Thursday, June 22, 2017

Midsummer Altar 2017

For all altars, click here!

Midsummer celebrates the longest day of the year, focusing on the sun as a source of projective energy.  As the longest day of the year, it's a time where we focus on working hard, seeing our goals become reality and bringing that which is in the shadow to light.  This solstice is a day of courage and strength, a day where we examine our constitution and do away with that which does not serve us so that we can move forward towards our future, our hopes, our dreams.

Because the sun is a key focus on this holiday, I chose to decorate my altar in hues of gold.  Gold is a fiery color, representing strength, success and, of course, solar energy.  I chose white as an accent color because it represents the clear light the sun projects, giving purity, protection, peace and life.

Along the back of the altar, I placed five candles.  You'll notice that they vary in size, ranging from a thin and gold to large and polka-doted.  Each candle represents a time of day: Dawn, morning, afternoon, evening and dusk.  You'll notice that night or midnight is not represented here.  That's because these candles are lit ablaze with fire and colored in gold and white; in other words, these candles represent the sun itself and its travel across our sky.

In front of the afternoon candle, representing the peak power of the sun, is an offering bowl filled with quartz pieces.  Quartz is an amplifier, representing protection and purification.

On top of the quartz are two golden flowers, representing summer life and abundance, as well as as a white feather tipped with gold paint and glitter.  White feathers represent transformation, purity, peace and intelligence along with the element air.

Two other offering bowls adorn the altar on either side, honoring the dawn and morning as well as the evening and dusk.  These offering bowls are filled with white sand, something I find representative of the summer and the beach.  In the sand, a feather, a flower and a tiger's eye are placed.  Tiger's eye is a solar stone representing strength and protection.  Because it's a stone also tied with the earth, it's a fantastic grounding stone.

Midsummer is often closely tied to the Fae and what better way to honor them than to offer up fairy lights on the altar?  That being said, these lights are contained, presenting the protective nature of the house.  As much as I love fairies, they're mischievous little spirits.  I'd much rather be able to find my keys tonight when I need them!

You'll notice that all of the elements are properly represented on the altar: Fire for fire of course, but feathers for air, flowers and tiger's eye for earth and the fairies for water (I associate any spirit-like entity with the west, as that's where the veil is located in my frame of reference).

The altar itself is a beacon in the house, a glowing hub of gold welcoming the longest day of the year and the projective energy of the sun for success, growth and forward movement.

Here's wishing everyone a fantastic Summer Solstice!

A special thank you to Kaiulani, Jocelyn and Lauren as my top Patreon supporters this month!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Center Spiral: A Kansas City Witches Meetup Online Magazine

Part of the reason I've fallen behind on Witchy Words this month has been my participation on staff with The Center Spiral.  It was a lot of late nights and early mornings, but here it finally is!

Click here to read the first issue.
Find The Center Spiral on Facebook here.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Heena Lushede Coven Public Litha Ritual 2017

On Sunday, June 18th, Heena Lushede Coven held their public Litha ritual at VFW Post 1829 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Despite the weather being hot leading up to this ritual, this past Sunday was absolutely gorgeous and pleasant, perfect for ritual!

This ritual was led by Ripley with help from Jason!

And it certainly had quite a turnout.  The VFW is a wonderful location!

The ritual began with Jason and Ripley using a staff and sword to cast the circle.

Ripley added flowers and straw to an incense burner, burning them to honor Aine.

This incense was then passed about the circle to cleanse it.

Afterward, Jason charged water with coins in honor of Cernunnos who carried a leather pouch with coins.

This blessed water was sprinkled about the circle, blessing the grounds.

Starting east and moving clockwise, each quarter was called.

Once the quarters were called, Ripley introduced the ritual by talking about the summer solstice as the longest day, the transition between cultivation and harvest.

Jason spoke of the Sun God, stating that he is at his strongest during this time.  Litha is a "culmination of what was into what will be."

Because fae are so essential to this sabbat, Ripley chose to honor Aine, the Celtic Goddess of love and Queen of the Fae.

Likewise, Jason stated that this is the day that the forest is most active, thus he invited Cernunnos, the Celtic God of the forest and master of the hunt.

Upon inviting Aine and Cernunnos to the circle, Jason and Ripley turned their attention to the egg on the altar.

Inside the egg were four items: A gnawed leaf, a caterpillar, a chrysalis and a butterfly.  Each represented the four sabbats thus far.  Imbolc is represented by the egg stage: the potential, the spark of life, the beginning.  We then cultivate that potential idea as a caterpillar at Ostara, eventually culminating as a chrysalis when the idea begins to transform at Beltane.  Finally, at Litha, the idea has manifested into a butterfly, representing the fruition of our hard work.

As Ripley and Jason spoke of each concept, they held the item up, eventually placing them back on the altar in front of the faery door as an offering.

After speaking briefly about breaking pagan stereotypes and holding ourselves to a higher standard...

A basket was passed around with little felt chrysalises inside.  We were asked to charge the pouch with an idea we've been working hard on since the beginning of the year.

By pulling a thread out, we opened the chrysalis revealing a butterfly inside!

Cakes were then charged and passed around the circle...

... As was lemonade serving as the "wine."

With that, community announcements were made, the god, goddess and quarters were released and the circle was closed.

Of course, that certainly isn't the end of festivities.  All public rituals include a community potluck and a raffle of items donated by community members to help the coven cover the costs of renting the space.  It's all great fun to be had!

If you'd ever like to attend a Heena Lushede Coven public ritual or any of the other wonderful pagan community meets around Kansas City, check out the Kansas City Witches Meetup group for more information!

I hope everyone had a merry Litha!

A special thank you to Kaiulani, Jocelyn and Lauren as my top Patreon supporters this month!