Tag Archive: magic


Goddess Hecate

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“Hecate” by *mari-na

“Hecate’s themes are the moon, beginnings and magic. Her symbols are serpents, horses or dogs (Her sacred animals), light (especially a torch), myrrh, silver and moonstone. This Greco-Roman Goddess rules the moon and opportunities. Tonight She opens the path through which the old year departs and the new enters. People customarily worship Hecate at crossroads, where worlds meet, which may be why She became a witch’s Goddess. On this, Hecate’s Day, She bears a torch, lighting the way to the future.

At the eve of a New Year, take a moment and pat yourself on the back for a full of Goddess-centered thinking and action. Note your achievements, and thank Hecate for helping you find the way when your vision seemed clouded. An additional benefit here is that speaking this Goddess’s name today banishes unwanted ghosts, including those figurative ghosts of past negative experiences. Let Hecate take those burdens so your new year will begin without anything holding you back.

To accept this Goddess’s powers in your life throughout your celebrations today, wear white or silver items, and light a white candle in Her honor. For a token that will emphasize Hecate’s magic and lunar energies whenever you need them, bless a moonstone, saying something like:

‘Hecate, fill this silver stone
keep your magic with me where ever I roam.’

Carry this, keeping the Goddess close to your heart and spirit.”

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

"Hecate" by Hrana Janto

“Hecate” by Hrana Janto

“At night, particularly at the dark of the moon, this Goddess walked the roads of ancient Greece, accompanied by sacred dogs and bearing a blazing torch. Occasionally She stopped to gather offerings left by Her devotees where three roads crossed, for this threefold Goddess was best honored where one could look three ways at once. Sometimes, it was even said that Hecate could look three ways because She had three heads: a serpent, a horse, and a dog.

"Hecate redux" by ~ArtemisiaSynchroma

“Hecate redux” by ~ArtemisiaSynchroma

While Hecate walked outdoors, Her worshipers gathered inside to eat Hecate suppers in Her honor, gatherings at which magical knowledge was shared and the secrets of sorcery whispered and dogs, honey and black female lambs sacrificed. The bitch-Goddess, the snake-Goddess, ruled these powers and She bestowed them on those who worshiped Her honorably. When supper was over, the leftovers were placed outdoors as offerings to Hecate and Her hounds. And if the poor of Greece gathered at the doorsteps of wealthier households to snatch the offerings, what matter?

"Hecate" by Katlyn Breene

“Hecate” by Katlyn Breene

Some scholars say that Hecate was not originally Greek, Her worship having traveled south from Her original Thracian homeland. Others contend that She was a form of the earth mother Demeter, yet another of whose forms was the maiden Persephone. Legends, they claim, of Persephone’s abduction and later residence in Hades give clear prominence to Hecate, who therefore must represent the old wise woman, the crone, the final stage of woman’s growth-the aged Demeter Herself, just as Demeter is the mature Persephone.

In either case, the antiquity of Hecate’s worship was recognized by the Greeks, who called Her a Titan, one of those pre-Olympian divinities whom Zeus and his cohort had ousted. The newcomers also bowed to Her antiquity by granting to Hecate alone a power shared with Zeus, that of granting or withholding from humanity anything She wished. Hecate’s worship continued into classical times, both in the private form of Hecate suppers and in public sacrifices, celebrated by ‘great ones’ or Caberioi, of honey, black female lambs, and dogs, and sometimes black human slaves.

"Hecate" by *Hrefngast

“Hecate” by *Hrefngast

As queen of the night, Hecate was sometimes said to be the moon-Goddess in Her dark form, as Artemis was the waxing moon and Selene the full moon. But She may as readily have been the earth Goddess, for She ruled the spirits of the dead, humans who had been returned to the earth. As queen of death She ruled the magical powers of regeneration; in addition, She could hold back Her spectral hordes from the living if She chose. And so Greek women evoked Hecate for protection from Her hosts whenever they left the house, and they erected Her threefold images at their doors, as if to tell wandering spirits that therein lived friends of their queen, who must not be bothered with night noises and spooky apparitions” (Monaghan, p. 146 – 148).

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“Hekate’s Advance” by ~Hellfurian-Guard

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Torch, dark moon, raisin & currant cakes, crossroads, three-headed animals or statues, the number 3, masks, and candles.

Animals: Dogs, horses, sheep (especially black female lambs), owls, bats, snakes, and boars.

Plants: Willows, dark yew, blackthorn, groves of trees, saffron, raisins & currants, and gourds (especially pumpkins).

Perfumes/Scents: Queen of the Night (a light flowery fragrance), cinnamon, myrrh, mugwort, honey, lime, and lemon verbena.

Gems and Metals: Sapphire, silver, gold, moonstone, black tourmalin, black onyx, hematite, smoky quartz, and any stone that is dark or luminous.

Colors: Black, orange, yellow-orange, and red-orange.  [1]

 

Some educational and informational videos

 

 

And I just thought this song was kind of catchy 🙂

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Hecate”.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Hecate”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Hekate“.

D’Este, Sorita & David Rankine. Hekate Liminal Rites.

Ford, Michael W. Book of the Witch Moon: Chaos, Vampiric & Luciferian Sorcery, “Hecate”. (p. 99 – 107). (For those with a taste for a “darker” flavor 😉 )

Goddessgift.com, “Hecate, Greek Goddess of the Crossroads“.

Grimassi, Raven. The Witches’ Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation.

Hecatescauldron.org, “Hecate’s Cauldron“.

