Celebrating Lammas

The year is 1100. The date is August 1. The monks in the abbey at Gloucester are celebrating the holy-day of St. Peter in Chains. One of the monks wakes from a strange dream in which God promises to strike down the wicked King who has abused the Holy Church. His superior, Abbot Serlo, on hearing of the dreams sends a warning to the King, William the Red, who has oppressed all of England with taxes and disgusted many with his licentiousness and blasphemy. Red, as he is called, receives the message the following day while preparing to indulge in one of his favorite sports, hunting, in the New Forest. Although there are no longer any people dwelling in the New Forest — they were all cleared out by Red’s father, William the Conqueror — there are rumors that it’s a hotbed of pagan activity. And August 2 is an important pagan holy-day. The Saxons call it Lammas, the Loaf-Mass. William the Red laughs at the warning from the monks and goes out hunting. A short time later, he is dead, struck in the chest by a stray arrow, and his brother, Henry, who was in the hunting party is riding hot-foot for Winchester and the crown.

Now some people say that William the Red was a Lammas sacrifice, …

Please continue reading by clicking this link: Celebrating Lammas

Simple Basic Altar Set Up

When setting up an altar it is nice but not necessary to have a lot of magickal tools.

A basic altar can be set up using different colored tea lights or candles to represent the five elements, Spirit, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. To make the candle burn a little longer and drip less keep them in your freezer until you are ready to use them. You can put your personal candle back into your freezer after it has cooled down for at one hour after use. Place your elemental candle in the shape of a pentagram. You can use a piece of chalk to draw the outline of a pentagram wherever you are setting up your altar. When you are done with the circle and have removed all things off wherever your atar was set up just use a wet paper towel to wipe off the chalk. It may take more than one depending on how hard use pressed with the chalk when drawing the pentagram. When I to this I either bury the paper towel in one of my gardens or burn it in my outdoor fireplace as a sign of respect for the remains of the pentagram it holds.

A few other ideas  to use for the elements are:

SPIRIT: A statue or picture of an angel or a picture of ancestor

AIR: A feather or incense stick or cone or windchimes

FIRE: A book of matches or lighter or wooden matches

WATER: A seashell or any type of aquatic wildlife statue or picture or a small container of water

EARTH: A stick or some rocks or a small container of dirt or salt (not sea salt but regular table salt)

The Goddess and God you wish to have present can also be done by using a candle or tea light. Some other objects you could use are:

GODDESS: Eggshell or birds nest or a statute of a woman of any size or a picture of a Goddess

GODS: A pine cone or small tree branch with leaves or a statute of a man any size or a picture of a God

You can take a glass r cup and a small plate of some kind from your kitchen that you rarely use to consecrate for use as your chalice and offering dish.

Your personal candle you will want to use a bigger candle so you do not have to dedicate and personalize one every time you use it in a circle. I have a 12-inch (30.48 cm) taper candle works very well for my personal candle and lasts about 2 to 4 months depending on how often I make a circle.

As for your Book of Shadows being on your altar or not is up to you. I keep a couple of pieces of paper and a pen on my altar when doing a circle, especially if it is a circle meditation, just in case something happens during the circle I want to remember. My BOS is a three-ring binder with lots of empty pages in it so I do not have to cleanse them before using them on my altar or placing them back into my BOS.

WAND: Your do not absolutely have to have a wand to do a basic altar. But if you live near a park, forest or have trees in your yard look on the ground for a fallen branch. Ask the tree if you can have it for your personal use as a wand and leave a small token of appreciation such as a little water, a small stone or whatever else you feel might be appropriate.

SIDE NOTE: Left handed people sometimes put their Personal Candle on the left and BOS on the right.

Copyright 2017 Lady Beltane.

Aefterra Lipa (Late Litha)

Just as the Winter Solstice is followed in the Old English calendar by the month of Late Yule, the Summer Solstice is followed by Late Litha. In the wake of Midsummer, Sunne begins to wane and the days become shorter. Flax can now be harvested and hay cut and stored for winter fodder.

