To relieve feelings of depression, helplessness, and hopelessness, journey to a crossroads and absorb the power.
The crossroads is the juncture of powerful energies, where all possibilities meet. Don't go to a traffic intersection - the most common modern crossroads. Excessive yang energy will only worsen the situation. What you need is a traditional witch's crossroads, ideally the intersection of remote streets but at least roads with minimal traffic.
You don't have to do anything; just linger, keep your mind open and absorb the converging energies.
Found in: The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
This hymn from the Greek Magical Papyri, is addressed to Selene even though it is clearly a hymn to Hekate. The confusion of title probably arose from the syncretisation of the goddesses in the hymn, with Selene being mentioned first.
It is an awesome invocation, and perfect for use on this, The Night of Hecate Trivia (The night of the crossroads.)
The invocation is meant to be accompanied by an offering. In keeping with other contemporary magickal practices, fragrant resins and herbs are used for positive magick. Incenses such as storax, myrrh, sage, frankincense, and (surprisingly) a fruit pit are recommended.
When calling up such a powerful and terrible deity, it's always a good idea to bring protective charms, generous offerings, and a spirit of deep respect and reverence.
Here's the invocation:
O three-faced Selene, come to me beloved mistress
Graciously hear my sacred spells;
Image of Night, Youthful One,
Dawn-born, light-bringer to mortals
Who rides upon fierce-eyed bulls.
O Queen, you who drive your chariot
On equal course with Helios,
You dance with the triple forms of the triple Graces
As you revel with the stars.
You are Justice and the thread of the Fates,
Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos,
O Three-headed One you are
Persephone, Megaira and Allecto
O One of many shapes who arm your hands
With terrible dark-glowing lamps,
Who shakes locks of fearsome serpents at your brow,
Whose mouths send forth the roar of bulls,
Whose womb is thick with reptile scales,
At whose shoulders are rows of venomous serpents,
Bound across your back beneath murderous chains.
O Night-bellower, Lover of solitude,
Bull-faced and Bull-headed One
You have the eyes of bulls and the voice of dogs.
Your forms are hidden in the legs of lions.
Your ankle is wolf-shaped,
and savage dogs are friendly to you,
Wherefore they call you Hekate, Many-named, Mene,
Cleaving the air like arrow-shooting Artemis,
O Goddess of Four faces, Four names, Four ways,
Artemis, Persephone, Deer-shooter, Night-shiner,
Thrice-resounding, Triple voiced, Three-headed, Thrice-named Selene
O Trident-bearing One of Three faces,
Three necks, Three Ways,
Who holds undying flaming fire in triple baskets.
You frequent the Three Ways
and are Mistress of the Three Decads.
Be gracious unto me who is invoking you
and hearken favourably.
You encompass the vast world at night,
You make the Daemones shudder
and the Immortals tremble,
O Many-named Goddess who brings glory to men,
Whose children are fair, O Bull-eyed One, Horned One,
Nature, All-mother, who brings forth both Gods and men,
You roam around Olympus and traverse
the wide and fathomless Abyss,
You are the Beginning and End,
and you alone are Mistress of All:
For from you are All things, and in you,
Eternal One, do All things end.
You bear at your brow an everlasting diadem,
The unbreakable and irremovable bonds of great Cronos,
And you hold in your hands a golden sceptre
Which is encircled by a formula
inscribed by Cronos himself
Who gave it to you to bear in
order that all things remain steadfast:
'Overpowerer and Overpowered One
Conqueror of men and Damnodamia,'
You rule Chaos, Araracharara ephthisikere,
Hail Goddess and attend your epithets,
I offer you this incense Child of Zeus
Arrow-shooter, Heavenly One, Goddess of Harbours,
Mountain-roamer, Goddess of Crossroads,
Nocturnal One of the Underworld, Shadowy One of Hades,
Still One who frightens, having a feast among the graves.
You are Night, Darkness and broad Chaos,
For you are Necessity hard to escape
You are Fate, you are Erinys and the Torture,
You are the Murderess and Justice
You hold Cerberus in Chains,
You are steely-blue with serpent-scales,
O serpent-haired and Serpent-girdled One,
Blood-drinker, Death-bringer who breeds corruption,
Feaster on hearts,
Flesh-eater who devours those who died before their time,
Driver to the Wanderings of Madness,
Come to my sacrifices and fulfil this task for me.
~From the Greek Magical Papyri
~And also: Hekate Liminal Rites
Note: A different version of this same invocation, can be found here.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Doreen Virtue in her book Earth Angels tells how some of us are Incarnated Elementals (Nature Spirits) and animals. There are five categories of Earth Angels: Wise Ones, Incarnated Angels, Starpeople, Walk-Ins, and Incarnated Elementals. According to Doreen, the following are characteristics of each category:
Incarnated Angels tend to – have sweet, heart shaped faces; have overeating and weight issues; be a fixed astrological sign (Leo, Taurus, Sagitarrius, Scorpio & Aquarius); be professional helpers (teachers, healers, customer service); lighten or highlight their hair; have difficulty saying no; love angel objects; have extra guardian angels; seem to glow; fall in love with someone’s potential and tend to coax their greatness; have co-dependent relationships with addicts; have voluptuous bodies; have mellow personalities; stay in relationships much longer than they should; and obey rules.
Incarnated Elementals/Nature Spirits tend to – disobey rules; have mischief in their eyes; have slim bodies or fast metabolisms; have sensitive nervous systems; be addicts; love to party; prefer the company of animals over people; be warriors for the Earth; love nature; have comedic, musical or artistic skills; be noncommital or immature; have Celtic origins; play practical jokes; fiercely independent; have finances that are feast or famine; and have powerful energy to manifest things they desire.
Star People tend to – be socially awkward; believe in UFO’s or ET’s; be compulsively thoughtful without need for appreciation; conduct Reiki or other energy healing; follow their life’s mission which may be more important than getting married or having kids; and don’t feel Earth is their home.
Walk-In’s tend to – have had a life changing accident or experience; have attempted suicide; have changed names; are “different” than they used to be; have made drastic changes to their life; and have a deep spiritual knowledge. (through a life changing event or near death experience, these souls have entered into a body mid-life.)
Wise Ones tend to - get along well with most people; have magical abilities; have past life memories of Arthurian or Atlantean times; believe that they were persecuted for their beliefs in a past life; study tarot or astrology; and be drawn to earth-based spirituality like shamanism or full-moon ceremonies.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Even though "Thanksgiving" is only celebrated in the United States, this is the perfect time of year for everyone around the world to be thankful for what they've been given.
Sit quietly for a few minutes in complete silence. It's best if you're alone, and you close your eyes. Remove all problems from your thoughts for a moment. Push everything aside.
