Welcome to Musings From the Mystic Path…

8cEjrjqKi-1The membership of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW  is pleased to announce a creative offering to the community of spiritual and magickal seekers. One of the directives of our coven’s work is encouraging creative expression; notably through the arts, poetry, writing and more. So, what better way to share and encourage similar creativity than a newsletter offering a glimpse at what our membership is up to.

The idea for the newsletter arose during a recent series of classes entitled Ecstatic Awakening. The 4 session class had focus on learning how to reach states of ecstasy in ritual and spiritual practice using words, music, song and movement as the catalysts. When we had the class that was specific to the written word, each participant’s assignment was to craft an original piece of writing to be shared with everyone. The writer stood front and center and gave voice to what had lovingly and carefully been committed to pen and paper. I, as well as the entirety of the class were blown away by what each had written, shared and opened us to seeing a glimpse f their passions, joy, sorrows, pain and more. It took less than 24-hours for me to formulate the concept of this newsletter as another way of keeping that ecstasy alive and allowing the readers of it to be inspired and uplifted. That was on April 12th, and so, here we are now ready to enjoy and share the beauty of our own creative outpourings.

Each month, there will be new creative offerings for you to enjoy. Reading recommendations, links to beautiful art and to more in depth studies of featured topics will be added to the mix. Since our coven offers a full schedule of open events including workshops, rituals and social gatherings, each month will have a listing of upcoming events that you may find of interest as well as an opportunity to share community with our contributors.

Our first newsletter will be available on May 4th. Be sure to select “follow” for notification as our newsletters post each month.

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April2018-The Spring Issue

Vol. 2 – Issue 12

Musings From the Mystic Path

The Month of April
The Spring Issue

April is Here, and Spring Has Arrived! Winter has held on a little longer than usual this year and everyone is ready for Spring’s gentler weather. This issue reminds you of the bounty and beauty that April gifts.

“Tesseract” continues with its focus on the Great Wheel of the year and astrology of the month. Our newest column, “Journey’s on the Yogi’s Magick Mat” offers suggestions for settling into the practice of Yoga and “First Steps” begins its seasonal offerings with a guided meditation into preparing your garden for seeding. 

So, what seeds are you going to plant in your garden of plenty….

“And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
–  Percy Bysshe Shelley –

Featured Writings

Shadows of Light and Dark

by Robin

Quickly, look at what is in front of you
The shadows are woven between the Light
What you think you clearly saw
Was just a fleeting glimpse of
The labyrinth that time has crafted.

The shadows are moving quickly
And the light of day is waning
Soon you will only see what faintly
Glimmers behind the veil of darkness
And what it hides from plain sight.

Look again more deeply and with full attention
You will see that Light and Shadow are one in the same
Each dependent on the other to clearly highlight what
Mysteries of the natural world lay in between.

“The April rain, the April rain,
Comes slanting down in fitful showers,
Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again.”
–  Mathilde Blind –

 

All Types of Seeds

by A.B.

Do you know where the seeds are?
Do you know where the spade and trowel are?
Do you have any fertile soil?
Where is the sunniest space?
Where is the shadiest space?

Do you know what you want to plant?
Do you know what tools are best?
Do you tend to the land properly?
Does the light shine brightly?
Is there a place of shadow to rest?

Do you know what you desire to create?
Do you know your weaknesses and strengths?
Do you honor your Temple of Self?
Will you step in your mantle of glory?
Will you call your shadow to provide the space of quickening?

In Honor of Earth Day 2018
Sunday, April 22.2018

Gaia’s Mantle

Artwork: Geraldine Arata

Starlight and brilliance of
Sun’s solar flare
White and golden red
Woven tapestry of
Jet black Cosmos.

Green and brown
Of fertile land
Blue of sun kissed
Watery basin
Rainbow of color
Spread across
Pattern of cloth
Textured and etched
In crystal and stone.

Blackness of heat
Striation of rock’s core
Gentle bud pushes upward
Stretching towards sun’s
Radiant blessing as
Gaia sheds her skin
And dons Spring’s
Celestial mantle.

“I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers:
Of April, May, or June, and July flowers.
I sing of Maypoles, Hock-carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of the bridal cakes.”
–  Robert Herrick – 

Focus On

Tesseract
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick


by Ionlanthe

Welcome to April and the turning of the Wheel of the Year towards Spring. Today, we are exploring the meanings of several words that may seem interchangeable, but really are not. These words are: Esbat, Sabbat or Sabbath, Holiday, and Holy Day. To start, the word Esbat refers to a coven meeting at a time other than one of the Sabbats. Sabbat or Sabbath refers to the seasonal festivals on the Wheel of the Year. A Holiday is a day of festivity or recreation, and a Holy Day is a day on which a religious observance is held.

Many people on the Wiccan path celebrate the Sabbats with a religious observation, ritual, or feast. There are eight Sabbat marking passing of the seasons during the turning of the Wheel of the Year. These Sabbats include the winter and summer solstices, the spring and fall equinoxes, and the halfway points between these high points. Winter Solstice occurs near December 21, Imbolc is near February 1, Spring Equinox is near March 21, Beltane is near May 1, and Summer Solstice is near June 21. When the Wheel of the Year approaches Fall, we have Lammas near August 1, Fall Equinox near September 21, and Samhain near November 1. We then turn again to the Winter Solstice in December. Since these Sabbats are based on a lunar or astrological calendar, they don’t always match exactly with the monthly Gregorian calendar, the most widely used standard calendar seen on every one’s wall with pretty pictures and more or less evenly spaced months.


While April does not have a specific Sabbath within its days, we will see the Moon in its full phase on the 30th day of April. It will be in Scorpio, a fixed water sign. This is a fascinating combination: the fullness of the Moon illuminates hidden depths; Scorpio thrives on hidden depths. Scorpio energy is one that seeks out, searches, explores fearlessly whatever darkness or mystery surrounds them. If Scorpio sees a shadow or a darkness or something unknown, the thrust is to explore what is there, not run away. Scorpio dives deep into the still water. This full Moon will be revelatory and an instigator for walking through fear and finding out what courage really means: being afraid, and doing what you need to do, anyway, despite the fear.

At the opposite end of April and Scorpio’s sleuthing by the light of the Moon, we have April Fool’s Holiday on April 1. The Moon will be waning from its full phase that had occurred on the last day of March, and it will be in Libra, a cardinal air sign. Libra is all about balance and beauty and serenity and people getting along with each other. Compromise is their middle name: just to keep the peace. April Fool’s Day is often a day when people play practical jokes on each other, just to get a laugh. After being cooped up all winter, it may be a way of getting the kinks out and indulging in a little spring fever! In any case, this Moon phase is waning, and moving toward the more introspective time. So, to keep in touch with Libra’s balance, and with some of March’s full Moon energy still with us, remember to keep in touch with light and laughter and friends!

In between these highlighted days, we have the dark of the Moon on April 16, in Aries, a cardinal fire sign. Aries just loves starting something; and to have this energy during the dark phase of the Moon can create a feeling of tension. This dynamic is one of push-pull: wanting to push feelings inward, yearning to pull yourself outward and get busy. Which one is the most helpful right now? Both energies are working now, but not in balance. This is a time to think-act-think again.

A tool that might be helpful with all these waves of energies that seem to come from all directions is Tarot deck. This tool of divination may help you with finding clear messages to help illuminate your next step. To relate the Tarot to the Wheel of the Year, you might try this spread. For the first card, pick a Sabbat that falls nearest your birthday. In my case, my birthday is May 4, so I would pick Beltane. Pick a card from your Tarot deck, place it on you table. This card will represent you in the spread. Next, pick a card to represent the next Sabbath—Summer Solstice, then Lammas, and so on until you have 8 cards and lay them out in a clock-wise circle, with your signifier card at the top of the circle.

As you lay out each card, think of how it relates to the meaning of the Sabbath is covers. How does the holiday/holy day that represents you feel that it fits with your image of yourself?

Here are words I associate with each Sabbath; use your own words that you have developed for each of the Sabbats, if you like:

Beltane: bounty
Summer solstice: full light
Lammas: harvest
Fall Equinox: balance
Samhain: death
Winter Solstice: battle between light and dark
Imbolc: conception
Spring Equinox: balance

How do the Tarot cards reveal their messages to on each of these topics? If you like, you could repeat this spread on each of the Sabbats, or on the Equinoxes, or on the next full Moon phase, to see if your messages look different when viewed in a different light, or during a different holy day.

Like the little stream
Making its way through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly turn clear and transparent
– Ryokan –

 

Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
” Every Posture Is a Journey Not a Destination “

If you read or glanced at my column last month; you are familiar with my initial impression of taking a hot yoga class. It was quite an experience; very eye opening. My journal entry collaborated almost every stereotype of any yoga sceptic. Nevertheless, I was hooked. Truth be told, the after effects in the following days were ones of gratitude, accomplishment, purification, and feeling healthy. The class I had taken was a stationary sequence. It went through a variety of the most common postures of a yoga practice. It was all so new, and so rewarding.

There are so many poses I didn’t even attempt, at first. Eventually, I would try the modified versions to learn what does and does not serve my body.

Yoga teaches you to listen and honor your body and really take the time to FEEL. Sometimes it can be a lovely stretch, sometimes perhaps discomfort. You may have thoughts of concentration in a balance posture. By moving and contorting your body into new postures you test your limits; find your strengths and those sweet spots that create shifts and maybe even tremors, i e: changes.

Yoga is a practice when you can take the time to settle in, to just be and observe.
At the start of most practices; an instructor will ask you to focus on an intention. What is it you wish to change, to become? Or are you offering up your practice to a greater spiritual being or deity? Perhaps you wish for the good health and well being of a friend or our planet. Yoga gives us the chance to deliberately create. Before even settling into a posture; just breathing consciously can change our anatomy. Focused breath work can reduce stress, help us gain clarity, aid in digestion, and improve sleep.

There is a variety of occurrences during the creative process of a yoga practice; but what a gift to see what arises! Creativity gives us a different perspective on life so when we move or do things differently, we are granted with a shift in our perception. Trying new things in life is crucial. Attempts can lead to a new passion, an invigorating new endeavor, something that sparks magick inside and enlivens your soul. My practice is a journey towards myself. My mat, a tool, a portal back to my spirit; a mirror that reflects new discoveries about me to me!

I encourage you to try a new yoga class in this season of new growth and potential. There are many free online classes. You could visit a studio that offers a full hatha class in a heated room or start at home with a chair yoga sequences for a beginner or someone with limited mobility. You can even begin with a simple am practice while still in bed to transition you into your day gently, mindfully. May your heart, mind, spirit, and body bloom this spring season! ….. NAMASTE…MQ


First Steps on the Seeker’s Path

This month’s article is Part Three of a series of posts about the practice of meditation and contemplative integration at all levels of being. Last month I discussed the need for balance in all o our endeavors and the opening that will result in spending time in a contemplative way…..

Part Three: Magickal Meditation
Meditative Practice for the Seasons

This month we’ll begin a series of meditations that align with the seasons. April blossoms into Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the theme is one of planting and preparing for what we hope will become the beautiful garden of Summer and, the eventual harvest of bounty in the Fall. As spiritual workers, the seasons play an important role in our growth as each marks a different way of “being” in the world.

Last month we explored the alchemical elements and the resonance we hold with everything in the Cosmos as the embodiment of these elements. We can also apply these elements to the seasons and their similar constructs:

Air – East – Dawn aligns with Spring’s new beginnings;
Fire – South – Noon aligns with Summer’s heat and catalytic potency;
Water – West – Dusk aligns with Fall’s bountiful harvest as we contemplate upon and harvest the gifts of day’s activities; and,
Earth – North – Midnight aligns with Winter as the darkness settles in, and we turn within metaphorically and literally to reflect on the light held within awaiting Spring’s new light.

Please review the basics from last month’s post for more information…

The cyclical nature of everything plays into these intentions as we give consideration to what flows into the season of note and how that particular season reaches towards its next expression:

Winter’s cold hibernation flows into Spring’s quickening of what has been seeded that blossoms into the full bloom of Summer’s heat-filled potential awaiting the cutting down and harvesting of Fall’s bounty that becomes the sustenance and the compost of Winter’s cold hibernating womb of next Spring’s potential…..

We begin our exploration with Spring and the promise of newly budding life. We have emerged from the hold of Winter and its cold and darkness prepared the way for identifying what we would plant anew in Spring’s fertility. This is the season for gardening and using those intentions, seeding the gardens of what we wish to bring as new life into our daily and spiritual experiences.

As the days lengthen in sunlight and what was frigid ground begins to warm and yield underfoot, our inner landscape that has awaited the warming from the chill is ready to yield and become the fertile loamy soil of our planted intentions. Elementally, Spring is often equated with Air and cyclically with Dawn. The newly rising Sun of Dawn’s gentle light stirs the winds of hope, intention and possibilities for what that new day will bring. Seasonally, Spring holds this dawning light and the breath of new thought, idea and inspiration flows through the fertile soil of a manifest form that is ready to create its own beautiful bouquet of Summer’s flowering.

Meditation on the Season of Spring
The guided meditation below can be used at any time, but it is most aligned with the energies of Spring’s cycle of planting. You may envision the seeding as simply growing a literal meditative garden of beautiful flowers/herbs that you may use as a visionary tool for relaxation. Or, you may also use this metaphorically as the seeding of a desire for change or attraction of what you need. A modification of this was used to attract a new job and another modification to bring about healing of emotions that had crowded out the possibility of forgiveness. Enjoy….

  • You will need:
    White candle
    Quiet place where you will not be disturbed

…..Sit in a comfortable position with a white candle lit in front of you a few feet away. As you stare at the flame of the candle allow your gaze to soften and turn your focus and attention to your breath. Allow the rhythm of your breath to become slowed and easy of pace and your state of consciousness to move with the rise and fall of your chest and the filling and release of the lungs. Continue in this manner for several breaths; allowing each to become softer, smoother and slower. As you continue to gaze at the candle flame allow you eyes to gently close and retain the image of the flame within the center of your higher consciousness. As the flame expands and becomes brighter and luminescent of white light see your physical image standing directly in front of this veil of white light. Give as much detail, shape and form to that image as you can. And, when you feel ready step through this white flame of purification.

As you emerge through it’s dense veil, you find yourself standing at the outer gate of what appears to be a garden. The wrought iron of the gate is slightly rusted with weathering and is embraced on either side by a brick wall that seems to extend infinitely on either side. As you look upwards the tops of scantily budded branches reach upwards towards a clear blue sky. This is the promise of lush greenery just a few months away as it is now Spring and time to prepare the ground for new planting for the growth that will take hold in the months ahead. You move towards the Gate and barely reach forward with your hand as the Gate gently swings open, allowing you entrance. This Gate has no need for lock or key for you are the only one who has the power and energy to open its gate. Your thoughts, your intent, your will are gatekeeper, gardener and master designer of all that is contained within this sacred space. You breathe in deeply and as you move forward with a gentle exhale, the Gate closes behind you and the warm Spring air embraces you; each footfall provides the crackle underfoot of stone and dirt. Breathe in deeply, taking in the aroma of fertility and awaiting growth and look around, drinking in the sights, sounds and smells of this place.

(Brief Pause)….

As you continue along the Path you can feel the energy of new growth underfoot and surrounding you but that is not your focus this time. Your eyes come to rest on a dark patch of earth a few feet ahead of you and instinctively you know that this is your sacred space of planting and calling forth the quickening of Spring. This ground will need tilling and clearing so that it may be a place of nurturing for what you will be planting soon. You kneel in the center of this ground covered with dried and dead weed, root and thorn that are no longer of use or conducive to new planting. Settle in sitting centrally and take a moment to ground, center and focus your will and intent on clearing and purifying this space. Allow the visions of this space as Spring deepens, shoots of seedlings sprouting up and the anticipation of Summer’s light empowering and strengthening your work.

Now you are ready to begin and as you reach out to pull out the first patch of weed and overgrowth, feel the release of this action. You sense the sigh of the earth as you continue in this manner to un-tether and uncoil dead root; your fingers probing into soil, your mind agile and filled with excitement about the work ahead. You move around the perimeter of this space and remove and untangle all unnecessary growth; carefully and completely removing all of it and fertile ground is revealed beneath.

(Long Pause)….

When you have removed the last bit of overgrowth take a moment to look around and acknowledge the strength and transformative power of the task you have just finished. You can feel the gratitude of the earth below and the un-constricted flow of the fertile energy of this space. The piles of weed and tangled root you pulled from the ground encircle the space and as you have expected, slowly they begin to be drawn down into the surrounding earth. All consumed and absorbed by the Great Mother to be transformed and renewed within her womb.

It is now time to complete the last stage of this process of clearing away and preparing for Spring’s bounty. You rise to a standing position and hear the gentle sounds of the music of the winds playing through the branches of the trees. The music is sweet and gentle and you begin to move rhythmically around the newly cleared earth. Your feet move lightly here and fro; moving the soil around, aerating, mixing and blending. Continue dancing, feeling the soft, pliable earth below, blending energy and breath. Your heart is light and the feeling of freedom moves throughout your being.

(Long Pause)….

