19 Days of Illuminated Darkness-Day Twelve

A Point of Clarity (in the Storm)

Today’s post is a journey through a snowstorm. Find a quiet setting where you will not be disturbed and allow this pathworking to move through you…

A Point of Clarity

Please note that you will be redirected to my site on Bandcamp. Not enough memory on this page..

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Eleven

We Are Waiting!

Breathe in the night knowing that there is a Light soon to be birthed in the darkness and we stand as co-creators; the Hermit soon to emerge from the slumber of unknowing….

Move slowly and
Speak not a word
And we may catch
A glimpse of HIM yet.

The night is dark
But I have seen the
Icy thread of HER cloak.

Crystal blue eyes and
Hair black as the midnight sky
Grace a face of pale beauty
Poised on a body that is tall and lithe.

She has etched the night sky with
Fingers long and fair painting starlight and
Holding the breath of new dawn
In HER hands’ cupped embrace.

SHE has embraced the world
In the longest of nights.
HER Promise held deep within.

The forest is hushed and white with snow
Ice crystals glisten round and all of life.

Patiently holds strong in stillness
And pause with anticipation of
Newly born hope and renewal.

We watch and wait in silence
The cold penetrating and deep
In its reminder that we are vibrant, alive, aware.

It is for us that this night returns as the
Wheel comes to rest in imbalance.

It is our yearning that calls us from our
Warmth and comfort to offer up
Adoration and honor to the Light that
Sustains and answers with flame.

We watch and we wait in silence.

The time is almost near
and our hearts beat in excitement,
attuned to the cycles that are eternal.
Stillness hangs heavy.

Softly, softly…
Crimson lips gently part and
SHE breathes an exhale of gentle release
As sun light stretches from its inner sleep.

The fiery fingers of new child’s grasp
Reaching out to experience, explore
and warm all within its reach.

The returning Light of the Solstice
Cries out anew, its sounds inaudible
To all but those who have silently
Waited in the darkness.

The Mother of Winter’s long cold night
Has called forth Her Child as the world
Awakens to the Promise of Sun King’s return.

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Ten

The Lantern of Truth
Tarot Spread

Today’s post is a special Tarot spread that can be used anytime you are seeking deeper insight into how to stoke those fires of light that dispel the darkness and illuminate growth. It aligns with the six-pointed star that is held within the lantern of the Hermit. This being the product of the greater work of turning within and allowing to grow a light of consciousness that shines brightly in any circumstance and on all planes. I have also given a little hint as to the Qabalistic references of the card’s placements (not necessarily the traditional assignations :).

A Little Numerology:

The Hermit- Key IX

Nine (9) is the number of endings and beginnings and initiatory experience. This is the final single digit number that relates to the individual and unique “you”. Wherever nine occurs there is opportunity for growth; but, only if you willingly leave behind what serves no purpose towards your future growth.

The Star of the Lantern-VI

Six (6) is the harmonious elevation of three expressions of being. Two co-create and the resultant product is a third. This triune nature is one of pure creation and amplified x’s 2 gives the energy of polarity. This is the blueprint for creation that is diverse and can serve as a summation of all of its parts. In the model of the 6-pointed star there is an image of 2/triangles (3 parts), one point upwards in reception to the Divine and one pointing downward; acknowledgement that Spirit  has descent into the Manifest.

Seven Card Spread

The number Seven (7) is the outcome of the harmonious six of Descent into Matter. Seven offers the paths of exploration that will  provide deeper knowledge and greater learning from what has been grown. These seven cards offer the key to knowing more of yourself.

The Hermit Key is placed in the center and is YOU!

How To:

  • Use whatever deck you are comfortable with;
  • Set out a beautiful solid color cloth to lay the spread on to;
  • REMOVE the HERMIT-Key IX from the deck and place in the center;
  • Be sure to shuffle the remaining cards very well;
  • Take the deck in your hands and breathe and center yourself;
  • Set the intention of seeking the wisdom of finding the truth of your gifts (refer back to the numerology above as the support for this);
  • Set the intention of what is revealed to be used as the tools of birthing a light within that will herald the birthing of a new light at the Winter Solstice.

