Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 6/17

This Bright Moon’s message from Bast and Sekhmet, channeled as usual in my monthly ritual, is as follows:

“It is time to retreat, to turn inward. Find a place of respite or take what refuge you can, and be still for a moment. Rely on your support network for a time, and cultivate better self-respect and self-confidence. You are worthwhile. Your work is worthwhile. You may be over-committed, however – it is time to see which plans best serve you, which are in best alignment with your values and talents. Get your life back in order as best you can. Create order anew. You may need to delegate, or to hand off projects to others who are better suited to finish them. There is no shame in this. Do what needs to be done.”

For those of us who do yearly planning or yearly goals, June is usually a good time to reflect on the year so far, and adjust things as necessary. I’ll be doing so mid-year planning adjustment for sure. Hopefully this message is seen by those who need it.

The next Bright Moon is July 16, so look for another omen on or around then!

Paganism, Prayer

Prayers to Athena Columbia

So, some Political Shit went down recently, and part of my reaction to it included this pair of prayers to a local cultus aspect of Athena that I consider to be the Patron Goddess of both Washington, DC, and of the American Government more generally (the ideals, more than the failures, that is).

The first prayer was pretty much a knee-jerk reaction to watching states pass laws that blatantly challenge Roe V. Wade and restrict the rights of the approximate half of their citizenry that have uteri (women, but also some trans men and nonbinary folx).

The second prayer came after the other part of my reaction, which mostly consisted of banework. I realized that the representatives fighting against this wave of BS might need a bit of protection against the baneful workings of the anti-reproductive-rights crowd. (Yeah, I’m not going to call them “pro-life”. They’ve been pretty clear that they don’t actually care about life.)

Also, on the topic of sending protective or blessing magic to representatives, which when unwanted I usually consider a type of banework, Gwendolyn Reece’s recent blog is worth reading. I tend to agree that this type of work is both ethical and needed, but I leave in my usual disperse-if-truly-unwanted clause, leaving acceptance up to them and their guide(s)/god(s)/ancestors. Banework does not mean a working is unethical, just that it may be potentially harmful. However, what I consider ethical and what my fellow travelers consider ethical may not be identical – one should always stick to their own code.

I posted these prayers to a small e-shrine I keep on tumblr, but I thought I’d reproduce them here for all of you!


Prayer to Athena Columbia: We are in Crisis

Athena Columbia! Hear the Prayers of your supplicants!
Lady of American Democracy, we are in crisis!
Oligarchy and Theocracy reign and Freedoms are denied:
Athena Columbia Eleutheria, Lady Liberty, we have need of your Light!
We, the oppressed, will fight in the ways we can:
Athena Columbia Nike, Lady Victory, shine upon us!
We will oppose unjust laws, and promote equity:
Athena Columbia Dike, Lady Justice, guide us!
We will search for facts and oppose lies:
Athena Columbia Aletheia, Lady Truth, show us the way!

Pallas Athena Columbia, Protectress of the United States,
Bright-eyed Goddess, Dread Maiden and Glorious Queen:
Hold us to the promise of our ideals,
Make us ever aspire to your righteousness,
Keep us on the path towards equitable governance,
And destroy those who would privilege only themselves.


Prayer to Athena Columbia: Protect our Representatives

Athena Columbia! Hear the Prayers of your supplicants!
Lady of American Democracy, protect our laudable representatives!
Those who uphold the ideals of freedom and an end to oppression:
Athena Columbia Eleutheria, Lady Liberty, bathe them in your Light!
Those who fight for our rights and for a better future:
Athena Columbia Nike, Lady Victory, show them your favor!
Those who seek to create an equitable legal code:
Athena Columbia Dike, Lady Justice, guide their pens!
Those who are informed by factual reporting and science:
Athena Columbia Aletheia, Lady Truth, help them see clearly!

Pallas Athena Columbia, Protectress of the United States,
Bright-eyed Goddess, Dread Maiden and Glorious Queen:
Help them hold fast to the promise of their ideals,
Encourage them to aspire to your righteousness,
Usher them down the path towards equitable governance,
And protect them from those who would do them harm or lead them astray.

