The Devil, The Rebel, The Trickster, and The Shadow

“Speak of the devil and he appears.”
“When you dance with the devil, you don’t get to pick the tune.”
“Better the devil you know.”
“The devil is in the details.”

and my favorite:
“The devil’s best trick was to convince us he doesn’t exist.”

The Devil represents the Zodiacal Trump of Capricorn in Tarot, and is ruled by Saturn (discipline and responsibility, Taskmaster) and exalted in Mars (creative energy and willpower, Warrior). Traditionally the keywords for The Devil are predictable (oppression, addiction, obsession, dependency, excess, powerlessness, and limitations); but in the Tarot of Vampyres it expresses itself thusly: Originality, Rebellion, Duality, Independent, Mischievous, and above all, having a Lust for life. No commonplace Baphomet-like symbol graces the card above. Indeed. Here The Devil appears to be more a lusty goatman – think Pan or the Horned God (consort of the White Goddess).

The Devil is the card’s quintessential Archetype but I’m going to attach it to three more…

  1. The Rebel – Just like his alias, Lucifer, The Devil goes against the grain, resists the status quo, and forges his own path.

    “Lucifer was perhaps the one who best understood the divine will struggling to create a world and who carried out that will most faithfully. For by rebelling against God, he became the active principle of a creation which opposed to God a counter-will of its own. Because God willed this, we are told in Genesis 3 that he gave man the power to will otherwise. Had he not done so, he would have created nothing but a machine, and then the incarnation and the redemption would never have come about. Nor would there have been any revelation of the Trinity, because everything would have remained One for ever.” – Carl Jung (1942) [source]

  2. The Trickster – The devil is known as “the father of all tricksters” and the cause of deceipt and deception. Like the Greek god Pan, The Devil is crafty, playful, opportunistic, light-hearted, and Devil-may-care.

    “…he can also be the agent provocateur that helps us live more fully into life.”

  3. The Shadow – The Devil is the dark and shadowy side of our existence. He demonstrates how a selfish devotion to material possessions and ill-conceived passions can tie us down and keep us from true happiness.

    “Milton called Satan the principium individuationis, the principle of individuation, and to the extent that our shadow side helps us become more fully ourselves.”

I drew the card after asking this question: “Through the end of 2021, whose energies should I engage?”

Major Arcana Tarot cards represent the life lessons, karmic influences and the big archetypal themes that are influencing your life and your soul’s journey to enlightenment. The Devil‘s message: Enjoy life for life is worth living. Leave behind structured ideologies, dogmas, and false morality. Embrace a healthy down-to-earth attitude. There’s a fine balance to be had between the animalistic passions that all humans possess and the Divine inspiration we strive to attain. Nothing’s wrong with meeting in the middle. Human are of The Earth as well as The Divine. To ignore either would be disastrous.

The only other hope is that he [man] may learn to curb a creativity which is wasting itself in the exploitation of material power. Unfortunately, all attempts in that direction look like bloodless Utopias.
– Carl Jung

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Grianstad an Gheimhridh

Yule. The Winter Solstice. In Irish, Grianstad an Gheimhridh. In the Northern Hemisphere it’s the longest night of the year and will occur in the U.S.A. on December 21, 2021 at 7:56am PST.

The 12 days of Yule – which begin on December 21st and last through January 1st – is a time of symbolic rebirth and renewal. Everything about this holiday honors life, light, and hope. The Celts believed the sun stood still during the Winter Solstice. During this time they burned a whole tree in the hearth – the Yule log – which they believed encouraged the sun to move, thus making the days longer. The first 12 days after the Winter Solstice are symbolically associated with the 12 months of the year. Celebrating the return of the light can be done in many ways. It is all about clearing the old and acknowledging a rebirth of awakening energy.

This is a simple ritual that anyone can do at any time, but is especially effective on the longest night of the year.

