Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is all the Pagan holidays or High Days and Cross quarter days  celebrated in a year. There are four High Days and 4 Cross quarter days making a total of eight celebrations. This is a new pagan tradition started in the 20th century.

Not all ancient cultures celebrated all eight festivals. There was certain ones that were important to them. Remember that the growing season was their life and their survival depended on it. The sun and the length of days held importance. Celebrating the coming back of the sun was a joyous time when the colder months meant the lack of it.

Each turn of the wheel of the sun holds meaning; and marks certain traditions and customs to be performed in that particular time frame. There is a season and a time for everything and certain preparations need to be done so that everything gets done. This prepares your mind and body and internal clock to be set for the growing season. Which is your life.

Think of the ‘wheel” as a wagon wheel with eight spokes. Each spoke represents a festival and as the wheel turns each spoke or festival gets it’s turn. A High Day is the Equinox’s and the Solstice’s. A Cross Quarter Day is the festival celebrated in between the High Day’s.

The High Days and Cross Quarter days are as follows:

Winter Solstice / Yule (High Day)

Imbolc (Cross Quarter Day)

Spring Equinox / Ostara (High Day)

Beltaine (Cross Quarter Day)

Summer Solstice / Midsummer (High Day)

Lughnassadh (Cross Quarter Day)

Autumn Equinox (High Day)

Samhain (Cross Quarter Day)

Each festival has it’s meaning and customs and helps prepare you physically and mentally for each season. Getting your body and mind in sync with the earth will help with all kinds of ailments that we modern people suffer with.

 

 

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Spring Equinox Festival

The festival for the Spring Equinox is held on or about March 21st. This is where the length of day and night are equal. The sun and the length of days were very important to ancient cultures, for their lives depended on the growing season. Thus, it was only natural to hold some sort of ritual to show appreciation through acknowledgement and offerings.

Although, the calendar may say it’s Spring, many regions still have a long way to go before they can get out and prepare for the warmer months. This makes celebrating all the festivals of the modern “Wheel of the Year” very important. It helps you turn your attention ever so slowly through the lengthening of the light of the sun. There is a time and a place and customs for every turn.

The Celts did not celebrate the Spring Equinox as far as a festival goes. But many surrounding cultures did have traditions for welcoming the Spring.

The color green is a given for the greening of the fields. The eggs associated with Easter are another Spring tradition of many cultures. Eggs symbolized fertility. At this time, blessing the land for fertility is important to assure a good growing season. Also, the nature spirits are known for birthing new life in the Spring. Fertility and rabbits abound, and the promise of colorful flowers.

It’s only natural to incorporate these symbols in your life around this time and use them in your rituals. These symbolize the meaning of Spring and acknowledging the Gods and Goddesses and making offerings to them for a good growing season is appropriate.

And after your ritual, whether personal or in the community, feast on the good bounty of food shared by all. Don’t forget to have fun. Enjoy!

https://www.adf.org/rituals/celtic/ostara/index.html

https://www.thoughtco.com/all-about-ostara-the-spring-equinox-2562471

 

 

 

Imbolc Ritual

This ritual was a difficult one for me. I live in Northern New York were it’s cold and snowy until the middle of May. Therefore, it’s hard to think of Spring when you really can’t do anything outside.

I chose to focus on the healing aspect of this time. That was appropriate since the winter is long and hard with sickness and a lot of people die still in this day and age of the sickness in the winter months. I work in a hospital so I guess that is apparent to me and wouldn’t be to someone else.

Also, there is family troubles that needed healing and then my mother needed healing also. So, I felt compelled to focus on Brigid although I have been resisting her. I still am reluctant to open myself up to her.

So, I have contemplated her and held space for her at my altar. That’s as far as the “ritual” went. Then my mother started declining in health and I was trying to arrange things for her to move back to NY. Then before, I knew it, it was March and I had to go to IL to be with my mother and her passing.

So, I really didn’t do anything until after I got back and then just did a very short quick ritual at my altar to Brigid for the healing of my mother in death and for her children to heal as well.

After my weekly ritual on March 25, while the candles were still lit, I called on Brigid in a heartfelt plea to please help in our hurt and gave her an offering of dried tea leaves. That was all. I let the candles burn as I went about my business.