Hekate Symposium 2013, “Hekate: Bright Goddess of the Mysteries by Sorita d’Este“.

James-Henderson, Yvonne. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Hecate“.

Kirkpatrick, Carrie. Goddess Enchantment, Magic and Spells Vol 2, “Goddess of Transformation Hecate“.

Littleton, C. Scott. Gods, Goddesses and Mythology, “Hecate” (p. 617 – 620).

MacLeod NicMhacha, Sharynne. Queen of the Night: Rediscovering the Celtic Moon Goddess, “The Double Life of Hecate” (p. 59 -63).

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Hecate – Crossroads“.

Reichard, Joy. Celebrate the Divine Feminine, “13. Hecate” (p. 167 – 182).

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Hecate: intuitive wise woman“.

Tate, Karen. Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations.

The-goddess-hecate.blogspot.com, “The Goddess Hecate“.

Theoi.com, “Hecate“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Hekate“.

Wikipedia, “Hecate“.

Goddess Hertha

"Incense Fire" by *Zingaia

“Incense Fire” by *Zingaia, based on Jean Delville’s drawing, “Parsifal”.

“Hertha’s themes are rebirth, kinship, health, longevity and tradition. Her symbols are dormant trees and snow. In ancient times, on this day people venerated Hertha, the Teutonic Goddess of fertility, domesticated animals, magic and nature. In Germanic tradition, Hertha descended through the smoke of any fire today and brought gifts, much like an early Santa Claus figure (giving Her solar associations too). Her connection to nature has survived in the name for our planet: Earth.

Yule takes its designation from a Old English word meaning ‘wheel’, representing the turning of time’s wheel back toward the sun. In early times, this festival included parties for various sun Gods and Goddesses; it eventually was translated into the celebration of Christ’s birth. Any light source or burning incense can symbolize Hertha’s presence today.

Besides this, look to the world’s traditions for magical ways of making your celebration special. For example, Swedes eat a rice pudding with one lucky almond; whoever gets the nut receives good fortune. Russians toss grain into people’s homes for providence as they carol. Armenians make a wish on the Yule log when ignited and sometimes make divinations by the cider patterns made afterward. Bohemians cut apples in half. If there’s a perfect star in the center and it has plump seeds, it portends joy and good health. Finally, kiss someone under the mistletoe for a long, happy relationship.”

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

“Nerthus” by Lisa Hunt

“Nerthus” by Lisa Hunt

According to Wikipedia, Hertha is another name for the ancient Germanic earth Goddess, Nerthus (click on Her name to be taken to that entry).  In addition to that information presented in Nerthus’ entry, Patricia Monaghan wrote that “no legends survive of the Germanic Goddess from whom we get our word for earth.  It is known, however, that She was worshiped into historic times, when plows were carried in Christian Shrovetide processions in honor of the earth’s fertility.   Hertha was also frequently invoked by medieval witches as their special patron” (p. 152).

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Hertha”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Asatru Religion, “Goddess Nerthus Or Eartha Or Jordh“.

Encyclopedia Mythica, “Nerthus“.

GardenStone. Goddess Holle: In Search of a Germanic Goddess.

Krasskova, Galina . Northern Tradition Paganism, “Who is Nerthus?

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Nerthus” at p. 488.

Mystic Wicks, “Nerthus {Goddess of the Week}“.

PaganNews.com, “Nerthus“.

Reaves, William P. Boudicca’s Bard, “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Twilightmists.tripod.com. “Hertha, Ertha, Nerthus“.

Wikipedia, “Nerthus“.

Williamson, George S. The Longing for Myth in Germany: Religion and Aesthetic Culture from Romanticism to Nietzsche.

The Celtic calendar begins with the month of the Birch Moon, a time of new beginnings and making plans for the future.

birch moon

The first of the 13 months of the Celtic calendar is the month of the Birch Moon.  It begins just after Yuletide and runs through most of January.

Staring just after the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year – the month of the Birch Moon marks the period of the year when the hours of daylight start to increase over the hours of darkness.  Its associated color is flame red; from this comes the red candles that we burn at Yuletide.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

The month of the Birch Moon falls into the “quiet time” during the bleakest period of winter.  None of the eight major Neopagan festivals occur in this month.  There is little to do but wait for warmer weather.

This month is therefore primarily a time of contemplations, of looking to the future and starting to make plans for the year ahead- hence the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.

THE LADY OF THE WOODS

The silvery bark that covers the trunk of the birch tree resembles the silver of the moonlight, which it reflects at night giving it a magical look.

birch-wood-tree

“Tree Goddess”. Photo taken by Norse Witch

With its long, slender branches that stretch up to the sky, the birch symbolizes the female aspects of nature and is often known as “the Lady of the Woods.”  Growing up to 100 feet high, it has also been thought of as a ladder that shamans can climb to reach the gods.

 

BIRCH MOON MAGIC

The month of the Birch Moon is the ideal time to weave magic focusing on new beginnings and purification, or to cast spells for support, shielding and cleansing.

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“The Birch” by Margaret Walty

At the beginning of the year, concentrate on new beginnings.  Ask for general luck in whatever the coming year brings, and focus on what you want to achieve.

Resolution Blessing Spell

The birch is the first tree to grow back after a forest has been cut down or razed, reinforcing its association with new beginnings.  It is a tree of extreme hardiness, thriving in places where the oak cannot.  When you make a New Year’s resolution, increase your chances of sticking to our guns by performing this blessing spell.