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 5/18

Yesterday was the full moon in Scorpio, and today I performed my oracular ritual to Bast and Sekhmet as I do every Bright Moon (or the days surrounding it). This time I also renewed a long-term spell jar that I created with their help, and I performed a small execration, asking for help overturning unjust laws. After those were complete, I asked for this month’s message, and received the following:

“Your current environment may seem a bit dangerous and bleak. Wealth and Power support each other and injustice seems to prevail – for now. There will come a turning point soon, and you must find a role that suits you and play your part. There is still much work to be done. We will strive together for satisfaction and well-being, and a positive resolution.”

As always, the closer your situation to my own, the more that message is likely to apply. But perhaps others will find a seed of inspiration in there as well.

The next Bright Moon is 6/17.

Event, Paganism, Retreat/Convention

Beltaine at Fertile Ground Gathering!

So, this past weekend, Scott and I went to Triangle, VA for 2 days of Fertile Ground Gathering. The event runs Thursday through Sunday, but for personal/family logistic reasons, we only attended Friday and Saturday, the days with the bulk of the rituals and workshops. The Acorn Sprout did not come with us – after discussing it, we though it would be better to leave a toddler still in diapers with his grandparents and cousins for the weekend than to bring him along camping in the (likely) rain. There were kids activities, but we expected they would be geared towards slightly older children. So, we dropped off the Acorn Sprout on Thursday afternoon, packed up, and left at 7am on Friday. We arrived around 8:30am, in time to register and have a little breakfast before the first workshops. As with other events, I’m going to be focusing mostly on workshops I attended, rather than what Scott attended, because I took notes with plans to blog about my experiences!

Early Religion in Scandinavia – Jane Sibley, PhD

This was an extremely informative workshop, and Sibley seems to really know her shit – which I would expect from someone who *is* Scandinavian and speaks a Scandinavian language and got a PhD in folklore! Much of the presentation was drawn from a book she wrote called The Divine Thunderbolt, which includes both comparative mythology and the archaeological record, though the book has a much wider scope than the presentation, which focused on the Scandinavian Thor and his cognates in Sámi and Germanic mythology. She also emphasized how much of what modern Heathens and Norse Polytheists consider lore was likely made up by, or at least heavily edited and rewritten by either Snorri or the Brothers Grimm. She believes we need to pay more attention to the archaeology and the Icelandic sources.

There were a few takeaways that I think will be relevant to my own practice. Firstly, Sibley said that the Norse originally had a tripartite elemental system, similar to the Celts, with Earth, Water, and Sky/Air, fire being considered just a hot air. Secondly, she said that Thor should probably be considered Vanir, as he predates Odin and the Aesir, but things get kind of blurry, because the bloodlines are all mixed up anyhow. (Just think about how many of the Aesir are said to have Jotun parents!) Thirdly, Sibley discussed the importance of linen or flax and leeks used together for protection magics. Lots to think about!

Making My Introductions

Before lunch, Scott and I popped down to a place we’d found last year at Hallowed Homecoming, which takes place in the same camping area, and greeted some of the local spirits we’d met in October.

Wakening Ritual

This was a sort of opening ritual, following the Warding Ritual Thursday night. It was short, but to the point, and allowed people to find their trance in stillness, slow motion, or ecstatic motion as they preferred. As it was quite warm out and I was struggling slightly with my chronic illness, I opted for stillness, but that is frequently my preference in any case.

Fiber Magic – Katie LaFond

This was an extremely small workshop – just the presenter, myself, and one other attendee! It was an interesting twist of fate, though – three women of three different ages, discussing fibercraft and witchcraft. LaFond had brought extra supplies and several things to demonstrate, so she set me up with some yarn and a crochet hook while she talked about different ways she uses fibercraft to do witchcraft, from knitting intentions into baby blankets, to creating a family cable pattern for sweaters, to how she sewed planetary robes for her husband to use in his astrology work during the associated planetary days and hours. She demonstrated two different kinds of wool spinning, showed me how to spin flax and let me try that, and set up the other woman with a collapsible lap loom. We also talked about witchcraft more generally, and homesteading and gardening, discussing our lives, our paths, and our crafts as we worked away at our little projects. I made a small crocheted floppy witch hat, for one of the Acorn Sprout’s dolls.

Friday Evening

After dinner, there were a few musical performances and then a bonfire. We stayed to listen to most of Melanie Bresnan’s set, but we went to bed before Maharal began. I have seen them perform before, however, and I do recommend seeing them if you get a chance!

