Celebrating Imbolc

I’ve collected ideas for Imbolc over time.  This year, in a stroke of synchronicity, it felt right to make vision boards around this time, and that’s perfect for planting the seeds of what we want to “grow” the rest of the year, so I will be doing that this weekend with an awesome witchy friend.

Other ideas below…have a blessed Imbolc!

 

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  • Also called:Candlemas, Oimelc, Brigid’s Day; merged with Lupercalia/Valentines Day
  • dates:February 2, early February
  • colors: white, red
  • tools: candles, seeds, Brigid wheel, milk
  • energy: conception, initiation, inspiration
  • goddesses: Brigid, Maiden
  • gods: Groundhog, other creatures emerging from hibernation; young Sun
  • rituals: creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings
  • customs: lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, cleaning house, welcoming Brigid

By February, most of us are tired of the cold, snowy season. Imbolc reminds us that spring is coming soon, and that we only have a few more weeks of winter to go. The sun gets a little brighter, the earth gets a little warmer, and we know that life is quickening within the soil.

Imbolc is a time of magical energy related to the feminine aspect of the goddess, of new beginnings, and of fire. It’s also a good time to focus on divination and increasing your own magical gifts and abilities. Take advantage of these concepts, and plan your workings accordingly. Because of its proximity to Valentine’s Day, Imbolc also tends to be a time when people start exploring love magic — if you do, be sure to read up on it first!

Imbolc is the festival of the lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word “oimelc” which means “ewes milk”. Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brighid’s snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, (the origin of Ground Hog Day), and in many places the first Crocus flowers began to spring forth from the frozen earth.

The Maiden is honored, as the Bride, on this Sabbat. Straw Brideo’gas (corn dollies) are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. Young girls then carry the Brideo’gas door to door, and gifts are bestowed upon the image from each household. Afterwards at the traditional feast, the older women make special acorn wands for the dollies to hold, and in the morning the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. Brighid’s Crosses are fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year. Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is place by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun.

Another traditional symbol of Imbolc is the plough. In some areas, this is the first day of ploughing in preparation of the first planting of crops. A decorated plough is dragged from door to door, with costumed children following asking for food, drinks, or money. Should they be refused, the household is paid back by having its front garden ploughed up. In other areas, the plough is decorated and then Whiskey, the “water of life” is poured over it. Pieces of cheese and bread are left by the plough and in the newly turned furrows as offerings to the nature spirits. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during this time.

Deities of Imbolc:
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.

Symbolism of Imbolc:
Purity, Growth and Re-Newal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.

Symbols of Imbolc:
Brideo’gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid’s Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.

Herbs of Imbolc:
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.

Foods of Imbolc:
Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.

Incense of Imbolc:
Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh

Colors of Imbolc:
White, Pink, Red, Yellow, Green, Brown.

Stones of Imbolc:
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.

Activities of Imbolc:
Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo’gas and Bride’s Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires may be lit – and Vision Boards!

Ideas for Imbolc:
Place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house, beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1) , allowing them to continue burning until sunrise.

Hold a candle-making party and then bless all the candles you’ll be using for the whole year.

This is one of the traditional times for initiations and rededications into the Craft.

Take a hike and Search for Signs of Spring.

Perform rites of spiritual cleansing and purification.

Make a potpourri for Imbolc by taking a piece of fabric, filling with dried leaves, pine cones, and fruit peels. Tie with a ribbon.

 

Imbolc candle activities:
Gather a white candle for each window of your home. Empower each candle with a goal that you would like to accomplish before the next Imbolc Sabbat. Place each candle in a fire safe holder. Put a candle in each window of your home, lighting each candle as you go. Leave the candles burning until they are gone.

Clean and cleanse your home:
Take some time during the week before Imbolc to clean your home. Go through your belongings. If there are things you no longer need, donate them to charity or give them to a family that you know could use the items.

This is a good time to cleanse the home of negativity. One of the easiest ways to do this is by burning sage incense in each room of your home. You could also take a broom and sweep the negative energy from your home.

Start an herb garden: Herb garden kits can be found at stores. Pick up a couple of these kits before the Sabbat. Spend some time on Imbolc planting an indoor herb garden. One of the potted seeds can be placed on the altar for decoration.

Solitary Imbolc rituals: Remember to honor the Goddess by doing a solitary Imbolc ritual. There are many rituals available online. If you don’t want to use a ritual from a web page or book, you can create your own ritual.

