Tuesday Theology – Beltane

May 1st is Beltane.  It’s a joyous celebration of Spring, complete with flowers, ribbons and fire.

And yes, it’s a fertility holiday, too. 


It’s not just about that.

Beltane is a fire holiday that celebrates not only the creation of new life, but the creation of prosperity.  In the old days, people would light the Beltane bonfires in celebration of the sun returning in full force to help everything grow.  Couples would hold hands and jump the flames to show their commitment to one another, with those that jumped the flames at their highest, without letting go of each other’s hands, bringing good luck to their relationship for the years to come.  Usually, the eldest couple in the village would wait till the end of the night, when the fire had dimmed to just coals, and holding hands, they’d step over the remaining fire calmly.  This was the culmination of the night, and afterwards, everyone would take some of the leftover coals home to light their hearthfires, knowing that they contained all that hope and love that had been infused into it by the people that leapt the flames.

The villagers would also bring their cattle, and drive them past the bonfires, to bring fertility to their herds, and luck to their farms.

Beltane is about the earth breaking open, to release the magick of the seeds that had lain just under the surface, and growing into the crops, flowers and grass that was necessary for life.

It’s about the breaking open of all sorts of magick, that’s lain fallow over the winter, waiting for its moment to come forth and spill good luck and prosperity over those that wish for it.  It’s about the fulfillment of hopes and dreams, and seeing the beginning of new and wonderful things in your life, after waiting through the darker times, and working for this new start.

And then, there’s the maypole.

Young maidens and young men were typically chosen to dance around the maypole, weaving the ribbons round it in a certain pattern.

It was designed to bring the young people together, allowing them to meet one another in a supervised setting, giving the parents a chance to find “good matches” for their children in the future.  It was also about “weaving the magick” to the earth, through the wooden pole stuck into the ground, making it stay in one place, to “hold” the magick and good luck in one place, ensuring the prosperity of the villagers for the whole year.

This Beltane, some friends and I are finishing a ritual that we began at Ostara.  Eggs were cleaned out, decorated, and a slip of paper containing our hopes and wishes were placed inside of them, and sealed with tissue and wax.  In this way, we were “planting” our dreams, giving the magick time to grow within.  At Beltane, we will crush the eggs in our ritual, releasing the magick into reality, and burning the slips of paper to deliver our dreams to the God and Goddess, in the hopes that they will be received and fulfilled for us.

No one speaks about their wishes that were written, safeguarding the magick with silence.  I know, though, that the magick has already begun.  Speaking with one of the others, as well as my own experiences, tells me that this is so.

And on Sunday….. everything will become the reality that I’ve been wishing for.

So Mote It Be.

Tuesday Theology – SPRING!

March 20th signals the Spring Equinox, and I am SO READY!

Spring Equinox is one of 2 days of the year when the light and the dark are nearly identical in length.  This is when we in North Dakota generally truly begin to feel the warmth of the returning sun, and the signs that life is returning to us once again.

I, myself, begin to start getting horrible cabin-fever about this time of year, after hibernating for the last few months.

Wiccan theology paints the Goddess, at this time, as the Maiden Spring – Persephone returned from the depths of Hades, and once again reunited with her mother, Demeter.  Persephone is gowned in flowers, and is followed by rabbits, ducklings, lambs, and all manner of baby animals.  She is the first blush of Spring, the mist of green that adorns the trees and carpets the ground, telling us that the grass will be returning shortly.  She is the joy of sunlight and music, after the long cold silence of winter.

And to celebrate this, we paint eggs and we plant seeds, infusing them with magickal wishes for the upcoming growing season.  We plant our hopes and dreams in the fertile soil of the world, nurturing and watering them carefully, providing them with the warmth of our hearts and protecting them from harm by keeping quiet about them.  Like making a wish on a birthday candle, you don’t speak about it, allowing them to sprout in their own way, with the consent and aid of the Goddess and God.   Knowing that, if they come to fruition, then they were meant to be beneficial to us.  And, that if they do not grow, that it was not the right wish, or maybe, not the right time for it.

