Archive for the ‘moon’ Category

Today I attended an Esbat – the first in a couple years, I think.  It was put on by the local CUUPs chapter.  There weren’t as many people there as there were last time, but still some familiar and new faces.  The ritual was very Wiccan, which isn’t a problem, of course, but I’ve not been to anything like that since leaving Utica.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect and the ritual wasn’t briefed very well beforehand so there were some awkward moments.  We did get some energy flowing, which was fun.  We made some holy water for spells and consecrations which will be nice to have.  The ritual leader never lead us through a grounding which I believe helped trigger a headache.  I did some grounding when I returned home which helped. So…  all in all, pros and cons to the ritual.  I really liked getting to know people, working with others towards a magical goal, and seeing new ways of doing things, but I think they could plan it better.  In their defense, they did admit that they hadn’t really planned well to begin with!  I do intend to keep going for now.  There was some good energy and the fellowship is nice.  

I also did some shopping today.  I bought some clothes, some art supplies to make more tree spirits, and the latest edition of Witches and Pagans.  I have a lot to keep me busy!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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CUUPs – Take Two

Last Tuesday I gave the local CUUPs chapter another chance.  I stopped going after my first visit because 1) I was ill for their next meeting, 2) scheduling with Weretoad complicated travel and 3) I was honestly unimpressed with the meeting.  They spent most of it discussing the food to serve – an activity better relegated to a sign-up sheet or an online forum.  I was disgruntled and returned to my solitary den, emerging only to celebrate with Muin Mound in Syracuse.

I decided that I had enough of being so alone.  I love my grovies and cherish the time I spend with them, but it’s not enough.  I need to make friends up here as well.  CUUPs, with its open, bi-monthly meetings seemed like the best bet.  Only…for a few weeks it seemed they had disbanded.  The organizer’s computer was at the ‘puter doctor, hence the poor communication.

My most recent foray into the CUUPs world was more enjoyable.  The meeting was held outside where I was able to admire the lovely church grounds.  There were more people than last time.  We all discussed our experiences and/or research on lunar rituals and traditions.  I was called a living book because of my knowledge on Celtic lore.  This amused me because, compared with some people in ADF, I’m such a noob.  Weretoad was at work so I didn’t feel like I had to leave right away in sympathy for his boredom.  I stayed and chatted with several people about Druidism, green/hedge/kitchen witchcraft, auras, and local shops.  It felt so good to talk with like-minded people in my new hometown. Perhaps I just wasn’t ready last time…  Or perhaps the group has progressed in their organization?

I guess we’ll see how it goes.  ūüôā

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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It is well known that Wiccans hold special rituals during the full and new moons. ¬†Many Neo-Pagans and traditional witches observe certain lunar practices. ¬†For example, some spells are thought to be more effective when performed on a specific day of the moon’s cycle. ¬†What did the ancient Druids do and what can/do modern Druids practice? ¬†The moon, with its dramatic and observable changes, has held spiritual significance to many cultures all over the world, yet it is not something Druids within my own tradition seem to actively explore, at least not publicly. ¬†There are a few documented lunar rituals on the ADF website, and our founder, Isaac Bonewits, noted that some groves celebrate the phases of the moon (ADF Q&A).

I’ll begin by looking at the ancient Celts. ¬†As always, it is important to note that we have little information on what the ancient Celts believed due to a limited amount of pre-Christian documentation. ¬†Most of what is known comes from artifacts, the contemporary writing of antagonistic leaders or outsiders, and Christianized Celts. ¬†Details from the last two sources, especially, must be taken with a grain of salt.

Pliny the Elder wrote about the Gaulish Druids. ¬†His work includes the famous piece about Druids harvesting mistletoe on the 6th day of the moon (Ellis, Celts 54). ¬†Jean Markale analyzed the symbolism of the harvest ritual, noting that the sickle used to cut the plant would have been reminiscent of the crescent moon (Markale 131). ¬†Modern Druids from the Henge of Keltria equate this with the first quarter and celebrate the Mistletoe rite on such evenings. ¬†They explain that “mistletoe was known as `all heal,'” and take advantage of such evenings to perform remedial ceremonies. ¬†They have a second lunar ritual, the Vervain Rites.

Our other lunar rite is the Vervain Rite. The time of this rite was also chosen from classical descriptions of ancient Druidic practices. It was written that vervain was gathered when neither sun nor moon were in the sky. This occurs sometime during each night, except when the moon is full. We generally celebrate this around the 3rd quarter. This gives ample time for the rite during the evening hours. It also places this rite opposite the Mistletoe Rite in the lunar cycle. Vervain is said to be of aid in working magic. Thus, the Vervain Rite is our time for working magic. The purpose of magic in a Druidic sense is more like prayer. We work magic to help effect change in our lives. Druidic magic may involve contemplation, meditation, ritual or ecstatic dance (The Henge of Keltria FAQ).

