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[Witch Way] Volume #3 Issue #1 -- Mid-Summer at last!
June 13, 2010
|Hi, Happy Litha!
Well here it is, the third anniversary if CyberWitchcraft. Itís been an interesting year, and by interesting, I mean in the Chinese curse sort of way. You may have noticed that there wasnít a Witch Way newsletter last month. The main reason was that I just didnít have time to write anything for it.
Between working overtime at the new job, and taking several days to go to Beltania, our local Pagan Music Festival (where the band Iím in played two shows), time simply got away from me. That seems to happen to a lot of people as summer rolls around.
It seems like we had far too much time during the Winter, but now with everything there is to do, there just isnít enough time to do it all. For me, the lack of time started at the beginning of Spring. You see, I knew the hosting for CyberWitchcraft was coming due, and I still didnít have a job.
In fact I didnít have enough money to even pay rent. That is when the generosity of friends came to my rescue. Some gave me food, some gave me money, one even bought me a new pair of shoes. In fact the reason CyberWitchcraft is still up is due to the generosity of one person, Sherry.
I donít know Sherry personally, she lives in Ohio, but it seems that something Iíve done, either on the website, or in this newsletter has resonated with her. When I asked for donations a few months back, she sent me one. She emailed me and asked for my address because she doesnít use credit cards online.
I honestly didnít think anything of it, but a week later when I got her check, I was amazed to find not only enough to pay for the yearís hosting, but also enough to pay the rest of my rent. Besides wanting to publicly thank Sherry for her donation, I also wanted to point out how what may be something small to you, can be huge to another.
Nothing I have done on CyberWitchcraft, or in this newsletter seems all that earth shattering to me, itís just my thoughts and opinions. Yet these small things are what caused a total stranger to send me a sizable donation when I needed it most.
Itís now Litha, the time of abundance, and I have a job that while it doesnít pay me a lot, pays me more than enough to take care of the bills. I got paid for playing with the band for the first time a week ago. It was only $10, but I can now call myself a professional musician. Iíve been paid to play. Even better, more paying shows are in the works.
Iím not writing this to point out how great my life is now, Iím writing it to point out how great your life is. Itís easy to see all the trials and hard times when youíre in them, but the good times seem to fade away without notice.
No matter how tough life is for you, there are always good things happening around you. When everything is going great, we never seem to notice as theyíre happening. Take time to smell the roses now that theyíre in bloom. Notice all the good things in your life now, so that youíll have sharper memories after theyíve gone. Nothing lasts forever except change.
Donít count on the good times lasting, they never do, but then neither do the bad times. Just as our ancestors did, take some of your abundance as you harvest it, and hold onto it for harder times to come. Enjoy the abundance while it lasts, but look to the future with the understanding that what you save now, may sustain you later.
Itís easy to become lazy in the heat of Summer, eating all that you grow, and enjoying the good life. Enjoy sure, but not with complete abandon. Take your vacations, enjoy the warm sunshine, and live life, this is what itís for. Just remember to take a little time to work toward some long term goal that you have. Use the abundance all around you to help achieve that goal.
Everything is connected. What you do now will affect what happens with you later. Litha may be the beginning of Summer on the calendar, but donít forget that itís the middle of Summer in actuality. The days are only going to get shorter from here.
The Holly King will inevitably win his tug-of-war. Nothing lasts forever, not even the heat of Summer. Think toward the future and plan for it. Youíll be in a much better place when you get to the present.
A Monthly Column For Astrological Insight
Surprisingly, there are no major transits occurring this month (mid-June to mid-July). Since there is a very rare and potentially very powerful transit occurring during the next columnís watch, I thought it would be good to use the current astrological ďdown-timeĒ to give some background on whatís going to be happening astrologically in late July through mid August.
This monthís column will be part one in a two-part series. In this monthís column Iím going to talk about Aspects and why this upcoming one is so special. In next monthís column I will get to the specifics of what times, Planets, and Signs are involved, and what kind of events and experiences this upcoming transit will probably represent.
Aspects are the relationships between astrologically significant celestial bodies and/or points in space. These relationships are said to exist when these bodies or points form certain ďanglesĒ relative to each other when seen in Earthís sky, and correspond to an interaction between the energies these bodies or points represent.