Although most grains are harvested in the late summer and autumn, under ideal conditions winter wheat can be harvested as early as July. This early grain had to be dried, winnowed, threshed, and ground to become I’m as flour by Lammad (the “load mass”), which celebrated the bread baked from the early harvest. I’m the Christian era, the first loaves were brought to the church to be blessed. The blessed loaves were then sometimes used to work magic, protecting the rest of the harvest grain. I’m the ninth-century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Mammas is called ” feast of the first fruits. ”

Baked bread and hold your on harvest celebration. Either make th bread from scratch or if you prefer, purchase ready to bake dough found in the freezer section at th supermarket. After your load has resin, invite your friends over so everyone can enjoy the beast aroma of the baking bread.

Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2017 Page 85 Written by Alaric Albertsson

Lady Beltane’s Writing Debut In Modern Heroine Soul Stories

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Yule/Winter Solstice December 21st

At Samhain we honoured, celebrated and welcomed the descent into, and return of, the dark – the beginning of the New Year, acknowledging that all beginnings emerge from darkness. At the Winter Solstice we reach the depth of that darkness with the longest night of the year. Darkness has reached its peak.

“Now we start to wonder: will this continue? Will the Earth grow darker and colder as the Sun disappears into the south until only darkness is left? But at Yule a wonderful thing happens. The Sun stops its decline and for a few days it rises in about the same place. This is the crucial time, the cusp between events. The Sun stands still, and everyone waits for the turning.

In our heads we know the light will return. But in the darkness of Winter, can we…

To read the rest of this article please click on the following link: https://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/yule

Litha/Summer Solstice June 21st.

Here we are, we have arrived at the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Goddess is now full and pregnant with Child, and the Sun God is at the height of His virility. This is the peak of the Solar year and the Sun is at the height of its life-giving power. The Earth is awash with fertility and fulfillment and this is a time of joy and celebration, of expansiveness and the celebration of achievements.

Yet within this climax is the whisper and promise of a return to the Dark. As the Light reaches its peak so this is also the moment when the power of the Sun begins to wane. From now on the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer and we are drawn back into the Dark to complete the Wheel of the Year.

At this time the God, as Oak King, is rich in abundance, but he…

To read the rest of this article please click on this link: https://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/litha

Litha: Summer Solstice – 21st/22nd June

Litha (Midsummer, Gathering Day, Summer Solstice, Alban Heffyn, Feill-Sheathain)
Incense: Sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, Lavender
Decorations: Dried herbs, potpourri, seashells, summer flowers, and fruits.
Colours: blue, green, and yellow

The Fire Festival of Litha

Midsummer or the Summer Solstice is the most powerful day of the year for the Sun God. Because this Sabbat glorifies the Sun God and the Sun, fire plays a very prominent role in this festival. The element of Fire is the most easily seen and immediately felt element of transformation. It can burn, consume, cook, shed light or purify and balefires still figure prominently at modern Midsummer rites.

Most cultures of the Northern Hemisphere mark Midsummer…

To read the rest of this article please click on the following link: http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/the_wheel_of_the_year/litha_-_summer_solstice.asp

Winter Solstice Find this year’s date in the multifaith calendar

The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.

Ancient people were hunters and spent most of their time outdoors. The seasons and weather played a very important part in their lives. Because of this many ancient people had a great reverence for, and even worshipped the sun. The Norsemen of Northern Europe saw the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. It was from the word for this wheel, houl, that the word yule is thought to have come. At mid-winter the Norsemen lit bonfires, told stories and drank sweet ale.

The ancient Romans also held a festival to celebrate the rebirth…

To read the rest of this article please click on this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/wintersolstice.shtml

Scrying and Divination Techniques

Scrying is something I bet you’ve done without even realizing it – the beginning part of it anyway.

How many times have you watched the clouds drifting by in the sky, seeing faces and shapes in them? Have you ever stared blankly at a wall, ceiling, or floor and seen faces and shapes move across them?

That is scrying. (kind of) 😉 It means getting into a relaxed, meditative state and focusing on the shapes and symbols we see, and trying to interpret what meaning they may have for us.

Scrying is a form of divination, which means “fortelling the future,” but it is also a great tool…

For the rest of this article please click on this link: http://wingsforthespirit.com/scrying-divination/scrying-divination-techniques/

11 things to know about the present day practice of Ásatrú, the ancient religion of the Vikings

The religion of the original Viking settlers of Iceland, the old Norse paganism Ásatrú, is not just still alive and well in Iceland, it is undergoing something of a renaissance. Here is our quick guide to the current state of Ásatrú, the ancient religion of the Vikings, in Iceland.

