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Seeking Unity in Diversity

The Leshy

The leshy, is a forest spirit, that lives in Slavic forests and they often considered to be of the fae. They, like many other mythological creatures are shape-shifters and can change from their usual human like appearance to any animal or plant they wish to. In their human form, they are said to have hair and beards of long grass, rather than what we think of as hair, and the same is said for their eyebrows. They have long arms and legs, which seem elongated compared to mortal human proportions. Eerily, they have no shadow, and if they do it is not perceivable to the human eye. Their eyes however, cannot be missed, and are big, bright and are a vibrant green, drawing you in. He carries a club which is symbolic of his position as lord of the forest. They also have a bluish ting to their cheeks, whereas in humans, the cheeks are often flushed in pinkish tones. This is because the leshy has blue blood.

These creatures are the protectors of the forest. They work closely with wolves and bears and naturally, their protection of the forest extends to its inhabitants, they being the animals, and plants. They especially want to protect the forest from deforestation by developers. They are believed to be territorial spirits and will be protective of their portion of the forest. Have you ever seen fallen trees in the middle of a forest? These are evidence of the fights the have with other leshy in defense of their territory. That being said, they are not an exclusivly solitary fairy. They fall slightly in between and will often take a wife and have children and they will play tricks as a family.

The leshy also takes care of the migration of animals.

The leshy also has it’s own personal protection. In the center of the forest, they retain full size, but as they move further out towards the edge of the forest, in either direction, they decrease in size and eventually, as they reach the edge of the forest, they will have become small enough to hide themselves under leaves, keeping themselves secreted away from human eyes. This is another aspect of their shape-shifting abilities.

The leshy, also like many other mythological creatures, is a bit of a trickster, though not usually malicious. They have been known to take amusement in tricking humans

by luring them onto the wrong trail during their travels, takings them deeper into the forests and very far off their path, causing them to become lost. The leshy will often release the traveler once they have had their fun and if lucky, the person will find their way to the correct path again, but others are not so lucky. One reason why the leshy can sometimes be deemed to be evil, and why it can be frightening to people is the leshys tendency to trick people through mimicking the voice of a friend, or another lost traveler. They will call out, causing the traveller to go deeper into the forest, or even a cave in search of the voice they heard call out for help. Once the leshy has its victim, it will proceed to tickle the poor person to death. Whether this is deliberate or accidental, we do not know, but they certainly do not know when enough is enough. However, if they choose, they also have the power to make the person ill.

They are also known to steal woodcutters axes, causing them confusion and inability to finish their work, which is very bad news for the woodcutter who relies on the cutting and selling of wood for their livelihood

A with much lore, there are precautions that people believed would defer the leshy or set them free from its trickery. Much of the time, knowledge of precautions such as these, gave people who believed in the lore some comfort that things could be just fine if they took the correct action. To free yourself from the leshys mischievous antics you could, turn all your clothes backwards and wear your shoes on the wrong feet and proceed to sit under a tree. The leshy will respect this person for their cleverness and leave them be. Probably walking away, saying “well played dude, well played”. Making the sign of the cross was populary believed to protect and defer from many mythological creatures and it is no different in the case of the leshy. You can also escape by setting fire to the forest. The leshy will be so concerned with putting out the fire and saving the forest and its inhabitants, that it will forget about you. Saying a prayer of protection before entering the forest is also advised. Those who escape the leshy will often exit the woods, those encountering them possibly recognising they have been victim by their dazed manner and the moss that will likely be all over their clothes.

In the case of using the cross there is some contradiction in the lore of the leshy. To gain favour with the leshy, in order to make a pact, one method of doing so is to wear a cross around their neck and share the holy bread with the leshy after mass on Sundays. This suggests that the leshy is not actually afraid of the cross, but rather respects it or at least sees it as a sign of surrender in his games…basically a respected “I don’t want to play anymore”. It was believed to be a good idea for a farmer to earn the respect of the leshy in order to make a pact to obtain protection for their crops and livestock. The leshy also likes offerings of salt, bread or even sweet things like cookies places on a log for the leshy to find.

