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Wheel of the year

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Forums -> Wicca -> Wheel of the year

Wheel of the year
By:
Post # 1
Adding this here has I will be leaving som very shortly, you may also find this in a few covens I have belonged to under different user names.

Be blessed all.

Here's the History of the Wheel:

To early humankind the year was first divided into two parts: Summer and Winter. Although it was possible to grow food in the summer, it was necessary to hunt for animals for food in the winter. The God, as a God of hunting, predominated during the winter months and the Goddess, as a Goddess of fertility for the crops, predominated in the summer. The changes occurred at Samhain (November Eve) and Beltane (May Eve). Later in the development of humankind, it was learned how to store crops from the summer to last through the winter, so success in hunting became less important and the Goddess predominated throughout the whole year, though the God was by her side.
To mark the halfway point through each of the halves of the year, Imbolc (February Eve) and Lughnasadh (August Eve) came into being. The word Imbolc means ''in milk'' and is associated with lactating sheep and other domestic animals at that time. The word Lughnasadh means ''married to Lugh'' (the sun God).'' Like most of the festival names, these are of Celtic origin. The equinox and solstice celebrations tie in with the progress of the sun through the year, but the four major (and oldest) festivals are more agricultural in their associations, tying in to the land, crops and animals.

Sample Ritual

Casting the Circle
(3x clockwise with athame and 1 time with sage)
Here tonight the circle?s cast
Joining future, present, past
Truth and love shall light the way
Evil ones be kept at bay
Harm non and rule of three
By our intent, So Mote It Be!

Calling Quarters

East
Hail to the guardian of the watchtower of the East
Keeper of the element of Air
Please bless and protect this circle with your mighty winds.
(light candle and offer herb)
Hail and Welcome!

South
Hail to the guardian of the watchtower of the South
Keeper of the element of Fire.
Please bless and protect this circle with your searing flames.
(light candle and offer herb)
Hail and Welcome!

West
Hail to the guardian of the watchtower of the West
Keeper of the element of water.
Please bless and protect this circle with you cleansing waves.
(light candle and offer herb)
Hail and Welcome!

North
Hail to the guardian of the watchtower of the North,
Keeper of the element of earth.
Please bless and protect this circle with your timeless stones.
(light candle and offer herb)
Hail and Welcome!

Calling the Goddess and God Goddess

Great Mother we call on thee tonight
To bless our circle with thy light
Behold your daughters, strong and true
Bring beauty and love to the work we do.
In thy honor, if it is thy will
See our spells become fulfilled.
(light candle and offer herb)
Hail and Welcome

God
Great Father we call on thee tonight
To bless our circle with thy might
Behold your daughters, strong and true
Bring honor and pride to the work we do
In thy honor, if it is thy will
See our spells become fulfilled.
(light candle and offer herb)
Hail and Welcome

Prosperity Spell
In love and truth
In truth and love
By the power of below,
Around, above
We ask to have prosperity
In our lives.
So Mote it Be!
(light green candle and place circle of prosperity powder around candle)
Meditate on what you wish for each person says what they wish for and throws some prosperity powder on fire candle must burn itself out--do not extinguish.

Blessing Cake and Ale
We bless these cakes in the name of the Great Mother
Who provides sustenance that we may live
(said while one holds plate up in the air)
We bless this ale in the name of the Horned God
In honor of his essence which gave us life.
(said while holding glass in the air)
Eat and drink saving some for the Gods.

Farewell to the God and Goddess
God
Great Father and Fierce Protector
Thank you for being with us tonight
May we retain your strength and bravery
(extinguish candle, throw herb on fire)
Farewell

Goddess
Great Mother and Wise Lady
Thank you for being with us tonight
May we retain your bounty and comfort.
(extinguish candle, throw herb on fire)
Farewell

Farewell to the Quarters
North
Farewell to the guardian of the watchtower of the North
Keeper of the element of earth.
Thank you for blessing and protecting our circle.
(extinguish candle and throw herb on fire)
Farewell

West
Farewell to the guardian of the watchtower of the West
Keeper of the element of Water.
Thank you for blessing and protecting our circle.
(extinguish candle and throw herb on the fire)
Farewell

South
Farewell to the guardian of the watchtower of the South
Keeper of the element of fire.
Thank you for blessing and protecting our circle.
(extinguish candle, and throw herb on fire)
Farewell

East
Farewell to the guardian of the watchtower of the East
Keeper of the element of air.
Thank you for blessing and protecting our circle.
(extinguish candle and throw herb on fire)
Farewell

Opening the Circle
3x with athame widdershins
May the circle be open but never broken
May the Goddess and God be ever in our hears
Merry meet and merry part
And merry meet again.

Herbs Used
Prosperity Powder
Allspice
Cinnamon
Myrrh
Orange Zest
Orrisroot
Patchouli
Vertiver

Offerings
God--Lavender
Goddess--Lemon
North--Patchouli
South--Mint
East--Sage
West-- Chamomile

Yule
(from the Norse, Iul,, meaning wheel): In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has been celebrated for millennia. The Norse peoples viewed it as a time for much feasting, merrymaking, and, if the Icelandic sagas are to be believed, a time of sacrifice as well. Traditional customs such as the Yule log, the decorated tree, and wassailing can all be traced back to Norse origins.

Celtic Celebrations of Winter
The Celts of the British Isles celebrated midwinter as well. Although little is known about the specifics of what they did, many traditions persist. According to the writings of Pliny the Elder, this is the time of year in which Druid priests sacrificed a white bull and gathered mistletoe in celebration.

Roman Saturnalia
Few cultures knew how to party like the Romans. Saturnalia was a festival of general merrymaking and debauchery held around the time of the winter solstice. This week-long party was held in honor of the god Saturn, and involved sacrifices, gift-giving, special privileges for slaves, and a lot of feasting. Although this holiday was partly about giving presents, more importantly, it was to honor an agricultural god.

One of the four Minor Sabbats:
The Goddess gives birth to a son, the God, at Yule who died at Samhain (circa on or about December 21 but it can vary from year to year). Yule is the celebration of the Goddess becoming the Great Mother. This is in no way an adaptation of Christianity. The winter solstice has long been viewed as a time of divine births. Mithras was said to have been born at this time. The Christians simply adopted it for their use in 273 C.E. (Common Era).
Yule is the time of the greatest darkness and is the shortest day of the year. Earlier peoples noticed such phenomena and supplicated the forces of nature to lengthen the days and shorten the nights. Pagans sometimes celebrate Yule just before dawn, then watch the sunrise as a fitting finale to their efforts.
Since the God is also the Sun, this marks the point of the year when the Sun is reborn as well. Thus the Pagan light fires or candles to welcome the sun's returning light. The Goddess, slumbering through the winter of her labor, rests after her delivery. Yule is the remnant of early rituals celebrated to hurry the end of winter and the bounty of spring, when food was once again readily available. To contemporary Pagan, it is a reminder that the ultimate product of death is rebirth, a comforting thought in these days of unrest.
Yule is a good time to think about your hopes for the coming year, and your plans and aspirations.

Decorations for Yule could be
Ivy, Mistletoe, Holly, Pine Boughs, Bay and Rosemary. Candles can be Red, Green or Purple. The wreath is a typical Yule decoration, presenting the Wheel of the Year. The traditional Yule Log is also a custom, with the log decorated with evergreen and holly strands before being lit at sunset. The Yule log is burned throughout the night until sunrise the following morning, another representation of the returning of the sun and the turning of the Wheel of the Year.
Some events for the Yule Sabbat could include an exchange of gifts, a turning of a physical representation of the Wheel of the Year, to help our Goddess in the birth of our God, and the placing of wishes for the coming year on a Yule tree.

