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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June2018-Let the Sun Shine!

Vol. 3 – Issue 2

Musings From the Mystic Path

The Month of June

Welcome to June and longer days of sunlight, heat and outdoor adventures. We weathered a particularly intense Winter and Spring was a long time coming. But, now, there is no doubt that Summer Sun is shining down enlivening and quickening our spirits and bodies.

Our issue for this month is reflective of that enlivening and focused light. In the Featured Writings section an article about polarities will give you pause to consider all that interacts within and around us in tandem and opposition with one another. Tesseract offers guidelines for creating a Prosperity bottle and Journey’s on the Yogi’s Magick Mat speaks to the practice of fiery Kundalini Yoga.

I’ve decided to take a break this month with the Seeker’s on the Path column and spend some time outside renewing and just breathing from an overly packed schedule. So, take us on the go and get yourself outside and connect with sunny nature. Happy June!

“June has never looked more beautiful than she does now, unadorned and honest, vulnerable yet invincible.” 
– Marie Lu –

Featured Writings

Graceful Beauty

by Celestine

Gently, you approach, strolling quietly through the trees.

Slender legs carefully carry you around obstacles in your path.

You pause and listen, ears twitching as you search for danger.

The wind carries only the familiar sounds of the forest to you;
Comforted you continue to amble down the path.

Lush green leaves catch you eye and you stop to taste them.

A patch of soft grass beckons, blades fluttering gently in the breeze, and you stop to rest.

Eyes closed you turn your face to the sun, basking peacefully in the gentle heat.

You are blissfully unaware of the voyeur admiring you through the window; contentedly sharing this moment of sublime peace with you.

A branch cracks loudly, startling us both out of our revery.

In a flash you are up and running, agilely leaping over logs and rocks as you bound back up the trail, heading deeper into the woods.

Soon you are hidden from my sight, your graceful beauty but a memory in my mind.

“Be well my friend,” I quietly call to you. “May you always feel safe in this land we share. Be well and come back again!”

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the fragrant grassy hillside.” 
– Maud Lovelace –

Polarities

by L.B.

I have been thinking about polarities lately. I came across something that asserted that it is better to give than receive and I found that I had a visceral reaction: no, it is not better! So I spend some time thinking on this topic and here are some of my thoughts on giving/receiving and other polarities this brings to my mind.

Give/Receive
It is better to give than receive, or so it says in the Christian Bible (Acts 20:35). According to this approach, we ought to give (of ourselves, or our time, or some material goods) so that we would be blessed. In other words, earning our Brownie points and so that we may ultimately end up in Heaven. That is why we do good, isn’t it, for the final outcome?

I question this premise. To me, the idea that it is better to give than receive negates both the giver (as if the gift were given only to earn blessings), and the receiver (who is there only to make the giver feel good about himself). This is an unequal power dynamic in this scenario, as if the receiver were an empty and passive vessel awaiting the gifts the giver feels like giving, to the larger benefit of the giver: after all, an eternal reward outweighs the momentary delight of the present being given, right?

Active/Passive
Some use these attributes as equivalent: passive, receptive, accepting: Female
And these: active, offering, giving: Male
It is the act of offering and giving that is bestows blessings in this ancient saying. I say that the act of receiving is also a source of blessings. To be passive and receptive is to be open, accepting, and willing to take what is offered: this is trust and to me, this is of at least an equal value to giving.

Light/Dark
Sweat lodge: Dark; interior / Full moon healing ritual: light, exposed.

I have experienced sweat lodges in three different locations. My first sweat lodge was at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in a small town in western Michigan. It was held by a Native American woman; it was, as far as I know, a traditional Native sweat lodge. It was some 25 years ago. What I remember was that the fire was lit, the stones were heated, we chanted, then the hot stones were brought into the lodge and then we entered with the water pourer. After we all entered, the fire tender came in with us. And we stayed in the lodge until we (and the ceremony) was finished. One could say what one wanted to, when one wanted to. It was crowded and hot and revealing and dark and sweaty and dirty. And I was hooked. I loved every minute of it. I loved being stripped raw of clothing, inhibitions, uncertainty, the idea that my precious wounds and worries were mine alone. I felt a commonality with those who endured the lodge with me: we were willing to work hard to let go of pain. I emerged, changed, tired, relieved, and ready to accept that I, too, have courage.

The next sweat lodge I attended was some 20 years later. It was at Seelie Court and it was run by water pourers and fire tenders who had been trained in traditional sweat lodge protocol and adapted with Wiccan protocols developed by people within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. These sweats are not officially part of the ASW. I have been attending Sweat Lodge at Seelie Court for about 8 years, either sweating inside the lodge during the ceremony, or helping the fire tenders and water pourers with various tasks, such as fetching kindling, fire wood, water, washing towels, whatever needed to be done to assist.

I have also participated in sweat lodge at Free Spirit Gathering, and free-wheeling gathering of people walking all kinds of paths, such as wiccans, heathens, druids, pagans, vodouisants, santeras, polytheists, monotheists, pantheists, atheists, etc., according to their web site. This sweat lodge took place on a hot day in June. The Seelie Court sweat lodges are typically held during the winter months. It was more of a physical challenge than I liked: it was not possible to cool off adequately after the sweat.

