Lughnasadh Ritual and Magick: Abundance, Rebirth and Coeur-age

I love this quote from Henry David Thoreau, which – for me  – perfectly captures my thoughts about Lughnasadh (aka Lammas) and other harvest festivals: that true abundance is intangible and that we are a speck in the immense cosmos around us, a piece of star dust in the human form.

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“The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little stardust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.” Henry David Thoreau

Each year at Lughnasadh, I follow a simple ritual and sometimes change it up a little, such as creating new Lughnasadh Soul Questions for that year. I always ask my Self some Soul Questions as part of the ritual… and often adding in a little magick!

Harvest time gives us the opportunity to look back at our life, either just the year itself or over our lifetime. I especially like to reflect on themes associated with the harvest, such as abundance and gratitude,  endings (and rebirth) or other significant personal themes.

This simple Lughnasadh ritual can be done in Circle with others, or as a solitary practitioner. You could even meet virtually, such as online in a group with others.

In Celtic traditions, the day begins at sunset so I will begin my celebrations tonight as Lughnasadh is traditionally celebrated on August 1st. But for those who like to celebrate on the precise Cross-Quarter Day, mark your calendars for August 6th at 5:13 PM Pacific Time (00:13 August 7th UTC).  Some call this day “Old Lammas”.  I will be celebrating on both days!

This lunar month began on July 23rd with the New Moon in Leo, and I choose the theme Coeur-ageous Transformation for this month… so will include courage in my ritual. Harvests represent completion and New Moons represent rebirth… such a great combination! Leo is a sign of courage and the heart (“coeur“-age), so be sure to tap into your Heart chakra on Lughnasadh.

Preparation 
In addition to your altar requirements, you will also need:

  • paper and pen for writing
  • some string or thread
  • a couple of leaves (these can be from a tree or plant in your garden or a nearby green patch)
  • a couple of corn husks. No corn? Use a leaf from a vegetable such as lettuce, kale or cabbage.
  • a handful of fresh herbs and/or wheat sheaves (wild grasses would also be a good substitute). Fresh or dried thyme would be perfect as it is the herb representing courage. 

Craft a simple altar for your ritual, preferably outdoors but indoors is fine, adding:

  • candles to represent the Celtic God Lugh (gold or yellow) and the Goddess Áine (white or green)
  • a chalice (or glass) for your beverage, also representing the Mother goddess energy and abundance
  • something to eat  and drink such as a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine but change it up for your preferences. For instance, instead of bread, you could eat fresh vegetables, a piece of cake, caramel corn, a quick bread using fruits or vegetables such as zucchini, banana or corn, or a gluten-free item. Bread, however, can be used in an optional bit of spellcrafting afterward.  Instead of wine, you could have apple cider, beer, mead, herbal tea or fruit juice… or just plain water.
  • Optional:
    • Add items to represent the harvest, your craft work or bits of iron (for the God Lugh)
      • I will be adding two handcrafted corn husk dolls to mine, one representing the Earth Mother and the other representing Lugh
    • Some folks like to use an altar cloth in harvest colours of reds, oranges and yellow/gold, or a simple white to represent Grandmother Moon (and the Earth Mother) and Father Sun (Lugh)
    • Crystals, talismans or amulets that are special and sacred to you.

A Lughnasadh Ritual

Before you start the ritual itself, take some time to reflect on your Lughnasadh Soul Work and your Lughnasadh Soul Questions.

Harvest time gives us the opportunity to look at important areas of our life, such as abundance and gratitude (which we celebrate at harvest) and other endings and rebirth (harvest signifies the time of reaping but also starting a new period of fallow and rest followed rebirth and regrowth).

Create your own Soul Questions for your meditation or use these.

ABUNDANCE: Contemplate on the abundance in your life, from both the light side (gratitude, abundance, harvest, completion, prosperity, readiness for the long winter ahead, contentment) and the shadow side (greed, scarcity, drought, lack of completion, lack of resources, lack of planning for the long winter ahead, envy).

  • Where are you blessed with abundance?
  • Where, when and how have you shared your abundance?
  • Where do you most keenly feel scarcity, want or need? Why?
  • What can you do to shift any imbalances between the light and the shadow of abundance?

Ponder what changes you might need to make in order to live a life of gratitude and abundance, or to continue to do so, in alignment with your inner Self and your values.

