Spring Forward, and Be Prudent

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Spring is just around the corner. I can feel and smell it. And I see the signs.

I also know that the Pisces and Aries seasons sometimes create rash action based upon faulty or illusory information. I have to remember to spring forward, AND be prudent about it.

We had several thunderstorms in February. Old Wives’ Tales tells us that thunder in February means frost in April. For my zone, our last frost is usually around April 15th. So, that tells me not to plant too much too soon or my efforts and the plants will come to naught.

What to do? Start seeds inside and keep them near the warm sunlight as they grow taller and stronger. Then, after the chance of frost is completely gone, plant those veggies, herbs, and flowers outside.

The other day, I bought a strawberry pot with strawberry plants and herb seeds included. I think that I will go ahead and start the seeds and settle the plants into their new home before the Full Moon on Thursday, March 1st.

If I don’t make it time, then I’ll wait until after Thursday, and plant them on Friday. After all, they need the dark moon to settle in and give their roots plenty of time to make a home before they are supposed to bloom.

Jeanette Belle

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Samhain or Halloween?

In my spiritual practice, I long for purity. It doesn’t always happen, but I do strive for it.

For example, I celebrate Samhain and not Halloween. But it’s the same thing, you may say. No, it is not. Halloween is a Christian holiday–it is All Hallow’s Eve referring to November 1 and 2 when Christians celebrate all the saints and all the holy ones that might not be honored throughout the rest of the Christian year.

Samhain is a pre-Christian Celtic solar/fire holiday that is celebrated at the cross quarters of the solar calendar, or 15 degrees Scorpio. This year (2017) that time is around the 7th and 8th of November.

How do I celebrate Samhain? I honor those who have gone before me, my ancestors, and those whom I admire. Since I do not worship any gods, I will, however, honor those divine energies that I resonate with such as Cernunnos and Tarbh, Cailleach and Cerridwen. I will give thanks for my abundance to those same energies, not in a worshipful manner, but as recognition of my choice to know their energy/vibe and use it in my own life. It is my way of following or being devoted to a certain divine energy.

Blessed Samhain to all!

Jeanette Belle

Moving Towards Another Fire Celebration

April 30th will mark the eve of another Fire Celebration according to the old agricultural calendar: Beltane. I am very excited about this celebration! For the first time I will have a fire pit to throw herbs and woods into as I mark the midpoint of Spring.

This year, Beltane will occur after the New Moon, which will be on April 26th. What intentions will I bring to the Needfire blaze? Taurus is a stabilizing sign in my 4th house–the house of home and comfort as well as family and familial origins. I definitely want some stabilization after the Spring I and my family have had. It will feel good to reaffirm that the recent events are only temporary. What wisdom can I take from having had these recent experiences? How can I return to that comfortable, secure feeling? By being at home and truly appreciating what I already have.

Herbs to throw on the Needfire? Meadowsweet, Rue, Sage (of course), and Mint. Woods? Well, I have some apple and mesquite from last year’s barbecuing, so that will be wonderful to smell. And I’ll make oatmeal cookies and we’ll drink mead, too.

Yep, this will be a wonderful Beltane!

When Is Ostara and the Vernal Equinox and Do I Celebrate Them?

Looking at the calendar, one might read that the Vernal Equinox is the same day as Ostara. But, as an astrologer, I look at the ephemeris to determine my holy days.

It seems that three events have been muddled up and squished together to create one holy day:

1. The Vernal Equinox, is the time when the day light and night dark are equal in length in terms of times. That will happen this Friday, March 17th, when the sun rises at 7:22 am CDT and sets at 7:22 pm CDT; equal night and day.

2. The Sun will enter Aries on March 20th at 5:29 am CDT. That is the first day of Spring.

3. Ostara is a made up holiday. Gerald Gardner, one of the founders of Wicca, created this holiday. There is very little evidence that anyone celebrated this holiday before him. There is even no clear evidence of who Ostara is.

So, how are we Hedge/Kitchen/Cottage/Green witches and Druids supposed to celebrate this time of the year. The answer is easy. Since we do not follow any regular, strict dogma or doctrine like our Wiccan brothers and sisters do, we can celebrate it any way we choose. Moreover, we can choose which event to celebrate and when we want to celebrate.

Personally, I am uncomfortable celebrating Ostara as the Wiccans do. I do not like the idea of substituting one set of rules, one religion, for another. That’s the beauty of Hedge Witchery: we are not bound by any set, rigid system of dogma and doctrine. Now, I do align with certain energies that many call gods and goddesses; I perform spells; I meditate with crystals; I celebrate certain holy days that Wiccans celebrate; and so forth. I am free to choose what feels right and is appropriate to me and my life.

