From the Editor...
"In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin
looking for it." ~ Norman Vincent Peale
2008 has definitely been a challenging year for most people and no doubt a year that will redefine our way of living and thinking over the next few years. The summer solstice has now arrived bringing with it an opportunity for us to stop and take stock and to assimilate all that has been rapidly developing over the past twelve months.
If we take a look at the numerological aspects of 2008 we see that this year added up to a number 1-year, which is a number that gives rise to new, unexpected and extraordinarily challenging life conditions. As 2009 looms closer, we are no doubt wondering what further changes and challenges we will have to face over the next 12 months. The numerology for 2009 adds up to 11, which is a master number. This number symbolizes a critical point in our journey where major decisions will be required that will prove challenging for all of humanity and will bring about an adjustment or a state of balance to our lives.
I consulted the tarot to gain further clarification of this situation and I have drawn 2 tarot major arcana cards from the Glastonbury deck. The first card drawn relates to 2008, it is the Death card.
The Death card signifies an ending that leads to a new beginning. The Death card moves us on into action; it encourages us to push for change, to put behind us all of the factors that held us back and to sever connections that are no longer helpful to us and do not support us. In order to do this, we need to recognize any fears of change that can hinder us from moving into a new beginning. Life is in constant motion and this is the irony of the Death card. Death is never the end - it is simply a motion in a different direction.
The other card drawn represents the energy for 2009 and it is the Wheel of Fortune.
The Wheel of Fortune is about consequence, it may mean that we should consider our actions and how they are affecting ourselves and others around us. Since ancient times, the Wheel has been a symbol for mobility, revolution, and cycles. The Wheel is symbolic of the natural flow of life, and we should allow ourselves to just go with the flow.
A change is coming into our lives, and no one knows whether it will be a change for the better. Even if it does not seem to be what we want, this change will move us in a new, and perhaps surprising, direction. I believe we have now entered one of the most important periods in human history.We have the opportunity to lift ourselves to new levels of consciousness, spirituality and responsibility - lets not squander this opportunity to make a difference to our lives and our precious planet.
I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of Spheres of Light to wish you all peace, joy and harmony for the New Year and have a safe and happy holiday season.
SOL's Full Moon Circle and Midsummer
by Janine Donnellan
Celebration ~ Friday December 12, 2008
It was an unlikely night to celebrate the Midsummer, the rising mist and the low hanging clouds veiled the full moon from our view, the rain fell incessantly, and the wind howled out an aberrant tune. It was a night where we had planned to connect to the Fey and it appeared that the stage had been set for our journey between the worlds.
By the power of the dragons the circle was cast with an electric blue energy flowing from the tip of the index finger, the light was expanded to the outer reaches of the room to form a dome, encompassing the whole ritual area, and extending down into the earth, forming into a complete sphere of pulsing glowing light.
"Three times the Circle round, three times the Circle bound."
The Elemental rulers were summoned to protect the circle and guard this Fairy Ring between the worlds. With a united voice, we called for the presence of the Fairy Queen and the Lord of Dance to join us in our proceedings. Then in the Earth Quarter a portal was opened and the Fey were invited into our circle.
"Nature Spirits! Shining Ones! Welcome! We meet here at the Sacred Centre at the gates to the Otherworld. Please come and share in our laughter in our world and in our time. Come in peace and good will."
Bells were rung to entice them to come and play. Energy was then perceived, as they made their presence felt. There was a soft tug on my elbow and gentle breeze across my face and then I felt a shift within my heart chakra and dizziness and lightness overcame me. The Fey had arrived.
There are Fey of all types and some are a little more mischievous than others, so care and consideration should always be taken when working with them. It is said that the more you believe in faeries the more often they will come to visit you and the faeries of course love a good party. Each of us was given sparklers and glow sticks to play with and we danced under the rotating light of a disco ball writing magical words of love and joy into the air.
Soon it was time to leave this magical world and the Fey were gently ushered back into the portal from whence they came. The portal sealed the Fairy hosts and the Elemental ruler were thanked and then farewelled. The circle was closed and the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing. We all finished the evening with "Secret Santa" and our Midsummer feast.
More information regarding this circle and past circles can be found in our Book Of Shadows. Our next Full Moon Circle will be held near Engadine on Friday, February 6. Please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
Working with the Seasons ~ Summer
by Janine Donnellan
Sunday December 14, 2008
The Power of the universe always works in circles; the sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were.
When you become 'aware' of the seasons of life you will begin to perceive and understand the patterns and connecting threads that merge and weave and form the tapestry we call your life. When you become 'aware' you start to understand that there is no such thing as coincidence; everything happens for a reason, a purpose, and then you can become conscious of the pathways, and how your life interchanges and connects; and then you can encapsulate an understanding of the bigger picture, the ultimate plan of your spiritual journey.
