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


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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! 

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

Mistletoe and the Feast of Potentials​

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Celebrating Mistletoe on the 3rd Day of Solstice
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The origins of Mistletoe as a Christmas decoration go far back into our Pagan origins. Druids considered the Mistletoe — a parasitic plant that grows on willow and apple, and other species — to be both sacred plant and healing … and a magick plant, good for the heart. Roman author Pliny wrote in the first century CE that the “Druids hold nothing more sacred than mistletoe and a tree on which it is growing.”

This third day of Solstice was also referred to as “Nameless Day”, not associated with any particular lunar month. Those born on this date were said to have strong intuitive senses and healing abilities.

According to a post in Magical Recipes Online “The Nameless day, December 23rd was called “the Feast of Potentials”. It was (and still is) a Holy day attributed only to Mistletoe, the Winter’s equivalent to Oak. Both were considered equally powerful like Yin and Yang, Light and Darkness. There was a powerful Druid ceremony called “the Ritual of Oak and Mistletoe”, in which Druids climbed a sacred oak and cut the mistletoe growing on it…. The Nameless Day was believed to have powers of change.”

When we think of Mistletoe today, many recognize it from the “kissing bough”, a tradition that came to us from the Middle Ages. A berry would be picked from the Mistletoe and exchanged for a kiss. When all the berries were gone…. well, you would need more Mistletoe if you wanted another kiss!

And even that fairly recent tradition was rooted in earlier traditions: in the Middle Ages in England, “holy boughs” were created with a figure of the Christ Child and kept in the home. Visitors would be given a “kiss of peace” at the Holy Bough for forgiveness for any transgressions or ill will during the year. Eventually the Christian church banned Mistletoe from church decorations due to its pagan associations… but it has clearly made its way back into our modern festivities.

I love the idea of Mistletoe as a “kiss of peace” and would definitely like to revive that tradition!


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

21 Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice

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Winter Solstice – also known as Yule – is one of my favourite times of the year…. okay, my absolute favourite time of year. But maybe I say that for all holidays!

And while I love the major celebrations of Samhain (the start of the Dark Half of the year in the Celtic Wheel of the Year) and Beltaine (the beginning of the Light Half of the year), there is something about Winter Solstice that touches so many. Virtually all cultures and faiths celebrate Father Sun and the return of the light at Solstice.

So what is Solstice? The word solstice comes to us from two Latin words, sol  (the Sun) and sistere (to stand),  referring to the standing sun that we experience twice a year. During the days around the solstice, the Sun appears to stop in its travels (particularly dramatic in polar regions!).

On Solstice, our ancestors celebrated the return of the Sun with feasts, music and art, rituals, greenery, camaraderie and – most importantly – symbols of the Sun such as bonfires and candles. And many carried on the tradition for a full 13 nights / 12 days (in the Celtic world, the day began and ended at sunset), a tradition some of us may recognize as the root of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

For me, Solstice is always about The North – the place of our Ancestors, of Mother Earth, that place of stillness and quiet and deep contemplation. So although I also celebrate Solstice with seasonal crafts and food, it is important for me to spend some time at Solstice honouring my past and my ancestors, celebrating my connection with friends and family and in contemplating what is coming in the year ahead. This year I did a very powerful Journey with Inanna, releasing illusions about my self, and will spend Solstice doing the return journey – choosing what beliefs still serve me and what I want to keep. . . and how I will manifest those in the next year.

For many, Solstice is pure celebration. . . a time to connect, rejoice, share gifts with each other and kick of the holiday season of Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah and more. And I definitely love this aspect too!

Solstice falls on the 21st of December, arriving here in Vancouver at 2:44 am, and my celebrations will begin at sunset this evening. So, here are 21 ways you can celebrate the Solstice with friends and family . . . and I’d love to hear how you celebrate!

21 Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice

  1.  Watch the sunrise or sunset from a favourite spot

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    Tip 1: watch the sunrise (this is at Newgrange in Ireland)

  2. If you can’t be outdoors, light a candle for Solstice in your home
  3. Connect with Mama Earth by walking in Nature with friends and family. Take some wild bird seed to feed our feathered friends. Honour your Nature Family with words or ritual.
  4. Declare your intentions for the next year in the form of a poem or just a few heart-felt words (I stand in vigil for. . .  I am holding space for. . .  I honour . . . )
  5. Create an Solstice Altar.  Place objects on your altar that symbol and honour those for you.
  6. Make a crystal grid using your favourite crystals and some pine cones to represent the directions and celebration days of the Wheel of the Year
  7. Craft a loose incense or an essential oil blend for using in your diffuser or for adding to a carrier oil such as grape seed, olive or almond oil for anointing your sacred objects, candles and altar
  8. Create a Solstice centrepiece for your table or altar: place one large white candle in
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    Tips 8 & 21: gathering materials for centrepiece and rituals

    the middle to represent the solstice and surround with seasonal elements such as pine boughs, cones, holly berries, mistletoe, oak moss and more. Carve one or more of the alchemy symbols for Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit onto small pillar candles or votives, an anointing with a Yule Oil. Go wild and add a little glitter to the carving afterwards! Or for a more natural expression, finely chop pine needles, rosemary or other herbs and rub into the carving.

