Full Moon in Libra

FM Grid Libra

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find ourselves in a place of perfect opportunity with the upcoming April FullMoon.   A large portion of the world is housebound and facing the foretold challenge of social turbulence and material scarcity.  Little did we know it would take the form of a virus and toilet paper shortages.  Since March’s Full Moon we experienced the joyous celebration of the Spring Equinox Ostara Sabbat where sowed blessed seed for the coming season.

Libra’s motto is “I balance & weigh” with the purpose to take the Measure of our Souls.  The archetype is the Judge.  Keywords are conscience, cooperation, equality, diplomacy, intelligence, balance, perfectionist and adaptable.

Libra teaches us arriving at mindful, deliberate and well-thought-out decisions taking into account all angles will bring about a successful future.  It is a strange time and feels a bit surreal, sort of like the dust settling after a long storm.  Our planet has been bombarded with the actions of humans and as humans, we are bombarded by the energies of others.  In this we must take care to not let other’s feelings, emotions, anxieties and panic affect ourselves and our actions.  It is also the perfect time to tune into ourselves with crystal clarity whilst a large majority of people are at home and the world grows quiet.  We can see the effects in the climate with animals around the world returning to old spawning/mating grounds, seismologists have noted fewer rumblings almost immediately, less air pollution=improved air quality, less noise pollution above ground and in the oceans.  This list goes on, proving that the world would do well from a break from human activity bombardment for a month each year.

The combination of Sun in Aries and Moon in Libra sends our inner flame outward in the pursuit of understanding spiritual truths impacting our thoughts and behaviors.   Albert Einstein correctly surmised, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  It is the walk of the Spiritual Warrior that is called upon now to change our world through changing our thinking, which in turn changes our actions.  Adapting to thrive beyond survival in challenging times and directing our inner flame with honed precision requires honesty, integrity, reflection and intentional purpose that gives power to our walk.

During this Libran Full Moon the influence of aspected Mars in conjunction with Saturn, Uranian impulsivity and Mercury in close sextile to the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction will push us to look closely at our deepest soul and heart level intentions currently manifesting itself in our lives, spell workings and spiritual practices.  It is time to scry by Aries fire and recognize these truths.  The  Libran thoughts connected with Venus heart centered understanding will feel different from others as thoughts that arise from our soul, heart and mind being aligned will be accompanied with a solid knowing.  These thought feelings will be known by the warmth felt throughout your body from top to bottom, your senses will be heightened and you will have a sense of its rightness and purity as in the ringing of a struck piece of crystal.
The areas where we have resistance, fear or avoidance will also point to future areas that need to be addressed during the dark of the moon, so make note of these as well.

This Full Moon will require the often times difficult aspect of putting oneself first and forefront.  There is often a lot of resistance to this within ourselves as we are frequently led to believe putting ourselves first is a selfish act.   Self-care is not a selfish act, but one of required maintenance to grow as a person and be healthy for ourselves and others.  We are part of a larger whole, which is only as healthy as its parts.  The most healthy act a person can do is the caretaking of self and meeting your own needs in order to manifest a healthy unit.  This Libra esbat will give us the energy needed to take back the power that flows through our veins handed down through our ancestral roots and lifetimes past.  Let the truth of your inner self, your magic and your life’s purpose rise to the top and forefront of your awareness so that you can walk in your power.

During this time we are in a unique position to affect lasting change and weave magic into the world unlike ever before.  We are calling on the power of witches, pagans, shamans, healers and spiritualists to join forces and weave magic in the fabric of our everyday reality while bringing forth balance and harmony.

Starting on April 8th at sundown, each person will enact their own rite and light a candle (preferably a 7 day if you have it). The wave of energy will be sent around our planet for a full 24 hours and continue as long as our candles burn.  Please join in the power ritual by going to Euphoric Naturals & Apothecary Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/819088128585761/

For those joining us, please post a picture of your candle lighting on our https://www.facebook.com/EuphoricNaturals/ page as well as on Instagram #Homesteadcoven.

As you cast your circles and create sacred space, remember…….we are all in this together. May you be thricely blessed in the coming times.  Blessed Be!

Understanding Pisces New Moon 2020

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he year of 2020 has seen a transition from Pisces to Aquarius and with it a shift in our personal alignment to higher spiritual wisdom coupled with our relationship to social systems.   In February the powerful Leo Full Moon illuminated the dark hallows shielding blockages that contributed to our suffering as well as stood in our way of stepping into our personal power.  This last esbat NM in Pisces allowed us to unpack emotions regarding our path and aspirations.