Then... think about what you DO have:
- Are you breathing? Yes, you are. Be thankful that you've been given LIFE...the biggest miracle of all.
- Do you have loved ones? Be thankful that they are in your life.
- Do you have a roof over your head - even if it's hard to pay for? Be thankful for that... many people don't.
- Are you starving? No? Be thankful that you have food to eat. There are millions starving around the world that would love to have some food from your cupboard.
- Think for a moment how lucky you are to be alive... even if it's not always easy.
- To entirely prepare a thanksgiving-dinner is a sign that you will have a house of your own before another Thanksgiving.
- Always be bright and cheerful on Thanksgiving day, no matter what your troubles are, and you will have cause to rejoice thrice before the year is out.
- If all the members of the family are not home at Thanksgiving, there will be one death in the family before the next Thanksgiving.
- Before putting the turkey in the oven, knock 3 times on a wooden board and the meat will taste succulent.
- Pulling the wishbone: Two people take hold of opposite ends of the turkey's clavicle, known as the wishbone, and pull. The one who ends up with the biggest piece is given the chance to make a wish. As long as they don't tell anyone else what the wish is, the wish is supposed to come true. If there are newlyweds at your Thanksgiving table, it is customary to give the wishbone to the new couple so that good luck will follow them throughout their marriage.
- If you eat a child's turkey leftovers then it will make a boy naughty and a girl cry.
- A Thanksgiving Tradition in the Chinese areas of San Francisco is for engaged couples to buy a lock and key, then chain the lock to the Golden Gate bridge and throw away the key.
We thank you for the gift of this food.
We send blessings of peace, love, and
release to all
whose bodies and energies went into
bringing us this nourishment.
We honor you in our enjoyment and
utilization of this meal.
May it bring us health and joy,
reminding us of our interconnections with
All That Is.
As we receive, so do we give back
And give thanks for this gift in the
Cycle of Life.
by Kristen Madden (Ofelas)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Note: some of the holidays are different depending on which side of the equator you are on. Also the dates of some festivals and feast days vary from year to year.
- 6: New moon
- 11: Veteran's Day
- 16: Night of Hekate
- 21: Full moon - Mourning Moon
- 21: Sun enters Sagittarius
- 25: Thanksgiving day (United States)
- 30: Festival of Hecate Trivia (The night of the crossroads.)
- 5: New moon
- 17: Beginning of Saturnalia
- 20 - 21: Full Lunar Eclipse
- 21: Full moon - Big Winter Moon
- 21: Winter Solstice or Yule
- 21: Litha (Southern Hemisphere)
- 22: Sun enters Capricorn
- 25: Christmas Day
- 25: Feast of Frau Holle, Germanic goddess
- 31: Festival of Hogmanay
- 2: Advent of Isis
- 3: Festival of Pax the Roman goddess of peace.
- 4: New moon
- 5: Festival of Lares Compitales - Roman guardian deities of crossroads.
- 5: Twelfth Night
- 6: Festival of Kore
- 7: Feast of Sekhmet, the Egyptian New Year's Day.
- 7: Epiphany
- 7: Distaff Day
- 8: Midwives' Day
- 9: The Agonium, festival of Janus, the Roman god of gates and doors, beginnings and endings.
- 10: Plough Monday
- 11 and 15: The Carmentalia, festival of Carmenta, the Roman goddess of childbirth
- 16: Festival of Concordia, the Roman goddess of harmonious relations
- 17: Good Luck Day, the festival of Felicitas, the Roman goddess of good luck
- 19: Full moon - Wolf Moon
- 21: Sun enters Aquarius
- 24: Feriae Sementivae - blessing the seeds
- 25: Up Helly Aa - Scottish Viking celebration
- 25: St Paul's Day
- 30 - Feb. 2: Roman celebration of Februalia
- 31: Disfest/Disablot
- 1: Festival of Brigit, the Celtic goddess of healing, fertility, and patroness of smiths.
- 2: Imbolc - the Celtic festival marking the period of lactation of the ewes.
- 2: Lammas or Lughnasadh (Southern Hemisphere)
- 2: Candlemas
- 3: New Moon
- 3: Setsubun, celebration - Japan
- 4: Disting - The Charming of the Plow
- 5 thru 17: Fornacalia - The Day of the Ovens
- 12: Festival of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt
- 13-21: The Parentalis - festival to honor the spirits of the ancestors.
- 14: Valentine's Day
- 15: Lupercalia - the festival of Lupercus, the Roman god of flocks and fertility.
- 17: Festival of Quirinus, god of war, storms and thunder.
- 18: Full moon -- Quickening Moon
- 21: Feralia - an ancient Roman Day of the Dead
- 21: Sun enters Pisces
- 22: Caristia - Roman holiday of family reunions
- 23: Festival of Terminus, the Roman god of boundaries and border markers.
- 24: Flight of the King - Regifugium
- 28: The epic poem, Kalevala, is celebrated by the Finns with parades and readings from the poem.
- 1: Matronalia, the Festival of Women
- 1: New Year's Day in the old Roman calendar.
- 1: Saint David's Day
- 2: Holy Wells Day, the day of Ceadda, the Celtic goddess of healing springs and holy wells.
- 4: New moon
- 8: Pancake Day
- 9: Ash Wednesday
- 12: Marduk's Feast Day
- 14: Feriae Marti - Festival of Mars
- 16 - 17 : Bacchanalia - The festival of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine
- 17: Liberalia, the festival of Liber and Libera, a Roman fertility god and goddess
- 17: St Patrick's Day
- 19 - 23: The Mivervalia and Quinquatria, main festivals of Minerva, the Roman goddess of war, wisdom arts and trades.
- 19: Full moon Crow Moon
- 19: Ides of March
- 19: Festival of Anna Perenna, the Roman goddess of the circle of the year.
- 20: Ostara - Vernal Equinox
- 20: Festival of Isis
- 20: Mabon (Southern Hemisphere)
- 21: Festival of Salii
- 21: Sun enters Aries
- 22: Hilaria
- 30: The Festival of Salus, the Roman goddess of public safety and welfare.
- 31: Festival of Luna, the Roman goddess of the moon.
- 1: April Fool's Day / Loki's Day
- 1: The Veneralia, the festival of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty.
- 3: New moon
- 3: Mothering Sunday - 4th Sunday in Lent
- 4: Megalesia - Celebrates the accuracy of the Sibylline oracles
- 5: Lady Luck Day, the festival Fortuna, the goddess of good fortune
- 6: National Tartan Day
- 8: Hana-Matsuri - Japanese Flower Festival to honor the Buddha's birthday.
- 8: Geranium Day - England
- 9: A-ma Festival - Portugal and China
- 12 - 19: Ludi Cereales
- 12: Chhau Festival - India
- 13: Songkran - Thailand
- 15: Fordicia, the festival of Tellus, the Roman earth goddess
- 16: The feast day of St. Bernadette.
