From the Editor...
Life is a Mirror
Last night as I was looking at the black shiny scrying mirrors and bowls that I purchased for the upcoming scrying workshop, I found myself pondering on how life can become quite surreal at times, especially when you are working with various states of realities. Take last Sunday for example at the SOL meditation in the park, our group experienced some amazing similarities in our visualisations. It is remarkable what one can tap into during these meditative sessions and I hope that the scrying weekend will reveal some equally wonderful insights.
Peering through a blackened Looking-Glass, all seems very Alice in Wonderland where you are sometimes shown a world where things aren't always what they seem; a world of echoing mirrors which can take us on incredible journeys to worlds within worlds within worlds.
We are ourselves a mirror; seeing and reflecting the myriad of experiences of our mundane and spiritual lives as we search for our truth, trying to come to an understanding of who we really are. It reminds me of a dream I had several years ago, where I was invited to a fancy dress ball, the theme was to come as a favourite music album. I found myself at the ball with just a hand mirror and the album I was representing was Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells a Story". It was truly a profound dream and it made me realise the mirrored pictures of our life may be just distorted representations of our own unique perceptions about ourself.
If one is not happy with what life is reflecting then the quickest way to change your reflection is by learning to truly love and appreciate yourself. Whether you are conscious of the power of your mind or not, the mirror of life is directly related to how you perceive yourself. Even people who are not aware that their thoughts create their reality can and do create truly incredible lives when they love and acknowledge themselves.
"Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it."
~ Ernest Holmes
SOL's Full Moon Circle
by Janine Donnellan
~ Friday October 30, 2009
Our Beltane celebration this year was a wonderful joyous night of effervescent energy as we connected with the rambunctious God Pan and the Spring Maiden, to celebrate the union of the Goddess and the Horned God, and the fertility in all aspects of life.
The ritual was blessed and sanctified by the power of the Dragons and the Elemental Rulers were evoked to guard and protect the circle. Once the circle was cast and our hosts welcomed in, we were taken on a meditative journey to Arcadia to frolic with the nymphs and to connect to the Sovereign Satyr Lord. We rode on the back of a majestic stag and were taken through time and space to that idyll bucolic otherworld known as the "golden age" of nature.
One of our circle members took on the persona of the God Pan providing us with an imaginative and exciting visual re creation of the saucy wild God of Nature; "the holy Pan of the shepherds' shrine, goat-footed God, Faunus of the forest glades". The Lady of Spring, exuberant Earth Maiden, resplendent in her laurel of flowers danced in joyous abandon with the goat-footed God around the phallic maypole which was erected in the centre of our circle.
We all followed our Beltane hosts in the merry maypole dance backed by Spiral Dance music and a good deal of impromptu drumming and clapping. We ended our evening of frivolity with the song, "We all come from the Goddess" and then we thanked our ancient hosts and the Elemental Rulers for their presence and guidance and the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing. The circle was closed and then we all finished the evening with a sumptuous 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, December 4. Please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
Trick or Treat
by Craig PhoenixWolf
As a pagan I am often asked what it is I believe in. What is it that makes me Pagan and not some other religion or atheist? What is the difference between my beliefs and those of modern Satanists? I think that we all find those questions from time to time. For some the answer is easy. Some find answering difficult because they have to hide part of themselves from those around them be they family, friends or work.
I know I find some people harder to talk to about my beliefs out of fear of repercussions or ridicule.
I welcome though those questions. Each time I am asked about my beliefs I need to think about them and in doing so I again learn about myself and what is important to me.
I have had lengthy debates with one friend who is Christian. We compare our beliefs and views and from them we both learn. Some times I find her arguments laughable and other times I admire her devotion to a specific idea. Each time we debate it brings about a new understanding.
I do like seeing the way Christianity incorporates Pagan practices.
Halloween was only a week ago and while not big here it is recognised world wide and celebrated by many good church-going Christians. You have to wonder how they can dress as sexy witches and vampires and yet at the same time reject witchcraft and the beliefs of others in the natural worlds of magick.
I know only last year a colleague was telling me how his neighbour's children were knocking on the door shouting, "Trick or Treat." In itself nothing unusual, though not as common as in the United States. What made this amusing was that these kids would have gone home to their mum and dad asking about Pagans because my colleague pointed out it was a Pagan holiday. I would loved to have been a fly on the wall as the family is Brethren.
