Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Coming of Imbolc

     The name Imbolc, which literally means "milk", marked the lactation period of ewes and cows, the flow of milk that heralds the return of the life giving forces of spring. This was a time of great joy since it meant that the end of a long winter was in sight and green pastures were just a few months away. It was originally celebrated on February 1 until later, the Catholic Church changed it to Candlemas on February 2.



    
The month of February also belongs to the Celtic goddess Brigid. It is celebrated in honor of her, the daughter of the Dagda, who is pregnant with the seed of the sun. She is ripe with the promise of new life as the seeds of the earth deep within its soil begin to awaken. However, with the coming of Christianity, this powerful goddess was transformed into a saint, second only to Patrick himself. One legend tells how her mother was carrying a pitcher of milk at the time, with which she bathed her new-born child. As a child, Brigid was unable to eat ordinary food, and was reared on the milk of a special white red-eared cow. White animals with red ears are frequently found in Celtic mythology as beasts of the Otherworld. We have also seen how the pagan goddess owned two magical oxen. In Celtic society, cattle were the most highly valued of all animals, revered as symbols of plenty, and Saint Brigid was very closely associated with livestock in general, and dairy cows in particular. As an adult, she was accompanied by a cow who also supplied her with all the milk she needed.



    
     During ritual, it is customary to pour milk (or cream) onto the earth. This was done in thanksgiving as an offering of nurturing and to assist in the return of the fertility and generosity of the earth to its people. Significance is placed upon the Light of fire during Imbolc and in Britain, Candlemas, as it is known, is celebrated with a festival of lights. In the dark days of February, medieval churches twinkled brightly as each member carried a lighted candle in procession around the church and then afterwards home to be used to keep away storms, demons and other evils. Even long after this, the symbol of lighted candles was a strong hold and traces of the festival still linger such as in Wales where lighted candles could still be seen at windows or on the table that night. Sometimes special carols were sung as people proceeded from house to house. Modern traces include the custom of Groundhog Day on February 2. There is an old couplet that directly relates to the groundhog seeing his shadow:

"If Candlemas Day is bright and clear
There'll be two winters in the year"


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quick update and Welcome!

     My posts have become a little sparse lately and I do apologize. I have been sewing and creating some new items for my Etsy shop as well as taking care of two custom orders for Handfasting cords. I'd upload pictures but for some reason blogger isn't allowing me to upload anything right this second.

     Imbolc is the next upcoming festival so be on the lookout for Imbolc centered posts on lore, ritual, food, etc.

     I also wanted to extend a warm Welcome to all the new followers of my blog. Between all the blog parties and tours since Halloween, I have seen a really good increase in the number of readers and I want to thank all of you for stopping by and finding something here worth reading!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Pagan Blog Project - Week 3 "B"

Brighid
(Irish)



      Sometimes called The Exalted one in Irish lore, Brighid is the daughter of the Dagda and also a triune goddess or Triple Goddess, but not in the Maiden/Mother/Crone sense. She has three different aspects: 1) poetry, writing and inspiration; 2) healing, herbology and midwifery; 3) fires of the hearth, the smith and the art of smith craft She is the most celebrated goddess but her history is largely speculative, though it is known that she trasnformed into St. Brighid about 453 C.E. She was, for some time, married to Bres, of their enemy The Fomorians, and worked for diplomacy and peace between the tribes. She bore three sons Brian, Iuchar and Iuchariba.

As Brighid the Hearthwoman, she is most often associated with the hearth as the center and focus of the home and the community, as well as perpetual sacred flames such as the one maintained by 19 nuns at her sanctuary in Kildane, Ireland. To welcome a stranger to your own fireside is to follow the example of Brighid who made a welcome for all and made the abbey a safe place of refuge and sanctuary. She is also known to watch over children in childbirth. her festival, held on February 2nd, corresponds to the anceint Celtic Festival Imbolc and represetns the stirrings of life again after the cold months of winter. As a goddess related to fire, one of the simplest ways to show devotion is the burning of a candle every day, following the traditions of the anceint preistesses of Brighid who lit and tended to a sacred flame in her honor.
      The equal- arm cross/Brighid's Cross became her symbol, traditionally made by family members and hung in the house, barn and other buildings for protection. Hazel and birch trees are sacred to this goddess. The easiest way to connect with her through the year is to work to cultivate in one's own life those qualities that are sacred to her. People work with Brighid for intense healing, purification and inspiration. She is a loving and passionate goddess who wishes to bring her healing and strength to others.
   Click HERE for instructions on how to make one of your own.
Brigid's Cross Tatoo


Blessing of Gratitude

I thank you, Brigid, for your presence in my home
For giving me warmth of the heart and hearth
As the sisters of old, I have honored you
In the traditional way
May my love for you be felt through time and space
Across the universe, upon the earth, and under the sea
Although the light of this candle goes out
I carry your flame in my breast
Most blessed Brigid
Living light
Bright arrow
Sudden blaze
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire
I guard your flame.