You Will Need:

  • Red candle
  • Red ribbon
  • Birch wand
  • Frankincense, rose, and benzoin essential oil

resolution spell1. Go for a walk in your local park and collect a birch twig no more than 12 inches long.  As birch is a very common tree, you should be able to find one easily, even in urban areas and parks.

2. Mix a few drops of rose frankincense and benzoin essential oil into the palm of your hand and rub the mixture into a red candle.

3. Light the candle, and stand in front of it for a few moments visualizing your resolution.  If you are planning to learn to play guitar, for instance, visualize ourself happily strumming your favorite song.  You may want to state your intent aloud, saying, “I will learn to play guitar.”

4. Holding your birch twig at one end, pass it through the candle’s flame.  Then turn around, clockwise, holding the twig in front of you to draw a circle around yourself.

5. Repeat the incantation, “I manifest new chances for good fortune, clarity and insight.  I open myself to new experience and allow change to manifest in my life.”

6. Now sit down for a few minutes and quietly contemplate your wish.  When you have finished, blow out the candle.

Purification and Cleansing

purificationThe silver color of the birch’s bark is associated with purity and cleansing.  Criminals and naughty schoolboys were often beaten with birch twigs – “birched” – in order to purify them and drive out any evil influences.

This is a good time to cleanse your mind of negative thoughts and attitudes, such as anger and jealousy, or an addictive behavior, such as smoking.  A full Moon that calls within the month of the Birch Moon is called the Cold Moon; you can strengthen your intent by performing the following ritual at this time.

A Simple Cold Moon Ritual:

1. Light a white candle besides a small bowl of natural spring or rain water.

2. Stand over the water and pray for the strength to let go of your vice.

3. Write down your negative behavior nine times on a piece of paper.

4. Fold up the paper, place it inside a freezer bag, and pour in some of the prayer water.

5. Place the bag inside your icebox to “freeze” your bad habits – putting them behind your forever.

Birch Throughout the Year

birch year

  • Birch is used for purification, exorcism and protection.  A red ribbon tied to a birch twig will help ward off the evil eye.
  • Witches’ brooms are made of birch twigs tied around an ash branch with strips of willow.  The purifying birch sweeps away evil spirits, as well as dirt.
  • At Beltane (May Day), birch twigs are used to light the fires that signal the beginning of the new season.

 

 

 

 

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  5.

 

Suggested Links:

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

The Goddess Tree, “Birch“.

Jaecap. People.tribe.net, “The Birch Tree“.

Spiritblogger.wordpress.com, “Spirit Message of the Day – Celtic Tree Month Birch – Strength“.

Hexe

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“Winter Goddess” by Lisa Hunt

“Hexe’s themes are health, banishing and magic. Her symbols are healing, herbs and charms.  This ancient Germanic witch’s Goddess rules over health, banishing curses, and teaching people the effective use of spells, charms, and other mystical procedures for improving well-being. Thus we come by the old phrase ‘hex doctor’.

Living in the 1100s, Saint Hildegard was a renowned Benedictine nun living in Bingen and ministering to people with herbal preparations received in visions. Many of these had magical overtones, perhaps by Hexe’s influence. In any case today’s theme is learning the art of weaving ‘Hexes’ for physical, mental and spiritual health.

On the physical level, take a natural object like a cut potato and rub it against an inflicted area. Bury the potato to ‘bury’ the malady and decompose it. Or carry a jet stone to absorb the problem, then cleanse the rock in saltwater to wash the bad energy away.

For mental well-being, enjoy a soothing cup of mint tea stirred counter clockwise so tensions and negativity will wane. Or, carry a fluorite stone with you throughout the day to strengthen your mental powers.

For spiritual health, sprinkle nutmeg-laden water clockwise throughout your aura to empower your psychic self. Or, carry a lapis or amethyst stone to draw Goddess-centered thinking and action into your day.”

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

I couldn’t find anything specifically on a Goddesses named “Hexe”.  According to Kerr Cuhulain, “The English word ‘hex’ actually comes from the Greek ‘hexe’ (a female sorcerer) or ‘hexer’ (a male sorcerer). This in turn is the source of similar words with the same meaning such as the Anglo Saxon word ‘haegtesse’ and the modern German word for a witch, ‘hexe.'” [1]

“Die Hexe von Endor” (The Witch of Endor) by Kunz Meyer-Waldeck

“Die Hexe von Endor” (The Witch of Endor) by Kunz Meyer-Waldeck

The word hexe is also related or similar to the word hag.  Wikipedia states, “A hag is a wizened old woman, or a kind of fairy or Goddess having the appearance of such a woman, often found in folklore and children’s tales such as Hansel and Gretel. Hags are often seen as malevolent, but may also be one of the chosen forms of shapeshifting deities, such as the Morrígan or Badb, who are seen as neither wholly beneficent nor malevolent.  The term appears in Middle English, and was a shortening of hægtesse, an Old English term for witch, similarly the Dutch heks and German hexe are also shortenings, of the Middle Dutch haghetisse and Old High German hagzusa respectively. All these words derive from the Proto-Germanic *hagatusjon which is of unknown origin, however the first element may be related to the word “hedge”.  As a stock character in fairy or folk tale, the hag shares characteristics with the crone, and the two words are sometimes used as if interchangeable.” [2] (Though we know better, don’t we?)

"Old-Hag Witch" by Fer Gregory

“Old-Hag Witch” by Fer Gregory

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Cuhulain, Kerr. Witchvox.com, “Texe Marrs [2]“.

