Two Ravens Dream

Significant Dreams

Klimt

Life Cycles and Numerological Symbolism

Occasionally one has a wildly significant dream that may hold value for others. I had this one this morning, full of archetypal symbolism.

Numerology tells me that 2010 was a 9 year for me. The end of a cycle. Time to say “Goodbye” and make room for new things. Make sure to visualize exactly what I want, and how I plan to make it happen for 2011, my number 1 year.

My birthday came in late January.  I did not feel renewed. Rather I have plunged inwards. Been very quiet, had writer’s block where every sentence I wrote sounded like a clunker. I broke through that a bit, then this morning, I had this dream.

Dream — March 9, 2011

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I am in a school, a university. A young man has been in causing trouble. 2 incidents cause minor concern, but I can’t remember what they were. Then the man shoots another young man in the head, just above the ear. It is all over the news.

I go into the restaurant side of the school. It is darkish, like a night club but there is no music. I rush in to get some papers out of a desk. I find two wooden ravens—one 3 dimensional and the other flat and carved in the style of the Salish tribes. The papers are messily folded up. The top one has blood all over it. I ask the host at the desk how it feels to be there after such a terrible incident. He and others say it is terrible. A sense of foreboding fills the atmosphere, a threat of death.

I leave that restaurant with papers and the two ravens. I take them nervously into a large classroom that looks like the cafeteria at Worcester State College (where I went a long time ago), but rather than tables, the room if full of children’s school desks. I want to save the ravens but cannot carry them. I must keep the papers. To my right here are big windows that let in lots of white light. I find a desk beside the window, and decide it is mine. I lift the lid and put the ravens into the back of the desk, where the pens and pencils are usually kept.  They are very tactile, wood painted black, old and handmade. I am not sure how safe they are in the desk, for might not really be mine, but I don’t let it worry me too much.

I wake up with a sense that the cycle is finally complete. Several story problems ( my fiction and a screenplay I am re-writing ) are solved all at once. New ideas are being downloaded. I don’t know what else will come to life in the next few weeks but writing is bound to be great.

New Year begins with Aries indeed. Even the moon has been passing through Aries. Uranus, my Aquarius sun sign ruler, is in Aries. The first growth of life in Spring is at hand.

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Ron Victor LaRochelle

Alchemy

Since I discovered Alchemy via Carl Jung’s famous work in the late 1970s, I have described my life to myself in Alchemical terms. The raven fits perfectly with the end of a cycle, a 9, number of the Moon, and the Alchemical phase of Nigredo. I’ve been through this before, but this time, the ravens are inanimate, toys that I can put away in a  child’s desk. They are handmade, natural human creations, though for the Salish tribes, Raven is the Trickster God. What does it mean that the God of the Land on which I live, the Northwest, has been reduced to a piece of black painted wood? Perhaps it is a talisman, though even that is put away.

I’d like to think it means that I no longer have to fear God’s  (Saturn’s ) wrath. That the darkness is no longer a threat. The blood on the pages of the manuscript was spilled turning my personal pain onto art, just as the ravens have been made into art. The man shot in the head symbolizes the necessity to get out of one’s head where one is firmly placed by the university, or formal education. That the others in the dream are men is perhaps a symbol of the left-brain world, the intellect vs.  intuition and feeling.  The fear of losing that head-space is a fear of death. Perhaps.

The Alchemical phase after Nigredo is Albedo, symbolized by the white light at the window. This is the phase in which we confront the opposite sex within, and move towards the reconciliation of opposites. Perhaps that is what all the young men are about.

I hope all of this means I am free to think and create from a pure place. I hope it means new adventures. Its been so quiet the last year or so as I strive to complete my old projects. Such a long period of retreat has been unusual for me. I am ready to leave the nest again

Spring: Benjamin Scalvenzi

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Witches Familiars: The Witchery of Birds

Flight has always belonged to Witches, therefore we share a kinship with the birds.

There are as many different types of Witches and there are of birds as well. Each have their own qualities, abilities and traditions.

Here I will list a three birds that have been special to me: the Swan, the Crow, and the Owl.

I hope you will be inspired by my list to suggest some of your own.

Part 1: The Swan

The White Swan has been my familiar for a very long time. I was first given Whiteswan as a spiritual name by a Salish Indian spiritual leader who said he saw it in me. Later on, I had a Vedic, or Indian, Astrological Reading that revealed the symbol of the white swan in my seventh house. I was told the white swan in a Vedic horoscope is a sign of enlightenment. It is also significant that my rising sign, Taurus, is also ruled by Venus, the Goddess associated with swans. I think the spiritual leader “saw’ some real stuff!

