, a corrective both to the former image of that first immigrant as a kind of Annie Oakley and to the later image of her as a singular Mother McCourage. The girl in the photograph is defiantly ordinary, and seems to stare down the national cult of exceptionalism. If she is really Annie Moore, she has no more of a smile to offer America than the Statue of Liberty offered her—but no less, either. She came, did the best she could with what she had, and left the rest to another time.
And if she isn’t Annie—well, she’s someone else, who did much the same thing.
The Crones Cauldron of Antiquities is temporarly closed for updates. We expect to return early next week and apologize for any inconviences.
Proprietor ~Elder Airwolf
Well the wheel is turning once again and here are some important dates to remember for this month of February.
Important February Dates
Herb of the Month - Chamomile
Stone of the Month - Jet
Rune of the Month - Algiz
Tarot Card of the Month - The Hierophant
Correspondence of the Month - Elements
Spell of the Month - Lust Enhancing Spell
February 2 - Imbolc (Cross quarter February 3)
Animals/Mythical Creatures - firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation
Gemstones - amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise
Incense/Oil - jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot, carnation
Colors/Candles - brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver
Tools/Symbols/Decorations - white flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid's cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride's Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container, evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle anointed in oil (see above)can be used to symbolize the renewing energy of the Sun's rebirth.
Goddesses - Virgin Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene (Greek), Branwen (Manx-Welsh)
Gods - young Sun Gods, Pan, Cupid/Eros(Greco-Roman), Dumuzi (Sumerian)
Essence - conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal, dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan, prepare
Dynamics/Meaning - first stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter
Purpose - honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light
Rituals/Magick - cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread
Customs - lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting
Foods - dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppy seed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea
Herbs - angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow
Element/Gender - earth/female
Threshold - midnight
A Solitary Sunrise Imbolc Ritual
a separate bowl of water and a candle (to receive the blessings of Brigit)
offerings for Brigit (see below for suggestions)
offerings for the Outsiders (food or drink)
For purifications: mud or red ochre; salt water; incense or smudge stick
a straw "dolly" or rowan stick to represent Brigit, and a straw bed for her (optional)
For the return blessing: red, white, and black ribbons attached to the frame of a doorway (optional)
[Irish words used in the ritual:
Biodh sé [bee sheh] -- let it be so!
Failte romhat [failcheh rowat] -- be very welcome
Go raibh ma agat [GO ruh ma A-gat] -- thank you (singular)
Go raibh ma agibh [GO ruh ma A-giv] -- thank you (plural)
Slán agat [slan A-gat] -- go well (singular)
Slán agibh [slan A-giv)] -- go well (plural)
--a is pronounced [ah] for the most part.]
(Are you sick of these parenthetical comments yet? Me too! Let's get going.)
[When we begin a ritual, first we purify the space and our selves, placing ourselves between three realms. Find the center of your working space, or of the traffic pattern of your home if you wish to see the whole thing as a microcosm of the sacred universe. In my house, there is a place where the steps up, the steps to the basement, and the traffic pattern between rooms, all meet. The corner of that wall is my center point.]
Go to the center and place a dab of red ochre or mud from your local area upon your forehead and wrists, or toss upon the ground a handful of seeds, dirt or salt, saying "Upon the firm and life giving land I stand."
Then take some salt water, walk the boundary of your space sprinkling it—preferably in nine splashes—and say "The sea surrounds me, separating the wild from the tame."
Third, light a stick of incense or a smudge stick and wave it in an arc over your head, saying "Above me the sky, realm of order and of wonder, that shall not fall as long as time endures."
Consecrating the Shrine
Pour water into the Well, saying:
"By the Goddesses of Waters
By the Gods of Waters
By the Powers Under the Earth
I give thanks for the Waters of the Well.
Let this vessel be as the Triple Well of Blessing in this Sacred Grove of Druidry."
Light the Fire, saying:
"I kindle this Fire
To be a Flame of Magic
To be a Flame of Claiming
To be a Flame of Inspiration
To welcome the Gods and Spirits to this Sacred Grove of Druidry."
Walk around the ritual space three times, clockwise.
(We begin the ritual by defining our sacred space, and preparing ourselves for ritual. The walking-in-a-circle may seem silly, but I've found it to be an effective way to get into a "ritual mindset". Besides, I like doing silly things.)
