Vol. 3 – Issue 8
Musings From the Mystic Path
The Month of December
As we enter the season that celebrates the return of the Light, it os easy to gorget that we also have emerged from the darkness. this month’s issue will the last of Musings for a bit of a hiatus. Our coven will be embarking on a year long journey into the realms of the shadow and with all of the work required for this, maintaining Musings will not be consistent. With that in mind, stay tuned for a quarterly posting schedule through next year, with a few treats here and there. So, without further ado, enjoy the month of December!
“December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory”
December snow covers the frozen ground
Ponds and lakes glisten with ice as skaters glide gracefully around
Stoke the logs on the fire and watch the embers glow,
Grey clouds roll overhead and the chilly winds blow
A cardinal on a fence, ruffles its feathers and sings
May you enjoy everything this magical Winter season brings.
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter
from the human face.”
– Victor Hugo –
Mocha Yule Log
Recipe from : Taste of Home
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup baking cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup baking cocoa
- 1 tablespoon brewed coffee, cooled
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk
- Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom of a greased 15x10x1-in. pan with parchment paper; grease paper. Sift flour, cocoa and salt together twice. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until slightly thickened. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Fold in flour mixture.
- Add cream of tartar to egg whites; with clean beaters, beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until soft glossy peaks form. Fold a fourth of the whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites. Transfer to prepared pan, spreading evenly.
- Bake until top springs back when lightly touched, 12-15 minutes (do not overbake). Cool 5 minutes. Invert onto a tea towel dusted lightly with cocoa. Gently peel off paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- For filling, in a bowl, dissolve coffee granules in cream; beat until it begins to thicken. Add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Unroll cake; spread filling over cake to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again, without towel; trim ends. Transfer to a platter, seam side down. Refrigerate, covered, until cold.
- For frosting, beat all ingredients until smooth. Spread over cake. Using a fork, make lines in frosting to resemble tree bark. Refrigerate until serving.
1 slice: 341 calories, 15g fat (8g saturated fat), 130mg cholesterol, 136mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (40g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.
“As winter approaches – bringing cold weather and family drama – we crave page-turners, books made for long nights and tryptophan-induced sloth.”
– Sarah MacLean-
19-Days of Illuminated Darkness
Join me, once again, as we count down to the Winter Solstice and 19 Days of Illuminated Darkness. What was begun as the veils of Samhain parted and the New Year turned another cycle of the Great Wheel, continues as we welcome the Winter Solstice and the burgeoning of the Solar Light!
The countdown begins on Monday, December 3rd as the Moon wanes 4th Qrtr. in mystical astrological sign of Scorpio. Mercury remains in the last 3 days of its retrograde and offers the opportunity to explore that darkened light in a collaborative style. All the while the Sun stands strong in its astrological mantle of fiery Sagittarius. Access the Quick Links Page here
“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in
summer will find equal cause for
wonder and admiration in winter. ”
– John Burroughs –
All in the Perspective … of Light
Looking out at the world
Faces gripped in winter’s hold
Bodies move in unison
All hurrying here and there
Each one’s destination more
Important than the next.
From high above, the pattern
Below shifting shape and form
A sea of tiny dark specks
Moving to and fro- designs
Like a kaleidoscope fill the
Panoramic view and time
Stands still as each weave
Around and through neighbor’s gate.
Looking up from the great below
Towering shapes stretch heavenward
Blade of grass becomes an ancient
Tree of time immeasurable
Drop of rain stretches outward
As vast ocean spanning concrete
Connecting grassy shore to shore
Sound of hustle and bustle
Deafening in a thunderous vibration
Sky becomes a pin point of
Destiny’s desire and all
Around me the winds of movement
Carry me from place to place.
I walk out from the safety of
My view of observation
Out, once again to join
In the pace and hurry of
I reclaim my place within the
Breadth and depth of life’s experience.
But now, I have greater understanding
And deeper roots to what surrounds.
I see now all that observes and provides
Unseen support as I look out at the
Brilliance of a world through the perspective
Of shimmering Light!
“Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?”
– Bob Marley –
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick
Welcome to the Tesseract of December. In this month, we have a treasure trove of holidays. Hanukah. Christmas. Kwanzaa. St. Lucia Day. Bodhi Day. Yule. Solstice. New Year’s Eve. All of these holidays involve invoking light, usually by lighting candles: those who celebrate Hanukah light a candle in the menorah each night for 8 nights. On St. Lucia’s Day, girls in Sweden wear wreathes of burning candles on their heads in celebration. We string up lights on Christmas trees; these once were lighted candles set on the boughs of the tree. We light candles in a Kinara (candle holder) at Kwanzaa. We set off fireworks at midnight to start the New Year with a lighted bang! We light the Yule Log. Bodhi day is when we celebrate the day that Siddhartha Gautama sat underneath the Bodhi tree and attained enlightenment.
