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Beltane... a rose by any other name would smell as sweet
The full moon in Taurus has come and gone, and wasn’t it lush? Last weekend I celebrated the festival commonly known as Beltane with my coven, and today I go to a wedding… ’tis the season for all things love and an interesting time for witches of all stripes as Halloween is a spectre making itself being felt with more an more presence in Australia despite it being a point on the calendar not traditionally observed. But I digress – I am here to ruminate about Beltane.
 
The full flowering of Spring is truly upon us. The native plants are humming with energy and to the Noongar people, the traditional custodians of this land, the season is known as Kambarang, the season of wildflowers. Fruits and nuts are collected. The first summer fruits make their blessed appearance, and while they do not always taste as lush as the last fruits, they are a delight to re-introduce to the table. The jarrah tree is in full flower and you can hear bees humming when you pass beneath the boughs. Beauty is everywhere.
  
 When considering this mood with the ‘flipped’ Southern Hemisphere Wheel, it is not entirely at odds with the fire festival of Beltane, which brings connotations of fertility and is often seen as a festival of love. It is high wedding season as the weather starts to warm and our cardigans are shed to bare our skin to the first careless sunburns of the season, and more time is spent outdoors underneath perfect blue skies. The birds and the bees are literally out and about making full use of the nectar and fruits that are making themselves available. Conversely, the land is also starting to brown and a dying off of the winter green can be felt. I used to dread summer at this time along with the drag of Christmas but I have made a Pinterest board to sweet talk myself into actually enjoying summer as so many seem to do.
 
 
 
Our coven’s celebration of Beltane does not usually subscribe to dancing around a May pole (I think we’ve given it a crack once or twice), but it is a lovely time to court creativity and resonate with the energy that can allow for flourishing of personal projects, preparing for the heat ahead, and celebrating the furling out of the self and sealing the connection of the working group. In my own (work in progress) rendition of the Wheel of the Year, I have called it ‘The Radiance’ but I have also seen it referred to as Flowering Earth and Rosemas in other Australian groups who have forgone the name of ‘Beltane’ for their seasonal Wheel.
 
  
beltane2014cOur altar was festooned with flowers and fruits.
  
 
beltane2014a
A lovely opportunity to charge objects with solar energy – which we were definitely feeling on that day!
  
 
beltane2014b
 
During ritual we used chants, drumming, rose petals and ribbons to raise a cone of power to charge our rite, which was dedicated to celebrating our collective energy and also blessing the land with cooling healing if it should need it in the warm months ahead.
  
 
beltane2014d
 
A basket of flowers from our gardens and a jug of water, ready for charging and blessing.
 
 Our feast included sparkling wine with hibiscus flowers, fresh salads, and berries dipped in raw chocolate mousse and chocolate hummus! Yum!
 
 
I hope you are experiencing a lovely season or simply a beautiful weekend.
 
This post originally appeared on my main blog over at The Chaos Witch.
 
 
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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Hock-deep in Samhain up here in the Northern Half, and with 10 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow, it's nice to be reminded tha
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Wishing you all a Happy Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere; and Happy Beltane in the Southern Hemisphere!

Samhain article at my new blog, which I would post here except that it isn't Canadian per se: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/betweentheshadows/2014/10/samhain-song-for-the-dead/.

Blessed be!

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Astrological Lammas Ritual

Within our tradition we celebrate the sabbats as they occur astrologically. This year astrological Lammas will happen on Friday, August 8th when the sun enters 15* Leo. Traditionally Lammas is celebrated as the first of the three neo-pagan harvest festivals with roots driven deep in Irish and Celtic folklore. At 15* Leo we find a fixed star by the name of Dubhe (pronounced DUB-ee) (Bear in Arabic) which is associated with psychic power and destruction. Dubhe is also referred to as “The Eye” or “Pivot of the Universe” and makes up the center of Ursa Major’s spine.For our Lammas ritual we combine both the terrestrial fascination of the first harvest with the celestial alignment of this great star.

 

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(Photo by Adam Sartwell - Temple of Witchcraft Grounds)

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6 Reasons Why The Wheel of the Year is Still Valid

The longer I spend online browsing blogs, lurking in discussion forums and generally talking to other witches and pagans, the more often I see the comment that many people do not celebrate the Wheel of the Year as they have decided the dates as they are traditionally understood in contemporary practice as simply not being a fit any more for their own practice.

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It seems to me that the Witches Ladder is one of those unique and valuable, yet greatly under-appreciated bits of craft lore that has fallen to the wayside of contemporary Witchcraft. If you're not familiar with the term, there's a good article you can read here on Wikipedia that will give you the background and basic gist on the ladder. And if you Google it (images) you'll find a wide variety of ladders, made in many different ways and used for many different types of craftwork. Like much of modern day Witchcraft, people have taken an old idea and done something new it, and so have I.

But there are certain challenges that arise from this type of new growth within the Craft. There are so many of us taking old bits like the Witches Ladder, reclaiming it, remodeling it or recreating it. But we're not renaming it. As a result, all these neat new and original creations like prayer beads are being labeled  as "Witches Ladders" and sold on Etsy. Make no mistake, I'm not criticizing the idea of "Witch Ladder Prayer Beads," in fact, I love the idea. I am however, trying to point out the confusion this form of appropriation and re-association can create.

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Season's Greetings from the Geekomancer's desk, everyone! 

Now, I know this season is not always holly-jolly for everyone, sometimes thanks to religious issues or philosophical differences, sometimes due to more practical or emotional concerns.  That's why I thought it might be helpful to show you how this pop culture witch celebrates the Winter Solstice, in hopes that it will assist you in finding new and innovative ways to deal with this, the most (expletive) time of the year.

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