Tuesday, July 12, 2011

June Mead Moon

June: Mead Moon

Also known as: Meadow Moon, Herb Moon, Moon of Horses, Lovers' Moon, Strong Sun Moon, Honey Moon, Strawberry Moon, Berry Moon, Lotus Moon, Rose Moon, Ripening Moon, Hot Moon, Moon of Making Fat
* Colors: Shades of Oranges, golds and ambers
* Scents: Frankincense, Myrrh, rose, cinnamon, citrus, lavender, rosemary, garden herb mixes
* Gemstones: Carnelian, Rose Quartz, Agate, Topaz, Alexdrite, Fluorite,
Trees: Oak. Maple
* Gods: Juno, Isis, Neith, Ishtar, Cerridwen, Paravti, Aphrodite, Green man, Cerunnos, Pan, Holy and Oak King, Ishtar, Hecate
Herbs: All herbal energies are especially potent at this time. St. John's Wort, Mints, Lemon Balm, Sage, Yarrow, Mugwort, Sunflowers, Dandelions, Parsley, Cilantro, Mosses, Meadowsweet, Lavender, Agrimony
* Foods: Lemon cookies, or cakes, mead, pineapple upside down cake, herbal sun tea sweetened with honey, lemonade, berries of all kinds, stone fruit, melons, fresh salads, kabobs, BBQ, grilled foods, smores
* Animals: Monkey, Butterfly, Dragonfly, Frog, Toad, Peacock, Wren
* Element: Fire

Now, we find ourselves in the Month of June, which was originally named Junonius, in the Roman calender. June is a month named after and sacred to the the Goddess Juno ; Wife of Jupiter and Queen of the Gods and the Queen, Mother, Protectress and sovereign Goddess of the Roman people. She was part of the Capitolina Triad, along with Jupiter and and Minerva, and was one of the most important Gods in Rome. She is the daughter of Saturn and Gais, wife and sister of Jupiter and Mother to Mars, Hebe and Vulcan. Juno's name is said to come from the Etruscan “Uni,” which means: “She who gives,” the root of the word Universe and connected to the Yoni, the sacred vulva. The very feminine lotus blossom was one of her sacred symbols and the flower in which impregnated her with the god Mars. Another important symbol of Juno one was the peacock. Juno’s sacred days are the Ca lends or first days of each month, which corresponded to the new moon and the Matronalia, which honors the Mothers and Matrons of a family, the founding of her temple and the birth of her son Mars.

The Goddess Juno has many aspects, names and titles. As Juno Regina she is the Queen of Heaven and protector of her people; as Juno Moneta she is the warner and a goddess that guards the fiancees of Rome and Moneta is the word in which we derive the word money from; as Juno Lucina she is the goddess of childbirth and light; as Juno Fortuna she is the Goddess of Fate; as Juno Sospita she is the preserver; as Juno Februa she is the goddess of erotic love; as Juno Populionia she is the Mother of her People, and that is only to name a few of her names and aspects. Juno is a goddess of cycles especially those of women, the moon, marriage, child birth and children, it is after her and her influence in her life that we get the tradition of the month of June being a most auspicious time for marriages. Juno is the embodiment of feminine energy and ruled over a woman’s reproductive cycle. Every women in Rome had a Juno or underlying feminine protective spirit as well as every man had a genius. Call upon Juno this month to help with issues of marriage, fidelity, child birth, femininity, protection, and sovereignty. Working on ones marriage, spells to aid in conception, prosperity, protection, and asserting oneself is appropriate at this time. A good activity for you to do at this month is call upon Juno to help you get in touch with your Juno or feminine energy, also giving to a charity that helps women and children would be especially powerful, especially those that help women and children recovering from abuse.

The month of June, is a month of complimentary opposites, bringing with it the powerful energy of the Summer Solstice Sun, and the Moon, the physical and spiritual worlds. The world around us is going through a metamorphosis and transformation as chicks hatch, butterflies emerge from their cocoons and the plant growth reaches its peak. It is a time were we all sense the pinnacle of energy, of growth and life before it declines. It is also the beginnings of seeing the potential of many crops, both physical, mentally and spiritually, work towards, your goals, greater success and let this energy strengthen your resolve and let the life giving Sun enfold you in it healing powerful rays,

The nights are short and fragrant, full of excitement, enthusiasm and energy, as everyone feels the desire to get out, get going, get together; camping, hiking, biking, picnics barbequing, and other outdoor activities fills our days. Our nights can be spent outside looking at the stars, and at t this most solar of months hosting a drum circle, around a roaring camp fire is an especially fun activity. June is a good time for fire magick and fire scrying. June is also a great month for all aspects of herb and tree magick, as most herbs are at their peak and power this month. You may harvest herbs this month and dry them for use this Winter, or make tinctures, teas, essences, infused oils, syrups, teas, flower essences, incense, dream pillows and arrangements. It is also a good time to go through your herb supplies and see what you need to replace. Feed any old, stale herbs to the camp fire, or the compost heap. Creating charms for protection is a very appropriate activity, you may wish to make solar crosses, God's eyes, Witches ladders, poppets, sachets or simply gather a few protective herbs and tie them in a bundle above the doorways in your home.

The strong Sun lends itself well to magick using stones and colors. You can cleanse and charge crystals under the light of the Sun and Moon. You can also obtain different colored glasses, fill them with Spring water and let the sit under the Sun and Moon and use these for color magick cleansing and healing. You can also ingest these water for healing purposes just make sure that the glasses suited for food use and that you cover them as dirt and insects may be attracted to the waters. You can combine stone and crystal magick with color magick by adding an appropriate crystal to the water just be careful and do not use any minerals with well known toxic minerals and those that are soft and are prone to melting when exposed to moisture.

The month of June is also a great month to do water magick, visit a lake, stream, or the ocean. Collect seashells, and drift wood, fish, swim, learn to swim, connect to your emotions, to your intuition and to the cyclic energy of water. Perform a full moon ritual in a body of water, make moon water by infusing Spring or distilled water with the Moon's energy. Draw a representation of a wish in the sand and let the rising waves receive that wish and bring that wish to you.

The month of June is also a great Moon to work with the energies of the fey, and other nature spirits. Connect to them by leaving offerings, alcohol, food, stones, jewelry and other objects are very appropriate. Ask for assistance from them in growing your garden, and connecting to the plants therein. Most importantly be respectful and be prepared for any chaos and mischief that they may bring.

The Month of June contains within it two important and secular celebrations, Father's Day and Graduation Day. Advertisements often advertise sales for Dad's and Grads. Father's Day is the complimentary holiday to Mother's day, it was instituted to honor the Father's of our live and is when children of all ages honor their father with appreciation and gifts, sometimes taking their Dad's fishing or out to dinner or making them breakfast. Honor the Father's in your life today, as well as the many father figures. You may also wish to honor, and give offering to the Great Father today as well. You can also use this time to heal any issues you may have with your Father. If your Father has passed away a fitting tribute would be to give money to a man's charity or shelter. The celebration of Father's Day, falls on the third Sunday of the month and it seems very fitting that this celebration falls during this most solar of months and masculine of Moons. Also falling in June is the graduation ceremonies of many schools, these are not only celebrations of a child’s accomplishments but rights of passage. No, matter what year your child goes through honor their achievements and this end of a cycle. Also make sure to honor what you have learned in the past year, and what accomplishments you've made.

The sixth Moon of the Year falls in June and goes by many names among them the Mead Moon, Honey Moon, Strawberry Moon, Strong Sun Moon, Rose Moon. June's Moon is called the Mead Moon because June is usually the time of the first honey harvest and so can be made into the intoxicating drink mead. Mead is most likely the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man, the linguist root for mead, "medium," is the same in all Indo-European languages. Many cultures have their own version of mead, including India, Ethiopia, the Maya, East Africa, Norse and all of Europe. Scientists estimate that humans and bees have been evolving alongside each other for millennial, The honey bee has been raised and transplanted to many countries and constituents in which it was not native, though 20,000 known species exist. Bees are considered sacred to many different cultures, they are often considered creatures connected to the Moon and to Goddess energies. They are connected to the Goddesses Demeter, Cable, Artemis and Rhea. Demeter is often considered the queen bee, her priestesses were called Melissa, or bees. Bees were also connected with Apollo, and were said to have erected some of the temples in Delphi, and both Zeus and Dionysus were said to be fed by bees when they were babies. The muses were said to take on the form of bees, and bees were known as the “Birds of the muses,” as such bees are a symbol of divine inspiration. In Greece they are a symbol of the Elusion Mysteries. The Hindu Gods Visnu, Krishna and Kim and Indra are called Madhava or “nectar born ones,” In Egypt they denoted royalty, while to the Celts they represented hidden wisdom. Bees are considered messengers, imparting wisdom, they are said to inhabit the realm of the living at the dead and were considered a bridge between these two realms and are symbols of sexuality and fertility. Because honey is a whole food, sweet and has antibacterial and mild laxative qualities it was often included in medicine, both external and internal. Applying a bit of honey to a wound, keeps bacteria at bay and helps heal wounds. Eating local honey or taking locally collected bee pollen is said to help the sufferer get over allergies. Eating honey is also said increase ones fertility, and one of the explanations for the name honeymoon. Newly married couples were supplied with enough mead to last them a whole month, this was said to ensure a happy and fertile marriage.

In modern terms bees are seen as symbols of prosperity, productivity , industry, community and a well functioning society. Bees communicate with one another and have a defined social structure with the queen at its center, who is the mother of all the bees in the colony, male bees called drones who are born without stingers and whose sole purpose is to mate with the queen; workers , underdeveloped females who are the smallest bees in the colony, who feed the queen and larvae, guard the hive and keep the hive cool by fanning their wings. They also collect nectar to make honey and build honeycombs. In a statement by St. John Chrysostom in his twelfth homily he states,”The bee is more honored than other animals , not because she labors, but because she labors for others.”

Honey, is quite possibly the only food manufactured by a non-human animal and is the only food that doesn't spoil. In Ayurveda raw honey is considers medicine, while cooked honey is considered poison. Raw honey is teaming with active enzymes which when heated above 117 degrees disappear. The bee pollen present in raw honey contains 22 amino acids, including 8 essential ones, 27 mineral and the full gamut of vitamins, hormones and fatty acids, 5,000 enzymes and co enzymes. The taste and quality depends on what plants the honeybees collected it from. Honey combines the energy of all the plants it has collected and is a powerful, magickal substance.

This month include bees, and honey in your workings. Use symbols of bees on your altar and on your altar. Use honeycomb patterns for your altar, use or create beeswax candles. Use honey for your sweetener in teas, lemonades, and yogurts, use it in baking, substitute ¾ cup honey for every cup of sugar a recipe calls for. You need less honey because it weighs more than sugar and is sweeter. Since honey is a liquid and adds extra moisture reduce other liquids in the recipe by ½ cup for every cup of honey. Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degree Fahrenheit, so that the dish doesn't brown too quickly.

