Monthly Archives: January 2016
This tea from The Forest Witch is ~amazing~ Seriously you guys, get some!
When I saw that her shop was offering sample sizes, I got almost every kind I found without ginger and coconut. This particular tea has, green tea, rose, jasmine, lavender, apple, and cloves. Floral flavors have historically been hit or miss for me. Jasmine especially has beeb a main ingredient in many teas that I can’t stand, but it’s also been in some of the good ones.
If sample sizes weren’t available, I probably wouldn’t have tried this tea. Not only because I was wary of the ingredients, but also because Frigg isn’t currently part of my personal pantheon. Last summer, when I was trying to sort out my pantheon and performing multiple divinations to confirm or make sense of my intuitions, Frigg was a goddess I was drawn to. I had my eye on a small portable shrine to her from Beth Wodandis’ shop for a while and many pieces of Frigg devotional jewelry were on my favorites list.
I performed most of my divinations during the “workings” portion of my ADF-style rituals to make sure that the Powers were really there to respond. I also asked about the results of previous divinations several times to make sure I was getting consistent results. When I asked about Frigg, I got a neutral response. No strong indication that she has any particular interest in working with me, but also no indication that I shouldn’t attempt to forge a relationship if I wanted to. Because I wanted to keep my personal pantheon small for the time being, I wanted to work on relationships with the deities who really had particular interest in working with me. When Woden indicated interest, I freaked out thinking I wasn’t ready for that relationship and thought that I might feel more comfortable working my way to him through Frigg. My divinations suggested I don’t do this. So I didn’t. And I survived, haha. Woden has a way of telling it like it is. No sugar coating. But I know he does so for my own good, so it’s cool.
But this tea has rekindled my interest in getting to know Frigg. It tastes like a hug in a cup. Like a mother’s love, but also like something mysterious and powerful, as one should expect from a cup of tea made for a goddess. Perhaps since I’ve gotten over my Woden fears, I can try again with Frigg. I’ll keep you all posted.
In other news – I thought of the perfect name for my shop! I don’t exactly have a shop yet, but I will, soon, hopefully. I don’t have much money at the moment to spend on supplies and I’d like to practice some of my not-recently-used skills as well as one or two new ones before opening shop. I’m really really hoping it can happen before the end of the year. I don’t want to share the shop name just yet, but I am so happy that I thought of it and that it seems be available (not trademarked and the domain is available too so I got it just to have for now). Yay for small steps in the direction I want to go 🙂
The Winter Cross-Quarter is most commonly known as Imbolc among Neopagans. At this time of year, we can finally begin to see the effects of the Sun’s return. The Earth is awakening from her Winter slumber and the first signs of spring can be seen. This is the High Day of new beginnings. It is time to put in motion plans made during Yule for the coming year.
Solomoþ (or Ewemeolc) is the Anglo-Saxon holy tide associated with the February cross-quarter. Solmonaþ refers to the month of February. The word “sol” is variably translated as mud, cakes, or sun. Bede translates it as “cakes” due to the seasonal tradition of offering cakes to the gods, particularly to the Earth Mother (Eorðe). Ewemeolc refers to the lactation of the ewe’s which usually took place in early February (Albertsson, 157).
This is the time of year when the Saxon (and most Indo-European) pagans began preparing for the planting season. To that end, a “Charming of the Plough” ritual took place, during which ploughs would be brought out from storage and blessed to ensure bountiful crops.
Modern traditions for Imbolc include spring cleaning and lighting a candle in every room of the house to celebrate the returning light of the sun. Most Neopagans honor the Celtic goddess, Bride (or Brigid) on this day and it is customary to leave out a piece of cloth by the hearth overnight for Her to bless.
Albertsson, Alaric. Travels through Middle Earth: The Path of a Saxon Pagan. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2009. Print.
(End of DP essay)
As for my personal relationship with this holiday, it’s undergoing some changes. I never much cared for February. I often get seasonal depression in Spring. February may still look and feel like winter in most of the places I have lived, but I am most affected by time spent in anticipation. I love anticipating autumn and the winter holidays much more than living through them. Does that even make sense? I tend to live my life in the future. Yes, I know, bad, bad. I always hear how important it is to live in the present, and I have been making efforts to do so. However, I don’t exactly “not” appreciate the present. I don’t look to the future because I would rather be there (well, OK, I’ve been guilty of that a time or two), I like the feeling of the future in the present air. I love the present because I can feel what’s coming, and that feeling only exists in the present.
