Tuesday, November 26, 2013 0 comments

Crocheting and Dreams..... You can join me!

I will be getting back to the 44 Days of Witchery soon, I have been pretty horribly sick the last bit here, and just have zero energy for anything.

I'd like to talk a bit about another aspect of who I am though. The me that crochets and creates things. There was a time when I crocheted for 40+ hours a week, those days are long gone, I am at about 10 or so these days. Sometimes more, sometimes less, just depends. However, regardless of how much, or little, time I have for the activity, it remains one of my very favorite things to do. 

I have a dream to this end, one I've had for many years, one that I pulled off briefly for a time about 5 years ago, and would love to build up and do again now that I'm settled in our new home. I would love to assemble lapghans to distribute to people who need them, those who are facing a hard time and need some encouragement. I'd call them Goddessghans, and use the squares that I make, as well as squares sent to me by others and make small blankets to distribute as needed. The Goddessghans would be rouhgly 36"x 48", using 48 6" squares for each ghan. 

I have begun making squares again, for me and my tension and how I crochet a 6" square is made with 5 rounds and a size "I" hook, basic granny square pattern. I'm using the colors Midnight Blue, Silver, and Black. I will post a picture of my first completed Goddessghan when I have it finished. If you would like to send some 6" squares toward a Goddessghan for someone going through a rough time, email me for the address, or if you would like to request a Goddessghan for someone shoot me an email and let me know! 

You can email me at: zaira.connolly@gmail.com

Blessed Be,

Wynter Willow
Thursday, November 21, 2013 0 comments

44 Days of Witchery..... Day 5

Task: Talk about a favorite Goddess

I'm going to talk about Arianhrod. 

She is a Welsh Goddess and one of the Five Goddesses of Avalon. 

Arianrhod represents the Mother Aspect of the Triple Goddess formed with Bloudewedd and Cerridwen.

In the book Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses by Carl McColman and Kathryn Hinds the authors point to Arianhrod as a Goddess of initiation, to be called upon when great transformations are called for, and more specifically for the initiator of warriors and leaders. The authors say “she sets ordeals to test the candidate and makes sure the circumstances are right from crossing from one state of life into the next.”

I'm going to share a story, this is taken from Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses by Carl McColman and Kathryn Hinds, I do not claim what comes next as my own, it is theirs. 

Arianrhod is one of the children of the goddess Don, along with her brothers Gwydion, Amaethon, and Gofannon. Her uncle, Math the Ancient, is the ruler of Gwynedd in north Wales. As a condition of his kingship, he must rest his feet in a maiden’s lap whenever he is sitting in judgment. A time comes when he has need of a new footholder, so Gwydion suggests Arianhrod for the job. Math summons her and asks her if she is indeed a maiden. Her answer “I do not know other than that I am” is hardly conclusive, so Math puts her to a test. He stretches out his magickal staff close to the ground and tells Arianhrod to step over it. As she does, she “drops” a yellow haired boy, whom Math later names Dylan and who goes to live in the sea. (in a fuller version I read, he was thrown into the sea and happened to turn into a fish of some kind, but this version says it nicer then they tried to drown the boy and failed.)

Arianhrod keeps walking, but as she is about to go out the door, she drops something else. Only Gwydion sees it. He scoops it up and hides it in a chest at the foot of his bed. Time passes until, one morning, he is awakened by the noise coming from the chest. Opening it, he finds a baby boy. The child grows twice as fast, in body and mind, as ordinary boys. When he is 4 years old, Gwydion takes him to Arianhrod’s seaside fortress to meet his mother.

It isn’t a particularly happy reunion. First, Arianhrod scolds Gwydion for disgracing her by keeping the boy for so long. Then, when she asks what his name is, Gwydion tells her that he has not yet got a name. “Well” says Arianhrod, “and he will not have a name unless he gets it from me.” Gwydion and the boy leave, but the next day Gwydion uses his magickal arts to disguise the two of them as shoemakers. He conjures a ship out of seaweed, and they sail into the harbor below Arianhrod’s fortress. There they set about making shoes of beautiful gilded leather. Arianhrod goes down to the ship to have a pair of shoes made for herself. While Gwydion is measuring her foot, a wren, the smallest of birds, alights on the deck. In a flash, the boy casts his shoemaker’s awl at it, hitting its leg. Arianhrod smiles and declares, “Lleu llaw gyffes!”- “A bright one with a skillful hand!” From his mother’s words, the boy’s name becomes Lleu Llaw Gyffes.

Then Arianhrod says “Now I swear, he will never take arms till I arm him myself.” Gwydion takes Lleu home and continues to raise him. The years pass; Lleu grows and matures. At last it is time that a youth of his age and station should take arms, so Gwydion disguises the two of them as bards, and they head for Arianhrods fortress, where they are welcomed eagerly and shown great hospitality.