The leshy is said to have originally been a priest, who had been born with blue blood. Thee unusual appearance of his blue cheeks caused him to be ostracised, even among the priesthood, which lead him to run into the forest. This may be why sharing your holy communion bread with him after mass can earn his respect. Other sources say he is the child of a demon and a concubine. Others say he was born to a family of hermits living away from civilisation.

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Discerning the runes around you.

Discerning the runes around you.

When we move through or lives we walk through a world made possible through runic interaction(s).  Therefore, we can, if we look, listen, and feel what is, discern those runic interactions making our experience possible.

We must first understand the time paradigm in which runic philosophy evolved.  To the Germanic peoples time, and therefore evolution of being, took place on a dual axis.  The only one we can truly observe is the mundane axis that is our normal time experience.  They saw this axis as Urd (that which was), Verdandi (that which is), and Skuld (that which may become).  These take mythic identity in the form of the three giantess sisters called the Nornir (singular = Norn).  The nornir are said to “weave” the fates of all beings into wyrd, and thus making them become.  This is a dynamic only possible because of where the individual Norn observes action.  Urd sees what was (actions having been done), which she communicates to Verdandi, who observes what is (action done, with action being done).  Verdandi, in turn communicates this to Skuld, who discerns how the actions of the past and present should interact to create outcomes.  This is the essence of the thurs/thurisaz rune- that is the interaction of two forces coming together to create the third, which is the doing.

Within this context of time, and action, we can know the past, see/hear/feel the present, and therefore understand what may become.  Since we only observe the action, this is not the same as divination in the common sense, but takes the form of “hale signs,” where you do not see the potential future outcome, you see the potential luck involved in a given action.  To give an example, imagine you are able to discern strong influence from what we may call fe/fehu.  In common divination things are often broken down to keywords, in this case cattle/gold/wealth.  Runes, being the interactions, not the items, do not fit into this mode of thought.  Instead, being tied to the Proto-Indo-European root bepo (the aspect of livestock being supported by the folk so it can support the folk), it is, therefore, seeing the mutual exchange between two things for the benefit of both.

I should note here, the history of runic divination for the sake of understanding why we have tarot style divination with rune staves today.

We step back in time to 1902 Austria where a man named Guido Von List had a year long period of blindness after having eye surgery.  While he was temporarily blinded, he claimed to have had the “primal runes” revealed to him.  He correlated these, which he counted as 18 in number, to the section of Havamal containing 18 rune-songs.  Von List was a well known occultist, and was well studied on the various tools of the occult movements of the past, most important to his Armanen Runes was his knowledge of tarot.  To understand the environment, and forces at play here, we must understand that the 19th and early 20th centuries were a period of intense Germanic nationalism.  We find that many folk, such as Von List, and Viktor Ryberg, etc., were trying to Germanicise the non-Germanic things around them (which would ultimately result in the Nazi movement of mid-20th century).  Von List took his knowledge of tarot, and threw rune staves at it, and modern runic divination was born.  Fast forward to the later mid-20th century pagan revival in Europe and the Americas, and authors took Von Lists work, and mass marketed it as tradition.  It is left to the individual whether they wish to use this tarot based structure (such as the ‘spreads,’ and keyword association), or not.  The only thing that is important is to understand where it fits, and that you find subjective validation in whichever path you take.

