Welcome to my blog!

Merry Meet & Thank you for visiting!
This blog is all about all the things that make me up. I am a Mother, I am a Pagan Witch, I am a Wife, I am a homemaker, I am a student, I am Spiritual, I am a Teacher, I am Liberal Hippie, I am a Voter, and I am extremely opinionated! Plan to see it all! If you don't like what you see, feel free to leave! However, chances are, if you stick around, you'll find more to love than hate!

Blessings!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Hobbit: Unexpected Cruelty

Now this is something I am rather upset to report. Yes, the "Death to Gays" bill and other atrocities in the news - like the Demon Sex/Homosexuality connection claims - greatly bother me. But when I read about this, it sickened me! I am not one of those "never kill animals" types. I am a carnivore (well, really an omnivore) and I make no excuses for it. And I am a firm believer in supporting euthanasia in animal shelters. However, I am NOT a supporter, in any way, shape or form, of the Abuse, Neglect or Cruelty towards animals for any reason.  Even when killing an animal to eat, it can be (and should be) done humanly. And in my opinion, Animal abuse for entertainment purposes is the worst of all. I am a hunter, but I do not support sport hunting. And if I ever found out about cock or dog fights I would be the first one to ensure that they were SHUT DOWN!

So it greatly upsets me to hear about Animal abuse taking place on the set of the new upcoming film: The Hobbit. While this film is not technically a "Pagan Film" it is a movie that is excitedly awaited in most Pagan circles! Personally, I have been counting down the days til the first of the series is released in theaters since I first heard it was being filmed - around 4 years ago! I have had a love for these books and stories since I was a child. A love I know I share with MILLIONS of people, and the majority of Pagans.

I find it horrific that ANY film would result in the harm of innocent animals. But doubly so when it's a film that is almost aimed at the Pagan communities. Communities full of people that would not only NEVER harm an animal, but who find the idea of animal cruelty to be a huge betrayal. I would THINK, that as producers and directors of these films, they would know the love of nature that is present in their target audience. I mean, yes, these are adventure films, but everyone knows one of the biggest draws to these films is the natural beauty that surrounds the story. A natural beauty which the production team literally traveled around the world to find. So to discover that there are not just one, but numerous cases of animal cruelty surrounding the films, seems to simply clash with the entire statement of the film.

I think I will be looking in to this issue deeper before I decide if I am going to see this film in theaters. I have been waiting to see it. And I have already set aside the money for my tickets. But I am not completely comfortable supporting a film that was produced at the expense of innocent lives.

Anyways, get the details and decide for yourself if this is really a film you want to support... Especially knowing they are filming the other two films and this cruelty is ongoing!

Update: Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill...

I recently posted about Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, since then, a few news outlets have made reports that the bill no longer includes a death penalty. This, however, is not true. In fact, while Uganda has not released the entire bill for the public to read, the only version that IS available for the public DOES continue to include a death penalty!

Today, I got this update email from "AllOut" to let me know how things are progressing...

Ugandan politicians are slowing the momentum against this bill - by spreading the lie that they've removed the gay death penalty. In a global briefing with All Out yesterday, Ugandan activists Frank and Kasha told journalists around the world that the bill has not changed. They asked that we keep spreading the word to fight the bill.
Right now, we need to cover Facebook, Twitter and every friend’s inbox with the news that this bill is still deadly - but we can stop it. Will you share the petition everywhere?
Share now: www.allout.org/uganda
Every time you share and tweet a new friend will see the truth. All over the world, we learn news through our friends and our social networks - this is our chance to make the news, not just read it. Spread the word that the gay death penalty still exists in Uganda's bill and ask everyone you know to spread the word too.
Uganda's parliament was just shut down for five days. We have an unexpected opportunity to build support, during a critical time to stop the bill.

www.allout.org/uganda

Thanks for going All Out - we know that it's the only way we can beat this heinous law.
Please continue to show your support for this cause and for those homosexuals who are, and will become, targets of this and other bigoted bills from the Ugandan government!

Free Sacred Space eKit From Hibiscus Moon

Who doesn't love free? This kit is 100% Free! It's being given out to all new members of the Hibiscus Moon mailing list! Just enter your email and get your free eKit!

Your Kit will include:
  • An mp3 download meditation
  • a 57 page GORGEOUS eBook
  • a private video tour of the author/owner's sacred space

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Friendship Bean Soup

I stumbled across this blog today and I have fallen head over heals in love! Every post seems to be better than the last, so you'll probably see some of their posts in the future as well!

This one though is less of a recipe and more of a gift - or at least equal parts of both... Yeah, this is one that can easily be made and given as a gift, not only for holiday, but to sick friends, or those who just had a baby or for a house warming. It's beautiful, travels and stores well and makes a great statement when set among a mound of wrapped store bought gifts!


Acorns, How to Process them for Human Consumption

I recently bought a book on foraging, hoping that I could learn what plants are eatable in my area and how to cook with them. Unfortunately I was rather disappointed as there was no real usable information in it. But it did talk about Acorns being a common eatable item that is abundant in most areas. I found this interesting since I had always been told that Acorns couldn't be eaten... So, since I know I can easily find lots of them, I started looking for more information... Here's one article that I found on how to make Acorns eatable!

Deities In Detail: Artemis, Greek Goddess of Wilderness

The daughter of Leto  and Zeus, and the twin of Apollo. Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility (she became a goddess of fertility and childbirth mainly in cities). She was often depicted with the crescent of the moon above her forehead and was sometimes identified with Selene (goddess of the moon). Artemis was one of the Olympians and a virgin goddess. Her main vocation was to roam mountain forests and uncultivated land with her nymphs  in attendance hunting for lions, panthers, hinds and stags. Contradictory to the later, she helped in protecting and seeing to their well-being, also their safety and reproduction. She was armed with a bow and arrows which were made by Hephaestus  and the Cyclopes.

In one legend, Artemis was born one day before her brother Apollo. Her mother gave birth to her on the island of Ortygia, then, almost immediately after her birth, she helped her mother to cross the straits over to Delos, where she then delivered Apollo. This was the beginning of her role as guardian of young children and patron of women in childbirth. Being a goddess of contradictions, she was the protectress of women in labor, but it was said that the arrows of Artemis brought them sudden death while giving birth. As was her brother, Apollo, Artemis was a divinity of healing, but also brought and spread diseases such as leprosy, rabies and even gout.

