THE WANING YEAR 

 ANCIENT ECHO'S

From whence I came, I cannot tell
but distant times I do recall
when temples stood with pillar stones
in groves of trees that rooted tall
A sundial's face in waxing light
reflects a time of long ago
when I would stroll in sandalled feet
on rolling hills of green & gold

The salty sea with ebb & flow
sent morning drifts of fog & dew
and on her beach I'd walk at dawn
to gather shells as day renewed
Her gusty winds would whistle free
in coves where lovers stopped to dwell
as children played near rushing waves
that washed the sands with mounting swells

In gardens ripe with blooming pods
and fragrant herbs of sweet & sour
poetic sonnets filled my thoughts
in moments spent among the flowers
The land was rich with fertile soil
while endless bounty did remain
with milk and honey flowing free
in bellies full of fruit & grain

The news was gathered far & wide
while weaving cloth or spinning tales
& elders napped with blissful smiles
midst rubbing stones & churning pails
Our songs were carried by the winds
as neighbors gathered all around
to celebrate our sacred rites
'round altars built on holy ground

Our bodies danced to flutes & lutes
as drum beats carried high the hills
& sensual movements wild and strong
went prancing proud in flowing frills
As sunset's glow of pink and orange
turned purple in the twilight air
a soothing bath of sweet perfume
from petals soft would wait my care

When my lover came to call
our loins would twine in wild delight
as full moon cast black silhouettes
near flickering flames of firelight
We never feared for safety then
for all was well in times like these
twinkling stars brought peaceful dreams
to grateful hearts that slept with ease

These ancient echo's haunt my soul
with glimpses lived so long ago
they rhyme in time like soothing tides
invoking memories in my soul
From whence I came, I cannot tell,
but sacred times I do recall
where temples stood with pillar stones
in groves of tree's that rooted tall

~ Silverwitch ~

 THE WHEEL OF LIFE

Recovering & Reclaiming Ancient Ways to Heal our Lives

       In the Recovering & Reclaiming Traditions of The Sacred Circle....  
we celebrate the Wheel of life because it brings greater
awareness to 
our lives as well as a conscious connection with 
higher powers and forces 
of nature that govern our lives.

Honoring the Sacred Wheel of Life as part of our recovery process is reclaiming our natural heritage, because it realigns us with the forces of Nature to help us live more consciously as children of the Earth.

The deep severance of our souls from Nature sits at the core of all illnesses and addictions. In the wilds of Nature, away from all worldly distractions, we can actually feel ourselves becoming more relaxed and peaceful. This is because our bodies and souls resonate with the vibrational frequencies of the Natural world, not with the chaotic energy of the Man-made world. The man-made world causes soul-fragmentation... a deep neurosis which leads to many diseases and addictions... but the magical world of Nature brings our spirits back into harmonious alignment because we are visible spirits and one with these higher powers.

Since we are ONE WITH Nature and Spirit, it’s important to connect, flow and align ourselves with the changing seasons if we want to live healthy and harmonious lives. There is lots of dysfunction in the world today because most of us have been brainwashed into chasing illusions of the world, ingesting harmful substances of every kind, and giving our power away to dysfunctional systems, and that doesn't change simply by being in a recovery program. Many people in recovery programs are still very dysfunctional because they continue trying to live by self-will in a Man-Made world which only causes conflict, disharmony and emptiness. Living by Nature's cycles helps us stay in balance with some degree of contentment and health because it's WHO WE ARE!  This doesn't mean we don't participate in the world. It only means that we live between the worlds... that we connect with our true source of life while enjoying the benefits of the people and the world around us. 

In THE SACRED CIRCLE we know we must detach from the dysfunctional ways of the world in order to recreate our lives. We do this by being active in our recovery and aligning ourselves with the cycles of Nature so we can flow through life in an easier, softer way. It also brings the magic back into our lives that we were trying to capture by chasing money, property, prestige, sex, security, people, places and things such as food, alcohol, drugs or other obsessions that temporarily altered our consciousness. 

Living consciously, from season to season, brings richer meaning and deeper understanding to our lives. Celebrating the seasons in ritual or ceremony also brings opportunities to heal and reclaim ourselves on deeper levels because the seasons mirror our life energies and bring new opportunities to see ourselves differently. Embracing the energy of each season also helps us reclaim fragments of our soul and natural cycles of growth lost to us in previous years through dysfunctional living. Since we move around the wheel again and again, season to season, the opportunity to recover and reclaim ourselves at the deepest levels is always possible.

