The Harvest Mother at The Autumn Equinox

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Thursday 22 September marks the mythical British mid-harvest festival of Mabon, heralding the arrival of the autumn equinox which in 2022 is on 23 September.

During an equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator”—an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the Sun’s center passes through this line.

In the Northern Hemisphere, when the Sun crosses the equator going from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox and when it crosses from south to north, this marks the vernal equinox. This is reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.

Now we leave the zodiac sign of Virgo, the Queen of the Harvest, and enter the astrological territory of Libra The Scales, representing the ever changing balance of day and night, represented in Tarot by The Justice card.

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

Libra is the only Zodiac constellation represented by an inanimate object, and not by an animal or a mythological character. The stars that represent the scales of justice are borrowed from the constellation of Scorpio next door, the claws of the Scorpion.

Those born under Libra are famously cool in temperament, intellectual, and can be somewhat emotionally detached but also volatile. According to the Roman writer Marcus Manilius, Roman judges were born under the sign of Libra. The moon was said to have been in Libra when Rome was founded, and therefore the Roman empire itself (at least, according to Manilius) began on a just and balanced foundation. Or at least, a legalized, rational, process based system.

The first harvest festival of the year was Lammas (‘Loaf Mass Tide) celebrated on the first of August. This later second harvest, Mabon, ends on 29 September.

Mabon ap Modron, -Mabon the son of Modron, was a figure from Welsh mythology who by the tenth century AD, and the first written record of him in an old Welsh poem, had became associated with the story of King Arthur. In these stories, he was one of Arthur’s war band, but the roots are much older.

The origin of the name, Mabon is related to the Romano- British god Maponos, whose name means “Great Son”; his mother Modron, in turn, is likely related to the Gaulish goddess Dea Matrona. (modern word Matron) (Via Wiki)

The Empress from The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

Dea Matrona was the Divine Mother Goddess. The River Marne in France was named in her honour and Gaulish religious images included mass produced inexpensive terracotta statues for domestic use in household shrines. These little statues showed mother goddesses nursing babies or holding fruits, other foods, or small dogs in their laps. 

Mabon may be a semi-fictionalized festival. The name is not known to have been associated with this late harvest before the 1970’s, and may be at least in part, a Neo-Pagan confection.

But there is only humility and gratitude, in seeing stories in the seasons, honouring the great earth mother, whether we think of her as Modron, Virgo, Astrea, Demeter, Gaia or Persephone, or simply as the earth itself.

All stories grow out of some real soil.

The stories are all true.

Dea Matrona

The fall or autumn equinox is especially associated with apple picking. Bring on the scrumping, the crumble and the cider.

The best cider vinegar still contains the living ‘mother.’ This vinegar is made through a two-step process. First, yeast is added to apple juice to break down the sugars and turn them into alcohol. Then, bacteria is added, converting the alcohol into acetic acid. This bacteria is what is known as the mother, This is the catalyst that gives rise to the vinegar. Many apple cider vinegars have the mother removed because it gives the vinegar a cloudy appearance and some people think it’s gone bad. Not so. The mother is the best bit, the most nutritious element.

Medicinally it is reputed to work as an antacid.

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Back soon 🙂

Lady Fortuna’s Wheel

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“The ceremonies you have seen today are ancient, and some of their origins are veiled in the mists of the past. But their spirit and their meaning shine through the ages never, perhaps, more brightly than now.”-Queen Elizabeth, Cape Town, 1947

I drew a card at random, just to see what I would get and I drew the Wheel of Fortune.

From The Legacy Tarot

Change will and must come, even as we resist it, fear it or mourn it. This card is associated with both the ancient Greek father of the gods of Mount Olympus, and with the giant planet Jupiter, which basically says, let go, let it be and go large.

Roll with the punches.

Love shows itself more in adversity than in prosperity; as light does, which shines most where the place is darkest. I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink.’

-Leonardo Da Vinci

Wikipedia: This portrait attributed to Francesco Melzi, c. 1515–1518, is the only certain contemporary depiction of Leonardo

The Wheel of Fortune is associated with the classical figure of Lady Luck. It is also associated with our British proto-Germanic roots, the Norse thunder god Thor, his great war hammer Mjölnir and the Thorn rune, THURISAZ.