- 18: Full moon -- Wind Moon
- 19: Festival of Ceres, a Roman corn goddess.
- 20: Furukawa Matsuri - Japan
- 21: Palilia (Parilia), the festival of Pales, the Roman goddess of sheperds and flocks. This is also the legendary founding date of Rome.
- 21: Sun enters Taurus
- 21: Ascent Of The Christ Of The Gypsies - Holy Wednesday
- 22: Festival of Ishtar
- 22: Earth Day
- 22: Good Friday
- 23: St George's Day
- 24: Easter Sunday
- 25: Dyngus Day - Easter Monday
- 25: The Robigalia, the festival of Robigus, a Roman corn god.
- 27: Peppercorn Ceremony - Bermuda
- 28 - May 1 The Floralia, the festival of Flora, Roman goddess of fruitfulness and flowers.
- 29: Tako-Age - Japan - Kite Flying Day
- 30: May Day Eve - Walpurgisnacht
- 30: Beltine, on this Caileach Beara, a Celtic goddess, turns to stone. She is reborn on October 31, Samhain.
- 1: Beltane - Mayday
- 1: Festival of Belenus, the Celtic god of fire and the sun.
- 1: Samhain (Southern Hemisphere)
- 1: Bona Dea
- 1: Humane Day - United States - 1st Sunday in May
- 3: New moon
- 5: Cinco de Mayo
- 6: Durdevan - Feast of St. George
- 8: The festival of Mens, the Roman goddess of mind and consciousness.
- 9: Mother's Day
- 9, 11, 13: Roman festival - Feast of the Lemures - in honor of the Lemures, the spirits of dead family members who wander the earth on these three spring nights.
- 13: Hawthorn Moon begins - 6th month of the Celtic Calendar
- 13: Friday the 13th
- 15: Festival of Mercury, the Roman god of merchants and travellers.
- 17: Full moon -- Hare's Moon
- 20: Sun enters Gemini
- 24: The Thargalia
- 25: Festival of the Holy Marys - Gypsy festival and pilgrimage
- 27: Frigga Blot
- 30: Memorial Day - Einherjar Day
- 31: Flores de Mayo
- 1: New moon
- 1: The festival of Carna, the Roman goddess of bodily organs.
- 2: Festival of Juno
- 3: The festival of Bellona the Roman goddess of war.
- 3: Pharmakos
- 4: The Rosalia
- 9: Festival of Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth.
- 10: Oak Moon begins - 7th month of the Celtic calendar
- 11: Lunar eclipse - total
- 11: Festival of Mater Matuta, old Italian goddess of the dawn.
- 12: Zeus' Day
- 14: Birthday of the Muse
- 14: Vidar's Day
- 15: Full moon - Honey Moon
- 16: Night of a Teardrop
- 17: Ludi Piscatari
- 20: Father's Day
- 21: Summer Solstice - Litha
- 21: Yule (Southern Hemisphere)
- 21: Sun enters Cancer
- 23: Day of Bad Omens
- 23: Rousalii
- 24: The festival of Fata, the Roman goddesses of fate and chance.
- 24: Saint John's Day - Feast of the Dews
- 24: Sânziene - A Romanian Midsummer Festival
- 29: Feoh - First day of the Rune Cycle
- 1: New moon
- 2: Feast of Expectant Mothers
- 3 thru Aug 11: Dog Days of Summer
- 3: Festival of Cerridwen
- 4: Independence Day
- 5: Poplifugia
- 7: Festival of the Handmaidens - Nonae Caprotinae ("the nones of the wild fig")
- 7: Tanabata
- 7: Rumilia Festival
- 8: Holly Moon begins - 8th month of the Celtic Calendar
- 9: Day of Un the Wise Person
- 10: Day of Hel
- 10: Festival of Knut the Reaper
- 10: Lady Godiva Day
- 11: Naadam Festival
- 13: O-Bon Festival - welcoming the spirits of the dead
- 14: Uruz - The second rune cycle begins
- 15: Full moon - Buck Moon
- 15: St. Swithin's Day
- 15: Day of Rauni
- 16: Feast of Our Lady of Carmel
- 17: Festival of Amaterasu - Shinto Sun Goddess
- 17: The Maidens Fair on Hen Mountain
- 18: Day of Bad Omens
- 19: Feast of Kuan Yin
- 19: Lucaria
- 20: Moon Day
- 21: Sun enters Leo
- 22: Feast of Mary Magdalene
- 23: Neptunalia - the festival of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea.
- 23: Sign of the Sunflower Begins
- 23: Saint Anne's Eve
- 25: Furinalia
- 27 - 31: The Five Epagomenal Days
- 27: Birthday of Osiris
- 28: Birthday of Horus
- 29: Birthday of Set
- 30: New moon
- 30: Birthday of Isis
- 31: Birthday of Nephthys
- 1: Lammas or Lughnasadh
- 1: Festival of Lugh, the Celtic hero god.
- 1: Imbolc (Southern Hemisphere)
- 4: Festival of the Tooth
- 5: Hazel Moon begins - 9th moon of the Celtic Calendar
- 6: Festival of Thoth
- 7: Blessing of the Sea
- 9: Festival of Sol Indigis, the Roman sun god.
- 12: Blessing of the Boats
- 13: The Vertumnalia, the festival of Vertumnus, the Roman god of seasons, gardens and orchards.
- 13: Day of Hecate
- 13: Full Moon -- Corn Moon
- 15: Festival of Torches - Nemoralia
- 15: Herbal Holy Day
- 17: The Portunalia, the festival of Portunes, the Roman god of gates, doors and harbours.
- 19: The Vinalia Rustica
- 21: Festival of Consus, the Roman god of good council.
- 21: Sun enters Virgo
- 22: Sign of the Morning Glory begins
- 23: Freyfaxi
- 23: The Volcanalia, the festival of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
- 25: The Opiconsivia, the harvest festival of Ops, the Roman goddess of harvest.
- 27: Volturnalia
- 29: New Moon
- 2: The Sign of the Vine begins - 10th moon of the Celtic Calendar
- 5: Labor Day
- 9: Double Ninth Day
- 9: Chrysanthemum Day
- 12: Full Moon --Harvest Moon
- 12: Chinese Moon Festival -The Festival of Chang O, on the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox, the Chinese people pay homage to the moon goddess Chang O. Some Chinese celebrate this day as the moon's birthday.
- 19: The Fast of Thoth, this day-long fast honors the Egyptian god of wisdom and magic.
- 21: International Day of Peace
- 21: The feast of the Divine Life, this ancient Egyptian feast honored the great goddess in her three-fold aspect as mother (creator), daughter (renewer), and dark mother (the absolute).