You will know when the ground is just right and the foundation lain. And, when this moment arrives you slow your movement, catch your breath and close your eyes with arms outstretched at your sides in thanks for the energy provided and foundation laid. You open your eyes and look down and see a basket filled with seeds just at your feet. They are ripe with energy and you reach down, feeling the strands of energy reaching upwards. You scoop up a handful and kneeling in the dirt, begin placing the seeds into the ground. You breathe into each interval of space of planting and a joy from deep within wells up inside of you. You feel the call of Spring and you are co-creator of her efforts in greening the earth. Before long, the entire basket of seeds is emptied and your work is complete; and it is time to leave this place.

The earth will settle into just the right form and space. The energy of new growth will continue to build and the sun will provide nourishment and strength and the moon’s tides will provide the opportunity for rest and renewal. You move out of the space you have prepared and step once again onto the Path and you are filled with joy and anticipation of what potential and opportunity awaits you on your next visit. You continue along the stone Path and see the Gate just ahead. You turn and take one last look at your surroundings. You will return to this space as often as you wish and as it becomes receptive to your tender care new colors, smells and sights will fill this space of Spring’s quickening.

As you approach the Gate it gently swings open and you step through. The gentle clang of metal closing echoes in your ear as it shuts and you turn again to face the front of the Gate and wall and take a moment to give thanks for this space and what is contained within. You turn away feeling the presence of the white veiling of light. Its energy and density are palpable and as you breathe deeply, the colors of Spring flash through the light.

You step through and emerge once again as observer. Allow your focus to move gently from this center of consciousness and return to your physical being. Each breath bringing greater awareness of the rhythm of your breath, the rise and fall of your chest and the physicality of your being sitting comfortably in the space in which you began this meditation.

Blessings of Spring…

Next Month: Sensorial Meditation:Engaging the Senses

In conclusion…

“There is no glory in star or blossom til looked upon by
a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes til
breathed with joy as they wander by.”
– William C. Bryant –

Upcoming Events – 2018

April 3rd
Temple of the Sun Series: Part Two


Egyptian Alchemy: Opening the Way
8-wks.on Tuesday Evenings
For more information. Click here…

April 7th
ASW Spring Magick and Ritual for the Stag God, Cernnunos


A Day-long Event of workshops, ritual and community
For more information. Click here…

Musings From the Mystic Path is published monthly by Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW.

Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnists: L. B., Tesseract and India Amour, Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners  of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW

All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.

Images:
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted
Shadows: Photo-R. Fennelly
Gaia: Original Artwork used by Permission – Geraldine Arata

For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW or email:hpsmysticpath@yahoo.com

Posted in April 2018, Volume Two | Tagged | 2 Comments

March2018:Spring into New Beginnings!

Vol. 2 – Issue 11

Musings From the Mystic Path

The Month of March
Spring Into New Beginnings!

Happy Spring! Happy month of March and the promise that it brings!

This month’s issue is bursting with new beginnings and the joy of anticipation as the weather warms and thee beauty of nature beckons us to linger longer in Her domain. We welcome a new column this month entitled “Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat“. You can look forward to articles about the practice of Yoga, the experience of our columnist in real terms and glimpses into her journal as she moved through years of cultivating a renewing and personal practice.

Tesseract” speaks to the astrology of the month and in keeping with use of the energy of the Wheel of the Year, weaves information about the Sabbat of the Vernal Equinox/Ostara into its working. Another perspective of the Vernal Equinox and “Seekers on the Path” continues the exploration of Meditation in Part Two of this series with focus on meditations for the elements of self.

So, head out of doors, find a grassy comfortable spot and enjoy this month’s offerings….

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke-

Featured Writings

A Bird Sings

By Celestine

A bird sings.
Just as the alarm blares out, startling me out of a deep slumber.
I stumble into the darkness, fumbling for the light switch.
Like an automaton, I complete my morning ablutions.
Still half asleep, I trudge into the cold darkness and my day begins.

A bird sings.
The notes dancing on sunbeams, gently calling me to waken.
I bounce out of bed into the soft, golden rays of dawn.
I hum a little tune as I prepare to greet the day ahead.
Smiling contentedly, I skip out the door and my day begins.

A bird sings.
It sings of the end of darkness.
It sings of the imminent arrival of spring.
A bird sings, I just need to choose to listen.
A bird sings and my heart is full of joy!

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose
I would always greet it in a garden.”
-Ruth Stout-

March Marches In

By L.K.

It seems like 2018 just started and yet here we are at the beginning of third month already! Frequently known to come “in like a lion, and out like a lamb” March is often a month of turbulent weather and fluctuating temperatures. March tends to bring mixed emotions for people. Some are sorry to see the crisp, cold snowy days of winter come to an end. No more will our yards be graced with a soft blanket of pristine, white snow.

Jack Frost will retire, leaving our windshields undecorated with his lacy designs. March marks the end of skiing, sledding, and snowball fights. Yes, some will be saddened to leave winter’s cold embrace. For others, March heralds the approach of Spring and they celebrate the end of long, dark days and excitedly anticipate the warmer days soon to come. Even though we may continue to ensure cold, snowy days we know those days are numbered when March arrives! We begin to make plans for the summer, booking flights and renting beach houses. For those with a green thumb, March may involve garden planning and even starting seedlings indoors.

In the Northern Hemisphere March 20th marks the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox. This is the day when daylight and darkness are of almost equal length at most places in the Earth. Astronomically it is the point of time when the Sun crosses the Earth’s celestial equator. Or in simpler terms, the moment when the center of the visible sun is directly over the equator. At that time the Earth’s tilted axis is actually nearly perpendicular to the Sun. (It is interesting to note that Equinoxes occur in any planet with a tilted rotational axis). After the March Equinox the northern hemisphere of the Earth begins to tilt towards the sun causing days to lengthen and temperatures to rise. Since it marks the start of longer daylight hours people in the northern hemisphere historically considered the Vernal Equinox a day the celebrate. For modern society, however, a brief disruption of communication can occur as geostationary communications satellites are momentarily positioned directly between the Earth and the Sun and subject to overload from the Sun. Thankfully this sun outage is usually of short duration.

From an astrological perspective, March 20th is also the First Point of Aries. Around 130 BCE, the Sun entered the western edge of the constellation Aries on the Vernal Equinox causing Hipparchus to name it the First Point of Aries. Throughout the year the Sun passes through all of the zodiac constellations, beginning with the First Point of Aries. Thus, the Zodiac calendar begins with the Sun sign of Aries on March 21st. Due to orbital wobbling (or precession) the sun no longer appears to enter the constellation Aries on March 20th, it transitioned into Pisces in approximately 68 BCE and has remained there since. In 2597 AD the Vernal Equinox will transition into Aquarius. The First Point of Aries continues to be used by astronomers to calculate the location of celestial bodies in the celestial sphere. (If you are interested in the math please refer to a reputable astronomy source as it is beyond the scope of this article and outside of the mathematical skills of this writer!)

Historically, many cultures had celebrations on or near the Spring Equinox. The Babylonian’s had the holiday Akitu, celebrating the marriage of the Earth Goddess Ishtar to the Sky God Marduk. In Persia the festival of No Ruz, a celebration of hope and renewal, fell on the spring equinox. The ancient Mayans celebrate the return of the Sun Serpent on the day of the Equinox. Ancient Romans celebrated the resurrection of Attis by Cybele. Many older civilizations recognized the Spring Equinox as a time to honor the return of the sun and celebrate the burgeoning life springing from the earth. In agriculturally centered societies understanding seasonal changes was key to survival and longer, warmer days were certainly something to celebrate!

The Vernal Equinox is also important in relation to many modern religious celebrations. The Jewish holiday of Passover usually occurs on the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. For most Christian s Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after (or on) the Spring Equinox.

Ostara, a celebration of Spring and fertility, is one of the eight Sabbats celebrated by many Neo-Pagans. The history of Ostara is much more recent than many of the Neo-Pagan celebrations, such as Yule and Samhain. The original Wheel of the Year, as described by Gerald Gardner, only included six Sabbats, the summer and winter solstices along with four Celtic fire festivals. The spring and fall equinoxes were later added to the wheel and the name “Ostara” came into use in the late 1960’s. Many believe Ostara is named after Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess associated with the dawn although springtime celebrations pre-date the first appearance of this goddess.

Eggs and rabbits are symbols claimed by both Christian and Neo-Pagans and while some may argue over who appropriated these symbols from whom, their use as symbols of fertility likely precede modern practice of either faith. Indeed, many holidays this time if year involve celebrating with food and decorating with flowers and the gentle yet vibrant colors of spring and often include a celebration of life and fertility.

And if the Vernal Equinox, start of the zodiacal year, change of seasons, and various religious holidays are not enough, March also gives us St. Patrick’s Day! March 17th is considered the traditional day to celebrate death of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. For many Christians, in addition to attending church services, it is an official feast day when Lenten dietary restrictions are lifted. In the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland tibia a public holiday. And for many people it is simply a day to shake off the last dregs of winter with a merry celebration with family and friends. As the saying goes, we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, so grab your green garb and celebrate, for Mother Earth will be wearing her finest greenery soon!

“The force of Spring is mysterious, fecund and
powerful beyond measure.”
-Michael Garofalo-

Serpent’s Rod
by R.F.

She coils silently and skillfully around
Encircling and spiraling upwards
Branch and fiber, vine and trunk strongly
Held in Her embrace knowing that
No limb will offer obstacle.

Reaching ever upwards
The serpent moves with fluid grace
Around her stable rod
As man marvels at the symmetry
And grace of Her willful Ascent.

“Spring is the time of plans and projects”
– Leo Tolstoy –

Wonders of Water

by M.H.

While riding the train to work daily, I saw the advertisements for The Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s theme is “Wonders of Water”. As we enter the month of March, I began to think about its relationship with the element of water. March is the month when the waters begin to flow. The snow and ice of winter melt away to reveal the new abundance of plant and animal life. In the Spring our creative thoughts turn to new beginnings and we are energized to tackle new projects and spend time outdoors.

Our bodies are composed mostly of water and like rivers rising after the Spring rains our emotions are influenced by water. Water is always moving, changing influenced by the Moon the tides ebb and flow. At times our emotions experience the calmness of a still lake and other times we are riding the turbulent ocean waves. Even the tears we shed in times of despair are our bodies way of releasing the sorrow and pain.

We can use water magic in our everyday life. For instance, draw a warm bath and fill it with your favorite scented herbs, flower petals or bath oils. As you soak in the water imagine your stress and worries being carried away by the water. Allow the healing effect of water to relax you and draw peace into your life. Water can be used in a method of divination called Scrying. Take a simple dark colored bowl, add water and a drop of soap. Sit quietly, soften your gaze as you look deeply in the water. Practicing this skill of psychic visualization, you never know what might be revealed.

So as the month of March brings us new beginnings in all aspects of our lives expect to feel the influence of water. Let its healing properties carry away the negativity and bring peace into your life. Allow the clarity of vision and psychic awareness to prepare you to meet the ever changing situations in our daily lives. Take the time to truly experience the wonders of water.

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.”
-Susan J. Bissonette-

Focus On

Tesseract
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick


by Ionlanthe

Welcome to March. There are several significant dates that we will consider with our discussion of March. First, there will be a full Moon on Friday March 2 and it will be in Virgo, a mutable earth sign. Then, the new Moon will occur on Saturday March 17 and will be moving from Pisces (a mutable water sign) and into Aries (a cardinal fire sign). That day of perfect balance, when day and night are of equal length, will happen at the Spring Equinox on Tuesday March 20. And for a bonus, there will be a second full Moon on Saturday March 31 and it will be in Libra, a cardinal air sign.

As we can see from these portents, we will be learning on the universe a way to find a sense of balance. We will have the brightness of the two full Moons in earth and air, in mutable and cardinal signs. The new Moon will be watery and mutable. And in between, we will have the Equinox.

Virgo represents striving toward perfection, working for tangible results, and making necessary changes to continue toward the desired outcome. The first full Moon in March will shine a light on your goals, plans, expectations, and how to get onto achieving your goals.

The second full Moon will be in Libra, which represents ideas, thoughts, new beginnings, starting on a new path.

In between, the new Moon will be moving from Pisces into Aries, into cardinal fire and away from mutable water. The time of the new Moon is one of introspection, self-examination, moving into one’s own inner landscape. This is perfectly suited to Pisces’s emotional undercurrents and diving deep. However, Aries is all about action, moving forward, starting something. The Moon’s lessons for this month are about shining a light on a plan of action, going within to evaluate and weigh and consider, then starting again with energy and with new ideas and insights.

While we are being enriched with the Moon’s gifts, we are also met with the balance of the Equinox: one of the two days in a calendar year in which we have equal amounts of daylight and nighttime. This is time when life springs forth, literally in the new green growth, young birds are hatching, lambs frolicking in the fields, and the air is softer and no long holds winter’s icy chill. The ground is softening and will be ready for sowing of seeds. Each day, the amount of time the sun shines will increase, until the time of the autumn equinox.

This is a time to open your windows, let in the fresh air, sweep away dust that had been hiding in the corner. Let the light shine in on you and all you hold dear. Behold what is illuminated. Let go of what is unneeded. Step outside of your house, of your routines, out of your tightly wound self. See what is around you. Open up to possibilities. The Moon and sun and universe welcome you.

In the words of Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” remember this: “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

To celebrate the balance of light and dark in March, you could craft a witch’s besom to sweep out the old to make room for the new. A besom is a traditional Witch’s broom, typically made of a staff of oak or ash with a bundle of birch twigs and binding made from cording or twines. It is used to symbolically sweep out an area to remove negative energy. If you don’t care to craft a besom, you can buy one or just use a standard broom. For the sake of spiritual use, it is better to dedicate a specific broom for this purpose. So, keep your kitchen broom for sweeping out the kitchen, and keep your spiritual broom for sweeping out negative energies!

A magickal cleansing is typically carried out by sweeping out the energies of your space (room, house, ceremonial meeting place, work space) from the top to the bottom and from the back to the front. Sweep out toward open windows and toward open doors. Your besom does not need to touch the floor; this is a spiritual sweeping, not a physical sweeping. You may want to do a spring cleaning first, then pull out your besom for the magickal cleaning.

Enjoy the light and the coming warmth.

“Sit quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.”
-Zen Wisdom-

Welcome to our New Columnist!

Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
” Every Posture Is a Journey Not a Destination “

As I was looking through my journals about my experience in beginning a Yoga practice, I found this piece over the weekend. Allow me to apologize at the start any comments that were mean and ignorant. Body criticism and judgment is a big thing for many new to the practice and overcoming that to simply center on yourself is part of the practice.

JOURNAL ENTRY 1.

I thought I was prepared. I’ve been investigating for some time; learned the basics, after all, I’ve got a yoga DVD at home that I do at least once a month. After deciding on a studio (contacts have been great) and reading the frequently asked questions and answers; I’m set. Easy from there right? OMG. OMFG. WTF.

Lesson one: No drinking! Yoga is breathing, flexibility, and a releasing of toxins. (the key here: DO NOT HAVE TOXINS)

Lesson two: You cannot eat big meals before class. My suggestion: start this on Tuesday night (seriously). Eat healthy; sensible portions (this is key). Honestly I made a typical crazy Sunday meal (overboard, the kind you need a nap afterwards). Matt was happy, I was happy no drinking involved, good times right? Um, our system was still digesting this meal today. ALL DAY!
Thank god my coffee kicked in before class.

Lesson 3: Wear the right clothing. No jewelry, you’ll be patting you’re face so be careful with the make-up, wear light, breathable fabrics (not big or hanging). I prefer dark colors (sweat shows immediately in light grey, etc.). UM and NO perfume or smelling lotions (in fact; limit lotion the day of: see later reference).

Lesson 4: Know you’re limits.
Class was very enlightening and very fun. But I thankfully heeded earlier warnings.

THE EXPERIENCE:
So I had a productive day off; lots of water; ate veggies around 2:30. Showered. toenails painted (I know, vanity). Additional sports bra, unscented lotion (vanity prevents ashy elbows, feet, or exposed skin period). Packed the mat, 2 towels, ready to go. Matt came home (I had spoken to him around noon and warned him to avoid a heavy lunchtime meal). Yoga was a surprise; he loves me right?

We go first to Walmart (he needs a mat), then on our way. He’s really not looking forward to this; but goes along for the experience. We arrive early (YEAH); just as instructed. Spoke with the women; who were both pleasant and helpful as we mentioned this was our first class, then we signed in. Realized there is a WAIVER to complete prior before class (why does a stretching class need a waiver?).

Any-hoo, Cute spot! We’re apprehensive; but feeling the Zen. Cubbies for shoes (thank god for earlier pedicure) and jackets and cell phones and keys. Decided we would only need one towel. Jen had cautioned about sweating during class; but it’s just stretching, we won’t sweat that much, occasional patting, less bulk; we could share. People are coming and going. There are dressing rooms and bathrooms (one for guys and girls, ONE); but no worries. Then down the hall; she opens the door for us and it hits me immediately. HEAT. Like summertime, sauna, down south, stifling heat. Beautiful space though, mirrored wall, some fans above and soft lighting. OK, won’t be that bad. The heat allows your muscles to really oxygenate and although mirrors are intimidating; one must think of them as educational. They allow you to critique your posture sequence. I mean, they have fans; how bad could it be? Open mind, new experience-Jen’s idea is great!

