Witchy Wizdom

Monday, January 4, 2010

1/3/10 monday well if you thExcellent! Thank you for stepping up. Let me know when a date and time has been decided and I will add it to the calendar. What do you have in mind for live music? I'm sure many of us have musical talent and perhaps wouldn't mind sharing something...
Kara/Sagemoon--- On Sun, 1/3/10, Bell wrote:
From: Bell Subject: Re: [supaganalliance] Imbolc/Candlemas/Bridget DayTo: supaganalliance@yahoogroups.comDate: Sunday, January 3, 2010, 9:22 PM

Hey Sagemoon, I would love to host the Imbolc this year. We talked about it at the brew today. It'll be at my home in Washington, mostly outside but I have a firepit and am considering renting one or two of those outdoor heating tower thingies. I will serve hot soup one creamy and one brothy and am asking others to bring their own camping chair, a little wood for the fire, soup mug and favorite soup accessories, like bread or crackers.... . I will also serve hot spiced cider.
Persons should prepare to spend most of the evening outside so wear warm clothes, of course you can warm up inside its just a small space. We'll have the firepit and drumming singing and dancing. And, most likely a very short circle. My yard is not all that private so a big long circle with quarter calling will probably not be very comfortable for me. We will have our quarters represented I will just probably perform everything without much fanfare.

As you know, but others in our community may not, Jean and Eryn and Crystal and their whole family that has been such visible participants with our SUPA group, are moving to Oregon. So I want to make this event a very special send off for them. darwinpagan is going to help me out. and we are going to be working on some special music for the event. Of course I'll need you and others help to make this a special celebration. I may be able to get some live musician there, we'll see. Open to anyone who feels the call to contribute in anyway that moves them just make sure to coordinate with me and we'll have enough planning time to work all creative contributions in there.
Have Fun, Bell

--- On Sat, 1/2/10, Kara McCoy wrote:
From: Kara McCoy Subject: Re: [supaganalliance] Imbolc/Candlemas/ Bridget DayTo: supaganalliance@ yahoogroups. comDate: Saturday, January 2, 2010, 3:50 PM

No. If anyone would like to take the Staff for this sabbat, please speak up!
Kara/Sagemoon--- On Fri, 1/1/10, Robert wrote:
From: Robert Subject: [supaganalliance] Imbolc/Candlemas/ Bridget DayTo: supaganalliance@ yahoogroups. comDate: Friday, January 1, 2010, 10:17 PM

I will likely be back for the Sunday coffee. Has anyone expressed a desire to do Imbolc February 1?ought you were the parent read this link.
If they outlaw underwear, I'm staying out of Hurricane. Too windy! Otherwise, the added breeze will be nice in the summer months.
Kara/Sagemoon--- On Sat, 1/2/10, Robert wrote:
From: Robert Subject: [supaganalliance] When TSA outlaws underwear, Kilts will be back in fashionTo: supaganalliance@yahoogroups.comDate: Saturday, January 2, 2010, 9:17 PM

I was really taken aback by this most recent terrorist attack. The thought that people still want to kill non-combatants on a mass scale is very upsetting. But instead of dealing with the inevitable work issues that will no doubt come up as they did after 9-11, I look to practical issues (and toward humor).Knowing the reaction from our Government, I have anticipated the outlawing of underwear on commercial airliners. If guys out there want to get ahead of the fashion for 2010 era air travel or want something with a bit more freedom for hiking or pagan events, check the link section of this site. After Lugnasadh, I added the SportKilt link. After recent news, I also added links for two other kilt shops. Utilikilt is the highly gadget-like kilt for the man who has everything. It is pricey, but is very durable and has pockets for everything. The material is very heavy, so it should not blow up with less than a hurricane. Also, some of the user-designed ads are very funny. Here is my favorite- com/watch? v=-Hzh1BPmFp4USA Kilts has casual kilts in tartan patterns as well as hiking versions that are a bit more generic. The tartan material matches patterns for family styles from 1760 to present, plus some modern registered patterns. Also, they have the full boat modern formal styles in different weights as well.
You are such a gift to us all. We are so lucky to have someone with your talents of microbrewery and much more. Let me know if you need any help or contribution to the Dionysis fund. I will surely enjoy helping with the tasting.
Have Fun, Bell

--- On Mon, 1/4/10, Robert wrote:
From: Robert Subject: [supaganalliance] Serious Mead ! ! !To: supaganalliance@yahoogroups.comDate: Monday, January 4, 2010, 3:09 AM