- 21: Sun enters Libra
- 23: Fall Equinox or Mabon
- 23: Michaelmas
- 23: Ostara (Southern Hemisphere)
- 27: New Moon
- 1: Festival of Fides, the Roman goddess of good faith, honesty and oaths.
- 3: The festival of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and revelry, also known as Bacchus to the Romans.
- 4: Feast of Ceres
- 6: Day of Bad Omens
- 9: The festival of Felicitas, the Roman goddess of good luck and joy.
- 11: Winter Nights - Sacred to Freya
- 11: The Meditrinalia, the festival of Meditrina, the Roman goddess of healing.
- 12: Full moon -- Blood Moon
- 12: The festival of Fortuna Redux, the Roman goddess of successful journeys and safe returns from those journeys.
- 13: The festival of Fontus, the Roman god of springs.
- 19: The Armilustrium, the second festival of Mars, the Roman god of war. On this day, military arms were ritually purified and put in storage for winter.
- 21: Sun enters Scorpio
- 26: New Moon
- 31: Halloween
- Oct 31 - Nov 1 Samhain, the Celtic festival marking the beginning of the winter and the Celtic New Year. Also the rebirth of Caileach Beara, the Celtic goddess who turned to stone on May 1 (Beltane).
- 1: Samhain
- 1: Beltane (Southern Hemisphere)
- 2: Festival of Woden
- 5: Bonfire Night
- 10: Full moon -- Mourning Moon
- 11: Veteran's Day - Hero's Day
- 11: Lunantishees Day - Celtic Faery Day
- 11: Martinmas
- 13: Epulum Jovis
- 15: Feronia Festival
- 16: Night of Hekate
- 21: Sun enters Sagittarius
- 24: Brumalia
- 24: The feast of Baba Yaga. On the full moon of November, the supreme crone goddess of old Russia is honored with a feast day. Once honored as an important old goddess, she is now often portrayed as a wicked old witch.
- 24: Thanksgiving day (United States)
- 25: New Moon
- 27: Feast of Ullr
- 30: Festival of Hecate Trivia (The night of the crossroads.)
- 1: The festival of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Poseidon is also the god of rebirth.
- 4: Bona Dea, a Roman fertility goddess
- 5: Faunalia
- 9;: The festival of Ops, the Roman goddess of harvest.
- 10: Full moon - Long Nights Moon - total Lunar Eclipse
- 11: Agonalia
- 13: The Sementivae, the second festival of Tellus, the Roman earth goddess.
- 15: The second festival of Consus, the Roman god of good council.
- 17: Beginning of Saturnalia - festival of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture. The most popular Roman festival, for on this day the roles of master and slave were reverted.
- 18: Eponalia
- 20: Mother Night
- 21: Winter Solstice.
- 21: Divalia - Angeronalia, festival of Angerona, the Roman goddess of secrecy.
- 22: Winter Solstice or Yule
- 22: Litha (Southern Hemisphere)
- 22: Sun enters Capricorn
- 23: The Larentalia (Larentinalia), festival of Acca Larentia the Roman goddess who gave the early Romans their land.
- 24: New Moon
- 25: Christmas Day
- 25: The birthday of Mithra, the Persian god of light and wisdom.
- 25: Festival of the Invincible Sun God
- 25: Feast of Frau Halle, Germanic goddess
- 26: Boxing Day
- 31: Festival of Hogmanay
Saturday, November 20, 2010
During the Thanksgiving supper, introduce the tree to the family and the tribe to the tree. Each member of your clan should tie a ribbon on the tree to represent an intangible blessing they would like for the upcoming Yule season. Wishes could be for peace, enough rest, health, etc. Bless the tree and set it where it will have enough light.
When family and friends visit, explain the purpose of the wish tree to them and give them a ribbon to tie on the tree, too. The tree is for everyone. If you plan to use the tree in ritual, have everyone participating make a small ornament, empowered for strengths like self-esteem, goal planning, security, etc. and hang it on the tree while connecting with the divinity of their choice.
On the first day of February, remove all the ornaments and ribbons. Burn the ribbons and cast the ashes to the winds. Pack the ornaments away. Next year, when you open the box, you can de-magick the ornaments and return them to their owners, or hang them on your big tree in memory of last year's prosperity. Continue to take good care of the tree over the remaining winter months. Don't forget to give it water and plenty of love. In the spring, you can plant the tree outside on your property or on the property of a friend.
(The above "The Yule Wish Tree" by Silver RavenWolf is quoted directly from Llewellyn's 1995 Magical Almanac, page 264, Llewellyn Worldwide Publications, 1994.)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
In the stillness of night, the Goddess whispers. In the brightness of the day, the God roars. Life pulses, mind imagines, emotions wave, thoughts wander. What are all these but the endless movements of One Taste, forever at play with its own gestures, whispering quietly to all who would listen: is this not you yourself? When the thunder roars, do you not hear your Self? When the lightning cracks, do you not see your Self? When clouds float quietly across the sky, is this not your very own limitless Being, waving back at you?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
November 16 is the Night of Hekate which begins at sunset. This is the night of the Three-formed Goddess. Hekate (also spelled Hecate) is part of the most ancient form of the triple Moon goddess as Crone or Dark Moon. This is also one of the nights of Hekate’s supper at the Crossroads. People who worshiped Hekate honoured Her by preforming Sympathetic Magick and holding a supper at a Crossroads; in addition, in ancient times animals were sacrificed in Her honour.
If you are looking for a way to honor the Goddess, or celebrate this night, here is a listing of spells, invocations, and information that might be helpful:
- Night of the Crossroads
- Hecate's Suppers
- Hecate's Living Altar Spell
- Summoning Hecate
- Summoning Hecate - an enhancement
- Crossroads and Choices
- At A Crossroads?
- Spell for Unlocking and Opening Up
- Charge of the Dark Goddess - 1
- Charge of the Dark Goddess - 2
- Hekate Speaks
- Song for Hecate
- Petition to Hekate
- Invocation of Hekate
- Invocation to the Dark Mother
- Prayer to Hekate
Here is a simple ritual to invoke the power of Hekate to unlock doors which until now have been closed to you, to create openings in the impenetrable areas of your life, or to open and unblock areas in your self that have been locked away:
You will need the following:
- A three way crossroads in your area that offers some privacy.
- Bake or buy a small cheesecake - this will be left as an offering
- 13 small black candles
- A black candle large enough to burn through the night.
- Wine, honey, or milk (or a mixture of the three) to offer as a libation at the crossroads.
- Three keys - also to be left at the crossroads.