These four workshops were centered on connecting physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually into the seasons and the cycles of the year. The intent was to move ourselves into an inner affinity, which will hopefully bring us closer to the power behind nature and gives us new creative potential. For the energy-cycle of the year is not just a calendrical affair: it is a cycle of growth and consolidation fundamental to our very existence. Neither is it just a matter of changes in the availability of heat and light: it is a cycle of subtle energy with a marked effect in our own lives, our thinking and our magic.
The day of the last of Seasons Workshop was a bright and sunny day. We embraced the sun and tapped into its essence, some of us connected to the trees, or to the flowers. We watched the bees and some lay upon the grass feeling the sun's rays upon our bodies and the warm of the mother rising up from the earth.
Summer represents fire, passion, enthusiasm and courage. It represents the spiritual quality of strength of purpose, and it helps us deal with obstacles and challenges. Summer also represents the Warrior within us; The Way of the Spiritual Warrior is a path of transformation. To become a warrior means to be in your centre, in your essence, living with trust - faith in the ultimate rightness and justice of the Universe. On our first meditation of the day, we were taken on a journey to experience a past life situation where we once was a warrior.
The God that we connected to was Helios, he was the personification of the Sun in early Greek history, sometimes referred to as Helios Panoptes, the "all seeing." Because he was all-seeing he was called to witness oaths and promises.
Helios drives a fiery chariot across the heavens. By day he brought light to the world by driving his four-horse sun-chariot across the sky from east to west. By night, he sailed in a great golden bowl back to his home in the east, floating along the river of Ocean that encircled the earth. Helios dwelt in a golden palace located in the River Okeanos at the eastern ends of the earth. From there he emerged each dawn driving a chariot drawn by four, fiery winged steeds and crowned with the aureole of the sun. When he reached the land of the Hesperides (Evenings) in the West he descended into a golden cup which carried him around the northern streams of Okeanos back to his rising place in the East.
Helios reminded us that Summer is the time that we can pause and view our life from a distance in order to gain a true perspective. At the height of the sun, it is a time that everything is exposed, your emotions, your thoughts and your motives. It is a time of "all seeing" and a time of adjustment.
The day ended with an activity which was the making a suncatcher. The suncatcher was made from glass crystals. Glass is a melding of the traditional four elements, metaphysically, glass represents and carries the energies of transformation, rebirth, focus and communication.
We used a combination of red and clear crystals and when completed our suncatcher became a talisman to bring in those goals or desires we want for the coming year. The suncatcher was then empowered with the smoke from the herb cinnamon. Cinnamon has the ability to retain and enhance energy for spells for prosperity and/or creativity.
Trees in Mythology
by Janine Donnellan
Trees have played an important role in many of the world's mythologies and religions, and they have been given profound spiritual and mystical meanings throughout the ages. Trees offer a sense of mystery, and our association of known myths with particular trees fuels this. This association takes place not only on a species level but also in geographical terms and with individual trees. In mythology, trees take on magical powers and become the centre of our fascination.
Trees in mythology offer us a mystical reminder of states of being so wondrous as to be beyond our comprehension. There is an uncanny inquisitiveness about such a concept that it leads us to hold up the image of some trees as worthy of reverence. The tree has become the witness to and often the centre of profound spiritual happenings. The most ancient cross-cultural symbolic representation of the mystery of the universe's construction is the world tree.
The World Tree is a motif present in several religions and mythologies, particularly Indo-European religions. In many myths, the tree is a vital part of the structure of the universe. Gods and their messengers travel from world to world by climbing up or down the tree.
The image of a tree provides an axis symbol that unites three planes. This is known as the axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar and centre of the world) and is an omnipresent symbol that crosses human cultures. The spot functions as a focal point from which everything else revolves.
The World Tree therefore expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet: its branches reach for the sky, its trunk meets the earth, and it roots reach down into the underworld. The tree therefore serves as a symbolic living link between this world and those of the three worlds. Its roots are in the Lower World, also known as the underworld or world of the dead, where one goes to talk with ancestors, to find lost information, or to find information about diseases and other things to do with the physical body. The trunk of the tree is known as the Middle World and the trunk encompasses the physical world, four directions and their corresponding season. It is the magical version of our reality and we can visit it to solve everyday problems. The branches of the tree are in the Upper World. It is a place of the future, creativity and flight.
The Norse believed that a tree runs like an axis, or pole, through this world and the realms above and below it. They called their World Tree Yggdrasill. It was a great ash tree that nourished gods, humans, and animals, connecting all living things and all phases of existence.
The Yggdrasil tree had three large roots, each one of which dipped into three different wells. The first root dipped into the waters of Mimir's spring. These waters were filled with wisdom. The second root lay in the Well of Urd, where mythical creatures weaved the fates of mankind and tended to the needs of the tree. The third root fell into the dark waters where a dragon tore gnawed unceasingly at the tree. Four stags nibbled hungrily at the tree's green buds, while goats tore at the bark. High in the branches an eagle sat with a hawk perched upon his brow. a squirrel scurried up and down the Ash all day carrying insults between the eagle above to the dragon below.