She escorts Matt and me to the middle of the room (um, keep open mind, no need for the back of the class mentality); besides, she explains that when the class turns we will always have someone to follow. Nice mix of people; 20’s to upper 50’s. some diversity going on, all body types (YEAH), (Matt is comfortable that it was about 30% men.) So we relax as she begins with standing postures.

Breathing, stretching arms, good thoughts, balance. We can do this; but wow, it really is hot in here. Then comes the balancing. (holding a knee up, holding the leg back, standing on one while holding arms in extensively involved positions). Arms out, one leg up-now lets progress to tippy toe (am I a ballerina? Matt is watching the fans and making sure not to hit the lady behind him). So then we must cross our arms under each other-she comes over to try and help; but then says-just go as far as you can-realizing my boobs are preventing this. Damn that extra sports bra. I can’t even hook my arms together, but one learns. All about adjustment. I simply hold my elbows higher to sink lower into the squatting on one tippy toe foot position. Others are seriously sweating, not just me. Thank god. I can get through this. Breathe. Concentrate.

Next we go into warrior poses. Yes, familiar again. legs apart. inner thigh stretch. balance. (note to self, less lotion on the feet would prevent slipping across my mat). But thankfully I prepared with a light meal earlier; definitely enough strength to get me through; but it really is hot in here. I’m really sweating (Jen was right). I see the shimmer on my arms already too (maybe the lotion wasn’t the best idea). Looking around; others are sweating so I’m good; back to concentration, right. Wrong! We’re all hot, and it’s only 15 minutes in. Then, the dude in front of me decides to take his shirt off. Shirt off. As in naked yoga?
Um, ok, fine if you’re Matthew McConaughey; but this guy is Chewbacca! wtf. Really? And why are you right in front of me? How’s anyone supposed to concentrate now? Where am I supposed to look? He’s slipped over and now blocking the mirror completely with sweaty back hair.

So we move to the floor and Jillian starts with the music. Cool, brings in the tantric feel. I decide to place the towel on my mat and my boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind as he’s just concentrating on the breathing. Another 15 minutes goes by and there are puddles dripping on the floor around Chewbacca. Remain open. Must Concentrate. I can do this. Stretch. But as I’m on the floor, staring at ceiling, I realize those are heat lamps! It’s feeling like Cambodia because we are under rotisserie cooking lamps! Ok, breathe into the posture. I can do this. Matt is now cursing me and his mat is too short, the woman behind him keeps bumping him. Forget drinks or other toxins; He’s sweating last night’s meal out of his system! The instructor reminds us that anything we ingest that is not organic and healthy has toxins. I just focus. Breathe into the positions. We can do this.

Somewhere after 45 minutes; I start to get dizzy. We’re now attempting a seating position on our knees while leaning back to place our heads to the floor. Jillian comes to help my boyfriend out by placing a blue cushion block under his ass. He looks very uncomfortable; as am I. In fact, I’m really feeling weird. No biggie; I’ll just concentrate on her music. Um NO. I’m actually getting nauseous. Vomit is creeping up quickly; then, I have a full on heat flash. Thankfully, I’m already on the ground because I can’t move. I see the top of the door behind my head and know there is fresh air and a toilet beyond; but I can’t move. Ok, breathe. Oh, God; please don’t let me pass out cold and these people will need to call an ambulance. It was like being sick drunk without the liquor. If this bitch doesn’t crank these fans up. Matt can’t see me as he’s moving between the blue block and a downward dog position. Why did I sign that waiver? There is no stopping this spinning, dizzy, ears ringing, nauseating cycle. Must remain calm, breathe. Just lie here (as if I could move).

I think I missed a good 4 minutes of postures before I felt my body becoming normal again. Jillian had come up to check on me; but I could not talk; so she just told me to lie there and breathe (Might have been possible if there was any air here in hell). Thankfully everyone else was still on the ground as I came back into consciousness.
We switch from our backs to lying face down (now Matt’s pissed about the towel). His face is on the floor for the leg and arm lifts move. So we’re on our stomachs, stretching our limbs off the ground when Jillian proceeds to play the Superman theme song. SUPERMAN!!!! Ok, it was funny; however I was still concerned with staying in reality due to all my toxins releasing in this sweatshop. (when I write toxins, I now mean food, of any food in your system).

We’re finally winding down. We’re soaked. Matt has accepted that he is too tall to properly stretch without wacking the lady behind us. Then ….we hear it. . . the instructor starts speaking in Sanskrit for the ending sequences. SANSKRIT. really?

I’m not talking Latin or Hebrew. SANSKRIT!!!! I didn’t even know that was an audible language. Everyone starts this breathing sequence. We just look at each other; I see no love in his eyes. Chewie, in front of me, has created an entire sweat moat that has spread off his mat all around him. We’ve finished off 2 huge water containers. The instructor is spreading her “namaste” “good thoughts” love and we just want to go home.

By the time we get up; we’re the last in the room. Out of 20 some people! We make our way out the door into a greeting of arctic air! I can’t even think of a description for that wake-up call. I’m changing into my street clothes. Matt refuses to speak to me. The receptionist proceeds to tell us about the $130.00 dollar beginner package with unlimited yoga sessions in between! LOL

. . . So we finally reach the outside fresh air and our lungs proceed to freeze. I crank the heat in the car and take us to grab a bit at the health food store. (Why waste all that energy on pizza). Matt asks if I’m trying to kill him and if I’ve recently taken out a new insurance policy. We make it home, I’m getting things in order and he’s using all the hot water in existence. We both have migraines that require STRONG medications. Not sure about being able to move tomorrow. I get up and he’s in bed. No hot water left. I finally get into bed only to toss and turn until about 12 am. It’s freezing. I believe my core temperature has been irrevocably damaged and I have to throw on thermals under my pj’s! Thermals! I toss and turn until one, my knees are in a permanent 90-degree angle to try and alleviate the back pain. At 2:30a.m. I give up on sleep. Sunlight comes, but we both can’t move. Thank god for coffee.

FYI; Matt has forgiven me, but has never returned to the studio for another class. He chooses to practice at home. This experience is where my journey began, and so it makes sense for me to share it at the beginning of my series. Perhaps my story has entertained, or maybe you can relate. New beginnings are uncomfortable, scary, sometimes painful and awkward. This is just one step in my journey of self improvement via the yogic tradition. I love this practice and wholeheartedly recommend it; (it has gotten easier to an extent). Just use common sense, listen to your body, stay open and trust. I am so very happy I continued on this path; many, many lessons have been learned and I do not know where I would be today without my practice. Thank you for reading and of course,

NAMASTE…MQ


First Steps on the Seeker’s Path

This month’s article is Part Two of a series of posts about the practice of meditation and contemplative integration at all levels of being. Last month I discussed the need for balance in all o our endeavors and the opening that will result in spending time in a contemplative way…..

Part Two: Magickal Meditation
Meditation for the Elements of Self

This month provides a set of meditations that may be used to awaken the elemental nature of your being. We are creatures of Earth and the cosmos and as such, we hold within our bodies the basic alchemical correspondences that resonate with everything of creation. This components are often simplified and assigned the characteristics of Earth – Air – Fire and Water, each holding its own symbology and understanding based primarily on what we know of the physical world.

Even if we are unable to take time to sit in a contemplative manner, we are always able to connect to these elements that surround and are within us. These are the basics of the Four Elements:

AIR is associated with the cardinal direction of the East-the place of the rising sun or dawn. Air is also associated with mind and intellect, the place that gives rise to the birth of ideas. When we connect with the element of air we are moving through the realms of the mind and just as the breeze carries seeds from location to location that eventually become tree or plant, the seeds of bright ideas and inspiration are carried within the air-like movement of the mind.

FIRE, unlike the other elements cannot exist in physical form without consuming and destroying something else, thus causing transformation of that thing. It is out of that destruction that the potential for the most growth often occurs. This action is that of the legendary Phoenix rising from the flames of ash. At a purely mundane and physical level Fire is associated with heat. The warmth of the Sun and the heat of the wood stove that keeps us warm in wintry weather. When we take it to the mental level, Fire becomes the passion that excites and ignites. It is the catalyst that creates movement and it is the creative spark that leads to new invention or manifest creation.

WATER is associated with the cardinal direction of the West, the place of the setting sun or dusk. It is both the place of endings and also the anticipation of the rising of the lunar energies as night falls. It is closely connected to the similar energies of the Moon and its impulse of ebb and flow, waxing and waning as it moves through its cycles of change. It is the emotional outpour and connection to the intent of mind and action of will that creates successful endeavors, all being held within the foundation of the element of earth.

EARTH is associated with the cardinal direction of North, the place of midnight, when the sun’s light has moved beyond the horizon of sight and appears to be held in the darkness of night before sunrise. Earth is also associated with all things of the physical realm. Humanity, flora, fauna, crystal and more are all contained within earth. Earth is the place of manifestation, concrete and tangible outcome. Earth holds within its bound the potential for creation, evolution and sustaining of what has been created. Earth is the energy of the magnet that attracts to itself what it sends forth. Because earth defines the manifest world and all that is contained within, it draws to itself the power of manifestation itself.

And, the Fifth (5th) element is that of Spirit. When we engage our higher nature in work that stimulates and refines the consciousness, Spirit rises and we are at-one-ment with the the energies of the Universe.

Spirit stands apart from the four physical elements. Air, Fire, Water and Earth form the foundation upon which manifest and un-manifest work is done. Spirit has no specific correspondences, easily defined boundaries or categorization as it is the flexible container that expands, contracts, opens and closes in response to everything that surrounds and contains it. Spirit manifests in everything and is everywhere. To say that everything contains Spirit is to try to articulate something that cannot be limited by words, analogies or truisms.

As we move deeper into this series, we’ll dip a little deeper into the elements and their use at the levels of spiritual practice. For now, use the information above as starting points, spend some time with the meditations below and remain open to what reveals itself to you in understanding this sacred aspect of who we are as manifest beings:

Meditation on the Elements
Source: The Elemental Year by Robin Fennelly

Begin each of these meditations in the same way:

Turn your focus and attention to your breath. Allow your state of consciousness to move with the rise and fall of your chest and the filling and release of the lungs. Continue in this manner for several breaths; allowing each to become softer, smoother and slower.

AIR
As you sit quietly in a relaxed state imagine yourself as a leaf being carried by a gentle breeze. You feel the weightlessness of your being and the gentle cradle of a pocket of air that lifts you above the ground. You move slowly and then a gust and burst of sir moves you more quickly as you float gently. The sensation is one of movement and buoyancy; currents of air weaving in and out as they carry you along. You relax even more deeply and enjoy this sense of freedom and lightness. Your breath moves in rhythm with the air that flows around you. Continue in this imagined state for as long as you wish, knowing that return of attention to your breath will bring you back to the space of physical being.

FIRE
You find yourself sitting in front of a crackling fireplace. The wood is aromatic and the sputters of the flames creates it own background music. The flames rise and fall, dancing and weaving around the logs. Blues at the hottest point of burning and reds and oranges ablaze like the colors of a beautiful sunset. You are mesmerized by the movement of the flames and the many shapes and images that seem to be contained within. You note the transformation of solid piece of wood, to aromatic flame and then to ash; and think of the transformative powers of action and change. Continue to sit looking at the flames and the wisdom of change they offer.

WATER
It is sunset and you are on a beach standing at the edge of the vast ocean. The dusky blue of the sky and the deep blue of the waters in front of you form a tapestry of soothing color. The white peaked waves, foamy and rising and falling as if in syncopation hold your gaze. These are the tides that ebb and flow within you as well. The resonance of your being and the energy and rise and swell of the waters stirs the emotions you hold within. The sheer beauty of the sun setting below the horizon of water’s edge and the anticipation of the rising of the moon bring a yearning and peace that cannot be articulated. Enjoy the beauty of this scene. The smell of the salty air and the rising of the moon reflected on waters of life.

EARTH
You find yourself standing at the base of a giant Sequoia; looking up at a canopy of leaves and network of branches that stretches far into the sky. You can feel the palpable energy of this space and smell the loamy earth, ripe with life. You lean gently against the massive base of the tree and immediately feel the energetic connection between yourself and this grand giant. You can also feel and sense the many sights and years of change this tree has taken in. The connection of sinewy roots interweaving and dipping deep into the belly of the great mother earth- Gaia. Stand in this way for some time. Drink in the connection and energy pulsing through you and the tree. This is earth. This is your home. And you are steward of its care.

And end each of the meditations with:

Move your focus back to your breath. With each breath bring your awareness back to the rhythm of your breath and the rise and fall of your chest. Become aware of the physicality of where you are sitting or lying and your body pressed against cushion, chair or floor. And, when you are ready, gently flutter your eyes open.

Next Month: Meditative Practice for the Seasons

In conclusion…

“And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”

-Percy Bysshe Shelley-

Upcoming Events – 2018

March 24th
Celebration of the Solar Year: Ritual of Khepra-RA


The Spring Equinox is at hand and Dawn’s rising offers new beginnings.
For more information. Click here…

March 27th
Temple of the Sun Series: Part Two


Egyptian Alchemy: Opening the Way
8-wks.on Tuesday Evenings
For more information. Click here…

Musings From the Mystic Path is published monthly by Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW.

Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnists: L. B., Tesseract and India Amour, Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners  of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW

All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.

Images:
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted

For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW or email:hpsmysticpath@yahoo.com

Posted in March 2018, Volume Two | 1 Comment

February2018:Light and Being Linked In!

Vol. 2 – Issue 10

Musings From the Mystic Path

The Month of February
Light and Being Linked In!

This month is a detour from our usual offerings and provides links to few, but rich websites that will inform your spiritual and mundane practice. As I noted last month and the call to simplicity..less is more and allows the space for more to fill…hopefully stirred within you a space of stillness, this issue is one to simply savor in its brevity.

Tesseract speaks to the astrology of the month and weaves information about the Sabbat of Imbolc into its working. More fun facts and stories about Imbolc kick us off in celebration of the Goddess, Brighid. And, Seekers on the Path begins a series of articles focused on bringing the experience of meditation and contemplative action into the flow of your daily life.

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.”
-Lao Tzu-

 

Featured Sabbat

Brigid – Imbolc –“The Shining One”
by Starfire

  1. Where Brigid – Imbolc falls in the Wheel of the year
  • Halfway between Yule and Ostara
  • Cross quarter Day between Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox, halfway thru winter January 29th – Feb 2
  • It is time to take stock of the lessons we learned this winter, a time of reflection, time to prepare your household/farm/self for the coming Spring season. A time of planting new seeds, deciding where to direct our energy, where we want to grow in the coming season.

  2. Meaning of Imbolc – Ewe’s Milk, sheep lactating, new life on plants

3. Imbolc, (pronounced “IM-bulk” or “EM-bowlk”), also called Oimealg, (“IM-mol’g), by the Druids, is the festival of the lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word “oimelc” which means “ewes milk”. Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brigid’s snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, (the origin of Ground Hog Day), and in many places the first Crocus flowers began to spring forth from the frozen earth.The Maiden is honored, as the Bride, on this Sabbat. Straw Brideo’gas (corn dollies) are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. Young girls then carry the Brideo’gas door to door, and gifts are bestowed upon the image from each household. Afterwards at the traditional feast, the older women make special acorn wands for the dollies to hold, and in the morning the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. Brigid’s Crosses are fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year. Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom (A bundle of twigs attached to a handle and used as a broom.) is placed by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun.

4. Another traditional symbol of Imbolc is the plough. In some areas, this is the first day of plowing in preparation of the first planting of crops. A decorated plough is dragged from door to door, with costumed children following asking for food, drinks, or money. Should they be refused, the household is paid back by having its front garden ploughed up. In other areas, the plough is decorated and then Whiskey, the “water of life” is poured over it. Pieces of cheese and bread are left by the plough and in the newly turned furrows as offerings to the nature spirits. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during this time.

  • Time for purification, new signs of life
  • blessings of the candles
  • cleaning of your home, ritual space
  • return of the light, after darkness, since Yule, every day the light is longer
  • Middle of winter, holds promise of Spring

Pictish Pagan Roots
Bruide, the Pictish royal throne name, is said to derived from the Pagan Goddess Brigid. The Bruide name was given to each Pagan Pictish king who was viewed as the male manifestation of the spirit of the Goddess. The most sacred place of the Picts was Abernethy in Fife. It was dedicated to Brigid, in Pagan times, and to St. Brigid, in Christian times. Columban monks tended a Celtic abbey there and hereditary abbots were of the Earl of Fife branch of the Clan MacDuff, which survived to the present day as Clan Wemyss (Weems).

