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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Magical Summer Evenings

Long days and sultry evenings make summer nights especially delightful. In addition to the fragrance of plants, the twinkling bioluminescence of fireflies creates a magical show of lights that dance through gardens and across meadows. Sometimes synchronizing their flashing displays, a firefly’s light can be yellow, green, or orange.

Also known as lightning bugs, two of them entering a house is a sign of good luck. They have also been considered lucky when it comes to attraction and romance. In Japanese folklore they often symbolized sexuality and the human soul. In a few areas of Japan, fireflies were believed to be the spirits of ancestors. In Mayan legend, lightning bugs served as a metaphor for the stars, while Aztec myth portrayed them as fire-throwing witches. According to Apache folklore, the original source of fire was a mythical campfire started by fireflies.

Like all things in nature, insects can be allies in magic. Through symbolism, energy, intention, and visualization we can call on their power and influence. For example, place a picture of a firefly on your altar to draw in its energy for ritual. In fact, the lightning bug can represent the element fire. Meditate with an image of a firefly when seeking illumination and inspiration. Representing hope, it can also help when guidance is needed.

For spells, include the firefly to remove negativity or any metaphorical darkness. As an activator, this bug can help get your energy moving to achieve goals or boost creative expression. Wear a piece of jewelry shaped like one to call on its energy. Or simply sit outside and watch fireflies; observation is a good way to tune into their energy.

I have fond childhood memories of catching and releasing them. If you handle them carefully, you can bring them indoors for a few hours to aid your meditation, spells, or rituals. Keep them in a jar with small holes punched in the lid and a moistened paper towel. Visualize them carrying your intention and willpower when you release them. Place the jar outside, remove the lid, and they’ll find their way out.

Fireflies are nocturnal beetles and members of the family Lampyridae. There are about two thousand species and each has its own light-flashing pattern. The light display is used to attract mates. It may also serve as a warning to predators that fireflies are not a tasty treat. While studying bioluminescence in 1887, French physiologist Raphael Dubois named the substance that creates the luminescence luciferinafter the light-bearing fallen angel, Lucifer.

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In Which the Priest Answers the Inquisitive Child

Yes indeed, it was I in the mask and the paint last night; that's no secret. Everyone knows it.

But the god was there also.

Did you for a while forget that it was me, and see and hear only the god, even if just for only for a little?

You did, and that's the mystery, and the power: that if I do my work well, and you do your work well, then sometimes, for a little, the god will consent to cast his shadow over his priest, so that in this way he may speak, and dance, and sense.

And you too may see him then, and speak with him, and dance with him.

Why does he consent to do this? He does it because we are his people, and he loves us.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Knock, Knock! Who's There?

I am used to being busy (and as some may note, over reaching) having raised 5 children (under 5), High Priestessing a coven within my beloved Tradition, The assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a full time job, married 41 years (June 25th), and teaching multiple workshops and intensives throughout the year. I am not listing these things as a marker of what busy looks like for me, but hopefully as a barometer of why I (we) all need some time to look within.  

What I offer below is the result of my yearnings to retreat and what would inhabit this space outside of time, if it manifested as a true haven. You see, another large component of my retreat is the hunger for knowledge that can become wisdom. If you are familiar with the scene in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast where Belle is gifted the library by the beast- that is my haven. Books and time and reading and languishing in what I consume; sated and exhausted by my efforts.....

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Litha: Light and Laughter

 

     It is the time of light, laughter, and joyful abandon. It is Litha! Let us celebrate with ruby-ripe strawberries and twinkling fireflies and achingly-pure blue skies reflected in chilly streams and sun-warmed ponds. I tend to get giddy this time of year; maybe it’s the child in me that hasn’t grown up yet, or perhaps the Kitchen Witch who is so excited by all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that summer brings, or maybe it’s just because I’m finally warm enough. Whatever the reason, they year’s turning at Litha always fills me with barely-contained excitement, though I don’t always get to act on it. My mind springs into action, suddenly there are so many things I want to do, and I can’t convince myself that I still have to balance all the fun things with work, which means working my way through my summer reading list while lounging by the lake is not a daily option. (Life isn’t perfect, after all.)