So, how do I celebrate this time of year? Since we are one the other side of the Full Moon (the Full Moon was last Sunday), I will be doing some more releasing, planning, and resting in preparation for the growing season that will hit full force after the New Moon of March 27th (in Aries conjunct my natal T-Square of Saturn, Mercury, and Mars). I will be itching to get in the dirt and plant.

This weekend will be my time of celebration where I release anything that is keeping from moving forward emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I will probably get in the knitting room and clean it out, getting rid of anything that I no longer need nor want. I will be continue to release the emotional burdens of last year (ack00I am still carrying THAT around with me???) plus a few new ones that have come up recently (work–mine and his). I will release the pain in my body that has stored up those memories and relax, relax, relax.

This weekend will also see me cleaning and clearing up the yards in preparation for garden planting. Then, I will plan on where this season’s food crops and annual herbs will go. I will also have to tame the wild strawberries in the Faery Garden. I may even have to mow for the first time this season.

This weekend, we may cook out, drink beer and wine, and I might knit again on the patio, enjoying it for the first time this season. I may meditate on those ideas that no longer serve me–getting rid of the past, in other words.

Maybe, on Monday, I will cook a full meal since we have no other plans to be somewhere or do something.

And that is how and when I plan on celebrating this holiday.

FEBRUARY, the Month of Feverish Activity

February is named after the Latin term meaning, “fever.” And this February, fever pitch was the rule. Activity was fast and chaotic thanks to the activity of Mars. “Lots to do and no time to do it all.”

March did come in as a lion, and I hope that it will go out as a lamb. I do not like it when my life moves at a snail’s pace, but I also do not like it when it moves so quickly that it makes my head spin. And I did have a headache for much of the last part of February and the first few days of March.

Now, I want to settle in and feel the pace of my life moving along at a gentle but progressive speed.

The Balsamic Moon

Today marks the beginning of the 2-3 day period that occurs before every New Moon, known as the Balsamic Moon phase. I was born during this moon phase, so I am very comfortable right now; this is my time.

DuringĀ  a Balsamic Moon, I will release the past month, allowing the events and challenges that were met to dissolve out of my conscious mind. I may say something like, “That is no longer mine to do. It is already done/resolved/no longer serving me.”

I am not sticking my head in the sand when I do this. Instead, I am letting go of the resolved (or resolving) issues that I no longer need to keep in the forefront of my thinking. Releasing them helps me stop or slow down the swirling of thoughts in my mind so that I can focus on the present moment, and rest.

For instance, I did not get the third course that my boss told me he was going to giving me. He forgot (again). So, I will send him a gentle reminder later on in February reminding him that he told me he would assign a summer course to me. Okay, write that task down (carry it forward to the next month). It is resolved for the time being. Let it go for now.

After I have released these things, then I can start thinking about the next month. What is in store for me? What is mine to do during this next month. I don’t dwell on anything in particular. I allow ideas or plans that I will focus on during the New Moon to be gently placed in my mind (or on paper) for further contemplation after the New Moon.

By the way, at the First Quarter Moon, I will make any necessary adjustments to keep on my intentions. During the Full Moon, I will appreciate having followed through on the intentions. The Last Quarter Moon is when I will gently analyze what I have done so far, and then prepare to let them go during the next Balsamic Moon phase.

Why is the Balsamic Moon phase so important for ritual? I cannot do a New Moon intention ritual of accepting new ideas or plans until I have released the old ones. It is like trying to put a new couch in the living room in the same place as the old couch, but without having taken out the old couch. Am I going to put the new couch on top of the old couch and sit on it? No, that’s silly. I have to move out the old couch first. Then, I have room for the new couch. Same goes for new ideas or intentions. They cannot fill the space in my mind that is already occupied.

So, I will sit quietly, gently and lovingly letting go of those old ideas saying something like, “Thank you for you service. Go now and peacefully transform. I no longer need you.” I may light a black candle to absorb the old ideas’ energy, letting it “burn” up, transforming the energy as a Phoenix transforms from the ashes of the previous body. I may have hematite, black tourmaline, or green fluorite stones with me. I may burn soft incense such as Myrrh or Lavender. Then, I may drink some tea and sit in the calmness of having released what may have felt like burdens, smiling as I sit. I will rest a while.

Once the releasing ritual is done, then I may get up and walk out any remaining energy in my body, or take a shower, wash the dishes or the laundry–something useful, cleansing, and not too energetic.