COURAGE:  How does Courage manifest in your life? How do you know when you are being courageous?

  • Do you take a stand for your beliefs and values, even when it is not easy or convenient to do so?
  • Do you maintain strong boundaries for your Self or allow others to cross them… for whatever reason (to be “nice” or “polite”)
  • Do you follow you path… even when there is no one else walking with you?
  • Do you stand in your Authentic Self and allow others to see your challenges…. that you are not perfect?

REBIRTH: Contemplate on what in your life is coming to a close, and what is awaiting the energies of rebirth.

  • What lessons did you learn along the way?
  • What resources helped you on your path?
  • What new opportunities excite you and ignite your inner flame?

Optional: Take this deeper than a meditation by journeying with your guide(s), asking for their insight in what you might need to change, for their insights into what you may not be able to see. Thank them for their support when complete.

Once your meditation or journey is complete, note your thoughts into your journal. On a separate piece of paper, write what you are inviting into your life in the next year in terms of abundance and/or rebirth. On another piece of paper, create a simple blessing for the three harvests in the Wheel of Life – Lughnasadh, Autumn Equinox, and Samhain – for continued abundance and rebirth.

Begin the Ritual
Start by cleansing the space around your altar and your Self with a smudge, your Lughnasadh incense or by waving an evergreen or other greenery through the space. Be sure to ethically harvest the greenery: ask and obtain permission first and leave an offering of thanks such as a pinch of cornmeal, a flower or some sage (whatever is local for you).

If you have a ritual for creating Sacred Space, such as Calling in the Directions, do that now. Light your altar candles and your incense, if you haven’t yet done so. Then call on your guides, allies, and ancestors for support in your ritual.

Center yourself by getting comfortable, sitting or laying on the ground, and breathing deeply and slowly until you feel any tensions of the day ebb away. Drop into your Heart chakra as you continue to breathe deeply and slowly, and feel that connection to your own Inner Fire.

You may eat or drink your altar food and drink offerings during your meditation, when building your bundle or celebrating afterwards.

Reflect a moment on the invitation and the blessing / affirmation you created in your meditation. Hold them close to your Heart Chakra and breathe in their energy before voicing them aloud.

Create a small bundle with your corn husks (on the outside),  herbs (don’t forget the thyme for courage!), leaves, wheat or grasses. Insert your invitation and blessing papers.

As you tie up the bundle with string or thread, voice your Lughnasadh abundance blessing or use the one pictured below:

Find a place to return your bundle to Mother Earth, preferably near your altar or home. That could be as simple as burying in your garden, a window box or a local wild green patch.

Optional: If you prefer working with the Fire element, you could burn the bundle.

As you bury or burn your bundle, give thanks to the Earth Mother, the God Lugh and Goddess Áine – or whomever you work with – for their abundance and support.

TIP: If you have to leave the altar area to bury your bundle,
be sure to extinguish your candles first.

Complete the ritual by thanking your guides, allies, and ancestors for their support and protection, and safely extinguishing your candles (if you haven’t already done so. Close your sacred space with gratitude.

Magical Workings for Lughnasadh:  a Lammas Bread Protection Spell

Many call this celebration Lammas, which is a contraction of “loaf-mass” and is more of a Christian tradition… but definitely built on pagan harvest festival traditions.

After attending mass with their loaf of bread, to celebrate the harvest, folks took their loaf back to their garden, field or farm and offered a blessing for protection and future harvest abundance by burying one-quarter of the loaf into each of the four quarters of their land or barn.

Why not try it?

A Lammas Loaf could be a simple loaf of bread you have baked or purchased, or one you create in the image of a God or Goddess. Call on your Gods, Goddesses and other allies as you break the baked bread into four pieces with your hands.

As you bury the pieces in the four corners of your land (or home… garden….field) voice your blessing, either one you create yourself or this simple and traditional blessing:

I call on the Spirits of East, South, West and North; the elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth; and the gods and goddess of the harvest.. Protect this place of home and hearth, of plants and animals, of those I love. So mote it be.

Blessed Be!


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth, following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), aligning with the energy of the Celtic Wheel of The Year, or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle. Limited to those who identify as women. For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE


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(Wild)Craft a loose incense for Lughnasadh

Some of the herbs I foraged for this year’s Lughnasadh incense 

For your Lughnasadh (aka Lammas) rituals, consider crafting your own loose incense for burning in your altar cauldron or in an outdoor bonfire.