Other Names:
Jul (wheel, Old Norse), Saturnalia(Rome ~December 17 & 18), Yuletide(Teutonic), Midwinter, Fionn's Day, Alban huan, Christmas (Christian~December 25), Xmas, Festival of Sol, Solar/Secular/Pagan New Year

Animals/Mythical beings
Yule goat (Nordic), reindeer stag, squirrels, Yule cat, Sacred White Buffalo, Kallikantzaroi-ugly chaos monsters(Greek), trolls, phoenix, Yule elf, jule gnome, squirrels, wren/robin
Gemstones:
cat's eye, ruby, diamond, garnet, bloodstone

Incense/Oils: Bayberry, cedar, ginger, cinnamon, pine, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, saffron

Colors:
Gold, silver, red, green, white
Tools, Symbols, & Decorations:
Bayberry candles, evergreens, holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, lights, gifts, Yule log, Yule tree. Spinning wheels, wreaths, bells, mother & child images

Goddesses:
Great Mother, Befana (strega), Holda (Teutonic), Isis(Egyptian), Triple Goddess, Mary(Christian), Tonazin(Mexican), Lucina(roman), St. Lucy (Swedish),Bona Dea (roman), Mother Earth, Eve(Hebrew), Ops(roman Holy Mother), the Snow Queen, Hertha (German), Frey (Norse)

Gods:
Sun Child, Saturn(Rome), Cronos (Greek), Hours/Ra(Egyptian), Jesus(Christian-Gnostic), Mithras(Persian), Balder(Norse), Santa Claus/Odin(Teutonic), Holly King, Sol Invicta, Janus(God of Beginnings), Marduk (Babylonian)Old Man Winter

Essence:
Honor, rebirth, transformation, light out of darkness, creative inspiration, the mysteries, new life, regeneration, inner renewal, reflection/introspection
Dynamics/Meaning:
Death of the Holly (winter) King; reign of the Oak (summer) King), begin the ordeal of the Green Man, death & rebirth of the Sun God; night of greatest lunar imbalance; sun?s rebirth; shortest day of year

Purpose:
Honor the Triple Goddess, welcome the Sun Child
Rituals/Magicks:
Personal renewal, world peace, honoring family & friends, Festival of light, meditation

Customs:
Lights, gift-exchanging, singing, feasting, resolutions, new fires kindled, strengthening family & friend bonds, generosity, yule log, hanging mistletoe, apple wassailing, burning candles, Yule tree decorating; kissing under mistletoe; needfire at dawn vigil; bell ringing/sleigh-bells; father Yule

Foods:
Nuts, apple, pear, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pork, orange, hibiscus or ginger tea, roasted turkey, nuts, fruitcake, dried fruit, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine
Element:
Earth
Threshold:
Dawn

Herbs:
Blessed thistle, evergreen, moss, oak, sage, bay, bayberry, cedar, pine, frankincense, ginger, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon, valerian, yarrow.

Colors

Red:
The symbolic color of health during this time of year as the days are dark and cold. We wish for the continued or improved health of ourselves, loved ones, and herd beasts during the times of our constitutions and wills are tested.

Green:
Good fortune to all. The sun promises to return and we have stocked an abundance of food, renewed our friendships and surround ourselves with friends. Generosity is key and green is the color.

Gold:
The color of the Sun God as his birth is heralded on Yule morn. It is the color of intuition and many begin this day with a divination for the coming year.

Incense
2 parts Frankincense
2 parts Pine needles or resin
1 part Cedar
1 part Juniper berries
Mix and smolder at Pagan rites on Yule or during the winter months to cleanse the home and to attune with the forces of nature amid the cold days and nights.

Tools and Symbols
The element of earth is sometimes represented in the circle by the earth dish. The earth dish can be made of any material, but the most common in paganism is a dish mode of copper or wood. The function of the earth dish is to contain that which contains: earth. In most traditions, the earth dish is filled with salt, which represents earth. On Ostara or Beltane, it's nice to fill it with soil to be blessed with the energy of the Sabbat, and then sprinkled over our gardens or potted plants.
Another item typically associated with the north, and earth, is the pentacle. This beautiful and traditional tool is typically a disc of copper, brass, or wood, in which a pentagram and other symbols are inscribed. The more traditional symbols include: a Horned God symbol; a crescent Goddess symbol; upright and inverted triangles for the first and third degree; and an inverted pentagram, the symbol--in traditional Wicca--of the second degree. The inverted pentagram in Wicca is also a powerful symbol indicating the concept of as above, so below.
In addition to the other symbols, there are also two ''S'' symbols--one with a line through it--for the two outer pillars of the Qabalah: Mercy and Severity. Now again, these are symbols of older traditions of Wicca. You may wish to use these symbols, or you may not. You can add or subtract as it pleases you should you decide to make yourself a pentacle, using symbols that have impact and meaning for you personally. In circle, some Wiccans/Pagans pour a small pile of salt on the pentacle and then bless it before stirring it into the chalice. There are some traditions that do not use the pentacle, choosing to only use the earth dish instead, and vice versa. Please remember that no matter what you choose to use to represent earth, if it is made of metal, you must remove the salt after ritual, or your beautiful sacred tool will become pitted and scarred and will take hours of work to buff out, if you have the equipment to do so (trust me, I know). It?s just not worth it to neglect the proper care of your tools.

Decorations
You can start this project, one of two ways. You can either get a star, that is already made, at a craft store, or you can make your own by tying vines together in a star shape with floral wire.

Than you just simply attach holly branches, with berries to the star, making a loop on the
back of it with wire, to hang.

You can even take this project one step further, which I plan on doing next year, by making a holly pentagram.

To do this, just purchase a 18' round metal frame, and make your star to fit in the middle.
Attach the 5 points to the metal circle, and than attach your holly.

How to make a Yule Log
As the Wheel of the Year turns once more, the days get shorter, the skies become gray, and it seems as though the sun is dying. In this time of darkness, we pause on the Solstice (usually around December 21st, although not always on the same date) and realize that something wonderful is happening.
On Yule, the sun stops its decline into the south. For a few days, it seems as though it's rising in exactly the same place and then the amazing, the wonderful, the miraculous happens. The light begins to return.
The sun begins its journey back to the north, and once again we are reminded that we have something worth celebrating. In families of all different spiritual paths, the return of the light is celebrated, with Menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, bonfires, and brightly lit Christmas trees. On Yule, many Pagan and Wiccan families celebrate the return of the sun by adding light into their homes. One of our family's favorite traditions and one that children can do easily is to make a Yule log for a family-sized celebration. A holiday celebration that began in Norway, on the night of the winter solstice it was common to hoist a giant log onto the hearth to celebrate the return of the sun each year. The Norsemen believed that the sun was a giant wheel of fire which rolled away from the earth, and then began rolling back again on the winter solstice. As Christianity spread through Europe, the tradition became part of Christmas Eve festivities. The father or master of the house would sprinkle the log with libations of mead, oil or salt. Once the log was burned in the hearth, the ashes were scattered about the house to protect the family within from hostile spirits. Because each type of wood is associated with various magickal and spiritual properties, logs from different types of trees might be burned to get a variety of effects. Aspen is the wood of choice for spiritual understanding, while the mighty oak is symbolic of strength and wisdom. A family hoping for a year of prosperity might burn a log of pine, while a couple hoping to be blessed with fertility would drag a bough of birch to their hearth. In our house, we usually make our Yule log out of pine, but you can make yours of any type of wood you choose. You can select one based on its magickal properties, or you can just use whatever's handy.
To make a basic Yule log, you will need the following

