More from Mystic South

Attending the ritual for the Morrigan

I often hide behind the mantle of being a kitchen witch – I play with herbs, dabble in the tarot, talk with the fairies and the cats, work mostly on intuition or gut. Mostly I just like sitting around contemplating the universe and where I fit in, sipping a cup of tea and baking some bread. There is hidden deep within a small part of me that really like ritual. It can be fun to put one together even more enjoyable to attend one that you didn’t have to create or run.

There were at least four large group rituals during Mystic South. Regrettable I only made it to one. Time, nervousness around strange people etc..so many excuses

We did manage to attend A Gathering of Ravens ritual hosted by John Beckett a ritual for the Morrigan.

I am not going to share too many details of the ritual, it’s not my ritual to share. The Denton group put a considerable amount of work into their ritual. I am happy to share the highlights and moments that stuck out for me.

They started by leading a centering and grounding ritual about each of us being a tree and intertwining our branches and roots. I thought it was a great way to ground, center, focus the group and create a nice circle.

A more formal circle was called as well as elemental quarters, a welcoming of the ancestors and the land spirits. This calling of the ancestors and land spirits were both new to me. I felt my ancestors right away. Land spirits was something new to me, phrasing wise. At first, I assumed it was the local fae spirits but fae isn’t always the right word to use when describing the spirits of a place. I don’t know who came up with the term land spirits but bless you because it was a phrase I didn’t know I was needed until Friday night. What a great way to genuinely start to understand the spirits of a place and to start to identity the different types of spirits in a place. After the land spirits there were still more to call the seely and the Morrigan herself.

Oh, the room was full!

The rituals focus was on her raven aspect where offerings were made to her in wine or juice.

This was my first-time meeting Morrigan. I did struggle, among the Greeks there isn’t really an equivalent that I could meld with. Hekate is more the guardian, wise-woman and teacher, Persephone queen and guide for souls, Hades warrior mage …maybe perhaps Demeter when she’s in mourning searching for her daughter Kore would come close to the energy I felt from the Morrigan during this ritual. She felt like the joy, the insanity, the pleasure, the pain, the confusion, the fear, the madness, the release and the bliss that comes at the moment of death. I have to say I am glad I had my ancestors at my back at that moment and strangely enough Ganesha at the ready with an army at his side.

Once everyone made their offering, we all drank everyone was invited to leave and circle was opened.

My takeaway will be to learn more about the Morrigan. I’ve worked with Danu for years and just realized that the Morrigan was one of the Tuatha de Danaan. I’m going to assume there are more of the Tuatha de Danaan that I will learn about. My ancestors, the ghost warriors, defiantly an area I need to study and lastly why Ganesha? Why would a creator god remover of obstetrical show up to me in this type of ritual?

If y’all have any insight I would love to hear about it. What are your experiences with the Morrigan?

Off to make some tea and maybe some bread and ponder the universe.

Wonder and awe

Nettle

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Mystic South

Coyvere and I got to attend Mystic South this past weekend. If you are not familiar it’s a pagan conference held in Atlanta, this was there second year and I’m already looking for their third year to come around. It helped get me motivated in magic and pagan studies. So many good ideas, workshops and lectures. One that I’m writing about this morning has to do with the Shredding of the Veil. While we didn’t discuss WHY it’s happening we did talk about how and when it has personally happened to us.  I see now the value in sharing these stories with people of when something magical, fantastical, awe inspiring happens to us it validate us and helps us to create a language we can speak to one another. When we share our stories people recognize these events as unique and magical we don’t have to let our rational brains take over and rationalize the magic away.

I have two short stories to share with you and I would love to hear your stories in return.

The firs was a dream I had just a few night ago. I can hear you say Nettle a dream really? Yes a dream because dreams we travel and in dream gods, ancestors and fae can speak with us. Most of us dream and most of us know when a dream has a bit of extra splash in. This dream was just a few nights ago. My youngest daughter and I were outside our new house with a pregnant little mama cat wandered up to us. She was beautiful a bright orange with spots kind of like a leopard or cheetah, She was weak and unhealthy and you could tell in her coat she was orange but I knew that if she was healthy she would glow.  She proceeded to have twelve adorably brightly colored but equally ill kittens. She had a black kitten with a full lions mane and little tiger kittens with green and pink stripes.  We were able to care for and cuddle the kittens nursing them back to health and glowingly- ness.

