Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April



Eostremonath                                                                        april


April is the fourth month of the year. Its name is derived from the latin word aperit, which means to open. It is considered that April is the month of the growing season and when trees and flowers begin to 'open'. It is also believed that the month’s name is named after the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite (Aphros). April’s birth flower is the daisy and sweet pea. The birthstone is the diamond which symbolizes innocence. The zodiac signs for the month of April are Aries (until April 20) and Taurus (April 21 onwards).


The month of Eostre or Ostara, the spring Goddess. In Iceland, they had strong agricultural overtones, but elsewhere throughout the Nordic world, mid-April was a time to sacrifice to Odin for victory, called the Sigrblot . The ships were leaving port to seek trade, new lands, and plunder. It is a time to consider new projects and life choices. Remember that your life is an adventure - it is what you make of it.


The Ear q rune of the ea.  Earth, healing energy, body, home.  The Earth element is nurturing and stable, solid and firm, full of endurance and strength.  Connected to the North, Earth is considered the feminine element.  Mannaz is the name of the m-rune m of the word for man, humanity.  The Mannaz rune is one of mortality, but also represents interdependence and support, as well as duty and responsibility.  Wunjo w (joy, hope) is a letter used to represent the sound-w or v.  Joy, in the case of Wunjo, is finding a point of balance, a sense of fulfillment and transformation.  


The Fourth Hall is about home and family. It describes your roots, your heritage and your private life. This time also rules father, land, property, residences, and domestic affairs. The Fourth is about home and family. Other keywords include home life, family and relations, psychological foundations, biological inheritance, place of abode, the ashram, karma.




1 Loki's Day


Today is widely recognized and celebrated in various countries as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other called April Fools. Loki is known for bringing about chaos and discord, but by challenging the Gods, he also brings about change. Without Loki's influence, the Gods may become complacent, so Loki does actually serve a worthwhile purpose, much as Coyote does in the Native American tales or Anansi the spider in African lore.

He has several complex relations with the Gods and humans depending on the source or the century.  Loki sometimes assists the Gods and sometimes causes problems for them.  He is a shape shifter and in separate incidents he appears in the form of a salmon, mare and an elderly woman, most often playing tricks.  He is crafty and malicious, but is also heroic.  Examine yourself for how you manipulate others, even for their own good, or with truthful means. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself.


                              Hail humorist Loki, renew my laughter.




4 Full Frog Moon


Frogs transform from tadpoles into their adult form and this symbolizes the awakening of one's creativity.  If your planting a magical garden, you want to get out there and put things into the Earth.  Plan a ritual to physically plant your seeds of desire in Mother Earth. This is truly a joyous time for celebration. Most Wicca’s celebrate the Full Moon with a special ritual called the Esbat. The Warrior is the ripeness of manhood, the boiling pot of love which is the richness of life.


                              God of the Moon, I call upon thee,


                              for your love and blessings.


                              Great mister of all magic protect me


                              give me your power in this my hour of need.




4 Lunar Eclipse


Eclipses can only occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are all in a straight line.  Solar eclipses occur at new Moon, when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth.  In contrast, lunar eclipses occur at full Moon, when Earth is between the Sun and Moon. Blood Moon is sometimes used to describe a Total Lunar Eclipse.


Several cultures have myths related to lunar eclipses.  The Egyptians saw the eclipse as a sow swallowing the Moon for a short time; other cultures view the eclipse as the Moon being swallowed by other animals, such as a jaguar in Mayan tradition, or a three legged toad in China.  Some societies thought it was a demon swallowing the Moon and that they could chase it away by throwing stones and curses at it.  Or for the Norse, the concern that Hati the wolf had caught up to the God Mani, the end of the world.


                              It is my will on this night of the moon


                              to overcome my shadows


                              and bring about change.




11 Wane Moon T


This is the time when the Moon’s energy is becoming weaker and the strength of the light of the God is diminishing, into the Sage.


                              Hail Manni, God of the Moon!


                              Forever pursued but never caught,


                              You turn through the night,


                              and ward us as we sleep,


                              Hail Manni God of the Moon!




13 Jefferson Birthday


Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) was an American Founding Father who was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence (1776) and the third President of the United States.  He spoke five languages and was deeply interested in science, religion and philosophy.