Swans have an ancient association with the Goddess’s of Love due to their great beauty, and their tendency to mate for life. Ungainly on land, they blossom on the water like translucent lotuses, and in the air, they soar higher than almost any other bird. Because of their power of flight, birds, in general, represent the Soul rising heavenward. But, especially in Irish tradition,  the swan has also been associated with the journey of the soul  going over the sea into the west, the direction of the setting sun, to the Country of the Dead.

The White Swan shines like the moon on the water. The swan has always been a symbol of romance, sacred to Venus and Aphrodite.  The Black Swan can be said to represent the Dark Side of the Moon, and of Love. Together, the white and black swans are a perfect reflection  of the Goddess in her dual aspect of Love and Death, as well as in her cycle of Death and Rebirth.

The swan is mute, but legend has it that, at death, the swan sings its passage into the Otherworld. I know when I have done really deep Shamanic work, it has been the swan’s plaintive cry that has led me over the threshold into the Kingdom of Shadows.

Aphrodite and the Swan

I love what Buffie Johnson says about This sculpture in  her fabulous book, Lady of the Beasts:

A Greek terra-cotta (sixth century B.C.E.) shows Aphrodite standing in somber splendor on a giant swan. She wears a high tower crown and  carries a small casket, a reference to her possession of the hidden knowledge of death and the sectret of new life…A large and powerful bird, the swan is one of the earliest in the evolutionary chain, with an extra vertebrae in its spine and a mechanism above its beak to adapt to either salt or fresh water. The swan’s whiteness alludes to Aphrodite’s purity and dignity. Throughout the Bronze Age the swan acts as her epiphany or alternate form. Later, she no longer takes the form of the bird; she rides on it.

The black swan is the familiar of the Gorgon. She is called Golden Winged Medusa when she appears with the double wings of the black swan. These double wings along with her body tattoos, rosettes, swastikas, lozenges, and plant motifs reveal her a an embodiment of the Old Goddess. Her fangs and lolling tongue were a symbol of her power to draw rain, making her a important deity for farmers. The swastikas on the black swans’ wings turn both right and left to indicate that life and death move one into the other with ease. It was Medusa’s power over this that caused those who looked at her to be turned to stone.

The Divinity of Pale Creatures

White animals have been seen in many primal cultures as being spirit animals. I think this partly because of their eerie, ghostly appearance as well their association with the north. Souls, especially Witch souls, come down through the lunar tides to the North Pole, before being grounded in the womb.  I think the linking images of white and snow and stars glistering the winter skies during the dark of the moon, contribute to this perception.

The swan is a liminal creature. There is a twilight quality to the swan. It lives by sea and lake, flies high and dives deep under the water. When I was in Ireland in 1996, I went to Innishmore. It was a beautiful day, so a friend and I bicycled to the very tip of the island where the ruins of a 4000 year old ring fort faced a 300 foot sheer drop to the ocean crashing below. Peaked rocks went out like standing stones into the surf and the sun was almost touching the waves, turning the sea to molten silver when we decided it was tme to turn back.

We took the route that went along the shore on opposite side from which we had come. Heaped on our right side were little stone enclosed pastures and on our left, the darkening sea. The sky was turquoise and the moon was just in front of us, huge and full and the color of amber. Beyond the moon was the flash of a lighthouse guiding us back to the town.

We turned a bend and I had to stop. There was a little lagoon with a spit like row of standing stones going out along it. A heron sat at the end of the spit barely visible in the twilight. Then I saw a flash of white brilliance as on the far side of the lagoon, at the edge where the land met the sea, a white swan stood up, went down to the water, and floated there with the moonlight shining in its feathers.

This was surely a vision of the divinity of Earth.

Swans as familiars of the Gods

Swans have been connected to Gods as well as Goddesses.

Zeus famously turned himself into a swan to ravish Leda who then gave birth to Helen of Troy — a true priestess  of the Goddess of Love and War, whose extraordinary beauty brought the ancient world to its knees.

For male witches and Aradia fans, I found this lovely sculpture of Apollo with the swan. Here the swan is the moon,  sister of the God of the Sun.