Scott Cunningham suggested this classic recipe in his 1986 book The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews:

  • 2 parts* Frankincense resin (see note on PARTS below)
  • 1 part Heather
  • 1 part Apple blossoms (or dried Apple pieces)
  • 1 pinch Blackberry leaves
  • a few drops Ambergris oil

Yes, Cunningham is an inspiration to many of us but I personally would not use ambergris oil (prepared from raw ambergris harvested from the ocean, this substance is secreted from the digestive system of sperm whales) but I like the idea of the other ingredients, so I adapted his recipe by substituting Cypress Essential Oil (Cupressus sempervirens) for the ambergris oil.

You could use any essential oil you have in the evergreen family, and add a couple of drops of Patchouli Essential Oil (Pogostemon cablin).

You could also customize Cunningham’s formulation by adding or substituting other local wildcrafted seasonal herbs such as yarrow and goldenrod, plants such as Sweet Annie (artemisia annua) and herbs (or essential oils) such as cinnamon bark (cinnamomum zeylanicum), rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis), coriander (coriandrum sativum) or basil (ocimum basilicum).

But with Lughnasadh being about the harvest and gratitude, why not wildcraft an incense using local plants and herbs ingredients… preferably foraged?

I found another formulation I like (The Lammas Rebirth Incense from Thoughtco) using many ingredients which I can easily find — with one exception! — so am slightly adapting it, as I cannot find Sweet Annie anywhere, and I’m all out of dried Apple blossoms! I will be substituting dried apple pieces instead, along with some foraged Wild Fennel. You’ll need:

  • 1 part basil
  • 1/2 part cinnamon bark (or cinnamon powder)
  • 1 part coriander (fresh / dried herbs if possible, rather than ground coriander which comes from the seeds)
  • 2 parts goldenrod
  • 1 part heather
  • 1/2 part rosemary
  • 2 parts Sweet Annie (you can use dried apple blossoms if you don’t have Sweet Annie)
  • 1 part yarrow

When using picking the wild elements — goldenrod, heather, Sweet Annie, yarrow, etc — use your preferred combination of their flowers, leaves, and stalks. Allow them to wilt before chopping or throw in a dehydrator (or oven… watch carefully!) for a couple of hours on lowest heat.

Preparation for a Beltaine loose incense 

* A NOTE ABOUT PARTS
Measuring in parts allows you to scale a recipe up or down quite easily, simply by choosing your preferred measuring device such as measuring spoons, cups, grams, shot glasses or even egg cups!

For instance, in these formulations, you could use 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon to equal 1 part. If you really liked the finished incense, it, you could scale up so that 1 part = 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 30 grams, etc.

The Parts method provides consistency when scaling and measuring and is sometimes referred to as the “simpler’s method” and “common sense measurement”. Unlike baking, the measurements for incense do not need to be extremely precise. Your can let your intuition guide you.

And by finely chopping or grinding all ingredients, your outcome each time will be fairly consistent.

PREPARATION METHOD
Think about your Lughnasadh Soul Work while you prepare your herbs. Let your thoughts of gratitude infuse your herbs with their positive vibrations. Invite in your mentors, allies, guides, and Ancestors for their support and energy… and magick!

Remember, everything can be Ritual!

Crush all the dry ingredients first with a mortar and pestle (or chop very finely with a sharp knife) and then add any essential oils until blended to your liking. Check the blend intuitively, and add a bit more of whatever your heart says the blend needs.

Store in a sealed glass jar. Label with your ingredients — and the date — so you can make it again. Use a lit charcoal disk (I like bamboo, as it’s more Eco-friendly) to burn this incense at your altar or toss a handful into a bonfire.


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth, following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), aligning with the energy of the Celtic Wheel of The Year, or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle. Limited to those who identify as women. For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, alchemical healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com


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25 Ways to Celebrate Summer Solstice Celtic-style

Beltanefire

Solstice Bonfire

The Wheel of the Year is turning. It feels like Beltaine was just yesterday, and yet this week in the Northern Hemisphere we welcome the Summer Solstice, also known as MidSummer or Litha.

The Solstice — from the Latin for “standing sun” — arrives on Wednesday, June 21st at 4:24 UTC (Universal Time), which is Tuesday, June 20th at 9:24 PM here in Vancouver, Canada.

