Once upon a time...
Traffic is entirely backed up, you lock yourself out of the house, your phone is lost, your computer is malfunctioning, your dentist appointment this morning was really scheduled for next week, you fight with your spouse for no good reason...yes, it's Mercury Retrograde time again!
People often ask me at these times of the year... "What is going on?!" or "Why is all this weird stuff happening?!", “When will it be over?!”
So... what IS Mercury retrograde exactly? I'm not an astrologer, I'm just a shoppe keeper, but I have studied astrology and will speak a little of my knowledge on the subject. So here it is...
Mercury is closer to the Sun than we are, and due to the speed it travels and the earth's rotation it sometimes "appears” to be moving backwards across the sky. This is of course an optical illusion. (Just like when you are in a parked car and the car next to you starts rolling backwards, it feels like your moving when really you aren’t). When this happens, it is referred to as “Mercury Retrograde”. This happens approx. three times a year for a period of about 3 weeks.
Mercury is the planet that rules all forms of communication, business, negotiations, agreements, contracts, wills, leases, selling, buying, travel, listening, any type of partnerships, phones and computers. When Mercury is in retrograde all of the above things seem to go haywire or on the fritz. What this means is that during these times you should avoid signing contracts, making important decisions, buying big-ticket items, and beginning new projects if at all possible. If you absolutely have to do these things double-check everything, read and re-read things carefully-especially paperwork, get a warranty on products, and leave extra early for the airport. BACK UP your computer data regularly during this phase!
Also keep in mind during these times that miscommunication abounds, people bicker over the smallest things and many say things they don’t mean-only to change their minds when retrograde is over. Take everything with a grain of salt, and try not to take it personally. Check yourself and be mindful of what you are saying, even if you are making perfect sense to you, things may be misunderstood or interpreted differently by others. During this time people tend to be more accident-prone, so please drive safely take your time and be careful.
Can anything good come of this time? YES! Mercury Retrograde it the perfect time to do things that start with re- reconnect with friends/reminisce, reorganize your home or wardrobe, rewrite something that needs editing, reexamine your plans for the future, revisit old ideas, do some research on a topic of interest, revise, review, repair, revisit, etc. This is an excellent time to take stock of what no longer serves you and get rid of it, finish up those unfinished projects, and tie up any loose ends so that you are feeling refreshed & renewed and ready to move forward again when Mercury turns direct. These are times where great breakthroughs can happen in emotional, spiritual and intellectual areas, you may be surprised at what is revealed.
To keep tabs on Mercury, check out this site:http://www.ismercuryinretrograde.com
Just remember to take your time, be careful, go with the flow and see where the universe leads you.
This month we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, which in the northern hemisphere occurs on September 23rd (occasionally the 22nd).
Also called Harvest Home, the Feast of the Ingathering, or Mabon, this holiday is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and God during the winter months.
Mabon is a Wiccan holiday of celebration for the abundance of the harvest; a time meant for us to give thanks through song, dance and feasts. This is a time of balance, when day and night are equal once again; a time of meditation and introspection; a time to slow down the pace of our lives and to relax and recognize our own personal harvests during the year that is fast declining; a time to appreciate the connection we have with those around us, as well as those who have gone before us. It references the sense of community that this harvest festival fosters, for it's through our kinship with those close to us that we endure through the long, dark, cold nights of Winter. The Autumnal Equinox is a time when we prepare our personal harvests, gathering those experiences transpired over the past year(s), bringing them within, making them a part of who we are - allowing them to die, regenerate into wisdom, and be reborn within.
Mythically, this festival celebrates the story of Modron, the Great Goddess of the Earth, and the birth of her Son, Mabon. Mabon is a Welsh name meaning "great son", and refers to the Son of the Great Mother, The Divine Son of Light. According to the mythology, Mabon disappears (or is kidnapped, depending on tradition) three days after his birth - thus, the light goes into hiding and is veiled in mystery in the womb of the Earth, here personified as his mother, the Great Protector and Guardian of the Otherworld. The Otherworld is a place of challenge and a place of nurture, a place where one is renewed and regenerated, a place of new life. Mabon can there be reborn, the Source of Light and Joy, the champion of his Mother. Just as the Light is being drawn into the earth accumulating strength and wisdom, to become a new seed, Mabon has returned to his mother's womb. For as the Winter begins, the earth incubates the tender seeds. Throughout the Winter, the seeds are kept within Her womb so that they may be reborn and bring forth new life.