Spend some time outside observing them as the fly from one flower to another. Be calm and quiet and do not be afraid of their stingers, bees rarely sting without being provoked, and an awareness and respect for their presence helps one get over any fear that a person may be feeling. Ask this important creature for a lesson, for inspiration, use the bee to communicate with departed loved ones, and to connect with the natural cycle. You may wish to honor and bless this important creature. News of the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder, were workers bees suddenly disappear, endangering the life of the whole colony and endangering the food supply of humans as they are the primary pollinators of 1/3 of the food supplying plants. Send protection, healing and love to their colonies and if you are so able, consider becoming an urban bee keeper, or at the very least invite them and attract them to your garden by planting herbs and flowers that they like, honor them and keep them in your thoughts.

This Moon is a great Moon for trying your hand at the art of mead making, an art that takes planning, time and patience and is a magick, a spell and a ritual in and of itself. The sense of accomplishment you feel when you first taste a batch of homemade mead is tremendous, it gives you a greater appreciation for the process and it is great to have your own supply of sacred alcohol to use in your rites. You can decide to make mead alone or make it as a group effort. You can turn it into a ritual by having each participant bring one item that goes into the mead, or supplies to make the mead, then you can add the different ingredients as part of a rite, blessing these ingredients as you go. When the mead has brewed you can use it for coven rituals, and/or give each participant a bottle of mead to use as s/he pleases.

You can find many recipes for mead in books and online but as a person just starting out you may be intimidating by the size and cost of some of these recipes, an easy, cheap way of creating mead can be found here:

This recipe makes a one gallon batch which is perfect for starting out. Whenever I am starting out I always bless my mead, with the energies of the Elements and with the goddess Brighid as she is not only a Goddess of the healing and of plants, but a goddess of crafting and of brewing. There are many God's of brewing that can be invoked to bless your brew, and who would love to be toasted and offered some of the finished project. I also show my appreciation to the tiny creatures of yeast that are indeed doing all the hard work by honoring and blessing them with a joyous, prosperous life.

If you want a mead like drink immediately for ritual, one that doesn't contain alcohol you can use the great Scott Cunningham standby for:

Soft Mead:

1 quart of water, preferably spring water
1 cup of honey
1 sliced lemon
1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg

Boil together all the ingredients (as they are) in a non-metallic pot. While boiling, scrape off the rising "scum" with a wooden spoon. When no more rises add the following:

Pinch of salt
Juice of 1/2 lemons

Strain and cool. Drink in place of alcoholic mean or wine during the Simple Fest.

If you have more time, but still want a quick mead try this recipe from Jessica Prentice, from her book Full Moon Feast, for a tasty, healthy, pro biotic mead:

Mellow Mead
Makes 2 quarts
• 2/3 cup raw, unfiltered honey
• 1 1/2 cups filtered water, very warm (about 110° F)
• 6 cups filtered water
• 1/2 cup kefir grains—rinsed grains from making milk kefir, or water kefir grains

Pour the honey into a clean, 2-quart mason jar.
Pour the hot water over the honey and stir to dissolve.
Pour the rest of the filtered water into the jar.
Add the kefir grains.
Cover the jar and put it in a warm place for 1 week.

Strain into two glass bottles with screw tops. I use the bottles from the mineral water gerolsteiner. Put an even amount into both bottles. If they are 1-quart bottles, they should be full; if they are 1-liter bottles, add enough water to fill to the top. Screw the lids on tightly, label and date the bottles, and return to the warm place for another week.

Transfer to the fridge. Once they are cold you can enjoy them anytime! When you are ready to drink the mead, open the bottles carefully because they may have built up a lot of carbonation. Open them outside or over a sink. Turn the lid very slowly to see if the drink begins to release foam. If so, then allow it to release some of the carbon dioxide by not opening the bottle all the way and letting out some of the pressure, then opening it more and more, bit by bit. This way you won’t lose your drink to its carbonation.

You can also make a:

Cheat Mead

1 bottle of white wine
½-1 cup honey
Any mulling spice or herbs you'd like to add (Sweet Woodruff, Elderflower, Lavender, Rose)

On low, warm up the wine, add the spices, and let it infuse one hour, Strain, add the honey, cool and enjoy. Or you can heat the mead but setting the wine and honey outside in the hot June Sun. In a large pitcher add the wine and herbs. Let them, steep for a few hours. Set out the honey as well. Strain the wine add the Sun warmed honey, cool and enjoy.

When consuming your mead or any alcohol be aware of the magickal process in which it took to make it. Be aware that alcohol alters one state of mind, and is a holy sacrament. Know that this is why it was used in days of old as an aid to open the mind to the Other world. Respect this substance know that it is medicine and poison and it will enhance, the mood you are already in.

The Moon this month is also called the Strawberry or Berry Moon because these plants were in their full bloom and were prolifically producing. Strawberries not cultivated by huge industrial farms have long life’s, up to ten years but usually very short growing seasons, depending on the varieties, the best strawberries are produced during late Spring and early Summer with a second crop in the Fall. Modern Strawberry plants are crosses between wild woodland strawberries of both England and American, sometimes with French and even Chilean varieties. They are first mentioned in 1265, and are called, “Straberries.” Strawberries are often said to be named after the practice of growing with a thick mulch of high around them, this practice protects their roots and cradles the delicate fruits. This however is untrue the name strawberry is older coming from the word “Strew,” and refers to how the plant grows, with tangling vines that cover the ground.

Strawberries are a very sweet and nutritious plant, which has been consumed and used in medicine for ages! It has more Vitamin c than any citrus fruit, 140% in fact of your daily need. They are also high in Vitamin K, Manganese, folic acid, riboflavin, B5, B6, Copper, Magnesium, omega 3's and are an antioxidant power house. They also contain ellaric acid which, “binds” cancer causing chemicals making them inactive, Strawberries are astringent and diuretic and are a mild laxative. Strawberries leaves are made into a tea for treating diarrhea, gastritis and other stomach ailments, liver problems, arthritis and for soothing a sore throat or mouth sores. They help reduce inflammation and help lower blood sugar levels and help alleviate heart health issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Eating the fruit is said to cool the body, reduce fevers and purify the blood and help those with gout and animate Strawberries are a very feminine plants and can help women during their life cycle Strawberry leaf tea is drunken over a long period of time it will help regulate and normalize periods, and relieve cramps, it is also taken as an estrogen enhancer to help during menopause. Women also drink a tea from its root to help heal after childbirth.

Eating strawberries can have aesthetic appeal to strawberry juice helps whiten teeth, removing strains and plaque, juice can be combined with baking soda brushed on the teeth and allowed to sit a few minutes then rinsed off. Strawberry root when chewed was even used as a toothbrush! A strong tea gargle will strengthen the gums, especially those with loose teeth. Rubbing the fruit or the fruit juice on ones face is said to lighten it and help heal burns and sunburns and products containing strawberry juice or leaf are used in beauty care products and help with those suffering form eczema. Eating Strawberries throughout their natural growing season will also help you acclimatize yourself to the hotter weather, making it easier for you to adapt to it.

Strawberries are herbs of love and luck and are associated with the Goddess Frigga and the Origin Mary, Use Strawberry leaves to create a poppet to attract a lover or for good luck, success and increased fertility. Pregnant women may also wish to carry sachets of this herb to help them during their pregnancies.. Strawberries are a food of romance and love, enjoy Strawberries and whip cream, or Strawberries and champagne with your lover. Eat raw Strawberries for their health befits, include them in salads and smoothies, dry strawberries for tea or preserve them in jams and jellies.. Enjoy the sweet and fullness of life, and of this season with the great healthy and helpful Strawberry!

Another name for this Moon is The Rose Moon and is when most varieties of roses are blooming prolifically. The ancient Greek festival of Rosalia was also held during this time at the end of May beginning of June. It was a rite to honor Aphrodite, her temples were vertically carpeted with hundreds of rose petals, and rose incense was burned in her temple. Women would also wash themselves in rose water for continued beauty. You can buy rose water from high end grocery stores, and ethnic markets, usually it is found in the baking aisle next to the spices and vanilla extract. You can also find it online or can make it yourself. When making rose water use only fragrant petals, that have been removed from the flower head, do not use commercially grown flowers, as they have been treated with chemicals and do not use any roses that have been sprayed with insecticide or chemical fertilizers.

Making Rose Water At Home

If there are lots of scented but pesticide-free rose petals available, the recipe for producing rose water at home is fairly simple. Here are some tips and instructions:
It is best to collect the rose petals early in the day as soon as the dew has dried. Also, the white section at the base of each petal, which is called the nail, needs to be pinched out.
Then mix:
2 cups of fresh petals
1 ½ cups of distilled water
½ cup of vodka in a glass container
Cover and store in a sunny spot (such as on a window sill) so that the mixture can steep for several weeks. Strain and return just the liquid to the jar, adding 2 more cups of fresh petals. Repeat the steeping process. After several weeks strain again and discard the petals and store the liquid in small tightly covered little bottles in a cool dark spot.

How to Make Your Own Rose Water Adapted from , by Rosemary Gladstar.

Be sure you have a brick and heat-safe quart bowl ready before you begin.

2-3 quarts fresh roses or rose petals
Ice cubes or crushed ice
In the center of a large pot (the speckled blue canning pots are ideal) with an inverted lid (a rounded lid), place a fireplace brick. On top of the brick place the bowl. Put the roses in the pot; add enough flowers to reach the top of the brick. Pour in just enough water to cover the roses. The water should be just above the top of the brick. Place the lid upside down on the pot. Turn on the stove and bring the water to a rolling boil, then lower heat to a slow steady simmer. As soon as the water begins to boil, toss two or three trays of ice cubes (or a bag of ice) on top of the lid You’ve now created a home still! As the water boils the steam rises, hits the top of the cold lid, and condenses. As it condenses it flows to the center of the lid and drops into the bowl. Every 20 minutes, quickly lift the lid and take out a tablespoon or two of the rose water. It’s time to stop when you have between a pint and a quart of water that smells and tastes strongly like roses.
You can use rose water as a perfume, linen spray, toner and include it in facial cleaners. Or it can be useful in cooking adding a teaspoon or tablespoon to cookies and cakes, as well as yogurt and puddings. Rose petals in general are edible and high in vitamin C, You can add some fresh petals to a salad, candy them and place them in a cake chop them and add to cupcakes, or make thumb print cookies with rose petal jam. You can also dry you petals and use them for a sweet, delicious heart healing tea.

Rose Punch Patricia Telescope
Steep 4 cups of rose petals in 4 cups of warm water. Let them sit until they are heady with the scent. Strain into punch bowl. To this add 4 cups soda water and ice cubes with frozen flowers in them./ Float fresh roses and rose petals and oranges.

