Monday, 21 June 2010

The Summer Solstice

Today is the summer solstice - the peak of the summer and a very special time in the days of a Wiccan. To me it means the shift of power. The Sun King God is once more giving his mantle over to the Oak King. In their eternal struggle for supremacy, first one and then the other is vanquished and 'goes to ground' for a while. However, this is a positive thing, like everything else in Wicca. It is a time of renewal for the Sun King and a time to 'shine' for the Oak King.

The Maiden Goddess gives way to the Mother Goddess for the time of planting and tending is now at an end and it the time of nurture in readiness for the harvest. All things have their beginning and their end.

Are you like me in that just when you are used to a season, suddenly it is ended? I have been enjoying the spring, with all it's hope for the coming summer and now, all of a sudden it seems that summer is coming to an end. We have harvest to prepare for. We must look after the plants we have bought and grown. Already we are planning, saying 'those tomatoes are almost ripe' those beans are getting tall etc.

Tomorrow the day will be very slightly shorter and the night a little bit longer and so it will carry on until the end of the year. We must treasure the daylight. Years ago, before we had electric lights, the daylight must have been even more precious than it is now. We take so much for granted these days.

Let's not lose touch with the bounty that nature offers us in so many ways.

This is the perfect time for family and friends to get together and celebrate with parties and barbecues. It is the time for weddings. The courtship time is over and the more serious time is beginning.

I wish you all a very happy Summer Solstice.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010


We are just passing through the Celtic month of Hawthorn, known also as 'May'. This lovely bush has delightfully scented flowers which evoke many memories in me as I used to play near it when I was small. In England we separate our fields with hedges and there is a history attached to that, but I'll keep that for another post. It is possible to tell the age of a hedge by the number of species of tree and shrub that grow amongst it. Some are hundreds of years old.

Many legends are attached to the hawthorn.

" The most famous Christian legend concerning hawthorn is that of the Glastonbury Thorn. This sixteenth century story tells us that as Christianity entered Britatin, the Celtic spirit was moved by the spirituality it expressed and that this was emphasized when Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury. On Wearyall Hill he rested, leaning upon his staff, which during the night rooted into the ground and became a blossoming hawthorn tree. This was taken as a sign that the new religion of Christ was to be founded at Glastonbury and Joseph and his 12 disciples built the first Christian chapel there.

Joseph's staff became known as the Glastonbury Thorn, which ever after blossomed on Christmas Day in honour of the divine birth of Christ.

Hawthorn radiates qualities of growth and health. People have always approached it for healing, especially those trees that grow near wells and springs."

From 'Tree Wisdom' by Jacqueline Memory Paterson.

I like the hawthorn mostly because it reminds me of childhood. I remember looking for birds nests in it when I was barely tall enough to reach the branches. It is very good for keeping animals out and children in and when in the late 1970's I was living in the cathedral city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, we had a large back garden surrounded by the beloved hawthorn.

Because it usually flowers in May, it is a favourite for making the crowns that go atop Maypoles, these representing the female, where the pole itself represents the male in the rituals.

Does the hawthorn play a significant part in your life?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

My Pentagram

The pentagram has been used for many years and by many different faiths. It is not unusual to see a chair with a pentagram on it in an old English church.

The following comes from Wikipedia.

A pentagram (sometimes known as a pentalpha or pentangle or, more formally, as a star pentagon) is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes. The word pentagram comes from the Greek word πεντάγραμμον (pentagrammon), a noun form of πεντάγραμμος (pentagrammos) or πεντέγραμμος (pentegrammos), a word meaning roughly "five-lined" or "five lines".

Pentagrams were used symbolically in ancient Greece and Babylonia, and are used today as a symbol of faith by many Wiccans, akin to the use of the cross by Christians and the Star of David by Jews. The pentagram has magical associations, and many people who practice Neopagan faiths wear jewelry incorporating the symbol. Christians once more commonly used the pentagram to represent the five wounds of Jesus,[1][2] and it also has associations within Freemasonry.[3]

The word "pentacle" is sometimes used synonymously with "pentagram", and this usage is borne out by the Oxford English Dictionary, although that work specifies that a circumscription makes the shape more particularly a pentacle.[4] Wiccans and Neo-pagans often make use of this more specific definition for a pentagram enclosed in a circle.[5]

I wear mine almost every day and it feels like a talisman, as if I won't be safe without it. Interesting, isn't it how we use these tools to aid our passage through life.