My Journey with the Apple Tree

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Me and my new Gala Apple Tree – Dec. 6, 2011

This morning I gazed out over my morning coffee into the magick that is my backyard. So much magick to be found in nature if only one pauses, takes a moment, to reflect and connect. I noticed in particular one red leaf on my Gala Apple Tree.

I have great love for this apple tree. I have a connection through it to my Grandmother who crossed on Dec. 10, 2011, and also to my parents. My parents also have a great love for and planted Apple Trees at their Missouri Century Farm. A Century Farm designation is one that has been in the family over 100 years – ours has been in our family since 1902.

My Grandmother gifted my parents with a special apple tree before she died, which was planted at the farm. My parents in turn gifted me with my Gala apple tree for my birthday in the autumn of 2011. My friend Louise and I planted my Gala apple tree on Dec. 6, 2011 in the snow. Into the hole I placed dirt I collected from the top of Glastonbury Tor and dirt from Dion Fortune’s Grave from my August 2011 Pilgrimage to Glastonbury. Added in of course with a little bit of love from Morona, Morgan of the Earth! The Morrighan is my Matron.

Of course, as ties into the below tale, I also have had many experiences with Opossum, which started after I attended a class by Ted Andrews (see my last blog post HERE). Since then in addition to Opossum’s farm appearances, he has been a regular visitor at my home, including on my front porch one night when I came home from a meeting! (I am still looking for that photo to add it to this post.)

Gala Apple Tree's first bloom at our farm, Spring 2016

Gorgeous Gala Apple blossom at the farm on Scorpio Full Moon Eve, April 21, 2016

Five years ago tomorrow, on Dec. 4, 2011, I wrote an essay to honor part of my Journey with the Apple Tree. This was also two days prior to planting my own apple tree. And it was also six days before I helped my grandmother to cross over upon her death, This essay was published in the anthology The Green Lovers: A Compilation of Plant Spirit Magick. I donated use of the essay in the book as a fundraiser to benefit a 501c3. I retained all rights to the essay and am now called to share it here with you. This version contains additional information from the previously published version.

*****
My Journey with the Apple Tree – 12/4/2011 – by Shea Morgan

My journey with the Apple Tree has been a winding path that includes visits from Mushroom, Opossum and the Fey, with other guests sprinkled in along the way, adding more spice to Apple’s message, filling in the web with their connections. It definitely takes a village of guides showing the way on a journey through a year of shamanic witchcraft, and they accompanied me, walked with me and offered their wisdom. Apple is a gateway to wisdom, and I am just beginning to understand its gifts.

For years we have had several apple trees at our family Century Farm, which has been in our family, on my Mom’s side, over 100 years. The apple trees were planted by my parents, and Mom harvests the apples every year, making pies, baking and sometimes canning apples. Baked apples have always been a fixture of our fall and winter meals, with a little bit of cinnamon of course. I loved the smell of baking apples as a child, and still do.

As a witch, the Apple Tree and its fruit play a major role in our lore. The center of much of the stories, of course, is the five pointed star that you will find in the center of an apple, if you cut it horizontally. It contains the pentagram, which is used for magick of many kinds and includes the four elements, spirit and ultimately contains the mystery.

My Apple Tree's first bloom! March 26, 2012

My Apple Tree’s first bloom! March 26, 2012

Apples come in different colors and their species have been widely varied and new strands propagated, but when we think of the apple, we think of the juicy, red apple of our childhood and mythos. The apple can also be seen as the maiden, mother and crone. The Maiden is represented by the juicy, untouched and unblemished white flesh, the Mother by the protective red covering, and the Crone by the small, black, bitter seeds, containing some poison, yet also containing the essence for regeneration in the spring.

When you think of love, or perhaps a correspondence for a love spell, you do not necessarily think of apple as a first choice. Rose is usually the first pick. But what of the apple? Apple is a child of Venus and has many powers, including love.

Think of the scent of apple on the spring breeze when new love is beginning to take form. Such magickal properties often show up in regular life. I am reminded of the old wives tale – turn the stem on the apple while reciting the alphabet, and you will find the initial of your love in the letter on which the stem releases from the apple. I learned this as a child, yet I must admit that to this day, every time I have an apple, you can catch me turning its stem. Apple is not just for love of course. It has properties of healing, happiness, wisdom and the mysteries.

Me on top of the Glastonbury Tor! During my Aug. 2011 Pilgrimage to Glastonbury

Me on top of the Glastonbury Tor! During my Aug. 2011 Pilgrimage to Glastonbury

With apples abounding and hearing apple in our lore for years, it still took a trip across the ocean on a Glastonbury Pilgrimage in August 2011 for me to make my first real connection with the Apple Tree. Glastonbury is a place of magick, and many believe, as do I, that it is the Avalon of our myths – Avalon, the Isle of Apple Trees. We are drawn to the image of the Summerland as well, with meadows and sweet apple blossoms scenting the air. What better place to begin a relationship with the Apple Tree.

One day, after we arrived back at the Chalice Well House where we were staying in Glastonbury, I went for a walk in the gardens. It was so incredibly beautiful, and I walked without thought and let the spirits move me. First I came upon an apple that had fallen in the path, and I saved it to put on our altar. As I continued to walk, I was drawn off the path. I stumbled upon a circle of Mushrooms near an apple tree. Understanding the strong relationship of the Fey to both Mushrooms and Apples, it makes sense that in such a magickal place, where the land spirits are so active, that the three would be found together – Apple, Mushroom and Faery.

Me beside the Chalice Well, the Red Well, in the Chalice Well House Gardens

Me beside the Chalice Well, the Red Well, in the Chalice Well House Gardens

That night, we had a teaching on the Nine Morgans. Afterwards, we went out to the Chalice Well Gardens under the night sky to do a journey. We walked through the lavender that lined the path, with it brushing our robes and scenting the night air. We walked to the Apple Tree and all gathered underneath its low-hanging branches. I realized that this was the apple tree earlier in the day that had gifted me an apple for our altar. Our journey’s intention was to visit the Isle of Avalon and meet one of the Morgans. We started by reading this hauntingly beautiful poem that one of us had written.

I was sitting cross-legged under the apple tree as he read, and there was an incredible, crazy heartbeat rushing through my body – its energy spiraling up and down my body. It was from the Apple Tree. Then we had a guided journey.

I felt so close to the Apple Tree. I moved into the Apple Tree, and it became my journey vehicle as I rode its trunk down below and through the dirt, and dropped through the earth. It was my gateway to Avalon, to the Undeworld and to the land of Faery. There was a river coming from the blackness of a cave, and it was feeding the lake around the island. I walked over towards an apple tree, and one of the Morgans walked over to greet me. It was Morona, the Morgan of the Earth. She was fair skinned, had black hair and was wearing a black dress. She had me sit on a bench with her by the Apple Tree. My Matron, the Morrighan, also paid a visit under that apple tree.

Apple has been known as the Tree of Knowledge, and in some religions used as a tool of fear. For some, it is the Tree of Life or their World Tree. Indeed, one can get caught up in a quest for knowledge, for knowledge’s sake, but knowledge, without experience, is just knowledge. The Morgan and her Apple Trees are something much more than this. On the path of the Witch, we seek the wisdom of the three worlds on our journey to heal ourselves, others and ultimately the three worlds. Wisdom is not something you can order up on a menu, nor can you exactly go in search of it – it is what happens on your journey when you experience the mysteries.

What better gate to the mysteries than the Apple Tree. The seeds of an apple can turn into a tree not quite like the parent tree you originally planted. Its seeds of knowledge are tempered through its own experience in becoming a new, unique tree – gaining wisdom through the process, leafing out with its own striking beauty. Wisdom is gained by experiencing the mysteries and applying your knowledge to that personal experience. No one can do it for you, which is why they call it the Work. I like to think of the Great Work as using that wisdom to heal the three worlds.

Apple is a gateway to the three worlds. It holds the Mysteries. It can take us to the Underworld and the Land of Faery. The Fey hold the wisdom of the land and are able to connect with us, sharing their wisdom, through the Apple Tree. In Avalon, the Lady in White, came to share her stories with us. Is she the Spirit of the Apple Tree? Faery? Or a combination of both? Of course, in the Arthurian lore, we are reminded of Morgana. who some say is Fey, and also of the Priestesses of Avalon on the Apple Isle. I think the Lady in White, for me, is all of these things and more. She holds a key to the gate of the Mysteries, if you choose to unlock it.

