Posts Tagged ‘Celtic Wheel of the Year’

The Muse of Samhain

Energy of the Season:

Summer’s end draws back the heavy curtain for a moment, thinning the veils between worlds and expanding our awareness of the Divine. As the Wheel of the Year turns to darkness on the eve of All Soul’s Day, dusk marks the beginning of Samhain or Hallowmas, celebrating harvest and slaughter, death and rebirth, our link to the past and the ancient ones who made us.

On Samhain eve we dance to the drums that pound out Earthly rhythms. We shake off old patterns, moving to the beat of our instincts, much faster than our minds are able to even think. Almost transfigured, we see into the past before it is time to go into hibernation.

Bodies undulate unabashedly all around as the bonfire roars, throwing bones into the scorching heat of transformation. Healing begins as we look into the reflections of change within the flames; we begin to see ourselves and consciously sink into our ancestral roots to guide and transmute us. We intuitively call upon the wise guardians of our lineage long past, looking into their eyes for wisdom, clarity and release.

As the pumpkins, squashes and gourds are harvested, their seeds naturally fall to the ground from the once bountiful stalks. Lying dormant through the dark cycle, they will gather life force to breakthrough the soil’s surface come spring. We also plant our personal seeds during this turn of the wheel with intentions to begin anew, shedding old skin and eventually rising stronger from the ashes of our outworn ways in spring’s first light.

The cycle gradually darkens; we navigate the steps downward even further into the safety of Mother’s womb, bidding farewell to the setting sun and welcoming the rebirth we know is to come. It’s all part of the cycle of life, birth, death and rebirth.

Like the harvested and browning vines, part of us dies and turns to ashes, protecting and fertilizing the ground for planting later in the cycle. And as the dying chaffs lie in the fields awaiting transport to the Otherworld, the veils lift, opening the gateway for our ancestors’ momentary return. They come back through the dimensions to celebrate with us one last time.

We honor them here, on our terms, on our human turf, before they journey beyond our reach, before they ascend into the next house of existence. The celebration of Samhain is a feast of thanksgiving; all are welcome!

Lighting our personal candles at last, from the courage of the community flame, we silently walk the labyrinth, spiraling inward step by step. When eve turns to night and night to day, food and energy is stored for the long, deep season of winter. Once inside the cave, our candle flame flickers, its beacon lighting the way as we begin the slow journey homeward. This tiny flame of recognition reminds us why we are here in this place of peaceful rest and healing, exploring our shadow worlds until the Wheel turns again.

Goddess of Samhain:

Ceridwen, the witch hag and crone, is the Celtic Goddess of Samhain who holds the powers of the darkening moon, transformation and rebirth. Each year at this time she guides us into the Underworld to meet our shadow, to employ patience, reminding us of what is hidden while supporting us on our inward journey toward self-knowledge.

To progress, we must embrace all potentialities of our beingness, especially that which lies lonely in the darkness, waiting for a light to shine into its dusty corners. Ceridwen shows us how to gather the energy from our shadow, bringing it to light, becoming strong through our vulnerabilities.

A Welsh grain Goddess, she is the also the feminine archetype of inspiration, Celtic mythology, and creativity. Ceridwen rules the cycles of life: birth, death and rebirth; human gestation; and the Wheel of the Year, as a chalice of both endings and beginnings in our seasonal cycles.

The dark goddess’ inherent symbolism supports transformation and is represented by the story of her son, Afagddu who was born hideously ugly and uninspired. In her desire to heal him of these ills, she creates a batch of wisdom and inspiration in her magical cauldron using fresh herbs grown during each of the eight seasons on the Wheel of the Year. In honoring and embracing each of the cycles, this transformational potion was brewed and stirred for a year and a day to be properly alchemized.

Ceridwen hired both a blind fire tender and a boy named Gwion to help stir the pot. While stirring, three drops of the potion dropped onto on Gwion’s thumb. Unfortunately, the first three drops contained magic and the remainder in the cauldron was poisonous. Like anyone else, Gwion licked off the steaming potion and instantly received the gifts of wisdom and universal knowledge, leaving Ceridwen without a solution.