Spend some time thinking about what it is that you would like Hekate to unlock for you in your life while gathering your supplies. When you have everything gathered together, light the larger black candle and begin chanting:
You walk with me
Like no other
Continue chanting as you leave your house and go to the crossroads. Once there, spend a few moments in silence allowing the Dark Mother, Hekate to make herself known. You might hear dogs barking, you might see shadows in the trees, you might hear horses, or the wind might speak.
When you feel that She is there, explain that you are leaving the cake as an offering, ask for Her help in unlocking whatever it is that you need help with. Use your own words, speak out loud and with confidence.
Place the cheesecake on the ground, light the candles, and then pour a libation. If it is inappropriate or a fire hazard to leave the candles burning, pour the libation over the lit candles and the cake, if not, pour the libation in a circle around the cake.
Now, explain that you are leaving three keys as a demonstration of your willingness to allow the Goddess to work in your life. Place one key at each corner of the crossroads. As you place the key, make a statement of thanks.
As soon as that is done immediately leave the area without looking back. When you get back to your home, spend some time in silence sitting with the candle you lit before leaving the house. Allow it to burn completely down.
Substitutions - the following items can be substituted in a pinch:
- If you do not have access to a crossroads, an image of a crossroads, such as a photograph, or drawing will be fine. If you have a private place outdoors, take the image with you and complete the ritual as if the image is the crossroads, leaving everything behind just as you would if you had gone to a crossroads. The next day (if the items cannot remain as is) you can collect everything that was left outside - these items should then be buried nearby or burned.
If you don't have a place outdoors, the ritual can be done indoors. When it is complete, take the cake, the wine, and the keys outside where they should stay overnight. You can then collect what's left of them in the morning and bury them nearby or burn them.
- Red, white, and yellow are colors sacred to Hekate and can be substituted for the black candles.
- If you don't have keys, you can make them either by forming aluminum foil into "key" shapes, cutting key shapes from cardstock, or finding a pictures of keys in a magazine or newspaper and cutting those out. Alternatively, an old credit card can be cut into 3 pieces.
Spell by Madame Fortuna
Goddess of dark,
Quiet and frightful one
O you who have your meal amid the graves
Hard to escape are you.
~Greek Magical Papyri
Crossroad is a symbolic term denoting the union and joining of paths. The association of the crossroad with Witchcraft goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Classically the crossroad symbolizes a joining of three roads, the balance of opposites, and the meeting of time and space.
In the Aegean/Mediterranean region crossroads were sacred to Hecate, Triformis, and Diana. Ovid, an ancient Roman writer, speaks of Hecate as having three faces with which to guard the crossroads as they branched out. Verro, another ancient writer, equated Diana with Hecate and stated the images of Diana were stationed at the crossroads. Other writers of the period called this goddess Artemis-Hekate, and attributed the mother goddess aspect to her.
The crossroads are likewise associated with the ancestral spirits called Lasa or Lares. These beings were originally thought to be spirits of the forests and meadows, the fairy folk, and spirits of Nature. With development these spirits became associated with the cultivated fields, and eventually the Lara became protectors of the family and home, and associated with the hearth.
Also, in the archaic Roman religion small towers were constructed at crossroads, and an altar was placed before them upon which offerings were laid. Such towers were associated with Nature spirit worship and demarcation. Possibly this may be the foundation of the concept of Watchtowers within modern Witchcraft.
Since classical times the crossroad has been a favored place for Witches to gather because of its link to Nature spirits and the moon goddess. When the symbolic crossroads were Christianized they became symbols of dread. Crossroads become the construction sites for gallows, and suspended cages that contained bodies of criminals. Also, suicide victims, who were not permitted burial in hallowed churchyards, were frequently buried near a crossroad. Then too, the Judaic-Christian Devil was said to hover near crossroads. All of this, of course, helped to defile the sacred grounds where Witches gathered.
Source: The Mystica
Photo by: (C) copyright Martin Liebermann,
this photo and more can be found on his awesome Flickr stream.
Sacred flame rise to power
We ask Hecate to help us empower
Hear us tonight as we request
to the needs we have to be addressed
Our prayer to you is that our needs to be met
enough money and food shelter that we won’t regret
Health and well being take care of what is not seen
Keep our spirits white and clean
We ask the universe to lend us the power
to come to this circle in this hour
We draw to ourselves the request we desire
asking it harm none and let it transpire.
This spell is done on this full moon night
We know that everything will be alright
No way can this spell be reversed
no negativity no curse.
So Mote It Be!
The goddess Hekate was one of the most significant dieties of the ancient world. Her history stretches back across the millenia. We find traces of her in the recent past, through into the Renaissance - stretching back through the Byzantine and Roman Empires, Hellenistic, Classical and Archaic Greece through into the Greek Dark Ages - and beyond. Hekate has been with us for at least three thousand years.
She was a liminal goddess who was present at all the boundaries and transitional moments in life. She was also an 'evil-averting' protector and guide. Her triple form emphasized her power over the three realms, these being the heavens, sea, and earth. Her primal nature was seen in the many animal heads she was depicted with, each emphasising different qualities of her manifold character.
Some of her well known titles include:
- Chthonia - earthy one
- Dadouchos - torch bearer
- Enodia - of the ways
- Kleidouchos - key bearer
- Kourotrophos - child's nurse
- Phosphorus - light bearer
- Propolos - companion
- Propylaia - before the gate
- Soteira - savior
- Triformis - three bodied
- Trioditis - of the three ways
Symbols, herbs stones and other correspondences associated with Hekate:
- Animals: Black ewe lambs, Boar, Bull, Cock, Cow, Dogs, Fish, Goats, Horses, Lions, Mice, Mullet (fish), Polecat, Rams, Serpents, Wolf
- Colors: Black, Red, White, Yellow
- Minerals: Copper, Gold, Loadstone, Meteorite, Sapphire
- Plants and Herbs: Anise, Belladonna, Garlic, Aconite, Onion, Poppy, Saffron, Grain,
- Trees: Apples, Oak (leaves), Willow, Yew
- Food: Eggs, Honey, Amphiphon Cakes (a cheesecake with lighted candles stuck into it)
- Symbols: Dagger, Keys, Horned Crescent, Pegasus, New Moon, Three-Way Crossroads, Trident, Twin Torches
Sources: Keys to the Crossroads and Hekate Liminal Rites by Sorita E'Este
Monday, November 01, 2010
Today is the last day of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). Honoring the dead occurs in ancient cultures all over the world, and even in modern times it plays an important role in religions. It is founded on the belief that the dead live on and are able to influence the lives of later generations. These ancestors can assert their powers by blessing or cursing, and their worship is inspired by both respect and fear. Rituals consist of praying, presenting gifts, and making offerings. In some cultures, people try to get their ancestors' advice through oracles before making important decisions.
