Saturday, April 27, 2013


April's showers have given way to rich and fertile earth, and as the land greens, there are few celebrations as representative of fertility as Beltane. This holiday incorporates traditions from the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, but it bears some relation to the Germanic May Day festival, both in its significance (focusing on fertility) and its rituals (such as May pole dancing).  It is the celebration of the mystical union with the land, honoring Freyr and Freya.  Observed on May 1, festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April.  It's a time to welcome the abundance of the fertile earth.

May Day on May 1 is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures.  May Day is a festival that has been somewhat lost but is best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance.

Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Beltane, but the focus is nearly always on fertility.  An early morning walk through a local park or forest could be fun for everyone. Gather up some plants or flowers to display in your home.  Mom and daughter could braid their hair and weave in a few tender blossoms.  It's the time when the earth mother opens up to the fertility god, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around.

Beltane Fire

Bonfires are traditionally lit to keep away malevolent spirits or those who might do us mischief.  The ritual welcoming of the sun and the lighting of the fires was also believed to ensure fertility of the land and the people. Animals were transferred from winter pens to summer pastures, and were driven between the Beltane fires to cleanse them of evil spirits and to bring fertility and a good milk yield. The Celts leapt over Beltane fires - for fertility and purification.


For many contemporary Pagans, Beltane is a time for planting and sowing of seeds -- again, the fertility theme appears.  Urban Pagans can start a herb garden in their kitchen.  The buds and flowers of early May bring to mind the endless cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth that we see in the earth. Certain trees are associated with May Day, such as the Ash, Oak and Hawthorn.   Norse legend, the God Odin hung from an Ash tree for nine days, and it later became known as the World Tree, Yggdrasil.


The maypole (May Tree) - a phallic pole planted deep in the earth representing the potency and fecundity of the God, its unwinding ribbons symbolized the unwinding of the spiral of life and the union of male and female - the Goddess and God. Young maidens and lads each hold the end of a ribbon and dance revolving around the base of the pole, interweaving the ribbons.  It is usually topped by a ring of flowers to represent the fertile Goddess. 


This ancient Pagan and Celtic ceremony marked the taking of a partner - this involves a commitment to perform an annual review of relationship.  The couple's hands are ritually bound together to symbolize their union.  Some people choose to use a ribbon that they have both signed.  Between Beltane and the Summer Solstice is the most popular time for handfastings.


Thanks to the Earth Mother

Great earth mother!
We give you praise today
and ask for your blessing upon us.
As seeds spring forth
and grass grows green
and winds blow gently
and the rivers flow
and the sun shines down
upon our land,
we offer thanks to you for your blessings
and your gifts of life each spring.


Wisdom from the world's religions inspires our ethical and spiritual life.


Saturday, April 20, 2013


Eagles are large, powerfully built birds of prey, with a heavy head and beak.  Most of the more than sixty species of eagles occur in Eurasia and Africa.  Outside this area, just eleven species can be found – two species in the United States and Canada, nine species in Central America and South America, and three species in Australia.

Due to the size and power of many eagle species, they are ranked at the top of the food chain as apex predators amongst the avian world.  They have powerful hooked beaks, strong legs, mighty talons and eyesight that is exceptionally keen.  Eagles normally build their nests in tall trees or on high cliffs. Many species lay two eggs, but the older, larger chick frequently kills its younger sibling once it has hatched. The dominant chick tends to be the female, as they are bigger than the male.

Eagles feature prominently on the coat of arms of a large number of countries, such as Germany, Mexico, Egypt, Poland and Austria.  They are also symbols in religion, crime and more.  The Eagle is the universal emblem of the Gods of the sky. The cosmic eagle is a symbol of the highest aspirations of the spirit and its triumph over the physical nature. This is why the eagle is so often depicted in combat with serpents or bulls, creatures who symbolize earthly desire or evil. It is also most often a solar symbol, but sometimes it is thunder or lightning.

