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[Witch Way] Volume #2 Issue #11 -- If It's Beltane, It Must Be Spring!
April 13, 2010
Hi, Happy Beltane!

Ken's Korner

You know, I’ve always noticed how things always just seem to come together in the Spring. I used to think this was just simple coincidence, but we all know there is no such thing. I guess I just thought that with the warmer weather, my mind was open to new possibilities, and I was just in a better mood.

Now of course, I realize that Spring is a time of growth. This is growth of anything and everything. Spring is about bringing abundance into your life, and that is exactly what happens every year at this time.

I have an article at the bottom of this issue that relates some of the abundance that has come my way this year. This includes a new permanent job (at least until my own businesses start to thrive), and some surprises.

It seems that this Spring is going to hold many interesting things for us. This month’s Chiron’s Lyre talks (among other things) about the weekend of May 6th – 9th as a good time to find whatever you are looking for. Isn’t it interesting then, that those exact days are the days for a local Pagan Music Festival called Beltania, and I’ll be there with the band.

Coincidence? Not hardly.

When you are a Witch, you start to think magically. You see the magick as it weaves around you. You tug on a strand here, or push on a strand there, and suddenly you find things starting to fall into place around you. It’s all about looking at everyday things and situation through magickal eyes. Once you can do that, you no longer have any limitations.

I encourage you to take a magickal look at your life today, and see the possibilities.

And just a quick side to Samm, hang in there Hon, I love you.

Blessed Be,

Graphic Signature

Chiron’s Lyre

A Monthly Column For Astrological Insight

Mid-April through early May this year has a lot of “weather” going on, astrologically speaking. We have a Mercury retrograde occurring during this time, as well as a Saturn-Uranus opposition. April 23rd and May 6th through the 8th are all also potentially significant days, as we will see shortly. It may be best to take a look at the Mercury retrograde and Saturn-Uranus opposition first.

When Mercury goes retrograde, some assumptions we make in our communication, thinking and getting from place to place become invalid. This transit can also manifest as a chance to finish up some “old business” (things we’ve started but not followed through on) regarding these same things. Which area of our lives is most likely to have its assumptions challenged can be seen by which Zodiac Sign (or sometimes Signs) Mercury retrogrades through.

From April 17th through May 12th, Mercury will be retrograding through the Sign of Taurus (from 12 degrees to 2 degrees), indicating that assumptions regarding our personal finances and possessions are most likely to be affected. Income (or other things we value) we have come to rely on may be lost, or expenses we’ve been ignoring may become unavoidable and have to be dealt with.

However, if you have been cultivating a source of income that has not yet born fruit, it may do so during this time. Since there may be a few financial “rainy days” this Spring between April 17th and May 12th, it may be time to break out the financial heavy-weather gear. Expect to draw down on savings or accept a little bit of friendly charity during this time, as well as cutting down on expenses.

On the other hand, any business ventures or credit opportunities that were worked on before Mercury’s retrograde that haven’t panned out previously may start to do so. These small windfalls may not be enough to totally replace lost income or savings, but will ensure that we don’t starve or end up on the streets. Our new spending levels and sources of income may indicate a “new normal” for our finances, rather than a mere bump in the road. April 17th through May 7th, Saturn will be retrograding through the last two degrees of Virgo (29 and 28), opposing Uranus in the last two degrees of Pisces as he does so.

Saturn represents responsibilities, limitations, structure and authority. Uranus represents innovation, inspiration and the unconventional. With Saturn in Virgo (the Sign of health and acceptability) opposing Uranus in Pisces (the Sign of self-delusion and empathy) I believe this transit defines the ongoing health-care saga in the United States.

This Saturn-Uranus opposition has occurred several times since the 2008 election (its first instance was from October 28th through November 15th of 2008, culminating on Election Night), and I believe it can explain the political landscape during the current administration thus far. Long-awaited landmark health-care legislation to which great lengths have been gone to for acceptability— all very much Saturn in Virgo phenomena— has recently been passed by the U.S. federal government.