For me standard dream interpretation wouldn’t really work – cause dream interpretation on a good day is any which way your unconscious is trying to tell you something, Your brain is thing to help you learn something. I quick internet scan on  sick or ill  kittens tells me anything from  represent troubles ahead ( the more kittens the more small problems ahead), that I shouldn’t trust people around me, or that I’m being too catty or judgmental or that I need to listen to my intuition. There were hundred of pages each with a different interpretation

I’m going with trust your intuition which says there are fae in the area and they are hurting and i have the ability to help. If that is offering energy to them I can do that, it maybe offering sanctuary or creating a safe place for them to rest. I can do that. It may be leaving bread and honey for them at my backdoor. I’ll give all three a try given that in the dream we were able to bring them to health lets me know I do have the ability and skills to make that happen.  The fae are active even here in this hot swamp of a city.

The second magical event I wanted to share was during a summer solstice camping trip. It was an annual event to go canoeing and camping over the weekend closes to summer solstice when we lived in the Ozarks. What better way is there to celebrate the sun  than playing in water and camping? We always did a ritual around our campfire and then just enjoyed being outside as the sun set. This particular year as it started to get dark we notices a large number of fireflies in the area. A large number for those of you west of the Rockies is oh say twenty or thirty flashing in your backyard or campground. Fireflies. also will leave space their light flashing is both communication and a mating dance, so unless they are mating you don’t see them usually hanging out side by side. During that evening we had fifty to a hundred just around our fire and tents. One of our companions noticed that they were in groups flying off deeper into the woods. She went of to investigation and came back all excited. She then lead us just a few hundred feet into the woods to this tree covered in thousands of fireflies. The tree was so bright with them it was hard to look upon. It was all breath taking and to this day stands out bright (no pun intended) in my mind as a unique event. We have gone back to that camp site many time and have not had a repeat of the magical firefly tree.

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I caught a firefly

Go forth my friends and embrace the wonder and awe in this world and the one through the veil. I would so love to hear your stories and to share.

Nettle

 

Totem mussing

According to family mythology my first words were “Oh Oh Look Oh see Bunny!”

I personally have no recollection of this but it’s something my mom remembers with great joy.  A story she loves to share with everyone. Bunnies, rabbits were a part of my childhood. I won a glass rabbit that I have cherished for years in a carnival game when I was a young child in Germany. I love the book Watership Down even though it makes me cry every time time I read it. Beatrix Potters Peter Rabbit oh still a love in my life. Where I first remember wanting black berries and cream and chamomile tea.  I had an couple of evil pet bunnies when my family was homesteading in the land of the great white north. The kind that ate their babies, I still have a scar from when they scratched me.They ended my love affair with rabbits and bunnies.

Flash forward many years and I’m studying about totems and totem animals. By that time in my life I was a young parent and all about cats, tigers, panthers any of those big ones and of coarse our small family friends.   I had always felt the strong presents of a large spirit cat that I had just accepted as a guardian. I was pretty sure that when we did the ritual my  totem animal was going to be a cat.

Oh bless you universe for your sense of humor

The totem animal that I met during that ritual was a snake. A lovely little green verdi snake. I am still to this day very very nervous around real physical snakes. I’ll be honest they creep me out. I did take the ritual seriously and studied and learned about snakes how it represents a healer, the goddess, Snake lead me to learn more about Nammu, Danu  and yoga. I still never lost that connection my cat spirit she was (is) always there in the back ground, oh so patient and waiting.  I hadn’t given much thought to Rabbits they had totally fallen to the background of my psyche. I was into the snake learning of healing and the magic it represented.

It was while we were living in the desert that I remembered rabbits while going for a walk. Coyvere had an instant view into my childhood one morning when I spotted a couple of rabbits playing along the edge of the river. I may have squealed and exclaimed  “Oh look bunnies!”

And like that rabbits were back in my life as a strong totem animal. Little did I know that we were about to embark on another cross country move and settle into a new home now in the swampy jungle. Lucky for me I have spotted both snakes (eek!) and rabbits aplenty in the wild around here as well as our three furry babies who have moved with us. Living in the city as we are I’m not expecting to see any wild tigers or panthers wandering past.

