Prayer Beads

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tonight, we had our February meetings. We went over our goals for this year, and how we will try to achieve them, as well as introduced our monthly theme aspect. Each initiate will take a turn researching and presenting about a goddess- her lore, activities, and more, and this will also tie into our esbat rite. We're really excited and looking forward to this. Tonights discussion was about personal practices, and devotions. Our craft this evening was the creation of prayer beads. We each created a set of prayer beads that were personal to us, and then, also created a small elemental mala for each sister. Pictures are uploaded here!

New Yule Pics Posted

Friday, January 09, 2009
New Yule Pictures have been posted!

Festival of Lights

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Invocation to Brighid

Great Lady Brighid!
Daughter of the Dagda,
Wife to Bres,
Exalted One,
She who makes her home at Kildare,
Bright Fiery Power!
She who inspires poets and writers, hearth Mother,
She who honors, Heals and promotes the family,
Patronness of the arts, and smithcraft,
Bright Maiden!
Come to us tonight!
As we honor you on your festival day!

Mistletoe- Not Just for Kissing

Mistletoe- Not Just for Kissing
(from our 10/06 newsletter)
by Ivy Artemisia

Did you know that Mistletoe- one of the holidays most inspiring traditions- is really a parasitic plant named for bird feces?

Mistletoe grows on hardwood trees, such as oak and apple trees. It’s parasitic, and as it grows, it thrusts its roots into the bark of the tree. While this rarely kills the host tree, mistletoe sucks nutrients and water from the host tree and uses this to further its growth. The berries of the mistletoe are eaten by birds, who then deposit their droppings on the branches where they’ve feasted, thus ensuring the cycle of life of the mistletoe plant. Actually, the name “mistletoe” is derived from the Anglo-Saxons. Their word for dung was “mistle” and the word for twig was “tan.” “Mistletan” was Old English for Mistletoe, and that reminds us that it was named for the bird droppings.

Bird crap aside, the Druids believed the mistletoe plant was of divine origin. In serious Winter Solstice rituals, druids would lead long processionals through the forest, until they came upon mistletoe growing on an oak tree. The head Druid would cut the mistletoe away from the host tree with a golden sickle. It was then caught upon a white linen cloth and was not allowed to touch the ground. The Druids believed that this plant was able to cure illness and other maladies and gave it the Celtic name “uile” or All-Heal. They also believed that it was a fertility plant, given to them by the Gods. You can still find All-Heal in many herbal shoppes, though it is poisonous and can cause stomach issues and it may even be fatal.

In rural Sweden and Switzerland, people believed that in order to get the full potency of mistletoe, one had to collect it in a special way at a certain time. The sun had to be in Sagittarius, and the moon must be waning. Also, the mistletoe had to be shot or knocked down and caught before touching the ground. It was also believed to protect against witchcraft and sorcery and was used in counter magic, in order to counter curses and hexes.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe most likely came from the associate of the plant with the Scandinavian cultures. Frigga, a Norse Goddes,s had taken the oath of every person and plant that they would not harm her son, Balder. All, except the mistletoe plant- she thought it too young, small and inconsequential. Loki found the mistletoe and, steering his hand, convinced Balder’s blind brother, Hod to heave the mistletoe at Balder. The dart of mistletoe went through Balder, killing him instantly. Frigga’s tears turned the red berries of mistletoe to white, and with his mother’s kiss Balder was restored to life. Frigga was so grateful that she declared that anyone who walked under mistletoe shall be bestowed upon them a kiss.

Mistletoe is one of the most revered and holy plants of the ancients. Transcending cultures and geography, this herb is known for its powerful healing and harming properties. So, next time you kiss someone under the mistletoe- remember just how powerful the herb above you might be.