Tree of Life - Sacred Geometry
The Tree of Life is one of the most familiar of the Sacred Geometry Symbols. The structure of the Tree of Life is connected to the sacred teachings of the Jewish Kabbalah but can be seen 3,000 years earlier in Egypt. The Tree of Life structure can be seen in many places around the conscious universe. The Tree of Life is a mystical symbol used in the Kabbalah of esoteric Judaism to describe the path to the Divine and the manner in which the Divine created the world out of nothing. The Kabbalists developed this concept into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of creation. The tree of life has been called the "cosmology" of the Kabbalah.
The Kabbalah Tree of Life is a representation of the thirty-two paths comprised of the ten sefirot and the twenty-two paths through which they run. The Tree of Life describes the descent of the divine into the manifest world, and methods by which the divine union may be attained in this life. It can be viewed as a map of the human psyche, and of the workings of creation, both manifest and not. It is based on the assumption that the pure nature of divinity is unity, and that the seemingly separate aspects or emanations exist only in view of the emanated, living in a state of illusory separation.
Pagan Origins of the Christmas Tree
Here in Australia, at the height of our Midsummer, millions of people are erecting and decorating plastic Christmas trees and the occasional weedy looking pine tree in anticipation of the Christmas day celebrations. I am quite certain that very few people actually give due consideration as to why we continue with this strange tradition, especially one that originated in the Northern Hemisphere where this time of year coincides with their winter solstice.
A Christmas tree, also known as a Yule tree, is one of the most popular traditions associated with the celebration of Christmas throughout the world. It is normally an evergreen coniferous tree (or plastic copy) that is brought into a home or used in the open, and is decorated with Christmas lights and colourful ornaments during the days around Christmas.
Did you know that many of the modern Christmas traditions began hundreds of years before Christ was born. Some of these traditions date back more than 4000 years. The addition of Christ to the celebration of the Winter Solstice did not occur until 300 years after Christ died and as late as 1800, in fact some devout Christian sects, like the Puritans, forbade their members from celebrating Christmas because it was considered a pagan holiday, which is absolutely correct, historically it was a pagan holiday. So what is the history behind these traditions?
The Christmas tree is derived from several solstice traditions. The symbolic meaning of Christmas trees originates in pagan culture where the evergreen represents life, rebirth, and stamina needed to endure the cold and hash winter months.
The Romans decked their halls with garlands of laurel and placed candles in live trees to decorate for the celebration of Saturnalia in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. The Saturnalia was a special time of peace and equality when wars could not be declared, when slaves and masters could eat at the same table, and when gifts were exchanged as a symbol of affection and brotherhood.
In Scandinavia, they hung apples from evergreen trees at the winter solstice to remind themselves that spring and summer will come again. The evergreen tree was the special plant of their sun god, Baldor. At this time fir trees were also burned to commemorate the life that stirs even in the most frigid grips of winter. These traditions also marked the end of the old year and the beginning of a new year.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped many gods, their Sun God was called Ra, and he had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disc in his crown. At the winter solstice, they would prepare for the coming of the Sun God by filling their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death.
In ancient Britain the Druids used to celebrate the Winter Solstice by keeping the Festival of Nolagh. It needs to be said at this point however, that there is little contemporary evidence for their practices as it was an oral tradition, and thus little can be said of them with assurance. It is believed that they observed this season in their great ringed temples at Stonehenge and Avebury. Many of our Christmas customs such as the Yule log, and the use of mistletoe and holly originated there.
There is one tree that was especially sacred to the Druids this was the mighty oak. During their winter festivals, they would decorated oak trees with apples and burning candles as a way of offering thanks to the gods who gave them sunlight and food.
Among plants that were sacred to the Druids were mistletoe and holly. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant which is found high in the branches of certain oak trees. To harvest it, the Arch Druid had to reach up and remove it, careful to make sure that it didn't touch the ground and lose its magic properties. They believed that the plant could cure illness, produce fertility and help to make peace with one's enemies. A kiss beneath the mistletoe symbolized the end of grievances. The holly plant was believed to have special magical powers to ward off evil spirits.
So if you are like me erecting a Yule Tree over the summer holidays, bear in mind that it doesn't have to be just a representation of a Christ - mass, it can be a representation of what the tree was originally intended for: a symbol of life, rebirth, a time of peace and of giving thanks for our good fortune.
Herbs ~ Mistletoe
Sweet emblem of returning peace, the heart's full gush and love's release,
Spirits in human fondness flow and greet the pearly mistletoe.
Oh! Happy tricksome time of mirth, giv'n to the stars of sky and earth!
May all the best of feeling know, the custom of the mistletoe.