You can also use roses to make potpourris, herbal sachets, arrangements and even beads. Many rosaries were made into beads and a beautiful tradition to honor a loved one is to make a rosary out of rose petal beads made from their garden or their funeral flowers. There are many complicated, time consuming recipes out there on how to make rose petal beads but the easiest use dried rose that have been powdered. To powder rose petals you need a coffee grinder, because of rose petals flowery texture they do not grind well in a mortar and pistil. You can also find powdered rose petals online.

This recipe has been adapted from Tina Sams of the Essential Herbal Magazine and can be used to make any herbal beads.

Herb Beads

1 ½ T powdered herbal-compendium1 t gum tragedian
1 t orris root powder
1 t benzion powder.

Blend all ingredients well in a microwave safe bowl.

Add ½ t grated beeswax and about 2 T water. Mix thoroughly, and microwave for about 1 minute. Immediately work the melted wax into the other ingredients with the back of a spoon. When the dough is cool enough, use your fingers and knead together. More water can be added , as well as more herb a small amount at a time If necessary. The dough should be firm like modeling clay. When the dough hold together and can be formed into balls, you can add 3-5 drops essential oil. You can now begin forming these into a ball and stringing them gently on floral water with plenty of space between them to dry. Turn beads gently a few times a day to prevent them sticking to the wire. Dry the beads for several days. When done you can polish them with sandpaper and rub with more essential oil and make jewelry with them.

I suggest you wear a pair of vying or latex gloves as the herbs can stick to your hands and the herbs can irritate the skin.

To connect with the Rose Moon spend some time in the garden admiring their beauty and scent, bring some roses inside, send them to a lover, family member or a friend. Burn rose scent incense, use rose scented perfume, enjoy food made with rose and wear floral patterns and jewelry . Use Rose in love spells and to honor the Goddess. Use Rose oil to promote love, as an aphrodisiac, and as a mood uplifter and for a general sense of harmony, balance and well being, Rose oil banishes grief, sadness and anger and also helps self confidence.

Enjoy this Moon full of warmth, light, scent and all sorts of sensory and extra sensory experiences!

Grandmother Moon, ZSuzsanna E. Budapest
Wheel of the Year, Pauline Campanelli
Moon Magic, DJ Conway
Everyday Moon Magic, Dorothy Morrison
Full Moon Feast , Jessica Prentice
Hedge Witch, Silver Ravenwolf
Wiccan Spell a Night,, Strona Knight
A Year of Esbats, Shannon Reilly
A Year of Rituals: Sabbats and Esbats for Solitaries and Covens Sandra Kynes
The Wiccan Year, Judy Ann Nock
The New Book of Goddessses and Heroines, Patricia Monaghan
Seasons of the Sun, Patricia Telesco
Animal Speak ,Ted Andrews
Animal Magick, D.J. Conway
Storyteller's Goddess, Carolyn McVickar Edwards
Bubble, Bubble, toil and Trouble, Patricia Telesco
Natural Magick, Sally Dubats
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham
Making Beads from Herbs Tina Sams


Thursday, June 9, 2011

May Flower Moon

May: Flower Moon

*Also known as: Blossom Moon, Budding Moon, Corn Planting Moon, Planting Moon, Milk Moon, Merry Moon, Dyad Moon, Bright Moon, Frog's Return Moon, Run off Moon, Pink Moon,
* Colors: Bright colors, red, oranges, yellows, greens and blues
* Scents: floral scents, Dragon's Blood, Vanilla, Patchouli, Sandalwood
* Gemstones: Ruby, Amber, Garnet, Apache Tear, Sunstone, Emerald, Malachite, Carnelian, Peridot
Trees: Willow, Hawthorn, Apple
* Gods: Flora, Cernunnos, Venus, Maia, Diana, Pan, Green man, and Horned God, Blodeuwedd, Llew Llaw Gyffes, Saravista, Aranya Shasti, Pan
Herbs: flowers of all kinds, Sweet Woodruff, Roses, Lilacs, Violets, Cinnamon, Yarrow, Mint, Thyme, Mugwort, Elder, Dittany of Crete, Broom, Phlox, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Nettle
* Foods: May Wine, berries, sweet cakes, mimosas, salads and desserts made with flowers, dairy
* Animals: Hares, cattle, sheep, goats, large cats, swallow, dove, swan
* Element: Fire

Now, we enter the magickal and powerful month of May. Named after the Greek Goddess Maia, a goddess of Spring's growth, warmth and sexual passions. She is both a Goddess of the Earth and of the sky. She is the eldest and most beautiful of the Seven sisters, or the Pleiades, whose name means “dove.” These sisters are children of Pleione. and Atlas. They were originally mountain nymphs who followed the trail of Artemis until Orion came upon them and their mother, and became enamored with them and made chase. After years of running Zeus took pity on them and turned them into doves that flew high into the sky and became the Pleiades star system, located in the constellation of Taurus. Another version of this story tells that the sisters all decided to take their lives because of the cruel fate that befell their father Atlas, who was punished to spend eternity holding up the Earth. Zeus commemorated their lives by placing them in the sky.

Maia is the mother of the Iris and Hermes and foster mother of Arcas; after Classisto was transformed into the great bear Zeus left his son in her care. Maia is sometimes called the “Grandmother of Magick,” as she is the mother of Hermes who was said to be the first to master the magickal arts. She is often considered a great mother and midwife Goddess. Her sacred days were May 1st and 15

The full moon in May is a a very powerful Moon, it is a time of transition from unreliable Spring weather, to the beautiful long days, and warmth of Summer . All seems alive and awake the Earth is in full bloom, the air is perfumed with flowers. Animals are more amorous, and humans are restless with pent up energy and excitement. The Flower Moon is an intense time and a great time for magickal workings dealing with reaffirming and working towards goals that you have nurtured throughout the Spring. Due to the high energy of this month, goals even those that are difficult and lofty are easier to work towards now. Now, is the time of growth and action, now, is time to actively presume what you want! This Moon is a good time to tie up loose ends and complete projects and is especially fortuitous for creative endeavors. The May Moon is also a great time to work with all make and matter of nature spirits, ancestors and to do divination work, as the veil is thin. The May Moon is a great time to work on issues of the heart and sexuality, love, healing, passion and physical stamina, It is a good time to cast spells to attract love into your lives and is a great time to work on nurturing friendships that you may have neglected over the solitary Winter months. The fertile, abundant energy also lends itself well to prosperity magick.

Within the specular American calendar the Month of May contains two holidays Mother's Day and Memorial Day . Mother's Day falls on the second Sunday in May, and is when children of all ages honor their mother with appreciation and gifts, sometimes taking their Mother out to dinner or making them breakfast. Honor the Mother's in your life today, you may also wish to honor, and give offering to the Great Mother today as well. You can also use this time to heal any issues you may have with your Mother. If your Mother has passed away a fitting tribute would be to give money to a woman's charity or shelter. Memorial Day falls one the last Monday in the month of May and what started as a solemn commemoration of fallen soldiers has became a holiday to honor and decorate all your beloved dead and a holiday that marks the unofficial beginning of Summer. Many people go camping for the first time this year, or host a family BBQ. During the month of May, when the weather may be less than ideal but the desire and energy of action is still there, it is a good time to make plans, reservations and do research for things you'd like to do this summer. Think about going to beaches, public pools, camping, hiking, botanical gardens, farmer's markets, etc. Make these fun little trips a priority, maybe making them a bi-weekly adventure! Plan ahead so you can get he most out of Summer, which always has away of coming and going so quickly!

It is very curious that our modern Memorial Day celebration takes place in the month of May, a time of Spring and life and not death. But death is the other side of the coin, no life is possible without death, and nothing alive will not die. It is interesting that another culture celebrated their dead in the month of May. The Roman's held the festival of Lemuria were they would purify their houses and take gifts to graves make offerings of beans and flowers to the Lemures or wandering spirits of the dead. A fitting tribute would be to make sure to decorate the graves of those who have long passed and those who may not have any family left to decorate them.
This month's Moon is called the Flower Moon due to the abundance of flowers of all kinds that bloom at this time of year. Many of these blooms will become fruit and grain for the harvest and many will,bask you in their beauty and their scent for a short time and then wilt and fade, not to reappear until next year, this is especially true for wildflowers and a suggested activity for this month would be to go on wildflower and foraging hikes. Bring a camera and a plant almanac and see how many plants you can identify, and those you cannot you can later research and see what folklore, medicinal or magickal uses they have. I would advise against taking any of these plants home with you unless there is an abundance and unless you can positively identify them. I would instead leave them for others to enjoy, and allow the blooms to become seeds for next years blossoming.

Another activity you could perform is as part of a Full Moon ritual or party, have each person who attends bring flowers and herb snippets from their gardens or which they have gathered and use them to cast the circle, as offerings to the Gods, as a way to build ones garden. With any extras you could craft head wreaths and make May baskets that can be distributed to neighbors, hospitals or use this baskets to decorate graves.

Another fun activity to celebrate flowers and their energy is to use flowers in culinary preparations. Many flowers are edible and are quite tasty, they also add a touch of novelty and beauty to a dish. You can simply add a teaspoon of dried lavender flowers to a batch of shortbread or sugar cookies, add rosepetals and candied violets to cakes, or stuff squash flowers and add pansy and nasturtium flowers to a green salad. A good reference on how to use edible flowers can be found here:

Just be cautious make sure you can positively identify these flowers, never gather flowers from roadways, or you will be consuming , many chemicals due to air pollution and never use flowers that from florists shops, as they might have been sprayed with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals. Some organic and specialty stores may also carry edible flowers in their produce sections next to the fresh herbs.
The Flower Moon is a perfect time to work on an herbal, to take pictures to press flowers and to make Spring and Goddess art. I like to honor the Goddess of flowers, especially the Goddess Blodeuwedd who was made out of the blossoms of 9 sacred herbs by making goddess art, of a goddess figure made of pressed flowers, leaves and feathers. In fact the story of the creation of Blodeuwedd for Llew Llaw Gyffes is a perfect myth to focus on this month.

Another name for this Moon is the Planting Moon. May is usually the last month that contains any Wintery weather and by the end of this month it is usually safe to plant even the tenderest of garden plants and herbs. Planting Melons, squashes, tomatoes, peppers and corn is usually reserved for the end of this month.

The May Full Moon is also called the Milk Moon. Milk the liquid of prefect nutrition, health and mothering energy, and it is in abundance at this time as pastoral animals give birth and are moved to summer pastures were the grasses nourished by May's moisture and abundant sunlight grow tall, and nutritious. Celebrate this Moon by consuming some dairy products, make our own yogurt, cheese or iced cream, consume milk fermented with Kefir grains, use yogurt dips for fruits and vegetables

The Full Moon in May is also called the Dyad Moon, Dyad stems from the Greek word “Dyas,” meaning “two,” or “pair,” and prefers to the union of the Goddess and God, the Earth and Sky and the polarities and dualities of these energies. Through their uniting, their love and fertility all these are balanced and made possible.