How then may we discern runes around us?  This is an endless question to answer, but we have a few things to watch for.  The first is knowing those interactions that are the runes.  The second is sound, as each rune has its sound, which is the foundation of galdr magic.  Thirdly, and by far the most difficult is shape.  This third method is most difficult because shape can change, most easy to see is the change between the runic futhark rows.  Another reason is that runes can take the form of codes, called lonnruner, or “secret runes.”  To understand secret or coded runes we must understand how rune-staves were numbered, and even then there are variations.  Each rune-stave has its number, which is more of a coordinate as it includes two numbers, first is the aett number (1,2, or 3), second is the staves number within its aett.  The aett number makes it even more difficult because in some cases it is reversed.  If we write out the staves from a given futhark row, we find that all of them have three rune-staves which never change position.  These are where each aett begins.  So we find fe/fehu being the first, known as Frey/Freyja’s Aett, hagal/hagalaz begins the second, known as Heimdall’s Aett, and tyr/tiwaz begins the third, known as Tyr’s Aett.  Sometimes the aett can be reversed, so instead of Freyr’s aett being counted first, Tyr’s aett is first, and Freyr’s aett is couted third.  Below is a chart showing this using the Younger Futhark in the method named “tré-runar” (tree-runes) with the aett count reversed:
a sample of coded-runes
So when a number is assigned to a rune-stave, it is really two numbers, such as 3:1 (3rd aett, 1st stave) for fe/fehu, for example.  An example, to write the word example with younger futhark we first write its runic phonetic value as: iksambl, and then find the stave count: 2:3, 3:6, 2:5, 3:4, 1:3, 1:2, 1:4.  This allows us to then create lonnrunar out of anything we can find count in.  I could use the keys “|” for the aett, and “.” for the stave, which makes “example”
“||…|||……||…..|||….|…|..|….”
It is vitally important to learn this method because often we have to use it to discern a rune in the environment.

Once you have used the above methods of discerning sound, shape, and action, you must also observe what is happening around it, after all no action exists independently, so, therefore, those actions around it influence how it will manifest.

I will end here so as to not make this too wordy and confusing.  Please feel free to ask me to clarify where it is confusing.

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My Rune System

!! WARNING OPINION FOLLOWS !!

This is my attempt to explain the runology I use. It is, of course, based on lore, history, and when necessary, opinion based on the other two.

I should begin at the beginning. Within the Heathen cosmological model, the runes play an important role. Some believe them to be living things residing someplace, others believe them to be a symbol in which the will is placed. To me, when I look at the mythic creation of the cosmos, and try to place a beginning of the runes, I find the first rune becoming when the first thing happened. This was the moment within that Yawning-Gap when expansion (Muspelheim) and contraction (Niflheim) became. From that moment, all runes became. Below we see from Voluspa v.3 this beginning.

3.
It was in the earliest times that Ymir dwelled.
Neither sand nor sea, nor cold waves, nor earth
were to be found. There was neither heaven above,
nor grass anywhere, there was nothing but Ginnungagap.
3.
Ár var alda, þat er ekki var,
vara sandr né sær né svalar unnir;
jörð fannsk æva né upphiminn,
gap var ginnunga en gras hvergi.


Ginnungagap is literally translated as “Yawning-Gap,” or “Ginnung’s Gap,” however we can break this down to find the meaning behind just what it is, and why this period is so important.  The name can be broken into two parts “Ginn,” and “Gap.”  Ginn is a primal magical stuff that exists throughout all.  It is the soul-substance that animists see in all things, and the root for the modern English word “beginning.”  Gap is identical to our modern English word gap.  So, in this context, Ginnungagap is literally that void of being in which only the primal substance of being exists, and where the shaping forces work their magic, and the energy through which the runic interactions cause effect.  When we use galdr to effect the self, or the outer world, the sound and will grab some of this ginn and put it to use.

What then is a rune? Here, I should point out a distinction between rune-staves (the runic alphabets), and the runes. Runes are the primal laws of interaction, and existence, that have been the product of how all interaction has played out since the beginning of being.
If we take into account the Heathen concepts of time, and fate, we have a model in which to place the runes (and visualization exercise for the rune-staves). First, the belief that time is cyclical, occurring on two axis. This is important for our experience of existing because it gives time and place a three dimensional aspect. Spiritually these are the axis in which the soul/self evolves, which is a vertical cycle, and the horizontal which is the evolution of mass, and our mundane time experience. It is this three-dimensional container in which the cosmos was created. When time and fate came together, it gave things location, and evolution, which allowed for interaction, which allowed for runic-change, which allowed for conscious observation of runic change, which allowed for inspiration, which allowed for will, which allowed for creativity, and the list goes on, but I hope I make my point.

The second aspect of fate is not exactly how we view fate today. It is not a fate in which all things are decided before the action takes place. It is the belief that an action creates potential options, and/or reactions. It is a process of the creation of ‘branches in your path’ though action creating specific options/potential. A simple example is dropping a ball, while on Earth, it interacts, and falls to the ground. Its path moving up to being dropped, was changed by the lack of support against gravity, and the moment that support left, the fate of the ball changed. The pattern created when you make an image of the entirety of the fate of all existence is in essence an intricate web filled with myriad paths, and branches leading to new paths and branches, and so on.