Burning ceremony
Write down the things you want to let go of on pieces of paper (hurt feelings, lingering grudges, a toxic relationship, or anything else that has been holding you back). Burn each strip one by one, focusing your intention on setting yourself free from these emotional anchors. The “death” of these papers makes way for the “birth” of a more positive future.

Those who have a close connection with nature believe that on the day of the Winter Solstice fate can be changed. Nature herself can assist with this by reviving and starting a new cycle, fulfilling many desires, and enlisting the support of higher powers for the coming year. This is the time when you can radically alter your destiny. The energy of the Winter Solstice supports Magick related to turning points, changes, new beginnings, home and hearth, family relationships, world peace, and personal renewal.

3 of Skulls (Pentacles)
Preparation, self-confidence, teamwork, self-realization, mastering new challenges

Arianrhod was the Celtic Goddess of fertility, rebirth and the weaving of cosmic time and fate. Every living thing in the Universe was a point on her web and was connected on the spiritual plane. Touch any point on the web and all other points were affected. This is similar to the Butterfly Effect: The butterfly effect concept has been used as a broad term for any situation where a small change is supposed to be the cause of larger consequences.

“The card foretells the manifestation of a desire, project, or situation though putting in hard work now, leading to abundant rewards. At this time a harmonic and coherent structure is forming on our behalf – the investment of labor in an external or physical direction will soon be rewarded and our goals will be reached.” [1]

Celebrate Yule by roasting chestnuts while sipping this:

Holiday Nog

Wet the rim of a glass and dip it in cocoa powder
Fill 1/3 full with your favorite red wine
Fill the rest of the glass with good quality eggnog (My favorite brand is Strauss.)

Adapted from this recipe.

Yule Fires

In ancient days the folk of old
When chilled with fright by the winter’s cold,
Did kindle up a great Yule fire
With leaping flames in its’ great pyre
So to entice the waning sun
To rise again and wider run;
Its’ fiery course across the sky
To warm them so they would not die

So we, whose minds now sense a chill
of anger at the evil will
The human conflict, hate and strife
Which holds a menace over the life,
Would kindle up a flame of love
That we within our hearts many move
In Yuletide joy with love embrace
And thus abide in peace and grace

– John G. Mackinnon

Finally, revisit my Post of last December 21st for it contains an important message at the very end.

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[1] Daniels, Ian (2010). Phantasmagoria. Llewellyn Publications. p. 270.

Lord of Material Happiness

This weekend’s card is the 9 of Grails (Cups).

Ruled by Jupiter (expansive) in Pisces (receptive), the essence of this card is: Happiness, contentment, optimism, and compassion. Abundance surrounds you and you are finding ways to be happy in the present moment. As the “Lord of Material Happiness”, emotional fulfillment here is linked to the physical realm of Being. You are happily tethered to your earthly existence, creating a oneness with Nature and all its creative beauty.

Known as the “wish card”, the 9 of Grails indicates a wish is soon to be granted in a natural and divine manner. What you want is likely to come into being in your life, so dream big!

In Tarot, all nines are related to the Moon. The 9 of Grails is ruled by Pisces whose zodiacal trump card is The Moon. Indeed, in the card above the moon is full and quite grand. Ethereal and illusionary, the Moon represents our unconscious and intuitive self.

Tomorrow is the last Full Moon of 2021 – the Oak Moon – in the sign of Gemini (adaptability). The Moon quickens our psychic abilities while Gemini’s mental acuity will enable us to quickly adapt to any changes in our environment by tuning into our intuition. And guess what? It’s in a harmonious aspect to expansive Jupiter (trine) – which makes this a lucky and benevolent moon phase.

Yesterday I wrote about the 13 Moon-driven Esbats and how they relate to the Celtic Tree Calendar. I love sunshiney days – especially warm ones – and when I see the morning sun shining on the trees outside my window I just know the day’s going to be wondrous. But I also love the mystical quality of the moon as she peaks through gossamer clouds or triumphantly stares down at us on a clear night. (Like she did last night as I walked to the mailbox.)

Just as the sun imparts a masculine vitality during the day, so the Moon fills us with her mysterious feminine energy at night.

