Deities of the Spring Equinox

Spring is a time of great celebration in many cultures. It’s the time of year when the planting begins, people begin to once more enjoy the fresh air, and we can reconnect with the earth again after the long, cold winter. A number of different gods and goddesses from different pantheons are connected with the themes of Spring and Ostara. Lets take a look at some of the many deities associated with spring, rebirth, and new life each year.

Goddesses and Gods

I will be posting information about Goddesses and Gods from different pagan backgrounds with a small amount of information about each one. There is a new sub-heading under Book of Shadows to make it easier to find this topic.

Is there a Goddess and/or God you have heard of but have not found information about? If so please leave a comment with the name of the deity and where you heard it. I will try to find some information about it for you.

 

Beltane Lore & Rites

by Selena Fox

DSC 2730-smallAlso known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of Spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.

Celebrating Beltane Podcasts

 

Beltane Chants

 

Beltane Customs

Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend. Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair, and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty. Dress in bright colors. Dance the Maypole and feel yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within. On May Eve, bless your garden in the old way by making love with your lover in it. Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck. Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and dancing.

Going A-Maying & Bringing in the May — Merry-making and Nature communion. * Midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. * In Pagan Rome, Floralia, from April 27-May 3 was the festival of the Flower Goddess Flora and the flowering of Springtime. On May 1, offerings were made to Bona Dea (as Mother Earth), the Lares (household guardian spirits), and Maia (Goddess of Increase) from whom May gets its name. * Roman Catholic traditions of crowning statues of Mary with flowers on May 1 have Roman Pagan roots. * Marks the second half of the Celtic Year; one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals. Complement to Samhain, it is a time of divination and communion with Fairy Folk/Nature Spirits. * Pastoral tradition of turning sheep, cows, other livestock out to pasture. * In Pagan Scandinavia, mock battles between Winter and Summer were enacted at this time. * Building on older tradition of this time being a holiday for the masses, in the twentieth century, May Day has been a workers’ holiday in many places. * Some say that Mother’s Day, in the USA, Mexico, and elsewhere has Pagan roots.

 

DSC 2542-smallMaypole

Forms include pole, tree, bush, cross; communal or household; permanent or annual. * In Germany, Fir tree was cut on May Eve by young unmarried men, branches removed, decorated, put up in village square, & guarded all night until dance occurred on May Day. * In England, permanent Maypoles were erected on village greens * In some villages, there also were smaller Maypoles in the yards of households. * Maypole ribbondances, with two circles interweaving; around decorated bush/tree, clockwise circle dances.

 

Flowers & Greenwood

Gathering and exchange of Flowers and Greens on May Eve, pre-dawn May Day, Beltane. * Decorating homes, barns, and other buildings with Green budding branches, including Hawthorn. * Making and wearing of garland wreaths of Flowers and/or Greens. * May Baskets were given or placed secretly on doorsteps to friends, shut-ins, lovers, others. * May Bowl was punch (wine or non-alcoholic) made of Sweet Woodruff blossoms.

 

DSC 2841-smallBeltane Fires

Traditionally, sacred woods kindled by spark from flint or by friction — in Irish Gaelic, the Beltane Fire has been called teine eigin (fire from rubbing sticks). * Jump over the Beltane Fire, move through it, or dance clockwise around it. * Livestock was driven through it or between two fires for purification and fertility blessings. * In ancient times Druid priests kindled it at sacred places; later times, Christian priests kindled it in fields near the church after peforming a Christian church service. * Rowan twigs were carried around the fire three times, then hung over hearths to bless homes. * In the past, Beltane community fire purification customs included symbolic sacrifice of effigy knobs on the Beltane Cake (of barley) to the fire, or, in medieval times, mock sacrifice of Beltane Carline (Hag) who received blackened piece of Beltane Cake; Maypoles in Spain were each topped with a male effigy which was later burned. Contemporary Pagans burn sacred wood and dried herbs as offerings in their Beltane fires.

 

May Waters

Rolling in May Eve dew or washing face in pre-dawn May Day dew for health, luck, beauty. * Getting head and hair wet in Beltane rain to bless the head. * Blessing springs, ponds, other sacred waters with flowers, garlands, ribbons, other offerings. * Collecting sacred waters and scrying in sacred springs, wells, ponds, other waters.

