Thursday, January 28, 2016

Brigit's Song


Here is a song I wrote for Brigit many years ago.
It is being sung by Siany, Elder High Priestess of DragonOak, 
my lovely hive in Wales.

Doesn't Siany have a gorgeous voice?
Those Welshies can sing!

Brigit's Song Link

Thank you, David Haigh, for making the video.

Below are the words. 
For years, I didn't feel comfortable sharing it. 
But Siany has convinced me others need to sing it, 
so here it is.

Please feel free to use this song in your own group 
or training materials, as long as you give me, 
Rowan of Oakmist, credit.

Brigit's Song
by Rowan of Oakmist

Brigit, give blessing
as we are dressing
these, thy candles, 
thy sacred light.
Brigit, so tenderly,
please remember me, 
in the deepest, darkest night.
Keep fire burning,
Year's Wheel turning.
Safety, to this home, I pray.
Brigit, oh Golden
Goddess of Olden,
Hear my prayer today.

Brigit, give blessing
as we are dressing 
these thy wells
thy sacred streams.
Brigit, so tenderly,
please remember me,
as to thee,
I honor bring.
Keep fire burning,
Year's Wheel turning.
Safety to this home, I pray.
Brigit, thou Golden
Goddess of Olden,
Hear my prayer today.

Brigit, thou Healer!
Goddess! Revealer!
Touch me with thy hand of pwer!
Brigit, so tenderly
please remember me
in my deepest, darkest hour.
Thy light surround me!
Thy love astound me!
Bless me Mother,
this I pray.
Brigit, thou Golden
Goddess of Olden,
Hear my prayer today!



Thursday, January 21, 2016

THE KYBALION

O, let not the flame die out, 
Cherished age after age in its dark caverns, 
in its temples cherished. 
Fed by pure ministers of love - 
let not the flame die out. 
              ~ EDWARD CARPENTER


“When the ears of the student are ready to hear, 
then cometh the lips to fill them with Wisdom.” 
                                       - The Kybalion

During the first Year and a Day, the Oakmist student is trained in all the basics of the Craft. General information is given on many topics, most of which could be found in variations of material published under scores of titles, in what we consider to be a logical order.  It’s basically “What Every Baby Witch Should Know.” The lessons are given along with time-tested exercises, with the expectation that the student will use every resource available to expand their understanding of lesson. In that first year and a day, they are introduced to Hermetics and Alchemy in the form of a Tarot course.

The Year and a Day is traditional. It has many reasons, magical and mundane. It is the time it usually takes for us to get to know the student. Who are they? What are their motives? What are their true colors?  Are they loyal? Are they serious students or are they dabblers? Can we trust them? Do they have the necessary patience and endurance required by a person who truly wishes to advance?

If not, they are released to go their own way, 
in peace, 
armed with a better toolbox for life.

If so, they are elevated and brought into the inner Circle.  Once accepted, each student is expected to write their Second Year course of study based on their own interests. This could be any number of subjects.

Once the student completes their Second Year (and a "year" could turn into many years in reality), the student is again elevated. Their next course of study is in learning to lead their own group, as the primary goal for an Oakmist student is to hive and form their own coven.

One of the texts that is required reading during the First Year is the Kybalion. This little text is a study of Hermetic Philosophy. It is easy to read and will give the student “a Master-Key with which s/he may open the many inner doors in the Temple of Mystery through the main portals s/he has already entered.”

The authors of the Kybalion say 
“If you are a true student, 
you will be able to work out 
and apply these Principles – 
if not, then you must develop yourself into one, 
for otherwise the Hermetic Teachings 
will be as 
“words, words, words” to you.”

I know this statement to be true, because when I was first introduced to Hermetics and Alchemy, I tossed it aside as “words, words, words.”  It would be more than 10 years before I had advanced far enough to gain at least a glimmer of understanding.

Here is an excerpt from The Kybalion:

The Seven Hermetic Principles:

The Principle of Mentalism:
“THE ALL IS MIND; The Universe is Mental”

The Principle of Correspondence:
“As above, so below; as below, so above.”

The Principle of Vibration
“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”

The Principle of Polarity
“Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”

The Principle of Rhythm
“Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.”

The Principle of Cause and Effect
“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”

The Principle of Gender
“Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes”


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Stang


Each Oakmist Coven has a Coven Stang.
It is used indoors as well as outdoors 
whenever possible.

A Stang is cut in the same manner as the Wand, from a live tree, after much contemplation, conversation, and gaining permission from the Tree. Precise instructions are given to Oakmist students during their first Year and a Day of study. 

Each Oakmist Initiate preparing to hive should make a Coven Stang, which is then passed down when the High Priestess retires.

The Stang may be cut of Ash or Oak. 
The forks of the Coven Stang should stand taller than the head of the PST when it is planted. A personal stang may be shorter.