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The 13 Esbats

While the eight Sabbats on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year mark the Sun’s path through the seasons, The Moon is the focus of Esbats – where the Triple Goddess is honored.

Waxing phase = Maiden
Full phase = Mother
Waning phase = Crone

There are 13 lunar cycles in a calendar year, peaking at each Full Moon: Wolf Moon (January), Snow Moon (February), Hare Moon (March), Seed Moon (April), Flower Moon (May), Mead Moon (June), Herb Moon (July), Barley Moon (August), Harvest Moon (September), Hunter’s Moon (October), Mourning Moon (November), Oak Moon (December), and a Blue Moon. Blue Moons occur when there are two Full Moons within a solar month, which happens about every 32 months.

Although the Celtic Tree Calendar corresponds to Full Moons, Esbats can be celebrated at any phase of the Moon; although since Esbats honor the Moon festivities should be conducted during nighttime hours. The Celtic Tree Calendar is based on the ogham alphabet and its association with trees, for the Celts believed different kinds of trees served different mystical purposes that helped them through their lives.

Birch (Beth) Moon
Dec 24 – Jan 20
Able to grow where many trees cannot, Birch is often found in groves. It was used to make May Poles and to start the fires at Beltane (May 1st). Birch is associated with purification and protection and brooms were often made from birch twigs.
Rowan (Luis) Moon
Jan 21 – Feb 17
“The Lady of the Mountain” belongs to the rose family. Druids considered it to be one of the most sacred of trees, and the Vikings made runes out of rowan which they would then wear around their necks for protection against sorcery and the evil eye. For similar reasons, rowan trees were often planted near gates and doorways, above doorways, and in barns. Symbolizing new beginnings, it was one of the nine sacred trees burned in Beltan fires.

According to Irish mythology, the first woman was created from the rowan tree.

Ash (Nion) Moon
Feb 18 – Mar 17
Prized for its strength and healing properties, the ash tree belongs to the olive family.

In Ireland the ash is considered one of the “trilogy of sacred trees” (along with oak and hawthorn). Irish mythology showed it had power over water and was often planted near sacred springs (‘cloothe wells’). St. Patrick used a stick made from ash to drive the snakes from Ireland.

Alder (Fearn) Moon
Mar 18 – Apr 14
Alder is a member of the birch family and metaphysically represents a balance between male and female energies. The Druids not only associated it with courage, but also linked it to death and resurrection.

In parts of Ireland it was considered a crime to cut down an alder tree, possibly because its wood turns from white to blood-red (due to the color of its sap) when felled. Irish mythology holds that the first human was created from the alder tree.

Willow (Saille) Moon
Apr 15 – May 12
Willow is sacred to the Celts, as well as the ancient Greeks. In Greek mythology it is associated with the Goddesses of the Underworld: Hekate, Circe, Persephone, and Hera. In Celtic mythology willow is connected to the death goddesses: Badb, Cailleach Bheur, Morrigan, and Rhiannon. Placing willow inside and outside a dwelling protects against the evil eye, and wearing willow leaves will protect one from jealousy.

I use White Willow Bark as a natural pain and inflammation reliever. It contains salicin which converts into salicylic acid (aspirin) when oxidized in the body.

Hawthorne (Huathe) Moon
May 13 – Jun 9
Hawthorne is known in Ireland as the “fairy tree”. Even today, it is considered extremely bad luck to cut one down, remove branches, or (except at Beltane) even hang things upon it.
Oak (Duir) Moon
Jun 10 – Jul 7
The “King of the Forest” is another tree sacred to the Druids. It is revered for its strength and longevity. Even when struck by lightening oak will continue to thrive. It is connected to the movements of the planet Mars.

An oak was thought to be one of the Five Magic Trees of Ireland.

Holly (Tinne) Moon
Jul 8 – Aug 4
Celtic mythology holds that holly was the evergreen twin of the oak – while the oak governed the light half of the year holly controlled the dark, wintry months. Like the oak it is lightening-resistant. The Druids believed holly possessed protective qualities which could guard against evil spirits and witchcraft. Although cuttings were permitted, it is unlucky to chop down a holly tree.

