And last but not least (especially if you aren’t celebrating to much) a few things you can do…


Beltane Comments & Graphics

General Preparations
Beltane, May Day, May 1st, Walpurgis Nach, Neopagan Celebrations

1.  Clean up your garden, rake leaves, water as needed, put down fertilizer.  If you last frost date is in April, then you can begin to plant seeds and seedlings.  Do work appropriate for your agricultural Zone.  I live in Red Bluff, California, USDA Zone 9, Northern Hemisphere.  My April gardening chores might be quite different from yours, depending upon where you live.

2.  Do spring cleaning in your home.  Wipe up the dust.  Wash windows.  Give away unneeded items.  Scrub walls.  Bring in some potted plants.  

3.  Working and meditating in the garden is an important facet of my spiritual path.  I need to regularly reconnect with the earth and with the beauty and energy of the Spring season outdoors.   Tend your garden daily.  Water your garden each day.  Weed your vegetable garden.  Harvest from your late winter garden if you can grow on.  Review your own lists of chores for April and May, and act accordingly.      

4.  Read about Beltane, May Day, Walpurgis Nacht and other mid-Spring celebrations around the world.  Add notes and links to books, magazines, and webpages on the subject.  See my bibliography and links above.  Visit your local public library or college library to obtain access to books, media and magazines on the subject.  Study about ancient Indo-European religions.  I update my Months webpages on April and May. 

5.  Add some appropriate Beltane, May Day, Walpurgis Nacht and mid-Spring songs, chants, prayers, reflections, invocations, or poems to your Neo-Pagan Craft Journal, Book of Shadows, blog, website, or Ritual Handbook.  Write in your personal journal.  Most spiritual seekers keep a notebook, journal or log as part of their experimental, creative, magical and experiential work. 

6.  Stay at home.  Improve your home, backyard, or garden.  Eliminate long driving trips.  Do you really need to “Go” anywhere?  Do you really need to fly by airplane to another country?  Explore your backyard, neighborhood, local community, nearby city, county wide area, regional area within 50-100 miles.  Visit a local “sacred site.”  For us, for example, this could be Mt. Shasta, the headwaters spring of the Sacramento River in Mt. Shasta City, the Sacramento River at Woodson Bridge Park, a long walk in the forest below nearby Mt. Lassen, sitting on the shore of Whiskeytown Lake, sitting in my backyard in the moonlight, or visiting a beautiful church or college or park that is nearby.  Watch a DVD on a spiritual subject, sacred place, or inspirational topic.  Learn more about your local environment. 

7.  Read solitary or group rites for Beltane, May Day, Walpurgis Nacht, Easter or other mid-spring celebrations available in books and webpages (see above).  Create your own ritual for Beltane.  Practice the ritual.  Conduct the ritual at a convenient time for you, or your family and/or friends, as close to the day of  May 1st as possible.  Attend a public Beltane ritual of a local NeoPagan group. 

8.  Improve your indoor home altar.  Clean and shine everything up on the altar.  Place a fresh offering on your home altar every day in April.  Add fresh flowers to the altar.  Bring in branches of trees that are budding out.  In Ireland, and were Celtic traditions are popular, the word “Bel” refers to a bright fire, a large bonfire, white, or bright, the month of May, and the beginning of the warm and bring summer season.  Therefore, lighting candles will be an essential aspect of home piety.  My home altar includes Druid, Roman, Wiccan, and Western Magickal influence.

9.  Key a close eye on flowering tree and shrub branches and leaf budding tree and shrub branches in yards and gardens.  This rebirth or resurrection of vegetation is essential to the meaning of this season.  Many gods and goddesses are associated with this rebirth, e.g., Persephone, Attis, Osiris, Jesus Christ.  Bring some of these reborn branches into your home and home altar.

 

Just a few ideas in case you didn’t already have enough on your plate, lol!

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Our Divine Threefold Goddess Bless Us


Beltane Comments & Graphics

“Bless, O Threefold Goddess,
My Coven, my family, and myself
My pets, my plants, and all children of the Great Mother.
On the fragrant plain, on the tall mountain slopes
On the fragrant plain, on the tall mountain slopes.
Everything within my dwelling or in my possession,
From Beltane Eve to Samhain Eve,
From Samhain Eve to Beltane Eve,
With goodly progress and gentle blessing,
From sea to sea, and every river mouth,
From wave to wave, and base of waterfall.
Be thy Three Faces taking possession of all belonging to me,
Be the Watchtowers four protecting me in truth;
Oh! Satisfy my spirit with the warmth of Belinos,
And shield my loved ones between the Beltane fires,
Shield my loved ones between the Beltane fires.
Bless everything and every one,
Of this little household by my side;
Place the pentagram of the Lady upon us
Till we see the Land of Promise.
Till we see the Land of Promise.
What time the kine shall forsake the stalls,
What time the sheep shall forsake the folds,
What time the goats shall ascend the mount of mist,
May the tending of the Triad follow them,
May the tending of the Triad follow them.
Thou are being who didst give me birth,
Listen and attend to me as I bow my head,
Evening and morning as is becoming in me,
In thine own Circle, O Goddess of Love.
In thine own Circle, O Goddess of Love.”
–  Rowan Morgana, Sacred Wicca

Welcome Springtime, now begun!

