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! 

Connect with Mama Earth in April’s Third Quarter Moon

Wisdom from Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon)
Third Quarter Moon, In Capricorn
Arrives around 2:56 AM Pacific Time / 10:56 UTC on April 19th
Day 24 of the lunar journey
Wisdom: Connect with your Intuition and with Mama Earth

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“Phases of The Moon, Third Quarter”, a painting by Wayne Purse 

When I verify the arrival times for the various lunar phases – New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon and Third Quarter – the times across all information sites are usually relatively consistent. But today, I read so many variations for the arrival of the Third Quarter: 2:56 AM, 2:57 AM, 2:58 AM, 2:59 AM, 3:00 AM, 3:05 AM Pacific Time. Minor differences, but very curious indeed!  And the fact that all that variation is throwing me for a loop means I need the grounding influence of the Capricorn Moon!

Mooning Around
Not being an astronomer, I don’t know why there are so many variations…. maybe it’s all this retrograde planetary activity! Suffice it to say, the Third Quarter will arrive somewhere between 2:56 AM and 3:05 AM Pacific Time tonight!

But what is the Last Quarter and how is it defined astronomically? Well, by a very precise measurement: “when the excess of the apparent ecliptic (celestial) longitude of the Moon over that of the Sun is 270 degrees”. These exact words were found in numerous sources.

One-half of the visible surface of LaLuna is brightly lit (which side varies depending on your location in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere), and the illuminated portion slowly decreases each day until we reach next week’s Dark Moon.

Moon Wisdom
At this point, LaLuna’s journey around the Earth is roughly three-quarters complete, as is our journey with her. This is the Autumn of the lunar cycle, where our intuition is deepening more and more each day, where we clearly see our accomplishments (and Self) that were illuminated by the Full Moon.

What we planned at the beginning of this lunar cycle is now ready to be reaped and harvested. Like LaLuna, we too are returning to our time of rest, of consolidation, of reflection. It’s okay to slow down, so that we may focus on what we’ve learned, complete what we’ve started and release anything that will not support us in the next cycle.

You may feel tension during this final quarter (the quarter moons with their half-dark and half-light illumination may feel like crisis points) but use that energy to focus on completion and letting go, rather than jumping into new things. Let those wait for next week’s New Moon. Call on the wisdom of the Matriarch goddess(es) such as Mab, Demeter, Yemaya, Hera and others. The Matriarch knows her Self, her gifts, her wisdom… and you will too.

SOUL WORK FOR THE THIRD QUARTER 

Any time during the Waning Moon, from the Full Moon to the Dark Moon, is traditionally a time for releasing. As the Moon’s energy diminishes, releasing becomes a more natural action. If you use spellcraft, it can also be a time for banishing negative things (except during a Void-of-Course period).

But do remember that “nature abhors a vacuum”: when you release something negative, be sure to consider what positive energy you can bring in to fill that void. Balance, always… exhale, inhale… release, receive. It can be as simple as a good wish, an affirmation, a kind deed, or an act of gratitude.

SOUL QUESTIONS
This month we are working with the theme of Rejuvenation, or Renewal. Take some time to look back at this month’s journey and develop your own Soul Questions, or use these:

  • What has begun again?
  • How has renewal or rejuvenation manifested in your life this month?
  • And how will it continue to manifest?

Find the answers in meditation, contemplation, a journey, or from an oracle or tarot reading. And then release what isn’t working and next month continue to build from what IS working.

Capricorn is associated with the Earth Element and, with Earth Day coming on April 22nd, this is a perfect time to make a strong(er) connection with Mama Earth and to use Earth in your release rituals (burying a release bundle, for instance, rather than placing it in a cauldron to release with Fire).

How can you connect with Mama Earth during the Waning Moon time?

  • spend time in Nature or in your garden, if you have one
  • cleanse the Air in your home with a new indoor plant (or more)
  • make or purchase herbal tea, a beautiful bounty from Mama Earth that supports our health and vitality. Even better, make or purchase one that uses roots in the mix, such as dandelion, or with berries along with leaves
  • take a detoxifying bath by adding a cup or more of a mixture of salts (Epsom, Magnesium, Dead Sea, Himalayan, etc) to the tub, along with a few drops of your favourite essential oil, and soak your cares away
  • make a salt scrub and use it to exfoliate your body
  • energetically cleanse your crystals and pendulums
  • do some grounding work such as a grounding cord exercise (there are several on-line sources, such as this one)

In other words, as we said in the 60s, “mellow out” 😀


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

Call on The Creatrix in the Full Moon

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Wisdom from Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon)
Day 16, Full Moon in Cancer at 3:33 AM Pacific Time 🌕
🌿
It’s that time again… A beautiful Full Moon rising in the East. For me, it arrived at 3:30 AM today (Thursday, January 12th), but on the 11th for many of you, in this lovely global community. This energy will be with us for another 2-3 days.