Incredibly angry after loosing all her work to save her own son, she chased Gwion all over the countryside. He ran and he ran, along the way shape shifting into many forms. He became a rabbit, and she transformed into a greyhound. When he dove into the river, becoming a fish, she was suddenly an otter. Then he changed into a bird and she a hawk, somehow always knowing what was next. At last he shape shifted into a grain of corn, and just a quickly she was a hen and ate him. For nine months the grain grew in her pregnant belly and she swore to kill him upon his birth.

As Ceridwen gazed upon the baby boy, too beautiful to harm, she decided instead to wrap him in a sealskin bag, and threw him into the sea. Soon rescued by a Welsh prince who eventually named the baby Taliesin, he lived on to be one of the greatest Celtic bards of all time.

Hail to Ceridwen! We stand at the cross quarter of Samhain, at the precipice of our own personal darkness, calling on you Ceridwen for strength and guidance in our next step. We honor your expertise and courage in your constant embrace of the shadow in all things.

May we become, as you, a master of our human cycles, the harvest and the planting, both beginnings and endings. Like you we hold the potential to be a lover of our shadow and to fully embrace each facet of ourselves as they relate to the elements, the directions and the constant turn of the wheel.

Hail to the Northwest, the water as it moves from the surface into the depths of the underground aquifers. When it reaches our inner most cave, we thirstily drink in the unknown, that which is a blend of light and dark, water and soil. We taste the gritty clumps, yet when shaken and stirred in the cauldron of our inner waters and emotions, we are able to stomach the poison. Inherently we know how to transmute its killing effect, turning life to death, and then into rebirth.

Welcome dark goddess. It is time we welcome ourselves into the darkening moons of cool transformation.

The information here has been compiled from various personal experiences as well as teachings and information from Kathy Jones’ book “Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess,” Mara Freeman’s book, “Kindling the Celtic Spirit,” and Frank MacEowen’s book, “The Celtic Way of Seeing.”

The Energetic Connection offers podcasts and online courses in self Mastery and Opening the Body to Spirit.

The Muse of Fall Equinox: Travels on the Cosmic Seas

Rhythms of the Elemental Energies

As the wheel of the year turns westward toward the setting sun over the cosmic sea, our soul’s journey or “anam turas,” turns west as well, making its way toward TirNaNog, the magical place of youth that lies beyond our earthly sight, deep in the heather of another world.

Fall Equinox, the time starting at the end of September through Halloween, is the end, the final place on the Wheel before life’s re-inception. It is a visionary time during which we prepare for the final harvest, reigniting our commitment to the cosmic plan and our search for the mysteries of the Universe inside us.

In autumn we stand on the first steps, barely opening the gate to a temporary resting place after an abundant growing season, making our way inward and downward. Like Inanna, we will soon prepare and embrace the presence of our personal winter, relishing the darkness until the light shines bright again.

Beginning at the western balance point of equal dark and equal light, we honor the Earth as she harvests apples, nuts and grains for the last quarter of our annual journey. Before our departure, we share our abundance with deep gratitude for the community, our soul friends and their wisdom. We sing our good-byes to the extroverted and transformational fires of summer while dancing together over a light speckled sea. And then we begin the slow turn inward, curling and cuddling into a place of our own, all alone.

Now, while we celebrate, the graying Mother empties her nest and gives way to the crone in perfect time with the green leaves making way for the deeper more mature colors of autumn. We no longer dance on the slick and shiny surfaces, instead allowing ourselves to be absorbed back into the hues of gold, orange, red and brown as the leaves fall quietly from their branches, soon crumbling beneath our feet. From our vantage point in the sunlight above we give way to the land below, burying ourselves in the soils of curiosity and courage.
Here we dive, sliding into our earthly womb on the element of the water that cleanses as we surrender to its currents, its turns and flows. Water transports us toward our destination at the single point of oneness and global awareness. Water speaks to water across the horizon and we soak in the fluids of its essence, taking small bites of earthly knowledge from the apples to open our hearts and minds along the way. Apples and cool river waters guide us, alchemizing knowledge into wisdom as we move slowly into the shadows.