So here is a child's activity that can bring into question one's beliefs.
Halloween is a night when the spirit veil is thinnest but in modern practice by most it is a time when not the spirit veil but the veil of our own inhibition is often at the weakest. We see parties where conservative people slip into skimpy costumes and dance and drink and celebrate with all the excitement of a Roman orgy.
This is a celebration of life not death. Of the joys of living and the gifts of the Gods. It is funny that the Gods who bring us these pleasures are often the Gods who are considered Trickster's by their kin and by man: Bel the Egyptian God, Pan of Olympus,and Kokopelli of the American Indians. Gods who give us music, laughter and the joys of alcohol. They are often seen as virility and lust. They are also Tricksters who bring with them the power to make the mighty into fools. Hence the commonality of some form of alcohol which when over indulged removes inhibitions and makes sane people fools.
What is the quality of a Trickster?
|Bugs and Daffy fight over which one of them is in season at the moment, in this scene from Rabbit Fire.|
Look at popular character Bugs Bunny. He is a consummate Trickster: smart, quick witted, intelligently manipulating the situation to his advantage. Bugs uses his wits to make fools of Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and who can forget Daffy and Bugs going through the whole Duck Season, Rabbit Season... Fire bit.
Halloween is their time; the time of tricks. Halloween is a time when so many worry about the treats but the Trickster is always there waiting to be called on. I know that I have seen Loki have a mischievous effect when he was called while charging water by the light of a full moon. The water itself became potent stuff and those drinking it acted as though intoxicated. With minor inhibitions gone, the Trickster's energy led to practical jokes and laughter.
I have talked about Dragonet Dewr's book Sacred Paths for Modern Men which is an exploration of archetypes based on the various Gods of the world. He describes the Trickster as "not a buffoon or a village idiot; there is usually some serious content behind what he does, some greater purpose."
I believe sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. We as individuals and as Pagans can get too serious and when we do, the Trickster will be there yelling at us those famous words, "Trick or Treat." Well, they can keep the treat, I will take the trick. Why? Because it will help me grow. We learn when we fall flat on our posteriors or are hit in the face with a cream pie.
In Australia we celebrate Beltane at the same time the North celebrates All Hallows. It is interesting to note that most of the Trickster Gods are also those connected to lust and passion; things that Beltane celebrates. I think it is no wonder this time of year we see these holidays.
To me the Gods that rule this time have a lesson to teach us. Nothing is so important, nothing so sacred we can not laugh at it, and nothing is more important than to embrace life and not take it too seriously.
"Rabbit Fire" image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_Fire
Jack-o-Lantern image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jack-o%27-Lantern_2003-10-31.jpg
Australian Spring Flower - Illawarra Flame Tree
by Janine Donnellan
One of the most striking flowers at this time of year comes from the Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius), which is a large deciduous tree native to subtropical regions on the east coast of Australia. It is famous for the bright red bell-shaped flowers that often cover the whole tree and this spectacular flowering occurs in late spring with the new foliage ready for the summer rains. In areas where the winter is not particularly dry, this natural rhythm may become somewhat erratic and the tree may flower only partially.
Flowers are scarlet bells with 5 partially fused petals, they occur in clusters at the end of branches. The pod-like fruits (technically known as follicles) are dark brown, wide, boat-shaped and about 10 cm long. They contain masses of thin bristles that stick in the skin and are easily inhaled, so it is not advisable to handle any open seed pods. These seeds are nutritious and were eaten by Aborigines after toasting. It is interesting to note that for thousands of years the Australian Aboriginals have used a variety of plants such as the Illawarra flame tree fruits not only for food but also for healing of emotional imbalances and physical injuries.
Illawarra Flame Tree Bush Essence
Ian White, a naturopath whose grandmother and great grandmother were among the first white people to research the medicinal qualities of Australian plants has developed an Illawarra Tree essence which works on the mind, body and spirit and is obtained by extracting the healing vibrational quality from the most evolved part of the plant.
Positive Outcome: confidence, commitment, self reliance, self approval. Renews passion & enthusiasm for life. Centres and harmonises one's vital forces.
Negative Condition: overwhelming sense of rejection, fear of responsibility, Temporary loss of drive, enthusiasm and excitement.
