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


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! 

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! 

Honouring our Great Mother on Mother’s Day

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“Circle, Mother and Child” by Sulamith Wulfing

This Sunday in Canada (May 14th) – and in many countries around the world – we celebrate Mother’s Day.

For some of us, this is a joyful day when we can spend some time with our mother… honour her… laugh with her…. share memories (and cake!). And for those of us who are mothers or grandmothers, we can delight in the time spent with our children.

But for others, it can be a poignant day, a day of loss. Perhaps you have lost your mother, as I did three years ago. Perhaps you have lost a child or miscarried. Perhaps you have a strained (or non-existent) relationship with your mother or child. Perhaps you are struggling with fertility.

However you choose to experience this day, consider holding a ritual to celebrate Motherhood in a way that is powerful and meaningful for you.

Perhaps you can…

  • honour our Great Mother — Danú , Gaia, Pachamama — or your Goddess
  • hold sacred space and love for the relationship you would like to have with your mother
  • step into a place of unconditional love, of healing and forgiveness
  • honour whoever is a mother to you in your life now
  • honour the child you wish to bring into this world or the child you lost
  • honour all mothers in a simple blessing
  • honour the women who are special to you – sisters, ancestors, friends
  • honour your Self and the medicine and gifts you have given our world….  ideas, children, relationships, beauty, art…

🌸 A RITUAL FOR THE GREAT MOTHER 🌸

These are only suggestions and I would encourage you to create your own ritual, perhaps using this as a starting point. You could do this on your own, or in Circle with others.

  • Collect some items for offerings to the Divine Feminine, the Great Mother of us all, whatever works for you and holds meaning for you: crystals, wild flowers, rose petals, or pebbles. Have something for each person/spirit you are honouring in the ritual.
  • Decorate your altar with items that represent both the Divine Feminine and Motherhood to you. These can be mementoes such as a piece of jewellery, a photo, a treasured gift, or items from nature such as a nest, an egg, a flower.
  • Place three candles on your altar to represent The Maiden, the Mother, the Crone. I like to use white and yellow on my altar but do consider using a red candle, representing our sacred flow.
  • Add a chalice or a bowl as a symbol of the Divine Feminine. This will be used in the ritual representing the womb. Add a small amount of pure water or blessing water.

🌿 TO BEGIN 🌿

Breathe deeply, relax and connect to the grounding energies of Mama Earth.

Create sacred space by calling in the directions, your guides, allies, ancestors… whoever supports you spiritually.

Light your candles.

Start by giving your blessings and gratitude to our Great Mother and all the mothers you wish to honour…. it could be along the lines of:

“I thank you, Great Mother,  for birthing this place we call home, this Earth that gives us food and shelter, that nourishes us. Your love supports me. Your wisdom illuminates my life. Your energy flows within me. Thank you, Danú.”

For each offering, hold the item to your Heart Chakra and connect with both the person you are honouring and the item. Imbue it with your love, your intentions, your gratitude. As you place your offering into the chalice or bowl give words of thanks, being as specific as possible. For instance:

“My Heart and Soul thank our Great Mother, who nurtures and comforts us all, who protects us from harm, who unconditionally loves her Self and her loved ones.”

“My Heart and Soul thanks my mother-in-law who has always shown me unconditional love and embraced me with care.”

With your last offering, honour YOU and give thanks to YOU, in your own words, such as:

“I am thankful for my gifts of _____________________ (e.g. music, wisdom, dance, strength, healing, etc) that are my Medicine for this world, and for all that I have birthed ________________ (e.g. children, ideas, art, etc). I honour all aspects of my own Divine Feminine: the Goddess within, the Maiden, The Mother and the Crone. They are me and I am them. Thank you, Great Mother.”

When your offerings are complete, take some time to connect, journey or meditate with the Great Mother and ask for her wisdom. Give thanks to her when she does so.

Close by thanking the directions, your guides, allies, ancestors… whoever supports you spiritually.

Blow out the candles.

Celebrate with Hugs:)


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 (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! 

Celebrate your Animal Allies in our November Instagram Challenge

instagram-photochallenges-14

I’m so excited! We start the #animalearthmedicine Photo Challenge today on Instagram!

