Saturday, September 21, 2019

3 Things You Can Do to Make Your Fall Equinox More Meaningful

In the Agricultural Cycle of the Wheel of the Year, we hit mid-Harvest, also called Second Harvest, in the wee hours of this approaching Monday.  That is if we are calculating this Holy Day in conjunction with the timing of the Autumn Equinox.  Personally, I don’t think many are going to get upset if you decide to celebrate on Sunday if the day is more convenient.  Afterall, if you have been tending your harvest, you know it is a season and determining the point exactly in the middle is more about the weather and growth of your crops and less about a predetermined point in time.

In popular lore, Contemporary Pagans, in the US anyway, like to describe this Sabbat as a kind of Pagan Thanksgiving.  In many ways, this is spot on.  Thanksgiving as a holiday was adopted because when the powers that be were looking for a singular harvest holiday to add to the national calendar it was one of many various harvest days observed across the US and it fell at a time that was the most convenient for the most folks, so both are all about the harvest and the celebration of such.  Sadly though, too many like to stop their understanding of our Sabbat there.

With all of that said, I was thinking about a few practices, and the associated lore, of this holiday and thought I would share them as a short list of things that could potentially make your Second Harvest a more meaningful one.

One – Winnowing

Winnowing is the process of separating the chaff, and other unwanted parts, from the grain once it has been harvested but before it is milled or otherwise stored for later use.  Typically, the harvesting of wheat begins in early August and is wrapping up in mid-September, which is right about now.  This means that by this point in the harvest, there sure has been a lot of winnowing going on. 

Back at First Harvest, at the beginning of August, the first grains of the yield were being made into fresh bread as we sacrificed stalk upon stalk of wheat.  In the crossroads of the Sacred King Cycle and Agricultural Cycle, these stalks are the symbolic sacrifice of Our Lord for the good of the tribe.  It’s that whole “the King is dead, long live the King thing.”

Well, He is dead now and the grain harvest is in.  Time to separate our chaff from the fruit of our labor before we being our journey to the Underworld.  You see, He is our example in the turning of the Wheel and the symbology of the Harvest is really talking all about us, which means that now that Second Harvest is upon us it is time to get to work winnowing.   

What Harvest have you been working on in life?  What do you need to separate from your grain?  How will you winnow such?

Two – Shrouding

We are all going to die.  One day it will be our bodies that are the harvest of the universe.  This is just the way of the turning of the Wheel of Life and Death, which is really all the Wheel of the Year is telling a story about, the Cycle of Death and Rebirth or Living and Dying, they are the same story from different points.  At this point, death has already arrived and we are shrouded in the mysteries of that Final Initiation.  This is what the lore tells us anyway.

There is a practice here also, the practice of shrouding.  When you light the candles upon your altar this Feast Day, snuff His and wrap Him in a shroud.  He is still there, just like we are all still there even in death.  For you see, that’s you sitting upon the altar wearing your burial clothes.  It, however, is only symbolic of our worldly death, the death of our body, and the death of only one of our Selves.  It is not the Self that travels to dwell in the hearth of the ancestors or the Self that reincarnates and is the thread throughout all of our lives.

This Holy Day is also about the embracing of our own morality and wearing that truth as our burial clothes turned divine mantle. 

When was the last time you thought about the harvest that your own death would yield?  The time is upon us, and remember it is never too late/early to begin preparing the fields for the future.

Three – Descending

Another tendency that is common amongst Contemporary Pagans is to allocate all things related to the Underworld to Samhain, also called Third Harvest.  The lore of the thinning veil and communing with one’s ancestors certainly makes this an easy association.  Samhain, however, is all about things that have already made it to the Underworld.  Now is the time of things descending across that threshold unto the Underworld.  If you have been thinking about doing an Underworld journey, now is the time to do that.

Even in this Descent there is a Harvest, as we know from Her later descent at Samhain to join Him, there are gates that one must passSeven gates.  I like to think of them like passing the gates of the Wandering Stars to the point where the two conjoin—the flame betwixt the horns.  Take that as you will.  The point is that if you are to strip away and cut free to reveal that which is eternal, you are going to have to give a few things up.  Sacrifices are needing to be made as a toll on the road to the next phase.

Second Harvest is an excellent time for this kind of Witchcraft.  What sacrifices are you going to make so that you may feast at the table?

Boidh Se,


“Lost is a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path.”

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

When in Doubt, Do Witchcraft!

There are times in our lives when circumstances happen that frankly suck and sometimes in those times we feel like there is nothing that we can do about it.  Coping with such despair is one of those things that various religions have had to answer for. 

In true style, these answers fit within the pattern of said spiritual traditions.  For example, some forms of Christianity are fond of reminding people that “God has a plan” and some forms of Buddhism like to teach acceptance of change and non-attachment.  Well, the spiritual traditions found within Witchcraft also have answers. 

Sure Witches often will take the ole Fate as a Scapegoat route that is similar to the “God has a plan” paradigm and many others also buy into practices of non-attachment, I am not discounting either of these and a lot can be said about these approaches, but we have something more.  As Witches we have magick. 

No matter how bad things suck and no matter how much we don’t feel that there is anything that we can do, we can always do magick.  This doesn’t mean that our spells and workings will always succeed, but it does mean that we are always empowered with active action even when it doesn’t feel like there is any other.

Boidh Se!


“Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path.”

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Reading Aradia

I have not had much to say publicly lately, mostly due to biting my own tongue. However, today I have the urge to share a bit. Hence this blog, may it be of worth to you.

