Sunday, December 19, 2010

Celebrating the Winter Solstice and Yule

The whisperings of Winter have grown louder as the
days since the Autumn Equinox have become darker,
shorter, and colder. In some colder areas snow has
already blanketed the earth preparing for her long
Winter slumber with the hibernating animals and the
bare trees like black patterns against the pale white sky.

December 21st marks the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere
and the beginning of the Winter season officially on the Wheel of the Year.
This is the shortest and darkest day of the whole year.

For many thousands of years people from all over the world have
celebrated this day in some way with ceremony and ritual. For ancient
cultures the Winter Solstice meant the possibility that the sunlight
and warmer seasons may not return, if they did not in some way honor
and welcome the sun back by holding a vigil or a celebration.

Since after the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, the days
begin to grow lighter, longer, and warmer until the Spring Equinox,
for agricultural people this mean they could again plant and grow
crops in the Spring after surviving the dark, cold Winter when food
supplies grew short. For them the possibility of not surviving the
Winter season was very real and a time of fear. Having the sunlight
return after the solstice was a life saving blessing in their beliefs.
The Wheel of the Year would continue to turn and the seasons would
change and grow warm enough to grow food for another year.

Today the Winter Solstice is still celebrated in many cultures.
Modern day pagans celebrate the Winter Solstice as the holiday
Yule which is influenced by Celtic and Germanic pagan traditions
relating the the Winter Solstice.

Yule celebrates the sun's rebirth and the return of light from
darkness. It is a celebration of hope, renewal, and light. It is also
a great time for introspection and planning for the future and the
new year.

Candles and Yule Logs are lit and the sun is encouraged to
return as the darkness of the old year ends and the light of
the new year begins. Some celebrate by keeping a vigil on the eve
of the Winter Solstice and watch for the sun to rise and return.

You can celebrate the Winter Solstice and Yule in many ways
such as these above. Here are some other ideas you can do to simply
honor the change in season and the sun's return.

*Greet the sun at sunrise on the morning after the Winter Solstice.

*Light a candle on Winter Solstice Eve and pray for the sun to return and
be reborn.

* Spend some time reflecting what you would like to let go of and release
from the old year's darkness and what you would like to move forward
with and begin in the new sunlight and year ahead.

*Reflect on the theme of renewal and rebirth in your life in the
new year.

*Have a celebration ritual or dinner to honor the returning sun.

*Work in ritual and connect with Sun Goddesses and/or Gods.

* Decorate your home and altar with symbols of the Winter Solstice
such as the sun, evergreens, and the Yule log

*Exchange small Yule gifts with friends and family that offer warmth
and love especially handmade and earth friendly.

* Enjoy a deep meditation on the Winter Solstice and the still,
peaceful, introspective energy it brings.

May you have a blessed and joyful Yule and Winter Solstice!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween and Samhain Blessings!

The Autumn leaves are changing color
and transforming into a sensual palette
of fire orange, red, gold, and yellow. They
fall off the tree branches to the ground
withering and dying off as the Wheel of the
Year turns. The dried leaves crunch
beneath our feet as we walk in the crisp
breezes of darkening October. They give
off a sweet, musky, damp earth scent along
with the seasonal aroma of wood burning fires
and spiced apple cider.

The last of the years harvest of pumpkins, squash,
and apples are abundant and fill our homes with
delicious tastes in our baking, food, and hot

October and Autumn is abundant and alive in all
our senses filling us with life before death and the
entering darkness of the Winters chill and barren land.

On October 31 in the United States we celebrate
Halloween which has its origins in the Celtic pagan
tradition Samhain. This celebrated the Summers End
and to the ancient Celts this marked the last day
of the year and the beginning of the new year.
This was believed to be a day when the Otherworld
and the veil between this world was thinnest. You
could connect and honor your ancestors and also
protect yourself from negative spirits by wearing
masks and costumes.

The Irish brought the traditions of what we now
know as the current holiday Halloween over
to the United States. During Halloween we embrace
death as part of life and also face fears real or
imagined. We dress up in costume and carve
Jack O'Lanterns to light our way home and
scare away negative spirits. We dance with
the night of spirits and tell ghost stories
in candlelight. We visit bat filled haunted houses
with witches on brooms with black cats flying above.
It is a really fun, magical, scary celebration for
children and adults.