As for the apple I found and placed on our altar, the next night, a teacher placed the apple into the chalice before a teaching on the Serpents – Red and White. It is interesting that there was a connection of the apple from one night to the next, as I went from a journey with the Morgans and the Isle of Avalon, to an initiatory journey with Queen Aroxanna. The Apple Tree and its fruit are definitely a gateway – a gateway to wisdom, a gateway between the worlds and a conduit to connecting with the Fey.

Walking the same grounds that were walked, and owned, by Dion Fortune during my Aug. 2011 Pilgrimage to Glastonbury. Blessed be!

Walking the same grounds that were walked, and owned, by Dion Fortune during my Aug. 2011 Pilgrimage to Glastonbury. Blessed be!

In that journey, there was a red stream and a white stream and their waterfalls formed a pool. As I think back on this, though the red and white symbolized the serpents, the red and the white also were the apple – the red skin of the apple and the juicy white center, the blood of sacrifice and the white of purification and cleansing. I was not surprised at the connection with the Fey to either the Apple Tree or to my own journey.

Tree spirits are not shy about making themselves known when they have something to teach. When I returned from Glastonbury, going back to my mundane life, yet jumping wholeheartedly into my shadowwork for the end of our year of shamanic witchcraft, the Apple Tree made it clear that it was not yet done with me. But first, the Spirit of the Apple Tree had to find a way to make me listen.

In early October, I went to visit our family farm. The apples were just ripening, and not quite ripe enough to pick. My parents and I were enjoying the night air on the screened in back porch. Next thing we saw was an opossum saunter across the backyard. He headed straight for one of the apple trees, which I soon was to realize was his first choice among apple trees. He climbed up into the tree and climbed back down with an apple in his mouth. Boy wasn’t that just the happiest little opossum you have ever seen! He sat right down by the trunk and used his two front paws to eat his little prize. After he was finished, he went back up in the tree for more. The only thing that scared him away for a little while was our resident Owl. This scene repeated itself the next night. My parents were a little bit frustrated that the opossum might eat all their apples, but I pointed out the absolute joy and pleasure of that little creature dining on nature’s finest gift.

I really had not paid much attention to the apples trees at our farm before. The opossum, so intent on eating from the fruit of the apple tree, drew my focus back to the apple tree and made me realize the need to be silent and to listen. It drew me back from my busy life. By this little creature’s interaction with the Apple Tree, I saw wisdom. The opossum had the knowledge to climb the tree, the daring and the will to do it, and in watching him, I saw the wisdom in silent moments. To me, being silent is where the mystery is, and opossums are silent. He was my guide to the apple tree, causing me to pay more attention to the apple’s messages and mysteries.

I do believe in offerings to the spirits of trees, plants, animals and the land, and I do it regularly. However, I had left for home before a friend made a great suggestion, which was that I should leave an apple at the base of the apple tree. My parents were still at the farm for one more night, and my Dad, used to my seemingly strange requests, granted this one and placed an apple at the base of the tree. The next day, the apple was gone.

Then the next weekend I went back to the farm by myself for my own little shamanic retreat. It also was a rite of passage of sorts for me as well, as I had never had stayed there by myself. My second night that weekend, I made my weekly offering to the Morrighan, the Fey and Spirits of the Place. This time I poured wine at every tree in our yard in a circle around the farmhouse. I also left an apple out in offering again for the opossum and the apple tree.

I woke up in the middle of the night, went to the kitchen and looked out the back window as I like to do, with the big old elms and the apple trees in back. The apple was gone. I let my gaze wander, and there was the opossum – he had just walked away from eating his apple. As he walked around the house, I had to go back to bed, but something made me look out my bedroom window. And there, under the moonlight, was the opossum right outside my window, and he climbed up the tree next to my window – definitely a first time for everything. The energy was crackling in this connection I felt tugging at my heart, a thing of beauty and to be honored. I thanked the Apple and the Opossum and said good night.

For me, the farm is all about stillness – the mystery that is seen and found in the quiet stillness of nature. The opossum is the stillness and the mystery is seen in the apple, which we can see in any challenge or journey if we only slow down long enough to look, peel back the mystery and savor its juices. I must add that the opossum had a banner fall harvest – by the time my parents got back up to the farm to pick the apples, the opossum had cleaned out every last one.

Planting my Gala Apple Tree on Dec. 6, 2011, with a little help from a little red wagon and my 100 year old Oak Tree stump/altar

Planting my Gala Apple Tree on Dec. 6, 2011, with a little help from a little red wagon and my 100 year old Oak Tree stump/altar

Of course, the nature of the gifts of life lessons on this journey is not always easy. We need something to push against or to overcome sometimes to provide strong fuel for the fire as we blaze our soul’s trail. You could look at it as biting through the apple’s more bitter skin to get to the sweet pleasures and meanings inside. Or, you could look at it inverted, as the world of Faery can be viewed as inverted to ours, like the bitter poison of the seeds, working out to the sweetness of the white flesh and the protection of the apple’s skin.

For a few months over the waning part of this year, I had felt the pull of the Morrighan, Hecate, Cerridwen and Baba Yaga to write a ritual. We scheduled a Dark Moon ritual with our coven, but I actually did not write the ritual until the day of the gathering when the Dark Ladies and my guides started to speak to me. Those guides included the voice of the Apple Tree. It seems highly appropriate in considering all of this now, given the connections of the Dark Goddesses to the Apple and the Underworld. Here is the alignment with the Dark Goddess and Moon that came to me that day.

Howl of the Wolf crying out warning in the darkness
Crackling of the Oak snapping above the roar of the fire
Mushrooms finding life in the crevices of the rotting wood
Naked Birch beckoning us forth with her white fingers of bone

The Dark Lady calls us through the skeletal forest
The land walks in shadows, hiding in dampness and fog
The Hunted now at rest beneath layers of decaying leaves
Crows dancing on the brittle air in a language all their own

Depths of the ocean stillness belied by the crashing waves
Pounding the shoreline, the elements converge
Edge of the deep, water meeting air, shaping the earth
Burning with fire, we walk this path between

She shines her light through her crimson eyes for those that would follow
She calls her children to her side, together, yet we walk this path alone
Courage to hear the warmth under the screech of her cry
Warmth to those brave enough to enter her cloak

We find her there, underneath the mask, if we dare to seek
Heart beating and pulsing together with our own
The Crone, the Hag, the Magick of the Underworld at her command
She holds out the Key in her rot covered hand – will we take it, she asks?

Key to unlock the secrets of the below, of the depths and of our soul.
The secrets of the Apple and its seeds, sweet, yet poison
Datura, whispering, calls us, intoxicating scent of attraction
The Lady has her ways and wiles; her gifts are many

Who will be brave enough to take her gifts when offered?
Where shall they bring you? Her demands are simple though not easy
She asks a path of service in return.
Will you accept her hand now, and the key that has been offered?

The ritual was moving and poignant. Just as the Apple Tree had gifted me with its message, and guided me in writing this ritual, the Dark Goddesses lent their support as well. The next morning, though it was daylight, a young opossum made a visit to my home in the suburbs. It was not long after this that my parents purchased an apple tree for my backyard, and it will be planted in the same area. I had asked the Spirit of the Apple Tree to let me know one night where to plant this tree, so that I would know when I woke up in the morning. It came to me in a dream visit to tell me where to plant the tree in my yard. The Apple Tree was a fitting conclusion to this first year with the Morrighan as my matron.

It is clear that apple drew me to its mysteries, and draws other witches, for a reason, but what is it about apples that draw everyone to them? Apples are home. They are comfort and safety. Candles are even made with the scent of apple. We know apple is healing and has vitamins, but why do kids like it so much? It is again about that comfort, love and happiness, such as found in the simple pleasures of life. It is safety with the pentagram, even for those unfamiliar with its mysteries.

Apples are the four seasons. It is spring blossoms and the Faery and summer with green apples on the tree. Fall is ripening apples, reminiscent of hayrides, wassail and family trips to the apple orchard. What is it about the apple orchard that makes it so fun? The idea of fertility and an abundant harvest as you fill up the apple baskets. Apples signify abundance and fertility, and through that, success and good luck. They are accessible and friendly trees, with low hanging fruit that children can relate to as well. We eat apples in all sorts of forms and in the end we can what is left or put the rest on the compost. Any apples remaining then rot back into the earth as fertilizer for next year’s growth or start their own apple trees.

apple-and-meWe can work with apple through our journey of the year, just as we see its growth, decline and renewal in the physical world. Meditate with the apple tree, become one with the tree, see and feel what it experiences. Or call on the Spirit of the Apple Tree in journey to ask what lessons it has to teach you. The possibilities are as endless as the apples in the orchard, if you chose to pick one and taste of its fruit. The next time you walk by a display of apples, give thanks to the Apple Tree for its gift of Wisdom.