Card 1: Represents the strength of your Manifest form and its fullest potential.
QBL-Malkuth- The Foundation of Earth, the alchemical Elements and the Physical Form

Card 2: Represents how you will use that strength to create what you wish to out-picture. (The Darkness of Creation’s Womb)
QBL-Binah-The Understanding of the Creatrix and the Womb of First Beginnings

Card 3: Represents the action and energy needed to seed that creation. (Higher Will to Action)
QBL-Chokmah-The Wisdom of the Cosmos and the Seed that Emanates from the Limitless All

Card 4: Represents the image and plan for that creation. (Inspired Mind)
QBL- Hod-The Glory of Mind Inspired by Pure and Abstract Plan

Card 5: Represents where your passion can be stoked to refine what you have planned. (Inspired Heart)
QBL- Netzach-The Victory of Refinement and Balance through Mastery of the Intelligent Heart

Card 6: Represents the outcome and product of The Darkness of Creation’s Womb with your Higher Will to Action and the Manifest form guided by Inspired Mind and Heart.
QBL- Kether-The Crown of Creation and the Divine Shining in Brilliance and Awareness of SELF

Read more about the Qabalah..
Qabalah Bootcamp-Just the Basics
Qabalistic Journeys

Other Tarot Topics..
Tarot for Troubling Times

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Nine

The Magician, The High Priestess and The Hermit

Today’s post looks at three cards of the Tarot-Major Arcana and how they may be used to allow you to reach behind (what has past of the Solar Wheel) and to bring it into the darkened light of the Winter Solstice.

The Summer and Winter Solstices stand as cross currents of opposition on the Witch’s Wheel. Opposition, not in the sense of negativity, but rather that of exerting a healthy resistance that enables each to bring to fruition their directive and goals. The Summer Solstice is designated as the longest day of light during the year. The sun has reached its peak and in the final hours (literally) of it commanding day’s hold, the resistance and polarized opposition of the Winter Solstice gives the dynamic that allows for extension and reach.

The Magician- The Summer Solstice

I am the master of two worlds
I am the conduit of Divine Inspiration and physical Desire
I have passed through the veil of the Fool
and have emerged transformed.

The perfect synthesis of As Above So Below
I am that which is attained at the end of Desire.

The Summer Solstice is the space of commanding all that has reached its prime state of brilliance to flow as above, so below. This is the energy of the Key 1 of the Tarot-The Magician. All mastery of the alchemical elements, the nature of manifestation and the workings of non-corporeal laws flow through the conduit of one who has come to the peak of acknowledging his/her own power. The red over cloak of the magician indicates the passion of action and movement. It is precisely this will to action that becomes the driving force behind growth. And, after all, the Summer Solstice is the splendor of flowering bursting ripe and full and just about ready to be harvested and picked.

The High Priestess – The Autumnal Equinox

I am the Middle Pillar
I am the essence of the Moon
And all her mysteries
Are mine to command.

I know the secrets of the Soul
And the ease of balance.

I hold the key to questions yet unasked
And I am the Gate to your Higher Self.

We move now to the bounty of the Autumnal Equinox, the second of the 3/harvests and an opportunity to pause, reassess and bring into temporary balance what will serve to become the heavier offering as the equanimity of the Equinox moves forward. The Light of day is beginning to dwindle and the weather and chill call you inside to gather with friends, family and “yourself”. This is the primer for what will become the Hermit of Samhain that will grow and continue the introspective journey of seeking the light. The High Priestess sits on the throne of the Middle Pillar. She is flanked on either side by the polarities of light and dark and holds steady the current and stream of mystery that draws you in for a closer look.  She is the Moon in all of its phases which provides the balance of scale that is held at the Equinox and the subtleties of ebb and flow as the Moon moves from one energy to the other as each phase is expressed. In the image I have chosen the High Priestess holds a skull, the container for the mind of humankind. She is, as the Magician has mastery over the above and the below, the feminine force that holds mastery over the within and without. Together as a flow from one to the other, Summer Solstice to Autumnal Equinox, they provide the recipe for change that calls upon all of the nature’s forces, both corporeal and non.

And, finally the Light that shines in the lantern of our Soul…

The Hermit

It burns too brightly
And I want only
To move within the
Folds of shadow and dark.

Prisms of metal and glass
Light reflected from
The hand that carved
The beauty of silent
Eternity’s Tempest.