Married and single, proud and free, yield to the season, trim with glee:
Time will not stay ... he cheats us so ... A kiss? ... 'tis gone ... the mistletoe.
The largest family of Mistletoes, Loranthaceae, has 73 genera and over 900 species. Subtropical and tropical climates have markedly more Mistletoe species; Australia has 85, of which 71 are in Loranthaceae, and 14 in Santalaceae.
The Norse god Balder was the best loved of all the gods. His mother was Frigga, goddess of love and beauty. She loved her son so much that she wanted to make sure no harm would come to him. So she went through the world, securing promises from everything that sprang from the four elements--fire, water, air, and earth--that they would not harm her beloved Balder. Leave it to Loki, a sly, evil spirit, to find the loophole. The loophole was mistletoe. He made an arrow from its wood. To make the prank even nastier, he took the arrow to Hoder, Balder's brother, who was blind. Guiding Holder's hand, Loki directed the arrow at Balder's heart, and he fell dead. Frigga's tears became the mistletoe's white berries. In the version of the story with a happy ending, Balder is restored to life, and Frigga is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the offending plant--making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it.
Mistletoe: Friend or Foe
Mistletoe has been used as a Yuletide decoration for centuries. The soft woody plant, with its dark green, oval foliage and white berries, symbolizes peace and love. The Norse belief may have been the origin of this symbolism as it was said that men who met in battle under mistletoe would stop their fighting, kiss and make-up. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe may have also originated from the Druids who considered the mistletoe sacred. They believed that it held magical virtue and was a remedy for evil. Druids believed that anything found growing on an oak tree had been sent from heaven and mistletoe found on oaks was especially sacred. In the Celtic language, mistletoe means "All heal" and it was thought to possess miraculous healing powers and hold the soul of the host tree. The priests would cut pieces of the oak tree on which the mistletoe grew and offer them along with two white bulls as a sacrifice to pagan gods. Neither herb nor plant, and suspended high in the branches of sacred trees, Mistletoe was thought by the Druids to be an "in between", or a gateway to other worlds. Such was their reverence for the plant that the Celtic Tree alphabet had no word for it. Twigs with berries were hung above doors to indicate that past grievance and hatreds were forgiven and it was used in amulets, bracelets and rings to ward off evil and protect against witchcraft and poisoning. These customs and beliefs have carried over to its use at Christmas time to encourage passion by way of kissing. Hanging up the white berries was a subtle challenge to kiss the suspecting or unsuspecting individual who stood beneath it. In some traditions each time a couple kiss under the mistletoe a single white berry is removed and the kissing ceases when the final berry is removed. There is a myth associated with this practice that stated if any unmarried women of the household went unkissed during the hanging of the mistletoe, they would not marry in the coming year.
Let's get into the interesting story on how the name "mistletoe" came into existence. The name is a combination of the Anglo-Saxon words "mistel", meaning "dung" and "tan", meaning "twig". Hence, mistletoe is "dung-on-a-twig". Mistletoe gives the notion- life can spring from dung. The parasites grow on the dungs of the birds on the branches. Thus mistletoes came to be known as the symbol of life and fertility in the Christian domain of beliefs. They are also taken as the sexual symbol and the soul of the oak trees.
Mistletoe is not like typical plants which obtain support, water and nutrients from the soil in which they grow. Mistletoe is a parasite, which lives in the tops of trees. It sends out roots, which penetrate the bark and enter the water and nutrient conducting tissue of a tree. After a young plant is established it grows very quickly and lives about ten years, after which it usually dies from mechanical breakage or excessive shade. Eventually the tree is weakened and will decline in health as it is robbed of its nutrition by the clinging mistletoe.
Today, mistletoe remains a desirable decoration of the holiday season. Most people think of its attractive white berries and evergreen foliage in this decorating context and are surprised to hear that it is harmful to trees. The plant also has poisonous properties and should be kept out of the reach of small children who may be tempted to eat the berries.
Prescriptions for herbs?
New technology could make it possible - December 4, 1996
Scientists at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, working with World Health Organization (WHO) group, and Pharmaprint, a California company, have figured out how to identify the active ingredients in herbs. So herbal medicines can be made in a consistent manner and then patented, clinically tested, and prescribed by doctors the way conventional drugs are. "It'll add another dimension if you like to what's available for doctors to use with reliable scientific evidence," said Dr. Ralph Edwards of the WHO Collaborating Centre.
Pharmaprint is seeking approval of a prescription drug version of mistletoe. The natural medicine has been used in Europe to boost immunity in AIDS patients. But not all mistletoe works. "It makes a difference what type of mistletoe you use, the time of the year it's harvested, whether you use the berries, the leaves, the twigs," explained Dr. Clive Taylor of the University of Southern California School of Medicine.