© 2011 & 2016 copyright Shea Morgan, all rights reserved

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Essay on the Ancestors of the Craft, Ted Andrews

sam1Today I have spent time honoring my ancestors, of blood, of milk and of tradition – the Witches, Shamans and Mages who have gone before. Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and on this special day of family, I wore a necklace I was gifted from my grandmother upon her death in 2011 – my first set of amber and jet high priestess beads. Amazing that it has already been five years! I have thought of her many times today as I change my Thanksgiving decorations and think about my Yule and Christmas decorations.

Six days before I helped my grandmother to cross over upon her death, I wrote an essay to honor Ted Andrews on Dec. 4, 2011. In the spirit of honoring our ancestors, I am reminded today of Ted Andrews. He was one of my first teachers, he is one of my spirit guides, and his work has always called to me as a part of my path. This essay appeared in the anthology Ancestors of the Craft, published 2014. I donated use of the essay in the book as a fundraiser to benefit a 501c3. I retained all rights to the essay and am now called to share it here with you.

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Animal-Speak. That is one of the first books I was repeatedly told to read. I wondered why. What is it that is so special about this book? Who is this Ted Andrews? A trip to a local bookstore, and I had my own copy.

I had started on the path of the Witch, but as everyone knows, there are many different paths that converge even within Witchcraft. Like many who come to this path, I spent years doing comparative religious study before I became a Witch. Once I started in earnest as a Witch, I began with my own solitary study and practice. Then, I started taking classes on intuition, psychic development and more – though from teachers who would describe themselves as something other than a witch, and I did not tell them the word I used to identify myself.

Along the way, I read Animal-Speak: The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, and started to watch the way of the animals. I had not yet learned that I was hearing their voices and messages already – I just needed to stop, be silent and truly listen to their story.

I met Ted Andrews during the two years that I spent with a small group solely dedicated to shamanism. He did a book signing and taught an afternoon program that spring on animals at a pagan shop in St. Louis. Before this, though I had teachers, none of them were witches or really on the pagan path. I had never really spent time talking with a witch or someone identifying as a pagan, though I already was a frequent visitor to this shop, and had met witches in Salem, MA where I bought my first witchcraft books years before, which happened to be at Laurie Cabot’s shop (before visiting her shop, I did not know who she was, and many years later I went back and took a class from her as well). Everything comes in its own time.

Ted Andrews was approachable, as was his writing, which is part of what makes him so attractive to so many. His books are readable and easy to understand, yet contain amazing insights on so many shamanic, magickal and witchcraft related subjects. Yet, he is the first author that many read, because Animal-Speak is more main stream, more known and acceptable to the general pubic. It is less scary and intimidating. It is safe. You can tell people that you just bought this great book on animals, and it is somehow o.k. You can also recommend it to others who have a need, but have not yet quite realized their path. I believe Ted Andrews has been responsible for gently bringing many onto the path of the witch and to the pagan community at large with his messages and the messages of those spirits and guides whose stories he so gracefully told.

He was a magickal speaker. In both my experience in the class with him, and in his cds, it was clear that he could weave a yarn with the beauty that the spider weaves its web. His love for animals – and their love of him – shined through his words in such a way that had the power to move you and help you reach understanding. You felt the presence of the animals and their spirits. He helped you find and realize those “ah-ha” moments that we prize so greatly on this path. He was present – simply present in the moment, and you could see it in his eyes.

One of the things that struck me the most was his love for and description of animals at which most would turn up their noses. I mean, Skunk? Vultures? Spiders? Really? But he made their stories into a thing of beauty – because it is about their medicine and their own unique skills and abilities to heal. What a gift in this he gave me and the world.

He made the story of the opossum beautiful as well – this little, persistent and quiet creature who teaches us of the wisdom in stillness and silence. He made you want to have this creature as your animal ally, what he called an animal totem. Opossum has come to me over the years, and it has been an ally, though it was not until years later that I truly understood its message, and its message is profound.

One of the things he said about opossums that was surprising to me, was that if you see an opossum dead on the side of the road, to get out and check it as it may have babies still alive somehow in a pocket inside of it. He told stories of saving these baby opossums. I never looked the same at an opossum again. Each time I drove by an animal’s sacrifice on the road, I did what he recommended and sent a blessing of peace to it. Ted Andrews said that it was an honor for an animal to feel safe on your property to come onto your land and chose to die there.

Ted Andrew’s message was to honor the animal by studying it in all ways, developing a relationship with it, bringing its qualities into your life, and then it will truly become medicine for you. Another message that stuck with me over the years, tied into this, was that the animals you are most afraid of have the most to teach you.

He had several key messages on how to study and honor the animals. Study its biological rhythm. Study its natural characteristics and qualities. Look at how the animal adapts to survive. Consider the environment where it is found and how it relates to other animals. Try to connect with the animal by studying its movements and imitate it.

In my first shamanic journey that I ever did, in the autumn six months prior to meeting Ted Andrews, the Black Panther and Hawk came to me. As I sat in his class that spring, literally his first message in this talk, though he was speaking about no animal being more spiritual than another, was about the black panther. I knew what I had read about the panther, but was just beginning to truly know it. Ted Andrews described the black panther as a healer, but one that has trauma before healing takes place and said that it was not as gentle of a healer as the Vulture. Vulture again? I later learned to understand the beauty of Vulture’s medicine as an ally as well.

He also said that Black Panther teaches how we come into our own power. Much of my journey since meeting Ted Andrews has been along those lines, and I have made great strides. Ted Andrews is the first teacher that I spoke to about my black panther, which was still at the point where I was still trying to figure it all out – what is this animal? What is this relationship? What does it mean in my life? I asked him about my black panther and described my journey. He said that as the black panther was taking me to other animals, that it was what he called my watcher. His words and his kindness helped me to begin to develop my relationship with the Black Panther. Where Ted Andrews left off, then a new teacher appeared to help me on my journey, and the Black Panther became my Fetch Beast. Today, we do not have Ted Andrews here with us for everyone to hear these messages directly, but we have his books and the messages of the animals shine through the words on the page.

hawk extraTed Andrews also introduced me to Hawk, one of my allies. He said that many times students would come to him and then later would see Hawk everywhere, and Hawk would become an ally for them. He would open the door that Hawk was already waiting for you to walk through. In my case, it was the Black Panther, Hawk and Vulture. He shared his current with me to awaken all of that which was just beneath the surface, and he showed up at just the right time in my life given my recent journey experiences with these animals. After I met Ted Andrews, the visits from Hawk and Vulture accelerated. Every time I drove anywhere, particularly to our family farm, there was Hawk and Vulture. He was right.

He had us do a journey that he called an “exercise” – yes, definitely approachable. He said it would bring about encounters with animals and a response in our normal, everyday life. When he took us into the journey, there was Hawk, Oak, the Black Panther, Horse, Deer, and before I left the journey, I took Black Panther into myself. These have all become strong allies for me over the years.

Ted Andrews had a profound impact on my spiritual path and practice. He died on October 24, 2009, the day before my birthday. I felt his death strongly. Our circle, soon to become a coven, my second one, included him in our Samhain ritual that fall and honored his presence in our lives and the gifts he gave us. There were many changes in my life at that time, and the Morrighan was just beginning the process where she would eventually become my Matron. I felt his presence a great deal that fall, and he still continued to give me his gifts and markers on my path after his death.

I found and started to use his Animal Wise Tarot deck around that time, and I found such wisdom in it. For years, I had not been able to really understand the tarot. I had practiced with it, studied it on my own, but it just would not click for me. Tarot would not speak to me. When I picked up this deck, the animals on its cards and their messages in his pages really helped me to bridge the gap between the animals and the tarot. It was another ah-ha moment that he helped me to find along my path. I now have many tarot decks and use them regularly in many different ways. Each time, I think of his gift at making the tarot accessible in a way that I could truly begin to understand its wisdom.

Another thing struck me after he left this earth. I had several of his books, but mostly the ones related to animals. As I looked into it more, and studied him more as a way of honoring his presence on this earth and the gifts he gave me, I found a breadth of writings on so many topics – trees, plants, elements, Faery, Tree of Life/Qabalah, magick and more. I have quite a collection of his books in my mystical library and feel I have still barely scratched the surface of the wisdom they contain.

What a legacy and gift he has left generations to come. I only wish they could hear his voice, but now it will be whispers on the winds and from the animals and spirits who greatly loved him.

© 2011 & 2016 copyright Shea Morgan, all rights reserved

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Samhain / All Hallows’ Eve Online Ritual by Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple

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Temple High Priestess Shea Morgan at the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple Samhain Ritual & Salon on Sat., Oct. 29, 2016

The Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple had its in-person Samhain / All Hallows’ Eve Ritual and Salon on Sat., Oct. 29. While this online version is a greatly pared down version of our in-person ritual, though a little more involved than some of our online rituals, it is powerful in its own right and will connect you with the greater working of our Temple.