Celebrate! You have successfully turned the Wheel of the Year once again and are ready for the wisdom of your ancestors, returning to the womb for healing and rebirth. Honor the seeds you planted long ago; love the sproutlings that grew into flowers, vegetables, nuts, fruits, and grains; for now you are prepared and abundant as you give way to your evolution, turning yourself into ashes to fertilize the ground for the seeds of the new year.

Goddesses of the Autumnal Equinox

Each geographical region has its own elemental correspondences to the directions and seasons, though underlying all elements is that of the Earth at the harvest, abundant supplies, and gifts from the Mother. In the Isles of Brigid, autumn is symbolic of the earth element emerging from the water of summer, and the crone emerging from the Mother.

Ertha and Gaia are manifestations of the autumnal equinox, though the symbolic Triple-Mother Goddess, Eiru, is best known in the Isles as a real world representative and cosmic metaphor of fertility and sovereignty. She lives in the land of women; she is the Mother of matter and performs the cleansing of Earth each year for the next planting.

Eiru, along with Fodha and Banba, protects the land, evokes dedication, devotion and commitment in the people that walk on her surface. She gives us life and preserves us in the face of danger and destruction, famine and misfortune. She is the mother, coming from the maiden and giving way to the crone, who is at the root of all autumnal harvest festivals.

We call on you Eiru for guidance and balance, for clarity and resolve. We thank and honor you for lighting the way into ourselves and for lighting the way outward again. Blessed are we who know you; blessed are we who honor the cycles you create for us along the spiraling path to awaken our souls. It is a route well trodden, so we fear not for our lives, making way for learning, remembering, and true focus for our intentions as ever-evolving souls.

Without your benchmarks, our sovereignty is unanchored and we fly untethered into the abyss of the ethers. Instead we spend our time growing, realizing and expressing. Thank you for the arms of compassion you wrap around us, and for your elemental reflections that help to remind us of who we really are as spirits embodied.

Prayer of Gratitude

Manifesting abundance and havingness is our inherent human right and creative power. We often desire and yet cannot create what we want because we remain separate from our nature, avoiding responsibility and risk. By praying as if you already have what you want, focusing on the end point in gratitude, you will move yourself out of hopelessness toward full enlightenment.

-Stand or sit comfortably with your feet on the ground, your eyes are closed.

-Visualize a grounding connection from the root chakra into the center of the earth. Sit for a moment and breath, releasing stagnant energies into the earth’s core.

-Allow earth energy to enter the bottom of your feet, moving into your lower body. Breathe and circulate the earth energy.

-Feel the cosmic energy as it moves into your crown chakra through your body to meet and mix with the earth energies.

-Breathe in and breathe out. Feel the earth and cosmic energies flowing through your body, opening the doors of knowledge and awareness, eliciting conversations with the God and Goddess of your heart.

-Envision what you want in present time. Observe and ground this vision.

-Create a symbol that represents what you are already manifesting. Allow your vision to flow into the symbol.

-Breathe into your heart, filling it with gratitude for what you have, what you want and what you are creating. Breathe from your heart out into your symbol, into the world, into the Universal flows where your vision will manifest.

-Release your vision to the Cosmos; trust that sending it away will allow it to manifest in your personal dimension and reality.

The information here has been compiled from various personal experiences as well as teachings and information from Kathy Jones’ book “Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess,” Mara Freeman’s book, “Kindling the Celtic Spirit,” and Frank MacEowen’s book, “The Celtic Way of Seeing.”

The Energetic Connection offers podcasts and online courses in self Mastery and Opening the Body to Spirit.