1. It was abandoned in favor of Christianity in the year 1000

 ALMANNAGJÁ IN ÞINGVELLIR In the year 1000 Alþingi, the legislative assembly of the Viking age commonwealth decreed that Iceland would abandon Ásatrú in favor of Christiantiy. Photo/GVA

While Ásatrú was the religion of the vast majority of the settlers of Iceland, some had been converted to Christianity while travelling in Europe. During the first centuries of Icelandic history Christianity made further inroads, and by the end of the 10th century it was clear Ásatrú was on the retreat.

In the year 1000 the parliament of the Viking commonwealth, Alþingi, decreed that Christianity would be the only religion in Iceland. The decision was made to forestall a divided nation, split between the practitioners of Ásatrú and Christianity, each governed by a different legal code. Practitioners of the old religion were permitted to continue its practice “in secret”, but Christianity quickly replaced Ásatrú as the religion of Icelanders.

2. It was re-recognized in 1973
Ásatrú was only re-recognized as a religion by the state in 1973. A group of people who were either practitioners of the ancient religion or its students had been meeting for some time. This group, led by Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson who later became the first high-priest of the association, decided to establish a formal congregation and request recognition from the state. This meeting was held on the First Day of Summer, a unique Icelandic holiday which marks the end of winter and beginning of summer. At the time the number of members was just 12.

Read more: Icelanders celebrate the unique public holiday “First Day of Summer”

 SVEINBJORN BEINTEINSSON The first Allsherjargoði of Ásatrúarfélagið Photo/Vísir

Ásatrúarfélagið, the Pagan Association, was formally founded in the spring of 1992. The first blót (the rituals of Ásatrú are called blót) was held on Jónsmessa, Midsummer Night. The state granted the association formal recognition as a religious organization on May 16 1973.

Sveinbjörn served as Allsherjargoði, the high-priest of Ásatrúarfélagið until his death in 1993. He was succeeded by Jörnmundur Ingi Hansen, who served until 2002. The third Allsherjargoði was Jónína K. Berg, the first woman to hold the office, served from 2002-2003 when the current Allsherjargoði, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, assumed office.

3. It is Iceland’s fastest growing religion
According to figures from Statistics Iceland 3,583 people belonged to Ásatrúarfélagið on January 1 2017, up from 1,040 members 10 years ago. The membership has grown by 244% since 2007, making paganism the fastest growing religion in Iceland over the past decade.

The figures show that the share of Pagans in Iceland now tops 1% of the population for the first time for nearly a millennium.

Ásatrúarfélagið is the sixth largest religion in Iceland, and the largest non-Christian religion.

4. No proselytizing or missionary work

 HILMAR ÖRN HILMARSSON The current High Priest, Allsherjargoði. Photo/Vilhelm

This growth has come in spite of the fact that unlike other religious organizations Ásatrúarfélagið has never engaged in any form of missionary work or proselytizing.

Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the high priest of Ásatrúarfélagið, has said that he believes the reason for the growing interest in Ásatrú is caused by more and more people are learning about what the association does and seeing their ceremonies.

5. One high priest, 10 Goðar
The organization of Ásatrúarfélagið is based on the historic organization of Ásatrú during the Viking age. Priests in Ásatrú are called Goði, with each Goði responsible for a congregation “goðorð”. While the goðorð were associated with certain geographic areas during the Viking age, people were free to choose their Goði.

 A BLÓT Ásatrúarfélagið observes four main blót each year, as well as a Þorrablót. Photo/Stefán

The highest office in Ásatrú is the Allsherjargoði, “The Goði of All”. The second highest office is Kjalnesingagoði “The Goði of Kjalarnesþing”, which comprised the areas controlled by the descendants of Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland. This area corresponds to the greater Metropolitan Area.

Nine other Goðar (the plural for Goði) serve different geographic regions. The Goðar can perform all religious services, including naming ceremonies, marriages, funerals and blót.

6. All the ceremonies of Ásatrúarfélagið are open to the general public

The weekly meetings of Ásatrúarfélagið are open to the public, as are all its official ceremonies, the blót.

Ásatrúarfélagið has four main blót each year: Jólablót (Yule-blót) at winter solstice in honor of the goddess Freyja, Sigurblót (Victory-blót) held on Sumardagurinn Fyrsti in the spring in honor of the god Freyr, Þingblót (Þing/assembly-blót) on Summer solstice held in honor of the laws, the Þing and human society, and Veturnáttablót (Winter-nights-blót) held on the first day of winter. Veturnáttablót is in honor of Óðinn, the god of the gods.