The Sacred Wheel tracks the Sun's journey through the heavens and marks 8 Days of Power: Winter & Summer Solstice; Spring and Fall Equinox; and the cross-quarter days in between: Imbolc, May Day, Lammas and Halloween. These days-of-power are charged with great energy and mark the way the waxing and waning light of the Sun interacts with Mother Earth. Whenever there is a change in Mother Nature's energies, there is a shift in our energies as well, because we are ONE with her.

Days of Power on the great wheel also mirror our inner mysteries, so aligning ourselves with these energies helps us live in balance and harmony throughout our lives.  Our ancestors lived this way for thousands of years and for good reason. When we are not aligned with natural forces of life we fall back into self-will, which only brings disharmony and unhappiness to our lives. The choice is always ours.  Blessed Be.

DAYS OF POWER FOR THE WANING
SOLAR YEAR
 ARE LISTED BELOW...

SUMMER SOLSTICE: Time of Abundance 

Summer Solstice is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, when the Sun enters the water sign of Cancer. It is also called Midsummer or Litha in Ancient Traditions. This holy day is another pivotal point on the sacred wheel: when the light of the sun reaches full brilliance and now begins to wane. From here, light will gradually decrease while darkness increases; and the wheel of the year will turn toward the mystery of winter, even though it's still a few months away. 

In Women's Traditions, Summer Solstice mirrors the mystery of motherhood and the strong will to nurture and preserve life. The Mother Goddess of life and power is honored at this time; for her abundance floods the earth with sustenance from her body to sustain life!  

On Midsummer Night in Dianic Traditions, fire festivals are often held to honor fire queens of love: Vesta, Rhea, Hestia, Brigid and Pele, as locks of hair are put into cauldrons as offerings.  Mother Goddesses from many cultures are also honored at this time: Gaia, Mary, Nut, Demeter, Pachamama, Spider Woman, Yemaya, and many others. 

On the Life Wheel, Summer Solstice mirrors the fullness of life, when the young lovers at Beltane have now grown into responsible adults and caring parents of the children created from the passion of their love. She is now Mother and Lover, nurturer and healer. He is consort, comforter and protector... both working together to see that life flourishes through the outpouring of love and compassion. This time also mirrors people working together in community to assist others less fortunate and to share the fullness of life so all can eat, drink and be merry! 

Earth is now abundant with rich lavish plants, herbs and vegetation that grew from the rains of winter and the vibrant energies of the sun’s power. Fruits and vegetables are coming forth as well, with the nourishment to sustain all life.  Gardens are brimming with growth, abundance and mouth-watering delights.

Summer Solstice mirrors the fruition of all desired. It is a time of love, life and power. It mirrors productivity, fruition, abundance, activity, nurturing and compassion; a time when desire has bloomed into reality and life is plentiful. Summer rituals reflect fulfillment. Some traditions honor the Mother Goddess and the Sun God, the feminine and masculine principles of life, reflecting unity in relationships and the mystery to create and sustain life. It is a time when dreams have manifested into reality, when actions have produced results; when the Sun and Earth have worked together to bring life, sustenance, abundance and nourishment to all creatures of the land and sea.

Midsummer is the time to honor what we created, what we have manifested with our Will; a time to celebrate family, parents, mates, children, relatives, friends and community. Since summer mirrors the abundance of life, it is a good time to share our accomplishments and attainment of goals. It's also a wonderful time to dance, sing, drum or tell stories around a bonfire under the warm night skies. It is time to honor the sacred fire of life; to feast on the joys of life; to honor the mysteries of relationships and efforts made; to hold reverence for all living things and creatures in the great web of life; a time to bask in the richness and comforts that make life worthwhile; a time to bless all that nourishes and touches our lives. 

Let's remember... When we Heal, the World Heals.... Blessed Be.

 LAMMAS:  Time of Gratitude

Feast of First Fruits or Cornucopia, is celebrated on August 1. This cross-quarter sabbat falls midway between Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox in the fixed fire sign of Leo. 

Celtic Traditions call it Lughnasad, in honor of the Celtic Sun God, Lugh. Some call it Habondia or Threshold of Plenty, for it's a time to celebrate the bounty brought forth from our Earth Mother thanks to the solar power and energy of the Sun. 