The interior of sweat lodges is dark; at the ones held at Seelie Court, attempts are made so that not a crack in the covering lets in outside light. The only light is from the glow of the hot stones centered in the fire pit. It is the light within the dark. It is not physically possible to see the other participants who are sharing that day’s sweat lodge with you. Before we enter the Lodge, we had seen the fire being laid, built up, ignited, and tended. We had blessed the stones and put then into the fire to heat up. We had seen the fire blaze up, but we enter into the darkness when we enter the sweat lodge.

It is in darkness that we chant to the elements, hear the words of the water pourer, and then begin the rounds of sharing, each of which is blessed by an element: air, fire, water, earth, spirit. We ask for help in turn for letting go of what no longer serves us, and how to gain that which we need in the next step in our individual journeys. We pass the talking stone between us; when one holds the stone, that person speaks and the others are silent. When one is finished speaking, they pass the talking stone to the next person in the circle. Sometimes it is hard to find the hand of the next person: you have to reach out and find them in the darkness. Someone it there, reaching out to you, and the connection is made. The stone is passed and then the next person speaks.

After each round at the Seelie Court sweats, the blanket that covers the entrance is lifted so that fresh air can come in, the water gourd is refilled, and more hot stones can be brought in to refill the center stone pit. And we can see light for a few moments. Then the blanket is pulled down and the entrance is closed, and we are together in the dark.

The sweat lodge experience is for me, one of going inward. Diving deep into myself: no one can see me cry or look anxious. It is possible to forget who is in lodge with me since all I have to identify them is the sound of their voice and their spiritual energy, which is being transformed moment by moment by participating in the Sweat Lodge. Sometimes I forget where I am in terms of place and time: I am in the dark, surrendering to trust, the elements, the ancient ones: the stones who give their lives in service to the sweat lodge; the water pourer, the fire tenders, and Spirit. All I have to do is be present in the moment, open myself up, and let in, accept, receive the healing. This vulnerability brings me to power. My Self, all of my selves, are stepping into personal power through this stripping down into rawness. This passivity, receptivity, openness, are my power. I am reborn, each time I enter and emerge from the Sweat Lodge, the cauldron of rebirth.

I attended my first full moon healing ritual in March 2018. This ritual was presented by Grail of the Birch Moon, a coven within the ASW. This ritual was held on the night when a full moon rose in the sky. The altars were decorated with cloths recognizing the elements and candles were lit. A cauldron rested on the center altar. It contained darkness within the light of the ritual. The intent was to help each of us to lift ourselves and each other to the moon’s healing light. I witnessed some people go before me, to expose their desire for healing, to be willing to be assisted in that healing, to be lifted to the light of the full Moon in her glory.

When it was my turn, I gathered up my courage, and stated that I wanted healing with being able to move from being a victim to being present, and not even being a survivor, but to be able to be here, now, and be myself fully. I exposed a vulnerability in that I admitted that I was a survivor of some trauma, that I felt trapped in that past identity, and that I wanted to move forward into a state of Being, simply Being, and I asked for help. The community that was gathered together chanted, sent healing energy to me, and lifted me up to the full Moon’s light. I felt transformed: later that week, I signed up to return to my college campus for my 40-year reunion, the first I will have attended, since I avoided the campus since I experienced an assault there when I was there as an undergraduate student. As a sister in my Coven reminded me, I stepped into my power by doing this.

For me, being receptive and open brought me to a place of personal empowerment. It was good, too, to be giving in participating in sharing energy with the others who were asking for healing. And it has been good for me to go inward, into the darkness of the Sweat Lodge, and outward, into the light of the Moon. Active, passive. Giving, receiving. Light, darkness. Polarities are not opposites, they are points on a balance beam that pivots on a fulcrum. Each is necessary to the other, neither can exist without the other. It is not better to give than to receive: it is better to bring both into one’s life. This is a power dynamic, and a powerful one. So mote it be.

“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand
beneath the mystic moon.”
– Edgar Allen Poe –

Summer’s Kiss

by A.B.

The heat blazes down like
Lava finding its course from
Molten mouth that gapes wide
Open in a fiery yawn.

Sweat forms like a strand of pearls
Around my neck and forehead
I feel alive and powerful
I am pulsing with life that is
Both hot and sweet in its embrace.

I surrender to the flow of warmth
As strength and vitality move through me
Etching out their course in wet furrow
Of brow and shoulder blade.

The sun hangs overhead in full glory
No eyes may see its blinding beauty
We turn away and close lids that are
Still not able to veil its mysteries.

The heat blazes all around and
All of the world rejoices in Summer’s kiss.

“Keep your face to the sun and you will
never see the shadows.”

– Helen Keller –

The Mantle of Breath

by Starfire

How can I keep me and mine safe? How can I call forth a protection for myself or my loved ones? What do I hold dear and true? I ponder and think on that and think hard on how I want these dear ones to be safe in this world. Keep myself grounded, centered and when I find myself out of kilter. I begin to breathe, slowly, deeply and remember, it all begins with the breath.