A new Coven Stang should be shod by the men of the group. Shodding the Stang means placing an iron nail in the bottom of the foot so as to ground the energy. This should be done in a Men’s Mystery Circle with an appropriate ritual during which the Stang should be washed, dressed with oil, and blessed by the Men before using it the first time. 

The Stang should be undecorated and cleaned by the men or the Summoner before putting it away after each use. It should be kept in a special place of honor and treated with respect, even when it is not being used, never shoved in a closet or thrown on the floor.

And though the men have shod and dressed the Stang, it is always to be kept by the High Priestess of the Coven. When she retires, it is to be passed down to the next HPS.

A new candle should always be placed between the horns to represent the Sun’s light.  The candle should be beeswax, which is sacred to the Goddess.  If beeswax is difficult to obtain, the same candle may be used throughout the year. Better yet, make enough short or beeswax tea-light candles at Bride, enough to last the entire year.

A mask representing the coven totem animal may or may not be attached to the Stang beneath the horns. This may be permanent or removable.

When working outdoors, the women should place the stones which build the Circle and Sphere, when possible.  As with the Maypole, the women should dig and decorate the hole for the Stang. The men plant the Stang and secure it. An appropriate song may be sung for this ritual.

The Stang is “planted” in the center of the Circle of Stones with similar words as those used in Rite of Cup and Blade. The Circle represents the Cauldron, the Cup, the Goddess, the Yoni. It also represents the Solar Wheel, and is divided by placing a stone at each of 8 directions.  No other altar is needed when the Stang is used. The Rite of Cup and Blade are not necessary because the planted Stang represents the same thing, but it may be done if the HPS wishes.


The Stang has many meanings, 
some of which I will mention here.
For the Oakmist Tradition, 
the Stang represents the World Tree.
Its boughs are in the heavens 
and its roots are deep in the earth. 
It connects us with the ONE.

It also represents the Family Tree,
the DNA in the blood by which each witch is related.

The Stang can represent the cutting blade, 
the God, the erect phallus.  
Planted, it is the ONE, 
the completeness of God/dess; 
it represents the Sacred Marriage.

The Stang is a phallic symbol at one end (pole) 
and a Yoni at the other (forks). 

The forks can represent the horns of the God, 
the horns of the Moon,
or the rays of the Sun. 

When used indoors, 
a base can be made for the Stang from concrete. 
Wrap the base of the Stang in plastic wrap. 
Place it into a small bucket, then pour cement or plaster of paris around it. 
Once it hardens, remove the Stang, 
and you have a stand.
The Stang can also be planted in a container 
of wet sand, if necessary.

Depending on the time of year, or the particular Ritual, the Stang can take on different meanings. 

  The Stang is often decorated 
with crossed arrows. 
These represent life and death, 
light and dark, 
the Goddess as Divine Huntress, 
she who takes life as easily as she gives it
as well as the Hunter God. 


However, the seasonal decorations are suggestions only. Use items that are appropriate for your corner of the world.

At Cuidle/Yule - The Stang is placed to the North where it represents the Midnight Sun. It is decorated with pine and fir, holly, and mistletoe.  A short candle is put in the forks of the Stang. The forks represent the thighs of the Mother, with the candle representing the newborn Sun. After the candle burns out, the Stang represents the Old God, and the forks are his horns. Mulled cider and spiced cake or fruitcake is placed at the foot.

At Bride - The Stang is placed to the Northeast where it represents the Goddess holding the Young God in her uplifted arms. It is decorated with a Bride's Cross made of wheat and is entwined with Ivy. Daffodils and Snowdrops can be placed at the foot, along with honey mead and Welsh Cakes. 

At Earrach - The Stang is placed to the East where it represents the Morning Sun. A basket of dyed eggs may be placed at the foot. Dogwood and honeysuckle are appropriate decorations. Cakes and wine are up to the group.

At Beltaine, the Stang is placed to the Southeast where it represents the erect phallus of the Young God. It can be decorated with ribbons, hoops and roses. A wreath of 4 sacred woods is sometimes used. Chocolate and strawberries are placed at the foot.

At Samradh, the Stang is placed to the South where it represents the Noonday Sun. A solar wheel or golden streamers may be attached.  Sunflowers mixed with fennel are used to decorate. A nice light white and fruity wine and Welsh Cakes are placed at the foot.

At Lugh, the Stang is placed to the South West. Hollyhocks, deep red and orange flowers, and oak leaves are used to decorate.   A rich wine and a loaf of home baked bread is placed at the foot.

At Foghar, the Stang is placed to the West where it represents the Evening Sun. The God is growing older and beginning his journey to the Underworld. Ferns and garlands of local grains are used to decorate the stang along with Poppies or any autumn flowers. Fruits of the harvest are placed at the foot, along with blackberry or elderberry wine and a dark cake or cookie.