  • Name variations: Brigid; Bride (Scotland), Brid, Brigit, Bridget, Briganta (England), Brigan, Brigindo(Gaul), Berecyntia,Brigandu(France)
    Name means Bright One, High One, Bright Arrow, Power.
    Christianized forms: St. Brigit (Irish), St. Ffraid (Welsh), St. Bridget (Swedish), Queen of Heaven, Prophetess of Christ, Mary.
  • Irish Transitions and Traditions
    When Ireland was Christianized, veneration of the Pagan Goddess Brigid was transformed into that of St. Brigit, said to be the human daughter of a Druid. St. Brigit became a saint after her “death” and was supposedly converted and baptized by St. Patrick. Pagan lore was incorporated into the Christian traditions and legends associated with her as a saint. For example, as St. Brigit, She had the power to appoint bishops and they had to be goldsmiths. She was associated with miracles and fertility. Into the 18th century a women’s only shrine was kept to her in Kildare (meaning Church of the Oak) in Ireland. There, nineteen nuns tended Her continually burning sacred flame. An ancient song was sung to Her: “Brigid, excellent woman, sudden flame, may the bright fiery sun take us to the lasting kingdom.”
  • Brigid, is the Celtic Goddess of inspiration, healing, and smithcraft. She is one of the best examples of the survival of a Pagan Goddess into Christian times. She was canonized as St. Brigit by the Roman Catholic Church and various stories are given of Her origins and Her life. She was a Druid’s daughter, described in the Carmina Gadelica as the “daughter of Dugall the brown.” She is reported to have predicted the coming of Christianity and to have been baptized by St. Patrick. Popular folk tales describe Her as the midwife to the Virgin Mary, and She is thus always called upon by women in labor. The Christian St. Brigit was a nun, and later an Abbess, who founded an Abbey at Kildare in Ireland. She was said to have had the power to appoint the bishops of Her area, an unlikely role for an Abbess, made stranger by Her unusual requirement that these bishops also be practicing goldsmiths.
  • In ancient times, the Goddess Brigid had a shrine at Kildare, with a perpetual flame tended by nineteen virgin priestesses called Daughters of the Flame. No man was permitted to come near Brigid’s shrine and neither did Her priestesses consort with men. Even food and supplies were brought to the priestesses by women from the nearby village. When Catholicism overtook Ireland, Brigid’s Fire Temple became a convent and the priestesses became nuns, but the same traditions were upheld and the eternal flame kept burning. Each day a different priestess/nun was in charge of the sacred fire and on the 20th day of each cycle, the fire was miraculously tended by the Goddess/Saint Herself.
  • For more than a thousand years thereafter, the sacred flame was tended by nuns. In 1220 CE, though, the Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigid of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and must open their abbey and submit to inspection by a priest. When the Brigidine nuns refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform the inspections, the Bishop was furious. He decreed that the keeping of the eternal flame was a Pagan custom, and ordered the sacred flame to be extinguished. Despite this persecution, St. Brigit remains to this day the most popular saint in Ireland, along with St. Patrick. In the 1960s, though, Vatican II declared there was insufficient proof of St. Brigit’s sanctity, or even of Her historical existence, and She was decanonized, so that the Roman Church’s campaign against Her became successful. Recently, however, despite the initial protests of the Roman Catholic church, two nuns, by the name of Sister Mary and Sister Phil, have reestablished the worship of St. Brigit at Kildare and have relit Her sacred flame, which burns once more. The first modern Candlemas/Imbolc celebration at the ancient site of Brigid’s sacred well in 1997 drew hundreds of people and grows every year in popularity. The flame of Brigid’s love burns brightly once more.
  • Brigid/St. Brigit was said to be the inventor of whistling and of keening.
  • Candlemas – February 2 – which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and features candlelight processions. The powerful figure of Brigid the Light-Bringer overlights both pagan and Christian celebrations. This is the feast of the purification of the Virgin Mary, when she was supposed to go to the temple in Jerusalem, 40 days after giving birth, to make a traditional offering to purify herself. As she entered the Temple, an old man, named Simeon, recognized Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, and a “light unto the Gentiles.”

So the Archetype of the Young Sun or Light coming to redeem the darkness – is retold with a Christian twist. Divine light in the darkness of human sin, of renewal and rebirth of light in the dark time of the year, and the new light of heaven, come to transform an old world.

Brigid – Healer/Bard/Smith – the ritual for Brigid on Imbolc centers on inviting the goddess in and offering her hospitality. In some cases a woman was chosen to play the part of the goddess, in other cases the brídeóg was used. The door would be opened to her and she would loudly be invited in, shown to her “bed” and offered specially baked bread. Candles would be lit at the windows and next to her “bed”, songs would be sung and prayers said calling on Brigid to bless all present in the coming seasons, and grant health and protection to the household.

A small broom or white wand would be placed next to the “bed”, and the ashes from the fire would be smoothed down in the hopes that the morning would reveal the marks of the wand, or better yet, the footprints of the goddess herself, either of which would be a sign of blessing. Placing the doll in her bed at night would be followed by a large family meal.

5. Goddess

  • Goddess of Inspiration – Bard
  • Goddess of Smiths – Other rituals involve blessing the forge fires for blacksmiths and Otherworld divinations. In some Scottish mythologies, it is believed that Brigid is held by the Cailleach Bhur during the winter months but escapes, or is rescued by her brother Aonghus mac óg, on Imbolc. In others, it is said the Cailleach drinks from a hidden spring and transforms into Brigid on this day.
  • Goddess of Healing
  1. Goddess/Druidess/Saint – progression of Brigid in Ireland
  • PreChristian Ireland, honored Brigid
  • PreChristian Northern England, honored Brigantia
  1. Cailleach and Dahgda – best traits of her 2 parents
  • Cailleach staying by the fire – if it is a grey, rainy day, then she will burn thru her fire wood faster, so spring will come sooner
  • Cailleach going out to collect more firewood – so if it is a beautiful, sunny day, then she is out collecting more firewood to burn, winter is going to be longer, so 6 more weeks of winter weather
  • This is where GroundHog’s day story comes from.
  1. Symbols
  • Fire – Flame, candle, crown, hearth
  • Water – Wells, springs, cauldron
  • Grain – Brigid Crosses, Goddess in effigy/ Brigid’s Bed, seeds
  • Creatures – White cow with red ears, wolf, snake, swan,& vulture
  • Talismans – Shining mirror to Otherworld, Spinning Wheel, Holy Grail, Mantle/Cloak (hanging it on sunbeam, when St. Brendan came to visit her at her farmstead, or leaving a length of cloth out on a windowsill for the entire holy day and night. It is believed that the cloth absorbs the energy of the goddess during the ritual, and can be used for healing and protection throughout the year. This would be kept and recharged every year, attaining full power after 7 years.
  • Ritual – Brigid’s Girdle – Crios Bride – it was made from braided straw rope and carried in procession with the effigy of Bride throughout the whole town. At each house, occupants were expected to pass through it, to obtain Bride’s protection and good health for the coming year. As they did this, the bearers of the cross chanted a verse. One version goes in translation:

“Brigid’s girdle is my girdle
The girdle with the four crosses
Arise, housewife and go out three times.
May whoever goes through my girdle
Be seven times better a year from now.”

A ritual like this anchored participants in the cosmic order represented by the four directions and the three worlds: lower world, physical world and upper world, mediated by the sacred presence of Brigid.

  1. Customs
  • Making Brigid Crosses, blessing rushes
  • Purification – of home and fields
  • Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonni), Imbolic (Celtic), Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus (Strega), St. Bridget’s Day (Christian), Candlemas, Candlelaria (Mexican), the Snowdrop Festival. The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin. All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honored at this time. Different names Imbolc/Candlemas/Brigid/Groundhog’s Day/Aztec New Year/ Chinese New Year

Deities of Imbolc:
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brigid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.

Symbolism of Imbolc:
Purity, Growth and Re-Newal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.
Symbols of Imbolc:
Brideo’gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brigid’s Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.
Herbs of Imbolc:
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.
Foods of Imbolc:
Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.
Incense of Imbolc:
Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.
Colors of Imbolc:
White, Pink, Red, Yellow, lt. Green, Brown.
Stones of Imbolc:
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.
Activities of Imbolc:
Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo’gas and Bride’s Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires maybe lit.

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in
our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”
– Gertrude Wistar –

Imbolc

by LDB

I am fond of this saying from the Zen Buddhist tradition: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” This means to me that the seeking for enlightenment, being one with the Divine, becoming aware of my own inner spark, all can happen while I am just carrying out the daily tasks of my life. This seeking doesn’t have to be a precious removal from life; rather, the more fully engaged I am with my own life, the more likely I will come to understand my own place in the All. While I am incarnate on this plane, then I must carry out normal, everyday, and mundane tasks.

I had a moment of awakening just this past week. It was during a break in the winter iciness and there was a day of sunshine and relative warmth and no snow. I took the opportunity to rake leaves that I had missed in the fall and that had been piled up under the recent snow falls. While I was raking, I noticed some pale green new growth: tiny leaves were unfurling. They had the understanding that spring will be coming soon. And I kept raking and piling up leaves. Soon, I got down to bare ground, and I realized that I could smell the earth. Even in the cold of winter, under snow and ice, the compost under the leaves was getting ready. I could smell the possibility of spring being drawn up by the tines of my rake. Rake leaves: remember the cycle of life.

Imbolc comes at just the right time. It is still winter, it will still be freezing. The nights come early. Yet. And yet. I smell the compost. Tiny green leaves are starting to reach up. Snowdrops will be blooming soon; daffodils will once again send up their green leaves even though I think each year, “No, wait! It is too soon!” The daffodils know better than I do: spring is on its way. Imbolc is the holiday that we celebrate at the midpoint between winter solstice (when the night longest) and the spring equinox (when daylight and night time are of equal length). The day light is beginning to stretch for longer times when Imbolc comes to us, and we can feel the stirrings of new life.

Rake leaves: uncover new life: breath in cold air: smell compost: let enlightenment in. Celebrate Imbolc. Celebrate the dawning of awareness, of light returning, of the wheel turning. Never ending. New and old and new again.

Featured Links

 

Spaces of Serenity

Daily OM
DailyOM features a universal approach to holistic living for the mind, body, and spirit and supports people who want to live a conscious lifestyle. DailyOM was founded in 2004 by Madisyn Taylor and Scott Blum, and was born out of their desire to bring the world together by offering messages of consciousness and awareness to people of all walks of life.

Mindful.org
Mindful is a mission-driven non-profit. We’re dedicated to inspiring, guiding, and connecting anyone who wants to explore mindfulness—to enjoy better health, more caring relationships, and a compassionate society. Mindful is the voice of the emerging mindfulness community. We’re the place to go for insight, information, and inspiration to help us all live more mindfully.

Do Nothing for Two Minutes
Still your mind and your hands by forcing yourself to do nothing for two minutes. It’s much harder than it sounds, but you’ll feel so good afterwards.

Calm
This site leads you through a guided meditation session in increments up to 20 minutes. There are a number of options that allow you to fully customize your experience.

Inspiration

Daily Inspirational Quotes
Read inspiring, positive and wisdom quotes which uplift your spirit and motivate you to follow your dreams, and helps you to live a peaceful life.

Rumi Network
Rumi Network is dedicated to Rumi, the brilliant and radical Persian poet, mystic and philosopher of the 13th Century.

Nature

BBC Earth/Youtube
The world is an amazing place full of stories, beauty and natural wonder. Watch BBC Earth’s YouTube channel and meet your planet.

Nature World News
Animals, nature, biology, environment and more.

Resources

Sacred Texts
This site is a freely available archive of electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore, and occult and esoteric topics. Texts are presented in English translation and, where possible, in the original language.

Servants of the Light 
To teach, that is our aim. To teach well, and with love. To teach what we have been taught; and in that teaching, to form close knit bonds that will bring all faiths and traditions into one united Brotherhood. The SOL is pendant to the ancient School of Alexandria, where all faiths and beliefs were welcomed, and their knowledge shared. We do not teach any faith or religion, or exalt any one above another. Though we teach the Western Way, we do not oppose that of the East; but look upon it as one of the many bright strands of faith that make up the Divine Pattern.

Asstd. Info and Studies

Ancient Origins
At Ancient Origins we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

Science Daily
Your source for the latest research news.

Focus On…

Tesseract
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick

by Ionlanthe

As February begins, we look forward to Imbolc. Imbolc is a cross quarter day and is celebrated at the midpoint between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox; it will fall on February 2 this year. As it happens, Imbolc occurs two days after the full Moon, which appeared on January 31 and was the second full Moon in January. We will not have a full Moon in February this year. Even though light radiated from the Moon will be waning, the celebration of Imbolc turns the Wheel of the Year toward thoughts of Spring and we can take note that every day brings us a few more minutes of daylight.

Imbolc is a time of renewal and fertility, the stirring of new life, be it lambs or spring flowers: we might see snowdrops poking up through melting snow. Some people celebrate the increase in light daily by lighting candles at night and placing them in the windows of their houses.

As the Moon’s light wanes toward the third, or last, quarter phase on February 7, it will be in the sign of Scorpio, a fixed water sign. Scorpio represents an energy that is anything but superficial. This sign is one that is interested in plumbing the depths of emotions, revealing what is underneath any situation, and in reveling in passion, regeneration, and regrowth. It is the sign that is represented by the scorpion, the eagle, and the phoenix: it is a transformational sign.

As the time of the third quarter Moon phase is one of reflection, introspection, reviewing the result of the intentions and actions started, grown and harvested during the previous phases, we can use the transformational Scorpio energy during this rare month with no full Moon and go deep within. What are we gestating? What will we bring forth in the coming season? What are we waiting for? What will we breathe out in the coming Spring?

Now is when we can take time to remember the light that we can generate from our own energy. We can kindle our own candles and bring our light to share with others. Let us do some candle magick to remember that light and life will be expanding soon.

RITUAL: Cleansing bath with candles
To enhance the energies of Imbolc, a third quarter Moon in Scorpio (water sign), and a month without a full Moon, you can combine candle magick with a cleansing milk bath. This way you can wash away the old and make room for what is coming to you.

First: Gather your materials. You will need one white candle, one black candle, candle holders, and a lighter.

Collect the ingredients for your milk bath. These ingredients include:
1 cup Epsom salt
1 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup baking soda

The Epsom salt can help muscles relax, and the milk and baking soda can help sooth the skin. You will need to combine these ingredients and put them in a container you can close: you will have more than you need for one bath.

Place your candles in the bath room in their holders on a secure surface: we don’t want candles falling in the bath water! Have a lighter at hand.

Fill the bathtub with hot water and add 1/4 cup of your milk bath mixture to the hot water.

Next: prepare for the ritual. Center yourself and breathe deeply with the four-fold breath: breathe out for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Repeat this sequence until you feel calm and centered.

Then, turn out the lights in the bathroom. Notice the darkness, and notice your feelings. When you are ready, light the black candle. Do you feel any different, knowing that you are bringing light out of the darkness? Meditate on the single candle flame for a moment.

Now, light the white candle. Notice the increase in light: now the light and the dark are in a dance together. Meditate on the two flames.

When you are ready, enter your cleansing milk bath. The dark and the light are both present, yet you know light will be increasing. Immerse yourself in the watery energy of Scorpio, of change, of transformation, of starting anew. The salt is from the ocean: remember the primordial mother from which we all emerged. The milk can remind you of spring and the new lambs birthing at this time of year. This bath will cleanse and soothe you and your skin, joints, and muscles will thank you.

Lay in your bath and look at the candle flames. Have they burned down some? Let this remind you that you have burned your energies over the winter; now is a time for renewal.

When you feel complete, empty your bath water, rinse off the milk and salts, and emerge from your bath. Blow out the candles, yet remember that you carry the spark of the divine and light of the life within you. This inner light cannot be extinguished. Carry it forth. So mote it be.

First Steps on the Seeker’s Path

This month’s article is Part One of a series of posts about the practice of meditation and contemplative integration at all levels of being. Last month I discussed the path of devotion and as we move through this series, the devotion that is offered to yourself will be a key component in cultivating wholeness…

Part One: Magickal Meditation
The Gateway to the Human Divine

As physical, mental and spiritual beings it is important that we address the needs of all of these components in order to stay healthy, balanced and whole. If we ignore the Spiritual self and cater to and indulge only the physical, we lose connection with our Higher Self and are driven and guided by our most primitive urges.

If we hermit ourselves away to a life whose sole intent is to ascend out of the plane of incarnate existence, we deprive ourselves of one of our most powerful vehicles of Divine experience- the knowledge of being a Spiritual Being having a human experience.

The bridge between these two aspects is our mental self. The seat of the intellect and analysis that can by seed of thought ascend to the heights via use of thoughtforms or create and manifest into being by use of invention. The care and keeping of a stress-free mind is an area that much has been written about, but still remains tenuous, at best, to take hold of in our fast and over-achieving society.

One of the ways I “steal away” for positive reflection is through the use of visual triggers. On my work desk are a selection of items, each connected to its own story of some joyful, relaxing stream of thought. I only have to look at a particular object and allow it to transport my mind to a place of serenity that I’ve built in connection with that object. In as little as 3-5 minutes, and using a very discreet method in the midst of a work (or potentially stressful setting) I have calmed my mind, set the intent of serenity around myself.

Next Month: Meditative Practice for the Parts of Self

 

Upcoming Events – 2018

February 18
Unlocking the Tarot

Decoding the Signs, Symbols and Journey
For more information. Click here…

Musings From the Mystic Path is published monthly by Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW.

Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnist: L. B., Tesseract
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners  of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW

All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.

Images:
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted

For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW or email:hpsmysticpath@yahoo.com

Posted in February 2018, Volume Two | 1 Comment

January2018:Happy New Year!

Vol. 2 – Issue 9


Musings From the Mystic Path
The Month of January
Happy New Year!