Read more: The great mid-winter feast named Þorrablót, in honour of the Nordic god of thunder

Ásatrúarfélagið has other blót, including a Þorrablót in mid-winter.

Ásatrúarfélagið has an open house in Reykjavík at Síðumúli 15 every Saturday 14:00-16:00.

7. First pagan temple since 1000 will be opened in 2018

 THE TEMPLE The temple will have seating for 250 people. Photo/Magnús Jensson

Next year Ásatrúarfélagið will move into a new temple just outside downtown Reykjavík. The temple would be the first heathen central temple built in the Nordic countries for more than a thousand years.

Ásatrúarfélagið has been working on the new temple in the southern slope of Öskjuhlíðin hill just outside downtown Reykjavík for two years. In March 2015 a ceremony was held to consecrate the ground where the temple will rise, and last year a ceremony was held to thank Mother Nature for the timber for the temple.

Read more: Perlan wrongly thought to be new heathen temple

The temple will be 400 square meter (4,300 sq ft) dome which will be able to accommodate 250 people. The temple is expected to be opened to the public in March 2018.

8. There is no prescribed dogma or scripture

Ásatrú has no prescribed dogma or scripture. However, You are however encouraged to read the Poetic and Prose Eddas written by the 13th-century chieftain and scholar, Snorri Sturluson.

No one actually prays to the gods and how you might ask their intercession is entirely up to you. The gods are imperfect and not divine. They are seen more as friends and don´t judge us humans.

9, It is a religion of peace and tolerance

Ásatrú, as it has been practiced in Iceland, is a religion of nature and life, stressing the harmony of the natural world and the search for harmony in the life of individuals. It’s openness and philosophical character has led some to compare it to Unitarian Universalism.

Read more: Heathens against hate: Exclusive interview with the high priest of the Icelandic Pagan Association

 Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the high priest of Ásatrúarfélagið, has stressed that Ásatrú is a religion of peace and respect. “It is a religion which teaches you how to live in harmony with your surroundings and yourself, and how to deal with the different phases of your life. How to become of age and then how to age.” True to this Ásatrú is a religion of respect and tolerance. “We reflect Icelandic society and Icelandic values,”

As a natural religion the Ásatrú stresses the interconnection of all things and especially a respect for nature. Members are environmentally aware and know that for Mother Earth to be be bountiful she must be cared for and nurtured. The association has taken a firm stand on conservation and environmentalism.

10. It rejects militarism and the glorification of heroism, battles and blood.

Many neo-pagan groups in Europe and the US who consider themselves observers of the religion of the Vikings, practice a religion which glorifies battles, militarism, masculine heroism and in some cases chauvinism, violence, intolerance and racism. Some white-power groups and members of Aryan Nation gangs practice these forms of paganism.

Ásatrúarfélagið rejects this as a misreading of Ásatrú.

11. Ásatrúarfélagið has received hate mail from reactionary heathens abroad

Ásatrúarfélagið has cut all ties with foreign associations of pagans after receiving harassment and hate mail from people who are angry with emphasis the association has placed upon equality and respect for human rights, especially LGBTQ rights.

Read more: The Icelandic Pagan Association receives hate-mail from reactionary pagans abroad 

SVEINBJORN BEINTEINSSON IN 1991 Sveinbjörn cut all ties to foreign pagans in reaction to what Icelandic pagans felt was the reactionary and hateful practice of the faith by many foreign pagans. Photo/Jónína K. Berg, Wikimedia creative commons

Every year the priests of Ásatrúarfélagið have officiate dozens of same-sex marriages. Same sex couples come to Iceland with the sole purpose of being married in a Ásatrú ceremony.

Anyone can practice the religion
But only Icelandic residents can join Ásatrúarfélagið

Only Icelandic citizens or people who have a domicile in Iceland can become members of the Ásatrúarfélag, but anyone can practice Ásatrú, regardless of their nationality or residence. It costs nothing to join and is open to all, irrespective of race, cultural background, gender or sexual orientation.

To see the pictures that accompany this article please lick on thi link: http://icelandmag.visir.is/article/11-things-know-about-present-day-practice-asatru-ancient-religion-vikings