After a while, I came back and saw that the candle had dripped in three pools off the holder and all over my dresser and down it. It was amazing to see because it was no small mess. I knew it was a message from Brigid. Also, the 3 pools were significant because not only is Brigid a triple goddess but we are three sisters. And all the three pools were different sizes. I took it as the amount of hurt each of us was feeling. I took a picture of it and sent it to my sister and we discussed the meaning. She had a different take on it.

I felt Brigid’s love and willingness to help. It’s now time to turn my attention to her.

 

Spring Equinox Ritual

Our grove celebrated the Spring Equinox on Saturday, March 24, 2018. This was the 2nd spring equinox with the grove, as I missed last years ritual. It was held outside and I did not know that and was not dressed appropriately. It was cold!

There was a egg hunt for the kids before the ritual. Then our senior druid had the pre ritual debriefing. I was hoping that the ritual would be condensed and quick. But, Alas! It was not. Which is good but not for these old bones.

We had the procession and the ritual proceeded as usual per the core order of ritual for ADF. Before the outsiders were appeased, we each got to state what we would like to let go of and send it to mother earth for transformation. I choose negativity.

I welcomed the ancestors and I recited my part without notes. I think I did good despite being frozen. Right before I made my offering, I kissed the flower petals left over from my mother’s bedside and welcomed her personally to the ritual for the first time as an ancestor. So that part had great meaning for me.

I made my offering to Airmed and then as has been my custom for each ritual, I made a personal offering to the Earth Mother. I’m still learning about the Celtic Gods and Goddesses and did not know much about Airmed. Reading it and hearing our senior druid tell their stories during ritual are complete opposite things. As usual, our senior druid is a remarkable storyteller, and has inspired me to learn more about Airmed.

The omens were very interesting and I partook in the return flow. Then it was time for the magical working. Unfortunately, I could not stand the cold any longer and had to go inside to warm up and leave the ancestor goodbye to someone else.

Our magical working was for Airmed to bless our seeds and the grove helped wake them up by drumming. I missed that and am sorry.

Everyone was very kind and gave me hugs for the loss of my mother and I now feel like we are closer and they are my family. I was gifted with a jar of loose tea blended by my fellow grove sister to help with my mourning. I feel very lucky for all the support they have given me the last two years of being with them and learning druidary. I feel this druidary has helped me so much in dealing with life and especially the passing of my mother just one short week ago.

I am looking forward to many more rituals with my grove.

Momma (Part 1)

I noticed my mother getting very confused the end of January. I would call her and she would not remember things I told her in earlier phone conversations. She would forget what day it was and whether it was morning or night. I thought it was because she had been in the hospital and rehab centers since October and it was getting to her to be out of the loop like that. If I happened to talk to a nurse they would ask me if I was coming this weekend because she told them that I was. I would have to explain that no not this weekend but I would be getting her soon.

When I called over the course of three days in early February to have her write down some information to switch banks was when I realized how bad her memory was. She was forgetting things about New York. She forgot her bank’s name and her apartment that she lived in for 10 years. She had only been in Illinois for 3 years. I could only get her to write down and recite to me bits and pieces at any one time. She was very confused.

When I mentioned to the nurses how bad her memory was they were surprised and thought she was fine. The nurse was surprised when I mentioned she lived in NY only till three years ago because apparently she told them she had never lived in NY. That was alarming because she was born and raised in Cortland and lived in Gouverneur for the last 30 years. I finally convinced them to check her out for a UTI. It took several days for her to collect a sample. The results were negative.

She had a fall in the shower Thursday, February 15th and did not tell me for a couple of days. I talked to the nurses right away and told them when and to have her checked out. The next day they called back to say that they had a full work up on her and that everything was alright.

She seemed to be sounding better after that for awhile. She would call me up and talk out of the blue. I would remind her that I would be getting her in April and bringing her back here to NY and we would have coffee together in the mornings again. She liked that.

On Sunday, March 4, I got a voicemail from the nurse to call her back about how my mother was doing. They told me she had fallen again. This time she tried to get into her bed by herself and fell but she was alright. I talked to my mom and she said she was alright.

