Friday, July 29, 2011

Divine Friday


   Cauldrons have always served as important symbols in Celtcic Mythology and are frequently associated with wisdom, knowledge, life and death. Seen as the archetypal witch, Cerridwen's cauldron is no different as the Cauldron of Inspiration. Even her name is derived form the celtic word cerru meaning cauldron.

   Married to Tegid the Bold, Cerridwen had three children with him; Ceirwy, Morfan, and Taliesin. Her most popular story involves her third child Taliesin. The Goddess uses her knowledge of magic and herbs to create a potion to transform her ugly son Morfan into a wise boy. The potion needs to be boiled in her cauldron for a year and a day. She leaves her servant Gwion in charge of the mixture until on eday when he accidentally spilt three drops on his hand and licked it off, empowering him with the brews knowledge and power.
   Frightened of the Goddess's reaction he turned himself into a rabbit. Cerridwen gave chase in the form of a greyhoud. He then became a fish and jumped into the river and she became an otter. He tunred into a bird and she followed as a hawk. Eventually Gwion transformed into a grain of corn and is eaten by the Goddess who had become a  hen. The grain took seed in her womb, and nine moons later, she gave birth to Taliesin. She is unable to kill the child; instead she wraps him up in a leather bag and sets him out to sea. He survives and becomes the famous Welsh poet Taliesin.

   Her name has various translations: "fair and loved", "perfect love", "crooked woman" but she is still however regarded as both beautiful and frightening.; She is a goddess of inspiration, wisdom, enchantment, divination and prophecy, and is connected with the Autumn Harvest through her association with grain and its thrashing. Candles and altar decorations in black, red and white as well as a small cauldron with a candle in it are great beginnings to meditate on her mysteries. Working to transform yourself into the best conduit of divine spirit you can be is the most important way to show devotion as well.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Celtic handfasting used in first gay NY marriage

I think this is wonderful! Not only the first gay marriage to occur in New York but to include a handfasting as well. I wish the new couple many blessings, happy years and a wonderful life!

Celtic handfasting used in first gay marriage performed in New York Irish News IrishCentral

Friday, July 22, 2011

Divine Friday


   Also called the Great Queen, Rhiannon was unjustly accused of killing her son by her servants who had fallen asleep while watching him. As punishment, she was forced to carry people on her back like a horse for seven years until she was cleared by her son's return. She has since had a strong connection with horses and other equines as well as the Gaulish horse goddess, Epona, who was adopted by Roman officers as their patroness and worshiped all over the Roman empire as a goddess of abundance and fertility. In fact, with so man prallels, many believe Rhiannon may be a later British version of Epona.

   She is clearly a goddess of the earth and the otherworld. April 30th - May 1, one of the major Celtic holidays, May Day, is regarded in many ways as her holiday. Connecting with her can happen in many ways also. The most obvious way is through horses; in person or through books and movies such as the Black Stallion. Serving food in her honor like oat cakes or oatmeal cookies and even feeding birds that are sacred to her. Roses help to bring her energy into one's life in the form of flowers, candles or perfume. She is a woman who has endured suffering and can lend her strength when something difficult must be done or when dealing with loss.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Ogham

   September (and cooler weather here in NC hopefully!) it slowly creeping up along with the Central NC Pagan Pride weekend. I've been busy sewing and trying to create new things to bring along with me as this is my first time as a vendor at the festival or anywhere for that matter! (And yes, I'm nervous!)

   One of the new items I'm working on are Ogham signs created out of felt. I was inspired by the work of Nydia over at Bringing Up Salamanders. (She does INCREDIBLE goddess figures out of felt and it's disgusting how talented she is - go check out her shop). So I figured today I'd share the little bit of information I could find out about the Ogham as well as a chart of the figures so others can write and create as well.

   The first ever recorded language, The Ogham (pron. "Oh-m" or "Oh-wam") is thought to be named after the Irish God, Ogma, and is sometimes referred to as the "Celtic Tree Alphabet".  It originally consisted of 20 letters divided into 4 aicme or classes named after the first letter in each; the 5th aicme was added for later for use in manuscripts. The letters are linked together by a solid line and read from bottom to top when written vertically or left to right when written horizontally.

 About 500 Ogham inscriptions have been found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and while all surviving traces are inscribed on stone, it was probably commonly inscribed on sticks, stakes, and trees.

   There are two main schools of thought as to the reason behind the creation of the Ogham:
  • It was first created as a cryptic alphabet designed by the Irish so not to be understood by those who knew of the Latin alphabet. It is suggested it was created by irish scholars or druids for political, military or religious reasons to provide a secret means of communcation in opposition to Roman Britain.
  • Invented by the first Christian communities in early Ireland who wanted to have a unique alphabet for writing short messages and inscriptions in the Irish language.