My many teachers keep bringing me back to this truth. It all begins with the breath. That is how I center, how I bring earth and celestial energy into myself, allowing it to mix together, and ground me in the here and now. Breath is what keeps supplying oxygen, so I continue to live.

Breath is how life begins and losing life, how it ends. Breath is what kindles the embers back into a flame, when more fuel is added to the fires. Breath is what sustains, when it is necessary to exhale sharply, and bite back a stinging retort. Breath is what is blown into a soap bubble to bring joy to a child’s face, no matter what age that child is. Breath simply is….

I breathe, ground and center and I begin to send out layers of shields, to wrap around myself, allowing positive energy to penetrate them and repelling the negative energy. Be aware, breathe and listen to the symphony that is life, listen to the inhalations and the exhalations of the universe. Breathe.

 

“Peacefully
 The quiet stars came out, one after one;
The holy twilight fell upon the sea,
The summer day was done.” 
–  Celia Thaxter –

Focus On…

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

by Ionlanthe

And so we arrive at June. Welcome to warmth, sunshine, blooming flowers, moist air. Open windows, more free time. Squishy mud underfoot after a spring rain. Frogs courting, loudly, in puddles. Time to celebrate the Solstice, the day that marks the beginning of summer. Summer Solstice is one of the quarter days of the Wheel of the Year: Spring and Fall Equinoxes are when day light and night time are of equal length, and the Summer and Winter Solstices are the longest and shortest days in terms of the amount of time the shining sun is visible to us.
At 6:07 am on June 21 2018, the summer solstice begins. We will have 15 hours and 35 seconds of daylight. After this one day, the amount of daylight decreases incrementally until we arrive at the Winter Solstice, during which we will have just over 9 hours of daylight. And so the wheel turns, never ending….
This year, the summer solstice will arrive while the Moon is one day past its first quarter phase; it will be waxing gibbous and in the cardinal air sign of Libra. This expanding Moon light reflects the expanding sun light with the influence of Libra’s love of shining light on new ideas, new possibilities, the potentialities of something coming through that is new and good and harmonious and for the betterment of all.
Be open to possibilities – go outside and smell the glorious growth all around. In June, it is a wonderful time to smell the roses. They are blooming now and scenting the air with their fragrance. This brings to my mind the poem by Robert Herrick; here are a couple of stanzas:

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Robert Herrick, 1591 – 1674
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

This is a time of plenty. To partake in the bounty, this is a good time to create a Prosperity Bottle. Capture the essence of this time so that you can tap into it as the need arises. Here is one way to start a prosperity bottle.
Gather your supplies
Bottle or jar that is clean and empty
Small candle that will fit into the bottle, gold or yellow or green
Piece of cinnamon stick
Rose petals
Money: two pennies, one nickel, one dime, one quarter, and one dollar bill
Piece of paper
Small length of green string
White candle

Reasoning
I am using an empty whisky bottle that was given to me (full!) as a gift from a very generous friend. It must have a lid or a cap or some way to keep it closed. You will be filling the container with various objects that attracts wealth, prosperity, good luck, and that will light the way for the best outcome for all.
The small candle will light the way to prosperity.
Cinnamon is an earthy spice that evokes the abundance of our manifest realm.
Rose petals remind us of the vast beauty of summer.
Money is there since like attracts like. Also, in terms of numerology, this collection of coins adds up to the number 6, a good number for abundance.
Pennies = 2
Nickel = 5
Quarter = 25
Dollar = 1
2 + 5 + 25 + 1 = 33, then 3 +3 = 6
The piece of paper is there for you to write your intentions on, roll into a scroll, and tie with green string.
The white candle will be used to seal the lid of the prosperity bottle after you have filled it with the magickal items and your intentions.

Method
It is effective to begin a spell to bring abundance to yourself during the time of the Moon phase when its light is expanding. At the summer solstice, the waxing gibbous Moon, along with the full day of sun light, will shine on your bright intentions.
Gather your supplies together so that you can begin your prosperity bottle on the night of the summer solstice. To begin, light the white candle and sit quietly in a space where you won’t be disturbed. Think within yourself why you want to attract prosperity to yourself. To enrich yourself? To give to others? To be able to support someone else? To help you on a way to create something new or beautiful? To move away from dependence on someone else? Be clear in your intentions. If can, clarify your intentions to just a few words or a symbol. Write that symbol or few words on the piece of paper. Roll the paper into a scroll and tie it with the green string. Drop it into the empty bottle.

Next, keeping in mind your intention, gather together the rose petals and drop them into the bottle, visualizing the abundance of a beautiful summer day. Drop in the cinnamon stick, and remember that all we have, comes from the earth. Drop in the unlit small candle and remember the feeling of the sun’s warmth bringing light and growth and abundance.

Here we come to the step that involves money. We have to give out what we want to receive. You must be willing to part with this money so that you can open the door to more money coming into your life. One by one, drop in the coins and then the paper bill. One penny, next penny, then the nickel, the dime, the quarter, and then top it off with the dollar bill. It must be in this order: from small denomination, to larger, larger, and larger, until we reach the paper step. Money builds on money; money creates money.