Lammas actually means Feast of the Loaves and honors the tremendous abundance in our lives… in body, mind, heart and spirit. Summer fruits, herbs, vegetables, flowers are plentiful and fulfillment prevails. Solar energy shines radiant, even though it is now in a waning process. Our ancient pagan ancestors honored the final stance of the Sun at this time, as he poured his remaining energy into the corn and grain for the final autumn harvest soon to come. 

Lammas, or Feast of First Fruits, marks the first harvest assuring our survival, a time of great feasting, celebration, merriment and gratitude for blessings bestowed. In Ancient European Traditions, the Goddess and her Consort have now matured. Their children have grown and grandchildren have come forth. This is also a time to honor our own maturity on the cycle of life. 

He, the Sun, and his rays, are losing vitality now. She, the Earth, shares her bounty with all who will partake... so this time mirrors the bounty that has come forth from the fruits of our labor and personal effort. 

In Women's Mystery Traditions, this time on the great wheel mirrors our mystery to give milk, to preserve, sustain and issue forth sustenance from our bodies. It also mirrors a pre-menopausal time in our life cycle, when we may answer a call to reclaim our autonomy, bring forth fruits of our maturity, begin sharing our greatest talents and gifts with the world or enjoy the prosperity in our lives.

Since Lammas falls in the sun-sign of Leo,  it corresponds to royalty.  This mirrors the time when we reclaim our role as Sovereign Queens and take back the authority over our lives once again. It can also mirror a time as pathfinder when we explore our gifts talents in the world. Some of us become young grandmothers and embrace the joy that comes from the sacrifices we made to issue forth life. It can reflect a time to release ourselves from prior commitments which no longer serve us, to freely pursue deeper desires, purpose and meaning in our lives, to do things we yearned to do but put aside at the time because of our commitments to children, family, mates, work or community.

Lammas is a time of maturity and blessings... when Mother Earth brings forth great bounty and we too honor the fruits we have brought forth, fruits that made us the people we are today; fruits that blessed our lives and the lives of others. At this time we also honor Goddesses of plenty and good fortune: Gaia, Eve, Fortuna, Ceres, Lakshmi, Habondia, Demeter and the great Corn Mother. 

Since Lammas corresponds to feasting on the sustenance of life, our rituals center on blessings received, healing, gifts, rewards, prosperity or treasures received from our recovery and from the bounty of life. This is a time of great recognition, appreciation and gratitude for all that has served a good purpose; choices that were beneficial; even challenges, hardship or adversities that helped us grow and mature. It is the time to acknowledge all that brings richer meaning, blessings, or value to our lives, a time to celebrate our recovery and to honor life in all aspects!

Please join us in the Circle to celebrate this very special time! 
Blessed Be

 FALL EQUINOX: Time of Thanksgiving

Autumn Equinox is marked when the Sun enters Libra; when the waning light of day comes into balance with the dark of night once again; when the forces of light and dark hang in equal balance.

This Holy Day is also called Mabon; Festival of the Final Harvest or the Witches' Thanksgiving. It is the final harvest of the year: a time when our ancestors harvested grapes for wine; when the last of the corn, wheat and grains were cut and milled to sustain us through winter months ahead. It also mirrors the final harvest of our lives.

Just as the Spring Equinox brings forces of dark and light into balance before the incoming sunrise and dawn of light prevails and spurs us into action... the Fall Equinox brings forces of dark and light into balance before the incoming sunset and twilight of the season prevails, taking us into the shadows and a quieter time of the year, a time of relaxation, introspection, reflection and release. It is the time to prepare for darker days ahead. 

Autumn also mirrors the sunset of our life cycle and a season of letting go. The remaining seeds from the fall harvest now work their way down into the womb/tomb of the Earth for gestation in winter and resurrection in the spring. Just as trees shed their leaves at this time, it is also a time for us to let go; a time to give thanks, to appreciate all that has blessed our lives, to relax and enjoy.

In ancient myths... the God (the sun) now sails over western seas to descend to the underworld while she, the Goddess, (earth) goes on without his warmth and becomes the Crone of winter. The seeds containing his energy now enter the womb/tomb of the Earth Goddess for gestation, marking his descent into the shadows and eventual rebirth at Yule. In other myths the sun god dies on the cross (of the zodiac) at this time only to resurrect in the spring. 

In Women's Mystery Traditions there are similar myths of descent, transition and resurrection. One is when Persephone, daughter of Demeter, descends to the under-world to gain deeper wisdom and returns to her grieving mother as Kore in the Spring. In one version of this myth she is actually kidnapped by Hades and brought to the underworld, and her mother, Demeter, goddess of the grain, refuses to let anything grow on earth until her daughter is returned, which results in the onset of winter, when all is dormant.