A log about 14 18'' long
Pinecones
Dried berries, such as cranberries
Cuttings of mistletoe, holly, pine needles, and ivy
Feathers and cinnamon sticks
Some festive ribbon use paper or cloth ribbon, not the synthetic or wire-lined type
A hot glue gun
All of these except for the ribbon and the hot glue gun -- are things you and your children can gather outside. You might wish to start collecting them earlier in the year, and saving them. Encourage your children to only pick up items they find on the ground, and not to take any cuttings from live plants.
Begin by wrapping the log loosely with the ribbon. Leave enough space that you can insert your branches, cuttings and feathers under the ribbon. In our house, we place five feathers on our Yule log one for each member of the family. Once you've gotten your branches and cuttings in place, begin gluing on the pinecones, cinnamon sticks and berries. Add as much or as little as you like. Remember to keep the hot glue gun away from small children.
Once you've decorated your Yule log, the question arises of what to do with it. For starters, use it as a centerpiece for your holiday table. A Yule log looks lovely on a table surrounded by candles and holiday greenery.
Another way to use your Yule log is to burn it as our ancestors did so many centuries ago. In our family, before we burn our log we each write down a wish on a piece of paper, and then insert it into the ribbons. Its our wish for the upcoming year, and we keep it to ourselves in hopes that it will come true.
If you have a fireplace, you can certainly burn your Yule log in it, but we prefer to do ours outside. We have a fire pit in the back yard, and on the night of the winter solstice, we gather out there with blankets, mittens, and mugs full of warm drinks as we burn our log. While we watch the flames consume it, we discuss how thankful we are for the good things that have come our way this year, and how we hope for abundance, good health, and happiness in the next.


Imbolc or Oimelc is basically an early spring festival. Imbolc (February 2) marks the recovery of the Goddess after giving birth to the God. The lengthening periods of light awaken her. The God is a young, lusty boy, but his power is felt in the longer days. The warmth fertilizes the earth (the Goddess), causing seeds to germinate and sprout. And so the earliest beginnings of spring occur.

This is the Sabbat of purification after the shut-in-life of winter, through the renewing power of the Sun. It is also a festival of light and fertility, once marked in Europe with huge blazes, torches and fire in every form. Fire here represents our own illumination and inspiration as much as light and warmth.
Imbolc is also known as the Feast of the Torches, Lupercalia, Feat of Pan, Snowdrop Festival, Feast of the Waxing Light, Brigid's Day, and probably by many other names. Some Female Pagans follow the old Scandinavian custom of wearing crowns of lit candles, but many more carry tapers during their invocations.
Spring is Coming.

Imbolc is a holiday with a variety of names, depending on which culture and location you're looking at. In the Irish Gaelic, it's called Oimelc, which translates to ewe's milk. It's a precursor to the end of winter when the ewes are nursing their newly born lambs. Spring and the planting season are right around the corner.

The Romans Celebrate
To the Romans, this time of year halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox was known as Lupercalia. For them, it was a purification ritual in which a goat was sacrificed and a scourge made of its hide. Thong-clad men ran through the city, whacking people with bits of hide. Those who were struck considered themselves fortunate indeed. This is one of the few Roman celebrations that is not associated with a particular temple or deity. Instead, it focuses on the founding of the city of Rome, by twins Romulus and Remus, who were suckled by a she-wolf -- in a cave known as the ''Lupercale''.

The Feast of Nut
The ancient Egyptians celebrated this time of year as the Feast of Nut, whose birthday falls on February 2 (Gregorian calendar). According to the Book of the Dead, Nut was seen as a mother-figure to the sun god Ra, who at sunrise was known as Khepera and took the form of a scarab beetle.
Christian Conversion of a Pagan Celebration

When Ireland converted to Christianity, it was hard to convince people to get rid of their old gods, so the church allowed them to worship the goddess Brighid as a saint -- thus the creation of St. Brigid's Day. Today, there are many churches around the world which bear her name. This is one of the traditional times for initiation into covens, so self dedication rituals can be performed or renewed at this time.

A major symbol of Imbolc is the Grain Dolly made from last year's grain sheaves twisted or woven to represent a symbolic figure of the Goddess. The figure is then laid in a small bed on Imbolc night to wait for the appearance of her Sun God consort. Another custom of the holiday is the weaving of a ''Brigit's Cross'' from straw to hang around the house for protection.
Evergreen and willow are traditional plants of Imbolc, and the typical colors for the altar candle are pink or pale green. Altar displays could include seeds and nuts.

Deities of Imbolc
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.

Symbolism of Imbolc
Purity, Growth and Re-Newal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.

Symbols of Imbolc
Brideo'gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid's Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.

Foods of Imbolc
Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppy seed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.

ncense of Imbolc
Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.

Colors of Imbolc
White, Red, Blue.

Stones of Imbolc:
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.

Activities of Imbolc
Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo'gas and Bride's Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires may be lit.

Herbs of Imbolc
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.

Colors:
White:
The color of protection, peace, and purity. Symbolic of the nature of the beast that are born during this time.

Blue:
Tranquility for the mother who labors, patience and health as she watches her infants grow strong on her love and nourishment.

Red:
The symbolic color of sex and power, and health. Red also represents Brigid?s fires which continue to provide solace from the cold.

Incense
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Dragon's Blood
1/2 part Red Sandalwood
1 part Cinnamon
A few drops Red Wine

To this mixture add a pinch of the first flower (dry it first) that is available in your area at the time of Imbolc. Burn during Wiccan/Pagan ceremonies on Imbolc, or simply to attune with the symbolic rebirth of the Sun--the fading of winter and the promise of spring.

Pathworkings:
Go for a holiday walk. It can be short or long, whichever you like. See if you can feel the impending season. Imagine, as you walk, what activities are occurring under the soil.
Clean house. Physically first, then psychically, magically.
Make a list of things you would like to plant in yourself, and keep the list in a place you will remember. Add to it between now and Ostara, whenever the mood strikes you.
Light candles for yourself and your loved ones, saying prayers and sending them light ad color symbolizing that which they most need or want to come into their lives.
Make some candles. One can make hand-rolled ones from sheets of beeswax (they're easy and quite beautiful), poured candles (this requires a mold---see what kinds of molds you can make from inexpensive items around the house), or you can ever try hand-dipping some. You will need to heat your wax in a deep vessel---I suggest a large coffee can, and have another can nearby with very cold, or even iced water. You will start with only a string of wick, perhaps a foot and a half long, divided in half. Dip both ends in the wax a few times, then dip them into the cold water to set the wax. Be sure to keep the ends from sticking together. Repeat the above (it will take some time), until they look right to you. Remember to dip in and out of the wax quickly, or you?ll melt off what you've just dipped.
See your healers, and give your body a tune-up. You'll feel better, more energetic, more able to let in the light and energy that is growing so rapidly this time of year.
Purchase some small (I call the seed) crystals, and think of what you will program into them, so that you will be ready to plant them at Ostara.

Decoration
Materials
Craft wreath
Eight white candles
Ivy leaves or vines
Glue gun

Directions
Either drill thick holes into the wreath so that candles can be placed inside, or just secure them with screw-bottom candleholders or glue gun glue. Place the ivy leaves around in a decorative fashion.

Ritual use
The eight candles are symbolic of the eight spokes of the year, and spinning the circle into motion at Imbolc is important. In ritual, the candles can be solemnly lit with a cauldron or bowl placed in the middle of the candle wheel. The cauldron or bowl can have the Wish Tree in the middle of it, with water all around it, and have new pennies thrown into it while cementing the wishes. Also the tree and the candle wheel can be toasted.

