Lughnasadh aka Lammas…


Lammas-goddess

In Irish mythology, the Lughnasadh (Loo-nah-sah) or Lammas festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh  as a funeral feast and sporting competition in commemoration of his foster-mother, Tailtiu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. The Celts would throw seven sacred woods into a fire in honor of the Gods and Goddesses.

The first location of the Áenach Tailteann gathering was at Tailtin, between Navan and Kells. Historically, the Áenach Tailteann was a time for contests of strength and skill and a favored time for contracting marriages and winter lodgings. A peace was declared at the festival, and religious celebrations were held. The festival survived as the Taillten Fair, and was revived for a period in the 20th century as the Telltown Games.

The ancient Celtic festival on 1 August involved the solemn cutting of the first of the corn of which an offering would be made to the deity by bringing it up to a high place and burying it; a meal of the new food and of bilberries of which everyone must partake; a sacrifice of a sacred bull, a feast of its flesh, with some ceremony involving its hide, and its replacement by a young bull; a ritual dance-play perhaps telling of a struggle for a goddess and a ritual fight; an installation of a head on top of the hill and a triumphing over it by an actor impersonating Lugh; another play representing the confinement by Lugh of the monster blight or famine; a three-day celebration presided over by the brilliant young god or his human representative. Finally, a ceremony indicating that the interregnum was over, and the chief god was in his right place again.

Lughnasadh celebrations were commonly held on hilltops. Traditionally, people would climb hills on Lughnasadh to gather bilberries, which were eaten on the spot or saved to make pies and wine. As with the other Gaelic seasonal festivals (Imbolc, Beltane and Samhain), the celebrations involved a great feast. In the Scottish Highlands, people made first-harvest-sa special cake called the lunastain, which was also called luinean when given to a man and luineag when given to a woman. This may have originated as an offering to the gods.

Another custom that Lughnasadh shared with the other Gaelic festivals was the lighting of bonfires and visiting of holy wells. The ashes from Lughnasadh bonfires would be used to bless fields, cattle and people.Visitors to holy wells would pray for health while walking sunwise around the well. They would then leave offerings; typically coins or clooties, (pieces or strips of cloth).

In Gaelic Ireland, Lughnasadh was also a favored time for handfastings — trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or formalizing it as a lasting marriage.

In Ireland, some people continue to celebrate the holiday with bonfires and dancing. The Catholic Church in Ireland has established the ritual of blessing fields on this day. In the Irish diaspora, survivals of the Lúnasa festivities are often seen by some families still choosing August as the traditional time for family reunions and parties, though due to modern work schedules these events have sometimes been moved to adjacent secular holidays, such as the Fourth of July in the United States.

Lughnasadh heralds the first harvest, not yet summers end (Samhain) but ever closer to autumn. It celebrates the first of the crops being harvested and is often related to bread/corn and berries.

Ways to Celebrate…

Bake some bread – Certain smells will bring up happy memories of the year before just like Christmas music does and the smell of a warm loaf is sure to keep the family happy, especially if the children can help you make it. It represents the first loaf of harvest and some use it in ritual whereas some have it as part of their meal. Some Pagans symbolically throw pieces of bread into a fire during the Lammas ritual.

Plan your meals – Make food that will only be eaten on that time of year like pudding would at wintertime. This will bring back sentimental memories of the family time you spent together. Try to make something different that will be associated with that period. A magnificent feast is very important so make sure you plan it well! Pumpkin soup, harvest broth and casserole made with seasonal vegetables such as spring onions and potatoes will be great. Blackberry pie and cream made with fat ripe brambles will be delicious for a dessert. There are plenty of harvest recipes on the net so explore them and discuss them and plan out your menu.

imageTake time for meditation and ritual – Encourage your family members to meditate to give thanks for the abundance and generosity of nature. If you sit in a circle you can share your spiritual energies with one another. Do this in the garden or somewhere natural and quiet and hope the weather stays fair and bright. Some will use the loaf they have baked to eat after their ritual. It’s because of nature that they can enjoy this food. You could always have the meal on the late afternoon and go for a picnic for lunch in the warm countryside with all the family.

