The Goddess Isis

Friday, September 23, 2011
by Beth

Isis was a teacher, mother, wife, protector. She is considered a faithful wife and loving mother, and friend to people in all walks of life. She embodies many of the qualities that provide us with a template for feminine empowerment. Isis was manipulative when she tricked Ra into telling her his true name, and as she cured him, but through her manipulation she became more powerful. Isis shows us the power of female spirit.

Isis is known to have taught many secrets to her people, the secrets of growing crops, how to use medicines to cure, she is a giver of knowledge and light as the mother of the Sun.

She reminds us that we need to renew and reconnect with people and remember who we are, to work on our relationships and to pay credence to our emotions. Isis allows herself to feel her own emotions.

Isis is the mother protector of all things. We see the themes of death, rebirth, love, empowerment, creation, loss, death, rebirth.

Isis teaches us to reconnect. From Isis we learn that it is okay to grieve, to cry, to show emotion. The celebration of the flooding of the Nile is dedicated to Isis. It is said that the Nile floods because she shed so many tears over the death of her beloved Osiris. She broke down after Set tricked him in to getting in to a coffin and floated him down the Nile. She went in search of his body. Once she found the body, Set learned where she hid Osiris and cut him into 14 pieces, throwing the pieces to be eaten by crocodiles.

In some versions of the myth, she becomes a sparrowhawk and fans life back into Osiris. In others she pieced him back together and created a phallus out of wood or gold, depending on the version of the myth. One common thread is that her patience and perseverance aided her search for Osiris’s body.

Her powerful love was able to recreate him and through that rebirth they magically created a child, Horus. Osiris went to live in the underworld after his death, but still watched over Isis and Horus. Isis is a creator of life in terms of birth with her son, and rebirth with her husband.
She is the magic that exists in every woman, she is simplicity, she is born of Chaos. Isis is everything except complacent and we can learn every day from her lessons. She is not a woman weakened by emotion, but a goddess empowered by her ability to experience emotion. She can aid us in our daily lives if we only remember that she created her own power.

Comparison of Sabbats to Holidays of Other Religions

Friday, September 16, 2011
Note: if you know the source of the posted image, please let me know so I can give credit.

Comparison of Sabbats to Holidays of Other Religions
by Aislin Lumina

The sabbats, the eight holidays of Wicca can be compared to the holidays of other major and minor world religions, both historic and present day. To facilitate the ease of this comparison, I will explore each sabbat separately and in turn. We will begin with Samhain, considered by most Wiccans to be the start of the New Year.


The final of the three harvest festivals, Samhain traditionally falls on the 31st of October. The original intent of Samhain was to honor the third and final harvest of the year, the meat harvest, in preparation for the fast approaching winter. For the ancient Celts, this was the Feast for the Dead. During the Reformation, the Church tried to convert the holiday to observance, feast, and prayer for the Catholic pantheon of Saints. Originally, this holiday was named Michaelmass by the Church, in honor of St. Michael. However, the holiday was so pervasive to the pagan tribes, it was later changed to All Hallows Eve or Eve of All Saints, to precede All Saints Day on November 1st. This is still a very holy holiday today in Catholicism. The most well-known holiday in the Western world to compare with Samhain is All Soul’s Day, or All Saints Day, which along with Mexico’s Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertes, falls on November 1st. (Ravenwolf, 1999). In Mexico, El Dia de Muerte is celebrated two days after Samhain on November 2nd, as a time to honor ancestors through drinking and feasting.


Yule, celebrated on the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, around the 21st or 22nd of December, is a festival of light that can be compared to similar holidays throughout the world. For pagans, Yule celebrates the birth of the Sun God from the Goddess, a promise of new life in the world. During the Christian conversion, the Christians moved the date of the birth of Jesus, the Christ child, from the summer to the 25th of December so it could be nearer to the pagan celebrated Yule. This, they believed, would make the conversion easier. Many of the pagan Yule traditions, such as evergreen trees, gift-giving, feasting, candles, and wreaths were incorporated into Christmas, virtually unchanged (Morrison 2002). The Jewish “Festival of Lights,” Hanakkah also falls around this time in December (though dates vary year to year). A relatively new holiday, the Afro-American festival of Lights Kwanzaa, is also celebrated at varying dates in December. The Native Americans of the Southwest United States call the holiday “Soyalanwul,” to give birth to the new year and new life (McCoy 1994).