The current installment of the Saturn-Uranus transit may indicate a growing realization in the population that this much-awaited, recently-enacted health-care “reform” doesn’t actually reform very much at all, and probably makes many things (such as unemployment, medical wait-times, and high-level corruption) worse.

The realization of “being had” is a very Uranus in Pisces experience, and is what many former health-care reform enthusiasts may begin feeling during this transit. Experiencing the realization of being had (Uranus in Pisces) combined with the inability to immediately change the newly-enacted rules on health-care (Saturn in Virgo) probably won’t be pleasant.

The potential upsides to this transit are the inability for this issue to be swept under the rug (even if various politicians want to discuss other issues, the health-care issue will not be allowed to rest), the social cohesion it will probably generate, the low probability of violent expressions of anger, and the likelihood of something truly new being born from the ashes of this disappointment.

While the “Aha!” experience many of us are likely to share won’t translate into immediate action, the fact that the experience is so widely shared will lay the groundwork for action when the time for it arrives (probably mid-July to early August of this year, when this opposition repeats for the final time). What form this action is likely to take will be described in the July-August Chiron’s Lyre column.

Although Mercury, Saturn and Uranus may be indicating a rather bleak Spring this year, there are also several Sunny days indicated. First off is April 23rd. Aphrodite will be holding court that day, as Venus will be influencing (“forming Aspects with” or “Aspecting” in proper astrologer-ese) half the Planets in the sky on this one day. Before getting into which Planets are being influenced and what these influences are likely to mean for you and me, a quick word about Venus’ influence in general is in order:

Venus is the Planet of love. This means romantic and sexual love of course, but it also means the love people have for the things, ideas and experiences they value. Although Venus can manifest laziness and overindulgence in her negative expressions, hers is essentially a softening and “civilizing” influence on everything she touches.

Even Aspects that don’t usually feel good— such as squares and oppositions— often feel quite pleasant when Venus is involved. Since Venus is Aspecting both Uranus and Saturn on the 23rd (two of the three ongoing difficult influences for many of us during April and May), many of our burdens may be lightened on this day by seemingly unrelated changes.

Now, on to the specifics. Venus is Aspecting (influencing) a total of four other Planets on April 23rd. These four Planets are:

  1. The Moon
  2. Saturn
  3. Uranus
  4. Neptune
Venus is forming a square with the Moon, a trine with Saturn, a sextile with Uranus, and a square with Neptune. Regarding the square to the Moon, most relationships will feel quite good today. There may be problems with relationships between women— and even relationships in general— where one person tries to “mother” the other. As long as mothering is avoided, this should be a very pleasant transit for most people.

Venus trining Saturn indicates that this is a very good day to make long-term decisions on how to spend money. Many of us will think more realistically than we normally do regarding how we spend, and this is a good time to make any changes that need to be made. Venus sextiling Uranus makes the 23rd (a Friday) a fantastic day to attend a party.

This is a good day to meet new and exciting people (and do new and exciting things yourself), but don’t get too attached to relationships or experiences that begin today. They probably won’t last, but if they do it may mean bending or changing long-held rules regarding what is and is not acceptable for you. And finally, the square between Venus and Neptune indicates many of us may have unrealistic expectations of our loved ones. Separating fantasy and reality regarding our loved ones may be necessary to either let our relationships grow or let ones that need to, end today.

And finally, from May 6th through May 8th, Venus in mid-Gemini will sextile Mars in mid-Leo. This transit represents a great time to be with others. It will be much easier to meet people these three days than normal, whether you are looking for friendship, romance or a new business partner.

Ongoing relationships will also probably prosper during this time. Going to parties these three days or doing anything that has you let your hair down around others should be a lot of fun. If a new business opportunity comes along for you— especially one that lets you stay out of the office and show yourself off— jump on it, as it will probably be successful.

The publication of this month’s column represents the twelfth installment—the one-year anniversary—of Chiron’s Lyre’s existence. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is reading this for their time and interest in doing so, and to wish you all a lot of fun in the Sun (and mud!) this Spring.

Jim Trader
Jupiter Rising Astrological Services

NOTE: This is not a typical “horoscope” reading, breaking astrological influences down by Sign for a given period of time. The information in this column should apply to most people, most of the time. If you have any questions, or want specific personalized information on how what’s going on in the heavens affects you, contact Jim Trader.