Public Domain. Detail, Thor fights The Midgard Serpent by Emil Dopler, 1905

The thorn rune stands for the sound ‘th’ in the rune alphabet. This is a runic glyph and letter of both attack and defense. It is the war hammer of Thor, but it is also a hedge of thorns for keeping out the enemy. The invocation of Thurisaz is also directed in magical workings for success in matters of the law, and for focus and concentration when studying for examinations.

The Hawthorn and the Blackthorn have many superstitions attached to them in British folklore. The Hawthorn is occasionally benevolent, the Blackthorn more frequently ominous.

Lady Luck was known to the ancient Greeks as Tyche. She was the daughter of Aphrodite and Hermes or she may have been one of the Oceanids, a daughter of Oceanus. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says that that the first dice were invented by a prince called Palamedes and were offered as a tribute to Tyche in seeking her favour.

Public Domain. Tyche with her baby son Plutus, god of Wealth, 2nd century Ad, Museum of Istanbul

One look at this statue reminds us of, well, whom? The world has always been globalist. For good and ill, by means of travel, trade and war.

We live with the daily conundrum of The Wheel of Fortune, Fortuna’s Wheel. We are subject to events over which we have no control. But we can position ourselves. We can plan and prepare. We can choose how to respond.

We are seeing it in ceremonial action at this time. The Queen’s funeral has been planned for over many years. The Queen herself was consulted about the design of the hearse, agreeing to the lighting, so that the coffin could still be seen transported back to London in the hours of darkness.

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The death of the Queen was planned for, anticipated – and yet, for all that, and as with even the most peaceful deaths at a good old age, it may be still experienced as a shock, both emotional and environmental.

Symbols are the currency of the collective psyche. The zeitgeist changes but the roots go deeper. There will be a new face on our coins and banknotes, and on our stamps. These are tiny changes, and yet, like a rearrangement of our oldest family furniture, they will take getting used to.

I’m spending a lot of time down memory lane this week, not only because of the death of the Queen, but I’ve been sorting through a box of old family photographs.

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Images of sorrow

Pictures of delight

Things that go to make up a life

Let us relive our lives in what we tell you

-Genesis, Home By The Sea

Till next time 🙂

Reflections in the runes May 2022

May Rune Reading 2022

What are the runes?

The word ‘rune’ comes from the old Germanic, ‘runa’ or ‘runo’ meaning a secret thing, a mystery. The northern peoples saw the Earth, its forces and all things in nature seen as living forces or spirits to be honoured and respected.  The runes were and still are used for psychic readings and advice- divination -or used for magical purposes and good luck – seidr.

Runes were the first systems of writing developed and used by the Norse and other Germanic peoples. These runic alphabets are known as “futharks” after the first six runes (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, and Kenaz) – just as the word “alphabet” comes from the names of the first two Semitic letters (Aleph, Beth).

There are three rune alphabets or futharks: the Elder, Younger and Saxon futharks. The 24-character Elder Futhark was the first fully-formed runic alphabet, dating back, so far as we know, to the first century CE/AD, though it may have been in development from about 200 BCE.

Today we are working with the Elder Futhark, illustrated below.

Via Wiki

Fehu Uruz Thurisaz Ansuz Raido Kenaz Gyfu Wunjo

Hagall Nied Isa Jera Eiwaz Perthro Elhaz Sowilo

Tiwaz Berkana Ehwaz Mannaz Laguz Ingwaz Dagaz Othala

The more specific the question, the more specific and detailed the reading. Here, we have no specific question., so the findings are very general. The reader is looking for the feel of things, the tone, and for challenges, opportunities or guidance contained within the runes selected blindly and at random.

Review -April rune reading

In a rune reading done late March 2022, the runes talked about a highly volatile, tense and unstable month to come in April 2022. 

The reader wrote, “Thurisaz is the Thorn rune, symbolizing the hammer of Thor, the Norse god of Thunder and Thursdays. This rune is known as the rune of chaos, such as we have all been witnessing at extreme levels in recent weeks. Thurisaz talks about ‘thorny issues’- major challenges. It describes or forecasts situations of defence, attack and storms. This may also refer to other related natural events, such as floods or tsunamis in April.”