Keywords for Pisces are:

*Dreams *Creativity  *Psychic   *Divination  *Intuition

In the body, Pisces rules the feet, toes and lymphatic system. (The lymphatic system works primarily to carry infection-fighting white blood cells while also working to rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials).

Feet are vitally important in carrying us on our path and foot ailments can manifest when we are not walking our truth.  Our ability to navigate the terrain becomes compromised and we often ‘lose ground’.

The magical and spiritual workings for the year will focus on balance and our place in the world.  January and February had us honing our inspirations, adjusting our ambitions and assessing our material resources.  Thusly, seeds sown these last two months will help us navigate our relationship to monetary restrictions while meeting our fiduciary responsibilities  Additionally, we have begun the process of digging deep to discover what drives us, what closely held values do we believe at our core and how does this contribute to the creation of our most authentic self as the month of March brings forth a shake-up of society structures.  (This can already be seen as a vying for power and position in politics commences with the impending elections).

Themes around the questions of ‘who am I and who do I want to be”? continue to be explored as we work in the challenge of adapting and adopting a way that is integrous and balanced.  The seeds we are growing will empower and nourish our authentic selves without giving into the consensus trance of what is right or useful according to society?

This Pisces NM offers us the opportunity to look at our internal landscapes.  We are assessing where we currently stand and as with any new moon, where do we go from here?

In order to arrive at an answer, one must assess where we spend the most time physically, emotionally and mentally.  All three are driven by wants and needs.  Everyone has basic needs requirements, however, it is important to travel beyond survival mode to develop and grow.  In order to understand deeply held motives and desires driving our behaviors and actions, we need to look at our needs and wants objectively without judgement.  This by no means gives cart blanche to act upon all wants but simply illustrates in a quantifiable way what is truly driving our powers of manifestation in both the concrete realms and the craft working realms.

In an effort to counteract greed, our culture has attempted to differentiate between a want and need, with wants having had a lot of negativity attached to them.    Needs are generally focused on survival where wants are frequently seen as wasteful or unnecessary.  With these ideas in mind, the next step is to evaluate our relationship to wants; in a lifetime it is next to impossible to single out every defining moment that has shaped how we value ourselves and our relationship to what we want.  Many of us have been taught that what we want for ourselves is bad or selfish, wants are all about ego or not being grateful for what one has or, my personal favorite, if you want more for yourself you are ungrateful and therefore it will all be taken away.  In reality, how can one ever really know who they are in life without unpacking wants, needs and dreams for good or ill?

We can spend so much time judging the rights and wrongs of needs and wants that we quit dreaming.  Evaluating and picking apart every aspect kills it all.  Ultimately this Pisces New Moon was about dreaming and creating without judgement, allowing our intuition to be our guide.

Our New Moon Vows were centered around this motif.  Between this Pisces New Moon and the Virgo Full Moon, take time to unpack your wants and dream in the healing light of the goddess as we ready ourselves for attracting good vibes in March.

Merry Meet and Blessed Be!

The Gates of Samhain

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amhain is one of the most anticipated sabbats of the witch’s year.  The leaves are burnished with red and gold, pumpkins, corn and squash are at the end of their ripening and the smell of fall fires are in the cold crisp air.  On the winds we hear the call of our ancestors voices that are beginning to reach us and in our peripheral vision spirit activity is more visible.

Samhain (pronounced Sow-een), also known as Samhuin,  Oíche Shamhna, All Hollows Eve or the more modern Halloween is a sabbat with Celtic roots marking the darker/lighter, end of summer/beginning of winter halves of the year.   At this time, much like at Beltane, the veil between the worlds is thinning and it is at this time that spirits journey across the hedge and seek out their kin.  As with many things in life, the demarcation line in spiritual matters is not so simple as black/white, opened/closed and this parallels the reality of the thinning veil. Image result for remedios varo's paintings

During Samhain we can hear the echo of the Goddess’ words from the Charge of the Goddess, that ‘no mortal shall ever see that which lies beyond my veil, for I am indeed mistress of the mysteries and keeper of the keys’.   The Veil that we speak of is the wall or membrane that separates the land of humankind from the land of ‘other’; be it Fey, Summerland, the Underworld, the God and Goddess, Spirits and Ancestors, etc.   The withdrawal of the Goddess across the veil is felt in lessening light of the Sun God shining upon her and as she withdraws her energy, so goes life until all lies still, quiet and fallow.