Wikipedia, “Hag“.

Goddess Nina

“Nina’s themes are health, cooperation, dreams, magic and meditation. Her symbols are lions, fish and serpents (Her sacred animals). A very ancient mother Goddess figure in Mesopotamia, Nina has many powers, including healing, herb magic, meditation, dream interpretation and helping civilization along when needed. Today we will be focusing on Her healthful attributes and knowledge of herbs to improve well-being for the winter months.

Pan-American Health Day focuses on worldwide cooperation in the public health field. On the home front, do everything possible to make your home and body healthy and strong. Beginning in your living space, wash the floors using sage water and burn a sage smudge stick. This herb decreases germ infestation and is magically aligned with Nina’s energy. As you go through your home, carry a small bell and add an incantation like this:

‘Nina, come and make us well
banish sickness with the ringing of this bell.’

Ring the bell in each room at the end of the incantation. In many religious traditions, bells are considered to scare away the evil influences that cause sickness.

To overcome a troublesome malady, put a picture of one of Nina’s sacred animals under your pillow to invoke a healing dream. This tradition is very old and sometimes results in healthful energy being conveyed through your dream, or in a dream that shows you what to do for the cure.”

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

First off, I found that Nina is another name the Goddess Inanna.  “Nina, in Assyro-Babylonian mythology, was the daughter of Ea, the god of water, wisdom and technical skill.  Nina is also the Goddess [of] Ninevah, the capital city of ancient Assyria.” [1]

“Ninhursag” by Dalgis Edelson

Then, I ran across this fabulous article entitled “Nina: Ancient Sumerian Mother of the Mermaids“.  Apparently, “in the cities of Harran and Ur, they called Her ‘Ningal‘ or ‘Nikkal‘; in Nippur, ‘Ninlil‘; and, at the shrine at Al Ubaid, She was ‘Ninhursag‘. When spoken of in conjunction with ‘Nammu‘ and the myth of the formation of the people of the Earth, She was ‘Ninmah’.

In Her capacity as Comforter of Orphans, Caretaker of the Elderly and the Ill, Shelterer of the Homeless and Feeder of the Hungry, She was called ‘Nanshe‘; on the plains of Khafajah, ‘Ninti‘ or ‘Nintu‘; on the Isle of Dilmun, ‘Nin Sikil‘.

When She provided: healing herbs, ‘Ninkarrak‘, ‘Gula’ or ‘Bau‘; dream interpretation, ‘Ninsun‘ or ‘Ninsunna’; beer and wine for holy rites, ‘Ninkasi‘, or, as She arose from the deep waters of the primordial sea, simply: Ama Gal Dingir, the Mother Great Goddess.

The Goddess ‘Atargatis‘ (who maintained a presence at the temple of Ascalon on the Mediterranean Coast, famous for its dove cotes and as a shrine of oracular prophesy) is considered to be quite possibly connected to the early Sumerian images of Nina or Nammu because of Her association with the city of Nineveh (on the Tigris River) and Her primary image as a Goddess of the sea — depicted with the tail of a fish!

“Atargatis” by *PinkParasol                                                                                                                                                     

Whether Atargatis came ashore from the Mediterranean at Ascalon or was born of the waters of the Tigris is a matter for debate. That She bore a daughter who walked on two feet, Shammuramat, is not. Also, it is known that upon Her altars, Her priestesses and devotees sacrificed to Her fish.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Jean. Gather.com, “Nina: Ancient Sumerian Mother of Mermaids“.

Orrar.net, “Goddess Nina“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Sacred-texts.com, “CHAPTER VI: Wars of the City States of Sumer and Akkad“.

Siren, Christopher. Home.comcast.net, “Sumerian Mythology FAQ“.

The 13th Lunar month of the Celtic calendar is Elder.  This tree marks a time of endings and beginnings.

The Elder Moon is the last month in the cycle of the 13 Celtic Moon months, and it indicates the renewal of energy and continuous journey of the soul toward greater happiness and understanding.  The Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night occurs during Elder Moon and is the chance to focus on your heart’s desire.

Annual Evaluation

The Elder Moon is time to bring a halt to habit-forming patterns that have restricted your growth, so that you may heal and move on.  Evaluate what you learned during the past year and give yourself time to work out what you want from life.  Perform spells that conclude the annual cycle and release the energy you invested in previous projects and endeavors, so that you may concentrate on conceiving your new dreams for the New Year.

TREE OF LIFE AND DEATH

“The Elder” by Margaret Walty

The elder tree’s ability to recover when damaged has made it a symbol of regeneration since ancient times, and for this reason it was used in burial rites in British long barrows, an ancient style of grave.  Due to its white flowers (life) and black berries (death), the tree is also sacred to the Mother Goddess who governs birth and death.

Protective Powers

Art by Oskar Klever

The wood is believed to have protective properties to because of the powerful Dryad spirit that lives within it.  When planted near a home, the tree will ward off intruders. The healing powers of the elder are also thought to cure insomnia (by placing elderberries in a spell bag under a pillow) and ensure health of unborn babies (when pregnant women kiss its bark).

 

ELDER MOON MAGIC

Use the powers of the elder tree to bring a sense of completion to the old year and feeling of renewal for the start of the next cycle.

Review the Year

Bring a sense of completion to your Celtic lunar year.

