Snowy Forest Village, Oscoda, Michigan
photo from coy
I hate the colors and the lights and the noise and the claustrophobia of this season when the two colors should really just be the white of snow and light and the black of early-night darkness, the light just from candles, and the noise the silence of turning inwards in meditation as the world becomes so wrapped in darkness that it can only get lighter and warmer from here—but this is beautiful.
manquer-deactivated20110911 asked: I'm just beginning to discover Wicca; have you any advice?
Don’t limit yourself to just Wicca. Explore the whole Pagan world, modern and ancient! I don’t know your reasons for choosing Wicca specifically, but I know that as much as I tried to make them work for me, Wicca’s parameters didn’t—my own “moral compass,” among other things, suits me much better. When you feel stuck in your practice, that you can only go “bigger” (as I feel right now), go smaller, go simpler, go as deeply into the roots that bind your practice to the Earth as you can. Realize Deity in the cold winter wind on your cheeks and the taste of your evening tea, and hold onto that wonderful feeling, blowing a kiss to the Moon in your thankfulness.
And do your research! Don’t feel ashamed to learn what worked for people two thousand years ago and add it to the collage of your spirituality. You yourself are a fluid thing constantly being changed by everything from the photos you see on Tumblr to the street signs you pass without really noticing; how are spirituality and belief any different? Christianity, Tibetan Buddhism, and Wicca itself are perfect examples that there is no difference, belief is a living thing absorbing what “works,” what “fits” and feels right.
44 days of witchery: day five - amalthea
five | A favorite Goddess.
Amalthea, whose name means “tender goddess,” was among the foster-mothers of Zeus after Rhea deceived Cronus, who ate all his children so as not to be supplanted, into swallowing a rock, hiding the baby Zeus away until he was grown and could replace his father, the sickle-bearing Lord of Time. Sometimes she is depicted as a goat suckling the infant God, others as a goat-tending nymph whose goat provided milk for Zeus. The boy was raised in a cave in Mount Aigaion (“Goat Mountain”), and so as Cronus did not hear the wailing of his hidden son, Amalthea gathered about the cave the Kuretes, the nine crested dancers who venerated Rhea through their drumming and dancing, to dance, shout, and clash their spears against their shields.
Amalthea’s presence is signaled by the cornucopia overflowing with fruits and grain. The goat Amalthea’s horn, presented to Zeus, was the original drinking horn and symbol of fruitfulness, associated later with various Goddesses—the horn of plenty. The goat’s skin, removed by Zeus, became the protective “aegis,” as well as a metaphor of the transfer of power to an Olympian God by a Goddess who preceded him.
The Goat was placed among the stars as the constellation Capricorn, my Sun Sign. I have felt an affinity for Amalthea since I first began to look deeply into the feminine aspects of the Greek pantheon and learned about her through Rhea. For many years I lived with “Dissociative Identity Disorder,” previously known under the lovely name of “Multiple Personality Disorder,” though I was perfectly functional and perfectly content as I was and not a schizophrenic collection of broken pieces, as Multiples are portrayed. (See The Layman’s Guide to Multiplicity, Astraea’s Web, and Collective Phenomenon for more information, and to understand why I did not choose traditional, unhealthy “treatments.”) Though it was brought on by trauma and caused what equates to continuous amnesia which made life difficult, I accepted everything with a Consciousness that lived in my body and together we were a cooperative, loving body of Consciousnesses. Because of Amalthea’s tenderness, selflessness, and mothering, nurturing affection, it seemed an adequate name and “fit” perfectly. Though after taking a deep look at the trauma I suffered and a deeper look at my Self I am now a single Consciousness, I still remember that love I felt for every part of my Being and still thank Amalthea for helping this Being to understand it.
Panther Totem — (this is one of my faithful totems)
The panther animal totem is a very powerful and protective presence. If you have this creature as your totem, you are blessed to have such a fierce and aggressive guardian with you.
The panther is a symbol of courage, valor and power. The panther has also sometimes associated with the sun, and solar vibrancy in some cultures (South American, & Central American).
Individuals with panther totems are usually people who come into this world with a spiritual knowing - a deeper understanding of spiritual things. These people often are very intuitive, psychic, and many are artistically inclined.
Of all the panthers, the black panther has the greatest mysticism associated with it. It is a symbol of The Mother, the dark moon and the power of the night. The black panther encourages us to understand the shadow powers available to us all, to acknowledge these powers and to eliminate our fears of the darkness.
When the black panther totem appears in your life, it is also a symbol of releasing your passions, and starting a new phase of your life. A phase in which you are discovering your desires, and living your dreams.
The panther animal totem asks us these questions:
- What is my Shadow Self trying to tell me?
- Are my passions helping or hindering me at this time?
- Am I still on the right spiritual path for myself?
- Am I suppressing latent desires?
- Am I putting others’ needs before my own to the point of self-neglect?
- Am I being mindful of my movements - both physical and emotional?
- Am I being defensive? Who or what am I protecting and why?
When the panther animal totem comes to us (whether it be in the form of images or real sightings) we must begin paying attention to the strength of our inner being - our internal fortitude, and the condition of our spiritual strength & valor. Panthers also beckon us to consider our darker side - analyze this side of ourselves and determine its motivation
Totem closest to my heart. When I was three years old two black cats, brother and sister, came into my life (Velvet, whose fur is unequivocally soft and who’s still with me, and her brother Shere Khan named after the antagonist of <i>The Jungle Book</i>; I was born a villain sympathizer!) and I was thoroughly convinced that their true selves were black panthers and that Velvet, the sister, was my soul twin separated before birth. Still have not been convinced otherwise. I never look much into my totem animals (I’m not even a big fan of that word) because I would rather come to understand them and their role in my life for myself, but this was interesting, particularly equating the panther with desires, passions, and the Sun (as some South and Central American cultures apparently do).