To view the runes in their truest form, is to see the moments of interaction, and to discern the potential change. When the mythic story of Odin discovering the runes is read, it reads as if he saw them as a whole, but understood them as individual aspects. It is important here to have a basic understanding of the Odinic archetype in the lore. I can not say “Odin’s lore,” because it is unknown if Od (the husband of Freyja) is Odin, or not, but for the sake of this model, I use them as one in the same.

This begins with the marriage, and interaction of Od and Freyja. Freyja, the seidh-wise, and Od, who’s name means ‘inspired’ would undoubtedly have exchanged arts. It is said that after a time, Od became restless, and left his family behind. This is where Odin’s story picks up. Odin, having learned the seidh arts from Freyja, was able to do his first shamanistic sacrifice at Mimr’s well. Here, it is said, he sacrificed one of his eyes. This could be seen as a shamanic initiation into the seidh arts, as that requires one eye on the profane/conscious, and another on the sacred/unconscious. Now the he can see both sides of existence at once, he is equipped to see those moments between, the moments of interaction’s changes (the runes), which are so fleeting, they cannot be measured… Odin did this through a shamanistic self-sacrifice upon the world tree.

138.
I know that I hung, on a wind swept tree
for all of nine nights,
wounded by spear, and given to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from what root it rises.

139.
They dealt me no bread, nor drinking horn.
I looked down, I drew up the runes,
screaming I took them up,
and fell back from there.

138.
Veit ek, at ek hekk vindgameiði á
nætr allar níu,
geiri undaðr ok gefinn Óðni,
sjalfur sjalfum mér,
á þeim meiði er manngi veit
hvers af rótum renn.

139.
Við hleifi mik sældu né við hornigi,
nýsta ek niðr,
nam ek upp rúnar, æpandi nam,
fell ek aftr þaðan.


His goal, perhaps to knowingly witness that moment of change (between existences/worlds), which even the dead have not seen, for they transferred between states too quickly. Since we see with two-eyes, we can only see where we are. Odin was able to see the moment between worlds, because as one eye observed his approach from one side, his other saw it from the other side. During that moment, which was so intense it made Odin scream when he took them up, Odin saw, felt, heard, smelled, tasted, and perceived how all things interact, and produce new potentials.

It is left unsaid how Odin then taught the runes to other beings. It is said that humanity learned them from the god Rigr (Heimdal). We can never know exactly when the runes, and the staves to which they are assigned came together. It is likely the beginning of the runic philosophy goes way back to a mundane way of teaching how things work in the world, for example, “respect the cattle’s contribution to the tribe,” may have morphed into the early runic theory of mutual exchange (fe/fehu), symbolized by the livestock being supported by the tribe, so it can support the tribe, and finally into the exchange of wealth/gold. The runes retained their sociological lessons all along, which we see from the rune-poems, which often warn about the negative side, as well as mention the obvious positive side. It is safe to say, however, that while the change in staves, and common meaning has a specific model through which it changed, the stave’s and their mundane meanings, should not be seen as the center of study, but the philosophies behind them. In other words, do not get caught up in key-word associations with the runes, even though it is appropriate with the rune-staves, but even then, only for linguistic reasons.

Here is where there usually follows a description of each rune-stave. I am going to leave that part out for many reasons. Important among those reasons-

  • The description of each rune and rune-stave would create an entire book, and since they are about interactions, one must train themselves through mindful observation, and wisdom, to understand how interactions are happening around them. Without understanding that, the stave classifications are useless.
  • The changes between the stave-rows also makes discussion of them according to stave hard, unless you list only one set of staves and their associations, which only paints a partial picture of runology.

How then are runes usable? Certainly the rune-staves are useful for writing, even if too simple, yet complicated to be practical. The use of rune on an esoteric level has two forms, one which is that which is coming in (down) and that which is going out (up). When we observe that which is around us, we can observe, if we choose, the runic interactions, and gain wisdom from that. Likewise, we add to those interactions around us through action, including sound, which is the foundation of galdr magic, form, and interactions between forms and sounds.

