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Patti Wigington

Patti's Paganism / Wicca Blog

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Beltane Countdown: Plan Your Menu!

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Make a Green Man cake for Beltane!
Green Man cake
Patti Wigington 2009
Beltane is almost here, and it's a great time to get together with family and friends. After all, the weather is finally decent, the sun is out, and we're all tired of being cooped indoors. Celebrate the spirit of the season with this easy Green Man cake - although the recipe calls for a boxed cake mix for simplicity, you can certainly make yours from scratch if you've got the time: Green Man Cake

Don't forget to sign up for the free
Seven Day Beltane Class!

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Beltane Countdown: The Green Man

Monday April 21, 2014

Get ready for Beltane
The Green Man represents
nature's fertility.
Image Patti Wigington 2008
For our ancient ancestors, many spirits and deities were associated with nature, wildlife, and plant growth. After all, if you had just spent the winter starving and freezing, when spring arrived it was certainly time to give thanks to whatever spirits watched over your tribe. The spring season, particularly around Beltane, is typically tied to a number of pre-Christian nature spirits. Many of these are similar in origin and characteristics, but tend to vary based on region and language. In English folklore, few characters stand out -- or are as recognizable -- as the Green Man, who is the spirit of the forest: Who is the Green Man?

Don't forget to sign up for the free Seven Day Beltane Class!

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Beltane Countdown: Magical Braiding & Weaving

Sunday April 20, 2014

Braiding can be a magical task
Braiding can be a magical task.
Image Getty Images
It's almost Beltane, so let's look at some Beltane magic that will get your creative juices flowing! In many traditions of Paganism, handcrafts are used as a magical process. Weaving and braiding in particular are meditative exercises, and so magical workings can be incorporated into the creative technique. If you think about it, fibers in one form or another have been around for thousands of years, so it makes sense that our ancestors could have utilized them in spell work and ritual as well. More about Magical Braiding and Weaving

Don't forget to sign up for the free Seven Day Beltane Class!

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Beltane Countdown: Legends and Lore

Saturday April 19, 2014

Get ready for Beltane!
Many Beltane customs relate
to fertility.
Image Getty Images
Beltane is a season rich with customs and traditions from around the world. Did you know that morning dew collected on Beltane is supposed to be wonderful for your complexion? Or that a special Beltane oatcake was thought to ensure an abundance of crops the following fall? Learn about these legends and more, with our Legends and Lore of Beltane.

Don't forget to sign up for the free Seven Day Beltane Class!

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Earth Day is April 22

Saturday April 19, 2014

Get back in touch with the
land around you.
Image Imagebank/Getty Images;
Licensed to About.com
Every year, when I post my annual "Hey, Earth Day is coming up!" blog entry, I inevitably get emails from people who tell me (1) Earth Day isn't a Pagan holiday so stop talking about it, (2) quit supporting the liberal ecoterrorist agenda, you damn hippie, and (3) Earth Day doesn't do anything to help the planet because people are still killing spotted owls so just shut up, Patti -- or some variation on these themes. And yes, some folks get really angry about it. So, this year, I will preface my post by saying simply: If you do not observe Earth Day, or if you have some sort of moral or ethical objection to it, or if you feel it's just plain useless, then you are more than welcome to just skip over this entry entirely. My feelings will not be hurt at all.

That having been duly noted, although Earth Day isn't an Official Pagan Holiday, many of us in the Pagan community choose to celebrate it as a way of marking our commitment to stewardship of our planet. After all, when I began walking a Pagan path, I realized fairly quickly that if you adhere to the concept of nature being sacred, it's pretty darn important not to treat our planet as your own personal garbage dump.

For many of us, Earth Day has become part of our cultural lexicon - it's been around for forty years now. Certainly, there are folks who pooh-pooh it, and that's okay -- but one of the important aspects of this yearly event is that because of the publicity that surrounds it, it's a good opportunity for otherwise indifferent people to start making some changes. Not only that, it's an opportunity to get kids involved in making earth-friendly choices.