Being associated with chastity, Artemis at an early age (in one legend she was three years old) asked her father, the great god Zeus, to grant her eternal virginity. Also, all her companions were virgins. Artemis was very protective of her purity, and gave grave punishment to any man who attempted to dishonor her in any form. Actaeon, while out hunting, accidentally came upon Artemis and her nymphs, who bathing naked in a secluded pool. Seeing them in all their naked beauty, the stunned Actaeon stopped and gazed at them, but when Artemis saw him ogling them, she transformed him into a stag. Then, incensed with disgust, she set his own hounds upon him. They chased and killed what they thought was another stag, but it was their master. As with Orion, a giant and a great hunter, there are several legends which tell of his death, one involving Artemis. It is said that he tried to rape the virgin goddess, so killed him with her bow and arrows. Another says she conjured up a scorpion which killed Orion and his dog. Orion became a constellation in the night sky, and his dog became Sirius, the dog star. Yet another version says it was the scorpion which stung him and was transformed into the constellation with Orion, the later being Scorpio. Artemis was enraged when one of her nymphs, Callisto, allowed Zeus to seduce her, but the great god approached her in one of his guises; he came in the form of Artemis. The young nymph was unwittingly tricked, and she gave birth to Arcas, the ancestor of the Arcadians, but Artemis showed no mercy and changed her into a bear. She then shot and killed her. As Orion, she was sent up to the heavens, and became the constellation of the Great Bear (which is also known as the Plough).

Artemis was very possessive. She would show her wrath on anyone who disobeyed her wishes, especially against her sacred animals. Even the great hero Agamemnon came upon the wrath of Artemis, when he killed a stag in her sacred grove. His punishment came when his ships were becalmed, while he made his way to besiege Troy. With no winds to sail his ships he was told by the seer Calchas that the only way Artemis would bring back the winds was for him to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. Some versions say he did sacrifice Iphigenia, others that Artemis exchanged a deer in her place, and took Iphigenia to the land of the Tauri (the Crimea) as a priestess, to prepare strangers for sacrifice to Artemis.

Artemis with her twin brother, Apollo, put to death the children of Niobe. The reason being that Niobe, a mere mortal, had boasted to Leto, the mother of the divine twins, that she had bore more children, which must make her superior to Leto. Apollo being outraged at such an insult on his mother, informed Artemis. The twin gods hunted them down and shot them with their bows and arrows; Apollo killed the male children and Artemis the girls.

Artemis was worshiped in most Greek cities but only as a secondary deity. However, to the Greeks in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) she was a prominent deity. In Ephesus, a principal city of Asia Minor, a great temple was built in her honor, which became one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". But at Ephesus she was worshiped mainly as a fertility goddess, and was identified with Cybele the mother goddess of eastern lands. The cult statues of the Ephesian Artemis differ greatly from those of mainland Greece, whereas she is depicted as a huntress with her bow and arrows. Those found at Ephesus show her in the eastern style, standing erect with numerous nodes on her chest. There have been many theories as to what they represent. Some say they are breasts, others that they are bulls testes which were sacrificed to her. Which is the true interpretation remains uncertain, but each represent fertility.

There were festivals in honor of Artemis, such as the Brauronia, which was held in Brauron; and the festival of Artemis Orthia, held at Sparta, when young Spartan boys would try to steal cheeses from the altar. As they tried they would be whipped, the meaning of Orthia and the nature of the ritual whipping has been lost and there is no logical explanation or translation. Among the epithets given to Artemis are: Potnia Theron (mistress of wild animals) this title was mentioned by the great poet Homer; Kourotrophos (nurse of youth's); Locheia (helper in childbirth); Agrotera (huntress); and Cynthia (taken from her birthplace on Mount Cynthus on Delos). When young girls reached puberty they were initiated into her cult, but when they decided to marry, which Artemis was not against, they were asked to lay in front of the altar all the paraphernalia of their virginity, toys, dolls and locks of their hair, they then left the domain of the virgin goddess.

50 Homemade Gifs in Less than 1 Hour

Are you looking for gift options? Got co-workers, friends, family or maybe a party coming up? Want to give something special? But you don't have tons of time or money?  I hear you! And so does the lady over at A Delightful Home...

Find out how she made 50 gifts in less than 1 hour! Yep - 50!
  • 12 Lotion bars
  • 26 Lip balms
  • 12 Sugar Scrubs
Depending on jar sizes you could make more or less Scrubs...

The ONLY thing I would add to these is some pretty packaging, which can be done very easily!

http://adelightfulhome.com/how-i-made-50-homemade-gifts-in-less-than-an-hour-and-how-you-can-too/

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are People Really Injured By Vaccinations?

 As I talk with parents on the subject of vaccination, I often hear the "I've never heard of a child getting hurt by a vaccine" argument. When in fact, beyond maybe a "sever" Chickenpox case or maybe a bad bought with Flu, most people have never heard of a child being injured by the illnesses either... In either case, it does happen. But in our society, there is NO reason for a child (or an adult) to sustain sever damage or injury due to illness. ALL the illnesses/infections we vaccinate against are treatable. Some of them - like Polio* - rarely even require treatment!

So that brings us to the question of "Do vaccines actually harm people?" Most doctors will tell you "No" or my favorite "There's really no risk for your child, it only happens to unhealthy children." (Which is what a local Pediatrician told me.) But if you spend 5 minutes researching this subject, you'll find out that's simply not true! According to the CDC, mild vaccine reactions are as common as 1 in 6, with reactions labeled as "sever" occurring in approximately 1 in 100.  Now, while you may look at 1 in 100 and think - That's only 1%, the chances really are slim. Think about this... That 1 in 100 is NOT 1 in 100 individuals, it's 1 in 100 injections! The average fully vaccinated child can receive as many as 25 injections by age 2!  Simple math says that means that nearly everyone who receives a vaccine is in fact at risk of having one of those "sever" reactions, and is generally guaranteed to encounter a "mild" reaction.

There is NO GOVERNMENT RESEARCH showing how many or who may encounter long term immune system damage, prolonged damage or illness, brain damage or even death! There IS however, a great deal of research done by non-governmental entities which show the numbers to be MUCH higher than any Big Pharma mouth piece Doctor will ever admit!

Fortunately for us, although unfortunate for the victims, the internet has given us the power to discover the actual individuals who have been injured or even killed by vaccines! I wish I could say these cases don't exist... But until Big Pharma actually does the research they should have done in the beginning. And until society starts to understand that Big Pharma is in this for the money and not for the health of society, cases like these will continue to happen!


If you think these stories are rare and this can't happen to your child, think again! EVERY child that is given a vaccine is at risk of ending up injured or killed! 

Educate BEFORE You Vaccinate!
You can ALWAYS vaccinate later, but you can NOT remove damage done!
If you have ANY question about the safety, possible risks of vaccines or about the illnesses themselves, research BEFORE you make a choice that you can't take back!


*Up to 95% of all polio infections are inapparent or asymptomatic. Most common symptoms include fever, sore throat, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. And will fully recover without any medical treatment! - CDC Pinkbook, Polio

How To Make Winter Balm

This stuff is a great gift for yourself - or everyone else you know! Help your friends and family keep moist, healthy skin all winter long! Meant to aid healing of overly dry and cracked skin, this recipe is perfect for anyone that lives in a region that gets extreme weather - cold, or hot!