How to Make Ice Candles

Ice candles are a lot of fun and easy to make during the winter months. Since February is traditionally a snow-filled time, at least in the northern hemisphere, why not make some ice candles to celebrate Imbolc, which is a day of candles and light
You'll need the following:
Ice
Paraffin wax
Color and scent (optional)
A taper candle
A cardboard container, like a milk carton
A double boiler, or two pans
Melt the paraffin wax in the double boiler. Make sure that the wax is never placed directly over the heat, or you could end up with a fire. While the wax is melting, you can prepare your candle mold. If you want to add color or scent to your candle, this is the time to add it to the melted wax.
Place the taper candle into the center of the cardboard carton. Fill the carton with ice, packing them loosely in around the taper candle. Use small chunks of ice -- if they're too large, your candle will be nothing but big holes.
Once the wax has melted completely, pour it into the container carefully, making sure that it goes around the ice evenly. As the hot wax pours in, it will melt the ice, leaving small holes in the candle. Allow the candle to cool, and then poke a hole in the bottom of the cardboard carton so the melted water can drain out (it's a good idea to do this over a sink). Let the candle sit overnight so the wax can harden completely, and in the morning, peel back all of the cardboard container. You'll have a complete ice candle, which you can use in ritual or for decoration.
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Re: Wheel of the year
By:
Post # 2
Ostara (also spelled Estra, Eostre and Eostra) (circa March 20), the spring Equinox also known as spring, Rites of Spring and Eostra's Day, marks the first day of true spring. The energies of nature subtly shift from the sluggishness of winter to the exuberant expansion of spring. The Goddess blankets the earth with fertility, bursting forth from her sleep, as the God stretches and grows to maturity. He walks the greening fields and delights in the abundance of nature.
On Ostara, the hours of day and night are equal. Light is overtaking darkness; the Goddess and God impel the wild creatures of the earth to reproduce.
This is a time of beginnings, of action, of planting spells for future gains, and of tending ritual gardens.
This Pagan festival is symbolized by eggs as the meaning of new life. The decorations for Ostara should be any of the spring flowers. This is a time to contemplate new beginnings or fresh ideas.

Spring Celebrations Around the World

In ancient Rome, the followers of Cybele believed that their goddess had a consort who was born via a virgin birth. His name was Attis, and he died and was resurrected each year during the time of the vernal equinox on the Julian Calendar (between March 22 and March 25). Around the same time, the Germanic tribes honored a lunar goddess known as Ostara, who mated with a fertility god around this time of year, and then gave birth nine months later ? at Yule.
The indigenous Mayan people in Central American have celebrated a spring equinox festival for ten centuries. As the sun sets on the day of the equinox on the great ceremonial pyramid,
El Castillo, Mexico, its ''western face...is bathed in the late afternoon sunlight. The lengthening shadows appear to run from the top of the pyramid's northern staircase to the bottom, giving the illusion of a diamond-backed snake in descent.'' This has been called ''The Return of the Sun Serpent'' since ancient times.
According to the Venerable Bede,
Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic goddess Ostara. Her feast day was held on the full moon following the vernal equinox almost the identical calculation as for the Christian Easter in the west. There is very little documented evidence to prove this, but one popular legend is that Eostre found a bird, wounded, on the ground late in winter. To save its life, she transformed it into a hare. But the transformation was not a complete one. The bird took the appearance of a hare but retained the ability to lay eggs...the hare would decorate these eggs and leave them as gifts to Eostre.

Modern Celebrations

This is a good time of year to start your seedlings. If you grow an
herb garden, start getting the soil ready for late spring plantings. Celebrate the balance of light and dark as the sun begins to tip the scales, and the return of new growth is near.
Many modern Wiccans and Pagans celebrate Ostara as a time of renewal and rebirth. Take some time to celebrate the new life that surrounds you in nature -- walk in park, lay in the grass, hike through a forest. As you do so, observe all the new things beginning around you -- plants, flowers, insects, birds. Meditate upon the ever-moving
Wheel of the Year, and celebrate the change of seasons.

Correspondence Table

Appropriate Deities for Ostara:

include all Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, and all Fertility Deities. Some Ostara Deities to mention by name here include Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Cybele, Gaia, Hear, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, and Pan.

Key actions to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year:
include openings and new beginnings. Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility and abundance. Ostara is a good time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action. Start working towards physically manifesting your plans now.

Stones:
aquamarine, rose quartz, and moonstone.

Animals:
rabbits and snakes.


Mythical beasts:
unicorns, merpeople, and Pegasus.

Plants:
crocus flowers, daffodils, jasmine, Irish moss, snowdrops, and ginger.

Foods:
(linking your meals with the seasons is a fine way of attuning with Nature) include eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, fish, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, honey and ham. You may also include foods made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.

Herbs
lily of the valley, tansy, lavender, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, lovage, lilac, violets, lemon balm, dogwood, honeysuckle, oakmoss, orrisroot, sunflower seeds, rose hips, oak, elder, willow, crocus, daffodil, jonquil, tulip, broom (Scotch or Iris), meadowsweet, acorn, trefoil (purple clover), vervain.

Colors

Green:
Symbolic of fertility and prosperity, for in these days is nothing that cannot be achieved. The world is a fertile bed of infinite possibilities.

Pink:
Friendships and harmony and creativity are represented with this color.

Purple:
The driving force behind power and transformation.

Incense:
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Benzoin
1 part Dragon?s Blood
1/2 part Nutmeg
1/2 part Violet flowers (or a few drops of violet oil)
1/2part Orange peel
1/2part Rose petals
Burn during Wiccan/Pagan rituals on Ostara or to welcome the spring and to refresh your life.

Pathworkings:
On Ostara, feast on things that remind you of air, spring, newness. Before eating, bless the food with the energy of change and new beginnings. Buy yourself an Ostara gift. Go for a walk, preferably in a strong breeze. I would venture to guess a strong breeze on Ostara would be a lucky sign.
A meditation you can do is to let your spirit float on the air, sailing to faraway lands, touching the tops of trees with your bare feet, opening your mind to possibility, newness, and change.
Visit an aviary, or even better, go out in nature to where you now you?ll see some birds. Watch their flight patterns, how they dip and glide and turn. If you know where they nest, look for feathers on the ground; if you find any, thanks the birds by leaving an offering of birdseed. Visit a butterfly pavilion. Many larger cities have them. If ever there was a creature of spring, it is the butterfly. Born in spring, and living only until the first cold snap or sooner, their lives are a dedication and a tribute to the seasons of air and fire. Bright wings fill the air; and in the wind, we can see them swept away by the sheer force of what is nothing more than a breath to us, reminding us yet again of the tremendous power of air.
Create a mental wand. Imagine its length, its power. Imagine the crystal tip glowing with the blue-white light of the magic circle. Hold it in your hand, heft its weight. Imagine something in your life that needs to have boundaries, and see the glow of blue-white energy coming from the tip of the wand, down to the earth as you draw the line.
Make a besom or a fan. You can decorate these any way you like, and use them in circle or as decorations. (Be sure to hang the besom with the male end up, for the energy of action and fertility).
Undertake some new project or field of study you've been wanting to pursue. Know that your mental powers, mingled with Nature?s, are now at their peak. Start the project in the morning on Ostara's Day, and your work will be twice blessed.
Think about your path: where you've been and where you're going. Communicate with your teacher, ask questions, give feedback. If you are happy with what you're learning, tell your teacher. If you are on the solitary path, write yourself a letter of appreciation for all that you?ve done to improve your life since beginning this path.

Decorations:

Eggshell Candles

Perfect for the ritual altar, these candles are easy to make and pretty to look at.