The Season of Samhain kicks off on or around October 31st, however does not reach its peak until around the 6th or 7th of November, when Sun is 15 degrees to Scorpio.  Scorpio is ruled by Pluto (Hades) the God of the Underworld, who is now coming into his full power.   Similar to Beltane, the veil is the thinnest and spirits activity is most prevalent. While Beltane energies are drawn upward and outward in the tree of life, toward the land of the Fey and Summerland; creation, fertility, light and life; Samhain energies are beginning to spiral inward and downward towards the underworld and spirits, death and decay, introspection and reflection.

Each one of these places all vibrate to a specific frequency, so to speak, which determine the placement of each of the ‘others’.  Our rites focus on aligning with these frequencies to make it possible to more easily commune with our ancestors.  Does this mean that we are unable to contact these other frequencies at different times of the year?  The short and long of it is, No.  The reality of it is, it is much more challenging to do so.  Many of us venerate, libate, pay homage and speak with/to our ancestors all year long.  The constant connection is often able to keep our most recently departed connected longer as well as aid in the petitioning of help or wisdom from our ancestors.   There is, however, a lot of static at other times of the year.  Imagine sending your call or your will through the eye of a needle in the dark when the wind is constantly blowing your thread around.  At Samhain those winds cease to blow for a time and the energies become still.

The withdraw of the goddess energy is reflected in the highly spiritual practices that aid us in turning inward, more aptly allowing us to connect with the inner planes and attune ourselves to what is taking place.   Energy goes where life flows and I believe that when one is aligned with and linked to deity/nature, our essential connected selves will follow where we can.  Thusly, as the Goddess crosses that veil, we follow to the liminal outer reaches but are unable to cross.  We know she’s there, we can feel her, but she’s not as easily accessed.  Simultaneously, those on the other-side have awaited her presence and as the Goddess crosses over the veil is much more permeable to those with no corporeal body. Those who still yearn for their kin or have been petitioned regularly are eager to connect with those in the land of the living and make the precarious journey at this time.

Alternatively as the Goddess of life crosses the veil she transforms into the Crone of Darkness who had journeys forth from the Underworld.  It is she who presides over the Cauldron that contains the essence of all mysteries, knowledge, life and the birthing of possibilities found in the matrix of unorganized and unformed chaos.  It is the Cauldron of the Crone in which we seek visions of knowledge as we process our year and move toward spiritual understanding and enlightenment.

Samahin’s third and final harvest of field crops and butchering provide the required sustenance for the sabbat season.  Those who walk the path of the old ones understand that where there is birth and death, there is blood and energy that will open portals and draw spirits.  Our Samhain rites give the much needed energy and spiritual food necessary to make the journey here and back across the hedge safely.   The rites also aid in protection against those convoluted soul energies that have breached the veil with more nefarious tasks in mind.

Lastly, Samhain is a Holy Day where open the portal or the guesting door, we light bonfires and hearth fires in the darkness to guide our beloved home for a spell as we call out the names of our ancestors and give thanks for their life blood that gives us life and runs strongImage result for remedios varo's paintingsly in our veins.

So……take a moment to rise up proudly, call your ancestors names loudly and drink heartily!

Blessed Be

 

Litha

celticTomorrow we embark on a midsummer journey.  The Litha solstice brings us to the longest day and the shortest night of the year where the Earth is at the midpoint on her journey around the sun.  The word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which translates to “sun stands still”  Depending on the year Litha will fall between June 20-22 or the 25th which was the Old Litha.  Litha is also known as Alban Heruin and Midsummer’s Night.   Historical writings have shown summer solstice celebrations all over the world and continue today as we honor the Old Ways.

In the Pacific Northwest, we are surrounded by the lushness of summer beauty

Summer Solstice Litha Wreath

Solar Wreath fire @ Rosethorn Manor

due to the warmth.  Usually we are still experiencing some precipitation, however, this year has been unseasonably hot for us.  The gardens are bursting with roses, lavendar, honeysuckle, mock-orange, rhodies and lungwort.  The apple trees have little baby apples that we have spent many an hour culling so that larger apples may grow, but not be such a burden on the trees.  We are keeping an eye on the just budding St. Johns Wort that will be used in our protection bundles at Lughnassadh.  The promise of abundance is everywhere and continues to grow until harvested at Mabon.