About our Samhain Ritual

At the time of Samhain, the veil between the worlds thins. The nights continue to grow longer. It is a time of death, of reaping our final harvest of the year, the harvest of meat, as we prepare to enter the darkness of winter. The farmers in Missouri, where our Temple is located, have taken the final crops out of the field. The Crows and Deer and other animals feast, as the hunters come for their own harvest to fill their freezers for winter.

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West on our Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple altar at our Samhain Ritual & Salon on Oct. 29, 2016; Dion Fortune, Bast, Doreen Valiente, Nepthys, Chalices, Temple Healing List and Cauldron of Spirit

You can feel the crispness of the air and taste and smell the scent of Samhain on the autumn breezes as nature stalks its own, like death itself. Yet there is a peace this brings. The idea of “knowing your own death” or “meeting your own death” – Samhain gives us this chance. And once we face this. Once we face our own shadow. Then we can live without fear in our hearts and embrace the present moment with full awareness.

The Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple has much to celebrate and give thanks for this Samhain 2016! Here is a quick look of the community we have to be thankful for by the numbers. …

  • Three years ago our online community called Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon, had about 130 members. Today, it has flourished to over 700! (All are welcome to join!)
  • We also Samhain have over 600 folks who have “liked” and “followed” our relatively new Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple page!
  • In addition, we have almost 500 in our Witches, Shamans, Mages & Pagan Community Meet-up page!
  • We have just three quarters of a year under our belt with The Edge, our Spirit’s Edge Newsletter, and already our list of subscribers has flourished! (You may subscribe by visiting HERE.)

If you have not yet joined our online pages, we would love to have you join us!

Saturday night was a beautiful celebration of community and thanksgiving! We honored the incredible growth of our Temple and all of our accomplishments over the past four years. Here are a few more exciting things! …

  • We are undertaking our 3rd Annual Food Drive, benefitting Operation Food Search (to donate, just bring food items to one of our upcoming events through our Yule Ritual on Dec. 17).
  • We also currently have underway our 3rd annual Autumn/Fall Auction & Fundraiser and our most successful yet again this year to benefit our 501c3 efforts!
  • We are about to announce our first Women’s Spirit Circle gathering, and also a women’s shelter drive to go along with it!
  • We plan to hold our first On The Edge Grief Circle in December, starting smaller with it being open to members on our Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon page, and then growing.
  • We are also celebrating over six months of a successful and beautiful Healing Spirit Circle providing healing to the community each month!

It is so exciting to see all of these plans of community and service coming to fruition! And what better time to celebrate than the Witch’s New Year!

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Honoring Anubis and Thoth at our Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple Samhain Ritual & Salon on Oct. 29, 2016

During our Temple’s Samhain ritual, we worked with the Egyptian pantheon – specifically Nepthys, Anubis, Isis, Thoth and Bast. We also partnered with the Hidden Company, the Mighty Dead of our Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Tradition and other Mighty Dead. It was a powerful ritual of honoring our ancestors and communing with the Gods and the Hidden Company.

 

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Gorgeous Oak & Sweet Gum coins handcrafted by Alinore Rose from the vision received by Temple HPS Shea Morgan from Anubis; Alinore also made the Eyes of the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple & Tradition’s Sigil from the coins that had natural “eyes” in them – Blessed be!

Our members also received a token in remembrance of the working, which was handcrafted by Alinore Rose, making physically manifest a vision received by Shea Morgan from Anubis. They were so beautiful! They were Oak and Sweet Gum coins, which were wood-burned with an Ankh on one side and a Banishing Pentagram of Earth on the other side.

They are intended for two purposes: 1) protection and 2) as a meditation/ journey aide. In meditation, either place them on the eyes, hold them in each hand or place one on your third eye and one on your heart while you meditate/journey. We also have offered a few for sale in our annual fall fundraiser on our Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon group page – just visit the page and ask to join to check it out!

To see all the photos of our altar, the beautiful tokens and more, please visit our Samhain photo album on our Temple’s Facebook page.

Online Samhain Ritual

Timing:

You are welcome to perform your ritual at any time, but Samhain is often considered sundown October 31 to sundown November 1.

What you will need:

  • Images or representations of Nepthys and Anubis and Bast *and* a candle for each (you may print images online if you do not already have representations; you may even use tea lights for their candles), *and*
  • A candle (or tea light) for the Hidden Company/Mighty Dead, *and*
  • A tarot deck or oracle deck or runes set if you wish to do a divination as part of this ritual, *and*
  • Two coins of some type to work with in the meditation (wash or smudge them first), *and*
  • An offering of some type for the ancestors (water, liquor, wine, bread, tobacco or whatever speaks to you; you will offer it outside after your ritual)*and*
  • Your journal or something to write on and a pen.

What to do:

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Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple’s Samhain Altar, Oct. 29, 2016

Prepare your altar space with your images of Nepthys & Anubis & Bast and your four candles, and your other items, then prepare yourself and your space according to your preference. You may cast a circle and call the quarters if you would like, but it is not necessary.

Speak from the heart to call Nepthys into your space, or you may say:

Hail Nepthys! Goddess of the Evening Sun!
Oh great lady, protect us as we gaze tonight on the Stars of the Northern Sky
Aid us in our journey with the guidance of your eternal flame within
Mistress, be with us, walk with us, commune with us this night, this sacred time of All Hallows’ Eve,
We feel the warmth of your love as it casts its light upon us…as that of a thousand evening suns.
Oh mighty guardian, guard now the gate.
Guide and make safe our path, Oh great Nepthys, as you journey with us tonight.
Hail and Welcome!

Light Her candle.

Speak from the heart to call Anubis into your space, or you may say:

Hail Anubis! Lord of the Sacred Land! Guardian and Protector of the Dead!
Oh majestic dog faced god! Black as night and sleek shine of gods!
You hold us to your chest, and we feel the heat of your embrace,
We know that in your arms, there is no harm we will ever face,
We call on you to lead us where we seek to go tonight.
We ask you now and always for your protection and sight.
Oh mighty guardian, guard now the gate.
Guide and make safe our path, Oh great Anubis, as you journey with us tonight.
Hail and Welcome!

Light His candle. 

Hail Bast! Queen of Cats and Priestess of Witches!
Black of night and stalking prey! Hear us now as we call you this day!
Heal our soul as we follow our higher self’s path of truth divine,
Walk with us, guide us, commune with us, help us as we tarry forth tonight
Midnight sun, shining and empowering us with strength and might
Protectress, watch over us and guide us true,
Aid us now tonight and in all we do,
Oh mighty guardian, guard now the gate.
Guide and make safe our path, Oh great Priestess Bast, as you journey with us tonight.
Hail and Welcome!

Light Her candle. 

Call to the Hidden Company and the Guardians of the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple & Tradition:

We call to the Hidden Company of the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Tradition. Join us, walk with us, be with us, commune with us.

We call to the Temple of the Twelve Signs.
We call to the Council of the Twelve Signs.
We call to the Twelve Goddesses.
We call to the Twelve Gods.
We call to the Twelve Members of the Hidden Company of our Tradition.
We call to you to be present here with us.
Of the twelve Hidden Company, we further call…Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, Agrippa, Copernicus and Black Elk.

Be with us tonight. Bring us your messages. Guide and protect us on our path. Be with us, walk with us, commune with us. We also call to the honorable Witches, Shamans and Mages who have walked this path before and we call to their wisdom.

Alignment:

This is the time of Samhain. At Samhain we remember those who have crossed the veil before us. Ancestors of our blood and also those of our tradition and path. The Witches, Shamans and Mages who have walked this path before. If we have the courage, we can see beyond the veil, beyond the waters of the sea of the dead.

Meditation:

You may wish to meditate with Nepthys, Anubis, Bast and The Hidden Company. You may wish to perform your own meditation to the Otherworld / Underworld to seek out the ancestor or dead who has the message for you at this time for your highest good. If so, place a coin over each eye, or over your third eye and heart, or hold one in each hand. (If you did not smudge them, please be sure to smudge them first.)  And/or you may hold them while you ponder and journal on…

  • What does the time of Samhain mean to you? What do you see of the cycle of death, life and rebirth in your life?
  • What changes have you made in this past year? What transformations do you wish to make in this next year?
  • What no longer serves you? Of what can you gently let go? Letting go of things that no longer serves provides fertilizer for the seeds we plant for new growth come spring.
  • What seeds do you wish to plant now for harvest in the spring?