 

Sacred Union & Fertility

Union with the Land focus, often with actual mating outside on the Land to bless fields, herds, home. * May Queen (May Bride) as personification of the Earth Goddess and Goddesses of Fertility. * May King (May Groom) as personification of Vegetation God, Jack-in-Green — often covered in green leaves. * At Circle Sanctuary, in addition to May Queen & May King, is May Spirit Couple, an already bonded pair. * Symbolic Union of Goddess and God in election/selection, crowning, processional, Maypole dance, feast. * Morris Dancers and pageants (with Hag & Jack-in-Green) to awaken the fertility in the Land.

Simple Healing Spell

c41cd0eb716e7782463bf75765f41b8f download

Goddesses Sirona and Kwan Yin

Kwan Yin a.k.a Quan Yan is an oriental healing Goddess. Sirona is a Celtic healing Goddess. I wrote and have used this spell many times of the years with very good results from it. It is flexible enough for you to add whoever’s name and illness into the spell to make it personal for the person you are doing it for. It can also be used to charm a healing stone such as a Bloodstone to give to a person that needs something long-term to help their health improve.

Repeat spell three times always using the same wording. Where the () are is where you put in the person’s name and illness you are working the spell for. Also play around with the wording a little if you want to make the spell come more from your heart.

Kwan Yin, Sirona, Ancient powers of Air, Water, Fire and Earth;

Gather around (____) at their hearth.

Help heal the (____) that is keeping them down;

So they health returns and they feel up to moving around.

Copyright 2013 Lady Beltane

A Few Ideas for Celebrating Samhain

Samhain/Halloween October 31st.

All Souls Night, Feast of the Dead, Festival of Remembrance, Feast of Apples, New Year…

Samhain is one of the major festivals of the Wheel of the Year, for many Pagans the most important festival of all. It is the third and final harvest festival of nuts and berries and a fire festival. All the harvest is in, all is complete, it is the end of the cycle of birth and growth, it is the point of death. The seeds of the harvest have fallen deep into the dark earth, they are unseen, dormant, and thus apparently lifeless.

The God, as Sun King is sacrificed back to the land with the seed until the Winter Solstice, and the Goddess, now as Crone, mourns Him until His rebirth at Yule. He travels the Underworld learning its wisdom. This is the time of the descent into darkness, of pre-conception, out of which new life, new ideas, will eventually emerge.

Traditionally the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest now. Boundaries dissolve and all is laid bare. It is time to honour and offer hospitality to, our ancestors.

At Samhain the dark half of the year commences. It is a truly magical time. Death is always followed by rebirth and while this is the end of the old year, it is the beginning of the new year. For the Celts the day did not begin at dawn, it began at sunset, it began with darkness. Light is always born out of darkness, they are inseparable, interdependent, and necessary. Darkness is fertile with ‘all potential’. With the beginning of this dark phase comes the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past and to dream of new beginnings. The seed now hidden in the earth will germinate in its season. Look for the seeds in yourself!

Honouring The Ancestors

Honouring your ancestors is a very special thing to do at this time and can be done in many simple ways. Think about all those departed souls from your life, both family and friends, children may wish to remember pets even – place photographs of them on your altar. Offer them your hospitality, welcome their presence into your home. At your Samhain feast, consider laying an extra place for them to join you at the table – cook and eat their favourite dishes, talk about them – re-member them, bring them closer. You and your children can make an offering for departed pets by leaving some dog food outside on Halloween night, many night creatures appreciate this offering.  Be careful what you put outside – we used to put out bread and milk but are dismayed to find that this is fatal to hedgehogs – and we lovehedgehogs!

Candle Ceremony for The Ancestors

This is a wonderfully simple ritual which can be shared with both friends and family, or worked alone. You can include children in it – it begins in darkness and ends full of light.

It’s a great balance to trick or treating!

You will need a supply of small candles, either black or white, or a supply of night lights. You need a heat proof container or tray of sand or earth to put them in. Place one in the centre of the container from which all the others will be lit. Switch off all the lights and sit gently in thedarkness. Allow the darkness to enfold you. Ask for the presence of your ancestors to come to you. When you are ready, light the central candle saying “We welcome our departed loved ones into this home and honour your presence amongst us”. Allow each person in the circle to spontaneously remember someone who has passed to the Summerlands and remember something about them and light a candle for each person from the central candle: ‘I remember Great Aunt Sheila and her generosity of heart….’. Allow this to continue for as long as it takes to complete the re-membering. You will end with a tray full of radiant candles. When all is complete, give thanks, and allow the candles to burn to completion.