You Will Need:
Raw eggs
Wax beads
Birthday candles
Egg dye (optional)
Craft scissors
Knife

Tap the egg gently but firmly on the top, pointed end. Peel back a small section of shell and allow the egg to fall out. Try to keep the bottom 3/4 of the egg intact. Reserve the eggs for recipes.

Rinse the inside of the eggshells very carefully with very hot water. Set them on a rack to dry.

If you like, take a craft scissor and trim around the broken edge, or break off pieces by hand for a more jagged look.

At this point, if you want to dye the egg shells, you can do so. Again, be careful with the delicate shells. Set them again on a rack or paper towel to dry.

Fill the candle 1/2 to 3/4 of the way with craft wax beads. Insert a birthday candle into the center for an easy wick. If necessary, trim off the bottom of the birthday candle so that it is even with the wax beads, or you can just let it burn down.

Set it in an egg holder or a candle holder where it fits snugly.
Use Natural Dyes to color your Ostara Eggs:
Ostara is a time of fertility and rebirth, and few things symbolize this as well as the egg. By coloring them with bright pinks, blues and yellows, we're welcoming the colors of spring back into our lives, and saying farewell to winter. However, a lot of commercially available egg-dying products are made from chemicals. They may not be toxic, but on the other hand, you might not have a clue what the ingredients are. Why not try using natural sources to get a variety of shades, and REALLY celebrate the colors of the season?

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Varied
Here's How:
First of all, plan on only doing about 3 - 4 eggs at a time. You'll want them to have room to bob around in the pan, and not be piled on top of one another. Before starting, poke a small hole with a pin or needle in the end of each egg. This will help keep them from cracking while they boil. You'll really want to have at least a dozen eggs, just because it's a lot of fun to experiment with different colors.
Start your water boiling. Use enough to cover about an inch over the tops of the eggs, but don't put them in the pan yet. Add 2 tsp of white vinegar, and bring the water to a boil. Once it's boiling, add 3 - 4 eggs using a slotted spoon (helpful hint: do NOT let your kids drop them in the water. Trust me on this one). Next, you'll add your coloring material. Here's where it gets really fun!
To color your eggs, add one of the following items. You'll have to experiment a little to see how much to add, but try different amounts to get different shades of each color. Once you've added your coloring, allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Red/pink: paprika
Purple: concentrated grape juice (Welch's works nicely, about half a can)
Yellow: Skins (only) of a half dozen yellow onions
Gold: Curry powder or turmeric
Beige: coffee grounds
Light green: frozen chopped spinach (1/3 to 1/2 package)
Blue: 1 Cup frozen blueberries (with juice)
After they've boiled, carefully remove the eggs from the pot with your slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to dry. If you'd like them darker, you can allow them to sit over night in the pot of dye, but the vinegar can weaken the eggs' shells. When the eggs have dried completely, dab a little bit of vegetable oil on a paper towel and ''polish'' the eggs to give them some shine.
Keep your eggs refrigerated until it's time to hide them, eat them, or show them off to your friends. Remember to never eat eggs that have been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.

Tips:
If your kids are more into the coloring than the eating of Ostara eggs, consider brushing your colored eggs with a thin layer of glue, and then sprinkling some glitter on top.
Eggs can take on the flavor of whatever you use to dye them, so unless you enjoy coffee-flavored eggs, put some thought into using dyed eggs in recipes.
Use a wax crayon to make designs and sigils on the eggs before dying the waxed area will appear as white once you've finished.

What You Need:
Eggs
A pot of water
Vinegar
Natural ingredients for colors
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Re: Wheel of the year
By:
Post # 3
Lughnasadh (August 1) is the time of the first harvest, when the plants of spring wither and drop their fruits or seeds four our use as well as to ensure future crops. Mystically, so too does the God lose his strength as the Sun rises farther in the south each day and the nights grow longer. The Goddess watches in sorrow and joy as she realizes that the God is dying, and yet lives on inside her as her child.

Lughnasadh, also known as August Eve, Feast of Bread, Harvest Home, and Lammas, wasn't always observed on this day. It originally coincided the first reapings.
As summer passes, Pagans remember it's warmth and bounty in the food we eat. Every meal is an act of attunement with nature, and we are reminded that nothing is the universe is constant.

Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Lughnasadh, but typically the focus is on either the early harvest aspect, or the celebration of the Celtic god Lugh. It's the season when the first grains are ready to be harvested and threshed, when the apples and grapes are ripe for the plucking, and we're grateful for the food we have on our tables. Lughnasadh is a time of excitement and magic. The natural world is thriving around us, and yet the knowledge that everything will soon die looms in the background. This is a good time to work some magic around the hearth and home.

Since this Sabbat is one of feasting, it is customary to eat samples of each of the grains, melons, and fruits harvested at this time, including the consumption of various breads, particularly corn bread, and drinks of ale or mead. The feast is typically dedicated to our Earth Mother, even though it is really the God Lugh who is really being honored. Nuts and grains, as well as late summer flowers, are typical decorations for the Sabbat. A piece of fruit symbolizing the perfect fruit of the harvest is served at ritual, and a loaf of cornbread can also be consumed as part of the cakes and ale rite.

~Correspondence table~

Colors: red, orange, gold, yellow, brown, bronze.

Stones: Carnelian, Citrine, Amber, Tourmaline, Aventurine, Peridot, Sardonyx.

Incense and oils: Aloes, Rose, Sandalwood, frankincense, Allspice, carnation, rosemary, vanilla.

Animals and mythical beasts: Roosters, calves, the Phoenix, griffins, basilisk, centaurs

Gods and Goddess: All grain, agriculture, and mother Goddesses; Alphito (Greek), Ashnan (Sumerian), Bast (Egyptian), Bau (Assyro-Babylonian), Ceres (Roman), Demeter (Greek), Gaia (Greek), Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Persephone (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh), Robigo (Roman), Tailtiu (Irish)
All grain, agriculture, Sun, and father Gods; Cernunnos (Celtic), Dagon (Babylonian), Lahar (Sumerian), Liber (Roman), Llew (Welsh), Lugh (Irish), Neper (Egyptian), Ningirsu/Ninurta (Assyro-Babylonian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian)

Symbols: Corn dollies, cornucopia, grains, the Sun.

Foods: Breads, grains, potatoes, summer squash, cider, blackberry pies and jellies, berries, apples, roasted lamb, elderberry wine, meadowsweet tea.

Activities: baking of bread and wheat weaving - such as the making of Corn Dollies, or other God & Goddess symbols. Sand candles can be made to honor the Goddess and God of the sea. You may want to string Indian corn on black thread to make a necklace, and bake corn bread sticks shaped like little ears of corn, gathering of first fruits and the study of Astrology.

Spell Work: Astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune, abundance, magical picnic, meditate & visualize yourself completing a project you've started.

Plants and herbs: All Grains, Apples, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, Pears, hollyhocks. Sunflower, oak, acacia, ginseng, beets, parsnips, carrots, onions, cabbage, Aloes, Rose, Sandalwood, frankincense, ash, camphor, caraway, fern, geranium, juniper, mandrake, marjoram, thyme

Colors

Yellow: The color of intellect and imagination. It is still summer and we are creative and confident. We are inspired in the rays of the sun which continues to bathe us during this time.

Orange: Nature's power color signifies stimulation and control. There is still a great deal of encouragement with the season as what is around us continues to grow and produce.

Green: Abundant and leafy in it's very feel, this color signifies generosity and balance.

~Incense~

2 parts Frankincense
1 part Heather
1 part Apple blossoms
1 pinch Blackberry leaves
A few drops of Ambergris oil

Burn Lughnasadh incense during Wiccan/Pagan rituals or at the time to attune with the coming harvest.

