April 27, 2009
Source: Frey. He says “One year ago, my mother on into…well, I am not really sure where…she was sure she would return…let’s hope she was right. In any case, she will be remembered for her wild, poetic, rebellious and savvy self this time around”.
April 23, 2008
Demeday, Laurel Moon,
Day 1, Pisces, in the year or our Lady, 10,005
Cycle 1: Seizing the Time
Reclaiming time and calendar keeping has been quite an adventure for me. I have found myself doing this on two tracks; the Solar and the Lunar. On the Solar track I have discovered the mythic content of the eight solar holidays, the annual seasons, and their connection to women’s rites of passage. The Lunar track is similar, yet moves more quickly as it progresses from mooncycle to mooncycle around the year. The solar cycle works on longer arcs and we mark less seldom power points or holy days around its rim. The Lunar cycle is with us more day-to-day and so is entwined in our daily lives. Both can be understood as Maiden/Mother/Crone cycles, as can Morning/Noon/Night. All the cycles, daily, monthly, and annual have been layered with meaning in every culture, associated with deities, their names and their stories, and associated flora and fauna.
In 45 B.C. the lunar calendar was outlawed by Julius Ceasar. In the 5th century A.D. the concept of cyclic process was declared heretical by the Council of Constantinople. The current solar/civil calendar was instituted by Pople Gregory X111 in 1582 A.D. Obviously earlier peoples had no problem with cyclical time, and the universal circling of all things. With the advent of patriarchy, came the necessity to create finite time in order to keep people slaving and believing their allotment was running out, with heaven at the end of it if they were good slaves, hell if they were not. New conquests are often accompanied by new calendars and interpretations of time.
“Seize the time” is a phrase we can nowtake more literally than ever. Nancy Passmore spoke of it so elequently when she first came out with her Lunar Calendar, Dedicated to the Goddess in Her Many Guises. Merlin Stone gave us the astonishing research she had done, discovering that time has been measured for thousands more years than our own calendars tell us. Some of us now date our writings accordingly, so for us this is the year 10,005!
When Passmore’s first lunar calendars came out I was working on creating my own. She and I and Stone had apparently stumbled across these issues around the same time. I found out about it when I read Robert Graves’ material on the Celtic Tree Calendars in his book The White Goddess. I was making giant timewheels for my altars and sharing them with sisters. These were layered in concentric circles, with a pin at their center so they could all spin. I placed a marker at their edge to show where “now”was. There was a solar wheel in the middle with eight pie-wedges showing the solar holy days. Then there was a wheel showing the patriarchal months…then one showing the zodiac, then one showing the lunar months or moons, and finally a largest rim wheel with lines
for the 365-6 days. (A small version of this calendar wheel is shown in the Thread, Cycle #8, The Goddess Year.)
I was looking for photos or drawings of the thirteen trees as outlined by Robert Graves, so I could add these in to my lunar wheel. Since some of them are not indigenous to my area, I found this challenging. Later I decided to put some local trees in my own lunar calendar.
When I first read about the tree calendars I was surprised. I had never thought to connect time with trees…or the measurement of time. Now it seems so obvious to me…duh! The trees shift with the seasons…they shed leaves or grow leaves or make fruit or pods or seeds… all is exquisitely timed with the dance of earth and sky. Different trees have different cycles at different times of year. Thus a lunar month could be named for the Apple Tree when she flowers in the spring…. or the Oak Tree when she is in her fullest leafing in summer. I just love saying Apple Moon, or Oak Moon, or Hazel Moon when I am dealing with dates and records. Changing some to local trees has helped me to feel more connected in my own environment too. Tie that in with following the moon’s path in the sky day to day, knowing what phase she is in, what astrological sign she is in, and time becomes a thing of beauty and fulfillment. Tie all that in with my womanly cycles and energies and time becomes a thing of mystery and magic. Tie all that in with language and letters – that’s right- the tree calendars were not only nature signs…. they were alphabets! – and time becomes even more magical! On top of all that the letters are oghams or runes, and can be used for divination. And it’s all tied in with the moon.