This essence renews enthusiasm and joy for life. It is for those who feel 'not quite right', drained, jaded or not fully recovered from setbacks, certainly a good essence to take at this hectic time of year. The essence is also ideal for self rejection, or for a person feeling apprehensive about a new experience, e.g. parenthood, or where there is a fear of responsibility. This Essence will help a person take that first step. It is also beneficial for those whose numbers in numerology are 11, 22 or 33 - people who have usually chosen to do very important work this life.
In the past I've written about the Eagle, then the Bear and then the Salmon. Now it's time to write about the last of the animals that Spirit told me about.
In July this year Rayvensclaw and I attended a Drum Making Workshop, where I helped him make his drum. Later at a circle when they were cleansed and consecrated, I took my Bodhran that we bought in Ireland last year. In the meditation to connect to the drum, my drum (even though I had not made it) told me that it was connected to the World Tree. Through this tree a wolf came into me and when we started playing our drums I only wanted to use my hands to beat the drum. I was trying to simulate the sound of the Wolf running.
Water is the sacred possession of this clan (as it is of the Waterspirit Clan). When Ma'una created this world he made four wolves: Blue Wolf, Black Wolf, White Wolf, and Gray Wolf. The names of Blue Wolf and Black Wolf refer to the day and night skies respectively. They were the ancestors of the present Wolf Clan. Originally, all four of these wolves lived on the surface of the earth, but later all except Gray Wolf went to live below ground, and now can only be seen on rare occasions.
To understand totem wolf symbols, one must first understand the heart of the Wolf. This takes time because the Wolf has had to endure many false stereotypes, misconceptions and misunderstandings. They are probably the most misunderstood of wild animals. Tales of cold-bloodedness abound, in spite of their friendly, social and intelligent traits. They are truly free spirits, even though their packs are highly organized. They seem to go out of their way to avoid a fight. One is rarely necessary when a shift in posture, a growl, or a glance gets the point across quite readily.
Some common traits that accompany totem wolf symbols:
Not at all the picture of ferocity or terror, the Wolf is a creature with a high sense of loyalty and strength. Another misconception is that of the "lone wolf". To the contrary, the Wolf is actually a social creature, friendly, and gregarious with its counterparts.
The Wolf is an incredible communicator. By using touch, body movements, eye contact as well as many complex vocal expressions - the wolf makes his point understood. Those with totem wolf symbols are of the same inclination - they are expressive both vocally and physically. Those who have the wolf as their totem animal are naturally eloquent in speech, and also have knack for creative writing.
Totem wolf symbols belong to those who truly understand the depth of passion that belong to this noble creature. The Wolf is a representative of deep faith, and profound understanding. Further, the Wolf possess a high intellect, and have been observed using strategies about hunting, habitat and migration.
The totem Wolf symbol appears with the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. Legend has it that the two founding brothers were raised and suckled by a she-wolf. In Norse mythology, the Wolf is a symbol for victory when ridden by Odin and the Valkyries upon the battlefield.
As a Celtic symbol the Wolf was a source of lunar power. Celtic lore states that the Wolf would hunt down the sun and devour it at each dusk so as to allow the power of the moon to come forth. In Asia, the wolf guards the doors that allow entrance to heavenly, celestial realms. The Wolf is also said to be among the ancestry of Genghis Khan.
Wolves have been long regarded by Native Americans as teachers or pathfinders. Wolves are fiercely loyal to their mates, and have a strong sense of family while maintaining individualism. In the stars, Wolf is represented by the Dog, Sirius, thought by many aboriginal tribes to be the home of the Ancients.
Traditionally, someone with Wolf Medicine has a strong sense of self, and communicates well through subtle changes in voice inflection and body movements. They often find new solutions to problems while providing stability and support that one normally associates with a family structure. Wolf's medicine also includes facing the end of one's cycle with dignity and courage, death and rebirth, Spirit teaching, guidance in dreams and meditations, instinct linked with intelligence, social and family values, outwitting enemies, ability to pass unseen, steadfastness, skill in protection of self and family, taking advantage of change.
When this gracious creature appears to us, and serves as a totem in our lives, the Wolf beckons us to ask these questions:
Are you thinking about a different form of education?
Are you being a true friend, and are your friends being true to you?
Are you communicating yourself clearly to others?
Are you being loyal to yourself?
Are you incorporating strategies and planning to achieve your goals?
Are you spending enough quality time with yourself, friends and family?
Wolf = loyalty, perseverance and success.