On this glorious day, we celebrate and honour Daghda (dag-dah), also known as Father Sun, and Áine (aw-nyuh), the Celtic Goddess of Summer, as they reach their waxing peak. In our modern world, this day also marks the first official day of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

But not so very long ago, our ancestors recognised this special day as MidSummer and not the start of Summer. Why? The Winter and Summer Solstices mark turning points in the year. At the Winter Solstice, we experience the shortest day and the longest night. From that point, the days begin to lengthen, heralding the coming Spring and Summer. Spring arrives at Imbolc and Summer arrives at Beltaine. Then, at Litha / Summer Solstice, we have the longest day and the shortest night. And from that point, the Sun starts to wane, the days get slightly shorter and we know that the first harvests of Autumn are coming. So Solstice is the half-way point between the start of Summer at Beltaine and the arrival of Autumn at Lughnasadh, i.e. MidSummer.

Solstice is a magickal time. Once again the veil is thinnest between the Otherworlds and our world, and the Sídhe (shee) — aka the Fae or Faeries— come out to play and frolic in our world. Torches were lit to greet them, and bonfires were built to celebrate the Sun and to mourn Áine’s passing . . . and to ask it to stay just a little longer before we turned once again to Winter. You may recall Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which the humans and the Fae had some remarkable adventures.

Last year, our Solstice coincided with the Full Moon — Father Sun and Grandmother Moon working powerfully together — but this year we find ourselves in the deeply Feminine waning moon, with a New Moon arriving on June 24th at 2:31 UTC (June 23rd, 7:31 PM here in Vancouver),  giving us powerful Solstice energy to fuel the beginning of our lunar journey.

The Summer Solstice honours and celebrates the Fire element, growth and self-empowerment and the Divine Masculine within us. That definitely feels like a Third Chakra connection to me!

EIGHT WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA
solar-plexus-chakra-2On the Solstice, pay attention to your Third Chakra (aka the Solar Plexus chakra or Manipura) and align with your Inner Sun source. This chakra is the seat of your personal power, your will, your perception of Self.

Strengthen that connection (and balance the chakra) by:

  1. Embracing yellow, the colour of the Sun — wear it, create with it, decorate with it, eat it. There are lots of nutritious yellow foods to choose from such as bananas, peppers, lemons, pineapple, squash, Yukon gold potatoes, beans, tomatoes and more
  2. Adding candles in the colours of Fire and Sun to your altar such as red, gold, yellow and orange
  3. Walking in the sunshine
  4. Decorating your home and altar with flowers. Sunflowers would be perfect, or any yellow or orange blossom in season
  5. Exercising and strengthening your core with yoga or Pilates
  6. Meditating with yellow or golden-hued crystals such as amber, topaz and citrine, and yellow varieties of jasper, tourmaline or quartz
  7. Charging up your sacred tools with the power of Father Sun, by placing them in the full sunlight all day (and only if it is safe for them to be in full light)
  8. Empowering yourself through affirmations such as:

“I respect myself”
“I stand up for myself and what I believe in.”
“I honour and celebrate the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine within me.”

FIVE HERBS OF SOLSTICE
One of the ancestral Midsummer traditions was the foraging and culling of medicinal and magickal plants. At the height of their waxing energy, they are at their most potent. And the New Moon coming later this week is a perfect time to start new tinctures and infusions, or to dry herbs for use throughout the next year.

IMG_0872There are several herbs associated with Solstice and these five are perhaps the most well-known (Source: Kindling the Celtic Spirit by Mara Freeman):

  1. St John’s Wort (in Middle English, “wort” meant “plant”). This herb is named for St John the Baptist, whose birth was six months before that of Jesus, who we honour at the Winter Solstice. This plant is associated with peace and prosperity but is also is recognised by herbalists for its anti-depressive qualities. Many ancient Solstice celebrations have morphed into those of St John the Baptist over time.
  2. Yarrow (“the herb of seven cures”) known to many for treating wounds and staunching the flow of blood. I also use it as a bug repellent, infused in witch hazel or vodka.
  3. Fern, a bridge between the human and faerie worlds
  4. Mugwort, considered by many to be a universal herb for protection and prophecy
  5. Vervain aka Verbena, also known as the “holy herb” or “enchanter’s plant” 
.