Modern pagans also celebrate Samhain on October
31st. This celebrates and honors our ancestors
and loved ones who have passed on. This can be
as simple as lighting a candle for them on this
night or creating a dinner leaving an empty chair
in honor of them. Some create ancestor altars
with photos and offerings to loved ones and ancestors
who have died.

Since the veil between the spirit world and the living
is believed to be thinnest this is also a great time
to talk to those who have passed on to the spirit
world and ask for guidance.

Since this is also the Celtic new year it is
also a good time to reflect on the blessings
received this year as well as what has ended,
died, or has been let go and released and what
new beginnings, projects, dreams, goals you
would like to start.

Samhain honors and celebrates the cycle of death
and life as the seasons cycle.

The Earth is going soon into a Winter slumber
when the leaves have all fallen and nothing
grows until Spring. The snow will begin to
blanket the land and we move into the darkest
more introspective time of year. How will you
spend this holiday and this coming season?

May you have a very Happy Halloween
and Blessed Samhain!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Autumn Equinox and Mabon Blessings

The Autumn Equinox began officially last night and also the
Full Moon for September. What a wonderful magical couple of days
full of bright, full, balanced, and thankful energy.

The full moon is a time for releasing as well as completion of
goals made on the new moon. What do you need to release and
let go from the Summer season for this new season of Autumn?
What goals and projects have you completed? What goals and
projects do you still wish to work on and complete this Fall?

The Autumn Equinox also marks the pagan Thanksgiving of
Mabon. A time to reflect on what one has harvested this year
with gratitude and a celebratory feast and ritual.

You can also simply cook or bake something fresh from the
harvested fruits and vegetables of the Fall season and enjoy
the tastes and scents of the harvest. Light a candle and say a
blessing over your food and reflect on gratitude for the earth
and the Goddess for your meal.

This is also a great time to reflect on all that you are thankful
for this year and all that you have harvested. You can also write
letters of gratitude to those in your life who have helped and supported

The equinoxes are also a time to reflect on balance with the day
filled with equal light and dark. How are you in balance right now?
What balance do you need more of and how can you create that in
your life right now?

Autumn is a beautiful season to connect with the changing colors
of nature and the wonderful harvests of fruits and vegetables.
The days begin to grow darker each day and we can slow down
and go more within during this introspective time of year.
It is a great time to start new projects and goals as well as learning
new things in the back to school spirit. It is also a very creative season
so let your creativity be expressed and get inspired. Think about what
ways you would like to celebrate this Fall season.

Abundant Autumn and Mabon Blessings!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Abundant Bright Lammas Lughnasadh Blessings!

Today August 1 is the pagan sabbat Lammas also called Lughnasadh named after the Celtic Sun God Lugh whose name means "bright shining one". This is the first of three pagan harvest celebrations of the year and one of the cross quarter sabbats on the Wheel of the Year.

Lammas celebrates the first harvest of grains, fruits and vegetables of the year. This sabbat was celebrated in the ancient agricultural pagan cultures of Ireland, Great Britain, and Europe. The rituals included prayer for future success of the crops harvest and gratitude and blessings for the first crops that were grown and harvested from the seeds sown.

Today especially if we live in cities we can be very removed from the farming and harvesting of our own food. We also have food grown year round and transported to us during Winter months. There is no fear that there will be no food to last all Winter.

For ancient agricultural people this was a serious matter. An abundant harvest would sustain them or they could face the possibility starvation as they headed into the Winter season. Having an abundant harvest was something to feel very blessed and thankful to the Gods and Goddesses that they worshipped. It meant being able to eat and sustain life from the food grown. Some years the harvest was more abundant than others. The leaner harvest times must have been very difficult years.

This is a great time to slow down and feel gratitude for what Mother Earth has grown for us to eat. If you live in a city you can even go to your local Farmer's Market and eat the locally grown farmed food as you support your local farmer's and their livelihood. You can do this in the country to. Make yourself a celebratory Lammas meal for the First Harvest and invite family and friends to share. Reconnect to earth and how she sustains us and nourishes us. Remember to give a meal blessing and gratitude to the Goddess for her harvest.

This is a also great time to eat corn and blackberries that are abundant right now. You can bake bread or conbread to celebrate or a blackberry pie. You can also make preserves from fruit that is abundant now.