Welcome to the beginning of another year, 2018! This is the year of finding your way in the world and casting aside the complexity that has weighed us down throughout the months. Think of this month as the potential for any new beginning that you wish to undertake.

And, let it begin with simplicity. Less is more and allows the space for more to fill – in time. This month’s issue is a reflection of this space of simplicity. You will find less than usual in this issue; which allows you, the dear reader to fill the space with your own creative endeavors. Sit in silence, write something of beauty, sing yourself to sleep, dance just because, paint your beauty for all to see.

We, of Coven of the Mystic Path, wish our readers and their friends and families a prosperous, healthy and creative-filled New Year! Next month our regular columns and more will continue….

“This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!”
-William Arthur Ward-

Featured Writings

Welcome 2018!

By M.H.

January, the 1st month of the New Year gets its name from the Roman God, Janus. He is usually pictured with two faces which connect at the back of the head. Festivals to celebrate Janus were held in Rome on New Year’s Day.   His image is used on doorways, arches or gates, known as the God of beginnings. The faces of Janus remind us to look back at the past year,our accomplishments and to make New Year’s resolutions for this year. Every ending has a new beginning.

The Winter Solstice has passed; the Yule tree and twinkling lights have been put away. It’s time to set your goals for the New Year. Set up a calendar and get organized. Select the new classes to take, plan projects or skills to learn for work and decide what herbs you will plant in the garden this Spring.

The Moon is Full on January 1st the perfect time for a Full Moon ritual of releasing, cleansing and making a fresh start. Full yourself with the power of this Moon’s energy and allow inspiration to spark your imagination.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
-Albert Einstein-

Snow Fell Silently

by Robin

Snow fell silently
In the morning light.

Soft shapes glistening
Carried on breath’s
Airy flight.

Ice glass shards
Pillowing green stalks.

Snow fell silently
Breath held in
Nature’s awe.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
-Hal Borland-

A Little Divination for the New Year

About this spread:

With the dawning of a New Year, there are many ways to welcome this fresh start. This astrological spread is a way of accessing information that can be used throughout the year as the Sun transits from one astrological sign to the next. The emphasis is on you standing at the center of the Great Wheel as the Sun and Moon. I’ve chosen to share and use this spread as the start of the New Year, but you can begin the process or start anew at any point in time during the year.

Want to know more? Follow the link here...January 2018: A New Year’s Spread

In Conclusion and, to repeat…..

“Be so warm that people mistake you for the sun; so bright that people mistake you for the stars; and so accommodating that people mistake you for the universe.” -Matshona Dhliwayo-

Upcoming Events – 2018

January 16 – February 27
Temple of the Sun Series 2018
Part One 7-wks.

Solar Magick: The Journey of the Solar Barque
For more information. Click here…

Musings From the Mystic Path is published monthly by Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW.

Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnist: L. B., Tesseract
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners  of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW

All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.

Images:
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted
Snow Fell Silently-R.Fennelly

For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW or email:hpsmysticpath@yahoo.com

Posted in January 2018, Volume Two

December2017:Living in the Light!

Vol. 2 – Issue 8


Musings From the Mystic Path
The Month of December
Living in the Light!

It is hard to believe that we have reached the ending of 2017! It seems as though this year sped past and now we are gearing up to welcome 2018 and another year of experiences. For many this is the ultimate holiday season, after all in many of our spiritually blended families and friendships, there is a certain joy in celebrating in the way of those we love and honor. 

Last month the focus was on gratitude and with the soon to be Winter Solstice, Light is the key. This issue honors that embracing of the Light and a repeat of the Wassail recipe from last year. Tesseract highlights the movement from potential to possibilities. The beauty of the hive is brought up close and personal. And, Seekers on the Path is loaded with resources to stimulate your quest for knowing and study at your own pace. 

We, of Coven of the Mystic Path, wish our readers and their friends and families a beautiful December filled with time to get together, celebrate each other and bask in the glow of burgeoning Light.

“The Winter Solstice is the time of ending and beginning, a powerful time; a time to contemplate your immortality. A time to forgive, to be forgiven, and to make a fresh start. A time to awaken.”
-Frederick Lenz-

Featured Writings

NOW…

By Flash Maeve

Now is the time to gather what you have learned of yourself throughout the past year. It is a time to reflect on what you will keep and what you will discard before entering into the dark times of winter. Winter is a time to gather in what you have harvested, prepare tasks to be completed indoors, to shore up your wards, for limited sunshine, reduced warmth and fewer social engagements.

It is a time to open up to your creative pursuits, to read those books you piled up next to your bedside table, an opportunity to practice music, sing chants, songs and allow yourself the freedom of drumming, connecting yourself again to the rhythm of the earth and her blessings.

It is a time to stoke your hearth fires, watch the fires dance, listen to the stories told and warm yourself by the embers of the fire. Allow yourself this time of reflection and you will count this time as a blessing when the days grow longer, the outdoors beckon for you to step into the sunshine and the calendar fills with classes and rituals and nature comes alive again. Take this time to heal and reflect, enjoy the warmth and blessings of your home and hearth. Breathe and renew. The Wheel turns.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for a home.”
— Edith Sitwell-

Wintry ReverieBy Robin

The Sun streams down
Upon my upturned face
And radiant brilliance of
Warm golden light is
Veiled through closed lids.

The breath of the Divine
Caresses my face
Tossing ringlets of hair
Out to be bourne aloft
On a wintry breeze.

The frosty water gurgles and
Babbles rushing past as
It carries the message of
Spring’s return soon.

Sun sculpted silhouette
Of bark and branches
Stripped bare and weathered
by Autumn’s loving hand.

Standing stately in waiting
Against canvas of pastel blue sky
Painted by brush stroke of
Chilling air and moisture’s dew.

Nature is all around me
The pulse of life beating
Deep within the Mother’s heart.

The promise of Spring held
In each remnant of
Icy crystal that forms
Like tiny diamonds
On bough and dried leaf.

I sit in my quiet reverie
Opening to the web of
All Beings and Life.

Opening to the mysteries
Of the natural world.

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there
was in me an invincible summer.”
-Albert Camus-

Drumming with Purpose

by Kenatem (M.M.)

November 14, 2017 closed the first full year of the Mystic Fires Drum Circle’s monthly gatherings.

I have had the privilege and responsibility of being this circle’s facilitator for nearly eighteen months. This circle began with an offer from my now High Priestess to provide our community with another opportunity to gather, share, and learn. I had considered forming a circle for a few years, but it wasn’t until Robin asked me that the idea moved from abstract to likely. Still, I stalled for over a year before I said yes. You see, I am not a master percussionist (yet); I am an enthusiast who has witnessed the awesome power of shared rhythm to bind a group. I wasn’t sure if a decade (at the time) of experience simply playing in circles and rituals as well as enthusiasm for what I had seen was possible could be enough to legitimize leading a circle. Within that year-ish of stalling, though, a particular moment pushed me toward, “Yes.”

Around the winter solstice, I met for dinner with Cherissa, the daughter of the woman who facilitated the first drum circle I ever attended. Cherissa’s mother, Nadine, had passed that February, and while we weren’t exactly close, we enjoyed each other’s company whenever we both happened to be at one of her mother’s circles. Having lived through a similar experience with my mother years before that she’d recently had with hers, I wanted to catch up with her to see how she was doing, and maybe offer some emotional support if she seemed to want or need it.

Toward the end of dinner, Cherissa mentioned that she still had the instruments her mother offered as loaners during her circles. “I don’t know what to do with them,” she said. “They’re just taking up space in my living room. I love them, but I don’t play them. I also have roommates, and the instruments seem to get in their way. Maybe I should sell them…”

“Uhhmm,” I said, putting my hand out, as if to stop her thought. “OK. I’ve, um… I’ve been thinking for a while about starting a drum circle. Also, someone recently offered to set one up with me as facilitator.”

She smiled. “Oh, yeah?”

In that moment, I remembered, after my mother’s passing, how awkward and strange it was to consider what pieces of hers to keep and what to release to other family, friends, or the world for their own use.

I thought for a moment then said, “I’d like to offer something, now, and you tell me how you feel about it: I can’t put a price on them, so how would you feel if, rather than selling them, I took possession of them, knowing that I’ll be setting up and using them for my own drum circle, and if you realize you need them back, just tell me, and they’re yours, because they’ll be yours, anyway?”

“That feels good,” she said with a nod. “I think my mother would like that.”

I felt the hairs on my neck stand up when she said this, and told her. She said she was experiencing the same thing.

Since we were just blocks from her home, she decided to let me take the drums and rattles with me, that night. So, after dinner, I followed her to her house. As we emptied the instrument-occupied corner of her living room into my car, she brought out from the back of it the djembe her mother played in concerts and with which she lead circles.

“I don’t know what to do with this, either,” she said. “It’s really special to me, but again, I don’t play it.”

I stood there, stunned. I wasn’t allowed to touch this instrument when Nadine was alive, and I watched her, through it, lead people through shades of joy, anger, and sorrow. It was as holy an object as I knew.

“You don’t play it, at all?”

“No. It’s too big for me. I have my little djembe that I take places and play. This just sits here.”

*BLINK BLINK*

“P— please don’t sell it,” I said, breathy and slack jawed. “I mean, of course, do what you want to with it, but…”

I took a breath, and blurted, “I would LOVE to lead circles with that drum, if you would let me.”

She thought for a moment.

“It could be the same arrangement,” I offered. “If you ever realize you’d like it back, just let me know.”

She stared at the drum for a few beats. “That feels right,” she said with a smile.

Some of the women I knew through Nadine’s drum circles and I still got together, roughly monthly, to drum. I offered this as part of the deal:

“I’ll likely bring it to the women’s drum circle with Audrey, Lynn, Erin, and Tina. How about I make it clear everywhere else that only the five of us can play it?”

She nodded. “That sounds right. I’m comfortable with that. OK.” She then unzipped the carrying bag and let me touch the drum head. My hand shook as I placed it. I noticed the wear on the head from countless strikes—including places where it had split—and the conditioning the skin received from what was likely the oils from Nadine’s hands. My hair stood, again. More than anything, I felt incredibly lucky, and then incredibly responsible.

Cherissa walked me out to the car with the drum. As I closed Nadine’s djembe in my trunk, Cherissa said, “This feels right. I think my mom would like this.”

I promised her I would take good care of all of her mom’s instruments, and make sure that no one touched the larger djembe except the people we agreed on (and on more than one occasion, the drum, herself, through a clear, “NO,” signal, has repelled undesired contact).

Thank you, Cherissa. Thank you, Nadine.

I still waited a few months before finally obeying the internal prod to take my High Priestess up on her offer. Within days, advert and business card templates were sent to me for approval and ordered (she works that way) and a few dates were established through the end of the year. While it was comforting to know Robin had jumped from the plane with me, once I agreed, it was clear that there was no going back. I’d better find a way to open my parachute or grow some wings.

I’m not sure which this is, but since the circles have started, I’ve had three or four no-show dates. (The chute got tangled? I lost feathers?) The rest—minus the first one, after our coven’s Summer Solstice ritual in 2016, and the one at the Spring Magick event in April of this year—have seen 2 – 5 people, each. I’m still learning about when and how to most effectively promote the circle, each month, but I also remember joining Nadine in a few of her circles when it was just her, her partner, and me. I got to learn so much, then.

Consistently small turn-outs are not my goal for these, but they’re not discouraging. In their way, they’re exactly what I need, right now. I’m recognizing my role in what makes a circle not come together, as well as what seems to make it go well when it does. A dud month motivates promotion, and inevitably leads to a comfortably sized group, the next. I just know that I only want people there who want to be there, so better a happy few than many just looking for something to do who are half-hearted and chaotic.

My biggest treat in these, so far, has been bringing brand new drummers from zero to one. By this, I mean that they leave with an understanding of how to approach their instrument in a drum circle setting, including how to honor their current skill level while allowing space for an unexpected talent to come through. Those were some of the most exciting moments for me just playing in drum circles. In now facilitating them, witnessing those little epiphanies with people calls the raised hairs back from that evening with Cherissa, as well as the times in circles, rituals, and choirs when everything seems to click.

I now use Nadine’s drum to lead the circles. As I said, I am not a master percussionist (yet), but I’ve discovered that I am, right now, capable enough. As long as I continue to learn and practice both the skills of being a worthwhile percussionist and circle facilitator (and the latter one mostly learns by just showing up and being one), I won’t be discouraged. I’ll be learning to properly pack my own chute. I’ll be growing my own wings.

“Be so warm that people mistake you for the sun; so bright that
people mistake you for the stars; and so accommodating that
people mistake you for the universe.”
-Matshona Dhliwayo-

The Hive…
by M.Q.

So beautiful, hidden among a tree, entwined and utilizing its branches, leaves, seeds. So many fear. Few appreciate the work, the energy and dedication to this temporary home.

It’s an amazing feat of commitment. To chew up debris, earth’ s soil, nature’s waste and morph it into a functioning world. Lifetimes of instinct guide the creation of this protective structure. Its carapace of interwoven earth hues, with strands of peach, off white, and spring green layers sit high away from predators. Inside the contradictory shell; dry yet feeling like it holds so much moisture; are the mysteries inhabitants. They work feverishly throughout summer towards the goal of their lifes’ cycle.

Whether accomplished or not, autumn comes, temperatures drop and the queen knows it’s time to move on. She will survive the winter in a tree or building and the cycle will continue.

As humans, we do not always follow our instincts and prepare for changes. We are inclined to abandon anything that required our work, attention, money, energy, or time. Part of the journey is this learning.

Are you on the right path? Are your friends and associates helpful and healthy? Is your dwelling safe from storms? Is your time spent productively, with focus towards your aspirations, your passion? Even so, have your desires changed, requiring now a different path?

Winter is coming and so another space of time to go within, to ascertain and inventory. What is no longer beneficial? What can you now leave behind, no matter the fear, the effort it involved or how comfortable it once felt? Will you learn from your choices and experiences and trust your instincts to carry you forward where you need to go?

“Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing
touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I
feel I never have enough of…”
-Leo Tolstoy-

Just because it was TOO GOOD not to repeat…

Happy Yule to Everyone and Wassail!

by M.H.

Wassail is an Old Norse salutation ves heill, meaning “be well”. The custom of wassailing dates back to medieval times, but it’s rarely practiced anywhere today. The original drink was made from mulled ale, roasted apples, eggs, curdled cream, sugar and spices. The apples would actually burst open giving the appearance of wool. So the frothy drink was also called Lamb’s wool.

In December, sometime during the twelve days of Christmas or on New Year’s Eve people would go house to house singing and offering a drink from the wassail bowl in exchange for gifts. The mulled ale was also poured on the roots of the apple trees in the orchards to ward off evil spirits and ensure a good harvest in the coming year. When served indoors, there was caroling, and merrymaking leading up to the great presentation of the Wassail bowl. Wealthy families used a Wassail bowl usually made of silver or pewter and could hold up to ten gallons of the spiced drink.

Below is the recipe I’ve used for many years at my Yule celebrations. The addition of alcohol is optional and of course only for adult gatherings. Many other recipes use wine, ale or brandy. Wassail can be bottled and given as gifts or served after caroling to pleasantly warm the guests.

Wassail Recipe

1 Gallon Apple Cider
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of whole cloves
1 tablespoon of whole allspice
small pieces of ginger root
1 quart of orange juice
3 cups of pineapple juice
3 cups of Apricot Nectar
zest of one orange
1 bottle of Vodka
1 bottle of Peach Schnapps
cinnamon sticks

Pour the apple cider in a large stock pot, add the brown sugar, place all the spices in a spice bag and place the bag in the cider, add the zest of one orange. Heat gently, to bring to a slow boil; then lower the heat and add the additional fruit juices and the alcohol. Allow it to simmer on low heat for 5-10 more minutes until it’s thoroughly heated, but not boiling.

Remove the spice bag and pour the mixture into a warmed crock pot or a slower cooker on your holiday table, add orange slices studded with additional cloves. These will just float on the top of the cider. Serve the beverage in heat proof mugs with and a cinnamon stick.

“Do not fear your inner light.
Carry your light to the dark world.”
-Lailah GiftyAkita-

 

Stillness

by M.H.

Winter nights bring hope,
Stillness of my inner self
Solstice light returns,
Snow fall blanketing the Earth
My heart glows warmly

 

Focus On…

The Winter Solstice
aka. Yule
December 21.2017

by A.B.

For most of us the turning of the Greater Wheel to the Winter Solstice (Yule) is one of welcoming the return of the Light of renewal and strength, the promise of increasingly longer hours of daylight and anticipation of warmer weather and a more outer world focused time. This change is subtle in physical form as this is also when the cold of the Winter (Northern Hemisphere) will remain for a few months more prompting us to retreat indoors as the early arrival of evening’s darkness envelopes and calls us into the warmth and light of home.

Each year, I do my work of Self, both within my Tradition (The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel) and personally to call forth this return of Light. And, I also find myself retreating more deeply into the shadows and taking refuge in its landscape of shadow; being intuitively drawn towards the deeper work of spiritual quickening, I think of this as the energy of the Hermit Key of the Tarot and my time to move into the darkened areas of my own inner landscape so that I may welcome and bring forth the Greater Light within. This is also the time of relying on my Shadow self to provide the necessary absence of light to guide me through those darkened paths in a constructive and informed way.

