April Full Moon: Pink Moon/Beaver Moon

pinkmoonAccording to the Farmer’s Almanac, the name of April’s full moon, which occurs on the 7th, “came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. As a way of utilizing the power of this full moon, perhaps you can use it as a time to reflect on the question: “In the midst of a global pandemic where most of what we see in the media is bad news, what positive experiences and opportunities do I wish to blossom in my life? What can I do to nurture them so they continue to grow?” It is also a great time to do magical and energy work toward new projects we are just beginning to undertake.

beavermoonAnother name for the April full moon is the Beaver Moon. During this time of year beavers are busy constructing dams to provide shelter and places to fish. Therefore April’s full moon is a good time to contemplate the spiritual energy the Beaver brings into our lives. According to Jamie Sams and David Carson’s Medicine Cards, the Beaver tells us “it may be time to put your ideas into action or to complete some project that has been neglected. The Beaver can also be asking you to settle differences with fellow workers or friends. Beaver tells you to look for alternative solutions to life’s challenges and to protect the creations which you put your love and energy into.” Sounds like a  good plan to me!

Happy full moon!

Copyright ©2020 by David Taliesin, www,sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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Taking Care of Ourselves in the Midst of a Pandemic

“Dutchman’s Breeches” on a recent walk.

Sorry this blog has been quiet since COVID-19 descended upon us. I’ve been working crazy amounts of hours trying to figure out how to support the faith community I serve during this pandemic. I’ve learned new technologies such as Zoom and iMovie. I’ve checked in with my seniors to see if they have everything they need. I’ve helped to coordinate resources in my local community and online. It’s been hectic, emotional and chaotic. I suspect you’re feeling the same way, too!

So, how do we keep ourselves sane and healthy during this difficult time? I certainly don’t have all the answers but this is what is working for me:

  • Make sure you take a walk out in nature each day. Breathe deeply and try to connect with the energy of the earth. Take joy in the small things such as spring flowers in bloom or the exuberant conversation of crows. And, yes, keep that six foot barrier between you and others while your walking!
  • Find ways to keep your connections to others. I’ve called friends I haven’t talked to in a very long time. I’ve set up Zoom get-togethers with my kids and friends alike. I’ve chatted with my next door neighbor from a safe distance. Whatever it takes, you need to remind yourself and others that you are not alone in this pandemic.
  • Freshen up your home altar. Make sure your connection to the Divine and other spirit allies is strong. Today, I took about an hour to deep clean the room where my altar is located. I played one of my favorite Pagan folks bands, Faun, and danced to their joyous music. I dusted everything on my altar and arranged things in a way that felt powerful and meaningful to me. I lit candles and burned incense. Then I asked the Ancestors, Elemental Spirits and other allies to guide and protect me and those I love during this challenging time in the life of our planet.
  • Limit your time watching the news. Yes, we all need to be informed but I find that if I constantly listen to the 24-hour news cycle, it leave me feeling very depressed. Take “technology Sabbaths” where you unplug for a while. It will do your heart a world of good.

So, that’s what’s working for me. Please feel free to comment and share what it working for you. I thank you for your support and interest in what I’ve written over the years. I wish you all health and protection and safety! Blessed be!

Copyright ©2020 by David Taliesin, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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Coronavirus: Building Strength, Protection & Community Ritual

Here is the ritual from tonight’s Welcoming Circle:

STRENGTH, PROTECTION AND COMMUNITY RITUAL

PROTECTION OIL (David Taliesin)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 drops rosemary
3 drops frankincense

May the powers of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
Protect you and give you strength in the days to come.

CASTING THE CIRCLE (David Taliesin)

As we approach the celebration of the Spring Equinox,
we are reminded that this day
Is the perfect balance between light and darkness.

We gather tonight to seek balance;
to find calm in the midst of fear,
truth in the midst of rumor,
community in the midst of isolationism.

We seek the wisdom of the Divine Presence,
Elemental Powers, and Ancestors
to guide us through this challenging time
in the life of our planet.

Take a crystal athame or wand and circle the group, saying the following…

May Divine Light surround us,
Divine Love enfold us,
Divine Power protect us,
Divine Presence watch over us.
Wherever we are, the Divine is with us. All is well.

CALLING THE QUARTERS (David Taliesin)

Hail Guardians and Ancestors of the East, Powers of Air,
blow away the staleness of winter;
whisper into our ears the wisdom we need to know
to navigate this challenging time
in the life our our planet. Hail and welcome!