 

Seed Scattering Charm for the Ancestors

 

This simple charm is designed to honour the Spirit of those who have passed onto the Summerland. The seeds you scatter will grow in memory, a gift of remembrance to the Earth.

You will need:

A packet of seeds of your choice

A small dish

A small white candle in a suitable holder

A pouch or bag for your seeds

The night before your Seed Scattering Charm, pop the seeds into the dish and light the candle. Think about the person or people you wish to honour and remember, and as you do so say ‘gone from sight but not from the heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.’ Or you can use your own words. Leave the seeds in the dish overnight and let the candle burn down completely – always taking safety precautions. When you are ready place the seeds in your pouch and hold the pouch in your right hand on the way to a place of your choosing. On arrival take the seeds and scatter them, saying ‘You are remembered and held in my heart’. Repeat three times.

Where to do this? You can go to a favourite special place of your choice, a place that holds fond memories of the people you are honouring, or even your own garden – the idea of watching the seeds germinating and growing in honour of people you love is very special. The charm works just as well if you plant the seeds in a small pot.

This charm works very well as an offering of thanks to Spirit of Place. The instructions are exactly the same, except that when you prepare the seeds the night before the words are ‘ I give thanks for your beauty, it warms my heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.’

Charm donated with generous heart by the Counter Enchantress.

The Isle of Avalon, Isle of Apples, Isle of the Dead.

Glastonbury, where we are based, is also known as the Sacred Isle of Avalon, or Isle of Apples, and also the Isle of the Dead.

In mythology, here the entrance to the Underworld is found, ruled by Morgan, Queen of the Dead. There are many apple games played at Samhain which grew out of the belief in the Apple as a sacred and magical fruit. The Apple is a symbol of life and immortality. In Celtic tradition, apples were buried at Samhain as food for those souls who are waiting to be reborn.
The Apple, cut crosswise, reveals the five pointed star, or pentacle at its core, a symbol of the Goddess.

Symbols of Samhain

The Pumpkin

Pumpkins are very much an American tradition which has been successfully marketed in the UK and Europe. Everyone loves them, especially of course, children. If you consider that the Celts regarded the human head as the Seat of the Soul, the concept of the carved pumpkin with a candle inside it as the Light shining from the Soul, it becomes just about acceptable……..

The Cauldron

The Cauldron or Holy Grail is closely associated with Samhain. It is feminine, and is the cosmic container for all life and death, of transformation and rebirth.

The Besom Broom

The besom is used as this time both practically and symbolically. It sweeps away the last of the Autumn leaves, but is also used ritually to sweep out the old, to clean and clear away old energy, creating space for the new. Traditionally besoms are made from birch twigs – the birch is associated with purification and renewal.

You can make a besom at this time of year by gathering a large bundle of birch twigs tied together. Drive a broom handle into the middle of the bundle – ideally hazel or ash.

Acorns

The Acorn is the seed of the great Oak, representing wisdom, longevity, rebirth – a promise of strength to come. An acorn in your pocket is an amulet of good fortune to come. All nuts from our indigenous trees – walnuts, hazelnuts, conkers and so on – are pure potential and carry the attributes of the mother tree.

Colours of Samhain

Black for death and endings, orange for the vitality of life within death, purple for wisdom, insight and inspiration.

The Samhain Altar

A cauldron. Apples, nuts and berries. Black candles to honour the passage to the Summerland and the Ancestors. Photographs of deceased family and friends.



Buttermilk Bread Charm for Samhain.

You will need:

3 mugs of strong white flour

500 ml of Buttermilk (available from the supermarket)

I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda

Samhain ribbon in black or purple.

A handful of rye flour

A scattering of oats

twig of rosemary for remembrance

Place the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy. If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Our picture shows the bread scored five times to make a pentacle.

Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep and eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, place the rosemary on top and tie it with Samhain ribbon.

Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying

“From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Samhain Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”

Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this festival of completion and beginning. Eat it fresh, as soon as it is made if you can.

Recipe donated by the Counter Enchantress. Adapted by the Boss Lady with permission.