The month of May is a great time for cleansing and preparing It is a good time to finish up Spring cleaning and organize. You may also wish to participate in a custom that dates back to ancient Greece. It was called the Kallyhtaria and Plyhteria, it was typically observed around May 19-28, it was a time to clean the temples and to ritualistically wash the temple statues., many times in a moving body of water. You can observe this custom by cleansing your altar, cleansing and blessing your magickal supplies and organizing your tools, so they can be easily found. You might also wish to replace any old cleaning supplies that may need it, to make more healthy, natural and environmentally conscious versions of these cleaners and even consecrate and bless these tools.

The Full Moon in May brings with it the holiest day in Buddhism, Wesak or Vesak commemorates not only the birth of Siddartha Gutama, but his enlightenment or Buddhahood, and his death at the age of eighty. The festival is celebrated in many ways throughout different countries, each country adding its local customs and flair. Common themes are pilgrimages to the temples, chanting, attending religious services, offering of incense, food, flowers and special lanterns made of bamboo to the temples and the monks, cleansing and decorating ones home and charitable acts of giving food, blood, money, or handing out religious literature. During Wesak participates are encouraged to observe a vegetarian diet and the slaughter of animals and the selling of meat and liquor is prohibited. It is a tradition to free cages birds. Some countries have candlelit processions to the temples, complete with floats. Many have devotees dressed in pure white. Wesak is a time to contemplate the impermanence of life, the true meaning of existence, to give charitably to others and to sit in contemplation and devotion. Observe Wesak by arranging a food drive for your local food bank, many people give furring the Winter months but forget the need is still there in Summer. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, or soup kitchen, give blood, go through your closets and donate clothes you do not want or need. Help out your elderly neighbor by mowing their lawn. Spend some time away from the distractions and noise of the modern, material world and sit in quiet contemplation and meditation.

Grandmother Moon, ZSuzsanna E. Budapest
Wheel of the Year, Pauline Campanelli
Moon Magic, DJ Conway
Everyday Moon Magic, Dorothy Morrison
Full Moon Feast , Jessica Prentice
Hedge Witch, Silver Ravenwolf
Wiccan Spell a Night, Strona Knight
A Year of Esbats Shannon Reilly
A Year of Rituals: Sabbats and Esbats for Solitaries and Covens Sandra Kynes
The Wiccan Year Judy Ann Nock
The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, Patricia Monaghan
Seasons of the Sun Patricia Telesco


Friday, March 4, 2011

Rowan Moon

Ogham Letter:

Names: Delight of the Eyes, Lady of the Mountain., Li Sula, Mountain Ash, Quickbeam, Quicken,, Raintree, Rantry, Roddan, Royentree, Service Tree, Sorb Apple, Thor’s Helper, Wand wood, Whispering Tree, Whitty, Wicken Tree, Wild Ash, Wiggin, Wiky, Witchbane, Witchen and Witchwood.
Time: January 21-February 17
Stones: cat’s Eye, green beryl, peridot, ruby, tourmaline, yellow crysolite, yellow topaz,
Gods: Balor, Boann, Brighid, Brigantia, Cerridwem Cerunnos, Daghda, Lugh, Raunn,ThorThe Virgin Mary
Animals: Birds, especially song birds, blackbirds, cranes, dragons
Flower: The Snowdrop,
Herb: Thyme
Element: Fire
The second tree featured in the Celtic Tree calendar is the Rowan tree or what is commonly known as Mountain Ash or Wild Ash. The Mountain Ash is not a true Ash tree or a member of the Ash family but gains its name from the fact that it has similar looking leaves. The Rowan is in the Genus Sorbus, and in the family of Rosaceae. It is relative to Rose, Hawthorne, Apple, Pear and Service Tree.

The Rowan has compound leaves, with up to 15 leaflets forming around a central stem. Usually the Rowan leaves are odd numbered and arranged in alternate pairs, with a single leaf at the tip. Rowan flowers in late Spring usually around April-June depending on the mildness of weather and climate. Its blossoms are creamy white and star shaped, with five petals. Some say that they omit a slightly unpleasant aroma; while some say it is simply a strong, sweet scent. They pollinate through flies, bees, beetles and other insects as well as wind.

Rowan’s flowers turn into orange or scarlet clumps of small fruits or berries, each berry has at its end a remnant of its previous flower, a pentacle or five pointed star shape. This pentacle gives the plant its widespread association with protection and its connection with both Witches, protection against Witches, and the evil eye and magick itself. The fruits appear around early July through September and are usually ripe in October, though ripeness depends on the weather and climate. The berries cling to the branches throughout the Winter until weather, birds and other creatures come to devour them. There is usually 4-5 seeds in each berry. The Rowan’s bark is shiny gray and smooth, with tiny pin-prick pores all over it. Rowan’s leaves turn golden, pink or scarlet in Autumn. Rowan can grow as tall as 65 feet but most America varieties are much smaller growing only to around 30 feet and are rather shrub like. Rowan’s can live up to 200 years.

Rowan is a hardy deciduous tree that can thrive in even in the hardest of conditions. It is usually found at the highest of elevations, clinging precariously between crevices of rock, and mountain sides, o r alone on the out skirts of the forests. Rowan’s that stand alone and open in a field are associated with the faeries and Otherworld. Rowan prefers full sun, but can tolerate light shade. It is very hardy against the intense cold, and wind and can thrive in poor soil. Rowan tolerates drought and air pollution. Rowan needs good drainage to survive and thrive and usually avoids clay or chalk soils. It prefers acidic soils and peat. Rowan colonizes easily in disturbed areas. Rowans are solitary, individualist trees, they usually do not grow in groves but alone. Sometimes they are found among Oaks, Birch and Pine, They are actually used as a nurse crop for oaks and other trees. They protect the smaller, slower growing trees when they are young and just getting established, but they are small enough not to overshadow them. Once the nurse crop gets big enough it usually crowds out the Rowans and the Rowan’s die back, making room for their nurse crop.

Rowans propagate fairly easily through seeds spread by the droppings of birds. Sometimes Rowan trees even sprout in the crevices of roots and bark of other trees. When this happens they are known as, “Flying Rowans,” these plants are considered especially powerful and are considered a gateway into the Otherworld. “Flying Rowans,” can also be Rowan’s that sprout in the crevices of boulders, or one whose roots spread over a boulder, giving it a very spooky, old, and magickal look.

Rowan is a very widespread tree thriving in the cooler climates of North America, Northern Europe, and the mountains of Southern Europe, Scandinavia and Southwest Asia. The many different varieties of Rowan lead this tree to have many names, and many different cultivars and variations. They have differences in the size of leaf, flower and berry, and have differences in berry color anything from red, orange, yellow to white. Many, especially those of the Asian varieties are cultivated strictly for their beauty and for the birds they attract. Rowan and its family members make great ornamental trees; they work very well in a landscape and produce year round interest. With their clumps of flowers in Spring, bright green foliage in Summer, berries and golden to scarlet foliage in Autumn, and gray bark and bright red berries in Winter.

The scientific name is “sorbus aucuparia,” This is the species most well known throughout Europe. Sorbus is the ancient Latin name for “service tree,” and “accuparia” is from “avis,” or “bird,” and “capere,” “to catch,” Many birds, especially song birds enjoy the berries of Rowan. Bird catchers would tie Rowan berries to their nets to lure and capture these birds. Rowan’s ability to attract birds especially songbirds may have been the root of why Rowan is associated with song, poetry and the Goddess Brighid. Many birds are frequently seen feasting on the berries these birds include, blackbirds, finches, mistle-thrush, cedar waxwings, grosbeaks, grouse and starlings to name a few.

Raccoons, and bears and other climbing animals go out of their way to reach these berries. Others still, deer and hares consume their leaves. Though not particularly attractive to most insects there are those mostly the larvae of several leaf mining moths that feed on their leaves and larvae of the apple fruit moth are frequently found in its berries. Certain beetles are known to feed on its flowers and snails also enjoy feasting on the leaves of this tree.

The variety most well known in the United states is, “sorbus americana,” which is most commonly called: Mountain Ash or Wild Ash and which is known in Canada as “Dogberry tree.”

The word Rowan is said to come from many root words, one being the Sanskrit word “runa,” meaning “magician,” the other is the Norse word “ruma,” which means “charm,” or “spell,” and has the same root as the word rune. Rowan is also said to come from the Gaelic word “raudnian,” meaning the “the red one,” or “getting red,” probably alluding to its bright red berries.

“Luis,” pronounced “loo-ish,” “l’wesh, or “leash,” and is associated with the letter L and is the Ogham letter associated with the Rowan tree. The word Luis has many origins and may come from the word “Luisr,” meaning, “herb and flame.” Luis also is said to mean “swarm,” or a “great many,” this may be because of its dense clumps of flowers and berries or because hunters and warriors would gather beneath this tree before battle.

Rowan is called Thor’s Helper because it is said to have saved Thor’s from drowning, when it reached its branches to catch him as he was swept by a fast moving river. In Scandinavian myth the first women was created from the Rowan tree, while the first man was created from the Ash tree.

In Greek mythology Rowan was said to have sprouted from the blood of a sacred eagle sent by Zeus to recover the cup of the Gods. The Goddess Hebe in a moment of carelessness lost her magick chalice which was quickly picked up by demons. This cup provided the Gods with the rejuvenating ambrosia. The Gods decided to send an eagle to recover the cup. In the battle to recover the cup the eagle was wounded and his blood spilled upon the land From that blood grew the Rowan tree, with its blood red berries and some of its feathers fell to Earth as well and became the Rowan’s leaves.

In Finnish mythology Rowan plays an important role in their creation myth. The Earth was barren and devoid of any plant life when the Goddess Rauni came down in the form of a Rowan tree and after Rauni coupled with the God Ukko, the God of thunder, he struck the mighty Rowan tree with a magickal bolt of lightning, thus giving birth to all the plant life on Earth.

Rowan’s energy is both feminine and solar. Rowan is called Quicken , or Quickbeam, meaning “life giving,” sometimes Rowan is also known as the “tree of life.” The quickening is a time of women’s pregnancy when the child growing within her becomes more obvious and prominent. The mother can feel every flutter and kick, every light, slight, barely disguisable movement of life growing and becoming. The festival of Imbolc falls under the rule of the Rowan moon, and some translations of the word Imbolc says that it means “in the belly,” and right now all are in the belly of the Earth Mother, as she is preparing for the bursting forth and birth of Spring.

Though the world is still steeped in Winter’s slumber, covered in snow, and frozen solid, you can divine, and begin to see the first stirrings of Spring. The sap is slowly returning to the trees, and small buds that will contain Spring’s new leaves are forming. Some stubborn seeds have already begun sprouting and the fragile leaves of perennial herbs are breaking the frozen ground. The sword like leaves of bulbs is bursting forth. Flocks of birds are beginning to return to their Spring homes and small starlings and sparrows are out in swarms searching for food.