Weaving your Destiny – Chris LaFond

This workshop sort of built upon LaFond’s earlier workshop on the natal chart but I have a vague understanding of my natal chart so I figured I would be able to follow along. As it turned out, we had an entirely new group of people anyhow, so he spent the first fifteen or twenty minutes giving us an overview before moving into his main topic, which was about how to use planetary timing to predict possible events coming up in your life, and how to have a better handle on working with planetary timing, instead of against it. He explained that his approach to astrology is more pre-1700s, before the Enlightenment came and added in a bunch of early psychology, and that puts him in contrast to most pagan and mainstream astrologists, who use newer astrology methodologies. Because of his focus, he doesn’t really use the outer planets much. He also uses Whole Sign Houses, where the Houses of one’s natal chart start at the beginning of the sign and encompass the whole sign, instead of starting at a specific degree of the sign.

LaFond explained the Chaldean order, and how our lives cycle through it, spending a number of years under the influence of each planet, starting with either the moon or the sun, depending on whether one was born at night or during the day (defined as whether the sun was above the horizon or not). Since I was born at night, I spent the first 9 years under the influence of the moon, then 11 years under Saturn, and I’m currently within the 12 years under Jupiter. Within those periods, each is broken down into 7 again (because no outer planets, remember), and so I am currently in the time of the Moon, within the period of Saturn.

LaFond also explained how an astrologer can cycle the natal chart forward every year and use that as a means of predicting the year to come (on the birthday, not the calendar year). For my chart, that means I’m in a 5th House Year, now, and my fifth House is in Taurus. Another means of predicting the year to come that he discussed was to cast a new chart for the solar return of your birth, which is usually within three days of your calendar birthday.

Next, LaFond discussed planetary days and hours, and emphasized that the “hours” are just daylight or nighttime divided into 12, so only near the equator near the equinox do they actually last an hour! Also, the planetary days all begin at dawn, and the first planetary hour is the same as the day. They cycle through the week completely (again, with only the 7 planets of older astrology). This made me think of the old nursery rhyme/divinatory poem that starts “Monday’s Child is full of grace…” I’d always considered myself a “Monday’s Child” because I was born on a calendar Monday. But by this system, as I was born before dawn, I was born on the Day of the Sun, instead!

Accidental Wanderings

After Chris LaFond’s workshop, I wandered down to the water there, which I have come to learn is called Happyland Camp 5 Lake. I saw a number of turtles and frogs and it was really quite lovely, especially since the rain overnight had taken the heat away. On my way back to the feast hall I started wondering about one of the local spirits, and I took a wrong turn – I found myself at a footbridge over a creek, near the fire pit, but I also found my answer. Not exactly my intention, but once I acknowledged that and understood the message, I found my way to the feast hall for lunch with no further ado, so: no harm, no foul. Perhaps a good reminder to keep slightly better track of my surroundings, however!

Warrior Blessing Ritual

Irene Glasse led a Warrior Blessing Ritual after lunch, for blessing and healing of the Warriors among the Dead, the Living, and the Future Generations. It was a really heartfelt and emotional experience, especially as I took the time to connect with two of my great-grandfathers who were in service during WWII, and I reflected upon the military service of other family members and friends, both living and deceased.

Power, Freedom. Boundaries, and Consent – Rath

Some of this presentation was apparently based on a Foundations class Rath had previously taught. There were only a handful of us in attendance so we sat on the porch instead of inside the craft cabin, where we were divebombed by carpenter bees on occasion, but it was nice to be outside in the warm-but-not-too-hot weather.

Rath began with Power, and had us all give words we associated with it, and asked us if we wanted power. I said “it depends”, which is a normal tendency of mine that is perhaps related to my dealings in Faery – I generally want to know all the details before I agree to something, and there are plenty of circumstances in which I would not want specific kinds of power! Rath then discussed “power over” vs “power with”, and different models for wielding or sharing power. When he discussed Freedom, Rath also used two kinds: “freedom to” vs “freedom from”, though he spent more time focusing on “freedom to”.

That brought us to Boundaries, both in the personal (between individual people) and in pagan traditions and systems of magic, where some things are a part of the system or tradition, and other things don’t fit the paradigm. Rath emphasized that even the most eclectic and welcoming groups have a boundary somewhere, using Mormons as an example of a spiritual tradition most pagan groups would consider outside their boundaries. Following on boundaries, we talked about consent, and how in an ideal world consent would always be explicit and informed, but that some experiences are so difficult to fully explain that nearly everything is only partially informed, and in many cases consent is implicit instead, though it can still be revoked.