Mara Freeman lists other Herbs of Solstice including rose, foxglove (be very careful, as it can be toxic, and is the source of powerful heart medicine digitalis!), clover, meadowsweet, sage, wild hops, elderflowers, rue, wild mustard, elecampane, saffron, Rowan leaves, wild hops, and fennel.

If you choose to create some Earth Medicine with these herbs, be sure to do your research first to ensure they are safe for you. These can be very powerful medicines and some have several contra-indications based on existing conditions, other medications you are taking, age, etc.

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Preparing herbs and botanicals for loose incense and amulets

THREE WAYS TO USE HONOUR MAMA EARTH AT SOLSTICE
But one of the simplest ways to invoke a little Earth Medicine, and honour both the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine, with these herbs and flowers is to use them for decoration, for incense and/or in their essential oil form for diffusing.

From the Herbs of Solstice list— and whatever is local to where you live — choose three (a magical number in Celtic traditions) or nine (three times three, even more magickal!) of these herbs to make:

  1. a herbal bouquet of fresh or dried plants for placing in a doorway or on your altar
  2. a herbal amulet: fill a pouch with the dried herbs and tie with a red thread or ribbon
  3. a loose incense for burning on your altar or throwing into a Solstice Bonfire

THREE INCENSE AND ESSENTIAL OIL BLENDS
I love making loose incense and essential oil blends, and both can be incorporated into your celebrations. I often turn to Scott Cunningham for inspiration, especially his book “The Complete Book of Incenses, Oils & Brews”.

This incense favourite can be burned on a charcoal disc on your altar or tossed onto a Litha fire. You can also make your own incense blend using any of the Herbs of Solstice listed above.

Midsummer Incense
2 parts Sandalwood
1 part Mugwort
1 part Chamomile
1 part Gardenia Petals (you can substitute Rose or Hawthorn petals)
a few drops Rose Essential Oil (Rosa Damascena) 
a few drops Lavender EO (Lavandula angustifolia)
a few drops Yarrow EO Achillea millefolium)

There are many essential oil blends you can find on-line such as these two Litha oil blends. They can be used in your diffuser or as an anointing oil by adding to one ounce of your preferred carrier oil (grapeseed, jojoba, sweet almond, etc.)

LITHA OIL 1
4 drops Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
3 drops Rosemary EO (Rosmarinus officinalis)
1 drop Pine EO (Pinus sylvestris)

LITHA OIL 2
5 drops Orange EO (Citrus sinensis)
4 drops Lavender EO (Lavandula angustifolia)
3 drops Ylang-Ylang EO (Cananga odorata)

 

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Illustration by Warwick Goble

SIX WAYS TO CELEBRATE THE FAE
Solstice is strongly associated with the world of Faerie and with their healing powers, and knowledge of herbs, magick and spells. In ancient Celtic legend, it was believed that human faerie doctors could diagnose ailments caused by the Fae (often known as tricksters!) and would provide a suitable healing. These doctors often overlapped with the herbalist traditions of Wise Women and Wise Men who were knowledgeable in herbal remedies.

 

There are many ways to honour and celebrate the Fae, and these are some of my favourites:

  1. Create a Faerie Garden in a favourite pot, container or window box
  2. Place a hand-crafted Faerie Door on a tree
  3. Take a journey/meditation to the land of the Fae
  4. Craft a Faerie Spirit Doll
  5. Walk in Nature, listening for the Faerie voices
  6. Call on Áine (also known as a Faerie Queen) for support and wisdom on Solstice

How will YOU celebrate Summer Solstice?

Be sure to celebrate with the Fire Element – a bonfire or candle 🌞

 


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth, following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), aligning with the energy of the Celtic Wheel of The Year, or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle. Limited to those who identify as women. For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, alchemical healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com


WP Sidebar graphics, resized to 300 x 213 pxDo you want a better understanding of the Wheel of the Year and how its shifting energies can support your own transformation and growth, support you in aligning with the rhythms of Nature itself? Subscribers receive regular free ebooks and articles, such as Celebrating the Equinox, along with tips for their personal practices, advance notice on free events and webinars, and much much more! 

Beltaine… a ritual, a man, a dog, a miracle

On the Fraser River, an impromptu altar for my Beltaine offerings

Yesterday I went to a nearby river for my Beltaine celebration and ritual. It was a profound experience on many levels but even more so because of an extraordinary moment with a man and his dog.

