Feasts and Sacred Gatherings

The Place Between the Worlds

THE PLACE BETWEEN THE WORLDS
PART ONE
©By Anna Franklin
Visit Anna Franklin’s Site
Used w/Permission

“I conjure thee, O circle of power, that thou mayest be a meeting place of love and joy and truth….”
So begins the invocation off the magic circle. It is well known that magicians and witches work within ‘magic circles’, but very few people realise why – including many who use circles on a regular basis.

When the magician casts a circle, he or she creates a space apart from ordinary life: an interface between the mundane plane of waking consciousness and the realm of the gods and spirits, which we might call the Otherworld. When he or she enters the circle he leaves the ordinary world behind and enters a domain apart: a realm of sacred space and time. Indeed, time often flows differently in the circle, and when the magician leaves it after what may seem a few minutes, many hours may have passed in reality. This recalls stories of sojourns in fairyland – another word for the Otherworld.

When the magic circle is properly built, cast and invoked, it becomes the universe in microcosm i.e. it creates in miniature the entire cosmos. The complete circle represents its oneness, while the divisions of the circle stand for the passing of time and the seasons, the space in which the universe exists, and the substances and energies of which it is made. Every item used within the circle has a symbolic and magical resonance that reinforces these ideas and connections.

Whatever the magician performs within this magical microcosm will be reflected in the macrocosm, or in other words, each ritual act will be made manifest in the macrocosm, whether it is the re-enactment of a seasonal myth or an act of sympathetic magic. Since the circle is also the externalisation of the inner world of the magician and intimately connected with him, any act performed within the circle causes deep changes in the consciousness of the magician him or herself.

THE PERFECT CIRCLE
The circle is always a place of power, from the wheel of the chakra to the sacred ring of a stone circle. It is a universal symbol of wholeness and completion. When Christian missionaries reached the Native Americans, they asked the people how they saw God and, in answer, they drew the circle of the feathered sun, red feathers pointing both inwards and outwards, showing energy moving both in to the centre and outwards to the circumference, containing everything. In Buddhism the circle developed into the mandala, used for contemplation and visualisation. It represents everything and is a maze through which the meditator travels. The centre of the circle is the sky-door which is a means of reaching heaven or Nirvana.

The whole circle symbolises continuity, eternity, completion and spacelessness: the absence of time and space. As it symbolises what is complete and unbroken, it also symbolises the Deity.

But the circle can be divided: halved, quartered, or separated into degrees and so on. However, far from symbolising dissolution and imperfection, when these fractions are contained within the circle they represent the balance and harmony of such divisions. Think of the famous yin yang symbol, which represents the reconciliation of opposites within the whole. Within the circle, opposites [such as day and night, summer and winter] are united. Within the circle their division is not absolute, but each gives rise to the other, reconciled in the circle of unity.

The Celtic cross [a circle with an equal-armed cross within it] is a pre-Christian symbol representing the circle quartered through the compass points of north, east, south and west. It is an ancient symbol of the sun, which appears to us as a circular disc, passing through each house of the zodiac during the year, strengthening and weakening as it goes, spinning through time and each of the seasons in turn. Thus, the quartered circle represents movement, time, and the passing of the four seasons. It is equal-armed and characterises the balance and harmony of these within the unity of the circle.

THE CARDINAL POINTS
The four main compass points of the circle are called the cardinal points. When the magic circle is drawn, it is aligned to the cardinal points of the compass- north, south, east and west. This is not merely symbolic, and the east of the circle should be aligned with the real east and so on. The flow of earth power is north to south. The North Star stands still at the north of the circle and for the Celts it was Caer Arianrhod, the Castle of the Silver Wheel, the entrance to the Otherworld and the place of death and rebirth. The circle must be oriented with the energies of the cosmos.

When the circle is cast by the magician, each direction is invoked in turn and the circle is thus spatially orientated. This operation is often called the summoning or invocation of the Watchtowers.