From Samhain’s gate, as mid point between the equinox and solstice,  we emerge, each step taken a summation of the Magician’s Will to Action and the High Priestess’ revealing of the deeper mysteries. The Hermit has turned within and seeks the Light that animates and provides the focus for the descent of Sprit into matter. The Lantern held is the container for that descent, a six-pointed star illuminated within the darkness the Hermit has sought and from the pure mastery of the Hermit’s introspective creations a light is birthed that transcends all that may be of challenge or barrier towards the birthing of an outer and much greater light; that of the Sun’s renewal at the Solstice itself. The objective now is maintaining what has become the Lamp of Wisdom and allowing the final surrender in the pull of opposition that will occur at the Winter Solstice in response to what was catalyzed at the Summer.

This is just a brief exploration in the synthesis of  intent that flows through each of the Sabbats of the Great Wheel, one to the other. You’ll learn more as we progress through these mini series counting down the Sabbats…

Tomorrow we’ll make use of a special Tarot spread that you can use to find the mysteries held within your own…

(The) Lantern of Truth

Tarot Spread

Image: Tarot Cards
Rider-Waite: The Magician and The Hermit
Andy Manthei: The High Priestess

Graphic Compilation: R.Fennelly

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Eight

A Journey into the Dark

My offering today is an audio of a pathworking that I have used at various points in the solar year. It is a journey of courage taking you into the darkness of seeking the light. Enjoy…..

Click here:
Scroll to the bottom of the page

A Pathworking of Light and Dark

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19 Days of illuminated Darkness: Day Seven

Yuletide  Celebrations

Todays post focuses on some of the ways the season of Yule is celebrated. Although in many cases the celebration of Yule coincides with the astronomical date of the Winter Solstice, they are distinct in that Yule is a seasonal observance that often lasted longer than the single Sabbat date it is traditionally assigned of Dec. 20/21 (the Winter Solstice).

The season of Yule begins on the date of the Full Moon in late November or the first few weeks of December, and the season continues for two lunar months. In some Saxon-based traditions, the official celebration of the Yuletide does not actually begin until Mothers’ Night (the solstice) and continues for a week or two after this.
These celebrations may last from 10-12 days after the Solstice date which nicely coincides with New Year’s celebrations. During this time, feasts, gifts-giving and gatherings mark the celebrations.

The Witch’s Wheel of the Year uses the semantic of Yule as the name of the Sabbat celebrated on the date of the Winter Solstice. And with this title come all the symbols that make this one of the most joyful to celebrate. However you choose to celebrate this season, light is the underpinning. This aspect relates to the occurrence of the Winter Solstice during the Yuletide season and the cycle of the Light and Dark half of the year. And, in the Northern Hemisphere and Winter’s hold this light is prominent in celebrating ourselves….

These are just a few of the ways the season is honored….

Ancient Beginnings

Celtic Celebration:
The Celtic Connection

Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were “wassailed” with toasts of spiced cider. Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun. The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not “die” thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit tthe residents. Mistletoe was also hung as decoration. It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift… it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.

The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids

In the Druidic tradition the name of this festival is “Alban Arthan”, Welsh for “Light of Winter”. According to an older and more poetic interpretation, the name is “Alban Arthuan”, meaning “Light of Arthur”. In this poetical image, Arthur is symbolized by the Sun. The Sun dies and is reborn, just as the mythical Arthur is sleeping deep inside a mountain and will wake up again when the people needs his help.

Alban Arthan, the Winter Solstice, takes place every year on the 21st or 22nd of December (Northern Hemisphere).

While Samhain is strongly connected with insular Celtic culture, Alban Arthan is a universal festival, which has been (and still is) celebrated by many peoples and long before the coming of the Celts. The Winter Solstice is probably (together with the Summer Solstice) the oldest seasonal festival of humankind.

Saturnalia in Ancient Rome
The Magickal History of Yule-Huffington Post

In Ancient Rome the Winter Solstice festival Saturnalia began on December 17 and lasted for seven days.

Saturnalian banquets were held from as far back as around 217 BCE. The festival was held to honor Saturn, the father of the gods and was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten while businesses, courts and schools were closed. Wars were interrupted or postponed and slaves were served by their masters. Masquerades often occurred during this time.