For those of you that had my dry mead over Lugnasadh, I need to report that I have another short batch coming. As this is only the second batch I have done, I decided to add more honey and see what the effect is on the final product. After almost a month, the batch is still brewing. It is very sweet, which is what I was looking for. The extra news is the specific gravity numbers make me feel I wrote down the numbers wrong. It is still brewing and my Java application is telling me the alcohol content is 18% by volume. Using a less scientifically precise testing method, I find the alcohol content is noticeable even with the spicy/sweet taste. But I do not think it is that high.BUT BE WARNED! This is likely going to be a lock_up_your_ car_keys_ in_a really_safe_ place mead when it is done. It needs some time in the bottle to settle down, but should be ready for Ostara or better for Beltain...
Temple of Isis Utah: UshbatisOddfellows Hall 8698 Center St. Sandy, UT 84070801-647-4040 When: January 9, 2009 4:30 PMThe ushabti (also called shabti or shawabti, with a number of variant spellings) funerary figurines were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as substitutes for the deceased, should he/she be called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife. They were used from the Middle Kingdom (around 1900 BC) until the end of the Ptolemaic Period nearly 2000 years later.Most ushabtis were of minor size, and many produced in multiples – they sometimes covered the floor around a sarcophagus. Exceptional ushabtis are of larger size, or produced as a one-of-a-kind master work.Due to the shabti's commonness through all Egyptian timeperiods, and world museums' desire to represent ancient Egyptian art objects, the shabti is one of the most commonly represented objects in Egyptology displays."Exerted from http://en.wikipedia.o...We will be making Ushabtis. PLEASE RSVP IN ADVANCE SO WE HAVE AN IDEA FOR SUPPLIES. Bless.

Introduction to Wicca
Week 1: Introduction - What is Wicca?

from Patti Wigington Welcome to our 13-week Introduction to Wicca e-course! We've got a lot of information to cover, but by the time you're all done, you should have a good, solid foundation to build your future studies on. Each lesson will feature four or five topics that you should read and study. Don't just skim over them -- read them thoroughly, and make notes on the points that jump out at you. Take your time when you're going though them, and if you need to, bookmark them to read later. For our first class, we're going to talk a little bit about just what Wicca really is. We'll look at the differences between Wicca, witchcraft, and Paganism (because they really ARE different), as well as the basic concepts of Wicca. We'll also talk about different interpretations of the Threefold Law, one of the most common tenets of modern Pagan religions. Finally, we'll look at some of the most frequently asked questions we see here on Pagan/Wiccan's site.Again, I encourage you to take your time. Read over these and -- even more importantly -- THINK about what you've read. If there's something you disagree with, or that doesn't make sense to you, that's okay, because it gives you something else to research and learn about later on.

Differences Between Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism
Can you be a Pagan without being Wiccan? Is it possible to be Wiccan but not be a witch? How come some Pagans are Wiccans but others aren't? Well, believe it or not, the three terms really are very different. Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan -- how you identify yourself will depend on not only your practices but your beliefs. Read on to figure out what it is that separates witches, Wiccans and Pagans, and why it matters.
Basic Principles and Concepts of Wicca
There are many misconceptions out there about Wicca and modern Paganism, so first, let's talk a little about what it is that Wiccans believe. Although there are many different traditions of Wicca (or NeoWicca), there are several common concepts shared between them. You'll find that typical Wiccan groups have more in common than they have differences. Here's where we're talking about what it is Wiccans generally believe and practice. We'll also address the issue of what Wicca is NOT.

Ten Things to Know About Wicca
In addition to the basic principles and concepts of Wicca, as we discussed above, there are also some other issues you should be aware of. Most of these are not Official Sacred Tenets of Wicca, but in fact simple common sense rules that you should be aware of.

The Threefold Law
When you first begin studying Wicca, you'll probably hear a lot about the Threefold Law, sometimes called the Law of Threefold Return or the Rule of Three. Many commercially available Wicca books include much emphasis on the Threefold Law. However, few of them encourage readers to stop and think about what exactly the Threefold Law means to you personally. After all, it's important to understand exactly WHY you're following a rule, if you do in fact decide to follow it. Let's talk about some of the different interpretations of the Rule of Three.

FAQ: I'm New to Wicca... Now What?
That's an excellent question, and one that comes up frequently. Because there's no Official Wiccan Welcome Packet, it's kind of hard to figure out where you're going, if you don't know exactly what the path is. That's part of the goal of this class, in fact, to help you figure out what's next. For some other ideas on how to get started, be sure to read this FAQ.

Other Pagan/Wiccan FAQs
Got questions, but feel silly asking them? That's okay -- because they've probably been asked already, by someone else. Check out our list of the most common questions that have come through so far, and you'll get a chance to look over answers to other people's questions.

Next Week: Read, Study, Learn and Grow
Next week's lesson is called "Read, Study, Learn and Grow," and that's when we'll discuss some of the most valuable reading material and information available to modern Pagans and Wiccans. See you then, and in the meantime, have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 2: Read, Study, Learn and Grow

from Patti Wigington As a spiritual path, Wicca is similar to many others in that to truly understand it -- and benefit from it -- one really does have to do some work. Like anything else of value, a little effort is typically necessary to attain spiritual growth. However, one problem many folks new to Wicca encounter is that there's a LOT of reading out there, and it's hard to tell which books are worthwhile, and which should just be used as firestarter.Today, we're going to discuss a few authors whose contributions have really made an impact on the changing face of Wicca in the past decades. Some of them have even agreed to interviews here on, and it's worthwhile to see what they had to say. There's a reading list that every beginner should look over - if you haven't read these books, make time to do so at some point, because they're considered classics. Also, we'll start off with a few definitions and the Pagan/Wiccan glossary - after all, if you're going to read all that new material, you're probably going to run into a few words you've never seen before!