Another Autumn tale is when the Sumerian queen of heaven, Inanna, journeys to the underworld to meet her sister Ereskigal. She embraces her shadow-side there, (which is symbolized by Ereskigal) then returns to the light of the world with a deeper acceptance of her true nature.  Of course, all ancient myths carry great significance... but the Autumn season mirrors our own descent into the dark shadows, for it is not only a time of cutting or reaping crops for storage but for reaping what we have sown in our lives, a time to see more deeply into ourselves. 

Fall is the time of the reaper, and a time to cut away all that is no longer necessary in our lives. In Women's Traditions, Fall mirrors the mystery of menopause, or moon-pause, when our blood stays within to empower and strengthen us as we age. On the great wheel it mirrors the time of the Wise-Woman... the Crone who laughs at fear and speaks her truth; the Old One with the cutting sheers who snips away all that is no longer needed or useful. She is the Grandmother who passes her wisdom to future generations; the HAG, keeper of sacred knowledge and deeper mysteries of life. She is the Gatekeeper who holds open the door to all magical ways.  It is the time of the Sage, the Wizard, the Elder who passes on the wisdom of experience to future generations.

Autumn is the Season of the Witch, she who sees or knows, she who has the power to bend or shape consciousness. The witch is the alchemist who magically transforms ordinary reality; the Healer who has knowledge of the plants, herbal potions and medicinal remedies; the Seer with gifts of insight and prophesy; the Visionary who holds a higher vision for humanity. 

Autumn mirrors the Earth Goddess in her aspect as destroyer, for all must be cleared away to make room for the new; all must fall away to rise up again; all must die to be reborn. 

Because Autumn takes us into the realm of the shadows, it can be a depressing time for many people. Some people, in or out of recovery, get very depressed during this time, because they don't like turning within or exploring what's really going on inside of themselves. This can bring on repercussions that lead to imbalance and disease. Many would rather focus outward, on people or situations outside themselves. They are fearful of looking within. That's why this season is so important in our Recovering and Reclaiming Traditions.

Autumn gives us time to relax, to go within, to meditate on the gift of life; to explore the inner world of our psyche so we can emerge from the shadows with a deeper awareness or perspective. It is a time of reflection and healing... a time to take it easy... to focus on ourselves.... to bring balance to our lives. It is a time to acknowledge what is meaningful and fulfilling.... what we most appreciate.

Fall Rituals in the Circle can include Croning Ceremonies, to honor our sisters who are entering their third destiny of life. Rituals also include healing, banishing, releasing, reflecting, and cutting away all that no longer serves our lives. Fire rituals are good too, especially those that allow us to burn, banish, bury or release all that doesn't serve us any longer. It is also a powerful time for the Spiral Dance... the dance of the DNA, the double spiral of life.

Autumn is magical time, a restful season of deep reflection, introspection, gratitude and thanksgiving. It brings the serenity of accepting things we cannot change. It is not a time of action, it is a time of reflection; a time to relax; to enter the caves of our inner world, to spiral in and out of our inner Labyrinth for contemplation; to trance journey; to enter the dream-time; to gain deeper insight... to give thanks for all we've been given.

Autumn gives us the opportunity to retire from the world of strenuous activity…. to slow down... to enjoy... to reminisce. It is a time of appreciation and gratitude... a time to be kind to ourselves... to forgive and forget.  It is the time to bask in the sunset of the great wheel.... to watch mother's landscape change from the greens of summer to the rich gold, orange, red and rust of autumn! It is time to retreat... to celebrate the bounty of our lives.... to enjoy the transforming beauty of the earth around us as well as our own inner landscape.  Blessed Be.

Join us in the Circle for AUTUMN Celebrations!

HALLOWEENEmbracing the Shadows

Halloween is the most familiar name for this Holy Day. It is also called Samhain, All Hallows Eve; Day of the Dead; Shadowfest; and the Witches New Year. This cross-quarter sabbat is celebrated on October 31st on modern calendars but actually falls halfway between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice, in 15 degrees of Scorpio, a fixed water sign. It marks the time of death, transformation and transition on the great wheel. 