On March 6th, I must have called her during the day on one of my breaks at work to check up on her. It was hard to reach her because she did not have a phone in her room and did not have her cell phone with her if she was in the hallway, physical therapy, or the dining room. She had difficulty answering the phone and said hi and after that I could not get her to answer me. The nurse happened to be in her room at the time and got on the phone to say that she was not acting right. She tried to pick up the remote control to answer the phone and was not responding appropriately. She said she would order labs and get a hold of the doctor.

I didn’t hear back from the rehab facility until 7:00 pm Tuesday night. Her hemoglobin was dangerously low and would have to be transferred to a regular hospital for a blood transfusion. She went through the emergency room and they did their own tests to find out the status of my mother. They did give her some blood and finally admitted her late Tuesday night.

Wednesday around 4 pm, I called the hospital to check on her status and that is when the nurse said that she was currently getting a CT and angiogram together to find out what was wrong with her leg because it was extremely cold and afterwards she would be getting an endoscopy to find out the source of internal bleeding. Her hemoglobin would go up after the blood transfusion but then go back down a couple of hours later.

Later on that night I called again to find out the results of those tests. The nurse would not tell me the results of the angiogram because she wanted the doctor to talk with me about that. When I asked about the endoscopy she didn’t have a problem informing me that mom had 2 bleeding ulcers. I asked to talk to my mom. She was glad to her from me but said the doctors were talking amputation. I was hoping she heard wrong.

During the night I got another voicemail from the hospital. It was not meant for me. It was a nurse asking advice about what she should do about the cap on mom’s catheter that was left off and possibly contaminated. I did not rest easy that night. I was sick to my stomach with worry. I texted my boss to let her know what was happening and that I wouldn’t be in until I talked to her doctors.

I called the hospital at 8:00 to see about talking to a doctor and he was not in yet. I called back at 11:00 still no word from the doctor. I packed up my stuff and left town at 1 pm to drive to IL to see my mother. During the drive on Thursday afternoon, I started receiving phone call after phone call from the nurses and doctors at the hospital and from her dialysis clinic.

In addition to her low hemoglobin caused by her bleeding ulcers, and her leg which was extremely cold due to lack of circulation and had to be amputated, her PD catheter was contaminated. Her body was swollen with toxins due to her not having had a dialysis treatment. it was imperative that I consent to her being switched to hemodialysis. I expressed my worries about her lack of any good arteries to be switched.; They assured me all will be fine and this was the right decision. She got a catheter in her juggler vein on Thursday afternoon. I talked to her right before that procedure and explained to her that I was on my way to see her. She was happy about that.

I didn’t get to the hospital until 8:30 am and could not see her as she was in her first treatment for hemodialysis. I would not be about to see her until 11:30 am. Me and my brother waited around and tried to rest in the family room until she got back. Her room number added up to the number 9.

It was a total shock when she did get back to her room. They put her in another room which did not add up to 9 to my relief. My poor mother was shaking, and withering in extreme pain. Her face was so pale and she looked near death. She had oxygen and IV’s hooked up to her as well as an heart monitor. She was so wracked with pain she could not talk or express any feeling about seeing us other than pain. It broke our hearts.

After a while the admitting doctor came to talk with us. He assured me that she could get better with the dialysis taking off the excess fluid and flushing the toxins from her body, and after the amputation. Her ulcers would take six to eight weeks to heal. But, admitted her quality of life would not be good and it would be temporary. I asked if she was on anything for pain and I thought he said she was getting morphine every four hours. So, I was thinking that she was in pain even with the morphine.

I finally talked to the nurse later on that day who clarified that she did have a PRN order for morphine but was not getting any due to her low blood pressure. Also, she was not able to get any excess fluid off during her dialysis treatment because her blood pressure was too low. She also assured me that once the toxins came off she would be thinking and communication much more clearly. I kept explaining to my mom what was going on and she needed her leg amputated and she would say that she did not want that at all.

The physician’s assistant to the vascular surgeon came to talk with us and explain the situation with moms leg. She said it was lack of blood flow. I mentioned her fingertip that was all black and she checked her hand and fingers for blood flow and there was flow there. She came a second time right before we were to leave for the day and mentioned that they had her scheduled for amputation the next morning provided she was stable. She had not been stable yet so I didn’t how she was going to be by then.

