Autumn Equinox: The Drop

Our next stop on the Pagan Wheel of the Year brings us to the Autumnal Equinox.

The Astrology of the Equinox

Every year on September 22nd the Sun enters 0 degrees Libra which marks the first day of Autumn. Like the Spring Equinox, we have equal light and darkness on this day. For the next several months, the Sun will be dipped below the horizon, traversing the Autumn and Winter zodiac signs of Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aquarius. This is the dark part of the year, and the Autumn Equinox signals the start of this journey into the unknown.

Mabon

The birth of Mabon ap Modron (Great Son of the Great Mother) is celebrated at the Equinox. He is born from his mother Modron (Great Mother), who is seen as the Guardian of the Otherworld, the Earth and the Protector. Mabon was stolen from his mother, Modron, when he was three nights old. In different versions of the story he was three years old. In one version of the myth the Eagle, the Owl, the Blackbird, the Stag and the Salmon rescued him, while in another King Arthur was the one who saved him. During his captivity, Mabon dwelled in a magical Otherworld -Madron’s Womb. Madron’s womb was a place of challenge and nurturing, and while there Mabon grew in strength and wisdom before being reborn as the Son of Light, his mother’s Champion.- Circleofthesacredmuse.com

Mabon is the old Anglo-Celtic festival of Harvest Home, a respite from the work of harvesting and a celebration of thanks. In remembrance of that time, it is often referred to as the “Witches’ Thanksgiving” and finishes off the witches’ year. It is one of the oldest harvest celebrations in Europe.

Mabon marks the end of the second harvest and is a time when the majority of crops have been gathered. Nuts, apples, grapes and berries are featured items at this Sabbat feast. Jams, jellies and wine are made at this time.

Spiritual Lessons of Autumn Equinox

After September 22nd, the days start to get a little cooler, trees begin changing colours, and summer flowers begin to fade away. This is the time in our Pagan Pregnancy story where we experience the “drop” of our frequency inside. We have arrived at the final trimester that began back at the Winter Solstice when a solar frequency was released, seeded at Imbolc, first seen at the Spring Equinox, felt at Beltane with the first heartbeat, celebrating the soul at the Summer Solstice, and preparing for the final trimester at Lammas.

The drop in pregnancy is the time when the fetus starts moving downward. Our creations are preparing to be released. It’s ironic that the bond between a Mother and her Baby first comes through the separation of the Baby leaving the comfort of the womb. So I ask you to reflect on the relationship with your Mother and with nurturing:

Is it a good relationship? Is it stifling?

How could your Mother have given you more comfort?

How could you have nurtured your Mother more?

What do you appreciate about each other?

What have you been neglecting that needs more attention?

What are you giving attention to that perhaps you should be letting go of?

What lessons did you learn from this past Summer?

We are coming close to birthing our creation at the Winter Solstice once again. To prepare for this, I would suggest reflecting on the relationship you have with your Mother. If we look back at the myth of Mabon, he was stolen away from his Mother and placed in an underworld type place. Only while away from his Mother, were both able to use their love and nurturing for one another to escape the darkness. This myth is similar to the Demeter Persephone story as well. The separation of Mother and Child allowed them to form a stronger relationship because they appreciated each other much more by being apart. Don’t we appreciate the seasons so much more once they’ve passed?

Mabon was a solar deity and by slipping below the horizon a.k.a the underworld, he underwent a deep introspection journey, allowing him to reflect upon his glory days on Earth. This helped him to truly embrace his individual power once he returned to Earth (Mother)…hence the balancing energy of the Equinox.

To Conclude…

Celebrating Mabon allows you to honour the process of life- that everything has a time and a season and that nurturing our endings is the most important part of the creation journey. Could you imagine if a pregnant woman began smoking and drinking at the end of her pregnancy? It would be catastrophic. So treat the Autumn Equinox as the time to comfort yourself as we approach the last big stretch of our journey.

 

 

Advertisements

Lammas: Bun in the Oven

What is Lammas?