Wiccans celebrate Yule around the time of the winter Solstice. This is when the Oak King and the Holly King battle for supremacy. At the winter Solstice, the Oak king prevails and reigns until summer Solstice, when they battle again and the Holly King conquers his foe. Paradoxically, the day of the winter Solstice when the Oak King has won, we have the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. When the night is the longest and the darkest, this is when we reach for the light. We kindle the light to remind ourselves that winter will end, the dark will turn to light, we will have warmth again. For now, it will be dark, quiet, cold.
The Solstice is a day when the Earth holds it breath. At the moment when we reach Solstice, the sun has reached in southernmost point from the Earth’s equator and it seems as if the sun is holding still. The word Solstice is comprised of Latin words Sol and Sistere. Sol means “the sun” and sistere means “to cause to stand still.” As the days progressed toward Solstice, each day had been getting shorter, the nights longer, and we were feeling the cold. We might well have wondered if the Earth would continue on its trajectory and each subsequent day would get darker and colder and all life as we know it would end. No wonder we light candles and set off fireworks: bring back the light! And the Wheel turns, each day gains a little more light and we step in the eternal dance toward the summer Solstice with its gloriously long day of beautiful sunlight.
Another way to celebrate light is to take note of the Moon. The Moon will move into its new phase on Friday, December 7 at 2:21 am. It will be in Sagittarius, signifying mutable fire energy. This month’s new Moon will be one of banked fire energy, waiting to burst forth. Sagittarius loves to keep moving, sparking new fires, exploring new areas. During the Moon’s dark phase, Sagittarius’ fiery energy will be obscured, but it will burst forth as the Moon’s illumination grows fuller every day. And on Saturday, December 22 at 12:48 pm, the Moon will move into fullness and into Cancer, which signifies cardinal water energy. At this full Moon, watery Cancer will be bathing us in moon light. Cancer energy is of nurturance, stoking the home fires, exploring the realms and depths of emotions. December’s full Moon will shine a light of what we hold dear when it comes to home, hearth, loved ones.
Winter solstice will be at 5:23 PM on Friday, December 21. The Moon is moving toward its fullness and will be in the sign of Gemini, a mutable air sign. Gemini is all about communication and curiosity; mutability is about being adaptable and thriving on change. The Solstice is when the Wheel of the Year pauses for a moment, and shifts from moving toward the dark part of the year and starts to turn toward the light. Day light will lengthen from this day until the summer Solstice, when we lose a minute or two of daylight each day. This is a good time to consider how you adapt to change. What will you be moving toward, as the Wheel moves from darkness to light, as the Moon moves from Fullness back to its dark phase? As we move from Gemini (all about reaching out to others) and toward Cancer (moving inward and basking in the comforts of home and hearth)?
One way to celebrate light in December is to light your own candle. Whether you gather with loved ones, family, friends, or stay with your own company, take a moment on a day that suits you and find a moment to light a candle. Perhaps you will light the menorah, or a Kinara, or hang lights on a tree. Whatever speaks to you, when you light this candle, just for a moment, remember why you kindled this light. Let it reflect your inner lights, the light of the Moon, the coming of the Oak King, of the balance between the dark and light: let the light illuminate the darkness; let the darkness create a contrast to enhance the glow of the candle or lights. Breathe in the moment and remember you can always count on the light to return.
“There are times when those eyes inside your brain stare back at you.”
– Charles Bukowski –
Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
” Every Posture Is a Journey Not a Destination “
Hello All, Hopefully everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday. My holiday was really laid back and lovely this year (YES!). We chose to dismiss the “obligations” of having to visit everyone. We ignored the “pressure” of keeping up with the neighbors to make sure all our holiday decor, tree, and outside lights were set up by the end of the weekend. And we absolutely stayed away from the mall and shopping visits for this year’s “must haves”. No, instead we relaxed more. We enjoyed our time at home, chilled with our dogs, watched a movie, and took naps in between appreciating the holiday leftovers. It felt wonderful and restorative and I thought, we need more of this.
All too soon, we were back to work, on our feet all day long, rushing against time. Even if your spend your work day at a desk; we all have to run around to complete errands and chores. We spend so much time on our feet, at attention, vertical, upright, ready for fight or flight. I even find myself rushing through some of my asana yoga practices, looking forward to my favorite pose or meditation afterwards. This is why, restorative yoga is one of my favorite practices, particularly the inversion poses.
Now of course, there are the well known poses; downward dog, a headstand, a handstand, and shoulder stands. However, I was thinking of something a bit less dynamic, a posture that would not frighten most people away. Viparita Karani is the Sanskrit name for the posture; but many people refer to it as Legs up the wall pose. This is everything! Even if you do not have a regular practice or have never tried yoga before, I recommend trying this posture today. There are so many benefits of inversion poses; ease mild back pain and arthritis, relieve stress and anxiety, helps with both high and low blood pressure and insomnia just to name a few. The well known poses mentioned above require more instruction, preparation, and strength. I would also recommend a teacher be present.
Viparita Karani posture is by far, the easiest and most relaxing to me. I would begin by sitting on the floor with your right side up propped up against a wall. Your right hip does not need to touch, but close by helps and adjustments can be made once you are in the position. Take a few breaths to settle and then shift your weight to your left arm on the ground as you lift your legs up and pivot so that your back is on the ground. Your feet should be resting high in the air, with the back of your legs against the wall. And then, let go, RELAX. The effects can be felt almost immediately, beginning with your blood flow.
