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Posts Tagged ‘holy days’

We went out for a private summer solstice blot, me and my husband. I had been thinking about a good location, a spot we can return to again and again, here on our little plot of land. There were possibilities but I hadn’t decided. My husband, who isn’t of my faith but respects it, came with me out to look. And he said, “What about those rocks up there?” He pointed out towards the wild ground just outside our land, towards the woods. “There is a spot up there that I think would be just right.”

He showed me to a large rock. It wasn’t flat, didn’t have the qualities of an altar, but it just felt right. We both stood there and looked, and both said that yes, this is right, this location.

Just as we had decided, I realized we should look at it from the other side. The ground is wild and overgrown, we could from where we stood only see a little bit. So we walked around it, and it felt as though it just clicked. There. The first rock was only one of several, there were four large rocks close to each other, reaching up to my chest at least. They stood in a slight arch, and in front of them stood a sightly lower, fifth rock. This was it.

We lit Mother’s and Father’s candles. We offered potent raspberry mead. To Father, to Mother, to any other God watching over us, and to the ancestors. For a good summer. For our family. For a child. For us to stand strong together even if no child comes.

It was beautiful. There are many words words to say and write but I believe I should leave it at that, for tonight. I wish you all a happy summer solstice, and a brilliant summer.

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Still working hard on being mindful. Some days it comes pretty easy. Yesterday was not such a day. 

The night before my husband let slip a comment which, despite being said without ill intent, hit me hard. It knocked me out of my happy place and made me feel like crap.

What really surprises me is how such a small thing could mess me up. As I awoke the morning after I felt really sad, and for the rest of the day I struggled with anxiety. I still feel just a hint of it, nagging at my edges.

It feels like that comment punched a tiny hole, and that hole let the darkness in. My defenses are still so thin the tiniest pebble of negativity seems to break through. And as soon as there is a crack, more darkness gets sucked in. Darkness that really has nothing to do with the pebble that came first.

Moving on.

We’ve continued to work on our little piece of land, preparing it for the day when we can start building (we’re just waiting for the legal stuff to go through!). In other words, we’ve been working our asses of gathering brushwood from the ground into large piles. And with ‘brushwood’ I mean everything from tiny branches to small trees to four meters of rotten timber, that was covering the ground. So far we’ve gathered 10-12 piles, each pile being ca 1,50 m tall and 2-3 m wide. Yeah, that’s a lot. My body is covered in tiny bruises where the sticks have poked me. My muscles are constantly sore. And I love it.

Being outside in the gorgeous spring weather, AND working hard with my body, AND bonding with the piece of land that already feels like home? It’s marvellous. For the last two weeks, me and hubby have gone out there as often as possible, we can hardly stay away…

Unfortunately we lost our camera there this weekend. None of us understand how it happened, but it’s just gone. =( As we were looking for it I asked the land spirits to please help me find the camera, I even promised them to bring offerings next time if they just helped… but no, I didn’t find it. Somehow, I couldn’t get passed the feeling that the whole thing was a prank, done by some naughty little being. 

Me and hubby are also planning to light a great big bonfire on Valborg, together with our friends (if they want to join us!). If all goes according to plan we’ll  hold a spring blót  and then stay over night (in tents). BUT it all depends on one thing: the weather. If it’s too rainy and cold it would be just too nasty plus no one would wanna join us. If it’s too dry and windy we wont be able to light the fire, since we have no good source of water out there and we must not let the fire spread. So if I could ask for the perfect weather conditions I’d order really lots and lots of rain the days before, and then sunny warm weather on the actual day. =) Please?

Oh well. I think it’s time for me to center myself in meditation and try to strengthen my shields, and then do some house work. I’ve said it before and I say it again – I’m amazed how quickly cleaning has become a calming and strengthening activity for me. It helps me stay focused and calm… plus it’s always nicer to have a clean home, right?! =)

Love and light!
Journeymaid 

 

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Good morning everyone! Seems like spring starts off with a bang, going from cold and snowy to sunny and warm(er) weather. Yay spring!