Each position around the perimeter of the circle represents a position in the station of the sun throughout the year, a stage in the cycle of life:

North
The north is the point of the circle associated with the winter solstice [Yule], cold, darkness, midnight, starlight, old age and death. However, it is also the point of regeneration, rebirth and life through death, as it is at the winter solstice that the sun is reborn. It then gains strength and grows stronger up until the summer solstice. The north is associated with the element of earth.

East
The east is the point of the circle associated with the spring equinox. The east is associated with sunrise, dawn and gestation, the beginning of growth; a time of green youth. It is connected with the element of air. In a stone circle oriented to the vernal equinox, the sun will rise directly in the east, over the east stone at the equinox.

South
The south is the point of the circle associated with the summer solstice, with the zenith of the sun’s strength, midday, with things beginning to ripen, with maturity and the prime of life. It is connected with the element of fire.

West
The west is the point of the circle associated with the autumn equinox and the completion of the harvest, with twilight, sunset, completion and decline. It is associated with the element of water.

THE CROSS QUARTERS
Though there are possible correspondences for every degree of the circle, witches generally concern themselves with four more, the cross quarters:
North east marks the point of Imbolc
South east marks the point of Beltane
South West marks the point of Lughnasa
North West marks the point of Samhain

THE DIRECTIONS OF ABOVE AND BELOW
It should be obvious that there are more than two dimensions possible within the circle. The celestial realms of above, and the underworld realm of below stand above and below the circle, and their powers are called upon, drawn through the axis mundi of the circle as the first step of its casting. Thus the invoked circle is not a two dimensional object, but a sphere, extending below ground and above, in which the magician operates.

THE CENTRE OF THE CIRCLE
The central point represents the place where all powers meet, where all times and places are one. For the Celts it was the spiral or glass castle, a place of regeneration and rebirth. The axis through the centre links all the realms and times. The cardinal points are often called the quarters, which are further associated with the four elements. These are invoked when the circle is cast, so that the ring becomes a place of balanced energies.

The four roads [the four Royal Roads of Power] coming from the cardinal points meet at the centre of the circle. This point becomes the axis mundi, the centre of all things where all times and places are one, from which all things are accessible. It may be symbolised by the pillar, the shaman’s ladder, the world tree or cauldron of renewal. The centre is the place of initiation and rebirth. The spiral or maze dance within the circle moves to the centre, representing death, to the centre to the point of renewal, and outwards again in rebirth.
CASTING THE CIRCLE
[This is only one method of casting a circle, and there are many others, but the principle of establishing a boundary between the mundane world and a sacred space where ritual acts are carried out remains the same.]

Set up the altar in the northern quarter of the circle. A low table or chest can be employed as an altar. This should be placed in the north [you might need a compass to fine the cardinal points]. Cover it with a white cloth. Place three candles in holders on the altar. A dish of salt and a dish of water are placed near the front. You will also need a knife which you keep for ritual purposes, which some people call an athame. You can also decorate the altar with seasonal flowers. Place a dish of incense on it.

A candle is placed in each of the quarters, the colours chosen help to resonate with the vibration of that quarter- green for the north [earth], yellow for the west [air], red for the south [fire] and blue for the west [water]. If you can’t get these you can use white candles, but the more you can re-enforce the imagery the more it helps your visualisation. Some people also like to place something that represents the elements in the quarters- a dish of earth in the north, the incense in the east, a flame or candle in the south, a dish of water in the west.

Check that you have everything you need within the circle [remember the matches!] before you start, as once the circle is cast, you will not be able to leave to get it.

CASTING THE CIRCLE:
Light the incense. The first act that must be performed is to establish the boundaries of the circle. Take the knife and beginning in the north draw the circle round the room. Remember where the point of the knife draws will be the edge of the circle. Include in the circle all the things and people you wish to be within the circle.

I conjure the O circle of power that thou mayest be a meeting place of love and joy and truth a boundary between the world of me and the realms of the Otherworld, containing the power that we shall raise within thee, but a shield and protection against our enemies, both visible and invisible.

Take the knife and place the tip in the bowl of salt saying:
Be this salt dedicated to the Lord and Lady [or whatever deities you call upon] to keep us from evil and protect us in this time.