Glossary of Common Pagan/Wiccan Terms
What the heck is "deosil," why do people say "Blessed Be," and do I have to feed my Esbat? If these are questions you've ever asked (or even if you haven't) you should probably check out our Pagan/Wiccan glossary. This is a list of definitions used commonly on the Pagan/Wiccan website, and also found in many modern Pagan and Wiccan books. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the terms before you get started on all your reading!
Reading List for Beginners
So you're at the local bookstore, looking at the Wiccan section... and there are literally hundreds of selections. How do you know what to read? This list features thirteen books that every Wiccan should have on their shelves. A few are historical and a few more focus on actual Wiccan practice. All are worth reading more than just once.

Authors You Should Know
The ten authors on this list are some of the most well-known authors in the fields of magic, the occult, Paganism and Wicca. While not everyone agrees with everything these authors have written, reading their work will give you a greater understanding of the history of Paganism and Wicca in the modern era. Although this isn't a comprehensive list of authors, it's certainly a good starting point for anyone who's interested in reading more about Wicca and Paganism.

Author Interviews on
We've been fortunate enough to have some of the biggest names in modern Wicca stop by the website and participate in interviews. Read what writers like Ray Buckland, Dorothy Morrison and Ellen Dugan have to say about contemporary issues.

Discussion: Books and Other Resources
Did you know we have a Discussion Forum on the Pagan/Wiccan page? We even have a subfolder for conversations about books and other resources available. If you've got questions about the content of a book you're reading -- or if you'd like to just stop in and see what other folks are recommending -- drop by for a spell!

Next Week: Tools of the Craft
In next week's lesson, we'll talk about the most commonly used tools of the Craft, as well as how you can make some on your own. We'll look at ways to set up altars, and get started making your very own Book of Shadows. See you then, and have a magical week!


Introduction to Wicca
Week 3: Tools of the Craft

from Patti Wigington So now we've talked about what it is Wiccans believe -- now it's time to get into the actual meat of what Wiccans practice and do. An essential part of Wicca is the use of magic to bring about change. This change can be for other people, the community at large, for self improvement -- the possibilities are nearly limitless. Many people find that various tools allow them to better develop their magical ability.While you don't absolutely have to have every single one of these tools in order to be an effective worker of magic, they do come in handy. A tool helps you to focus your intent.We'll talk about some of the tools most commonly used in Wiccan traditions, including the altar, and we'll spend a little time discussing the Book of Shadows, or BOS. You'll learn what a BOS is, what it should contain, and how to set up one of your own.

Magical Tools Image Gallery
Often, when people first discover Paganism or Wicca, they rush to go buy every single magical tool they can find. After all, the books tell us to buy this, that, and the kitchen sink... but what's the point? Do you absolutely have to have everything? Remember, magical tools have an actual purpose. Here are some photos of the magical and ritual items that many Wiccan and Pagan traditions use in some capacity.

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Your Magical Altar
What's an altar, and why do you need one? Well, the altar is a personal place where you can put things that are sacred to your tradition. It's a spot where you can perform rituals, do magical workings, or just sit and have a moment of silent spiritual reflection. You can leave it up all year round, or change it based on your needs.

Basic Altar Setup
Now that you know what an altar is, what goes on it? Well, it's really not that complicated... the trick is to figure out what you NEED. Ultimately, focus on which tools are necessary to your practice, and leave the rest of them out of the way. Here's a blueprint for a very basic altar setup.

Make a Ritual Robe
Many Wiccans and Pagans prefer to perform ceremonies and rituals in special robes. For many people, donning the ritual robe is a way of separating themselves from the mundane business of everyday life -- it's a way of stepping into the ritual mindset, of walking from the mundane world into the magical world. Most people prefer to wear nothing at all under their ritual robe, but do what is comfortable for you. You can make your own robe easily, just by following a few simple steps.

Your Book of Shadows
The Book of Shadows (BOS) is used to store information on your magical tradition. Many Pagans and Wiccans have one, and consider it a sacred tool. Copy spells and rituals into your BOS, along with information on herbalism, deities, gemstones, rituals, and more. You can make your BOS as elaborate or as simple as you like.

Next Week: Intro to Magic
Next week, we'll talk about the basics of magic. You'll learn the fundamentals of how to make your own incense and magical oils, what a "correspondence" is, why colors are important, and more. Until then, have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 4: Basics of Magic

from Patti Wigington Magical practice is a significant part of many modern Pagan and Wiccan traditions. There are a lot of questions - some unanswerable - about what magic is and how it works. Let's look at some of those issues, and then we'll get into the nuts and bolts. In addition to talking about how magic works - or doesn't - this week we're going to look at the basics of candle magic, crystals and gemstomes, herbs and incense, and more. Remember that Book of Shadows we started in last week's lesson? A lot of this information is worth keeping in there. Feel free to print things out and keep them in your BOS - after all, that's what it's for!Let's start off with a couple of the most commonly asked questions about magic, and then we'll talk about poppets, candles, oils and herbs as well.

FAQ: Is Magic Real? And Why Doesn't Everyone Do It?
Depends on who you ask, but most Wiccans and Pagans will tell you they accept magic as part of their daily life. Most people don't practice magic at all -- why on earth not, if it's real? Some of the reasons might be simpler than you think.
FAQ: How Does Magic Work?
Let's face it - magic isn't something we can sit down and explain with a pie chart and a graph. It's not soemthing we can correlate with facts and figures. It's something that exists, but we can't prove how or why. In fact, there are even different TYPES of magic - all of which work within their own spheres of energy. Learn a little bit about different theories on the science of magic.