I see often in magic, pagan studies that people stumble upon a gift of a spirit guide, totem animal or guide and they lock tight with that symbolism. But what happens when it’s time to grow to change and evolve?

At no time has any one of my guides left me their voices just got quite and I forgot how to listen to them. 2017-04-06-18-53-53-725x485 Lucky for me they are willing to wait for me to see them again.

Anyone else experience this?

 

May Day & Beltane

bde5001b60f5b1d3a136f11e622ffaaf--vintage-fairies-beautiful-fairies *ding dong* HAPPY MAY DAY

I love these vintage May Day postcards I found on the interweb. Fairies dancing around a dandelion may pole. I would give credit if I knew who made them first. I am just old enough to remember making May Day baskets to hang on your neighbors door, ring the bell  and run away.

Making the May Day baskets was easy just a rolled tub of pretty paper all decorated. A paper handle. Find some flowers in your garden wrapped to keep them moist and bright. If you were really luck some bits of chocolate or other candies slipped in as well. You can even adult them up and add a small bottle of mead.

Having grown up above the 45th parallel May 1st has always felt more like the start of Spring than March. Even now after all these years of living below the 45th where spring weather does match the calendar I find it hard to think of Spring before May Day. These old ingrained habits die hard.

Today I shall be baking some fairy bread (think Beingnets or fry bread), enjoying the sunshine and new life exploding all around me. Tonight the fairies will dine on some treats.

May your Beltane bring you joy, green growing things and flowers.

Nettle

 

Return to Go

Hestia

Bear with me, my friends. It has been a while sense I have done any writing. Still trying to settle in from another cross country move. I know the three of us need to get back into the habit of writing for our blog. I’m starting simple on how I start my morning.

Ritual(s) are important for humans, it’s something we crave and need to mark milestones in our lives, transitional times even daily activity. Rituals give a form to follow, comfort and familiarity with our magical and spiritual lives.

What are your daily? What is minimum you do each day to stay connected and working with your spiritual side, to honor your guides and god/esss

I know mine have helped me when settling into a new house or area to feel connected.
I start each morning by lighting our candle to Hestia, next to her are two salt candles I light one for the other god/ess hanging around the house that day. The second is to those unknown deities in the area that I don’t know or work with personally who are in the area. It’s a trick I learned in the desert after gaining the attention of a native spirit I just called “The old man”. It’s a peace offering saying didn’t know you were there sorry if I accidentally disturbed you. Then I light two sticks of incense, one for my ancestors of flesh and blood, the second for my ancestors of spirit and nature. The second goes outside in one of the flower pots.

I always try to share my last good drink of morning tea with Gaia.

I try to remember to honor Bast by keeping the cats litter box clean their food and water dishes full.

Lastly who hasn’t dedicated their garbage disposal to Hekate – I know almost sacrilegious but really who better to take what I don’t need and make into something useful to the world.

What are your daily rituals, the simple ones that you do to feel connected?

Namaste

Nettle

 

 

Imbolc in Review

On the night of the full moon – that amazing blood moon of January 31st – we hosted an Imbolc-ish ritual. Imbolc-ish because I and Coyvere are not Celtic or Wiccan we are Hellenic Greek. Greeks were not big on Imbolc. It’s hard to squash the Greek god/dess into the Celtic wheel of the year. Sure, I could wax poetic about how there are the archetype of deities found in each pantheon but sometimes you just gotta go Greek.

There is very little written about The Lesser and Greater Eleusinian Mysteries. The lesser took part in the spring tended to be about purification and rededication, the greater in the autumn about the harvest and the abduction of Persephone. The Eleusinian Cults were a secret cult (who doesn’t love a good secret cult?), probably really meaning women’s traditions passed from mother to daughter and not written down. The Golden Dawn and other patriarchal lodges have tried to tie these mysteries to their lodges, but I find that to be a stretch for an agrarian rural society focused on goddess worship. Digging into archaeological sites there is discussion about the city of Eleusis and the cult of Demeter, the Homeric Hymn of Demeter and Persephone and a few ruins but these articles are rather dry. The only way to discover the true spirit of the rituals and mysteries is to go to the source – The Goddess.