The snake-like neck of the swan makes it a perfect masculine fertility symbol. The bird can even be said to combine both male and female elements in its form. The swan’s refection of the Inner Marriage is probably why it is included as an emblem in Alchemy in which it represents the aetheric, or shapeshifting, body.

Also see my article on Heimdall which the Swan brought to me in a dream.

Heimdall, Rowan, Aquarius, Winter Dreams

Celtic Tradition

It never ceases to amaze me how a soul can draw to itself congruent images. I have long been into Celtic Tradition, dating back to my first exposure to folk music from Ireland and Scotland as a child.

The Goddess, Brighid  therefore was a special deity for me especially when my Faery Seership reached its peak in the mid 1990′s.

The presence of the Swan is very strong in Celtic Tradition, being  associated with deities like Brighid who  participate in the symbiosis of the healing waters and the sun. They are associated with music, poetry, love, purity and the soul. They are shape-shifters, can take human form, and have mastered the elements of water, earth and air.

Among Druids, the Swan represents the soul, and in accordance with its death aspect,  is associated with the Festival of Samhain. The swan aids us in traveling to the Otherworld. Swans are also sacred to Bards, and their skin and feathers were used to make the tugen, the ceremonial Bardic Cloak.

Irish tales

Swans appear throughout Irish folklore. An Otherworldly bird, they are often the disguise of Fairy Women. At certain times of year, a swan maiden can transform herself back into a human, such as at Summer Solstice, Beltane or Samhain, when the veils between the worlds are thin.

The White Swans of the Wilderness were children of the Tuatha de Danaan, who settled Ireland, and became the sidhe after the invasion of the Milesians.

Grail Swan by Arlene deWinter

Grail Swan by Arlene deWinter

The Swan and the Holy Grail

I cannot leave this topic without sharing what I know about  the Swan’s relationship with the Holy Grail.

The Grail Mystery was the driving force of my spiritual path long before I was even aware of it. The tie in of the Swan with the Grail has double significance for me.

As I said above, there is a Hermetic aspect to the swan, which makes it not only a great Witches Familiar, but also a perfect companion for the Ceremonial Magician who works with the Grail Mysteries..

Aphrodite was in very ancient times associated with the Morning Star, as was Lucifer.  Her chariot was drawn by swans. I feel the blood in the Grail is the blood of the Swan in its role as Sacrificed God. What that means in this context is the Grail is meant to give the one who attains its vision, life immortal, but this eternal life is not granted without sacrifice.  An example would be Percival’s sister, Dindrane, who dies giving her blood to the dying Goddess to bring her back to life and fitness to rule — for Dindrane’s blood is charged with  the inborn power of the Grail. Because of this, she is transmuted into the form of a spiritual guide, or Muse, that powers the Grail Ship and brings her brother and his fellow knights into the Holy City. In that sense, Dindrane is like the white swan, the boat, the famous Swan Boat, and her death, a song.

My actual experinece of the Grail and Swan comes from my inter-dimensional contact with the Faery race of teh Tuatha deDanaan who brough the Grail Procession and the deeper Grail Mysteries into my house in the mid 1990′s. Because of the power of these visitations, I know I have a Faery soul whic, in Celtic Tradition, is associated with the White Swan. It is not an easy power to have. It is intense and cycles from light to dark to light often. It is much like what I show in the painting above which is the rear side to my Grail Keepers Tarot:

The swan bleeds into the Grail charged with Lucifer’s lost emerald of Gnosis. The Swan’s magical blood sets it alight, as the Swan dies and is reborn in the Grail. The stars are in the pattern of the Sign Aquarius, my sun sign and the emblem of the Grail Bearers.

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What Automatic Writing Is, and How to Do It.

Guest Post About Automatic Writing by Jack Roberge

Here is wonderful guest post by my friend, student of Faery Witchcraft, and surrogate nephew Jack Roberge.

He practices many magicks, and quite excels at poetry. He has written many beautiful poems about the Pagan deities on Facebook. I have written a great deal of poetry myself. The best poems often seem to come from some place else. For instance, I would have a glimmer of thought, an image, an emotion, and begin to write it down. It would flow as if I was taking dictation from a far away voice. I have published and won a few prizes for my poetry, and every poem that won was written in this way: one draft flowed out on a scribbling tide of feelings, I did a little tinkering, and it was done! I was always shocked when at poem written like that won a prize, or was published, because it took no time or effort to write the thing! The ones I struggled with, and re-wrote over and over , never got anywhere. They failed to make the impression or have the effect on readers that the instantaneous poems did.