The dead are believed by the peasantry of many Catholic countries to return to their former homes on All Souls’ Night and partake of the food of the living. In Tyrol, cakes are left for them on the table and the room kept warm for their comfort. In Brittany, people flock to the cemeteries at nightfall to kneel, bareheaded, at the graves of their loved ones, and to anoint the hollow of the tombstone with holy water or to pour libations of milk on it. At bedtime, the supper is left on the table for the souls. In Bolivia, many people believe that the dead eat the food that is left out for them. Some claim that the food is gone or partially consumed in the morning.
Do the dead rest easy? Flowers and flowering shrubs may be planted on the grave to serve as barometers. Allegedly if the flowers thrive and bloom, there's no need to worry about whoever's in the grave. Of course some plants are considered better barometers than others. Marjaoram is believed to provide a good guarantee - if it thrives on a grave, the person within is certain to be content.
Other gravesite plantings include the following:
- Plant aloe vera on the grqavesite in order to soothe the deceased, ease any sense of loneliness or abandonment, and prevent their longing for the living.
- A carpet of chamomile planted over a grave encourages the deat to sleep and also eases their passage to the next realm.
- Cover graves with a carpet of daisies and blue bells to bring peace to the deceased and joy to the bereaved, and to invite the presence of benevolent guardian spirits.
- Plant rowan trees in the cemetery, especially overlooking graves, to watch over the spirits of the dead.
- To encourage the dead to sleep peacefully and deeply, strew wild poppy seeds throughout the cenetery.
- Asphodel is allegedly among the favored foods of the dead. Asphodel is sometimes planted on graves, however the legend is also taken literally. Prepare asphodel - it's typically roasted - and leave it atop a grave to comfort and satisfy the deceased within.
- Tansy is described as an herb of life everlasting. It allegedly comforts the bereaved while assuring the dead that they will not be forgotten.
The pan de muerto (Spanish for Bread of the Dead or Day of the Dead Bread) is a type of bread from Mexico baked during the Dia de los Muertos season, around the end of October and the official holiday is celebrated on November 2. It is a soft bread shaped in round loaves with strips of dough attached on top (to resemble bones), and usually covered or sprinkled with sugar.
Another bread in the form of a sphere on the top represents a skull. The classic receipe for Pan de Muerto is a simple sweet bread receipe with the addition of anise seeds.
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup (half a stick) margarine or butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup very warm water
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
- 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Instructions: Bring milk to boil and remove from heat. Stir in margarine or butter, 1/4 cup sugar and salt.
In large bowl, mix yeast with warm water until dissolved and let stand 5 minutes. Add the milk mixture.
Separate the yolk and white of one egg. Add the yolk to the yeast mixture, but save the white for later. Now add flour to the yeast and egg. Blend well until dough ball is formed.
Flour a pastry board or work surface very well and place the dough in center. Knead until smooth. Return to large bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise in warm place for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Knead dough again on floured surface. Now divide the dough into fourths and set one fourth aside. Roll the remaining 3 pieces into "ropes."
On greased baking sheet, pinch 3 rope ends together and braid. Finish by pinching ends together on opposite side. Divide the remaining dough in half and form 2 "bones." Cross and lay them atop braided loaf.
Cover bread with dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix anise seed, cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar together. In another bowl, beat egg white lightly.
When 30 minutes are up, brush top of bread with egg white and sprinkle with sugar mixture, except on cross bones. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Recipe found at: AzCentral
The Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos in Spanish) is a Mexican and Mexican-American celebration of deceased ancestors which occurs on November 1 and November 2, coinciding with the similar Roman Catholic celebrations of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
While it is primarily viewed as a Mexican holiday, it is also celebrated in communities in the United States with large populations of Mexican-Americans, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in Latin America.
Despite the morbid subject matter, this holiday is celebrated joyfully, and though it occurs at the same time as Halloween, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day, the mood of The Day of the Dead is much lighter, with the emphasis on celebrating and honoring the lives of the deceased, rather than fearing evil or malevolent spirits.
HISTORY OF DAY OF THE DEAD
The origins of the celebration of The Day of the Dead in Mexico can be traced back to the indigenous peoples of Latin America, such as the Aztecs, Mayans Purepecha, Nahua and Totonac.
Rituals celebrating the lives of dead ancestors had been performed by these Mesoamerican civilizations for at least 3,000 years. It was common practice to keep skulls as trophies and display them during rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.
The festival which was to become El Día de los Muertos fell on the ninth month of the Aztec Solar Calendar, near the start of August, and was celebrated for the entire month. Festivities were presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, known as the "Lady of the Dead". The festivities were dedicated to the celebration of children and the lives of dead relatives.
When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in Central America in the 15th century they were appalled at the indigenous pagan practices, and in an attempt to convert the locals to Catholicism moved the popular festival to the beginning of November to coincide with the Catholic All Saints and All Souls days. All Saints' Day is the day after Halloween, which was in turn based on the earlier pagan ritual of Samhain, the Celtic day and feast of the dead. The Spanish combined their custom of Halloween with the similar Mesoamerican festival, creating The Day of the Dead.
DAY OF THE DEAD TRIVIA
The souls of children are believed to return first on November 1, with adult spirits following on November 2.
Plans for the festival are made throughout the year, including gathering the goods that will be offered to the dead. During the period of October 31 and November 2 families usually clean and decorate the graves. Some wealthier families build altars in their homes, but most simply visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas, or offerings. These include:
- wreaths of marigold, which are thought to attract the souls of the dead toward the offerings
- toys brought for dead children (los angelitos, or little angels)
- bottles of tequila, mezcal, pulque or atole for adults.
In some parts of Mexico, like Mixquic, people spend all night beside the graves of their relatives.
Those gifted, like to write "calaveras", these are little poems that mock epitaphs of friends. Newspapers dedicate "Calaveras" to public figures, with cartoons of skeletons. Theatrical presentations of "Don Juan Tenorio" by José Zorrilla (1817-1893) are also traditional on this day.
A common symbol of the holiday is the skull, which celebrants represent in masks called calacas. Sugar skulls, inscribed with the names of the deceased on the forehead, are often eaten by a relative or friend. Other special foods for El Día de los Muertos includes Pan de Muertos (bread of the dead), a sweet egg bread made in many shapes, from plain rounds to skulls and rabbits.
Baba Yaga is the Russian spirit who rules the conjunction of magic and harsh reality, of limits and possibilites. This Death Spirit provides fertility when she chooses, but she also consumes those who disappoint her.
Baba Yaga, iron-toothed and boney-legged, wears a neclace of human skulls; her ome is surrounded by a fence crafted from human bones. She offers comprehension, not comfort.