From the book "Goddess Alive"


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Can You Imagine?"

Can You Imagine?(For the Child in All of Us)by Robert F. Potts

Can you imagine a world without witches,
A world with all people the same?
Where the only known dragons are hiding in books,
And children are terribly tame?
A world without magic would be sad indeed.
I cannot imagine the pain
Of having a world where there's no Santa Claus,
Where wizards are searched for in vain.

Can you imagine a world without spells,
That science and businesses run?
And think of the sadness a unicorn feels
When he no longer plays in the sun
Can you imagine a world without witches,
No elves, and no magical pools?
And can you imagine how dull it would be
If all that we had were the schools?

I cannot imagine a world without witches,
A world with no magical wand.
A world without beauty, or even a dream,
Or a wood sprite of whom to be fond
They say I should grow up and be more mature,
Like a normal adult ought to do.
But I'd rather, at night, go to dance with a witch,
And I'll bet that you feel that way, too



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tag - I'm it!

     I was tagged by the lovely EmKat Creations and decided to play along.  :)

The Rules

1. Post these rules.

2. You must post 11 random thoughts about yourself.

3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.

4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

5. Go to their blog and tell them you have tagged them.

6. No stuff in the tagging section about 'you are tagged if you are reading this.' blah, blah, blah, you legitimately have to tag 11 people!



11 Random thoughts about me:

   1. I hate snakes. Like I freeze in place, break down and cry at the sight of them, even on TV. It's bad...

   2. I love wrapping Christmas presents. I think it's one of the best parts about the holiday.

   3. Something personal: I've been diagnosed with post partum depression, anxiety disorder and OCD and possible tourrettes. I have a whole host of issues...  lol

   4. I'm your typical Cancer with heavy emphasis on the shyness

   5. I'm hoping to go back and finish my associates degree in Science this year.

   6. I LOVE tattoos and piercings but I can't afford all the ones want. I've currently got 7 tattoos and 9 piercings.

   7. I married the first guy I ever dated.

   8. I love to sew clothes and create things but I have horrible fashion sense and know nothing about the industry.

   9. Something else personal: I used to be a self-injurer.

   10. I don't understand rap music; like why it's so popular or even considered "music" at all...

   11. Watching "Sons of Anarchy" makes me want to be part of a motorcycle club/gang  lol


Questions for me to answer:

   1. What's your favorite song or musical artist?
      - Too many too count, but I'm really into Breaking Benjamin and Rise Against at the moment

   2. If you could live in any era, what would you choose?
      - Victorian

   3. What's your favorite holiday?
      - Tie between Christmas and Halloween

   4. Which modern convenience would you rather give up, indoor stoves or plumbing?
      - Indoor stoves

   5. Pirates or Ninjas?
      - Pirates

   6. Do you have a patron deity, if so whom?
      - I believe mine is Brigid (or Brid)

   7. Coffee or Tea?
      - Ugh, neither. I'm a milk or soda person

   8. What's the farthest you've ever been from home?
      - I moved 3 states south of my immediate family in Maryland, but lived in Japan when I was an infant.

   9. Which element is your favorite or which do you work best with?
      - I don't work with the elements

   10. Cats, Dogs, Rodents, Birds or Reptiles?
      - Dogs

   11. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
      - Yesterday to play with my daughter


Who I've tagged:

   1. Hearth N Home

   2. Rue and Hyssop

   3. Witch Blog

   4. Love of the Goddess

   5. Whimsical Cottage

   6. The Domestic Pagan

   7. Pagan Culture

   8. Ozark Pagan Mama

   9. Tales From the Old Wooden Art Table

   10. Charmed I'm Sure

   11. Moondreamin'


Questions for you to answer:

   1. You have 48 hours left to live: what do you do with them?

   2. Team Edward or Team Jacob?  :)

   3. What foreign country would you love to visit?

   4. What New Years resolution are you absolutely determined to keep this year?

   5. Number one regret so far in life? If you have none, why not?

   6. What brought you to your current religion?

   7. Sprinkles or jimmies? Soda or pop?

   8. What pantheon do you work with most often?

   9. Number one song on your ipod/CD/whatever you use to listen to music?

   10. How many kids do you have? If none, would you want any?

   11. What's your favorite secret indulgence?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - Week 2 "A"

     So, I'm kind of cheating this week and using a previous blog post I created when I first started my blog. It was a post about my own personal altar I was making after seeing some really beautiful pieces on a pagan supply website I found.

