Saturday, January 31, 2009

St. Brigid

[via Bon Bons of Impertinence]

The photo pictured above, taken in candlelight, is a large portrait in oil I did some years back of St. Brigid that hangs in the front parlor of Chez Moose.
We always love the annual Brigid Ball here in New Orleans, it brings together the Pagan community from all paths and creeds, the ghouls, the freaks as well as members of "proper society", to give thanks and ask for Her blessing for the coming year;
And, interestingly enough, the Feast of St. Brigid, also Known as Imbolc, Candlemas and Groundhog's Day all have a connection if you know where to look.
So, OK, here's the thing..
In Celtic, Brigid or Brighid ("exalted one") was the daughter of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was the wife of Bres of the Fomorians, with whom she had a son, Ruadán. She had two sisters, also named Brighid, and is considered a classic Celtic Triple Goddess.
Given the struggle Christian missionaries faced in their efforts to preach the Gospel in Ireland, even though they Christianized some elements, the adoption of a pagan goddess into the Communion of Saints may have been an effort to Christianize one of the most enduring pagan goddesses
Maman Brigitte, (or Brijit) one of the Lwa of Haitian Voodoo, is a form of Brigid or Brighid. It is likely that the concept came to the New World through the Irish who were kidnapped, enslaved and forced to labor in the Caribbean alongside the enslaved Africans. Because of the intermarriage and cultural blending between the Irish and Africans, it is possible that Haitian Voodo is partially influenced by survivals of Celtic polytheism. (a lot of that went on in New Orleans back in the day)
Voudon, Voodoo, Vodou has many fiery, magical spirits, of which Brijit is one.
Brijit is a lawyer and a judge. She is a corpse and The mother of the Dead. She lives under the grave of the first woman buried in the cemetery. If the oldest grave in a cemetery is a woman's, then Brijit owns that cemetery. She is married to Bawon Samedi (the Baron of Saturday night) -- she and he are the heads of the Gede family (spirits of death, sex, and regeneration). She is the only Vodou Lwa I know of, who is of Irish descent. (the story goes that Irish peasants fleeing the potato famine in the 1840s and 1850s, were considered lower in worth than African slaves, and were often considered "expendable", literally worked to death, digging the "Irish Channel" in New Orleans, many turned to Voudou and St. Brigid for help)
On the evening of the Brigid Ball here in New Orleans, we will do an opening veve (ritual drawing in cornmeal, which calls a particular spirit) and song for Bawon Kalfou, the baron of the crossroads, who opens the door to the other spirits. Then we will do a veve and some songs to call Brijit. In Vodou, the sacred songs are prayers or invocations. We will consecrate the veve and say prayers to the Lwa and to Brijit. We will spray the veve with rum to activate it, and then dance for Brijit.
And I mean dance like Tracy Turnblad at the Miss Auto Show 1963 pageant.
Groundhog day...Ground Hog Day is actually a descendant of the pagan Imbolc celebration (Feast of Brigid). The goddess Brigid was a diviner, able to "see" into the future. It's easy to see how she came to be the patron saint of weather forecasters.
What Mother Nature was wont to do was certainly an issue best left in the hands of the goddesses. In Scotland, Cailleach, the Old Woman of Winter, was reborn at Imbolc as a goddess named Bride who was the Scottish incarnation of the Irish Brigid and also the Maiden of Spring. And folklore had it that "Early on Bride's morn the serpent shall come from its hole".
And there was a similar prediction associated with Brigid on February 2, her Saint's Day in the Christian tradition: "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there will be two winters this year", goes the saying.
In other words, if hibernating animals emerge to find sunlight and shadow on February 2, then winter will continue for the full 12 weeks. But what could the groundhog possibly have to do with the weather?
