Astrology and Tarot, Holidays

How to celebrate Lammas and the Sturgeon Moon

The themes of the Sabbat and the full moon are really speaking to me this year. This weekend marks the beginning of the harvest season, and my garden is just about ready to burst forth with all sorts of veggies. I haven’t picked anything but herbs and lettuce yet, and now it’s time! My first tomato is turning red. My peppers re just big enough to pick. My turnips grew so fast, dewy purple bulbs are pushing up from the soil. The first green beans are as pretty plump. I’m planning a Sabbat dinner with some of these home grown goodies. For some top notch vegan recipes, sign up for the Arrow tarot newsletter here! I include seasonal recipes that I’m really digging.

Lammas and Lughnassadh Sabbat- August 1st

Lughnassadh is an ancient Gaelic festival to celebrate the beginning of harvest season. It falls on August 1st, and its a time to feast to break bread,and to grateful for the abundance of the earth. Some Pagan and Wiccan traditions celebrate Lammas, a very similar adaptation of the festival that falls on the same day. Sabbats fall at the half way point between solstices. It’s the height of summer, the heart of the season. celebrations honor the Son God, during his most sacred month. August is considered an auspicious month for handfasting and weddings.

The harvest is depicted as the Grain Mother.Like the vegetables in the garden that are ripe with seeds and abundance, the fullness of the mother holds at her very heart, the seed of all future harvests. The mother is pregnant not only with her daughter within her, but also her daughter’s ovaries, which contain all of the seed for all future generations. As the harvest is gathered, there is food to keep the community alive through winter.

The Full Sturgeon Moon – August 3rd

The names of moons were created by different Native American tribes, and are deeply tied to nature and the cycles of the year. The full moon in August (this Monday, the 3rd) is called the Sturgeon Moon because it was the time of year that it was easiest to catch these big, fresh water dwelling fish. They were abundant, a key resource for survival in the summer. Now, Sturgeons are extremely rare to find due to over fishing and habitat pollution. Some tribes call the August moon the green corn moon, the fruit moon, or the barley moon.

Ways to Celebrate

This weekend and into Monday, you can celebrate the spirit of the season in many different ways. You can find or make yourself a corn dolly, or a grain mother doll. They are made out of stalks of wheat, oats, barley, corn husks, whatever is available. Here’s a video on how to mak corn dollies. The doll is usually kept until Imbolc festivities. Made during Lammas, the corn dolly are believed to hold the spirit of the corn, and were burned or buried at Imbolc, to symbolize the retern of the corn spirit to the earth, thus ensuring fertility for the year ahead.

You can decorate with colorful Indian corn, wheat, red and orange flowers, like sunflowers and marigolds. This is a good time to set protective spells around your home. Create and bury near the entry way to your home: a witch’s bottle full of broken, sharp, pointy things, and a bit of urine (I know crazy – but a powerful protection spell!).

Have yourself a nice dinner on the night of Lammas or the full moon. It is traditional to have cornbread and seasonal vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers. You can make a dessert out of blackberries which are growing ripe and wild this time of year. Or perhapes have some blackberry wine, mead or beer.

This is a traitionl song that would be chanted at Sabbat dinner:

The Earth Mother grants the grain;

The horned God goes to His domain.

By giving life into Her grain;

the God dies, then is born again.

For this month, I invite you to work with Red Jasper, which resonated with the root chakrah. Red Jasper has been used for protection for thousands of years. It is believed to create and help balance aggressive, dynamic energy. A good yoga pose to embody these elements of the season is warrior three (Virabhadrasana III). One leg is extended back, long while the other roots down straight in support. Here’s a video of how to strike this pose. It stretches, the chest, shoulder, neck, belly and groin, complementing your work with red jasper. It clears energy from the crown to the tail. While holding the pose, I invite you try on the affirmation, “My strength is my foundation; my mind is limitless.”