Beyond Mabon, Michaelmas and Harvest Home, this Sabbat has also been known as the Festival of Dionysus, the Wine Harvest, Harvest of First Fruits, Cornucopia, the Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), and Alban Elfed (Caledonii or Druidic - which celebrates the Lord of the Mysteries). The Teutonic name for this season is Winter Finding, which begins on the Equinox itself and continues until Winter Night, October 15th, which is the Norse New Year. Yet another name is Fogharadh - which is a Gaelic word meaning "hospitality and abundance".
Additional deities associated with Mabon include Dionysus and Bacchus, the Gods of Wine; Demeter, the Goddess of Grain; Persephone, Queen of the Underworld and daughter of Demeter; Thor, Lord of Thunder in Norse mythology; Morgan; Epona; Pamona; the Muses; Thoth, Hermes; and Hotei.
Mabon marks the completion of the grain harvest begun during Lughnasadh. It is a time of great joy and sorrow - a time of great change. We are at this time between the worlds, we mourn that which is passing, joyful for bountiful harvest and the awareness that the Mother will hold the seed of Light in Her womb. This is a time of realization that the Wheel of the Year has turned once more and will continue to turn. For time is circular not linear, there is no end but only new beginnings, the continuance of life eternal.
This is the time for looking back upon the efforts of the past--not just this year, or the last, but also of your lifetime. For in life, events happen, choices are made, and actions generated - we cannot go back and change that which has passed, but we can reap the harvest of wisdom these have brought us. We give thanks for that which has been our lives, for that we perceive as wonderful and that we perceive not to be, for they all are part of the sum of who we are. Look back at this time and be sure to congratulate yourself on all those things you have done well, while, at the same time, being sure to think of things you wish to improve. As with any effort you may put forth there is always work on someone else's part that allowed you to build upon it. Mabon is an excellent time to give thanks to all the time and energy put forth by others to help you. The work done by others not only helps you by making your work easier, it gives you a base to build higher than you could without it.
Mabon has become a celebration of three main themes. These are reflection, grace, and balance. Although these themes are present every day, now is the day that we should give them our full attention.
A feast of plenty on this day, in honor of the God, is traditional. Whereas cornbread was most appropriate at Lammas, wheat bread is best now to coincide with that harvest. Apples are ripening now, and nuts may be ready, as well. Do not forget fruit juices of apple and grape, whether or not fermented. One idea for a ritual gesture, it is to start a tradition of passing a "cup of gratitude" at this feast. To do this a chalice is filled with wine, blessed and passed around the table clockwise. As each person takes it, they speak about what they are thankful for and once they have spoken of all of their blessings, they drink from the cup, or pour a small amount into another cup, and then pass it on to the next person.
Indian corn, red fruits, autumn flowers, red poppies, hazelnuts, garlands, grains especially wheat stalks, and colorful, fallen leaves, acorns, pine & cypress cones, oak sprigs, pomegranate.
Brown, green, orange, red, deep gold, scarlet, yellow, russet, maroon, all autumn colors, purple, blue violet & indigo
Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather, bringing in harvest, cutting willow wands (Druidic), eating seasonal fruit, leaving apples upon burial cairns & graves as a token of honor, walk wild places & forests, gather seed pods & dried plants, fermenting grapes to make wine,picking ripe produce, stalk bundling; fishing,. on the closest full moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting corps by moonlight.
Pine, sweetgrass, apple blossom, benzoin, myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, sage wood aloes, black pepper, patchouly, cinnamon, clove, oak moss
Cornbread, wheat products, bread, grains, berries, nuts, grapes, acorns, seeds, dried fruits, corn, beans, squash, roots (ie onions, carrots, potatoes, etc), hops, sasssafras, apples, pomegranates, carrots, onions, potatoes, roast goose or mutton, wine, ale, & cider
This is an excellent time to perform spells around the idea of balancing out your life. Remove any guilt, and replace it with love and acceptance.
It has been a week filled with customers coming in and calling about "bad things in their home". Many people are familiar with the Native American ritual of 'smudging', but for those that are not here are the basics...
You're feeling something strange, you may have seen shadows, heard noises or something doesn't feel quite right... you need to use SAGE. It is also good to use during spring cleaning, when you move into or vacate a new place, or when you are stuck in a rut in life.
The question I am asked most frequently is WHAT type of sage is the BEST?