All of life is in a transition, antsy, filled up with pent up energy, full of hopes and dreams and plans. All are preparing for Spring. All are inhaling Spring’s fresh, new energy, and basking in the clear days and increased sunlight and exhaling Winter’s frosty breath and still freezing temperatures. All of life is waking up from Winter’s hibernation, Winter’s steady slumber, and the deep felt desire for contemplation and isolation; it is now that we seek out human connection, that we begin braving whatever weather may come just to be around others. It is no coincidence that Valentine’s day falls within this time. And though it may seem slight and slow, too slow from those who have finally begun waking it is steady and signs can be seen everywhere. Winter’s worse is behind us and Spring is rapidly on its way.

One myth of the Rowan tree is that it was brought to Earth by the Tuatha De Danaan and that it is especially revered and guarded by the Gods. Rowan is a sacred tree of the Druids and a sacred tree of the Goddess Brighid. Its white blossoms that turn into lush blood red berries can be viewed as the Maiden Goddess coming into maturity or the white Winter crone Calleach Bheur’s half of the year ending and the time of the fiery Maiden goddess Brighid beginning. You can also see the Rowan as a representation of all three stages of the Goddess, the Maiden with her white flowers, the Mother with her blood red berries, the Crone with its gray barren bark. Use Rowan to connect with the energy of the Goddess, especially the active, fiery, Goddess energy, of the heart from which all life comes from.

Use this month to connect with the Goddess Brighid to work on artistic endeavors, write poetry, paint a painting, sing a song, compose a piece of music, decorate, and craft . Use Rowan when you are struck to inspire, and enhance your creativity. You can also begin to more actively reach towards your goals. Also, use this time, to wake up, to revive, to prepare, clean, and purify. Let go of the old and invigorate yourself, let the light of Brighid into your soul. This is a good time for study, and is a good time to begin a new path or to perform a self initiation, or to join, or create a new group or working.

Some see this tree as not particularly feminine but as a more masculine tree, because it is so solar and its energy so active. Many gods are associated with this tree, the Dagda, Lugh and Thor are among these deities, and one may wish to work with these deities as well.

Rowan has a strong association with eyes. In some versions of the Death of Balor, Rowan was the wood Lugh choose to use to pierce and destroy Balor’s deadly eyes. Rowan is both used as a both as a remedy for tired over worked eyes, and a relief for more serious eye conditions like glaucoma and for opening of the inner third eye of intuition. Rowan is known as the “Whispering tree,” ready to share its knowledge to the world if would only listen. Rowan is a good tree to use for all types of divination. Ogham sticks as well, as Norse runic symbols are often carved from this wood. Rowan is carried to aid in increasing one’s psychic abilities. Burning Rowan is said to enhance ones ability to divine and is said to produce ecstatic trance. Rowan is said to guard the gates of the Otherworld and is said to have a strong connection to the ancestors. Rowan is planted in church yards and graveyards for protection for the spirits who resided their and for protection against wandering and restless spirits, witches, the evil eye and even Satan himself. Rowan has also been used as a dowsing rod, but instead of finding water it was used to find precious metals.

Rowan strengthens your intuition and helps you see through the false glamour of those who would wish to manipulate or mislead you. It helps you see through the games of others, giving you true insight into people and allowing you to both remove the rose colored glasses of self deception and protects you from the nagging self doubt, worry and other obsessive thoughts that may be holding you back. Rowan also helps you resist temptations and helps you get away from anything that is distracting you or holding you back. Rowan is a good wood for use in the recovery of drug and alcohol abuse, or for those recovering from addictive and abusive relationships.

Rowan’s offers us both the loving, protective embrace of the Mother’s arms and the ferocity and length she would go to protect you. Rowan also offers the protection of the sovereign and solider, whose long bows are arched and ready to fire in defense of you. Rowan’s wood has been used as a substitute for the Yew in the longbow. The goddesses Brighid and Brigitania were said to have flaming arrows made of Rowan wood, and some translations of the name Brighid says her name means, “Bright arrow.” Rowan has been used as a meeting place for hunter’s and warriors, Druids were said to burn Rowan wood to ensure a good outcome in the next battle and

Rowan has been long associated with protection, the protection of the home and hearth, protection from the evil eye, and others influences as well as protection from lightning, storms, fire, drowning and ill health. Baby cradles and cribs were often made of Rowan believing it would protect the infant from harm and from being stolen away by the fey. Ship’s ores or the whole ship itself where created of Rowan, this would insure that the ship and crew would come to no harm, would be safe in storms and that they would sail steady course and not get lost. This tradition can be carried out in modern rituals by placing a sprig, charm or piece or Rowan in your vehicle, possibly right next to your GPS. Rowan’s appearance on ships also suggests a connection to not just ships but to the captains, to those in charge. Rowan has long been a symbol of authority, Romans used to carry Rowan as a symbol of power and statehood. Planting Rowan anywhere on your property was said to protect it and those who inhabit it. Rowan is also the protective mother of dairy cows and livestock. Many charms were made from its berries and wood and hung on barns for protection. Smaller livestock animals like sheep were driven though large hoops of Rowan for protection. You can continue this tradition in modern times by hanging Rowan charms over your pet’s house, or by attaching a small Rowan charm to their collar. You can make wreathes, ornaments and arrangements of Rowan and hang them among your house, you can create the old charm of an equal armed cross made of Rowan tied together with red string. You can even use a God’s eye pattern when weaving to create a beautiful protective charm. Or make a charm that is closer in appearance to a Brighid’s Cross. You can carry a piece of its wood, or berries as a talisman and make necklaces with its berries. Rowan wood carved into the shape of a hammer is also considered a very powerful protective charm.

Rowan is used to strengthen spells and to strengthen and empower the spirit. Rowan grows where and in conditions that many other trees could not. It doesn’t give up but holds on and thrives. Use the magick of this plant to help you get through a difficult time, when you are facing adversity, major shifts, and conflicts. Use Rowan to find courage to face any and all that many stand it your way.

Rowan has many uses both magickal and mundane. Its wood is strong and flexible making it good wood for walking sticks, magickal staves, magickal wands, tool handles, and hoops for barrels. It was used for tanning and dying, its berries and bark are said to have dyed Druids robe a grayish black, which they used for lunar festivals. The wood is also one of the 9 sacred woods of the Beltane fire.

Its berries and bark is used in medicine, brewing and as a food. The berries must be cooked, fermented, dried or frozen to break down and eliminate the harmful chemical sorbic acid that is known to cause stomach upset and kidney problems as well as the possible carcinogen and harmful chemical parasorbic acid. Rowan berries are bitter and astringent and not palatable at all when eaten raw, it is advisable that you harvest them later in Winter for improved flavor and then cook, dry, freeze, or ferment them.

Rowan’s berries are cooked and made into a slightly tart jelly that goes well with game. This jelly was given to those suffering from diarrhea and as a cure and a preventative for gout. . The berries are also brewed into, wine, ale, cider or mead, and in the past its berries were ground into flour and its seeds roasted and used as a substitute for coffee beans.

Rowan berries are very high in vitamin C and are a good source of vitamin A and are used as a cure for scurvy. They are used to help fight colds and flues and as a general herb to strengthen the immune system and an aid in recovery. Rowan berry juice are used to help sooth inflamed mucus membranes and muscle tissues and as a mild laxative, and helps ease sore throats. Rowan berries are used as a tea or a gargle to help sooth a sore throat, tonsils and hoarseness as well as help you fight a fever and as an expectorate helping expel mucus and phlegm from the lungs. Rowan berry tea is also used as a diuretic and helps treated urinary tract problems . The bark is used as a blood cleaner and helped ease the pain and swelling of hemorrhoids as well as irritable bowels, and is sometimes used as a douche. It is also used to treat diarrhea, nausea and stomach problems. Rowan is used to help ease the swelling and eye pressure of glaucoma and for tired and irritated eyes. Rowan is haemostatic which means it helps stop or retard bleeding, it is also a vaso-dilator meaning it helps circulation and helps lower blood pressure. Rowan is also used to help relieve spastic pains of the uterus.

Rowan is a very healing plant, healing both physical and emotional wounds. It can be used to help recover from a troubled past. Include it in healing bathes, incense and herbal sachets.

Celtic Astrology Phyllis Vega
Celtic Tree Mysteries Steve Blamires
The Charmed Garden Diane Morgan
The Druid Magic Handbook John Michael Greer
Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs Scott Cunnigham
Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients Lexa Rosean
Flower and Tree Magic Richard Webster
From the Branch, the Ogham for Spiritual Growth Deanne Quarrie
The Greenman Tree Oracle John Matthews and Will Worthington
The Healing Power of Trees Hariyn Hidalgo
The Herb Book John Lust
The Herbal Arts Patricia Telesco
Lives of Trees Diana Wells
The Master Book of Herbalsim Paul Beyerl
A Modern Herbal Mrs. M. Grieve
The Modern Day Druidess Cassandra Eason
The Ogham and the Universal Truth of Trees Suzanne La Cour, Dean Montalbano
Whispers from the Woods Sandra Kynes
A Year of Moons, Season of Trees Pattalee Glass-Koentop


Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Moons

New Moons 2011

January 4, Tuesday, Capricorn
February 2, Wednesday, Aquarius
March 4, Friday, Pisces
April 3, Sunday Aries
May 3, Tuesday, Taurus
June 1, Wednesday, Gemini
July 1, Friday, Cancer
July 30, Saturday, Cancer
August 287, Sunday, Leo
September 27, Tuesday, Scorpio
October 26, Wednesday Libra
November 25, Friday, Sagittarius
December 24, Saturday, Sagittarius

Wishing Moons

Moons close to the Sabbats. Great for Goals, planning, goals.

