Friday, January 27, 2012

Crafts for Imbolc

I love crafting and creating different things for each Sabbat. I feel it connects me to the energy of that particular Sabbats meaning, and that time of year. Of course at Imbolc the Goddess Brigid is honored, and there are many things you can create in her honor.

The Brigid's cross is well known and one of her sacred symbols. You can make these easily with pipe cleaners. Or, if you want to be more authentic, you can make them out of reeds which is the traditional material used. Making a Brigid's cross with reeds is a little more difficult, but the results are worth it, and I always think its a good idea to be authentic as often as possible. Here you can find instructions on how to make a Brigid's cross using either material : How to make a Brigids cross.

The symbolism of the cross comes from a tale of St Brigid or "Mary of the Gael"who was born in the 5th century CE. She was the daughter of Dubhtach, a Leinster Pagan chieftain. When her father was dying, she sat in prayer beside him, and passed the time by weaving the first St. Brigid's Cross from the rushes strewn about the floor. Her father seeing the cross asked her to explain its meaning and was so overwhelmed that he became a Christian before his death.For centuries, it has been customary on the eve of her sacred festival for the Irish to make a Brigid's Cross of straw or rushes and place it inside the house, or over the door. They saw this symbol as protection for their home and loved ones.

There is also food and drinks you can make to represent the sacred day of Brigid. I always like to make different drinks, so I decided to post one here.

Love Potion Mead

* 1 bottle of honey mead

* 3.5 oz Green Tea

* 1 oz dried Juniper Berries, crushed

* 1 oz Mugwort,
* 1 oz dried Orange Peel, chopped

* 1/2 oz dried Damiana leaf,

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker. Cook on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. Strain and let sit to cool, then place it in the fridge to get cold. Serve cold and enjoy! This mead is said to be an aphrodisiac!

Find this recipe and many others including Imbolc deserts, breads and dinners at Imbolc Recipes

I hope you enjoy making crafts to honor Brigid and her sacred day of fire!

Photo courtesy of my personal altars and my handmade Brigid's cross

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Medea, Ancient Sorceress, Priestess of Hekate

Medea is one of the most well known ancient sorceresses there was. She was said to be a Priestess of the Goddess Hekate and had many different magical powers. She was the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis, granddaughter to Helios, the Sun God, and niece to Circe who was a well known sorceress herself. The most famous myth involving Medea, is that of Jason and the Argonauts.

In the myth, Jason, who is seen as a heroic figure, comes to Colchis to claim his inheritance to the throne, and to claim the Golden Fleece. King Aeetes agreed to give him the fleece on the condition that he perform a few tasks first. When Medea saw Jason she immediately fell in love with him. She offered to help him with her magic to complete the impossible tasks her father laid out, only if he married her. Jason agreed and his first task began. He had to plow a field with fire breathing oxen, and Medea gave him an unguent in which he anointed himself with, so as to protect his body from any harm of the fire. He completed that task, but he still had two more to go, and Medea used her magical powers to help him each time. So when all was said and done, Jason kept his promise to Medea, took his golden fleece and fled Colchis with Medea. They married and lived happily in Corinth with their two children for a while.

Until one day, King Creon offered Jason his daughters hand in marriage. Eager to please the King, Jason accepted his offer and left Medea to marry Glauce, the Kings daughter. This enraged Medea and to seek revenge, she sent Glauce a beautiful bridal gown, covered in poison. The Kings daughter died and Medea then is said to kill her two children from Jason, and fled Corinth in a chariot led by dragons sent to her by her grandfather, Helios.

Later in the myth, she is said to have married Aegeus, an old king of Athens, and bore him a son Medus, who was in line to inherit the throne. Although Aegeus didnt realize that he had another son that he never knew of named, Theseus. Medea tried to poison Theseus when he came to fight for the throne, and when Aegeus realized he stopped it immediately. Medea then fled with her son Medus to a country in which Medus eventually became king, and that country was later called Media.

I believe that in this myth, Medea becomes the victim of unfortunate circumstance. Having fell deeply in love with Jason, and willingly sacrificed everything, including her entire family, to help him so he could complete the arduous tasks her father set out for him. Then fleeing her homeland to marry the man she loved and have children together, just to be betrayed and abandoned by him at the first mention of another woman. And as you can see from her actions earlier in the myth, Medea is no stranger to getting revenge and using her skills as a great sorceress and witch, even if it is for evil purposes. This shows her strong feminine and rebellious power.

Also something I find interesting, seeing that she is granddaughter to the Sun God Helios, and niece to Circe, a minor Goddess of magic, it would seem that maybe Medea would have some of that divine power within herself as well. Myth says that she practiced her magic under the guidance of the Goddess Hekate, some even speculate that she was the daughter of Hekate. But there really isn't any mythological evidence that this is true.

This is a quote from the myth in which Medea calls on Hekate for help in her magic, "By the goddess I worship most of all, my chosen helper Hecate, who dwells in the inner chamber of my house, none of them shall pain my heart and smile at it! Bitter will I make their marriage, bitter Creon's marriage-alliance, and bitter my banishment from the land!" (Euripides, Medea 400).