What an amazing transformation all this brings to one’s sense of time’s passing. And to know that we go back in herstory 10,000 years and not 2,000! That our roots in womantime are old, old, old. Here are the tree names in English and Gaelic, with their alphabet letters as explicated by Robert Graves in The White Goddess. These are the tree moons in my current calendar, with the dates for 2,005/10,005 :
1. Beth Birch
2. Luis Rowan
3. Nion Ash
4. Fearn Alder
5. Saille Willow
6. Uath Hawthorne
7. Duir Oak
8. Tinne Holly
9. Coll Hazel
10. Muin Vine
11. Gort Ivy
12. Ngetal Reed
13. Ruis Elder
Be sure to save this list for filling out your wheels:
1. Birch Jan. 5 – Feb 8
2. Laurel Feb 9 – Mar 10
3. Ash Mar 11 – April 8
4. Alder Apr 9 – May 8<br
5. Apple May 9- June 6
6. Willow June 7 – July 6
7. Oak July 7 – Aug 4
8. Holly Aug 5 – Sep 3
9. Hazel Sep 4 – Oct 3
10. Sweetgum (Liquid Amber) Oct 4 – Nov 1
11. Madrone Nov 2 – Dec 1
12. Cypress Dec 2 – Dec 30
13. Redwood (No Redwood Moon this year; it is a 12 – Moon year)
Yes both these calendars have thirteen trees to cover the passing of thirteen moon cycles in a year. However, not every year has thirteen moons. Surprise! I remember when we were reclaiming the number 13 along with so many other witchy things that come with Goddess awakening. We felt we were soo cool and hip to be acknowledging the passing of 13 moons instead of the patriarchal twelve months. Well I found out some interesting details when I started actually making my own moon
Even Robert Graves has it wrong in White Goddess. He claims that the old calendars always had thirteen moons of four weeks apiece and then there was the "extra day" which was considered the Birth of the Divine Child, and it’s own month at Winter Solstice. Turns out these calculations don’t always match up with the actual dance of sun and moon in the sky. (Jose Arguelles is another mooncalendar enthusiast who was going by these incorrect calculations, last I heard.)
I wrote to a friend of mine, Grey Cat, a witch in Tennessee who had been making her own moon calendar for a while and sending it out to friends. It was built with lines and squares like regular calendars, but each page began and ended with the beginning and end of a lunar cycle.
I told Grey Cat that something confusing had happened to me when I tried to make my own calendar. I was working with Passmore’s calendar which always shows thirteen moons for each year. I discovered that the dates of the last moon of one year were the same dates as the first moon of the following year. This meant that one moon was being repeated, so that there were actually only twelve moons in that former year. When I’d written to Passmore about it she sent me a pile of literature but none of it answered my question.
Grey Cat went to her local planetarium and spoke to an astronomy professor! She found out that in
actual fact there are a little over twelve moons for two years and a little under thirteen moons every third year. She said the way to tell if a year has twelve or thirteen moons is to see how close Winter
Solstice is to the nearest full moon. If they are five or less days apart, that is a thirteen-moon year.
I still find myself wondering when I fill out my new wheels each year, whether we are in a twelve or thirteen moon year. Wemoon is also rather confusing on this subject. They too always have thirteen moons in their calendars, though sometimes they are not whole moon cycles. I guess that is how they are compensating for the fact that there are embarassingly, not actually always 13 whole moons every year. LOL! If you look at the current Wemoon for 2,005, you will see that it has two Winter Solstices… hm. That was my clue this year that we are actually in a twelve moon – with a little over- year. So, in a twelve moon year we do not include the Redwood or Elder moon.
The same applies to the thirty day-spokes in your moonwheel. There are not always thirty days in a lunar cycle…sometimes, I have found, thereare 29. In the ten years I have been using this calendar, lunations have always been either 29 or 30 days a piece.
However, if you are working from more conventional calendars, you may discover that some of your moon cycles have only 28 days. The reason mine never have less than 29 is because I am counting my moons starting with the very first crescent as day One, and ending with the last part of the dark
moon as day Twenty-nine or Thirty. Most calendars count the last day of Dark Moon as the first day of the lunar cycle, calling it the New Moon. I feel this moon belongs to the Crone and should be
considered the end, not the beginning of the lunar cycle. To me Newness means Maiden, and Maiden is the Crescent, while Darkmoon means Crone.
By leaving the Crone out of our lunar symbolism, we are effectively eradicating the Crone archetype from our psyches. So when I fill out my moonwheels I consider the cycle to begin with the first Crescent as New or Maiden Moon, and to end with the final dark moon. This is why my moonwheels
have never shown 28 days.