In all spiritual practice, the thought of the physical being holding the Inner Flame of Spirit or The Divine Spark of Light is offered up as a basic concept. The languaging may differ. The way in which this Inner Light presents itself and interacts with conscious awareness may have different ideology. And, the tools and methods used to quicken its energy may be worlds apart in intent and function, but the premise remains the same. In the space of our dark nature lay a light that is luminescent and brilliant that may be called upon to enliven and transform our spiritual and mundane pursuits. If we take it a step further, this transformation is the direct result of collaboration and embracing the dark and the light natures of our consciousness and using each as support and spiritual catalyst of the other.

This dark nature that I am referring to also has many names, functions and philosophies attached to it. I will simply call it the Shadow (Self) . There is an inherent polarity in all things and this Shadow is that polarized image of our Light nature. I am intentionally not using words that are negative in connotation for the Shadow, because it is not anymore a negative aspect of our being than the Light filled self is. Both are states of being that are subject to all the permutations and scales of intensity and impact that any other state of being is. In reality, if we did not have the antithesis or opposite of something, how could we ever enjoy and fully embrace the thing that is being opposed? So, how can this Shadow state be used during the waxing of the Light and engaged to work co-creatively upon those parts of myself I Will to quicken and prime in alignment with the increasing state of light?

The time of the Solstices allows for a deeper awareness and exploration of what impact we have in this world and how we may use the information we learn about ourselves to move in appropriate and fulfilling ways. It is the time of disequilibrium to bring about the eventual balance that is actualized at the Equinoxes. Neither of these energies are about everything being measured and being exactly the same amount of something on each pan of the scale. Rather, they are the states of balance that are dynamic in nature, moving and flowing one to the other and arriving at an informed state of equilibrium at some point of the process.

This is a time of living in the Light as the long reach and beauty of our shadow reaches towards the growing of what will be the fertile space of Spring’s planting.

Read more about the Great Wheel of the Year and Wiccan Sabbats:
The Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year

Tesseract
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick

by Ionlanthe

We have arrived at December. The wheel of the year is turning and we are approaching the darkest time of the year. The hours of sunlight shorten each day until the Solstice arrives on December 21 and the Holly King and Oak King have their battle. The sun will lighten our days a little more each day, until the Holly King and Oak King meet again in high summer and the day light will again begin to shorten.

In this endless, epic, annual cycle, we can look to the Moon in her phases to remind us of the daily passage of time. Every day she is either growing fuller in her light, or reducing the amount of light she reflects. At the time of the Winter Solstice’s approach, the Moon will be a waxing crescent moving from Capricorn (cardinal earth sign) and into Aquarius (fixed air sign). At the precise moment of the Solstice (11:28 am on Thursday, December 21), the Moon will be in Aquarius. Since Capricorn is associated with action in the material world in the here and now, and Aquarius is associated with communication and ideas and a focus on the future, we will be in a place of new ideas and a look toward possible future scenarios right when the Moon is beginning its move away from the dark phase and toward fullness. The crescent Moon will rise at 9:32 am on winter Solstice morning, so you may not be able to see it then. It will set at 7:44 pm that evening and it will be visible as a sliver of a crescent in the sky.

The waxing crescent Moon is an excellent time to put into place the plans you made during Capricorn’s sojourn in the Moon’s dark phase, where you focused on the how and what of your intentions. Now, during the idea phase of Aquarius’s energy in the waxing Moon, think of new ways of seeing possible outcomes of your plans. This is a good time to think outside of the box: Aquarius is known for unorthodox ways of seeing the world.

The Winter Solstice is the time when the northern hemisphere of the Earth tilts the farthest away from the sun, and so we experience the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. At the moment of the Solstice, we are at the time of the most hours of darkness in each day; at the very next moment, we are starting the cycle of increased daylight every day. This is magickally reflected in the Moon’s waxing crescent: moving from the longest dark night toward more daylight; moving from Capricorn’s planning to Aquarius’s soaring ideas; moving from potential to possibilities.

Here is one way to maximize your experience of this magickal time.

MATERIALS

Candle and lighter
Tarot Card XV The Devil
Tarot Card XVII The Star
2 clear water glasses, one filled with water and the other one empty

MEANING

The candle will be used to symbolize the coming of the light
Tarot Card XV The Devil represents the feeling of being stuck and stands for Capricorn
Tarot Card XVII The Star represents inspiration and freedom and stands for Aquarius
The filled water glass represents fullness and potentialities
The empty water glass represents openness and possibilities

RITUAL

Ground and center.

Breath deeply with a 4-fold pattern: exhale, then breath in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

Place your candle in the center of your work space with the Tarot Card XV The Devil on the left of the candle and the Tarot Card XVII The Star on the right side of the candle.

Place the full glass of water in front of the Devil Card.

Place the empty glass in front of the Star Card.

Take a moment to observe the tableau: the un-lit candle, the Devil Card with the full glass on the left to represent potentials, the Star Card on the right to represent possibilities.

Think for a moment on what you want to manifest. Visualize it in as clear a way as you can: what does this intention look like? Try to imagine being the person you want to be, or the circumstances you want to have happen. How does it feel to you, if you could imagine this intention being a reality?

Once you have your intention clear in your mind, light the candle. This is the moment you move from darkness into light, into the Solstice, into the waxing crescent.

Take up your full glass of water and pour the water into your empty glass. This moves potential into possible. And now your empty glass can now be filled with new intentions. Drink from your newly filled glass. This water has been enriched with your intentions and you can now enact that which you desire.

Once you feel complete, blow out the candle, replace the cards in your deck, and pour out any remaining water onto the earth or a nearby houseplant.

You are now ready to step into the future of you own creating. So mote it be!

 

First Steps on the Seeker’s Path

This month’s article is a sharing of links, experiences and tools I’ve created over the years that support a personal practice of learning. Two new projects this year have evolved making use of technology and include video and audio formats. 

Last month I spoke about devotion and how to infuse all of your interactions, both spiritually and mundanely with devotion to Deity, SELF and this corporeal form and existence we embody. I would add to this the action of devotion to the work of expanding your knowledge of how others practice their spiritual intention and deepening your catalogue of experience and understanding.

Continued learning has always been important to me and I approach this thirst and hunger like someone who realizes the limited amount of time I have in this form and lifetime. I have often remarked that if I were locked in a library with nothing but the books that would feed and sustain me.

A byproduct of this learning has been an oath to service and sharing what (little) I know with others. This has been the driving force behind multiple blogs, rigorous teaching schedules, leadership of a coven and the most important job I have had; that of mothering five children. You see, the esoteric information does not stay only within the confines of spiritual practice. Rather, it infuses who you are in the moment of every day. And, if those moments are shared with those who see you as the model of what  your beliefs and knowledge is than these are rare and precious teaching moments that we all have gift to experience.

So, with this thought in mind I share with you some of my creations birthed from you and everyone who has touched my life, overtly and transparently, in fueling my quest “to know”.

Video:

A Journey to the Inner Chamber
YouTube Channel
The Inner Chamber explores studies in Western Hermetics, Magick, Practical Spirituality and Eastern Philosophy. Topics include: Astrology, Hermetic Qabalah, Energetic Anatomy, Ritual, Pathworking and more for the seeker on the Path.

Audio:

Teachings on the Path with Robin
Select Guided Pathworkings and Meditations

Online Studies:

Teachings on the Path-A Space of Learning
…”in this age of technology and with the ability to access podcasts, audio recordings of lectures and to enrich your learning at any hour of the day that you wish. Distance and scheduling should not be a barrier to those who would like to attend a workshop and set their own course of study. With these thoughts in mind, Teachings on the Path is launched!”

A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path 
An on-line study exploring the basic philosophies, practices and tools of the Wiccan path.

Blogs:

The Womb of Light – A Sage Woman Blog at Pagan Square
The Magickal Pen – Esoteric Writings and my first blog
A Witch’s Sacred Journey – Magickal philosophies and practice
Temple of the Cosmic Spheres – Astrology and the Study of Cosmic Alchemy
Tarot for Troubling Times – Tarot Studies
Qabalistic Journeys – Study of the Hermetic Qabalah
Magickally Human – Being mundanely magickal
The Sacred Vessel Mysteries – Energetic Anatomy and practice
The Enchanted Gate: Musings on the Natural World – Poetry and Photography

In Conclusion:

“Your heart is where your inner light resides. It is part of every sacred journey to reconnect with your inner light, step into your divinity, spread the light of love before you, return to the essence of love, and inspire others to do the same.” …Molly Friedenfeld

Upcoming Events – 2017

November 14 – December 12
Nuit’s Mantle: Cosmic Alchemy

5-Wk Session
For more information. Click here…

December 17
Celebration of the Winter Solstice

For more information. Click here…

Looking Ahead 2018:

January 16 – February 27
Temple of the Sun Series 2018
Part One 7-wks.

Solar Magick: The Journey of the Solar Barque
For more information. Click here…

Musings From the Mystic Path is published monthly by Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW.

Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnist: L. B., Tesseract
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners  of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW

All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.

Images:
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted
Wintry Reverie-R.Fennelly
The Hive-M.Q.

For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW or email:hpsmysticpath@yahoo.com

Posted in December 2017, Volume Two | 1 Comment

November 2017:What Are You Grateful For?

Vol. 2 – Issue 7


Musings From the Mystic Path
The Month of November
What Are You Grateful For?

Happy November! November calls you to friends and family, celebrations centered around food and the reminder to seek out what you are grateful for. So, before we go any further, the membership of Coven of the Mystic Path would like to say “Thank You” for reading our newsletter and supporting our goal of outreach to the community.

This month’s Musings explores how gratitude comes to be cultivated; recognizing those gifts of abundance that may go overlooked and what the power of observation can add to the gratitude equation.

Tesseract highlights the Fixed Fire of November’s Leo moon and First Steps on the Seeker’s Path deepens the understanding of devotion and how that aligns with a grateful spirit. And, what better way to prepare for the new found light of the Winter Solstice than to eat from the bountiful table of Hestia’s hearth and home. 

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you,
who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau,
sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth”.”
-Dan Rather-

Featured Writings

 

An Attitude of Gratitude

By Celestine

Gratitude :
The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. – The Oxford Dictionary

I was not particularly surprised when I was told that our theme for this month’s Musings was gratitude. This time of year our thoughts naturally turn towards thankfulness. So I tried to write a poem of thanks and gratitude but creativity deserted me and everything I wrote sounded trite.

I am grateful for many things: my family and friends, reasonably good health, a fulfilling career,a comfortable lifestyle. But I could not translate this to a meaningful piece of poetry I decided to look up the definition of gratitude and they varied from one dictionary to the next with all noting a feeling of thankfulness. The Oxford Dictionary definition, however, adds a second part, a
potential action brought on by the state of thankfulness. This struck a chord with me and I realized that my feeling of gratitude would never go beyond the superficial if I did not give thanks via action as well as words.

Robert A. Emmons, PhD, is a professor of psychology who studies gratitude. He suggests that gratitude has two components. The first is “an affirmation of goodness, We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits that we receive.” We all know that bad things happen but I like to think most of us have positive experiences and meet many people that we
consider good. This is perhaps the easiest of the two components to understand.

The second component of gratitude is that “we recognized the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. We acknowledge that other people – or even higher powers, if you are of a spiritual mindset – give us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.” This lends itself nicely to the active part of the Oxford Dictionary definition of gratitude.

My life is not good just because I will it to be so. My life is good because of all of the people in it that contribute to my happiness and success. Additionally, some of what I am thankful for may be attributed to The Divine, such as food from a bountiful planet and the beauty of nature. When we realize that we owe many of our boons to external sources the concept of reciprocity
as a part of gratitude makes sense.

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts .” —Henri Frederic Amiel

This time of the year amplifies our feelings of gratitude and inspires us to do kind things for others. We give gifts to those we care about. We take time from our busy lives to spend time with our families. Communities have food and clothing drives to help those who are in need. The holiday season affords us ample opportunities to demonstrate our thankfulness and most of us amp up our giving during these months. The trick is to maintain this throughout the year.

Do our elderly grandparents miss us less in June? Are underprivileged people any less hungry in February? How can we maintain this level of thankfulness and reciprocity? One way may simply be to schedule time into our calendar. Sure, you may not feel like leaving your house to volunteer at the soup kitchen and your laundry won’t get done while you’re visiting your elderly aunt but you may be surprised at how different you feel if you go through with your scheduled good deed. Often when you give of yourself to others you find yourself reminded of all of the good things in your life that bring you joy and somehow the rainy weather or the dirty laundry just do not matter as much to you.

“ None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy .” —Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

Expressing gratitude does not always require your time or your money. One of the simplest ways to show appreciation for a kindness is a simple verbal “Thank you.” Most of us are taught to say this phrase as young children and we say this many times each day. Often, however, this is an automatic response to which we put little, if any, thought. What if we actually think about the phrase before we say it, or pause to let the feeling of gratefulness wash over us? Or what if we personalize the thanks? For example, a busy waitress may hear the phrase “thank you” many times throughout the day. But what if you specifically thank her for her efficiency? Or for making an excellent menu suggestion? Or for being patient with your toddler? They will know in that instant that their actions made a difference to someone. That one very specific expression of thanks may fill them with enough gratitude to get them through their shift. And it gave you a specific focus for your feeling of gratitude.

“ We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” ― Alphonse Karr

But what if you are just having a bad day? Some days it is hard to feel thankful, we just feel tired, harried, aggravated, and stressed. When everything seems to go wrong we often find it difficult to remember what is going right. On those days one of the best things to do is adopt an “Attitude of Gratitude.” Yep, fake it! It turns out that our endocrine system responds as well to imagined emotions as it does to real ones. If you can imagine that you feel grateful your body will respond as it does when your are really experiencing a moment of gratitude. On those bad days pause and try to remember something that made you feel grateful, a kiss from a child, a wonderful meal, or the laughter of friends. You may just find that your your heart rate slows, your stress lowers, and you generally feel happier. And who knows, your attitude may spread to the person next to you and make their day a little brighter too!

So as we dive into the holiday season let us give thanks but let us also express our gratitude. In the words of Williams Arthur Ward, “ Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings,turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings .” Blessed be!

“He is a wise man who does not grieve
for the things which he has not, but 
rejoices for those which he has.”
-Epictetus-

Gratitude Evolves From… 

Observation
By Luliwa

Larvae-ridden
Molded
Choking spores
Pungent-sweet
Concave
Enfleshed scaffold
Singular structural elements
Disconnected fur

Fertilization

Germination
Gestation
Light-sensing

Sprout
Stem
Leaf
Leaf
Respire
Absorb
Grow
Flower
Reach
Follow
Busy probes and kisses
Grow
Experience
Seed

 

Say It! Think It! Feel It!
And, (in) Al(l)ways be grateful!

Gratitude
by Flash Maeve

It is the time of year when the veils are thinning, weather is turning colder and I am faced with the reality that now is the time to turn inward and consider my harvest from the past year. I am readying myself for the coming of winter, and deciding what will I keep close to my heart during the dark and cold to keep the fires of my life burning.

I am grateful for friends, coven mates and my family who gathered close and provided concern, support and healing energy during the trials I experienced this past year. I am happy with the culling away of that which does not serve me and drained me of vital life essence. I am encouraged with the nurturing of that which nourishes me in all my complexities and subtle bodies.

I am grateful I found my voice, my strength and my desire to learn new skills and practice skills that I had suppressed for all too long. I am grateful to my high priestess for her teachings and her dedication to serving our ASW community with rituals, path workings, and classes that continue to inspire me. I am happy my mother is settled and adjusting to her new accommodations. I am constantly impressed by the strength, resiliency and resourcefulness of my espoused in rising against adversity and redefining herself. Life is good and I give thanks!

“Happiness is not so much in having
as sharing. We make a living by 
what we get, but we make a life 
by what we give.”
-Norman MacEwan-

Finding Grace and Wisdom When There is Nothing to Be Grateful For…

by Robin

Life sucks!
My life is so boring!
Nothing ever turns out the way I want!

Wait, just breathe and take a look around.
Have I tried to be present in the moment?
Have I tried something new?
Do I really know what I want?

Everything I try fails!
No one really cares about me!
And, I don’t care about anyone!

Maybe I should put your energy into what I am passionate about.
Do I care about myself?
Not caring about anyone, means that I do care about someone.

Every day is just as pointless as the next!
If only!
If only!
If only!
Why should I be grateful?

Everyday Iwake up is a gift !
“If only” will never come. But, “Now I can” is always an option.
If I do!
If I can!
If I see!

Why should I be grateful?

The more I offer appreciation for whatever I have, the more I will see the abundance that I actually have.
The more I see the abundance of what, the better I am able to enjoy every bit of my life.
The more I enjoy my life, gratitude will become my ally and the radiance of that change in my perspective will show me the importance I have in the lives of all I meet.

 

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door”
– Emily Dickinson –

Focus On…

Who is Hestia?

This is the perfect time of the year to spend time with friends and family gathered around warming foods that engender family and show the care and love put into their preparation. The following is about the Goddess, Hestia and the blessings she can offer to your hearth and home….