Ingredients:
  •  3 oz Candellila Wax
  • 4 oz Meadowfoam 
  • 4 oz Olive Oil 
  • 5 oz Avocado Butter 
  • 1 oz Dulse Extract 
  • .3 oz Winter White Fragrance Oil
    **The recipe calls for fragrance oil, but I would personally NEVER use it! Try using your favorite Essential Oils instead for a non-toxic option!
  • 4 Small Bail Jars
Get the entire recipe and the "how to" on the Soap Queen website:  http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/lotion/winter-body-balm-recipe/


 
 

Holiday Floating Candles

This is awesome! There are lots of ways you can alter these to personalize the look too! A simple piece of fabric held on with the jar ring could easily hold a larger candle or even a candle holder that could hold a taper... There are so many options!

Have a Beautiful Holiday!




Directions:  Wash and dry jars and layer the bottom with the greenery of your choice, and then add a handful or two of cranberries. Pour water into the jar, causing the cranberries to float to the top. Insert a floating candle.

**Shared from The Celtic Witch Facebook Page - check it out for some great posts!

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake w/Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache, Toasted Hazelnuts and Sea Salt

I think the picture says it all... YUMM!!

Ingredients:

Cheesecake:
  • 3/4 cup FAGE Total Greek Yogurt 2%
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 10 ounces (1 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (use dark cocoa for more intensity)
  • 10 ounces 72% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 25 chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos are good)
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache:
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) chocolate hazelnut butter (Nutella)
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 ounces 72% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more if desired
For full recipe directions check it out over at the Ambitious Kitchen:

Homophobia is Alive & Well





I have heard over and over again how there is no such thing as Homophobia, and how demanding equal rights is violating the rights of others. But the fact is, Homophobia is very much a real thing! Fortunately, unlike fears related to insects, water, stakes, etc... Homophobia is NOT a naturally occurring fear!  Unfortunately, it's one that people are TAUGHT!

Now, this is a claim that church & conservative groups will argue til they're blue in the face. But the below articles clearly prove them wrong! Not only are these groups teaching homophobia, they they are doing it, not to protect, but further their agenda! Not really the most noble of reasons, now is it!

NOM Now Warning Against Young People Having Homosexual Friends - 11/26/12

Christian Group says Demon Sex makes you Gay - 11/26/12

These articles are BOTH from earlier this week. But if I so chose to go back another week, or two, or a month, or a year, I am positive I could find Dozens just like them! Clearly, these statements are meant to cause fear! If they weren't, if they were based on ANY actual reasoning, they would be backed up by facts, not claims of Demons and Hell...

Now I'm not saying I don't believe in, or support others who believe in, Demons or Spirits or other Magickal Beings, anyone who knows me or reads my blogs knows I do. However, the idea that someone would use their beliefs in a twisted attempt to harm others, is despicable! 

Statements and beliefs like these are of benefit to no one! They damage family and social relationships. Cause children and friends of homosexuals to be harassed and bullied. And greatly increase levels of depression, anxiety and suicide among homosexuals and their family members. NONE of these are positive outcomes! Yet the groups which release such statements claiming to do so in the benefit of those involved... Tell me, how does shame, anger, fear of loosing your job, your family and your friends, anxiety, depression or even suicide of a homosexual individual benefit ANYONE? I can't see how it does!

50 Ways for Dad to Bond with Baby - Without Feeding Them

As a breastfeeding advocate I've heard ALL the excuses for why formula feeding is not only "okay" but a benefit. One of the most popular is "Dad can bond with baby while giving him a bottle." And the fact is, that's true. BUT, as an exclusively breastfeeding family, I can personally guarantee that it isn't the only way! My husband has an incredible bond with all of his children - Two of the three he's never one bottle fed!

So, to all those who can't think of other ways for dads and babies to bond, here are 50 - yes, FIFTY - ways for them to form a strong, healthy bond without ever using a bottle!

http://codenamemama.com/2012/11/27/50-ways-dads-can-bond-babies/

Slow Cooker Chunky Chicken Chili


 Ingredients:

  • 2lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 cans (14.5oz each) Diced Tomatoes w/Green Chillies, Undrained
  • 1 can (15oz) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 package Chili Seasoning
  • 2 cans (15.5 oz each) Hominy or Posole, Drained
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  • Cheddar Cheese
Cut Chicken in to one inch pieces.
Place chicken, tomatoes w/chilies, tomato sauce & chili seasoning in 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours or until chicken is no longer pink when centers are cut in to.
Use a spoon to break up chicken.
Stir in Hominy.
Cover & Cook on low an additional 15minutes.

Serve with sour cream, cilantro and cheddar cheese.

BY BETTY CROCKER





Note: This recipe was tested in slow cookers with heating elements in the side and bottom of the cooker, not in cookers that stand only on a heated base. For slow cookers with just a heated base, follow the manufacturer’s directions for layering ingredients and choosing a temperature.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Two Cents about Life, Death, Fate and More...

**This was originally written and published on My One Witch's Wonderland Blog, which has since closed!

Life, Fate, Death, Afterlife... These subjects get brought up and questioned by even the most firmly believing of us. Even Athiests question this stuff from time to time, so for those of us that believe in higher beings or something more it's impossible for us not to question things. Most of us will come up with our own answers, and your answers may be very different from mine. However, recently I've had a number of questions posed to me about what MY beliefs are and why I have them, so although I hadn't planned to post about my own beliefs here, I have decided to do just that. Please don't think this post is in any way a representation of what anyone besides myself believes. I would however love to have some of you share your beliefs with us as well, please feel free to use the comments section below the post to share!

~Life~
To be honest, I don't know WHY we are here, I really don't think anyone does. We could be here simply because the Gods had the ability to create and therefore chose to, or because they wanted to feel more powerful, or because of some reason my little brain simply can't comprehend. To me, the WHY doesn't really matter. What matters is that we ARE here.

So, now that we covered that we are here, lets explore what we are supposed to do while we're here. I see life as a cycle. Life, death, rebirth... Each of us are here in order to gain "higher knowledge" or
"understanding" which will allow us to ascend to a higher state of being in the afterlife. Each life has a purpose or lesson. What this lesson or purpose is, is completely individual and none of us have that understanding while we're here. We could be here in order for our spirit to learn something as basic as tolerance, or we could be here in order to affect someone elses life and aid them to learn a lesson... In any case, every life has a purpose, even if we don't know what the purpose is...