I hope you enjoyed learning the myth of Medea, Priestess of Hekate!

Photo courtesy of : Jason and Medea, John William Waterhouse

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Melusina, Ancient Faery of the Waters

The Melusina, or Melusine, is a mythological creature found in ancient Celtic and Medieval folklore. She was part woman and part serpent, her top half being that of a beautiful woman, with the body of a snake. The myth of such a creature is very old. Melusina is derived from Celtic water faeries or nymphs who were thought to be changelings. They could be deceiving to unsuspecting men with their beautiful song, and lure them into their magical world of water. They were sometimes referred to as mermaids and sirens.

This ancient water Goddess became quite popular in the Middle Ages particularly in North France and England. The most popular Medieval myth of the Melusina, is that with Elynas, the King of Albania, and the beautiful Fae, Pressina. One day while King Elynas was hunting, he came across a river where he stopped to get a drink. He heard a woman singing and this is when he found the Fae Pressina. He persuaded her to marry him and she agreed, on one condition, that he never enter her chamber when she gave birth or bathed her children.For if he did, there would be terrible and possible fatal consequences. Pressina ended up giving birth to triplets, all girls named Melusina, Melior, and Plantina. Upon hearing the great news, King Elynas burst into the chamber to see his new baby girls while Pressina was bathing them. She cried out that he broke his promise and she took her three girls and fled to Avalon.

After the three girls had grown into their teens, Melusina asked her mother why they had been living in Avalon. So Pressina told her the story of what her father did, and this enraged Melusina. So she and her sisters decided to capture King Elynas and lock him in a mountain. When Pressina heard of this, she became so angry, that she condemned Melusina to the form of a serpent from the waist down every Saturday, until she should meet a man who would marry her under the condition of never seeing her on a Saturday, and he should keep his promise. So Melusina went out on her search for this man that will marry her. One day in the woods, she came across a man, Raymond of Poitou, while she was sitting by a lake.

Raymond became enchanted by her beauty and asked for her hand in marriage. Melusina said yes on one condition, he was not allowed to see her bathe on Saturdays, under any circumstances. So he agreed and they married shortly thereafter. They had many children, and on one Saturday night while Melusina was bathing, her husband decided to take a peek at her because of the constant teasing he got from his brothers. What he saw amazed and scared him and he didnt say anything about it. Until one day after he had lost in a battle, when Melusinsa tried to comfort him, he pushed her away calling her a serpent and contaminator of the human race. He immediately regretted what he said, and Melusina left to wander the woods. In other myths it is said that she turned into a dragon and flew off never to be seen again.

Although this myth is Medieval in nature, the faery spirit Melusina is much older. There have been Pictish carvings found of a water Goddess/Woman with that of a serpent lower body. The Melusina and her myths resonate with me because of my love of myth and faeries, and my love of water. A powerful element that the ancients respected. So it makes sense that they would have deities of the oceans, rivers and lakes.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the magical myth of the Melusina!

For more info check out

Images courtesy of the Art of Marcia Snedecor
As well as the Art of Troy Howell

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hygeia, Greek Goddess of Good Health

Hygeia is the Greek Goddess of health and cleanliness. She represented taking care of our bodies to prevent disease, as being clean was seen as an important aspect of staying healthy. The word hygiene even stems from her name. Daughter to Asclepius, God of Medicine, and Epione, Goddess of soothing pain, Hygeia was known for her healing abilities and promotion of cleanliness. She was depicted with a large snake wrapped around her body, drinking from a medicine bowl. It is said for a long time she was worshiped alongside her father, and didn't really become her own separate and independent Goddess until later in ancient history.

It was believed in the ancient world that disease could be prevented by personal and household cleanliness. As well as eating right and keeping your body healthy inside and out. Hygeia was called on for this purpose, along with her healing abilities. She believed in curing disease the natural way. Through the use of healing herbs, keeping a healthy diet, and staying in good physical shape. What's known as "the bowl of Hygeia", which is the bowl in which the snake drinks from, is a symbol that has been used as a representation of the pharmacological professional

Her worship was fairly widespread throughout Greece. In Arkadia, there was found in an ancient sanctuary, a relief which pictured Artemis, Hygeia and Asclepius. In the ancient city of Attica, on the Acropolis, a statue of Hygeia was found among statues of other Gods and Goddesses. There is also evidence of her worship in Olympia, among many other areas.

Call on Hygeia to help you stay healthy, and for help cleaning your home. Before you start your household chores, light a candle and some incense and call on Hygeia for her cleansing abilities to help you cleanse your home. Or pray to her if you want to start, or already are on a diet to help you stay focused on staying healthy.

On your altar to Hygeia, have colors of white, red and silver. Cleansing and healing herbs like eucalyptus, echinacea, chamomile. Healing crystals like quartz crystal, amethyst and amazonite., and a representation of snake. You may also choose to have healthy foods that are rich in vitamins such as apples, oranges and blurberries.

Enjoy your path to healing and good health with the ancient Goddess, Hygeia.

Photo courtesy of Gustav Klimt
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