The final segment of the workshop was focused on exploring a number of different common pagan group models, and pointing out the flaws in each, because at the end of the day, no group is perfect, and all are open to different sorts of abuse. The best thing we can do is to try and mitigate the flaws as much as possible as group leaders, and as group members we should try to find groups that best fit out own personal boundaries.

Wandering Ritual

This ritual began in the ritual field we’d used for the Wakening Ritual, and instead of a Maypole, this year we wove ribbon as a community, in keeping with the theme “Weaving a Tapestry”. The Fae were invited to weave with us and then to join us in as we processed back to the feast hall and walked through hanging veils into the evening’s revelry and feast.* The ritual was not to be closed until Sunday morning, but as Scotty and I needed to be home Sunday and a thunderstorm was rolling in, we left instead of staying for the feast, and therefore missed the Kindred Crow set which was somewhat disappointing. Still, we got home in time to get decent sleep, which I needed. One of these days, though, I am going to actually manage to see them live!

Overall?

Overall, we had a pretty enjoyable experience. It was really nice to be out in all that GREEN! I’m not sure if we’ll be back next year, though, because Beltaine is usually a pretty busy time of year for us, both for our hearth cult and because it’s near the Acorn Sprout’s birthday!


* Note: I had serious misgivings about the structure of this ritual, not least because we were all supposed to be in the Otherworlds with the Fae all night, despite the fact that there were quite a few young children attending the event. As a practitioner of the Fairy Faith, I really can’t emphasize enough how mercurial and potentially dangerous the Fae are, especially around Beltaine. I was told that offerings were made and precautions were taken, but as I wasn’t there for the Warding Ritual and I wasn’t given details, I can’t speak to their efficacy. I made my own supplications and performed my own protective magics. I’ll leave you with Morgan Daimler’s words on the subject.

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 4/18

Today for the full moon, as I have for the past few years, I performed my oracular ritual to Bast and Sekhmet, and came back with a message from Them, recounted below:

“This is a difficult point in time, but we are here beside you. Before order can be recreated, things must be upended. Chaos heals what slow progress cannot. There is not much you can do at the moment, in the microcosm, so take the time to rest and retreat to your place of safety and comfort. The chaos may bewilder you and cause you alarm, but it is still necessary. The balance will be restored in time, when accounts have been tallied and brought into accord.”

The past week has certainly felt chaotic to me, and I’ll be taking that advice as best I can. Bright Moon Blessings to all of you!

[If you are interested in supporting this specific part of my work, I accept shrine donations (to cover the cost of offerings, shrine box upgrades, and the like) on Ko-fi! My current goal is to get a small scented oil lamp, to use instead of the small candle I am currently using!]

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 2/21

This month we had a Supermoon on the full moon, and it was also the Spring Equinox here.  The energy was running so high I had a hard time sleeping!  Despite that I felt well enough the next day to do my ritual, though a family visit prevented me from writing it up right away.  So here you are!  This month’s message from Bast and Sekhmet is below.

You are seeking, and working towards, your heart’s desire, but you have not yet attained it.  Do not doubt your worth because of your long struggle; it is part of the journey.  The struggle is not who you are, but where you are.  You are a being of unlimited potential, and you can find the freedom you crave to create the life you want if you continue forward down your path of discovery.  Do not limit yourself – your circumstances are already doing that, but you can grow beyond that if you plant seeds now so that they will flower later.  You are exhausted and overwhelmed and you may feel like giving up, but we are with you, and this spring is a new chance to rise to the challenges of your circumstances, and overcome them.

Hopefully this message will find those who need the encouragement.  Keep going, friends.  It will be worth it when you get there.  Happy Spring!

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Bright Moon Omen 2/20

Here’s this moon’s message from Bast and Sekhmet, Eyes of Ra:

A new cycle is beginning; you must prepare to sprout and then to bloom. You’ve been steadfastly waiting and praying for guidance, but you must make the decision alone. Any decision would be better than continuing to wait, but it is best to lean into your passions and go with the option that makes your heart-soul burn brightly. This may mean setting yourself apart from others, retreating into solitude for a time, as you stare into the gaping maw of your deepest Self. Things will come full circle.