Beltane Comments & Graphics
“Beltaine Fire and Beltaine Blood
Bless us now with all that’s good
Winter’s bleak time now is past
Springtime has begun at last.
Goddess Great as Crone and Queen
All Her brightest praises sing
Maiden, Mother, Goddess She
All the greatest blessings be.
Take all that now is naught but blight
And fill us all with Your delight
Burn away the dross and chaff
Renew us with Your hearty laugh
Sing and dance and beat the drums
From Her Bounty all good comes
Weeping, moaning, go away
Blessings from Her come our way
Beltaine Fire and Beltaine Blood
Bless us now with all that’s good
Winter’s Bleak time now is done
Welcome Springtime, now begun!”
–  Ryllwynn

Beltane Crystal of the Day for May 1st is Amber

Beltane Crystal of the Day


Amber

(amber, yellow to orange)

The word electricity comes from the Greek word for amber, “elektron.” Rubbing amber will produce static electricity.

Hardness: 2
Specific Gravity: approximately 1.1
Chemistry: C12H20O
Class: Organic
Crystallography: does not apply because amber is amorphous
Cleavage: none
Fracture: conchoidal
Streak: white
Luster: resinous

Healings: Amber is used to absorb negative energy and to transmute it into positive energy. Amber is also used for grounding. It is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints. Amber vibrates to the number 3.

Workings: Amber is said to enhance the beauty of the wearer. It is used to tap into the power of the Sun, and is good for success, abundance, healing, vitality and joy. It is used as a Good Luck charm by those engaged in battle. It is sometimes burned to clear sacred space of negative energy. Amber is used in purification rites. Its element is Fire and it is ruled by the Sun. Its energy is projective.

Amber is associated with the astrological signs of Leo and Aquarius and vibrates to the number 3.

Chakra Applications: Amber is applied to the Crown Chakra in order to stimulate the intellect.

Foot Notes: Amber is fossilized resin of pine tree sap and can contain many preserved insects and other animals and plants that are tens of millions of years old. Thought to be one of the stones in the breastplate of the Hebrew High Priest. Often found in sedimentary deposits and floats in seawater. It is found in many locations including the region around the Baltic Sea and the Dominican Republic, Russia; Romania; Burma, Wyoming USA, and Venezuela. Best field indicators are color, density, toughness, and trapped insects.

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Beltane Herb of the Day for May 1st is Angelica

Beltane Herb of the Day

Angelica

Dead nettle, Archangel, Masterwort, Wild celery

 

Angelica is a good herbal tea to take for colic, gas, indigestion, hepatitis, and heartburn. It is very useful to add in remedies for afflictions of the respiratory system, as well as liver problems and digestive difficulties. It promotes circulation in the body. Angelica is an excellent tonic in diseases of the lungs, gout, and stomach troubles.

It is used for lack of appetite, dyspepsia, gastrointestinal pain, gas, sciatica, and the heart.

An infusion of dried root can be used as a remedy for coughs and colds and to dispel gas and to soothe intestinal cramps. It is also used to stimulate the kidneys. It is often used to stimulate the circulation in the pelvic region and to stimulate suppressed menstruation.
In China, angelica has been used for several thousand years to treat many kinds of female problems. It has been used for abnormal menstruation, suppressed menstrual flow, painful or difficult menstruation, and uterine bleeding. As well as for hot flashes associated with perimenopause.

Magickal uses: Grow it in your garden as a protection for garden and home. The root is often used as a protective amulet, and has been used to banish evil by burning the leaves. It is also used to lengthen life, and is used in protection against diseases, as well as to ward off evil spirits. Adding it to a ritual bath will break spells and hexes. It has often been used to ward off evil spirits in the home. Some American Indian tribes carried a talisman of this root for luck in gambling.

Properties: Stimulates appetite, carminative, expectorant, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, diuretic’ Contains essential oil with phellandrene, angelica acid, coumarin compounds (bergapten, linalool and borneol), bitter principle and tannins

Growth: Angelica needs rich, moist garden soil in partial shade. It prefers wet bottomlands and swamps, and prefers the cooler northern regions to grow best. It is a perennial that can reach up to 6 feet tall. Angelica is a biennial producing foliage the first year and stems and flowers the second. Flowering time is June to August.

Angelica should not be used by pregnant women or diabetics.

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Deity of the Day for Beltane is The Green Man, Spirit of the Forest

Deity of the Day for Beltane

The Green Man

Spirit of the Forest

For our ancient ancestors, many spirits and deities were associated with nature, wildlife, and plant growth. After all, if you had just spent the winter starving and freezing, when spring arrived it was certainly time to give thanks to whatever spirits watched over your tribe. The spring season, particularly around Beltane, is typically tied to a number of pre-Christian nature spirits. Many of these are similar in origin and characteristics, but tend to vary based on region and language.

In English folklore, few characters stand out — or are as recognizable — as the Green Man.