Take the knife again and place the tip in the bowl of water:
Be this water dedicated to the Lord and Lady [or whatever deities you call upon] to keep us from peril and to purify this place.
Tip the water into the salt and mix them together. Sprinkle clockwise [deosil] around the circle saying:

May we cast from us all evil and darkness, viciousness and malice. May we become that which we must be before the Lord and Lady [or whatever deities you call upon], seeking ill to no one. May we be clean within and without so that we are acceptable before them.

Finish by sprinkling each person in turn.

Next connect the circle to all three realms. Take the knife and stand in the centre of the circle. Point it above and say:
Powers of the worlds above, I do summon, stir and call you up to guard our circle and to witness our rites.
Bring the knife down in a straight line and point it downwards. Say:

Powers of the worlds below, I do summon, stir and call you up to guard our circle and to witness our rites.

The watchtowers are then invoked. Take the knife and begin in the north. The casting of the circle is always begun in the north as this is the place of power that flows from north to south, so the power gateway is opened. Many people do not begin the invocations until reaching the east, as this is the direction of vocalisation. Draw a pentacle in the east and say:
Oh mighty powers of the east, I do summon, stir and call you up to guard our circle and to witness our rites.
Repeat this in the south, west, and north.

Return to the altar and consecrate the altar candles with the words:
I consecrate these candles that they shall represent light and knowledge within this circle.
Light the candles and take one round to light all the quarter candles. If you wish you can carry the dish of incense around the circle.

The work of the ritual is now performed.

DISSOLVING THE CIRCLE
When all is finished the circle is dissolved. Take the knife and cut through the boundary of the circle near the east and say:
Mighty powers of the east, thank you for guarding our circle and for witnessing our rites. I bless you in the name of the Lord and the Lady [ or whatever deities you call upon].
Repeat in all the other directions. Cut through the centre and thank the powers of above and below.
Put out the candles and dismantle the temple.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/quakerpagan/2015/10/samhain-is-my-fertility-festival.html

By Cat Chapin-Bishop

There is just something about the light this time of year.

New England Fall Leaves. Editor in Law, 2010.

Of course, it helps that I live in New England, where the slanted light of autumn pours over leaves that are themselves turned gold.  There are mornings and afternoons  on my commute when it’s all I can do to watch the road.  In hurried glances, I gulp down visions: pale fields of bleaching corn,  mist that blankets meadows, and the way the sun burnishes all the leaves and the limbs of trees that hurry past my car.

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Feast of Mongfind i.e. Samhain (so wín)

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Many Blessed and Greetings to All this Féile Moingfhinne i.e. Feast of Mongfind, Samhain, and Feast of the Dead. This is the time in which we honour those who came before us, our Ancestors those who came from the roots and earth of the Old Religion and always remembering where they truly came from, what the spirit of family, land, and the heart truly came from, from the land of the dead from the realms hidden inside the veils of the unseen and Greater Mysteries.  Mongfind means one of fair hair or white hair, she is also of the bean sidhe and she was the Queen of Ireland Foras Feasa ar Éirinn FFE 344-351 she was the head wife of Eochaid; he took a second wife, Cairenn, who gave birth to Niall of the Nine Hostages.  Several stories depict Mongfind as an adversary of her stepson. to learn more of her visit Mongfind.

What we know today as Halloween celebrated on the 31st of October is not the original date or name of the day, the original date for what we know and call Old Samhain (originally the Feast of Mongfind) was the 15 of November when inside the constellation Scorpio is at 15° over the Northern Hemisphere.  The 31st of October was the date in which the church gave to our day in a way to stop us from our celebrating and doing our rites, this gave us only two times a year to celebrate as is the case with most if not all of our sacred rite days.  Now, this is the time when the oldest magic of conjuring, divinations, communicating with the dead and doing sorcery to honour the dead.  We now as those who follow the Old Religion at least I myself personally do, do much of the magic for healing and renewal and ask those things of Hecate to manifest in the next year (this being on her day of feast the 30th of November) and if done on her day she will grant your wish for it to manifest one year from the date of your request.  There is many forms of magic done in this time, but do so with a pure heart and be justified in the works that you do, do for only then shall they manifest as you have cast them out to the Universe.