Once your prosperity bottle is filled, then you twist on its cap. Take up the white candle that has been burning all this time. Pour some of the melted wax onto the cap of the prosperity bottle. Let the wax drip down over the lid, sealing it shut. When you feel complete, blow out the candle. Sit in the dark for a moment, and feel the changes coming to you. Prosperity is on its way to you.

The prosperity bottle will keep working as long as you keep refilling it with your energies and intentions. When you think of it, pick it up, shake it, remind yourself of why you need more money right now, and send energy through it. Especially at the time of the waxing gibbous Moon, take time to pick up your bottle and remind yourself and it what good you will do with the extra money coming your way.

So mote it be.

“No price is set on the lavish summer;
 June may be had by the poorest comer.”
– James Russell Lowell –

Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat

” Every Posture Is a Journey Not a Destination “

The daffodils and forcynthia blooms have passed. The days are certainly warmer here in the northern hemisphere. Soon we will transition from the peonies to the hibiscuses. Spring’ s infant birds are almost through their parents’ flying lessons as we approach summer. And this can be a fantastic time to try a kundalini yoga class, wherein you can tap into the full powers of life and creativity that are fast approaching. It is an fiery experience designed to awaken you!

There are many benefits to utilizing this practice at this time of year with rising heat, energy, and potential. Many of us have fine tuned and focused the work of the winter season. We have gone through a spring cleaning or detox. Now, with fierce, vibrant energy we can open to our own light; meet and be with our true self. This yoga practice can facilitate Purusha, a connection to our true internal, never changing self.

Kundalini yoga is a blending of different types of yoga includes breath work, chanting, meditation, and physical practice. The method has morphed over time; but was first introduced into the western world by Yogi Bhajan. He was born Harbhajan Singh Khalsa in India. Being in a wealthy family allowed him the privilege of studying and mastering yoga at a very early age. Thankfully, he followed his calling and eventually moved to Canada and the US, to teach the spiritual practice and discipline of yoga.

Kundalini is a Sanskrit word, one of its meanings being circular. Kundalini yoga is a practice that not only raises body awareness; it also stimulates very dormant, powerful energy within the body. It usually begins with a “tuning in” using chanting. Then by focusing breath work and employing physical movements; channels and pathways are opened. The work detoxifies organs and releases stagnation in their systems, as well as in the mind and energetic fields. All this to prepare oneself to handle the eventual release and outpouring of energy that sits coiled at the base of the spine. Kundal is “a spiritual energy or life force living at the base of the spine”. It is an ecstatic practice to increase consciousness. It is a journey back to your divinity. It can be mind blowing to experience and truly indescribable.

I do find this practice to be a challenge. You sweat, you move, you chant, you focus. But somewhere in your surrender, comes the reward! It can be subtle shifts towards a healthier version of yourself or an eruption of raw, powerful sensations that will take you to your knees if you are not already there. Kundalini yoga, with its vast array of teachings, will circle you back to your own brilliant divine, radiant center. You won’t need sunscreen, but you will definitely feel the heat! …..Namaste…. M.Q.

First Steps on the Seeker’s Path

I’m taking this month off to renew and refine what is needed for the next half of the year.  Go outside in the brilliant light, greet the Sun. Sit in the shade and feel the quiet rest that rejuvenates. Walk a path of green and fill each step as a meditation in greeting the Earth Mother. Savor the sweetness of family, friends and time that languishes in the enveloping warm embrace of Summer’s bounty.

In conclusion…

“Mine is the Month of Roses; yes, and mine
The Month of Marriages! All pleasant sights
And scents, the fragrance of the blossoming vine,
The foliage of the valleys and the heights.
Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights;
The mower’s scythe makes music to my ear;
I am the mother of all dear delights;
I am the fairest daughter of the year.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow –

Upcoming Events – 2018

Temple of the Sun Series: Part Three

Illuminated Ritual: Creating the Sacred
3-wks.on Tuesday Evenings
For more information. Click here…

June 16th
Celebration of the Summer Solstice: A Ritual for Amun-RA

Celebrate the longest day of the year as we stand at the Gates of the Temple of Amun-RA and receive the blessings of the luminaries.  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 June 2018, Volume Three | 1 Comment

May2018-Fertile Ground for YR. 3

Vol. 3 – Issue 1

Musings From the Mystic Path

The Month of May
The 2nd. Anniversary Issue

Ah, the lusty month of May! Spring has taken hold. Seedlings are bursting upward. Thoughts turn to the great outdoors and spending more time with loved ones as the daylight blossoms with fertility and promise.

This is our Second Anniversary issue! Hard to believe that we have been sharing our writing with you, our dear readers for 2 years. We began this creative adventure using the fertile energy of May to quicken what we desired as a presence within our community and opportunity to gift the beauty of our paths, experiences and unique perspectives. Hopefully, we have done that and that you all have found some rest and inspiration in each month’s offerings. Onward into Year Three and more surprises….