     Click HERE to visit the post and Happy Friday!

(And there IS a Divine Friday posted as well!!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Divine Friday

Ogma
(Irish)



     Ogma, modern spelling Oghma, is a member of the Tuatha De Danaan and may possibly be related to the Gaelic god, Ogmios.

     He often appears as a triad with Lugh and the Dagda (The Dagda is his brother and Lugh is his half-brother), who are sometimes collectively known as the trí dée dána or three gods of skill. His father is Elatha and his mother is usually given as Ethliu, also known as Étaín.

     He is portrayed as a swarthy man whose battle ardor was so great that he had to be chained and held back by other warriors until the right moment for military action occurred. He fights in the first battle of Mag Tuired, when the Tuatha Dé take Ireland from the Fir Bolg.. Under the reign of Bres, when the Tuatha Dé are reduced to servitude, Ogma is forced to carry firewood, but nonetheless is the only one of the Tuatha Dé who proves his athletic and martial prowess in contests before the king. When Bres is overthrown and Nuadu restored, Ogma is his champion. His position is threatened by the arrival of Lugh at the court, so Ogma challenges him by lifting and hurling a great flagstone, which normally required eighty oxen to move it, out of Tara, but Lugh answers the challenge by hurling it back. When Nuadu hands command of the Battle of Mag Tuired to Lugh, Ogma becomes Lugh's champion, and promises to repel the Fomorian king, Indech, and his bodyguard, and to defeat a third of the enemy.

     He is said to have invented the Ogham alphabet, which is named after him. It is considered the first written language of Ireland, one which uses very basic designs to convey meaning. Ogham sticks were made out of various kinds of tree branches and then, according to many stories from Ireland, cast to divine news about what would be going on in the world.

     One way to honor him today is through the offer of a poem or song, since he is considered the "Father of language".

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Luibh and Seoid

Garnet


          The name of the stone comes from the Latin granatus, possibly in reference to the gram malum garanatom (pomegranate), a plant with red seeds similar in shape, size and color to some garnet crystals. It can come in a variety of colors including purple, orange, yellow, green, brown, black or colorless, and was popular in jewelry designs of the Victorian era.

          It was long known as “the warriors stone” as soldiers from around the world wore or carried it as a talisman against death and injury, as well as to enhance bodily strength, endurance and vigor. Knights and warriors decorated their shields and weapons with garnets. In Hinduism and Buddhism it is seen as a holy stone that enlightens the soul and gives wisdom.

          Garnet is used to enhance sensuality, sexuality, and intimacy and is said to balance the sex drive and aid in sexual potency and fertility. It inspires commitment and a monogamous and stable marriage.

          Because of its warming energies, it is used therapeutically for aching muscles, arthritis and other join discomforts. It protects from toxins and helps ward off infections. It also alleviates emotional disharmony, brings calm and removes inhibitions, taboos, anger and discord. However it is a very powerful and dominant stone, not suitable for over-active, stressed or quick tempered people – wearing one might lead to aggression.

          When given as a gift, the stone is said to grant loyalty and affection. It holds not only the power to protect from negative energies but to send those energies back to where they came from.

          Placed under a pillow it is said to prevent bad dreams.





Mugwort



          A close relative of wormwood, Artemisia vulgaris or mugwort, is a faintly aromatic herb with spear shaped leaves and small, greenish flowers that blooms form Summer through to Autumn.



          It has a long history of folk tradition and use:

·         Anglo-saxon tribes believed that it was one of the nine sacred herbs given to the world by the god Woden.

·         Used as a flavoring additive to beer before hops

·         Romans planted it by roadsides to protect road-weary travelers against exhaustion



Carried, this herb brings loved ones safely home from journey and hung over or on a door, it keeps unwelcome energies from passing through.



          Mugwort dispels nightmares and calms sleeplessness by taking it as a tea or smoked before bed. The branches can also be hung near the bed or crushed and put in a satchel or pillow. It produces visionary dreams and is a prime ingredient in dream pillows.