The Counter Enchantress is discovering that you can add almost anything appropriate to this simple bread recipe and it STILL WORKS beautifully. You can decide for yourself what the appropriate additions are for a particular festival, in this case rye flour. oats and rosemary, and just do it. There is much kitchen magic in working with one recipe through the Wheel of the Year just changing it a little as the wheel turns…..


Honour the ancestors, have fun and enjoy………..

All information offered is checked to the best of our ability, and whilst every effort has been made to make it accurate, no responsibility will be accepted for errors and omissions.

Any information displayed on our web site(s) or other printed matter from the shop is not regarded to be authoritative or certified as the best practice and is only considered to be useful supplementary advice to other certified codes of practice. All information on our web site is updated regularly. From: http://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/samhain

A Few Ideas for Celebrating Beltane

Beltane April 30th – May 1st

Sunset to Sunset.

Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. On May Eve the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand. The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage. It is about sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. And about conception. A brilliant moment in the Wheel of the Year to bring ideas, hopes and dreams into action. And have some fun…..

Traditions of Beltane

Beltane is a Fire Festival. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support of Bel and the Sun’s light to nurture the emerging future harvest and protect the community. Bel had to be won over through human effort. Traditionally all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. “This was the Tein-eigen, the need fire. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and to bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves to each other. Cattle and other animals were driven through the smoke as a protection from disease and to bring fertility. At the end of the evening, the villagers would take some of the Teineigen to start their fires anew.” (From Sacred Celebrations by Glennie Kindred) Green Man – Beltane

Handfasting

As Beltane is the Great Wedding of the Goddess and the God, it is a popular time for pagan weddings or Handfastings, a traditional betrothal for ‘a year and a day’ after which the couple would either choose to stay together or part without recrimination. Today, the length of commitment is a matter of choice for the couple, and can often be for life. Handfasting ceremonies are often unique to the couple, but include common elements, most importantly the exchange of vows and rings (or a token of their choice). The act of handfasting always involves tying the hands Handfasting(‘tying the knot’) of the two people involved, in a figure of eight, at some point in the ceremony and later unbinding. This is done with a red cord or ribbon. Tying the hands together symbolises that the two people have come together and the untying means that they remain together of their own free will.

Another common element is ‘jumping the broomstick’ – this goes back to a time when two people who could not afford a church ceremony, or want one, would be accepted in the community as a married couple if they literally jumped over a broom laid on the floor. The broom marked a ‘threshold’, moving from an old life to a new one.

Mead and cakes are often shared in communion as part of the ceremony. Mead is known as the Brew of the Divine, made from honey which is appropriate for a love ceremony (and is the oldest alcoholic drink known to humankind).

 

 

 

Going A-Maying

Handfasting or not, both young and old went A-Maying… Couples spent the night in the woods and fields, made love and brought back armfuls of the first May or haw thorn blossoms to decorate their homes and barns. Hawthorn was never brought into the home except at Beltane – at other times it was considered unlucky. Young women gathered the dew to wash their faces, made Flower Crowns and May B askets to give as gifts. Everyone was free to enact the Sacred Marriage of Goddess and God, and there was an accepted tradition of Beltane babies arriving nine months later!

 

 

 

Maypole

The Maypole is a popular and familiar image of May Day and Beltane. A phallic pole, often made from birch, was inserted into the Earth representing the potency of the God. The ring of flowers at the top of the Maypole represents the fertile Goddess. Its many coloured ribbons and the ensuing weaving dance symbolise the spiral of Life and the union of the Goddess and God, the union between Earth and Sky.

Trees of Beltane

Hawthorn

Hawthorn is a deeply magical tree and is one of the three trees at the heart of the Celtic Tree Alphabet, the Faery Triad, ‘by Oak, Ash and Thorn’. Traditionally Beltane began when the Hawthorn, the May, blossomed. It is the tree of sexuality and fertility and is the classic flower to decorate a Maypole with. It was both worn and used to decorate the home at Beltane.

Birch

Birch is regarded as a feminine tree and Deities associated with Birch are mostly love and fertility goddesses. It is one of the first trees to show its leaf in Spring. Eostre/Ostara, the Celtic goddess of Spring was celebrated in festivities and dancing around and through the birch tree between the Spring Equinox and Beltane. Birch twigs were traditionally used to make besoms (a new broom sweeps clean). Maypoles were often made from birch and birch wreaths were given as lover’s gifts.