Light fills the Hall as you step through the doorway and Hestia stands centrally awaiting you. Gentle and loving eyes look upon you and although youthful in appearance, you feel the aeons of time that she has stood watch in the hearth spaces of home and community. She is radiant and filled with Light and Life and it is within her Hall that you will see the hearth flame that glows within……

My hearth fires burn
And keep safe those
Blessed by my hand.

Food lovingly prepared
And family’s joining as one
These are my gifts
These are my boons.

This Goddess of the hearth fires and home was known as Hestia in the Greek Mythos, with Latin/Roman name of Vesta. She was considered a virgin Goddess, whose priestesses were known as the Vestals or Vestal Virgins in Ancient Rome. Hers is the domain and sanctuary found in the kitchen. The preparing of food for those loved and the warmth of sitting close together as the hearth burns in the long winter nights.

The primary focus of Hestia was that of keeping the sacred fires burning. In ancient times, this continued flame ensured fire for warmth, protection, light, cooking and more. She was Goddess of the sacrificial flame and as such received an offering share of every sacrifice to the Gods.

Hestia oversaw the cooking of every meal both in private home and communal gatherings. Her blessing was sought that the meal would nourish and sustain as well as forging the connections of sharing the meal with others.

In Myth, Hestia was the first born of Kronos, God/Titan of Time and the Ages and Rhea, the Great Mother of the most powerful of the Gods, the Titans. She was fertility and Motherhood. Kronos, fearful that his children would depose him as he had done to his Father, Ouranus, ate each of the children as they born. Hestia, being the first born was also the first to be consumed and the last to be disgorged when Zeus, (who had escaped the devouring of his Father, being hidden away by his mother Rhea), forced Kronos to release his swallowed siblings. I find this to be a very interesting story surrounding Hestia and the nature of her energy as Goddess of family, home and fires.

In other tale, Hestia was pursued for marriage by Poseidon and Apollon, both of whom she refused and then asked Zeus to allow her to remain unmarried, an eternal virgin. Zeus agreed and she took her place at his Sacred Hearth.

So, how do we honor Hestia within our Hall? These are some of the thoughts and feelings I have regarding this Goddess. Consider her parentage, daughter of the Great God of time. Time is something we all wish to have more of with dear friends and families. Time is filled with joy and abundance when we spend some of that time, preparing a meal together and/or sharing the bounties of a hearth well tended. Hestia’s mother, Rhea, was mother of the Gods, fertile and fierce in her protective nature. Motherly care speaks to the nourishment of those children tended, not only in the form of food, but also in the sustenance of mind, heart and encouragement to achieve their best possible selves. We do this for friends and all those we love as well. At times, being the Mother and at others allowing the expression of care to be given as we receive it with the innocence of the child who knows only this way of receipt.

Hestia’s sacrifice of refusing the offer of Marriage, thus parcelling herself to another, speaks to the passion of choice in giving what we wish of ourselves and holding some intact for ourselves so we may focus on what is needed from others. This may seem as an odd comment, but keeping those fires burning brightly, to light the way for those who are wandering in the dark, to welcome another to the table for a feast lovingly prepared or to become the flame itself as source of inspiration requires at times an attitude of self-focus and being unfettered by another’s demands.

Hestia chose to remain the eternal virgin. In ancient Rome and Greece the term “Virgin” meant not married, not belonging to a man. This was a woman who was “one-in-herself.” The word is derived from a Latin root meaning “strength, force, skill”; and was later applied to men as the term “virile”. To provide for others requires that you must be strong within yourself. To offer up the bounty of food and relationship, you must know the wisdom of yourself singularly and what it is you have to offer in contribution to what is more than yourself.

Hestia maintains the inner flame that burns within each of us and the magick that we exercise is crafting the precise recipe that will produce the transformation of wheat to life giving bread is successful to the degree that we acknowledge her presence in all of our working. Every word we speak, every action we take, every emotion expressed and every idea we share is blessed by the potential of taking a new form that will sustain, warm, and light the way for others.

This month is a wonderful time to come to know this Goddess. We have celebrated the First Harvest (Northern Hemisphere) or the First Sowing and Planting of Seeds that will require sun and care. Hestia’s fires call us to our dinner tables as friends and family gather round. And, as we offer up our thanks for her bounty and night draws near, the oil of her lamp will carry us into the cradle of gentle sleep.

Spend some time with Hestia. Think on how you connect with her as you move through your day. Light a candle or prepare a meal and feel her presence guiding and watching over.

Source:
Cornerstones of Magick-The Hall of the Goddess
Another Resource:
In Gratitude: The Lamp of Hestia

Tesseract
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick

by Ionlanthe

November. The season has changed. Nights are longer, air is cooler. Some of us have sat at bonfires already this season. Feeling the warmth from the burning wood. Hearing the sound of the burning logs. Fire that is contained can be said to be crackling or popping.

Fire is the element associated with the fixed sign of Leo. Leo is one of expansiveness, exuberance, and warmth, a lot like a bonfire.

The Moon will be waning into its last quarter phase and will be in Leo on Friday November 10. The waning Moon transits Leo only from August to February. This is because, every 29 days, the full Moon moves into an astrological sign that is opposite to the sign that the Sun has moved into. In 2017 the full Moon in January was in the sign of Cancer, then in Leo in February, Virgo in March, and on down the line to the December full Moon in Gemini. In January 2018, we will have the interesting phenomena of two full Moons in one calendar month: on January 2, the full Moon will be in Cancer (the Sun will be in Capricorn), and on January 31, the full Moon will be in Leo (the Sun will be in Aquarius).

Since we are in the waning part of the year, and we are witnessing this season when the waning phase of the Moon occurs in Leo, we are moving away from the warmth of the Sun (Leo’s ruling planet) and seeking warmth from fire, indoor heat, festivities involving candles, lights, and shared food.

The fixed nature of Leo is one of contained fire: the flames will flare up now and now, but you can be sure that the banked embers will keep the home fires burning for as long as is needed. Let the fires wane if necessary, the embers will remain so that the hearth can blaze brightly again.

The movement of the Moon through her phases indicates a rhythm that is guiding the known universe. Rhythm underlies all we know – the breath and blood in our bodies, the winds moving around our Earth, the tides coming and in and flowing out, the constellations appearing and disappearing in the night skies. Rhythm is a way of measuring time. According to Wikipedia, “rhythm is the timing of events on a human scale; of musical sounds and silences that occur over time…” When we cannot understand the expanse of time since life began on the Earth (over 3 billion years ago), it is restful to return to a more reachable goal: understanding when the next Moon phase will occur: new Moon on November 18, which will be in the sign of Scorpio, the sign opposite Taurus. The new Moon is always in the same sign as the Sun and opposite to the sign that the full Moon was (or will be) in, that particular month.

As we think about the waning energies of the Moon, and reflecting on what we manifested during the full Moon on November 4 and what we want to release at the new Moon on November 18, let us pause at the waning last quarter Moon on November 10. If you can, find a bonfire to sit before, or start a fire in your fire place. Or light some candles in a darkened room. Hold out your hands so that you can feel the warmth arising from the combustion. Hear the cracking sounds. See the flames collectively and then see if you can find one flame. Zero in on the single flame. Notice its color: it is probably blue at the bottom, then reddish, yellow, then bright white. Or maybe it is red at the tips. Look again, particularly if you are gazing at a candle: it may even have a space of no color, right at the base. Look again at all the flames of the fire.

The flames will move, with the wind, or with their own energies. Look for a pattern. There will be rhythm. The flames will move in unison, then away from each other. Some will seem to merge or make new shapes. Then move apart. Try to imagine that the crackling or popping sounds indicate movement of the flames. Do the sounds show harmony, or syncopation? Listen. Feel. Let the fire speak to you in sound, rhythm, and patterns. Absorb the warmth at this waning time, and you can draw on the deposit during the cold of winter. Let the rhythm of the fires dance within you.

First Steps on the Seeker’s Path

This month’s article evolved from a workshop of the same title that I taught many years ago and is applicable to every seeker on a spiritual path. May this be a reminder of what inspired you to pursue your chosen path and what keeps you steady and secure though at times the road is strewn with roots and stones.

The Path of Devotion

“When a human reaches up to his/her Higher Mind and accesses the vibrational gifts from that realm (of his or her own higher consciousness), she or he will be filled with inspiration and courage. And this type of inspiration and courage could change the world through actions that are then taken by that individual.” … anonymous …

What is Devotion?

A Definition of Devotion….

1. Ardent, often selfless affection and dedication, as to a person or principle.
2. Religious ardor or zeal; piety.
3. Commitment to some purpose;
4. An act of religious observance or prayer, especially when private.

If we look at the definitions above we have a sense of the complexity of this word. And, that complexity can take on many forms and nuances as we move along the Path. If we are not devoted to the work, we will not put forth the maximum amount of effort. If we only give half-heartedly, most of the effort is wasted and dissipates just as quickly as it was generated. Devotion to self, Deity, the work all serve as anchors that hold together the many spokes of the wheel around which we establish our place in magickal working.

Some Keywords that relate to Devotion are:

  • sacrifice
  • commitment
  • questioning
  • formulating
  • aspiration
  • inspiration
  • yearning
  • laying claim
  • expanding
  • contracting

Think about what each of these mean to you. Which resonate more deeply and which do you feel should not even be on this list. Periodically checking in with what the definition of a Devotional Path means can give you valuable information about where you are in your practice.

The Essential Elements of Devotion

If we look at devotion through the lens of the elements we see the cycle that occurs in the process. These Three elements form the Triad of Fire and Energetic Awakening (AIR/FIRE/WATER).

“This is the FIRE that ignites the Passion and YEARNING for THAT which it seeks out and willfully INFLAMES”

FIRE

The Youthful stage that is enthused and excited about new found information, Deity and practice. This is the stage that ignites the desire to learn more, do more and be the most effective we can. It is the combined energy of enthusiasm stimulating the urge or desire to move forward that allows us to become a fertile ground within which the seeds of devotion and dedication are quickened.

WATER

We evolve from the impetuous nature of Youth and move to the place of guardian, nurturer and sustainer of what we have taken as our own. Because we have given time and energy to the process we are able to claim authority over our feelings of devotion. Through our efforts at sustaining this “faith” and state of dedication we then become also the providers of that energy. Wanting to share what we feel and enable others to feel the power and glory of dedicating oneself to a path of devotion.

AIR

When we arrive at a place of “faith” and ownership of the ideals and energies we have found upon the Path we have a sense of conviction that is based upon internalization of those energies. We identify fully with what we are devoted and dedicated to. We wish knowledge for the place of service it may allow us. We wish communion with the Divine because that is our birthright and we wish for the best outcome for all, knowing that we are part of that recipe.

EARTH

You are the earth that holds and forms the shape of what your devotion will be. You are the most sacred vessel that contains within all that is needed to inspire and become the focus of devotion to your work and the essence of Divinity that resides within you that is worthy of self-devotion.

Incorporating Devotion into Your Practice

Setting up an Altar dedicated to a specific Deity is a beautiful way to display your dedication and devotion to that particular Deity. Acknowledging your Path and the work you have achieved on that Path as you sit in contemplative medication is an affirmation of your Devotion. Each time you spend a moment in thought about the magick that surrounds you, the marvel of your physical body and give thanks for those others who share your life generates the energetic pattern of Devotion. Just as the rose in the picture at the heading of this page shows, there are many chambers that are unfolding at any given moment. Some are hidden and others are there for all to see. But, all lead to the very center and heart of the flower. And it is by ever striving towards that center that we find

In Conclusion:

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully. When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.”

Upcoming Events – 2017

November 4
Astrological Samhain: An Audience with Cerridwen

For more information. Click here…

November 14 – December 12
Nuit’s Mantle: Cosmic Alchemy

5-Wk Session
For more information. Click here…

November 18
Mystic Fires Drum Circle

For more information. Click here…

Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnist: L. B., Tesseract
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners  of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW

All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.

Images:
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted

For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW or email:hpsmysticpath@yahoo.com

Posted in November 2017 | 1 Comment

October 2017:Veils, Shadows and Our Beloveds

Vol. 2 – Issue 6

Musings From the Mystic Path
The Month of October
Veils, Shadows and Our Beloveds

Happy October! Pumpkins, fall leaves, scary costumes and more. A time to welcome the ancestors as the veils between the worlds part. Shadows abound as the days become shorter and night crowds in. All in all October is juicy with stories, great food and imaginings.

Musings this month celebrates all of those October treats. Around the world, the dear and departed are celebrated around this time of the year. From the Pagan Sabbat of Samhain to Dia de los Muertos in Mexico to All Soul’s night, this is the time of year to remember those we love and hold dear who have transitioned; passing from this world into the next adventure. They are our beloveds and in our interaction with them we find the beloved within.

We have a special article about Samhain, tips on making your home a safe space, Tesseract’s October highlights and an invocation to the Goddess, Elen of the Ways. Treat yourself to some creativity and good reading… 

Now is a time to lay down your tools, the symbols of your productivity, and light a fire to honor not only what has been done throughout the past year, but also all that has preceded you — in this life, and in all the lives lived before. Now is a time to make space, in your heart and in your mind, for the stillness and silence of death.”
-Teo Bishop-

Featured Writings

 

An Invocation to Elen of the Ways

Artwork: Caitlin Fennelly, MFA
by R.F. (Introduction) and S.S.E. Invocation

In celebration of the Autumnal Equinox in September, our coven decided to honor the harvest and the wild seen through the gifts of the Goddess, Elen of the Ways. She is one of the elusive deities that resurfaces every so often and particularly when the time is needed. You will not find much regarding her mythology and what is available speaks to the changeable nature of her influence as a Horned Goddess of the (rein)deer paths, a celestial Goddess of the ley lines and paths that formed inter-culture connections, a healing Goddess of the waterways and in the form of St. Helena.

As a Goddess of the wild, she is as hidden (in plain sight) as the Deer themselves and becomes the willing prey to sustain other of the animal species. What follows is the invocation that was written to call her energy into our ritual space and allow us to commune with this primal and potent animal nature that flows through each of us.

INVOCATION
We call out to Elen of the Ways, to the Lady who knows the path, the barely trod passage through the woods, the path that may lead us astray, or the path that may lead us home.

We look for you, Lady Elen, in the shadow of trees as we reach the crossroads where we have choices to be made. You who hold the keys to the ley lines, we call to you to come be with us here and now as we seek patterns and guideposts in our journey to our outer paths, and inner explorations.

Lady Elen, who has mastery of migration, who is herself the hunted one, pursued through the woods, ever elusive, we look to you to find a way as we journey in the wilderness. The wilderness of the unknown – of passages not yet taken, or journeys within our own animal selves.

We honor you and we ask you to join us as we seek your counsel, to provide a path for us to explore, to find shelter in the storm, or to brave the elements of whatever comes our way. We invoke your presence in our ritual to honor the wild.

And, She is here. Hail and Welcome!

“With the Beloved’s water of life, no illness remains
In the Beloved’s rose garden of union, no thorn remains.
They say there is a window from one heart to another
How can there be a window where no wall remains?”
-Rumi-

A Moment

by M.Q.

Hovering for so long on the border, she crosses over.
I am in the moment, in her sacred space, witnessing the precious energy she created.
Linear time ceased; and I still see her, sense her.
I am detached from my body & yet can feel my emotions swell,
Gratitude, strength, courage, honor and love.
To have been present!
For years, during this season when the leaves begin their descend to mother Earth, my mind goes to our ancestors, our beloved deceased and the great ancient ones.
How can I connect? Will they help me? Do I deserve their help? How can I help them?
They went through so very much; without any of our modern technologies.
They worked; they survived. They appreciated their blessings more. We are spoiled today and take so much for granted. How can I honor them?
I will no longer take my blessings for granted. My home, my country, this body and life, food and water, friends and family. I will laugh and dance more, do more spiritual work. Be present in my divinity.
Ironic how curious I am about the other side of the veil. How I mediate, participate in path workings and rituals, try to recall every dream, every experience away from this current reality and dimension; when I need only be open.
At 4:36 pm, on a Sunday late September afternoon, we met in the middle as she crossed the veils.
I am forever changed and grateful to have witness her transition.
To acknowledge this extraordinary blessing is paying homage to our ancestors and to those who come after us.

“when you came you cried and everybody smiled with joy;
when you go smile and let the world cry for you.”
-Rabindranath Tagore-

Make Your Home a Safe Space for You and Your Loved Ones
by Flash Maeve

Feeling out of sorts in your own home? Do things go bump in the night, and no cat is pushing things off the table? Is that a creaking floor board or is it a being you didn’t invite, creeping down the hall?

Make your home your safe space. Clear it of unwanted distractions or energetic intrusions. Claim it as your own and hold your intent for it to be sacred and secure. “This is my home, this is my safe space, nothing and no being can enter it without my welcoming it into this space.”

How can you go about this you ask? It can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. This is the simple method. Use your amazing imagination to make it as fantastical as you will it to be.

  • Physically clean your home from top to bottom, or hire someone else to clean it for you.
  • Start at the top of your home, with your spirit broom and sweep all negative energy from the top of your home towards and out your front door.
  • Hold a clear image of your home as sanctuary.
  • Make a sea salt & hot water solution in a drinking glass. Draw an invoking earth pentacle with this solution on every window, mirror and door, working from the top of your home towards the front door.
  • Get a white sage smudge stick. Light it, blow it out and smudge your home from top to bottom with the cleansing scent of sage incense.