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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." 
~ Margaret Mead

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“Some Day We'll Have Sacred Dances Again”

“Some day we'll have sacred dances again.”

When my friend Doc said this to me more than 20 years ago, his tone was wistful.

Today, decades later, though we may not quite be there yet, we're closer, closer, to the day that he foresaw.

 

In 1890, avant-garde French composer Eric Satie (1866-1925) published a mysterious, haunting piano piece that he titled Les Gnossiennes.

The word is Satie's own coinage. What he meant by it is unclear. At least some commentators have derived it from Knossos—in Latin, Gnossus—the First City of Minoan Crete. If so, it would mean either “the Knossian Women” or “the things (fem.) of Knossos.”

American dancer-choreographer Ted Shawn (1891-1972) read a Minoan reference in the term. Accordingly, he choreographed a dance for solo male dancer to Satie's music that presented—in Shawn's own words—“a priest of ancient Crete going through a ritual at the altar of the Snake Goddess.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Paul B. Rucker
    Paul B. Rucker says #
    Let me also recommend this DVD-- "Denishawn: The Birth of Modern Dance"-- which highlights the cultural elements incorporated by
  • Paul B. Rucker
    Paul B. Rucker says #
    Before a dance corps can exist (let alone a body of visual and plastic arts that iterates a common language of culture with any de

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In Search of the Sun

How does one weather a soggy Summer Solstice, anyway? Looking forward to one of the big Sabbats of the year is what most Wiccans and Pagans eagerly anticipate reveling in. As I peered out my bedroom window this morning, however, my brow furrowed. Overcast, cold, and rainy. Again. Granted this is Wisconsin, as everyone here loves to repeatedly point out, as if that makes it alright. News flash: it doesn't. My allergies have not appreciated this unduly wet and cooler year thus far. If it wasn't so damp, it wouldn't be a big deal. Even though I'm prone to heatstroke, I don't begrudge the truly hot temps, even when you get the double-whammy of humidity (more extreme wet stuff). I just pace myself accordingly, and don't attend the Ren Faire in a heavy costume, lest I be carried out on a stretcher. I'm beginning to suspect I would do much better in an arid climate, but that's a story for another time.

Back to the Solstice. I often nostalgically recall my first and only attendance to the PSG in 2000. It started out bright and sunny that day, but by mid-afternoon, we all had to seek shelter in our tents due to the thunderstorms rolling in. It wasn't so terrible. Wine, cheese, and a cozy atmosphere all helped. Earth-minded folk tend to be resilient. Things finally cleared up around nine that evening. Eventually, curiosity seekers began to creep and crawl out of their tents to the damp grass, lured by the sound of drumbeats. The natives were restless from being cooped-up the better part of the day and needed to get their dance on. So drum and dance we did, as planned, around the bonfire, until the wee wee hours. It was ecstatic and frenzied and sweet. It was continuing our celebration as planned, and not allowing Mother Nature's mood swings to rain us out completely.

So my best advice today, if it looks dicey outdoors, is to go about your plans the best you can and not lose hope. I'm determined to set up my annual outdoor "Zen Den," whether my hammock gets soaked, or not. If my partner and I can't sit outside and enjoy the sunset later, I will still cook up the ritual din-din as planned, and we can crack the windows and listen to the raindrops. Candles and incense will be lit regardless. I will still bake homemade cornbread and perform my yoga sun salutations on this day, because, why not? I believe it remains important to honor the significance of the actual sacred day and the deities associated with it. The main thing to keep in mind when following an earth-based belief, is that being flexible with Book of Shadow plans and adjusting them when necessary is key. Happy Solstice, everyone, whatever plans that you honor today.

References:

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

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