Our American folk-calendar keeps the tradition of Groundhog's Day, a day to predict the coming weather, telling us that if the Groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. This custom is ancient. An old British rhyme tells us that 'If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year.' Actually, all of the cross-quarter days can be used as inverse weather predictors, whereas the quarter-days are used as direct weather predictors. Vance Randolf, an Ozark folklorist, stated that the "old-timers" used to celebrate Groundhogs Day on February 14th. Groundhog Day in the U.S. originated with the Imbolc celebrations of German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania. Looking for a hibernating animal that would make a suitable forecaster, they chose the groundhog. (Perhaps their decision was even influenced by their neighbors, the native Americans of the Delaware tribe who revered Wojak, the groundhog, and other animals as sacred descendants of their Creator.)
Candlemas...The Candlemas season of February 2 each year is unique. It includes,
A Pagan Sabbat: Candlemas, usually celebrated on or near the evening of February 2. Mainly celebrated by Neo-Pagans (no that's not a dirty word) A Christian holy day, and a Welsh festival known as NOS GWYL FAIR, that begins sundown, February 2; Fire Festival of Cerridwen, when we prepare light so that our goddess may find her way out of the darkness and return to us; Cerridwen, the triple goddess of poetry, smith-craft, and medicine, presides. We bid farewell to the horned god.
Witches & Druids celebrate Candlemas in different ways.
For some modern Witches, the old style Candlemas is the Pagan version of Valentine's Day, de-emphasising romantic love and re-emphasising of Pagan carnal frivolity. This also re-aligns the holiday with the ancient Roman Lupercalia, a fertility festival held at this time, in which the priests of Pan ran through the streets of Rome whacking young women with goatskin thongs to make them fertile. The women seemed to enjoy the attention and often stripped in order to afford better targets. Ahhh, good times...
Valentines' Day gets mixed up in this holiday. This is due to the a 10 day displacement when Europe switched from a Julian calendar to a Gregorian calendar. The average length of a year in the Julian Calendar was 365.25 days (one additional day being added every four years). This is significantly different from the "real" length of the solar year. However, there is uncertainty among astronomers as to what the length of the solar year really is. The main competing values seem to be the "mean tropical year" of 365.2422 days ("mean solar days") and the "vernal equinox year" of 365.2424 days. The difference of the length of the Julian calendar year from the length of the real solar year is thus 0.0078 days (11.23 minutes) in the former case and 0.0076 days (10.94 minutes) in the latter case.
This error accumulated so that after about 131 years the calendar is out of sync with the equinoxes and solstices by one day. Thus as the centuries passed the Julian Calendar became increasingly inaccurate with respect to the seasons. This was especially troubling to the Roman Catholic Church because it affected the determination of the date of Easter, which, by the 16th Century, was well on the way to slipping into Summer.
Pope Paul III recruited several astronomers, principally the Jesuit Christopher Clavius (1537-1612), to come up with a solution. They built upon calendar reform proposals by the astronomer and physician Luigi Lilio (d. 1576). When Pope Gregory XIII was elected he found various proposals for calendar reform before him, and decided in favor of that of Clavius. On 1582-02-24 he issued a papal bull, Inter Gravissimas, establishing what is now called the Gregorian Calendar reform. And Valentines day slid from Feb 2 to Feb 14. So Valentines day (February 14) is really the old style candlemas and Nos Gwyl Fair (February 2) is the new style Candlemas. Like the other High Holidays or Great Sabbats of the Witches' year, Candlemas is sometimes celebrated on it's alternate date, astrologically determined by the sun at 15-degrees Aquarius, or Candlemas Old Style.
Still with me? OK that last part was kind of boring I know- but I feel it's something you need to know- information is power. You can thank me later. Here have a drink, you will feel better immediately... something appropriate....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Woman runs sword into foot during Wiccan ceremony

