Calling Down the Sun*

May 3rd is World Sun Day. (First designated as Sun Day by Jimmy Carter in 1978.) We all know The Sun is the center of our Universe, but in reality it is much, much more.

The Sun gives Life to all living things here on Earth. Without it nothing would survive. Not only does it keep our planet from becoming one big iceberg, it provides LIGHT – something plants and other organisms require in order to covert light energy into fuel for their metabolism (a process called photosynthesis). Not only does this “fuel” provide necessary nutrients to animals who consume plants, the nutritional benefits are also passed along to animals that eat the herbivores – including we humans.

After I brought Ramses home I found a small patch of ringworm on his chest. It was easily treated and caused no further problems for either of us, but in researching this fungus I discovered that sunlight kills it. Outbreaks of ringworm can be quite common in shelter cats – a consequence of stress and lack of sunlight. Being the highly intelligent creatures they are cats instinctively know that bathing in sunlight not only feels good, it’s good for them, too!

The Sun’s radiant energy is beneficial to people, as well. Such as:

  1. Better Sleep Cycle. Studies show that getting out in the sun could connect your body to its natural circadian rhythm.
  2. Increased Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a major component of building a strong immune system and spending at least 15-30 minutes in the sun a day can give you all the Vitamin D that you need.
  3. Increased Mood. Groups that were more exposed to the sun had more energy, increased mood, and a more positive outlook on life.
  4. Lower Blood Pressure. The sun helps release nitric oxide into the blood which aids in lowering blood pressure and increased heart health.
  5. It just plain feels good!

When thinking of flowers one’s mind naturally turns to the Sunflower (Helianthus). Did you know that young sunflower heads track the sun’s movement? Before blooming, they tilt during the day to face the Sun in order to gain more sunlight for photosynthesis. This is thought to help attract pollinators, as many are more attracted to warm flowers.

Magickally, use the properties of the Sun to help lend energy to the following intents: Eenlightenment, generosity, spirituality, health, vitality, joy, positivity, creativity, and friendship. Metaphysically, its color is yellow and its stone is the sunstone, which is a stone of ABUNDANCE.

Sunstone creates an inner fire that vanquishes any unwanted power others hold over you.
It is a stone of self-love and confidence.

Goddesses associated with the Sun: Brigid (Celtic), Hathor (Egyptian), Medusa (Greek), Sekhmet (Egyptian), Sól/Sunna (Nordic), and Bast (Egyptian).

Tarot of Vampyres

Lord of the Fire of the World
Planetary Trump of the Sun; ruled by Leo
Father Archetype
Vitality, Joy, Creativity, Spirituality, Pride, Self-confidence, Personal power, Abundance

Resources:
Amazing Facts About the Sun
Daily Tarot::The Sun
Health Benefits of Being in the Sun
Helianthus
Midsummer Ritual: Calling Down the Sun
Sun Goddesses
4.20.2022: The Sun is Vibrating!
What on Earth is a Sunstone?
Wikipedia

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*A ritual celebrated on June 21st (Litha on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year).

Lá Bealtaine

Yesterday, Ramses and I rescued a bee. It was smallish and had the same markings as a honey bee. Somehow it had fallen into a pile of empty pots. Ramses evidently heard it because he would NOT leave that area alone. Upon closer inspection I saw the bee with a tiny spider (by size comparison) attempting to encase her. Although the poor thing was probably dying (either naturally or from spider venom) I still wanted to save her. So I scooped her up very gently with a trowel and deposited her in my Datura’s pot where she could get some sun if she wanted. She was trying valiantly to rouse herself. Ramses could still hear her buzzing her wings and made a bee-line (!) to the pot. That’s when we called it an afternoon and went back into the house. Unfortunately, when I checked on the bee this morning I found she had perished. We do what we can do, leaving the rest to Mother Nature. R.I.P. little one.

So today saw the last of 2022’s Black Moons: A New Moon/Partial Solar Eclipse occurred at 1:28pm here on the West Coast. Like the other three Black Moons this year, it marks the day before either a holiday (Imbolc, Beltane) or other day of significance (Ash Wednesday, April 1st). This New Moon takes place in the sign of Taurus. New Moons kick my ass. I have plenty of energy and positivity surrounding Full Moons, but just the opposite a few days before each New Moon. (Hmm…)

Tomorrow is May 1st. May Day. Beltane. In Irish the name for this festival day is Lá Bealtaine (la bel-te-nah) and represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Rituals to ensure prosperity, health, fertility, and the well-being of one’s livestock and other assets were performed, as this was a time to tune in to Nature’s tides of strength, growth, and abundance.