~Fate~
Okay, so I don't think that every moment of every day of every year is all planned out before we have any say in the matter. Actually I'm a firm believer in Free Will. However, I have found there to be two "kinds" of fate.
  • The first is a "lifelong" style of fate. Each of us has a purpose for being here, and those aspects of our life which must come to pass in order for that purpose to be fulfilled, whatever they may be, are drawn out and unchanging. For example, if your purpose this life is to aid your significant other in learning a lesson, you would have to actually meet your significant other first. So, the two of you meeting would be fated, although the hows and whens may not be so rock solid. 
  • The second type of fate is more flexible... This type of "fate" is changing. It's simply they idea that "this" is what will happen if you take "this" action, however, if you choose a different path, something else will happen... I'm a fan of day to day divination, every day I plan out my day, at least mentally, and then pull one card simply to tell me how my day will go. If the card is less than positive, I consider changing my plans around... THIS, is the second type of "fate." It's simply what will happen if you don't alter your path.
When talking fate there is one other belief I feel I need to cover at least momentarily. Many people think of a belief in miracles as a more "Christian" belief. However, to me, a miracle is simply what happens when fate steps in and changes the flow of reality. IF for instance, your actions cause you to be in a fatal car accident and your purpose for life has not been fulfilled, fate will then step in and change the fact that you die in that accident...  In day to day life, we call this a miracle because death should have happened, and something outside our physical plain took action to change that. So, in my mind, miracles are just fate in action.

~Death~
Okay, so, death is really a very simple subject to cover. ALL physical life has a beginning, and and end. Why? Because without an end of the old, there can be no growth for the new. Lets take a look at a wheat field for example. Each year the wheat grows from tiny seeds and in to full grown "adult" status. At the end of the year, the wheat dies, as it decomposes it fertilizes the ground below and enables the cycle to reoccur next year with new wheat...We aren't any different. In order for there to be progress on either a physical or spiritual level, the old have to die and make room for the new. While it may sound like a rather "simple" explanation to what is a rather complex question - It is. But we are no different from every other being, we have a beginning and we will all have an end, if we didn't there could be no progress.

~Afterlife~
My beliefs surrounding the afterlife aren't terribly unlike those of many Ancient Religions or even the more modern Christian beliefs of today. I have found there to be quite a few similarities, and I do tend to find more credibility in similarities than differences. So, in an effort to help you all understand my beliefs I'm first going to have to cover those similarities... First, please note that when I use the term Underworld, it's simply to label anything beyond this physical existence, please don't think "Hell" or anything like that. The Ancient Greeks believed the Underworld (Hades) was comprised of three circles, and I share this belief, although not entirely the same way they did.

So lets explore these three circles for just a moment. For the Ancients these levels were simple to define. There was Tartarus, which was originally meant to be a prison for the Titans, but also became a place for the "damned" to serve out eternity under horrific conditions. The Elysian Fields was a beautiful "heavenly" paradise meant for the Heroes and other "Greats." And third there was the Asphodel meadows where the average Joe went to... For some Christians there is the similar belief of Heaven, Hell & Purgatory...  This is a pattern seen over and over through religious history. For me, I see things similarly, but not quite the same.
  • I have never really placed labels on the "levels" which I believe in, but I do generally refer to the "highest" or "innermost" level as the Elysian Fields, as I believe very similarly as the Greeks did about what one would find there. I see it as very "heavenly," very beautiful and as close to perfection as I think exists. However, unlike the Ancients or Christians or other similar beliefs state, I believe this is something which is achieved by us all rather than a select few.
  • The second "level" is the level to which the majority of us will ascend after death. From here we will act as spirit guides, and "guardian angels" to those who remain here on earth. I believe we remain here until we are "forgotten" by those who remain on the physical plain. Of course there are no black and white rules, some of us will move on faster, others slower, but a good way to generalize to me is just to say until we are forgotten, but in reality I assume it's until we are no longer needed.
  • Now, what about the third or "lowest" / outermost level? Well, in some ways I see it as similar to Tartarus, but not as a place of punishment. Instead I see it as the level most closely associated with the physical plain. This is the level where "ghosts" exists, where those who have "unfinished" business remain until they either complete their business or move on to the next level for whatever reason. I do not believe the majority of us go here, but those of us that do, it's not never ending, it's simply another step in the process.
 ~Reincarnation~
As most Pagans, I believe in reincarnation and not simply an afterlife. Going back to my beliefs about life, fate and death, reincarnation is essential to complete the cycle. Each life has a purpose, and the reason for that purpose is to allow our spirit to grow. With each life our spirit grows through these lessons & purposes, and it "moves up" the ladder towards reaching a "higher level." Once we reach this "higher level" we are able to ascend in to that "Elysian Fields" level of the Underworld. However, like achieving a doctorate requires more than one semester of school, becoming a "higher being" requires more than one life cycle in order to learn all the needed lessons... Which is where reincarnation comes in.


So, lets sum things up here. Each life has a purpose and the aspects of that life which are required for us to meet that purpose are fated, however the vast majority of our lives are left up to free will. If something should happen prior to the completion of that purpose fate MAY step in, resulting in what we tend to term a miracle. Death is needed so that further growth is possible. Upon death we enter the "Underworld." If we have unfinished business, can't accept that we are physically dead or fall in to some other categories, we will enter in to that "lowest level" of the underworld and remain present on the physical plain, although in spirit form as a ghost or entity. If we do not fall in to these categories we enter in to the "second/middle" level of the Underworld, where we act as spirit guides, guardian angels or simply ancestral contacts for those who remain on the physical plain until we are no longer needed or until we are forgotten by those who are still physical - at which point we are able to be reborn (reincarnation) in to a physical form. Once we have achieved all the understandings and knowledges we need in order to ascend to the level of "higher being" our life cycles on the physical plain end and we are able to rise to that "highest/third" level of the Underworld where we remain...

Okay, so as I said, I know my beliefs aren't going to be shared by everyone. And I would love to have all of you share your beliefs with us as well. But this is what I believe, agree or agree to disagree, this is it. I hope if nothing else it gave you something to think about or at least a better understanding of what is going on in my head when I refer to these things in other posts...
Everyone knows how passionate I am about educating others on Vaccines! For the past few years I have been using brochures and flyers that I have created myself to help promote this passion locally. Today, however, I found a printable flyer from the people over at LivingFood and it is wonderful! They also have printable flyers for Fluoride and Raw Milk Education... Very much worth checking out!

Sign up and get your own flyers:  http://www.livingfood.us/vax.htm

Three Simple Rules In Life

I can't say it better... So I'm sharing!

Click for larger version.
**I make no claim to this art. If it's yours, please let me know so that I may give proper credit. If you would like it removed, please alert me and I will happily abide!

Childproofing for the Holidays

Things to consider when planning for the Holidays if you have kids...

Click for larger view - or visit site below
This has great information! I suggest considering some of this on a year round basis, not just on the holidays!



Travel Altar

The Pagan Community is full of people who are for one reason or another in need of an easy way to travel with their supplies. Some of us have partners who don't agree with our faith, others are still in the closet, and then there are those who live in the city and prefer to head out of doors before practicing.  I've talked to Pagans & Witches of all sorts who have "travel altars." And all have their own reasons.

