Tag Archive | rituals

The Legend of the Sacred King

Father Sun and Mother Earth

A Celtic Tale of Sacrifice and the Blood Moon

In ancient history, many cultures hold tales concerning a Sacred King. Back then a King was a form of deity, or was placed on a throne by Divine hands. As such they were worshiped as much as they were revered and honored. The Sacred King we’re going to talk about comes from the early pagan days of the Celts.

In this tale, the Sacred King is associated with the Sun, and in some variations with the Sun God Lugh who is honored during the 1st Harvest Festival known as Lughnasadh, celebrated on August 1st in Northern Hemisphere.  Elements of this story are scattered through pagan festivals throughout the year, and have been passed on through the generations of practitioners primarily through oral tales. Even today, most Pagans celebrate these events in our modern festivals and rituals, but often as separate events instead of one long story arc. 

In his writings, Sir James George Frazer describes in a book called The Golden Bough (1890–1915); the sacred king represented the spirit of vegetation. He came into being in the spring, reigned during the summer, and ritually died at harvest time, only to be reborn at the winter solstice to wax and rule again. 

Elements of Frazer’s book, document Pagan tales celebrated throughout the cycle of the year in one story. There are elements of the Holy and Oak King, who share governance of the seasons as they wax and wane between summer and winter. There’s the association of the fertile spring equinox when the Great God and Maiden Goddess unite and reign through the summer. And the outcome of that union in the fall, which provides for an abundant harvest season. Continue reading

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Moon Magik

Mystic Moon Wallpaper by WPNature

Working With The Moon Phases

Every magikal practitioner should know which days to work with the Moon and which days to take off. Which Moon phases are best for what kind of casting and which are for rest. These guidelines are not cast in stone and certainly if you have a friend in dire need of healing, you don’t need to wait until the next Waxing Moon to conduct a ritual. But for some of the best results, here are a few guidelines, interesting tid-bits, and helpful hints to keep in mind.

Picture the movement of the moon in terms of a clock whose hands are moving backward. The moon rests on the clock’s hour hand, Earth sits at the clock’s center. While the sun shines far off in the direction of 12 o’clock. As the moon orbits counterclockwise around Earth, its position relative to the sun and Earth changes, giving us the varied phases of the moon. Each phase of the moon lasts approximately 5 days.

Not everyone observes all 5 days as Magikal Working days. Some cultures recognize 3 days, the day before the pinnacle of the phase, the day of pinnacle and the day after. In other words, the day before a Full Moon, the day of the Full Moon and the day after. While other culture only recognize the day of the event. I’m partial to the 3 day concept. It lines up with the idea that magik is practiced in whole, as a union between the physical world and spiritual world. A better way to think of this would be in the Divine Conscious state of Mind, Body and Spirit. Continue reading

Merry Samhain & Happy Halloween 2017

Image from: Megan Granata

Image from: Megan Granata

Merry Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic word that literally translates to  “Summer’s End”. It’s pronounced as sow-en, sow-ween, and yes, for some the Americanized Sam-hain really is acceptable. The holiday reminds us that things change and that includes the words we use, how we use them and even how we say them.

For the Celts, it marks the new year and the renewal of the Wheel of Life. We remember that the only constant in the Divine Universe is that things change. How they change depends on you.

At this time of the year, it’s also a time for many to report on the History of Halloween. Most reports focus on the early Christian influences for All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day. Some really do try to explain the evolution of the early Pagan practices that evolved over time to modern secular celebrations of the scary American observances for kids and adults young at heart.

Today I read an article from one of my favorite magazines, The Old Farmer’s Almanac about the “Origins of Halloween Traditions“.  It’s a nice overview article and does have some good information. But like many similar articles, it skims over the Pagan influences. I get that. A lot of people really don’t want to link the modern holiday and American celebrations with Pagans. That might anger some Pagans out there. But I approach the issue in a “pick your battles” sort of way. Continue reading

Merry Samhain & Happy Halloween

Image from: Megan Granata

Image from: Megan Granata

Merry Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic word that literally translates to  “Summer’s End”. It’s pronounced as sow-en, sow-ween, and yes, for some the Americanized Sam-hain really is acceptable. The holiday reminds us that things change and that includes the words we use, how we use them and even how we say them.

For the Celts, it marks the new year and the renewal of the Wheel of Life. We remember that all things move and change through observances of the changing seasons in the explosion of color (in fall or spring). The only constant in the Divine Universe is that things change. How they change depends on you. For what you think, say and do create the world around you.

Samhain is seen as the night when the dead come through the veil of the Otherworld and visit their living relatives and friends to join in ritual celebrations. This makes Samhain one of the most perfect times to communicate with spirits and honor the loved ones lost during this past year. Continue reading

Tying The Knot With The Wedding Knot

Rose Gold and Emerald Claddagh Ring

Rose Gold and Emerald Claddagh Ring

A Sunday Homily

Marriages around the world have a great many traditions. One of my favorites involves The Irish Claddagh Ring, which is one of the most widely known traditions around the world. The ring incorporates a set of hands representing friendship, holding a heart which represents love, and a crown on top of the heart to represent loyalty. It originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old city walls of Galway, now part of Galway City.

According to Irish author Colin Murphy, the way in which a Claddagh ring was worn describes the wearer’s relationship status:

  • On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips, the wearer is single and may be looking for love.
  • On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is in a relationship.
  • On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips, the wearer is engaged.
  • On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is married.

The first records of production put the creation of Claddagh in the 17th Century. But the ring was not named the “Claddagh ring” until after the 1840s. There are several written accounts of the origins of the ring, each associate its creation with a famous Irish jeweler. None of which are particularly romantic and only one that I’d call interesting, but still not romantic. Continue reading

Merry Samhain & Happy Halloween

Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.

Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo

Merry Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic word that literally translates to  “Summer’s End”. It’s pronounced as sow-en, sow-ween, and yes, for some the Americanized Sam-hain really is acceptable. The holiday reminds us that things change and that includes the words we use, how we use them and even how we say them.

For the Celts, it marks the new year and the renewal of the Wheel of Life. We remember that all things move and change through observances of the changing seasons in the explosion of color (in fall or spring). The only constant in the Divine Universe is that things change. How they change depends on you. For what you think, say and do create the world around you.

Samhain is seen as the night when the dead come through the veil of the Otherworld and visit their living relatives and friends to join in ritual celebrations. This makes Samhain one of the most perfect times to communicate with spirits and honor the loved ones lost during this past year.

For some this holiday is a festival that is celebrated over a period of days. From 1 night, to 3 or even a full week of 7. Some even take 9 full days to recognize the Triple Goddess of Maiden, Mother and Crone to honor the transitions of the Wheel, Circle or Cycle of life. Continue reading

Mother Nature’s Waters

snowwolfCollecting & Using Water For Rituals

Practitioners of pagan paths have long been associated with and connected to nature and all its elements. Using natures energy to empower workings and promote their connection to spirit, can be found on every continent throughout history.

When the world relied heavily on the swing of Nature’s spirit, rain and snow were honored components of every day life. Crops needed the right amount of rain to flourish. Winter needed the right amount of snow to maintain water supply. That hasn’t changed over the ages. But as societies became more urban, the focus on Nature’s energy and our connection to it has faded.

Today people notice the extremes of weather and pay little attention to its every day impacts. Unless you’re a farmer, or have your own garden in your backyard, you may not give the rain a second thought. But if you’re pagan and look for the energy in Nature’s movements through our world, you know it can be both an omen and a blessing. Continue reading