 

Imbolc & other springtime traditions

This isn’t my post, it’s from Sage Goddess – I am looking forward to celebrating Imbolc with some vision boarding this weekend!

Imbolc and My Favorite Springtime Holiday Traditions

The History Behind February 2nd’s Many Magical Holidays

Over the centuries, many cultures have celebrated the coming of spring. While there is much wisdom to gain from the stillness of winter, I cannot deny how I welcome this season with open arms. February 2nd has become known as the day to honor this transition, but the varied holidays for its celebration are many. Today I’m sharing what I know of these days and how you can work with their unique traditions to bring magic to this special time of year.

IMBOLC

The first of these days is Imbolc, a holiday founded in Pagan tradition. It is celebrated as a mark on the Wheel of the Year when we receive our first sign of Spring, at center point between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. This 24-hour festival began and ended at sunset to acknowledge the sun’s returning strength. While the festival has many callings, it is centered around celebrating the warmth of hearth and home. Villages also associated Imbolc with the start of lambing season, tying the roots of its name to mean “in the belly” of their pregnant flocks. The day honors new life, a fresh start, and applying what lessons were learned from the passing winter’s introspection. The force of an ignited flame is seen as the key element we activate during Imbolc, symbolizing the warmth of the sun, the fire keeping us warm through winter, and the budding flame in our spirit. This holiday is what I believe to be the root of all this season’s celebrations. Learn how you can celebrate Imbolc with this simple ritual.

ST BRIGID DAY

Brigid is the Celtic fire goddess most closely tied to this season’s holidays. Rituals and feasts in her honor began in Ireland to call upon divine feminine energy to support the fertility of village livestock. We declare a strong start to the harvest season, and pray for warmth to sustain us through the final months of winter. Traditional practices include creating a corn husk doll in Brigid’s image, adorned with ribbons and gems. The goddess is believed to walk the Earth on St. Brigid’s Eve, so before going to bed, families would leave out articles of clothing to be blessed by her hand and keep them warm through winter’s end. On this night, she brings us out of the darkness and into the light. In February we honor Brigid with a special Full Moon ritual. Click here to learn more.

CANDLEMAS

The second holiday tied with February 2nd is the Christianized holiday of Candlemas, otherwise known as St. Brigid Day. Candlemas celebrates the day when Mary first revealed the infant Jesus to the community at large. This presentation marked the last night of the ritual purification of Mother Mary. For 40 days and 40 nights she raised her infant son, leading up to February 2nd at sundown when the village gathered in a procession, each carrying a candle to light her way to the church. This day celebrates the return of light not only in a physical sense, but also the light in our spirits.

GROUNDHOG’S DAY

In modern times, Groundhog’s Day is the most widely known holiday celebrated on February 2nd. Historically, this day is traced back to Germanic mythology, where it was believed that Badgers were intuitive forecasters, as they would look to these animal guides to inform their planting season for the year ahead. Because many German communities settled in the continental United States, this practice was adopted with groundhogs, who were more local to the lands. The question nowadays is this: does the groundhog see his shadow? If he does, we can expect six more weeks of winter; if he doesn’t, Spring will come sooner than we thought!

I feel my inner fire heating up already, don’t you? There is a wealth of information to explore about the seeds of this special time of year. I encourage you celebrate this time with your own special rituals and practices. You can draw from any of the holidays here, or start your own tradition!

May your heart be warm and your spirit bright,
Athena

Understanding Aquarius the Water Bearer

After reaching the pinnacle of success in earthy Capricorn, we move into the sign of Aquarius, the Water Bearer pouring out its knowledge to the world. Sometimes people mistake Aquarius to be a water sign because of its symbol, yet it is important to note that the person pouring forth the waters of understanding is not themselves touching the water. Water is symbolic of emotions and Aquarius has no interest in those!
The theory of emotion is enough for them. In reality Aquarius is an air sign, and like Gemini and Libra they tend to come from a more mental place. They may think their feelings. They like to keep them at an arm’s length (or further), after all Aquarius is the sign of objectivity and its near impossible to be objective when feelings are in the mix.
This is not to say that Aquarians don’t care. Quite the opposite, they care very deeply. Aquarius is the sign of the Common Good, so not only do they care, they care about everyone. They want fairness and equality for all people, Democracy is an Aquarian ideal, brought into human consciousness within a decade of the discovery of Uranus, the planet that rules Aquarius.