Muse of Lughnasadh

Mythology & History of Lughnasadh:

Lughnasadh is the celebration of the Mother as she readies to birth her nature for humankind. It is the feast of the fruits and flowers, calling on the elements of water and earth to honor the wells and the mountains; the first harvest and the transition of Summer into Fall. Here we honor both gods and goddesses in celebration of the shadow and the light, the mysteries, the warmth of the Sun and the cool cycles of the Moon.

As the Wheel of the Year turns upward from the South into the West, we meet Lugh (lookgh) a highly skilled immortal who eventually, after many trials, comes back to live at Tara, hill of kings. Born of the Tuatha De Danann (tuaoa die danan), a tribe known as the gods of humanity, he makes his way home after years of fosterage and helps his people wrestle Ireland from the rule of the Fomoraig (Fomorians), the gods of chaos and wild nature.

Lugh is a god of light, and nasadh is the binding promise he made to his foster mother, Tailtiu, Queen of the Fir Bolg tribe that preceded even the Tuatha De Danann. As the Queen lay dying of exhaustion from clearing the whole of Ireland for agriculture, Lughnasadh, was born as her funereal festival.

More than just an acknowledgment of a mother passing into the otherworld, Lughnasadh is symbolic of the agreement between all living beings and our planet, an honoring of the last sheath of grain, woven through corn husks in the image of woman. These corn dollies were the effigies and receptacles for all woes and shadow states of the tribe that were absorbed and held throughout the year by women. These energies were finally purged at Lughnasadh into the corn dolls during their making, then burned to transmute the energy, using the dross to fertilize new ground for Spring planting.

Feasting on the harvest; singing and dancing to celebrate hand-fasting; competitive games for the men to prove their physical prowess was equal to that of Lugh; the long arms of heat from bonfires that lit up the night sky, symbolizing the powerful light of the Sun in Lugh, and the torches carried only by goddesses who’d been into the underworld and back again. This is the festival of victory–the brilliant light against the powers of darkness–as the Wheel turns once more into the West.

Maker of the seasons and birth mother of the Wheel, Demeter is a Greek triple goddess; mother to Persephone, daughter of Hecate. As the goddess of grain she offers the food of life to humans. She is the goddess of all seasons, giving us birth in the Spring, life in the Summer and death in the Fall; then she gives us an opportunity for rebirth again after meeting our shadows in the lonely months of Winter.

Invoking the Gods and the Goddesses of Lughnasadh:

Three faces of the goddess, three phases of the moon, Demeter, as creatrix of the seasons, you personify the birth, the love and the death. You are the mother who rescues herself as the daughter Persephone when she drinks the inter-dimensional brew. Meeting grandmother Hecate in the shadowy darkness of her own underworld, you become sage and expansive in a place where until now, only Hades has flourished.
While stumbling about in the dark, your angry stick stirs the cauldron of remembering. Drop by drop– because mother courage effortlessly drags the lost maiden from her cowering place under the blight of the crone–the essential brew of life dribbles onto stone. It transforms youth into maturity and love to a Queen’s reign.

Steamy and sizzling, the ground cracks wide open under your feet. As rock disintegrates into dust, you fall and your fearful, thunderous rage ignites chaotic static in the air. It fills the sky with bolts of light, surprisingly and safely guiding you through the expanding crevasse into a gateway.

Though you tumble and bounce, still trying to fly, your eyes are flashing and keen. You scan, searching for the edges of a veil that exists for you no more. Now living in the world of humans, you acquiesce and merge. You are the perfect blend of ingredients for the life residing within you as you carry the eternal torch of those who’ve travelled inward and downward, emerging alive and integrated. In your essence, you remain a Queen.

You are the triple goddess; all things come from you, you are all things. Demeter you turn the wheel; you created and now you control the seasons. You are the midwife for sister Ceres, to whom Ker is born, the babe and the first stalk of grain. From this comes the first loaf, the first bread and the first taste of the body, enlightened.