Divination:

Take your divination system. Have your pen/paper/journal handy. Draw one card or rune for each of the 12 months of the next year – for Nov. 2016 through Oct. 2017. During the year, you may place the card or rune for each month on your altar and meditate on that card or rune for its messages for you that month.

Build Power:

In ritual work, we make an Act of Power and we build that power to fuel the Work. This is a chant by Doreen Valiente from her book Witchcraft for Tomorrow. You may use a rattle or drum. You may dance in place or around your circle or simply sit. Chant this three times through (more if you prefer) in the way that speaks to you. It was not set to music and was intended to be chanted.

Fire red, summer’s dead
Yet it shall return.
Clear and bright, in the night,
Burn, fire, burn!
Chorus:
Dance the ring, luck to bring,
When the year’s a-turning.
Chant the rhyme at Hallows-time,
When the fire’s burning.

Fire glow, vision show
Of the heart’s desire,
When the spell’s chanted well
Of the witching fire.
Chorus:
Dance the ring, luck to bring,
When the year’s a-turning.
Chant the rhyme at Hallows-time,
When the fire’s burning.

Fire spark, when nights are dark
Makes our winter’s mirth.
Red leaves fall, earth takes all,
Brings them to rebirth.
Chorus:
Dance the ring, luck to bring,
When the year’s a-turning.
Chant the rhyme at Hallows-time,
When the fire’s burning.

Fire fair, earth and air,
And the heaven’s rain,
All blessed be, and so may we,
at Hallows-tide again.
Chorus:
Dance the ring, luck to bring,
When the year’s a-turning.
Chant the rhyme at Hallows-time,
When the fire’s burning.

Closing the Ritual:

At this time you may choose to speak words of love and gratitude to Nepthys, Anubis, Bast and the Hidden Company. When you feel you are finished, thank the spirits for their presence in your space and wish them farewell. Then close your circle according to your own tradition. Take your offering and make it outside somewhere in nature.

Be sure to journal your experience and to pay close attention to your dreams, synchronicities and omens that you may receive over the next few weeks in answer to your working of this rite.

Temple Secretary Lindsey Piech and Temple High Priestess Shea Morgan having some fun with picture time at the Spirit's Edge Shamonial Temple Samhain Ritual & Salon on Sat., Oct. 29, 2016. Blessed Samhain & Blessed be!

Temple Secretary Lindsey Piech and Temple High Priestess Shea Morgan having some fun with picture time at the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple Samhain Ritual & Salon on Sat., Oct. 29, 2016. Blessed Samhain & Blessed be!

May blessings come to you and yours in this Witch’s New Year! Blessed Samhain! Blessed be!

Thank you for joining our Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple’s Samhain Ritual! We happily encourage you to post photos of your working to share the love of Samhain on our Facebook pages – Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple (and “like” and “follow” us there!) and Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon (All are welcome to join!). For more information on all of our offerings, you may check out our Facebook pages and also our Spirit’s Edge website.

This ritual was written by Temple High Priestess Shea Morgan, unless noted otherwise, and all rights are reserved. It may be used for your personal use only. If you wish to use this or a variation for a group in the future, please contact Shea Morgan for the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple at ravins52252@mypacks.net; this ritual may not be published or used publicly elsewhere without prior written permission and attribution.

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Online Midsummer Ritual 2015 – Puja for Lord Ganesha by Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple

This was our first online ritual for the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple. It was shared as a file on our Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon group page at the time. We wanted to add it into our blog archives so that folks would be able to enjoy it in future years. Here it is, exactly as it was offered at the time…

Midsummer blessings to all! Tonight the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple has its in person Midsummer / Summer Solstice Ritual & Salon. All are welcome to attend! It is 6:30 p.m. at The Ethical Society, Sat., June 20. Just join the Midsummer event page https://www.facebook.com/events/774134599276015/ as “going” and/or email ravins52252@mypacks.net. For those who are not able to participate with us in person, Lindsey Piech has shared this Online Puja for Lord Ganesha, so that everyone may participate with us!

As part of our ritual and puja tonight, our Temple will make five offerings representing the elements on behalf of the entire Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple community, (local and beyond) and then each person attending (in person or distance) will make a *small* personal offering.

The sincerity of the offering is more important than the size and also because we need space for all of our offerings on the altar. Appropriate offerings include fruit, milk, anything made with coconut, holy water, cooked rice, nuts, flowers, spices, bananas, red chilies, curry, lentils, mustard seeds, guavas, mangoes, prepared foods made of grain, conch shells, pomegranate, sweets, ghee and anything sandalwood. You may also do your own research and choose something which calls to you. If you’re feeling creative, you could prepare something special for the feast and offer him a portion. Ganesha is easily pleased but no meat or alcohol, please.

Timing:

You are welcome to honor Lord Ganesha at any time but if you would like to perform your puja around 8 p.m. Central time on Saturday, June 20, you will be working in tandem with our in-person ritual in St. Louis.

What you need:

  • A representation of Lord Ganesha—a photograph, drawing or statue (you may print an image from the Internet if you do not have something); if you have one, you may also add an image of an elephant or if you have an elephant figurine,
  • An offering to represent each of the elements—Earth, Fire, Air, Water & Spirit (For example, fruit, a candle, sandalwood incense, water and the sound of tingshas.), and
  • Red and Gold are great colors should you choose to have a cloth for your altar or sacred space.

What to do:

Prepare your altar space with your image of Lord Ganesha in the center and your offerings off to the side. Then prepare yourself and your space according to your preference. You may cast a circle and call the quarters if you would like, but it is not necessary.

Speak from your heart to call Lord Ganesha into your space. Then, one at a time, make your offerings. It is traditional to hold each offering in your right hand and slowly show it/offer it by making three clockwise circle gestures in the direction of Ganesha to show it to him while chanting “Ganapataye” three times (once for each circle).

Ganapataye is another name for Ganesha and the clockwise circle is symbolic of the cycle of life. Take your time as you make each offering to really connect in with him. Take a moment to really feel the space after you place each offering on your altar.

After you have finished making your offerings, you may speak words of love and gratitude to Ganesha and/or spend time in quiet time in meditation. Be aware of any impressions or messages you receive during this time.

When you feel you are finished, thank Ganesha for his presence in your space and wish him farewell. Then, close your space according to your preference.

You may leave the offerings on your altar for as long as you like. The food and water may later be offered outside and returned to the earth.
Blessed Summer Solstice! Blessings!

This ritual was written by Lindsey Piech and all rights are reserved. It may be used for your personal/private use only. If you wish to use this or a variation for a group in the future, please contact us at ravins52252@mypacks.net; this ritual may not be published elsewhere without attribution and also not without advance written permission from Lindsey Piech.

© copyright 2015 Lindsey Piech. All rights reserved.

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Online Mabon Ritual by Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple

The Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple had its in-person Mabon / Autumn Equinox Ritual and Salon on Saturday, September 17. While this online version is a greatly pared down version of our in-person ritual, it is powerful in its own right and will connect you with the greater working of our Temple on Saturday night.

About our Mabon Ritual

At the time of the Autumn Equinox, the sun shines on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. As the sun crosses the “celestial equator,” the hours of darkness slowly begin to increase. It is a time of plenty, harvest and thanksgiving.

The Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple has much to celebrate and give thanks for this Mabon 2016! This equinox marks the 4th Anniversary of public rituals for Spirit’s Edge and Saturday night was a beautiful celebration of community and thanksgiving! We honored the incredible growth of our Temple and all of our accomplishments over the past four years.

During this ritual we worked with the Greek pantheon—Demeter and Dionysus. Demeter is known as the Olympian Goddess of Agriculture, Goddess of Grain & Bread, Goddess of the Harvest and a sustainer of life. Dionysus is God of the Vine, God of Wine & God of Fertility. This was a perfect combination for our ritual which focused on sharing blessings for ourselves, for Spirit’s Edge and for the greater Pagan community.

We also had the great honor of participating in the Cauldron of Community that was created at this year’s St. Louis Pagan Picnic in its Opening RItual. The Cauldron, which is a beautiful basket, had a place of honor in the North on a special side altar. During the ritual, our members tied purple ribbons (for Spirit and also for a combination of the three rays of our tradition) to the basket for our wishes of blessing for the greater pagan community. Many thanks to River Higginbothom and Pagan Picnic for this beautiful opportunity!

Our members also received a token in remembrance of the working, which was handcrafted by Alinore Rose, of grain, grape vine and copper in honor of Demeter and Dionysus. They were so beautiful! We also have offered a few for sale in our annual fall fundraiser on our Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon group page – just visit the page and ask to join to check it out!