I left the hospital with my brother around 6 pm to drove to my friend’s house to stay the night. We were totally exhausted and could not think straight. Yes, I got lost. Yes, I was stopped my the cops because I had a cell phone in my hands following the GPS. Thank goodness they let me go with a verbal warning and I did not get shot because I was belligerent with them.

That night after talking with my friend, we agreed that she needed to be transferred back to her regular hospital with her regular doctors who knew her history and for a second opinion on her leg. I called the hospital and spoke with her nurse and told her I did not sign any consents for surgery and that I did not want anything happening. She assured me nothing would happen until I got there.

I contacted my sister Saturday to let her know what was going on. She was going to stop by the hospital after 4 pm. The hospital called to get my verbal consent for surgery early that morning. I said no that I am not giving it and that I want a second opinion. My friend and I and Steven left for the hospital and got there around 10 am. She looked better because apparently they gave her a dose of morphine. Her blood pressure was a little better than the day before. She slept mostly and was comfortable for awhile and was silly while awake.

I talked to the doctor who agreed on her being transferred to Elmhurst and the hospital spent all day arranging that which did not go smoothly. She was in and out of it all day.

The vascular surgeon came and spoke to us in the early afternoon and dashed our hope to pieces. He explained that her leg did indeed have blood flow and what she had was calciphylaxis. He explained that was the calcification of her blood vessels near the skin and it caused extreme pain and the necrosis that we were seeing on her leg. We could amputate it but soon it would spread to other areas and she would have a year or less to live. We could amputate and then amputate some more but to what end.

That news was a punch in the gut to us. He pleaded with us to make sure that we talk to a vascular surgeon at Elmhurst. Only a vascular surgeon was trained in seeing this. Also, he explained that he did see my mother while she was having dialysis the day before and wondered why they were doing dialysis on a dead person. That was how bad she looked.

The transfer did not happen on Saturday. I spent the night at my friends house. Sunday, my sister, friend, and brother and I all went together to the hospital. We talked and talked to the nurses and doctors and worked on the final details of the transfer. Finally, they transported her to the other hospital around 5 pm. on Sunday. I got to ride in the front of the ambulance. The ambulance number was 313. I felt nothing but doom and cried all the way there.

 

Imbolc Festival

Imbolc is an Irish/Gaelic quarter day festival celebrated between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox around February 2 to honor the first hints of spring.

The name Imbolc is a bit of a mystery. Some scholars say that it means “in the belly” which referred to the pregnancy of ewes. Since this was the time of the birthing for the ewes, this makes sense. And others say it means to wash or cleanse such as a ritual cleansing.

The Goddess Brigid was the deity of honor for this celebration. Brigid represented the Spring season which includes fertility. She is also known for her healing attributes.

The customs around this celebration revolve around fertility, healing, and springtime. A custom that has carried over to modern times is Spring Cleaning. After the long, cold, closed up house with the smell of smoke from the fireplace, the house is in need of a good cleaning and airing out. The same is true today. And what better motivation to clean then to do it for the goddess Brigid before she visits your house.

Other customs include making Brigid dolls. This was done by the menfolk and symbolized fertility. Brigid crosses were popular also. It was used for not only decoration but symbolized Brigid’s protection of hearth and home and healing blessings. Divination was also done for the purpose of knowing the future health of the family, livestock, and crops for the coming growing season. There are many other traditions and I encourage you to investigate them for yourself.

And of course, what is a festival without a feast and socialization. This holiday was eventually taken over and the customs and stories replaced by Christian concepts and is now known as St. Brigid’s Day or Candlemass. Many cultures still celebrate the original meaning today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid

https://www.adf.org/rituals/celtic/imbolc/imbolc-traditions.html

 

Women Rising

Woman are rising! Do you hear them? We are roaring on many issues. 

The Woman’s March on Washington in January 2017 sparked a movement that we have not seen since the 1960s. This march was in direct response to the new president who was just inaugurated.

We were, are, and will continue to make our voices be heard on many issues. Not just issues that pertain to women, but all people.

Too bad this response was not seen at the polls in November 2017. We shall see what happens in the next elections since more woman than ever are deciding to run for political office.

Then, the sexual allegations of politicians started one after the other, followed by one actress after the other telling their stories on sexual assault in the movie industry. The  #metoo movement has escalated to all women telling their stories. It is a crazy time.