Like her compatriot spirits, Kali and La Santisima Muerte, Baba Yaga encompasses all the mysteries of life and death; contemplate her in order to begin to comprehend these mysteries. This spell doesn't suggest contacting her (the Baba has little patience; don't waste her time without good reason), but this kind of magical contemplation instead.
- Build an altar featuring birch wood and leaves, animal imagery, a mortar, pestle and broom, and especially, food and drink. Baba Yaga is always voraciously hungry. Offer her real food or cut out photo images for the altar. She is especially fond of Russian extravagances like coulibiac. Offer her a samovar with blocks of fine Russian caravan tea and perhaps a water pipe.
- Sit with the altar, gaze at it from different angles, play with the objects and see what comes to mind.
Although it's customary in many traditions to spend time at the gravesite, cleaning, caring, and somethimes bringing offerings of food and drink, particulary during Day of the Dead celebrations, a more direct method was used in ancient Greece.
Create a blend of olive oil, honey, and spring water. This may be poured directly onto the grave, or poured through a tube into the grave. Meanwhile the living should picnic nearby while sharing rememberances of the deceased.
The sheela na gig is the crossroads where fertility and steriilty, birth and death meet. The sheela na gig is a genre of ancient Celtic images depicting a naked wizened crone holding her legs open as if she were giving birth, although she is clearly too old to do so. The sheela na gig stretches her parturient vagina open with her hands as if it were a gate, while looking the viewer in the eye.
Many traditional belief systems perceive the Earth Mother as the ultimate source of life and death. One returns to her after death only to emerge again. The sheela na gig invites you to contemplate these mysteries
- Create an altar of contemplation with a sheela na gig as the focal point.
- Combine images of fertility and death - include pomegranates, bones, seashells, and feathers.
- If one is brave or curious enough, visualize stepping through the gate the sheela na gig holds open.
For those of you who enjoy a more scholarly approach to the goddess, here is an essay by an anonymous author about Baba Yaga, the Black Goddess, and what her mythology represents.
I have been thinking and thinking about the image and story of Baba Yaga now for months and wondering how girls and women can resolve the seemingly paradoxical story of a bony heartless witch with the image of innocence of a rejected and abandoned girl. The following essay outlines how we use myth and story to perpetuate unconscious mindsets and it also unveils the gifts that these stories unfold in our inner psyche.
The story of Baba Yaga is prime among many images of the Black Goddess. The Black Goddess is at the heart of all creative processes and cannot be so easily viewed. Men and women rarely approach her, except in fear. Women are learning of her through the strength and boldness of elder women who are not afraid to unveil her many faces.
Sofia as wisdom lies waiting to be discovered within the Black Goddess who is her mirror image. Knowing that, until we make that important recognition, we are going to have to face the hidden and rejected images of ourselves again and again.
As women, we are confronted throughout our lives with unavoidable body messages regarding the uniqueness of our form and the inevitable changes that characterize aging and the passage of time. Although aging presents difficult challenges for both men and women, women confront some specific difficulties because of their gender. In traditional narratives, the end of biological fertility has relegated women to the status of "old women" who are stereotypically viewed as poor, powerless, and pitiful in our sexist and youth oriented culture. Baba Yaga, often referred to as the Black Goddess, and Vasalisa, often representing Sophia, are intrinsic to the psyche of girls and women because they shows us that the illusion of form can hide wonderful qualities within.
One of the cruelest of stereotypes that older women face is the "menopausal woman." These are accentuated by the very fact that younger women are often rejecting or distancing to older women in society, unwilling to identify with women older than themselves. These experiences are painful confirmations that the aging woman no longer meets the social criteria of a physically and securely attractive woman. The common result for most women is the activation of shame -- as if becoming/looking older means that something is deeply and truly wrong with oneself.
Conscious femininity is a cyclic process and involves an awakened awareness of the triple form of the Goddess - Mother, Virgin and Crone - and how she exists simultaneously and continuously in all of our psyches, each taking center stage in awareness at different moments. These archetypal patterns are considered intrapsychic modes of consciousness in the individual, and the primordial image of a powerful and integrated woman, crowned with wisdom gleaned through real experience, is again reemerging through both the individual and collective psyches of humanity.
First, however, women must learn to embrace, respect and honor their changing bodies, abilities, capacities and WISDOM. We can learn a lot from Baba Yaga!
An archetype is a universal symbol, an inherited mental image to which humankind responds, and which is often acted upon as an unconscious reaction to human experience. These stories are no different and the story of Baba Yaga exemplify this phenomena.
The female experience is symbolized by and archetypally corresponds with the ancient Triple Goddess as the creator and destroyer of all life -- "the ancient and venerable female divinity embodying the whole of female experience as Virgin, Mother, Crone." The archetypal figure representing the end of a woman's childbearing years, or the "third age" for women, is the third aspect of the Triple Goddess, the Crone.
At the climacteric or menopause, women are often forced to stand precipitously between the culmination of past experiences, to realize that youth is left behind, and prepare a new space within whereby a fresh image will coalesce as she envisions her future. This is real labor. The traditional constructs that are available to women are largely influenced by patriarchal standards of youth and beauty and we need fresh constructs that honor the diversity of life in all of its forms.
When a culture's language has no word to connote "wise elder woman," what happens to the women who carry the "Grandmother" consciousness for the collective? Prejudicial (prejudged) attacks throughout history against older women symbolized patriarchy's feminization of fear: the ultimate fear of annihilation, to be nonexistent (no existence). Centuries-long indoctrination limits our imagination so that we see this ancient aspect of the feminine only in her negative forms. We see her as the one who brings death to our old way of being, to our lives as we have known them, and to our embodied selves.
Our fear of the unconscious makes the Crone or Baba into an image of evil. The prevalence of paranoid masochism finds its expression through feminine perversion. Kristeva writes from "Stabat Matar" that: "Feminine perversion is coiled up in the desire for law as desire for reproduction and continuity, it promotes feminine masochism to the rank of structure stabilizer." Structure stabilizer! Natural death is to be feared, hidden away, certainly not recognized as part of the natural rhythm of cycles of birth, death and rebirth?
Only when death becomes projected does it become a monster to be feared. There is an unconscious belief that a woman who has outlived her husband has somehow used up his life force. Walker claims that the secret hidden in the depths of men's minds is that images of women are often identified with death. Women have also bought into this mindset largely because of lost connection with their own spirituality and the natural cycles of nature!
To be sent to Baba Yaga was tantamount to being sent to one's death, but Vasalisa was actually helped by Baba Yaga. By facing her own worst fear -- death itself, Vasalisa became liberated from her previous situation and immaturity.
The myths of our society tell us much about the attitudes and world view of the myth-owners, and these attitudes are the products of women's roles within the wider society. Myth arises out of the collective level of humankind's experience, which is presented through images and symbols that resonate within our psyche. It is something we inherit from our ancestors and it is expressed through our genetic, racial memory. Kaufert reminds us however, that "myth is a system of values presented as if it were a system of facts."