Time of The Season

As we have seen since the beginning of the year, the festivals that have been celebrated so far are for the sole purpose of fertility. As the weather in the northern hemisphere has gotten warmer, first the plants, then the animals have become fertile (Imbolc & Ostara). These are cycles that our ancestors noticed year after year.

It only seems natural then, that the people should also have some form of fertility. We call the celebration of this human fertility, Beltane. Beltane is traditionally celebrated starting the evening of April 30th, and continuing through the day of May 1st. It is astrologically associated with the sun reaching 15 degrees Taurus, which actually happens now around May 4th-6th. The Sabbat itself is named for Bal, Bel, or Baal, the Celtic God of the sun.

Beltane is one of the Celtic Fire festivals just as Imbolc is, and fire plays a major role in the celebration. A proper Beltane celebration will have at least one, if not two Balefires. The smoke and flame of the Belfire is used for purification. It is an old custom to light two Balefires, and run cattle and other farm animals between the fires, allowing the smoke to purify and cleanse the animals. Herbs may have been added to the fires to medicinally aid in the cleansing.

Couples will leap the fire in order to bless their union, and make it fertile. Individuals can also leap the fire in order to rid themselves of things they no longer want or need. You can also stand close enough to the fire to allow the heat to burn out sickness. Cast all the unwanted things in your life into the fire, and allow them to be burned away.

Virgin women would leap the fire in order to be blessed with a child of the fire. The fire is symbolic of life, passion, love, and sex. Staring into the fire, and allowing yourself to become “firestruck” is a form of divination. The warmth and light of the fire can be used as protection for the coming year. The Wiccan Rede mentions the Beltane fire celebration by name, “Nine woods in the Bale fire go, burn them fast and burn them slow…” These nine woods are:

  • Oak: For the God
  • Birch: for the Goddess
  • Fir: for birth
  • Willow: for death
  • Rowan: for magick
  • Apple: for love
  • Grapevine: for joy
  • Hazel: for wisdom
  • Hawthorn: for purity and for May

Each type of wood has a symbolic correspondence, and each is traditional, growing wild in the British Isles. For those of us who do not live in the British Isles, some of these woods may be considered “exotic” and not easily found. As long as the correspondence is correct, other woods can be substituted.

Beltane is usually one of the first celebrations meant to be held outdoors. The weather is now warm enough to spend time outside. Everyone gathers, bringing food enough to create a feast. Traditionally these foods are made from the last of the grain stores from the winter, the sacrifice of an animal, noting the abundance of the herd or flock, and in modern times, a lot of fruit, as a way to magickally encourage the trees to produce abundance.

As children, many of us took part in May Day celebrations in elementary school, without ever knowing the origins. We danced around the Maypole, without understanding its symbolic fertility, and created May Baskets to leave for neighbors and friends. These are both very traditional Beltane celebrations, and I suspect most parents would have been shocked to find out the real story behind them.

The Maypole is a phallic symbol, as masculine as they come. Wrapped by men and women in an intertwining, weaving dance of open sexuality. Typically, the dancers are all of marriageable age, and unattached. The men dance deosil, the women Widdershins, each weaving in and out, as they wind their way closer to the Maypole. If you want to see the true effects of the Maypole Dance, watch a group of teenagers do it.

The brightly colored ribbons weave a shroud around the phallus, creating a colorful shower inseminating the world around with the same colors. It is the beginning of the cycle of life, danced playfully, sensually, and teasingly around the Maypole. It was traditional after the feast, for the young men to go off into the woods. Their task: to find a quiet secluded spot, and there to make a comfortable bed on which to spend the night. They were given all afternoon for this important assignment.

At dusk, they would return to the community, and the Balefires would be lit. By full dark, raging bonfires would dot the countryside. Livestock from throughout the community would be herded between the cleansing fires. By the time the animals were all cleansed, the fires would have died down enough for people to begin leaping them.