   Below are two charts showing all the symbols of the Ogham as well as what letter they stand for. What I've discovered is in order to write anything using the Ogham, the word must be in Irish otherwise, as you may well notice, some letters are missing and you won't be able to translate it over.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Art of Paulina Cassidy

   Today while blog surfing (cause lazy Saturdays were made for something!) I came across a blog that I've begun to follow, Fairy Bell Cottage. (Link in Blogroll section) One of the blogger's older posts was about the artist Paulina Cassidy and I can see why.

   She does some beautiful work! Very fun, imaginative and creative pieces. Fairy Bell Cottage shared it on her blog so I figured I'd do it on mine as well. Follow the link below to visit and I hope you enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Divine Friday

   Happy Friday! Hope everyone's week went well and for those lucky enough to see it, I hope Harry Potter was as good as it looks! (We unfortunately, won't be able to see it in theaters as our 9-month old probably wouldn't sit through it!)

   This week we're talking about The Dagda, a large and lusty, but goofy god. Have a great weekend!

The Dagda

          Back when gods and goddesses lived above ground there was a great conflict in Ireland between the Tuatha De Danann and their enemies, the Fomorians. The Fomorians were a group of misshapen evil spirits who were said to live on an island off the west coast of Eire, although some bards hinted that they lived under the water as demons of the deep. So when the time for battle came between the two tribes it was clear to the Tuatha De Danann that they would have to muster every skill, ability and resource they had. For their leader, they turned to Lugh who, upon taking command, promptly demonstrated his leadership by inspiring every member of the community to step forward with their best skills for defeating the enemy. Various members stepped forward and made promises: Goibhniu pledged to make magical spears that would never miss their mark; Morrigan would instill fear in the hearts of all their enemies; and Dian Cecht would heal warriors who fell in battle. Finally the Dagda spoke with “These great things that all of you are boasting you will do, I can do them all as well, all by myself!” Everyone cheered and declared him the “Good God” – good at everything. His other titles also include “Master of All Skills” and “Great Father of All”.
                Fatter than a sumo wrestler, he seemed more a goof interested in a feast than a multi-skilled god willing to put his talents to work, but he was not one to shrink from battle. He wielded a club so big it had to be transported on wheels and was said to kill 9 men in a single blow, however the other end, with a simple touch, could restore the slain to life. He owned two other magical possessions – a harp, Uaithne, richly ornamented and made of oak that would fly to his hand whenever called and when played, put the seasons in order; and a cauldron, known as Undry, which was said to be bottomless and one of the four great treasures of the Tuatha De Danann.
                Not just a father god, he is a god of abundance, the ultimate provider and guardian of life and death. Much like his appetite and physique, he also indulged in his lusty side, sharing a bed with various other goddesses, one of the most famous couplings being between him and the Morrigan. He was also said to have had an affair with Boann, the wife of Nechtan. To hide it, he made the sun stand still for nine months, therefore their son, Aengus, was conceived, gestated and born all in one day.
                To honor him, call upon him at Samhain which is particularly sacred to him both because of its harvest connections and his role as the lover of the goddess of death. However, the dual nature of his club as a force for death and life make him a fitting deity to be honored on the Spring and Fall Equinoxes – even though there is no ancient reason to link him with those dates because we have no firm evidence that the Celts honored the equinoxes at all. We learn from him to exult in the good things in life, be it sex, food or the ability to master a skill; to laugh at ourselves, make music, accept our bodies and, for men, to take delight in fatherhood. Finally, choosing to believe that the world we live in is one of abundance and prosperity rather than a place of scarcity.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Naturally Boost Your Metabolism

My daughter, Rayne

   I'm on a mission to lose my pregnancy weight that's been sticking around since I had my daughter last September, and to go along with the Kitchen Witch path I'm trying to follow I thought I'd share some natural ways to boost your metabolism for anyone else on this journey as well.

Natural Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

   As always, all of this should be done alongside healthy eating habits and a good exercise routine. Consult your doctor or physician before beginning any exercise routine.

   *Instead of eating 3 meals a day, try eating several, small healthy ones throughout the day and snacking on fruits and veggies. This will keep your blood sugar stable and your metabolism working and running at full speed all day.

   * Don't skip breakfast. This will dramatically slow down your metabolism and you want that kickstart in the morning since you've gone for a couple of hours without food.

   * Add some cayenne pepper to your meals. It contains capsaicin which has metabolic boosting and fat burning qualities.

* Take a multivitamin daily. Try finding one that contains vitamins B, C, D, and E. Take according to the manufacturers instructions.

* Drink green tea. The catechin polyphenols in green tea increase the amount of energy the body uses in heat production by up to 4%. The result is an increase in metabolism.