Of course you can name your moons and count them any way you like Starhawk’s group has nice names for their moons. Native American calendars have lovely names too. The Jewish calendar is Lunar and has Hebrew names. Many cultures still calculate their time by the moon and use lunar calendars. The Moonwheels come blank, so this does give you some flexibility. However, for the sake of getting started with your wheels, I suggest you follow along with my methods for now. Once you
have the hang of it you can make changes as you wish…
When a given moon has less than thirty days, I simply blank out the extra spoke in my wheel, or turn it into a decoration. Just as you would pass by the thirteenth moon in a twelve moon year, you can pass by that thirtieth dayspoke in your moonwheel when the cycle has only 29 days.
When we go into chat together I will walk you through, step by step, the filling out of your first moonwheel. We can repeat this with other moonwheels as well, if needed. Below are some questions I would like you all to answer by message-email. I would also like you to freely discuss the subjects I have brought up here, and of course I encourage dialogue among us all. I love questions too, so please ask freely. We all can participate in questions, answers, discussion, etc.
There is no set schedule for answering these questions. You may find some answers come right away, and some come to you as we proceed along in our moon together. Please respond as it flows:
What is time?
How is time created?
Is time an illusion?
Does the past still exist?
Does the future exist yet?
Did you know that the earliest calendars were menstrual? That ancient peoples measured time by bleeding women and trees?That a month was a moon cycle and not a slice of earth’s path around the sun?
How do you feel about time? Is there enough time?
Does time end?
Does time go on forever?
Is time linear?
Compare the experience of filling in a traditional calendar with boxes, lines and squares to that of filling in your moonwheels. How do you feel about the moon? Do you connect with her?
See the moon as "her?". Do you pray to her or do magic with her energy?
In what phase of the moon does or did your moonblood come?
Are you aware of any effects of moon energy on your own energy?
Have you ever "drawn down" the moon? Taken a moonbath?
In patriarchy solar/lunar is usually considered as a gender-based duality of male/female, active/receptive, light/dark, good/evil, dominant/submissive.Does this resonate for you? In my Goddess-centered cosmology I have reckoned the Sun, Earth and Moon as a Crone/Mother/Maiden
triad. (Scientific theory backs this Grandmother/Mother/Daughter image up, since it has said that the moon came outof the earth and the earth came out of the sun!) How does this triadic female symbolism resonate for you
Magic is afoot, a heart and a hand
And Goddess is alive in the land!
Shekhinah Mountainwater, Radical Muse, Faery Bard, Priestess of Aphrodite, a foremother of the Womanspirit Movement, Author of Ariadne’s Thread.
December 28, 2007
It is typical in a patriarchal society that women are isolated from one another and learn to put their trust in men first. Sisters are set against sisters, as the priveleges and perks of the system are in the control of those "on top," creating a scarcity of love, recognition, attention, support.
Some women are in easier positions than others, depending upon the men they are connected to, and sometimes women of privilege feel they are already liberated, and wonder what all the fuss is about. Usually they don’t become feminists unless they experience oppression directly and become awakened to the nature of the system…
The lack of continuity and trust between sisters is an obvious sign that something is amiss. But it’s not our fault that we were born into an arrangement designed to keep us apart. True, lots of sisters who have no politics and no feminism do get together anyway… for "innocent" activities like coffee clatches or the yaya sisterhood. In older times it was quilting parties and sewing bees.
Interestingly, such gatherings have become radicalized over time, as women come up against things like rape, abuse, lower salaries, fewer job options, and so on. Some women wake up as they age, and discover what happens to older women.
In any case it’s understandable that we have little trust for sisters. In an enslaving society, sisters can take on what feminists call "the traits of victimization"… or "horizontal oppression," where we turn against one another, compete, are jealous, backbiting, gossiping, scapegoating, excluding, and so on.
All of these behaviours, usually with little awareness of the larger pattern that put us there, are part of the design to keep us apart and disempowered.
Trust is not automatic in the best of circumstances. This is something that must be built and earned. I pray that sisters will trust me, but I know that it takes time and the repetition of deeds that show I walk my talk, mean what I say, and am sincere in my advocating sisterhood. I have had sisters turn away from me many many times in my life, so I too need time to build trust. "By their fruits ye shall know them" is a good concept. :0)
I hope we can keep dialoguing about these things and that others in the circle will put their thoughts and feelings in too…
From Moonspell Library
December 28, 2007
I am familiar with the Eastern concept that all we experience in this plane is illusion… a dream in the night of Brahma… the exhortation to transcend the ego… the encouragement to get off the wheel of birth, life, and death that must always bring suffering because it is built on the pleasure/pain duality and "you can’t have one without the o-o-ther… (music in the background here :0) )…
One time I was at a Satsang listening to a famous guru explain the familiar dictum that all is an illusion, couched in the implication that then one must let the dream go, and return to sublime Nothingness. A woman sitting near me in the audience muttered under so that only those nearby could hear her "Well if it’s all a dream, we might as well have a good one." Right on sista!