During August, the grain- the staff of life grows ready to harvest. The great goddess appears with her sickle. Her womb produces berries, fruits, grains, and the most potent herbs. Her companion the Sun God, no longer shows his gentle brightly radiating figure, he is now fiery, burns hotly, and is drying. The Celts called him Lugh, the smart and skillful god, the master of all arts, the Lion with the Quiet Hand. It is he who brings everything to fullness and ripeness with his flame and his wisdom. He symbolizes the receding year, the west where the Sun sets in red-hot embers. Under his reign the grain grows golden, the fruit becomes sweet and red yellow, the herbs become spicier and stronger than at midsummer. But the Sun god is also the ruthless harvester, the reaper, who finishes off the green and budding life with his heat. Lugh and the goddess of the Earth celebrated a wedding during the full moon of August and invited people to celebrate with them. The festival of Lugh was a fire festival during which huge piles of wood were ignited. This tradition endured among the insular Celts for many years. – From the book ‘Witchcraft Medicine’ by Claudis Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch, & Wolf-Dieter Storl

There was also a more crude aspect to this festival involving the cutting up of a corpse, but I’ll spare you the gross details.

Lammas was the occasion for blessing all the herbs that would be needed during the coming year for health and well-being of the house and stable. It also made good sense to collect the herbs during the dog days of summer because the aroma, taste, and medicine are manifestations of the powerful light and warmth of vegetation. The Sun infused the herbs and plants with its healing rays.

The Wheel of the Year

The Pagan Wheel of the Year brings us now the harvest festival on August 1st known as Lughnasadh or Lammas as it is commonly referred to as.

If you have been following my Pagan Wheel of the Year journey, you will have seen that I have related the sabbats to the process of creation. The last point on our calendar was the Summer Solstice- Ensoulment, the time of the year where our creation was given a soul. Now we come to the harvest season, where we are offered the opportunity to reflect back on our journey and to see the fruits of our labour, and the wheat of our harvest.

Our creation has just entered the 7 month point. We are close to giving birth to our creation at the Winter Solstice. In a normal pregnancy, the 7 month point is when the Mother can start to feel anxious and excited. The due date is only 3 months away. What was created at Imbolc is now becoming a reality.

Astrology of Lammas

Astrologically, Lammas occurs when the Sun reaches 15 degrees Leo. This is the halfway point in a fixed sign, meaning the ability to rebirth ourselves is heightened. Leo connects to the heart chakra and the qualities of courage, gratitude, and abundance. Lammas is the perfect time to reflect on these themes and how they have showed up or not showed up in your life.

To go back to the myth of Lammas, the Celtic god of light- Lugh and son of the Sun, he transfers his power into the grain and is sacrificed when the grain is harvested. The art of creation is one of the most selfless acts we as souls can partake in because we ultimately do not know the outcome. Let’s not forget that a balanced Leo energy is selfless, and not selfish like how most of us have experienced Leo energy. Remember the myth of Lugh, the Sun God who chooses to set so the fruits and wheat can harvest is an example of selflessness that Lammas inspires.

Celebrate Lammas by doing an energetic detox. We can only best serve others when we ourselves are in a healthy state. An energetic detox is kick-started when you finally cut back on those sweets, or when you start exercising, or starting a gratitude journal. Our bodies have been imprinted with the spiritual rays of the Sun all summer and it is during Lammas and the month of August when we start to visibly notice less daylight. With all of the solar energy we have gathered, now is the time to commence the healing.

To Conclude…

For most of us in North America, August is not the time of year when we go out into the fields to harvest wheat, or start buying pumpkins, and corn husks to decorate our front porches. It’s still very warm. But there is a shift that happens, whereby, the fun times of the Summer are slowly winding down as parents start preparing their kids for back to school, and stores start their end of summer sales. Naturally, we all start to reflect on the previous months and start making plans for Autumn. Lammas is the perfect time to make a gratitude list and count your blessings. 

A typical way to celebrate Lammas is to bake a loaf of bread using the wheat harvested in early August. We can equate this to baking the frequency we received at Imbolc in our own ovens- providing it with the right conditions so it can make the best of its last 3 months. Wheat symbolizes the spermatic power of the staff of life, thus nearing the end of the pregnancy, I suspect most people can appreciate the divine process of creation. The sperm is essentially in the process of being harvested at Lammas. I suppose this is where the saying “bun in the oven” comes from.