Aquarians are out of the box thinkers. They often feel isolated because the way they think is so unusual. Aquarians think in a very abstract way. It doesn’t always make sense to other people, but there is genius in Aquarius, and, a little madness.

Now you may be saying, well that’s fine and dandy, but that doesn’t sound like the Aquarius person I know. Well, there’s a little know paradox with Aquarians, some are your ‘typical‘, out of the box, rebellious, anarchists and some are ‘by the book’, let’s stick with the tried and true, and it’s worked all along why change it? Aquarians. It’s as if some Aquarians forgot that they were no longer Capricorns! And sometimes they are a little bit of both, so within the Aquarius themselves they are constantly creating mental structures and then blowing them apart.

Yet whatever type of Aquarian you have, one thing is for sure, they have a sense of humor. They will always make you laugh. They see life in such a unique way and can bust an ego like no one’s business. There’s a saying that laughter is the fastest way to kill an ego. Aquarians know this secret and love to poke at people who take themselves too seriously. This is the best type of fodder for the Aquarian’s laughter grist mill.

Aquarians make wonderful friends, yet in romantic partnerships they may seem a little out of their element. Yet isn’t the best foundation for any strong relationship friendship? And after the passion fades, isn’t it friendship that keeps people together?

So if you can handle the occasional zaniness that so many Aquarians exhibit, and if you can laugh at yourself, then Aquarians are the sign you’ll want to spend your time with.

They’ll stand by your side and keep you in stitches for a lifetime.

Leo Full Moon Update from The Power Path

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This is a moon that supports personal expression and an experience of personal power. Acknowledge what you have accomplished this month in terms of RESET and celebrate your own your talents, unique capabilities and personal power. If you feel overwhelmed about what is coming into your life, take a deep breath, ask for clarity, and be willing to allow that which does not serve you to be gone, making room for what wants to manifest.

This is a good day to be in community and to inspire each other with new ideas and possibilities. It is time to dream big and do your thinking outside the box. It is also a good moon to anchor new partnerships and commit to new relationships, projects, travel and something you have always wanted to do but never thought you could. What you put into motion during this moon will have a great engine of energetic and higher centered fuel behind it for manifesting in the future. Use it well!

Be as clear about your communications as possible and pay attention to yourself and your electronics as channels of energy and expression. Mercury is nearing the end of its retrograde cycle (January 25) which can mean opportunities for more focus and patience in the next few days.

ASTROLOGICAL NOTES:

Written by Patricia Liles.  Contact her at PATLILES@aol.com

Leo Full Moon
Sun in Aquarius ~ Moon in Leo 3º
Saturday, January 23

With the shift of the Sun into Aquarius this past week, we are initiated into the axis of Leo/Aquarius at Full Moon, calling us to express our authentic radiant heart with the vibrancy of the Sun beaming down on Earth.  Now is not the time to feed your cowardly lion, but instead to feel the warmth of the spotlight of your own personal Ted talk and share your enthusiasm, your passion, and your innate talents and gifts with those around you.  Leo is the creative maestro of the zodiac.  The only sign with the Sun as its ruler and combined with the qualities of fixed fire, Leo teaches us how to truly be a leader, how to draw power charismatically towards us while also practicing generosity, and how to tame the beast within.  Leo, King of Beasts, embodies strength and courage, the qualities that allow us to conquer our fears and free our creative power.  Leo rules the spine and also the heart that sits in the center of our body and radiates our essence.  It takes heart and a strong backbone to free our creative self-expression and allow our total, powerful essence to speak through us without restraint.  The creative process comes through many as they bring their Leo energy, creativity and originality into conventional settings needing new life and luster.

The Sun in early Aquarius is traveling with Pallas Athena.  She is a Goddess of Wisdom bringing the power of creation through the mind and strategic planning while working through the realms of the arts, energetic healing and political protector of the state and of the oppressed.  What a powerful duo for this Full Moon chart.  Uranus, ruler of Aquarius, is in a creative quintile (72º) relationship to the Sun.  These willful planetary influences may be flowing down the channel of chaos or creative genius.  It’s up to you to guide and focus them accordingly.  Ingenuity and thinking out of the box is strong.