We call on you Demeter, to guide us to see the abundance of your cycles, and to touch the gratitude in our souls. We ask for your blessings on our inner food at harvest time, on the bubbling elixirs for transformation and growth. Mother, may we perfect the tilling of our soil, plant our seeds on fertile ground; may we please you and may you always be here to remove in us what does not belong to you.

Journey through Lughnasadh in Gratitude:

Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, put your feet on the floor and breathe into the bottom of your feet, gently calling it into your legs and pelvis. Let the breath pool in the pelvic floor, filling it up with air and then releasing it on the exhale.

Now feel the Earth energy moving up from its core into your feet chakras as you inhale, into the bubbling springs of life, moving through your legs into your Root Chakra and back down into the Earth.

Witness the Earth energy carving and defining its channels, streaming from the bottom of your feet, through your legs, passing the ankle, knee and hip joints; through the Root Chakra and into the Earth again.

Observe and notice how the Earth energy clears stagnant energy from your lower body, taking all things foreign or past-time as it moves out and back into the center of the Earth.

As you exhale, send the unwanted energy down deep into the Mother with great gratitude. She will transmute your dross to gold, giving birth to new and blessed forms, the fruits of your essence. Continue to offer her your dried and dead stalks, slashing and burning, fertilizing and making room for new seedlings of growth.

Breathe in and breathe out, sending gratitude for each cycle of nourishing inspiration and the die-off with expiration.

The information here has been compiled from various personal experiences as well as teachings and information from Kathy Jones’ book “Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess,” Mara Freeman’s book, “Kindling the Celtic Spirit,” and Frank MacEowen’s book, “The Celtic Way of Seeing.”

The Energetic Connection offers podcasts and online courses in self Mastery and Opening the Body to Spirit.

Muse of Summer Solstice

The Wheel of the Year makes its way around the southern bend of Summer Solstice into a standoff with Winter. At the Sun’s highest point, its light peaks here each year, now still a warm and building Yang energy that encourages our attention outward.

Easing out the door, we encounter our child-like sensuality. Taking in the smells and sounds of this new season, we celebrate the full opening of our physical forms. And as the doorway opens wider, the light bleeds even further through the crack. Singing, dancing, the heat finally bakes our bodies from the inside out, pulling on the creaks and the cold, the stagnancy deep in our bones.

Nature works effortlessly in our favor while we run and play. In this time of great and rapid growth we are driven by the element of Fire. To balance it, we call on the element of Water and other cool, Moon-like qualities to meet this most potent and natural form of masculine energy. Not yet edgy, the Sun God is now coupled with the purest feminine, Cancerian energies and the archetypal Goddesses.

Sulis leads the way, holding the polarities of Fire and Water in her making. Masculine and feminine, sun and moon, she is one with herself, a completely individuated female who expertly guides us further into the light. With her, we move beyond our known borders, searching until we reach equal darkness.

At Summer Solstice we look to the South where the fires of transformation burn; songs of life and its sweet melodies dance on the breeze. A chorus of frogs and birds, two and four-leggeds, everyone harmonizes, calling out in enthusiasm. The sounds of the rain falling, percussive-like in the background, entrance us like drumbeats to remind us that all is not lazy here and we continue to create shifts in our consciousness even while we play.

The fresh cleansing smells, combined with the pounding, snapping sounds of water falling on Earth beneath the Heavens, excavate the tunnel between our conscious and subconscious minds. At Solstice, we awaken to our mythical memories.

On this balance point, we stir our desires with courage to look into the ocean’s depths, the original mirror, seeing our own reflections. The sea is in the sky; it pours from the heavens. Summer expands time so we listen to sounds of the sea in the sky and the call of the Goddess who holds all things in equanimity.

Hail to the blue heron who carries us through the gateway; hail to the blue green sea reflected in the sky; hail to the Queen of emotion, the mistress of compassion for witnessing our dive. May they reveal our innermost feelings, our deepest emotions and bring them to the surface for expression and healing. Hail to the Sun whose Fiery light calls in the power of the Water at Summer Solstice.