A ritual, incorporating the energies of wolf, eagle, salmon and bear, will be held on Friday 27th November at the Scrying Workshop. This ritual will be conducted as a special ritual for our Scrying Weekend participants. If you are not coming to the Scrying Weekend but would like to attend this ritual on the Friday night you are most welcome to join us. If you would like address details or further information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Janine on 0408 025 268.
Crystals ~ Golden Topaz (Imperial Topaz)
Appearance: Transparent, Translucent
Colours: also available in colourless, yellow, red-brown, light to dark blue, pink-red, violet, light green.
Properties: Topaz is like having the warmth of the sun shine upon you. Encourages trust in the universe. It is unlimited, effortless, and joyous. Enables you to 'be' rather than 'do' cutting through doubt and uncertainty. Promotes truth and forgiveness. Directs energy to where needed most. It is an emotional balancer, cooling, soothing, peaceful and tranquil. Enhances understanding, creativity and self-expression. It recharges and aligns the meridians. Excellent cleaner of the aura. It supports affirmations, manifestation and visualisation and helps you to discover your own inner riches, natural resources, opening unlimited possibilities. Shedding light on your path, speeding up spiritual development. A stone of abundance connecting you to the source of all that is, manifesting a constant flow to support, nourish, and expand life's love, and creativity. It unlocks your philanthropic energies, teaching that when you give you open yourself to receive. It enriches our spirit, warms and cheers us up.
Topaz is excellent for tissue regeneration. Use to manifest health. Aid digestion and combats anorexia, restores the sense of taste, fortifies the nerves, and stimulates metabolism. It regenerates cellular structures and strengthens the solar plexus and is beneficial for nervous exhaustion, combustion of nutrients. It treats the liver, the gallbladder and the endocrine glands.
Yellow/Gold topaz helps assimilates new knowledge to use for practical application. In combination with citrine, it is an excellent stone for students and researchers.
Topaz crystals placed in the center of a space will bring balance to all the energy in the space assuring that equilibrium and harmony is maintained. Topaz crystals are also used to blunt a poison arrow.
Chakra: Golden Topaz is associated with the area between the Second (Sacral) and Third (Solar Plexus) Chakras. It is used for spiritual healing of issues related to conflicts between emotions and one's true inner path.
Goddess/God: Topaz is used to honor Demeter, the Harvest Goddess, Freya, the Nordic Goddess of the Sun, and Grian the Irish Sun Fairy Queen. Golden Colour: Aine, Goddess of the Sun and Moon, cattle and corm, the harvest. Svarozhich, the Slavic Fire God. Ra or Re, the Ancient Egyptian Sun God.
Magical Work: Sun magick, abundance, manifestation of goals, fulfilling a great dream or ambition, use to recover from a huge setback and in need of energy. Due to its colour, its uses may include, adventure, success and power, sense of purpose, health, vitality, aids us in feeling a zest for what life offers.
Element: Air /Fire - mental activity with added enthusiasm, passion to move forward.
Copyright © 2008 to Crystal Vaults
Crystal Workbook, Sheril Berkovitch
Natural Magick, Cassandra Eason
The Encyclopaedia of Crystals, The Illustrated Guide to Crystals, Judy Hall
The Spells Bible, The Wicca Bible, Ann-Marie Gallagher
Working with The Seasons Workshop, Spheres Of Light
Gemstones of the World, Walter Schumann
Dragons' Breath & Rainbow Pyramids
Even immediately afterward, I always find it difficult to remember all the details of what happened in my meditations, and of course writing this up a day later made it even harder, but I've tried my best to record at least some of the events from a SOL group meditation I attended last Sunday in a beautiful, secluded natural bushland setting.
The meditation began with a guided visualization to open all our chakras and then took us on the beginning of a journey. We then continued our journey in silence, where we followed our own thoughts independently, before eventually being gently called back with more guided visualization to gradually bring us out of the meditation -- closing our chakras again -- and back into our bodies, fully aware of our earthly bushland surroundings.
Instead of opening only the usual 7 major chakras, this time we also opened the 8th chakra -- the transpersonal point -- which is above the crown chakra. This chakra is associated with spiritual connection between individuals, as well as connection to one's Higher Self.
We were guided to breathe in through our transpersonal point, concentrating on bringing universal light through this shimmering silver point to flow through our other chakras. Synchronicity was at play here as the wind in our earthly surroundings picked up, as if on cue, while we all concentrated on breath and air. The sound of the wind took on an otherworldly quality as it blended with and became part of the meditation. I saw the wind all around us -- it seemed to be coming up from the earth. I also met my guide, who was a very large dragon.