12-14 April we witnessed floods in South Africa, Kwazulu, Durban, 12-14 April as reported here in the ‘The New York Times’ 19 April 2022:-

Nearly 4,000 homes have been destroyed and more than twice as many damaged in the Durban area after a week of punishing rains and mudslides. The death toll is now 448, with about four dozen people unaccounted for.

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Runes, like astrology, like Tarot or card reading, may be used for guidance and advice, for forecasting/prediction or for both. Many readers nowadays use runes purely for personal guidance. The problem with forecasting is, we will not always like it, and what can we do about it anyway? The answer to this can only be that forewarned is forearmed. The forecast may turn out to be wrong. It may prove to be unduly pessimistic, and if we are feeling anxious or depressed, this may only add to the weight of our burden.

The best way to use psychic prediction is to treat is as a hint , see how it fits with your own assessment and gut feeling, and for the rest, time will tell. If a weather forecaster says it’s sunny outside right now, and there is not a cloud in the sky, but the weather forecaster tells us there is a new weather front on the way and it’s going to rain later, we can decide whether or not to go out and if we do, whether to take a raincoat.

Runecast for May 2022

We have drawn two runes for this coming month, Elhaz and Ingwaz, choosing these runes to represent the general tone and dynamic in world affairs and in our personal affairs as well this month.

Such a reading will obviously be general in scope but there are seasons in events, just as there are different seasons in the year. We have times that are quieter than others. Then we have times of mass general turmoil, as with World Wars 1 and 11 for instance, 1939-1945, and these things tend to go in cycles. We are currently in a cycle of which began in 2019 and which astrologers suggest will calm down 2025/2026.

IMG Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Elhaz/Algiz/Eohl

KEYWORDS: Protection, guardian, awakening, courage, defence, acting on our instinct

The rune on the left, Elhaz the Elk is also known as Eohl or Algiz.

It means The Elk or The Sedge, or even, The Elk-Sedge. The runes were inspired by things familiar in the landscapes inhabited by these various northern peoples. The wild antlered elk was still roaming wild in northern Europe at that time. The sedge is a grass-like plant that grows on wet ground, found in temperate and colder climates.

Here, Elhaz has been drawn reversed (merkstave.) First let us imagine it turned upright. Now you see the ‘antlers’ and you can see that this rune also looks like rather a person raising their arms to heaven in appeal for help, or else making an invocation.

Elhaz is a rune of general protection, very powerful but the power comes from the mind of the person using it to protect themselves or another. It will not remove all obstacles. We cannot and will not always be comfortable and safe in this life. Sometimes we struggle. Sometimes we need to stand up for ourselves and fight our own corner.  We will never arrive at our full power if we always run away from a fight. Viking warriors used to decorate their shields with this rune but some still died in battle. The Vikings did not take this as a sign that the rune had no power, but instead as a sign that this was the warrior’s time to die; that The Norns or Fates had decreed it. It is worth noting, that the Norns, although they scratched our names and destinies in the bark of the World Tree at the moment of our birth, did allow scope for a mortal to change their own destiny, unlike the Fates of Greek mythology. The Norns saw the future in more fluid terms, less a fixed destiny, more of ‘becoming,’ or that which should be.

Personal Reflection

Elhaz reversed is a sign of vulnerability or warns us that we may be making a sacrifice with no gain. Perhaps this month we need to watch out that we are not misled by others or possibly conned out of our money, or made a scapegoat for someone else’s mistakes. Elhaz reversed warns us to pay attention to our surroundings, not to take our own safety for granted, and not to make any big moves too soon in a new relationship. We need to give it more time, and learn more about this person. Everyone makes mistakes. But we must learn from any past mistakes or be doomed to repeat them.

There may be a person to avoid this month or an offer which should be refused. The classic advice applies with Elhaz reversed. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Ingwaz

KEYWORDS: Protection, guardian, awakening, courage, defence, instincts

The rune on the right, Ingwaz is also known as Ing or Inguz. It may look like a simple diamond, as illustrated above. Alternatively it may look like this:

The word Ingwaz means literally ‘god-seed’. This rune, Ingwaz, Inguz or Ing, comes from an ancient god image Ing, which was an older name for Freyr, a later Swedish Viking god of virility, fertility and agriculture, like another famous pre- Christian figure of mythology, The Green Man.