With a good bit of brainstorming and meditation Coyvere and I came up with our Ritual. We felt it was important to have three steps in this ritual: a conscious rededication to yourself and your goddess, a stripping or lifting of the mundane so you can see yourself as a magical being and a cleansing of the body, mind and soul/spirit. Our ritual would historically have involved snakes, hallucinogenic drinks and a bath or swim in the river Lethe. In this modern day it included a basket of plush snakes, fairy milk and a simulated river.

We started with casting our circle of protection. It’s lovely here this time of year in South Western Arizona, making outdoor rituals welcoming and letting us be bathe in the light of the full moon. Once we had our circle cast we gathered our participants and explained the symbolism and mechanics of the ritual. Those in the group who were more comfortable calling their own deities were invited to touch on their guides or patrons before we started. Our next step was to call our gods and goddess.

We started with Hades and Persephone. Imbolc H&P

After all we were making a trip down to the underworld and who better to have at your side then the King and Queen? We lighted a candle for each of the gods and goddess as we called them. Hades and Persephone acted as guides and guardians for the ritual. The next three deities we called as an Orphic triad – Hecate, Demeter and Dionysus. Hecate as the gate keeper of the underworld, Demeter as mother of Persephone and guardian of the mysteries and Dionysus as opener of the divine self. Dionysus is an interesting one to deal with. He is often only thought of in madness or drunkenness. He is in Demeter’s grief as she searches for Persephone when she falls into despairing madness. With the full moon Dionysus is most active. He, like many of the Greeks when you ask, will give you gifts freely – so be careful what you ask for. His lunacy/madness is often a gift allowing us to see deep within ourselves. Not to the shadow side but to the divine side who we are when we are at one with our divine self or daemon. Often the madness his followers experience is the opening of that self-divinity without preparation or protection from its truths.
The last candle we lit was for Lethe herself, Titaness and Goddess of the river Oblivion where mortals bathed to forget their old lives.Imbolc Trio

With candles lit and deities present we moved on to the next part of our ritual – the rededication of self to your god/dess or as it was known in the lesser Eleusinian mystery a test of faith. In times old – so the archaeologists tell us – a devotee would stick their hands into a basked of snakes as a reminder of their mortality and their faith in their goddess Demeter to watch over them. I’m not really a snake person, but I do have a surprise basket of stuffed snakes! It worked really well to have people stick their hand into a basked and pull forth a deadly snake.

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Once our faith had been tested it was time to drink. Ah the old alcohol debate – to have alcohol as part of a ritual or not? Especially one with Dionysus. He is after all the god of wine and madness. Traditionally they would have had an ergot-based drink made with barley and mint. A rotten grain beer, with mint hum…. Not a fan. Both choices made me nervous so we opted for warm almond milk with nutmeg, cloves and a touch of honey. Fairy milk as it’s sometimes called. Almond milk (well a kind of milk and a nod towards the Imbolc theme) because we have members in our group who can’t drink lactose. Nutmeg because it is a mild sedative and hallucinogen, cloves because they help to open the third eye and honey for a touch of sweet to set off all that bitter.

Faith tested, and our sight opened and enabled, we were ready to set into the river Lethe and bathe – washing away what we no longer need, cleaning ourselves of karmic residue we no longer required and stripping away of the human to see the divine within.
Right before the ritual, Coyvere and a few others took strips of blue crepe-paper and created a waterfall for us to walk thought. This gave both the illusion of a river as well as a physical “wall of water” to walk though, lettings us fully enjoy a swim in the river Lethe.

Imbolc Ritual
Holding on to Persephone’s energies I stayed in the river until everyone in our group had their chance to bathe. It is Persephone’s job to see that the souls once cleansed are sent off onto their next incarnation. By staying in the river, I could also watch people’s energies and help guide should someone feel overwhelmed or stuck in the river Lethe.
Everyone in our group made it safely back to the mundane world, much cleaner spiritually and karmically. We ended the night with light conversation and snacks.
While I can’t speak for what others experienced in the ritual or in the days following I can speak for myself. When you spend time in the Lethe you spend time really seeing the core of your being which can be intimidating and inspiring at the same time. It has been a rough couple of weeks emotionally and spiritually speaking. Those blinders I had against myself have been stripped away. There is no ignoring them – there is only going forward and upward into my spiritual path.