To see all the photos of our altar, the Cauldron of Community, the beautiful tokens and more, please visit our Mabon photo album on our Temple’s Facebook page.

Online Mabon Ritual

Timing:

You are welcome to perform your ritual at any time, but the exact time of the Autumn Equinox is 9:21 a.m. on Thursday, September 22, CDT.

What you will need:

  • Images or representations of Dionysus, Demeter *and* a candle for each (you may print images online if you do not already have representations; you may even use tea lights for their candles), *and*
  • A ribbon (purple or lavender if possible, but if not, any color that speaks to you), *and*
  • A piece of paper and burning dish *and*
  •  Your journal or something to write on and a pen.

What to do:

Prepare your altar space with your images of Dionysus & Demeter and your candles, and then prepare yourself and your space according to your preference. You may cast a circle and call the quarters if you would like, but it is not necessary.

Speak from the heart to call Demeter into your space, or you may say:

I call to Demeter, great lady of the land,
Friend of the farmer, sustainer of mankind,
Daughter of deep-hearted Rhea and wily Kronos,
Loving mother of rich-tressed Persephone.
In ancient times were you honored by country folk above all others;
In all the provinces did men and women pray to you and ask your blessing.
Goddess, we see your hand in rows of golden grain,
in heavy-fruited trees, in fields of scarlet poppies blooming amongst the barley, in the passing of seasons, in the fury of a mother wronged.
Demeter, lauded in storied Eleusis
Mistress of those cherished mysteries and sacred rites,
By your might and your compassion do I endure,
do I live my life.
Demeter, I call to you.
I honor you, and I welcome you into our circle tonight!
Hail and Welcome!

(Italicized portion from The Art of Ritual by Rachel Patterson)

Light Her candle.

Speak from the heart to call Dionysos into your space, or you may say:

I call to Dionysos, great god of the vine,
Son of thundering Zeus and headstrong Semele,
Loving husband of warm-hearted Ariadne.
From the east you came, old before the ancients,
Throughout the elder world were you beloved;
In Naxos and Boitia were you celebrated,
In temples and in the savage wilderness,
the fleet-footed maenads running in your wake.
The sweetest, strongest wine is ever your drink;
the mind’s release, the body’s loosening, your gift.
O Dionysos; thyrsus-shaker, ivy-crowned god,
I see you in the shadows,
I see you on the edges,
I see you in the haze of ecstasy, where we know the truth of passion, where we find the essence of our being.
Bacchus, I call to you!
We honor you, and welcome you into our circle tonight!
Hail and Welcome!

(Italicized portion from https://greekpagan.com/tag/bacchus)

Light His candle.

You may wish to meditate with Demeter and Dionysus. While you meditate, hold your ribbon and infuse it with your love, gratitude and blessings. Later you may place your ribbon on your altar or in a place of honor as a remembrance of your working.

  • What blessings are you thankful for at this time of the 2nd Harvest and Witches Thanksgiving?
  • Consider the seeds you have sewn over the past weeks and months. What are you now ready to harvest into your life?
  • What blessings do you wish to receive at this time of the 2nd harvest?
  • What blessings do you wish for those close to you? For your community? For the world?

Take a moment to write the blessings you wish for yourself and others on your slip of paper and then read it aloud three times. When you are finished, fold the paper down to a size which will fit in your burning dish, folding toward yourself (symbolic of bringing blessings to you and yours) and then carefully light it and place it into your burning dish, releasing your request to the Gods. After the ash has cooled, you may scatter them in the wind or offer them to the earth.

At this time you may choose to speak words of love and gratitude to Demeter and Dionysus. When you feel you are finished, thank the spirits for their presence in your space and wish them farewell. Then close your circle according to your own tradition.
Be sure to journal your experience and to pay close attention to your dreams, synchronicities and omens that you may receive over the next few weeks in answer to your working of this rite.

May blessings come to you and yours this joyous Autumn Equinox! Blessed Mabon!
Thank you for joining our Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple’s Mabon Ritual! We happily encourage you to post photos of your working to share the love of Mabon on our Facebook pages – Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple (and “like” and “follow” us there!) and Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon (All are welcome to join!).

This ritual was written by Temple Secretary Lindsey Piech, unless noted otherwise, and all rights are reserved. It may be used for your personal use only. If you wish to use this or a variation for a group in the future, please contact Shea Morgan for the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple at ravins52252@mypacks.net; this ritual may not be published or used publicly elsewhere without prior written permission and attribution.

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Online Mundus Patet! Lammas / Lughnasadh Ritual by Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple

Tonight, Sat., August 6, the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple will have its in-person Lammas / Lughnasadh / First Harvest Ritual & Salon. All are welcome to attend! Our in-person gatherng begins 6:30 p.m. at The Hearth Room located in Webster Groves. Just join the Lammas / Lughnasadh ritual event page as “going” and/or email ravins52252@mypacks.net to sign up.

For those who are not able to participate with us in-person, we are sharing an online Lammas / Lughnasadh Ritual so that everyone may participate with us! Temple High Priestess Shea Morgan has written this online ritual. While this online ritual is a greatly pared down version of our in-person ritual, it is powerful in its own right and will connect you with the greater working of our Temple tonight.

About the Roman Celebration, basis for our Ritual:

Mundus Patet! As in The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, the mundus:

“according to Plutarch, a pit in Rome dug by Romulus (traditionally sited in the Comitium) in which he put first-fruits and earth from each territory from which his followers came, afterwards filling it up and putting an altar on it. This pit seems to have been called mundus Cereris or Cerealis, ‘pit of Ceres’… Mundus was also the name of another pit dug in Rome, probably not identified with the first, which supposedly gave access to the Underworld. The latter mundus was closed with stone except for three days of ill omen,24 August, 5 October, and 8 November, when mundis patet, ‘the pit is open’. This pit seems to have been called mundus Cereris or Cerealis, ‘pit of Ceres’…”

The pit is open – Mundus Patet! The pit was sealed by a stone lid. It is the pit, the gateway to the Underworld, where we will be placing our first fruits, the fruit of our own harvest, during our Lammas ritual.  On the days where the pit was opened, no business would be transacted (The Oxford Companion of Philosophy, 2nd ed.) – consistent with a sacred day, such as our sacred day of Lammas on the Wheel of the Year, where we celebrate the First Harvest.  We join together on this sacred day, to pay homage, to express our gratitude and to make offerings to the Great Spirit, to deity and to the helping compassionate spirits.

We make offerings of the first fruit of our own harvest. Grains are the primary offering of this time of the First Harvest, though fruits are soon to come with the Second Harvest at Mabon/the Autumn Equinox. According to Wikipedia, when the pit was opened, “offerings were made there to agricultural or underworld deities, including Ceres as goddess of the fruitful earth and guardian of its underworld portals. Its opening offered the spirits of the dead temporary leave from the underworld, to roam lawfully among the living, in what Warde Fowler describes as ‘holidays, so to speak, for the ghosts’.” It is hypothesized that the Mundus was originally for storage of seed-corn, Rome’s original seed-corn storehouse, as written in Mundus Patet by W. Warde Fowler, in 1921 (for more please read his paper HERE).

Ceres is the Roman Goddess of grain, agriculture and fertility. “As a whole, the various days of the mundus suggest rites to Ceres as the guardian deity of seed-corn in the establishment of cities, and in her function as a door-warden of the afterlife, which was co-ruled during the winter months, by her daughter Proserpina” (Wikipedia). Ceres’ daughter Prosperina of course is also a deity associated with prosperity, and the First Harvest or Lammas is in many ways a celebration of prosperity.

Lammas is a time, as was the opening of the Mundus in ancient Rome, of giving thanks for our harvest, the harvest of the grains from the field. Each year we take the grains of the harvest and save some back to seed our crops in the next growing season come spring. So now we save the seeds, and we offer the seeds to the Gods, with our gratitude, in thanks and to plant the seeds for our harvest next year. We also may wish to make a vow, in which we will receive something in return, in the spirit of Gebo, equal exchange. But be certain what you wish to vow, because you will be expected to complete that vow, that promise, to Spirit and the spirits, before receiving your blessing in return.

Do not make a vow or promise in the Mundus lightly, as it goes straight to the ears, hands and hearts of the Gods. In this case our offerings will go straight to the eyes, ears and hands of the Goddess Ceres, the Goddess Pomona (Goddess of Fruit and Prosperity/Abundance, gardens, and of course highly associated with Apples) and Mercury (Messenger of the Gods, he is a psychopomp/ guide to the dead, and is associated with communication, boundaries, financial/ prosperity). Mercury is also akin to the God Hermes who is one of the three anchor deities of the Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple and Tradition.