March 19
June 1
September 12
December 10

Full Moons 2011

January 19, Wednesday, Cancer
February 18, Friday, Leo
March 19, Saturday, Virgo
April 17, Sunday, Libra
May 17, Tuesday, Scorpio
June 15, Wednesday, Saggitarius
July 15, Friday, Capricorn
August 13, Saturday, Aquarius
September 12, Monday, Pisces
October 11, Wednesday, Aries
November 10, Thursday, Taurus
December 10 Saturday, Gemini


Jan 04: Partial Solar Eclipse
Jun 01: Partial Solar Eclipse
Jun 15: Total Lunar Eclipse
Jul 01: Partial Solar Eclipse
Nov 25: Partial Solar Eclipse
Dec 10: Total Lunar Eclipse

Monday, November 1, 2010

March Seed Moon

Seed Moon

Also known as: Bulb Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Flower Moon, Hare Moon, Lenten Moon, Moon of Winds, Plow Moon, Sap Moon, Sprouting Moon, Storm Moon, Virgin Moon, Willow Moon, Worm Moon.
* Colors: pale green, purple, pinks, yellow, pastels
* Scents: floral scents
* Gemstones: aquamarine, bloodstone
Trees: alder, dogwood, ash
* Gods: Black Isis, the Morrigan, Hecate, Cybele, Astarte, Athena, Minerva, Artemis, Luna, Eostre, Juno Lucina, Demeter, Artemis, Mars for which the month of March is named.
* Herbs: Broom, High John root, yellow dock, wood betony, Irish moss, jonquil, daffodil, violet, crocus, bulbed plants
* Foods: Hot Cross buns, seed buns, foods made with eggs, quiche, strata, and egg drop soup, strawberries, salad,
* Animals: cougar, hedgehog, boar sea crow, sea eagle, robin, crow, magpie, honey bees, hares, butterflies
* Element: Water and Air

Now, we come upon the month of March and what is known as the Seed Moon, Worm Moon, Plow Moon, Sap Moon, Bulb Moon, Egg Moon, Sprouting Moon, Crow Moon, Storm Moon, Crust Moon, Moon of Winds, Lenten Moon and many more. Each Moon name tells exactly what is going on in nature and in man. We are awake, alive, and active. New live is bursting from every seed and bulb buried, every herb in the garden is showing itself, tiny, fragile, small but there just the same. The trees are filled with buds not yet ready to burst forth. Now, truly is the time of new beginnings and unbridled potential. Now, is the time to start new projects, to learn a new skill and get out in nature and explore and enjoy the warmer weather and increased light and the effects it has on your whole being. Now, is also the perfect time to get the yard and gardens ready and to possible begin planting cool weather flowers, herbs and vegetables. If weather is too cold and does not permit planting it is good to plan ahead and decide what kind of garden you would like to plant. Consider what your wants and needs are, do you want an herb garden for cooking, healing or magick? Would you like a veggie garden with fresh produce or perhaps an orchard or grove of magickal trees? Would you like a flower cutting garden so you may make your own arrangements? Would you like a crafters garden with flowers you can dry to make arrangements with? Do you have a particular deity you would like to honor and grow plants that are associated with it? When you are planning your garden consider all four seasons and plant, herbs and trees with all seasons in mind. Stagger plants blooming times so you always have something in bloom, something in color, or something always to eat, plant trees and scrubs with berries, feathery leaves, and large seed pods for Winter interest. It is also a good time to think about creating an outdoor shrine, or circle that you may use to celebrate the Lunar and Solar festivals.

The Seed Moon is also to learn about and commit yourself to organic forms of gardening, to start a compost pile and to learn about gardening by the Moon. The month of March is also a good time to trim bushes and trees and to save these scraps for the Beltane fire, for making brooms, wands or Ogham sticks, Runes, or for making wreathes .Make sure you learn how to trim properly and that your instruments are clean and sharp. If the weather does not permit planting or clearing yet, it is a good time to bless the land in which will eventually be planted and/or your tools. In the Norse tradition, when the first signs of Spring were present a plow is ritualistically cleansed, sharpened, decorated and blessed, paraded through the streets with much fan fare then finally drawn across the ground.. You can also bless instruments of modern usage like your laptop, cars, business ledgers etc

The most popular names for the March Moon are the Seed Moon and Egg Moon, these are perfect names for this Moon because contained within each seed, and each egg is all that is necessary to nurture a young plant or animal until it is ready to burst forth from their hard, stone like enclosure and be born. Within the seed and egg is unbridled hope and potential. It is a scary and harsh world and one may feel that keeping inside your warm, shell protected would be better than bursting forth and having to worry about all the unknown conditions and issues you may be faced with. But the seed and egg grows small, claustrophobic and uncomfortable as you grow and sometimes you must just let go of your fear and burst forth ready for a change and challenge; ready to embrace whatever life brings. Now, is the time to burst forth to be new to come out of Winter’s hibernation and shell. Get out and enjoy the weather, wear new clothes purchased for Spring, feel good about yourself, know that nothing is permanent and that you, your health, your looks, your intelligence; your whole being is in a constant state of change. Take this time to think about what you want to grow this year, think also about what you want to leave behind. Schedule a haircut, a manicure and a pedicure treat yourself, pamper yourself. Start an exercise program change you’re eating habits. Use the cleansing energy of Spring to clear away any bad habits or addictions.

The constantly changing weather of March can be harsh on your immune system, bringing forth colds and flues. A good thing to do this time of year is to make a Spring cleanse or tonic. A Spring cleanse, cleans out your system removing toxins from the body. A Spring tonic is meant to wake up your sleepy Winter self, to invigorate and bring back a Spring in your step. This usually contains liver detoxifying herbs such as dandelion root, yellow dock and burdock root, immune strengthening herbs such as Echinacea and Ginger, and nutritious herbs such as Nettles, Red Clover, Motherwort or Alfalfa. Many books and websites will have recipe for these tonics, but be sure to research the herbs and ingredients well before taking any. Speaking of herbs now is a good time to take stock of your herbal supplies and decide what needs to be restocked or replaced, what can be grown by your own hands and what you must purchase.

With the Spring Equinox in this month now is a perfect time to work towards balance in your life, the balance of your light and dark selves, the balance of work and home, of the mundane and the spiritual. It is also a good time for Spring Cleaning, clean the house from top to bottom, open up all the windows and doors and let the Winter out and Spring in. use fresh floral and citrus scents to cleanse the air. Use your broom to sweep away all negativity. Bring Spring indoors, decorate with Springs symbols: eggs, hares, and flowers. Do something fun and frivolous, honor your inner child and let the season make your feel young again.

The Seed Moon is a particularly good time to buy, bless and plant garden seeds. To think about herb lore and medicine, about food and sustainability and decided what you want to grow this year. It is a great time to plan a new layout for your garden and to transplant, purchase, or grow new houseplants. Since house plants are not outside plants, they do not get the benefits of both the life giving, natural rains and their connection to the seasons and to the world wide water systems or the nitrogen that they shed down upon the Earth, it is a good idea to gather rain water and give it to your house plants and new plant starts for added vitality.

A simple spell for the Seed Moon is to buy herbs, flowers that correspond with some goal or something you would like to bring into your life, bless them and then plant them in your house and finally your garden. Nurture this seed and nurture your goal. Some new age and garden center stores also carry beans that have been made to grow with certain words on their leaves, such as: peace, love, prosperity , hope etc. these would be great plants to grow for your goals and make great gifts and ritual favors. Another spell is to gather a bunch of herb, veggie and flower seeds together and place on the back of the seed package the meaning of the seed, then as part of your Seed Moon ritual have each participant, blindly draw a seed from a basket and read the meaning of the seed. This acts as a divination telling the participant what may be coming into their lives or what they may need to work on. You can also host a seed and garden party have people bring extra or their seeds, starts, bulbs and tools and trade for ones you want and need.

The Seed Moon is also an excellent time to start a creating your own Herbal or a garden scrapbook. This will help you connect more to the Earth, your garden, and to the flowers, vegetables and herbs within. Begin with taking pics of your sleeping garden, then your garden once it has been cleared, then after it has been planted. Then every few weeks, or season or when you notice something significant or use the lunar cycles as your guide taking pics at each Dark, New, Quarters and Full Moons. This will give you an accurate account of your gardens growth. Do this also with herbs, vegetables, flowers and trees. Take pics of their seeds, seedlings, new growth, flower and fruit. This will help you learn their life cycle and how to identify them. This can also be used with native plants, weeds and wildflowers, you may learn what medicinal plants grow in your area, or what plants may be used as foraged food. Include these photos and information you have gathered throughout the year in your Herbal.

The Egg Moon brings with it an important food source, through Spring may be here, it is still cold and though we may have planted our crops they have not yet yielded any harvest. At the Egg Moon domesticated chickens and native birds are beginning to lay their eggs. Eggs are a nearly perfect nutritional food source, as they contain everything the growing chick needs to survive. The white of the egg contains high quality protein. While the egg yolk is filled with vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, D, E, B12, riboflavin, folic acid, iron, zinc and phosphorus. The nutrients in eggs help with healthy vision, hair and skin, as well as improving immunity and maintaining the central nervous system and the production of red blood cells.

On old fashioned farms this was the time of year when hens would be laying more eggs. Egg production was low or no-existent in Winter; it was only through the advent of modern farming techniques that we now have eggs all year round. This is done by cruel methods, exposing the chickens to constant light, giving chickens rounds after rounds of antibiotics and starving the hens. In nature hens start producing more eggs in response to increased sunlight. Sunlight stimulates their pituitary gland, which produces a hormone that stimulates their ovaries to produce eggs. What chickens eat also effects what nutrients are in their egg, hens fed better, more natural and nutritious fed will pass in the benefits to you. If there are natural, local farms in your area get your eggs from them and support a cruelty free environment, or you can even try rising some on your own if you have the space and if your area allows it.

The Egg Moon is special because eggs symbolize wholeness, completeness, perfection and totality and often serve as metaphors for the Universe. In many mythologies creation is contained in and hatches from an egg. Among them are Babylonian, Hindu, Egyptian, Greek, Japanese and Chinese. The modern big bang theory that the whole Universe existed in a very dense, compact and hot state, eternal, unchanging and that an explosion of sorts, sent all matter, expanding outwards, cooling as it went mirrors this concept of the Cosmic Egg.

The Ibis headed Egyptian God Thoth hatches the world egg and brings forth creation. In Greece creation came out of Nyx or night, darkness, when the silvery egg of the cosmos was formed. The upper shell formed Ouranos, the heavens and from the lower shell Gaia the earth. Drawn together by love they married and had many children among them: Okeanos, Hyperion, Rhea, Tethys and Kronos. Kronos married Rhea and their children were: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus.

In Chinese mythology the great God Pan Ku, a horned God with protruding tusks bursting forth from his jaw grew within an egg floating in the chaos of nothingness, of space. Finally feeling suffocated and restless he broke the egg with his mighty axe. The light clear part of the egg, floated to the sky and formed the heavens, The yolk; heavy and cold part of the egg sank below to form the Earth. As Pan Ku grew he pushed the heavens and the Earth farther and farther apart. Pan Ku’s life was spent creating something out of the vast nothingness, he hewed bases for tall mountains, he scooped out basins for the seas, he dug the courses for the rivers and hallowed out the valleys. When Pan Ku’s long life ended his last lingering breath became the wind and the clouds, his voice the roll of thunder, his sweat the rain that poured. His blood became the oceans, his veins the canals and roads. His limbs split and formed the four corners of the world. The marrow from his bones transformed into rocks metals and precious stones. His flesh became the fertile soil, his hair the trees and plants. His long coarse beard became the stars and his eyes became the Sun and Moon. The tiniest of creatures the insects that lived upon his flesh became the first animals and humans

As the Egg Moon rises remember that we are all interconnected, one, we are a single life force. We all come from the same matter that forms the Universe itself

The Egg Moon is also an excellent time to prepare nutritious egg dishes, and to decorate egg crafts. You may wish to try your hand at Ukraine Pysanky egg decorating. You could do this as a spell starting you’re decorating at the New Moon and concluding at the Full Egg Moon. This way you would have lots of wonderful eggs ready for Ostara. It is quite a magickal and time consuming process, but the results are wonderful and worth the effort. You can buy your dyes and supplies at: http://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/pages/art.htm

The Supplies you will need is: Eggs, Kistkas of varying sizes, wax brick, taper candle and holder, newspapers to cover your working area, paper towels, Fantastic, Windex or 409, Q-tips, dyes, vinegars, design sheets and info, gloves, eggs blower, and a hair dryer.