two corn husk dolls One traditional Lughnasadh custom was the construction of the kern-baby, corn dolly, or corn maiden. This figure, braided into a woman’s form from the last harvested sheaf of grain, represented the Harvest Spirit. (In America, the tradition is continued in the making of corn husk dolls.) The doll would be saved until Spring, when it was ploughed into the field to consecrate the new planting and insure a good harvest. In other traditions, the corn dolly was fed and watered throughout the Winter, then burned in the fires at Beltane to insure a continuation of good growth.

The celebration of Lammas is a pause to relax and open yourself to the change of the Season so that you may be one with its energies and accomplish what is intended. Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional. It is considered taboo not to share your food with others. Spellwork for prosperity, abundance and good fortune are especially appropriate now, as well as spells for connectedness, career, health and financial gain.

Another custom drawn from Lughnasadh relates to fire. Lughnasadh was, to the Celts, one of four Great Fire Festivals, held on the cross-quarter days. During Lughnasadh, the custom of lighting bonfires was intended to add strength to the powers of the waning sun. Afterward, the fire brands were kept in the home through the Winter as protection against storms, lightning and fires caused by lightning….

Go to a local festival – Harvest is a popular time of year for anyone whatever their religion so it’s no wonder why many villages and towns have their own celebrations. Try to attend one of these even if they’re a bit out of your way. It will get the family into it more to see other people having fun in ways that can only be done in community games.

Our Bath Salts are Now Available Online…


Dream Time yes Salem’s Moon is happy to announce that you can now order our Bath Salts online.

All of our Bath Salts are custom blended using the finest quality Sea Salt and Essential Oils.

Order by phone (914) 522-6830 …….or

Click on any of the product photos on our Bath Salts page to be taken directly to that item on our SQUARE STORE site.

Thank You to All…


Front view Thank you to all who came out to the Wurtsboro Fair yesterday (July19). It was great to see old friends and make so many new ones.

We look forward to seeing you again at the Blueberry Festival on Saturday, August 9 in Ellenville.

Remember,  you can always call us at 914-522-6830 to place an order and pick it up at the Blueberry Festival.

Salem’s Moon will be at the Wurtsboro Street Fair…


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(Above –  George Micewicz and our booth at The Center for Symbolic Studies – Beltane Festival 2014)

Look for the Salem’s Moon Booth

at

The WURTSBORO Street Fair ~ Saturday July 19th 12-6pm

We will be selling all your favorite Salem’s Moon products…
Our Handcrafted Magickal Oils, Incense, Spell Kits, Bath Salts, Floral Crowns and Adult and Children Wands.
Be the first to test our brand new Fairy Magic Shea Butter!
In addition to our own unique products, we will also have a selection of Jewelry, Gemstones, Books, Tarot Cards, Cauldrons, Candles, Offering Bowls… and more!
Want to be sure we bring your favorite product?
~ Order by Phone ~ Pick it up at the Fair!

Give us a call at 914-522-6830.

fairy magic oil  love attraction incense  passionate lovers spell kit  wreath  wand  child wand

The Charites…….


image In Greek mythology, a Charis or Grace is one of three or more minor goddesses of grace, charm, beauty, adornment, mirth, festivity, dance, song, nature, human creativity and fertility. Together they are known as the Charites or Graces. Their names were Aglaea (“Splendor”), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer).