I found myself on a precipice overlooking a deep, dark valley shrouded in heavy mist. I felt the immediate urge to surrender myself to the wind and simply lean forward and free-fall. The sensation of the wind rushing upwards against my body as I fell, feeling quite supported on the wind with my arms and legs outstretched, was exhilarating. I felt no fear or apprehension. The words Dragons' Breath came to mind and I immediately knew that this wind was exactly that -- the breath of the dragons blowing upwards from the centre of the Earth. I realised then that I had my dragon wings so I unfurled them and gradually spiralled down through the black void above the mists and eventually came to a grassy meadow below.
I followed a path which led to a small, fast-flowing stream. I put my hand in the water and it became transparent as the stream flowed through it. I allowed the stream to flow through my whole body as I somehow dispersed, becoming one with the water and flowing with the stream. For an instant I was back in my body and aware of an incredibly bright light shining all around the circle where we were sitting in the bush -- I could actually see through my eyelids the silhouettes of the people opposite me as they sat in quiet meditation. I knew this was far too bright to be ordinary sunlight and it was also in the wrong direction in relation to the sun for me to be seeing silhouettes of the people in front of me -- the sun would need to be behind them, not behind me where it actually was, for that to happen. I was almost going to open my eyes to see if it was 'real' but decided against that as it would pull me totally out of the meditation. Instead, I concentrated on getting back to the meadow.
There were beautiful flowers and bright colours in the meadow, and wonderful aromas that could be heard and seen as well as tasted and smelled -- a truly synaesthetic experience! I saw many coloured translucent blobs floating around (unlike bubbles they were quite irregularly shaped and were not transparent) including one beautiful bright pink one which had a particularly fresh, fruity smell and the sound of distant chimes. Smaller blobs of different colours and smells had brighter tinkling sounds coming from them and some smelled of bubble gum.
I became aware of a beautiful clear crystal pyramid in front of me. Its smooth, clear sides glistened and sparkled in the sunlight and there was a mist of swirling rainbow colours inside it. Gradually another shape appeared inside -- an eye, which changed its form from a 'human' eye (like the all-seeing eye used by the Freemasons) to the more stylized Egyptian 'Eye of Horus', then to a dragon's eye with an elongated dark brown iris. The dragon eye blinked once then slowly faded from view, leaving only the swirling rainbow mist inside the crystal pyramid.
I felt very relaxed and at peace and didn't want to leave this beautiful place but reluctantly had to go as we were being called back to close our chakras and be fully aware of being in our bodies again. I felt rather light-headed and 'floaty' for a short while after coming back, as did a few other people in the group who were enjoying being in the other place and didn't really want to return either.
It was very interesting listening to other people's experiences of the meditation. During the guided section of the meditation many of us had already anticipated what would happen next, and were experiencing it long before the person leading the meditation had instructed us on that part. What was even more amazing were the commonalities we shared in the non-guided part of the meditation, when we were left to drift in our own dreamworlds and ponder upon any thought that might come to us, uninfluenced by anyone else in the group as we sat in silence with only the sounds of the bush around us. The person sitting next to me saw a clear crystal pyramid similar, or maybe the same as mine, containing an eye and rainbow colours! Over half the people in the group saw pyramids in some form and many others saw eyes. Some of us shared visions of certain predominant colours, especially the pinks and rainbow colours. Many were also given personal messages by their guides relating to some aspect of their lives while others, like me, were just enjoying the astral scenery. Even the sound of the wind evoked a similar response in people, in that they experienced it as being something ethereal and supernatural rather than a simple local meteorological phenomenon. We were obviously all on the same 'wavelength' and tapping into something very similar to each other, which is also a frequent and amusing occurrence in our group meditations.
Spheres Of Light conducts monthly meditations in the Royal National Park and other locations. As the Xmas and New Year period is usually very busy for most people, our meditations will recommence in February 2010 and will continue to be conducted every third Sunday of the month. If you would like to come along and have a truly wonderful experience in nature's garden please check for announcements on the Events Forum for confirmation of dates and times. Just email us at email@example.com and we will give you the location details.