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The Griffin

 

The griffin, has be represented in various forms from ancient Persia and ancient egypt. These forms include art and mythology dating back as far as the 4th millennium BC. There have also been finding of evidence of the griffin appearing in ancient mythology found on “frescos” dating from the 15th century BC which is a type of painting method where paint is applied to fresh, unhardened plaster “fresco” I think meaning to paint it on fresh in this case, in the throne room of a Bronze age palace of Knossos.

In these depictions, the griffin is often presented as a creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion and the talons, again or the eagle. Its ears are like the lions but elongated and are often feathered. They are black, white, grey or dark brown in colour usually, but sometimes are depicted as having blues in their colouring. As the lion is the king of the jungle, this leads to the giffin often being called the king of the birds.

The griffin was seen as a protector from negative energy, slander and evil by the ancient Persians in the Persian Empire and so was seen as a creature that was both majestic and powerful. Because of the attributes of the animals represented in its appearance, the lion and the eagle, it is also often seen as intelligent and of a creature of strength. The griffin Is also a protector of treasures and valuable possessions such as gold, and this is particularly true for belief in India. This was a symbol of divine power and a symbol of a protector of the divine and are often believed to be the pets, or more so the companions of the gods and are also believed to have been created by the gods themselves who wanted protectors who would defend them to the death so they took the lion for its intelligence and the eagle for its courage and combined the two. It is also believed that a griffin pulled the chariot of Apollo, who is a sun god in ancient Greece as the griffin had the ability to fly and was certainly strong enough to carry the god from earth to the sun and back. Like the griffin, Apollo also was a representation of intelligence.

If a griffins mate was to die, they will never seek a new mate, they mate for life. That being said, they have many many years with their mates as a griffin can live for up 800 years. Another interesting aspect to them is that their claw is said to have medicinal properties. The same can be said foir its feathers which were believed to possess the power to restore eyesight. This may be derived from the idea that eagles have particularly good eyesight, or an eagle eye.

The Griffin can be a trickster according to some lore. People will find themselves challenged to a game of wits in the form of riddles and questions. If they are correct, they will gain passage through the entrance of which the griffin is guarding. If they lose, the griffin would kill the person who was trying to gain passage.

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ANCIENT MAGIC OF THE RUNES — HIDDEN SYMBOLS, MESSAGES AND POWERFUL NUMBERS


The etymology of the word “rune” means: “to carve, or to cut.” In Low German the word is “raunen.” As the runes were cut and carved into wood, metal or stone, the word “rune” was analogous to the rune letters themselves. Their form and shape varied according to the materials.

For example, runes carved into wood had more straight lines than the more rounded rune shapes inscribed into granite.
In Northern Europe the runes were actively used for a thousand years approximately between the ages of 150 CE to 1100 CE, and like any writing system, they were used as a reliable form of information storage and as a verbal representation.

After 1100 CE they were replaced by the Latin writing system with the incoming colonization of Rome.
However, when we study the runes and runic objects, we do not only come across linguistic patterns representing practical information such as accounts of dates and names, we also come across “non-linguistic” inscriptions which represent magical symbolism and incantations of protections, blessings or curses.

The most famous example is the rune trio ALU. This trio is seen carved in brooches and magical bracteate (thin single-sided gold discs worn as jewelry in Northern Europe during the Iron Age), the motifs on the discs are of Northern mythology with icons giving protection.

Inscribing weapons and tools with runes was a widespread magical practice. Reading the Poetic Edda, the Sigrdrífumál mentions “victory runes” to be carved on a sword, “some on the grasp and some on the inlay, and name Tyr twice.”

These examples reveal that the runes contained in themselves an old magical form and tradition: each rune had a potent symbolic meaning and had an underlying purpose.

But sadly, as the runic writing faded away, so did its magical use and today we only have a few echoes left from this “thousand-year-long” history.
Professor Sigurd Agrell dedicated his whole life to try and uncover the magical and non-linguistic significance of the runes to regain some of the knowledge that we had lost.