For example, Venus represents women while Mars represents men. When the two Planets Aspect each otheró when they appear to be in the same place in Earthís sky (a zero-degree angle), opposite each other, or at other significant degrees of separation like 90 or 60ó relationships between men and women often reach critical junctures.
Aspects are looked at differently depending on whether they are considered as part of a birth-chart, indicating a life-pattern for a given individual set at the time theyíre born, or are looked at as a transit, indicating an event or phenomenon affecting a large number of people after their birth. Right now what Iím writing about is Aspects regarded as transits, or ďtransiting Aspects.Ē
When speaking of transiting AspectsĖ Aspects that occur during a personís life rather than when they were bornó there are three things that determine how powerful they are.
The first is how long they last. The second is how many Planets are involved. The third only comes into effect if there are more than two Planets, and their combined Aspects form a ďshapeĒ such as a cross, square or triangle rather than merely a single line between two points in space.
The more Planets involved and the longer it lasts, the more powerful it tends to be. When a shape is created, the combined Aspect is often one of the most powerful.
The transit coming up in late July through August is long-lasting (over 5 weeks from start to finish), involves primarily three Planets with three others being involved briefly, and does form a shape. Hence, most astrologers believe this transit represents a very important juncture for many of us. The last time a similar transit occurred was in 1934.
When a shape is formed by Aspects, there is almost always a commonality between the Signs involved. Either all Signs involved share an element, or else they share what astrologers call a Mode. This upcoming transit has Signs that share a Mode.
There are three modes that a Sign can have: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. All Signs have a combination of Element, Mode and Planetary Ruler(s) that helps define that Signís personality and meaning, and each Signís combination of factors is unique to that Sign, ensuring each Sign is understood to be distinct from the others. Cardinal Mode Signs are about taking action and changing plans. Fixed Mode Signs prefer reliability and plans that donít change. Mutable Mode Signs tend to borrow the plans of others.
The major transiting Aspect that is sneaking up on us is called a Cardinal T-Square. This means that there are at least three Planets involved, and that two are opposite each other while a third Planet is forming a square, or 90 degree angle, to the two that oppose each other. Itís called a ďt-squareĒ because if you draw a line between the two opposing points and a line from the point that squares them, what you get resembles a cross with one arm missing, or a ďTĒ with all three sides of equal length.
The closed shape that is formed by connecting all three points with straight lines is that of an exact isosceles triangle, with the squaring Planet forming the vertex of the two equal sides.
Itís called a ďCardinalĒ t-square because all three Signs with Planets Aspecting each other have a Cardinal Mode. Since Cardinal Signs tend to be dynamic and even disruptive as a rule, this is a potentially very difficult transit. Oppositions and squares are both potentially awkward Aspects, and their influence is combined within a t-square.
The last time a similar transiting Cardinal T-square was seen was at the end of 1933 and the beginning of 1934. During this time the Gold Reserve Act was passed in the United States. The GRA was a very disruptive piece of legislation making it impossible for U.S. citizens to exchange dollars for gold from banks, and illegal for U.S. citizens to own gold as money, actions that at the time were unheard of unless a nation was totally bankrupt.
Since the U.S. Constitution says that only gold and silver are to be the final arbiters of trade and debt for citizens of the U.S., and since the GRA outlaws these final arbiters without changing the Constitution, it effectively invalidated the Constitution. Also, while the GRA prevented U.S. citizens from holding gold in monetary form (coins or bars), foreign holders of dollars could still exchange dollars for monetary gold at a fixed rate ensuring the dollar was still used as an international currency.
Twenty four hours after signing the GRA into law, FDR radically changed the fixed official dollar-gold exchange rate from $20.67 per ounce of gold (a rate basically unchanged since the founding of the nation in 1792) to $35 per ounce. This resulted in big banks and the U.S. government profiting immensely while passing on an instant 75% across-the-board price increase to the rest of the population, 25% of whom were unemployed.
With this kind of a history, itís understandable that some people are anxious and even frightened about experiencing another Cardinal T-Square. There are some further similarities between the two Cardinal T-Squares that give some people pause, but there are also some significant differences that I think will make this Cardinal T-Square a much more enjoyable experience than the one in 1934. I will discuss the specifics of this t-square, its similarities and differences from the last one in next monthís column.
I wish all my readers the best as Spring draws to a close. May the good things you have sown these last few months bear abundant fruit this Summer.