Perhaps the same could be said for Jack! Perhaps that is why he chose to write about Automatic Writing for the Winterspells blog. For the practice is something he is very familiar with.

This is one of Jack’s poems that I really love about an Irish Goddess very special to me: Brigidh, triple Moon Goddess of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft — or what we in the Craft know to be shapeshifting.. This poem is an excellent example of the deep mind at work in the Faery Realm, intuitively picking up the images, scents, sounds and icons of the Goddess.

Brigidh’s Bier

Yesterday at 10:52pm
I wept at the bier of St. Brigidh,
Magnanimous even in flames.
The weepers thronged in from the village
But Brigidh recalled not their names.

Three years had I watched at her cauldrons;
Three years had she called me her son;
Three years had I borne piny pauldrons
Defending a prickly old nun.

The Cailleach to her persecutors,
To heather, to hill, and to tomb,
With embers and bright seeds of rowan,
And apple, and elder in bloom.

Their roots, devouring malice,
Their seeds, abolishing greed.
Blessed Bride, won’t you grant us your power
On this day, in the hour of our need?

Automatic Writing is a magical technique used by the old Magical Orders such as The Golden Dawn and the Theosophists as a tool to get the ego-mind out of the way so that the writer could receive, and record, messages from the Deities or spirits from any of the realms that Jack discusses in his fine article. New Agers would call this Channeling. Druids would call a poet who works this way, a Bard.

The Scribe puts pen to paper, blanks his or her mind, and lets the pen move over the page on its own. It’s a bit like a Ouija Board without the Ouija. I am not sure it is less dangerous, for both involve contact with spirits.

You can be said to channel your Higher Self, or Inner Self, or what I like call the Deep Self as well. It depends on how ‘scientific’ you are and how involved consciously you are, or are not, with Magical Realms.

So here are Jack’s Instructions. Let us know what happens if you try this, or of what your experiences have been. with Automatic Writing by clicking Comments at the top of the post.

A Brief Introduction to Automatic Writing

by Jack Roberge

Though most people have heard of automatic writing, few are familiar with its myriad applications. Also known as “scribing,” automatic writing is possible for those who are willing to set aside “the self” and receive creative inspiration from one or more outside sources. Success in this practice will depend on the practitioner’s patience and willingness to establish relationships with these sources.

In this article, I will introduce the process of discovering amenable writing partners, which to my mind may be drawn from one of four “realms”: (1) The Realm of the Deceased, (2) Faerie, (3) The Celestial Realm, and (4) The Terrestrial Realm. Please bear in mind that everyone’s experience with scribing is different; my personal opinion is that anyone claiming to comprehend all its dynamics is probably a charlatan.

(1) The Realm of the Deceased

I recommend that those new to automatic writing begin by working with a loved one who has recently passed away. Ideally, this will be someone with whom the writer was on good terms at the time of passing.

Too often our loved ones pass without having the opportunity to express certain sentiments. As an automatic writer, you become a medium through which the spirit of your loved ones is allowed to speak. It is a truly beautiful practice.

I suggest that you begin by building a small memorial altar to the loved one of your choice. Include photographs, cremated remains, jewelry, etc. If you are lucky enough to have a computer, typewriter, or pen which belonged to the deceased, use it!

Set aside an hour’s time during which you are assured of having no distractions. By means of meditation and/or herbal infusion, calm and focus the mind; herbs of Pluto, such as Turnera diffusa, and gemstones associated with channeling, such as amethyst, should assist with this practice.

Most scribes will agree it is essential to establish some form of ritual by which a sense of self is clearly delineated and preserved; even the most benign of spirits is apt to playing mind games with the living. For instance, light a candle and speak aloud the name of the loved one you want to summon; when your scribing session is complete, blow out the candle and gently ask the summoned spirit to leave.

Some spirits are more effusive than others; if the first writing companion you summon seems reticent, try another!


(2) The Fairy Realm

Personally, I can only recommend communication with fairies to those who have been walking a magical path for some years and feel abundantly protected from their potential mischief. Fairies are neither angels nor demons but something in between. They exist among humans who believe in them, injecting beauty, mystery, and wonder into the ordinariness of daily life. Fairy companions repay caution, humility, and faith, and they ask relatively little of their human counterparts.