As you all know, yesterday was the spring equinox. It was a good day. Really, a very good day. I started off by doing some tidying up at home. Then I moved outside and did some “tidying up” in the nearby forest. It always upsets me to see the amount of trash that just lies around…

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As I was snapping this last photo my mom called, asking if she could come over. And so an hour later she dropped bye, and we had a great time together (unusually good actually!).

After mom left I got creative and made this earring hanger thingy. These things have been laying around in jewelry boxes, all entangled and messy, some have gotten lost and well, it’s been terribly irritating. So here we go, no more mess!

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I made it out of scrap material. The base is a piece of cardboard. The shiny white fabric covering it comes from a slinky nightgown that I bought cheep and that never actually fit, so it’s just been laying around. The black what-you-call-it at the bottom is from another piece of lingerie that also had a bad fit. The blue wobbly ribbons that are oh so practical for hanging hooks on are left overs from a sewing project a couple of years ago. The white ribbons it hangs from are the shoulder straps from the white nightgown.

This pretty much sums up what I think about do-redo or salvage philosophy. We need to stop throwing stuff away indiscriminately, and start seeing used man-made stuff as materials that can be used for something new. So, to celebrate the spring equinox it felt like a good idea to do some work for the resource balance of earth. Plus it turned out really good and it made me happy. =)

I also had time to do some baking, and made two kinds of bread that me and hubby happily tasted last night when still all oven-warm. Yummmm….

Before bed, I sat by my altar and lit the Mother’s and Father’s candles, gave offerings and burned bay leaves. I was remarkably calm, as I had been all day, and really didn’t have much to say. So in the end I just sat there, smiling silly, and felt myself connected to Mother and Father, watching the candle flames dancing.

And so spring begins. Love and light to you all!

/Journeymaid

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These days there have been a lot of talk about balance around the blogosphere. Yes, I mentioned it too, in the last post. Seems like the concept of balance very easily triggers an emotional reaction, probably because it actually is highly important yet tricky to fully understand.

First, I read this blog post over at In The Arms of Mother Earth which talks about the God/Goddess balance and how it’s common for modern pagans to more or less ignore the God and focus completely on the Goddess. Most likely this is due to the Goddess having been so completely ignored in the past, in western religions.

Then I came across this blog post in Lady Imbrium’s holocron where the writer gives a frustrated little rant about how there is no such thing as static balance. As she says:

“Balance is not a state… it’s a dynamic process. A pendulum in a grandfather clock is balanced, but is always in motion.”

Then just this morning I read this blog post on Adventures and Musings of a Hedgewitch. It’s all about balance in nature, and what that really means.

Now, let’s look at Star Wars. Yup, you heard me. Star Wars. Remember little Anakin, who everyone thought would bring balance to the force? And remember how upset the jedi were when he turned to the dark side and became a sith? To me, it always made sense. The prophecy was true, Anakin did bring balance to the force. It’s just that balance does not equal “good”. And in the Star Wars universe balance of the force meant there needed to be a dark side, hence Anakin needed to join the dark side.

So balance isn’t necessarily good. In certain circumstances it might not even be something to wish for. Yet I have a sneaking suspicion that on the grand scale balance is absolute, or else the world would wobble and destroy itself. On the grand scale, creation must equal destruction. Too much destruction and all will be lost, as there is always more destroyed than is created. Too much creation and all will become “overcrowded” if you know what I mean, and the world will suffocate itself.

Is this an excuse to vandalise, kill and be generally destructive? Hell no. The kind of balance I speak of is on the universal scale, and I’m not even sure if we can affect it. On a smaller scale we must be careful, though. The universal balance isn’t good or evil. It doesn’t care if we live or die, as long as the great balance is kept in the long run. So if we go overly destructive and mess up our ecosystem, ruining the local balance, we might lose it all. But hey, I’m sure new life is created somewhere else in the universe so the great balance is still kept without us.