And so, this Spring, I plant the seeds I wish to come to fruition.  I will nurture them, care for them, and nourish them with my hopes and love.  If it is meant to be, the Goddess will allow them to grow.  I have faith that what is meant, will happen. 

And, I have already had my sign that Spring is coming.  The geese are back in the park.

Wish #1 – fulfilled!

Tuesday Theology-Imbolc

February 2nd is tomorrow.  I love February 2nd.  Even with the continuing cold, and the darkness, I find myself looking forward to it, waiting, impatient, urging the calendar to flip over and be there.  Because February 2nd was the beginning of something very special to me.

On February 2nd, 1999, I formally declared my intention to be Wiccan, after almost 2 years of studying it, practicing as much as I could on my own, and weighing whether this was the right path for me or not.

February 2nd is also known as Imbolc, which is a Celtic word that translates roughly to “In the belly of the mother”; or as it’s also known, Oimelc, which translates to “mother’s milk”. 

This holiday falls around the time when the ewes were giving birth to the lambs, when the earliest flowers would crack through the snow’s crust to bloom.  The lambs, snowdrops and crocuses were welcome signs that Mother Earth had not abandoned her children, but was promising Spring to come.

Most people now simply associate this day with Groundhog’s Day, waiting to hear what Punxsutawney Phil has to say about the remainder of time before they can go outside without longjohns and mittens.  In the past, it was a day for weather predictions as well, but the people watched the snakes and badgers for their weather news, instead of groundhogs.

“Imbolc is the day the Cailleach — the hag of Gaelic tradition — gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people are generally relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.” Wikipedia

For Wiccans, at least for me, it is a day of renewal.  It is the day that I restate my vows to my Goddess and God, and to myself, reaffirming that I am on the path that I am meant to follow.  It is also a day for new beginnings.  It is the day of hope, of promise, that the seeds that were planted, that lay fallow for the winter, hibernating, are ready to sprout and grow. 

One of the seeds that I planted is almost ready to sprout.  It is full of promise, full of hope, and ready to grow into a lovely garden.  This seed is the idea that I was now willing to teach a class — Wicca 101.  I planted the idea last fall, letting others know that I was contemplating it, and was willing to go ahead, if there were willing students.  And they were.  I am going to be watching this seed sprout this Sunday, as my students and I get together for the first lesson.

It is a time of great promise, for the sun is returning.  Bringing light, warmth, and life.  It may be still hiding right now, not obviously visible, but it’s there.  It’s creeping up on us, slowly, stealthily, ready to burst out and surprise us with its beauty.

Get ready – it’s coming!

Thursday Thoughts 12/30/10

Science vs. Magick?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me over the years, since I became Wiccan, what magick is.  And whether or not I think it’s real.  Not the “pick-a-card, nothing-up-my-sleeve” type of magic, those are illusions, sleight of hand tricks.

Oh, and no “newt spells” either.  Disney has the patent on that, and I don’t have enough karma to take the price that transmogrification of another person would exact on my fate. (You can rest easy now, Mark)

I’m talking about the magick I use when I send out my love bombs to friends and loved ones.  How I believe that people can be helped in their everyday lives by a subtle manipulation of energies.  How we can apply the science of electromagnetic fields by using our bodies as conductors to shift reality.

Yes, I use Science to explain Magick.

Now, like all newbies, when I first started on my path, I wanted to use magick for everything.  It’s a thrill learning how to craft a spell, and how to get all the tools (read – all the toys) for a ritual.  Learning how to make incense, how to mix oils and how to put together a poppet for healing is rather like learning a new game.  At least it was for me.  I wrote up tons of spells – spells I might need if this or that might happen. 

As I got more into the mechanics of spellwork, however, I discovered something.