[From this moment, everything we do and say will be done and said in the place and the presence of the gods and spirits. Therefore, first we ask the blessings of inspiration, that our words will be a fit offering:]
(We start off by asking Brigit to inspire us, to make our voices and our words as beautiful as possible. You may not want to invoke a deity this early in the rite, so feel free to substitute you own invocation here. In general, we start off by invoking those powers which are most visible in our lives, and work our way toward the ones who are least visible. Our Grove Liturgists tried to make all of the invocations as Brigit-specific as possible, for this rite.)
"Thus do I call and name the Brilliant one; Queenly Bríd, - brings the smith's fire, the healer's fire, the hearth fire, the well of vision, the well of inspiration, the well of healing, - midwife and baker, brewer and weaver, singer and wise one, giver of all great gifts. I call upon Brighid of the blessings, Brighid of the graces, giver of the blessings of inspiration- fire in the head that enflames us with holy words, silver on the tongue that shall fall sweet as honey on the ears of the gods and non-gods this day, grace of eye and hand, grace of voice and carriage, grace of intention and action, so that all that I do here will honour Her this day. Biodh sé!"
(Our next invocation is to the Earth Mother, who is all around us and sustains our lives every day. We make an offering to the Outsiders, and ask them not to disturb our ritual. We then use the Two Powers Attunement to align ourselves with those powers, before opening the portals.)
Invoking the Earth Mother:
"Earth Mother, Mother of Peoples, Source of Waters. Your child thanks you for bringing the life to the land, for giving me a place and a foundation upon which to place my hearth, and I honor you."
Take an offering of food or drink and set it outside the ritual space, saying:
"Outsiders, forces of chaos, you who choose not to be part of our workings, you dwell beyond our firelight and our gates, in the dark places between, you who are primal and unbounded, raw and untamed. I make you this offering, and ask that you not disturb us during this rite."
Two Powers Attunement:
(by Ian Corrigan)
(You shouldn't read this section out loud while doing it, since it wouldn't work well with the deep breathing you're supposed to be doing. If you can, record a tape of yourself reading this, then play it back during the actual ritual. If you can't, then you can read it from a script and do the best you can with the visualizations. Of course, if you can memorize the whole thing, that would be the best way to handle it!)
Begin, O seeker of wisdom, with your breath... breathe deeply, from your belly... in... and out... make your body comfortable... stretch if you need to, settle in place... and focus on your breath... observe your breath as it flows in and out of your body... and with each breath, allow your body to relax... let your breath carry away tension from your flesh.. relaxing your feet and legs... letting your belly soften and relax... breathing away tension from your shoulders and arms... from your neck... relaxing your face and mouth, your eyes... with each breath your body becoming warmer, comfortable and relaxed... your mind alert and prepared for magic...
Now, with your body still and calm, imagine that from your feet, or the base of your spine, roots begin to grow downward... roots reaching and growing into the earth, down through soil and stone... deepening and spreading... reaching to touch the waters under the Earth... the Earth current... the dark, cool, magnetic power that nourishes and sustains life... as your roots touch this current it is drawn in and up toward your body... your breath draws the Earth power upward... into your body... the invisible, magnetic power fills your legs, energizing and strengthening... waters rise from the earth, into your legs... rising... into your loins... and pooling in your loins, a cauldron of Earth power... You breathe the power upward... rising from the earth, through your loins, rising up your spine... into your heart... pooling and filling a cauldron in your heart with healing, restoring energy... power rising from the deep, through your loins, through your heart... rising up your spine and into your head... filling a cauldron of wisdom and vision behind your eyes... and rising still, filling all your body and flowing out again through the crown of your head... through your hands... flowing out around your body and back into the earth... the power under the Earth flows in you... grounding you in the source of life...
Now imagine the sky overhead... The sun and moon and, far beyond them, the stars... imagine a single star at the center of the sky, shining directly over your head... the center of your inner sky, your own pole-star...see a flash of light shining down from that star... streaming down between moon and sun... gold, silver and blue-white light... the bright, warm, electric power of the sky... the light touches your head, filling and illuminating the cauldron like sun on still water... shining from above... filling your head with warm, awakening power... flowing down into your heart... warming the cauldron... shining down through head and heart, illumining the waters... downward to reach your loins... The cauldron shines with sky power in your loins... Tingling, electrical light in head, heart and loins... the light flows downward into Earth, and you are shining and flowing with the mingled powers of Earth and sky... the raw material of magic... the chaos of potential and the world order...