Everyone seems to have a strong traveling partner in this chart.  Mars in Scorpio is conjunct Juno, goddess of commitment and partnership; they square the Sun and the Moon – all in fixed signs.  Must be reckoned with.  So, it’s a good opportunity to communicate and transform any issue standing in the way of expressing your creative self especially in your partnerships.  (Watch for flying sparks and avoid low psychological blows, though).  Remove any obstacles to dreaming big, wide and deep as Sun Aquarius and ruler Uranus hold our inventive, rebellious and humanitarian urges.

Any discussion of Uranus has to include Pluto as these two continue to closely square each other by 1º bringing us the crisis energy of ‘evolve or die’.  Well, that might be a little harsh, but it is without a doubt a critical time of evolution and transformation.  Pluto stands with Mercury in all its retrograde glory in exact conjunction at 15º Capricorn.  Just imagine that Mercury the Messenger has been sent to the Lord of the Underworld.  Just what secrets or psychological motivations would be revealed about your inner most workings? Watch for some interesting and revealing slips of the tongue or undeniably synchronistic symbolic events to appear on your stage.  And Mercury’s retrograde motion will bring it back to join Pluto again on January 29 and square Uranus on January 31.

Mercury will be slowing to a standstill at Full Moon and turning direct on the 25th, so the retrograde energies are at extreme intensity this weekend and activating the transformative push of the Uranus/Pluto square the following week as well.  Remember Mercury rules all communication (thoughts, writing, speaking) as well as travel functions and with Uranus involved that includes your electronics and any circuits you run energy through.  Speak carefully; act consciously.  What Pluto/Mercury reveal, release and reclaim may be from the deepest recesses of your mental programming.  Let these gems come into full awareness.  Pluto is offering you your power back.  Here is help to recover your radiance.

The North and South Nodes are also making a strong show with Jupiter conjunct the North Node in Virgo exactly and Chiron very near the South Node in Pisces.  Jupiter will give us confidence that our growth is on the right track and validate that we can meet the challenges of starting something new.  It will ride with North Node through all next month also – a supportive, rare and prodigious alignment.  And Chiron will be with the South Node all early spring giving us access to what lies beneath our addictions, clinging to the past, and perceived need for protection.

With the energies of stationing Mercury strengthened at this Full Moon while challenging the collective powers of Uranus/Pluto, it’s propitious to not get too caught up in Leo’s penchant for drama, but instead treat oneself with compassion and respect for the growth you are experiencing and the challenges you are weathering.

And by all means, let the Sun be your teacher and invite Leo’s wisdom to help you discover how healing and energizing joy, pleasure and true play are for the soul.

Full Moon in Leo: 1/23/16

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LEO Full Moon, you crown us with the deepest truth we can acquire. You call to us to own our Queendom or Kingdom and take reign of our interior realms.

From Kelly Rosano:

“Mercury will couple with Pluto at the time of the Full Moon and on January 29. This energy is intense and penetrating. Watch out for mental obsession. Worry is focusing on what you do not want. Wherever your mind goes energy follows. Focus on what you want, not on what you do not…

The waters could get rough… It could be challenging at times. Some people may be aggressive. Take good care of you. Mars is the planet of action and desire. He is in Scorpio. Mars is challenging both lights (the Sun and the Moon.) …Watch out for losing your temper. Conversations can erupt into disagreements. This energy can make you irritable.

Channel your energy into physical activity. If you notice your anger rising, count to ten. This is temporary. The Moon harmonizes with Saturn later that day and then Uranus.

Do something new and creative. Build up your strength. Practice patience. Meditate.”

 

From the AstroTwins:

There’s a full moon in Leo on Saturday, turning the passion pot up to a rolling boil. Although Venus in Capricorn can bring a modicum of modesty, this lunation leaves a lot hanging out. If you’ve got #LoveGoals, let them be known! There’s no sense in playing coy when the full moon in Leo is lingering overhead. And yes, there will be drama. With every emotion heightened to a fever pitch, we’ll have to keep the soap opera tendencies down to a respectable level. Feelings could easily be confused with facts this weekend, and no one will be in the mood to back down from his or her righteous stance.

It doesn’t help matters much that Mercury is in retrograde for its final full week. Steer clear of hot-button topics unless you can address them from an open-minded, solution-oriented perspective. Life could feel like a nonstop talent show under this full moon. Heck, take it to Cirque du Soleil extremes if you so desire! Untamed self-expression is fully sanctioned this weekend. Err on the side of TMI rather than receding into the wallpaper. Turn Saturday night into a costume party and have fun with fashion. People may point and stare, but that’s half the joy of being a trendsetter. Ready to be royal? If that rightful place on the throne has been earned, step up and wear the crown.