That said, I cannot recommend scribing with a fairy companion until one is competent in the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or another banishing ritual of equivalent force. Keep a steel knife close at hand, for it is the best defense against baneful fairy magicks. No matter what any fairy tells you, remember that Robin Goodfellow is among their number. Call out for Robin if your companion proves unruly; he will bring all his Merry Men to your defense if need be.

The herb Elecampane (Inula helenium) and the gemstone Staurolite (also known as Fairy Cross or Fairy Stone) should prove helpful to those wishing to commune with The Folk.

Robin Goodfellow

(3) The Celestial Realm

Though it is possible to serve as a medium for divine messages, I have relatively little experience in this practice and thus cannot recommend it to the casual scribe. Access to the higher realms in which divine energies exist is seldom permitted to mortals. Only those who commit themselves to many years of prayer, meditation, and devotion are likely to find themselves blessed with the opportunity to channel the divine wisdom of immortal gods and goddesses.

In my experience, the herbs Gota Kola, Holy Basil (Tulsi), and Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) are helpful in elevating consciousness to the higher planes where communion with divine energies is possible. The gemstones Tanzanite, Lapiz Lazuli, and Herkimer Diamond may assist those wishing to explore divine mysteries.

Mercury

Mercury

(4) The Terrestrial Realm

Those who have persisted in psychic development may find it possible to perform a fourth form of automatic writing worked purely in the terrestrial realm. As a terrestrial scribe, you telepathically channel the editorial input of a living friend or teacher. Personally, I have only used this technique in order to refine information I have received from the first three realms mentioned in this article. As with all telepathic communication, only attempt terrestrial scribing with those whom you thoroughly trust.

Third-eye herbs, such as Cinnamon and Anise, and gemstones associated with psychic development, such as clusters of quartz crystal, may assist in this practice.

In closing, I should mention that many helpful books have been written on the topic of automatic writing; the most useful one I’ve discovered is “Swan on a Black Sea: Study of Automatic Writing” by Geraldine Cummins. Thanks again to Arlene DeWinter for inviting me to pen this brief article; I trust she will add any pertinent caveats which I have omitted. Good luck!


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Attributes of the Horned God During the Dark Night of the Soul

This picture saved me!

Christina Oakley gave this extremely powerful image to me over tea and cookies in her office at Treadwells Bookshop in Covent Garden, London. Seven years after my harrowing spontaneous initiation with the Horned God, I had finally drummed up the courage to ask for help.  It was not easy to find someone who would understand the difference between visionary experience and insanity — especially in the UK where ‘mental and emotional problems’ are still perceived quite harshly.  But the only way out of darkness for me has always been to find meaning in the experience. I felt Christina could provide that meaning, for she is a knowledgeable initiated Witch.

This Initiatory ordeal is discussed in depth in my previous posts: The Horned Ones, and London: How I Encountered the Spirits of the Land.

The Horned God had come to me in the form of large and powerful Stag/Man.  Due to my own resonance with deer, I always see the God in the form the French Cernnunnos, the Stag. I had written a poem about Cernunnos as he appears on the Gundestrup cauldron a good 15 years before he came to me in the night.

( Intimations of Ancestry: Song of the Gudestrup Cauldron)

In England, the Stag is called Herne the Hunter, Lord of the Wild Hunt. Indeed, it was as he was leading the Wild Hunt through my house that he found me and my ordeal began.

When it comes to spirits and the Elder Gods: “If you can see them, they can see you.” Never take this lightly.

In her own poetic style, Christina told me about the picture at the top of this post. The bottom shows the Stag  in the dark forest. We, as Hunter, or man in his primal, unconscious, undifferentiated state, have chased him there thinking “Wow I have found a big one! One that will feed me for many months!” In our pride we fail to see that the case is reversed. It is he who has led us into his wild domain.

The Hunter thinks the Stag is the one who will die — or who will serve him, or feed for him for a long time, but it is not so. It is the Hunter who dies by entering the Dark Night. The Hunter enters the maze and cannot find the way out until the God decides he is ready. This usually takes seven years in human time.

Does anyone know the reason seven years are required to face one’s demons and walk out wounded, but wiser, and profoundly changed? It is seven years. I know for a fact!

(In writing this, I just realized, I had asked for this experience back in 1996. I was questing in true Arthurian fashion in an Arthurian, Faery domain. In other terms, I was hunting the God — following the White Stag into the Otherworld to discover the richness and beauty of the unseen worlds.  Where would he take me? What marvels would he show me? I thought he would he ‘feed’ me for a long time with wonders and possibly a spiritula prize of great merit. But rather than into the Grail Castle of transcendent beauty, he led me into the Abyss where death and a darkness waited to consume my to my very bones….for to the mortal being, the Faery realm is the abode of spirits, shades, the dead — and that is a dark place indeed.)