This is from back in July, but it's still worth a good (inappropriate) chuckle.

- R.

LEBANON, Ind. — A woman accidentally stabbed herself in the foot with a 3-foot-long sword while performing a Wiccan good luck ritual at a central Indiana cemetery.

Katherine Gunther, 36, of Lebanon, pierced her left foot with the sword while performing the rite at Oak Hill Cemetery, police said.

Gunther said she was performing the ceremony to give thanks for a recent run of good luck. The ceremony involves the use of candles, incense and driving swords into the ground during the full moon.

Gunther said was aiming to put the sword in the ground, but hit her foot instead.

"It wasn't the first time I performed the ritual, but it was the first time I put a sword through my foot," she said.

Gunther immediately pulled the sword out of her foot, and her companions took her to Witham Memorial Hospital, where she was kept a couple days for treatment.

No charges were filed, police said. The Wiccans were warned that being in the cemetery in the city about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis after posted visiting hours constitutes trespassing.

Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

"The Daisy and Selfishness"

by Paulo Coelho

“I am a daisy in a field of daisies,” thought the flower. “Amidst others, it is impossible to notice my beauty.”

An angel heard what she was thinking and commented:

- But you are so pretty!

- I want to be the only one!

In order not to hear any complaints, the angel carried her off to a city square.

Some days later, the mayor went there with a gardener to make some changes to the square.

- There is nothing of interest here. Dig up the earth and plant geraniums.

- Hold on a minute! - cried out the daisy. - You’ll kill me if you do that!

- If there were some others like you, we could make some nice decoration - answered the mayor. - But there are no daisies to be found around here, and you on your own do not make a garden.

Then he tore the flower from the ground."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hores (or why it is important to teach your children to spell properly.)

To all the kids who survived...

This was too good not to share!!! Golly I miss being a kid! This reminds me of my piece 'This Was My Normal.'

Hope y'all enjoy it as much as I did.

- Rabbit

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight.


Because we were always outside, playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times,we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there wer e no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and had china berry fight and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.

They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers , problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it

Friday, January 16, 2009


Imbolc, (pronounced "IM-bulk" or "EM-bowlk"), also called Oimealg, ("IM-mol'g), by the Druids, is the festival of the lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word "oimelc" which means "ewes milk". Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brighid's snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, (the origin of Ground Hog Day), and in many places the first Crocus flowers began to spring forth from the frozen earth.

The Maiden is honored, as the Bride, on this Sabbat. Straw Brideo'gas (corn dollies) are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. Young girls then carry the Brideo'gas door to door, and gifts are bestowed upon the image from each household. Afterwards at the traditional feast, the older women make special acorn wands for the dollies to hold, and in the morning the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. Brighid's Crosses are fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year. Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is place by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun.

Another traditional symbol of Imbolc is the plough. In some areas, this is the first day of ploughing in preparation of the first planting of crops. A decorated plough is dragged from door to door, with costumed children following asking for food, drinks, or money. Should they be refused, the household is paid back by having its front garden ploughed up. In other areas, the plough is decorated and then Whiskey, the "water of life" is poured over it. Pieces of cheese and bread are left by the plough and in the newly turned furrows as offerings to the nature spirits. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during this time.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonni), Imbolic (Celtic), Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus (Strega), St. Bridget's Day (Christian), Candlemas, Candlelaria (Mexican), the Snowdrop Festival. The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin. All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honored at this time.

Deities of Imbolc:
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.

Symbolism of Imbolc:
Purity, Growth and Re-Newal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.

Symbols of Imbolc:
Brideo'gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid's Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.

Herbs of Imbolc:
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.

Foods of Imbolc:
Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.

Incense of Imbolc:
Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.

Colors of Imbolc:
White, Pink, Red, Yellow, lt. Green, Brown.

Stones of Imbolc:
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.

Activities of Imbolc:
Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo'gas and Bride's Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires may be lit.


Monday, January 12, 2009


I am posting here because it will feed into each of my networks, and I won't have to retype it over and over. Still sick. have been running fever now for two weeks - dealing with the migranes and aches and pains going on four now. Just spent several hundred dollars in tests only to be told "Well, nope, guess that wasn't it..."

The latest consensus is that it is either Lupus or HIV but seeing as I now have $10 left to my name I am just gonna have to tough it out until I figure out what to do next.

I don't expect to be on much as it is painful to even sit here and type but will keep you posted as I can.

Hope this finds you all well.