Rainbow Pyramid image digitally created by Jenwytch using a photo of a clear crystal pyramid from www.made-
in-china.com/image/2f0j00GvPTBAtgsfkhM/Crystal-Pyramid.jpg and a dragon's eye image found at www.whats-
Herbs ~ Corn
|Click on image for larger view.|
Botanical: Zea mays
Planetary associations: Pluto, Sun
Magickal classifications: Fertility Herbe, Greene Herbe, Religious Herbe
Invocatory: Aitvarasm, Centeotl, Demeter, Deving Cerklicing, Fides, Hades, Laukosargas, Luatiku, Mithra, Saturn, Tammuz, Ukemochi, Veles & Zara-mama
Part Used: (corn silk): Dried silk, whole or powdered
Synonyms: Common (American English) name: corn, Indian corn, maize
British name: maize
French name: maziumls
German name: mais
Italian name: granturco, mais
Spanish name: mais
Vietnamese name: ngô
Corn or maize is the "mother grain" of the Americas. 'Maize' derives from the Spanish form (maíz) of the Arawak Native American term for the plant. In North America and Australia, it's known as 'corn', which is a shortened form of 'Indian corn'.
Archaeological studies indicate that corn was first cultivated by the primitive peoples of Mesoamerica at least 5600 years ago.
In Corn - Its Origin, Evolution and Improvement, Paul Mangelsdorf explains how...
"This unique grain - it has no close counterpart elsewhere in the plant kingdom - exists only in association with man, and it survives only as a result of his intervention. Thus, the story of corn is in many ways a story about people."
Corn or maize was the primary starch for Native Americans for centuries. The kernels were boiled or fried, or ground to cornmeal after drying.
Mano and matete were traditionally used to grind corn, and these have been excavated at the Mesa Verde site in Colorado. These implements are still used in many Native American households. They also found a dried ear of corn, from the same site, which is at least 1500 years old.
Cornsilks had an important part to play in folk medicine. Cornhusks would become masks, sleeping mats, baskets, shoes or dolls. The cob inside was used to make darts, to burn as fuel, or made into ceremonial rattling sticks.
Mayan legend and history, describes corn as the 'spirit of life'. Humans, they believed, were created from sacred corn, by the deities. Those suffering from a severe illness were fed corn alone, in the belief that their health would be restored.
Archaeological evidence from China and southern India, "both dated before the 15th century A.D., suggests that this domesticated crop was diffused by human action before the arrival of Columbus in the New World. The implications of this evidence are of great magnitude, since the presence of maize in Asia indicates that humans were able to migrate between both hemispheres; more than likely through trans-oceanic means of travel."
This is truly one of the great Religious Herbes of all peoples, although "corn" was sometimes actually "barley" in ancient myths, which may have created hybrid legends. The numbers of diverse peoples who recognize the existence of a feminine spirit within this essential grain create a long list. The Greeks believed corn sacred to the goddess Demeter, often showing her with ears of corn. Consistent with their belief that fruitfulness is found only when there is a balance between the field and the deep world of spirit, corn is also associated with Hades. Roman culture also recognized the power of corn. Saturn is sometimes depicted carrying ears of this essential grain. European pagans worshipped the corn mother with customs that lasted well into modern times. Frazer in The Golden Bough describes the customs of many regions, which utilize various aspects of fertility beliefs with the making of corn dollies. In many areas the corn mother later becomes a harvest goddess.
A bull was offered as a sacrifice to Mithra, a well-known deity who originated in what was Persia. An ear of corn attached to the bull's tail caused the offering to promote fertility among the harvests.
In the western hemisphere corn is equally sacred. Goddesses of corn or maize are found throughout the Americas. The Aztec goddess Centeotl is patroness of agriculture and corn is under her domain. Again from Frazer in The Golden Bough we learn that the people of Peru recognize the spirits or divinities of the plants used for food, healing or other important functions in life. Corn was grown in many areas of North America and the Maize/Corn Mother is found in a number of different cultures. The Zuni peoples grew six varieties of corn, representing the four directions and above and below.
Corn is an appropriate herbe to be brought into the temple or carried through the fields to represent fertility, to invoke the Mother of Nature and ask for her blessings, or to work magickally for abundance. Corn is an integral aspect of so many religions and associated with a multitude of deities, primarily goddesses able to teach all mysteries of life, death and rebirth.
