Archive for March 18, 2012


Coinciding with the Spring Equinox, the month of the Alder Moon is a time to focus on balance and fertility.

The Celtic month of Alder runs from mid-March to mid-April.  Significantly, this is a period that includes the Spring Equinox, the day on which the return of spring is celebrated and night and day are of equal length.  Falling at the start of spring, this period symbolizes the reawakening of the Earth Mother’s fertility.

Red alder buds. In moist forest areas red alder will rapidly cover a former burn or clearcut, temporarily preventing the growth of conifers but also improving soil fertility for future growth of conifers.

Growth and Fertility

The Alder month heralds a time of accelerated growth, and the spells you cast during this period can aid any business or creative ventures you undertake, bringing your ambitions closer to fruition.  Your emphasis during the month of the Alder Moon should be on harnessing our hidden potential.

Focusing on the Moon’s influence during this month will also help you bring a sense of balance to your work.  The power of the Alder Moon will be able to unite your intuitive side with a pragmatic approach to planning.

FERTILITY AND COURAGE

The alder tree is also known as the King of the Waters (with the willow tree as its Queen), because its natural habitat is near lakes, rivers and streams.  It actually grow with its roots in the water and its branches in the air and for this reason is associated with the balancing of female and male energies.

Symbols of Fertility

When the wood of the alder tree is cut, it turns from white to red, both of which are colors long associated with the Goddess’s fertility.  The buds of the alder tree also grow in spirals that are a symbol of regeneration and a reminder of the cycle to come.

Wood for Weapons

The Celts traditionally used charcoal made from the alder tree in the making of their weapons. This work was carried out in the spring – in preparation for the hunting season ahead.

 

In Welsh mythology, the alder fought in the front line of the “Battle of the Trees” against the Underworld.  When cut, its wood turns from white to red as though it is bleeding.  Growth near water, the tree has feminine associations, yet its links to war also indicate masculinity.  The Alder, therefore, speaks of balancing masculine and feminine.

ALDER MOON MAGIC

The month of the Alder Moon is the ideal time to focus on balancing your life, setting new goals for yourself and working to achieve them with energy and enthusiasm.

 

Meditating on the Yin-Yang symbol will help put your energies in balance.

Yin-Yang Meditation

The Yin-Yang is a symbol of male and female energies in perfect balance, and is an ideal symbol to use in meditation.  Remember to wear comfortable clothes and relax your body.

1. Look at the Yin-Yang and let your gaze become blurred.  Close you eyes while holding the image in your mind.

2. Concentrate on letting your in-breath become equal in length to your out-breath.

3. Focus on the Yin-Yang symbol and let other thoughts drift away.

 

 

Achieving Balance in Your Life

During the month of the Alder Moon, try to bring more balance into your life with the following tips:

Balance Your Books

Check your bank balance.  Always in the red? Find four ways you can economize this month. Small symbolic steps let the powers of the universe know that you are ready for some big changes.

 

Balanced Diet

Are you eating a balanced diet?  Remember that your body is a temple.  Valuing yourself is the first step to getting what you want.

 

 

Balance Your Emotions

Take up Yoga or Tai Chi during the Alder Moon. The balance of spirituality and physical exercise stimulates feelings of well-being.  your improved posture will radiate poise and confidence to the outside world.

 

Drink Plenty of Water

Take your lead from the alder tree: drink plenty of water and breathe deeply.  If you follow these simple rules, you will find you have more energy to make your dreams come true this spring.

Chocolate Love Ritual

Perform this simple spell with your partner to help your love grow stronger.

You Will Need:

  • A chocolate Easter egg
  • A pin
  • A red candle*
  • Matches

1. Create a romantic setting in the room you wish to use for your rite with soft music and scented candles.

2. Sit facing your partner, look into each other’s eyes and breath deeply.

3. Light the candle, then take it in turns to say these words to each other: “Beneath this Alder Moon I offer my love to you, may it grow ever stronger and ever clearer.  So may it be.”

4. Both use the pin to scratch four things you love about each other onto the chocolate egg.

5. Have fun feeding each other pieces of the egg.

6. Let the red candle burn down.  Your love will grow in the year ahead.

* A red dye can be produced from alder bark.  Utilize this association with red by using red candles in spells cast under the Alder Moon.

 

 

 

Source:
“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  8.

 

Suggested Links:

The Blue Roebuck, “Alder“.

Celticradio.net, “Celtic Zodiac: The Alder“.