FINIS

Emma Wheeler Wilcox has a beautiful poem that captures the energy of Lammas.

YOU NEVER CAN TELL

 

YOU never can tell when you send a word–
Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an archer blind– be it cruel or kind,
Just where it will chance to go.
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
Tipped with its poison or balm;
To a stranger’s heart in life’s great mart
It may carry its pain or its calm.

You never can tell when you do an act 
   Just what the result will be; 
But with every deed you are sowing a seed, 
   Though the harvest you may not see. …………………………………………..Leo selflessness
Each kindly act is an acorn dropped 
   In God’s productive soil; 
You may not know, yet the tree shall grow 
   And shelter the brows that toil.

You never can tell what your thoughts will do
In bringing you hate or love;
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe–
Each thing must create its kind;
And they speed o’er the track to bring you back
Whatever went out from your mind.

 

 

 

Summer Solstice: Ensoulment

We continue on our spiritual journey of the Wheel of the Year with Litha, the Summer Solstice. The Summer Solstice marks the point in the year when we have the longest day and the shortest night.

Sol

The last major point on the Wheel of the Year was Beltane, the moment when we felt the first heartbeat of our solar initiate who will be given birth to at the Winter Solstice. We have now reached the solstice when the Sun stands still from which it will continue to wane. It is at this moment that the Sun penetrates the cosmic womb, gifting the frequency with a soul. It is a combining of the divine light with the divine within. It is an ascension of spiritual growth.

Ensoulment is when a fetus has a soul.  Different Religions have varying views on this, but it was Aristotle who believed that the fetus receives a soul approximately 90 days into the pregnancy. From the moment the gestation period began at the Spring Equinox (Ostara) to the Summer Solstice, we have reached approximately 90 days. So we can assume that our frequency of the year receives its divine consciousness at the Summer Solstice. Remember, the latin word for Sun is Sol which becomes the word Soul.

Sun & Moon

The Sun beats down on the Northern Hemisphere on June 21st, soaking us in its spiritual rays. They are encoded with receptors that are used to recognize the divinity within all things sort of like stamping life with their divine statuses.

The Sun enters the Tropical sign of Cancer on June 21st who is the highest octave of motherly love. Imagine the Solstice as a great big hug from the divine feminine. On this day when we celebrate the peak of solar energy, we are also honouring the ruler of Cancer the Moon. After the Solstice the Sun begins turning back and the lunar energies emerge. We say goodbye to untamed individuality and welcome the new identity the soul signature of each individual…even if they are in the womb. One month later the Sun enters Leo which is the time to honour our inner radiant glory.

To Conclude…

Celebrate the Summer Solstice by bathing yourself in the Sun’s light which can reactivate your soul signature. Know that the solar frequency that was released at the Winter Solstice is receiving its divine task on this day of Litha. Ensoulment begins.

 

 

Beltane: The First Heartbeat

From approximately April 28-May 5 Pagans celebrate the Celtic fire festival known as Beltane. It is held at the halfway point between the Spring Equinox & the Summer Solstice. This day marked the time of year when farmers would bring their cattle out to pasture.

Rituals would be performed that would involve lighting bonfires as the flames and ashes were deemed to be protective. People would walk around the bonfires with their cattle and sometimes leap over the flames. These gatherings would be followed by a feast. Homes were decorated with yellow Mayflowers due to their fiery colouring. Beltane is a spring time festival that celebrates the fertility of nature. Thus, pagan folk would consumate their love in the meadows and woods under the light of the moon. It was also a festival of sexual freedom, therefore promiscuity was celebrated.

The name Beltane is old Gaelic for “bright fire.” We see similar etymology in the Slavic languages where the word byelo means White as in to purify.

The Astrology of Beltane

Beltane occurs at 15 degrees of the sign Taurus. 15 degrees in Astrology is known as a critical degree because it represents the half way point in a zodiac sign (there are 30 degrees in each sign). 15 degrees is therefore a peak of energy….a strong burst of the Taurus archetype.