Hail Guardians and Ancestors of the South, Powers of Fire,
warm our soil and coax the seeds to germinate;
clear our minds from confusion and misinformation
As we navigate this challenging time
in the life of our planet. Hail and welcome!

Hail Guardians and Ancestors of the West, Powers of Water,
moisten the ground so that new life might appear;
soothe our troubled spirits with your peace
As we navigate this challenging time
in the life of our planet. Hail and welcome!

Hail Guardians and Ancestors of the North, Powers of Earth,
keep us rooted like budding trees and flowers;
strengthen our bodies and keep us healthy
As we navigate this challenging time
in the life of our planet. Hail and welcome!

Great Mystery, who binds together
every quark and atom in the universe,
we humbly ask you to be with us tonight.

Help us to embody a spirit of calm in the midst of chaos.
Give us the courage to strengthen our ties with others
instead of focusing solely on ourselves.
Hail and welcome!

WEAVING RITUAL

Everyone in the room should have three strands of yarn.

The WHITE string is symbolic of wisdom and clarity. May it remind us to seek truth above all else. Don’t listen to the rumor mill on social media regarding the coronavirus. Instead, let’s educate ourselves and act in ways that are prudent rather than impulsive. We are made for times like these. Thanks to the internet we have more information at our disposal than any generation who has gone before us. May we use this information wisely and seek to be a voice of reason and calm in the midst of rumor and panic. So mote it be!

The RED string is symbolic of courage. We can be courageous because our Spirit Guides go with us. The voices of our Ancestors join them in calling us to be helpers and leaders in the midst of crisis. Listen to them. They are rooting for us to remain strong and continue to be a force for good in our community. May we encourage others who cannot see past their fear. May we help the most vulnerable among us in any way we can. So mote it be!

The BLACK string is symbolic of our spiritual practice. We, as magical people, have tools at our disposal that others don’t have. Use those tools wisely and often. Meditate until you see the world around you with absolutely clarity. Ground to remind you of our connection with something that is much bigger than yourself. Shield to keep any unwanted influences or energies at bay. Set intentions and send energy to the people and places who need it the most. So mote it be!

What I would like us to do is tie a knot to bind these three stings together. Then, in silence, weave them together so that they become inseparable from one another. As we do this, think about the resources and people you need to weave together during this time of crisis. What wisdom do you need to help you to move into the future with confidence? What courage do you need to summon to counteract the fear and panic which surround us? What magic do you need to practice regularly that will do the best and brightest good for the community and for the sake of the planet? We are made for times like these! Ponder these questions as you weave together these three strings. When you’re finished, tie the other ends together so that they cannot be separated. (Silence.)

Now that we are finished, hold this braided cord in your hands. Empower it with the energy of the earth and the Divine (We repeatedly chanted “wisdom, courage, magic” with increasing intensity). Place it on your home altar or any other visible place. May it remind you of your purpose and empower your intentions in the weeks to come. So mote it be!

CLOSING THE CIRCLE (David Taliesin)

Great Mystery, Divine Presence,
who is known to us by many names,
we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
We go forth from this place unafraid
because we know that you journey with us always.
Blessed be!

Guardians and Ancestors of the North, Powers of Earth,
we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
Keep our bodies healthy
as we navigate this challenging time
in the life of our planet.
Stay if you will. Go if you must.
We bid you farewell!

Guardians and Ancestors of the West, Powers of Water,
we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
Keep our spirits calm and peaceful
as we navigate this challenging time
in the life of our planet.
Stay if you will. Go if you must.
We bid you farewell!

Guardians and Ancestors of the South, Powers of Fire,
we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
Keep our minds sharp and alert
As we navigate this challenging time
in the life of our planet.
Stay if you will. Go if you must.
We bid you farewell.

Guardians and Ancestors of the East, Powers of Air,
we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
Keep our ears attuned to your wisdom
as we navigate this challenging time
in the life our our planet.
Stay of you will. Go if you must.
We bid you farewell!

And now, the circle is open but never unbroken
Because it is a circle woven in love.
Whatever energy is left in this space
We return to the earth with a spirit of gratitude.
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.

Copyright © 2020 by David Taliesin, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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DIY Hand Sanitizer

Can’t find any hand sanitizer in your area? This will do the trick!

Home Made Hand Sanitizer

2/3 cup isopropyl alcohol 91% (rubbing alcohol)
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
8-10 drops of essential oil

In a mixing bowl, stir Isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel together until well blended.

Add 8-10 drops of scented essential oil (optional, but nice!). Stir to incorporate.