The western mysteries and pagan beliefs look at it differently, I believe.
December 28, 2007
The wheel of fate comes ’round once more
Again we join the dance
This time we know the steps by heart
No more a prey to chance..
From Moonspell Library
December 28, 2007
Retold by Shekhinah
Once beneath the great Northern Sea dwelt the Silkies, in their
underwater land called Sul Skerie. The Silkies are the ancient seal
people. They are of human form beneath their sealskins, which they can
shed at will. Silkies have been known to walk disguised among humans,
and even to dwell for a time upon the land. Woe be to any Silkie who
leaves her skin unguarded, for if it should fall into the wrong
hands,she will be unable to return to Undersea. Many are the legends of
human men who stole the furry wet skins of Silkie women when they came
to unveil and play upon the shore. This would give them the power to
force these beautiful creatures to stay on land, sometimes for years.
But woe to the man whose Silkie wife should happen to find her skin
where he had hidden it. For in a flash of dark fur and a silver splash
she would be gone, back to Sul Skerie. And he would be left ashore with
an aching heart and a lonely soul. Better to leave her to her freedom
from the start, and perhaps she would come of her own will to stay and
be a friend or lover.
Such was the tale of one such Silkie
woman who gave her heart to an earthling. Silvera was the daughter of
the Ron King, ruler of the Silkies in Sul Skerie. Like many a Silkie
maiden, she loved to swim up to the shore and shed her skin to play on
the sunshiny sand. She was dancing there one day when the young Prince
Golden happened by. Soon and soon they fell in love and agreed to be
Back down in Undersea, Silvera approached her
father to ask for his blessing. The Ron King gave it, but with these
"And if there ever comes a time
When your lover speaks to you unkind
Turn your back to the land, your face to the wind
I’ll be waiting here with your old sealskin…"
-From Song of the Silkie Woman by Shekhinah
And so Silvera embraced her father and swam away to become a queen upon
the land. She and Golden lived happily for a time, and eventually
conceived and birthed a Silkie child. But one day the prince came into
their chamber with a dark cloud upon his brow. When Silvera asked what
troubled him, he snapped at her angrily, "Stupid woman, leave off!"
Without a word Silvera arose, took up her babe, and walked back into the sea. She was never seen in that land again.From Moonspell Library
December 28, 2007
I swim with the sea flowers in my hair
All the Silkies love me here
Now my eyes are turning above
And my heart is tuned to an earthly love
My mother takes me by the hand
To where the waters meet the land
"Go my child, do not fear,
"And know the sea is ever near.
"And if there ever comes a time
"When you lover speaks to you unkind
"Turn your back to the land, your face to the wind
"I’ll be waiting here with your old sealskin.
"When you go you will leave your skin behind
"Taking only hand and heart and mind
"Naked you’ll stand upon the shore
"To see your own land never more…"
And how will it be when you come for me?
Will I turn and fly back to Sul Skerie?
Will I run to hide in my old sealskin?
Or stay to love Earthkin?
No, I’ll not run when you find me here
I’ll stand proud, and the wind will take my fear
And I’ll walk the land til I come to fly
And be one with the earth, the sea, and sky…
When I go I will leave my skin behind
Taking only hand and heart and mind
Naked I’ll stand upon the shore
To see my own lands ever more…
by Shekhinah Mountainwater
All rights reserved
I composed this song in the early days of my Goddess awakening, when my
children were still dancing to my music. We loved acting out this tale
with wavelike movements, deep-sea chords and rocking rhythms. I had
long known of the Silkies, having sung the traditional Scottish ballad
of The Great Silkie since the early 1950s. This ballad was later
popularized by Joan Baez during folkmusic’s heyday in the late 50s and
the 60s. Yet few in our country seemed to be aware of the legends of
the magical seal people until the film Secret of Roan Innish came out
several years ago. What joy to experience this film and its
unforgettable rendition of the beautiful wild Silkie woman shedding her
Soon after the film’s release, my son Frey Faust, now a
professional dancer worldwide, came home to dance to the Song of the
Silkie Woman, along with his then partner Andreia Zwicca. They wore
brown fuzzy leotards that fit them like skins and moved in undulant
leaps and dives that took the viewers’ breath away. It dawned on me
that the Silkie woman is a perfect expression of the Dark Maiden
archetype. As a Dark Maiden woman it has been a great healing to sing
this piece. Since this realization I have woven it into women’s ritual
circles, inviting sisters to consider the option the seal woman chose:
to firmly and quietly walk away from abuse.