  • Review the last 13 Moons, writing down what you have learned from each.  Acknowledging your lessons helps you move on.
  • Areas of your life that are unfulfilled indicate stuck energy.  Hold quartz and direct love toward your current job, cramped apartment or credit card bill.  New opportunities will appear as if by magic.
  • Resolve difficult relationships by writing a letter to the soul of the person with whom you are in conflict – this helps to clear the way for change.  Then burn the letter.

Release Negativity

Upon reaching the end of the Celtic calendar, the Elder Moon month is the perfect time to release negative energies before entering the New Year, feeling renewed.

1. Dig a hole in the ground and say, “Mother Earth, I ask you to transform my pain into healing.”

2. Place a photo of yourself and a drawing, or written account, of any negative incidents into the hole.

3. Speak or shout your feelings into the hole.

4. When you feel ready, place an elder twig into the hole to represent the end of the cycle.

5. Fill in the hole and stamp the earth down three times saying, “I release the past, so let it be.”

 

Protection Charm

Use this charm to repel unwanted attention and harassment during the party season.

1. Collect together five tiny elder twigs, a white ribbon, a white candle and a strand of your hair.

2. Light the candle saying, “White light surround me, safe will I stay.”

3. Drip the wax onto one of the elder twigs and press your hair into it before it dries.

4. Surround the twig with the others, making a small magical bundle.

5. Secure it with the white ribbon saying, “As I will it, so let it be.”

6. Slip the protection charm into your party handbag and you’re ready to go.

 

Elder Tree Blessing

Use this blessing to heal an environment where there has been an argument, accident, illness or shock.

1. Gather together some elderberries and leaves.

2. Face the north and say, “I call upon the guardians of the earth to bless this place.”  Throw some elderberries and leaves towards the north.

3. Turn to the east and repeat the ritual, this time calling upon the guardians of air.

4. Turn to the south and repeat, calling upon the guardians of fire.

5. Finally, turn to the west and all upon the guardians of water.

6. End by randomly scattering the remaining leaves and release the energy.

 

 

 

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  17.

 

Suggested Links:

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

The Goddess Tree, “Elder“.

Spiritblogger.wordpress.com, “Spirit Message of the Day – Creative Renewal Cycle“.

“Arianrhod” by Emily Brunner

“Arianrhod’s themes are the arts, magic, manifestation and rebirth. Her symbol is a silver wheel (spinning tools i.e. shuttle, yarn).  In Welsh tradition, this is the Goddess of the ‘silver wheel’ upon which magic is braided and bound together into a tapestry of manifestation. Stories tell us that Arianrhod abides in a star where souls wait for rebirth (the wheel here becomes the wheel of life, death, and rebirth).

Known as Catherine of the Wheel, Saint Catherine of Alexandria oversees spinsters (literally and figuratively). Like Arianrhod, she is a patroness for lace makers and seamstresses.  In keeping with this theme, today is an excellent time to try your hand at making a special pouch for housing some of your magical tools or trinkets. Begin with two rectangles of natural-fiber cloth one inch larger than the item you wish to house within. Put the right sides together and stitch three edges, leaving a three-quarters of an inch opening at the top for a drawstring or finished edge. Turn the pouch right side out. Repeat the Goddess’s name to bind Arianrhod’s power in each stitch. Fold over the top hem twice so it won’t unravel, and stitch that with silver thread for the Goddess’s protection.

If time doesn’t allow for this, a favored beverage to inspire this Goddess’s blessings is ale or cider with an apple slice or caraway bread and tea. Pour a little of this out as a libation, then drink it fully to awaken and energize Arianrhod’s magical potential within you.”

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

“Arianrhod” by ~lucreziac

Arianrhod (ah-ree-AHN-rhohd) is “the Goddess of the ‘silver wheel’ [and] was a Welsh sorceress, who, surrounded by women attendants, lived on the isolated coastal island of Caer Arianrhod.  Beautiful and pale of complexion, Arianrhod was the most powerful of the mythic children of the mother Goddess Dôn.

It was said that She lived a wanton life, mating with mermen on the beach near Her castle and casting Her magic inside its walls.  She tried to pretend virginity, but a trial by the magician Math revealed that She had conceived two children whom She had not carried to term: in leaping over a wizard’s staff, Arianrhod magically gave birth to the twins Dylan-son-of-Wave and Llew Llaw Gyffes.  Dylan slithered away and disappeared.  Arianrhod’s bother, the poet Gwydion, recognized the fetus as his own child, born of his unexpressed love for his sister.

Gwydion took the fetus and hid it in a magical chest until it was ready to breathe.  Arianrhod, furious at this invasion of Her privacy, denied the child a name or the right to bear arms – two prerogatives of a Welsh mother – but Gwydion tricked Arianrhod into granting them.  Eventually the Goddess overreached Herself, creating more magic than She could contain; Her island split apart, and She and Her maidservants drowned.

“Is she real?” by BlondieMel

Some scholars read the legend as the record of a change from mother right to father rule, claiming that the heavenly Arianrhod was a matriarchal moon Goddess whose particular place in heaven was in the constellation called Corona Borealis.  The argument has much in its favor, particularly the archetypal relation of Arianrhod to Her sister moon Goddesses on the continent, who like Artemis lived in orgiastic maidenhood surrounded entirely by women.  Other scholars, unconvinced that the Celts were matriarchal at any time, see Arianrhod simply as an epic heroine” (Monaghan, p. 53).