  9. Thinly slice orange slices then dry in a dehydrator, or in the oven on a low temperature (no more than 250F). temperature. Hang on your  tree or in a window with ribbons or twine…. or use to decorate a candle!
  10. Handcraft a wreath for your door or home, using foraged materials (if possible) or natural elements from a garden centre or florist shop – every green boughs, cones, holly, ivy, mistletoe
  11. Hang up some mistletoe and be ready to give or receive a kiss! ❤️
  12. Ring a bell at Sunrise or Sunset to greet the Solstice
  13. Light a bonfire and toast marshmallows, drink hot chocolate and thank Mother Earth and Father Sun for everything they have brought you this year.
  14. Handcraft a pentacle with twigs and twine, and add a jingle bell. Hang in a window or on a door.
  15. Spend time with an elder and do something meaningful for them – a small gift, taking them on an excursion, bake some cookies
  16. Food… .always food! Create your own special Yule / Solstice / Christmas treats – cakes, biscuits, puddings, yule logs, spiced nuts, egg nog, hot chocolate, candy canes and more.
  17. Handcraft a Prayer Stick (a First Nations tradition and plant it in the soil. These are typically crafted from fallen cedar – or any tree you feel a connection to – and add natural elements such as a feather, moss, a little bundle of one or more smudging herbs (tobacco, sweetgrass, sage, cedar)
  18. Handcraft a smudging bundle or wand with cedar

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    Tip 18: handcraft a cedar smudging wand

  19. Make a Prosperity Globe (or jar!) using a clear glass Christmas ornamentand materials such as herbs, moss, cinnamon sticks, essential oils, ribbon, pine, shells, crystals and your personal intention scroll for the year. Personalize it even more by adding small items – or photos – that are significant to you.
  20. If you didn’t have time for the five-day Solstice Advent Candle Circle Meditation, do it all in one day
  21. Another lovely ritual tradition is the Candle Circle, a wonderful tradition for family and friends. I like to use white candles but some folks prefer red to represent the fire of Father Sun. Each person can customize their own candle, or leave it unadorned. At Solstice sunset, dim the lights and gather together (these days you could even do it by Skype if you can’t all be together physically). A volunteer – or the “head” of the family – can lead with a moment of meditation or  a blessing for Solstice and for all gathered. Take turns lighting your candles and sharing your favourite stories and memories from the year, or what you are grateful for. When all are complete, extinguish the candles in the order they were lit, with each participant making a wish or affirmation for the following year. The volunteer (or “head” of the family) can then say a final blessing for all and turn the lights back on.
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Tip 19: Prosperity globes

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Tip 14: Twig Pentacle

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Tip 7: loose incense

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Tip 11: Hang Mistletoe


🌿🎄🌞 Solstice Blessings to you all ! 🌝🎄🌿


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

The Thinning of the Veil at Samhain

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Although Samhain has now officially passed (although it does remain as the Irish Gaelic name for the month of November), I still receive questions about Samhain, when it should be celebrated, what it means from an energetic/intuitive perspective, and how to celebrate it.

I received a great query through my website last week that I wanted to share here, along with my thoughts. And I would love to hear your perspectdive on this, in the Comments area!

The Question
The article of ‘The Cailleach’, you state, ‘and the time of year when the veils between the worlds are said to be the thinnest.’

I was wondering exactly when this will be. On October 31 or November 7? Thank you.

🌿🎃🌿
My response
The expression “thinning of the veils” is often used at Samhain but few clarify what it means for them.

My thoughts? I believe there are many planes of existence in our Universe (physicists offer string theory to explain the various dimensions of the multiverse), separated by their unique vibration and frequency, yet co-existing in the same “place”.I believe that when those frequencies are similar, we connect with that world… if we wish to.

As mediums or intuitives, we sometimes describe our connection with other planes and worlds as tuning in, which is a very apt description. We tune in to frequencies, just as we would a radio. If we connect to a strong signal, we hear words and music. If we can’t find a frequency, we hear static and noise… and just the hint of organized sound.

Natural frequencies do shift and change, just as we can raise or lower our own frequencies. At certain times of the year — the move towards the stillness of Winter, for instance, as the Earth shifts on its magnetic axis — and in certain locations (magnetic vortices, ley lines, etc), those frequencies have shifted ever so slightly to allow us here in the physical plane to more easily access the other worlds. At these times and in these places, the vibrations of our world connect with the vastness of Flow and the Spirit world. The veil lifts… becomes more porous.

And there is another factor to connection:  intention.  Many cultures around the world celebrate the harvest and the coming of winter at this time of year, honouring their ancestors, giving gratitude, and lighting bonfires and candles to honour the importance of light (Father Sun) in our lives. There is a massive global focused intention and awareness. I believe the energy of that global intention also effects the vibrations, lifting the veil even more.

But to answer the question directly… !
I tend to celebrate Samhain on the “true” date, which this year was earlier this week, on  November 7th. And quite frequently I celebrte both, as I did this year.  On both days, I celebrated and honoured my ancestors, and communicated with them.

But I also don’t believe that the thinning of the veils is a digital, all-or-nothing event, restricted to just that specific Samhain date — whether we celebrate on the traditional date or the true date.

Nor do I believe we are bound to honour these special days on the calendar date(s). We have busy lives. We juggle work, family, school, commitments…. and our energy.

If the date/time doesn’t work for you, celebrate when you can.
Believe me, Spirit won’t mind at all! 

Just like we have, for instance, the Full Moon energy for roughly three days, we experience the thinning of the veils over a period of time.

As the energies of the Earth start to quieten and draw in after the Autumn Equinox, we start to approach and embrace the Dark (hidden, not bad!) energies of Winter, the energy and wisdom of An Cailleach, and the gradual thinning of the veil between the worlds, peaking around Samhain aka “Summers End”.

The yin, deep, receiving intuitive energies of An Cailleach are increasing in us too… just as they are with our world. So not only is the veil thinner, but our intuition is also stronger, increasing our ability to connect.

So, for me, the week(s) before and after Samhain are all very powerful times for connecting with Spirit.

What are your thoughts on this?  Comment below.

Le grá,
(“With love” in Irish Gaelic)

Della


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

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!