Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mabon/Fall is Here!


Well, it's Mabon...the first day of fall. Am I incredibly excited? Yes, I am. Often times here in Ohio the first day of fall feels much like summer but today Mother Nature is providing us with very fall-like weather to give us a taste of what is to come. The only thing that could make this day any better would be a homemade caramel apple and some hot apple cider. But alas, I will have to wait for my favorite fall treats. The leaves have just started to turn and there are still far more green than red, orange, and yellow but one has only to step outside to see that autumn has come to stay. 

Mabon is the Pagan celebration of this day, the second in the three harvest festivals. In our lore the Goddess is now pregnant and getting bigger by the day while the God (who is associated with the sun and whose power ebbs and grows accordingly) is getting weaker every day. On Samhain (October 31st-November 1st) he will die and already the first signs of death are apparent. 

The celebration of the first day of Autumn goes back thousands of years to the ancient Pagans who relied on the earth for everything. This was seen as an abundant time, a time to be grateful for a good harvest, because a good harvest meant that the people would not go hungry during the barren winter months. It was a time for the people to gather together and feast, to give offerings to the Gods of the land that had provided for the people. It was a happy time (assuming the harvest was a good one, of course. I doubt there was much celebration if something went wrong with the crops). The autumn months were also a busy time as everyone worked to prepare for the winter. 
Here are some of the things associated with the Mabon holiday courtesy of wicca.com:


Mabon
Autumn Equinox, 2nd Harvest, September 21st

Mabon, (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year's crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.

Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter's Night, which is the Norse New Year.

At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection. 

Symbolism of Mabon: 
Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

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

Herbs of Maybon: 
Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, passionflower, rose, sage, solomon's seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Foods of Mabon: 
Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.

Incense of Mabon: 
Autumn Blend-benzoin, myrrh, and sage.

Colors of Mabon: 
Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.

Stones of Mabon: 
Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates.

Activities of Mabon: 
Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Spellworkings of Mabon: 
Protection, prosperity, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance.

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

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing! 


So whether or not you are Pagan, get outside today and enjoy the beauty of Nature, the bounty of the autumn season. Be grateful and be happy for another year of good health, good people in your life, and for any form that abundance has taken for you since the spring. :)




Blessed be!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My New Favorite Things

Ah, I can feel fall in the air. It's getting very very close, isn't it? And I cannot wait! Perhaps it is because we are so close to my favorite season that I've been in a better mood than usual. Probably. Just wait until October. I will be a far cry from my normal self, I assure you. haha

Since my last post I have discovered a book, a movie, and a singer that I want to say great things about because they made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So follow me on this little trip into some of my new favorite things...

Seasons of Witchery is a book I heard about just before it was available in June. It's by an author named Ellen Dugan whom I had never read before but the description of the book intrigued me. It is a book about the Wiccan Sabbats with a great deal of information on each one concerning its history, its symbolism, and even Esbat rituals for the full moons that occur around the time of each Sabbat. I typically use the ritual suggestions Silver Ravenwolf provided in Solitary Witch and I have copied into my BOS the history of each holy day that appeared in Scott Cunningham's books, most recently in the book Book of Shadows. The information Ellen Dugan gives seems great to use with what I have already, to expand on my normal tradition a bit. I read the entire book in one night and I have no doubt I will read it many times over in the future. In fact, I will probably be checking out her other work in the future as well because I love her style. She made me laugh on numerous occasions. Aside from the ability to provide information in general, the ability to put personality into a book pertaining to Wicca is the most important thing for me and she nailed it.
You can find this book on ebay and amazon among other places because, as I said about Hedgewitch, there are also numerous online Wiccan shops and book shops that also have it.

My favorite movie of the month (which may not be so much a surprise considering I am me) is Paranorman. Now, I am sure many of you are wondering why I am watching a cartoon but I blame it on my Tim Burton obsession. Cartoons like Paranorman amuse me and I loved it. I loved that it was about a little boy dealing with a very big gift, a little boy made an outsider because of his gift, I loved the take it on the witch (you'll have to watch it to see what I mean), and I love that at the very end there was a reference I have never heard in a "kid's" movie before that sort of made me realize how far we've come as a society from my childhood, which was not so long ago. So, no matter your age, if you want to see a cute movie that also has very serious undertones about the power of hatred, the reasons that tolerance should be promoted, I recommend this movie to you. 


Yes, Elle King is my new musical obsession. Like most people I first heard the above song thanks to commercials for Mob Wives Chicago (I don't like the show...they just don't have the umph I love about the original Mob Wives) and I have had this song on a playlist for a while now because of that but it wasn't until today that I bothered checking out her other songs. This chick writes songs like I wrote poetry when I was a teenager and not only does she have a bad ass bluesy voice I can't get enough of, her lyrics are ballsy and real. She tells it like it is, something I never get tired of hearing from women in music. I have listened to her all day. I just can't stop. Considering it is only about once or twice a year that I find a new artist I actually like, that should tell you how great she is. 