All is dark and quiet during this time. It is perhaps the most mystical time of the year; a time to embrace the darkness just as we do the light. On this side of the world it is the shadow-time. Darkness cloaks Mother Earth. Seeds from the autumn harvest now lie dormant in her belly preparing for gestation in winter and resurrection in the spring. It is a time of deep transition, when Earth is silent, when the old ones speak, when the spirits visit. 

Samhain mirrors the hidden passage of immortality; the labyrinth of the mythical underworld; the mystical bridge that leads us from realms of visibility to the spirit world beyond the veil. It marks the passage of death and rebirth. Therefore it is a time to remember the dead, and all who went before.

At this time on the wheel, the veil between the worlds is thin, bringing us closer to Spirits on the "other side"... ones who once walked among us in this realm. Many of us feel very close to our dearly departed loved ones during this time. Some of us actually sense their presence or feel that they are very near. Sometimes they come to us in our dreams and sometimes they just enter our thoughts, but however they come to us, we find ourselves reminiscing about the moments we once shared together while they were alive, while they were with us in the flesh.

Halloween is a powerful time on the great wheel and many around the world celebrate in various ways. There are many different customs all over the world, times of great feasting and remembering, times to honor the dead. In the circle we do the same, and hold rituals to honor ourselves as well as remember all who went before.

In metaphors of ancient mystery traditions, the Sun God now becomes the Lord of Shadows, and the Earth Goddess becomes Crone of winter. In some mystery traditions, the Goddess makes a descent to the underworld at this time, to dance, love and play with the Lord of Shadows. This is a time of great joy, for they are transformed into young passionate lovers once again... which results in the birth of the promised Sun Child born at Winter Solstice.

! ! ! ! ! ! !

In the traditions of our ancestors, this time mirrors the mystery of death and immortality, when we make our final transition from this world to the next; when our bodies return to the Earth Goddess and a process of regeneration; when we, as living spirits, enter the silent passage to the spirit world, and pierce through the veil into a different reality, a world that exists in a different frequency along with this one.

At Halloween, the Earth Goddess dreams and prepares for regeneration, rebirth and renewal, so it reflects a time of endings as well as beginnings, because everything moves in a circle and we cannot have an ending without a beginning. Halloween marks the mystical gate to the passage that takes us from the world of time and space to the realm of immortality and back again.

Halloween is still widely celebrated all over the world in the pagan way. Bobbing for apples, making brews of cider and cinnamon, cooking soups or stews in fireplace cauldrons or decorating tombstones in the graveyard are a just a few of the traditions celebrated. In Mexico the people still bring gifts and candles to the cemetery on Halloween to decorate the graves of their loved ones. Then they visit, pray, feast and talk with them through a long night’s vigil. It's actually quite beautiful. Many of us erect altars with pictures of our ancestors or dearly departed. This gives us the chance to remember who they were, what they meant to us, what they brought to our lives while they were alive. 

Another ancient custom, and the most familiar, is TRICK-or-TREAT. This custom was celebrated in a big way during this time. Our pagan ancestors believed in reincarnation. They also believed that when the time finally came for them to reincarnate, they would return to the same people, families or communities they once loved while they were alive. When Halloween was approaching, people in the village would prepare various foods and treats days ahead of time so they could welcome their dearly departed loved ones who were returning to them as children once again. Also.... the custom of TRICK or TREAT was not done like it is today, with the mere ring of a doorbell and a quick fling of candy into a bag. The costumed children would actually come into the house and stay awhile, to visit and to partake in the special treats prepared for them. This provided time for everyone involved to recognize once-familiar-spirits and loved ones from the past, and to welcome them back into our lives. 

When I was a child, I lived in a neighborhood of Italian/European immigrants, with family members living nearby. Everyone in the neighborhood would prepare for "Trick or Treat" ahead of time, having treats ready for us when we knocked on their doors on All Hallows Eve. They would invite us into their home and try to guess who were were in our costumes. The treats they made varied. They made candied or caramel apples, baked goods, cupcakes, popcorn balls, and other wonderful goodies that took time and effort. It was truly memorable.

Rituals on Halloween can be deep and contemplative as well as festive and fun. They include feasting, singing and reminiscing about the past as well as trance journeys, scrying; divination, séances and storytelling. It is a time to celebrate endings, death, transitions and transformation; to remember the gifts our ancestors left for us; to reminisce about the times we most cherished while they lived among us. Most of all… it is a time to dance the double spiral of our DNA; celebrate our gift of life in the flesh; listen to the ancient voices of our ancestors, and to remind ourselves once more, that we too are destined to make that final transition into the spirit world someday.  !