As they vaulted the fire, each person might yell out a word or two indicating what it was they wished from the fire in the coming year. Words such as “love”, “Health”, “Abundance”, and “Protection” could be heard as people called out their desires.

Stories would be told around the fire, about when parents and grandparents were young, and the things they saw or did. As the children became sleepy, they would be taken off to bed, and the young men would pair off with the young women as they prepared to go “a-maying”.

As the night wound down for the community, it was just starting for the young people. The couples would begin melting away into the forest. Each young man would escort his young lady back to the spot he had prepared earlier in the day. If it met her satisfaction, they would spend the night there, enjoying the company of each other.

To many parents today, this sounds horrible, but a thousand years ago, when a marriage usually wasn’t arranged until the girl was pregnant, and thereby proving her fertility, and ability to add to the community, this was normal. Any children conceived on this night were considered especially blessed, and were seen as gifts by the Gods.

It was a time when most children never lived past childhood, and when the average lifespan was perhaps 40 years. Death in childbirth, infant mortality, disease, and all the other things we tend to forget now, were all factors in keeping the population low. It was important to begin producing children as early as possible, when you understood that a majority of your children were going to die.

The next morning, the young men would go out and gather flowers, as their partner washed her face in the morning dew. When they returned home, the young women would present the flowers to their mothers, thus giving a reason for having been out all night. The young women who became pregnant, were said to have gotten that way by leaping the Balefire.

Even today, many Witches celebrate Beltane by orgasmic acts with their partner, above and beyond the normal. It is a spiritual act, as the God and Goddess are worshipped through carnal ritual. Through physical and spiritual union, fertility is brought to the people once again.

Stranger Than Fiction

Last month I talked about prosperity, and how to bring it into your life. This month’s Witch Way is about Beltane, that time of the year when we think about fertility of the people. So I thought it might be appropriate to share some of the personal prosperity I am experiencing in my life.

First off, barring any unforeseen issues with a background check, I have a permanent job. It doesn’t pay great, but it pays a lot better than Unemployment! My first day on the new job will be the 19th. This prosperous opportunity came to me almost exactly one month after another opportunity was presented.

In late February, I was at a staff meeting for Front Range Pagan Pride, I’m head of security for our local Pagan Pride Day, which happens every September. Among the staff members, there were two friends I’ve known for years, who also happen to be in a band called Heartbeat.

Heartbeat is a local Pagan band that has been around for a little over a year now. Greg, the guitarist for the band and I have been attending drum circles for years. In fact he used to run one of the drum circles at the Witches Brew Coffee House.

After the meeting, Greg approached me and told me that their drummer, Brandon was leaving the band, and he wanted to know if I knew any drummers who would be interested in taking his place. My reply was that if it were 20 years ago, I would be, but I didn’t know if I could make the time commitment required to be in a band. Greg suggested that I go up to their place during the week and just “jam” with them, and see how things went.

I should have realized right then and there what was going to happen, but sometimes I too need the metaphysical 2x4 upside the head to get a clue.

So I made the drive up into the mountains, to where the band lives. They rent a huge house out in the middle of nowhere. When I got there, I noticed two things. First, they have a huge Great Room where they have lights, sound system, and all their equipment set up, and second, I saw every drummer’s wet dream of a drum set.

The drum set consists of 13 drums, including a double bass, 6 cymbals, chimes, and just about everything else but the kitchen sink. I dare any drummer to not sit down there and start playing. The drum set really is a trap set in every sense of the word, I was surrounded by drums no matter where I turned.

So we started to “jam”. I put quotes around jam because it wasn’t long until it became a rehearsal. We’d play a song, them knowing the song, and me just putting a beat to it, we’d stop, and comment about how it could be done better, then try integrating the comments in the song. We played for four hours. When we finished, they all asked me if I would join the band.

I’m not the best drummer in the world, but I have been playing for 35 years. As a teen ager, I can remember fantasizing about being in a rock band. It was the 80’s, the era of Heavy Metal and Hair Bands. I have to tell you, playing that day reminded me of all those dreams, and here I was, playing with a real honest to goodness band. The music was good, and all original. What could I say? I joined the band.