The answer is simple, ALL sage is GOOD sage. With that said there are many types & varieties of the herb. The most common 2 types are white sage (broad leaf) and desert sage (brush bush). Desert sage is often also mixed with other herbs & resins to further confuse you! Just kidding! Not to worry, remember it is ALL good. So come into the store and pick a scent you like or one that matches your purpose. Some examples- sage & sweetgrass is a nice combo- sweetgrass is known to bring in the positive while sage removes the negative thus bringing a perfect balance and harmony.Or perhaps you would like an extra sense of peace & calm? Try the sage with lavender. Or what you are experiencing may be particularly negative- Sage & copal, or sage & cedar are both good choices for bringing in your guides and universal help to deal with the problems, and packing an extra punch of clearing. So you have your sage, now what? We have several different books here at Crescent Moon Gifts that go very in-depth, but for the purpose of this blog I will share a quick & easy version that I use.
There are many different ways to 'smudge' your home (or yourself, tools, place of work, vehicle etc.. etc..). Here is what I do. First, light your smudge stick on the non-stem end. Get a good flame going, then blow or wave it out so you are left with a nice billowy cloud of smoke. YES it will be VERY smokey! This is what you need, it is believed that the smoke absorbs the negative energies and carries them away. (If you are smoke sensitive and cannot have someone else do this in your absence, I will give you pointers at the end of how to clear without sage, but actual sage IS best.) Because of the smokey nature I would recommend you remove small children & pets before you smudge, but I leave this to your discretion.
So now we have a smoking wand of sage, what do we do with it? First hopefully you have it in a heat proof bowl or on a plate, something to catch the hot ash as it falls (it WILL burn your floor so use it appropriately), now start by taking some of the smoke and fanning it towards yourself, this will cleanse your aura and shield you while you do your work. Start at the entrance of the home and fan the smoke around the perimeter of your place. I prefer to walk counter clockwise as it is a Wiccan tradition to banish something, but you can walk however you'd like, just make sure you are fanning the smoke EVERYWHERE. You may say a prayer or blessing at this time, or demand that the negative energy leave your home. If you hit a patch that feels extra 'heavy' or weird spend a little more time there, this usually happens in corners where energy gets trapped. Once you have finished walking through your home, place the sage in a central area for it to burn out (or somewhere heat safe like the stovetop) and you may ask for your guides/guardian angels/deceased relatives to help you clear out anything negative or harmful. Once the sage has burned out, open the windows and the doors, and let the smoke carry your troubles away!
Feel better? You should immediately feel a 'cleaner' or 'lighter' energy. Once you have smudged I suggest that you place a clear tumbled quartz in the four corners of your residence to form an energetic pyramid that keeps good in and bad out.
So you are smoke sensitive but want to cleanse? Ok, not a problem. There are a couple things you can do without smoke. We sell a 'smudge' in spray form. It is a mixture of purified water with sage essential oils as well as several other oils & ingredients known for their cleansing properties. Starting at the entrance spritz the perimeter of your place following the directions above. We also have essential oil sage candles which you can burn in each room to cleanse the enegy of that space, as well as sweetgrass candles to bring in the positive. Any of these items of course can also be used after the traditional sage stick smudging to keep the positive energy fresh.
I hope this has been helpful and I do teach this and more as a class in the store called 'Spiritual Housekeeping' from time to time, if you would like to attend a class such as that let me know and I will be sure to schedule accordingly.
A customer asked me today what book I recommended for the beginning pagan. There are so many great books on the market that several options are available and worthy of consideration. I like 'Wicca For Beginners' by Thea Sabin, the entire Llewellyn 'For Beginners' series is decent and covers a variety of subjects, and I also like the 'Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca & Witchcraft'. I know some people have issues with the name, however the entire series is really well written, and again offers a wide array of topics. Lots of easy to understand bite size info throughout and it is comprehensive enough to provide the reader with enough insight & overview that they may feel led to research books of a more specific path later. I may write a more detailed list to post in out book room, so I would love your input...
What are you favorite beginner pagan/Wiccan books?
It is the first harvest of the year and today we honored Lugh at the store with a feast altar. To find out more about this holy-day check out our August newsletter available here: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Events---August-News-from-Crescent-Moon-Gifts.html?soid=1101240945786&aid=RrJF4PXD66Q
We were certainly blessed by our amazing customers today and I am eternally grateful for the support the store receives in this community. It allows me to remain in business to help others, doing something I love to do.