I hope that you are growing full with the season and enjoying the warmth and bounty of the year. I know it hasn’t been an easy one for many of us. If you want to explore your own abundance, and capture the power of your spiritual harvest, I am here to create space and provide insight with tarot and coaching.

Astrology and Tarot

Eight of Swords

Helplessness · Apathy · Inhibitions

In the Eight of Swords, a woman is tied up, blindfolded, and trapped in a prison of swords. She’s exposed the raw elements, and the comforts of home are far off in the distance. Water is puddling around her feet, representing the wallowing in her own emotions. The sky is cloudy and gray, like her present state of mind.

But if we take a closer look, it is clear that there is no sword behind her, and her ties are not bound tight. She could easily escape by changing her perspective and pulling the blindfold off of this gloomy situation.

This card represents self imposed boundaries that keep us down when we have the power to free ourselves all along. When this card comes up in a reading, the person is usually feeling like a victim, and often for very valid reasons. Bad things happen that are out of our control. It takes a deep emotional response, filled with nasty introspection and vulnerability, to pull yourself out of victim mentality and take back your power. But you can do it! You are selling yourself short.

You are able to create your own opportunities and attract good fortune with your energy. Don’t be like the Eight of Swords and trap yourself in with unhealthy boundaries and an unfailing sense of impostor syndrome. Tell that nagging voice inside your head, the one that tells you can’t do it, or you’re not good enough, or not smart enough – to shut the heck up! I find it helpful to name your inner shame voice and address it directly. I call mine Frannie because “f*** off Frannie rolls right off the tongue.

Be careful making big decisions if you draw the Eight of Swords. It can mean that your way of thinking is limited because there is a perspective that you have not yet uncovered.

The number eight is a powerful symbol of infinity. It’s related to the constant flow of energy and power. It’s shadow side is overindulging in vices. If you draw this card in reverse, give your self a drama queen check and also watch those bad habits. Are you being a little extra lately? You know your vices! Don’t let them get the best of you.

The Eight Fold Path

Eight is a significant number in the Buddhist religion. Devotees of Buddha follow him in his practice of the Eight Fold Path. These are the dimensions of life that Buddha mastered in order to reach enlightenment.

I associate all of the Eights in the tarot deck with these teachings. The best way to shake that victim hood mentality is to get right in your own inner self and find your flow.

Have you every felt like everything was just clicking right into place? Things were coming together in your life in ways that could not just be coincidence? That is because you were in a state of flow. There are all different ways to raise your vibration, improve your happiness and your energy. Buddha is the master and there is much to be learned from his teachings.

Guided Meditation

Use this ten minute guided meditation to journey into the scene of the Eight of Swords and untangle yourself from your own self limiting thoughts and patterns. Bring a blindfold with you for this practice!

Astrology and Tarot

Shine On, Summer Solstice

The word “solstice” is from the Latin word Sol for ‘Sun’ and Sistere ‘to stand still’. June 21st is not only a new moon (learn more about the Buck Moon), but it’s also the summer solstice, the mid point of the year. It’s the longest day of the year; the latest sunset before the days start getting shorter again.

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, our land is bathed in light and warmth. It’s a time of joy and celebration. Yet, within this climax of the season, there’s a whisper that the darkness will return once again. So live it up! Enjoy it now.

Litha

In neo-pagan related traditions, this day is called Litha. God, as the Oak King, is bathed in abundance, as he surrenders his reign to his twin brother, the Holly King. So, before we welcome the return to the dark time of the year, we celebrate. Traditionally, people stayed up all night on Midsummer’s Eve to hail the sunrise. Bonfires were light on hill tops and at sacred places to honor the fullness of the sun all night. Trees near wells and fountains, where people would gather, were decorated with colored cloth.

Herbs, flowers and honey are flowing in abundance during this time of year. Any sort of tonics, new recipes or natural remedies you want to make will be potent. Summer Solstice is a time to fully open your heart. Experiment with nature by gardening, cooking, exploring. You can make a dandelion flower crown (directions here on Pinterest). I just invested in a new mortar and pestle and I am excited to break it in!