For myself, I have mixed reasons. For one, my husband is Christian, and out of respect for him and his beliefs I prefer not to practice in our very small home. Then there's the fact that I have a VERY SMALL HOME, and I don't really have anywhere quiet to practice where I won't wake someone. And then, I really do just prefer to practice outside, in nature, where I can feel more connected. So having an easy way to pick up all my tools and go, makes my life much easier!

My Travel Altar

I've seen quite a few different set ups, one woman I know uses a tackle box for hers!  I prefer a LapTop bag!  It's got a long shoulder strap and lots of pockets to fill with stuff... Plus, because it's made to hold a laptop computer, there's a great place to put your Book of Shadows!  You can even find ones that have an "expandable file" area in them that you can fill with essential information that you want to be easily accessible -  ritual format, spells, and other things you want to have at your finger tips. 

Before you purchase ANY bag/container for a Travel Altar, you need to consider what you want to put in it. If you plan to carry a full sized chalice, wand, candles, bottles & jars for water, salt, soil, etc. and other "large" items, you'll want to make sure that whatever container you choose has room for them. If you have "travel" size items, you can use a much smaller bag/container. 

So what do you put in it? Well, just about anything you choose - whatever you may need for ritual. I like to have it packed and ready for just about any need that may arise. So very few things don't stay in it full time. You may want to have some items that certain items that are always in there, and then have others that come and go. It's nearly certain that you will. But plan to have your normal ritual tools - whatever you use - chalice, bowls, censer or burner, herbs, incense, potions, wand, athame... Whatever!  

I also include, and recommend you do, items for area purification - sage, fan, salts, etc... It's completely up to you depending on your practice.  If you plan to practice on the ground, you may also want to make sure you have room for a cloth. 

Having a Travel Altar without a doubt makes my life much easier! If it's something that may help you out too, it's worth considering!

9 Historical Quotes That Show Religion Should Be Kept Out of Public Schools


I see this as an extremely simple issue. Public schools are paid for by taxes - which are paid by peoples of all cultures, faiths and belief systems... So unless we include ALL religions, cultures and beliefs, we shouldn't be including ANY! People should not have to fund a school which is going to teach their children a faith outside of their own. I don't know why this is such a hard concept. If you don't want your child taught something else - be it Wicca, Voodoo or Islam - don't push for a school system that teaches children in those faiths yours...
 

"Vicks" Shower Disks

My husband and I absolutely love these! I get migraines from Eucalyptus, so I replace it with Peppermint, but it still does the job. You can easily play with the recipe to fit your needs if any of the oils bother you.

You Will Need:
  • 2-3 Cups Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Essential Oils: Eucalyptus (and/or Peppermint), Rosemary, Lavender
  • Muffin Tin & Liner Papers

Directions:
Place Baking Soda in a bowl and add just enough water to create a thick paste.
Stir in 10-15 drops of each Essential Oil. Make sure to mix well!
Spoon mixture in to cupcake liners and allow to dry for a full day.
Store IN LINERS in a tightly sealed container.


To Use: 
Pop disk out of liner and place in the bottom of your shower. Use the hottest water you can stand.
Breath Deep! The steam will help to clear you out!

Monday, November 26, 2012

CPR for your Pet

Click to Enlarge
**From Red Cross

Tolerance & Peace: Modern Ideals or Ancient Teachings?

**This was originally written and published on My One Witch's Wonderland Blog, which has since closed!

    A great many members of the Pagan community have embraced the "Harm None" teaching and included it in their beliefs. While this ideal is in fact a Wiccan Principal it has become one that is projected as being universal among ALL Pagan and even Non-Pagan groups - However, this is simply not the truth of the matter. For those who are just entering the Pagan community their earliest teachings most likely include the idea of peace and love before all else. And I've heard many make the statement that "All religions hold the same basic belief in peace & love over all else." This statement and teaching however are in fact simply not true.

    It is true that Wicca and Christianity are both centered around the ideal of kindness and love. The "Golden Rule" taught by Jesus and the "Harm None" belief associated with Wicca are in fact one and the same. At their core they are both the teaching that all our deeds towards our fellow man should be done in a way which creates peace and does no harm. Yet, this simply isn't the basis for the vast majority of Pre-Christian religious belief systems, or those today which have a direct lineage to them.

    Today there are many religious beliefs which are either a rebirth of or which have direct ties to belief systems of the Ancients. Asatru, Druid, VooDoo and many Native American, Native South American & Native African belief systems continue to exist with strong ties to Ancient teachings and belief systems, all while existing in today's society. And many of them do NOT carry a teaching of Tolerance or Peace or a "Harm None" style principal. Yet, when we pick up a book or search an internet site devoted to Paganism this fact is usually skipped or limited to one minor mention while placing great emphasis on the idea that all Pagans must be peace loving. Which is not only grounds for a great misunderstanding of these religions, but clearly a misrepresentation of all those who follow these paths. There is no way to say what percentage of Pagans belong to these paths, but it's safe to say that there are a great many and growing. So such a misconception is simply not acceptable.

    In order to understand how such a misteaching could come about we must first understand why the Harm None teaching became to be understood as a universal teaching in the first place. Wicca is without a doubt the largest, fastest growing and of course more "popular" of all the Pagan denominations in the US, Europe and Canada today. This is due for the most part to the longing for a religion which embraced both the growing need for earth friendly life as well as women's rights and equality. Wicca got a huge boost through the "Hippy Era" of the 60's and 70's as women fought the notion that God was male, and that only males had the right to run religious systems. It was also the first wave of the "eco-friendly" lifestyle.

    Although both the eco-friendliness and the girl power aspects of the era were done on a generally extreme level, it did serve to give the young Wiccan religion a boost in membership. Through the 80's growth slowed but stayed steady as Big Business and "Big Religion" once again took hold. In the 90's however, with the introduction of the Internet, the Wiccan religion again rocketed to the top of the charts. More and more people were able to access information and teachings which had prior to that simply not been available.

    Today we take for granted the amount of information which is available at the tough of a button. But as those of us old enough to remember the pre-Google era can tell you, exploration of new and different religious beliefs wasn't always so easy. For most who lived in the US, Europe & Canada, the only religions you generally had any access to were Christian denominations, Judaism and occasionally Islam or local Cultural Beliefs - such as Voodoo or Native American Beliefs if you lived in those areas. But the "cultural" religions were seen as just that - cultural - and if you weren't a part of that culture you usually weren't ever introduced to the inner workings or beliefs of that group.