 

From Divine Harmony:

“With Retrograde Mercury involved in all of this- deep and intense communications are in the works. It’s also a great time for deep penetrating insight into our past– childhood, past lives, depths of the psyche, etc…

Of course power/control dynamics can arise with this formation as well- as can violence and overt or covert manipulation. We all have to be willing to look beyond the surface to get to the Truth of matters– within and without- right now.

This all ties into the Full Moon in Leo as the T-square is a major feature in the chart- even if it does not aspect the Full Moon.

Combining this T-square with the Full Moon T-square with the Sun and Mars- and we have a feisty, fiery lunation bringing Light to all that is not being looked in in pretty significant ways.

Of course to really do this we have to be willing to see what we don’t want to see about ourselves, others and the world around us…

To question these things we have to be willing to pull up the foundation upon which we have built certain aspects of our lives- which is not a ‘fun’ experience (and which is the main reason why many people avoid going to therapy- as they are afraid to discover what they have been repressing and they are afraid of turning their lives upside down).

Yet the only way forward is to first deal with the past.  And the astrology right now is all about digging up the past (personally and collectively) so we can deal with it, take responsibility for it and change the trajectory we are on.”

 

 

Celtic Month of the Rowan: Jan. 21 – Feb. 17

The lunar month of Rowan offers you the opportunity to strengthen your resolve and nurture your dreams.

I am protected and indestructible.
Come what may, I am loved.
I accept the sweetness and abundance of Life and acknowledge my gifts. 

I honor the energy of Rowan for protection against evil enchantment.
I will not hobble myself with the chains of past failures.
So mote it be.

This point in the agricultural calendar is marked by the plowing of the soil to prepare it for the seed; any magic performed now is groundwork.  The surface of the earth appears barren, but the life-force is stirring beneath.  Ask yourself what you need to prepare to plant the seeds of your dreams this year.

The White Month

The Celtic fire festival of Imbolc (February 2) falls in the Rowan Moon, and is associated with the Goddess Brigid, to whom the festivities are dedicated.  Also known as Bride, She represents the mother of the newborn Sun, and all candle magic is sacred to Her.  During the Rowan Moon, wear white to cast spells, use white candles, and feast on white foods to attune to the season.

 

THE TREE OF PERSEVERANCE

The rowan terrain or mountain ash often grows on craggy mountains, higher than any other tree.  Its ability to flourish in bleak places teaches you perseverance.  The rowan berries reveal a natural pentagram at their base – a symbol of the womb of the Earth Goddess and of protection.  These physical attributes give the tree associations of healing and guardianship.

The rowan berry has a tiny five-pointed star or magical pentagram (an important symbol in magical traditions) opposite its stalk.  This explains why it was worn, hung in doorways or planted near houses to offer protection against evil forces.

Rowan Charms

Sprays of rowan berries were once  hung in cattle barns to protect livestock from disease and sorcery.  The leaves and berries can also be used to make a divination incense, and carrying the bark is believed to promote healing in the bearer.  The name “rowan” even comes from the same root as the word “rune”, in its meaning as a charm.

 Candle Magic

Combine the magic of the Rowan Moon with the candle magic of Imbolc.

1. Fill a small pot with earth and then hold a white candle in your right hand.  Concentrate on what you want to grow this year.

2. Plant the candle in the soil saying: “Mother Brigid, I ask you to nurture my dream, may it grow with your blessed light.”

3. Light the candle and see its flame expand, taking strength from the Sun.

4. After seeking the help of the Goddess through candle magic, plant a seed as an offering of thanks to Her in a favorite place and wait for your wish to grow.

 

Attune to the Moon

  • Harness the growing potential of the Rowan Moon in your life and make a new start by following these resolutions.
  • Begin spring cleaning now.  As the light increases, you need to clear out your clutter with all your energy to make way for new growth.
  • Have a Rowan Moon dinner party and ask you guests to wear white, dine by candlelight and eat seeds such as beans and nuts.
  • Look for the first snowdrops of the season and make a wish when you see one.  Snowdrops hold potential of spring.
  • Tie a white ribbon on a rowan tree while saying the names of those you love.  The tree will send out healing vibrations to them.