These powers are balanced in you... yours to shape and use... always with you in some degree...
But for now, allow the powers to recede... waters to the Earth, light to the sky... knowing that each time you attune to them you become more attuned, more at one with the powers... breath deep... and allow your awareness to return to your common senses... as you open your eyes...
Opening the Portals
(The Tree is aligned with the "World Tree," the center of our cosmos and the axis connecting all three Realms. The Fire when opened as a "gate" or portal carries our words throughout the realms on its smoke; and the Well or shaft becomes the portal to the Underworld and the connection with the primal waters of life. Once the portals are opened, we call upon Mannanan mac Lir in his role as a psychopomp (a fancy Greek word for "god who escorts the spirits of the dead") to guide and protect us in our rite.)
Go to the center of your space and stamp a foot or tap a staff upon the ground, or thump a fist upon the wall if that's the center for you, or sprinkle water from your well upon the branch if you are using one, and say:
"Here I declare sacred center, where all times and places meet. Let it be as the world tree, the central axis of the world, so that all spirits and beings of good will may be welcome here to share in this rite!"
"World Tree, sacred center of the universe. Your roots delve deep into the earth, your branches reach the heights of the sky, and your mighty trunk connects them. May you be the strong center around which this rite revolves."
Visualize the roots of the tree growing deep into the earth, and the branches reaching up to the heavens.
Place the silver in the Well, saying:
"Sacred well, whose waters flow and swirl beneath us. May your depths connect my spirit to the great underground sea and the ageless powers below."
Visualize the bottom of the well connecting to an ocean in the depths of the earth.
Place some incense in the Fire, saying:
"Sacred fire, carry all offerings to the gods and the beloved dead. May you warm all my spirit and my life."
Visualize the smoke and flame connecting to shadowy, stylized places where graceful and dimly seen beings receive the smoke as if it were solid.
Invocation of Mannanan:
"Mannanan mac Lir, Grey Walker, Keeper of the Gates. You guided the Ancestors to the Isle of Avalon. Open now the way and convey my welcome to the Queenly mother, hearth goddess, and to all those others I would welcome at this hearth, that we may share in this celebration together.
Invoking the Kindreds
(We invoke each of the three kindreds, inviting them to be with us during the rite. You may want to visualize them as you invoke them.)
"At this altar, with this candle, in this sacred place, I call to you o ancestors.
We welcome you to join me here, and to welcome as of old, Brigit, the hearth mother, who taught you - as you teach me - the ancient arts of brewing and baking and many great gifts. Ancestors, be welcome!"
Nature Spirits Invocation:
"Spirits of Nature, you who dwell within the land, gently waken to the steps of Bright Brigit.
Be welcome here, You oystercatcher bird and hearth cat, honey bee and milk cow, you serpent coiled to do no harm - you companions of our highest queen, I honor and welcome you
Among all that I welcome here today. Nature Spirits, Failte romhat!"
"High and Shining Ones, gods who are dear to me, be welcome here this day, be honored and join in welcoming Brigit, honored among you as warrior-smith, poet-teacher, weaver and healer and giver of plenty- gifts that each of you may share: Oh divine ones, share in the feast of Brigit."
Deity of the Occasion
(We use a much longer invocation for Brigit - it is her day, after all!)
Beside the hearth or the ritual fire, you will have placed a "Bride's (Scottish spelling of Brighid) bed" - a small straw or wood bed, made up nicely. Open your door, or go to the threshold, or stand by the hearth if you have one. Take a straw "dolly" or rowan stick to represent the goddess, or feel for her presence, and say:
"Brigit I invoke this day,
In the high places and the low,
Beside the hearth fire and at the sacred well.
The gentle queen I call to her hall,
The place where the bed is prepared.
"By her many graces I call to Brigit who graces us this day;
Grace of eye and grace of hand,
Grace of word and grace of will,
Grace of caring, grace of birthing, grace in mourning,
Grace of carriage, grace of courage,
Comforter and mother,
Brigit of the Blessings I name the one
Who blesses us this day!