After feasting, Gwydion and Arianhrod tell tales and recite lore. Later, while all the court sleeps, Gydion works his magic so that , when dawn comes, a huge fleet of ships appears to be anchored just off the coast, with warrior’s pouring ashore. Arianhrod comes to Gwydion and Lleu’s room to ask for their help in defending the castle. They agree, but because neither of the “bards” has arms or weapons, Arianhrod and two maidens fetch what is needed from the castle stores.

“Lady,” says Gwydion, “let the maidens help me arm, and you assist the young man.” She does this gladly, and when Lleu is fully armed, weapons in hand, Gwydion lifts all his enchantments.

“So, he has his name and his arms.” Says Arianhrod. “But I swear this destiny: He will never find a wife among the people now on this earth”. Gwydion declares that he will get Lleu a wife all the same. 

As a result, Bloudewedd is made with the nine flowers and presented to Lleu as his wife. 
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 0 comments

44 Days of Witchery.....Day 4

Task: A photo of the Element of Water

I'm going to share a picture from a recent hike. I was out with one of my daughters and we came across this stream during five hours of hiking. It isn't much but it is a memory from a beautiful day.


44 Days of Witchery.....Day 3

Topic: Witchy Tools - Athame

So the task today is to talk about the Athame, a ritual tool used by Witches.

There is some debate among witches about which element the Athame belongs to, does it represent Fire or does it represent Air. I associate it with Air, because (and I have covered that I am into Tarot) in a Tarot deck the Suit of Swords is the Suit of Air, it represents our thoughts on the matter and deals with how we handle things through internal dialogue and how we perceive situations. An athame is a more refined personal form of the Sword for ritual purposes, so I'm sticking with it represent Air. You are free to disagree with me and say Wands are Air and Athames are Fire. But that isn't how I see it.

Anyway, what is an Athame for? Well it directs  and channels energy. I have seen them used interchangeably with a wand to cast a ritual circle. For myself being involved with a Circle that is on-line, I prefer the Athame for casting the circle, I feel it keeps the thoughts of those involved in the ritual together, and being that we can be thousands of miles away from each other that is easier for me to maintain than the thought of a fire stream connecting us. Something about shooting fire around the country or across the Atlantic to England doesn't sit right with me.

Anyway, online rituals I use the Athame for circle casting, personal rituals I like the wand, and the imagery of a wall of fire blocking anything that might wish me ill while I am doing ritual. Right, back to Athame.

An Athame is a double edged blade with a pointed tip, though some people dull their tip. It is not horribly sharp on the edges, as it isn't used to physically cut anything. And often has a black handle. Mine does not have a black handle, it has a beautiful wooden handle, and an energy within that vibrates when I hold it. It feels right to me and works beautifully, I have considered altering the handle, but don't see why I should fix something that isn't broken.

I would like one day to have an athame with an Obsidian handle, I have dreamed of an entirely obsidian athame before, Nit sure why and I have yet to take the time to look into the significance.

I have heard it said that a Witches tools are crutches and that with the acquisition of true power they are no longer needed. Personally, I think that is crap. I believe that tools have a Spirit of their own, and while you can most certainly do Magick without them, they have a inherent power of their own that they can lend to your workings. I also believe that with each tool representing different elements, that we honor the elements and the elemental spirits as well as the elemental Kings by humbling ourself, and recognizing that we can connect more strongly with them, when we come before them with the tools and symbols of the trade. The last thing I want to do is cast a circle and call on help from Watchtowers that I have offended by being so arrogant as to think I don't need magickal tools because I can do it all myself. I see is as trying to boil water without a pot to put it in.... The use of the pot isn't a crutch to the cook, it is necessary for the perfect end result. That is how is see my Magickal Tools.

Monday, November 18, 2013 0 comments

44 Days of Witchery .....Day 2

Task: Share a story from myth or folklore

This is a great challenge, and the story I'm going to share is one of my favorites, and I am going to share it from memory without looking it up.

It is the story of Demeter and Persephone.

The overbearing mother and the rebellious daughter, and the bad boy that set her free.

What? That isn't how you remember the story?

Well my blog, we get to look at it how I see it.

Demeter was a loving mom, but she had a flaw, she was so into the role of Mother, she lost herself. She became the helicopter mom, and all her own hopes and dreams were wrapped up in her daughter.

Her daughter felt the pressure, she knew how much her mother depended on her, but she really wanted independence, she wanted freedom, she wanted to discover who she was beyond Demeter's Daughter.
Well one day the opportunity presennted itself, the bad boy Hades wanted Persephone and when he offered himself to her she jumped at the chance to join him in the Underworld.