Poppet Magic
Poppets, or dolls, are one of the oldest and simplest forms of sympathetic magic. Based upon the theory that like attracts like, a poppet is a doll or figure created to represent the individual who is the focus of the working. A magical link is created to the person by way of the poppet, and actions performed on the poppet are received by the individual. Poppets don't have to be bad, though - there are many good and positive ways you can use one. Here you'll learn how to create your own, as well as some sample workings you can try.

Magical Herbalism
Herb use and lore has long been a staple of healing practices. Thousands of years before mankind even began writing things down, our ancestors knew that certain plants had specific effects upon the body and mind. Many Pagans and Wiccans continue to follow these traditions, and use herbs as part of their magical practice.

Candle Magic 101
Candle magic is one of the simplest forms of spell casting. Considered sympathetic magic, it's a method which doesn't require a lot of fancy ritual or expensive ceremonial artifacts. In other words, if you have access to a candle, you can do a magical working. By declaring your intent, visualizing the end result, and focusing your will into the candle, you can manifest results.

Magical Oils
Oils are often used in magical workings. They can be used to anoint an individual or item. Although many magical oils are commerically available, it's not hard to blend your own, once you learn a little about the basics. A magical oil is a great way to turn a simple mundane item into an item of magical power and energy.

Next Week: Deity and Prayer
Now that we've discussed the basics of Wicca, magical tools, and magic itself, next week we'll look at how the Divine impacts the practice of Wicca and Paganism. You'll meet some of the gods and goddesses honored by Wiccans and Pagans, learn about how to make an offering, the concept of appropriate worship, and some Pagan prayers for just about any occasion. See you then, and have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 5: Deity & Prayer

from Patti Wigington For many Pagans and Wiccans, an important component of the belief system involves the honoring of Deity. Although, as we discussed back in Week 1, most Wiccans and Pagans see the Divine in all living things, there are also specific gods and goddesses found in each tradition. They tend to be varied, based upon the pantheon and belief structure of the individual system. For example, a Pagan on a Celtic path might honor Brighid and Cernunnos, or perhaps the Morrighan and Lugh. If your path follows more of an Egyptian tradition, you might honor Isis and Osiris. It's also possible that your deities are simply referred to as God and Goddess, as is found in many Wiccan groups. Regardless, there's a lot to keep in mind when dealing with the Divine. This week, we'll talk about some of the more commonly honored deities in the Pagan community, as well as the concept of "appropriate worship," how to make an offering, and simple prayers that you can use at any time.

Deities of Wicca and Paganism
Many of the deities honored by modern Pagans and Wiccans are those of ancient cultures. From the Greeks and Romans to the Celts and Egyptians, Pagans of different backgrounds often find themselves drawn to a specific pantheon of gods or goddesses. This page will provide you with profiles of some of the more commonly honored deities in modern Paganism. Bear in mind, of course, that there are literally thousands of deities out there - so this list is far from comprehensive... however, it should give you a good start!
The Role of Prayer in Wicca and Paganism
Many people hear the word "prayer" and automatically assume that's something people in "that other religion" do. Nothing could be farther from the truth -- Pagans have been praying for thousands of years. A prayer is a conversation with the god or goddess of your faith. Sometimes it's a way of asking for assistance, other times it's just a method of saying hello to the Divine. Prayer is a very personal thing, and although not everyone chooses to do it, it's important to understand the role of prayer in modern Paganism and Wicca.

Appropriate Worship
One issue that comes up often for people learning about Pagan and Wiccan spirituality is the concept of appropriate worship. There tends to be some question about what, exactly, is the right way to honor the gods or goddesses of one's tradition. After all, just like our real-life friends, the gods are individuals with different needs and desires. Let's talk about the concept of appropriate worship, and why it's so important to spend time getting to know the gods we honor.

Offerings to the Gods
In many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it's not uncommon to make some sort of offering or sacrifice to the gods. But how do you know what sort of thing to offer to the Divine? Here are some ideas for specific offerings you can make to deities, based upon the types of gods they are.

Pagan Prayers for Any Occasion
Many Pagans and Wiccans pray to their deities on a regular basis. The prayers on this page are designed to help you pray on specific occasions, or in times of special need.

Next Week: Beginning Your Practice
Now that we've spent some time learning about how to interact with the Divine and about the basics of magic, let's get into the real nuts and bolts of Wicca and Paganism. In our next class, we'll talk about how to really get started on your practice, and we'll discuss choosing a magical name, basic spell construction, and the initiation issue. See you then, and have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 6: Beginning Your Practice

from Patti Wigington So far, we've talked about some of the basic foundations of a solid practice of Wicca and Paganism. We've discussed the deities and how to interact with them, principles and concepts of Pagan religions, as well as magical tools and theory. Now it's time to really get started on the hands-on stuff. If you've been adding information to your Book of Shadows from these classes, then you're a step ahead, because this week, our lessons will include a couple of actual rituals for you to try. This will give you a feel for exactly how a ritual works -- whether it's one created by you or by someone else -- and help you feel comfortable in a ritual setting.We're also going to discuss magical names, the basics of spell construction, and the every-important issue of initiation (more on that in just a bit).