This first Full Moon of the calendar year is in Cancer, such a nurturing mothering sign. And the Full Moon, in the Women’s Cycle of Life, is also aligned with The Mother — goddesses such as Gaia, Demeter, Isis, Hestia and Green Tara — giving us a double dose of the Creatrix energy to heighten our creativity, and to birth and nurture new ideas and new projects. WOW!

And with Imbolc arriving in just a few weeks, we can also look to the energy of Brigid (who we celebrate on Imbolc, February 1 or February 3rd at 22:36 UTC, depending on your traditions) to support us. Brigid tells us: “Don’t back down. Stand up for what you believe is right.”

How does the energy and wisdom of these goddesses manifest in YOUR life?

SOUL QUESTIONS FOR THE FULL MOON
Work with your New Moon card layout and review your progress in the month. Look to the questions for the South (home of Fire, Creativity, Passion… as well as song and poetry), such as:
“What is flourishing?”
“Who am I in wonder and trust?”
“How can I embrace the Creatrix energy in a way that will support me now?”

Or ponder on the mothering aspect of your Self.  We all have both the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine within us.

Are you nurturing and nourishing your Self, as much as you nurture and nourish others and other things – children, family, job, career, etc.? The Full Moon is about the balancing of waxing and waning, the light and the dark. . . how does this manifest in YOUR life?

RITUALS FOR THE FULL MOON
🌕 Many people choose to release and let go on the Full Moon, and any time in the waning moon is good for that. I’ve shared some simple release ceremonies before in this blog.

🌕 Place your crystals in the moonlight for charging

🌕 Bathe in the moonlight and thank LaLuna for her wisdom

🌕 Spend some time with your altar, adding new elements for the South, and honouring the work of the South. Write a poem, sing a song, place a picture of something inspiring on your altar to be mindful of your goals or desires. And if you don’t have an altar… create one with the Full Moon and Imbolc in mind.

And especially for THIS Full Moon. . . start to plan for Imbolc and for honouring Brigid.

Full Moon Blessings !


MARK YOUR CALENDAR

ww-circles-800x800-21On Friday, January 27th at 10 AM Pacific Time, I will be offering a special event on the New Moon: “Hearts Afire: Brigid’s Fire Blessings”.

The replay will be available for those who can’t attend live. I’ll post more about it next week, but it is up now on the Inner Journey Events website if you want more info or even register now.

Click here for details.


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

Celebrate your Animal Allies in our November Instagram Challenge

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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!

Third Quarter Moon: Goddess Empowerment and Stone Ritual Release

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Today Grandmother Moon moves into her Third Quarter at 12:13 PM Pacific Time. For some, this is the time of The Enchantress, and the goddess energies of The Morrigan, Lilith and Kali. In other traditions, it is the time of The Matriarch and the goddess energies of Mab, Demeter, Hera and Yemaya. But the commonality is clear… a time of deep knowledge, confidence, authority, self-empowerment and intuition.

In a nod to both traditions, my Moon Bowl is set for the Third Quarter and flanked by Kali from The School of Gypsy Arts Seeds Of Shakti Oracle Deck and the Brigid’s Grove Woman Runes card The Whole Moon, representing The Matriarch.

The lunar Third Quarter is akin to Autumn in the solar year. You planted new seeds at the New Moon, grew them in the Waxing Moon and saw them bloom at the Full Moon. And now, Grandmother Moon’s light is waning, diminishing, her energy is becoming quieter, more introspective, more Yin, more intuitive. You are now reaping the harvest that you started at the beginning of the cycle and are preparing for the completion of your journey by shedding and releasing what no is longer required…. revealing your true self, and only that which is essential for you.

Consider meditating today on the Soul Question(s):

“What is my true essence?”

“What can I now shed that no longer serves me?”

The Enchantress asks that you now trust your intuition and being comfortable with “not knowing” as you meditate on your questions.

Release Ritual with Stones

Open and close this ritual as you would normally do, such as creating sacred space, calling in the directions, calling in your guides, etc.

Using a stone that you can release to Mother Earth (a found pebble or small stone), meditate on your Soul Questions, on what you would like to release, holding the stone in your receiving hand (for me, that is the left).

Once you have your answer, thank your guides and the goddess.

Now, release the stone to Mama Earth in any way that is easy for you… placing in a window box, or dropping it somewhere close to home on a walk. Use your “giving” or dominant hand to release the stone.

As you do so, say something like:

“I now release with ease that which no longer serves me,
to be cleansed and returned to Mother Earth.
Blessed be!”

🌗


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