"Let us greet her, we who know her blessings.
Come weaver and poet,
Come brewer and baker,
Come mother and healer,
Come blacksmith and wordsmith,
Beekeeper and hearth-keeper.
"Thus I call to the Mother and Queen; A bed is prepared at the seat of honor, Come grace the hearth seat, Brigit I invoke this day!"
Place the dolly or stick on the bed, or gesture to the bed by the hearth and feel for the presence of the goddess nearby.
You might place some bread and mead or ale beside the Bride's bed. A good offering would be preparing and kneading bread within the ritual. Write and recite some poetry, sing or tell a story to the goddess as you might do to entertain any guest. Spin or weave a small piece of work and offer it to the goddess- don't burn this one; put it on her shrine if you have one or give it to the next visitor who needs something comforting. Enjoy the sacredness and complexity of domestic work. Make a promise of hospitality to all who need it, or dedicate yourself as a healer, or vow to help a friend in childbirth. These are all the gifts and work of Brighid.
Omen of Return
(We ask the Kindreds, especially the Deity of the Occasion, whether our offering is pleasing to them.)
Using your preferred method of divination, ask Brigit if your offering is acceptable. Since Brigit is a hearth goddess, fire scrying is an appropriate method. She is also sometimes associated with wells of vision and of healing, so you might choose to scry in water.
Take water from the bowl and anoint your head, hands, and feet, saying:
"I take of the water of Brigit, to be cleansed and blessed."
Take your candle and light it from the Fire, saying:
"I ask the blessings of the triple Brigit.
Blessings of inspiration - silver on the tongue;
Blessings of hearth and healing - golden riches of honey;
Blessings of courage, wisdom and strength.
And the light of her flame to guide me this day, as I go forward to rebirth."
Take your candle and go to the doorway, at which you will have placed long coiled ribbons in red, black and white. Uncoil and tape the ribbons around the door frame to make a sort of hoop. This is called the "críos Bríd"- the girdle of Bríd.
Step through this circle, with your left leg first, and feel yourself being reborn. If you are able to go around and come back in by another door, go through the Críos three times. This is a charm for health, plenty and fertility. Then place the candle some place where it can burn safely.
(In exchange for our offerings, we ask Brigit to give us a symbolic rebirth. The water washes us clean of those things we wish to be rid of, the flame represents the spark of life and inspiration, and stepping through a circle... well, I'll let you figure that out. The traditional ritual involved stepping through a large woven hoop, called a "críos" (pronounced "crish"), that was held by two other people. You might not have two other people to help you hold a real hoop, and I wouldn't want you to try contorting yourself through a hoop by yourself while holding a candle, so I suggest using a facsimile or a visualization instead. Also, the traditional manner of stepping through the críos was for the men (wearing pants) to step through, left side first, while the women (wearing long skirts) would have the hoop lowered over them and down to the ground, where they could step out of it. You can choose whichever method you prefer.)
Thanking the deity of the occasion:
"Bríd have I welcomed this day, to my hearth, to my home, to my life. May she go from here refreshed and made more joyous, as her blessing has renewed and uplifted me! Slán agat, a Bhrid!"
Thanking the kindreds:
"You shining ones, nature spirits and ancestors, I thank you for your presence in this rite and in my life! As I return to ordinary time and the daily world, your blessings travel with me. So to, let my blessings and love go with you. Slán agibh!"
Thanking the Outsiders:
"Outsiders, you whose ways are not ours, I thank you for your forbearance. Without you there would be no change, yet in this moment, your absence was as welcome as once your presence was needed! Go raibh ma agibh!"
Thanking the Earth Mother:
"Earth mother, I do not leave you, nor do you go from here, but as this rite comes to a close, once again I thank you for giving firm foundation to this hearth, for providing sustenance and life, that your child can give you love and honor. Earth mother, Go raibh ma agat!"
Closing the portals:
"Here have we met, gods and spirits, ancestors and I. But now the sacred well becomes once again a simple bowl of water, the ancient bonfire once again a candle, and this tree may no longer touch the very arch of the heavens nor its roots be those which hold the worlds in their embrace. Biodh sé!"
"By Land, Sea and Sky, By Fire, Well and Tree
I end this rite.
I go forth with blessing, to bless the world in turn.