 

Rowan

  “Rowan is the tree of power, causing life and magic to flower.”

 

Das Baum TarotPlanet: The Sun, Mercury
Element: Fire
Symbolism: Protection and Inspiration
Stone: Tourmaline
Deity: Brigantia, Brigid, Virgin Mary, Thor
Sabbat: Imbolc, Candlemas
Folk Names: Delight of the Eye, Mountain Ash, Quickbane, Ran Tree, Roden-Quicken, Roden-Quicken-Royan, Roynetree, Sorb Apple, Thor’s Helper,  Whitty, Wicken-Tree, Wiggin, Wiggy, Wiky, Wild Ash, Witchbane, Witchen, Witchwood


Medicinal properties: The berries contain a high concentration of Vitamin C, a good preventative and treatment for scurvy. They also contain organic acids, tannins, sugars. The berries have been used to make general tonics for the body since the ripe berries are mildly purgative and diuretic.

  Magickal properties: Using meditation, Rowan is helpful with clearing the mind and opening our inspiration. The Essence of Rowan is used in vibrational medicine to assist in attuning us to nature, broadening perspectives, and making room for a deeper understanding of our place here in the universe.  It also has a significant role in protection. Rowan wood was traditionally used to make spindles and spinning wheels, tool handles, stakes and pegs, dowsing and divining rods. A rowan wand or walking stick will protect you from being harmed on a journey and bring spiritual enlightenment along your path.   To the Celts the Rowan was a symbol of the hidden mysteries of nature and the quickening of the life force.   Scottish tradition did not allow for the use of Rowan wood for any other purpose than ritual.

Tree Magick 
by Gillian Kemp

Tree Magick by Gillian Kemp

“The Rowan Tree forecasts a bright future for you.
Red being the color of fire, Rowan means “flame.”
What you need will gravitate toward you in the same way that the Rowan’s red berries give it power to attract birds. Patience is indicated by the life-giving properties of energy and protection that the Rowan symbolizes. 

There is a sign that something is coming soon, because the Rowan is one of the first trees to bud. May Poles are made from the Rowan, so flirtations and romance are forecast. A merry-go-round begins, bringing people together by magical charm. The Rowan also brings protection, as it has always been used to make amulets to guard against evil and ills.”

LESSON OF THE ROWAN
from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford

 Rowan is able to flourish higher up on the mountains than most other trees. Closer to the sun and divine inspiration in this extreme environment, it yet retains its grace of form and its potential for healing. Exposed to the elements on solitary crags, it still produces blossom and berries to delight the eye and heal the body, bringing vibrant color and birdsong to the hills. Rowan emphasizes the need for color and creative endeavor in our lives and encourages us to open our minds to creative inspiration. It also teaches us that we can draw on the forces of life to heal ourselves and those around us. We can develop the art of turning adversity into creative opportunity. Rowan protects and gives courage and strength to those walking the path of spiritual growth and enlightenment. For the Celts, the rowan was the Tree of Quickening, of Sacred Fire, of the Awakening Spirit, and the Sun.

Pathway to Ascension: Aquarius Sun Sign

“Astrology and astronomy were established as sciences around 5000 B.C.E. in Chaldea and Babylonia. Many of the great names in the history of our world civilization were astrologers. Our Western history books simply call them philosophers, astronomers, doctors of medicine, theologians, politicians, mathematicians-ignoring the fact that astrology played a major role in their lives and thinking.”

—Nancy Detweiler
A New Age Christian: My Spiritual Journey

Your zodiac sun sign signifies the energy on which your Soul incarnated this lifetime. Though there are numerous additional factors influencing the overall map of your Soul, your sun sign plays a major role in your life. Your sun sign reveals your consciousness of self as a unique human being

 

The person who is Aquarius incarnated to be the “Waterbearer” to humanity. He seeks to baptize others with his philosophy of life and to live his life as a conscious service to humanity. Group relationships become important.

At the personality-level, Aquarius is the “air head” who lacks grounding to the Earth. He may attempt to be all things to all people, exhausting himself in the process. Aquarius may choose to merge his personal identity with the unconscious masses. As he awakens spiritually, Aquarius becomes increasingly creative in order to benefit society. This creative self-expression helps to integrate his personality; he becomes self-confident. Aquarius is extremely innovative, resourceful, and intuitive. He is a social progressive who feels a tremendous need to bring about freedom and equality for all human beings.