The experience started before I left home, as I prepared my offerings for the ritual. Then, several times, I started to leave… but each time I heard a message “not yet”. I’ve learned to listen to my intuition, so each time I waited and did a few other things. Eventually, I heard “now”, so headed out to a favourite riverside location, knowing there was a reason for the timing.

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My offerings for the Beltaine ritual — herbs, flowers, berries and other botanicals — with my Goddesses

I wandered along the river’s edge until I found the perfect spot, nestled between the river and some dense foliage, with several large driftwood logs where I could sit and prepare an impromptu altar for my ritual and my offerings.

After I completed my ritual, I sat for a few moments breathing in the fresh air, listening to the birds and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face —a rarity recently! And still wondering why Spirit had asked me to delay my ritual, but also accepting that I might never know.

But then I felt a shift in the energy around me, accompanied by strong emotions of grief and pain and love… a poignant and puzzling combination. I looked down the beach and saw a man and his dog approaching me, slowly walking along the river’s edge, stopping every few moments as the dog rested, and ventured gently into the water.

As they came toward me, I saw that the dog had a huge swelling around the knee on one of her forelegs. I could feel her profound physical pain. It came in waves toward me. I wanted to reach out and hug them both.

The man asked if he could take a seat on the log, saying “I don’t think she can walk much further.” And I, of course, agreed. She rested between us on the sand, and I felt an immediate connection with her. I reached out and (checking energetically that it was “safe and appropriate to do so”) gently placed my hand on her head.

Man: She doesn’t do that anymore, sit with strangers. Or allow them to touch her. She used to.

Me: I’m glad she did today. She’s a beautiful dog. Do you mind if I ask… how is she handling the pain?

Man (surprised I asked the question): It’s gotten much worse. She has bone cancer…. This is our last walk together…. We’re going to the vet after this…. I can’t let her suffer anymore.

Me: And you’re giving her a very special last day.

Man: Yeah… steak for breakfast… steak for lunch… and now her favourite place to play and catch a ball. She loves to splash in the river.

While we were talking, I could feel the dog’s energy all the time… her pain… her profound love for her human companion… her grief that she was leaving him alone… and I could sense she wanted me to communicate her feelings to him. This was an extraordinary situation, as the man hadn’t sought my help in his dog’s transition.

Or had he? Something brought us together in this place at a time when both he and his companion needed gentle and loving support.

I checked in again and got the message that it was okay to share.

So I said, “If your dog could talk, I think I know what she’d want to say to you.” I shared the messages from his companion… her love for him, how much she loved their adventures together, especially their treks in the mountains, how much she loved all the special things he had done for her on this day… and how sad she was to say goodbye. But that it was time for her to go. Now.

I didn’t know what to expect… I didn’t know how he’d respond. But he looked at me, slightly puzzled, and said “I don’t know how you know all that… but thank you for telling me.”

He looked down at his sweet dog and picked her up, cradling her in his arms. “Time to go.”

As he stood up to leave, I did too and asked if it was okay to say goodbye to her. He nodded yes, so I placed my hand on her head again… and silently communicated my farewell, how loved she was, letting her know her transition would be peaceful and that soon she’d be running through the fields again on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

I looked at him and said “You’ll be okay. And she knows what you’re doing for her…. it’s okay. She’s ready. It’s the right thing to do.”

IMG_2571I stayed for a while on the beach as he walked away, carrying his dog, and felt the shift in their energies. The physical pain and the love were still there… but I felt the emotional pain had lessened. I could feel release… acceptance… peace.

I’m grateful that the Universe brought me to that place at that time. I’ve been a “death doula” for friends and their companion animals before, but this was different. This man had not sought me out… had not invited me to help him with his private pain… had not invited me to support his companion in her transition… but I was able to give some support to them both just when it was needed. And maybe he just needed someone to talk to that day, as he prepared himself and his companion for their final journey together.

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My goddesses on an impromptu altar on riverside driftwood.

To me, this was a miracle… and a profound spiritual experience. I pulled out my Goddesses again and placed them on the driftwood… and meditated with them for a while after this moment.

Thank you, Goddess.