Are you drawn to Shamanism, Paganism or perhaps love connecting to the wisdom of animals? And are you on Instagram?

If so, you are going to fall in love 😍with the NOVEMBER photo challenge that I am co-hosting from @innerjourneyevents with my longtime friend, Sharron Basanti from @gypsyarts starting November 1st …TODAY!

Are ya in??? Nod, YES 😆

How can you join?

1. Post a photo daily using the prompt . . . let your imagination run wild! You can use Tarot & Oracle decks or take photos of animals in the wild . . . maybe even draw the animal you feel drawn to . . . the possibilities are endless!

2. Add the tag #animalearthmedicine to connect with others in the community 👭 👫 👬

You are welcome to repost to show love for animal wisdom , and also so others in the community can join the challenge 💜

The challenge is inclusive. . . anyone can participate that resonates with the prompts! You can do all 30 days or only a few, no rules 😊

I do hope you can join us!


Day One  of the challenge is today, and the theme is My Animal Guide… so I am sharing mine: The Lynx.

Cats have always been part of my life, but Lynx introduced herself to me on one of my first shamanic journeys and has been a powerful and constant companion ever since… in my personal life, my work, and in many journeys.
🐾
Her medicine is profound, and she very often shows me the spirit animals of those around me. Thank you, Lynx.
🐾


Photo Challenge Image credit: The image of a tern in flight was photographed in Iceland by wildlife photographer (and my sister!) Sue Ratcliffe. You can view her work on Facebook at @Sue Ratcliffe Photography.🐾


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If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts, 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.

Join us today as we start the new Celtic year and celebrate Samhain!

Samhain: A time of Remembrance and Renewal

img_7669Samhain Blessings!

Tonight, many of us in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate Samhain (SOW-en), while for others it arrives on the “true” cross-quarter date of November 7th. Whenever you celebrate Samhain, it is a sacred time, a time to honour our Wise Elders, Ancestors, and those who have transitioned in the past year. It is a time of reflection, clarity, divination, transformation, letting go… and starting anew: a new year, a new journey, and a new cycle of growth and renewal.

Samhain is rooted in traditions and beliefs that extend back close to 5000 years, with cailleach-300dpi-2-copyarchaeological evidence of Samhain celebrations on the Hills of Tara and Tlachtga in Ireland. The Celts believed the day started at dusk, and the year as two halves of dark (Samhain) and light (Beltaine). They defined Winter by the arrival of the first frost and snows, and I see that many of us here in Canada have already seen those first snow falls in the last week! Winter is not just coming… it is here for many of us!

Samhain is the time of An Cailleach, the “Hag” of Winter. The Crone. The Wise Woman. She is immanent, the Divine manifested in the material world.  She is the Ancient Ancestor, the Earth itself. The Dark Goddess — like those of other cultures such as Hecate, Demeter, and Kali — who celebrates the spiral dance, who creates and tames the chaos between life and death, dark and light. She was greeted with bonfires, fire representing both the return of light and the alchemy of transformation.

Renewal and Rebirth in Winter

Many of us think of Winter as a time when nothing is happening. The days are short and cold, the light diminishes, the ground is cold, little is growing. Yet it is in deepest winter that new life begins. The roots and seeds are protected and nurtured deep in the ground, drawing in the energy of Mama Earth, and awaiting the light of Spring to emerge once again.

And so it is for our human roots, the seeds of our Inner Garden. I use the entire week between “traditional” and “true” Samhain as a week of Inner Cauldron reflection and meditation…. looking back at the past year, what challenges I faced, what I overcame, where I needed support, and gaining a new perspective.

And because winter is also about new beginnings, during this week I look towards the New Year, and meditate on the Soul Questions I have for this new journey:

With what I have learned in the past year, what will I do this year to:

  • honour Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon?
  • enrich and engage my mind?
  • honour my soul and my relationship with Spirit?
  • honour and support my relationships with loved ones?
  • nourish and support my physical body?
  • create sacred space in my home?

Divination at Samhain

Because the threshold between the worlds is so thin at this time, we can communicate more easily with our Ancestors, guides and allies, and with those who have recently passed.

Be mindful of the messages or signs you receive on Samhain, and have gratitude for the communication and support given.