In Christina’s picture, the Stag’s antlers grow and branch into the Tree of Life. For Qabbalists, you can see that the Stag is not only BELOW the Tree, in the Qlippoth, but is actually the ROOT of the Tree. The traditional Qabbalistic propaganda about about the roots of the Tree of Life, or its upside down reflection, it shadow on the earth, is that they are the abode  devils, demons, chaos, and evil to be strictly avoided in meditation and magical workings. Very dangerous indeed!

This fear, in my thinking, was promoted at a time when the Roman Church sought to separate the people from their Pagan Gods, who were also rooted in the land, and thus sever them from intimacy with nature. An image of the roots of the Tree of Life beginning in the horns of an animal with cloven hooves, is remarkable indeed. For the horned and cloven ones came to be, in Christianity, synonymous with the Devil.

The Dark Forest

Wandering in the Dark Forest, is the symbol for the Dark Night of the Soul. You are lost. It seems even God has left you to grope your way through your own blindness, left you unprotected to face the monsters you grew in the shadowy corners of your mind that lurk and block you until you admit their presence. No one can advise you in the murky terrain of your own soul.  It is the helpless, lonely stage of the Quest, where no one answers your questions, where you don’t even know the right questions to ask, and comfort is in short supply.

But look again at the picture. High in the antler/branches of the Stag, are birds fluttering their wings. They hover just below the culminating symbol of what I guess is an embryonic deer, seeded in the womb space that pokes into the Upper World just under the earth. Singing, the birds conjure a blazing light around the top of the tree. Yet they seem to be barred from ascending to the Upper World, where light and life is. These birds show, not that there is a way out of the darkness, but that there is light in the darkness. The symbol also shows that the antlers of the Underworld Stag terminate in buds. These buds will flower and live again when conditions are right.

Seeing the pattern of the antler/tree reminds me of the labyrinthine path one follows in the forest of the soul. I have come to believe you must tread the maze completely before you are able to come back out into the light where the birds sing and fly free. This is because the pattern and boundary of the maze are fixed– its route, and our journey along it, is pre-ordained by the nature of its fixity.

Birds have always been symbols of the Soul. The presence of birds tell us this is soul work, this Stag chase into the woods is how we reclaim our soul.

Our Reward:Coziness

When we return to the light and the living, we find our way to the sunny mountaintop where a cozy cottage sits in plain view with smoke coming out of the chimney. A warm, welcoming fire awaits us. We see the forest far below, visible and no longer threatening. Nothing can ever threaten us again, once we have faced the darkest dark and gone through it, not even the Devil with his horns and cloven hooves can scare us!

Looking closely at the image of the little hut on the hill, we see the impressions of flowers growing along a path that climbs a hill of solar rays, and terminates in a fire inside the house. Smoke flows out of the chimney.The land is cleared and the view is spectacular. In the distance, across the treetops of the forest, we see another such hill with another little hut with smoke coming out of the chimney.  We are separate but not alone.

The flowers bloom from the buds at the points of the antlers that poke up out of the Underworld, the path ending in fire is an extension of the central trunk of the Tree of Life. Though the mountaintop is a classic symbol of spiritual attainment, this image is homely, earthy. The path of the Horned God does not lead to a celestial abode of angels and endless harping, but to life close to nature without being at its mercy. We are sovereign, but not lonely. But as the path leads up, it also leads down again. Our relationship with the God is cyclical and permanent. As this image so eloquently tells us, the Stag/God/Tree sustains us as he sustains all of life through nature.

Herne the Hunter and his Symbols

There were many other spirits that came to me with Herne — all of them part of his iconography, listed on his Table of Correspondences. When Christina described these things to me, the information was all the more convincing for my not having known it consciously before.

Herne’s Rites are traditional for Autumn Equinox, but I learned by experience that the Rites of Autumn are foreshadowed in the Spring, due perhaps to that Scorpio Full Moon at Beltane. The veil is thin at both seasonal tides, and when the veil is thin, the spirits come out upon the Earth.

Among the images associated with the Stag God are:

Harvest: First is the Harvest of Grain. Then comes the Harvest of Grapes for the wine. Third is the Harvest nuts. Last is the Harvest of Souls.

