26 January 2014

Heatwaves, Lughnasadh, Brighid's Fires and Rosaries

This new calendar year has certainly leaped out of the starters' box and as the ending of the first month is nearing, I have finally had a chance to write something.  Following on from my last blog, with another heatwave is also looming for the coming week, I've stopped any attempt in trying to tidy up the garden from the last one.  This way I am hoping that the "mess" of dead leaves may form some kind of protection, at least in the way of mulch for those plants who have survived "Round 1".
With the Lughnasadh approaching (31 January or 1 February), the traditional harvest festival, the time where first fruits are offered up in gratitude, it is becoming increasingly evident, especially here in southern Australia that our harvest festival actually occurred a number of weeks earlier (around Mid Summer) - for by the time Lughnasadh arrives, whatever is left in the garden has usually been annihilated by our intensive sun.  As Lughnasadh is considered to be one of the "Greater Sabbats" in my tradition, that is a sabbat that is largely Celtic in origin and agricultural based, it's association as being a "harvest" festival tends to be challenged yearly.  One important aspect of Lughnasadh that does not change however is its marking as a gateway to the next season, that of Autumn.  As February is our hottest month, this may seem ironic at firs, but as the earth takes time to heat up and cool down, the actual impact of the seasons can take up to six weeks to be to experienced properly.
This year it is evident that Lughnasadh's harvest aspect should be replaced and instead a focus on gratitude for what has been received as well as transformation will occur.
Following on from Lughnasadh, both date-wise and theme, will be the first of a number of specific Goddess-centric workshops that I will be hosting this year in partnership with The Goddess House.  On 8 February we will be exploring the enigma that is Brighid (Brigit, Brid, Briga, Brigantia and even Maman Brigit).
Considered to be "three-fold" in that she appeared as a Goddess, a Druidess and a saint, Brighid is certainly a fascinating deity to explore.  While her sacred day of 1 or 2 February coincides with Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere, here in the Southern Hemisphere, it aligns with Lughnasadh and as mentioned above, our hottest month.  Therefore, we will rather aptly be focusing on the fiery aspect of Brighid, and just as fire is very much a natural part of the Australian landscape (required by many of the native plants for their regeneration), we will be embracing Brighid's own fiery self in order to not only gain a deeper respect for this immensely powerful element, but an appreciation of how it can assist us in our own transformation.
There are still places available for this workshop that will be taking place on Saturday, 8 February 2014.  Bookings can be made here but do close 1 February 2014.
When it is unbearably hot outside, seeking refuge in the air conditioning seems to be the only option and as such, I have been busy working on the a number of format changes to Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats for its pending re-release.
Since virtually selling out only eight months after its release in November 2012, I had hoped that the manuscript would be picked up by a larger publisher which would enable me to finalise my second book.  Unfortunately the offers received had ended up falling to the wayside (for various reasons) so I have decided to re-release it myself, this time through the print-on-demand site, Createspace.  To help raise the necessary funds to enable this to occur,  I have opened LunaNoire Creations through which various handcrafted items will be available.  As my own personal spiritual practice revolves around the practice of meditation and devotion, I have been making various devotional bead sets. 
Goddess Moon Devotional Rosaries available
through LunaNoire Creations etsy store
During my research into devotional beads and their uses, it is interesting to discover that the first record of any such beads can be dated back to the 3rd century BCE and even today, they are used by numerous traditions.   Known as rosaries, mala, misbaha and even worry beads, they are often used in prayer and meditation practices.

At the moment I have two main kinds available - Goddess Moon devotional rosaries which come in two lengths.  These bead sets are based around the concept of the Maiden, Mother and Crone Goddess, and each have a string of focal beads made up of specific crystals that include amethyst, rose quartz, lapis lazuli, carnelian, snowflake obsidian, chrysocolla, and red jasper.
Devotional Rosaries in honour of Kuan Yin
The other set of devotional beads are in honour to the gentle bodhisattva, Kuan Yin, the Great Compassionate One.  Made from lotus seeds, these devotional rosaries are highlighted with silver charms of the sacred lotus flower as well as a choice of crystals - green jade, amethyst and rose quartz.
All devotional rosaries come with insight into the crystals and symbolic silver charms
used as well as instructions as how to use them.  I am also happy to make to order.
While the Goddess Moon devotional rosaries can be posted internationally, you may need to check with your local Customs Office with respect to the Kuan Yin ones due to the lotus seeds.

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