We are of many heritages, cultures, religions, traditions and paths in our lives, ancestors and our personal spiritual journeys, we must all remember that we do not have to agree with each other and how as individuals we practice and believe, but one should respect one another for having the free spirit and mind as an individual to practice those beliefs in which are deep in the heart of each of us and not worry so much about others and how they practice. If we all step up and honour the ways of Old, or honour the Gods and Goddesses, God, Allah, Budda, Orishas or whatever you choose to follow let us remember acceptance towards all humanity and respect one another for individual beliefs.

This Samhain season as with all I am reminded of many things, death, life, change, growth, loss, gain and most importantly the powers of the nature in which not one of us have any control over. Sandy was an evil disaster one in which I know was from the wrath of the Gods and the Mother of the Oceans to remind us who truly has the say over all life. We are mere ants in this world and as descendants to those ancestors who were from the lines of the Old Religion and of the path of Warriors, justice keepers, healers, prophets, readers of the stars, visions of the hidden realms and more we must remember we are here to work together not to harm those who seek our counsel and guidance.

My Ancestors are of the Milesian and of the line of Erimon, cousins to the Tuaha de Dannan, they fought and defeated the magic of the Tuaha to then become the last of the invaders of Ireland, but not before travelling over vast lands masses, and learning the arts of the ancient craft, Mongfind was the head wife of Eochaid the High King of Ireland. Eochaid had two wife’s, Mongfind and Cairenn she was of the family of Sachell Balb, King of the Saxons. Caireen was pregnant with my ancestor Niall of Niall of the Nine Hostages captures of St. Patrick and his sister. Mongfind so jealous of Caireen sought out to prove how much she loved her husband and on what we now call Samhain drank poison to prove her love to her husband and died, hence the beginning of what we today celebrate as Samhain. Originally Feast of Mongfind and originally dated it to have begun at the time of her death circe 351.  Mongfind means fair main. As the Queen of Ireland the people honoured her death and from this is where we today get Samhain the feast of the dead. Mongfind was later turned into a deity and is the known as the Sorcerer of Magic, while Caireen is known as the Goddess who protects children.

This time of year has a much deeper rooted meaning for myself as it is the one time of the year I have always felt most drawn too, the darkest time of the year (but only because it is when the sun sits lower on the earth) when those things that are hidden are revealed and seen. I find that when we understand the meaning of our festivals we better connect to the energy of the season. The Church calls this the season of the devil; the devil never was mentioned in any ancient works that of the Old Ways in any culture, it was only after the Church forced those who lived in the county side to convert was he created by the Church itself. There in honouring the dead is to remember where we came from, our roots and the deepest core of our true heritage. Yes, it is true not all can follow this path and work magic or walk with the dead, it is a path for those whose path it is destiny to wake our fate.

True witches/Witches, Crafters of the Wise, Priests, Priestesses, Shamans, and all such titles of the old have never needed to cover their faces or decisive themselves from being seen by the dead that at this time of the year when the veil is at it thinnest walk among the living to return home and visit their loved ones, miss out on something powerful.

Samhain is a time we honour the dead and all who have given and had their lives taken for us to have the liberties we have today. During this time of the dead as well as the forever living for this is the true meaning of death, in death we live in life we are dead, take time and really give your heart some focus on what this time means to you.  For those whom you have and do love who are no longer amoung the physical realms set them a plate at the table and dine with them in silent, prepare a dish of favourite for them and invite them home.  Place their photo for all to see and talk about them and light your spirit candles for them all.  Welcome them home for in this time they do walk amongst the living Honour your Ancestors and remember them always, for they are never truly dead they are always living just not always there in the physical.

To my family and friends and those who are of my Craft family I shall miss gathering with you all in this year, but I shall see you all soon and we shall celebrate next year in honouring our ancestors.