The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful;
the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding,
the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before
the brightness of the summer.

– Lady Gregory –

Featured Writings

Spring Is Finally Here!

by M.H.

Spring is in full bloom on the east coast of the United States. Time to celebrate Beltane, a holiday that lets us reflect and connect with the Spirits of Nature. The temperatures are warming and we are beginning to come outside to spend quality time. At Beltane we typically think of fertility for our gardens to produce a bountiful harvest in the Fall. But actually it’s a perfect time for renewing our spirits, appreciating the Earth and the importance of the cycle of life.

Take a walk outside and feel the damp black soil under foot, feel the connection with the Earth’s energy rising from its mantle below and traveling upwards. Let it flow through your body and out of the crown charka spilling out and back down to the Earth. After the cold winter the Spirits of Nature are reawakening too.

Find a place for quiet mediation, with the trees, flowers, waters, mountains, whatever is near your residence. Pick an object to focuson, a rock, flower, tree or water source. Allow your senses to awaken and explore the object’s surface, texture, and temperature. Feel yourself actually inside the object, take note of the flow of energy as it moves through you. As you end the mediation be sure to offer up thanks to the object for sharing this experience.

Enjoy this time of year, fully experience all the colors, smells, and sounds around us and show respect and honor for the Earth and all she gives to us. Remember to breathe and feel the flow of the universal energy around us each and every day.

“Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson –

Polarities

by L.B.

I have been thinking about polarities lately. I came across something that asserted that it is better to give than receive and I found that I had a visceral reaction: no, it is not better! So I spend some time thinking on this topic and here are some of my thoughts on giving/receiving and other polarities this brings to my mind.

Give/Receive
It is better to give than receive, or so it says in the Christian Bible (Acts 20:35). According to this approach, we ought to give (of ourselves, or our time, or some material goods) so that we would be blessed. In other words, earning our Brownie points and so that we may ultimately end up in Heaven. That is why we do good, isn’t it, for the final outcome?

I question this premise. To me, the idea that it is better to give than receive negates both the giver (as if the gift were given only to earn blessings), and the receiver (who is there only to make the giver feel good about himself). This is an unequal power dynamic in this scenario, as if the receiver were an empty and passive vessel awaiting the gifts the giver feels like giving, to the larger benefit of the giver: after all, an eternal reward outweighs the momentary delight of the present being given, right?

Active/Passive
Some use these attributes as equivalent: passive, receptive, accepting: Female
And these: active, offering, giving: Male
It is the act of offering and giving that is bestows blessings in this ancient saying. I say that the act of receiving is also a source of blessings. To be passive and receptive is to be open, accepting, and willing to take what is offered: this is trust and to me, this is of at least an equal value to giving.

Light/Dark
Sweat lodge: Dark; interior / Full moon healing ritual: light, exposed.

I have experienced sweat lodges in three different locations. My first sweat lodge was at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in a small town in western Michigan. It was held by a Native American woman; it was, as far as I know, a traditional Native sweat lodge. It was some 25 years ago. What I remember was that the fire was lit, the stones were heated, we chanted, then the hot stones were brought into the lodge and then we entered with the water pourer. After we all entered, the fire tender came in with us. And we stayed in the lodge until we (and the ceremony) was finished. One could say what one wanted to, when one wanted to. It was crowded and hot and revealing and dark and sweaty and dirty. And I was hooked. I loved every minute of it. I loved being stripped raw of clothing, inhibitions, uncertainty, the idea that my precious wounds and worries were mine alone. I felt a commonality with those who endured the lodge with me: we were willing to work hard to let go of pain. I emerged, changed, tired, relieved, and ready to accept that I, too, have courage.

The next sweat lodge I attended was some 20 years later. It was at Seelie Court and it was run by water pourers and fire tenders who had been trained in traditional sweat lodge protocol and adapted with Wiccan protocols developed by people within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. These sweats are not officially part of the ASW. I have been attending Sweat Lodge at Seelie Court for about 8 years, either sweating inside the lodge during the ceremony, or helping the fire tenders and water pourers with various tasks, such as fetching kindling, fire wood, water, washing towels, whatever needed to be done to assist.

I have also participated in sweat lodge at Free Spirit Gathering, and free-wheeling gathering of people walking all kinds of paths, such as wiccans, heathens, druids, pagans, vodouisants, santeras, polytheists, monotheists, pantheists, atheists, etc., according to their web site. This sweat lodge took place on a hot day in June. The Seelie Court sweat lodges are typically held during the winter months. It was more of a physical challenge than I liked: it was not possible to cool off adequately after the sweat.

The interior of sweat lodges is dark; at the ones held at Seelie Court, attempts are made so that not a crack in the covering lets in outside light. The only light is from the glow of the hot stones centered in the fire pit. It is the light within the dark. It is not physically possible to see the other participants who are sharing that day’s sweat lodge with you. Before we enter the Lodge, we had seen the fire being laid, built up, ignited, and tended. We had blessed the stones and put then into the fire to heat up. We had seen the fire blaze up, but we enter into the darkness when we enter the sweat lodge.

