Monday, April 30, 2012

Beltane, the Great Marriage

Beltane stems from an ancient Celtic fertility festival. Its name translates to mean "brilliant fires" as people would build great bonfires in honor of this celebration of new life. It is said that some people would jump over the fires, or pass their cattle through two fires for good luck. Traditionally, the festival would begin on the night of April 30, and last through the night of May 1st. It was also a time for marriages and handfastings, as it is a season of love.

Beltane is a time when the earth is in a process of rebirth, the Goddess is reaching her fullness, and this is the time for the Great Marriage. The Goddess, or the May Queen and the God, or the Oak King, would hold a sacred sexual union, of earth and the universe. This sacred union would create the new life that springs forth during Spring and Summer. This sacred encounter was known as Hieros Gamos in the Greek world. This ritual would involve a man and woman acting out the part of the Goddess and the God in a sexual union. Many cultures performed rituals like these around this time of year.  In the Sumerian culture, a High Priestess of Inanna, Goddess of love, fertility and war, would enact a form of the Sacred Marriage with the King of the city state. There is also Walpurgisnacht, this Germanic festival was named for Walpurga, who was a Christian saint. This celebration eventually blended with Norse festivals of Spring and became what is today known as Walpurgisnacht. It is celebrated in parts of Northern Europe and although it is named after a Christian saint, it is honored in the ancient Pagan ways. With great bonfires, dancing, singing, among many other festivities. It too is held on the night of April 30, and lasts through May 1st.

On Beltane, just like at Samhain, the veil between worlds is thin and communication with the Fae and spirits is said to be possible. Goddesses to honor for Beltane are Persephone, Artemis, Aphrodite, Flora and also the May Queen as well as Faeries. This time marks the beginning of new life, of rebirth and love. It is a season of flowers, sunny days and the promise that life always regenerates itself. Even after the death of the earth at autumn and winter, the earth will always rebirth itself anew, just like in our own lives. Life always starts over, in many different aspects.

Wishing you all many abundant Beltane blessings!

Photo courtesy of Emily Balivet

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dark Goddess, Dark Moon

For about three days in the moons cycle, she is hidden from our view in the night sky, this phase is known as the dark moon. It is a time of letting go, honoring dark Goddesses, and preparing for rebirth at the time of the new moon. A time of cleansing the self of negativities, letting go of things that hinder you, and recognizing the darker sides of our own lives. In the ancient world, the calendar revolved around the lunar cycle. The dark moon was the end of the month, and the new moon was the beginning of the new month.

The Greek calendar was one of this kind. The Goddess Hekate, was worshiped on the dark moon, this ritual was known as deipnon. They prayed to her for cleansing themselves of any darkness, they cleaned their homes and made food offerings to her at a crossroads which were known as Hekate Suppers. Offerings consisted of fish, garlic, cheesecake, eggs among many other things. She is a great Goddess to honor on the dark moon.

The Norse Goddess Hel is also a dark Goddess, called upon on the dark moon. She represents death as she is Queen of Underworld in Norse mythology. Her body was said to be half dead and half alive representing the balance in life. Of light and dark, those sides of ourselves, and our lives. Hel's role in the Underworld is to decide the fate of the souls entering her realm. She can grant rebirth, but can also damn you to the depths of Helheim, her Kingdom. She can help you to shed the old, and prepare for rebirth, if you are ready for it.

Kali, the Hindu Goddess of time and change, can also be called upon on the dark moon. She represents the death of the ego, and through that, spiritual enlightenment. She also symbolizes and helps to initiate change. Whether your going through a life change, or about to, she can help you to experience this with her guidance.

The dark moon embodies a chance to star over. To cleanse oneself, and be reborn in a sense at the new moon. Our lives flow in unison with the cycles of the moon. It can be bight and full, and then become dark and unseen. Just like the balance of light and dark in our own lives, and in nature. There cannot be light without the dark.

Wishing you all a blessed dark moon or deipnon if you honor Hekate!

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Persephone, Greek Queen of the Underworld

Persephone, Greek Goddess of the Underworld, represents death, rebirth, the harvest and Spring. Every Fall, when the earth is starting to decay, Persephone is guided to the Underworld by the Goddess Hekate. She holds the torch to lead Persephone to rule as Queen alongside her husband Hades. This represents Persephones descent into the darkest, depths of her soul, where death rules. This can embody the death of the self, or a part of the self. A releasing of the old, letting go of the ego, and allowing the old self to die.

When Spring begins, and all the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and the birds singing, Persephone returns to back to the land of the Gods to be with her mother, Demeter. She is essentially reborn, fresh and renewed. The sun will always shine once again, and cleanses the skin of the old self, for the new. Life is abundant and happiness abound in the sunny and fertile months of Spring and Summer. With the return of Persephone, so is the return of life. In this way she also symbolizes the balance of dark and light in life, there must be balance in order to keep the natural cycle of life going, and the same is true for our own individual lives.

The myth of Persephone begins with her abduction into the Underworld by the God Hades, Lord of the Underworld. It is said that once he got her there, he tricked her into eating some pomegranate seeds. Not realizing she was being deceived, Persephone ate the seeds, now binding her to the Underworld forever. This enraged her mother, the Goddess Demeter, Goddess of the harvest, and she proclaimed that all the plants and fruits from the harvest would die if she did not get her daughter back. The other Gods were not happy about this, so Demeter and Hades made an agreement, that since Persephone ate the Pomegranate seeds, part of her was bound the the Underworld, she would have to stay there half the year, and spend the other half with her mother.

So every fall when Persephone is lead back to the Underworld, Demeter mourns her loss, therefore leaving the earth to rot and decay. Though when Persephone returns, all the plants and animals come back to life as now Demeter is happy once more. The myth of Persephone and Demeter are very much entwined with each other. They are very connected, and were honored during the Eleusinian Mysteries, these were said to have been held in high esteem and with the utmost importance.

Just like in our own lives, sometimes we go through dark and life changing experiences. When we go through painful or difficult struggles, we grow and become stronger within ourselves. We shed the old life we once knew, and prepare for the one we will now be living. Though just like when Persephone descends into the Underworld, it can be a dark and scary place. Although after the darkness fades, the sun will always shine again. Life will always renew itself in nature, as it will in our own lives, metaphorically speaking.

Persephone may be the Queen of the Underworld and death, but she also symbolizes rebirth and renewal. Though she is considered to be a maiden Goddess, she is wise in her experience, as she knows the mysteries of life and death. Her story can inspire strength to get through tough struggles, and to be reborn a new and stronger person.

On your altar for Persephone, have representations of Spring, flowers, herbs of dittany of Crete, frankincense and willow. Colors of green, black, blue and yellow. A pomegranate and crystals of jet, azurite and turquoise.

Enjoy your path to renewal with this courageous Goddess of the Underworld!

Photo courtesy of Forest of the Fae

Friday, April 6, 2012

Winner of Flora print from The House of Eleggua!

Thanks to everyone who entered, I hope you all had fun playing. And the winner is.......Sara Shantii! Congratulations! Thank you to Carolina for donating her beautiful print. Check back for the next giveaway! Enjoy your new Flora print Sara!
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