Beltane (“Bright Fire”) is a FIRE festival so it was customary to build a huge bonfire and then dance around it; however, if one doesn’t have the luxury to build a bonfire (Safety first!), substitute a red candle in a firesafe bowl. Light the candle and let it burn down completely. Dancing around it is purely optional – but fun!

White and yellow flowers are used traditionally. In 19th century Ireland flowers such as primrose, rowan, hawthorn, gorse, hazel, and marsh marigold were placed at doorways and windows in the form of bouquets and/or garlands.

All Springtime veggies and meats are eaten on Beltane. I’m going to cook a batch of Bannock tomorrow (Unleavened breads shaped into round, flat cakes which are then fried or baked). Mead was often drunk at Beltane but the traditional drink is May Wine which is customarily served as a punch with strawberries and Sweet Woodruff leaves.

I picked-up some Sweet Woodruff from the nursery last year with the specific purpose of using it to make my own May Wine. In fact, I am steeping some in my favorite white wine (Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling) right now!

The wine is plenty sweet without adding honey and I infused the herb with Magickal intent before using. Cannot wait to try it.

Let me leave you with a blast from the (70s) past – A song written and performed by Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex (of “Bang A Gong” fame) which contains the line: “Ride a white Swan like the people of the Beltane”. (Gorgeous man who died way too young. Actually, now that I see the band again most of them were drop-dead gorgeous.)

Have a bitchin’ Beltane!!

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Spring ~ Life, Joy, Hope, and the God of War?

March 20, 2022. Happy Ostara. Spring (or Vernal) Equinox, where day and night reign equally. Here in the Northern Hemisphere it marks the official start of SPRING.

Hope Springs Eternal – endlessly renewing itself. Indeed Spring celebrates renewal/rebirth, regeneration, resurrection, fertility, and new life. JOY. When Spring arrives and the days grow longer and warmer, Nature bursts with joy. The birds welcome the morning sun with their songs – a celebration of Life itself. In the Concrete Jungle my Green Dragon is coming out of hibernation and I awoke to the trumpeting of a Canada Goose. He must’ve chosen our rooftop to serenade his lady love because the honking sounded very close and VERY LOUD!

I’ve posted this once before but it deserves a repost:

You have to believe in happines

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes.
I know that a bird chirps none the less
When all that he finds is crumbs.

You have to believe the buds will blow,
Believe in the grass in the days of snow.
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing,
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.

You have to believe in happiness –
It isn’t an outward thing.
The Spring never makes the song, I guess,
As much as the song the Spring.

Aye, many a heart could find content
If it saw the joy on the road it went,
The joy ahead when it had to grieve,
For the joy is there – but you have to believe.

– Douglas Malloch

Astrologically, March 20/21 marks the beginning of the year and signifies the first seven years of life: ARIES. The Ram. Aries is ruled by Mars. In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars (the son of Jupiter and Juno) was their God of War. The Greek equivalent to Mars is Ares – which is how the astrological sign of Aries became entwined with Ares. To make matters more convoluted, The Emperor is the Zodiacal Trump of Aries (ruled by Mars with Sun exhalted).

WTF? How did we go from life-affirmation to War, Conquest, and Domination?!? Let’s take a deep breath…

The Emperor is also referred to as “Sun of the Morning” (Makes me think of birdsongs.) and represents leadership, courage, individuality, independence, passion, and the Archetype of the Earthly Father. He is the consort of The Empress who symbolizes the Earthly Mother, abundance, Nature, love, and the source of all life. They represent the harmonious balance which exists in every living thing: The Divine Spark.

Joy is an expression of Love.

We forget to play. We forget to be happy. “Whales and elephants, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes, all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them.” – John Muir.

Use this time of new beginnings and growth to rejuvenate your own life. Take time to appreciate the absolutely beautiful World around you and spread some JOY of your own. “Reviewing the day’s delights often yields surprises, and serves as a reminder of how full a life is, how lucky some days feel and how even stressful days may contain glowing nuggets of peace, pleasure, or joy.[1]


As I write this I am enjoying a lunch brimming over with foods celebrating Ostara: eggs (Quiche Michelle), asparagus, a salad of baby arugula, and Bourbon Milk Punch (recipe below).

Bourbon Milk Punch

2 oz. bourbon
3 oz. milk
1 oz. simple syrup (you can substitute Agave syrup)
2 dashes vanilla extract
Nutmeg

Add bourbon, milk, simple syrup, and vanilla extract to a shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled. Strain into a glass and garnish with freshly-grated nutmeg.


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[1] Ackerman, Diane (2009). Dawn Light. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.. p. 237.

Baguette Magique

Witches have a built-in wand: their pointer finger. Most times that’s all I use. However, when I was up in Northern California I took advantage of the abundance of oak trees around the property and fashioned a wand out of an oak branch. Looks kinda like a long, bony finger, doesn’t it?