NOTE: This is not a typical ďhoroscopeĒ 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 whatís going on in the heavens affects you, contact Jim Trader.
Time of The Season
Itís hard to believe that the year that just started is now half over. Where do the days and months go? Litha is, contrary to the modern calendar, Mid Summer. The Celts, who thought of their days as starting and ending at sundown, celebrated the beginning of Summer at Beltane, and the end at Lammas. That puts Litha right in the middle as Mid Summer.
Itís the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and while it is a Solstice, it is celebrated along with Yule, Ostara, and Mabon, by modern Pagans as a Lesser Sabbat. The name Litha, is a modern invention, the word probably of Saxon origin meaning the opposite of Yule. Still, use as the name of the Sabbat is only found in modern times. For centuries, it was St. Johnís Eve.
To most modern Pagans, the idea that our Pagan ancestors used a Christian name for the holiday seems just plain wrong. What you have to remember is that St. John the Baptist was about as Pagan a figure as you can find. He was known as The Oak King, and his connection to the wild places is well known. Many statues of the Saint show him with horns. While this tends to be somewhat embarrassing to Christians, many Pagans simply refer to them as ďPan the BaptistĒ.
Letís not forget the many depictions of St. John the Baptist in the guise of a satyr, complete with cloven hooves. He seems more Jack of the Green, than John the Baptist. Itís obvious to all who look with open eyes that this Christian Saint is but a shadow of an older Pagan forest God. Our ancestors, who carved foliate masks into the Christian churches, may have had a much easier time thinking of this as St. Johnís Eve, than we would expect.
In England the custom of setting the watch began. Large bonfires were lit at sundown to light the night for revelers, and keep away malignant spirits. Streets were lined with lanterns, and people carried pivoted lanterns on poles, known as Cressets, as they wandered from fire to fire. These wanderers, decked out in garlands, were known as a Ďmarching watchí.
Often the marching watch also consisted of Morris Dancers, and the traditional unicorn & dragon, as well as six hobby horse riders. These travelling revelers would wander all across the city. Just as Beltane is the time to renew the boundaries of your property, this is a time to renew the boundaries of the city town or village.
Customs for Mid Summer are as many as people who celebrated it. Teens and young adults would most certainly stay up through the shortest night of the year. This tradition still goes on, even if they donít realize it as a tradition. I can remember doing it when I was in high school with friends, wandering around our neighborhood throughout the night.
Those who were more stout, or stupid, might keep a vigil in the center of a circle of standing stones. It was thought that doing so would end in either madness, death, or the power of inspiration, the type that would make you a great poet or bard.
This is also the night it was said that the serpents of the island would gather themselves into a writhing, hissing ball to create the Ďglainí. This mass was also known as the Serpentís Egg, Druidís Egg, or Serpent Stone. It was said that anyone who possessed this hard glass bubble would wield incredible magical power. Welsh legend has it that even Merlin went in search of this object.
British Faerie Lore states that this might is second only to Samhain as the most important night of the year. To see the Fey, you only need to gather fern seed at the stroke of midnight, and rub it onto your eyelids. Just be sure to carry a bit of rue in your pocket, so that you donít end up being pixie-lead. If you canít find rue, or donít know what it is, you can always turn your jacket inside out. This is a tried and true method for breaking faerie glamour.
Finding and following a ley line to your destination will also keep you safe from any malevolent power, as will crossing living water such as a stream. In the traditional vampire legends, crossing any running water was enough to keep you safe because vampires werenít able to follow.
Itís customary to decorate your house, especially over the front door, with birch, fennel, St. Johnís Wort, orpin, and white lilies. The plants thought to have special or even magickal properties on this night are rue, roses, St. Johnís Wort, vervain, & trefoil. In Spain, the night is known as the night of Verbena, and young women all over Europe would pick St. Johnís Wort in the hope of divining their future lover.
The tools of this Holiday are the spear and the caldron. Both having huge significance in Irish folklore of the Tuatha de Danaan (properly pronounce Toowa de Thainan). Llew carried the spear into battle, and Cerridwen used her caldron to revive the dead soldiers each night, and supply them with a never-ending source of food during the day.
This is the day when the twin Oak King and Holly King battle each other for supremacy of the season. They will do battle again at Yule. Often this battle is played out with a tug of war, either between two men, or even teams who represent the primal forces of Nature. The Holly King always wins this battle, as from this point on the days get shorter.
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,
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