So, the local balance of nature is vital for us to keep. That means keeping Earth’s budget and not using more resources than what Earth continually produce. It means not messing up the food chain by releasing poison in nature, that kills off too many animals. Yes, animals will always die and that’s all natural, but if we humans decide to for example kill off all insects, that will mess things up. The local balance means we need to either find ourself new planets to populate, or limit the amount of humans alive at the same time. If we don’t regulate ourselves, nature will. Become too many, and we will starve, or die in plagues… then if we die off completely or are just reduced to a more manageable amount, that we’ll never know. In other words, let’s keep the balance in nature now while we still have the chance.

Balance is often thought of as a happy fluffy feel-good concept. And on a tiny scale, sure it might be so. Keeping your own personal life balanced (managing your financial budget and not spending more than you earn, managing your time schedule so you have enough to do but not too much, etc) will certainly make you feel better. But the entire concept of balance is not one-sided. It’s not all good. It’s not all bad. In fact, in the eyes of the Great Balance there is no good or bad. That’s not to say there is no such thing as good and evil, for I am sure that there is. I’m just saying that the Great Balance doesn’t care.

Today is the spring equinox. It’s the tipping point between seasons, the day when light=darkness all over the planet. Actually, the tipping point was early this morning, if I’m not mistaken. For my part of the world, that means we’re now getting more light than darkness each day.

Now to get up off the couch and make this a good day. I wish you all a happy spring equinox!

Love and light

JourneyMaid

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I just read this post by Amber on In The Arms of Mother Earth and something in it struck me as very interesting. The post talks about how it’s easy to forget (whether on purpose or not) the God, and focus all ones attention on the Goddess. Further on, Amber mentioned that springtime is a good time to connect with the God:

“This time of year, with Spring coming represents the rebirth of the God in his masculine form, and we are reminded more of him, because the sun is stronger this time of year, and the sun is the biggest symbol of the God.”

Somehow, I’ve always associated spring more with Mother than with Father. But for the last couple of weeks I’ve felt Mother grow more and more distant while Father has come closer and closer. At first I wondered if I’d done something to offend Mother, or if she thought I was on the wrong path, but the more I thought about it the more I felt that just wasn’t the case. I’ve read other blogs about how one can experience a silent period, where suddenly the connection to certain deities just seem to vanish, and people’s thoughts on why this is. It does seem like certain deities simply go away for certain time periods, yet I never expected this to be true of the Mother.

Yet she hasn’t really gone away, I can still feel her. But it’s like she’s turned away, and not answering. Not really like she’s sleeping, more like she’s got her attention somewhere else.

Father, on the other hand, feels closer than in a loooong time.

I wonder if this is due to what time of year it is. Before, I’ve never actually connected to the gods so regularly that I could observe such things, but of course there have been times when it’s been harder to connect. While at other times the gods have seemed very very close indeed.

This makes me most curious of how it will be next year… and of course, at what point Mother will return to me. In two days time I will celebrate the spring equinox (in Swedish Vårdagjämningen), and I had hoped the Mother had re-appeared by then. We’ll just have to see about that! Anyhow, it feels like the spring equinox is not only about celebrating nature and fertility, but also the passing of seasons and the balance in nature.

So far, my plan for the spring equinox are pretty humble. No grand feasts or gatherings, no. But the plan is to get out and do some hands-on work to honor the Earth: picking garbage from the woods. It’s an activity sorely needed around here, I’m afraid. It’s really upsetting that people in general in my neighbourhood just throws trash everywhere. I look forward to spending some time cleaning up. Afterwards I will bring a small offering out into nature, and take a moment to honor the woods and the wildlife. Then I will do a ceremony to call on both Mother and Father, and give offerings to both.

