Whispering Winds

April Issue 2003

True satisfaction comes from doing a good deed anonymously
                                 

Featured Article - Beltaine

The festival of Beltaine (Bealtaine, Festival of Tana (Strega),  Walburga, Bealtinne, Beltain) (pronounced Beel-teen or Bell-tayn) marks the beginning of the summer and the light half of the Celtic year. Originally, Beltaine officially began when the sun was at 15 degrees Taurus.
Beltane is the third and last of the three spring fertility festivals. The first being Imbolc and the second ,Ostara. Beltaine is also a Fire festival. it falls exactly opposite of Samhain on the Wheel of the Year and divides the year into halves.
The actual Beltaine celebration begins on sundown of the preceding day, April 30, because the Celts always figured their days from sundown to sundown.
The Beltaine festival is called "Bealtiunn" in Scotland, "Shenn da Boaldyn" in the Isle of Man, and "Galan-Mai" in Wales
This sabbat starts the beginning of the Celtic summer.
Beltane translated means "fire of Bel" or "bright fire".
Beltane is probably related to Belenus. He is identified with the Roman god Apollo, a major Solar deity.
Beltaine is considered to be the second most important sabbat after Samhain.
Some possibilities of the origin of the name are from a little known Celtic fire god from Gaul called Belanos or Belios. Other lines of thought, suggest that Beltaine is named for the Irish death god, "Beltene". Another Celtic God who gets credit for this day is "Bel", the Celtic god of light and fire. Bel has been traced to the Middle Eastern god Baal.
And yet another suggestion is that the Sabbat's name is derived from a word meaning "balefire."
In Norway the balefires are called Balder's Fires in honor of "Balder", their Sun God.
A Scottish custom requires the balefires  to be lit from another fire known as the "tein-eigin", or "need-fire," which had to be created by using the friction of a wheel. These 'need-fires' had healing properties, and folks would jump through the flames to ensure protection. Frequently, cattle would also be driven between two such bon-fires to ensure their good health and fertility for the coming year.
One custom that I personaly subscribe to on this day, is making a house protection charm out of wild grapevines. The vine is shaped into a solar circle with a solar cross formed in the middle of the solar circle. While one is weaving the grapevines together, you are energizing the charm with protection energy. When hanging the charm, a pure white light of protection is visualized going out from the charm and encircling the house. The old wheel is to be burned in the Bale- fire at Beltaine.
Great fires are lit honoring the fertility God Belenos.
This sabbat, is about honoring Life in all its glory. Beltaine is the celebration of the marriage of the Sun God and the Earth Goddess. This union is celebrated as the "Great Rite".
We are moving along the wheel of life from the cold lifeless grip of winter to the rejuvenating touch of spring.
It was on Beltaine that the Tuatha de Danaan landed in north-west Connacht and defeated the Fir Bolgs. It was also on Beltaine that the Milesians invaded Ireland and defeated the Tuatha De Danann.
While the May pole is usd to celebrate Beltaine, it is a fairly new tradition imported from Italy by Baynard Rushkin to the British court of King Charles I. The Maypole is considered a phallic symbol, while the ribbons (generally red and white) represent the feminine aspects.
In earlier times, the christians referred to Beltaine (Mayday) as Roodmas, in an attempt to convert folks from the pagan concepts to the Christain concepts of this day.
As with Samhain, the festival of Beltaine also marks a thinning of the veil between the worlds. And is an excellent time for rituals involving devas and the sidhe and such.
However you celebrate Beltaine, remember that it is a time for fresh beginnings or perhaps a new direction in life. The voyage begins with the first step.


Featured Recipe - Irish Root Soup

2 Tbsp Olive Oil                                         2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp Butter                                             2 leeks (white part only) sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped         4 cups chicken stock
2 cups whipping cream                              pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper                                2 Tbsp sugar
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, halved, boiled and oven-roasted ( see note)

NOTE: Boil potatoes about 10 minutes, then oven-roast by placing potatoes in 350 oven about 30 minutes or until browned and tender.