 

 

 

 


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If you love working with Mother Earth, following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), aligning with the energy of the Celtic Wheel of The Year, or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle. Limited to those who identify as women. For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, alchemical healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com


WP Sidebar graphics, resized to 300 x 213 pxDo you want a better understanding of the Wheel of the Year and how its shifting energies can support your own transformation and growth, support you in aligning with the rhythms of Nature itself? Subscribers receive regular free ebooks and articles, such as Celebrating the Equinox, along with tips for their personal practices, advance notice on free events and webinars, and much much more! 

Beltaine (and Samhain!) Blessings

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This image was created for the Nature’s Whispers Oracle Deck, created by Josephine Wall and Angela Hartfield.

Whatever you celebrate on May 1st — May Day, Walpurgisnacht or Beltaine — blessings for this magickal day. And for those south of the equator, Samhain Blessings !!!

May 1st is now considered the traditional date for Beltaine for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere (and Samhain for those in the Southern Hemisphere), but it is also a Cross-Quarter date, defined as the precise midpoint between the Equinox and the Solstice… and that date shifts. So, for convenience, many choose to celebrate Beltaine on this well-established fixed date.

But for those who celebrate this cross-quarter day on the astronomical date, this year that falls on May 5th at 19:26 UTC. (Bookmark this link for the “official” dates of other points in the Wheel of the Year http://www.russellcottrell.com/celticdate/)

I love these feasts so much, I tend to celebrate twice!

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Collecting some woodruff

I may start the celebration with a little May Wine, by adding a sprig of fresh woodruff (which I’ll also use in a loose incense formulation for my Beltaine altar) to a glass of chilled wine, or make a May Wine punch with one of these recipes:

🌿🍾From the Northern Shamanism website 
Marinate a handful of freshly dried woodruff in the juice of one lemon and half a bottle of Rhine wine for four hours; then add 6 tablespoons of sugar and another bottle and a half of the wine. Just before serving, add a bottle of seltzer for sparkle, and/or a bit of brandy for a stronger drink.

🌿🍓🍾From the Food.com website 
pickeFr9GOn “true” Beltaine (May 5th), I may try this variation which uses white wine, brandy, champagne (or a sparkling white wine) and strawberries!

What a “spirited” way to begin the Merry Month of May!

Beltaine Blessings !


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth, following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), aligning with the energy of the Celtic Wheel of The Year, or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle. Limited to those who identify as women. For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, alchemical healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com


WP Sidebar graphics, resized to 300 x 213 pxDo you want a better understanding of the Wheel of the Year and how its shifting energies can support your own transformation and growth, support you in aligning with the rhythms of Nature itself? Subscribers receive regular free ebooks and articles, such as Celebrating the Equinox, along with tips for their personal practices, advance notice on free events and webinars, and much much more! 

Passionate Transformation with the New Moon in Taurus

Wisdom from Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon)
New Moon in Taurus arrived at 5:16 AM Pacific Time
Day 1 of the lunar journey
Our Theme for this month: Passionate Transformation. Love Your Self
New Moon Wisdom: first, pause & reflect

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We are in that wonderful time of new beginnings… a New Moon today and Beltaine (the first fire festival of Summer) next week. And if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, the Wheel of the Year is turning towards Samhain, which is actually the start of the new Celtic year (just as the Celtic day starts at sunset). So very powerful!

But not every new journey starts easily. Sometimes we are still letting go of baggage from our previous journey(s), and at other times our Inner Garden may not be quite ready for the new growth. We may have to do a little weeding or fertilizing. We even may be looking at other gardens and thinking “yes, it’s greener / more beautiful over there!”

So, first, take some time to pause and reflect during this deep dark powerful New Moon before you start your new journey when LaLuna starts to glimmer in that sliver of a Waxing Crescent in a day or two.

And as you do, remember this: each and every flower must crack out of its seed, then grow through the dirt before it can bloom and face the Sun. The darkness will soon pass as you move into the light.

Each flower is worthy of the sunshine.

Each flower has its own unique beauty and purpose.

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
– Zen Shin

Open up and bloom your own way.

There’s plenty of sunshine for us all.

SOUL WORK FOR THE NEW MOON
This week between the New Moon and Beltaine is so powerful and ultimately passionately transformative. Reach deep into your Wise Inner Self — the Inner Garden of your soul — and create big bold audacious goals for this month and for the coming months. . . not short-term goals but rather something that is transformative for YOU.

Beltaine (aka Beltane aka Bealtaine) comes from the Irish Gaelic words for “Mouth of Fire”, and marks the beginning of “the merry month of May”. This fire festival is associated with love, fertility, sensuality, and relationships.