The Goddess Tree, “Alder“.

“Sheela-na-gig” by Changeling

“Sheelah-na-gig’s themes are fertility, sexuality, protection, passion and femininity.  Her symbols are nakedness, lust-inspiring scents and whiskey.  The image of this Irish Goddess of fertility tells us much about the unbridled nature of feminine passion that Sheila-na-gig inspires with spring-like whimsy. She is shown smiling broadly, holding Her legs wide open, completely naked. Nonetheless, this is not irresponsible lust; it is the gat of life through which we all pass. Interestingly enough, Sheila-na-gig’s image, in an amulet, offers protection too – perhaps She was the first Goddess of safe sex?!

Sheelah’s Day is celebrated in true Irish fashion by drinking abundant whiskey and drowning a shamrock in the last glass consumed, to end the festivities. This particular custom denotes the idea of consuming one’s luck, increasing fecundity, and internalizing the Goddess’s protective energies before the day is over. So if you can tolerate whiskey, toast Sheelah, take a sip, and warm up your passion! Otherwise, offer Her a libation of whiskey, asking for Her energy to be likewise liberated in your body.

If you have a significant other, one of the ways to honor Sheelah is through passionate encounters that are balanced with wisdom and foresight. Take a condom and bless it, saying:

‘Sheelah, my hunger see, let my body love freely
But keep us safe, fertility bind
No matter our haste, keep protection in mind.’

Carry this condom with you to your tryst.”

 (Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

At one time or another all of the above figures have been called Sheela Na Gigs.

“Sila na Geige [SHEE-luh-nah-GIG] is a shadowy sometimes-controversial Celtic Goddess. She represents both mother and crone aspects of the Goddess. Her image is found carved on stone thresholds, lintels, and standing stones of sacred sites or places of worship throughout the British Isles (mostly Ireland).  Stone carvings of Her depict a grinning woman holding open Her vulva. She is regarded by some as a gargoyle-like figure meant as a medieval allegory of lust, or as a magical figure meant to cure infertility in women, but others have seen in Her an echo of the ancient Irish Earth Mother. Not a lot has been written or is known about this Goddess or Her origins, and much information may have been lost through the ignorant prudishness of a patriarchal culture that saw only a vulgar caricature. Sila, however, survived into Christianity, and Her image can still be found carved on lintels and thresholds of churches in Ireland. In the 19th century, patriarchal society was appalled by the unrestricted feminine sexuality of the Sila images, and many Sila images were defaced or destroyed entirely.” [1][2]

“Sheela Na Gig” by Thomas Sheridan

The word ‘gyg’ is Norse for giantess, in other words, a supernatural or deified female, while ‘Sheila’ is a woman’s name, or used as a word for ‘girl’.

The vulva as holy symbol of birth and life is a very ancient idea that symbolizes the life-giving and regenerative powers of the Earth Mother. The image of the vulva has a long history of being carved in stone, and is found all over Europe from the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages. Passage graves were built in the shape of the Goddess, with the passage the vagina, and the tomb chamber itself representing Her uterus. ‘Tomb’ and ‘womb’ were equated, thus ensuring regeneration and continuity after death, in the same way that a ‘dead’ seed is planted in the fertile earth and sprouts up to grow into a complete plant.

Alternate spellings: Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-no-gig, Sheelanagyg, Irish Síle na gCíoch ‘Sheila of the Breasts” [3]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Colors: red, orange, purple, magenta

Moon Phase: full or waning

Animals: heron, crane, stork

Herbs/Flowers: hawthorn, birch, willow, cedar, black cohosh, heliotrope

Stones: any hard stone or building stone

Aspects: protection, death, fertility, birth, lust, opening, enjoyment of life, feminine power, feminine mysteries, womb chakra

Wheel of the Year: Alder Moon (Fearn) March 18 – April 14
Willow Moon (Saille) April 15 – May 12″ [4]

Sources:

Saille, Rowan.  Order of the White Moon, “Sila Na Geige

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sheila-Na-Gig“.

Suggested Links:

McLoughlin, Tara. Sheela-Na-Gig Website.

NicDhàna, Kathryn Price. Bandia.net, “Sheela na Gig and Sacred Space“.

Seren. Tairis-cr.blogspot.com, “Sheelah’s Day“.

The Sheela Na Gig Project, “Sheela na Gig Theories“.

Wikipedia, “Sheela na gig“.


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