The small white berries, produce by the plant, are generally considered to be extremely toxic and if eaten by children produce epileptic type fits and convulsions. Not surprisingly then, the Celts and other cultures were quick to realise the homeopathic uses of the plant and used extracts of the berries for many ailments including convulsions, delirium, hysteria, neuralgia and heart conditions and as an antidote for poison. The Native Americans used a "Tea ooze" for bathing the head as a cure for headache while an infusion of the plant helped to lower blood pressure and ease lung problems. The plant, dried and powdered, particularly if it came from an oak tree was said to be good for epilepsy and to cure "love sickness" and other uses included cures for debility and paralytic weakness.
Mistletoe is one herb associated with Litha and also one of its symbols.
Magical Purpose & Herbal Associations
Activator, Defence, Dream Magic, Exorcism, Fertility, Health,
Hunting, Invisibility, Locks, Love, Prophetic Dreams.
Herbs and their Magical Associations
Mistletoe - (TOXIC) healing, protection, love, fertility, health, exorcism
Mistletoe Viscum album (Toxic) - Sun, Jupiter
Herbal Substitutions for Magical Purposes
Some herbs are hard to find, and it's often difficult to maintain an extensive supply of herbs, so here's some suggested substitutions for when you haven't got the necessary ingredient. Tobacco can be substituted for any poisonous herb.
Mistletoe can be substituted by Mint or Sage.
(Note: these substitutions are for magical use only - always check up on the safety or toxicity of any herb before use.)
Ingress Astrology - Part IV
by Jenni Barnett
Jenni Barnett is a practising Heathen of the Celtic and Norse pantheons. She also studies Astrology through the Sirius School of Astrology.
Was Hael, and welcome to the final instalment of Ingress Astrology. We now approach the final ingress by way of the Sun moving into Capricorn - thus marking the Summer Solstice and the Sun moving to its most southerly point on the Tropic of Capricorn before moving northward towards the equator once more.
At the time of this particular solstice, we see the Sun rising from the southeast and setting in the southwest, bringing with it longer days and more leisure time. The Sun's arc has crossed at its widest point and will come to a standstill on 22nd December when it goes into 0 degrees of Capricorn, marking the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours.
We are fortunate in this part of the world to have roughly 15 hours of daylight by the time the Sun has reached this mark. The washing will dry in next to no time on a clothes line, lawns mowed at an earlier or later time of day, days spent at a beach or by a pool to cool off. This is the time of year to enjoy the fruits of our labour, take time off from work and go on holidays over the school's summer break, and perhaps catch up on some other loose ends that need to be tied up.
For this final ingress point, we come to the last of the Cardinal and Earth signs in Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. Saturn is representative of rules and restrictions, boundaries, the law and justice. Saturn is also called "Old Father Time" because in traditional Astrology, he rules the later stages of a person's life - a time when retirement is imminent and we are more aware of our mortality. We have this huge road to look back on in terms of life's experiences and the path to our journey's end isn't far off. We could find ourselves alone in old age, but there is also a chance to enjoy those things in life that we otherwise didn't have time for in our youth.
For those born under this sign, they can be perceived as being quite serious and ambitious, recognition for their achievements is important - as well as their chosen career! These people tend to be very patient, if a little dour at times, because they will take the time to put everything into place from the ground up. The laying down of solid foundations - be it in work, friendships or relationships (especially the latter) - is crucial for these people. They are also some of the most logical thinkers and doers of the zodiac. Their motto could be along the lines of, "If it can't be proven, then why should I believe it?" However, don't think for a moment that they are dull and boring, because they are not. The saturnian nature just makes them more happy when they know that all the pieces of their puzzle are in the right places - then they can relax and enjoy themselves!
The first square that comes around from Capricorn happens to be Aries, ruled by Mars - yes that hot-headed warrior who can act first and ask questions later. Feeling restricted in this fashion (and at this time of year) can produce feelings of being overwhelmed and blocked up - their way is barred, and frustration may set in. Yet there may be valid reasons for this to occur. Saturn will provide those important lessons for us to stop and think about what we're doing, where we're going and why we want to do anything at that moment.
Squares are among the most challenging aspects in the horoscope, but once these issues are addressed, they are also the most liberating to conquer. As we know, without challenges, we don't learn from our experiences and we most certainly wouldn't have any fears, trials and tribulations to overcome and perhaps master.
For myself, being an Aries, this time of year is a very challenging one for me. I enjoy the slower pace that the summer holidays bring, but I also champ at the bit because I know there is much work that I otherwise wouldn't have time for, which needs to be done. Saturn is showing me the true nature of my path as I get older and (perhaps) wiser, there are more important things in life to take care of besides the more trivial matters.
The Capricorn person dealing with Martians might not enjoy the otherwise "In your face" attitude that the Aries person would bring to them. One thing's for sure though. Life is never boring, and everyone could loosen up to enjoy that childlike quality that comes from Mars - curious about the world around them, and having fun in the moment.