Need I say more? I don't think so. Her talent speaks for itself.

She has the talent and the attitude of Adele with perhaps a little more of a punch if such a thing is possible. What's not to love about that? :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hedgewitch

For the second year in a row yours truly is working through Silver Ravenwolf's fourteen day Hedgewitch ritual "program". I started it Monday, one year to the day since I started it last year. Why am I doing it again? Well, I am glad you asked. Because last year I was in a really bad place mentally when I bought the book. I had had my eye on the damned thing for nearly two years at that point but I always had other obligations to fulfill when my always-much-needed student loans came but last year I was finally able to scrounge up the fifteen bucks or so to get it. And like Silver's books always seem to do, it came into my life at just the right time. By the time I performed the last ritual I had my head straight. I knew what I needed, what I wanted from my life. I had the clarity I needed so much. And for the past year I have been happier, more in tune with my spiritual self, than I can remember being since childhood. I have no doubt that this is due, at least in part, to the workings I did last year with Hedgewitch. So if it worked, of course I'll do it again. 
I have a very long history with the work of Silver Ravenwolf. I know that there are some witches who do not like her. Of course there are. No one can agree on everything. We're not supposed to. But for me, Silver was like a teacher through the past fourteen years. Her books, along with the work of Scott Cunningham, taught me many of the things I know today about magick, about Spirit/the Gods, about Wicca and to be honest I feel as if she is an old friend. As I said before, her books always seem to come to me at the right moment, teaching me whatever I need to know at that time. Then again, I found that is true about most magick books. However, she does more than write books that guide me and many others who, for whatever reason, can not find physical teachers or who study both with teachers and alone. She writes in such a way that it is as if she is there physically. In addition to this, I was eleven the first time I read one of her books (To Ride a Silver Broomstick...it was the third Craft book I ever read following Scott Cunningham's Wicca and Living Wicca) so I have, in a sense, grown up with her in my life. I remember reading her books when her kids were still...well...kids. Now they are grown and she is a grandmother. Because her life, her personality, is evident in each book she writes I almost feel as if she is not some stranger a state away who writes books I enjoy but rather as if she is, like I said, a dear old friend.

But I've completely gotten off topic, haven't I? We were talking about this book in particular...


I recommend it, clearly. If you are Wiccan and you've been practicing awhile and you are looking for something new, this might be something you want to look into. You can preview the book on google. It was actually through the preview I stumbled upon that I first decided I HAD to have the book. 

http://books.google.com/books?id=0ANO1oe_aBsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=silver+ravenwolf+hedgewitch&source=bl&ots=kFikMci-GJ&sig=rzhyNniOXs5kCgeh0L-vQiVxktE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gTtIULC4D-fk0QGTtoDADQ&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=silver%20ravenwolf%20hedgewitch&f=false

If you preview it and you decide you also HAVE to have it, there are a couple of options for you. You can get it pretty cheap on ebay depending on when you look. For instance, right now you can pick it up for less than six bucks. But who knows what the average price will be a month from now.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=silver+ravenwolf+hedgewitch&_sacat=0

If amazon is more your style, you can also look there. That is where I purchased mine last year. In addition to that, there are always Wiccan shops with websites that sell the book and things of that nature. 

Some of the things you will learn from this book are things like stating what you want in primordial language. Silver explains in the book that the universe doesn't speak as we do but rather in simple terms. It does not understand words like "not" so if you are constantly sending out the message 'I do not want to lose my job' the Universe will hear only 'I want...' and you will, in effect, bring toward you the very thing you did not want. The book also teaches you that in order to bring new things into your life, whether they be material or things like accomplishments, you have to get rid of things you no longer need to make room for it. 


The rituals themselves (the above mentioned things are from the introduction) are all related to nature and using nature to enhance yourself. The first night is the Rite of Wind; Night two is the Rite of Fire; Night three is Rite of Earth; followed by the Rite of Starry Sky; Rite of Rain; Rite of the Mountain; Rite of Lightening; Rite of Thunder; Rite of Metal; Rite of Stone; Rite of Celestial Power; Rite of the Enchanted Wood; Rite of Silence; and the final night, the dedication. If you are a nillionaire like me and you can't afford the herbs and things needed, you can do what I've done and switch it up a bit using substitutes with the same magickal properties and things of that nature, tailoring it to fit your needs. 


The reason I am posting about this is because it is something that really helped me this time last year when I was at a cross roads and I wasn't sure what path to take. This year things are better...much better. Not perfect, no, but I am happier, I feel wiser and yet I know that I have a lifetime of learning ahead of me, and I feel like I am closer to being who I want to be than I was twelve months ago. If it worked that well for me, perhaps it will work well for you too. 


I hope all of you, my beloved blogger pals, have an amazing week and that you remember to smile. And I will leave you with a quote that has become part of my life motto thanks to the lessons and the results of Hedgewitch...