[This article will alternate days between CovenLife.co and WitchesOfTheCraft.com]
The Advent of Christianity
By the fourth and fifth centuries , Celtic Christianity had oozed into Ireland. St. Patrick has his hands full, and here is where the kettle starts to boil. At, first, the Pagans openly welcomed Christianity, but as Christianity filtered into the Celtic system, church officials had a few problems—mainly the Celtics didn’t want up their holidays or folk practices. The people were not willing to throw out traditions that were ingrained into their social structure. If you can’t get someone to completely change, what do you do? Compromise. And that’s exactly what happened. Samhain was changed to All Hollow’s Eve. To make the Pagan peoples adhere more closely to this new religion of Christianity, the clergy of the day taught the peasants that fairies were really demons and devils (remember, a concept totally unknown to Celtic belief or history) and their beloved dead were horrid ghosts and ghouls. The early Christian erroneously associated the Celtic land of the dead with the Christian concept of Hell.
To help the belief in Christianity along, Druids priestess were systematically murdered. Early Christians also taught the area peasants that their Lord of the Underworld was in fact Satan, which is ridiculous, as the two mythos don’t have anything in common. It appears that Christians misunderstood what the word Samhain meant: because the peasants use this celebration to honor the dead, Christians assumed that Samhain was the incorrect pronunciation of a Pagan deity in the Bible, recorded as Samuel, from the Semitic Sammael, meaning God of the under world.
Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 1999 Pages 24 to 29
Today the Moon will be in a Full Moon phase. During a Full Moon the moon is 100% illuminated as seen from Earth and is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. The Moon will be visible throughout the night sky rising at sunset in the east and setting with the sunrise the next morning. The point at which a Full Moon occurs can be measured down to a fraction of a second. The time it takes between full moons is known as a Synodic month and is 29.530587981 days long. Keep track of all the Full Moons throughout the year on the Full Moon Calendar >
The Full Moon on October 1 has an illumination of 100%. This is the percentage of the Moon illuminated by the Sun. The illumination is constantly changing and can vary up to 10% a day. On October 1 the Moon is 14.42 days old. This refers to how many days it has been since the last New Moon. It takes 29.53 days for the Moon to orbit the Earth and go through the lunar cycle of all 8 Moon phases.
You can use this link to go forward or backward in time for Moon phase information. If you are curious you can even find out what phase the Moon was in when you or anyone else, you know was on the date the person was born.
At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.
This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.
Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures
Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone.
In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.
“Taking Sulfur and Seed of Nile Rushes, burn as Incense to the Moon and say, “I call on You, Lady Isis, whom Agathos Daimon permitted to rule in the entire Black Land [i.e., Egypt]. Your name is LOU LOULOU BATHARTHAR THARE’SIBATH ATHERNEKLE’SICH ATHERNEBOUNI E’ICHOMO’ CHOMO’THI Isis Sothis, SOUE’RI, Boubastis, EURELIBAT CHAMARI NEBOUTOS OUE’RI AIE’ E’OA O’AI. Protect me, Great and Marvelous Names of the God (add the usual [i.e., the protection you seek]); for I am the One Established in Pelusium, SERPHOUTH MOUISRO’ STROMMO’ MOLO’TH MOLONTHE’R PHON Thoth. Protect me, Great and Marvelous Names of the Great God! (add the usual) “ASO’ EIO’ NISAO’TH. Lady Isis, Nemesis, Adrasteia, Many-named, Many-formed, glorify me, as I have glorified the Name of Your Son Horus! (add the usual)” [PGM VII.490-504][Source: translations by Hans Dieter Betz (ed.), “The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation Including the Demotic Spells,” Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986, hermetic.com |+|]
Many people in the Neopagan movements use an interesting metaphor (or “clever” putdown) to describe people who are newer to Wicca and Paganism than they are, or who seem to have more sensitive ethical constraints on their magical (or even mundane) behavior than their critics claim to have. These critics call their targets, “Fluffy Bunny Pagans.” Sometimes the term used is “Bambi™ and Barbie™-Goddess Pagans,” implying a sickeningly sweet attitude about life in general and the Craft in particular. If someone’s image of the Horned God is Bambi™ and of the Goddess is Barbie™, others could reasonably assume that person is naive and shallow. Of course, I know several Pagans who are proud owners of the (very expensive) Sun Goddess Barbie™ and Moon Priestess Barbie™ dolls
Inhabitants of the Buffyverse know the overly enthusiastic, naive, and yet often dogmatic “newbie” Wiccans as “Blessed Wanna-Bes” and seem to believe that the character of Willow is a good example of what a Witch is supposed to be–although I’ve never met a Wiccan or any other kind of witch who could pull off the sorts of spells that Willow did on a regular basis.
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Most people do not believe in elves. The little people, along with fairies, banshees, and werewolves, are often thrown into the category of ‘fantasy’ and left to molder unless some video game or children’s book decides to make use of them for commercial purposes. Whatever you believe to be true, stories of fantastic creatures are present in most ancient cultures, particularly in European regions such as Germany, Scandinavia, and Ireland.
Widespread disbelief and discrediting of the mystical folk have rendered serious research into the origins of elves almost nonexistent. However, recent scientific and historical analyses of the folklore of Ireland reveal that elves are not wholly fictional, but actually based on real life beings.
The Etymology of ‘Elf’
First, for clarity, it should be noted that the word ‘elf’ is not indigenous to Ireland. This word derives from a term used in Common Germanic, the ancestor language of modern German, English, and several Scandinavian languages. ‘Elf’ became a label for the Irish fairies when the English began to write about and record Irish folklore.