That’s all I know so far. Will you do something special on the spring equinox? Is there anything you’d like to share? Any tips on activities that are extra suitable? =)

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Since yesterday I’ve been thinking about the 14th, and planning. I don’t really want to call it Valentines day, as for me the day has no connection to st Valentine. I find the swedish name better, Alla hjärtans dag – literally meaning “the day of every heart” or “all hearts’ day” (which you can’t really say comfortably in english, it sounds weird, but in swedish it’s all good…). In the end, I will call the 14th what it means to me: The Day of Love.

For me, this is not as corny as it sounds. On the contrary, it’s meaning is profound. Love is not about having a crush (which of course is very nice in itself, but it’s got more to do with chemistry than love!) and not about sex (though of course, love and sex makes a marvellous combination!). Love is… well, how can you really describe it? Love is compassion. Love is truth. Love is warmth. Love can never be bought. Love is… worth living for.

The 14th of february, the Day of Love, is when I want to celebrate the force that is love. For the last couple of years I have spent quite a lot of time and energy on making gifts for my husband for this very day. Yup, erotic gifts. Both time and energy have been well used and my husband have appreciated the gifts more and more for every year, knowing that they are a pure expression of my love for him. I still haven’t deicded what to give him this year, though…

What else? As I said, it’s not all about sex. And this year I want to really connect on a spiritual level with the force that is Love.

Love for myself. Love for my family. Love for my home. Love for my local community. Love for my country. Love for humanity. Love for all that is living. Love for the spirits. Love for the gods.

I will make a little effort to celebrate each and every one of those.

Love for myself 

Take my time in the morning, with a really nice bath instead of my usual shower. Indulge myself with nice skin care and make up, dressing nice and letting myself feel beautiful. No self-criticism this day, no complaining about my body, just remember all that is good about me.

Love for my family

Give a loving gift to my husband. Spend som time with my mom, on the phone if nothing else. Give my darling cats a really nice treat… During meditation, reach out to my loved ones and send them my love, and feel their love for me in return.

Love for my home

On the day before, thoroughly clean and cleanse the house, physically and spiritually, so that the home will be a safe and welcoming on the 14th. Make sure there is nothing that’s gone bad in the fridge, make sure all house plants are watered enough.

Love for my local community

Make sure to greet everyone with an honest and open smile. If shopping, even if it’s just everyday groceries, only buy locally produced products. Make a list of all that is good in the community, write it down by hand and think for a moment on each point.

Love for my country

Make a list of all that is good in my country, think for a moment on each point. Think about what I personally can do for my country, what I want to do for my country.

Love for humanity

Donate some money to Doctors without borders (and don’t tell anyone unless they actually ask about it, remember the point is not to appear good and generous!). Think about all that is good in humanity, all that I love about humanity!

Love for all that is living

Do something good for the environment, either by donating money or actively helping in some way. During meditation, send my true and honest love to all that is living, be it humans or animals or plants.

Love for the spirits

Make an offering to the spirits of the land. Send my love to my relatives who are no longer among the living. Welcome friendly spirits to my home, bid them share our meal.

Love for the gods

While meditating, connect with Mother and Father and send them all my love. Open up to feel their love for me as well.

On this very day I will also make a special offering to Freya. Flowers, mead and something sweet. I will sing for her and dance for her. I will ask her to joing me in eternal love and walk by my side. I will ask her to let my love echo in the spiritual world, spreading it wide.

 

There will also be the regular celebration of love… me and my hubby making dinner together, drinking a bit of wine and mead, having a great time and just do whatever feels good…

 

Will you celebrate love on the 14th? How?

 

 

 

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Yes, I like the term holy days better than holidays. Don’t like it? Live with it! =)

To last night’s planning I find there is more to add. First of all, I can’t believe I forgon Valborg! Or perhaps one should say Walpurgis night, which I’ve understood is the “correct” english word.

In my town Valborg is a really big thing. There are great big bonfires…

There are great feasts, huge masses of people gathering downtown to celebrate…

This day is a great mix of traditions. According to tradition the bonfires were there to ward off evil and scare away witches, that were thought to gather during this specific night. During this day the boundaries between the living and dead were thought to be unusually slim.