Aquarius marches to a different drummer. He possesses warmth, yet appears distant. He is more concerned for the whole, than for any one part. Aquarius is the visionary who can lead people into something better. Friendship is vital to Aquarius. Marriage often grounds Aquarius. He will desire a mate who is an intellectual companion and friend. Aquarius can be impatient, extremely stubborn, and impersonal.

There are two types of Aquarians: one is more attuned to Saturn and will seem more like Capricorn; the other is more attuned to Uranus and will be a free spirit, eager to grow and to learn. He seeks Truth everywhere. The Uranian Aquarius will create his own work, designed to be universal in scope.

Aquarius must go alone into the forest in search for the Holy Grail. His journey can be lonely. Aquarius is to surrender his will to the Divine Will and to work for the good of all persons. He is to integrate New Age Principles into his innovative work of sowing the seeds of transformation into the conscious awareness of humanity. Aquarius works with an intuitive alignment to the Divine Plan.

Star Stuff: Sun in Aquarius

Today the Sun changes costumes, flinging off Capricorn’s grey cashmere sweater and slipping into a batik caftan and denim overalls in honor of Aquarius season. (And maybe topping it off with a mad scientist’s lab coat…) El Sol will beam through the Water Bearer’s zone until February 19, bringing out the adorable oddballs in us all. Quirky, eccentric and innovative is the new normal now so break out those freak flags and fly them high!

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When the Sun moves into the mentally active and social sign of Aquarius, it’s time to come back out and reconnect with the world. We’ve been buckling down to work the past month with the Sun in antisocial Capricorn, but now is the time for making new friends and sharing bright ideas.

With Sun in Aquarius, it’s time to think outside the box and break away from outworn rules.  Humanitarian efforts are encouraged. You and everyone else is operating in a less individual way during this late winter time frame and participates more fully in a mode of group mind. The realization is dawning with greater forcefulness that we could easily pull apart at the seams as a society if we don’t pull together.,

Aquarius governs community, technology and humanitarian ventures. Work collaboratively to make the world a better place—both online and in real time. If you have computer equipment and digital devices to upgrade, start shopping around. Just heed the warning label: Mercury will be in a signal-scrambling retrograde until January 25 (NEXT Monday) so it’s wise to wait until then to bring those techie toys home.

For the next four weeks, we have advancement and progress in our hearts.

We want to get off the beaten path, leaving behind old and outdated ways of thinking and doing, throwing off personal and social conditioning – those restrictions, limitations and inhibitions that may once have felt safe, but now feel constraining.

Our idealism runs strong, but we can have some fixed ideas about how we want to accomplish these ideals – although we are open to new ideas in theory, in practice we may actually be quite stubborn. Finally, we are also definitely more aware of the impact each individual has on the whole of society.

Here’s how to make the most of life during Sun in Aquarius:

What to do: Fight for the underdog! Humanitarian Aquarius is ruled by rebel planet Uranus, so when the Sun is in Aquarius we are encouraged to rebel against social injustices and help fight for the rights of those less fortunate. Use your great big heart, problem-solving ideas and effective communication skills to help someone now!

What to say: The question is what NOT to say. Aquarius loves to think and talk, and quite often you can’t get them to shut up once they start. Enjoy all the stimulating conversations you’ll have during this time, but be aware of talking to the point of exhausting your audience.

Where to go: Space! OK, well, if you can’t hop a rocket to the cosmos while the Sun is in Aquarius, you can at least go somewhere else high-tech — even if it’s just that futuristic gadget store at the mall. Whatever you do, keep it quirky — is there a Stars Wars convention in town?

What to wear: Aquarius is all about expressing their originality, so use this time to do the same. Put streaks in your hair or wear something wild — it’ll be just another conversation starter.

What to buy: Books and gadgets. Aquarians are knowledge seekers, inventors and intellectual explorers. If you’ve been wanting to study up on something complex —  like the space-time continuum or the meaning of life — do it now by the light of the inquisitive Aquarian Sun.

What to watch out for: Being a smarty pants! Over time, intellectual Aquarians acquire a very large knowledge base, but it can also result in an unattractive know-it-all-attitude. We’re all full of brilliant ideas while the Sun is in Aquarius, so be sure to listen to others’ ideas, too!