* Build muscle and exercise. Exercising boosts metabolism both during the exercise and for a few hours afterwards. Using weights to increase muscle will also help as the body will need extra energy to help repair the stressed muscles.
* Stay hydrated. Water is responsible for several metabolic processes, including digestion, waste management and temperature regulation. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking 2 liters of water daily. You can fight hunger as well as raise your metabolism by drinking a glass before each meal. To provide an extra boost, make sure your water is ice cold. Your body burns extra calories heating it up to room temperature.
* Try exercising in the morning. It's a great way to start the day and will keep your metabolism up for the rest of it.
  Good luck! I, myself, am on under DAyers723 for anyone interested in conversations or a few encouraging words! Have a great week!

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Celtic Mythology and Deity

   As tomorrow creeps up with another Divine Friday post on the way, I thought that today I would focus on a very quick, very general overview of Celtic Mythology as well as what the Gods expect of us in the relationships we build with each other.

Check it out at!

   All of the information below (except my own additions) are from an incredible book called "Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses" by Carl McColman and Kathryn Hinds. It doesn't cover every god/dess in Celtic mythology, as that would be a neverending feat in itself, but they cover some major ones and give a great jumping off point to continue on your own.

Some General Principles of Celtic Mythology

   As they mention earlier in their book, scholars have identified upwards of 400 different gods and goddesses in Celtic Mythology, 300 of which are only named once. This is becauce much of the religion was local, meaning deities were identified with a specific place, like a hill or grove. For the celts, Nature was full of the divine and in many cases the god or goddess was first and foremost the "spirit of the place".
   Another reason is alot of times the name of the deity was actually a title such as "The Exalted One" (Brigid) or "The Shining One" (lugh). In some cases different local deities may in fact be the same one.
   Lastly, the functions of the deities were quite broad. Where in other religions there was a specific "god of the sun" or "goddess of love" the Celtic deities encompass many different virtues (such as The Morrigan exuding courage, valor and eroticism while The Dagda is full of generosity, humility and earthiness) and one deity may compliment another as a divine couple. In general terms these couples can be seen as a union between the goddess of the land and the god of the tribe.

So why bother studying?
   Here are their excellent points:
  • The Gods and Goddesses connect us with the Celtic Soul
  • The deities connect us with our ancestors
  • They connect us with an understanding of Celtic Cosmos
  • Their stories help us find meaning in our lives
  • They can be a gateway to believing and living in an alternative way
  • Deities personify the reality of magic beyond the physical universe.
  • The gods are a source of blessing and power.
  • The deities help us become better people and remind us of our own divinity.

   What They Expect From Us
  • The Gods expect us to take care of nature
                   This is pretty self explanatory. If the goddess represents the sovereignty of the land then it's logical to assume she is very interested in the land she embodies. Thus many pagans recycle, compost, garden, etc.
  • The Gods expect us to make wise and virtous choices
                   Regardless of what everyone else thinks of us, paganism/witchcraft is not simply an "anything goes" kind of religion. We are not excused from having common sense and rules of conduct. Lying, cheating, stealing, etc. is just as bad if we do it as the next person. I believe this is why paganism is so inviting to so many. Where other people (and this is not to attack a religion as a whole but rather individuals of a said religion) will preach one way and act another, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard.
  • The Gods expect us to live up to our commitments (including those made to the them)
                  Keeping your word when you give it to others and not breaking promises. Or, an example they give, as a devotee to a particular goddess or god live in ways that honor them such as fostering creativity and healing in devotion to Brigid or physical fitness if honoring the Morrigan. We honor the gods and goddesses by how we think and also how we live our lives.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Is a Kitchen Witch?

   I've fallen in love with kitchen witchcraft.

   It's just so...comforting? Cozy? I can't quite put into words what I mean. I love how something as simple as cooking dinner or tidying up our home can be turned into a ritual to the gods. I struggled for a bit, after my daughter was born, to settle into the role of a housewife/homemaker but now I see the magic in the everyday chores; that by keeping a nice home and putting love and joy into everything I do that I'm not only honoring the Gods, but myself and my family as well.

   So far I've incorporated the following into my daily routine:
  • Keeping a kitchen altar - mine is devoted to the goddess Brigid and has a picture of her with a blessing, a small candle in front of it and a soon-to-come mini cauldron
  • Lighting a candle every morning while doing the dishes and getting myself and our daughter, Rayne, ready for the day
  • Saying a small prayer while making dinner each evening, it changes from day to day
  Of course there's more to come, but it's a start!