Moving from Aries, we come to the opposition placement of Cancer, ruled by the Moon - she of the watery depths who governs the tides, monthly cycles, the more nurturing and receptive sides of our psyche. Oppositions are also challenging, but in a different way to the square. Those born under Cancer (along with their Capricornian counterpart) are in that situation which will bring people of opposing - and yet harmonious - backgrounds to them. The lessons to be learned here are of accepting that despite the seemingly obvious differences, similar paths and experiences are shared and you are able to find more common ground. The trick is to be more open-minded about it.
The final square around the zodiac is in the sign of Libra, ruled by Venus. Since Venus rules both Taurus and Libra, she takes on differing roles. In the case of Libra, she values peace and harmony, marriage and relationships, social settings and diplomacy. People born under Libra seek the balance at all costs, often at the expense of possible fence-sitting. It is a credit to these people that they can see all sides of any debates and crises that arise, but it is hard to rely on them for any hard and fast decisions! The Capricorn individual might want to strike a particular deal while they feel the iron is hot, but unfortunately for them, the Libran individual will still want to weigh up the pros and cons - such is their nature. The lesson in this instance is to find something in the way of a happy medium, as both parties could be right in their manner of thinking.
As I said, this is the final instalment of the Ingress series. Writing these articles has allowed me to look back on an incredible journey that this year has brought - with the promise of more interesting times to come! Astrology is an amazing tool, and used properly, will provide the querent with insightful information that is pertinent to either themselves or those around them. Aside from the usual note of caution that any form of knowledge should never be abused for one's personal gain, you might also find that such studies can be addictive!
As we approach the Solstice, let us take the time to relax and enjoy our spoils - as well as reflecting on what the year has brought for us. Depending on your religion, you would give thanks to the Sun King, before relinquishing his power to his brother the Holly King. In some cultures, the solar deity is female and thanks given to her before her brother of the night takes over the reins.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the tradition of Christmas is also celebrated in keeping with our Northern Hemisphere cousins. So whichever tradition you choose to acknowledge (both, if we have young children who know of Santa Claus!), I give you a hearty thanks for spending this time with me. I hope you have gained much insight into your spiritual journey, along with that of those around you.
Hael and farewell until next year!
Read this and other articles by Jenni Barnett on Spheres Of Light's website in Astrology Corner
Deities of Litha
by Patti Wigington
The summer solstice has long been a time when cultures celebrated the lengthening year. It is on this day, sometimes called Litha, that there is more daylight than any other time; a direct counterpoint to the darkness of Yule. No matter where you live, or what you call it, chances are you can connect to a culture that honoured a sun deity around this time of year. Here are just a few of the gods and goddesses from around the world that are connected with the summer solstice. Read more here...
The other morning I went out to do a bit of watering and discovered that some lowlife had climbed onto our wall at the front of our home and had systematically broken off most of the flowers from our Agapanthus, then thrown them on the ground in front of the wall. My first thought was for revenge, hoping that they would fall into a big hole in the ground and become fertilizer, doing more for the world then, than they had in life. To be true, my second and third thoughts were even worse. However, after having a rant and rave I contemplated on types of protection: how often, how strong, the meaning, and what we needed and why.
Traditionally a Besom was used to cleanse the house, starting from the room furthest from the front door. When each room was completed, the door was shut behind you as you worked through the house towards the front. Then the bad "vibes" and negative energy were swept outside, letting the earth absorb it.
Note: It is said that the house should be empty of all belongings (although this is not always possible) and when bringing in your belongings they should be cleansed and purified (again this is difficult when the removalist is standing there waiting). However, having read various protection methods I can recommend the following process:
Protection - Part 1: Property Protection
The kitchen is often the centre of most activity of your house, flat, or apartment, so start there. On the kitchen bench, place in the quarters the following items:
North = Matches. (fire) Red candle
West = Stone. (earth) Green candle
South = Feather. (air) Yellow candle
East = Shell. (water) Blue candle
(The above items can be changed around to different quarters to suit your calling.)
Place a large white candle in the centre (with a plate under it); light the quarter candles one at a time going anti-clockwise calling in the power of that quarter and their energy. Light the centre candle at the end, bringing your energy to the centre. Take the large candle to the room furthest from the front, enter and walk around the room in a spiral starting at the door and finishing in the centre, capturing all the unwanted past, negative energy in the candle. Bring the candle back towards the door then exit, closing the door behind you. Do this with each room in the house. This may seem a bit time-consuming, but it took time to build the bad energy and it will take time to banish.
When every room has been done take the candle to the front door and walk outside. Turn and face away from the house and blow the candle out, blowing all negativity (and not good stuff) away to be absorbed by the universe. When you do come back inside, after the neighbours are left wondering "what the...?" take a frankincense incense stick and light it from the earth candle. Take the incense stick and a small bell if you have one, or a stone if you do not have a bell, then walk around the perimeter of your house. If you live in a flat/apartment, go for a walk around the whole block ...the other residents might just think you are smoking something funny.