Those who work magickally with foxes might look up the legend in which the fox takes a divine role in bringing us corn.
a compendium of HERBAL MAGICK by Paul Beyerl, 1998
Throughout the world there abounds stories of the Corn Spirit or Corn Mother. They are usually about fertility and they tell the story of how corn came into the possession of the indigenous tribe of that area. In Germany, when the stalks of corn wave in the wind, it is said that the Corn Mother is running through the field. Throughout Europe female dolls are made from the last sheaf of the harvest, in honour of the Corn Mother.
Some people believe that the name Demeter means Corn Mother. She is known throughout the world by many different names -- Demeter, Persephone, Ceridwyn, Bride/Bridget, The Cailleach (Old Wife), The Corn Maiden, Mother Corn, The First Mother, Selu and Kahesana Xaskwim. These are just some of her names. She is the Goddess of fertility and life, guardian of all growing and blooming things, and also Goddess of death and rebirth. She sacrifices herself at the harvest, only to be reborn in the spring.
In North America the concept of a Great Mother is reflected in numerous Native creation stories. They have an intrinsic respect for women in their society, which also complements their belief that the Native Peoples' origin stems from a Woman or Female Spirit(s).
Corn was a highly valued staple in the Americas and together with the other vital crops of beans and squash, the grouping was named the "Three Sisters, Our Supporters" in accordance with the belief that the plants also embodied female spirits. Mother Corn Herself, the nurturing Creatrix and Sustainer, was held in the highest esteem.
Here is one Cherokee story of the Corn Woman. She is a spirit that is sent down from heaven every year to come and walk in the fields of the Cherokee, and when she walked in the fields the corn began to grow, and it grew tall and beautiful. And the Cherokee corn has ten rows of kernels on it. So the Cherokee corn will grow nearly ten feet tall, and on those stalks it will have three or four ears of corn.
One year they planted their corn and had gone out to watch it come up, and it didn't come up. And they waited a week, and then two weeks, and it still hadn't come up. So they prayed to the Great Spirit and asked where the Corn Woman Spirit was. And he said that he had sent her down two weeks before, and she was missing, evidently.
And so the people began to look. And they looked all over the earth known to them at that time, and they couldn't find her. So they began to ask the animal kingdom if they would help search for her. So all the animals were searching for this beautiful Corn Woman Spirit when all of a sudden the raven dived down into a dark cave and was looking for her. And he found her in the bottom of the cave, all tied up. She was captured and prisoner of the evil spirit Hunger. And he was dancing around her and laughing, knowing very well that if she didn't get out, that the Cherokee people would starve the coming winter.
So raven went back and reported to the people that he had found the Corn Woman Spirit. And they told the raven that only he and his family could get her free. So they told him to go down into the cave and perch on the ledges and hide from the evil spirit, and he did. He took all of his brothers and sisters into the cave, and they were so black they couldn't be seen by the evil spirits, and they perched on the ledges and the rocks. When the signal was given they all leaped down and pecked the evil spirit and made such terrible noises that they frightened him out into the sunlight. And like most evil, when he hit the sunlight he just melted away and disappeared.
They freed the Corn Woman Spirit with their big strong beaks, and when she walked out into the sunlight the corn of the Cherokees began to grow.
From that day forward, the Great Spirit in the heavens would not let her come down in person. So when you look out at the cornfields and see the stalks of corn and their leaves swaying in the wind, you'll know that the Corn Woman Spirit is walking through the fields of today.
The Cherokees give the raven a very special place: that he was the one that saved the fields of the Cherokee. So therefore they feel that if he takes a few kernels of corn, that's ok. But if the raven is in the fields, and an animal comes into the field, the crows and the ravens will pitch such a fit that the people will know that someone is stealing their corn, so they can go down and chase them away.
So I imagine it's all in the way you look at animals and the circle of life as to whether they're necessary or need to be destroyed.
The Cherokee saw the importance of all animals and all people and so therefore they had a very special place.
Story by Freeman Owle as obtain from "Living Stories of the Cherokee", Collected and Edited by Barbara R. Duncan
All over the world, people believe in the Corn Mother, and she plays important roles throughout the year. This harvest season; thank the Corn Mother for her gifts of food to sustain us through the winter. Honour her with songs and dances. Plant seeds and bulbs to blossom in the spring, when she awakens. As the cold and rain set in and she begins to wither and die, remember that she will be reborn in the spring.
Issue 21 - SPRING/SUMMER, NOVEMBER 2009
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 click on the banner below to 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 perspective.
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!