I use my divination skills to aid me in my meditation and journey work even more at this time, such as runes, tarot or oracle cards, tea-leaf reading, pendulum work, journeying and scrying.

Celebrating Samhain with Ritual

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Image from Etsy

How can you celebrate Samhain today? There are so many ways!

  • Light a candle for your ancestors, and for those who have recently passed
  • In a fireproof container (your smudge shell, a cauldron, a metal pot), burn white sage leaves, to honour the departed, or a rosemary twig, for remembrance
  • Add pictures or mementoes of loved ones who have passed to a home altar or special place in your home
  • Make a prosperity charm for the New Year, and for Halloween. I love these suggestions from Silver RavenWolf.
  • Create a Rowan Cross with rowan (mountain ash) twigs  and berries, tied with red thread for protection and to honour the Ancestors
  • Create a loose incense for your Samhain meditation, altar or bonfire, or for smudging the home.
  • Carve a pumpkin or turnip, to light the spirits’ way back home to their world
  • Hold a “silent supper”, with a place and chair set for those who have transitioned in the last year or for the ancestors. Mark a portion of the dinner time for silent contemplation, perhaps with a bell rung to signify the beginning and the end of that period (it can be as short as 10 minutes)
  • Carve the initials of the recently departed into a candle, and lighting it in their honour
    • Tip: Let the candle extinguish naturally. Any colour may be used, but many people prefer black or white for this ritual.
  • Take a journey with your Ancestors to examine the past year and receive messages and wisdom from your ancestral guides, to help you see through the darkness into light, and to use your inner strength and courage. This is a perfect way to close your Samhain celebrations. Click here for my Ancestral journey ritual.

Samhain 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 Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year,  creating or learning ancestral crafts, 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.

Join us today as we start the new Celtic year and celebrate Samhain!

Your invitation to the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle

14079955_10154776473538352_2421567297512776521_nI love sharing my practice with you through this blog, through my Facebook page and through other social media… but I also love learning from you all, hearing what you are doing in your practice, what rituals you follow, and interacting on a deeper level.

I believe one of the best ways to do that is in a space that is both safe and private, where are thoughts and questions are shared only within the community for which they were intended.

I have now created the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle, as a closed Facebook Group… just in time for Sunday’s New Moon!

If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda) creating or learning ancestral crafts, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, this may be the group for you!

A bean …what?

What is a Bean Gealach? I will tell you… Much of my work is rooted in Celtic Shamanism and in the Moon Mná Mamaí tradition, from Slí an Chroí in Ireland. In Irish Gaelic, bean means “woman” (pronounced “ban”, rhyming with “can”), and gealach means “moon” (there are regional variations in pronunciation, but I say “ghee-al-uck”). So, a Bean Gealach is a Moon Woman.

wp-sidebar-graphics-7In this group, we are Holding the Light and Sacred Space for you to share your HERstory, your journey, ask questions, share rituals…. and participate in the Facebook Live events and online circles where we can meet virtually, celebrate the cycles of the Grandmother Moon and delve into our Soul Questions for the month.

I love sharing Earth-based and Moon-based rituals, wisdom and practices in this global community that connects us from all around our beautiful planet.

Together, we will:wp-sidebar-graphics-8

  • connect to the Yin and Yang of our Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies
  • entrain with the changing energies of Mother Earth’s yearly cycle and with the monthly cycle of Seanmháthair Gealach (as Grandmother Moon aka Selene is known in Irish Gaelic)
  • celebrate through ritual (and a little bit of magick!) throughout the lunar month
  • celebrate the Celtic Wheel of the Year (Samhain, Winter Solstice, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lughnasadh, and Autumn Equinox)
  •  connect with our inner Goddess(es)
  • build personal altars and create sacred tools
  • connect to the stages of a Woman’s life from Maiden to Mother/Woman and Crone… including other stages that may be new to you!
  • and much much more!

Together we learn and grow, and create Sacred Space in our daily life.

Through this group, I will also make available premium offerings for events and workshops such as sharing Celtic Rites of Maiden-Mother -Crone, Connecting to Your Inner Cauldron (and more).

Please note that this will be a safe and respectful group,
and any trolls, goblins or ogres will be banished immediately!

The Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle group is administered by me, Della Ratcliffe.
Visit my FB page @InnerJourneyEvents or website.


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