Choosing Your Magical Name
One of the first things many people do when they begin following a Wiccan or Pagan path is choose a magical name. Sometimes called a Craft name, this is a new name that you might use in a ritual setting or during magical workings. In some traditions, the magical name is revealed only to coven members and the gods. In other traditions, it's a name you may decide to use publicly. Regardless, before you select one for yourself, you should read this information about what a magical name is, how to choose one, and what names you should probably avoid picking.
Initiation: Is It Really Necessary?
The initiation question is one of the most highly contested subjects in the Wiccan and Pagan community. Do you actually have to be initiated to be Wiccan, or does it not matter? Well, like many other issues, the answer kind of depends on who you ask. Let's look at when inititation is necessary, who it matters to, and what some of your options are if you're a solitary practitioner.

A Self-Dedication Ritual
Are you ready to start performing rituals on your own? If you've been paying attention for the past few weeks, then the answer is, "Of course you are!" We're going to start off with a very simple ritual of self-dedication. This is one in which a practitioner dedicates himself or herself to the gods of their tradition, or to the Craft itself. It's often the first "official" ritual that many Pagans and Wiccans perform. For many of us, this ceremony is a formal way of saying, "I am a Seeker, I am dedicated to my path and to my Gods." If you don't feel you're prepared yet to self-dedicate, that's okay too -- print this lesson out and save it for when that day arrives.

How to Cast a Circle
In many alternative spiritual paths, the circle is considered a sacred space. As such, the casting of the circle is often the beginning foundation of any ritual. While you don't absolutely *have* to cast a circle to perform ritual, doing so allows you to designate an area as a formalized, ritual space. Learning to cast a circle is a step that anyone interested in more elaborate rituals should definitely practice - it's often at the core of many ceremonies.

The Basics of Spell Construction
In Week 4, we talked a lot about magical theory - what it is, how it works, and the basics of it. Now that you're really starting to develop your practice -- and adding to your BOS all the time! -- it's time to talk about the basics of spellcraft. While there's nothing wrong with using other people's spells, such as the ones you find in books or on the internet, it's important to learn the concepts of how to write one of your own.

Next Week: The Wheel of the Year, Part 1
Now that you've gotten started and self-dedicated to your path, there's even more to learn! We'll talk in our next lesson about the Wheel of the Year, which is the cycle of the eight Sabbats typically observed by Wiccans and Pagans. Keep studying and practicing, and have a magical week!

blessings,I love music and here is some of my favorite songs for ImbolcWelcome Brighid by Katy Taylor a whole CD of music for Brighid and the Divine Feminine in generalThe Mystics Dream Loreena McKennitt from the Mask and the MirrorImbolc by Welch M. from the WheelBrighid's Kiss by Triniti off of the album TrinitiImbolc by Brendan McCloud from On the Edge of TimeBrighid Kelliannaby from Lady MoonBridefire by Curious Birds from The Wheel TurnsBrighid by Sharron Kraus from The Fox's WeddingThe Return of the Sun from Kellianna from Lady MoonInto the Fire by Sarah McLachlan, from SolaceUnwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, from UnwrittenMarys of the Sea by Tori Amos from The Beekeeper.The Heretics Heart by Cathy Winter from Breath on my FireKore Chant by Libana from the Circle is CastWe All Come from the Goddess by Linda Lila from the Return of the Goddess

Introduction to Wicca
Week 7: The Wheel of the Year, Part 1

from Patti Wigington The Wheel of the Year is the term applied to the cycle of the seasons, as observed by most contemporary Pagans and Wiccans. While not every group celebrates each of the eight Sabbats, it's often a common thread among different Wiccan and Pagan groups. In this lesson, we're going to start looking at the eight Sabbats. You'll get a chance to learn about their history and what they represent, as well as rituals, craft ideas, and ways to celebrate them.

Samhain, October 31
Samhain is known as the Witch's New Year, and falls on October 31 in the Northern Hemisphere (if you're below the equator, all of your Sabbat dates will be different by six months). Although this is celebrated as Halloween, it's also a time of sacred reflection and for honoring the dead. Learn about Samhain history, rituals and celebrations, and more!

Yule, the Winter Solstice
Yule typically falls around December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, and is the longest night of the year. It's the night that truly marks the beginning of winter, and reminds us that we're still in for a couple of months of cold and darkness before spring returns -- however, the day after Yule, the sun begins its journey back towards earth.

Imbolc, a Festival of Light
Imbolc is sometimes called Candlemas, and is typically a day associated with the Celtic goddess Brighid. Celebrated on February 2, this is a festival of fire and light, and is a harbinger of spring. Although there still is snow on the ground at Imbolc, we know that soon, spring will return.

Ostara, the Vernal Equinox
Although the Christians typically celebrate Easter around this time of year, for Wiccans and Pagans it's Ostara. This is a time of balance, because there are equal hours of night and day. Ostara is the time when the snow begins to melt, and we can celebrate the first day of spring.

Beltane, a Day of Fire and Fertility
Come May 1, the earth and everyone on it is fertile and ready to bloom! The old custom of May Day lives on in our modern Beltane festivals, which celebrate the greening of the earth, and the fertile land which is ready to be plowed. Beltane is chock-full of sexual imagery (after all, it's a fertility celebration), from the May Pole to the opening of magical spring flowers.