Next, bring down a bubble of protection from the universe. Ring the bell at the corners (just a little ring), continuing doing this until you feel confident that your shield is there. When you are inside again give thanks to the quarters, blow the candles out going in a clockwise direction, saying as you do so:
I am safe I am protected,
I am safe I am protected,
I am safe I am protected,
I am safe I am protected.
When you have a need of your protection bubble, it will automatically be there. Just remember the words, "Whenever I need".
Note: Your bubble is yours to keep and to protect, whenever you need it. This type of protection can also be used for other possessions e.g. car, bike, skateboard etc. When your home and surroundings are secure it is time to look at yourself.
Protection - Part 2: Aura & Chakra Cleaning will be featured in next month's edition of Axis Mundi.
Getting back to those little so-and-so's who destroyed our Agapanthus flowers, if they think they are getting away "scot free" they have another thing coming... LOL
Besom information from Working with Psychic Protection by Teresa Moorey.
Image from http://casaflorilor.com/images/Agapanthus.jpg
Australian Midsummer Flower
by Janine Donnellan
Each year I look forward to the blooming of a bush in my yard that I associate with Midsummer. Its correct name is Ceratopetalum gummiferum - (Ceratopetalum - from two Greek words meaning horned-petal, gummiferum - gum-bearing, alluding to the gum richly exuded from the bark) however it is commonly known as Christmas Bush.
Towards the end of December this hardy and reliable plant puts on a great display of red 'flowers' that I admire so much - however all is not what it seems. The true flowers are white in colour and fairly insignificant and are seen in late spring to early November. After pollination by flies and native bees, the sepals, which are the outer series or whorl of flora leaves that protect the flower bud, enlarge and turn deep pink to red in colour.
Issue 10 - SUMMER, DEC 2008
SPHERES OF LIGHT (SOL)
ABN 46 385 794 818
We are based in Australia, in the Sydney-Illawarra area of NSW.
More about us...
For general inquiries...
Phone Janine on 0408 025 268
In addition to our regular Full Moon Circles we also run workshops and classes which are highly interactive and experiential,
focusing on participation and engagement of participants. If you want to keep abreast of SOL's circles, gatherings, workshops and
activities please check out our Events Calendar.
SOuL Searchers is Spheres of Light's paranormal investigations subgroup. One of the many things you will find unique about the
SOuL Searchers team, unlike the majority of other paranormal investigators, is that we undertake our investigations from a shamanic
The Spheres Of Light Holistic Centre has within its members practitioners who can provide Spiritual Healing in a variety of
natural healing modalities. Each modality is designed to heal all levels of the body; the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual
bodies. Working with ancient universal energies, healing works to restore balance, bring inner harmony and peace, to re-energise the
body, to stimulate the body's own immune system and so aid recovery, as well as inducing deep relaxation. Healing is excellent for
relieving modern day stresses and providing support during difficult times in your life.
If you want to know about current topics check out the forum pages. This is a place where you can discuss ideas and catch up on
general news. So if you want to participate please become a member as we would love to hear from you.
... plus much, much more!
On our Networking page you will find many links to other Australian Pagan groups and organisations, as well as Australian
Pagan (and pagan-friendly) Businesses & Services. If you would like to have a link to your group or business on the SOL website
please email firstname.lastname@example.org This service
is provided free of charge. If possible a reciprocal link to SOL would be much appreciated.
SOL Full Moon Circle
Friday February 6, 2009
Spheres Of Light holds regular Full Moon Circles near Engadine (Southern Sydney, Australia) on the Friday before each Full Moon. These Full Moon gatherings are Open Circles, meaning that all Pagans are welcome to come along any time and experience a Full Moon circle with us. Details here...
SOL Meditation in the Royal National Park
Come on a Shamanic journey through meditation. Let nature speak to you and become part of your inner landscape in the same way that the ancient ones paid attention to the signs and symbols of the cosmos. The mystical path of direct knowing is the world's oldest form of communion with the Source and is based on a deep, living relation to Nature.
When you are in harmony with nature you can hear the voice of the wind, you can understand the language of the birds and the message they bring to you. Listen to the sound of the water as she sings her ancient songs and feel the air blowing against your face whispering its secrets to your inner soul. Talk to nature and listen to what it has to tell you. Connect with Mother Earth, become present to her innate call.
Meditation is simply the process of stilling the mind so that all wants, needs, and desires disappear and then allow the Universe to enter and heal and to inspire.
Come join us for meditation in the beautiful surrounds of The Royal National Park. Our meditations will be conducted every third Sunday of the month. What a great way to start the year.
If you would like to join us please email email@example.com for times and meet up details.