This year I am spending some time during Lammas visiting family where I grew up in the Fingerlakes region of New York State. It has been lovely to see the abundant corn crops and enjoy sweet locally grown corn. I also enjoyed some time at a nearby pristine lake and picked a few abundant blackberries. Later I will light a candle in simple reflection and ritual of this First Havest and say a blessing of gratitude to the Goddess on this Lammas.

Lammas is also a time for reflection on what seeds we have sown and reaped this year. It is also a time to reflect on regrets of what has not come to fruition this year that we had hoped for. We can say farewell to that which we are also letting go for the year that no longer serves us or what we have lost. We can also renew goals and dreams in new ways to harvest at Mabon the Autumn Equinox September 23. So revise and revamp those goals, dreams, and wishes that do not seem to be harvesting an abundant crop for you metaphorically this year now. What can you do such as water them more or replant them or are there other seeds to plant?

If there is something you have enjoyed this year and would like to preserve in a memory write it down in a journal, make a piece of art to honor it, print a photo of the event to hang on your wall, or anything that preserves the sweet memory of the experience for you.

Remember also what you have to be thankful for and express your gratitude to the Goddess and the Earth

The days are starting to be shorter and less light. They begin now to hint of Autumn to come in September. This is a great time of year to enjoy the last month of the calendar year of Summer and prepare for Autumn and the Back to School and Work season after Labor Day. Lammas starts August off with a good time for reflection, gratitude, farewell, and renewal.

Have an abundant, bright, and blessed Lammas!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bright Summer Solstice Blessings!

Tomorrow June 21st is the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year and the day with the most sunlight.

This is a great day to honor and connect to the sun by taking a walk outdoors during the day, meditating outside in the sun, going to the beach, having an outdoor picnic of abundant summer foods, greeting the sunrise, or lighting a candle in honor of the sun at sunset.

The Summer Solstice is a very high energy time for deep meditation. It is also a great time to begin new projects and to also reflect on intentions and goals you would like to start on the Summer Solstice and work on until the Autumn Equinox on September 23rd. Planning between solstices and equinoxes this way is a great way to break down your goals, projects, and intentions for the year working with and benefiting from the high solstice and equinox energies.

In ancient pagan times the Summer Solstice was called such names as Midsummer and Litha. This was a time of magic especially in the area of love, prophetic dreams, future divination, gathering herbs, and when fairies were easiest to be seen and interacted with. Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream is a wonderful example of this magical Midsummer time. In some cultures Midsummer bonfires were burned as well

To celebrate Midsummer today you can also explore these areas in your Summer Solstice celebration and acivities. This is also a great time for cleansing, purification, healing, and growth.

The Summer Solstice is a time to remember the light in the world, within ourselves and in others. As the longest day of the year when the sun's light is the highest, this is a great time to feel the warm sunlight of joy, spirit, fun, and creativity within yourself. Reflect on ways you can bring joy, spirit, fun, and creativity into your summer season.

Bright Solstice Blessings!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Beltane-Celebrating the Goddess Flora of Springtime and the May Queen

In the month of May, Spring is in full bloom and at its height. The flowers are a beautiful palette of vivid colors blossoming everywhere and the trees are abundant in their greenery. The Earth feels fully alive and vibrantly awake after the deep, long, grey slumber of Winter. Birds sing messages of joy and hope as the sun rises each morning and a new day begins to unfold. Life is flowering and lush.

The Roman Springtime Goddess Flora, the Goddess of Spring and Flowers, puts on her floral rainbow dress and her crown of flowers. She dances under the blue skies and greets the sun as the May Queen.

May 1 begins with the pagan sabbat Beltane. This day celebrates love, fertility, sensuality, sexuality, abundance, beauty, growth, awakening, and all the signs that summer is coming as the days grow lighter and warmer.

To honor and celebrate the Goddess of Springtime Flora, the Queen of May and her within your self there are many simple ways to do this during Beltane and the beautiful month of May.

Some ideas are:

*Create a crown of flowers from wild flowers outdoors or from your garden and crown yourself the May Queen. Celebrate yourself as the Queen of Spring.

*Spend time walking in nature connecting to the beauty of Spring’s full abundance. Go to your local park, garden, or take a hike.