Now here is the key point of the Balsamic Moon phase: become the Hermit or the High Priestess (tarot), withdrawing into the gentle, contemplative world and rest peacefully knowing that things fall into place as they are supposed to as long as you allow them to do so. Now is not the time to push or force. Now is the time to release and “sleep” on it. Both the Hermit and the High Priestess take a “wait and see” approach, never pressing for action. Put it on the back burner. Let it go for the time being. Follow the Moon’s example and disappear for a while.

Horoscope chart overlaying a starscape image
Use your natal chart to help you release during the Balsamic Moon phase.

To make this ritual even more powerful, I might base some of the things that I release upon where the Balsamic Moon currently falls in my natal chart. In this manner, I am personalizing the Moons and not wasting time intending for something when the time is not right or appropriate; the energies are not at their best to help me. I think of it as the preferred time. If the Balsamic Moon falls in your first house this time, then release maybe you could release old ideas of the body (too fat, too short, etc.) and instead value the vehicle (your body) that you use to experience all the wonderful events that come from living on earth. Sometimes, the Balsamic Moon may wander through two houses. That’s okay–more stuff to release.

However, if I need to intend or focus on something pressing that has little to do with that Moon phase’s house, then I will go ahead and perform the intention. Somehow it always comes back around to the “right” house anyway. I just was fixated on something else and didn’t see what my Higher Self knew.

For instance, I may be pressed to understand why I did not get the job that I thought was already mine. But the Balsamic Moon phase falls in my seventh house, not the fourth, sixth, or tenth houses (the houses more likely to be associated with careers and jobs). I go ahead and perform the releasing ritual letting go of the fact that I did not get the job that I thought was already mine. In the releasing ritual, I would add something like, ” And tell me or show me what or why my seventh house needs me to let go of this.”

A few days later, my husband might tell me that he appreciates our life together as a couple, which only deepens our love (seventh house stuff). Plus, the person who got the job was not a friend of mine (enemies are also seventh house stuff). Now, I get it–that particular door of opportunity was not mine to open. The time was not “right.” The true opportunity was to let my relationship with my husband deepen and not worry about that job that I didn’t get. My attention was now deservedly on my relationship with my husband.

Since, in this example, the New Moon would fall in my eight house (the house of transformation, sex, other people’s money, and death), my intention to totally and finally let go of that pesky, swirling thought (of why didn’t I get that job) is easier to perform and follow through on. It would be easier since I began to let that problem “die” during the Balsamic Moon. Then, during the New Moon, I could focus my attention on something more applicable such as seeing what is in me that I could change or transform. My mind is clearer and I feel safe to do such transforming. Those feelings of self-doubt are no longer controlling my mind, distracting me.

To Summarize:

Determine where in your natal chart the Balsamic Moon phase falls, even if it falls in two consecutive houses over the course of the next two to three days before the New Moon (more stuff to release before the New Moon). Perform releasing rituals so that when the New Moon occurs, the New Moon intention ritual will be cleaner, easier, and more powerful. And get plenty of rest. Be in peace.

JBelle

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Different from Other Social Media Posts?

When thinking about writing a blog, I wonder what exactly is appropriate to say. Is it more than a Facebook post or any other social media post? What should I leave out of my posts? Is it even called a post?

That’s just me overthinking, I suppose.

A blog is a journal put online for other people to read, comment on, learn from, enjoy, dislike, and so on. Why would anyone want to put their own thoughts out there on the world wide web for anyone to read? Isn’t that rather narcissistic, to believe or desire others to read or hear your own thoughts?

Some people use their blogs to promote their commercial sites or interests. I like that idea; it is sort of like giving people who have purchased your products knowledge on what to do with their new stuff. Or at least, new ideas on what to do with their stuff.

I do have an Etsy store, but I currently do not offer any services or have any products to sell. Basically, this is because some people are idiots. I would give them an inch while they want a mile. I am learning to have a polite but firm backbone. If someone does not like me or what they received from me, after all the information I had given them about the product or service, then that’s not my problem–it is theirs. Their expectation was not the same as the product or the service I offered, and they must realize that.

I take pride in my products and services, but I do not feel as though I must defend myself when some people will not read the fine print.

Back to blogging now. Do I promote my products and services as well? Do I simply write as though I were writing in my journal? I do not write consistently enough to keep up a journal. Can I be more consistent with a blog? I have put the blog as one of the pages that pop up as soon as I get online, hoping that this effort will help me be more consistent.

Let’s try it and see.

JBelle