Claim your home for your own safe space and make it your sanctuary, where only those you invite in may enter. So mote it be! With Blessings, Flash Maeve

“To forget our ancestors is to be a brook without a source,
a tree without a root.”
-Chinese Proverb-

Part the Veils: Samhain

by Robin

In shadowy forest of trees
And blackness of night
The call issues forth
To come dance round
Blazing bonfire bright.

Come heed the call
For the mysteries of
Samhain night to be taught
By blessed Ancestor and Kin
Their wisdom to be sought.

The veils finally thinned
The Gates open wide
For Kith and for Kin
To walk by your side.

Night wind chills thickened air
Hush now be silent to hear
The soft whispers of gentle
Spirits who linger quite near.

You know the hidden path
Dried leaves crackle underfoot
You walk through the woods
Canopy of tree holds the darkness
Thick and heavy like blackened soot.

A sacred circle of clearing revealed
Carefully scribed and lovingly prepared
You call to the Ancestors
Your intent boldly declared.

Fire blazes full and flames leap high
As words pierce the silence of night
Wisps of smoke flicker here and there
As you surrender and open to true sight.

Cloaked shadowy figures emerge
Near the trunk of each autumn tree
Penetrating and loving eyes look on
Shrouding their deep mystery.

Wispy fingers that beckon
Calling the Beloved to Their side
Listen closely for answers from
Them to silent questions you
Dare not and cannot hide.

Surrender all of your fears
These specters mean you no harm
Through joys, pain and suffering
They have always helped dry your
Tears and offered up their calm.

Part the veils held between
Ancestor Spirit and gentle Human
Their gift on this Samhain night
The call once again to join each as
One in wisdom’s blessed communion.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
-George Eliot-

The Lord of the Hunt

by A.B.

Listen to the Words of the Horned God,
Who was of old called among men:
Adonis, Tammuz, Dianus, Herne,
Bran, Beli, Lugh, Gwyn,
Dionysus, Osiris, Cernunnos, Pan,
And by many other Names.

O Secret of Secrets,
That art hidden in the being of all that lives,
Not Thee do we adore,
For That which adoreth is also Thou.
Thou art That, and That am I.

I am the Flame that burns in the heart of every being,
And in the core of every Star.
I am Life, and the Giver of Life,
Yet therefore is the Knowledge of Me
The Knowledge of Death and Resurrection.

I am alone, the Lord within ourselves,
Whose Name is Mystery of Mysteries.
I am the Horned God.

October is the rutting season for Deer. Stag and Doe move through the forests as primal instinct takes hold. The animal kingdom is preparing for survival through the Winter and the guardians of all that is wild and of nature move through the woods, mountains and more. Come now, and meet the Lord of the hunt- the Horned God of many names….

I am the Lord of the Hunt, who is known by many names! I am keeper of the wild and hunter of what will not survive the harshness of winter’s cull. Come to me and feel the power of the animal within you. Come to me and feel the embrace of my protection and honoring of all life. Stand with me as guardian and slayer of what cannot survive…..

Who is the Lord of the Hunt…..

As you can see from the Charge above, the Lord of the Hunt is known by many names. Herne, Cernunnos, Orion and even, an aspect of Odin, to name a few. He is called as the Horned God, Guardian of the Wild and Protector of the Animals.

Read the full article here:
The Hall of the God: The Lord of the Hunt

We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”
-Liam Callanan-

Focus On…

Samhain-Honoring the Ancestors

by M.H.

This is the time of year that we are enjoying pumpkin lattes, crisp Fall temperatures, colorful foliage and football games. The Wheel of the Year has turned again bringing us to the third harvest celebration known as Samhain. Some Pagans depending on the tradition believe this is the time of the year to honor our ancestors. The veils between the worlds of the living and the dead are the thinnest. We call to those who have crossed over and listen for their words of encouragement and wisdom.

In the northern areas of the world, the flowers are dying and the trees lose their leaves as the cold weather approaches. This is nature’s way of shedding the old and making room for the new that will come when Spring returns. Death must occur in nature for Life to continue to grow and evolve. The time between Samhain and Yule is a time to reflect on the past year. Focusing on ourselves, our personal accomplishments and failures. Finishing projects, and letting go of any unresolved issues, gives us the ability to move on in our lives. The New Year will bring new hopes and dreams for all of us.

The Sun has begun to weaken and the days grow shorter, Samhain is the dark time of the year. Some Rituals are held to honor the Crone aspect of the Goddess at Samhain. She teaches us that growing old is all a part of the natural course of life. One of the symbols used on the Samhain altar is the cauldron, which can represent the Water element. Since Pagans believe in reincarnation, the cauldron is symbolically a womb filled with the ‘birthing waters’ for conceiving, growth and rebirth of the Spirit.

Other cultures around the world have celebrations to honor their dead. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico, spans several days with festivals and feasting. Colorful flowers, skulls and dancing skeletons are popular symbols.

However, you choose to spend the time between Samhain and Yule,try to remember that physical death is only a part of a Soul’s journey. It is not their end; they continue to exist. We should celebrate and honor the lives of our ancestors. At Samhain, we should try to listen with our hearts and minds open to receive their messages as they continue to teach and guide us with wisdom from behind the veils.

Tesseract
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick

by Ionlanthe

Now that Autumn is here, we see the leaves changing color, the nights are cooler, and there are fewer hours of day light. For our October Tesseract, we will be looking at the intersection of Moon phase, astrology, elemental energy, and magick enhanced with the addition of the energies of rhythm.

There are interesting synchronicities in the Moon’s phases in the month of October. First, Libra will be in the forefront of both the Moon and the Sun’s movement through the zodiac. Libra’s time is between September 23 and October 22, so the Sun will be in Libra for most of October. The Moon is in conjunction with the Sun during its dark phase and both will be in Libra during the new Moon phase. The dark Moon straddles the new Moon by a day on each side for a period of around 3 days. This year, October’s dark phase of the Moon will be blanketed by Libra’s cardinal air energy. The moment that marks the new Moon will be at 3:12 pm eastern standard time Thursday October 19. The Moon will be in Libra on October 19 and will move from Libra into Scorpio on October 20, be fully present in Scorpio on October 21, and then move from Scorpio into Sagittarius on October 22, and will be fully present in Sagittarius on October 23 when the very first crescent of the waxing Moon will appear and Sagittarius’s fiery light will begin its illumination. During the dark phase, we will have the advantage of Libra’s clear thinking and urge to make plans. This will be balanced by the pull toward Scorpio’s passion just out of reach.

The second synchronicity will be that the full moon in October, which occurs on Thursday October 5, will be in Aries, the cardinal fire sign and which is the sign opposite Libra on the wheel of the zodiac. The dark of the Moon in Libra is balanced against the full Moon in Aries. Opposites will be pulling and pushing. Both Aries and Libra are cardinal signs, which means that Libra (an air sign) will be starting new ideas, making plans, new ways of thinking through a problem, and sometimes takes a lot of time to make a decision or start something new. Aries (a fire sign) has will-power, is oriented toward action, and will likely be acting before thinking through all the consequences.

This pull and push between the opposing forces will set up a pulse or a rhythm that will be felt throughout the month of October. Going inward at the dark phase will be helpful to assess what happened during the active, outward-focused full Moon phase at the beginning of the month. Going inward is a good way to find your own rhythm and your own balance.

Rhythm, the regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound, can be felt, seen, heard. We all have the inner rhythm of our own heartbeats. You can check on your heart beats by taking your pulse. Listen for the constant rhythm of your life’s blood as it marks time of your physical existence. Time, too, is a rhythm. Take note of the ticking of a clock: is it as reassuring as a heartbeat is? Or is it ticking away time, second by second? We each move to our own rhythms, as do the Moon and planets in their rotations. Even the sun rotates on its axis every 27 days, on average. Another synchronicity: it takes the Moon about 27 days to revolve around the earth, so in the time it takes for the Moon to orbit the Earth, the Sun has rotated on its axis.

Another way to focus on rhythm is by listening to music. Can you hear the beat of a favorite tune? Do you find yourself tapping along with the rhythm? Can you not just hear the beat, but feel it within you? Think of a time when you were in ritual and the drum beat kept time and you started to hear its rhythm with your whole body? The sound was outside of you, inside of you, and you were one with the music.

There is rhythm within your own body, in the sounds of nature and of music. Time has its own beat, as does the air we breathe, and the light that flows to us from the sun. The seasons of the year have their own rhythm. Take note of your own rhythms: do you feel most energized in the morning? Or are you a night owl?

Here is an magick working that may help you with noticing rhythms.

Go outside on a beautiful fall day. Find these natural items:

• an acorn (they are so plentiful this year) that will represent cardinal energy and new growth
• a feather that will represent air: Libra’s elemental energy

Collect some water—rain water would be ideal, yet any clear water will do—and put it in a dark bowl. This will represent the dark phase of the Moon.

In October, we begin to observe that nights are longer than day light times. Let us honor this darkness and do our magick at night.

Gather your natural items and bowl of water. Sit quietly and perform the four-fold breath to tune into the rhythm of your breath. Breath in to a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, inhale to a count of 4. Repeat this cycle four times, then return to your own natural rhythm of breathing.

Listen to what you can hear around you – is there a breeze? Crickets chirping? A plane passing overhead? Try to blend the sounds into a background music, if you can. Can you feel a coolness on your skin? Or is it humid or hot? Do you smell any night-blooming flowers? Is someone cooking something you can smell? What do you see in the dark: shapes that are indistinct? Or do you see lights in the distance? Do you have any tastes on your tongue? Stick out your tongue and try to taste the dark night air. How is it different from a sunny day at the beach?

Once you have oriented yourself in your setting, take out your acorn. Hold it in your left hand, then pass it to your right hand. Does it feel different in either hand? Is it heavier or more solid in one hand than in the other? Move it to the other hand. Do you notice a difference? When you are done, place the acorn in the bowl of water. Take your feather and place it in your hand. Notice its weight, its texture, its lightness as compared to the acorn. Can you see it? Think of the type of bird that dropped it. This bird might have flown in migration from the Arctic Circle to somewhere in South America. Or it may have flown from your neighbor’s backyard to yours, and back again. Who knows? We do know it flew in the air and it left this feather as a reminder that we need to look up to the skies to see what we can see. Once you are done with the feather, release it and let it fly away or fall to the earth, as it will.

Now take your bowl of water. Upend it so that the acorn falls to the Earth and the water flows over it. With your finger, make a small hole so that the acorn is buried. From what you have just planted, an oak tree may grow. You have contributed to the rhythm of life on the planet Earth.

I will leave you with this quote: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Nelson Henderson

First Steps on the Seeker’s Path

Numerology:The Art and Science of Numbers – Part Seven

These past several months of focus for First Steps was the study of Numerology. This is a #10 year.. 2+1+7=10. Numerologically, this adds up to a year where the singular “1” can unite and work side by side with the Limitless all of “0”, timelessness and eternal. 

A note about the planetary correspondences: Although you may find different attributions, those used here are those most commonly used in Numerology.

A Little Review of Completion…

The Continuum

Nothing and everything
the endless void fills all time
until…

One moves in the silence
stretching and reaching
towards the other as Two
swiftly take flight.

They mingle and join
each claiming their own side
so Three may point the way.
Each base stretched far and wide.

Foundations are laid
by another close at hand
who opens the Four sealed Gates.
Disruption and creative force
issues forth as the skillfully crafted
shield of focus reflects the Five.

The light is fixed
the seeker is found
as outpour of healing grace
gives way to the
harmonious Six.

Each walks a path of experience
pulling and gathering from
vista’s extremes.
Wisdom and lessons hard won
fill what moves within.

As Six expands to become Seven
the meandering web that
connects becomes entwined.
A continuum of dual
portal opening and Eight
the final climax of force contained.

Like amoebas they move and
wiggle and stretch and pull
and strain until the
tension and release
catapult them over
the initiatory threshold of
Death’s Nine Gates.

All scatter and disperse
once again seamlessly
part of the void of the All
until…

Once again the singular One rises
reaching out towards its
newly quickened mate.

Nine – 9…represents:

The cycles of my new foundation revealed the Gate of Initiation and I stepped through unafraid of the transformation that that became the brilliance of my new Self

The number Nine (9) relates to death and rebirth, acting as the gate of movement into a new state of being. It is purposeful regeneration of what has been purified and emboldened by the process of release. And, it is in this state of self-awareness, inner light and true wisdom that we are made ready to begin the work of returning to the place of beginning. This is the number that carries us into the darkness so that we may find ourselves in the light. This is the number that decrees that change will occur whether it is welcomed with surrender or fought with all of our might. It is from the number nine that we test our strengths and refine our weaknesses as we cross the threshold of our own glory.

The planetary energy of the number nine is Mars. This is the combustible force that propels new growth forward. It is justifiable assertion of itself that puts the plan in motion and irrational aggressiveness that serves as the tantrum of a child wanting attention and not receiving what is needed, before they can move on to their next creative project. Mars is the corrector of Imbalance, the ultimate equalizer. It is the energy behind a War that strives to bring an end to war, simply because sometimes that is the only way to override a power that is being misused. Anger, aggression and assertiveness are often viewed in our society as being inappropriate and negative behaviors. However, if there were not the fueling of the energetic fires of anger towards the atrocities of child abuse, female mutilation and other social injustices, these injustices and ill-used power plays would go unnoticed and unchanged. The fiery light of Mars shines brightly and brings into the central heat of the flame that which needs transformation.

To read more about Mars:
Spark’s Flying- Mars Alignment

Astrology: The House of Transformation and Endings – Death and Rebirth

The Ninth House is concerned with those things that make us whole after we have been taken apart, analyzed and refined. This is the house of death, both physical and metaphysical and the blessings of rebirth await all who step into the darkness of the unknown. The ruling astrological sign of the ninth house is Sagittarius. This is the sign of outreach and expansion through personal and communal connection. As we reach beyond our own limitations and perceptions of doubt we become fully realized in our place as part of the greater collective of humanity.

Tarot: The Hermit

Tarot Key IX – The Hermit turns within to communicate with the Higher nature of hisbeing to better analyze and come to a place of informed enlightenment. This tarot key serves as the point of accountability The Hermit gives heed to the need for moving into the darkness of soul’s intent before movement into light and balance may be achieved. The Divine light of SELF serves as the lantern of guide and what is sacrificed within the sanctuary of the Hermit becomes the conscience of will that lights the way for its highest expression.

Qabalah: Yesod – Foundation

Yesod is the sphere of dreams, fantasies, memory and the dwelling place of true magick. This sphere holds the key to the unknown and the unknowable. Yesod is known as the “Treasure House of Symbols”. It is here that the Akashic records, which are said to contain the memory and experiences of every living being are held within the substance of Aether (spirit). This attribute alone can give rise to illusion, false conceptions and a deluded sense of Soul’s purpose. It is a world of shadow and illusion; being held in a state of “in-between”. Yesod resonates to the sacral chakra and as such is the plane of sexuality and the potential underlying each act of coupling. It is the fertile breeding ground for all future spiritual development.

And, so it begins anew…

Ten – 10…represents:

I crossed through the Gate and emerged not alone for I carried with me the truth of my beginnings and the knowledge of my final end.

The number Ten (10) is the place of restarting the numerical cycles, now doubled, enhanced and amplified by another number at its side. In this case, we have the singular one, the individual and the limitless nature of zero, which is both receipt from the All and collaboration with all that has been and will be. It is Matter of physical form (1) and the Spirit of the Limitless All (0) joined in effort.

In Conclusion:

Numerology is a fascinating subject that has so many layers of correspondence everything it is applied to becomes more dynamic in the underpinnings of its energy. I hope you have found some useful information and will begin to see the magick of numbers in all of your endeavors. Once you have some of the basics down, forming your own conclusions and deepening levels of understanding comes as easily as 1-2-3! LOL!

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled
in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior
to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more
honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing
depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke-

As the Winter approaches and the harvests are plentiful, take some time to remember those loved ones who seeded your growth, honor them as the beloveds of memory and seek those who are here in the present..

When the Sun rises…
You will be gone.

When the Sun rises…
I will think on all those things I wish I had said.

When the Sun rises…
I wish for just one more day to be with you.

When the Sun rises…
I move slowly in disbelief at the time that slipped through my hands.

When the Sun rises…
I gather all of my strength to face one more day.

When the Sun rises…
I feel the the sorrow of a space no longer filled.

And, When the Sun sets…
I gather to myself the sweet memories of you that will be all I will have when the Sun rises each and every day…..

Take time everyday that the Sun rises to let the people you care about know how much they mean to you!

Upcoming Events – 2017

October 15
Magick’s Fire-An Awakening to the Ancient Ones

Intensive and Ritual
For more information. Click here…

October 21
Mystic Fires Drum Circle

For more information. Click here…

October 31
Parting the Veils: Calling to the Ancestors

For more information. Click here…

Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnist: L. B., Tesseract
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners  of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW

All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.

Images:
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted

For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW or email:hpsmysticpath@yahoo.com

Posted in October 2017, Volume Two