It is in darkness that we chant to the elements, hear the words of the water pourer, and then begin the rounds of sharing, each of which is blessed by an element: air, fire, water, earth, spirit. We ask for help in turn for letting go of what no longer serves us, and how to gain that which we need in the next step in our individual journeys. We pass the talking stone between us; when one holds the stone, that person speaks and the others are silent. When one is finished speaking, they pass the talking stone to the next person in the circle. Sometimes it is hard to find the hand of the next person: you have to reach out and find them in the darkness. Someone it there, reaching out to you, and the connection is made. The stone is passed and then the next person speaks.

After each round at the Seelie Court sweats, the blanket that covers the entrance is lifted so that fresh air can come in, the water gourd is refilled, and more hot stones can be brought in to refill the center stone pit. And we can see light for a few moments. Then the blanket is pulled down and the entrance is closed, and we are together in the dark.

The sweat lodge experience is for me, one of going inward. Diving deep into myself: no one can see me cry or look anxious. It is possible to forget who is in lodge with me since all I have to identify them is the sound of their voice and their spiritual energy, which is being transformed moment by moment by participating in the Sweat Lodge. Sometimes I forget where I am in terms of place and time: I am in the dark, surrendering to trust, the elements, the ancient ones: the stones who give their lives in service to the sweat lodge; the water pourer, the fire tenders, and Spirit. All I have to do is be present in the moment, open myself up, and let in, accept, receive the healing. This vulnerability brings me to power. My Self, all of my selves, are stepping into personal power through this stripping down into rawness. This passivity, receptivity, openness, are my power. I am reborn, each time I enter and emerge from the Sweat Lodge, the cauldron of rebirth.

I attended my first full moon healing ritual in March 2018. This ritual was presented by Grail of the Birch Moon, a coven within the ASW. This ritual was held on the night when a full moon rose in the sky. The altars were decorated with cloths recognizing the elements and candles were lit. A cauldron rested on the center altar. It contained darkness within the light of the ritual. The intent was to help each of us to lift ourselves and each other to the moon’s healing light. I witnessed some people go before me, to expose their desire for healing, to be willing to be assisted in that healing, to be lifted to the light of the full Moon in her glory.

When it was my turn, I gathered up my courage, and stated that I wanted healing with being able to move from being a victim to being present, and not even being a survivor, but to be able to be here, now, and be myself fully. I exposed a vulnerability in that I admitted that I was a survivor of some trauma, that I felt trapped in that past identity, and that I wanted to move forward into a state of Being, simply Being, and I asked for help. The community that was gathered together chanted, sent healing energy to me, and lifted me up to the full Moon’s light. I felt transformed: later that week, I signed up to return to my college campus for my 40-year reunion, the first I will have attended, since I avoided the campus since I experienced an assault there when I was there as an undergraduate student. As a sister in my Coven reminded me, I stepped into my power by doing this.

For me, being receptive and open brought me to a place of personal empowerment. It was good, too, to be giving in participating in sharing energy with the others who were asking for healing. And it has been good for me to go inward, into the darkness of the Sweat Lodge, and outward, into the light of the Moon. Active, passive. Giving, receiving. Light, darkness. Polarities are not opposites, they are points on a balance beam that pivots on a fulcrum. Each is necessary to the other, neither can exist without the other. It is not better to give than to receive: it is better to bring both into one’s life. This is a power dynamic, and a powerful one. So mote it be.

“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe –

An Invitation to the Divine

by RCF

Come walk with me and
Share my grand adventure
Our steps will mark the way
For those who wish to follow.

Come sit with me and quench
Your thirst with the beauty of
What surrounds us.

Come dance with me on the
Shores of crystal blue waters
The sun looking down in
Benevolence as we embrace
Beneath the warming rays.

Come lay beside me as
Time and dreamscape
Claim their hold.

Come sleep with me and
Let Divine ecstasy unfold
Dream in the knowledge of me.

Come lay beside me and tell
Me of your dreams that
Stretched long into the night.
Come walk with me as we
Talk of what was revealed.

The land gives way and
Miles of space lay ahead
Beckoning new turns with
Each new dreamtime path.

Come explore with me the
Truth of your journey and
The gift of mystery in this life.

Come walk with me and
Share my grand adventure
Our Light will mark the way
For those who wish to follow.

Lost and Forgotten

by Celestine

An inspiration from a class experiential in February 2018….

You come to me in my dreams, mysterious and silent.

Newly born from the stars, yet with ancient origins.

With pride you stand before me, in all your splendor.

“See me!”, you command. Yet no words do you utter.

It would do no good to address me directly, for the language you spoke has fallen into obscurity.
Words would be wasted breath.

Yet I hear you.

You tell me stories of a different time, when rulers bowed down before you and common folk asked for you blessings! When odes to your benevolence were written and monuments were built for your glory! When your followers sang your praises and your foes trembled in fear!

No more.

In this age you are all but forgotten, a footnote in history. Faded into obscurity.

And yet…

And yet a spark of you remains, twinkling in the inky blackness of nothing. Waiting for the breath of a living mortal to flame you back into existence. Waiting to return to your former glory, even if only in the heart of one who is devoted!