The subject of runes and language is vast, but I am hoping here to leave the reader with a glimpse of the magical information that Professor Agrell revealed to us in the 1920’s, and how it can offer us an understanding of the many layers of the meaning of the runes.

What he set out to study first was the sequential listing of the rune alphabet itself— this is the basic A to Z, and to find out how the runic letters were organized. The rune-row and sequence can only be found in three places: the Kylver Stone, the Vadstena bracteate, and the Grumpan bracteate.

When we approach these talismans and carvings something unexpected happens immediately – and here lies the first part of Professor Argell’s uncovering: when you look closely at the Kylver stone rune-row, the runes have a different sequence of letters than the other amulets.

For example, on the Kylver stone the rune ODAL is the last rune and on the Vadstena and Grumpan bracteate the rune DAGAZ is the last — both runes have shifted positions, comparatively it would be as if suddenly the Y was listed after Z in our own alphabet.

Continue reading

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Greek God Dionysus

 Dionysus is the Greek God of wine and fertility. He is the son of Zeus and Semele. Although born a demi-God he  later became an official God. He is siblings with all of Zeus’ children. He has no partner or children.

Out of jealousy for Zeus once again cheating on her, Hera convinced Semele  to prove her love for Zeus by meeting with him in his Godly form. She did so but the power was too great for her to bare as she was blasted with thunderbolts. Zeus took Dionysus from his mothers womb and sewed him up on his thigh until he reached maturity. He was born twice.

In one legend, Dionysus under the name of Zagreus was actually the son of Zeus and Persephone. Hera had “Zagreus” torn to pieces, cooked and eaten by the titans. His heart however, was saved by Athena. He was then resurrected by Zeus from Semele and became Dionysus.

Since Dionysus is the  god of wine he appealed a lot to women rather than men. The men hated him. One man opposed Dionysus and ended up going blind and mad.  Dionysus cousin also opposed him and was torn to pieces by the Bachanntes which were the women who worshiped Dionysus. Athenians were punished with impotence for their dishonor of his cult.  The husbands of the Bachanntes were resistant and so the women left to perform rituals away from their husbands. They took to the hills carrying an Aulos (double pipe) and a tympanon (handheld  drum) and would dance to them during the rituals. They wore fawn skins and ivy crowns and would shout their ritual cry. They formed thyai ( holy bands) and wold wave thyrsoi (singular: thyrsus; fennel wands bound with grapevine and tipped with ivy). While they were under Dionysus inspiration they were believed to have occult powers. As well as the ability to charm snakes and suckle animals as well as super strength. They knew him as Bromios (“Thunderer”), Taurokeros (“Bull-Horned”), or Tauroprosopos (“Bull-Faced”) not Dionysus. Tehy believed he incarnated the superficial animal,

 

 

 

 

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Imbolc Poems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMBOLC

By Jill Yarnell

So the skies rumbled and the snows came,
And everywhere down through the centuries of this gray night,
Came women gathering to pray,
And to sink their hands into the dark earth.

They gathered seeds and prepared them for planting,
They meditated in the icy darkness,
And they celebrated the lambing of the first ewe,
To hasten spring.

And when through the earth they felt the stirring,
They sang songs encouraging the tiny seeds to grow.

In the dark, wet soil you can smell their work still;
They are digging along beside us. Listen!

The north wind carries their song across the snow,
This Imbolc night.

As the Earth prepares for Spring,
Wise women gather in circles to await the promise of new life,
And to sing praises for the green earth.

And so do we, here now,
This year, and every year.

Welcome Imbolc!