   I also wanted to share this great piece I found while researching on Kitchen Witchery. It's written by MrsMerFaery over at RocketMoms.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

       Have a safe
        and happy
        Fourth of

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Moon Magic

I've never worked with the moon before or followed any of the lunar phases that it goes through but after reading through some blogs I've been following and doing a bit of research (I'm still in the process) I've realized there's alot of energy I'm missing out on!

   Like I said, I'm still doing some research but below is what I've gathered so far on the phases and the appropriate magic to work during them.

New Moon
          Begins on the day of the new moon to 3 ½ days after. A time for new ventures, projects and new beginnings. Also for love spells, healing, job hunting and beauty. A time for blessings (i.e.  baby, marriage, new car, etc.) Take this time to orecharge and rejuvinate.

          Begins 3 days after the new moon and lasts until the full moon. When waxing, the moon is growing in strength and gathering energy and power. During this time we are put in touch with the creative side of the universe and all of our ideas, wishes and desires are helped to fruition.  A time for courage, friendship, good health, love, success and wealth, for increase or bringing things to yourself as in a better job, new love or increased financial security. With the help of the waxing moon we can change our circumstances in order to live the life we imagine.

Full Moon
          Begins 14 days after the new moon and lasts for 3 ½ days. A time for divination, prophecy, protection, love, legal matters, finanical attraction. This is when the moon is at its most powerful and is a perfect time for work that requires great force. The energy of the full moon can be felt during the 3 power days – the day of the full moon and the days immediately before and after. During these days you may notice the moon affecting people around you. This “crazy” behavior occurs because humans are 90% water and as the moon shows more of herself, she draws the water towrds her, changing the way it reacts. Use this energy to create powerful protection amulets or bless/cleanse sacred objects.

          Begins 3 ½ days after the full moon and lasts for 10 ½ days. The power of the waning moon is strongest 3 days after the full moon to 3 days before the new moon. A time for banishing illness, addiction or stress – getting rid of the things in your life physically, mentally and emotionally. Also good for protection. Utilize this time to clean up your life and ready for the time of the new moon.

Dark Moon
          Occurs 3 days prior to the day of the new moon. This is a time of rest and contemplation; a perfect time to evaluate your inner world/self and meditate. Use this as a change to look at changes you would like to make both within yourself and throughout the world.

   Have a great Fourth of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Divine Friday

   Yay, a Divine Friday post on an actual Friday! This week we're meeting master craftsman, Lugh.



   Lugh, whose name means “shining one”, was born to Cian of the Tuatha De Danaan and Ethniu, daughter of Balor of the Fomorians, whose union created an alliance between the two. Though not specifically a war god, he was known as a skilled warrior; this comes from his skill with a spear and a sling, which earned him the name Lamhfada meaning “long hand”. He is often depicted as eternally youthful, strong, brave, handsome and brimming with energy.  In modern times he is honored as the champion of artistry and skills. He is father to Cu Chulainn and became leader of the Tuatha De Danaan after the god Nuada lost an arm in the 2nd Battle of Magh Tuiredh and was forced to abdicate his kingship.
            One of the most popular stories of Lugh is how he came to be part of the Tuatha. As he approached the great hall of The Tuatha De Danaan at the Hill of Tara, legendary seat of the high kings of Ireland, the Tuatha were suffering under the oppression of their greatest enemies, the Fomorians. When he arrived, King Nuada was presiding over a great feast, and the doorkeeper refused to admit Lugh, saying “No one without an art enters Tara”. Lugh declared he was a master carpenter and thus had a skill to offer to which the doorkeeper curtly replied that an accomplished carpenter was already in service to the king. Unabashed, Lugh then said that he was a blacksmith, then a warrior, then a harper, poet, magician, physician, and so on, only to be told each time that there was already one at Tara. Finally, Lugh asked if there was any individual in Tara skilled in all of those arts. Here, the doorkeeper consulted with King Nuada who decided to let him enter. The king then arranged for three tests of Lugh’s prowess involving brute strength, a game of strategy and the artistry of the bard. Once Lugh proved himself better at each of these challenges than anyone else in Tara, Nuada realized the scope of Lugh’s talent and not only gave him the name samilddnach, meaning “skilled in all the crafts” but surrendered his throne to him as well.
            Lugh is also credited as the creator of one of the four great holidays of ancient Gael: Lughnasad, which literally means “Lugh’s assembly”. He created this in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Magickally speaking, Lugh functions as well as the goddess Brighid as a figure of protection. He is particularly useful for invoking protection when facing forces that are beyond us, representing the “big guns” we must occasionally bring out to destroy the terrifying powers of despair.
            To honor Lugh in your life begin by developing your skills and call upon him to implement that skill and work it through; Lugh is the harvest god and harvest means completion (no matter what time of year). Also hone your sense of law, justice, fair play and right.