The Blood Eagle was a method of torture and execution that is sometimes mentioned in Nordic saga legends.  It was performed by cutting the ribs of the victim by the spine, breaking the ribs so they resembled blood-stained wings and pulling the lungs out through the wounds in the victim's back.  Salt was sprinkled in the wounds.  Victims of the method of execution was mentioned in skaldic poetry and the Norse sagas.  But the historicity of the practice is disputed.
Usually the eagle was the symbol of sovereignty and was particularly associated with the Germanic God of kings and heroes.  The divine eagle is often a hybrid or transformed man, often a king or hero of great virtue. They impart the ability to live in Spirit’s realm, yet remain connected to Earth.

In Norse mythology, at the very top of Yggdrasil there lived an eagle.  The eagle not only has a view of the whole world but also creates wind with its wings.  It lives in endless conflict with the Midgard Serpent, Nidhogg. The squirrel Ratatoskr spends his days delivering messages between the two. 

The Eagle represents spiritual protection, carries prayers, and brings strength, courage, wisdom, illumination of spirit, healing, creation, and a knowledge of magic. The eagle has an ability to see hidden spiritual truths, rising above the material to see the spiritual. The eagle has an ability to see the overall pattern, and the connection to spirit guides and teachers. The eagle represents great power and balance, dignity with grace, a connection with higher truths, intuition and a creative spirit grace achieved through knowledge and hard work.


May you have the strength
Of eagles' wings,
The faith and courage to
Fly to new heights,
And the wisdom
Of the universe
To carry you there.

So may it be.




In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil I (World Tree) is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology, in connection to which the nine worlds exist.  It is an immense ash tree that is central and considered very holy.  It is a myth and portrays the perceived meaning of something rather than merely describing the thing’s physical characteristics.  (For some, Yggdrasil wasn’t thought of as existing in a single physical location, but rather dwell within the invisible heart of anything and everything.)

Several creatures live within Yggdrasil, including a dragon, a eagle, a squirrel and four stags.  On the bough was the eagle and on the roots was the dragon, who represented light and dark in perpetual conflict.  The nimble squirrel Ratatoskr was the mischief-maker.  The tree drips dew, sweet and fruitful, and the bees make honey of it.

Yggdrasil was the tree of life.  Its branches and roots stretched out over all of the nine worlds. Bifrost, a rainbow, was the bridge that connected Asgard to Midgard.  The tree passed from the depths of the underworld and the Norns through the world of men and into the sky, overshadowing the halls of Valhalla. 

               On the third and bottommost layer were Helheim (land of death), Muspelheim (land of fire) and Niflheim (land of ice). 

               On the second layer were Midgard (land of humans), Jotunheim (land of giants) and Svartalfheim (land of dark elves). 

               On the first layer were the worlds Asgard (Aesir Gods and Valhalla), Vanaheim (Vanir Gods) and Alfheim (land of light elves).

Yggdrasil’s roots penetrate deep into the spiritual and its branches spread out over the whole world.  It gives life to itself; it gives life to the unborn. Yggdrasil symbolized the battle between light and dark. It was the subject of constant decay and renewal.  The winds whirl round it as it croons and groans.  Yggdrasil always was and is and will be.  Yggdrasil will give shelter and care to two humans, during the great battle Ragnarok, at the end of the era.  They will be the only surviving humans and they will then re-people the new world in the new time. 

Practice:  Stand up with arms outstretched and legs apart. Take deep breaths to still your mind and close your eyes.  In your mind´s eye, follow in your body the paths that represent the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasil:

"Below you, Helheim, the inner reality that receives all there was and is the foundation to all there is within you. Niflheim comes right above Helheim, representing the realm of primal ice and that which holds you back.  Alongside ice, Muspelheim, the world of primal fire, creating all that there is or ever was.
Upon your heart you feel the beat of Midgard, the living Earth and physical plane we are born to serve and protect, the physical reality that gives form to all there was, is and will be.

Your right arm stretches out upward to reach for Jotunheim, the astral realms where beings of great wisdom and size reside.  While your right hand reaches for Alfheim and you feel Freyr pour energy from above.