The idea of a Harvest of Souls always stirs us. It comes at the time of Samhain as we descend into the freezing darkness of Winter. Perhaps in primal times, many humans died at this time. The ancient Celts had a tradition of flogging each other with birch rods to cleanse impurities from the soul. I imagine this was a kind of insurance in case one did not survive the snows. In Christian times, the weak and sick must have run to the priests to cleanse their sins and gain absolution. Certainly the priests used this time of worry to harvest souls for Christ.

But Samhain was also a time for hunting. A large animal such as a  stag would provide meat for many weeks, feeding a family in the deepest winter months when it was dangerous to stray out of doors. For farmers, October/November would have been a time to slaughter livestock, weeding out the old so that the new born in the Spring would be strong and healthy. Thus, the animal souls were harvested by the Gods, brought home again to be reborn in the Spring.

Symbols: Grapes, Wine, Vines, Garlands

The vines suddenly burst up through my bed, driving up over the sheets to wrap around me like snakes. Lengthening at a great speed, the green vines shot up through my mattress to bind me for the God.

Animals: Wolves!

If you ever get to read my fiction you will see I have been just as busy with wolves as I have been with Stag/Men.

Wolves prowled around the edge of my protective circle — but, strangely,  couldn’t get in.  Everything else did. Also Dogs, Birds of Prey, Blackbirds, Stags, Goats, Salmon ( the wisdom part)

Plants: Vines, Ivy, Cedar, Hops

Ritual Meaning: Celebrating the Second Harvest, Darkness Overtaking Light, Celebration of Wine.

Often Initiation leads through a death and second birth. In those terms, a second harvest  would have to do with gathering the fruits of the second birth, sacrificing those fruits in preparation for another death. So the cycle goes round and round.

Deities: All Wine Deities especially Dionysus and Bacchus, Persephone, Modron, Morgan le Fay, Demeter, the Muses, Snake Woman, Sphinx, Thoth, Hermes.

Oh my! All of my most significant Gods and Goddesses! What could it all mean?

Activities: Wine Making and Adorning Graves.

What is this connection with wine and death? Anyone? Perhaps the answer is here: Stirring the Witchblood: John Barleycorn Must Die

Foods: Grapes, Acorns, Root Crops, Nuts, Apples (Goddess), Wine, Ale, Cider.

Witchcraft is the Green Religion

I am not writing all of this to blather on about myself, but to show how real the Initiation of the Horned God was and how real the Gods are. They were not contrived by ancient poets and bards, they were not invented by story tellers. They exist in their own Time/ Space and can be contacted through magical rituals and conscious observation. Our ancestors lived with these Gods and Goddesses, communicated with them regularly, made sacrifices to them to insure an abundant harvest. These ancestors were not silly children with overactive imaginations. Rather we moderns lack the instincts and intelligence of our forebears. We give nature short shrift, deny her our true attention. What right do we have to decide that the Gods of Earth do not exist just because we have cut off the organs we used to have to see them with? Safe inside the walls of our cities, we have decided that nature, our very source and provider, is irrelevant.

Seeing the spirits of the land, respecting the Gods and Goddesses of Earth proves that the Earth and all of nature is alive! The Gods embody the wisdom and sentience of the Earth, the animals her soul, the plants her spiritual essence. The Gods may be forceful towards those of us with the Sight because it is so important that they re-establish their priesthood. Who else will say what I am saying here: The Earth is your Mother, the Sky is your Father. That which is Above is as that which is Below. The Under World of spirit gives life to the Upper World of mortality. Without one, the other cannot exist.

Please be aware that you are walking on the Gods.

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Heimdall, Rowan, Aquarius, Winter Dreams

Another Heimdall coincidence: I discovered the Ogham tree associated with him is the Rowan or Mountain Ash. Rowan is also the tree ascribed to Aquarius in “Celtic Astrology”. Again this dream coming in January at the start of Mercury retrograde in  Aquarius.

January 12th -14th
For three nights of this Mercury retrograde in my sun sign Aquarius, I have dreamed of Heimdall, the divine ‘Watcher’ of the Rainbow Bridge that connects Heaven and Earth. His name has been constantly chanting through my mind — making sure I don’t forget, or ignore, the call of the Messenger. Heimdall is equated with Mercury, or Hermes, the God who carries messages from the Otherworlds to those of us in the Mortal realms. Those of who carry the Witchblood are most likely to pay attention.This blog post is my way of anchoring this message in the Reality.

