Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Woden's Day in a Balsamic Moon phase

"I'm one with the Goddess
and open to Her Wisdom."

27th Day of the 9th Lunar Cycle
Ruled by Hecate
Lunar Tree Cycle ~ Muin/Vine
Moon Phase: Balsamic - 2:48PM EDST
Moon rises: 3:21AM EDST
Moon sets: 4:36PM EDST
Moon enters the Mutable Earth
Sign of Virgo at 3:45AM EDST
Ceridwen's Cycle of the Moon
Lunar Meditation: The companionship
of animals.
Sun in Libra
Sunrise: 7:29AM EDST
Sunset: 6:42PM EDST
Solar Question for the Day: "What
is transforming within you?"
Lughnasadh (Gwyl Awst) Quarter
of the Year
October 14th, 2009

Balsamic Moon:  The ending of one cycle and the beginning of another.  Keywords for the Balsamic phase are: transition, release, transformation, renewal, purity.  It is the phase in a cycle when you must let go of everything that you been working on that does not deal with current cycle issues. During this phase you reflect on the passing cycle and prepare for the new. Trust in renewal. It is important to separate from others now so that you can clear the intellect of negativity. LET GO. Become still and meditate.

   This is Woden's Day - Wednesday - Mercury Day, the day of Communication and Connection... the magickal energies today are strong for honoring your ancestors.  Can you think of ways to do this? 

Here are some suggestions for honoring your ancestors this Samhain - you could start preparing these ideas today....  Communication day.

 We all have ancestors, some living, most of them have passed on. The Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA) does not have any specific traditions on revering ancestors, although most of the other modern Druid groups have incorporated this concept, which is common among Nature and folk-based religions. In a sense, many believe ancestors are the best intermediaries of the living with the deities. Who cares about you more than those who raised you and your parents and your parents' parents?

   Traditionally Samhain was about honoring returning (good) spirits who came back for these few nights, and of course, keeping out the bad ones who also might show up. We tend to focus on the bad ones now and dwell on the frightening aspect of death. However, how often do you talk to your children about welcoming back grandpa or Aunt Myrtle? The idea that good returns too, that is can be a very comforting concept for children. Rather than horror flicks, why not watch a movie of a sad, tragic death story and talk with kids about it. Fluke, the movie of a father reincarnated as a dog, trying to rejoin the family, is very touching.

Have a home altar: decorate it with family photos, as many as you can dig up, some safe candles or incense (watch the smoke detector). If you a family tree picture, you can place it there for this special time of the year. Add postcards, flags, and other symbols of the country (ies) your ancestors come from. If you are lucky enough to live near where your family members are buried make grave rubbings as well and add some of them to the altar. Visit the altar once a often during this time in the Wiccan Wheel of the Year..  Come by and talk to the spirits once in a while about hard things in your life and ask for advice and meditate there. You might assign someone in the family, perhaps even a child  to maintaining the shrine and dust it, replace candles, etc. for a new Samhain time activity.  In this case, a cluttered altar is perfectly acceptable -- after all, each of us is a blend of many different people and cultures.

Have a meal standing by to eat with the ritual. Include lots of dark bread, apples, fall vegetables, and a jug of cider or wine. Set your dinner table, with a place for each family member, and one extra plate for the ancestors. You may want to bake some Soul Cakes.
If your family has household guardians, include statues or masks of them on your altar. Finally, if a relative has died this year, place a candle for them on the altar. Light candles for other relatives, and as you do so, say the person's name aloud. It's a good idea to use tealights for this, particularly if you have a lot of relatives to honor. Once all the candles have been lit, the entire family should circle the altar. The oldest adult present leads the ritual. Say:

This is the night when the gateway between
our world and the spirit world is thinnest.
Tonight is a night to call out those who came before us.
Tonight we honor our ancestors.
Spirits of our ancestors, we call to you,
and we welcome you to join us for this night.
We know you watch over us always,
protecting us and guiding us,
and tonight we thank you.
We invite you to join us and share our meal.

The oldest family member then serves everyone else a helping of whatever dishes have been prepared, except for the wine or cider. A serving of each food goes on the ancestors' plate before the other family members recieve it. During the meal, share stories of ancestors who are no longer among the living -- this is the time to remember Grandpa's war stories he told you as a child, tell about when Aunt Millie used salt instead of sugar in the cake, or reminisce about summers spent at the family homestead in the mountains.

When everyone has finished eating, clear away all the dishes, except for the ancestors' plate. Pour the cider or wine in a cup, and pass it around the circle (it should end at the ancestor's place). As each person recieves the cup, they recite their genealogy, like so:

I am Susan, daughter of Joyce, the daughter of Malcolm, son of Jonathan...

and so forth. Feel free to add in place names if you like, but be sure to include at least one generation that is deceased. For younger family members, you may wish to have them only recite back to their grandparents, just because otherwise they can get confused.

Go back as many generations as you can, or (in the case of people who have done a lot of genealogy research) as many as you can remember. You may be able to trace your family back to William the Conqueror, but that doesn't mean you have it memorized. After each person recites their ancestry, they drink from the cider cup and pass it to the next person.

A quick note here -- many people are adopted. If you are one them, you are fortunate enough to be able to choose whether you wish to honor your adoptive family, your biological family, or a combination of the two. If you don't know the names of your birth parents or their ancestry, there's nothing wrong with saying, "Daughter of a family unknown." It's entirely up to you. The spirits of your ancestors know who you are, even if you don't know them yet.

After the cup has made its way around the table, place it in front of the ancestors' plate. This time, a younger person in the family takes over, saying:

This is the cup of remembrance.
We remember all of you.
You are dead but never forgotten,
and you live on within us.

Take some time to meditate on the value of family, how fortunate we are to be able to know the connections of kin and clan, and the value of heritage. If your family has a tradition of music or folktales, share those as a way to wrap up the ritual. Otherwise, allow the candles to burn out on their own. Leave the plate and cup on the altar overnight.

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