The first steps to making these elaborate and beautiful eggs is to buy the biggest eggs you can find, and to wash them in a light bleach solution and set them to dry and sweat at least 24 hours before dying. These eggs must be raw and afterwards the eggs are not to be eaten. Handle the eggs only with gloves on as the natural oils in your hands will resist the dye. With a pencil lightly draw your design, traditional designs such as wheat, flowers, fish and even the different varieties of lines all have meanings so keep this in mind as you create your design. The creation of the design is a spell itself. If you make a mistake never use the pencil’s eraser instead use a Q-tip covered in 409, Fantastic or Windex to remove the mistake. Make your dyes a day or at least a few hours before so they have time to cool, you wouldn’t want to cook your egg.

If you want any part white cover it with wax from your kistkas. Test your kistkas out first on a paper plate before you begin to draw on the egg. To use your kistkas heat in the candles flame for about 10 seconds, until dark and sooty then drip it while it is still hot in the wax brick and pool some in the kistka. Dab on your power plate and start drawing, repeat the heating and dipping process as necessary. Dye your egg its first and lightest color. Dying the egg will typically take five to 20 minutes. Pat your egg dry gently so you do not rub off the dye. Let air dye until workable then go on to your next color. Progressively dye the egg from lightest to darkest

When you are done dying the egg and the egg has dried place it between several sheets of paper towels and have a friend help you blow dry the egg with a hair dryer. When the wax gets liquidy, wipe vigorously, removing all wax from the egg. Every egg is a colorful and beautiful surprise!

When all the wax has been removed go outside and shellac the egg, this will prevent the colors from rubbing off or fading and will help the egg not break when you empty the egg. Let the egg dry then gently poke a small hole in the bottom of your egg. Do not just stab the egg! Work slowly as to not create cracks. Scramble the eggs contents and very slowly and gently blow air inside the egg. When clean, gently fill the egg with water, shake and blow out until clean. Let the egg dry and drain.

Keep the eggs out of direct sunlight or heat store in Styrofoam egg cartons. The eggs dye will keep for years just brighten it with vinegar after each year and remove any scum that may have formed.

You can also decorate eggs with traditional dyes, tie dying them, using crayons as your kistkas, draw magickal symbols, keep or eat the symbols to take in their properties. You can use glitter and string and plant leaves to make cool designs you can use natural dyes to dye eggs that you’d like to keep or hard boil and eat.

Natural Egg Dyes
Yellow: carrots, turmeric, fenugreek, white grape juice
Orange: onion skins, paprika
Red: red onion skins, madder root, cayenne, raspberries, cranberries, beets, green tea, cochineal
Red-violet: purple grape juice, raspberries, blackberries, red onion skins
Green: carrot tops, bracken, colts-foot, spinach, sage, broccoli
Blue: blueberries, red cabbage, blackberries
Blue-violet: blackberries, beet juice, mulberries
Pink: heather, madder root, cochineal
Gray: Elderberries
Brown: coffee, walnut hulls, tea

Hard boil the eggs. Boil a handful of dye material until the water is colored. Place a small amount of vinegar in each dye and turn the dye on warm. Place the eggs in the dye until it is the desired colors. You can rub the shells with vegetable oil to make them shiny.

You can also dye your eggs and poke a hole big enough for a cork to be used and fill them herbs, stones, potpourri and paper with wishes written on them. Use this as a charm or talisman, or as an offering. Eggs can also be filled with wildflower and garden seeds, you can and glitter. You can have people make a wish and throw the egg on the ground or crack it over someone’s head to bless them. You can also make egg votives by cutting off the top part of an egg, draining and cleaning the shell and filling it with a wick and wax. Egg shells discarded from eating can be used to created mosaics or added to the compost pile or garden as a way to add calcium, a vital nutrient for root growth that is often depleted from the soil. Rough eggshells will deter slugs and snails from your garden, their sharp edges are not nice to crawl on. Powdered egg shells can also be used as a protection powder; you can sprinkle this around your garden or the edges of your property. An egg shell is surprisingly strong and keeps the baby chick protected from harm while still letting in heat and light. An eggshell sprinkled around your property will protect you while still letting the good in.
This Full Moon in March is also called the Crust Moon because the snow becomes crusted over from all the freezing’s and thawing. It was also known as the Lenten Moon because of its close proximately to Lent, a 40 period before Easter, that starts on Ash Wednesday and ends the day before Easter, where Catholics fast, pray and prepare themselves for Easter and the resurrection of their savior, Jesus Christ. It was also considered the last full Moon of the Winter season. The March Moon goes by the Name Worm Moon because it is now that the grounds begin to thaw and worms can make their way, feasting on last year’s compost, all the while aerating and enriching the soil and enticing the Robins, Magpies and Crows back to the land to feast and this is why this Moon is called the Crow Moon. The chirping of the birds and the cawing of the crows meant that Spring had returned to the land. Now is a good time to start bird watching. The March moon is also called the Storm Moon and the Moon of Winds and is a good time to harness the storms energy for spells by collecting rain water, by knowing that storms are the union and balance of the Goddess and God and is a good time to perform protection spells for your house and self from storms and their sometimes harmful effects, winds, lightning and floods.

If you look upon Spring’s sky you will find that Ursa Major the Great Bear is very visible and bright at this time of year. There is a rich and vivid story behind this constellation. It starts of like many Greek tales of love and lust of the God Zeus. One day Zeus spied Callisto, the daughter of Lycaon, a king of Arcadia hunting along the train of Artemis and fell in, love and seduced her. Callisto bore him a son Arcas, who grew to be a great hunter like his mother.

Then for reasons unknown and varied Callisto was changed into a bear by one of the Gods. Some tales say that it was Artemis who was enraged by Callisto’s loss of her sworn virginity, some saw Zeus may have done it to protect her from the jealous wrath of his wife Hera, and some say Hera herself changed Callsito after Arcas was born.When Arcas grew to be a man Hera tricked Arcas into hunting his Mother, but before the kill was made Zeus intervened and placed her high in the heavens and out of Hera’s reach. Arcas was placed in the sky as well and became Ursa Minor, the lesser Bear. Furious that her rival was given such an honor Hera convinced Poseidon to never let Callisto and Arcas to enter his waters at the same time.

The rising of Ursa Major is a sign of Spring itself, as the greet bear rises so does the sleeping bears awaken from their long hibernation. Artemis herself is sometimes represented by the great she bear.

Rising also in the Spring sky is the constellation of Virgo the Maiden of the harvest. Second only to Hydra, the celestial water snake, Virgo is the second largest constellation. She is often associated with Eostre and or Persephone and Demeter, and the harvest, with Spica her brightest star representing a sheaf of wheat.

Grandmother Moon, ZSuzsanna E. Budapest
Wheel of the Year, Pauline Campanelli
Moon Magic, DJ Conway
Everyday Moon Magic, Dorothy Morrison
Full Moon Feast , Jessica Prentice
Hedge Witch, Silver Ravenwolf
Wiccan Spell a Night, Strona Knight
Ostara Edain Mccoy
Exploring the Northern Tradition, Galina Krasskova
Celebrating the Seasons of Life,: Samhain to Ostara ashleen O’Gaea
A Year of Esbats Shannon Reilly
A Year of Rituals: Sabbats and Esbats for Solitaries and Covens Sandra Kynes
The Wiccan Year Judy Ann Nock


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

August Barley Moon

August Barley Moon

* Also known as: Corn Moon, Green Corn Moon, Corn silk Moon, Maize Moon, Grain Moon, Wheat Moon, Moon of the Fields, Ripen Moon, First Acorns Moon, Fruit Moon, Berry Moon, Blackberry Moon, Mulberry, Moon, Black Cherries Moon, Wine Moon, Wort Moon, Yellow Flower Moon, Heat Moon, Drying Moon, Dog Days Moon, Dispute Moon, Lightning Moon, joyful Moon, Nesting Moon, Sturgeon Moon
* Colors: gold, tan, yellow, red, and orange
* Scents: Frankincense, heliotrope
* Gemstones: Tigers eye, cat’s eye, carnelian, garnet, jasper, red agate
Trees: Holly, Hazel, Cedar, Alder
* Gods: Gods of agriculture and grain, Tammuz and Ishtar, Attis and Cybele, Adonis, Aphrodite and Persephone, Demeter, Ceres, Freya, Brighid, Lugh, Llew Llaw, Blodeuwedd, John Barleycorn, Vulcan, Mars, Nemesis, Hecate, Hathor, Thoth, Ganesha
* Herbs: Elderberry, Fennel, Savory, Southernwood, Valerian Rosemary, basil, rue, chamomile, angelica, bay, orange, St. John’s Wort, Sunflower, Marigold, Bindweed, Morning glory, cattails
* Foods: Grains such as: wheat, corn, millet, rye, barley, oats, breads, sourdough bread,, “stone, fruit,” peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, berries such as black berries, elderberries, jam, first veggies such as: tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, beer, whiskey
* Animals: Grasshoppers, dragonflies, may flies, crane, birds of prey, eagle falcon, lion, phoenix, sphinx, dragon
* Element: Fire
Now, we enter the month of August, the eighth month of the Gregorian calendar, originally called Sextillis by the Romans. The name was later changed to Augustus in honor of Caesar Augustus. August is traditionally the most dry, arid and hot of all the Summer months. Now, is the time when you can really feel the effects of the waning Sun’s energy. Instead of life giving, and warm, He is brutal and drains you of any vitality. He calls the fields and his people to mature and to begin looking toward the dark, cold days ahead. At this time of year, you can begin to notice the waning light and the chill in the air at night. Autumn is now fast approaching and it is a good time of year to plan for the Winter months ahead. Make home improvements and repairs, clean carpets, hang new drapes, buy new sheets, and warmer blankets. Go over your Winter wardrobe and decide what you would like to keep, what you’ll need and what you’d like to donate. Take advantage of case lot sales of canned veggies and boxed foods, take advantage also of the, “Back to School Sales,” Pick up office supplies while they are cheap, and take advantage of end of season clearances, also look for new Fall clothes, treat yourself and feel like a kid again. Going along with the Back to School theme, August is a perfect time to pick up a few books and to begin studying a new subject. It is a good time for oaths regarding studying new subjects and paths.

Now, is also a good time to look over your life and to see what you have accomplished throughout the year. What you have planted, tended and harvested, it is also a good time to think about what you would like to let go of. It is also a good time to count your blessing, to send out prayers of Thanksgiving and to start a gratitude journal.

August is a good month to squeeze out as much Summer as possible out of the remaining season. Plan a trip, go camping, hike to the higher elevations; get out of the Summer heat and the Summer smog. Visit an amusement park or water park. Be appreciative of water and it quenching effects on both you and the land.