Rowan

A tree of protection and healing. Branches of Rowan were placed as protection over the doors of houses and barns at Beltane to protect from increased Faery activity as they woke from their winter slumber. Sprigs were worn for protection also. Rowan berries have a tiny five-pointed star on the bottom reminiscent of the pentagram.
Colours of Beltane

The colours of Beltane are green, red and white/silver. Green represents growth, abundance and fertility. Red represents strength, vitality, passion and vibrancy. White represents cleansing and clearing and the power to disperse negativity.

Nana Violet’s Egg Charm For Beltane.

Think carefully what you wish for! The general rule of thumb is a brown egg for wishes involving animals and white for wishes involving people and plants, for example healing a sick animal, person or plant. Eggs with white shells are difficult to come by now as chickens are generally given feed which produces the desired brown shell, but in recent years some of the supermarkets are making white eggs available at this time of year so they are worth looking out for.

1. Blow the egg. Using a fat needle, pierce a hole in both ends of the egg, making one hole larger than the other. Using the needle pierce the egg yolk gently and swirl it around to break up the yolk. Place a small drinking straw in one end and gently blow through the other hole to help gravity do its work.

2. Paint Your Egg Talisman. When your egg has thoroughly dried out place it on top of a little mound of blue tack to hold it in place and you are ready to go! Choose a symbol to represent your wish – a heart for love, coin for prosperity, a candle for wisdom, whatever is meaningful for you. Or you can paint the whole egg in a corresponding colour – red for love, green for prosperity, purple for wisdom and so on. Another way to do it is to stick rose petals on for love, or feathers for fertility – again it is what is meaningful to you that is important.

3. When it is ready find a suitable place for it and prepare for it for hanging by threading a thin thread (embroidery thread, thin wool) through the two holes and secure it with a large knot, a bead, or even a matchstick at the bottom to hold it steady.

4. Clear your mind and focus on your desire for abundance/fruitfulness and its place in your life:

‘Little charm made of shell as I hang you here may all be well. May all things grow. May all things flow. Blessings for the turning of the Wheel.”

Use these words or any others that you are comfortable with – remember this is all about your intention.

Egg charm donated by our Counter Enchantress from her own family traditions.

Making a Wish Box Charm

Beltane is a good time for bringing hopes, dreams and aspirations to life, and here is a truly beautiful charm to help you bring these into manifestation.

You will need:

A small shallow cardboard box. Shoe boxes are good.
Rose petals
Sunflower seeds and/or poppy seeds
Paper
A piece of willow bark or piece of willow, an acorn or oak leaf
Something that represents your wish (see below)
Take a piece of paper and write your wish on it while visualizing your wish coming to life and growing. You can do this alone, with friends, or as a family. If you want to, decorate the lid of the box, with a triple moon, pentacle, heart, or any symbol of your choice. Poke a few holes in the lid – this will help your wish/plants, to grow. Take your box and sprinkle some earth into it. Put in your paper wishes, wish symbol (see below), and seeds/bark/acorn. Cover with another layer of earth. Mix the rose petals with the seeds and scatter them on top. Cover with a final layer of earth and place the lid on top, leaving enough of the rose petal/seed mixture to scatter on top of the box when you are planting it.

Planting Your Wish Box

The best time for planting your Wish Box is just after a fresh cleansing rainfall as this gives you a bright new start, but if the season is dry just give the earth a good watering the night before. Dig a hole two inches deeper than your wish box and lower it into the earth carefully while concentrating on your chosen wish, visualizing it coming to fruition. Imagine your wish growing with the flowers reaching skyward. As you cover the box with earth say:

“Dream that lies within the earth awaken now. Hope that sleeps awaken now. The stars await as so do I. Grow true, grow strong, toward the sky.”

If you don’t have a garden you can make a mini wish pot that can live on a window ledge and it works just as well. Just replace the box with a terracotta pot – one wish and one symbol per pot following exactly the same instructions as above. Remember that wishes are only to be used for positive motives.

Suggested Symbols For Your Wish Box:

Love & Marriage – gingerbread
New Job – copper coin
Abundance – silver coin
Difficult Task – glove
Hearth & Home – thimble
Seeking the Truth – sprig of rosemary
Health, Healing, Renewed Strength – blue & green ribbon entwined
Happiness, Good Luck – cinnamon stick
Seeking Knowledge – apple
To Find A Lost Item – feather
Protection – key (an old iron key is best if you have one)

Charm donated by our Counter Enchantress from her own family traditions.