Anyway, February feels like Spring is coming. And Spring has never been my favorite season. It’s muddy. It’s slushy. If there was a lot of snow the previous winter, there is probably going to be a lot of flooding as it melts. And the bugs! Ugh the bugs. Yeah, ok, bad on me again for not loving the bugs. I love them from a distance. I try to be nice to them. I have a bugzooka for transporting them (alive) to the outside. But ugh, the sound of flies inside all year long because one or two inevitably sneaks in at some point during our comings and goings. Having to constantly shake out my shoes to make sure there’s nothing creeping in them. My terrible phobia of wasps…
Nevertheless, I have new ambitions for this spring time, so I am almost looking forward to it. I am going to plant my first garden! ٩(^ᴗ^)۶ And, with my husband’s help, I am going to make the back yard look more like the sacred space it is. I will be performing my own mini blessing ritual to prepare the garden tools and hopefully ward them against my not so green thumb. 🙂 Speaking of which, that little Money tree I bought last summer is still alive. 😮 I am off to a good start already :p
Our Own Druidry defines piety as,
correct observance of ritual and social traditions, the maintenance of the agreements (both personal and societal) we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.
Merriam-Webster defines piety as,
1. the quality or state of being pious as:
a. fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents)
b. dutifulness in religion
2. an act inspired by piety
3. a conventional belief or standard
Both of the sources above focus on piety as a duty. Although the dictionary includes belief as part of the definition, it is given as the least-common use of the word. I would further clarify it a misuse of the word. It is possible to hold an orthodoxic belief in the gods and their nature, for example, but take no pious action to honor this belief. It is also possible to perform according to a church’s orthopraxy, but to feel no spiritual connection to the actions performed. The latter is known as false piety. Piety, per my own definition, is the fulfillment of devotionally-motivated duty, where devotion is what transforms action into a spiritually fulfilling experience and may be to the gods, the Earth, the ancestors, or the self.
Piety transforms a belief system or worldview into a living tradition. It unites members of a particular spiritual path into a distinct community. The motivation to be pious should not stem from an isolated desire to be part of a community, nor must one necessarily belong (somatically or otherwise) to a community in order to be pious. One might create their own unique pious traditions for which there does not yet, or may never, exist a community. What matters is that there exists a defined orthopraxy (shared or not) by which one fulfills their pious duty.
n.b. I have modified this essay from the original in order to reflect my current understanding of the virtue.
I finally got try some tea from The Forest Witch on Etsy. XD
I ordered the Full Moon tea and the Ancestors tea. A lot of her current teas have coconut or ginger, both of which I don’t like. Actually, I love coconut, I just can’t stand it in a tea. I’m the odd one out, though, because it is one of the most popular flavors in dessert-teas.
Never mind specific flavors, I tend not to like a lot of flavored teas in general. But it’s been a long time since my last tea-exploration phase, so I decided to sample outside my comfort zone and glad I did!
The ancestors tea is pretty good! I shared a cup with my ancestors, of course, and posted a review on Steepster.com, where I log all my teas.
I haven’t tried the Full Moon tea yet, but I’m optimistic! I can always reserve it exclusively for ritual offering if it’s not my cuppa.
Wisdom is defined in Our Own Druidry as,
Good judgement, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response.
Merriam-Webster defines wisdom as,
- accumulated philosophic or scientific learning (knowledge)
- ability to discern inner qualities and relationships (insight)
- good sense (judgement)
- generally accepted belief
2. wise attitude, belief, or course of action
3. the teachings of the ancient wise men
or, more simply as,
:knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life
:the natural ability to understand things that most people cannot understand
:knowledge of what is proper or reasonable: good sense or judgement
All three of these definitions fall short of what I would consider to be both useful and comprehensive. ADF’s definition embodies the ultimate outcome of possessing wisdom, but it does not specify how to get there. If I am to refer to the definition of a virtue as a guide to living, I need to know the how as much as the what.