At this time we approach the sacred grove in perfect love and perfect trust, setting aside our difference and stresses of the mundane world to celebrate the Goddess in her lushness.  We honor deity and adorn our altars with yellow flowers (sunflowers if I can get them to bloom in time), yellow candles, bouquets of rose, peony, lavendar, mugwort, thyme, rue, fern, cock feathers and iris.  Fruits of the garden such as early strawberries and oak & holly leaves.  Stones of lapis, tigers eye, jade and moss agate round out the frequencies we are aligning ourselves for the season of Litha.   We praise the Horned God in his passionate love for the Goddess and the abundance and life their joining brings. In ritual we call forth the Sacred Spark of light and life to ignite change within ourselves, drawing on the strong and long light to bring forth balance and sustain us in our journey.  We give offerings of honey cakes which are a favorite this time of year, remembering to leave plenty for the bees.

We close our rite by lighting a fire to Brigid and focusing on the necessary balance and changes needed in our life-sacrificing that which no longer sustains or benefits our journey so that we make room in our storehouse for the inspiration that will enable future abundance in our lives and our work.

How do you celebrate this sabbat in your own life?

Blessed be the season of Summer!

Pagan Clergy-to be paid or not to be paid?

This one is all over the place, but still rings true…

Posted: July 19th. 2009
Lately there have been a lot of articles and discussions floating around on whether or not Pagan Clergy should be paid?  Some of the discussion run along the argument of whether or not witches should be paid for spell work or healing, fortune tellers to be paid for tarot card readings, etc., while others concern the forming of groups and covens and where the financial responsibility lies.

There are a lot of mixed feelings about this since many people feel what we do is a gift given by the Gods, the Lord & Lady or whomever you are aligned with and these gifts and talents are not to be abused or debased by being paid for.

The argument in question has many components to it and is really questioning the validation of what we do and therefore what we deserve in return for services.  In all fairness, almost any skill a person is able to perform can be considered a gift and it is up to the individual to develop their gifts and abilities.  There are two key pieces to the question:  What do we do/why do we do it?  What qualifies us to practice our skills and be paid?

To use myself as an example:  I have spent several decades actively learning the craft from mother nature, my family, my coven family my contacts and simply putting in the time.  I have honed my skills in spiritual psychology, tarot, spellcraft, herbal crafts and healing, ancestor worship, cultivating a relationship with deity and numerous other areas involving my spiritual belief systems.   I have spent many years in school to became a counselor in psychology.  I went through the process of becoming ordained and certified through the state (not the web) which required my degree, two ordained persons to sponsor me (one happened to be my Priestess) and many many hours of work.  The long and short of it, is it is a lifestyle, not knowledge gained in one shot or overnight.

From my experience, most people do not want to pay and expect these spiritually oriented gifts for free or at minimal cost.  People do not want to take into account the many years and hours that have gone into honing our craft, knowledge and skills, as gifts have to be developed.  It then becomes a question of who sets the price and who validates the act or skill? The abstract and organic nature of the sacred sciences can be nebulous, murky and influenced by the practitioner in question and their own level of honesty.

Questions and finger pointing arise when spells or divination do not appear to be working.  There are so many reasons for this from lack of skill and honesty on the part of the practitioner to changes that have come about since the working, lack of honesty and a closed heart on the part of the recipient.  (However, the science of these workings is a whole different matter).

In ancient times ‘clergy’ proved themselves. That isn’t necessarily so in modern times. We don’t like to conform or be dictated to by general society as what we do is not understood by the masses and seems abstract and arbitrary by nature.  This lack of conformity also makes it difficult to collectively come together and decide on a universally agreed upon mastery of skills and knowledge to demark a person of quality and ability or recourse when something goes awry.

The next piece of paying pagan clergy evaluates the fine line between what is being provided and how is compensation or respect being shown to coven leaders and elders? Again murky waters and often ill received due to all the charlatans, phonies and power hungry wannabes.   In the past, older covens and tribes or communities were run in a way where people in some way supported the group by supporting each other as a mini-community.  Elders, Shamans, Wise Men and Women provided guidance and spiritual counsel and were in turn taken care of.   The devaluing of spirit in society has led to the devaluing of spiritual counsel and works.  In modern times most of us who work as Priests, Priestesses and Elders must also work a job to pay the bills.  In a coven setting we all help each other for free, but outside of the coven people need to pay, trade or contribute in some way to compensate for the time and energy expended.