Upon reading Her story, my initial reaction was “Damn…that’s pretty cruel and spiteful.”  But as Claire Hamilton in her piece entitled “Arianrhod – Bad Mother or Mythic Goddess?” points out, “If Arianrhod really is the great mother of the Sacred King child, then why does She seem so vindictive? What are these so-called curses about? Why does She seem to be denying Her son his rights?  And why is She so powerful that Gwydion has to work so hard to outwit Her?  In addressing these questions, we should first bear in mind the strong possibility that by the time Her tale was written down by the Welsh monks, they had spotted Her pagan power and decided to deliberately slander Her name.”

“Arianrhod” by Alois Noette

Hamilton sums up her entry by stating, “I believe that Arianrhod can be seen not as a furious and vindictive woman, but as a powerful and wise matriarch.  A mother who truly understood the needs of her son, and the sacred requirements of Her maternal role, and who was not afraid to use Her Crone power to secure them. And for these reasons, I believe that the wonderful Goddess Arianrhod, the beautiful woman whose feet rest on the crescent moon, and whose head is ringed with stars, is a hugely important figure in Welsh myth, and a deeply inspirational model for all mothers today.”

“Arianrhod is said to be able to shapeshift into a large Owl, and through the great Owl-eyes, sees even into the darkness of the human subconscious and soul. The Owl symbolizes death and renewal, wisdom, moon magick, and initiations. She is said to move with strength and purpose through the night, Her wings of comfort and healing spread to give solace to those who seek Her.” [1]

Below is a list of associations that I put together from a few different sources that I could find:

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic (Welsh)
Elements: Water, air
Associated Planet: Moon
Colors: Blue, purple, grey, silver, white
Symbols: Triple Goddess, wheels, spinning tools, the silver wheel, the zodiac, nets, the full moon, Corona Borealis, Oar Wheel (a special boat that carries dead warriors to Emania, or the Moon Land)
Areas of Influence: Reincarnation, fertility, female power, sovereignty, fate, beauty, past life memories, difficulties
Sacred Animals: Owls, wolves
Suitable Offerings: Silver coins, wheat, candles (green and white).
Gems/Metals: Silver
Sacred Tree: Birch

[2] [3] [4] [5]

HOLY DAYS:

January 12: Day of Arianrhod: Welsh Celtic holy day. Day of Arianrhod (Welsh) Goddess of reincarnation, the Wheel of the Year, the full moon, fertility, and female power. Often portrayed as a weaver [of spells], She is linked to lost creation myths. — Celtic information provided by Shelley M. Greer ©1997.

February 14: Arianrhod steps over the magical wand of Math: Celtic holy day. Arianrhod steps over the magical wand of Math, which manifests truth, to prove her virginity. The wand causes the seed of her lover, which is in her womb, to ripen, grow and give forth in an instant, giving birth to Dylan Ail Ton, whose name means “Sea, son of Wave”. Dylan makes straight for the sea, and is accidentally slain by his uncle Gofannon. Her brother, Gwyddion, snatches up the after-birth to incubate Llew Llaw Gyffes, the great archer. — Celtic information provided by Shelley M. Greer ©1997.

 December 2: Festival of Arianrhod: Welsh holy day. The Goddess descends on a silver chariot to watch the tides.   [6]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Community-2.webtv.net, “Arianrhod“.

Hamilton, Claire. Goddess Alive!, “Arianrhod – Bad Mother or Mythic Goddess?

Inanna.virtualave.net, “Arianrhod

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Arianrhod”.

Rainbowpagan. Youtube.com, Goddess Arianrhod“.

Teenwitch.com, “Arrianrhod“.

Thewhitegoddess.co.uk, “Arianrhod – Goddess of the Silver Wheel“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bianca. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Arianrhod, Goddess of the Milky Way“.

Celtnet.org.uk, “ArianrhodA Cymric goddess: Silver Wheel, Silver Orbit“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Arianrhod“.

Journal of a Poet, “Arianrhod, Moon Goddess of the Silver Wheel“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow. Sacredmistsblog.com, “Goddess of the Week: Arianrhod“.

Shaw, Judith. Feminismandreligion.com, “Arianrhod, Celtic Star Goddess“.

Sisterhoodofavalon.org, “The Goddesses“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, “Meeting Arianrhod, Welsh Goddess of the Stars” (p. 23 – 31).

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Arianrhod“.

Wikipedia, “Arianrhod“.

Goddess Yellow Woman

Corn Maiden by kelpie2004

“Yellow Woman’s themes are nature, providence and animals. Her symbols are yellow items, green items and embroidered items. This Pueblo Goddess of magic, agriculture and the hunt is also the heroine of many local stories, having taught humans important sacred ceremonies. Today She helps us remember these rituals and reintegrate the into our lives. Art depicts Yellow Woman wearing an embroidered blanket-dress, a green mask (revealing Her connection to nature), and a white mantle. Sometimes She appears as a Corn Goddess and other times as a witch, bear, or ogress.

This is a time of the Buffalo Dance, which honors nature and mimes, and ancient hunting ritual thought to ensure a successful hunt. This dance is a type of sympathetic magic that also appeases the souls of the animals about to be captured.  For our purposes, this equates to a kind of ritual mime in which we enact our hopes as realized, asking Yellow Woman to guide our movements so they will manifest in magic.  For example, to improve self-love, give yourself a hug so you receive that energy. For relationships, open your arms wide so they await the right person (figuratively receiving a ‘good catch’, which is in Yellow Woman’s dominion too!)

To improve awareness of the significance of ritual, eat corn today or wear yellow, white, and/or green clothing. Embroidered items also please this Goddess.”