It was traditional to offer gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations). A mock king was chosen, usually from a group of slaves or criminals, and although he was permitted to behave in an unrestrained manner for seven days of the festival, he was usually killed at the end. The Saturnalia eventually degenerated into a week-long spree of debauchery and crime – giving rise to the modern use of the tern saturnalia, meaning a period of unrestrained license and revelry.


Fiesta de Santo Tomás in Guatemala

Many Christians celebrate St Thomas’ Day in honor of St Thomas the Apostle on December 21. In Guatemala on this day, Mayan Indians honor the sun god they worshipped long before they became Christians with a dangerous ritual known as the polo voladore, or “flying pole dance”. Three men climb on top of a 50-foot pole. As one of them beats a drum and plays a flute, the other two men wind a rope attached to the pole around one foot and jump. If they land on their feet, it is believed that the sun god will be pleased and that the days will start getting longer. Some churches celebrate St Thomas’ Day on other days in the year.

The ancient Incas celebrated a special festival to honor the sun god at the time of the December solstice. In the 16th century ceremonies were banned by the Roman Catholics in their bid to convert the Inca people to Christianity. A local group of Quecia Indians in Cusco, Peru, revived the festival in the 1950s. It is now a major festival that begins in Cusco and proceeds to an ancient amphitheater a few miles away.

Feast of Juul

The Feast of Juul was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the December solstice. Fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule or Juul log was brought in and burned on the hearth in honor of the Scandinavian god Thor.

A piece of the log was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log. In England, Germany, France and other European countries, the Yule log was burned until nothing but ash remained. The ashes were then collected and either strewn on the fields as fertilizer every night until Twelfth Night or kept as a charm and or as medicine.

French peasants believed that if the ashes were kept under the bed, they would protect the house against thunder and lightning. The present-day custom of lighting a Yule log at Christmas is believed to have originated in the bonfires associated with the feast of Juul.

The Dongzhi Festival in China
How to Celebrate the Dongzhi Festival

On or around the Winter Solstice, Chinese people observe holiday rituals that would be familiar to anyone: gathering with loved ones and eating too much. The favored treat is tangyuan, sticky rice flour balls that are easy to make—and even easier to consume. Families often make the preparation of tangyuan a group activity, which makes sense as the balls symbolize reunion. The balls come in every vivid hue imaginable, but the holiday itself is black and white in origin: its roots are in the philosophy of yin and yang, the balance between light and dark, with the solstice being the meeting point.

Jólablót in Iceland
Iceland Review

Many traditions associated with Christmas come from pagan celebrations: yule logs, the lighting of candles, and the honoring of trees, just to name a few. Since the 1970s, Iceland’s pagan community has reclaimed the holiday, with jólablót celebrations that begin on December 1 and continue through the evening of the Winter Solstice. Carrying candles, lighting bonfires, telling ancient legends, and sharing wine from a sacred horn, revelers celebrate in five locations: a city each in the nation’s north, south, east, and west (Reykjavik being the largest); as well as at Pingvellir, site of the world’s first Parliament and Iceland’s former cultural center.

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Six

Reflection In the Dark

Today is an excellent day for finding solitude and quietly reflecting in the darkness. During this busy time of the year when you are called to be more social and engage with others, the energy of the Solstice calls us to that same level of engagement and interaction with ourselves. This is why you will often see the increase in articles about stress-free holidays, meditation and simplifying. Let’s do just that!

As we carry the energies of the previous Sabbats forward in the continual cycle, there is much that is accumulated from those experiences and our daily interactions in the world. The dark half of the year begins at the Summer Solstice in June and what we have brought to fullness begins to wither in its exuberance and vitality. This is a natural process of the ebb – peak and flow of natural cycles.

Lughnasadh provided the space of gratitude for what we had accomplished, what was ready and ripe for the picking and what would serve as the compost for the next year’s growth. As we sat at our table of plenty and resigned ourselves to the coming of winter and increased loss of light, we saw the potential and product of what could be done with steadfast intention and purpose in planning for this time of lessening.