Litha blessings to you and yours. May your heart shine as bright as the sun.

Astrology and Tarot

Connection to the Midsummer Buck Moon

What a powerful time of year. You’ve fully defrosted from the Winter now, and perhaps your flaunting some sun kissed skin. Spring gave you abundance, fresh foods, and a time of new growth. You’ve grown in some ways, and you have a better sense of how this year is going to go.

It’s time to revisit your goals and update your intentions. Like a young buck stepping out into the field, your antlers have grown from stubs to almost full grown. But, they’re still fuzzy, soft and easily damaged. During this time of the year, bucks form bachelor groups for the summer, much like our quarantine social bubbles.

Bathe in the energy of the new moon on June 21st

The Buck Moon represents your abilities, and your comprehension of how those advantages can help you navigate the world. It’s a time of fine tuning sills and taking a chance with your talents. If you’ve never shared your art or your dream with anyone before, it’s time to put it out there! For this reason, I’m going to work with this affirmation for this moon cycle:

I face challenges with grace; my courage rises up with ease.

The crystal of the month, to put a little zing in my affirmation meditations, is… Amazonite! Amazonite is good during times of stress, it can help you chill out. It helps you hear the truth, even if it hurts. Its a powerful throat chakra stone, and can help you move beyond fear of confrontation or judgment so you can express yourself fully.

I’ve been trying to examine myself is some tough ways lately. I’m learning about anti-racism, which requires some serious introspection. I’m balancing that with a new gratitude practice to help me find more happiness on the daily.

My jam for this moon in my yoga practice is chair pose (Utkatasana)! This pose is so much harder than it looks, right? It lights a fire in the thighs and the shoulders, and it requires you to keep reaching up, no matter what. Striking this pose takes some courage, too because you need to stick your but out there and feel the shake.

I invite you to adopt these practices and make them your own. How will you rock this new moon?What is opening to you?

Holidays

A Beltane Spell

Happy Beltane to you, blessed be!

Beltane is a springtime festival, traditionally celebrated with fire. The word Beltane originates from the Celtic God “Bel” meaning “the bright one,” the Sun God Belenus. Beltane is the half way point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It honors life and birth.

Historically observed throughout Ireland and Scotland, it marks the time of year when cattle were driven out to pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle and the crops for the summer. Special bonfires were lit, and it was believed that the smoke had healing powers. People would jump through the flames for protection, and they would even drive their cattle through the bonfires.

Hearths in each home would be put it out, and then re-lit, with the communal Beltane fire. People would decorate their floors and windows with May flowers. The would decorate branches with ribbons, feathers, and shells, and bring them inside for display. Dinner would be a feast, with lots of mead and cakes. Offerings are left out on the doorstep to appease the fairies. It also became customary to decorate a may bush in the community, burn it at the end of the festival, and dance around it.

The morning after the feast and the fires, it as believed that the first water drawn from the wells had special protective powers. Maidens would roll in the morning dew and rub the dew on their faces for beauty and youth. People would collect the ashes from the sacred fires, and bless themselves by dabbing their faces with the ashes. They would sprinkle the ashes on their cattle and livestock.

3 Ways to celebrate Beltane today

  1. Start your garden! The best way to honor Beltane is by making things grow, whether its a planter on your window, a vegetable garden, or some beautiful landscaping.

2. Make an altar. Pick a small space in your home, and set down a cloth. Decorate your altar with flowers (even dandelions), a candle, and symbols of fertility such as seeds, horns, or blossoms. You can add a mother goddess symbol, or draw a sigil on a piece of paper. Check out my Pinterest board on sigil magic here.

3. Have a fire. If you have a fire pit outside, have a fire under the night sky. You can even just bring a candle outside. Sit by the flame/s and mediate on mother earth and the coming of summer. Put your toes in the grass. What are you going to grow in this season? What are you going to prune out of your garden to make room for your expansion?

Let me know how you are celebrating Beltane. Until then, merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!