Invocation of Sulis

Sulis with your eye wide open, help us see our individual flame, shining light on the entrance so clearly. Open the gate so we can dive with you into the healing spring waters, and the sea inside. Guide us; show us the way as we plumb and explore our depths on this journey toward the light, health and wholeness.

You carry both the flame and the spring of life, Sulis; we call on you to choreograph this Water dance of sensitivity, we call on you to give us strength as we walk through the Fire. Flowing, yet deliberate in our actions, we glide, our heads above water, moving over the rapids with grace and agility.

So multi-faceted and unbridled, our path seems incredibly perilous. Yet as water, we move effortlessly fast around the rocks, buoyant and spontaneous. At times we feel aimless in our search and we drift along waiting and wanting to fill something up. At times our Fire is so overwhelming, we find ourselves standing in dried-up riverbeds, breathing in the dust of our intensity and our destructive natures.

When we stay our course though, powerful in the stillness, the vessel appears and we are complete. Sun to Moon, Heaven to Earth, masculine to feminine, Yin to Yang, we are full and yet we are empty simultaneously.

Ease is our state of mind. As we move with you, our trust grows and our own eye expands. We can now see how you take us over the hidden boulders, through whirlpools that spin us around and frequently take our breath away; sometimes we are even at edge of death. As our own eye opens, we see that going with the flow takes us places we’ve never dreamed of before, out of our safe little streams into the rushing, pulsing rivers of the deep.

Journey Inward: Divine Flow and Rhythms of Life

Take a moment to relax, lying down on your back. Use props under your head and knees if you like. Breath naturally for several inhalations and exhalations, letting your bones be heavy, sinking into the floor; allow your eyes to drop to the back of your head. If you desire, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth–even somewhat forcefully for a bit–to release stagnant energies. Then, breathe naturally and quietly through your nose.

As you breathe into your nose, feel the air moving from the nasal passages, down past your throat, down through your spine. Repeat this several times. As you breathe out, listen to the air passing through, brushing all sides of your throat like a wind; it’s a little like snoring. Breathe in and out through this place in the back of your throat; it’s like listening to the ocean in a huge conch shell.

Now imagine you are floating on a lake. Keep breathing, continuing to listen to the sea inside. Allow your breath to expand into the depth, the width and length of this lake; watch as your breath moves in all directions, like little waves lapping onto the shores.

Feel the mist on your skin, penetrating and entering your pores. Feel the water under your skin; see the clear crystal blue quality of its energy moving through you. This water flows through your veins and nerve pathways, through your subtle energy channels, your meridians and through your fascia. It occupies the space between the layers of your aura.

Your breath becomes the rivers, the tides and currents moving through all of your energy channels. Feel the water surrounding your bones and vital organs, moving into your cells, cleansing and purifying, flowing, open and receptive. You are the ocean.

Feel the water moving up your spine, pooling in each chakra along the way, expanding your intuition as it reaches your head, opening your eye.

Feel it cooling your brain as the water moves up from your kidneys, calming the Fire in your head.

Let this watery breath fountain out through your crown and into your aura. Feel it moving down into your arms and legs, it also fountains out your soles and palms. Feel this loving water element healing your emotional body. Feel your own vitality and life force quicken as you merge with the water on the planet.

Be still here as long as you like.

When you’re ready, bring your knees to your chest, roll over to the right and lie still for a bit longer. When you are ready, sit up. Sit still, breathe and feel the sea inside; when you are ready, stand up.

Water is always here, inside your body; its constant state of motility healing and purifying everywhere it goes.

The information here has been compiled from various personal experiences as well as teachings and information from Kathy Jones’ book “Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess,” Mara Freeman’s book, “Kindling the Celtic Spirit,” and Frank MacEowen’s book, “The Celtic Way of Seeing.”

The Energetic Connection offers podcasts and online courses in self Mastery and Opening the Body to Spirit.