The National Pagan Directory is a Spheres Of Light initiative to help Australian Pagans connect with each other in their local area. It is a FREE listing & provides links to information about covens, groups, classes, workshops, retreats & other special Pagan events, plus Aussie Pagan businesses & services. If you would like your coven, group, regular meet-up or special event to be listed in the NPD please send us your details. We also invite Celebrants in the Pagan community to promote their services in the NPD. For further information & contact details click on the banner above.
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...
Come join us for meditation in the beautiful surrounds of The Royal National Park. Our meditations will recommence in February 2010 and will continue to be conducted every third Sunday of the month. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for times and meet up details.
(Please Note: you must be over 18 years of age to attend any SOL gatherings, events, classes & workshops.)
Click on the image below to see more of Nina's beautiful paintings.
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 & in the National Pagan Directory.
PAN Full Moon Public Circle
December 2, 2009 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
Date: Wednesday December 2, 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 and contact details here.
Start Time: Wednesday, Dec 16 at 6:00pm
Where: The Vanguard, 42 King street, Newtown (Sydney NSW)
Angela Little aka "Ophelia of the Spirits" presents an exclusive preview of her new concept show for 2010, "CELTIC FIRE".
Featuring the ethereal voice of Angela Little combined with lush arrangements, tribal rhythms, and rich mythological imagery, CELTIC FIRE takes you to the world of the ancient Celts through new arrangements of well-known traditional and modern Celtic songs previously performed by artists like Simple Minds, Mary Black, Dead Can Dance, Sinead O'Connor, Peter Gabriel and many more. With a couple of Christmas surprises thrown in, this special preview is not to be missed.
See the Celtic Fire video clip - "Black is the Colour".
The workshops are an introduction to the core practices used by our local Sydney Coven. Learn how to use the Witch's Circle to transform your life and restore a connection with the psychic reality. These are currently being run as ongoing workshops, alternating between "Coven Training nights" and "Witch's Circle workshop nights". Email for an update email@example.com or see our website for full details.
NOX is Latin for 'Night', a time when liminal states of consciousness link us to parts of the Self not normally accessible; a period experienced between ordinary reality and a psychic (soul) reality. The NOX ritual/workshop incorporates an exploration of magickal techniques, including trance-dance, chanted mantra and energised ritual. The ritual introduces the creation of sacred-space and provides a unique form of magickal training. The NOX ritual explores doorways to Self Initiation, as we examine it's qabalah and mythology of soul-journeys. Please see website and brochure for details and updates.
Spring Sabbat Incense
3 parts frankincense
2 parts sandalwood
1 part benzoin
1 part cinnamon
few drops patchouly oil
Burn during spring and summer Sabbat rituals.
Makes 4 dozen
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
Lemon Curd (recipe below or you can use supermarket product)
Fill saucepan with 2 inches of water; bring to a simmer. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine, using a hand-held wire whisk. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; continue to whisk. Whisk constantly until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture feels hot to the touch. Transfer the bowl to mixer and whip, using the whisk attachment, on high speed until whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted, about 3 minutes.
Heat oven to 175 degrees. Make a pattern to use as a guide for piping by drawing twenty-four circles on a 16-by-12-inch piece of parchment paper; use a pencil to trace around a 2-inch biscuit cutter, creating four rows of six circles. Line a baking sheet with the patterned paper. Place a second piece of 16-by-12-inch parchment paper on top of the patterned paper (you will be able to see the circles through the parchment and be able to use the patterned paper again).
Using a medium-size pastry bag with a #11 plain tip, pipe seven petals, starting at the edge of each circle and pulling the bag into the center. (Make sure all points meet in center so that lemon curd does not seep out.) Slip the pattern from under the piped cookies, and use on the second sheet of cookies. With a wet index finger, make a well in the center of each daisy, being careful not to break through to the paper. Bake until meringue is dry in the center, about 1 hour. Remove to a rack to cool completely.
With a pastry bag fitted with a #11 plain tip, pipe 1/4 teaspoon of lemon curd in the center of each daisy. Chill meringues to set curd, about 5 minutes.
Did you know that the flower daisy gets it name from day's-eye because it turns to follow the sun in its path. The daisy represents innocence, fidelity, simplicity, youth and is a lovely flower to decorate your Midsummer Altar with.
This curd can be prepared several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator; use any extra as a spread for your morning toast. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
3 large egg yolks, strained
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.
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