Your left arm reaches downward for Svartalfheim, representing the dark elves, the matchless skill of dwarves and the powers of the hidden Earth.  While your left hand stretches for Vanaheim, the realm of peace and plenty, and the gentle breezes from around.

And above you, lies Asgard, the enclosure of the Gods we worship and hope one day to be one with in the Halls of Everlastingness.  Feel the power of the nine worlds energize your whole being and then return to everyday reality, to Midgard of your dreams, insights and deeds."

All Nine Worlds are in harmony within and without, for a moment you were Yggdrasil, the World Tree along with your body recreated anew.


Earth Day

Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment
Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wiccan Recognized

Neopagans are a religious minority in every country where they exist and have been subject to religious discrimination. The largest Neopagan communities are in North America and the United Kingdom, along with other countries.
The word "religion" in North America is often associated with a centralized organization, local religious buildings, a minister preaching to a congregation, a single male deity, an extensive creed, etc. These factors are not really present within Wicca. This causes some people to conclude that Wicca/Witchcraft is not a religion.

"In God we trust" has appeared on most U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957.

A case was brought in 1983 in the U.S. District Court in Michigan. The court found that 3 employees of a prison had restricted an inmate in the performance of his Wiccan rituals. This "deprived him of his First Amendment right to freely exercise his religion and his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the laws."

On June 24, 1999, then-Governor George W. Bush stated on a television news program that "I don’t think witchcraft is a religion and I wish the military would take another look at this and decide against it."  U.S. Army Chaplain Captain Don Larsen was dismissed from his post in Iraq in 2006 after changing his religious affiliation from Pentecostal Christianity to Wicca and applying to become the first Wiccan military chaplain.
Prior to 2007, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) did not allow the use of the pentacle as an "emblem of belief" on tombstones in military cemeteries. This policy was changed following an out-of-court settlement on April 23 following a series of lawsuits against the VA.

Whether you're a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, if you're a Wiccan, you're entitled to the same religious rights as people of other faiths. You can have the word "Wiccan" imprinted on your dog tag, you can pray to your own Gods or Goddesses and you can even attend services and rituals held on your base, if you're fortunate enough to be in an area that has other Wiccans in it.  The Military Chaplain's Handbook acknowledges Wicca within its pages and outlines procedures for interacting with Wiccan soldiers.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs does not list any Asatru symbols as available emblems of belief for placement on government headstones and markers.  Asatru Folk Assembly have demanded such a symbol. However, there are steps for requesting a new emblem of belief be placed on government headstones or memorial plaques.  Thor's Hammer has been added to the military list of symbols of belief, it can be added on a headstone in national cemeteries.

Wiccan and other Neopagan groups have been recognized by governments in the U.S. and Canada and given tax exempt status. Wiccan priests and priestesses have been given access to penitentiaries in both countries and the privilege of performing handfastings/marriages.

In 2013, Fox News 6 anchors inaccurately portray Wiccans in light of the University of Missouri's long-standing decision to include the Wiccan and Pagan holidays and their descriptions in their campus holiday Guide to Religions: Major Holidays and Suggested Accommodations. The University of Missouri stated, "The information about the Wiccan & Pagan holidays has been in the guide since last fall. Keep in mind that this is not intended just for faculty. This is an informational guide for anyone across campus."

While the decisions made by the University of Missouri are fully wholesome and accurate, the angle presented by the anchors of weekday Fox News was not. "Every Wiccan I've known is either a compulsive Dungeons & Dragons player or is a middle-aged twice divorced older woman living in a rural area who works as a midwife," says Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson.  (    warning: the information in this video is inaccurate) 

Wiccan is a nature based religion and it has been recognized as such in the United States and Canada. In the U.S., Wicca has full recognition as a religion and is granted all rights as such under the Constitution.  It is a dedication made to nature, the deities and yourself.  It is a way of life and as such we are mindful of the balance between ourselves and all things within the universe at all times.