Pour the homemade hand sanitizer into an empty container and seal. Write “hand sanitizer” on a piece of masking tape and affix to the bottle.

The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. This recipe makes a sanitizer that slightly exceeds that alcohol content at 60.66%, so follow the proportions exactly. If you want a sanitizer with a higher alcohol percentage, decrease the amount of aloe vera to 1/4 cup.

Suggestions of essential oils: rosemary with orange or lemon; lavender with or without frankincense; tea tree with just a drop of mint.

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March Full Moon: Worm Moon

The-Worm-Moon

“Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold…Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” [Mark 4:8-9, NRSV]

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, March’s full moon “is traditionally called the Full Worm Moon by the Native Americans who used the Moons to track the seasons. Colonial Americans adopted these names, especially those named by the local Algonquin tribes who lived in the areas from New England to Lake Superior. At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. In some regions, this is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.”

On the evening of Monday, March 9th, we might want to use this time to think about the soil of our lives. Where is it “hard” and needs to be softened up so that green things can grow in it? In nature, worms provide this service! They increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil. They also break down organic matter into nutrients that plants can utilize. Finally, their “castings” or poop is excellent fertilizer for the soil.

With this in mind, we can use this Worm Moon as a time to think about what we need to bring into our lives that will nurture us and provide an excellent environment for growth. In Jesus’ parable of the Good Soil, he reminds us that even the tiniest patch of fertile ground can yield amazing things; even a hundred times more than what we thought was possible. Let’s claim this promise for ourselves this spring and ask the Divine Presence to enrich the soil of our lives so that we may harvest beautiful and wonderful things when the time is right.  Blessed be!

Copyright © 2020 by David Taliesin, sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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Faith Communities, Public Gatherings and the Coronavirus

What a difference a week makes! The coronavirus was hardly a blip on our radar screens in America until it made its presence known in Northern Italy. (I suspect there is some hidden, or not so hidden, racism at play here. But that’s a topic for another post!) Suddenly, news of this virus is everywhere and each of us has had to wrestle with how we respond to what will most likely be a global pandemic.

As the leader of a faith community, I knew I had to be proactive in coming up with a protocol to keep everyone as safe as possible as we gather for worship and other social events. Below is the short version of this protocol which I sent to everyone who is a part of my faith community. It was well received and people appreciated me acting on this before the coronavirus hits our city (it will). If you belong to a faith community, coven, or other spiritual group that meets regularly, I think it’s imperative that we all have this discussion NOW as we seek to take good care of each other. Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:

– – – – – – – – – –

We, as a community of faith, need to take good care of each other. Here are some basic precautions that will help to prevent the spread of germs in our faith community:

If you don’t feel well, please stay home. If public gatherings become prohibited/limited we will find a way to offer worship online.

Greet people warmly. Be creative. We can all say “Hello,” without a handshake or hug, especially if the coronavirus is reported in our area.

Wash your hands, Wash your hands. Wash your hands. All worship leaders in my faith community will wash their hands before serving communion. We will drink from individual cups on a tray. People who attend worship are also encouraged to wash their hands as they enter the building.

Passing the Peace. We’re a friendly bunch in my faith community so we’ll continue to pass the peace minus the handshakes and hugs. People are asked to flash a peace sign, do an “air” high 5, elbow bump, or a simple bow. (We did this on Sunday and it went over well.)

Check in with each other. Everyone needs all the support and encouragement they can get. If people in my faith community discover someone is sick, they are asked to let me know ASAP. If people become confined to their homes, as individuals or as a community, I have pledged to check in with everyone at least once a week. Thanks to modern technology I hope to video chat if possible and call them on the phone if not. I have also encouraged everyone to check in regularly with each other and see what needs are out there that we could meet as individuals and as a faith community.

Don’t forget the ministry of the our faith community continues even if gathering together is limited/prohibited. Checks can be mailed if necessary. If this is not possible (worse case scenario) we’ll find a way to get funds into our account, probably though an electronic option such as PayPal.

– – – – – – – – – –

I hope the information I shared is helpful to you. I believe it’s better to be calm and proactive rather than wait and be forced to make snap decisions as faith based communities. The coronavirus will either bring out the best in us or the worst in us. If we stay ahead of this virus, and rely on accurate information from sources such as the CDC and WHO, it will increase our chances that it will bring out the best in us.

Blessings to everyone!

Copyright ©2020 by David Taliesin http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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Brigid Discernment Ritual

We used this closing ritual at tonight’s Welcoming Circle. It’s a group ritual but can be adapted for solitary practitioners. Images are from the Builders of the Adytum Tarot.