Strongly connected to Jack in the Green and the May King, as well as John Barleycorn during the fall harvest, the figure known as the Green Man is a god of vegetation and plant life. He symbolizes the life that is found in the natural plant world, and in the earth itself. Consider, for a moment, the forest. In the British Isles, the forests a thousand years ago were vast, spreading for miles and miles, farther than the eye could see. Because of the sheer size, the forest could be a dark and scary place.

However, it was also a place you had to enter, whether you wanted to or not, because it provided meat for hunting, plants for eating, and wood for burning and building. In the winter, the forest must have seemed quite dead and desolate… but in the spring, it returned to life. It would be logical for early peoples to have applied some sort of spiritual aspect to the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Folklorist James Frazer associates the Green Man with May Day celebrations, and with the character of Jack in the Green, who is a more modern adaptation of the Green Man. Jack is a more specifically defined version of the nature spirit than the earlier Green Man archetype. Frazer speculates that while some form of the Green Man was probably present in a variety of separate early cultures, he developed independently into a variety of newer, more modern characters. This would explain why in some areas he is Jack, while in others he is Robin of the Hood, or Herne the Hunter in different parts of England. Likewise, other, non-British cultures seem to have similar nature deities.

The Green Man is typically portrayed as a human face surrounded by dense foliage. Such images appear as far back as the eleventh century, in church carvings. As Christianity spread, the Green Man went into hiding, with stonemasons leaving secret images of his face around cathedrals and churches. He enjoyed a revival during the Victorian era, when he became popular with architects, who used his visage as a decorative aspect in buildings.

Legends connected to the archetype of the Green Man are everywhere. In the Arthurian legend, the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a prime example. The Green Knight represents the pre-Christian nature religion of the British Isles. Although he originally confronts Gawain as an enemy, the two later are able to work together – perhaps a metaphor for the assimilation of British Paganism with the new Christian theology. Many scholars also suggest that the tales of Robin Hood evolved from Green Man mythology. Allusions to the Green Man can even be found in J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan – an eternally youthful boy, dressed in green and living in the forest with the wild animals. Today, some traditions of Wicca interpret the Green Man as an aspect of the Horned God, Cernunnos.

 

Author:

Article found on & owned by About.com

 

Astronomy Picture of the Day – MESSENGER’s Last Day on Mercury

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2015 May 1


MESSENGER’s Last Day on Mercury
Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ. APL, Arizona State Univ., CIW

 

Explanation: The first to orbit Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft came to rest on this region of Mercury’s surface yesterday. Constructed from MESSENGER image and laser altimeter data, the scene looks north over the northeastern rim of the broad, lava filled Shakespeare basin. The large, 48 kilometer (30 mile) wide crater Janacek is near the upper left edge. Terrain height is color coded with red regions about 3 kilometers above blue ones. MESSENGER’S final orbit was predicted to end near the center, with the spacecraft impacting the surface at nearly 4 kilometers per second (over 8,700 miles per hour) and creating a new crater about 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter. The impact on the far side of Mercury was not observed by telescopes, but confirmed when no signal was detected from the spacecraft given time to emerge from behind the planet. Launched in 2004, the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemisty and Ranging spacecraft completed over 4,000 orbits after reaching the Solar System’s innermost planet in 2011.

Daily Planet Tracker: Venus in Gemini, Now Until May 7, 2015

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Planet Tracker

Venus in Gemini

Now until May 7, 2015

 

The beauty of Venus entering Gemini is that the winds of attraction may blow in many directions. New perspectives on love become more possible. This is, ideally, a time to discuss relationships with the clarity and openness for which Gemini is known. This air sign supports the objectivity needed to see complex issues of partnership without emotional distortion.

Venus in Gemini places value on words and communication of all kinds. Attraction to gadgets, books, classes and learning tools may be greater than usual now. Depth is not the strong point here. Both Venus and Gemini can be dilettantes, flitting from one thing to another with barely a moment’s rest. Lovely Venus in this butterfly sign may be a bit flirtatious. Understand that we all need diversions. Enjoy the playfulness possible now, just don’t take it seriously. It’s a time of tasting, rather than testing.

The great gift of this period is a willingness to set aside old rules about what you like and dislike. Life is a great cornucopia of flavors, meant to awaken as much as to comfort. You can use this time to drop some of your social and aesthetic rules. Beauty, pleasure and personal values, you may discover, come in an infinite variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

Unsurprisingly, Venus in Gemini shows up in the birth charts of a wide variety of individuals. There are beauties Naomi Campbell, Uma Thurman, Brooke Shields and Candace Bergen and funny folks Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, Dudley Moore and Ringo Starr. There are singers ranging from the religious Cat Stevens and Roger McGuinn to socially conscious Bono and style conscious Cher.

Healers Benjamin Spock and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross were born with Venus in Gemini, as was “hurter” Mike Tyson. Artist Frida Kahlo, poet Gary Snyder and designer Georgio Armani add style to this group. Actors Harrison Ford, Al Pacino and Omar Sharif were also born with Venus in Gemini, as were newsman Edward R. Murrow, Virgin tycoon Richard Branson and both Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy.

 

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