*If you have a garden this is a great time to spend connecting with your plants and flowers as well as blessing you garden on Beltane.

*Pick some flowers and make a May Basket from paper in the shape of a cone to place them in. Give this as a gift to someone you love or decorate your home with it bringing Springtime indoors with the lovely scent of flowers.

*Decorate your home with flowers and greens inside and out.

*If you are an artist take your sketchbook or paint outdoors and draw and paint the flowers and trees blossoming around you. Capture the beauty of the Goddess on paper.

*If you like to write take your journal outdoors and write about your experience in the beautiful Spring weather or write a poem that honors the season and the Goddess Flora and May Queen.

*Dress up in many bright Spring colors as Flora the Spring Goddess and May Queen. Feel your own beauty within manifested in your dress. Celebrate the beauty and sensuality of yourself.

*Think of ways to connect to the sensuality of the Spring season through all your senses-smell, taste, sight, touch, and sound.

*Enjoy your own sensuality and sexuality with yourself or a lover. Honor your body as the Goddess and Queen.

*Have a Spring picnic outdoors. Bring a blanket, picnic basket, and sit on the grass. Make it a May Feast to celebrate the Goddess and Queen within yourself. Invite others and have a Beltane celebration. Buy local Spring foods to share such as berries and honey.

*Contemplate what ways you would like to blossom full this Spring from now until the Summer Solstice and the sabbat Litha. What would you like to grow and bloom more?

*Think of ways to nurture and be self loving everyday in the month of May. Allow new habits to grow and flourish as you treat yourself like the May Queen and Goddess Flora of Springtime.

*Create a ritual to honor the Goddess Flora and connect to beauty, love, sensuality, growth and the abundance of Spring.

Bright Beltane Blessings! Maeve MoonBird

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Goddess Within-A Poem

The Goddess Within

In every season she is there
In the buds of Spring
In the sea of Summer
In the beautiful leaf colors of Autumn
In the snow flakes of Winter
The Wheel of the Year
She turns and dances around

In every moon cycle She is there
The bright Full Moon
The crescent Waning Moon and Waxing Moon
The black of the Dark Moon
The new beginning of the New Moon
She flows with each cycle around
One month of moons
My moon cycle reflects her dance

In every day She is here
In the beauty of the sunrise
The sun of morning shining
In singing birds of and trees
In the burst of sky colors
At sunset like a painting from Her nature’s palette
In the blue hues of twilight
In the deep dark sky of starlights
Twinkling in Her dance of magick

In every ritual She is with me
In every season, every moon cycles, and every day
She is with me and within me
Guiding me
I seek her within and dance with Her
The Goddess is Within Me
I serve Her
Beautiful empowered magickal and strong

© Maeve MoonBird 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Celebrating the Spring Equinox and Ostara

The daylight is getting longer and the hints of Spring have been in the air here in New York City. In the morning now I can hear the birds chirping with their joyful song that promises the earth is springing back to life after its’ long Winter slumber. Purple and white crocuses are peeking their heads out of the soil to greet the bright sunshine and blue skies. I have been waking up to warmer days as well this week and the snow for the year seems to have said goodbye.

Spring begins on the Spring Equinox which here in the United States is always around March 20 and 21st. This year the Spring Equinox is Saturday March 20. On this day we have equal amount of day and night. Dark and light are in balance. After this equinox days will begin to get lighter and longer each day until the summer Solstice on June 21 this year.

Spring is a wonderful time of growth, renewal, new beginnings, balance, and fertility. It is a hopeful time of year when nature comes to life and is alive with energy, warmth, and light. The Spring season is also a time of rebirth in the cycles of seasons. This is a great time of year to plant the seeds of your goals, dreams, and intentions for the year. You can also choose to just focus on the goals and intentions you have from the Spring Equinox to the Summer Solstice.Some ways to do this are to write your goals, dreams, and intentions in a journal or on a piece of paper. If you garden you can plant seeds that symbolize your goals, dreams, and intentions in your garden and focus on them with each seed you do. If you do not have a garden you can even plant a few seeds in a pot of dirt and place on your windowsill to grow as Spring blossoms.