Was I the only one wondering what the hell was going on? I was all on board until the sex came up.

I mean, yeah, these things happen and have always happened. But, why now and in such large numbers? Why was this bothering me so much? I am having a very hard time understanding my being triggered by this. So, I have waited and thought endlessly about this problem of mine. Why am I discrediting these woman and thinking they are being whinny weaklings?

I’m still not sure. But, like all things, there are many layers to issues and unfortunately it takes years to uncover all of them. Just when you think you have things cleared up, down the line, another layer of it resurfaces and the process starts all over.

This last Friday, a friend posted a video by a numerologist that I have never heard of, Natsnumbers. I’m glad that I clicked on that link because that led me to her other videos which explained why we had such a tumultuous time in 2017 and what is in store for 2018. Then things about the above issues made more sense to me.

To loosely paraphrase, she explained that 2017 added up to be a 1 year. The number 1 is  a new beginning, or a fresh start. The main theme was to remember who we were and are.

I took this to mean that now that we are seeing such contrast in the world, whether it be good or bad, we now have a visual of how we really want to be and grow as a society. You might have thought you knew, but it has now been apparent that what you got is not what you wanted after all. Which is what we all learn eventually. So remember who and what you want to be and start being that. Who are we as woman and what do we want to pass on to our daughters and granddaughters?

Nat also explained that 2018 is an 11. The number eleven is a master number. It is meant to awaken something in us. It’s an independent drive to connect with the world in a different way. The way we connect is going to be our life purpose. What is your life purpose? What fires you up? What do you want to share with the world.

According to Nat, “the most selfish thing that we have been doing is sacrificing ourselves for other people.” That statement knocked me down when I heard that. My goodness, that is so true. Women have sacrificed ourselves time and again throughout the dawn of time and have been silenced at every turn.

So, who are we? Who do we want to be? What gifts do we have that we need to share with the world? How do we want to shape the world for the future? We woman once had a say in the world. We are remembering that and are rising up.

Upon exploring Nat’s website, I see she is offering a course on Super Power Initiation. Yeah. Woman are standing up and fighting. We are not lying down being quite and submissive anymore. That made me feel better. Let’s kick some ass.

Also, Elen of the Ways, has let herself be known to me. I have heard mention of her before but never paid much attention. This time she will not get out of my head. I bought a book about her and am so intrigued. I think I am learning my purpose. I am learning the nature of things. Like it or not, you can’t fight nature.

This weekend has been enlightening and has answered many questions I have had. I have urges to write but I am not a writer by any means. I hem and haw and procrastinate. I think way too much about a subject and then get very bored with it. I wait, and then guess what, someone else has written the same thing I was thinking.

The Earth Mother has been revealing her secrets to me for a while now and I am inspired to speak up. But, I haven’t. I’ve held back because, “who am I?”. I have been thinking that the cry of women is in fact a larger cry of the Earth Mother. Another “happen chance” thing is I ran into another shared blog post that said what I have been thinking.

This was a weekend of great insight to women’s issues, current events, numerology, and The Ways of Elen. The links are all at the bottom for you to read for yourself. Enjoy!

I have learned that our collective mother, Mother Earth, is crying out for us to listen to her. She is using us women for the world to finally hear us. She wants us to finally listen to her. To stop taking advantage of her and raping and pillaging her. Not only are the men doing this but women, her progeny, are doing this to her. We must stop. Take care of her. Love her. Listen to her.

When we do this, then we as women will naturally be nurtured also. When we teach the men how to take care of the earth and us, then the shift will happen. And a new world will be born.

Oh, it is not as simple as that, you say. Maybe not, but often times, the simplest answer is the right one.

So, yes, have your meetings and discussions on consent. That is a good thing. Let’s teach the current and future generation to ask instead of taking.

Ask, check in, love, nurture, care for one another, and listen. Do not judge and critque every word and word that was left out. Man, woman, child, different races, colors, religions, genders. You know, people!

And don’t forget the Earth Mother! She provides everything for you freely. Remember her!

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/us/womens-march-metoo.html

http://www.sheshouldrun.org/

http://natsnumbers.com/

http://www.rebellesociety.com/2018/01/17/sandyibrahim-me-too/