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 –
Shadows of Light and Dark
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
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
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
Rainbow of color
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
“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 –
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick
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:
Summer solstice: full light
Fall Equinox: balance
Winter Solstice: battle between light and dark
Spring Equinox: balance
How do the Tarot cards reveal their messages to on each of these topics? If you like, you could repeat this spread on each of the Sabbats, or on the Equinoxes, or on the next full Moon phase, to see if your messages look different when viewed in a different light, or during a different holy day.
Like the little stream
Making its way through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly turn clear and transparent
– Ryokan –
Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
” Every Posture Is a Journey Not a Destination “
If you read or glanced at my column last month; you are familiar with my initial impression of taking a hot yoga class. It was quite an experience; very eye opening. My journal entry collaborated almost every stereotype of any yoga sceptic. Nevertheless, I was hooked. Truth be told, the after effects in the following days were ones of gratitude, accomplishment, purification, and feeling healthy. The class I had taken was a stationary sequence. It went through a variety of the most common postures of a yoga practice. It was all so new, and so rewarding.
There are so many poses I didn’t even attempt, at first. Eventually, I would try the modified versions to learn what does and does not serve my body.
Yoga teaches you to listen and honor your body and really take the time to FEEL. Sometimes it can be a lovely stretch, sometimes perhaps discomfort. You may have thoughts of concentration in a balance posture. By moving and contorting your body into new postures you test your limits; find your strengths and those sweet spots that create shifts and maybe even tremors, i e: changes.
Yoga is a practice when you can take the time to settle in, to just be and observe.
At the start of most practices; an instructor will ask you to focus on an intention. What is it you wish to change, to become? Or are you offering up your practice to a greater spiritual being or deity? Perhaps you wish for the good health and well being of a friend or our planet. Yoga gives us the chance to deliberately create. Before even settling into a posture; just breathing consciously can change our anatomy. Focused breath work can reduce stress, help us gain clarity, aid in digestion, and improve sleep.
There is a variety of occurrences during the creative process of a yoga practice; but what a gift to see what arises! Creativity gives us a different perspective on life so when we move or do things differently, we are granted with a shift in our perception. Trying new things in life is crucial. Attempts can lead to a new passion, an invigorating new endeavor, something that sparks magick inside and enlivens your soul. My practice is a journey towards myself. My mat, a tool, a portal back to my spirit; a mirror that reflects new discoveries about me to me!
I encourage you to try a new yoga class in this season of new growth and potential. There are many free online classes. You could visit a studio that offers a full hatha class in a heated room or start at home with a chair yoga sequences for a beginner or someone with limited mobility. You can even begin with a simple am practice while still in bed to transition you into your day gently, mindfully. May your heart, mind, spirit, and body bloom this spring season! ….. NAMASTE…MQ
First Steps on the Seeker’s Path
This month’s article is Part Three of a series of posts about the practice of meditation and contemplative integration at all levels of being. Last month I discussed the need for balance in all o our endeavors and the opening that will result in spending time in a contemplative way…..
Part Three: Magickal Meditation
Meditative Practice for the Seasons
This month we’ll begin a series of meditations that align with the seasons. April blossoms into Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the theme is one of planting and preparing for what we hope will become the beautiful garden of Summer and, the eventual harvest of bounty in the Fall. As spiritual workers, the seasons play an important role in our growth as each marks a different way of “being” in the world.
Last month we explored the alchemical elements and the resonance we hold with everything in the Cosmos as the embodiment of these elements. We can also apply these elements to the seasons and their similar constructs:
Air – East – Dawn aligns with Spring’s new beginnings;
Fire – South – Noon aligns with Summer’s heat and catalytic potency;
Water – West – Dusk aligns with Fall’s bountiful harvest as we contemplate upon and harvest the gifts of day’s activities; and,
Earth – North – Midnight aligns with Winter as the darkness settles in, and we turn within metaphorically and literally to reflect on the light held within awaiting Spring’s new light.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
“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
Temple of the Sun Series: Part Two
Egyptian Alchemy: Opening the Way
8-wks.on Tuesday Evenings
For more information. Click here…
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.
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:email@example.com