We give our love and gratitude to the Gods and Goddesses of the Harvest, and to Great Spirit, to the divine that runs through all things, for our may blessings and our bountiful harvest. Blessed be!

Online Lammas / Lughnasadh Ritual:

Timing:
You are welcome to perform this ritual at any time, but if you would like to perform your working around 8 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) on Saturday, August 6, you will be working in tandem with our in-person ritual in St. Louis.

What you will need:

  • A representation of the Roman Goddess Pomona, the Goddess Ceres, and the God Mercury – a photograph, drawing or statue, or other symbol/ magickal correspondence that relates to her (you may print an image from the Internet if you do not have something); and a tealight or candle; and
  • A small dish with a stone setting in it to represent the Mundus, and
  • A seed offering or a representation of your personal first harvest this year, perhaps something from your garden, something you have made or a packet of seeds for this purpose,
  • A candle for the center of your altar representing Great Spirit, in a cauldron if you have one, but if not, any fire proof container or candle holder will do; and
  • Gold and yellow are great colors should you choose to have a cloth for your altar or sacred space.
  • Incense or sage or whatever you use to cleanse your space.
  • Of course, feel free to embellish your sacred space with anything that speaks to you of Lammas, Lughnasadh, the First Harvest and our Mundus Patet ritual.

What to do:

Prepare your altar space with your images of Pomona and Ceres and Mercury and their candles, on the left place the Goddess representations (Pomona & Ceres) and on the right of the altar the God representation (Mercury); place the candle for Great Spirit in the center of your altar. Additionally, find a space to represent the Mundus wit your dish and stone. Then prepare yourself and your space according to your preference. You may cast a circle and call the quarters.

Speak from your heart to call to Ceres into your space and say:

Loving and beautiful mother, oh great goddess Ceres,
You who are the womb from whence we came
and the tomb to whence we shall return,
Renew us now, great mother, giving of life to all on earth
We bring offerings of our first seeds of this harvest,
We ask you to bless our seeds as we also plant the seeds
for our harvest to come in the springtime,
As the earth begins to move towards its great sleep this autumn,
Hold your light for us in the Underworld so that we might find our way,
We ask you to banish the darkness and reignite the light within us,
We ask you to lend us your ear, your hand and your heart, as we
humbly make our offering tonight in thanksgiving for your blessings.
In the spirit of Gebo, we give you our love and gratitude,
as we ask you to join us this blessed Lammas night!
Hail and Welcome!

Light her candle.

Speak from your heart to call to Pomona into your space and say:

Goddess of Fruit and keeper of the gardens!
Oh beautiful goddess of the Apple, fruit of love and prosperous abundance!
Your blood flows through us, deep as the rich red of the deepest fruits,
Under your guidance, may we too “know the ways of apple and almond, pear and pomegranate, the netted cherry and the sanguine mulberry.”
May we too “know the secrets of grafting scion to stock, and the perfect moment of the ripeness of a peach.”
We will join you in your labors of love, as you “pick off beetles and set traps for caterpillars, chase away deer and outsmart squirrels.”
Teach us to  “know how to encourage rooting by placing a wheat seed in the split stem of a cutting, and how to prune a rose to produce the most hips.”
Hand in hand with you, we will “water (our) fruit-trees deeply and feed them well, and (may they) reward (us) with luxuriant health and an abundant harvest, so that (our) walled orchard is truly Paradise.”
We ask you to lend us your ear, your hand and your heart, as we
humbly make our offering tonight in thanksgiving for your blessings.
In the spirit of Gebo, we give you our love and gratitude,
as we ask you to join us this blessed Lammas night!

Source for quotes above: The Tale of Pomona

Light her candle.

Speak from your heart to call to Mercury into your space and say:

Merciful and swift-footed God, Mercury, Psychopomp between the living and the dead,
We ask you to gently remove all that no longer serves us, remove all dis-ease and illness from us, taking it with you as an offering to the Underworld,
May that offering be transformed into fertilizer for the seeds that we hold back this first harvest for our crop and new growth next spring,
“Father (Mercury), I pray and beseech thee that (you) be gracious and merciful to me, my house, and my household…
That (you) permit my harvests, my grain, my vineyards, and my plantations to flourish and to come to good issue,
(That you) preserve in health my shepherds and my flocks, and give good health and strength to me, my house, and my household”, to my loved ones.
(source for quotes above: De Agricultura, CXLI)
Guide us now with your torch, lighting our own torch within, making safe our path and warming our home and hearth this autumn.
Oh Pater familias, divine essence of the Gods and all of life,
Guide us today and always, protecting us, watching over with us and granting us with prosperity in our lives.
We ask you to lend us your ear, your hand and your heart, as we
humbly make our offering tonight in thanksgiving for your blessings.
In the spirit of Gebo, we give you our love and gratitude,
as we ask you to join us this blessed Lammas night!

Light his candle.

I call to you, great Gods of the Harvest,
I call to you Goddess Ceres, Goddess Pomona and Father Mercury!
Join with me in this sacred Lammas night, lending your power to mine for this rite.
I give you this offering, the seeds from my first harvest, freely given.
In the spirit of Gebo, I ask you to bless my harvest and the seeds for my harvests to come.
I call on you to open the Mundus – Mundus Patet!
Be with me, protect me, walk with me, commune with me this night.
From my mouth to the ears, heart and hands of the Gods,
As I will it, so shall the Universe fulfill it.
Blessed be!

Light the Great Spirit / divine candle in the center of your altar.

Give your  “seed” offering to your Mundus by placing your seeds in the bowl, placing your stone on top of your seeds/offering.

Watch the candle flame grow…flicker… move. As you feel their presence grow within your circle, and feel their power merge within your circle, know that you may commune with Pomona, Ceres and Mercury. Know that they support you in this work. You may see, feel, hear or know their presence and you are open to their messages for you. If you like, you may enter into a meditation or journey to commune with them in that way, perhaps journeying to them for deeper contemplation.

As you sit in communion with them on this blessed night, you might ponder and journal

  • What does this sacred time of Lammas, Lughnasadh, the First Harvest mean to you and for your life?
  • What is your harvest this season? What might you do to improve your harvest for next year? Have you done the physical work, the work on the physical plane to manifest your harvest this year, for your harvest to flourish? What seeds do you plant from this year’s harvest to grow your new crops come springtime?
  • What is your relationship with the deities called on tonight? With Ceres, Pomona and Mercury? How do you see their archetypes and messages playing out within your own life and on the Wheel of the Year?

You may speak words of love and gratitude to Ceres, Pomona and Mercury or spend time in quiet meditation on the offering you have given. Be aware of any impressions or messages you receive during this time.

When you feel you are finished, state:

I call on the Great Gods of the Harvest,
on the Goddess Ceres, the Goddess Pomona and the God Mercury,
I call on you to close the Mundus!
I thank you for your presence in my space this blessed Lammas night.
I give you my love and blessings and I wish you farewell.
Blessed be!

Then, close your space according to your preference. Extinguish your candles or allow them to safely burn out (be sure not to leave your candles unattended and practice fire safety!)

Take your seed offerings outside and bury them in the earth. This will complete your working and close the Mundus.

Be sure to journal your experience and to pay close attention to your dreams, synchronicities and omens that you may receive over the next few weeks in answer to your working of this rite.

Thank you for joining our Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple’s Lammas / Lughnasadh Ritual! We encourage you to post photos of your working to share your celebration of Lammas / Lughnasadh on our Facebook pages – Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple (and “like” and “follow” us there!), Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon (all are welcome to join!; posts on this page are private, and you also have access to our private Lammas / Lughnasadh ritual event page from our group page); and the public Lammas / Lughnasadh Ritual & Salon event page!

Many blessings to you! Blessed Lammas! Blessed Lughnasadh!

This ritual was adapted and/or written by  Shea Morgan and all rights are reserved. It may be used for your personal use only. If you wish to use this or a variation for a group in the future, please contact Shea Morgan for Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple at ravins52252@mypacks.net; this ritual may not be published elsewhere without attribution and also not without written permission.

© copyright 2016 Shea Morgan. All rights reserved.

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The Voice of a Priestess of Iya: A cultural perspective on African spiritual traditions and beliefs

Altar at our Temple's Midsummer Ritual June 18, 2016

Altar at our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual June 18, 2016

The Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple held its Midsummer / Summer Solstice Ritual & Salon on Saturday. It was an incredibly beautiful and powerful ritual partnering with Yemoja / Yemaya, Oshun / Osun, Papa Legba / Elegba and Erzulie, who approached us in the spring asking for this ritual in their honor.