    So, as it went, Wicca grew...  And out of that movement so did the Pagan community as a whole. Now, there have always been those who belonged to more "Culturally motivated" Pagan belief systems such as Druids or Asatrur... These groups were mostly those who belonged to those cultural groups and the beliefs, practices, traditions and/or stories had been passed down through the families. Many times these Ancient beliefs had been mixed with more modern Christian beliefs but they were still ever present. As the Pagan community grew though, more and more Pagans branched out, away from Wicca, looking for more personally paths. While many of them migrated towards an Eclectic path, many others began to want to revive the beliefs of their past and looked to their heritage, the beliefs of their ancestors for answers. And so we stand today, the Pagan community as a whole is made up, not of one or two belief systems, but of many thousands if not more, some as modern and popular as Wicca, others as personal as a Solitary Eclectic path and others still which come out of a need for a connection to ones own cultural past & ancestry, some newly discovered or birthed, others passed down through generations...  All coming together to make up the patchwork which is Paganism.

    BUT, because of this progression of growth, and due to the popularity of Wicca and Eclectic "Wiccan-ish" Pagan beliefs, those belief systems which have direct ties to Ancient belief systems seem to slip through the cracks when it comes to general Pagan education. Many who come to Paganism after a life in the Christian faith embrace the ideas which are familiar to them and aren't interested in Ancient Pre-Christian beliefs which the have heard such horrid stories of their entire lives. So, the aspects of these religions which aren't so "kind and gentle" get pushed aside and they are wrongly clumped in with those who happily preach the "Harm None" type of Paganism.

    As you can see, there is not a single reason for this mis-teaching, but many reasons. However, I for one believe it is time to right this wrong and explore these beliefs and teachings. Unfortunately I am far from an expert on these beliefs. But what I can explore WHY they held the beliefs they did.

    For the most part, these Ancient belief systems they were culturally based. For example every Ancient Greek held what we today consider the "Ancient Greco-Roman" beliefs... They believed in a God of War and many of their Gods were in fact called upon in times of war or injustice. There was no aspect or expectancy of love, kindness or of doing no harm. This is because their religion and their culture were one and the same. Today we think of religion and government as separate entities, but at that time they were not. If your land was captured you were expected to change your religion to match that of your conquerors, and if your king decided to alter the popular religion you were expected to follow suit. So, in order to keep your religious beliefs, alive and your Gods please you were in fact expected not only to defend your country and land in times of war, but to expand them by means of war. This is a custom which unfortunately we are continuing to see even today in the Middle East and some other "under developed" areas.

   In fact to put it in to modern understanding look at how the Taliban took over much of Iran and dictated how people were to dress, what they were to see and read and of course, when and how they were to worship. Prior to Taliban rule Iran was not very different from us, with religious freedoms, modern dress, internet access, education & medical advances and even gender equality in many areas. Once the Taliban came to power however, their radical religious views overthrew the common beliefs, tolerances and culture of the land and forced everyone to follow them. It was like this in most Ancient cultures as well.

    It is because of this reason that the ideal of "Harm None" simply couldn't be a reality in the Ancient religions. Not that the people didn't want love and peace, in fact they had those Gods as well. But people want their "freedom" and will defend themselves at all cost - again, this hasn't changed.

    The question I have now is, is this still a relevant need in today's religious society? The easy answer is, No. Today, in the US, Europe & Canada, we don't have this need to war in order to defend and grow our beliefs. BUT, does that mean these beliefs aren't valid? No. If we were to ignore these beliefs in favor of the "Harm None" idea we would in fact be loosing the core of many Cultural belief systems. For example if we look at the Nine Noble Virtues found in Norse belief systems, we find Honor, Fidelity, and Discipline to be among the core principals of the faith. To allow ones Honor to fall prey to a belief that we should "Harm None" would in fact go against one of these core teachings... And the same goes for Discipline & Fidelity... If one were to allow themselves to become compromised by the actions of another simply because they chose kindness and love over justice the very core of the belief system would become flawed.

    For myself, I believe there is in fact much which can be learned from the idea that Peace and Love do not in fact conqueror all.  If justice can be done without resorting to harm, so be it. But there are going to be those times when the idea of "turning the other cheek" or "harming none" is simply going to lead to more injury on your part. It is because of this I have started to lean away from the ideal of causing NO harm and leaning towards the ideal of a greater good in my life. What action will in fact lead me to the greatest good for me and those involved? By stopping myself from causing all harm to others am I in fact harming myself or allowing someone to harm me? Is my strength, integrity or honor in danger because of my choice not to cause harm? And at what point is harm to another worth it?

   As always I can't tell you what you should or shouldn't believe. What is right for you is always going to be what is best for you. But if you take nothing else away from this entire midnight rambling take these key points with you: 1. Not all Pagan belief systems hold the post-Christian ideal of Peace & Love. 2. The Ancient peoples were not flawed for their belief of war and justice over peace and love. It was a necessity for daily life and in some cases remains such.  3. Pagan religions today need not be defined by Wiccan beliefs alone, for they are far from limited by such teachings!  4. Even while holding tight to the IDEALS of love, peace & tolerance for all, we need be wary of allowing ourselves to be hurt in the process.

The Natural Born Witch Quiz

You may be a natural born Witch and not even know it! Many people are born with a lot of natural magickal ability.  Some people are aware of their ability but many are not.

The first step is to determine your level of natural ability. The next step is to learn how to develop it and make the most of it.


Here’s a quiz to help you determine your level of natural magickal ability.

Answer the following questions to find out if you are a natural born Witch-

Do your watches or clocks always seem to run either slow or fast?

Do electrical things seem to act strange around you?

If yes,is it more noticeable when you’re emotional or when discussing certain topics?

Have you ever just “known” something,even if there’s no rational way you could know it?

Have you ever had dreams that came true?

Have you ever “seen” other people’s past lives?

Do you have unusually good luck with certain things?

Do things seem to happen just because you want them to?

Do other people seem to do things because you want them to?

Do you often know what other people are thinking or feeling?

Do you often find a great parking space,even when a parking lot is full?

Do you often know who’s calling before you answer the phone or look at the caller ID unit?

Do other people seem to feel a need to touch you?

Are children and/or animals attracted to you?

Do people seem to fear you or feel intimidated by you for no apparent reason?

Do you have a green thumb?

Did you have any kind of “imaginary” friends as a young child?

Have you ever seen or felt the presence of ghosts?

Do people seem to be either very attracted to you or very repelled by you?

Do people seem to stare at you for no apparent reason?

How many “yes” answers did you have:
  • 1-5 You have a small amount of natural ability
  • 6-10 You have an average amount of natural ability
  • 11-15 You have a very high degree of natural ability
  • 16-20 You are exceptionally gifted!
What's your score?

**This "Quiz" comes from Hecate's Haven Facebook Page... Make sure to check it out for tons of great stuff!

10 Ways to Reuse an Old T-Shirt

Upcycled T-Shirt Scarf
I don't know about all of you, but this is the time of year when we pack up all the cool weather clothes and unpack all the warm and toasty stuff for the winter! It also happens to be the time of the year when we toss and/or donate all the stuff that we don't need, don't want or that the kids have grown out of.