Merriam-Webster’s full and simple definitions include the “how” of wisdom, but they are curiously incompatible with each other. “Ability to discern” in the full definition becomes a “natural ability” in the simple one. The “knowledge” of the full definition is academic in nature, while in the simple definition, it is experiential. However, merely removing “natural” from the simple definition, or adding “knowledge gained by experience” to ADFs, would yield a usable definition.
Wisdom is not a natural ability, it is a state of becoming. I view wisdom very much in the same way as the Romantic poets viewed philosophy. Friedrich Schlegel said of philosophers,
“One can only become a philosopher, not be one. As soon as one
thinks one is a philosopher, one stops becoming one.”
Similarly, one can only become wise, not be wise. Although some amount of wisdom seems to come naturally to some people (especially to those whom we call “old souls”), life experiences (which can include acquisition of academic knowledge) continue to provide us with opportunities for more. To shun these opportunities under the pretext of having already become wise is to become unwise.
n.b. I have modified this essay from the original in order to reflect my current understanding of the virtue.
Another “better late than never” post :p
I was able to meet up with my Grove again for this High Day, after having celebrated Winter Nights/Samhain alone. It was a small turn out this time. Just five of us, but that’s fine by me. I much prefer smaller groups. I learned that my Grove seeded two other groves shortly before I found them, which is why the turn outs the past several High Days have been relatively small (though this Yule was the smallest yet).
We began the ritual by passing around an orange with a lighted candle in it while chanting “the light returns.” I found it to be a very powerful experience and got me into the ritual mindset a lot better than the usual opening meditation. However, this could be because I am getting more comfortable with group ritual in general.
The rite this time was Norse, per this Grove’s custom of alternating Celtic and Norse hearth cultures. Heimdall was gatekeeper, while Baldr and Odin were patrons of the rite. I brought praise offerings for Odin (or Woden, as I know Him) and for my ancestors. This is the first time I brought my own offerings rather than using those provided by the grove. I also took a big step and spoke my praise offerings aloud, which I haven’t done before. Bringing my own offerings and speaking the praises aloud felt much more powerful than my silent second-hand offerings have in the past. As with the opening chant, I don’t know if it was the method or my increased comfort with ritual that had this effect – maybe a little of both.
When our senior Druid drew an omen from the Shining Ones for the group, he got the rune Thurisaz, which he interpreted as a negative omen. He meditated on this for a moment and determined that the Gods wanted the orange we used during the opening chant. After offering the orange, he drew the rune Tyr for the Gods, Ansuz for the ancestors, and Gebo for the Nature spirits, all of which were interpreted as positive omens.
We held this ritual in the basement of a New Age store. This store has a mascot cat, but this time there was also a tiny black kitten. The kitten came and went from our area during ritual and made quite a scene when he nearly fell into a tall plastic bin. He had to be rescued. Silly kitty! Despite his antics, the ritual ran smoothly. In fact, I felt that the kitten’s presence only added positively to the ambience. 🙂
The Winter Solstice, most commonly known as Yule among Neopagans, marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. Symbolically, this is when the Sun is reborn and hope is returned to the world.
Although ADF recognizes the Winter Solstice as a single High Day, Germanic Neopagans usually celebrate it over the course of twelve days, beginning on Mother’s Night and ending on or around New Year’s eve. Mother’s Night, or Mōdraniht (night of the mothers), is supposed to take place the night before the solstice, but many Neopagans, myself included, choose to celebrate it on December 20th every year so that the 12 nights of Yule line up with the end of the modern new year.
The particulars of the original Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht and Yule rituals are unknown. According to Swain Wodening, the only explicit mention of Mōdraniht comes from Bede and the exact length of the Anglo-Saxon yuletide holidays is unknown (“Path to the Gods” 89, 96). What we do know is that Yule heralds the start of the Anglo-Saxon year.
Modern Yuletide customs are adapted from what evidence we have of ancient rites performed during this time of year. Such customs involve honoring the Disir (on Mother’s night), decorating an outdoor Yule tree for the nature spirits, and burning a Yule log.