What to look forward to: Making new friends and having a good time. Aquarians are very social and tend to belong on teams and in groups where they can enjoy spending time with friends. Take advantage of this Aquarian energy to enlarge your social circle now!

Create Your Own Bathing Ritual

 I love the blog posts Sage Goddess does – this one resonates with this new year/new moon purifying energy!

How To Create Your Own Bathing Ritual

Everything you need to know about spiritual bathing practices

At the new year, I often talk about creating a fresh start – coming clean and washing away any stagnant energy or heaviness that has built up in our spirits from the past. These concepts conjure images of crystal clear, soothing water, and with good reason! Water is a healing and rejuvenating element that is instrumental in clearing away anything that no longer serves us, making it an ideal ally for these intentions. I have found sacred bathing rituals to be a powerful means for harnessing the power of water magic, and today I feel called to share with you how to create your own bathing rituals to support your clearing and emotional healing in 2016.

Bathing rituals immerse your body in water – an elemental force of magic which creates movement in your world. This force is felt physically but also energetically. Water teaches us to allow all forms of energy – money, health, happiness, relationships, experiences – to flow with ease and come to us effortlessly. Water is the ruling element of the emotional realm, and of your innate creativity. Water urges you to receive, to love, to create, to feel deeply, and to embrace your emotions with a compassionate heart. There’s a reason our bodies ⅔ water! Even the moon influences our physical functions, given the intimate connection between the moon and water.

There are many tools you can use to create your own sacred bathing rituals. You can infuse your bath water with sacred essences like essential oils, bath bombs, or soothing milks and bubbles to embrace the magical properties of plants and herbs. Your bathroom can be quickly transformed into the most sacred of spaces when filled with magical treasures. The flickering light of an intention candle, the soft spiral of sage’s white smoke, and the gentle vibration of your favorite gems at the edge (or inside) of your tub all work in harmony to open your spirit to water’s healing flow. I adore my personal time in the bath, and I know you will too. It invokes the ancient priestess in all of us. I encourage you to invest in personal healing and self-care in the new year with this sacred bathing ritual:

For this ritual I work with my January Month of Magic Bath Set which includes a bath bomb, a body scrub, body oil, and tealights and are scented with my Fountain of Youth perfume. I also use a washcloth and a small cup or pitcher. I have experienced powerful healing from this ritual and invite you to try it for yourself:

Sage Goddess Cleansing Bath Ritual:

  1. First, set a soft mood in your bathroom. Dim the lights and put on your favorite relaxing music (I enjoy Shaman’s Dream Pandora station).
  1. Then, place a tealight at each corner of your bathtub and light them. Start drawing your bath, filling the tub with warm water. While it’s filling, remove your clothing, sit near the edge of the tub and close your eyes. Listen to the rushing sound of the water from the faucet in meditation. Call in the Eater Elemental Spirits to join you in your space.
  1. When the bath is full, drop your bath bomb in the water and stir it in an infinity symbol with your hand, mirroring the cyclical movement of this sacred element. Breathe deeply and evenly as you sense the water passing through your fingers.
  1. Now, gently get into the bath, submerging yourself in the warm, healing water. As you breathe deeply, take in the aroma of the candles and water.
  1. Take your cup and fill it with water from the bath. Then, start a cycle of pouring the water over yourself, wherever you feel needs clearing. Ask Water to wash away any stagnant energies, letting anything that no longer serves you rush out of your energy field with its current.
  1. When you feel your field is cleared, lather your body scrub in a washcloth and gently massage your body. This will clear any remaining energy, and soften your skin!
  1. Take your time enjoying the waters of your bath, meditating on the sensations and visualizing Water surrounding your body, carrying all negativity away from you. When you feel your ritual is complete, send gratitude to Water and your guides for their support. Open the drain and let all the energy you released be drawn down the pipes, leaving you lighter and at ease.
  1. When you step out of the bath, dry yourself with a soft towel and massage your skin with your body oil for a nourishing treat. This oil will seal the work you’ve done in the ritual, ensuring the healing power is held within you. Repeat this ritual whenever you feel heavy or in need of release.

I hope this ritual brings you deep peace and renewal. Self-care is so critical, especially after the holidays, when we often overextend ourselves energetically. I encourage you to explore the infinite possibilities of working with water magic by trying different bath products to serve your needs. I have many beautiful creations in the shop that I am sure you will love, and I can’t wait to hear what magic you experience!

May you enter the year clean and clear,

Athena