          When added to healing baths, it can be used to ease discomfort from eczema, gout and arthritis. It stimulates appetite due to the presence of bitter compounds, promotes good digestion and reduces fevers. However, due to its ability to induce labor, this herb should not be used while pregnant.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Pagan Blog Project

     I discovered this project while blog hopping today and decided to join in. What is this project you ask? Here's the explanation from the host's website, One Witch's Way:

"This project is a way to spend a full year dedicating time each week very specifically to studying, reflecting, and sharing your spiritual and magickal path. The project consists of a single blog post each week posted on your blog each Friday for the year of 2012 that will involve a topic that relates to Paganism, Witchcraft, magick, spirituality, and so on. You can use your posts to share your views on a topic, to talk about your own personal experiences, or to act as a catalyst to research a subject that you may not know much about and then share what you learn and how you feel about that. Each week there is a specific prompt for you to work with in writing your post, a prompt that will focus on a letter of the alphabet each week providing you a framework for your writing as well as a common thread for all participants to share in."


     For full details and information on how to sign up, follow the link below:



     Since I missed the first week, I will just go ahead and start with my first post on this upcoming Friday, January 13th. (Oooh, just realized that makes it Friday the 13th... lol). I am also trying to continue with Divine Friday's as well, so be on the lookout for both posts over the coming weeks!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Get Off Your Broom Fitness Challenge - Week 1 Check In

     So, we're a little over week into the new year and the Get Off Your Broom Fitness challenge. How is it going for you, dear readers?





     My check in actually isn't too bad. I followed my exercise plan pretty closely, working out 4 of the 5 weekdays last week, but I kind of slacked off over the weekend. I did however drink more water, downing at least 4 to 5 glasses a day.

     This weeks challenges are taking a look at the "big picture" and figuring out what other health issues you may have, both physically and mentally.


   Physically I don't think I have too many other things going against me except a bum shoulder. I pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve going on over two months ago and it still hasn't fixed itself, even after countless nights of using the heating pad on it. Makes jumping jacks and push ups a tad bit difficult to do!



     Mentally, I'm a HUGE ball of stress. I've always had that going against me. I let the little things get to me and hold onto everything until it messes with me physically. So for me, this will be the biggest hurdle to get over. But I know that in working on what stresses me, it will not only help make losing the weight easier but improve my overall well being from day to day as well.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Get Off Your Broom!

     Happy Tuesday, dear readers! Today is my official start of the Insanity workouts my husband and I ordered at the end of last year and I can tell it's going to be tough!


If you haven't heard about Insanity, here's the short and quick:

     It was created by Shaun T. a former track star and now celebrity trainer and is a 60-day total body transformation based on interval training. What is interval training? It is working out at your highest levels of intensity for a brief period of time then relaxing for longer periods. However, in Insanity this is flipped upside down and down the opposite, the most common unit being four minutes of maximum intensity with a 30-second water break, then repeated. Crazy? You know it!

     As per the mini challenges posted on the Witchy Fitness Blog, I have taken my measurements and weight and will post them below. I haven't been able to take a before picture because our digital camera is out of batteries but as soon as I get some more I'll post that as well. My numbers are so ugly but I'm going to be brave and post them anyway. (And blame some of it on left over baby weight...)  lol

Beginning Measurements

Weight: 177.5
Bust: 39.5
Waist: 35
Hips: 43


         As for the third and final mini-challenge, I have a pretty simple plan. Since the Insanity DVD's come with a handy calendar that maps out your workouts for you I plan on following that for the first 60 days of the challenge. Then, as more of a maintenance on what I HOPE will be an improved body, I will start following the Zumba DVD's we have as well and continue working out with those unless I think I need to dive back into Insanity.

     And that's that.

     I'm excited. Maybe it's the rush I'm feeling because I just got done working out, or the promise a new year brings, but I feel like it's finally time for me to get my body back along with the confidence I had.

     How are your plans for the fitness challenge going?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!


Happy New Year everyone! I hope it was safe and warm and full of well wishes. My family and I spent the night at home, indulging in Dominos pizza and watching Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve party on TV.

Not only is today the start of a new year, but it also marks the kick off of Get Off Your Broom 2012 hosted by The Domestic Pagan! This time around there is an entire blog devoted to the challenge, check ins are on Sundays but the challenge will still run for 3 months. Click HERE to sign up if you haven't already!


For my first week of the challenge I have set two simple goals:

1) Drink more water. I need to stay more hydrated throughout the day and I've been drinking way too much soda lately.
2) Move at least a little each day. My big aim is to start my Insanity workout again and stick to it.


What are your plans for the new year and exercising?