Variations can be made for a coven or group and I like to follow the sunrise ritual with a pancake breakfaast.
February 14 - Valentine's Day, 5:53 pm - Full Moon
In colonial America, February's Full Moon was known as the Snow Moon, a time when fierce blizzards would sweep across the land. To some, it was the Quickening Moon, a time when nature began to reawaken. Even though early snow crocus may bloom, most regions are blanketed with snow. Now is the time to ask the Snow Moon to assist you in making positive changes in your life. Just as nature is poised to awaken from its winter rest, we can also awaken to a new purpose or calling. The Snow Moon is when you should plant your "seeds" for change, then let them take root. Make a plan now and stick to it. Anything is possible--a new career, going back to school--you decide. On this night, announce your magical intentions to the Snow Moon. As a token of thanks, light a violet candle and speak to her.
As the Earth wears a cocoon of white,
In icy splendor Snow Moon, you guard the night.
Let me make changes, let me be reborn,
Now I plant the seed of magic; I am transformed.
February 17 - Presidents' Day
Herb of the Month
Chamomile - Water/Sun; Gender - Masculine; Parts Used - Flowers; Magickal Properties - Prepares body and mind for magick, Healing and Prosperity wishes; Uses - Drink as a tea, place small amount in the bath to prepare for magick, use as an amulet for prosperity, burn for restful sleep, visualize your desire.
Stone of the Month
Jet - Jet is a stone of grounding and balancing, and as it carries a negative electrical charge, is good for drawing power and knowledge to the bearer. Made of burned, then fossilized trees, it helps to tap into the ancient wisdoms and transformative powers of the Earth. It is also helpful in stabilizing finances, and is said to soothe migraines.
Rune of the Month
z Algiz (Z or -R: Elk, protection.) – Protection, a shield; The protective urge to shelter oneself or others; Defense, warding off of evil, shield, guardian; Connection with the gods, awakening, higher life; It can be used to channel energies appropriately. Follow your instincts. Keep hold of success or maintain a position won or earned. Algiz Reversed or Merkstave: Hidden danger, consumption by divine forces, loss of divine link; Taboo, warning, turning away, that which repels.
Tarot Card of the Month
The Hierophant - The Hierophant is a symbol of moral law and convictions. He is also a welcomed advisor and spiritual guide. Positively associated with advice, wise counsel, spiritual consolation, knowledge, identification, faith, conformity, and traditions. Negatively associated with misinformation, lack of faith, deviousness, bad advice, confusion, and disorderly conduct.
Correspondence of the Month
Earth – Earth is the element that rules the north and that is most stable and dependable. It represents abundance, prosperity, and wealth, and is creative but in a practical, physical manner. Earth is that which sustains all life and on which the other elements rest. Types of magick: gardening, grounding, magnet, image, stone, tree, knot, binding. These types of spells should be preformed when the moon is in one of the astrological signs governed by this element: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.
Air – The element of air rules the east and is associated with mental processes and the mind. It is creative and is that which causes magickal intentions to manifest. It is also associated with higher consciousness and wisdom, divination, and purification. Types of magick: divination, concentration, prophecy, visualization, wind magick, karma. These types of spells should be performed when the moon is in one of the astrological signs governed by this element: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius.
Fire – The element of fire rules the south and is associated with change and passion. It is both physical and spiritual, being related to sexuality and to divinity. Fire magick is quickly manifested and filled with primal energy. Types of magick: candle, storm, time. These types of spells should be performed when the moon is in one of the astrological signs governed by this element: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius.
Water – The element of water rules the west and is associated with the subconscious mind, intuition, and emotions. As the primal substance of life, it is symbolized by the womb and is related to fertility. Types of magick: magick involving the sea, snow or ice, mirror, magnet, rain, cleansing and purification. These types of spells should be performed when the moon is in one of the astrological signs governed by this element: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.
Spell of the Month
Lust Enhancing Spell
one large fresh red rose petal
red sewing thread
Place the cinnamon in the center of the rose petal, and tie the petal shut with the red thread. Chant:
Red of life,
red of spice,
bring to me,
the spice of life.
Place the rose petal pouch under your pillow. This spell is best cast on the new to waxing Moon.
So pagans remember to make it true, make it real, and always make it magickal everyday!
Humbly serving my Goddess!