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

Hopi Hemis Kachin Mana Kachina

From The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky: “Southwestern indigenous aboriginals and pueblo peoples – the Arikara, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Mandan, Hidasta, Abnaki, Cherokee and Huron – see corn as a Goddess. Corn Woman encompasses the figures of Corn Mother, the Corn Maidens, and Yellow Woman. They all relate to corn as a sacred being who gives of Herself to Her people to sustain them and nourish them. The Arikara Creator God, Nesaru, fashioned Corn Mother from an ear of corn which grew in heaven.  Corn Mother then came to earth and taught people how to honor the deities and to plant corn.” [1]

“Corn Woman or Maiden who is a figure in many stories. She may appear as a kachina mana, that is, a female kachina. At Cochiti, for example, Yellow Woman kachina wears a green mask and has Her hair done in butterfly whorls on the sides of Her head. She wears an embroidered ceremonial blanket as a dress and an all-white manta over Her shoulders. Yellow Woman tends to be a stock heroine in many stories, taking on a wide range of identities, including bride, witch, chiefs daughter, bear woman, and ogress.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Americanindianoriginals.com, “Kachina Dolls: Their Meaning and Tribal Development – Corn Maiden Kachina Doll“.

Marashinsky, Amy Sophia. The Goddess Oracle, “Corn Woman“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Jukiewicz, Carol E. Groups.yahoo.com/group/indigenous_peoples_literature, “[indigenous_peoples_literature] Yellow Woman stories“.

Kachina-doll-shop.com, “Kachina Names & Meanings“.

Nagoda-Bergquist, Susi. Coyoteandanotherone.com, “Yellow Woman, The Moon“.

Redaspen.blogspot.com, “Evil Kachina and Yellow Corn Woman“.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Yellow Woman.

Yellow Woman Stories [PDF from boblyman.net]

Yellow-Woman—talking-points [Female Archetypes and “Yellow Woman” DOC from TeacherWeb]

Goddess Nicneven

“The Faery Godmother” by Brian Froud

“Nicneven’s themes are protection, ghosts, divination, peace and winter. Her symbols are pumpkins, gourds and traditional Halloween fare. In Scotland, Nicneven is the crone Goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.

In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grow thin and spirits can communicate with the living.  Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way to family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.

In Druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.

To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!

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

“Queen of the Bad Fairies” by Brian Froud

Nicneven or Nicnevin or Nicnevan (whose name is from a Scottish Gaelic surname, Neachneohain meaning ‘daughter(s) of the divine’ and/or daughter(s) of Scathach‘ NicNaoimhein meaning ‘daughter of the little saint’) is a Queen of the Fairies in Scottish folklore. The use of the name for this meaning was first found in Montgomerie’s Flyting (c.1585) and was seemingly taken from a woman in Scotland condemned to death for witchcraft before being burnt at the stake as a witch. In the Borders the name for this archetype was Gyre-Carling whose name had variants such as Gyre-Carlin, Gy-Carling, Gay-Carlin amongst others. Gyre is possibly a cognate of the Norse word geri and thus having the meaning of ‘greedy’ or it may be from the Norse gýgr meaning ‘ogress’; carling or carline is a Scots and Northern English word meaning ‘old woman’ which is from, or related to, the Norse word kerling (of the same meaning).

She was sometimes thought of as the mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy mythology.  This guise is frankly diabolical.  Sir Walter Scott calls Her:

a gigantic and malignant female, the Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under Her grim banner. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies, namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon the ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass. In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in Her triple character of Hecate, doubtless) and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of their choir, But we return to the more simple fairy belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described Her as:

Nicnevin with Her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

“The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Even so, the elder Nicnevin or Gyre-Carling retained the habit of night riding with an ‘elrich‘ entourage mounted on unlikely and supernatural steeds. Another, satirical popular depiction made Her leave Scotland after a love-quarrel with Her neighbour, to become wife of ‘Mahomyte‘ and queen of the ‘Jowis‘. She was an enemy of Christian people, and ‘levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche’; still, Her absence caused dogs to stop barking and hens to stop laying. But in Fife, the Gyre-Carling was associated with spinning and knitting, like Habetrot; here it was believed to be unlucky to leave a piece of knitting unfinished at the New Year, lest the Gyre-Carling should steal it.” [1]

“Nicnevin” by Xavier Collette

For a fantastic and in-depth piece written on this Goddess, I highly recommend reading “Nicnevin” by Sarah Lawless over at Witchofforestgrove.com.  In her piece, she explains “Nicnevin is the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the fairies, spirits, and strange creatures, queen of the Unseelie Court of Alba.  She reigns with a male consort at Her side, but his name is never given, it is my guess he changes with Her moods.  She is the Gyre Carline and appears sometimes in the Scottish tales as Habetrot, a crone-like spirit known for Her magical powers of spinning, weaving and clothmaking. It is said She wears a long grey mantle and carries a white wand and can appear as an old crone or a beautiful young woman. White geese are sacred to Her and their cackling may herald Her arrival. In this we see She is linked with the Germanic Goddess HoldaHel, queen of the Underworld, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Norse legend.”

In the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes, she writes: “Nicnevin, Scottish witch Goddess, can transform water into rocks and sea into dry land.  Her name is derived from Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, ‘Daughter of Frenzy.’ Nicnevin flies through the night.  Although usually invisible, Her presence is announced by the cacophony of geese.  The Romans identified Her with Diana.