May all be blessed in the Feast of Mongfind i.e. Samhain (so wín) Blessings, Prosperity and Health to all in the coming year.

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Blessed Spring Equinox

Wishing everyone a most Blessed Spring Equinox, the rites we gather and celebrate are truly in our hearts and there is not always a need to be in a public or large circle, we manifest and cast our own circles when we do magic to bring health, healing, prosperity and joy to others lives.

This Spring Equinox may you all be in my circle of magic and may you all be blessed with all fantastic joys and new endeavours.

My love is my circle and that is the strongest magic of all. Look into the mirror and see where your truth lies from within, do you do magic for the greater good or do you do it to build up your ego the latter is the wrong way to go for when we give openly without thinking of ourselves we are blessed beyond all we can imagine.

Blessed Spring Equinox to you all and Happy New Year.

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Cross Posting from Vox Arcana-St. John’s Eve Headwashing Ceremony In Honor of Marie Laveau

St. John’s Eve Headwashing Ceremony In Honor of Marie Laveau “Mother of Vodou, Queen of Conjure, Mistress of Many Names: Teach us how it is right to call upon you. Meet us in the moonlight, where the waters kiss the shore; let our drum beats be the heart beat

Of your presence that endures.”
June 23rd, the Eve of St. John, has historically been an important day in the Vodou religion and in the beliefs of related conjure practices.  Indeed, if there is such a thing as a “holy day” in traditional voodoo, St. John’s Eve is that day.
Madame Marie Laveau (1794-1881) was recognized as the Mother of Vodou in New Orleans in her lifetime.  Even as a young woman she enjoyed the distinction of her reputation as a “rootworker” and “conjure woman.”  Although initially that reputation was mainly among the free people of color and slave populations of New Orleans, she entered mature womanhood recognized by all as the de facto Queen of Voodoo in New Orleans – a title that has never been successfully challenged in all the years since her death.
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Easter – the Fertility Festival of Spring | We Are Vibratory Beings

Easter – the Fertility Festival of Spring | We Are Vibratory Beings.  This is a great article for everyone to read, please do enjoy it and have a most blessed season of new life and fertility.

While I personally do not celebrate Easter on the day as the Christians, I do celebrate the Spring Equinox, Ostara (Celtic), and the Persian New Year I do honour the ways of the this season we are currently in. As Persephone, Proserpina also Kore is celebrated as she returns to the land of the Living by the hands of Mercury delivering her from the hands of Hades to her Mother and Goddess of Earth; Demeter she is the Saviour of the Old Religionists, she is the bringer of life and all things new and she brings us all healing upon her return to the land of the living.

On this day we celebrated in my home with a dish of an omelets of egg, ricotta chesse, green olives, and chicken with potatoes. This is a meal of healing, new life, eating of what comes from under the earth as well as of above the earth. The olives are sacred to Old Religionists as it is the main oil in all of our cooking and magical workings it is also the oil we use to anoint. The Olive Tree is the only tree that does not endure disease of any kind it self heals from the inside out and it is one of the oldest of trees in which we use not only the fruit it bears but the oil it brings. Eggs are of renewal and new life it is the womb of the Mother where all things are created, cheese is of the milk of the mother in which nourishes us all and the chicken the one that hatches the eggs we eat during this time.

While we too partake of meals of fish and all things of yellow and orange in colour as they are the colours of the Sun and healing and the Light that we are once again returning to being dominant over the lands.

Blessed Spring Equinox, Easter, Ishtar, Ostara. This season is of very ancient roots.

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My Blessings to All on this of Feast of Mongfind, Samhain and Feast of the Dead

Many Blessed and Greetings to All this Feast of Mongfind, Samhain, and Feast of the Dead.  This is the time in which we honour those who came before us, our Ancestors those who came from the roots and earth of the Old Religion and always remembering where they truly came from, what the spirit of family, land, and the heart truly came from, from the land of the dead from the realms hidden inside the veils of the unseen and Greater Mysteries.