Next Week: The Wheel of the Year, Part 2
We've looked at the first five of the Wiccan sabbat celebrations, so in our next lesson we'll finish up the other three. We'll also take time to look at entire year's worth of rituals. Until then, keep learning and growing, and have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 8: The Wheel of the Year, Part 2

from Patti Wigington Last week we began learning about the Sabbats in the Wheel of the year. From Samhain, the witch's new year, to Beltane, the spring fertility festival, we reviewed some of the history and celebrations that are part of Pagan traditions. Now, let's look at the remaineder of the year, from the summer solstice through the harvest season.

Litha, the Summer Solstice
Sometimes called Midsummer, this Sabbat is in direct contrast to the long nights of the Yule season. Litha is the longest day of the year, and it occurs around June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere (if you're below the equator, add six months and celebrate it in December). This is a day when we can stop to celebrate the sun and the warmth that it gives to us and to the earth.

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Lammas, the First Harvest
At the beginning of August, the grain fields are full and lush. As the first harvest begins, Pagans and Wiccans often celebrate the season by honoring the spirit of the grain. In some traditions, this day is Lughnasadh, and is marked by honoring the Celtic craftsman god, Lugh. No matter how you celebrate it, Lammas/Lughnasadh denotes the winding down of the summer.

Mabon, the Autumn Equinox
Much like Ostara, the Sabbat of Mabon is a time of balance - equal parts light and dark. However, this time, the nights are getting longer once more, as the Wheel continues to turn towards winter. Mabon falls around September 21, and in many Pagan communities is celebrated as a time of thanksgiving.

A Year of Sabbat Rituals
As you're filling up your Book of Shadows with information that's important to you, you'll want to add a section on Rituals. This lesson contains an index of rituals for all eight of the Sabbats in the Wheel of the Year. You can copy them into your BOS if you like, or use them as a framework for writing your own personal rituals.

Discussion: Sabbats and Celebrations
Did you know we've got a Discussion Forum specifically for chatting about the different Sabbats? Join in the conversation, ask questions, and see what other Pagans and Wiccans have to say about how they celebrate the turning of the Wheel.

Next Week: Full Moon Magic
There's more to Wicca than just the eight Sabbats! In our next lesson, we'll talk about the phases of the moon and how you can observe them, as well as the significance of the monthly moon cycles. Until then, have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 9: The Magic of the Moon

from Patti Wigington In many Wiccan and Pagan traditions, there is great significance placed upon the changes of the moon. Much like life itself, the moon ebbs and flows. It waxes and wanes, and it achieves great power. It also goes dark, so that it can rejuvenate. Each month has a full moon of its own, and each is designated with different correspondences and symbolism. We'll look at each of those individually, and see how they tie in to magical practice. Also, we'll look at celebrations and rituals for different times of the moon.

Moon Phase Magic
Every full moon is surrounded by legends and lore of its own. From the Cold Moon of January to December's Long Nights Moon, each month is connected to different symbols, found in herbs, deities, stones, and more. Learn about the monthly full moons that emerge each year, and the magical correspondences for each. Remember, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, things will be a bit different, so be sure to read here: Moon Phases in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Monthly Esbat Celebration
In addition to the eight Sabbats observed every year, most modern Wiccans and Pagans celebrate a regular Esbat, in which magic is performed and the gods and goddesses of the tradition are honored. Typically, this coincides with the full moon. If you're beginning your practice as a solitary, you may wish to celebrate this monthly event as well -- and you won't have to rely on other peoples' schedules to do so!

Drawing Down the Moon
In this beautiful and powerful rite, the practitioner invokes the Goddess directly into herself (or himself, as the case may be). Drawing Down the Moon is best performed on the night of the full moon, or on one of the nights immediately before. While it's more suitable to be performed outside, if the weather is inclement or your neighbors are easily startled, you can perform the ritual indoors. Be sure to read the Tips at the end of the ritual before you begin!!

New Moon: A Time of Rest and Rejuvenation
The time each month in which the moon is dark and cannot be seen is known as the new moon. It's a period in direct contrast to the full moon. Although some Wiccans and Pagans consider this a good time to do magical workings, others believe it is a time in which the magical self should be rested and rejuvenated. Shortly after the "true" new moon, a small sliver of silver appears in the sky, and then we welcome back the moon, because we can see that darkness does not, in fact, last forever.

Next Week: Life Rituals
So now you've got the basics down of the principles and concepts of Wicca, an introductory foundation of magic, and some ideas about the rituals and celebrations that Wiccans and Pagans celebrate each year. But there's far more to Wicca than this. After all, we don't exist only on the Sabbats and the nights of the full moon! In our next lesson, we'll talk about life rituals, such as handfasting, croning, and more. Until then, have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 10: Life Rituals

from Patti Wigington Believe it or not, Wiccans don't restrict their belief to just celebrating the Sabbats and Esbats, or to just the occasional weekend wand-waving. To live as a Wiccan or Pagan, most people find that they are able to incorporate their beliefs into practices into all kinds of celebrations. Like any other spiritual path, the beliefs and principles of Wicca can be celebrated at any time during one's life.Many Wiccan couples begin their lives together with a Handfasting ceremony. Used in place of the traditional "church wedding," the handfasting can either be a legal ceremony, or a symbolic and temporary joining. As more Wiccan and Pagan clergypeople become available, this option is an increasingly popular one for Wiccan and Pagan couples.In addition, we'll look at ceremonies for Pagan babies. After all, if you're not Christian, why have a Christian baptism for your child? Instead, many parents opt to have a baby blessing ceremony, or they hold a ritual in which the new child is welcomed into the home and family.We'll also talk about Croning ceremonies, which honor women who have reached the milestone of cronehood. Finally, we'll look at some tips on attending public rituals and events, and even some advice for your non-Pagan friends who may be coming to an event with you.