Here are some awesome ways to use those old T-Shirts so you don't have to toss them!

http://earth911.com/news/2012/09/06/10-ways-to-reuse-an-old-t-shirt/

The Household Notebook

Since I have been working on organizing and naturalizing my life and home, I have been working on something very similar to this. Although this version is MUCH better than mine. I am now (since I found this) in the process of upgrading! I have mine in a zippered 3 ring binder that has a pocket for things like stamps, pens, post-it notes and flags so I never have to go looking for things when I need them!

**I do suggest NOT keeping things like account numbers, SS numbers and other identifying or financial information in your household notebook. Keep a second binder in a secure place with these things! You want them handy, easy to access (for YOU) and organized, but not somewhere that is TOO accessible as these items can be used to damage you and your families identities and credit ratings!

If you don't have something like this - You Should!

Keep yourself, your family and all that you do well organized and all in one easy to use folder! Make sure to include everything from Daily To-Do list to your Pre-Holiday To-Do list, to Emergency Numbers and even recipes for all your families favorite meals!


Menu Planning Help

I am horrid at planning and sticking to a menu. It's one of the things I'm working on! But as I master it I'm learning how to feed my family for as low cost as possible while providing them healthy, whole foods!

Aim for each meal to include a minimum of 50% Fresh or Fresh Frozen Fruits and Vegetables. And do your best to ensure that any breads, pastas or rices are organic whole grains! It's also important to remember that protein is NOT available solely from meats! Limiting your meat intake to one meal a day and even having one or two totally meat free days is not only good for your pocket book, but good for your waste band too!

I am also a huge fan of planning at least ONE new health recipe and ONE "pot luck" or "left over" meal each week. If your family isn't a fan of doing a pot luck dinner, try using left overs to create another dinner or lunch option. (ex. try using taco seasoned chicken in wraps or crumble meat loaf left overs to make "beef n' noodles.")

Meal planning can be a huge hurdle for many of us. Why and How to meal plan are often questions that are hard to answer! But the fact is, while the "how" may seem to be a challenge for many of us, the why is a simple answer - Planning our meals helps us save money, time and stress! If nothing else, you'll never again have to worry that you are trying to make dinner and you're out of something important.


Below are a couple of downloads that were created to help us non-planners change our ways! Hopefully, they'll help you like they are me!

These downloads are from OrganizedHome.com

Shopping List Printable
Weekly Menu Planner
Menu Shopping List
Monthly Menu Planner


Healthy Homemade Chocolate

Who doesn't love Chocolate? But do you ever really know what's in the wrapper? The fact is, store bought chocolates nearly ALWAYS have ingredients like GMO Cocao, High Fructose Corn Syrup, soy and countless preservatives and chemicals. So, like so many other things, it's usually best to just make your own!

Personally, I like mine with almonds and coconut. But you can add just about anything - try making your own Maraschino Cherry chocolates! YUMM!!!



Friday, November 23, 2012

I Love EcoNuts!!

I've been looking for a healthier alternative to laundry detergent for ages! I've made my own, I've bought the "Free & Clear" options and I've tried the "natural" versions. Not that those options aren't good, but they weren't FOR ME great options! ALL of them still had some rather nasty chemicals in them. Chemicals that not only end up back in the water supply, but in our clothes and on our skin - and for kids, in their mouths! Not really what I'm going for when I'm looking for healthy laundry options. So, I kept looking.

Click for larger version.

Now, I DO still suggest you have some form of "stain stick" around for the rough stuff - grass stains, tomato sauce, paint, mud and all the other fun stuff kids get in to. But I have fallen IN LOVE with EcoNuts! They are a GREAT PRICE - much much cheaper than the "natural" laundry soaps!! And they clean the clothes as well as the homemade versions do! Plus, they are super easy to use! The hardest part is digging them out of your clean laundry...

I have to say, I was a little leery of the idea of putting nuts in my wash to clean anything! I mean, NUTS? Well, in reality, they're berries, or berry shells to be specific. But even at that, can they really clean? And clean to MY level of cleanliness? I thought, I'll give them a try and see what I think, but I was very apprehensive... Even after I bought them.

Then I tried them! And I learned more about them. Now, I love them and I will NEVER use anything else! I'm an EcoNuts NUT!

Are you wondering how they work? Watch the video and find out...


If you're a fan of ABC's Shark Tank you may have seen EcoNuts featured on there. Unfortunately, the sharks don't have the vision or Natural Health sense that I do, and the company's request for funding was turned down. But don't let that trick you in to thinking that they are going anywhere. Since their segment on Shark Tank their business has boomed and they are still happily filling orders.

Want to try them? I suggest you do! Order yourself a "trial size" if you're afraid of committing. But your better deal is the "Medium Size." And if you're doing diapers or other really dirty clothes, I suggest you buy a bottle of the liquid as well.

A Natural Age of Weaning

In the United States the average breastfeeding term is 6 months! Not only is this deplorable, it's completely unnatural! Infants are made to be breastfed and breasts are made to feed them. People who know me, know I have nursed all my children. Regrettably I weaned my oldest son at just 13 months due to some medical issues. And unfortunately my second son weaned himself at just over 2 1/2 years. My daughter is going to be 2 next month, and so far, has showed no signs of wanting to give it up. I HOPE she goes til at least 3 years, but I'll be happy so long as she weans on her own time.

Now, I do realize that not every mother has the ability to nurse til the child is ready to quit. Some, like with my oldest, have to quit early because of medical issues. Others have to work or have other issues with time and scheduling. I mean, being a mother is hard! And none of us are perfect! But there is, or should be, a level of "best" that we should at least strive to achieve - even if we don't always hit the mark. For our children's sake it should be to provide them with the healthiest start to life we can, and that includes breastfeeding.

But the question comes to nearly all moms: "When to wean?" And society has a LOT of ideas! Unfortunately our culture has a notion that breastfeeding past 6 or 8 months is somehow damaging to children. The clear fact is, it's not! Breastfeeding past 12 months and even in to 2 or 3 (or more) years is beneficial to both child AND mom! But the question still comes up...

Something we should, and unfortunately rarely do, is take in to account what our bodies were MADE to do! As well as how people in other countries handle this issue, and how their children mature and grow. Personally, I think if we do this, the question of when to wean is clearly answered - When THEY are ready... I hope to self wean with my daughter, as I did my son! And hopefully, she waits longer than he did! Either way, I know I'm doing what's best for my child and those that don't like it can suck it! I'm more interested in doing what is best for my daughter than caving to societies stigmas and pressures...

Anyways, I suggest anyone looking for some thought provoking information on this subject to check out this article! It's very worth the read!

Read "A Natural Age of Weaning":  http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html

8 Reasons To Avoid Sleep Training Your Baby

We're co-sleepers here. I couldn't imagine sleep training my children! I find the practice to be horrific! But I know many parents who swear by it. So all I can say is, do your best to have all the facts before you choose one way or another!