Imbolc, most often associated with the Celtic goddess Brigid, is celebrated on February 1st or 2nd. From the word “oimelc,” or “ewe’s milk,” this holiday refers specifically to pregnancy of the sheep, but more generally to the mother earth “quickening” to life. In the cold and dead of winter, this was a holiday of hope for light to come. In ancient Rome, this time was dedicated to various mother/lover deities over the years including: Vesta, Juno Februata, Aphrodite, Artemis, Venus, and Diana (Arynn 2001). As mentioned previously, the Church was much interested in moving it’s holidays to the dates of the pagan festivals during the Reformation. And so, Candlemas became a Catholic holiday, celebrated on February 2nd, to worship the Church’s St. Brigit. The Feast of Isis occurs in Egypt from January 31st to February 3rd, and there is also a Yoruba/Santeria feast day to honor Oya on February 2nd. Chinese New Year, though varying dates year to year, also falls around Imbolc (Arynn 2001).


Falling on the Spring Equinox, approximately March 22nd, Ostara was named for the Virgin Goddess of Spring in Ancient Germany (McCoy 2002). Because the Church could not eradicate yet another pagan holiday, they incorporated many of the pagan traditions, such as eggs and rabbits, into the Christian Easter, which falls around the same time and derives it’s name from the pagan Ostara. In Celtic Cornwall and Wales, Ostara was changed to “Lady Day,” and celebrated the return of the Goddess after her winter hibernation. The lamb, another sacred symbol of the Spring goddess at Ostara, was incorporated into the Jewish Passover, which falls around the same date (McCoy 1994).


The old Celtic holiday of Beltane falls on May 1st, or the first full moon closest to May 1st on the Celtic calendar. This is a celebration of Spring and love, in which revelers dance around the Maypole, as a symbol of fertility and a hope for fertility of the land. Balefires are lit (or as they are called in Norway, Balder’s fires) (Mccoy 1994). The revelers would jump over the fires as yet another symbol of the fertility and regeneration that the season of Spring brings. Renamed May Day, this holiday still persists in parts of Ireland, where cattle are guided between balefires, to ensure their productivity for the coming year (Grimassi 2001). Walpurgis Night, a Germanic holiday celebrated from April 30th to May 1st, was a fire festival when witches supposedly held a huge ritual. The Christians later named the holiday after St. Walpurga in an effort to “Christianize” this obviously pagan holiday (Grimass 2001).


Midsummer, known as Litha to many pagans, is the holiday that falls at the Summer Solstice. Midsummer has always been a festive time, for many of the world’s civilizations. In the Christian calendar, June 24th has been named St. John’s Day. The fires that are burned during Midsummer, to them, became known as St. John’s fires, who the Christians attributed them to in reverence. St. John (John the Baptist) is prayed to on this night for having baptized Jesus and named him The Savior (Franklin 2002). Other cultures in history have long celebrated Midsummer (the longest day of the year), including Mesopotamia, Greece, Northern Africa, and Eastern Europe.


The word Lughnassa comes from the Gaelic word “nasad,” meaning “games or assembly” of Lugh. The first of the three harvest festivals, this was the festival to celebrate the first harvest of grain. During the Reformation, this summer festival greatly died out, though in some parts, the festival was renamed Lammas by the Christians, meaning “loaf-mass” (Franklin & Mason 2001). The Native Americans have long celebrated a day in early August, devoted to the Corn Grandmother. In Ancient Rome, a similar grain festival celebrated the grain goddess Ceres, and even in North Africa, the Egyptian Sun goddess Isis is still celebrated near Aug 1st (Franklin & Mason 2001).