This matter can become a conflict of interest when pagan groups and leaders start setting themselves up as a religious order, building churches and attempting to collect large sums of money to support it all.  Honesty and integrity become compromised.  Covens and spiritual groups are usually kept small for a reason. The problem with giving money to groups and covens is that people are just as money hungry and power hungry in the craft as anywhere else. Paganism and Witchcraft are of nature and therefore practiced in nature when at all possible.

In the PNW, most people hold meetings in their homes during the winter or at times when outside isn’t always an option. All of the accoutrements that money is spent on are gathered in that home, and while technically are property of the coven, really belong to the person that lives in the home along with all of the other stuff that is gathered over the years. The person living in that home gets the most out of it and I feel that balances some of the things out.

While churches and clergy provide a service, it is usually to the really large crowd that gathers. In a coven, the group is smaller and part of that premise is that everyone provides the energy so that one person is not drawn upon and depleted. It is the HP/Pess responsibility to be healthy physically, spiritually and emotionally and trained in a way that it can be utilized so they don’t become depleted.

When a group is small less is usually more. It takes less energy to concentrate, unify and focus a group mind. With more people, more props are usually needed. When money is involved clergy has to be trusted to spend money on what the group really needs.   How many altar cloths and different candles sticks or props are really needed for the group vs. what is personally filling that persons void? Are funds being utilized properly? Is integrity being maintained? The time of temples and schools seems to have passed because, once again, of context. I have seen and heard people mentioning the words church and cost. If there are ‘leaders’, it is in their best interest to maintain those roles so they continue to get paid and stay in a position of power. It’s organizing spirituality instead of a religion. Paganism has become so commercial and any self-important person can set him or herself up and convince others that he/she are more knowledgeable than anyone else in the room.  This sends us down a path of controlling behaviors due to the interest conflicts of maintaining a space that may have moved on for its originally intended use or people trying to use funds to pay their bills without being up front about how things are set up.

I have heard it said that the biggest problem facing Paganism today is the inability to pool resources. I think it’s more that Paganism has such a diversity of people and many are not paying their share because they think to be pagan is to live off the land or the system and not work. Well, people who used to live off the land also had a skill that made money or enabled them to trade. That isn’t so for the majority anymore.

I do think that spiritual priorities should be better addressed. I think Covens and spiritual communities would be better served if costs were openly scrutinized. There are some costs that a person would be incurred no matter what. Heat, water, and electricity would most likely be on and used whether people were meeting or not.

When I first came to my covenstead over eleven years ago, there was no money passing hands. The High Priestess did the main dish for the Sabbats. I encouraged them to share the costs so that it wasn’t all on a few, such as $1 donation, alternating makers of main dishes, contributing ritual wine and bringing paper items that are used by the entire group. When our High Priest got sick, I suggested the group get together to do a bit of work outside until he got back on his feet.  This helped offset some of the expenses, created a community mindset and show respect for what was being offered.

Another issue is the cost of classes. In my spiritual group, we have made it part of our curriculum that those climbing the ranks through our mystery degrees are responsible for planning and leading one or multiple classes. One learns what they really know and need to flesh out in order to teach a group. The only time there is a cost is if a special item is needed, but never for a class.

Maybe our group is a bit different than others in our mini-community support. In our current times, it is impossible to have or expect people to respond and live as in times past. We live further apart, work more hours, live in a faster paced society, and have many responsibilities, all of which can only partially be circumvented by choices to live differently.

However, we still must be a part of society if we are to affect some sort of change. In looking at belonging to a spiritual community, there is the question of commitment. If we have agreed to be part of a particular group or association, do we plan ahead? Are we planning financially so that we have our paper and money donations for the month?

Do we make our food with intent that we have some to bring to Sabbats? Do we cut our flowers or bring an altar offering with intent? Do we do the work at home so that we “bring it” to our meetings, groups or covensteads when gather?

On TV, I saw a couple that had set themselves up leaders of the group. Their group did the couple’s housework, yard work and paid for much of their bills. I didn’t see anything the leaders were providing to their coven or to the greater community that warranted that. I’ve yet to meet anyone with that much ability!

I don’t think I would belong to a group that considered themselves a church and became so organized and big that money was such an issue. If one is the paid head of a congregation numbering many, one is setting him/herself up to be a go-between and guide. This creates spiritual dependency and steers us in the direction of ‘organized religion’.

That just doesn’t sit right or ring true to Paganism in my Book of Shadows.