Heat oil and butter in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, leeks, garlic and sweet potatoes. Sauté until leeks are translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add stock and cream.  Cover and simmer until carrots and potatoes are very soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender.  Return soup to same pan.

Add salt, pepper and sugar.  Taste and adjust seasonings

Stir soup over medium heat until heated through.  Ladle into bowls and top with a bit of cream garnish. Makes 6 serving.


Featured Poem - A walk in the Woods

Presented by Crick

Meandering path, a moonlit night
Spirits about, oh what a sight

A warm summer breeze
magick betwixt the leaves

As I reach out to the moon
I see the old oak tree swoon

As I touch dear Mother Earth
I know I have found the secret hearth

Ancient chant and protective charm
this silent walk brings no harm

Great horned owl calls out to me
open your heart that you may see

God and Goddess are at my side
let all thats evil, run and hide

Devas dance in the lunar light
An old witch now walks in the night.


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Pagan                                Cards

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Hades, Greek God of the Underworld

Submitted by Rev. Dina Ely

http://www.veilofnight.org

In ancient Greek mythology, the land of the dead is called "Hades," named after the god who ruled it. Hades ia a brother of Zeus, the king of Olympian gods. The actual underworld itself is divided into three parts, not unlike the old Catholic concept of afterlife (Hell, Purgatory and Heaven):

1. Tartarus: the lower level of Hades. Those who were partial to vices in their living days would be judged and condemned to eternal torture in Tartarus. Generally, Tartarus is considered a fiery place of utmost misery.

2. Asphodel: an area frequently overlooked, in comparison with the other two regions of Hades. The fields of Asphodel are a sort of "purgatory" where souls that were neither exceptionally good nor exceptionally bad whilst living spend eternity. There is little that is notable about Asphodel, other than the fact that some accounts suggest the majority of souls ended up there, qualifying neither as villains or as heroes.

3. Elysium: the blessed fields, akin to Heaven, where the souls of heroes and those of virtue spend eternity in bliss. Also referred to as the Elysian Fields. Feasts and merriment are the order of the day in Elysium, though there are accounts that depict Elysium as being drab and dreary when compared to the world of the living.
Besides having three main regions, there are five rivers running through the world of the dead. Styx, the waters of which the gods swear by when taking oaths; Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, the waters of which erase mortal memory; Phlegethon, the formidable river of fire; Cocytus, river of wailing water; and Acheron, the river of woe across which all souls must travel to enter the afterlife.
Hades is also home to a host of colourful characters such as Charon, the boatman who escorts the souls of the dead aross Acheron, and Cerberus, the three-headed hound of the god of the Underworld who guards the gates of Hades to prevent souls from leaving.
Of course, one cannot forget Hades and Persephone themselves. Persephone is the wife of Hades, whom he stole from her mother Demeter. Persephone only resides in the Underworld for half of the year, the other half she spends above ground with Demeter.
Hades is frequently referred to as "Pluto," which is the Roman equivalent of the god of the Underworld. It is worth noting, however, that there are several differences in the perception of Hades and Pluto. Hades is oft portrayed as a heavy-handed, gloomy god of curses and of the dead, who visits his realm and that of the living with the aide of his helmet of invisibility. Pluto is, on the other hand, far more associated with the other aspect of the realm of Hades--that of wealth. Since Hades rules the underworld it was commonly accepted that he also ruled the ground beneath the surface of the earth, where minerals and riches could be found. Thus Pluto was worshipped as the Romans also as a god of fortune (monetary). Some myths make reference to Hades as the god of curses, to whom people would pray for troubles to befall their foes.
More on Pluto...
Pluto is the Roman equivalent of Hades, and much of the mythology surrounding Hades and his realm applies to Pluto as well. However, the Romans placed particular emphasis on the part of Hades's realm that included wealth and prosperity.
This association came about because, quite simply, in the Roman times riches almost always originated from the earth. Gemstones and valuable ore could all be extracted from beneath the earth's surface. Since the Greeks and Romans believed the Underworld was far beneath the ground upon which mortals dwelt, it was concluded that gems and ore and other mined commodities were under the rule and influence of the Lord of the Underworld.
The very name "Pluto" itself has its etymology in the Roman word for "wealth."