We are of many heritages, cultures, religions, traditions and paths in our lives, ancestors and our personal spiritual journeys, we must all remember that we do not have to agree with each other and how as individuals we practice and believe, but one should respect one another for having the free spirit and mind as an individual to practice those beliefs in which are deep in the heart of each of us and not worry so much about others and how they practice.  If we all step up and honour the ways of Old, or honour the Gods and Goddesses, God, Allah, Budda, Orishas or whatever you choose to follow let us remember to be accepting.

This Samhain season I am reminded of many things, death, life, change, growth, loss, gain and most importantly the powers of the nature in which not one of us have any control over.  Sandy was an evil disaster one in which I know was from the wrath of the Gods and the Mother of the Oceans to remind us who truly has the say over all life.  We are mere ants in this world and as descendants to those ancestors who were from the lines of the Old Religion and of the path of Warriors, justice keepers, healers, prophets, readers of the stars, visions of the hidden realms and more we must remember we are here to work together not to harm those who seek our counsel and guidance.

My Ancestors are of the Milesian and of the line of Erimon, cousins to the Tuaha de Dannan, they fought and defeated the magic of the Tuaha to then become the last of the invaders of Ireland, but not before travelling over vast lands masses, and learning the arts of the ancient craft, Mongfind was the head wife of Eochaid the High King of Ireland.  Eochaid had two wifes, Mongfind and Cairenn she was of the family of Sachell Balb, King of the Saxons.  Caireen was pregnant with my ancestor Niall of Niall of the Nine Hostages captures of St. Patrick and his sister.  Mongfind so jealous of Caireen sought out to prove how much she loved her husband and on what we now call Samhain drank poison to prove her love to her husband and died, hence the beginning of what we today celebrate as Samhain.  Originally it was called Feast of Mongfind and it is dated to have begun at the time of her death circe 351.  Mongfind means fair main.  As the Queen of Ireland the people honoured her death and from this is where we today get Samhain the feast of the dead.  Mongfind was later turned into a deity and is the known as the Sorcerer of Magic, while Caireen is known as the Goddess who protects children.

This time of year has a much deeper rooted meaning for myself as it is the one time of the year I have always felt most drawn too, the darkest time of the year when those things that are hidden are revealed and seen.  I find that when we understand the meaning of our festivals we better connect to the energy of the season.  The Church calls this the season of the devil; the devil never was mentioned in any ancient works that of the Old Ways in any culture, it was only after the Church forced those who lived in the county side to convert was he created by the Church itself.  There in honouring the dead is to remember where we came from, our roots and the deepest core of our true heritage.  Yes, it is true not all can follow this path and work magic or walk with the dead, it is a path for those whose path it is destiny to wake our fate.

True witches/Witches, Crafters of the Wise, Priests, Priestesses, Shamans, and all such titles of the old have never needed to cover their faces or decisive themselves from being seen by the dead that at this time of the year when the veil is at it thinnest walk among the living to return home and visit their loved ones, miss out on something powerful.

Samhain is a time we honour the dead and all who have given and had their lives taken for us to have the liberties we have today.  Honour your Ancestors and remember them.

To my family and friends and those who are of my Craft family I shall miss gathering with you all in this year, but I shall see you all soon and we shall celebrate next year in honouring our ancestors.

May all be blessed in the Feast of the Dead and Blessings, Prosperity and Health to all in the coming year.

 

 

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Marriage and Customs of Roman Women

Marriage in Roman times began as a sacred institution. Divorce was unknown. Patricians married only patricians, and they were married in the stately form of marriage called confarreatio (the only legal form of marriage at the time). The patrician took his bride from her father’s family into his own, with the direct consent of the gods (revealed by the auspices), in the presence of representatives of his gens. In this form, the wife passed in manum viri (under her husband’s authority) and her husband would also become, in a way, her master. The ceremony involved the joining of hands of the bride and groom by the pronuba (a matron who had been married only once and was still living with there husband) in front of ten witnesses, representing the ten clans of the curia, an old patrician division of the people. The term confarriato came from the cake of far (spelt, an old variety of wheat), which was dedicated to Jupiter by the high priest and the priest of Jupiter.

Read More…

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