Except to birds (where they serve as a winter food source), the berries are poisonous.

Hazel (Coll) Moon
Aug 5 – Sep 1
Hazel is the tree found at the center of the Underworld (World’s End). In Celtic mythology nine magical hazel trees hung over the sacred Well of Wisdom, dropping their nuts into the well. The water of the Well flows into streams where the (now magical) nuts are eaten by the Salmon of Wisdom. Therefore, those who consume either the (magical) nuts or the fish are said to gain prophetic abilities.

In Ireland, the hazel tree is guarded by Bile Ratha.

Vine (Muin) Moon
Sep 2 – Sep 29
Vine is one of the sacred woods used in Beltane fires and represented joy and happiness, which is why it’s known as “The Tree of Joy”. Both the bramble vine (which is native to Northern Europe) and the grape vine represent the Vine on the Celtic Tree Calendar.

Grape vines reached the shores of Ireland about 2000 years ago when the Romans introduced wine and Viking traders would bring the drink to the Emerald Isle. It was the monasteries who began cultivating grapes vines in both Ireland and the British Isles.

Ivy (Gort) Moon
Sep 30 – Oct 27
The Druids believed ivy to be quite powerful – and sinister. It is a symbol of strength and determination.

In old Ireland ivy was thought to provide protection from evil when growing on or near a dwelling. However, if it should die or fall down misfortune would fall upon those that dwelt within.

Reed (Ngetal)
Oct 28 – Nov 23
Reed gained its reputation as a protective tree from its use as a thatch for rooftops. For this reason, it’s been made into talismans and charms to protect the wearer from evil. Druids also used it to craft writing implements and paper. In Celtic mythology, the reed is associated with Brigid and St. Brigid’s crosses are still traditionally woven from reed.
Elder (Ruis) Moon
Nov 24 – Dec 22
Elderflower wine is consumed at Beltane celebrations, while elderberry wine is drunk at Samhain (to promote divination. (I love Elderflower liqueur.) During the spread of Christianity elder became associated with witches.

A sacred tree in Ireland, it was forbidden to cut an elder tree down.

December 23rd is an extra day, signifying the “Day of Creation”, and is not ruled by any tree.

What Witches Do: The Esbats
The Sacred Tree Calendar of the Celtic People
What does your Celtic Tree Astrology say about you?

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Small Spectacles

The panoramic view of a landscape. The Olympic Games. A sunrise or sunset. Fireworks on the 4th of July. Great wars. An erupting volcano. The Sistine Chapel. Redwood forests. The cinematic showmanship of Cecil B. DeMille. All can be considered spectacular spectacles.

n. an elaborate and remarkable display on a lavish scale

But for me, well, I prefer spectacular on a SMALL scale. I like to zoom in, observing close-up rather than far away. I am reminded of a 1996 documentary (Of which I own a DVD copy.) entitled “Microcosmos“:

Take a meadow in France that appears to consist of nothing but grass and show us what wonders there are to be seen if you lower your eyes and look at the very very small… Filmed from a bugs-eye view and accompanied by beautiful soundtrack, the movie took three years to film. “One great movie to restore your sense of wonder.” Indeed. It is Magical. Nature is Magickal.

I ordered this Ludisia discolor (Jewel Orchid) back in July. Sometime in October I noticed a tiny green leaf sprouting from the soil of its 2″ pot. Fast-forward to November 30th and it presented itself as a miniature begonia! (A “twofer” – two plants for the price of one!)

Or take this Heliamphora minor which I got last January. On October 27, 2021 it began to develop a flower stalk which grew up and out of CarnieVIL.

Finally, tiny orange mushroons have sprung up next to my Darlingtonia californica.

Grandeur on a micro scale.

We might think we are nurturing our garden,
but of course it’s our garden that’s really nurturing us.

– Jenny Uglow

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