It was a beautiful and amazing night of community, and the individual stories and impact of the ritual was beyond words to describe. In case you missed it, HERE is a shortened online version for the ritual. Read on for our guest blog…

on our altar for our Temple's Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

on our altar for our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

In working with the Orisha and Lwa in writing the ritual, they had, as always, an amazing way of bringing through messages and making connections to share the story that they want told. Iyanifa Fayele (also Ayele Kumari, Phd) reached out to me at the request of her oracles to offer information to us in doing this Work. Iyanifa is initiated into the Mysteries of Oya, Obatala, Yemoja, Osun and Orunmila.

One of the initial important pieces of wisdom she shared with us was that the three great mothers are associated with the three rivers here – The Mississippi River with Oya; The Missouri River with Yemoja; and The Meramec River with Osun.

The Mississippi River in honor of Oya

The Mississippi River in honor of Oya

After hearing this, we set about making a journey to each river to ask the great mothers and their rivers for their blessings in this Work, to make an offering to them and to gather waters for our altar with their permission.

Our goal in this ritual and Work was to honor the Orisha, the Lwa, and their cultures of origin with respect and love. I welcomed this gracious offer from Iyanifa, and I asked for her insight and wisdom.

The Missouri River in honor of Yemoja / Yemaya

The Missouri River in honor of Yemoja / Yemaya

I asked her, from the perspective of a traditionally trained and initiated priestess of the Orisha…

  • What does she most want people to understand about her traditions and practices?
  • What message would she most want folks to come away with?
  • What advice or cautions would she have
  • And also, if folks wanted to learn more, what would she personally recommend
  • Or anything else that she felt was important.
The Meramec River in honor of Osun / Oshun

The Meramec River in honor of Osun / Oshun

Iyanifa responded with a beautiful message, and I asked her if I could share it here, as a guest blog post so that more folks would see this message. She graciously agreed.

Her message is below – unedited. Iyanifa has over 25 years of experience in healing and in indigenous knowledge systems; 15 years as a college professor; and she is an author of three books and publisher of 15 books. For more information on Iyanifa and her background, please visit her website and her bio.

Here are Iyanifa’s thoughts, in her words…

I felt people should come away with is that the Orisha are best understood and worked through the indigenous cultures and cosmology that birthed them….in West Africa. They are a part of an entire system of spiritual development. They are not considered gods in our culture.

on our altar for our Temple's Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

on our altar for our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

The Orisha that are known in the diaspora came to be understood that way through the transatlantic slave trade. It is an ancestral tradition. It’s what those Africans who were stolen from their home lands brought with them to the Americas. Orisha are who helped them survive the horrors of that experience for hundreds of years.

Because their open practice was forbidden, and it was against the law to practice their traditional spiritual systems, they hid them in the guise of Catholic Saints. So what came to be came out of necessity to survive. And often that is how they are presented… But they are not Catholic saints. 

Some adaptations were also made in order to survive. Smoke from Legba was one of those adaptations. It was adapted from the relationship slaves developed with the Taino Indigenous people in the new lands who shared a crossroad divinity as well. We also had to learn to use the herbs and medicine on the new lands to support the practices as the original tools and some training with them were no longer available.

That said, Ifa, as it is known in West Africa has come to be for the world. But it is important to remember it is African. And it’s what Africa gave to the world. I say that in the contexts of a few things. Many African Diasporic people are not often welcomed in Pagan communities…but our traditions are used. And our ancestral spirits are called.

Many African people experience blatant and covert racism from pagans…here… In St. Louis.

I will never forget going to a ritual where there was a group of white women who self-identified as WASP… White Anglo Saxon Pagans…. All the while, I’m invoking Yemoja for the ritual. I admit that I felt angry and annoyed. And were it not Yemoja… A gentle loving mother I was invoking, I would have brought down Ogun.

And I wish that was an isolated incident but I know quite a few people of color who experience covert and overt racism in the pagan community…And many of us decided to keep our traditions to ourselves so that they would not be exploited by the same people who held our ancestors in captivity while exploiting them. Especially if our traditions are used but our people are insulted and dishonored.

Many consider it highly disrespectful to not honor the way our traditions are intended to be practiced because it’s a kind of blind arrogance to do so …. It’s an initiatory tradition…with its specific mysteries… And it’s own initiations….that have been done the same way for thousands of years… not new ones that are made up. People believe because they read of it in a book…it must be ok… Outside its ancient mysteries.

on our altar for our Temple's Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

on our altar for our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

It’s not intended to be practiced in an isolated way. We have our own oracles we use to communicate with them… It’s an entire system, culture, and way of life. So these things must be kept in mind because if what you are doing…doesn’t grow you… Doesn’t force transformation within your being, it’s useless. Orisha will force you to look at your own stuff.

So I share this and I made myself available because our oracles told me to. There is nothing I can do about what other people do… But i can give them the right information. I don’t have the same angst as some others do. Our oracles say it is for the world now…so I accept that and will support it as a Priestess.

Oya - on our altar for our Temple's Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

Oya – on our altar for our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

Oya is a transformer. She is not some lightweight… You can put down when the ritual is finished. She will bring a tornado in your life uprooting your assumptions and illusions. It’s not always comfortable. It’s not always convenient.

Often long held structures and beliefs are torn down… Sometimes violently. Sometimes people are afraid because they don’t want to handle to truth. She can be Tower card in the tarot. The lightening bolt. But…It’s always necessary. Necessary for personal evolution and transformation. She brings winds of change.

She is also iyalode. Which is a leader of women. And a warrior queen. She carries a machete. And will fight like a man….and whoop his ass too! She was queen in her own right…not because she married Sango, She was head of the market place…and thus commerce. She is the opener to Egungun…the ancestral realm. To that end, she wears veils to reflect the veils between worlds.

Papa Legba - - on our altar for our Temple's Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

Papa Legba – – on our altar for our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

Legba is known as Elegbara… Or Esu…And no ritual or spiritual work ever happens without him opening the way. He translates our prayer to the language of the heavens.

He is NOT a confuser… He does question your false assumptions and your own confusion. And he brings clarity in the end… He forces your shadow and your light to achieve wholeness. He is all communication… Including our own inner talk. He comes as both an old person…and a child.

Yemoja means Yeye Omo Oja …mother of the fishes. She brings healing and nurturing energy. Deals with our emotions. Our memories, our relationships with our mothers and families.

Yemoja / Yemaya - - on our altar for our Temple's Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

Yemoja / Yemaya – – on our altar for our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

 

She sometimes comes with salt water ie tears…As she is now associated with the Ocean. She was originally a river. But she came across the middle passage (slave ships passage through the Atlantic Ocean) and taking that journey she is merged with Olokun the ocean. This means she reaches the depths of our unconscious. Our womb memories. She heals old hurts. And nurtures our hearts.

Ọṣun is the great mother. She is actually the mother of Esu. She is not just as some describe her as light and sweet. She is that… But also a vulture. She is the leader of the witches. Aje as we call them.

At the beginning of the world, when men tried to start it but left woman out, Ọṣun gathered the witches and stopped it…no progress could be made without her. Until the male deities surrendered and came to her. The world would not be formed. They finally did after receiving council from Olodumare… “God or creator” when they were told they would have to respect women and include her in all that they do. Only then would things go right.

Osun / Oshun - - on our altar for our Temple's Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

Osun / Oshun – – on our altar for our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

So Ọṣun is not just some fertility sexual divinity. She is an unapologetic feminist… Who stand for the rights of women as is Oya. She is the master witch of the world… which we call Iyami… (meaning my mother) along with a number of primordial mothers that are called Aje. That is our name for witch. Ọṣun is also a diviner. Some stories of Yemoja and Ọṣun mix because they hailed from different parts of Nigeria but both are mermaids.

Lastly…and this is the most important part of our tradition… Is that Orisha are not the most important part of worship, the Ori is.

The Ori is the higher self. The Ori is what contains the blueprint for our lives. Our soul lessons and path. Our traditions are not designed to worship gods. Our traditions are designed to ultimately become walking “Gods “on earth. Divine immortal beings, We do that by being in alignment with our Ori. That is our true crown…no Orisha is higher than our Ori. Our initiations are designed to align a person to that.

The Orisha are there to supplement that and support areas of deficiency in our lives. And support the soul’s purpose for being here. It doesn’t replace the work of life or living…but it aligns your consciousness with that of your divine self and the Orisha are tools that the divine self used to create balance and wholeness.

*****

Erzulie / Erzulie Freda - - on our altar for our Temple's Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

Erzulie / Erzulie Freda – – on our altar for our Temple’s Midsummer Ritual on June 18, 2016

All of our love and gratitude to Iyanifa, to the Orisha, the Lwa and the spirits – and to the divine that runs through all things and through each of us.

Blessed be.

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