Following Scotland’s official conversion to Christianity and brutal witch trials, Nicnevin, a former Goddess, was reclassified as both a Fairy and a demon. (Scotland suffered particularly virulent witch hunts, second in scope only to the German lands in terms of prosecutions and executions.)  She is considered Queen of the Fairies of Fife, Scotland and is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt.

Sea hag from the hit TV show “Charmed”

Manifestation: Nicnevin manifests as a beautiful woman and a dried out old hag.  She wears a long gray mantle.

Attribute: Magic wand

Element: Water

Birds: Geese

Day: Samhain (Halloween) is Nicnevin’s sacred night when She grants wishes and answers petitions.  She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting.  On Samhain, Nicnevin makes Herself visible as She flies through the air accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese.  Rituals are also held in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1″ (p. 760).

 

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Nicnevin: The Bone Mother“.

Lawless, Sarah. Witchofforestgrove.com, “NICNEVIN“.

Wikipedia, “Nicnevin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientsites.com, “The Celtic Huntress“.

Andarta, Boudicca. Paganpages.org, “Let’s Spell it Out“.

Dalyell, John Graham. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits“.

Electricscotland.com, “The Goddess in the Landscape“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddess“.

Illes, Judika. Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz, “Nicnevin“.

Rankine, David R. Sacredfires.co.uk, “Hekate Wears Tartan“.

Wikipedia, “Queen of Elphame“.

Wikipedia, “Wild Hunt“.

The Celtic Moon month of Reed prompts you to withdraw from the outer world, to look within yourself and reconnect with the past.

The celebration of Samhain, now known as Halloween, occurs during the Reed Moon.  To the Celts this month hailed the end of the year, a time to cull the livestock and to connect with ancestors.  All around the world festivals that honor the dead are celebrated.  During the Reed Moon, light a candle for loved ones who have died and you may receive a message from the spirit world.

Releasing Old Energy

The Reed Moon is a good time to use divination to gain insights into the year that has passed.  Perform spells that will release old energy, and burn symbols of illness and negativity in your bonfire on Halloween.  Remember the Celtic year does not begin until the Winter Solstice, so use this interval to dream not to make plans for the future.

THE HAUNTING SOUND OF REED

In the past, the reed was used to make swift-flying arrow shafts that slew both enemies and game.  In this way the plant was linked to the season of death and sacrifice, in which trees shed their leaves and the energy of nature became more introspective.  Many early musical instruments also used the reed to create a haunting sound that has been connected to rites for the dead and summoning the spirits.

Wind Instruments

Modern-day wind instruments have developed from the same principle used by original reed instruments, whereby a current of air is vibrated to produce a melodic sound.

Other traditional uses for reed include thatching.  Rooftops were thatched with reeds, and as the Celts withdrew into their homes for the winter they honored the plant that gave them shelter, making the reed a symbol of royalty and protection.

 

In the depth of winter, you need to recharge.  As you tend to stay indoors a lot during the cold season, this is a good time to both focus on and bless your home.

REED MOON MAGIC

Harness the power of the plant of protection and divination during this lunar month.  Using Reed magic can help you to connect with your ancestral roots or let go of the past.

Ancestor Spirit Altar

Use this ancestral ritual to connect with your ancestors and other loved ones who have crossed to the spirit world.

You Will Need:

  • Ancestral images
  • Three white candles
  • Flowers

You may choose to use a pentagram as the symbol of your spiritual tradition

First, place the ancestral images on a table, with flowers and candles.  Light each candle in turn and offer after each in the following order.

Candle one:

I honor the Ancestors of my Blood.

Candle two:

I honor the Ancestors of my Heart.

Candle three:

I honor the Ancestors of my Tradition.

Meditate, letting images peacefully drift through your mind, and ask for a sign that your loved ones are still with you in spirit.

 

Protection Charm

Use this reed charm to protect yourself from negativity.

You Will Need:

  • Freshly cut reed
  • A black ribbon

1.  Visualize yourself within a circle of white light.

2.  Tie a knot in a freshly cut reed, as it will be more flexible, and then say, “Royal Reed, plant of protection, keep me safe until the new year.”

3.  Suspend the knotted reed from the ceiling using the black ribbon.

4.  At Christmas, take it down and burn it.

 

Samhain Reed Spell

If you need help in letting go of something from your past, use a little reed magic at Samhain (October 31).

You Will Need:

  • Knife
  • Pen
  • Sea salt
  • Matches
  • Fireproof dish

1.  Go to a spot along the river bank where reeds grow tall and strong.

2.  Sprinkle sea salt on the surface of the water and say, “River of birth, river of death, I honor you.  Please accept this offering.”

3. Now choose a reed, cut it, and carefully draw a symbol, or write a word, to represent what you wish to release on the reed.

4.  Light the reed in the fireproof dish and, as it burns, visualize the old energy being transformed into light and disappearing.

5.  Once the reed has burned away, pour the ashes into the water and walk away, feeling fully cleansed of the past.

 

Traditional Magic

  • Try bringing some reed magic into your life with these traditional rituals:
  • Leap over a small bonfire to leave behind the old year.
  • Eat an apple at Samhain at midnight to dream of your spirit guide.
  • Carve out a turnip or pumpkin as a lantern of protection.
  • Bury an apple at a crossroads as an offering to the spirits of the dead.
  • Use the runes for divination or to gain insight into your current situation.

 

 

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  16.

 

 

Suggested Link:

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

The Goddess Tree, “Reed“.

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