Why does this matter? Well, if you're one of the folks whose spiritual path includes stewardship of the earth and its resources, or if your path's tenets include respecting and honoring nature, then you know that being eco-savvy isn't something you just do once a year in April. By teaching your children basic skills of environmental consciousness, they'll begin to practice earth-friendly living all year long. I put together a list of things you and your family can do to celebrate the earth and tie it in, in some way, to your Pagan beliefs: 10 Ways Pagans Can Celebrate Earth Day.

Looking for a small way to make a difference this year? Try one of the simple ideas in our article about Pagans and Earth Day.

The best place to get information is, of course, the official Earth Day homepage.

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Beltane Countdown: Decorate Your Altar

Friday April 18, 2014
For our northern hemisphere readers, it's Beltane, the Sabbat where many Pagans choose to celebrate the fertility of the earth. This Sabbat is about new life, fire, passion and rebirth, so there are all kinds of creative ways you can set up for the season. Depending on how much space you have, you can try some or even all of these ideas -- obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most: Setting Up Your Beltane Altar

Do you have your altar all prettied up for Beltane? If you'd like to share a photo of yours with the rest of us, you can send it using our new Submission Form: Beltane Altar Photos. There's no deadline, so if you want to wait and take your picture during ritual, that's totally fine. Remember, don't submit photos of altars that aren't yours, because I can't use them. Also, any file attachments sent via email instead of through the submission page will be deleted without being opened.

Need ideas for what to put on your altar? Check out older submissions: Beltane Altar Gallery 2008 - 2010.

Don't forget to sign up for the free Seven Day Beltane Class!

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Beltane Countdown: The Greek God Pan

Thursday April 17, 2014
In Greek legend and mythology, Pan is known as a rustic and wild god of the forest. He is associated with the animals that live in the woods, as well as with the sheep and goats in the fields. Because of his fertility aspects, Pan is often connected to the Beltane holiday season. Let's look at who Pan was, and why he is important: Who is the Greek God Pan?

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Beltane Countdown: Celebrating Flowers

Thursday April 17, 2014

Celebrate spring with flowers
Celebrate spring with flowers!
Image Getty Images
Depending on where you live, you may well be getting ready for planting season -- and few things symbolize spring as well as flowers! Did you know that during the Victorian era, people could send secret messages using the language of flowers? One might send her lover a crocus, saying Be cautious with my heart, or swear undying friendship with some arbor vitae. Learn more about these magical messages, and The Secret Language of Flowers.

Flowers have many wonderful properties -- they're pretty, they smell nice, and believe it or not, some of them are even edible. Blossoms like nasturtium, violets, and pansies can actually be candied and eaten! Try this for your next spring celebration: Candied Flower Petals

Don't forget to sign up for the free Seven Day Beltane Class!

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Beltane Countdown: The Scottish Oatcake

Wednesday April 16, 2014
The Beltane bannock is a traditional cake to be eaten during the celebration of May Day. Eating the bannock on Beltane morning is said to bring abundance your way in many rural areas of Scotland: The Beltane Bannock/Scottish Oatcake

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Beltane Countdown: The Hobby Horse

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Beltane is a time of lust and sex and fertility, and few symbols are as representative of this as the hobby horse. In England, the hobby horse tradition goes back to the island's early Pagan roots, as the hobby horse welcomes in the fertility season. If you're planning a Beltane celebration, why not incorporate hobby horses into your ritual? Put together a hobby horse costume - and this can be as simple as a mask, a mane, and a pair of ears - and let the horse chase a designated lady around the Maypole. Depending on who's attending your event, you could take it a step further, and add phallic symbols to the costume. Let your imagination run wild, and welcome in the fertility season of Beltane with a hobby horse of your own: The Magic of the Hobby Horse

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