He cut and pasted pieces of the New Testament together to compose the Jefferson Bible, which excluded any miracles by Jesus. Though he often expressed his opposition to clergy and to Christian doctrines, Jefferson repeatedly expressed his belief in a deistic God and his admiration for Jesus as a moral teacher. Opposed to Calvinism, Trinitarianism and what he identified as Platonic elements in Christianity, in private letters Jefferson refers to himself as "Christian" (1803), "a sect by myself" (1819), an "Epicurean" (1819), a "Materialist" (1820), and a "Unitarian by myself" (1825).




15 Njord's Day


Today give aid to a sailor. The House should, together, send a package to one who sails the seas and has need of aid. Njord is one of the Vanir and the God of seamanship and sailing. The King of the Vanic Gods, Njord was directly responsible for bringing the primeval war between the Gods to an end and in establishing peace between the two tribes.  Down through the ages, Heathens have remembered him for this monumental feat, and to this day, still call upon him for peace.  Njord has sway over the fertility of the land, success of crops and wealth of men, though his main attribute remains the dominion over the prosperity and blessings gotten from the seas.

The tale in which Njord features most prominently is The Marriage of Njord and Skadi.  Skadi, a giantess, had come to the Aesir seeking restitution for the slaying of her father.  As part of the settlement, they agreed that she could have any of the Gods she desired as her husband.  She chose Njord feet by mistake, thinking him to be Baldur.  Their marriage was short and unpleasant.  Half of their time was spent in Skadi’s home in the snowy mountains, which Njord couldn’t tolerate; the other half was spent in Njord’s home, Noatun, which was located on the beach.  Skadi couldn’t tolerate Njord’s home, either, so the two parted ways.


                              O tranquil Lord of seven surging seas,


                              Send wind to fill our sails, and grant us all.


                              To pass to our ports with grace and ease,


                              Over the depths of Ran´s and Aegir´s Hall.




16 Margot Adler Birthday


Margot Adler (1946-2014) was an American author, journalist, lecturer, Wiccan priestess and radio journalist and correspondent for National Public Radio.  Adler was a Wiccan priestess in the Gardnerian tradition, an elder in the Covenant of the Goddess and she also participates in the Unitarian Universalist faith community.




18 New Moon


The time of the New Moon is a good time for celebrating new beginnings or doing magic, which involves growth (starting a diet, beginning a new course of study, etc.). 


                              Welcome back, Moon!


                              We're glad to see you again.


                              Another cycle has passed


                              another month gone by


                              and our lives have moved forward.




22 Earth Day


Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held Worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.  It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.  For some Pagans that don't celebrate Easter, Earth Day activities are often mixed in.  Other mix it in with the Spring Equinox.  Most honor the Earth throughout the year. 


Modern Pagans have a special sacral relationship with the natural World.  Our Gods and Goddesses can be found in oceans, rivers, forests and mountains.  In many cultures, Earth is the primal Mother of most acknowledged Goddesses and powers.  Some pre-Christian cultures envision a World Tree that binds the universe together.  In Norse mythology, Jord was the personification of the Earth.  In Greek mythology, Gaia was the primeval Goddess personifying the Earth. 


                              Root of the root,


                              Mother matter, for whom nothing is ever lost,


                              only transformed,


                              you teach us how to change


                              and how to sit in stillness.


                              When life scatters us in all directions


                              you whisper, "Just be".


                              You urge us, "Honor the body".


                              You tell us, "I will never let you go, I hold you safe forever".


                              All praise to the humble holy ground.


                              We are part of you no less


                              than seed or grass or antelope.


                              We belong.


                              May we learn new ways to honor you.


                              May our presence here be of benefit to you.


                              May we heal the harm we have done to you.


                              In the name of Earth,


                              Be so.




22 Jord's Day


earth2076330_n.jpgToday clean some small part of the Earth. Jord is not actually an official Goddess of the Norse pantheon so much as a personification of the Earth itself, specifically the life force of the planet.  She is known by many other guises outside of the Norse religion and has interacted with, and generally had a major impact upon, all pantheons of deities connected to this planet.  For example, in Greek mythology, she was known as Gaea, the progenitor of the Titans, predecessors of the Greek deities in ruling the other dimensional realm of Olympus; and in contemporary philosophical/metaphorical imagery outside of any actual religion she is known by names such as Mother Earth or Mother Nature.


Jord is the Goddess of all the place there are not under any human control, the Goddess of the mountains, fields, every tree, every rock and moss on it, the verdant meadows and other lands with a pure wild spirit.  She reigns over all the uncivilized places.  She has that physical appearance as a symbol of fertility, to all pregnant women and mothers, or soon-to-be mother and nursing mother, as such, she can be called by those in need of fertility in their own body, in the family, in their livestock, in the garden or land.  Jord can also be called for healing the land and the Earth itself.  She can be called by the environmentalists to help in their hard work, for the safety of the wild nature and to restore order in places that were badly damaged by us humans.  But she can be a fastidious giantess, so call carefully.