Augusts’ Moon goes by many names, most of them relating to the harvest, whether it is the harvest of grains such as: wheat, corn, millet, rye, barley, oats, or “stone,” fruits such as : peaches, cherries, apricots, plums, or berries such as: blackberry , mulberry and Elderberry. August is both a time of hard work and bounty. It is a time to enjoy the fruits of the season the fruits of your labor. If you have a garden enjoy its bounty, eat from its bounty and enjoy what has actually been grown by your hands. If you do not have a garden make it a point to support farmers’ markets and to eat locally and what is actually in season in your area. Not only will the food taste wonderful, but it will be fresh, full of nutrients and foster a connection with you to the land and to the season. Make fresh salsa by chopping tomatoes, peppers, onions up finely and add olive oil, lemon or lime juice to taste. Host a BBQ, invite family and friends and just enjoy the Sun’s the heat and each other. Host a garden swap, have the neighbors bring over the bounty of their garden to trade from some of yours. Bake bread, start a sourdough starter or make yogurt. Brew beer and wine. Preserve your harvest by making jams, jellies, and preserves, pickle, can, host a canning party, teach this valuable skill and share what you made. Dry herbs in Augusts' heat; make teas, and herbal preparations that you will need during the Winter months. Weave wheat, make corn dollies and floral wreathes.

The Month of August is a month of contrast it is not only just on the cusp of Summer and Autumn but is also on the cusp of intense, dry heat and unpredictable and strong storms. Usually these storms blow in quickly, accompanied by howling winds that kick up dusk and lightning that streaks across, the sky. These storms sometimes have large raindrops and sometimes bring with them hail. These storms can be destructive and scary or they can be silent and beautiful as the lightning, Sky God, fertilizes the Earth Goddess below. It is for this reason that this Moon is sometimes called the Lightning Moon.

Another name for this Moon is the Sturgeon Moon for the Native American tribes fishing the sturgeon, large fish of the Great Lakes, most easily caught at this time.

It is in August where we are presented with the opportunity and challenge to understand the meaning and sanctity of the grain, of the corn. For this mere seed, holds within its shell the secrets of all life, and the secrets of man’s history. the grain whether represented as a Goddess, such as the Barely Mother, Corn Mother, Demeter, Persephone, Ceres, Ishtar, Isis, Freya, or Cybele or by the God resurrected such as Tammuz, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, John Barleycorn or others it is an important lesson for all.

The grain is a mere seed from an older plant, it stays in suspended animation during the Winter’s months, when the perfect combination, of light, warmth, and moisture reaches it and it breaks through its shell. Up through the fertile Earth it pushes seeking Air, seeking light, it emerges and begins growing. Soon it is green, tall and dances in the breeze, and is showered by heavy storms. It flowers, and goes to seed, the seeds ripen, the plants begin to die and turn golden. They are cut down, harvested by man, the grain is threshed, winnowed and ground into flour, eaten as porridge, brewed into beer or whiskey. Every seed that fell nestles back into the fertile Earth, every seed eaten by birds or animals travels to populate a new area. In Spring the seed will be resown and it will rise again. Each seed, each grain, connected eternally to its ancestors, it was born of a previous generation, who also went through the life cycle that it will now embark upon.

This cycle reflects our own lives, our own journey from conception, birth childhood, adolescence, and maturity, to mother and fatherhood, to middle age, old age and death. We too will be planted deep within the Earth, we too will nourish, and make room for future generations, and we too will be born again.

The cultivation of grains started a revolution in human society; some say it created human societies as we know it. It leads us from small hunter gathering communities, to large cultivating communities. Like the grain sprouting from the soil so sprouted cities, so sprouted the philosophies, arts, sciences, technology and advanced thoughts. Societies grew and changed and class systems developed, Instead of living off the land we owned the land and forced it to produce. The wealthy man was he who owned the most land and had the most laborers and slaves to farm it. Thus we created class systems and lost our connection to the land. We did not see the growth of the grain, it appeared magickally on our plate, though the toll of others, we understand naught how it was produced, and the hard work it took. Grain even became a staple of the poor and was despised, refined and so changed that one could not recognize it. Grain is a gift from the Gods; and many mythologies say that agriculture was taught it us by the Gods. Grains it can be stored so that man does not starve during the Winter months. It provides carbohydrates and protein for the hard working man to burn; it is a sacrifice and a sacrament and should be honored by all. Grain is our Mother, our ancestors, ourselves

To celebrate this connection to the Grain and to life itself bake loaves in human forms, as you partake, know that this bread is a representation of the body of the fertile Earth Mother, and a representation of the resurrected Grain God. Grain is a complete representation of the year and of the life cycle or nature and of man. To break bread is also an ancient simple ritual of community. The simple act of generously sharing food with another person builds bonds and fosters community.

You may also wish to sprout fresh grain seeds to include in your ritual bread, or make “Gardens of Adonis.” In some Mediterranean countries woman would give offerings of small clay pot or dish filled with sprouted grain seeds either to the sea or later they would leave these dishes at churches.

There are many holidays in the month of August among them Lammas the first harvest festival, the Egyptian New year celebration, the Brauronia the Feast of Artemis. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated at this time; worshippers celebrate the ascent of Mother Mary into heaven. At this time people ask Mary protect the harvest, during the last crucial days before it is gathered in. Offerings of flowers, cakes, seashell and the first of your harvest were given to this Goddess. In Elche, Spain an elaborate three day drama of the Assumption is acted out.

If you look out at night into the dark clear August skies you will notice a very bright star, the brightest star in the sky, shining brilliantly in a white or bluish hue, sometimes it is also seen with a red glow, and many times it seems to twinkle, this star is known as Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius is located in the constellation Canis Majora the Great Dog, in the bridge of the Milky Way. Sirius is not a single star but a binary star system consisting of Sirius A, a star three times the mass of our Sun and 1.8 times our sun’s diameter and over ten times as bright as our Sun; and Sirius B a “white dwarf,” star invisible to the naked eye. Sirius B though dim is very dense packing the whole density of our Sun into a size of a globe only 4 times the diameter of Earth. The Sirius star system is around 200 to 300 million years old. Sirius is only about 8 ½ light years away from Earth. It is the fifth nearest star to Earth. It is a very unique system, around every 50 years Sirius A and B’s orbits very close to each other, creating huge magnetic storms between them. As they approach each other, the stars begin to spin faster and faster and their tidal forces become stronger and stronger, finally resulting in a flip-flopping where Sirius A and B change places. This flip flopping has been known to influence Earth inhabitants in huge upheavals, most notably in 1944 when we were in the throes of World war 2, and in 1993 when the Berlin wall fell and the Cold war finally officially ended.

Sirius has been known by many people’s throughout human history and different civilizations. Many cultures have been observing this star for centuries and knew facts like that it was a binary star and that the two stars changed places, things that mankind have only recently observed through the invention of high powered telescopes.

Sirius gains its named from the ancient Greek word for “searing,” or “scorching,” and its reappearance in the sky after its 70 day disappearance due to it its conjunction with the sun, in which the sun’s rays blocked out its light where known as the, “Dog days,” of summer a phrase we still use now. The Dog days are the hottest, driest and most miserable moments in summer. Sirius’s influence was known not only to bring extra heat to the Earth but to make people “hot headed,” as well, it was known to inflame people’s tempers, and was a time of arguments and disputes, as well as welting crops.

The ancient Assyrians regarded it similarly and called it “Dog of the Sun,” or “Star Dog of the Sun.” And it ancient Chaldea, present day Iraq it was known as “the Dog Star that leads.” The Polynesians marked it as the beginning of Winter and Sirius was considered an important star for navigating the Pacific ocean. In the ancient Vedas Sirius was known as the, “Chieftain’s Star,” and in other Hindu writings, it is referred to as “Sutra,” “the Rain God,” or the “Rain Star.”

In Chinese astronomy Sirius is known as the “Celestial Wolf. In many North American tribes Sirius was associated with dogs. The Blackfoot called it “Dog face,” the Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dig-star guardian of either end of the “Path of Souls.” The Pawnee knew it as “Wolf Star.” Or “Coyote Star.” The intuit tribe called it the “Moon Dog.”

Sirius was called Lokabreena (“the Burning of Loki” or “Loki’s Brand) by the Norse This refers to an incident where Loki, the trickster God cut off Sif’s long golden hair as part of a prank. Thor her husband was no enraged that he wanted to kill the trickster but Loki had a plan and was able to persuade the dwarves to make some magickal hair for Sif. This hair once it touched her head would grow just life Sif’s. It is thought that Sif’s hair represents the grain that is grown and cut and regrown every year. Her husband Thor is a thunder god and brings fertilizing rain to the Earth. Loki is described not only as a trickster but a god of wildfire and heat and is directly associated with Sirius’s intense heat, which causes the ripening of the grain.

To the ancient Egyptians Sirius was essentially important and a cause for celebration. Not only did Sirius’s rising signal that the yearly flooding of the Nile was drawing near, but it also was their New Year’s celebration. For the 70 days when Sirius would disappear from the sky the Egyptians would not bury the dead as Sirius was seen as a doorway to the afterlife and when it disappeared the doorway was considered closed. Sirius was known by the name of “Sothis or Sopdet,” “the Water Bringer,” “the Star of Isis,” It was said that Isis revives the Niles just as she revives Osiris, that’s he gives birth to Horus as she gives birth to the Nile.

August is also the month in which the Perseids meteor shower occurs. Usually, this is around August 17-24. At its peak you can expect around 50-100 meteors per hours. Its peak time is just after midnight. The Perseids meteor is the oldest meteor shower that has been recorded by mankind. It has been observed for around 2000 years, with its earliest recording of its existence in China around 36 A.D. The meteors from the Perseids are coming from the comet Swift-Turtle. Every year the Earth passes through the debris cloud of this comet and is bombarded with meteors. The Persieds meteor shower appears to radiate from the constellation of Perseus, named after the Greek hero of the same name. Perseids is known to have defeated Medusa, constructed the Atlas Mountains, and delivered Andromeda from a sea monster. Because of this the Perseid meteors are called the “Children of Perseus.” They are also called the “Tears of Saint Lawrence,” after the anniversary of his martyrdom.

Grandmother Moon, ZSuzsanna E. Budapest
Wheel of the Year, Pauline Campanelli
Moon Magic, DJ Conway
Everyday Moon Magic, Dorothy Morrison
Full Moon Feast , Jessica Prentice
Hedge Witch, Silver Ravenwolf
Wiccan Spell a Night, Strona Knight
Seasons of the Sun, Patricia Telesco
A Year of Esbats Shannon Reilly
A Year of Rituals: Sabbats and Esbats for Solitaries and Covens Sandra Kynes
Lammas Anna Franklin and Paul Mason
The Wiccan Year Judy Ann Nock
Seasons of the Sun Patricia Telesco

http://www.siriusrising.com/sirius.htm http://www.souledout.org/cosmology/highlights/siriushighlights/siriusheavenlyhost.html