Magick based on stuff and things doesn’t work very well for me.

Magick based on energy manipulation works extremely well for me.

So I pretty much quit doing stuff magick.  No more herbal tinctures, or incense-making for me.  Most of what I do for spells now has to do with manipulation of energy.  How?

Well, here comes the science, from my point of view.

Everything has an electromagnetic field that vibrates at a certain frequency.  From the human body, to trees, to animals, even to rocks.  You vibrate soundwaves just right, you can shatter glass, crack rocks, cause animals to go crazy, and break up kidney stones and tumors within the human body.  The aura that a lot of people talk about is that electromagnetic field.  It reacts to the world around it, as well as to our own emotions and intent.  You can pull it in close to your skin, or push it out and away from your body to extend quite a ways.

This EM field is what causes the hair to stand up on the back of your neck when someone comes up silently behind you.  It’s the extension of your body’s natural energy.  And it can be manipulated and used to affect change in the world around you.  You can also learn to use and manipulate the EM fields of other things. 

With their consent if it’s a person.  My faith doesn’t believe in overriding someone else’s free will.  If you want to do magick on someone else, you better have their permission, or it will boomerang back on you.  Most often unpleasantly. 

I have a knack for being able to drain, or “ground” energy from a person or thing.  I can pull the excess away from one place, and push it away, either into the air or into the ground, without it harming me.  It’s rather like acting as a lightning rod.  Yeah, the lightning strikes, but it doesn’t hurt the antenna, it just uses it to travel.  I do this on my Eldest all the time, when she’s feeling skitzy or can’t seem to settle for the night.  After a moment or two, she slumps in my arms and almost goes to sleep.

I can also send energy out the same way, in reverse.  I pull it from the ground, or the air, and push it into an object or person.  Most often I place it into a softball size ball of energy, and send it out to its intended receiver, with the instruction to wait till the person needs the energy, and then they will have it available, rather like a blanket that wraps itself around you automatically when you’re cold – or the feeling that someone’s just hugged you, but there’s no one there. 

From my point of view, Science and Magick don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  After all, during the medieval era, can you imagine what the people would have thought of televisions, cell phones, computers?  We’d all have been burned as heretics, or worse, simply for using velcro and zippers.  It would have all been seen as magick – evil magick.  But in the end, it was explainable through Science.  And I truly believe that one day, energy manipulation and other procedures that are now seen as “Magick” will one day be explained, quantified, and accepted as Truth. 

For now, I call on the Goddess and the God to bless my endeavors, and I picture Nikola Tesla in my head, playing with lightning.

The Last truly great Wizard of Science and Magick combined.

10 Minute Wedding

I officiated at a wedding last night.  One that had been postponed by the couple due to extended-family issues.  They were in a hurry, and had said they wanted something “Quick and easy-let’s just get this over with”. 

And I thought “How sad.  This should be more special than just getting it over with.”

They had both been wounded by the infighting going on around them over their special day, and were looking to just get that moment past them, so they could move on with brighter things.  So, I talked to them about a simple, non-denominational wedding in the park. 

I had whipped together a simple ceremony, with a few words thrown in about their love, their future, and spending it together, walking side by side, to share in both the joys and sorrows.

They had a couple of friends there to stand as witnesses, and the bride’s mom watched, with a smile on her face, as the bride’s daughters, the groom’s soon-to-be step-daughters, flanked her in their little-girls-in-the-park finest.  The Maid of Honor held a cell phone so that the Groom’s parents could hear the ceremony via speakerphone.  And they both teared up when they exchanged their vows with their rings. 

10 minutes later, we had signed the marriage license, gotten pictures, and hugged all around.  They invited me to a restaurant with them for a post-ceremony celebration, but I had a family celebration of my own to attend at home, so I told them to “Go be married now.”

And they walked back over the bridge, no longer two single people searching, but a couple, united in love, and hand in hand into the future.