~Pathworking~

Take a holiday walk. Let the sun into your body, even if you're not a sun lover. Visualize the Sun God smiling down at you, penetrating your skin, your muscle, your very bones. Know that this energy he sends is light, illumination, truth. As you walk, think about our personal truths, your role as a healthy Wiccan/Pagan in a sometimes less then healthy culture. Ask your gods, what will your path be As you walk further, let your mind go blank. What you've just done, talking to your gods, is prayer. Now, as you blank your mind and continue to walk, letting the heat in, letting truth and light in, letting your gods talk to you, it is meditation. It's that easy.
Make and herbal charm or poppet. Decide what you would most like or need in your life right now. Is it love, healing, abundance Is it something more subtle, like deeper faith, respect of your peers, clarity of purpose Whatever the need, there are herbs and other items you can put into a charm, such as gemstones, coins, even small drawings.
Write some herbal formulas and go herb shopping. You may want to try some wild crafting too. Take Cunningham or another reliable sourcebook and walk around in your region. See if you can identify any of the herbs indigenous to your area.
By filling a cornucopia with simple treasures from nature, you can bring a little bit of the outdoors inside to decorate your home.

~You'll need~
A grapevine cornucopia (available at craft stores)
Wheat stalks, or other types of grain?
Sunflowers
Other found items such as feathers, corn stalks, etc.

Fill the cornucopia with stalks of wheat and sunflowers. If you have feathers handy, or corn stalks, arrange those in there as well. Hang it on your door as a greeting for guests, or place it on your altar during Lammas ritual.

~Make a Berry Bracelet~

In some counties in Ireland, it became traditional to celebrate Bilberry Sunday at the beginning of August. Everyone went out with buckets to gather berries, and it was custom that a big berry harvest in August meant the rest of the crops would be bountiful a few weeks later. Berry-picking was also an excuse to sneak off into the woods with a lover. Young men plaited fruit and vines into bracelets and crowns for their ladies. Afterwards, the best berries were eaten at a big fair, complete with singing, dancing, and general merrymaking.
You can make a berry bracelet easily, if you can find firm berries that still have stalks attached to them. Ideally, if you can pick them right before you begin this project, you'll get a really nice result.

~You'll need~
Berries
A needle
Sturdy cotton thread

Thread the needle with the cotton thread. Run the needle through the stalks of the berries to make a bracelet. If you have other items handy, like seeds or nuts, feel free to add those into the mix as well. Give them to a loved one to wear as a Lughnasadh token.
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Re: Wheel of the year
By:
Post # 4
Mabon (circa September 21), the autumn equinox, is the completion of the harvest begun at Lughnasadh. Once again day and night are equal, poised as the God prepares to leave his physical body and begin the great adventure into the unseen, toward renewal and rebirth of the Goddess.
Nature declines, draws back it's bounty, readying for winter and it's time of rest. The Goddess nods in the weakening Sun, though the fires burn within her womb. She feels the presence of the God even though he wanes.

~Global Traditions~
The idea of a harvest festival is nothing new. In fact, people have celebrated it for millennia, all around the world. In ancient Greece, Oschophoria was a festival held in the fall to celebrate the harvesting of grapes for wine. In the 1700's, the Bavarians came up with Oktoberfest, which actually begins in the last week of September, and it was a time of great feasting and merriment, still in existence today. China's Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated on the night of the Harvest Moon, and is a festival of honoring family unity.

~Giving Thanks~
Although the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving falls in November, many cultures see the second harvest time of the fall equinox as a time of giving thanks. After all, it's when you figure out how well your crops did, how fat your animals have gotten, and whether or not your family will be able to eat during the coming winter. However, by the end of November, there's not a whole lot left to harvest. Originally, the American Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on October 3, which makes a lot more sense agriculturally. Thanksgiving was originally celebrated on October 3. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued his ''Thanksgiving Proclamation'', which changed the date to the last Thursday in November. In 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt adjusted it yet again, making it the second-to-last Thursday, in the hopes of boosting post-Depression holiday sales. Unfortunately, all this did was confuse people. Two years later, Congress finalized it, saying that the fourth Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving, each year.

~Symbols of the Season~
The harvest is a time of thanks, and also a time of balance -- after all, there are equal hours of daylight and darkness. While we celebrate the gifts of the earth, we also accept that the soil is dying. We have food to eat, but the crops are brown and going dormant. Warmth is behind us, cold lies ahead.
Some symbols of Mabon include:
Mid-autumn vegetables, like squashes and gourds
Apples and anything made from them, such as cider or pies
Seeds and seed pods
Baskets, symbolizing the gathering of crops
Sickles and scythes
Grapes, vines, wine
You can use any of these to decorate your home or your altar at Mabon.

~Feasting and Friends~
Early agricultural societies understood the importance of hospitality -- it was crucial to develop a relationship with your neighbors, because they might be the ones to help you when your family ran out of food. Many people, particularly in rural villages, celebrated the harvest with great deals of feasting, drinking, and eating. After all, the grain had been made into bread, beer and wine had been made, and the cattle were brought down from the summer pastures for the coming winter. Celebrate Mabon yourself with a feast -- and the bigger, the better!

~Magic and Mythology~
Nearly all of the myths and legends popular at this time of the year focus on the themes of life, death, and rebirth. Not much of a surprise, when you consider that this is the time at which the earth begins to die before winter sets in!

~Correspondence Table~

Colors. Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, violet and gold.

Stones. Sapphire, lapis lazuli, yellow agates, yellow topaz, carnelian

Incense and oils. Pine, Sweetgrass, Sage, Frankincense, Myrrh, Benzoin aloe wood, jasmine, cinnamon, musk, and cloves.

Animals and mythical beasts. dogs, wolves, birds of prey, gnomes, minotaur, sphinx, Cyclopes, andamans and gulons.

Gods and Goddesses: Modron, Morgan, Epona, Persephone, Pamona, the Muses. Mabon, Thoth, Thor, Hermes, and The Green Man

Symbols. wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty

Foods. Corn bread, nuts, apples, berries, cider, fruits, vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions and wines.

Activities. Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees

Spell Work: Protection, wealth and prosperity, security, spells to bring a feeling of self-confidence and spells for balance and harmony.

~Plants and Herbs~
Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, marigold, mums, passion flower, rose, sage, Solomon's seal, tobacco, thistle, oak leaves and vegetables.

~Colors~

Red~
Connects with love, passion, fertility, physical energy and strength. Red symbolizes the element of Fire as well as being a God symbol.

Orange~
Is a stimulating and energizing color. It connects to attraction, stimulation, control, personal strength, authority, and power.

Brown~
Studiousness and balance are the key as we realize that the frolic has gone from the year. Our concentration begins to turn to weathering the winter, though it is still some time away.

Violet~
Vibrating color that is highly spiritual and traditionally connected to mysticism, inspiration, wisdom, idealism, purification, success, peace, and power. Aids in meditation, sensitivity and higher psychic talents.

~Incense~
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Sandalwood
1 part Cypress
1 part Juniper
1 part Pine
1/2part Oakmoss (or a few drops Oakmoss bouquet)
1 pinch pulverized Oak leaf
Burn during Wiccan/Pagan ceremonies on Mabon or at that time to attune with the change of the seasons.