(In the original Scottish legend I retell above, the parent who guides
the Silkie woman is her father. In my own version told in the song
below, I choose to have it be her mother, which feels more in keeping
with my woman-centered approach to this myth.)
From Moonspell Library
December 28, 2007
Maiden’s season is fall, when shadows lengthen towards winter. She
wraps Her purple cloak around Her and descends into the cave of the
Mother. She is Persephone, Morgan La Fay, the Sorceress, Lady of the
Lake, the Mermaid, the Silkie Woman, the waning crescent of the moon.
Menopause is the woman’s mystery passage connected to the Dark Maiden,
a time when we shed our mother-skins and begin our croning journey.
Opposite Her on the Wheel of the Year is spring, time of Ascent,
Rebirth, and the Bright Maiden. The Bright Maiden dances into the arms
of Mother Summer, the Dark Maiden goes alone to meet the Winter Crone.
The Bright Maiden is the waxing crescent, strong, physical, assertive,
focused, solar, courageous, active, willful, fast-moving, powerful,
external, playful, left brain, smart, practical. She is Diana, Artemis,
Xena, Durga, Oya, Warrior Womon, Amazon. The Dark Maiden is tender,
compassionate, sensitive, magical, receptive, psychic, contemplative,
right brain, intuitive, artistic, flowing, muse-ical, lunar, internal,
mystical, dreamy, poetic.
All womyn have both of these
archetypes affecting our psyches, as well as others of the Mother and
Crone aspects of the Goddess. Yet each of us is unique and will express
the traits of one or some archetypes more than others. Some women are
primarily Bright Maidens, and some Dark. Some are combinations of both.
This is not to imply that the archetypes are psychological alone. I
agree with R.J. Stewart and Luisah Teish on this; that they are Beings
who reside on the inner planes, influencing us and manifesting through
body, mind and spirit, or through the physical, emotional, mental,
energetic and spiritual aspects of ourselves and our multiverse.
December 28, 2007
The world needs the Dark Maiden- not in her watered down patriarchal
state of victim and prey…but in her ancient power as sorceress,
prophet, nurturer and muse…
Today’s feminist movement has been mobilized primarily by the Amazon
archetype (the Bright Maiden), and Goddess knows, we have needed Her
too. But because we are so entangled with the patriarchal dualisms of
butch/femme, masculine/feminine, dominator/dominated, the Amazon and
the Dark Maiden have gotten overlaid with typical gender roles.
the dominant is always valued more and seen as male, Amazon women get
more respect than dark maidens. Dark Maidens have been kept in the
background, seen as weak, blamed for being victimized, told to toughen
up, and kept ignorant of our important and powerful legacy. It may be
that the revolution for world change will only happen when the Dark
Maidens are reinstated in society and in our psyches… for it is Her
qualities that are most needed- compassion, gentleness, cherishing of
the tender, nurturing of life, feeling the connectedness of all things,
sharing rather than competing, channelling truth and vision through
deep sensitivity, and openness to ecstasy…
The world and even
our own women’s world, have shown disapproval of these qualities, and
ignored them. I didn’t even realize how many other dark maidens there
were out there who were feeling these things, until Ariadne’s Thread came out
and I started getting mail, thanking me for validating them!
ShekhinahFrom Moonspell Library
December 28, 2007
everyone at Moonspells know about our aligned prayerbowls? You can get
in touch with this way of connecting too if you wish…plus it’s very
effective for manifesting the results of your prayers and spells! Find
a beautiful bowl or basket or other sacred container, where you can
place the written requests of our sisters on the Rim… or requests of
your own. Consecrate your prayerbowl with a rite of your choosing, and
give her a magical Name if you like. :0)
Moonspells community prayerbowl’s name is Mother Eterna. She lives
virtually in the big Sacred Grove in the Faery Forest of Anu, on the
Spirit Altar. I’m still trying to decide on a Name for my own prayerbowl.
do a rite to connect your prayerbowl to Mother Eterna, which in turn
will connect you to all of our prayerbowls all over the world wherever
we may be. :0) We then know that we have the added power of psychic
energy from all our sisters…and all the helping spirits and
divinities they consecrated their bowls to… !