Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Storms of Beltane (Dorian Wallace)

Almost every Beltane, even before I was aware of what Beltane was, it has stormed. As I sit here typing this, it is currently raining with thunder and lightning and has been since last night. Personally, it doesn't bother me in the least because I love storms. I love watching the dark clouds roll in and then light up with natures fireworks. I know a lot of us Druids, Pagan's and Witches enjoy dark days, cool breezes and the waters that clean the Earth, but why does this seem to happen frequently on the week of Beltane?

I currently live in Charlotte North Carolina, but this phenomena started for me in Southern California with something called The Orange Show in San Bernardino. This fair has been going on every year for over 100 years, but originally it was built over ancient Native American burial grounds and was cursed by the unnamed tribe and has rained opening day from day one....which usually takes place around Beltane. I loved going there as a kid, the food, the music, the rides and the Citrus Pavillion were fantastic. The smell of the latter was always my favorite, millions of oranges and other citrus in art installments gave off a smell better than a grove. Don't get me wrong, back in the 80's, it wasn't the fanciest thing around, but I was a kid and didn't care.

So, I'm not sure if the remnants have followed me back to the other side of the Country, or it is just something that happens. I don't view rain as a curse....but it definitely puts a damper on the local celebrations. Last year when my husband, youngest son and I went to the Beltane Brouhaha, there was not a cloud in site. This weekend is a different story. I wasn't able to go because the aforementioned husband fell ill and I didn't feel comfortable leaving him home on his own. Perhaps next year will be a different story, perhaps I'll bring a rain coat. Either way, enjoy your Beltane if you celebrate....remember, the veil is thin again, so talk to your ancestors.

Bonfires, Green Man, Fairies and Pan (Danette Wilson)

Deep within it starts to stir
Hidden magic, true and pure
Hand in hand, Sun and Moon
I begin to dance the pagan rune.
I follow this path it all unfolds
The witch I am, the secrets untold.

Beltane signifies the time of burgeoning growth, passion and strength for us. Great fires are ignited, and the door to the Otherworld opens. Beltane is a Sabbat where the door to the spirit world is open and the veil between the worlds is thin. Unlike Samhain, which is the festival of the dead, Beltane is a festival of the living.  

This was a time when the Celts offered praise to Bel, who was not only a god of death but of life as well, for he is represented as a solar deity and he was regarded as having gained victory over the powers of darkness by bringing the people within sight of another harvest. On that day (Beltane) the fires of the household would be extinguished. At a given time the Druids would rekindle the fires from the torches lit by 'The Sacred Fires of Bel', the rays of the sun, and the new flames symbolized a fresh start for everyone.

The Sabbat on May 1 is a Cross Quarter Day. The cross quarter Sabbats are so named because they fall roughly halfway between solstice and equinox. (The other 3, on Feb. 1, Aug. 1 and Oct.. 31/Nov.1). These, then, were the crossroads of the year. Prophecies in the wind, ghostly lights, dancing of witches and ghouls. The intersection of positive and negative, conflict and change.

Folklorist James Frazer associated the Green Man with May Day celebrations, and with the character of Jack in the Green, who is a more modern adaptation of the Green Man. Jack is a more specifically defined version of the nature spirit than the earlier Green Man archetype. Frazer speculated that while some form of the Green Man was probably present in a variety of separate early cultures, he developed independently into a variety of newer, more modern characters. This would explain why in some areas he is Jack, while in others he is Robin of the Hood, or Herne the Hunter in different parts of England.

The Green Man is typically portrayed as a human face surrounded by dense foliage. Such images appear as far back as the eleventh century, in church carvings. As Christianity spread, the Green Man went into hiding, with stonemasons leaving secret images of his face around cathedrals and churches.

In Greek legend and mythology, Pan is known as a rustic and wild god of the forest. He is associated with the animals that live in the woods, as well as with the sheep and goats in the fields.

Because of his connection to sexuality and fertility, Pan is often invoked during the Beltane season. Associated with the forest, like Cernunnos.

“Of wise women and fay, who can doubt that heathen sacrifices blazed on the day.”
Jacob Grimm

Like Samhain, the holiday of Beltane is a time when the veil between the worlds is thin. Some traditions believe that this is a good time to contact the spirits, or to interact with the Fae.

It's a time that marks fire and fertility, and the return of new life to the earth.
This is also a great time for Divination and I have a Pentagram spread for us.

Pentagram Spread using 5 cards

1 Upper Right - Earth: Keeping Grounded/The overall issues surrounding the Querent's question
2 Lower Right - Air: The Winds of Influence/What sort of external forces are influencing the Querent's life right now?
3 Lower Left - Fire: The Ultimate Destroyer/This is the card which shows the Querent's self-doubts and misapprehensions.
4 Upper Left - Water: The Tides of Intuition/This is where the Querent will find what their intuition is telling them.
5 Top Center - Spirit: The Whole Self/What, ultimately, will be the end result of all the internal and external influences on the Querent's issue?

To all who continue to light the ancient fires and dance the ancient dance;
the Old Ways will never be forgotten.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Power of Abuse (Raina Starr)

A person abused as a child will normally see those patterns manifest throughout their lives. Children cannot control their perspectives. The teenage years are already filled with the hyper-anxiety of changing hormones. Not really the best time to consider circumstantial self-examination.

This writing is for the adult survivors of childhood mistreatment. There are a bunch of us that actually did get out, somewhat ok. I grew up in a place and time where men, no matter how horrible they could be, were the lords of their domain. Any female was little more than a servant. My father was 10 years older than my mother. It made the generational divide even greater. My father truly was a foul-tempered, egomaniacal, obsessive-compulsive genius. He could cut you with no more than a look or a sentence. He was fast on his feet...and no attempts at reasoning with him ever penetrated his iron wall. He was notoriously right all the time. He beat me, lied to me, said I was ugly and stupid, and called me things you wouldn't say to your worst enemy. He despised me. And I him. For me, he was evil incarnate.....which brings me to my mother. A very beautiful, but continuously shrinking violet, she was too frightened to be alone. Every assault I withstood was one she didn't have to suffer. She was guilty by complicity. She would agree with me when he was out of the house, but would stand right by his side when he was on the attack. How sad that she refused to protect me.

Of course, one gravitates towards the familiar. In short order I had a string of abusive men walk thru my life. There's got to be a good one somewhere, right? Disappointment after disappointment, I drudged through..this one, then that one. I would make excuses when my partner would behave inappropriately in front of others. All the while, blaming my upbringing and abusers for the way things turned out.

Feel sorry for me. Boo-fucking-hoo.

 If you've been emotionally battered (especially by a parent), you are forever trying to find acceptance. When you want so desperately for people to like you, you open the door to even more abuse and the cycle perpetuates on its own. I had righteous anger. Some of it still remains to this day. But that alone wouldn't turn things around.

Then, it suddenly dawned on me...I could use this. I could take all of that pain and redirect it for my own purposes. The chart of your life is an outline that you can re-draw when you decide to get the guts for it. It isn't easy, but it can be done. Walk away from that bad relationship, say no to what you do not want, hang up on the person that damaged your young self image. You might not gain their respect initially, but you'll get your own, and that's where it starts to turn around. You're a fighter, damn it. If you can survive being stabbed in the back by the people who are supposed to love you most, what could possibly come against you? You've already lived thru the worst kind of betrayal.

Until next time, may you be blessed by the Gods.