~Pathworking~
Go for a holiday walk. Smell the fires in the fireplaces of your neighbors, feel the energy of the earth slowing down. Try to time your walk so that you can be outside to see the sunset in all of the glorious colors Helios brings. It is the exalted time for Mabon.
Plan some romance. Evening and autumn are very romantic times. If you are involved with someone, spend some special time telling him/her how you feel. Light candles and buy flowers if you can afford to. If you are not involved with someone, now would be a good time to reflect on what you love and appreciate about yourself. Buy yourself flowers, too!
Go shopping for a chalice. The traditional ones are silver or clear crystal. Will you decide to go with a traditional vessel or something very unusual You can find some beautiful and inexpensive pieces in thrift stores and flea markets. Your imagination and personal preferences are your only limit.
Look through your recipes and see which ones speak of the main harvest to you, and then make a few of them for your Sabbat feast. If there is a local farmers market, you may want to get some of your ingredients there, if you don't have your own garden. Nothing like fresh, vine-ripened veggies for a harvest meal.

~Apple Candle Holders for Mabon~
Take two bright red apples that are the same size and will sit up nice and straight. Polish them with a soft cloth so they're shiny. With an apple corer, hollow out a hole in the top of the apple (the stem end) about an inch deep and as wide as your candles. Then, into the hole, place a sprig of rosemary and two soft, grey leaves of Lambsear (a type of plant). Insert a candle that's about 6 inches tall in each apple. (This will also help anchor the herbs in place).

~Make a Mabon Cleansing Wash~
This herbal infusion can be used as a skin wash or a cleanser for your ritual space. By infusing the herbs in water, you can take advantage of the medicinal properties as well as the magical ones. A quart-sized jar, like the type used in food canning, is ideal for this because it allows for a tight seal, and they hardly ever break.

~Here's How~ To make this cleansing wash, we'll be using herbs that are in full bloom in the weeks before Mabon.
You'll need a handful of each of the following~
Spearmint or peppermint
Sage
Honeysuckle
Goldenseal
Marigold
Place the herbs in the glass jar. Pour boiling water over them until the jar is filled. Screw the lid on loosely, and allow to steep for four to six hours. Strain out all the plant material. Cap the jar, and store in a cool place. Use as a skin wash or to
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Re: Wheel of the year
By:
Post # 5
History, At Samhain (October 31) the Pagans say farewell to the God. This is a temporary farewell. He isn't wrapped in eternal darkness, but readies to be reborn of the Goddess at Yule. Samhain, also known as November Eve, Feast of the Dead, Feast of Apples, Hallows, All Hallows, once marked the time of sacrifice. In some places this was the time when animals were slaughtered to ensure food throughout the depths of winter. The God, identified with animals, fell as well to ensure our continuing existence.
Samhain is a time of reflection, of looking back over the last year, of coming to terms with the one phenomenon of life over which we have no control, death. The Pagan feel that on this night the separation between the physical and spiritual realities is thin. Pagans remember their ancestors and all those who have gone before. After Samhain, Pagans celebrate Yule, and so the wheel of the year is complete.
Samhain is known as the Witches New year. It is traditional to leave an offering of food or drink at the doorstep on this night to refresh those souls who may wander between the two worlds. This is our origin of our Western Halloween. Carved turnips were the original Jack-O-Lanterns and were carried by travelers going from feast to feast on Samhain night to dissuade any wandering spirits from interfering. This Sabbat celebrates the eternal cycle of reincarnation and marks the beginning of winter. Samhain is not a totally somber Sabbat, it is also a time of games and frivolity. Fall fruits such as apples, harvest foods of gourds and melons, and fall grains or nuts are typical decorations.

~ Colours ~
Black, Brown, Gold, Orange, Red, Silver, and Yellow

Black~
The color of protection and binding of negativity. We use black to release that which needs to be let go of and to help those who need the assistance in crossing.

~White~
Attainment of a higher spirituality through leaving the physical body. White is thus symbolic during this time of year as those who have left us attain greater understandings than they had in life and we acknowledge that with white flowers and robes.

~Red~
Energy and strength. The essence of the color conjures up courage and the will power to conquer the fear of the unknown. It is what remains of the sexual, reproductive potency of the Sun God as he is lain to rest on this night. It is also the energy of what we have reaped throughout the three harvests, both literally and figuratively, as we stand on the brink of the pagan new year ready to apply what we?ve learned, to our lives.

~Stones~
Amethyst, Asbestos, Beryl, Bloodstone, Cat's Eye, Coal, Coral, Carnelian, Danburite, Fossil, Herkimer Diamond, Jasper, Jet, Marble, Mother of Pearl, Obsidian, Onyx, Petrified Wood, Pumice, Quart, Rhodonite, Smoky Quartz, Salt, Pink Tourmaline.

~Incense and Oils~
Cedar, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Lime, Mint, Myrrh, Orange, Sagebrush, Sandalwood, Copal, Mastic Resin, Benzoin, Sweetgrass, Wormwood, Mugwort, Sage, or Patchouli.

~Animals and Mythical Beasts~
Stag, Cat, Bat, Owl, Jackal, Elephant, Ram, Scorpion, Heron, Crow, Robin, Phooka, Goblin, Medusa, Beansidhe, Fylgiar, Peryton, Erlkonig, and Harpies.

~God and Goddesses~
Any figure of the Goddess in her Crone aspect, as well as Gods of death, such as Hecate (Goddess of fertility, moon magic, and the witches? protectress, Morrigan (Celtic Goddess of death), Cernunnos (Celtic fertility God), Persephone (Greek Goddess who dies and is reborn every year after being tricked by Hades), Arawn (Welsh King of Hel), Gywnn Ap Nudd (King of Faeries and of the Underworld), macha (Irish mother of life and death, one of the triple Goddesses of Morrigu), Scathach/Scota and Osiris (Egyptian God who dies and is reborn every year. Full Listing of
Gods and Goddess~ Anubis, Arianrhod, Astarte, Baba Yaga, Beansidhe (Banshee), Belili, Bran, Cailleach Beara, Cernunnos, Cerridwen, Crone, Dark Lord and Lady, Demeter, Hathor, Hecate, Hel, Horned God, Inanna, Ishtar, Isis, Kali, Kore, Lakshmi, Lilith, the Morrigan, Nephthys, Odin, Osiris, Oya, Persephone, Pomona, Rhiannon, and Tlzaoteotl.

~Symbols~
Apples, autumn flowers, acorns, bat, black cat, bones, corn stalks, cauldrons, colored leaves, crows, death/dying, divination and the tools associated with it, ghosts, gourds, Indian corn, jack-o-lantern, nuts, oak leaves, pomegranates, pumpkins, scarecrows, scythes, and waning moon.

~Foods~
Apples, apple dishes, cider, meat (traditionally this is the meat harvest), especially pork, mulled cider with spices, nuts, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, cranberry muffins and breads, turnips, beets, ale, herbal tea (mugwort).

~Activities~
Honoring the Dead, dumb supper, carving jack-o-lanterns (then making pie), making masks representing the Gods and Goddesses of Samhain, making a besom, divination, and most importantly, don?t forget to leave milk and honey out for the Faerie folk.

~Spellwork~
Release of bad habits, banishing, fairy magic, divination of any kinds, candle magic, astral projection, past life work, dark moon mysteries, mirror spells (reflection), casting protection, inner work, propitiation, clearing obstacles, uncrossing, inspiration, working of transitioner culmination, manifesting transformation, creative visualization, contacting those who have departed this plane.

~Herb and Plants~
Apple, Cedar, Cherry, Elder, Eucalyptus, Holly, Horse Chestnut, Lime, Orange, Palm-Date, Oak, Peach, Pear, Pine, Plum, Quince, Rowan, Sandalwood, Willow, Witch Hazel, African Violet, Agaric, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cinnamon, Coconut, Cuckoo-Flower, Cyclamen, Deerstongue, Devil?s Bit, Elderflower, Garlic, Ginger, Grape, Hemp, Huckleberry, Kalbs Cross, Lavender, Liquorice, Mandrake, Mint, Myrrh, Nettle, Nightshade, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Saffron, Sage, Sarsaparilla, Sassafras, Sloe, Star Anise, Strawberry, Sugar Cane, Tea, Tobacco, Vanilla, Witch Grass, Wolfsbane.