You wait in the darkness, searching for the soul that will remember you from lives past. Seeking the twinkle of recognition of your divinity. Looking for your disciple come again.

Perhaps I am the one.

Perhaps.

You come to me in my dreams and I answer, “I will remember! And I will honor you!”

The spark grows brighter and you light my way, even as I light yours.

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
–  Albert Camus –

Focus On…

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


by Ionlanthe

Welcome to May. This month we will take a look at Beltane and how it relates to the Moon this month. Beltane is a cross-quarter celebration in that occurs at the mid-point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. This year, Beltane falls on May 5.

The Earth and Moon are in constant communication. Since humanity has been able to bring back samples of the Moon’s surface, we know that the Earth and Moon share a geological make-up. The Moon is comprised of elements that are the same as those in the Earth’s crust. They dance together through the cosmos. The gravity of the Earth keeps the Moon in orbit; the gravity of the Moon causes high and low tides in the Earth’s oceans. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s SciJinks, the moon’s gravitational pull generates something called the tidal force. The tidal force causes Earth—and its water—to bulge out on the side closest to the moon and the side farthest from the moon. These bulges of water are high tides. As the Earth rotates, the bulges move around it, one always facing the moon, the other directly opposite.

This dance and communication is particularly resonant with this year’s Beltane, during which the Moon will be about 75% illuminated. If you are able to, go outside on this Beltane night, and look for the Moon. Perhaps shining on the ocean, or another body of water? Bring with you someone you love, or commune with nature, or with yourself. Beltane is a time to celebrate sexual union, fertility, dancing around the May Pole, jumping the Beltane fire to signify passion; it is a time when the Goddess takes a God as her lover and through which all life will be renewed. According to the poet Edward Lear, the owl and the pussycat understood this:

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
The Owl and the Pussycat

Take advantage of this Moon-lit Beltane since it will then begin to be waning towards its new Moon phase on May 16. At Beltane, the Moon will be in Capricorn, which is a cardinal earth sign and known to be cautious, pragmatic, and grounded with ambitions in starting new initiatives with a lot of planning. Let this push-pull between Beltane’s fiery passions and Capricorn’s sensible style be like the pull of the Moon’s gravity on the Earth’s tides: let yourself be pulled up and out and spring toward the burgeoning life force surrounding us all right now yet remain bounded to gravity so that you don’t get pulled off course.

Another way to celebrate the Moon’s light during Beltane is to bring it down to earth by lighting a candle:

Find a candle that is red for passion. Set up a table with your candle, a mirror, some flowers. Be your own God/Goddess and re-ignite passion for/within yourself. Gaze into your own eyes in the mirror and be open to what ever messages come to you. Put down the mirror, strike a match, and light the candle. Your own energy brings light to your world through the symbol of your lit candle. Take up the flower and remember that it came from a seed or a bulb, gestated in the earth for a time, then emerged with the sun’s warmth and spring rains to bloom in its season. Let this be a season for blooming for you and for all you love. Blow out the candle, place the flower in water, and go out and enjoy this beautiful Beltane celebration.

“Do something wonderful.
People may imitate it.”
– Albert Schweitzer –

Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat

” Every Posture Is a Journey Not a Destination “

Yoga has many fundamental principles, poses and parts. One of significance are the mudras or hand gestures. Mudras are quite popular and used to channel your body’s elements and energy flow. The Sankalpa mudra is one of my favorites! The etymology of Sankalpa comes from 2 Sanskrit words, SAN and KALPA; the first, denoting a connection with truth and the latter, a vow (or intention). However, Kalpa is deeper than a promise or pledge. Sankalpa represents your heart’s yearning and its highest intent; its a resolution of your soul.

Of course, there are many philosophies that touch upon the power of intent; thousands of blogs, videos, and correspondences expressing the importance of plans, thoughts, prayers, and intentions. I feel perhaps equally important is where our intentions come from and how they resonate. I admit it is a hard part of my journey; deciphering what is my own truth vs. learned behavior and beliefs.

Outside influences seems to permeate everything. Are our intentions just other people’s ideas? Do we want something because of advertising or the media? Are our desires based on pleasing our parents or teachers? Are we following society’s expectations instead of seeking our true nature?

A yoga practice can help you delve into these queries. A practice that includes meditation can expose your beliefs and patterns, and help you tune into your psyche. After your practice, once in a relaxed state; you can then listen in for an intention. Decide on a statement that reverberates with your highest self. Use it as a mantra, an affirmation to incorporate within the Sankalpa Mudra. You may already have an intention that has come to you organically. Try to keep is short and align it with the highest universal good.


To get into a position to begin working with the Mudra, start with a comfortable seat with an open, straight posture. Both hands can be at your sides, palms facing up, with elbows bent. Consciously bring the left hand across your chest so that your intention aligns with your heart before placing your hand on your right thigh with your palm up. Turn the palm of your right hand down so that it hovers over the left and clasps over your declaration, sealing in your sacred vow. You may then start to chant the Sankalpa affirmation. You can speak it aloud and envision it’s positive energy. It should be something you feel, that uplifted and radiates.