As usual, the closer you are to me both physically and in practice, the more accurate this will be for you, but hopefully there’s a kernel of truth in there for everyone who reads it.

The next Bright Moon is 3/20.

Celtic Polytheism, Paganism

Crow Folks: A Final Message

I’ve been told to step back from this work, the messenger role I was thrust into around Lughnasadh last year.  It’s been six months, and the balance feels right.  I’ve learned a lot, and hopefully so have you.  I’ll still be around to answer questions privately through divination, and I’m happy to pull three more cards as I did for myself, to elucidate your new roles going forward.  But my three cards spoke of a need to step back, to spend the next few months on internal work.  The timing makes sense – my first Saturn Return begins next month, as Saturn encroaches within three degrees of its position in my natal chart.  That will be my focus for now, that self-work and my ongoing relationships with Starflower, and the Eyes of Ra.

That said, I do have one last message for you all, as we move into spring:

“It is time to seek harmony amongst yourselves.  This may require stepping out on your own in order to see things more clearly, in order to reorganize your priorities so you know where you can compromise and where you cannot, where bridges can be mended, and where fires can only be extinguished.  You need to continue training, but it is time to try things on your own.  What can you accomplish by yourself?  You have grown stronger, and you need to know your new limits, and what weaknesses still require ongoing work.  In the coming months you will be tested, and when we are ready, new leaders will be chosen.”

Good luck, Crow Folks.  May the winds be kind.

Celtic Polytheism, Event, Holiday Celebration, Paganism, Prayer, Ritual

Imbolc!

 

This year for Imbolc, we helped to organize a ritual at our local UU church.  At home, our deities of the occasion are Cailleach and Brigid, and the group agreed to honor them for our ritual.  We used a shortened version of the ADF creation of sacred space and ritual center, honoring of the Hallows (Fire, Well and Tree), the Kindreds (Shining Ones, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits), and a short meditation to help us connect to the space between the worlds.

Then we invoked the Cailleach and Brigid.  Another participant read a prayer they’d found called “Prayer to Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge“, by Patti Wigington, substituting “Brigid” for “Brigantia”.  I wrote a poem for Cailleach following the same pattern, and Scott read it during the ritual.  I’ve reproduced both, below.

We also tied raffia to pussywillow branches for our hopes and intentions for the spring, similar to cloutie ties, and we sang Kelianna’s song Brighid’s Flame together.

It was a simple ritual, but poignant for many of the participants, and it’s proof that we can pull something together in less than a week.  Still, I think we’re going to plan farther ahead for the Spring Equinox!

 

Imbolc Prayer for Cailleach, by Aleja Nic Bhé Chuille

Hail, Cailleach! Bringer of ice and snow,
She who blankets the world in white,
She who freezes the world so time seems to slow,
She who encourages us to rely on each other,
She who is called the Blue Crone,
And teaches us the true meaning of survival.

Hail, Cailleach! Queen of Winter,
She who frosts the ground with her staff,
She who dropped rocks and made mountains,
She who shaped valleys and hills,
She who flies over the land as a great winter storm.

 

Prayer for Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge, by Patti Wigington

Hail, Brigantia! Keeper of the forge,
She who shapes the world itself with fire,
She who ignites the spark of passion in the poets,
She who leads the clans with a warrior’s cry,
She who is the bride of the islands,
And who leads the fight of freedom.

Hail, Brigantia! Defender of kin and hearth,
She who inspires the bards to sing,
She who drives the smith to raise his hammer,
She who is a fire sweeping across the land.

 

[Feel free to use my prayer to Cailleach for your own rituals, with proper attribution!]

 

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 1/20

This month, the full moon is also a Super Moon, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a Blood Moon Eclipse.  It’s tonight around midnight here on the East Coast, but my Ladies have permitted me to do the ritual the day before.  Here is the message from Bast and Sekhmet:

This Bright Moon brings you the strength of a lioness on the hunt, bloody and determined.  Use your claws to tear away things you do not need, and execrate them.  You will be left with simple clarity about your spiritual purpose, and then you can prepare for this next cycle of your journey, for the new secular year.

I think I’ll be doing a red paper execration, which I’ve explained elsewhere.

See you on or around February 19th for the next Kemetic Bright Moon!