~Plant of the Season~
Oak

~Magickal Uses~
Magickally, the Oak represents strength and protection. It teaches persistence and endurance. Known as the King of the forest, the mighty Oak is traditionally associated with strength and courage. It grows to a huge size and great girth and is a very long-lived tree spanning centuries. Offering its gifts of protection, strength, and courage, Oak makes wonderful magical tools to last a lifetime or even a special heirloom to be passed down for generations.
Sacred to the Druids and the Greeks, the Oak is a tree of strength, protection, and durability. It represents inner fire, courage and nobility of spirit. At the Greek oracle of Dodoni, The God Zeus speaks by rustling the leaves of the sacred oak. Many Germanic and Celtic tribes made truce and administered justice under the oak, and the Yule log is traditionally of oak as well. As it both attracts lightning and yet seems resilient to it, the oak is sacred to many storm and wind Gods, and its power to stand to lightning?s transformative power may have something to do with its meaning in the Ogham, where it is Dur, ?door? and Ogham of transformation, the ability to step through the door and create change. Dur is the turning point in the Oghamic calendar, falling at Summer Solstice, with Tinne (Holly) in the next month, representing the transition from the Oak to the Holly King. The acorn symbolizes the huge potential in small things.

~Uses~
Protection, Health, Money, Healing, Potency, Fertility, and Luck.

~Medicinal Uses~
The astringent effects of the Oak were well known to the Ancients, by whom different parts of the tree were used, but it is the bark which is now employed in medicine. Its action is slightly tonic, strongly astringent and antiseptic. It has a strong astringent bitter taste, and its qualities are extracted both by water and spirit. The odour is slightly aromatic. Like other astringents, it has been recommended in agues and hemorrhages, and is a good substitute for Quinine in intermittent fever, especially when given with Chamomile flowers. It is useful in chronic diarrhea and dysentery, either alone or in conjunction with aromatics. A decoction is made from 1 oz. of bark in a quart of water, boiled down to a pint and taken in wineglass full doses. Externally, this decoction has been advantageously employed as a serviceable as an injection for leucorrhoea, and applied locally to bleeding gums and piles.

~Incense~
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Sandalwood
2 parts Mugwort
1 part Sage
1/2 part Nutmeg
1/2 part Lavender

~Pathworking~
Take a long walk and thing about what is happening in the spirit world. Enjoy the cool, crisp weather, and collect a few pretty leaves to decorate the house with. Think about your mask and what the world sees that you don?t agree with. Decide to more true to yourself.
For dinner, make the favorite dish (or dishes) of a loved one, and enjoy some good memories as you eat. Share the food and the memories with someone you love, if you like. For dessert, have something made from pumpkin.
Throughout the month, you can make small shrines to your departed loved ones by first placing their picture on a little out of the way shelf or corner of the room, and then add any memorabilia you have of them. Include items that you thinks they would have liked. You may have a poem or song that reminds you of them. You can leave a copy there, and maybe read or recite it to them on Samhain or sometime during the month. Don?t forget to add a candle!
Do some divination using whatever method you like. Try a few of them.
Concentrate on your own Mysteries, where you are going on this path, who you really want to become. Meditate on the forces of dark and light, life and death.
Notice how the dead, decaying plant life becomes compost for the seeds to feed on in the spring. Understand how all life feeds on life, and that all aspects of this process are necessary and sacred. Speak to a dark goddess you feel close to, if you will, of your fears and doubts. Let her take them from you. Know that she is the eternal Wise Grandmother---stern, yet loving and utterly powerful.
Play spooky music, laugh, give candy generously to children---our future---in order to sweeten their future. Have a great time. Happy haunting!

~Decorations~
Make A Paper Twist Pumpkin
You Will Need:
A styrofoam ball - 3 inch or larger in diameter works best
Orange and brown paper twist (available in craft stores)
Tacky glue
Scissors
Something to use as a poker that DOES NOT have a sharp point
~Step One~
Decide where the top and the bottom of your pumpkin will be. Use the poker to make a small hole (about 1/4 inch deep) in the top and bottom of the pumpkin.
~Step Two~
Measure the length from the top hole to the bottom hole. Add another 3/4 inch. This is the length to cut your strips of orange paper twist.
~Step Three~
Untwist a section of orange paper twist. Cut a strip according to above measurement. Put a very small amount of glue in the top and bottom holes. Put an end of the cut section of paper twist in each hole. Use your poker to push the ends in the holes securely.
~Step Four~
Repeat Step Three until your pumpkin is covered.
~Step Five~
Cut a section of brown paper twist about an inch long. Do Not untwist. Glue the twist/stem into the top of the pumpkin. Let dry. Enjoy!

~Make a Scrying Mirror~
Samhain is a time to do some serious divination - it's the time of year when the veil between our world and that of the spirits is at its thinnest, and that means it's the perfect season to look for messages from the metaphysical. Scrying is one of the best known forms of divination, and can be done in a variety of ways. Basically, it's the practice of looking into some sort of reflective surface --
such as water, fire, glass, dark stones, etc. to see what messages, symbols, or visions may appear. A scrying mirror is a simple black-backed mirror, and it's easy to make one yourself.
To make your scrying mirror, you'll need the following:
A clear glass plate
Matte black spray paint
Additional paints (acrylic) for embellishment

To prepare the mirror, first you'll need to clean it. Use any glass cleaner, or for a more earth-friendly method, use vinegar mixed with water. Once the glass is clean, flip it over so that the back side is facing up. Lightly spray with the matte black spray paint. For the best result, hold the can a couple of feet away, and spray from side to side. If you hold the can too close, the paint will pool, and you don't want this. As each coat dries, add another coat. After five to six coats, the paint should be dense enough that you can't see through the paint if you hold the glass up to a light.
Once the paint has dried, turn the glass right side up. Use your acrylic paint to add embellishments around the outer edge of the plate -- you can add symbols of your tradition, magical sigils, or even your favorite saying. The one in the photo says, "Thee I invoke by the moonlit sea, the standing stone, and the twisted tree." Allow these to dry as well. Your mirror is ready for scrying, but before you use it, you may want to
consecrate it as you would any other magical item.
~To Use it~
If your tradition normally requires you to cast a circle, do so now. If you'd like to play some music, start your cd player. If you'd like to light a candle or two, go ahead, but be sure to place them so that they don't interfere with your line of vision. Sit or stand comfortably at your workspace. Begin by closing your eyes, and attuning your mind to the energy around you. Take some time to gather that energy.
When you are ready to begin scrying, open your eyes. Position yourself so that you can look into the mirror. Stare into the glass, looking for patterns, symbols or pictures -- and don't worry about blinking, it's fine if you do. You may see images moving, or perhaps even words forming. You may have thoughts pop spontaneously into your head, that seem to have nothing at all to do with anything. Perhaps you'll suddenly think about someone you haven't seen in decades. Use your journal, and write everything down. Spend as much time as you like gazing into the mirror -- it may be just a few minutes, or even an hour. Stop when you begin to feel restless, or if you're getting distracted by mundane things.
When you are finished gazing into the mirror, make sure you have recorded everything you saw, thought and felt during your scrying session. Messages often come to us from other realms and yet we frequently don't recognize them for what they are. If a bit of information doesn't make sense, don't worry -- sit on it for a few days and let your unconscious mind process it. Chances are, it will make sense eventually. It's also possible that you could receive a message that's meant for someone else -- if something doesn't seem to apply to you, think about your circle of family friends, and who the message might be meant for.
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