Beltane Bread As Only Debs Knows How

You will need:

3 mugs of strong white flour
500 mls of buttermilk
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbs clear honey
3 tbs golden syrup
1 pack dried strawberries
3 drops vanilla essence
1 small beaten egg for glazing
soft brown sugar for sprinkling
Place the strawberries and flour in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, blended golden syrup, honey and vanilla essence together with a wooden spoon – or your hands if that is better.  As you mix, feel the pulsing vibrant Beltane energy and let it run through your hands and out through your fingertips.  And as you mix, say:
 
‘As we light the Beltane flame, I make this bread in Love’s sweet name.
Two halves together bound as one, Beltane’s dance has now begun!’
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat it into a circle.  With a sharp knife lightly score the bread into two halves to represent The Lord and Lady.  Glaze with beaten egg and sprinkle sugar over the top.  Bake in a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes.  When the bread is cooled break it into two halves along the score mark.  Repeat the words of the charm and tie with purple ribbon.  Purple represents the union of red (love in all its forms) and blue (unity and harmony).  Enjoy.  Brightest Blessings.  Debs.

Things To Do

Whatever you do, remember this is the Great Wedding! Dress in your best, especially in green, and wear a flower crown.

Stay out all night, gathering the green, watch the sunrise and make love. Wash your face in the morning dew.

Conceive a new project, grasp that idea, and get on with it.

Dress your home and/or altar with greenery – especially with hawthorn, rowan and birch branches. Ask permission from the tree before you take anything.

Dress a tree. This is the perfect time to go out and celebrate a tree. Especially a hawthorn, rowan or birch – but the tree spirit will welcome you attention whichever kind of tree it is. Sit with it, talk to it, dance around it (maypole), honour the tree and its fertility. Hang ribbons from its branches, each ribbon represents a wish or prayer.

Flowers, flowers and more flowers. This is the festival of Flora. Make a flower crown to wear – the daisy chain in the simplest of all. Make a traditional flower basket. fill it with Beltane greenery and all the flowers and herbs you can find. Think about, and honour, their magical and healing properties while you do so. Give it someone you love.

Make some Hawthorn Brandy. You will need a bottle of brandy and at least one cup of hawthorn flowers, plus a little sugar to taste. Mix the ingredients together and leave away from direct light, for at least two weeks. Shake occasionally. Strain, bottle and enjoy. Hawthorn is renowned as a tonic for the heart.

Above all, have fun!

ll information offered is checked to the best of our ability, and whilst every effort has been made to make it accurate, no responsibility will be accepted for errors and omissions.

Any information displayed on our web site(s) or other printed matter from the shop is not regarded to be authoritative or certified as the best practice and is only considered to be useful supplementary advice to other certified codes of practice. All information on our web site is updated regularly. From : http://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/beltane

A Basic Guide to Working with the Elements

2

There a four basic elements most Wiches work with Air, Fire, Water and Earth. There is also a fifth Spirit
which we commune with and use on a daily bases.

When working with and using the elements for spellcraft and rituals please make sure to always dismiss
them and tell them to go back from where they came with your thanks. Not doing so can cause some
strange things to happen where ever you may have used them, i.e. in your home electronics might act up,
feeling a draft for no reason, hearing water running when none is, etc.

Spirit is used any time you call upon a God and/or Goddess and/or an Archangel for help with something.
This element does not usually cause anything strange to happen if you do not send it back. You still should
thank whom ever you called upon to lend power and help to whatever you are doing.

The element of Air is most commonly called upon when needing help with somethig that is intelligents, i.e.
home work, getting a job done by a deadline, some times just thinking straight, etc.

The element of Water is most commonly used when dealing with something involving emotions. By this I do
not mean bending another persons free will trying to make them feel a certain way. In this case you maybe
dealing with grief of someone who just crossed over (died) and want the grief to lessen some, or asking the
Universe to help you find your true love, if you are feeling down, etc. Asking for help in finding your true
love is not the same as asking for a specific person to fall in love with you.

The element of Fire is commonly used for transition, i.e. going from being a child to an adult, moving from
one place to another and asking for help in finding the right place for you, going from working to being
home all the time or vise-virsa etc.