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pagan Basics: The Wiccan Wheel of the Year

The term "Wheel of the Year" refers to the cycle of Wiccan Sabbats, or holidays. Time, to Wiccans, and most Pagans, is cyclical, just as their view of life is. The Sabbats are the eight solar festivals of the year. They occur aproxamately every 6 weeks throughout the year and celebrate the stages of, and movement of, the sun throughout the year.

The Wheel is NOT historical, although some may falsely make this claim. The names and some of the purposes of the Wiccan Sabbats come from a variety of Pagan Holidays from a variety of Pre-Christian cultures. The Major Sabbats are mostly "Celtic-based" or linked. While the Minor Sabbats have a closer relationship with the Germanic Based cultures/religions (such as the Saxons, Norse and Anglo peoples.)  Because of this there is some variation on their traditions and some duplications of significances between adjoining major and minor Sabbats. However, most Modern Day Wiccans DO have a rather neatly defined life cycle of the God and Goddess through the year.

The Wheel is composed of two equinoxes and two solstices, that make up the four "Minor" Sabbats. And the four "Cross-Quarter" days which make up the four Major Sabbats. These cross-quarter days are usually listed in books with specific dates, while the solstices and equinoxes are astronomically determined. However, some almanacs and date books will usually also list these Cross-Quarter days on their Astronomically determined dates as well. It's most likely that the specific dates have come in more modern days as these dates were traditionally related with different aspects of life - such as the first births of the cattle or the end of the harvest - and would have been related more to weather and health than to trying to meet some pre-written deadline. Some traditions and/or individuals celebrate these days by the "calendar" dates, others by the astronomical dates and others move their celebrations to fit with their own needs and beliefs (which is, after all, more than likely what the Ancient Cultures did.)

If you are unfamiliar with Wicca, you will without doubt notice a heavy similarity between Wiccan and Christian (especially European Christian) holidays. This is because both religions have been heavily influenced by the same pagan history and peoples.

Wiccan Sabbats - like Jewish Holidays - begin at dusk the day before (by our modern calendar) because in the Celtic world, days began at dusk - night came first! So when you see "November 1st" the Sabbat actually begins at dusk on October 31st.
**As a note, their year also began with the beginning of Winter or the "Dark Half" of the year.

****
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Samhain (sow'en) - Major Sabbat
15 degrees of Scorpio, or November 1st
Wiccan Mythology:  The Death of the God. Pregnant Goddess takes the form of the Crone and mourns the loss of her lover.
Samhain is the Celtic/Wiccan New Year as well as the Feast of the Dead. It's a time to honor the past. Show honor to and remember our ancestors, as well as any other loved ones we have lost  - especially those who have passed in the past year. It's also a time to reflect upon the last years events and decisions, think about how we have grown and make plans for the new, upcoming year. Samhain is the perfect time for divination! As well as a wonderful opportunity for us to work on banishing those personal qualities and other life aspects which we don't want to have by the end of the next year!

Mid-Winter Solstice - Minor Sabbat
Often referred to as Yule
Usually occurs between December 21 and 23
Wiccan Mythology:  The Birth of the God. Goddess
Celebrated as the "birth of light" or "birth of the sun" from the darkness. It is a celebration of life as well as the returning light. From this day on the days will get longer little by little until the warmth and abundance of Spring and Summer once again return. Celebrations include an exchange of gifts and sunrise rituals/breakfasts. Evergreens, holly, ivy and mistletoe are symbols of the God, and are green symbols that life survives even through the cold of winter.

Imbolc (im'bolc) or (im'blog) - Major Sabbat
15 degrees of Aquarius, or February 1st
Wiccan Mythology:  Goddess recovers from childbirth, becomes Maiden. God grows in to a child.
Imbolc, means Ewes Milk, and marks the beginning of Spring. The God continues to mature, as the days grow longer. Celebrations for Imbolc usually center around light and the return of the sun. The Crone Goddess of the Winter returns to her maiden form and has fully recovered from childbirth. Her focus changes to preparing the Earth for it's growth cycle once more. Celebrations surround purification, cleansing and ridding ourselves of the old, dull and the cold of Winter once more. It's a time to anticipate the year ahead and ready ourselves and our homes for the business of Spring and Summer.

Eostara (O star' a) - Minor Sabbat
Vernal Equinox - Usually occurs around March 22
Wiccan Mythology:  God is in Child form. Goddess is in Maiden form.
Eostara is all about fertility, conception and regeneration. The Earth recovers from the long, cold winter and begins to bloom. It is a celebration of the light's triumph over the dark as the days are now longer than the nights. Eostara is also a time of balance, as the light and the dark are equal on this day.  Reflect on creating balance in your life.

Beltane - Major Sabbat
15 degrees of Taurus, or May 1st
Wiccan Mythology:  Marriage/Handfasting and Sexual Union of the Goddess and God.
The beginning of Summer, Beltane is the second most important Sabbat on the Wheel, following after Samhain. Another fertility celebration, but more than that, it's a celebration of life! Named after the Celtic fire god Bel, the lighting of fires was, and is, a common aspect in celebrations. As a "fire celebration" Beltane is also a time for purification and cleansing ones self, ones home and ones flocks (assuming you have flocks!)
On Beltame the Light God is now a "Father/Warrior" and it's time he regains his ruler ship from the Dark God. The Goddess becomes pregnant and takes the form of the Mother.
It's very common for Wiccan weddings or handfastings to take place on or around Beltane.

Mid-Summer Solstice - Minor Sabbat
Often referred to as Litha.
Usuall occurs between June 21-23
Wiccan Mythology:  The Climax of the God's Life.
Celebration of the God's life. Litha is another fire festival. The God transforms from the Warrior to the Sage. The Goddess' belly begins to grow with life. It's a time for rejoicing and celebration. But it's also a time for reflection and introspection. It's a time to adjust our life, restart stalled plans and correct negative habits or aspects in our life.

Lammas - Major Sabbat
Sometimes called Lughnasadh (loo' na sah)
15 degrees of Leo, or August 1st
Wiccan Mythology:  The God is Aging. The Pregnant Goddess takes on the face of the Crone.
The traditional First day of Autumn, this was the time of the first harvest. This is a celebration of achievement - the fields have been planted and cared for and are not producing well. It's a time of plenty. But also a time of preparation - the cold long months of Winter loom ever closer, as well as the impending death of the God. It's a time for thanks giving for all that we have, all that we have had, all that we will have and all that we have because of the sacrifices of others.

Mabon - Minor Sabbat
Autumnal Equinox - Usually occurs around September 22
Wiccan Mythology:  God declines. Goddess' belly becomes round with plenty.
The second harvest, and another day for great thanksgiving. It's also another time of great balance as the day and night are once again equal. From today on, the nights will be longer than the days and the darkness gains power over the light. This is a day of great planning and readying for the winter.
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