Well, Demeter, the great mother couldn't find her daughter and she searched and searched forgetting about her role as Earth Mother. Nothing grew in her great sadness, once she learned of Persephones whereabouts she was inconsolable. The people of Earth were on the brink of starvation. Zeus had to intervene and arranged for Persephone to come home.

Persephone ate some pomegranate seeds, just three little juice filled goodness seeds. By partaking of the food of the Underwood it assured that Persephone could never leave the Underworld, not permanently and there was nothing to be done about it. Zeus himself could do nothing about it, except compromise. Persephone would be allowed to go to the surface but had to return to the Underworld for part of the year, every year.

Depending on the version the split was 50/50, some say 6 months top side, 3 months under side to account for Winter. After all of these years Demeter is inconsolable when her beloved daughter is in the arms of Hades, and there are no harvests and growth during this time.

There are lessons to be learned from this Story. One, it is important to protect but not suffocate your children. You have to let your children find their own way. You also can't lose yourself in being a mother, you must keep that part of you that answers to your first name, develop your own interests, and you will be better equipped to live a life after your children have grown and gone.

Also, don't make Demeter inconsolable if you ever want to eat again.

Many Blessings,
Sunday, November 17, 2013 0 comments

44 Days of Witchery.... Day 1

Question: What's your Witchy Background?

Well, I have studied Wicca at several different times in my life. In my early days I would read and explore for a month or so and then the guilt would set it, after all Wicca is evil and of the Devil right? And I would run back to church and ask Jesus to forgive me and resume the "one true way"  to God all over again. I worried what people would think if they ever discovered my interest in the Occult, how would they see me. It was easier to be a Christian, it is so acceptable!

In 2009 I left began going through a divorce, no longer someones wife, and faced with raising my daughters alone, I had to truly find myself. I had no idea who I was. I began reading some books, and really nothing horribly serious. But I took a self inventory, what do I believe, how do I view faith, how do I view God. In 2011, around April of that year I started to study Wicca with purpose. 

My personal views and beliefs lined up with this path so beautifully, and I was no longer willing to apologize for the way I live my life. In December of the same year I found The Sacred Mists, an on-line coven and school for all things Witchy. I felt like I had come home. I could be myself and share my thoughts and learn from those who had been at it a lot longer than I have been. 

I felt free. Plus, I enjoy the structure of the learning there. It has taken a while, there have been twists and turns and pauses and breaks, but I'm nearing the end of my First Degree there. I have met some of the most amazing people,and it may seem crazy to some, but some of my dearest and closest friends are people I have never met in person. 

I enjoy reading and learning as much as I can. My favorite aspect of my path, at present is Divination. I am learning so much about Tarot, perform some readings (I do not proclaim to be an expert, but I do have one particular deck that speaks to me and I just love!!!). I am in training to do Past Lives Readings, and have found I do have a particular skill there. It is a work in progress, I need to work on being more free flowing and a little less analytical with the delivery of the results. 

How do I know I can do Past Lives Readings? This is an interesting story. When I was 11 some major things happened. The first was in February my grandfather died, it was horrible, the saddest thing I had ever experienced. I was very close with him, and felt his absence so strongly. A few months later, my friend Cindy died. She was 10 years old and died during a Liver Transplant. It was the first time I realized that children an die too. Well, these events lead to a rather morbid summer. I spent a lot of time at the cemetery where Cindy was buried. There was this one tomb stone, it was old and gorgeous. It looked a lot like a mirror, a really old fashioned one. Anyway, when I would look at it, I could see myself but it wasn't at present. I was wearing maybe victorian clothes? Big dress and fancy hat, but it was me.... hard to explain and for years I tried to say it was the over active imagination of an 11 year old girl. But I knew from then, that I had been here before, my faith didn't allow for that belief, but it was more than belief, it was knowledge that I'd already been on Earth, and that someday I'd be back here again. I started about a year ago exploring my own Past Lives, seeing what I could awaken and know, then the opportunity presented itself to do so for others. So I'm going through training, proving my skills and ability in the area before I'm allowed to do this for other people, I am so excited to get this underway!! 

I have tried to study Herbalism, I find it absolutely fascinating, but this is where I fall pretty short as a witch, I have black thumbs! I cannot make anything grow, isn't that just awful? I still make potions and am learning to make my own ink, but the herbs don't come from my own witchy garden, they either come from the fresh section of the grocery store, or are from Phoenix and Dragon, a brand called Gaia's World. 

So, my witchy history isn't very long, but everyone's witchy history has to start somewhere. 

2014 promises to be a year of Growth and Development, and I hope to share it with everyone! I have found a few Blog Writing Challenges to kick off this new Blog, and I'm hoping to do the Pagan Blog Project in 2014. 

Blessed Be,