Here is the Brigid handout I gave to those who attended. Click Brigid Handout.

BRIGID DISCERNMENT RITUAL

ANOINTING WITH BRIGID OIL—David Taliesin
[Recipe for Brigid Oil is found in Cunningham’s Incense, Oils and Brews]

May Brigid, Keeper of the Sacred Flame,
Give you wisdom and illumination tonight.

CANDLE LIGHTING—Traditional Gaelic. Light a white altar candle and say the following:

Brigid, Sublime Woman, Quick flame,
Long may you burn bright!
 You give us the invitation to life everlasting.

CALLING THE QUARTERS—from Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials, Imbolc: Rituals Recipes and Lore for Brigid’s Day + Brigid: History, Mystery and Magick of the Celtic Goddess

I summon the Powers of East—
Brigid’s bright powers of Dawn!
As you bring light to the Spring,
Bring light to our work.
Hail and Welcome!

I summon the Powers of South—
The blazing fires of Brigid’s Forge!
Shed all that does not aid our work!
Fortify our work! Let it change the world!
Hail and Welcome!

I summon the Powers of West—
The healing powers of the Well!
May our work flow and grow!
May it stir and summon the depths of possibilities!
Hail and Welcome!

I summon the powers of North—
The strength of the Cold Mountains!
Freeze all adversaries! Solidify our desires
With the weight of frozen rock!
Hail and Welcome!

Reach to the sky: By the Powers of the Fiery Arrows!

Reach to the ground: By the Powers of the Green Earth!

Extend your arms to your sides: Goddess Brigid, Goddess of Fire and Water,
We call you and invite you to the circle we have cast this night.

Goddess of the Sacred Well and Keeper of the Flame,
We ask that you bring your power and wisdom to this circle tonight.

Brigid, Goddess of the Forge, we honor you
And ask for your help and enlightenment in our work tonight.
Hail and welcome!

DISCERNMENT RITUAL—David Taliesin

Ground and center.

Connect with both the earth energy below and the Divine energy above. Let it fill your whole being until you feel like your body is full of light.

When you feel peaceful and focused, look at the Tarot Card image in front of you. Use it as an icon to center your thoughts and think about the work the Divine has called you to do. Record any thought that come to mind during this time of meditation. [I chose several images for participants to use from the wonderful black and white Builders of the Adytum Tarot. I offered the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, The Moon and Strength/Courage.]

When you are finished writing, take a tea candle and light it from the center pillar, and set it on the altar. Watch the flames of illumination grow as each person adds their candle to the altar.

Take a candle with you tonight, along with the image you selected. Use it in the coming weeks to further reflect on your calling/vocation.

BRIGID BLESSING
May my words be as considered as poetry,
May I reflect on all I do or say,
May I meditate on those things important spiritually
May I seek to know more of the lore
May I research what I am curious about
and what will enable me to grow
May I seek to know great knowledge,
May I acknowledge the intelligence of others
May I comprehend what I seek to learn and apply those lessons
May I know that seeking wisdom is not the same as being wise.
May I be a child of Brigid.
by https://elfkat.wordpress.com, Used by permission of the author.

DISMISSING THE CIRCLE—adapted from Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials, Imbolc: Rituals Recipes and Lore for Brigid’s Day + Brigid: History, Mystery and Magick of the Celtic Goddess

Great Brigid, Goddess of the Flame and Goddess of the Well,
We thank you for joining our magic circle tonight
And for the energy and wisdom you have bestowed upon us.
You will remain forever in our hearts!
We bid you farewell!

Farewell to the Powers of North—
As you came in peace, now go in peace,
But leave strength in our work.
Keep our adversaries in your icy grasp!
We bid you farewell!

Farewell to the Powers of West—
As you came in peace, now go in peace,
But leave your misty whispers on our work.
Wash away the obstacles to our manifestations!
We bid you Farewell!

Farewell to the Powers of South—
As you came in peace, now go in peace,
But leave your sparks of manifestation.
Allow the embers of our work to grow.
We bid you farewell!

Farewell to the Powers of East—
As you came in peace, now go in peace.
Though the day passes, the work of the sun remains.
Remain also with our work.
We bid you farewell!

The circle is open but never unbroken
Because it is a circle woven in love.
Whatever energy is left in this space
We return to the earth with a spirit of gratitude.
Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again.

As noted, portions of this ritual were written by David Taliesin, ©2020, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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