                              Mother Jord, Great Goddess of Earth,


                              Goddess of seasons, of life, and of birth.


                              Goddess of planting, of growing, and reaping,


                              Always evolving, and changing, never sleeping.


                              So we can be gentle, and caring, in our love for you!




22 Lyrids Meteor Shower


The Lyrids are will peak on April 22, 2015. A waxing crescent Moon will create good viewing conditions. Those in Europe are best located to view the meteor shower. The best time to watch it is after midnight on April 22.


Considered to be the oldest known meteor shower, the Lyrids are named after constellation Lyra. The radiant point of the shower - the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from - lies near the star Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky during this time of the year.




24 Arbor Day


Arbor Day is a state holiday to promote tree planting and is held on the last Friday of April. On Arbor Day, people are encouraged to care for their natural environment. It's a time for people to get their hands in the dirt and plant and/or care for trees, bushes and plants. Events include: communal tree planting, exhibitions, fairs, music performances and open days in garden centers. Arbor Day awards are also presented in communities, schools, and organizations throughout the United States.


                              I pledge allegiance to the Earth and


                              to the flora, fauna and human life that


                              it supports, one planet indivisible,


                              with safe air, water and soil,


                              economic justice, equal rights and peace for all.




25 Wax Moon


The warrior is the springtime, the dawn, eternal youth and vigor, enchantment and seduction, the new and waxing Moon.


                              Ancient wise one, wayfarer of the night.


                              Take all that has to end, all that


                              must disappear and die with you,


                              into the darkness.  I welcome your


                              peace, I welcome the stillness.


                              As you disappear into the dawn, so


                              I choose to go within.


                              Blessed be.




29 Nerthus's Day


Doing something today to clean the Earth or air. Nerthus is a Goddess associated with fertility.  Nerthus is viewed as one of the Vanir (by some the Queen or Mother of the Vanir).  She is the Mother of Freyr and Freya.  Like Njord, she is strongly associated with frith (peace) and fertility rites.  Together, Nerthus and Njord govern the prosperity and wealth of men, fertility of the land and good harvests. 


She was the 'Mother Earth' worshipped by the North Sea Germans, according to the Roman historian Tacitus (writing in the first century of the Christian era). While Jord took care of the more wild natural places on Earth, Nerthus was more nurturing and gift giving Goddess of the Earth.  But, like Jord, there was two sides.  Nerthus was also the terrible Goddess of earthquakes, famine, flood, storm and destruction.  There was bounty, but also tremendous danger and outright terror all contained at once in the holy presence of this Goddess. 


                              Nerthus, as in days of old, you are needed once more.


                              Let the tribes of men gather to honor you.


                              Let war cease and let weapons be cast aside.


                              Let peace and happiness pour forth through the lands


                              Let the Children of Earth know and


                              honor their Mother once more.




29 Yggdrasil Day


Yggdrasil (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.


On this day we realize the great significance that Yggdrasil plays in our culture, heritage and native spirituality.  It is from the World Tree that we came.  It shelters and nurtures all of us and will offer refuge come Ragnarok.  Trees are the lungs as well as the soul of Midgard (Earth).


                              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




30 Walpurgis Night


Exactly six months before Halloween, the Germans and Scandinavians celebrate Walpurgis Night, May-Eve, Beltane, or Hexennacht, aka Witches’ Night.  Walpurgis Night is the English translation of Walpurgisnacht, the German name for the night of 30 April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Germany.  In German folklore Walpurgisnacht is believed to be the night of a witches' meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, a range of wooded hills in central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe.


Many people tidy up their gardens this time of year.  The leaves and branches are good material for the bonfires, and so are the Christmas trees after Christmas. In many places, people gather material for their bonfires for months ahead.  This tradition originates from Germany, where they lit bonfires to scare off witches.  The Vikings picked up the habit of lighting bonfires to keep away evil spirits and wild animals so that the livestock would not get harmed.  They also used the bonfires to celebrate and hurry up spring and to purify nature.


Now to the Brocken the witches ride;


the stubble is gold and the corn is green;


There is the carnival crew to be seen,


And Squire Urianus will come to preside.


So over the valleys our company floats,


with witches a-farting on stinking old goats.


~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust




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