————————————————

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Circle and the Flame: in celebration of Imbolc

By Stephen Craig Hickman

The Circle and the Flame for Imbolc
Wolf moon rises, broken promises
are healed and the feast begins:
as they say, “in the belly”,
the wintry light is pregnant
with Summer’s milk and flowers;
ewes’ udders waken light
and all the wights delight;
Tribe and Land, language and rocks,

meet in the circle of this flame:
the bones of earth, elemental nooks
of all the circle’s measure
hold the ancient tribes in bondage
to the laws of fealty;
knowledge of this old way
begins in words borne of valor:
deeds of ancient warriors dying
for the people of the Land;
remembrance of this light,
the women show their troth
sewing banners of the woolen cloth
with twisted threads of memory
to hold the thoughts of poets strong;
spider, asp, and wasp; thistle, gorse, and nettle:
all children of the goddess lands:
keepers of its mysteries;

Niall of the Nine Hostages knows this truth:
the Old Crone cast her eye upon him,
and he recognized the green spark of goddess tears;
the center holds, the Bilious, the World Tree:
golden leaves waving above
gathers the tribes into the inner circle;
so in the dead month, under the wolf moon
we celebrate in feasting,
when raven’s nest and lark’s sing,
and rain brings lambs to birth;
for then the Old Woman of the year,

Cailleach, rises with her white wand,
a bride of spring, breathing power
into the Winter King, releasing him
from his dour sleep of harsh snow,
while serpent lords scatter
to the four winds of time,
knowing their time is at an end;
then the “Exalted One”, Brigid,
golden haired, encircled by children
comes among her people
to celebrate the Feast of Imbolc!

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A Checklist to Discern Your Empathic Abilities

This article was written by Llewellyn

If you’re reading this…odds are you either currently consider yourself an empath or are wondering if such a term applies to you on an individual level. I encourage you to reflect on the following brief list to see if the term empath accurately describes your unique personality.

Those with a high level of empathic ability tend to have certain experiential commonalities, including the items on this list. Grab a pencil and check off (or mentally note) the qualities that fit you personally. Keep in mind that there are no strict rules for “being” an empath, but there are still plenty of similarities between individuals of high empathetic capacity. Not every item on this list will be personally relevant, but if you’ve circled at least twenty of these points, you, my friend, could be considered a strong empath.

❑ The tendency to absorb and “become” the emotions of others around you
❑ The ability to relate to a wide variety of people and perspectives
❑ Difficulty in distinguishing your own emotions from those of others
❑ Having an emotional depth that seems unusual or unconventional
❑ A natural inclination toward all things mystical, spiritual, and multicultural
❑ A personality that is generally kind, easygoing, and gentle in nature
❑ The ability to communicate with anyone “on their level”
❑ Frequently mirroring other people’s mannerisms, expressions, and accents unconsciously
❑ Friends (and even strangers) feel that they can tell you anything or trust you with their life
❑ Experiencing anxiety, fatigue, or headaches in large public situations
❑ Perceiving emotional exchanges better than intellectual or conversational exchanges
❑ A frequent need for solitude or small breaks from society
❑ Increased sensitivity toward sensory input such as sounds, lights, scents, textures, and tastes
❑ The ability to step into the emotional energy of a person, place, or situation
❑ A desire to avoid anger, aggression, or confrontations of any kind
❑ A desire to alleviate suffering and help others in need, including perfect strangers
❑ Feeling alien or foreign to the world at large
❑ The ability to see beyond people’s façades and social posturing
❑ Seeing beauty, art, or love in things where others may not
❑ An inherent disposition toward anxiety, depression, and introspection
❑ The ability to see everyone and everything as valid and valuable, particularly children and animals
❑ The innate sense that everyone and everything is interconnected or “one
❑ A deep connection with “innocence,” such as what is often found in children, animals, and nature
❑ A tendency to take things too seriously and not always get sarcastic humor
❑ Contemplating how things work or come into being; wanting to see behind the scenes
❑ Difficulty in understanding other people’s boundaries or reading social cues
❑ A desire to cause as little harm or conflict as humanly possible
❑ Having a touchy-feely personality and a generally warm demeanor
❑ A tendency to be extremely generous, thoughtful, and forgiving
❑ Having a sensitive nervous system and a body that is highly sensitive to physical pain
❑ The ability to fully and deeply engage in a focused activity or project, such as artistic expression, problem-solving, and various creative outlets

Excerpted from Esoteric Empathy, by Raven Digitalis

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Oh! To Be Like Water: Fluid, Adaptive and Full Of Kinetic Energy

Be like water. Water’s adaptive fluidity is the need of the times. This post from The Mind Unleashed highlights how the water metaphor teaches us to go with the flow and adapt to the ever-changing environment with ease.