"According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their living in search of their other halves."
the tuatha dé danann
by Withypol at pathlesswoods
The Tuatha Dé Danann (“peoples of the goddess Danu”) were the fifth or “last-but-one” group to settle Ireland, replaced later by the Milesians or Celtic Irish. Intimately connected with fairy lore and the Otherworld, they lie somewhere between legendary human figures and gods. After they were defeated by the Milesians they withdrew into their strongholds, the Sídhe or Fairy Mounds, gateways to the Otherworld, the most famous being Brú na Bóinne (Palace of the Boyne, at Newgrange) in Northern Ireland, and the Dé Danann are still seen at sacred sites throughout Ireland. The word Tuatha best translates to “family” or “clan.” As opposed to the Fomoire (possibly meaning under the sea, land near the sea, mare, or inferior or latent demons), the gods of chaos and wild nature who inhabited Ireland in ancient times, the Tuatha Dé Danann are the gods of civilization.
Partholón’s followers, the first people to arrive after the Deluge, found that the Fomoire were already there, having arrived two hundred years earlier. Nemed’s followers, the third group, also encountered the Fomoire, who Seathrún Céitinn (17th century Irish priest, poet, and historian) suggests may have been seafarers from Africa descended from Noah’s son Ham. The Firbolg were next to arrive, having left Greece to escape their enslavement, and not encountering the Fomoire inherited rule of Ireland. The Tuatha Dé Danann arrived in Ireland on Beltane in flying ships but could not land as the Fomoire had set up a great energy field that they could not penetrate. They circled Ireland nine times before finding a breach in the energy field and settling down on Sliabh an Iarainn (the Iron Mountains) in County Leitrim.
The Tuatha Dé Danann, who embraced Druidry (druidecht), knowledge (fis), prophecy (fáitsine), and skill in magic (amainsecht), brought with them four treasures, four magical items. The Lia Fáil, the Stone of Destiny, which they placed on the mound of Tara, roared when the rightful High King of Ireland placed his feet upon it and also had the power to rejuvenate the king and also to endow him with a long reign; all kings here were crowned up to Muirchertach mac Ercae around AD 500, though after Cúchulainn split it with his sword when it failed to cry out under his protégé Lugaid Riab nDerg it never roared again, except under Conn of the Hundred Battles and Brian Boru. The Spear (sleg) of Lugh, named Areadbhar, was alive and thirsted so for blood that only by steeping its head in a sleeping draught of pounded fresh poppy seeds could it be kept at rest; in battle fire flashed from it and it tore through the ranks of the enemy, and victory was assured to whomsoever wielded it. The Sword (claideb) of Núadu was inescapable once it was drawn from its sheath, and no one could resist it, and the Cauldron (coire) of the Dagda never left anyone unsatisfied. Each was associated with a northern city and poet: the Stone with Falias and Morfessa or Fessus, the Spear with Goirias or Gorias and Esras, the Sword with Findias and Uiscias or Uscias, and the Cauldron with Muirias or Murias and Semias.
Núada Lámhairgid, ruler of the Tuatha Dé Danann at the time, sued for half the island for his people, but the Firbolg king refused. They met at the Pass of Balgatan, and the ensuing battle—the Battle of Mag Tuired—lasted four days. Núada lost a hand in single combat with Sreng, champion of the Firbolg, but the Firbolg were defeated and their king Eochaidh slain by The Morrígan. The Tuatha Dé Danann were so touched by their nobility and spirit they gave them one quarter of the island as their own; the Firbolg chose Connacht, the western province of Ireland, and were rarely mentioned again in the myths.
As Núada was no longer “unblemished,” he cound not continue as king and was replaced by the half-Fomoire Bres, who ruled as a tyrant and favored his Fomorian kin. After seven years physician Diancecht replaced Núada’s arm with a working silver one with the help of his daughter Airmid and son Miach and he was reinstated as king; however, Diancecht’s son Miach was dissatisfied and recited the spell “ault fri halt dí féith fri féth” (“joint to joint of it and sinew to sinew”), which caused flesh to grow over the silver prosthesis over the course of nine days and nights. Bres’ complaint to his father Balor, King of the Fomoire, about being replaced by Núada led to Núada’s death by Balor’s poisonous eye in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh; but Balor was himself killed by Lugh, champion of the Tuatha, who then took over as king.
A third battle was fought against the Milesians, invaders from the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (present day Galicia and Northern Portugal), descendants of Mil Espáine and also the Irish Gaels. They encountered three goddesses of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Ériu, Banba, and Fodla, who asked that the island be named after them; Ériu is the origin of the modern name Éire, and Banba and Fodla are still sometimes used as poetic names for Ireland.
Their three husbands, Mac Gréine, Mac Cuill, and Mac Cecht respectively, who were kings of the Tuatha Dé Danann at that time, asked for a truce of three days, during which the Milesians would lie at anchor nine waves’ distance from the shore. The Milesians complied, but the Tuatha Dé Danann created a magical storm in an attempt to drive them away. The Milesian poet Amergin calmed the sea with his verse and his people came ashore to defeat the Tuatha Dé Danann at Tailtiu. When Amergin was called upon to divide the land between the Tuatha and his own people, he cleverly allotted the portion above ground to the Milesians and the portion underground to the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Dagda led his people underground into another dimension of space and time through the Sídhe or Fairy Mounds and are today remembered in folklore as the people of the Sídhe, or fairies.