That Heimdall and his message belongs in the Book of Winterspells can be shown by spelling all of his powers:

The name Heimdall means the White One, also ‘World Radiance’.  His colors are blue and silver — all are the colors of winter in the North, fire and ice, sun on snow. Like the winter sun, he possesses a supernatural clarity of vision, and due to the silence and stillness of the earth, he hears the whispers of the Other.  Much like those who bear the witchblood.

He offers protection with a sacred shield inscribed with the snowflake pattern of the Helm of Awe.

He carries the Hunting Horn, or echoing horn, whose blast can be heard in all the worlds. Like a great wind blowing through the trees, a wintry blast! The horn is made of bison horn, and horned creatures are sacred to the winterspells…
With this horn, Heimdall announces the Rangnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, when he will do battle with Loki, Trickster God of mischief. The end time, when all the worlds are withdrawn back to the Source is a winterspell…

The White Hart or Stag, who frequents this blog, Eikthymir, stands on the roof of Odinns Hall eating the leaves from the Tree of Life.  Sacred dew drips form his antlers, like the musk that quickens new life in the Spring. His antlers, like a fence, enclose the sanctuary with strong protection. I myself have enlisted the aid of the antlered Stag as a defense during psychic attack. I know his gift of rebirth is a promise and a truth.

Heimdall’s Rune is Algiz that represents the flying swan, and the Valkyries who are Swan Maidens who carry souls between Life and Death along the Rainbow Bridge. They fly by means of swan feather cloaks, teach hidden wisdom to shamans and warriors, and lead souls into the Netherworlds when their time comes.
The feminine attribution of Algiz is called Hamingja in rune shamanism, the giver of luck and a guide on the path to higher consciousness.

Some thoughts on this:

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For me the syncronicities are many, and that Heimdall’s name should be en-chanted for three nights with Mercury retrograde in Aquarius makes the message even more significant. My star sign is Aquarius and this is one of my winterspells…

I am part Iroquois. In Iroquois tradition, all white animals are sacred to the divine realms which, to be honest, in most primal cultures is equated with the world of the Ancestors, or the Dead. In such cultures, death is not perceived as final, it is simply entry into another world. Before the white people come, a White Dog Sacrifice was conducted every winter by the Iroquois. In this ceremony a White Dog was given to the Gods to ensure a good relationship with the Otherworld powers.
As a bit of an aside, for us this rite may be disturbing, but for those in alignment with magical consciousness, the white dog is sacred, already part of the Otherworld. His mortal appearance is a gift to the people who then send him home in gratitude.
All white mammals, albinos, are rare. Rare creatures are always sacred in primal consciousness. It is also important to note that in pre-horse cultures, dogs were the most useful and valuable animals, and the sacrifice of the most valuable is most powerful.

All white animals are sacred to the North, for it is the House of Death, darkness, burial, winter, but also the stars, so much more brilliant on nights with no moon, The radiant Milky Way courses overhead every January in Massachusetts, more visible than at any other time.
I always felt I my spirit came to earth from the North Pole. That I fell from the stars at that point. I had a psychic reading a few years ago with a woman from one of the tribes here and she told me straight away that I was born in the North. Most people are born in the South. This makes me different, as one travels from death to birth rather than the other way around. Therefore do I live my life in reverse…

My spiritual name, Whiteswan was given to me in a Lakota ritual reinforced by dreams and presence of the White Swan in the 7th House of my Vedic Horoscope.
The Rune Algiz is in the shape of a reversed peace sign without the ring. It is said to represent a swan falling from Above to Below. I sense it as descending into the head of Heimdall and imprinting its sign on his brow. This brings to mind the Awen which looks like Algiz reversed. The Awen is like the rays of the sun streaming down through the trees and is imprinted on the brow of prophets, seers, and poets, such as the bard, Taliessin, in Faery Tradition. I feel the Awen is also connected, for Heimdall, with his messages from the Gods and his trips along the Rainbow Bridge, is the bringer of Higher Consciousness. As Above so Below.

Another thought: If the meaning of my dream is to hear the trumpet blast announcing Rangnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, perhaps signaling the approach of 2012 when some say the world will end, have no fear. As Heimdall fights Loki we shall see a shift in consciousness. The Yin and Yang, dark and light, male and female shall be engaged in the spiral dance as we ascend back to divine realms. For those who heed, this shift will be a shift to more consciousness, not annihilation.

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