Water cannot be compressed or repressed. It changes states, and has incredible kinetic energy.

As the proliferation of staged events and the accompanying fear campaigns and predictable clampdowns ensue, it’s always good to take stock of any situation unfolding and assess how best to handle what’s transpiring. With the playing field changing at such a rapid rate, locally as well as globally, it’s wise to see how to perhaps adjust our sights as well as personal attitudes and outlook, all the while staying completely clear of any reaction with even the faintest smell of fear.

Any wise strategist knows you don’t fight today’s battles by yesterday’s instructions. Surely in big ideas there will be overarching plans that too will need to be adjusted accordingly, but the day by day, minute by minute decisions require thinking on your feet and being prepared, vigilant and most of all agile and adaptive are the ever present challenge.

Not just now, but in the potentially confusing days to come.

Flow

The nature of water makes the most amazing metaphor for spiritual preparedness and how to adjust and adapt to our environment. Water cannot be compressed or repressed. It changes states, and yes, can be temporarily contained, but even then has incredible kinetic energy despite its confinement and seeming resting state.

It’s energy withheld from potential activation in another form, awaiting movement. But even then it can evaporate into another state and transfer itself on a whim.

This incredible liquid is the basic building block of nature. It’s now known even stars produce water and other heavenly bodies are rich with it. It floats about in our cosmos like life itself, all completely contrary to the dead, sterile vacuum model of “space” we were entrained with.

It moves, it adapts, it morphs, much like the gift of the human spirit. Only wrong teaching can convince us otherwise. Experience bears this out, as does our intuition.

Continue reading

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The Boline

 

The Boline is a tool used in ritual in several Pagan Paths. Like the athame, it is a knife, which is intended for magickal use only. It is a white-handled knife, and its blade often curved in shape, like the crescent moon, which marks its difference visually from the Athame, with its black blade and straight, double edged blade. It is sometimes known as the burin, but this is a much less commonly used name for this tool

While both the athame and the boline are used in magickal and ritual work, they are used differently. The athame is never used to cut anything physical and is only used for “cutting” and directing energy. The boline, however, is used for cutting herbs, both in harvesting and preparation, tree cuttings, and even in the cutting of cords. They may also be used in inscribing sigils and symbols on candles,, wands , other wooden tools, and other items and surfaces used in ritual. The boline may also be a straight, sharpt blade. This version of the tool is best for carving, and whittling wands and other items that can be crafted from wood or other various materials that a person might use to create their own magickal items. It is one of few tools usually used outside of a ritualistic circle.
The boline, for those that lean more towards ceremonial magick, and who seldom implement the use of herbs, may view the boline as a more unnecessary tool than the athame, wand or even the staff. A green witch however, whose practice leans heavily on the use of herbs and/or kitchen work, may find that the boline is one of their most important tools. It all depends on the path of the individual whether it is important to the practice or whether they deem it unneeded so it is impossible to state the absolute importance of this tool. This can be said for any tool used in magickal or ritualistic practices. The boline, although not as widely used, is just as important and as sacred as any other tool. In the same breath, it is not required to have one to be able to call yourself a witch, or wiccan, despite its practical usages, though there are many who will disagree.
It is widely considered to be very poor etiquette to touch another witches boline as they, like many other tools are very personal to the owner. Many people will cleanse and reconsecrate their boline if another touches it. Sometimes, they may allow close friends or their coven to touch it but many do not even those to touch their tools, but for the most part, not many will want anyone to touch their tools.
There is much recommendation that both the athame and the boline are cleansed and consecrated before magickal use. Purifying the boline can be done by leaving it in sunlight for an hour a day for a full moon cycle, smudging it, cleansing it with water, crystals or the use of salt. Whichever works best for you personally. Some practitioners may choose to dedicate their boline to a specific deity, or purpose, for example herbal work only, or they may have a boline especially for carving sigils. Many people will simply use their boline for all suited purposes, which is an equally valid choice.
In essence, the boline serves the physical cutting needs of the practitioner, while the athame serves the spiritual and astral needs, and is used in symbolic cutting only.

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