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Patti Wigington

Paganism / Wicca

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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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Beltane Countdown: Deities of the Season

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Get ready for Beltane
Horned gods appear as symbols
of Beltane fertility
Image Getty Images
If you live above the equator, you're preparing for Beltane, a time of great fertility -- for the earth itself, for animals, and of course for people as well. This season has been celebrated by cultures going back thousands of years, in a variety of ways, but nearly all shared the fertility aspect. Typically, this is a Sabbat to celebrate gods of the hunt or of the forest, and goddesses of passion and motherhood, as well as agricultural deities. Meet some of the gods and goddesses that can be honored as part of your tradition's Beltane rituals: Fertility Deities of Beltane

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

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Frankincense in Rite and Ritual

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Frankincense crystals.
Image Imagebank;
Licensed to About.com
Frankincense is one of the oldest documented magical resins - it's been traded in northern Africa and parts of the Arab world for nearly five thousand years. Eventually introduced to Europe by Crusaders, this fragrant resin is found in a number of religious rites and ceremonies around the world. Let's take a look at some ways you can use frankincense in your spiritual practice: The Magic of Frankincense

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How to Open Your Third Eye

Monday April 14, 2014

Image Taxi Japan/
Getty Images;
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The third eye is located within the sixth chakra, or brow chakra, and is located in the center of the forehead, above the eyebrows. Associated with the color indigo, the brow chakra is all about our intuitive gifts. Our ability to self-realize, to develop our psychic abilities and empathic skills, is connected to this chakra. The brow chakra is also related to our ability - and our willingness - to recognize, acknowledge, and then let go of emotional baggage. Let's talk about how to figure out if your third eye is blocked - and if it is, what you can do about it: Opening Your Third Eye

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Beltane Countdown: Prayers for Beltane

Monday April 14, 2014

Looking for prayers to celebrate Beltane? Here are a few you may wish to add in to your upcoming rites and rituals.

  • Am Beannachadh Bealltain (The Beltane Blessing) is a shorter, Pagan-friendly adaptation of one featured in the Carmina Gadelica.
  • Prayer to Cernunnos is offered to the Horned God, Cernunnos, who is considered the lord of the forest and fertility in many Wiccan traditions.
  • A Thanks to the Earth Mother honors the land itself, and the fertility of the earth at Beltane.
  • Honoring the May Queen is a way to pay tribute to the Queen of the May, a figure who often appears in Faerie lore and legend.
  • Blessing to Protect the Herd: In ancient societies, Beltane was a time to bless the herd, keeping it safe and healthy for the coming year. This blessing honors the animals, whether you have livestock or family pets.
  • Prayer for the Gods of the Forest pays tribute to Osiris, Cernunnos and the other fertility gods of spring.


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April 15: Wind Moon & Lunar Eclipse

Sunday April 13, 2014
Spring is well underway, and now that April's here, it's still soggy in a lot of places, but there's hope yet. As the saying goes, those April showers will bring us some blooms and blossoms in May. This month's full moon is the aptly named Wind Moon, although in some traditions it's also called the Seed Moon. It's a time to welcome new beginnings, and do magic related to conceiving new ideas and projects. What do you want to see taking root and growing in your life?

This month's correspondences include gemstones such as quartz and angelite, as well as a variety of herbs -- dogwood, fennel and dill. Bright colors are celebrated with this full moon, and it's a time to honor deities like Venus and Ishtar, Herne and Tawaret. The Wind Moon is closely tied to the element of air, and it's easy to see why!

Read up on how to celebrate this blustery, gusty moon phase here:

Also of note, this month's full moon is going to feature a total lunar eclipse, which should be visible in the wee hours of the morning in North and South America. In some magical traditions, a lunar eclipse is a pretty big deal. Interestingly, this eclipse is the first in a series of four, which has garnered notice lately thanks to a supposed prophecy promoted by evangelical pastor John Hagee. Read more about the phenomena of the Four Blood Moons.

Don't forget, though - if you're interested in watching the lunar eclipse, even though on the calendar, the full moon is technically on the 15th, it's actually happening the night of the 14th. If you want to see the eclipse, you'll need to start watching on Monday night.

From a magical perspective, a lunar eclipse is a time when the moon, the sun, and the earth are all in perfect alignment. Our planet sits between these two great bodies, and we feel the pull of the moon on one side, with the warmth of the sun on the other. In some traditions, this phenomenon is considered to be representative of the Goddess in all three forms - the maiden, the mother, and the crone. Regardless, it's a time when everything just falls into place, so any sort of magical workings are fair game during a lunar eclipse.

Think of it as a magical super-bonus round. Also, keep in mind that just because you can't see this eclipse from your part of the world doesn't mean it's not happening elsewhere. This means those of us who live in the Americas will get the best view, but Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia will still be able to take advantage of it.

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Beltane Countdown: Plan a Goddess Garden

Sunday April 13, 2014

Get ready for Beltane
Plant a goddess garden.
Image Getty Images
For our northern hemisphere readers, spring is on the way, and it's time to begin planning your plantings. Gardening is a magical act. It allows us to take the simplest form of life -- a seed -- and plant it so that weeks later it will bloom. Plants and magic have been associated for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, so when spring rolls around and you're planning your seasonal garden, why not set up a special area to dedicate to the goddess of your tradition? How to Plan a Goddess Garden

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

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Beltane Countdown: Altar Maypole

Saturday April 12, 2014

Make a Maypole for
your altar.
Image Patti Wigington 2008;
Licensed to About.com
Let's face it, it's kind of hard to walk into your local big box discounter and find a section where they sell items marked "Beltane Decorations." Fortunately, if you're able to find bits of spring stuff, you can usually put together some pretty great things to adorn your walls, altar, and home for the upcoming Sabbat. Stockpile things like flowers, ivy, ribbons, and so forth, and you can put together a bunch of great Beltane craft projects! Just to get you started, try making an Maypole Altar Centerpiece!

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

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Blood Moons vs. The Blood Moon

Friday April 11, 2014
During 2014 - 2015, there will be a series of four lunar eclipses, with the first being in just a few days, on April 15. This phenomena has been called, by some people, "four blood moons," and in a few religious belief systems, is seen as a harbinger of prophecy. However, October's full moon also happens to be called the Blood Moon in some belief systems, so I've been getting numerous emails trying to parse out the confusing fact that the term is used in both ways.

So here's the deal. The series of four eclipses was dubbed "the four blood moons" by evangelical minister John Hagee, who wrote a book called Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change. Hagee warns that a "world-shaking event" will happen between April 2014 and October 2015, although he doesn't specify what it is, but you guys, it's BIG!

Why the term "blood moon"? Well, sometimes when things line up just right during an eclipse, the moon appears reddish in color - problem is, no one can really predict this in advance. Of course, Hagee insists that it's all part of Biblical prophecy, and quotes the New Testament to prove his theory: "And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."

He also explains that since the upcoming four lunar eclipses - called a tetrad - all fall on dates with religious significance, that can't possibly be just coincidence.

So - the October full moon, which is traditionally called either the Hunter's Moon or the Blood Moon, doesn't really have much to do with Hagee's prophecy - although this year's October full moon also happens to be the date of one of the eclipses in the tetrad.

Interestingly enough, the whole tetrad phenomena really isn't that rare. It happened about ten years ago in 2003 - 2004, and will happen again seven times before the end of the century. It's a normal part of the solar system's activity, so it's probably not worth getting overly worked up about, since it's just how science works.

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