The Green Man, Rochester Cathedral via Wiki

Ingwaz is talking about the earth itself; the planting of seeds, germination and new life. It is talking about fertility, in this case especially masculine fertility. But it may also be talking in a more abstract sense as in, planting the seeds of a new idea.

Ingwaz is a favourable rune of positive action, unity, agreements, and peace, although the situation may require plenty of careful treatment, and enough time and space to flourish. Ingwaz is all about ‘doing.’

 ‘Ing’ is in constant use in modern English as a language participle “-ing” adding action to a verb. We say ‘Go-ing’, ‘Read-ing’, ‘See-ing etc. The addition of “ing” represents action.

Ingwaz suggests a successful conclusion in solving a problem at hand. Ingwaz can signify milestone events, such as a new baby or a new job.  It cannot be reversed. It looks the same right way up as it does upside down so it has no negative meaning unless it is surrounded by negative runes. Here, it has been drawn opposite Elhaz reversed, a negative meaning of danger. The appearance of Ingwaz in this context offers a faint glimmer of hope for diplomatic efforts to bear some fruit in May. But if not, this fiery rune promises a very determined and courageous on-going resistance to attack, wherever it is being waged by one state against another.

Ingwaz the ‘seed’ is by extension also to do with agriculture-food. Looking at Ingwaz in relation to our first rune, Elhaz merkstave, we can see that issues to do with food supplies, shortages and increases in the cost of food will be featuring large in the news this coming month, as Russia’s war on Ukraine affects exports globally, but especially Egypt and Africa.

The danger of Elhaz drawn reversed married up with the vital spark of Ing can mean sudden fiery events in May 2022, such as rockets and missiles, as we are so horrifically seeing, or wildfire such as we have witnessed in New Mexico already this month.

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It may also be worth noting that 10 May big bold Jupiter, the ‘Greater Benefic’ an optimistic, generous, benevolent planet in astrological terms, left deep watery Pisces and moved into bold, fiery, hyperactive Aries, where it stays until 28 October 2022. This is big, bold, active energy for good or bad,

Generally, this planetary transit is understood as a positive influence, happening only every 11 or 12 years, although the potential for disruption is self evident. World War 1 and World War 11 both began during a Jupiter in Aries transit, but that also meant of course, a number of such transits in between these events with no war, so let us not worry too much.

Personal Reflection

Ingwaz is a powerfully positive rune in general. It tends to bring an easing of something that has been worrying us. There may be a sense of relief about something this coming month or a sense of excitement, pride or accomplishment for a problem sorted or a job well done, or a new project coming over the horizon.

Ingwaz is a positive rune in relationships, starting a family or launching a new project or venture if that is what we are looking for. It brings a boost of energy, physical and mental.

Ingwaz indicates that this coming month is a good time for home improvements on the one hand, spring cleaning, maintenance and upgrades, and at the other end of the scale, taking into account the challenges in this coming month signified by, Elhaz reversed, do we need to review our safeguarding, home security or our personal security?

In our personal lives, this rune is has a particularly masculine energy. It signifies good times, new love relationships and weddings. We could see that a project starts coming together. With care, discipline and patience, this rune says it will bear fruit.

Further Reading

The New Book of Runes  by Ralph Blum

Futhark. A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson.

The Runes: A practical Guide to their uses in divination and Magick by Lisa Peschel, published Llewellyn

To discover your personal ‘birth runes’ – your ‘heroic destiny or potential’ https://haquil.com/blogs/viking/how-to-calculate-your-viking-birth-runes

 

Bringing in Beltane…Magical May Eve

True Tarot Tales

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30 April is also known as May Eve, marking May Day and the beginning of the ancient Celt festival of Beltane.

Beltane begins at dusk on 30 April and is matched by its European counterpart, Walpurgis Nacht, or St Walpurga’s Night in Germanic tradition.

Origins

The two greatest Celtic festivals were Samhain (Halloween) marking the start of winter, and Beltane (April 30/May 1) marking the start of summer.

Beltane ‘the fires of Bel’ began as an ancient fire festival celebrated since at least the Dark Ages if not long before. The celebrations began at dusk on April 30th when great bonfires were lit to welcome the height of spring now associated with the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull, representing the fertility of spring in full bloom.”

Traditionally,” writes Glennie Kindred (inSacred Celebrations), “all fires in the community were put out…

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