Handfastings: A Pagan and Wiccan Wedding Primer
Everything you'll need to know about how to have a successful handfasting ceremony. Learn about the history of this custom, as well as where the idea of jumping the broom came from, how to have a safe handfasting bonfire, and some Wiccan-themed favor ideas for your guests!
Pagan Babies
Want to welcome your new addition with a Wiccan naming ceremony or a Pagan blessing, but not sure how to go about it? Need to find a Pagan baby name? Here are some ideas for welcoming ceremonies for babies in Pagan and Wiccan families -- whether you're giving birth or adopting, these might be the right rituals for you.

The Croning Ceremony
More and more women are celebrating the third stage of life by having a Croning Ceremony. Rather than hiding our maturity, we're honoring and welcoming it. Learn what a Croning ceremony is, and get some tips on how to hold one for yourself or a friend.

Pagan and Wiccan Festival Etiquette
You're getting ready to attend your first Pagan or Wiccan festival -- that's awesome! Being prepared, though, with some simple "Do"s and "Don't"s, will help you have a much more positive experience. Follow the guidelines for proper festival etiquette, and you'll probably be invited back again next time.

Tips for Non-Pagans Attending an Event
Perhaps you've got a non-Pagan friend you want to invite to an event. Maybe you're recently discovering Wicca or Paganism, and you're attending an event held by a group you don't belong to. Either way, this article contains useful common-sense information for you, so that you can make a good impression and be invited back again.

Next Week: Your Rights as a Pagan or Wiccan
There are constantly stories in the news about people who feel they have been treated unfairly based upon their religious beliefs. In our next lesson, we'll talk about what your rights are and how you can protect yourself from those who might discriminate against you. Until then, have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 11: Your Rights as a Pagan or Wiccan

from Patti Wigington Each week, there are stories in the news of people who believe they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly by other people because of their religion. In some cases, lawsuits are even filed. However, what many people fail to realize is that (a) you, as a Wiccan or Pagan, are entitled to equal protection under the law, and (b) you can stop others from treating you unfairly.In this lesson, we'll talk a little about what exactly people mean when they say "discrimination." We'll also look at the rights of Wiccans and Pagans in school, at work, and in the military, and how you can protect yourself from religious discrimination.

Know and Protect Your Legal Rights
Can you lose your kids, your job, or your home just because you practice an earth-based faith? Believe it or not, you have the same rights as everyone else in this country, and you can protect yourself. Learn what you can do to reduce the chance that you'll be a victim of religious discrimination.

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Rights of Pagans and Wiccans in the Workplace
What rights do Pagans and Wiccans have in the workplace? Can your employer treat you differently just because you're not part of a mainstream religious group? Learn here about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and how it applies to you.

Pagans and Wiccans in the Military
According to a study done in 2004, there are over 4,000 people in the United States Military who declare themselves as Pagan -- over half of these folks are Wiccans. If you or someone you love is an active duty member of the military, you need to be aware of your rights as a Pagan or Wiccan soldier.

Your Rights as a Pagan or Wiccan Parent
When it comes to raising our kids, it's sometimes hard to know what rights we have as Pagan or Wiccan parents. In the United States, we have the same rights as parents of any other religion. Learn how you can avoid discrimination in schools, simply by opening up the lines of communication.

For Pagan and Wiccan Students
Can Pagan and Wiccan students be treated differently at school? Actually, they have the same rights as everyone else. Read on to learn about how to protect your religious freedoms in an educational setting.

Next Week: Familes and Relationships
Wiccan and Pagan families have a unique set of issues that families of mainstream religions don't always have to deal with. In next week's lesson, we'll discuss interfaith relationships, Pagan parenting, activities for Pagan kids, and some advice for parents of Wiccan teenagers. Until then, keep learning and studying, and have a magical week!


Introduction to Wicca
Week 12: Family and Relationships

from Patti Wigington For Wiccan and Pagan families, there is often a unique set of issues to deal with. After all, if you're raising children in a non-mainstream religion, or you're married to someone whose faith is diametrically opposed to your own, your circumstances are going to be a little different from the folks down the street who go to church on Sunday as a family.However, different doesn't have to be a bad thing. As we'll talk about in this lesson, Pagan families are just like other families -- we love each other, we spend time together, and we want to raise happy and healthy children. We'll talk a little bit about how to do that, as well as how to deal with interfaith relationships.

Ten Activities for Pagan Kids
People new to Wicca (and sometimes not so new) often ask, "How can I teach my children about my beliefs?" Believe it or not, sharing your spirituality with your kids is easier than you think. Try some of these simple activities as a way of celebrating your family and your faith all at once.