Pliny’s writing aside, there is more evidence that the moon was important to the ancient Celts. ¬†The Welsh Goddess Arianrhod may have been a lunar deity. ¬†Some look to Proto-Celtic linguistics and argue that her name means silver wheel – an obvious reference to the moon (Wikipedia). ¬†Others are less convinced due to the variability of her name (Mary Jones).

Cerridwen is another possible Welsh deity with lunar associations. ¬†Etymologically speaking, her name may mean “bent white one” (Mary Jones), a possible reference to the crescent moon. ¬†When considering the symbolism of her transformations, a lunar link could be possible.

The Coligny Calendar may be the most concrete example we have of lunar observation among the ancient Celtic tribes.

Produced before the Roman conquest of Gaul, this calendar is far more elaborate than the rudimentary Julian calendar and has a highly sophisticated five-year synchronisation of lunation with the solar year (Ellis, Druids 230).

Peter Berresford Ellis also notes that Caesar and Pliny the Elder both commented on how the Gauls measured time according to nights and the moon.

Thus we have strong evidence for the moon as a time piece, but  less on other ritual or magical significance.   I am assuming that Carmina Gadelica  will have more moon lore, albeit Christianized.  The moon continued to play an important role in surviving folk magic which has inspired a plethora of modern magical traditions.  The moon seems central to magical thought and I am hopeful to learn more.

Works Cited
Aranrhod ferch Don. ¬†2009. ¬†Mary Jones’ Celtic Encyclopedia. ¬†10 Aug. 2010¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†<http://www.maryjones.us/jce/cerridwen.html>.

Arianrhod.  13 April 2010.  Wikipedia.  10 Aug. 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianrhod>

Berresford, Ellis.  The Celts A History.  New York: Carroll and Graf, 2004.
—. ¬†A Brief History of the Druids.¬†¬†New York: Carroll and Graf, 2002.
Bonewits, Isaac.¬†“Questions and Answers about ADF.” ¬†√Ār nDra√≠ocht F√©in.¬†¬†10 Aug. 2010¬†¬† ¬† ¬†<http://www.adf.org/about/basics/qa.html>.

Cerridwen.¬†¬†2004. ¬†Mary Jones’ Celtic Encyclopedia. ¬†10 Aug. 2010


Frequently Asked Questions.  The Henge of Keltria.  10 Aug. 2010
Markale, Jean.  The Druids Celtic Priests of Nature.  Rochester: Inner Traditions Int., 1999.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Once more the full moon finds me full of energy.  Yesterday I did more painting and sewing.  I also did a lot of cleaning and cooking.  I started to read my book about Brighid and continued my other pleasure reading.  I even exercised and was delighted to see that I lost three pounds.  Overall, a very fulfilling day.  Does it have anything to do with the moon?  Who knows.  It’s fun to see if there’s a pattern, though.  And regardless of moonbeams and lunar energy, I delight in such productivity and creativity.  It makes me feel good about myself.

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Lunar Observations

The moon begins to wane and I’ve been feeling restless and lazy. I thought about working on some creative projects but then decided that I really wasn’t in the mood. I did some work, tidied the house, and read a little.

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Lunar Challenge

My friend Katrina challenged me to keep track of/honor/contemplate the phases of the moon and how it effects my emotions and such. Since leaving Wicca, I haven’t really done much with the moon besides silently stand in awe of it and find it beautiful. I’ve always felt energized by the full moon, but I haven’t given it much other thought. ADF doesn’t take any official stance on the moon. The Henge of Keltria has lunar festivals however, so it’s not unheard of for modern Druids. I decided to give it a shot.

I could have done a better job keeping track of things in January. I have decided to blog more about it here. Overall, despite my illness this past week, the waxing moon has found me feeling more creative. I’ve been working on several projects after a brief lull. I wonder if I work on fewer things during the waning and dark moon?

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Full Moon Meditation

I’m an ADF Druid. I tried OBOD but it just wasn’t the best fit for me. That said, OBOD has a great many things I find of value. One gem I found while researching what I could possibly do to commemorate the moon was meditate on world peace. A lot of people seem to practice healing magic during the full moon (because it’s at its climax and will decrease). Focusing on world peace is a lot like healing.

Now, I’m not so naive as to think that there can ever be total world peace. I’ve read enough history and know my own nature. But I think you can agree that it would be nice, or that, at least, there are some places that could be more peaceful. I started to focus on that and quickly began to think about how peace should begin at home. I need to work on being my own internal peacekeeper. I’m a passionate person and this sometimes translates to anger and hostility. I need to work on stepping back and taking a breath.

I also thought a lot about what the moon means to me in terms of Druidism. Is it just a symbol? Should I think of it as an eye watching over me, like the sun? Is Airinhod (sp?) really a lunar type deity? I’ve done little work with Welsh Gods. I should do more research…

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