I recommend a folded blanket or small cushion under your hips if it feels good to your body so that your hips are slightly above your heart. Feel the arch of your lower back as your bum sinks down onto your mat. You can move your arms above your head as well. I start to feel better with my legs resting upwards right away. After a bit, the weight on my legs and knees descends even more and it’s as if my entire lower body is hanging by my heels attached to the wall. My fiancee says I look like an old vampire in this inversion. But I love it! I can feel my blood going back to my heart.
I find it to be a rejuvenating position after standing and running around all day. When it becomes too much and my legs starts to tingle I bring my feet down, and place the soles of my feet together while the back of my legs are still resting against the wall. The pose becomes an inner thigh stretch and morphs into an inverted Supta Baddha Konasana and it feels glorious as well! You can also straddle your legs out straight; another inner thigh stretch. Breathe into your lower extremities, and pelvic bowl. Feel it open up, release tension and fill the opening spaces with healthy vibrant, renewed energy.
If you would like to start out even less dramatic; you can simply lie on the floor and lift your legs up onto a couch or chair with your knees bent. These positions are a lovely variation from simply coming home after a long day, sinking into a recliner and kicking your feet up. They allow you to open your torso more, elongate your spine, sink your entire trunk into the mat and let the day pour off of you. Before you know it, it will become your escape from the hectic holiday season. Blessing to you all! Namaste…MQ
First Steps on the Seeker’s Path
by R. Fennelly
This month’s offering is entitled…The Path of Devotion. As we enter a new year, with new opportunities reinvesting time and energy in how and to whom you place your devotion lays a foundation that will out-picture in all of your endeavors…
The Path of Devotion
“When a human reaches up to his/her Higher Mind and accesses the vibrational gifts from that realm (of his or her own higher consciousness), she or he will be filled with inspiration and courage. And this type of inspiration and courage could change the world through actions that are then taken by that individual.”
… anonymous …
What is Devotion?
A Definition of Devotion….
1. Ardent, often selfless affection and dedication, as to a person or principle.
2. Religious ardor or zeal; piety.
3. Commitment to some purpose;
4. An act of religious observance or prayer, especially when private.
If we look at the definitions above we have a sense of the complexity of this word. And, that complexity can take on many forms and nuances as we move along the Path. If we are not devoted to the work, we will not put forth the maximum amount of effort. If we only give half-heartedly, most of the effort is wasted and dissipates just as quickly as it was generated. Devotion to self, Deity, the work all serve as anchors that hold together the many spokes of the wheel around which we establish our place in magickal working.
Some Keywords that relate to Devotion are:
yearning laying claim
Think about what each of these mean to you. Which resonate more deeply and which do you feel should not even be on this list. Periodically checking in with what the definition of a Devotional Path means can give you valuable information about where you
The Essential Elements of Devotion
If we look at devotion through the lens of the elements we see the cycle that occurs in the process. These Three elements form the Triad of Fire and Energetic Awakening (AIR/FIRE/WATER).
“This is the FIRE that ignites the Passion and YEARNING for THAT which it seeks out and willfully INFLAMES“
The Youthful stage that is enthused and excited about new found information, Deity and practice. This is the stage that ignites the desire to learn more, do more and be the most effective we can. It is the combined energy of enthusiasm stimulating the urge or desire to move forward that allows us to become a fertile ground within which the seeds of devotion and dedication are quickened.
We evolve from the impetuous nature of Youth and move to the place of guardian, nurturer and sustainer of what we have taken as our own. Because we have given time and energy to the process we are able to claim authority over our feelings of devotion. Through our efforts at sustaining this “faith” and state of dedication we then become also the providers of that energy. Wanting to share what we feel and enable others to feel the power and glory of dedicating oneself to a path of devotion.
When we arrive at a place of “faith” and ownership of the ideals and energies we have found upon the Path we have a sense of conviction that is based upon internalization of those energies. We identify fully with what we are devoted and dedicated to. We wish knowledge for the place of service it may allow us. We wish communion with the Divine because that is our birthright and we wish for the best outcome for all, knowing that we are part of that recipe.
Incorporating Devotion into Your Practice
Setting up an Altar dedicated to a specific Deity is a beautiful way to display your dedication and devotion to that particular Deity. Acknowledging your Path and the work you have achieved on that Path as you sit in contemplative medication is an affirmation of your Devotion. Each time you spend a moment in thought about the magick that surrounds you, the marvel of your physical body and give thanks for those others who share your life generates the energetic pattern of Devotion. Just as the rose in the picture at the heading of this page shows, there are many chambers that are unfolding at any given moment. Some are hidden and others are there for all to see. But, all lead to the very center and heart of the flower. And it is by ever striving towards that center that we find the many ways that devotion forms and shapes our lives.
Each day brings growth
Each moment brings life
Each action brings creation.
Open your eyes and take in all
Of the lessons of…
These are the bridges that
Connect us one and all.
Musings From the Mystic Path is published 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
Winter: Photo; FineartAmerica
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