They were part of the advisors and assistants of Aphrodite and Hera. The Charites were also associated with the Greek underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Although the Graces usually numbered three, other Graces are sometimes mentioned, including Auxo (seasons and the natural portions of time), Hegemone (plants) , Peitho ( persuasion and seduction), Phaenna (brightness), Pasithea (relaxation, meditation and hallucinations), and Charis  (grace and kindness). An ancient vase painting attests the following names as five: Antheia (Blossoms), Eudaimonia (Happiness), Paidia (Play), Pandaisia (Banquet) and Pannychis (Night Festivities). – The were the patronesses of amusement and festivities.

aohrodite Of all the deities, the Charites (Graces) are the nearest to Aphrodite; for they were given the adornment of personal appearance and the embellishment of each part of the body; consequently, they are the very incarnation of beauty and grace; as was Aphrodite.

The character and nature of the Charites are sufficiently expressed by the names they bear. They were conceived as the goddesses who gave festive joy and enhanced the enjoyments of life by refinement and gentleness. Gracefulness and beauty in social intercourse are therefore attributed to them. 

They are mostly described as being in the service or attendance of other divinities, just as real joy exists only in circles where the individual gives up his own self and makes it his main object to afford pleasure to others. The less beauty is ambitious to rule, the greater is its victory; and the less homage it demands, the more freely is it paid. These then seem to be the ideas embodied in the Charites. They lend their grace and beauty to everything that delights and elevates gods and men.

eloquence The most perfect works of art are called the works of the Charites and the greatest artists are their favorites. They also assist to give grace to eloquence and persuasion in speaking and writing and wisdom itself receives its charms from them.

Poetry is the art which is especially favored by them.  They are the friends of the Muses; with whom they live in Olympus.  Poets are inspired by the Muses, but the application of their songs to the embellishment of life and the festivals of the gods are the work of the Charites.

Animal Totems: Dictionary of Animals…


The following information on totem animals was written by Starstuffs -

“This Animal Totem’s web section was created in 1997 as a student guide for those seeking understanding. It was one of the very first animal totem web sites out there at the time and it was also the first to have the totems broken into the individual groups; animals, insects, land animals, reptiles and water animals. From the beginning it has always been the author’s intent to share knowledge of the animals in order to become a better person in hopes to create a better world for human and animal kind. Many parts of this web section and its animals has been featured in ezines, blogs, bulletin boards, web publications, other web sites, and various classroom and e-learning curriculums.” – StarStuffs

To view more from StarStuffs visit these websites -

StarStuffs© http://www.starstuffs.com/animal_totems

http://www.starstuffs.com/animal_totems/dictionary_of_animals.html

https://www.facebook.com/starstuffs

Animal Totems: Dictionary of Animals by StarStuffs

antelope Antelope/Pronghorn:

Heightened psychic ability, may need to insulate our self or come out of hiding, adaptability with strong survival skills, strong sense of smell, new opportunities can be seen, teaches how to overcome obstacles with a swift and gentle nature. Antelope teaches listening to intuition. Are you adapting like you should? Taking chances or afraid of failing? Are you listening to your instincts? Antelope can teach you strength and courage in all areas.

armadillo Armadillo:

Teaches protection and how to use it, sensitivity to others attacks either real or imagined, demonstrates boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others, learn to trust what you feel with others, new birth coming -shows how to deal with it. Teaches how to use defenses when needed. Is it time to hide away to collect thoughts or come out and present your thoughts and abilities? Are you letting your guard down too often? Armadillo can show you how to protect your personal space.

ass Ass/Donkey:

Ass or Donkey can teach much about patience and humility. They have wisdom and teaches when to use it with timing. Ass’ aids in realizing outer recognition of inner potentials and the strength that comes from internal fortitude. He can aid in showing one how to move with the flow and allow Spirit to work and/or trusting your strengths. It is a time to not be content and complacent while you enjoy the road to the goal. Are you working too hard and not being productive? Are you following your intuition in what you “should do”. Is stubbornness hindering you mentally, emotionally and spiritually? Ass will teach you how to listen to your head and heart. [Listen]

badger Badger:

Keeper of stories, write things down, sees beneath the surface of all things and people, including herbs and roots, self-expression and knowledge when to act and react, teaches how to ground and connect with the earth, chances to develop self expression, reliance along with persistence and perseverance, shows how to navigate the new chapter in your life. Are you being aggressive and fighting for what you want or need? Are you expressing feelings? [Listen]

bat Bat:

Initiation, death-rebirth, changes are taking place which are blessings, facing facts in ones life, fears are always beneficial, trust instincts. Bat tells us it the end one phase of life and the beginning of another. Bat can show how to navigate in the dark and unknown. Soon you will see the world with a new perspective, teaches sensitivity to vibrations around you, navigation, introspection and demonstrates ability of observation and power of meditation and solitude along with ability of working in groups when necessary. Bat shows how to make those important transitions. [Listen]

bear Bear:

Sub/Unconscious mind, strength, grounding, inner energy of soul to find answers, judgments, are you too critical or not critical enough, inner power to taste the honey of life. Bear teaches caution, quiet of the mind and silence within. There is great power in introspection which awakens insights and opportunities. Bears teaches leadership, natural healing abilities and defending when necessary. Are you eating a balanced diet? Utilizing your intuition? Being cautious? Brown, black or white, what does the color say to you? Bear will show how to balance and express oneself. (See also Polar Bear) [Listen]

buffalo Bison/Buffalo:

Abundance, incorporates our own efforts to embrace and hold life, burdens and rewards are carried, keep self well grounded, follow the easiest path, don’t use force in areas of life, flow with it. Teaches creativity, courage, sacred knowledge, sharing with a sense of community, survival strategies, teaches how to challenge with forthrightness and grace. A time to honor your path and ask for assistance from Spirit. Buffalo teaches abundance and strength of character along with harmony and expression of gratitude and honor for all creatures. Do you have gratitude? Strength? Surviving with courage? [Listen]

boar Boar:

Boar teaches spiritual strength, protection and the mysteries of nature. Aids in getting organized and solidifying changes. Shows self-reliance, independence and fearlessness in trials and tribulations, enduring and strong, boar shows how to protect your efforts. Are you too scattered in thoughts and actions? Do you need to stand up for your beliefs and opinions? Are you using your intuition throughout the day? Boar can teach power and respect in the balance of complacency and activity.

bobcat Bobcat:

Bobcat teaches that there is a time for solitude, learning to be alone but not lonely and a time for social balance. He shows how to keep confidences of those around you with a balance of inner and outer perceptions. Bobcat aids in tapping into the curiosity of the unseen world of secrecy, invisibility and hidden meanings for understanding spiritual mysteries of the path that is being traveled. Bobcat will offer protection and expertise of this path and lend its knowledge in maneuvering your developing natural internal power. Bobcat teaches the ability of being able to turn on/off creative forces in life. Always look for what is hidden on all levels and trust your senses for bobcat medicine is a powerful one with lessons on many levels. [Listen]

Buffalo/Bison: – see also Bison/Buffalo

Abundance, incorporates our own efforts to embrace and hold life, burdens and rewards are carried, keep self well grounded, follow the easiest path, don’t use force in areas of life, flow with it. Teaches creativity, courage, sacred knowledge, sharing with a sense of community, survival strategies, teaches how to challenge with forthrightness and grace. A time to honor your path and ask for assistance from Spirit. Buffalo teaches abundance and strength of character along with harmony and expression of gratitude and honor for all creatures. Do you have gratitude? Strength? Surviving with courage?

bull Bull/Steer:

Fertility of thoughts, ideas, possessions, makes the mundane and earthy more fertile, new ideas need to be expressed, teaches stability w/o stubbornness, assert feminine energies for balance. May demonstrate the necessity for a balance diet. Are you being forthright in your intentions? Are you willing to stand your ground in life matters? Bull can give us skills needed for expressions of strength. [Listen]

This listing is continued HERE

Spider…


imageSpider awakens creative sensibilities. It weaves a web of intricate and subtle fabric, as if to remind us that the past always subtly influences the present and future…the spider found within the web reminds us that we are the center of our own world. We are the keepers and the writers of our own destiny, weaving it like a web by our thoughts, feelings and actions…Spider teaches you to maintain a balance – between past and future, physical and spiritual, male and female. Spider teaches you that everything you now do is weaving what you will encounter in the future.” -  Animal Speak –  Ted Andrews

Like the spider waiting for her prey patiently, the presence of this spirit animal in your life could point to the need to show patience regarding a project or some ideas that you are trying to realize.

