October is a time for many Halloween Offerings and Traditions. Halloween Offerings such as Kale, nuts, leeks and onions instead of candy were the Halloween offings in days of old. Very disappointing to those of us with sweet tooths, imagine going to the door and someone handing you a bunch of Leeks!! But at that time they were offerings of Harvest and hope for abundance in the coming year and a way of honoring our ancestors.
It is almost impossible to think of May Day without thinking of a May pole and a May pole dance. Many of us did this as a child and remember the joy of weaving in and out and watching the ribbons become shorter forming a braid around the pole at the end (hopefully).
It is one of the popular symbols of the season and represents not only the fact that Spring is in full swing but the divine marriage of the Lord and Lady of the Greenwood, making this a time for romance as well.
The pole represents the male and is usually cut from a fir tree whose branches have been stripped. It is them raise upright with great flourish and much ado.
Whatever type of ribbons you use you will need an equal number and at least 2 separate colors, as this is for an equal number of males and females traditionally. They will need to be about 2 times as long as the May pole as the braiding takes up the length and at least 2 inches wide. The ribbons are attached to the top of the pole and crowned with a circlet of flowers, preferably made the morning of May day from fresh flowers.
As for the dance itself, there are usually 8 dancers for each sabbat paired into couple but this has gone by the wayside as the old tradition of the May pole dance have. It involves moving in a circle weaving in and out of the other dancers ie men would take one color on their left and women another color on their right, remember you will be going in opposite directions. Men begin by weaving under the upheld ribbon of the first woman. This is/was symbolic of the birth canal. The dance continues until the May pole is wrapped with the ribbons, they are tied off and the wreath is dropped.
Many dancers wear bells and make their steps a skip or little jog, whatever the music dictates and to celebrate happiness.
If done right , your May pole should begin to look like the photo on the right!!
Good luck and have a happy May Day!!
Imbolc falls on Feb.. 2, 2015. It is also known as Groundhog Day (when if the gopher sees his shadow winter continues).
Snow is on the ground and it seems as if winter will not end. However, with the arrival of Imbolc comes the hope of Spring. It is a time to call upon the universe to warm and heal us. It is a time to be inspired. To feel renewed and know that the winter is behind us.
The use of healing herbs for our mind, body and spirit to get us through is quiet common. Think of the warmth of cinnamon in the air, the healing of evergreen or eucalyptus. The uplifting aroma of citrus to brighten the spirit may be used at anytime of the year, simply rub a yellow candle with lemon, lime or orange. Herbs and citrus can be used in teas or a small amount sprinkled on a candle to release the aroma. And of course, let’s not forget the concept of cooking.
We need to remind ourselves to use our power and the gift of the elements to balance, ground, and rejuvenate ourselves. Use the color turquoise for healing and poetry to fan the flame of inspiration.
In Ireland and Scotland, the women make dolls from corn husks and carry them from home to home. Her name is Bridget and she is decorated with flowers, shells, stones and ribbons. Elements of the earth to be honored and cherished. The children chant Bridget is coming, Bridget is coming.
Perhaps you could make a similar item at home and light a fire or candle to honor her and the earth.
Work on leaving the winter behind and prepare for a bright, new spring. After all, Spring is coming and with it new growth and a new freshness. Embrace it.
Bright Blessings to you
Insights by Sandra
Joyous celebrations are held on the Summer Solstice , the longest day of the year and eve of the first day of Summer and in some cultures, wooden wheels are set on fire at sunset and rolled down hills to represent the sun.
At Summer Solstice we give tribute for abundance, power, and possibilities. The warmth of the earth and the growth of crops.
Bonfires are lit in many areas on Summer Solstice, and sacred herbs such as mugwart and vervain are tossed into the flames. Rings of summer flowers are worn on the heads of the women and children and the community comes together for laughter and celebration.
Many cultures hold sacred rituals to mark this astronomical and earthly event. In ancient times many of these took place inside stone circles such as Stonehenge, that were aligned with solstices and equinoxes for more power.
On this Summer Solstice take some time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to celebrate the earths beauty and bounty. And to enjoy the Suns golden light that nourishes all things.
Make flower wreaths like chaining daisies as a child and wear them in your hair or around your neck. Visit a body of water or the woods and enjoy the wonder of nature.
Enjoy a wonderful glass of fresh water, ice tea or a nice libation of Summer Sangria!!!
Give Thanks and enjoy life!!
- 6 cups Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1 cup white grape juice
- 1 ripe nectarine, pitted and cut into thin wedges
- 1 tangerine, thinly sliced
- 1 cup seedless white grapes, halved
- 1 cup club soda
- In a large pitcher or other container, combine the wine and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients, excluding the club soda, and mix well. Place the pitcher in the refrigerator and let the sangria sit for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 hours). The sangria will sweeten with time, so the longer it sits, the better. Just before serving, stir in the club soda and ice cubes
Or make one of you own, best with the summer fruit with pits and perhaps a bit of ginger or some fun herbs.