Brandon’s last show was to be at a venue the band rented out up in Arvada. We decided that since I didn’t know all the songs, I’d learn three songs, including a new one they just wrote, and I would replace Brandon for the last three songs of the set. The band would publicly say goodbye to Brandon, and introduce me.

The day of the show came. We all know there is no such thing as coincidence, that afternoon we had to be at another Pagan Pride Staff Meeting. After the meeting, the band headed to the venue. We had been interviewed by the local newspaper a week earlier. The reporter who did the band interview, was also the paper’s Spirituality reporter, so us all being Witches, just added to the interview. The interview was published a couple of days before the show.

The band got to the venue three hours before the show, to set up. It took us that long to get both bands set up and sound checked. In the month since I had joined the band, we had found a manager who has since gotten us some really interesting shows, and a fifth member to play keyboards, violin, and backup vocals.

The band has a coach, who was originally Brandon’s drum teacher. You see the band started because Brandon was going to be part of an exhibition show, and didn’t want to just be on stage by himself. His mother, (the band’s bass player) Greg, and Barb decided to put together a song to showcase Brandon. They recorded the live performance and sent it off to friends and family. Before they knew it, they had four shows set, and one song.

The band coach, Jeffery Kinnison helped get us ready for the show. El, our sound guy used to work with little bands like the Doobie Brothers. El also engineered the band’s first and so far only CD, Blood Moon.

The show went off without a hitch. We knew where we screwed up, but the audience didn’t. I was back on stage for the first time since high school band. It was…exhilarating. Then we had to break down the stage. That only took a couple of hours. The Name Bands have roadies to do all that work, but as a small band, we do it all ourselves. It’s a pain in the ass, but you do what you have to. The one drawback to having the Drum set from Hel, is that you have to disassemble, lug it to the show, assemble it, play for an hour, disassemble it, lug it back, and reassemble it.

For those who are in the Denver area, our next two shows are at Beltania, which is a Pagan Music Festival. Our new manager has gotten us a couple of shows. On May 13th, we will be playing with several other bands at the Buffalo Rose up in Golden, a place that also hosts Big Name bands from my misspent youth.

She also got us a spot in the Colfax Marathon on May 16th. No, I and not shelping my drums 26 miles while I play, we’ll be along the race route, playing for encouragement of the runners, and entertainment of anyone else. As it has been explained to me, the Colfax Marathon is the backdoor into playing at A Taste of Colorado, and The People’s Fair, two annual events in downtown Denver where local and national bands all play on various stages. It’s huge exposure for us.

None of these shows (with the possible exception of the Buffalo Rose) pays, so we don’t have to pay our manager, but just the exposure could make us an overnight national act. I have seen bands like BTO, Steppen Wolf, Cheap Trick, and Tom Petty, play at People’s Fair and the Taste. You never know who might be looking for an opening act.

Last month I was wondering how I was going to keep CyberWitchcraft going, and how I was going to pay my bills. Today, worse case scenario, I have a 9-5 job that will take care of that. Best case, I become a famous Rock Star. What a difference a month can make.

It’s all in how you work the magick!

If you want to listen to what Heartbeat sounds like, you can get two free downloads from Reverb Nation. You can also listen to the four songs that are currently up on that site. You can become a fan at our Facebook page, and you can download one song, or the entire Blood Moon CD from itunes.

I’m not playing on any of the songs currently available, and I play them very differently from the way Brandon played them. We’re hoping to have another CD out in the fall, and we’ve just started work on our first video.

If you can, you should really see us live. We have a great time, and put out a lot of energy. Either the band website, or the facebook pages above will give you all the details.

If you have an article you'd like to submit as a guest author for Witch Way, or for CyberWitchcraft, go to the Contact Page and click Submissions in the drop down box. Let me know what the article is about, and I will reply back to you so that you can attach it in an email.

Articles for Witch Way should be at least 500 words, and those for CyberWitchcraft should be around 2000 words.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can go to the Contact Page on CyberWitchcraft, or simply reply to this email. This newsletter and the website are created for you, your thoughts and ideas are important to us.

Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,

Blessed Be,
Graphic Signature

Ken Biles

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