At Samhain, the Stang is placed to the Northwest and is behind or next to the Ancestor Altar.  A small cauldron is placed nearby in which to burn messages for the dead. Cauldrons with sand are set up to receive the remembrance candles (see Samhain Rite).  The God has grown old. Cypress boughs, yew, skull and crossed arrows are used to decorate. Dead leaves, apples and a dark rich wine are placed at the foot.


For Esbats, the Stang stands to the North, with no garland and a filled cup or Cauldron at the foot. 

The Stang represents DNA, and reminds us of our connection with our ancestors. It reminds us of the union of God and Goddess, the Sacred Marriage, the Right and Left Hand Paths, the Middle Pillar, the Tau Cross of Sacrifice, the Supernal Triangle, the Trinity of Mother, Father, and Child, the Horns of the Moon, the Waxing, Full, and Waning Moon, and so many other things.


In a letter to Bill Gray, Robert Cochrane describes the Stang as follows: 

The Horse.
The supreme implement.
It represents the Middle pillar of Yggdrasil.
Its roots are Malkuth
It is phallic
It represents Hermes
It divides into aspects as it rises
It is Love because it represents the union of male and female
It is Beauty, the Child of Wisdom
It is Death, the final transformation
It is enlightenment






To understand the significance of the Stang, 
it is necessary to study and meditate upon it.
As with most things magical, the answers are within.

Blessed Be,
Rowan


BRIDE'S ALTAR

It's almost February, 
and time to set up our Bride altar!

Setting up your altar for Bride
can be a ritual all in itself.
Do some meditating on this lovely Goddess
before you begin.
Then begin your search for items
that will make an appropriate altar.

Remember to use objects and colors 
that remind us of Spring, 
of the returning Sun, of the LIGHT!

Set your Bride Altar up in the Eastern Quarter
whenever possible.
It's even better if it is in front of a window
where you can light a candle
and greet the rising sun each morning.

Your altar cloth can be white, yellow, or gold. 
Make one yourself or buy one on Etsy!
by Frogs Bird House
by Rain Sews
A simple yellow cloth works fine

Candles can be yellow or white. 
Oakmist folks usually use beeswax because of the warmth it lends to the room:


However, beeswax is not mandatory. 
Here is a lovely example of an altar 
using white candles


Flowers can be any early Spring flower;
 snowdrops and daffodils are traditional:

Snowdrops
Daffodils

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle is a wonderful addition to the altar 
to herald Spring!

Jasime
Jasmine is good in the CUP as a tea 
as well as being a fragrant addition to the altar.

Cinquefoil
 A pinch of cinquefoil is good in the incense
as well as being beautiful on the altar.

Dogwood blossoms
Dogwood is wonderful on the altar,
and the dried bark is a good addition
to your Bride incense.
Acorns represent the newborn GOD
and promise growth.

Images can include statues of Brigit



You could also use Lion/Lamb images. 
These can often be found in Christian stores.
The Lion, of course, represents the SUN,
and is a symbol for Lugh.
The lamb represents the season of lambing 
and lamb's milk
associated with Brigit.
Choosing such an image with double meaning
is a great choice 
if you have family, friends, or neighbors
who may be offended or frightened 
by an otherwise pagan altar.


Appropriate stones might be 
white, clear quartz, or yellow.
Citrine, buttery amber, or sparkly amber 
are perfect choices for your Brigit Altar.




Pale blue stones are also appropriate.
Celestite is a good stone for this time of year.


Bride is also a fire and smith goddess,
so don't be afraid to add RED to the altar 
if it pleases you.

Photo from carrifaro.com
Lastly, you might want to add a blessing.
You can find many online to print out.
Here are a few I liked:





 Here are examples of some Imbolc
and Bride altars I found online:

www.greyladyshearth.com
I love the use of cards on greyladyshearth's altar, 
of the simplicity of it, of the live plants.

earthdna.wordpress.com
The red pillar candles on this altar 
give it just the right amount of color.

www.litchenwood.com
Litchenwood's altar 
is yellow and blue and white.


www.craftychickscuppacoffee.com
Craftychick has put seeds and crystals on her altar.


www.paganspace.net
This altar is set up for ritual.
Simple, yet elegant.

Altar by oh_fiddlestix
I love the three tiers of this altar.
To me, they represent Triple Bride.
The use of white and green is also stunning.

If you do a search on Google 
for Imbolc Altar 
or Brighid/Bride/Brigit Altar, 
you will find hundreds of lovely examples.
You are only bound by your own imagination.

Are you in the desert?
Make your Bride's cross 
from sun-bleached bones or sticks.

Are you near the sea?
Look for golden colored glass 
or white seashells.
Make your cross from seaweed!

In the end 
your altar can be as simple or as intricate as you like.
The point is that you are taking the time 
and making the effort
to honor the Goddess and to help with
the Turning of the Wheel.
And that, in itself, is all that is needed.

Go outside now.
Find what you need
and build your altar.
Have fun!

Blessed Bride!
Rowan of Oakmist