Tag Archive | History

Wicca and Initiation

Here is North Central Texas the sun still blazes through our days and our earth is very thirsty (there is a cold front moving through tonight and I know we all pray for rain), but I can feel the tease of autumn in the morning and evening air. And, although everyone I speak with is grateful for our mild (by Texas standards) summer, I know we’ll happily welcome the cooler weather.

As our wheel turns toward autumn my thoughts turn inward and I find myself coming across many thought provoking writings. The following on Wicca and Initiation comes from one of our craft Elders, Morgana Sythove. I suggest it should be required reading for all seekers, but also think those of us with more than a few craft years under our belts can always benefit from a refresher on the topic as well.

There is often a great deal of dissension over the issue of Wicca and initiation. Many people believe that you can be a Wiccan without initiating or that a person can perform a “self-initiation”, while others (mostly Wiccan) declare that initiation is definitely needed and that self-initiation is generally a ridiculous concept.

link to the remainder of the post on Morgana’s blog

My Ireland – Beltane

I’m feeling so inspired this Beltane season.

My personal craft points of reference and experience are solely US and UK based but I would be remiss to skip over the Beltane customs of the Emerald Isle (btw: I’m not trying to slight the Welsh, Manx, Cornish or Briton traditions, but I know nothing about them). I’m not even going to try and pretend that I’m anything but your classic American mutt. Branches of my family tree on my mother’s side trace back to ancestors who participated in founding of These United States, and I have enough First Nation heritage that I’m comfortable calling myself Métis, but my father’s side of the family is 100% Irish, from County Westmeath, as far back as anyone can remember – from what I understand the family is one of the oldest/longest established families in the County.

I can’t fault my father for jumping whole-heartedly into the American experience, but, unfortunately, it left me a little bereft of old world cultural heritage. So I decided to do a little poking around into the Beltane customs of the area and discovered some very interesting history. According to lookaroundireland.com

“Uisneach Hill is an historical site in County Westmeath located near the village of Ballymore, and is considered the omphalos (mystical navel) of Ireland, whereupon rests a great stone (Ail na Mreann, which means stone of divisions) marked with lines indicating the provincial borders of Connacht, Leinster, Ulster and Munster.

Tradition tells that Uisneach was a site favored for Beltane fires and Druidical ceremonies Archaeologically the site consists of a set of monuments spreading over two square kilometres and includes enclosures and barrows, a megalithic tomb and two ancient roads.

There was an excavation in the 1920s and this showed occupation evidence from Neolithic up to the medieval period.

The Hill of Uisneach was the ancient seat of the Kings of Meath.

Uisneach has also been famous as a meeting place in pre-history as a place of cattle rituals and other May Day assemblies, and in more recent times as the meeting place for an important twelfth century synod.”

And philipcoppens.com and Turtlebury.com provide some very interesting information on the mythic history of the place.

I think it’s time for me to do some exploration of the deities associated with where this side of my family hails from.

P.S. The following picture is considered a Sheela-na-Gig from Carne Castle, County Westmeath – now in the National Museum, Dublin. Here is further information on what the author calls “exhibitionist figures on mediæval churches”.

“NO-one forgets their first Beltane Fire Festival.”

A great article about the annual Beltane festival on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill — Sparks of pure genius.

My sweetheart and I had a blast when we went 13 years-ago (seems like a life-time). Though I have to say (and this is from a girl born and raised for the most part in the great, white north) it was friggin freezing! I was in awe of those running around with barely a stitch on! I’ll have to see if I can dig out the pictures to share.

Have fun all you revelers — I’ll be with you in spirit.

Dancing in the day, dancing in May…

Although there is little (to no) historical evidence associating Morris Dancing with historic pagan celebrations, for centuries Morris sides throughout England have gathered at dawn to dance in May. Morris dance sides are now a common feature of pagan festivals in the UK. I used to enjoy watching Wolf’s Head and Vixen when I lived in London. So in order to help you dance in May I present their 1 May 2009, 5.30am performance.

Links to: Rochester Sweeps Festival 1 May 2009 Blue Bell Hill 5.30am Wolf's Head & Vixen Morris on Youtube

P.S. You may be interested in this article “Goths and pagans are reinventing morris dancing.”