The element of Earth is used to help you feel more intune with your self and those you are around. To
ground you, not as in punishment but as in not feeling so confused and/or not yourself for no apparent
reason.

The four basic elements of Air, Water, Fire and Earth can be used together for certain types of spell work and
each should always be represented on your Altar when preforming any type of Ritual. The fifth Element of
Spirit is always a guiding force during Rituals and should also be represented on your Altar.

Examples of what can be used to represent the Elements on your Altar:

Air set in the East – a feather, hatched wild birds egg, incenses or yellow candle, bird’s nest

Water set in the West – a bowl of tap water or rain water or melted snow (this is usually used in
transformation work), bowl of sea salt or blue candle

Fire set in the South – a red candle or if outside and/or if you have a fireplace on a south wall a real wood
burning fire is possible

Earth set in the North – a bowl of regular table salt, a bowl of dirt from your yard or a green candle

Spirit set in either the Northeast or Nortwest (I always set mine in the Northeast as I feel Spirit and Air
usually work together) – an Angel and/or Goddess and/or God statue or white candle. SPirit can also be
represented by having something in the Northest to represt Goddess (female aspect) and something in the
Northwest to represent God (the male aspect. NOt all witches or traditions of witchcraft work with the duality
of all things also known as the female and male aspects.

COpyright 2014 Lady Beltane

3

Defining a Pagan

Pentagram

After a comment the original of this post received I realized I was only presenting a Wicca’s point of view on what a Pagan is. This made me want to change what I had posted to quote other sources as well. I think I have found a wider range of the definition of the word Pagan. I know it might not completely cover everyone’s opinion of what a Pagan is but it gives us room for thought and discussion. Thank you, Sean for your comment that made me want to broaden what I had posted.

“When one defines oneself as Pagan,
it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion,
one that sees the divine manifest in all creation.
The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple,
its plants and creatures our partners and teachers.
We worship a deity that is both male and female,
a mother Goddess and a father God,
who together created all that is, was, or will be.
We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings,
and accept the sacredness of all creation.” —

Edain McCoy

From the Urban Dictionary:

A somewhat vague term derived from from the Latin word paganus. Pagan is a term which refers to a variety of different religions ranging from Wicca, to that of ancient Egypt and even Hinduism, among many others. Some Pagans are of no specific religion, but rather are eclectic. In general Pagan religions have more than one deity, or many gods which are aspects of one (an idea similar to that of the Christian trinity). Another quite common feature of Pagan religions are that they tend to be nature oriented. Pagan can also be used as a derogatory word for any non-Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion.
“The religion of the ancient Greeks is a Pagan religion”
by Megan Bennett May 25, 2004
From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
noun pa·gan \ˈpā-gən\

1:  heathen 1; especially :  a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)

2
:  one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods :  an irreligious or hedonistic person
From Dictionary.Com:
noun
1.

(no longer in technical use) one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
2.

a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; a neopagan.
3.

Disparaging and Offensive.

  1. (in historical contexts) a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim; a heathen.
  2. an irreligious or hedonistic person.
  3. an uncivilized or unenlightened person.
adjective
4.

of, relating to, or characteristic of pagans.
5.

Disparaging and Offensive.

  1. relating to the worship or worshipers of any religion that is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim.
  2. irreligious or hedonistic.
  3. (of a person) uncivilized or unenlightened.

Based On Random House Dictionary:

Heathen and pagan are primarily historical terms that were applied pejoratively, especially by people who were Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, to peoples who were not members of one of those three monotheistic religious groups. Heathen referred especially to the peoples and cultures of primitive or ancient tribes thought to harbor unenlightened, barbaric idol worshipers: heathen rites; heathen idols.
Pagan, although sometimes applied similarly to those tribes, was more often used to refer specifically to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who worshiped the multiple gods and goddesses said to dwell on Mount Olympus, such as Zeus and Athena (called Jupiter and Minerva by the Romans). The term was applied to their beliefs and culture as well: a pagan ritual; a pagan civilization.
Contemporary paganism, having evolved and expanded in Europe and North America since the 20th century, includes adherents of diverse groups that hold various beliefs, which may focus, for example, on the divinity of nature or of the planet Earth or which may be pantheistic or polytheistic. In modern English, heathen remains an offensive term, used to accuse someone of being unenlightened or irreligious; pagan, however, is increasingly a neutral description of certain existing and emerging religious movements.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.