                                 




Featured Herb - Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

Marjoram is part of the mint family.
According to legend, Marjoram was created by "Aphrodite" as a symbol of her happiness. 
According to "Virgil", the goddess "Venus used marjoram to cure "Aeneas" when he was wounded in the Trojan war.
Marjoram is considered as an herb for happiness, protection, love and health.
It is a Masculine herb, its planet is Mercury, and its element is Air.
The ancient Greeks believed that if Marjoram grew on one's grave, the deceased would enjoy eternal peace and happiness.
It may be hung in the home for protection. Add to all love charms and give to a grieving person to bring them happiness.
A tea made from Marjoram, has been used historically for relief from symptoms of hay fever, sinus congestion, indigestion, asthma, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, colds, coughs, and nervous disorders. It has mild antioxidant and anti-fungal properties. Unsweetened tea can also be used as a mouthwash or gargle for mouth ulcers.
It is a diaphoretic which can be used in the treatment of colds and flu. You can rub marjoram oil into muscle aches and sprains.


                                 

                                               Featured Crystal - Jasper



Astrological sign is Leo. Vibrates to the number 6. The planets, elements and energies of Jade, vary according to the type in question. Jasper is the Zodiac stone for Aries.
Jasper is known for its properties of protection, health,beauty, and healing.
Jasper is one of the stones worn by a shaman for protection during astral journeys. It is also one of the stones of the high priest.
It has a connection to the solar plexus chakra and is used to align the chakras prior to astral projection. Place Jasper over the heart and navel chakras to achieve this.
Carved arrow heads of Jasper are thought to bring good luck to the wearer. Carrying a piece of jasper lends protection to the carrier. It also strengthens energy flow, and relieves stress. Jasper is utilized during meditation.
It is used to help focus one's defensive magick.


                                 



                                                         Featured Poem - A walk in the Woods

Presented by Crick

Meandering path, a moonlit night
Spirits about, oh what a sight

A warm summer breeze
magick betwixt the leaves

As I reach out to the moon
I see the old oak tree swoon

As I touch dear Mother Earth
I know I have found the secret hearth

Ancient chant and protective charm
this silent walk brings no harm

Great horned owl calls out to me
open your heart that you may see

God and Goddess are at my side
let all thats evil, run and hide

Devas dance in the lunar light
An old witch now walks in the night.

Did you know???
That the Puritans, despised the rituals associated with Beltain, also known as May Day, so much, that in 1644 they made Maypoles illegal?


A personal comment:

I have often said that the only right religion is the one that works for the individual. And yet time and time again, folks use the Christian beliefs as a benchmark for all other belief systems. I personally have no problem with someone who wishes to follow the Christian path. But we should bear in mind that the Christian religion is the second "newest" religion in the world. And that Paganism is the "oldest" religion in the world. And so perhaps if one needs a benchmark for comparison, then perhaps Paganism should be the benchmark. After all Christianity is 95% pagan, even if they don't want to admit it. So we as pagans must be doing something right. I am proud to call myself a witch. And I am very humbled by my association with my covenmates and with others who follow the pagan beliefs. I refuse to be shackled by the chains of ridicule and shame which are thrust upon us by the insecurities of some other belief system. Competition among religious beliefs is not Godliness, it is Humaness. We need to look beyond our pettiness to compete and be better then other folks, and instead pay more attention to the ultimate goal. And that in my personal opinion folks, is Spirituality.

Until next time Callieachs...        Blessings

                                                                    Crick


Cha d'dhùin doras nach d'fhosgail doras.
(No door ever closed, but another opened.)


Please  send your comments, submissions and so forth to Crickjump@aol.com

Editor in Chief: Crickjumper                                          Subscriber Base: 193 members
Poetry Editor - GuardianOfWithin
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