I sanded it down until it was smooth and added some black leather cord for decoration. In the future, I may inscribe it with something or add a crystal, but right now I like its simplicity. Earlier that morning, Diego had, quite by accident, sliced my arm with a rear paw, so I annointed the wand by depositing a bit of my blood in this small crevice (the reddish color has since faded away).

Even though the blood was mine, I feel Diego’s energy in the wand as well as my own.

There grows a gigantic oak tree in Gragnano, Italy which, legend has it, was a meeting place for witches who “danced and celebrated their rites on its top” – allowing for the tree’s odd, flattened shape: Quercia delle streghe (“Oak of the Witches”).

Oak trees were sacred to the Druids and are metaphysically connected to the planet Mars. Oak is one of the triad of Celtic magickal trees and the Irish maintain the oak is one of the Five Magic Trees of Ireland.

A Magickal Wand possesses masculine energy and is associated with the element of Fire. It can be used to cast circles, channel energy, in ritual invocations, or to “draw down the moon”. (See Accoutrements)

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Magick.

What does the word Magick conjure up for you?

A Sorcerer summoning a demon?

Morgan la Fay weaving an enchanted robe with which to kill her half-brother, King Arthur?

Native American shamanism?

Invoking the sea gods?

A voodoo doll?

Hermione practicing her craft at Hogwarts?

But there’s more to Magick than just the supernatural stuff. Magick can be a perfect souffle or book that captures your imagination. There’s the magick of childhood – the wonder of experiencing everything for the very first time.

Magic is moments that define so much
you feel that you have no words to express the feelings.

– Shruti Ghosh

Magick is music that gives you goosebumps…

Relationships can be magickal. Sitting down to write a poem, letter, or post and having the words flow effortlessly – that’s Magick! Chrismastime, running into a childhood friend, Practical Magic AND Bell, Book and Candle (OK, both movies are about witchcraft but that doesn’t make them any less MAGICKAL.), a warm Summer night, kinetic energy created by a storm, the smell of the air after it’s rained, NATURE

For some, a forest can be a magickal place.

Others find enchantment beneath the ocean

or in a sunset.

There’s Magick in the air when the first crocuses appear

and in the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly.

The Magick of nature is all around us. In every living thing. The Magick of LIFE never ceases to amaze and humble me all at the same time.

A tomato plant growing out of a sidewalk crack.

A tiny begonia Magickally appearing out of nowhere.

Steve.

Magick is believing that anything is possible.


This Post started with one at Apartment Therapy: “Instead of a Resolution, Consider Adopting a Word of the Year.” I had several in mind but MAGICK was the word I awoke with this morning…

I grounded myself and gave thanks for all that I have and all the MAGICK in the world around me – and inside me. I asked that I embrace it, nurture it, and grow it. Now, let’s go back to the Tarot card seen at the beginning of this Post.

Before I do a read I cleanse my deck in incense smoke. Today I used Dragon’s Blood. I noticed that the card at the bottom was The Priestess. This happens from time to time, but not often, and I normally ignore it. I didn’t have any question to ask so I shuffled and cut the cards thrice like normal; however, before I had a chance to perform that third cut one card stuck up from the deck. When this occurs it’s a sign to pull that card – which is what I did. That card was The Priestess.

The Priestess is the Planetary Trump of the Moon and is the Number 2 card in the Major Arcana. Major Arcana (Trump cards) represent life lessons, karmic influences, and archetypal energies that are affecting you right now. The Number 2 symbolizes duality, balance, and wisdom; and in Numerology it represents a supremely feminine force with the strongest intuition.

The Vampyre Priestess wears a silver headpiece adorned with the sign of the Triple Goddess: the three phases of the Moon. The quiver of arrows at her back links her to the Roman Goddess Diana, patroness of hunters, crossroads, the underworld, and the Moon. Diana is also considered an aspect of the Triple Goddess. At the Vampyress’ neck is a black lace choker studded with one black stone. Her pale dress is patterned with images of NATURE: Birds, snakes, flowers, and butterflies. Except for her blood-red lips, she is void of color. Black is her hair, eyes, fingernails, the ribbon embellishing her gown, and the coiled serpent armpiece. A lit black candle rests beside her while a black book (dripping with blood) levitates before her, its pages waiting to be filled.

Divine Feminine. Occult talents. Seduction and mystery. Arcane knowledge. Independence. Shamanistic journeys. Psychic power. Dreams and the unconscious.

The Priestess (feminine) balances The Magician (male). Together they represent Yin-Yang: The seemingly opposite forces that are complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. She is both physically and mentally in tune with the natural world as well as the spiritual world, and is the conduit between the mundane and the sacred.

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