As of late, I have spent a lot of time molding my personal Craft and largely ignoring whatever the latest book happens to be that has been published. I did try reading Besom, Stang & Sword: A Guide to Traditional Witchcraft, the Six-Fold Path & the Hidden Landscape, but frankly couldn’t finish for a number of reasons, though I am considering reneging on my statement that I’m not going to write reviews on the rest of the book. I, of course, will have to get around to reading the rest of the book for that to happen.

This morning in my personal Craft crafting, I have had the urge to poke Aradia: Gospel of the Witches some more. It’s something I do a lot of, and honestly I am quite fond of the copious amounts of workable material and lore that can be mined from it. For those that don’t know, the sheer magnitude that this book has had upon the early praxis of the Wica cannot be overstated. Likewise, the shockwaves this impact has reverberated downstream into those practices deriving or influenced by such can also not be overstated. If you’ve never made a serious effort to deconstruct this work and chase the various roebucks therein then consider this blog your notice from the universe at large that the time is now.

With all of that said, what follows are not my words. They are all quotes, every last of one of them. As I wandered the thicket this morning, these are the roebucks this book set me upon. I decided to scribe them down, without explanation or context, and present them here as a whole for y’all to chase and see where they lead you. Good luck:

“The rich made slaves of all the poor.”

“And thou shalt be the first of witches known;
And thou shalt be the first of all I’ the world;
And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning,
Of poisoning those who are great lords of all;
Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces;
And thou shalt bind the oppressor’s soul (with power)…”

“She who fain would learn all sorcery yet has not won
Its deepest secrets, them my mother will
Teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown.
And ye shall be freed from slavery,
And so ye shall be free in everything…”

“Then Diana went to the fathers of the Beginning, to the mothers, the spirits who were before the first spirit, and lamented unto them that she could not prevail with Lucifer. And they praised her for her courage, they told her that to rise she must fall; to become the chief of goddesses she must become a mortal.”

“I’ll take my horn, and bravely will I blow
In the wine-vault at midnight, and I’ll make
Such a tremendous and a terrible sound
That thou, Diana fair, however far
Away thou may’st be, still shalt hear the call,
And casting open door or window wide,
Shalt headlong come upon the rushing wind,
And find and save me—that is, save my vines,
Which will be saving me from dire distress;
For should I lose them I’d be lost myself,
But with thy aid, Diana, I’ll be saved.”

“But the lady who had saved her, coming to her secretly, said: 'If thou hast
any desire, follow the Gospel of Diana, or what is called the Gospel of the
Witches (II Vangelo delle Strege), who worship the moon.'"

“Then in this dire need she prayed to Diana to set her free; when lo! She found the prison door unfastened, and easily escaped. Then having obtained a pilgrim’s dress, she travelled far and wise, teaching and preaching the religion of old times, the religion of Diana, the Queen of the Fairies and or the Moon, the goddess of the poor and the oppressed.”

Boidh Se!


“Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path.”

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Why I Don't Celebrate "All Snakes Day" and What to Do Instead

As Contemporary Pagans, we are better than All Snakes Day.  For those that don’t know what he hell I’m talking about, the short version is a counter holiday built upon badly compiled lore surrounding St. Patrick’s Day.  The gist of it is that the snakes that St. Patrick chased out of Ireland were actually the Pagans of Ireland, thus All Snakes Day is a celebration of the snakes.

The truth of the matter is that this just isn’t historically accurate, not in the least.  As someone that works heavily with Irish Reconstructionism, studies the myths and histories thereof, and speaks several hundred words of Gaeilge (Irish), and actively working on furthering this, I confirm that the scholarship is just missing in this regard.  I, however, really don’t feel up to doing the work to lay it all out, but not to leave y’all hanging, there is a blog by Ian Corrigan that helps to lay it out well enough that y’all will get the idea.  Plus he includes a few more links at the bottom for those that really want to chase this roebuck through the thicket.  Go HERE.

There is a charm here though that I do like.  I like the idea of celebrating Paganism as a whole and as a holiday separate from the common Pagan Pride Days.  I also love the Druid/Irishness of it, because I work in these areas in my personal Craft.  I just think that St. Patrick’s Day and All Snakes Day shouldn’t be it.

Instead, I think I am going to take up the Feast of Age as a practice. 

The Feast of Age comes from Irish mythology and is of the Tuatha dé Danann (the Gods and Goddesses of Ireland).  As a modern practice, it is something that the now defunct Henge of Keltria developed and was one of their own holidays.  I like it and so here is an excerpt of what they have to say about it, straight from “The Book of Keltria.*”

In particular the “feast to acknowledge agelessness of our ethical and moral convictions” bit speaks to me.  For me, this is a good alternative.  Feel free to join me in celebrating such, but don’t feel obliged.  Maybe you’ll even think of another good alterative for you and yours.  If so, do it and share it with others.  The spirit of All Snakes Day is right but the lore and timing is not.

As for the Feast of Age, I’m thinking that the first Saturday in June is a good time.  This year it is June 1st.  I picked the date for no particular reason other than that it is nicely placed after Bealtaine but before the solstice and is a good time of year for firing up the barbeque smoker (or grill), feasting upon said foods, and having a beer with friends in celebration of Paganism as a whole. 

Feel free to save the date and join in.

Boidh Sé,


“Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path.”

*Right before the Henge of Keltria dis enfranchised they took their correspondence course and turned it into a book, this is that book.