The second harvest festival, Mabon (the fruit and vegetable harvest) falls on the Fall equinox, or in the Celtic calendar, the closest full moon to the Fall Equinox. The Ancient Greeks celebrated Dionysus during this time, the god of vegetation. In China, they still hold a festival, called the Mid-Autumn festival, and in present day India, the Autumn Navrati (Nine Nights) is celebrated to worship the Hindu goddess Durga, who was a vegetation goddess (Madden 2002). In Judaism, Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish new year, falls around this time. Foods such as apples, pomegranates, and hallah bread with raisins are served in celebrations of the fruit harvest (Madden 2002).

Arrynn, Amber & Azrael. Candlemas. Llewellyn Publications. 2001.
Franklin, Anna & Paul Mason. Lammas. Llewellyn Publications. 2001.
Franklin, Anna. Midsummer. Llewellyn Publivations. 2002.
Grimassi, Raven. Belane. Llewellyn Publications. 2001.
McCoy, Edain. The Sabbats. Llewellyn Publications. 1994.
McCoy, Edain. Ostara. Llewellyn Publications. 2002.
Madden, Kristin. Mabon. Llewellyn Publications. 2002.
Morrison, Dorothy. Yule. Llewellyn Publications. 2002.
Ravenwolf, Silver. Halloween. Llewellyn Publcations. 2001.

Dionysus Evocation for Mabon

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Great Lord Dionysus,
Twice-Born son of Zeus and Semele.
Student of Rhea,
He who honors and promotes the fruit of the vine,
Lord of wine and drink
Ruler of harvest and agriculture,
Lord of the fertile earth, and of growth.
We call to you, and ask you to be present at our rite of Harvest Home.
Bring balance to our gathering, and bless us with your presence.

Meditation for Mabon

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths.
And find yourself in a summerwood.

There is a well-used path at your feet.

Follow this path; enjoy the calls of the lark and robin. You see a clearing in the trees up ahead. In it you find a meadow full of summer flowers. There is coolness in the air, a sense of being on the cusp of change.

Autumn is here. You start to notice that the grass is browning beneath your feet and some of the leaves on the trees you just walked past are dying. The night seems to be creeping in sooner then it had before and your senses tell you that its going to be lasting longer from now on. You wrap your cloak around yourselves more tightly as the chill of the evening air has found its way to your skin.

Returning in to the wood to take refuge from the ever-chilling wind you sit beneath a large tree. Looking up you gaze into its changing foliage. Still mostly green, but you see many hints of brown, orange and yellow. Suddenly the tree seems to let go of one of the brown leaves and you watch it tumble through the air and land on the ground before you. Only to be gathered up by the invisible wind a swept out into the meadow.

Autumn is here.

Sometimes autumn seems the hardest season of all. A season of change. A season to take stock of our own personal harvests, and release the things we cannot keep.

These things that we give up… that we let go of… these things that die in the autumns of our lives… are never really dead. They are within us. They are a part of us. They are us – for we are not the same people we were before their coming.

Now is the time to rejoice in the gifts you have been given, and free them to return to their Source with your love and gratitude. Let them ride into the meadow on the backs of the falling leaves…

When you are ready take one long cleansing deep breath and open your eyes.

September Esbat

Wow, the year continues to just fly by! I can't believe we're almost to the middle of September. Last night the Harvest Moon rose to her zenith and we celebrated her, and performed a house cleansing/blessing for one of our coven sisters last night. The picture here, is of our altar, with Lucky, the requisite (and outgoing) black cat! One of the most interesting things about last nights ritual and house blessing is that Eggy Sue came out to play after the house blessing. I haven't been able to pet Eggy Sue since Aislin moved into her apartment. When people come over, Eggy Sue usually hides under the couch. After the ritual, she came out, let me pet her, and even rolled around on her back. She sat at the back door, watching us, too. It's nice to see results, especially when they are practically instant.

Witches Day Out at LACMA

Sunday, September 04, 2011
This afternoon, we met and visited the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA. The exhibit included, not only artwork and early sketches, but also props from the films, a pretty cool black lit area, and more. We then had a late lunch at Swingers in West Hollywood, which has a GREAT selection of vegan and vegetarian food. Coming home, Ben (my hubby) and I saw a pretty rainbow in the sky! A great witches day out! :)