The symbol of the Crone is unique to a feminine worldview where the face of the Virgin and the fecund Mother, the Virgin Mother Mary, was absorbed in Western tradition into Judeo-Christian imagery. Likewise, we see the image of Vasalisa embodied as this innocence. The Crone has retained much of her pre-patriarchial character where she has haunted the fringes of Western culture, largely ignored, unacknowledged and rejected; one that often strikes fear into the hearts of men and some women because she has tremendous power and cannot be confined.
"Wise women," in the past, were literally seen as having the power of life and death. They symbolized maturity, authority, attuned to nature and instinct. They were women whom men could not bind by making pregnant. They personified, as Hall writes:
"That aspect of life that men would most like to control but against which they are powerless: death. The Crone was healer, seer, medicine woman and, when death arrived with inexorable certainty, she was the mid-wife for the transition to another life."
Over time, and in recent history the Crone became associated with the dark side of the feminine; the withered old hag, the witch. Ironically, the word "Hag" used to mean "holy one" from the Greek hadia, as in hagiolatry, "worship of saints." And during the middle ages hag was said to mean the same as fairy.
In deconstructing these familiar images of the older aging woman, we must first identify their symbolic roots and challenge them in order to allow for potent, vital images that energize women's potential creative spiritual evolution. In this quest it is crucial to find valued female images that present creative and spiritual power, that offer a paradigm of ongoing formation and integration. If we do not do so, we risk encountering images of women that reinforce stereotypical models and moreover, can only alienate us from our own truest selves.
The Crone is a figure who incorporates both dark and light, life and death, creation and destruction, form and dissolution. The doll [Vasalisa's doll, given to her by her dying mother] becomes the symbol of the Sibyl, a figure of inspiration and intuition. She acts as a guide through the great passages of life, leading a woman into her own inner knowing.
We see this in the story of Vasalisa and Baba Yaga, the innocence of the maiden coming of age through a series of tasks. Baba Yaga forces Vasalisa to look within through intuition (the doll) and she awakens to the illuminating light that is carried in her heart. Within the simple limits of a folk story, the interactions of Sophia (Vasalisa) and the Black Goddess (Baba Yaga) are demonstrated. Baba Yaga or the Crone also embodies the inner archetype of Sophia, feminine wisdom.
Hall writes: "Sophia is a Wise Woman, one who epitomizes feminine thought. This thought is of a particular kind. It is 'gestalt' or whole perception; it synthesizes and looks at the overall pattern; it is logical but empathetic, and combines acute observation with intuition. It is relational (taking account of the past in order to project forward into the future), and it arises out of care and concern for man and womankind. It uses both the left and right brain modes of thought. It is creative and concerned with vision and solutions -- attributes which are an integral part of the Wise Woman."
Sophia plays, hides, adepts, disguises, and brings justice. Interestingly, we see these very same qualities attributed to the wise woman as being Vasalisa's, only not fully formed. Thus affirming the feminist perspective of the Goddess in all of her aspects and that all ways to wisdom are valid paths. Girls and women are encouraged to rely on their own subjective experience or on the communal experience of other women This is a very important point!
From a feminist perspective, the entry into the third phase of women's life is seen as a time of spiritual questing, renewal and self-development. It is a time where women are encouraged to explore themselves through interaction with other females who are providers of friendship, support, love, even sexual satisfaction, rather than a woman's family.
Likewise, the young girl growing into maidenhood needs the guidance and wisdom that elder women can provide. She must receive the gifts that the wise ones can give her. Baba Yaga may appear as a witch, yet she is instrumental in folk traditions. She aids heroes to find weapons, simplifying tasks and quests when she is treated with courtesy. Her transposed reflection is none other than Vasilisa the fair - the young righteous maiden who defeats her opposite aspect by truth and integrity.
The older woman is the keeper of the wisdom and tradition in her family, clan, tribe, and community. She is the keeper of relations, whether they be interpersonal or with all of nature. Every issue is an issue of relationship. It is assumed that she has a deep understanding of the two great mysteries, birth and death.
Another quality is the ability to be mediator between the world of spirit and earth. She is emancipated from traditional female roles of mothering and is free to make a commitment to the greater community. As a result of this freedom, there is an abundance of creativity unleashed in this phase of life; often expressed through art, poetry, song, dance, and crafts, and through her sexuality as she celebrates her joy (Joussance).
This elder time must again become a stage of life revered and honored by others and used powerfully in service by women themselves. The elder "Wise-woman" can represent precisely the kind of power women so desperately need today, and do not have: the power to force the hand of the ruling elite to do what is right, for the benefit of future generations and of the earth itself.
Like Baba Yaga, the Crone must help us by her example and "admonish us to revere all peoples and all circles of life upon this earth . . . not only important for the dignity and self-esteem of each woman, but vital for the countenance of life on our sweet Mother Earth." Since men define power as the capacity to destroy, the Destroying Mother Crone must be the most powerful female image for them, therefore, the only one likely to force them (us) in any new direction.
A woman who denies her life process at any time in her development, clinging desperately to outmoded images, myths and rituals of her past, obscures her connection with Self, the Divine, and therefore, with her spiritual heritage, the natural universe. The same holds true for our daughters, maidens who are coming of age. There is a kind of internal balance and sense of holiness available to us when we accept ourselves as part of a world that honors cycles, changes, decay and rebirth. It is time for women to reflect and give form to the authentic self in its evolving, formative process.
The woman who is willing to make that change must become pregnant with herself, at last. She must bear herself, her third self, her old age with labor. There are not many who will help her with that birth. To Crone is to birth oneself as "Wise-woman," and see the world through new eyes.
We have not had the safety valve of feminine metaphor in our spiritual understanding; consequently, the Feminine, both Divine and human, have appeared monstrously contorted, threatening and uncontrollable.
The Black Goddess lies at the basis of Spiritual knowing, which is why her image continuously appears within many traditions as the Veiled Goddess, the Black Virgin, the Outcast Daughter, the Wailing Widow, the Dark Woman of Knowledge.
The way of Sophia is the way of personal experience. It takes us into the realm of "magical reality," those areas of our lives where extraordinary vocational and creative skills are called upon to manifest. Those treasures of Baba Yaga and Vasalisa lie deep within each of us, waiting to be discovered.
Baba Yaga & Vasalisa,
Crone & Puella [Maiden]: Two Aspects of One Archetype
(Note: James Hillman argues that the Senex and Puer, or Sage and Youth,
are also two aspects of a single archetype --
that of humankind's ever-shifting relationship with Time)
Author of this article is unknown.