Category Archives: Sabbats

Food for a Celt’s Soul

The importance of food in Celtic Ritual and Magic

In Celtic ritual practices there are several times that food is ingested as part of ritual. At the end of every full and new moon ritual we take part in cakes and ale. Every Equinox and Solstice we honor the ancestors with a feast. During Samhain we also have a Dumb Feast where we commune with our ancestors as we feast, not a work is spoken aloud.

The significance of Cakes and Ale as part of ritual is a sign of service – just as Orthodox and Catholic priests serve the Host so too does the Priestess bless both the Cake and the Receiver and again she will serve the circle, blessing both the ale (which could be ale, wine, mead, or fruit juice) and the receiver again. In return each member blesses the Priestess for her service to them as a group. This not only reconnects each member of the circle as friends, confidantes, and companions, sometimes even family of choice. The service itself also serves to remind the Priestess as the Priests that they are companions of the Divine called to serve the needs their community and not just their own wants and desires.

The significance of the Ancestor feasts are to remind us from whence we came, that we are made up not only of flesh and blood, but the hard work and sometimes love of the generations before us. We honor our ancestors who changed the world, made history, sacrificed daily, and struggled to live and maintain our beliefs in the face of persecution and death. We honor the Ancestors for the gifts we have in our lives today, and even now science has shown that trauma from previous generations’ leaves a mark in our genetic material as published in Discover Magazine  With that said, as we feast and share foods, we also share the stories of those we knew well, the legends of those who are well known, and the family myths and stories of generations past.

For Celts, the hearth, and the comfort, nourishment, and nurturing it represents is sacred, as is the food we eat, and liquids we drink. We came from the earth and in time will return to the earth to replenish the soil with nutrients again.

Bright Blessings be with you always,

Gwenyfur Draigtanllwyth
Founder and High Priestess
Gathering WIND
May 2016

 

Ostara

The Wheel is ever turning!

With the beauty of the world coming to life surrounding us I am again in awe of the cycle of nature, the world, the universe.  As I was surveying the winter damage to the gardens I came across the crocus poking through the ground and in bloom, so excited I had to snap a picture, then stood mesmerized by their purple beauty, their strength to bloom in the frosty temperatures, and the promise the first flowers of Spring always seems to hold.

As I continue surveying the gardens and beginning the yearly clean up of the detritus and leavings of Winter, I found Iris already beginning to poke their blades through the earth, daffodil greens beginning their yearly climb to the surface, and miracle of miracles, the honeysuckle beginning to bud leaves.

The old saying of “Hope springs eternal” comes to mind as I continued surveying the rest of the gardens, roses, backyard that is already turning green, and I found myself by the Beauty Tree anticipating the glory that it will become in late Spring. The hope brought with signs of returning life, the earth waking from slumber, and the new adventures that await in the mountains during the warm season.

With the long winter of near fatal illness, slow healing recovery, the frustration of missed goals and deadlines, I find my spirit again coming to life with the promise of hope. Hope that life indeed continues, hope that projects can be begun, restarted, and that health and prosperity have returned with the waking of the world.

May this same hope infuse your spirit with the new life of Spring and give you the motivation to see your goals accomplished.

Blessed Be!

 

The Ever Turning Wheel

I was reminded tonight of the ever turning wheel, not by our seasonal changes, our sabbats and esbats, but by a shining beacon of bravery, light, and sweetness that is facing her wheel turning with the end of this time and crossing over to the summerlands.

She is quiet, unassuming, caring, and vulnerable to people who have derided her beliefs as a Witch. She spent her life sacrificing and caring for others asking little for herself, and as we talked about her final arrangements, and perused the stories, prayers and rituals I had thought to bring along with me, she smiled, chatted, and became animated; openly shining with an inner light of strength and peace.

As I gave her a blessing of the Goddess’ and Gods’ tears welled in her eyes, though not tears of sorrow and fear, but tears of joy and peace. Her heart was overwhelmed with the good things she had surrounding her, the strangers who had become friends, and we shared a brief moment of harmony as sister witches at peace with the world around us and the friendship we formed in those moments.

I am reminded that we are all here until the wheel turns in our time and that each of us will face our crossing over in our own way. We each have our tasks to accomplish, our lessons to learn, and our paths to walk to completion. I can only hope to face the time of my turning with the grace, serenity, courage, and peace that she is facing hers.

Blessed Be!

Tetrad of Blood Moons

April 15th marks the beginning of an alignment tetrad that happened only 3 times in the last 600 years. These 4 “Blood Moons” or lunar eclipses are followed by 6 full moons. The beginning of these is visible in the US during the night of April 15th.

Ironically, each occurrence of this tetrad in the past has heralded another religious revolution. The first tetrad recorded in the 15th century saw the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the 2nd saw the founding of Israel in 1949, and the third oversaw the 6 day war between Israel and Iran in 1969.

While the planets and sun travel in a way that will see nine of the cycles in the 21st century, one does wonder what this cosmic opposition will find coming into play in this century.

Christians and Jewish leaders alike are plotting these blood moons which will occur this year and next during Passover and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), both highly celebrated festivals.

So what does this mean for we the Witches? It means a powerful time of Mars, Earth, the Sun, and our Moon being in alignment. Those warrior passions, the divination of our Goddess, the strength of our life giving Sun, and our own Gaea connections becoming stronger. The alignment is a rare time allowing for deeper wisdom, stronger power, and more potent relationships to build with the Universe.

This is the time to grab your destiny, to focus your will, and to use your Witch’s voice to create what you will of your world, to harness the energy available to deepen  your bonds, and to focus your workings on being a Warrior of Gaea and healing the areas around you.

This Beltane we are travelling to the First Forest, harnessing that energy, combining it with the energy of the alignments, focusing it even more, then pushing it outward from our Circle to the valley that is Reno, Nevada, and healing the areas we live in. We’re charging stones to bring back with us to recharge under each of the moon’s cycles during this alignment in order to continue the healing that we begin on Beltane.

I don’t suggest all Witches should participate where ever they may be, but imagine what a group of Witches of a single intent can accomplish for our planet and the life within if we worked together to focus the energies available to us!