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Books for Pagan and Wiccan Kids
Go to the bookstore and look for Wiccan or Pagan books for children. Go ahead, we'll wait. It won't take you long, because there's no Wiccan Kids section at the bookstore. Never fear, though - there are some GREAT books out there that stress Wiccan idealogy and values, and nearly all of them are still available either online or in stores. We've made a list of great books for your little ones to enjoy.

How to Survive an Interfaith Relationship
You're Wiccan or Pagan, and yet you've fallen in love with someone who's part of some other faith. Is there a chance your relationship will surivive, or are you doomed to failure from the beginning? Learn how to make interfaith relationships a little bit easier for both the people involved.

Tips for Parents of Wiccan and Pagan Teens
Got a parent who's wondering about your newfound interest in Wicca? Are you a parent who's trying to figure out why your kid is always looking at the moon and has started wearing weird jewelry? Either way, this article is for you - it addresses some of the real and valid concerns that parents have about Wicca, and sensible ways to try to work things out.

Discussion: Family and Relationships
Got a question about Wiccan family life? Looking for some ideas or tips on how to raise Pagan kids? Join the discussion forums, and see how other Wiccan and Pagan families make things work.

Next Week: Your Magical Life
You're almost done! After the past twelve weeks, you should have a good solid foundation to begin your studies of Wicca. In next week's lesson -- the last one! -- we'll wrap things up with some ideas on how to live a magical life, including tips for coming out of the broom closet. Until then, keep learning and growing, and have a magical week!

Introduction to Wicca
Week 13: Your Magical Life

from Patti Wigington You've made it! You've come through twelve weeks of lessons, and you've learned so much. We've talked about the basics of Wicca, magic, rituals and ceremonies, the Sabbats, the power of the moon, your legal rights, raising kids in Pagan traditions, and so much more.Hopefully by now you've gotten a good start on your Book of Shadows. Keep adding to it, as often as possible. As you continue to read, study, learn and grow, you'll be able to add original material as you create your own spells, rituals, and other magical workings.If you've read through every lesson in these classes, you've got a good, solid foundation for any Wiccan course of study. While there's no substitute for hands-on learning and doing, it's my hope that these lessons have allowed you to learn the basics, and will enable you to continue your studies either on your own as a solitary practitioner, or within a group setting.To wrap things up, let's talk about how we can live a magical life, every single day. We'll also look at the concept of "coming out of the broom closet."

Living a Magical Life
Are you interested in Wicca as something you do, or something you believe? Living a magical life is something that one does twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. While it may be hard to get into the habit of living magically, once you get the basics down, it's easy to incorporate magical living into your daily routine. Here's how you can do it.

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Should You Come Out of the Broom Closet?
After you've been Pagan or Wiccan for a while, you will eventually find yourself facing the question of whether or not to "come out of the broom closet" -- making it known to family, friends, neighbors, that you are Wiccan or Pagan. It's a highly personal issue, and people have a number of reasons for choosing to stay closeted. Just as many people have reasons for making their beliefs known. Coming out may not be for everyone, or it may be something you choose to do in degrees. Learn about the pros and cons of both sides.

How to Come Out of the Broom Closet
Okay, so you've decided coming out is the right thing for you to do. Now what? After all, this is a big decision. How can you make the process a little easier -- and what should you NOT tell people?

Discussion: Dealing With Others/Broom Closet
Join the discussion forum on how to Deal With Others and Come Out of the Broom Closet. Get tips from other Wiccans and Pagans on how to live as a Wiccan in a not-so-Wiccan world, and share ideas on talking to non-Pagans about your beliefs.

You've finished your thirteen-week e-class! I hope you've enjoyed it, and more importantly, I hope you've found that it contained information you can use over and over again. Feel free to join in any of the discussion forums on the site, and know that you are a part of a giant community of like-minded people from all over the world. Be proud of all your hard work and study, and may your life always be filled with magic.

blessings,I came back from the holidays with more enthusiasm than I know what to do with! Let me know if I am wearing out my welcome with the posts!?Have you ever needed information about sunrise or (more importantly) sunset information? This is handy for event planning. I have added a couple of links on the link page. The first one for Sunrise/Set times is to Steve Edwards' page that has both a general and specific fill-in to get times. Also, there is a downloadable calculator that creates a tray icon for those of us still using Windows-based computers that shows the sunrise and sunset in specific regions or, given lat/long location, for a specific location. When I am doing astronomy, it is good to know that as well as for event planning where it is good to know how much daylight is available.Also, I added a link to the US Naval Observatory and their sun and moon for a day almanac page. With this, one can input a particular day, like February 2 (Imbolc) in "St. George, UT" and get sun and moon information. With this example, I see the sun sets at 6PM local time with civil twilight (no shadows) ending at 6:28PM, with the moon rising at 10:35PM in a 82% waning gibbous phase. Following links back, one can get monthly printouts and other astronomical (as compared to astrological) almanac information.Use as you need!
moon phases 2010
January 2010 Moon Phases Calendar / Moon Schedule

I want to speak for myself regarding musical talent and say what I lack in talent I try to make up with enthusiasm. I would invite others to do the same! --- In, Kara McCoy wrote:>> Excellent! Thank you for stepping up. Let me know when a date and time has been decided and I will add it to the calendar. What do you have in mind for live music? I'm sure many of us have musical talent and perhaps wouldn't mind sharing something...> Kara/Sagemoon

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