(Please Note: you must be over 18 years of age to attend any SOL gatherings, events, classes & workshops.)
PAGAN AND COMMUNITY EVENTS
Please email us the details of any pagan or community events, classes, workshops or regular meetings that you'd like to see promoted here in this free listing.
PAN Full Moon Public Circle
Jan 11, 2009 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
Date: Sunday January 11, 2009 at 8:30pm
The circle is held on the top of Rotaract Hill on Terminus Road Seven Hills NSW, just next to the train station. Getting there is easy. If you take the train, the hill is less than five minutes walk (and easily visible from the station). If you drive, there is plenty of parking available both at the base of the hill and across Terminus Road. Full Moon info here, and Full Moon FAQ here or for other details, email Jo
Australian College of Mediumship
Old Town Hall Theatre, Campbelltown
Said to be one of the most well known ghost stories in Australia. Why not join us to see if you can find Fisher's Ghost.
Friday 30th January, 2009
Cost: $55 per person
Early bird pricing $45 p.p. before 15th Dec 2008
More details & contact information here.
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Submitted by Dragonwicc
Pink Dandelion Wine
This is a think ahead recipe as it takes one year to age properly. During the hot summer months, when dandelions dot your unsprayed, unpolluted yard (or if you are growing them in your garden), smile, thank the earth and make some ritual wine for next year or as a gift to someone. Then, in a year, enjoy this gift of Earth and Sky (or use it as an offering for the fairies!)
2 quarts dandelions blossoms
2 quarts water
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4-5 cups sugar
1/3 cake active yeast (or wine yeast)
Take the blossoms, remove stem and leaves, and boil in water. Remove from heat and let stand overnight, then strain. Then add lemon, raspberries, cinnamon and sugar (so its overly sweet to the taste). Warm mixture over low flame until the sugar is dissolved (honey many be substituted in equal proportions.
Next, when the mixture is lukewarm, add active yeast which as been suspended in warm water. Cover the pan with a towel and let it set for three days undisturbed. As you check it, visualise the energy in your wine increasing even as the bubbles are forming ( a sign of fermentation starting).
Finally, strain the mixture again and bottle in loosely corked bottles. Once the corks no longer pop out, tasted to see if the wine needs any additional sugar. If so, return it to the stove and sweeten to taste, but bring it to a boil so as to kill the yeast. Cork tightly and let age for one year in a cool, dark area best results.
Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons coriander chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili sauce chinese
You may use either chunky or smooth peanut butter.
If you dont like peanut sauce, try the "Tart Sweet Sauce" - Add peanut butter to a small bowl. Slowly whisk in remaining ingredients.
Submitted by Amethyst
Put in soap or use to annoint candles.
5 drops lavender
4 drops rosemary
4 drops rose
Add a piece of dried vervain, a small citrine, clear quartz crystal, and a sprinkle of gold glitter. So magical and beautiful!
Summer Solstice Ritual
45 drops lemon or lavender oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried lavender
2 cups dried wisteria
2 cups dried verbena
Mix the lemon or lavender oil with the oak moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.
(The above recipe for "Summer Solstice Ritual Potpourri" is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich's book "The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch's Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes", page 162, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)
Midsummer Incense #1:
2 parts Sandalwood
1 part Mugwort
1 part Chamomile
1 part Gardenia petals
a few drops Rose oil
a few drops Lavender oil
a few drops Yarrow oil
Burn at Wiccan rituals at the Summer Solstice or at that time to attune with the seasons and the Sun.
Midsummer Incense #2:
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Benzoin
1 part Dragon's Blood
1 part Thyme
1 part Rosemary
1 pinch Vervain
a few drops Red Wine
Burn at Wiccan rituals at the Summer Solstice or at that time to attune with the seasons and the Sun.
(The above recipe for "Midsummer Incense" is quoted directly from Scott Cunningham's book "The Complete Book of Incenses, Oils & Brews", page 80, Llewellyn Publications, 1989/1992.)
2 Parts Sandalwood
1 Part Camomile
1 Part Gardenia petals
few drops Rose oil
few drops Lavender oil
few drops yarrow oil
THE PHOTO CORNER
A place to showcase your artistic talents behind the lens...
A collection of photos submitted by Lunafairybeliever, showing a beautiful sunset sky with a storm brewing over Albion Park Rail (near Wollongong, NSW).
Click on the image below to see more...
Introducing this month's Pagan Pets: "Elite", "Princess Biscuit" and "Ginger", all owned by Lunafairybeliever. Elite is a 20 year old Arabian pony mare and has the sweetest nature; the kids can walk under her legs and do anything with her. Princess Biscuit, who is a 25 year old Arabian mare, is young at heart and thinks she is only 2 years old. Ginger is a lovable 11 year old shetland pony who likes to think that he is really a dog. And, like most dogs, he has an insatiable appetite - here he is helping himself to the feed shed (below).
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