The Autumnal Equinox provided a space of balance and pause to regroup, re-shift and reassess what would fall into the pan of quickly amassing weight as the dark crowded in closer with shorter and shorter daylight. We may think that what remained as the lighter portion, lifted and floated away, but I think of it as becoming more hidden and less overt in its impact- there, nonetheless.

Samhain gathered everything of the dark and ancestral world to a climax of joy and sorrow, pain and release. How that out-pictured became the new norm accepted and the thoughts now turned towards the holidays, celebrations and a new perspective driven by the expectations held. You know how it goes, we either love the holidays or they are painful reminders of what we wish could be. And, now as we sit in the space of awaiting the Winter Solstice and the return of the light, we have choice as to whether we will fully embrace what calls us to settle in, turn up the heat and cozy up.

Self-Reflection is also a calling of this time of the year. Finding the space to be truly honest with ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses and getting to know who we are naked and vulnerable in a not so brightly lit space takes courage and intention.How we go about this task is dependent on how deeply we wish to go. I like to use the practice of meditation to model my explorations.

This meditation may take the form of contemplative journaling, sitting in a darkened room and simply making note of the sounds of my breath, walking alone outside in the darkness of night(safety first, please), or doing periodic check-ins as I go through my day, assessing my thoughts (no, not my emotions).

..My preferred form is that of sitting quietly in a darkened room, with an unlit candle and lighter arms reach away. I begin by settling deeper into the physicality of my body on whatever supportive surface I have chosen. Sitting in a chair allows for comfort and the intention that you will not fall asleep.

I take several minutes to attune to the sounds surrounding and engage actively each of my senses in the experience of this darkened space. It is remarkable how heightened your sense can become when you are in the dark and visual – mind connection is temporarily paused. I take a few very deep breaths and audibly sigh into the release of each, holding the intention that each release is a willing surrender to ceasing activity and being fully present in what I am experiencing. 

Soon, my breath and the sounds of the room disappear and I am surrounded by the stillness of the dark. Just me, my consciousness and the energy of the darkened space surrounding and almost cradling me in support of intention to simply “be”. I allow this sensation (not simply a feeling or thought, but much more than that) to take hold and carry my attention where it will. To carry me where it will into the darkness.

I remain in this energetic state for as long as feels natural in this moment of time. When the darkness and I feel as one, I visualize a tiny point of light directly in front of me. Slowly and methodically this point begins to spiral inward towards the center of my field of awareness. As it spirals, I see the petals of a single white rose begin to form. I am watching the creation of what has emerged from my space of darkness and with each curling and shaping of petal, the connection of it to me is strengthened and made more palpable.  

I breathe into the creation of this beautiful flower and the dispersement of darkness that accommodates the formation of each delicate petal. As the Rose nears its completion light begins to emanate from it. Not a brilliance, rather the light that reflects on the supple waters of a consciousness that has loosened its rigidity and is able to move in accord with change and transformation. In finality the Rose lay on its side, a beautiful and symmetrical shape that I recognize as the beauty of the light within  myself and that there is no need to fear revealing the delicacy of both light and shadow that are of my own making. 

I remain as long as needed drawing in the beauty and light from my Rose. And, I offer up gratitude for the gift of beginnings and endings. This offering moves into the Rose itself and the petals begin to wither. Each drawing back into itself. Each appearing to diminish in vitality and light. 

There is no sadness at this sight. This is the cycle of each Solstice and the Light that must give way to the darkness and the Darkness that must surrender to the newly birthed light. The darkness surrounds once again and I open my eyes as I reach out taking the lighter in my hand and light the wick of the candle. I pause at the beauty of this external light. I breathe into the knowledge that this is the same light that is held within the Rose of me, and that what is required is the intention and action of lighting its flame, regardless of closely the dark surrounds. 

I spend some time just enjoying the gentle flame and soft light of the candle as I breathe deeper into my physicality, open to the sounds and smells surrounding and return to the space of the start of my journey….

Be creative in how you access this inner light and most importantly listen to the intuitive nature that will guide you towards how, what and when you need to modify what tools you use. 

So, I invite you to take some time in the next few days to see the beauty of a rose reflecting back at you as the many layers and complexities of who you are. That same rose will at some point wither; its petals browning and drying up and stem of thorns becoming more pronounced. Nonetheless, what created it and the beauty it holds are still very much inherent within it.

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