But let’s not forget the most important relationship we all have, and that is the relationship with our Self. Many of us neglect the Self as we care for others, as we put others first, as we look after our families.

As you create your goals for the new Moon and for Beltaine (or Samhain), be sure to embrace that fire energy and create goals for nurturing and passionately transforming your Self… your health, your vitality, your mind, your personal development, your abundance.

In your New Moon reflections, tarot/oracle readings or shamanic journeys, be mindful of this. Keep this theme in your awareness as the wisdom you need to transform and move forward reveals itself and opens up the possibilities for your transformative goals.

SOUL QUESTIONS
Some Soul Questions to consider (but definitely create your own as well) in your New Moon reflections and work:

🌸 How healthy is my Inner Garden? Does it need a little fertilizer? Are there weeds to be pruned or pulled, then composted?

🌼 What blossoms (goals) can transform my Garden to a place of beauty, tranquility, and abundance?

🌺 How will I maintain my Garden?

🌹 How will having this Inner Garden transform my life and positively affect those I love?

🌷 How can I honour myself and manifest love for myself even more?

New Moon Blessings !


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, alchemical healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com

Imbolc Blessings

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This week, we celebrate Imbolc (IM – OLK) and the Celtic goddess Brighid, goddess of fertility, creativity, the forge (blacksmiths and smithing), light, and livestock.

But exactly WHEN do we celebrate, you may ask!!

Some celebrate on the fixed date of February 1st whilst others will celebrate on the astronomical Cross-Quarter date of a February 3rd @ 15:27 Pacific Time (the precise midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox). I celebrate both!

Imbolc is the first of the Celtic spring festivals (Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine) and one of the four fire festivals in the Celtic Wheel of the Year.  In the Christian calendar, this day is observed as Candlemas. And on February 2nd, many celebrate Groundhog Day…. clearly an anticipation of Spring!

Imbolc  — the day we celebrate the goddess Brighid —  marks the first physical signs of Spring: the birth of the lambs, the flowing of the ewe’s milk (the literal translation for Imbolc!), the rising of the sap in the trees, and the budding of trees and 🌾plants.

It was also a time of empowerment for our ancestors, as they cleansed their homes of Winter dust and soot, and started to prepare for Spring by clearing the land and preparing to plough and sow.

How perfect that this is the time to honour Brighid with blessings and rituals to purify us for the sacred growth and seed through a three-fold Fire ritual, exemplified in this blessing:

Fire in the Forge that shapes and tempers

Fire in the Hearth that nourishes and heals

Fire in the Head that incites and inspires

Legends of Brighid’s Mantle

The first legend described the goddess Brighid as hanging her mantle on a beam of sunlight. Magickal!

A second legend said that Brighid walked the land on Imbolc Eve, healing both people and animals Legend had it that the dew absorbed her healing powers. The next morning, women would cut up the Bhrat Bridhe (Gaelic for Brighid’s mantle) into strips for sharing within the family.

In a third legend, St Brigid asked the King for a plot of land for her Abbey in Kildare, but the King refused. Brigid then asked for a plot of land no bigger than her mantle. Of course, the King agreed. Such a bargain! So she walked to the Holy Oak on the land she wanted, accompanied by four Maidens. Each took a corner of Brigid’s cloak and walked in all four directions. Miraculously, the cloak grew and grew until it stretched out to the exact plot size that Brigid desired. The King recognised the miracle and converted to Christianity. Brigid built her church. A cathedral was later built on the site but, apparently, the original foundations of Brigid’s church can still be seen.
🔥🔥🔥

Bhrat Bridhe Ritual

Ideally done on Imbolc Eve which – for me – is tonight. Place a piece of cloth on a tree, bush or windowsill. You can use any cloth (natural fibres if at all possible), or even a piece of ribbon, which is easy to tuck into a purse, yoga bag, or even a bra strap!

I use a red cloth – a piece of ribbon actually – as that tradition resonates with me, but some use white or blue. Even a simple handkerchief will do the trick.

Use your Bhrat Bridhe for healing for your Self or loved ones. You can also use your Bhrat for extra energy when you need to stand strong. Brighid will be there for you.

🌿 🌿 IMBOLC BLESSINGS 🌿🌿

How will you celebrate this special day?


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com