Seeing the Spider weaving a web, it signals to us that we must weave our own lives. The Spider as a spider-and-web guide serves as a reminder that our choices construct our lives. When the Spider appears to us, it is a message to be mindful of the choices we are making.

Spiders and their webs draw attention to our life choices, but that is not all. They also show us how we can manipulate our thinking, so we can construct the life we want to live.

Spider teaches us to maintain a balance – between past and future, physical and spiritual, male and female. The Spider also teaches us that everything we now do is weaving what we will encounter in the future.

Spider fosters the integration of all parts and aspects of your life into a whole. The power of this animal encourages you to count on your ability to view things from multiple angles and weave 4fe2c310 mental and intuitive flexibility into your daily thinking.

Spider’s web is also a constant reminder of the eight festivals; just look at the wheel webs some spiders weave. The strands of the web, like the spokes of a wheel are straight from the edge to the middle and form the eight fold wheel.

Spiders are very delicate creatures that play an important role in the myths and lore of many peoples. To the Native Americans, Spider is Grandmother, the link to the past and future. In India, its associated with Maya, the weaver of illusions.

image Among the various Native American traditions, spider medicine has been known to represent creativity. Her eight legs represent the four winds of change and the four directions on the medicine wheel, while her body is in the shape of the infinity symbol, which represents infinite possibilities. Spider was said to have woven the alphabet, creating the means for people to communicate and record their history through language. Just like the Greek myth of the Fates, three women who weave the tapestry of life, spiders are said to weave the creative forces that bring forth the intricately symmetrical patterns of our lives.

Spider Grandmother is an important figure in the mythology, oral traditions and folklore of many Native American cultures. She is creator of the world in Southwestern Native American religions and myths such as that of the Pueblo and Hopi peoples. Although accounts vary, according to mythology she was responsible for the stars in the sky; she took a web she had spun, laced it with dew, threw it into the sky and the dew became the stars.

imageIn Babylonian Mythology the Goddess Ishtar was often depicted as a Spider and her symbol was an 8 rayed star connecting to the 8 legs & 8 eyes of the Spider.image

 

In African mythology Anansi was a trickster god depicted as spider.

 Visualization to see Spider

Sit down in a quiet place alone.  Make certain there will be no distractions or interruptions.   Draw a circle around you and bless the circle with sage, cedar, sweet grass, tobacco or some other sacred medicine. if you own a dream catcher, stand or lay it beside you. Begin your journey into the spirit world with prayer and continue with deep meditation.  

Get comfortable.  Take a deep breath.  Inhale, exhale deeply several time. Release your ego, desires and expectations of what may follow.  Chase away all shadows of fear and negativity.  Begin to dream of some idyllic place like a forest trail, bubbling mountain stream, or flower covered glen.  

In your mind, see an open place with one exit. From that exit, you see a small garden spider approaching. You follow the spider and you see that she walks to a tree. In that tree she starts to weave a web blocking the exit. The spider weaves her web so steadily that is fascinates you and soon you realize that the weaving itself is a meditation. With that weaving you imagine her as a creator weaving the whole universe and you also imagine her as a dream catcher weaving the net to manifest our deepest desires. When the Spider is finished weaving, she sits in the middle of the web and she starts her teaching to you. She ends her teachings by telling you that she weaves a new web every day. She tells you that she takes down the web when it is ruined and begins again everyday and she never has to think about it, she just spins her web with great care. 

After giving her lessons to you, she takes down her web blocking the exit and leaves. By doing so she is signaling that it is time to end your meditation or visualization.