Other questions to reflect on this time of year around the Spring Equinox are regarding balance and what ways you can create more balance in areas of your life or in your life in general. Ask yourself some of these questions: What areas of your life need more balance, more time, or more attention? Have you been neglecting anything that needs more attention? Do you have enough work life balance right now? Are there new projects you’d like to begin, new goals, and dreams? Are there any goals or projects you stopped working on that you’d like to renew and work on now that Spring has arrived? How would you like to grow this Spring? What needs to be reborn? If you like to write you can write them down in a journal or just reflect on them. You can also do a simple ritual for the Spring Equinox that includes reflecting on these questions such as the one I will share with you here.

In the Wiccan and Pagan traditions we celebrate the Spring Equinox as one of the 8 Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year called Ostara. Ostara is named after the German Goddess Ostara or Oestre who is the Goddess of Spring. Some symbols of Ostara and the Spring Equinox are eggs, baby chicks, butterflies, Spring flowers, and bunnies for fertility, renewal, growth, new life, and rebirth. You can create an altar and have a ritual honoring the Goddess Ostara and Spring if youd life using these symbols.

You can think of other ways you’d like to enjoy and celebrate this Spring Equinox and season. You can go enjoy nature in a local park or garden, meditate and connect to Spring’s energy outdoors, you can go hiking, take a bike ride, plant a flower or garden, go bird watching, draw the trees blooming outdoors or paint them with water colors, dance or do yoga in the sunshine, or sit outdoors and contemplate these questions for Spring in your journal. There are many ways to celebrate this beautiful, abundant season of Spring when everything is vibrant with color and life.

Have a blessed and beautiful Spring season!

Here is a simple ritual for the Spring Equinox and the Goddess Ostara.

Spring Equinox and Goddess Ostara Ritual for Renewal, Balance, New Beginnings

Need:White Candle, Green Candle, Yellow Candle
Incense(optional): Sage, Lavender, or Rose
Oils: Rose, Lavender, or Jasmine
Journal or Piece Paper and Pen
Any symbols youd like to include to represent Spring and Goddess Ostara such as flowers, eggs, bunnies, baby chicks, and butterflies

You can take a purifying bath with bath salts before this ritual and reflect on renewal and self cleansing but this is optional.

Cast circle.

1.Annoint candles with the oil. Light incense and the white candle.

State:“Ostara, Goddess of Spring be with here in this ritual on this Spring Equinox as I reflect on renewal, balance, and new beginnings. Guide me in manifesting the intention, dreams, and goals I set for myself this Spring.”

2. Light green candle and say blessings and welcome Spring.

“Welcome Spring with your beauty, hope, and promise of renewal, rebirth, growth, balance, and new beginnings. I celebrate you today on the Spring Equinox.”

3. Meditate as long as you’d like I silence clearing your mind.

4. Light the yellow candle. Contemplate the questions you have this Spring that relate to renewal, balance, and new beginnings as well as your goals, intentions, and dreams in silence after your meditation.

5. On your piece of paper or journal write down these answers you receive, goals, dreams, and intentions you have right now.

6. Ask the Goddess for her blessings with these and guidance:

“Goddess Ostara please guide me this Spring to manifest these intentions, goals, and dreams. Help me bring balance, renewal, and new beginnings to these areas of my life. Blessed be.”

7.Thank the Goddess Ostara and open the circleYou can joy some celebratory food and drink in honor of Spring after.

Blessed Be.


Welcome to my blog. My name is Maeve MoonBird.

I am studying to be an ordained High Priestess and Minister in the tradition of the Order of the White Moon. I am also a certified spiritual counselor, teacher of art and spirituality, and a visual artist and craftsperson. I practice a Wiccan Pagan path that is eclectic and focused on the Goddess and earth based spirituality. I am also interested in all aspects of the Divine Feminine in all religions from an interfaith perspective. I seek to empower all women to celebrate, love, and connect to the Goddess within themselves through spiritual and creative practices.

Here my blog will be focused on my Wiccan path as a priestess of the Goddess and as well as all aspects of the Divine Feminine. I will share my thoughts, teachings, and reflections on ritual, celebration, nature, moon and seasonal cycles, the Wheel of the Year and the 8 sabbats, magickal workings, meditations, prayers, poetry, kitchen witch recipes, craft ideas, shamanism, and all things pagan. I will also share my own visual art and crafts that evoke the spirit of nature, Wicca and the Goddess.

Bright Blessings.