Many Americans generally believe that their Constitution guarantees their freedom to worship as they please.  It is sadly not always the case.  Ancient Americans came to this country seeking many things including religious freedom.  It is a battle that continues today for Wicca, Islam, Amish, Native Americanism and more. 
New Symbol as of May 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Idunn's Blot

Calendar of the Sun
16 Eostremonath (April 16)

Idunn's Blot

Colors: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of green place a bowl of apples in different colors, a horn of mead, a polished stone, a bowl of nuts, and many gardening tools such as hoes and spades.
Offerings: Today's work should concentrate entirely on gardening, even in inclement weather. If there is an orchard, special care should be taken with it.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian. Serve fruit and nuts.

Invocation to Iduna

Hail to you, Lady of the Sacred Orchard!
Hail to you, gardener of Asgard!
Let the other gods quarrel
About who may sit higher than whom,
About whose sword is sharper
And whose spear is keener.
You, Lady, know your place,
And that place is indispensable.
You are the One Who Works,
The one without whom all the plans
And grandiosities of the others
Would simply come to nothing.
Giver of health and immortality,
Keep our bodies sound and strong!
Keep us healthy, that we may, like you,
Get up each and every morning
While the rest of the world quarrels
And go quietly to our tasks,
Working the Earth that you love so much,
Knowing that ours is the real work
And the real life, not some shell
Of unbodied, distanced work
Whose products we will never see.
Help us in our daily round of sacred labor,
Lady of the Sacred Orchard,
And may our gardens bloom as yours.

(The horn of mead is passed around, and the rest poured as a libation to Iduna. Each takes an apple and some nuts as a snack for their work-hours, and then each takes a gardening tool from the altar, thanks Iduna, and goes outside to work.)

Saturday, April 6, 2013


GiantlandJotunheim (Jotunheimr) is one of the Nine Worlds and the home of Giants (Jotun).  Homeland of the frost giants and rock giants, it was on the middle level of the Norse universe.  The other giants were the fire giants, who lived in Muspelheim.  From Jotunheim, the giants menaced the humans in Midgard and the Gods in Asgard.  The Jotun represent the forces of chaos and the untamed powers of nature, such as storms.

Trolls and ogres are the mythical giants of northern European folk tales, especially those written or collected in the 19th century.  They do resemble Norse Jotun in some ways, but their appearance and attributes are more varied.  Some tales depict them as cannibalistic, others are more dwarf like creatures.  Some trolls, like some dark elves, turn to stone when the sun shines on them.  They inhabit the outer reaches of Asgard, Midgard, Alfheim, Jotunheim and Svartalfheim.
The whole world was created from the corpse of the first Jotun, named Ymir.  Ymir was killed by the Gods Odin, Ve and Vili.  They formed Jotunheim mostly from rocks, snow and dense forests, so the giants lived from the fish in the rivers and the animals in the forest, because there was no fertile land in Jotunheim.

In Norse mythology, Thrym was king of the Giants.  In one legend, he stole Mjollnir, Thor's hammer, to extort the Gods into giving him Freya as his wife.  Thor, son of Odin, later killed Thrym, his sister, and all of his jotun kin.  (this is an interesting tale of Thor in a brides dress and cunning behavior of Loki it you want to look more into it: Thor's Wedding Day)

Some of the jotun are attributed with hideous appearances – claws, fangs, and deformed features, apart from a generally hideous size.  Some of them even had many heads, such as Thrivaldi who had nine of them or an overall non-humanoid shape.  Other jotun were described as beautiful and had relationships with other Gods.

The jotun are an ancient race, being the first beings created, they carry wisdom from bygone times.  But they are also the end of the world.  In Norse mythology, jotun inflict the final destruction of the world by setting fire to the world at the end of Ragnarok, when the jotun launch an attack on the Gods and kill all but a few of them.


Jotunheimen is a mountainous area of roughly 3,500 km in southern Norway and is part of the long range known as the Scandinavian Mountains. The 29 highest mountains in Norway are all in Jotunheimen.