Even before Christianity claimed these lands Valborg was a great celebration of spring, though we don’t actually know much about it. As I see it, Valborg is one holy day I want to celebrate on a sprititual level. There are such enormous amount of people celebrating, so much positive energy around, that it would be silly to miss it. =) Of course I have already been celebrating Valborg as everybody else around town, but I think from now on I’ll try to make a bit more of it.

Another day that is widely celebrated in Sweden is Lucia, 13th of december. Once again, this day is a mix of several different traditions. Officially it’s a day when we celebrate saint Lucia. However, seeing that Sweden hasn’t been a Catholic country since early 16th century, that’s not really the entire truth. Originally, when we still followed the julian calendar, Lucia was celebrated during winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Oh how I wish that was still the case! For you see, the Lucia we celebrate has not much in common with the saint Lucia. Here, Lucia is a lightbringer.

During Lucia day there are lots of processions like the one seen in this picture. There is singing and lighting of candles. And not to forget the traditional gingerbread and saffron buns eaten by more or less everyone! And I gotta say, of all the holidays celebrated in Sweden, this is the most beautiful… It represents light in the darkness. It represents hope. And there are theories that the tradition actually has it’s roots in a certain goddess cult…

As such, I’d like to add Lucia to my private spiritual calendar. Despite it no longer being celebrated on the longest night of the year, there is no day more suitable. With such a huge amount of people joining in to celebrate light and hope, this is bound to create a whole lot of energy.

By the way, I gave some thought to the fact that Jul isn’t actually celebrated at winter solstice either. However, since Jul isn’t really a one day celebration, I don’t think it’s a problem. My personal celebration of Jul should start at winter solstice, and continue for a week or so… Thus including Christmas. =)

There is one holy day that I have not yet brought up. It’s a day that doesn’t really have a modern day counterpart here in Sweden, so I don’t know exactly when to celebrate it. Valborg is a celebration of spring, yes, but it’s really quite late and I find it connects more to magic than to fertility. I want to have a pure spring-time fertility holy day, a vårblot. A day to make offerings to the deities of fertility. A day to bless the nature around me and give extra attention to both garden and house plants, planting them in new soil and making sure their needs are met. I think the springtime equinox is the right time to do this.

So, now I’m starting to have a calendar worked out. Remember, this is my personal list of holy days/festivals. Closer plans on how to celebrate each one will have to be developed over time. But already now I can mention a few things. I feel I should start each and every holy day with ritual cleansing of myself and my home, as well as physical cleaning of the home. During Mother’s day, Valborg, the springtime equinox and Midsommar I also find it important to honour the earth by doing some immediate, hands-on work for the environment. In other words, to pick garbage. All throughout the year I should try to take care of the environment, of course, but during these specific days I want to offer physical labour to cleanse the earth.  During the Father’s day I feel I should have a similar tradition, but I do not yet know the details. I guess it will come to me, sooner or later.

14th of february, Alla hjärtans dag. The day to celebrate love.

Springtime equinox, end of march. A day to celebrate fertility and nature.

3oth of april, Valborg. A day to celebrate spring, magic and raise my defenses against evil forces.

Mother’s day, the last sunday in may. A day to celebrate Mother, both biological and spiritual.

Midsommar (the friday between 19 and 25th of june) to celebrate summer and fertility. According to tradition the midsommar night is very suitable for divination and premonitions.

Allhelgonahelgen, the first weekend in november. A weekend to celebrate the ancestors.

Father’s day, the second sunday in november. A day to celebrate Father, both biological and spiritual.

13th of december, Lucia. A day to celebrate the light in the darkness, and hope.

Jul/winter solstice. Days to bring offerings to the gods and gifts to the living, to celebrate the coming of the new year and the return on light to a dark world. I guess, this is where to to celebrate the new year of my spiritual calendar.

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