Beltane is opposite the other Pagan holiday Samhain which is commonly celebrated at Halloween. This festival celebrates the thinning of the veil between worlds. It’s a time of ancestral worship and purging. Beltane, representing the other half of Samhain also experiences a thinning of the veil. It’s less to do with communicating with the dead, and more about communicating with the cosmos, the divine feminine.

The symbol for Taurus is the Bull- a creature of virility & aggressiveness- typical qualities we associate with the masculine. Oddly enough, Taurus is an ultra feminine sign ruled by Venus, so why the Bull as her symbol?

The Bull was sacred in Egyptian, Assyrian, & Crete cultures. The constellation was named as such between 4000 and 2000 BC when the ancients noticed fertility began when the constellation was rising in the evening at the time of year that the Nile receded far back enough that Oxen could plough the land. The Bull features in many mythologies which I recommend you research further in order to grasp the full archetype of Taurus.

The Taurus bull head looks like the female reproductive system, confirming once again the connection between creation and Taurus.

wp8ca555c0_1a

The First Heartbeat

The Star Aldebaran is found in the Taurus constellation at 15 degrees- the degree of Beltane. To the ancient Babylonians (the first Astrologers) this star was the luckiest star, representing wealth and a beautiful family life. This is why Beltane is celebrated on May 1st when the Sun in Taurus reached 15 degrees.

If you have been following my analysis of the Pagan sabbats on my blog, you will know that I have discussed these holidays in terms of frequencies. To recap, there was a frequency that was released at the Winter solstice that was encoded with our blueprint for the upcoming year. That frequency becomes seeded at Imbolc which is the metaphysical cosmic conception. At Ostara we celebrate pregnancy- we are creating new life that will be given birth to 9 months later at the Winter Solstice. Beltane is 6 weeks from Ostara. We know that 6 weeks into a pregnancy, a heartbeat can be detected. This is the realization that we are carrying life within us. It is the reality that our creation is in fact alive! It’s always an emotional time for the parents to hear their baby’s heartbeat for the first time because it is confirmation that their love has indeed created another human.

Faeries are believed to dance around under the moonlight on Beltane which is why this holiday has a magical quality to it. Is there anything more magical than creating life?

If we take Beltane as experiencing the first heartbeat, what we are really celebrating during this holiday is life and creation. It’s in May that we begin to see nature waking up from the long dark Winter, and it gives us hope and excitement knowing that life is ours to create. I have noticed with many people that the period from January-April are always stagnant periods because we are metaphysically accumulating a lot of energy for the remainder of the year- we are energetically preparing ourselves for this frequency that we are carrying.

Milk & Honey

The Sun meets with the Milky Way at Beltane- connecting our consciousness with the stream of souls of the Milky Way. It is called the Milky Way because it is believed that it is the milk of our universe- the nurturing elixir that women use to feed their babies. In astrotheology, the Milky Way is Mother Mary. It is believed that when the Sun meets with the Milky Way at Beltane, souls are able to penetrate the womb of women who are expecting. This is why many believe that it’s at 6 weeks when the fetus has a soul.

The Maypole which is an important symbol of Beltane represents the Axis Mundi- the celestial pole that connect us to the heavens. The pole is an obvious phallic symbol, however I like to think of it as a column of enlightenment and the ribbons representing the celestial bodies. The crossing of the ribbons represents the meeting of the Sun with the Milky Way, the celebration of the stream of consciousness from the heavens that is now descending upon earth.

Celebrate Beltane

Beltane reminds us to enjoy ourselves and to celebrate the union of life and love. We experience the most profound intimacy with the universe when we are able to fully surrender to its magnificence. Taurus knows how to celebrate beauty and recognizing the beauty around us creates a conduit of energy connecting our physical world with the spiritual world…..this is why Beltane represents the thinning of the veil.

At Beltane we celebrate the masculine and feminine coming together. It’s a time to celebrate who you are unapologetically. Write down a list of your deepest wishes and bury it in your garden in a wish box. Visualize your wishes growing true.

We celebrate the union of the feminine and masculine, for without it, there would be no heartbeat.