I love how simply this mudra is and it can be done anywhere. Once established, your yoga practice can also begin with this mudra. It can be utilized at any time you need to refocus and check back in with your true nature’s resolve….NAMASTE…M.Q.

First Steps on the Seeker’s Path

This month’s article is Part Four of a series of posts about the practice of meditation and contemplative integration at all levels of being. Last month I discussed the use of meditation through the seasons. This month, I’ve been called to share a special meditation for you to use in connecting with Deity. 

Part Four: Magickal Meditation
A Simple Meditation with Deity

Excerpted from A Year and a Day on the Wiccan Path

This month’s focus is on simply opening to connect with Deity. If you have a specific Deity you wish to connect with or already have connection to, focus your intent on simply “being” with this Divine energy. For this meditation we will not be asking for guidance or any specific request. The intent is to sit quietly and open to whatever Deity wishes to present us with.

Let’s begin:
Select a space where you will not be disturbed and is as quiet as possible. Sit comfortably and begin to take notice of your breathing. Listen deeply to the sounds as you inhale and exhale and even the rustle of clothing as belly and chest expand. Take note of the sensation of the air filling your lungs and the sense of fullness than emptying that occurs as you inhale and exhale. Now, take notice of the smells that come into your nose as you breath a little deeper still, and the release of that aroma as you exhale it back out. Continue this pattern of sensorial awareness for several minutes.

Now, allow your breathing to be secondary in focus and shift your awareness to the space between your brows, the seat of your inner screen. Draw all of your attention into this space and envision a small point of white light at the center of your awareness. As you gently breathe and bring more attention to this space of visioning, the point expands and soon there is nothing but a brilliance of white light filling this inner space. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale see your physical form stepping into and through this brilliance of light and find yourself standing on a mossy rock surround partially surrounded by water. You look out at the glory of a beautiful sunset and lower yourself to a sitting position on the edge of the large stone. You breathe deeply and as you exhale you feel an opening of your perception and a peace and calmness that is profound in its presence.

As you sit in the stillness of this landscape you offer up the invitation to commune with the Divine. You offer up the willingness to listen deeply to what may be given and to allow yourself to simply be held in the space of Deity’s presence. You breathe deeply and as you exhale you allow your mind to be still of thoughts, your heart to be welcoming and sit “waiting”.

As you quietly sit, allow yourself to sink as deeply as you wish into this cradling of stillness, unhurried and patient for response. When you feel complete, offer up gratitude for the experience that you had (even if you feel “nothing happened”). Offer up gratitude to yourself for being able to reach this space of stillness and presence.

You gently rise to a standing position and see that the sun has set and moonlight shimmers on dark moving waters. Take a moment to take this image into your being and the beauty of the quiet. As you continue to look out across the waters and breathe into this experience the landscape gently fades and you find that your awareness has returned to being that of the observer; your focus on your inner screen. Breathe deeply into this awareness and shift in perception and the comfort this space provides.

Gently allow your awareness to return to that of filling the space of your entire being and the physicality of your body and breath. Turn your focus back to the rhythm of your breath and the gentle rise and fall of your chest and expansion and contraction of your belly. Breathe fully and deeply allowing this energy to reawaken all of the physical sensations of being fully present in the space in which you began this meditation. And, when you are ready, gently open your eyes, returning to the here and now.

Note: Do not be discouraged if you feel that Deity did not respond. ONE of the goals of this practice is communing with deity, but an equally important goal is that of preparing the way so that you are fully present and listening to the message. Communing takes many forms and it is not always the clear-cut epiphany moment that occurs.

We are constantly in communication with the Divine, but rarely are still enough nor open enough to receive what is being communicated. Engaging a stranger in a reciprocal smile is communing with the Divine. Having the perfect parking space open and available after a trying commute is communing with the Divine. Having a pleasant day at work and the opportunity to relax when you get home is communing with the Divine.

Bring this level of awareness into your contemplative practice with full intent and after not such a long time, you will recognize Deity in all of his/her forms as you sit in the silence of their wisdom. More importantly, this level of awareness will spill over into your everyday experiences making magick of the mundane.

Real-Life Experience:

Check out my Summer Weekend in the Parks post on The Enchanted Gate Blog. Surrounded by all that beauty, I could feel the blessings of the Divine as my husband and I became the Divine Couple…
Summer Weekend in the Parks

Next Month: Sensorial Meditation:Engaging the Senses

In conclusion…

  “In the marvellous month of May when all the buds were bursting, then in my heart did love arise. In the marvellous month of May when all the birds were singing, then did I reveal to her my yearning and longing.”  
– Heinrich Heine –

Upcoming Events – 2018

Continuing through May 15
Temple of the Sun Series: Part Two

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

May 5th
Celebration of Beltane with Archers of the Sacred Flames,ASW and Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW

Celebrate the union of God and Goddess, jump the balefires and dance the Maypole of Divine creation. 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 Anniversary Issue, May 2018, Volume Three | 1 Comment

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 of 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