5 Books: Spells

5 Books: Spells

Earth, Air, Fire & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic by Scott Cunningham (ISBN 0875421318); 1991 (Llewelyn Publications states that this book was published in 2002, but I have a copy dated 1991).

Sew Witchy: Tools, Techniques & Projects for Sewing Magick by Raechel Henderson (2019) ISBN 978-0-7387-5803

Knot Magic: A Handbook of Powerful Spells Using Witches’ Ladders and other Magical Knots (Mystical Handbook) by Sarah Bartlett (2020) ISBN 157715214X

Hoodoo For Beginners: Working Magic Spells in Rootwork and Conjure with Roots, Herbs, Candles, and Oils (2020) ISBN-13 979-8696893150

Cord Magic: Tapping Into the Power of String, Yarn, Twists & Knots by Brandy Williams (2021) ISBN 0738766054

Sacred Site: Madron’s Well, Cornwall

by Morgana RavenTree

In 1997, a friend and I took a trip to Britain (her third, my second).  Before going, I borrowed one of her books, Secret Britain, looking for off-the-beaten-track places we could visit. It mentioned a number of lesser-known sacred sites (lesser known to American tourists).  One place in particular, Madron’s Well, caught my attention, since we were planning to rent a car and drive around Cornwall.  The book didn’t provide any clear information about the exact location of Madron’s Well.  It did say there was a spring, well and chapel on the site, but that the spring and well predated the chapel by many centuries.  In 1997, there was precious little information about any sites available on the Internet. We had to obtain the information needed for our trip by snail mail, writing to local tourist agencies and included prepaid international stamps!  We didn’t receive any information about this site before we left, but I hoped to be able to track it down once we were driving around the Cornish peninsula.

Looking at a topographic map of the area, I spotted the town of “Madron” (which the locals pronounce “Modern”).  There was still no indication of the exact location of the Well.  We drove around the peninsula all day, stopping at other sacred sites, but still had no clue where to find the Well.   We were driving down a local road towards Modern shortly before sunset, when we saw a sign pointing to “Celtic Chapel and Wishing Well.”  We screeched to a halt and decided this might be it!  After parking the car along the side of the road, we walked up a muddy path and found a stone marker that said “Celtic Chapel & Wishing Well” – that was all.  It had just rained and the webs hung between the bushes along the path glistening with water drops.  We really felt as if we were walking into Faerieland.

The “Well” was really more like a deep pool.  There was a tree next to it, to which people had tied strips of cloth (“clouties”).  It was roughly 2 weeks after May Day and the clouties were fresh. 

The Ancient Chapel – an older sacred site once surrounded the little spring that is now in the corner of the chapel

We walked further up the path and found the ruin of a small chapel.  A spring flowed in a corner of the chapel.  Since we hadn’t known about a spring, we didn’t have any empty bottles with us.  However, this was back in the day when people still used film cameras and I had one empty film canister, so Jean used it to collect a couple of ounces of water from the little spring.

This was the first sacred site we had visited all day where we were able to be alone, so we sang a few chants for the Goddess.  We saw that other visitors had used sticks to make crosses on the stone slab that served as an altar, so we gathered sticks and made a pentacle!

While it might seem odd that we chose to visit the site of a Christian chapel, remember that the spring and well were sacred sites long before the chapel was built (perhaps that is even why the chapel was built on this site).

We really enjoyed this experience, because it was an unexpected find and the setting, within a faery forest, made the place seem so very magical. It was also the rare site where there were no other people around (though obviously the locals knew of it).  This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Morgana RavenTree is the President of Pagan Pride LA/OC.

Witch Bottles, Bellarmine Jugs and Spell Jars

by Morgana RavenTree

In 1997, while on a visit to the Museum of London, I visited an exhibition about the history of the City of London.  The series of displays began with the Roman Era, progressing through subsequent eras of London history.  After a few of the displays, I realized they had something in common.  Although not mentioned on information placards, there was a jug of some kind in each display case.  I recognized immediately that these were witch jars/bottles.  For the Roman Era, there was a clay vessel or amphora for the Saxon Era there was a crude clay vessel.  These were likely intended to be filled with wine, but by the time the exhibits progressed to the Renaissance, the jars resembled “Bellarmine” jugs. 

Bellarmine Jug, Dover Museum, UK

Bellarmine or Bartmann (“bearded man”) jugs were a type of decorative stoneware vessel made in 16th and 17th century Europe, especially in what is today western Germany.  The distinctive decoration is a bearded face mask appearing on the lower neck of the vessel.  These vessels were made as jugs, bottles and pitchers in various sizes and for a multitude of uses. The Museum of London has a sizeable collection of these jugs.  The Museum’s website mentions that these jugs were sometimes repurposed as “Witch Bottles”.

Mudlarking: Bellarmine Jugs and Witch Bottles by Jason Sandy

The bearded face may have originated as an image of a mythical wild man popular in northern European folklore from the 14th century, and later appearing as an illustration on everything from manuscript illuminations to metal workings. (1)  In the 17th century Bartmann jugs were employed as witch bottles, a popular type of magic item which was filled with various objects such as human urine, hair and magical charms, which were supposed to benefit their owners or harm their enemies.  Bottles with malevolent-looking face masks were routinely chosen for this purpose. (2)

For many centuries, it has been a feature of folk magic to create protective charms by placing objects such as written charms, dried leaves, skulls, shoes, and witch bottles in the structure of a building. (3)

Witch bottles were intended to protect against evil spirits, magical attack, and spells cast by witches.  As countermagical devices, their purpose is to draw in and trap harmful intentions directed at their owners.

The witch bottle was believed to be active as long as the bottle remained hidden and unbroken. People often buried witch Bottles under fireplaces or the front porch or in the farthest corners of the property.  Common in Europe, only a handful of witch bottles have been found in the United States. (4)

Researchers at the College of William and Mary believe a piece of Civil War-era glassware found at the site of an old fort in York County, Va., may have been a “witch bottle” used to ward off evil spirits. (5)

In 2005, while visiting a small museum in Marblehead, Massachusetts, we spotted a display containing a glass bottle identified at a “perfume bottle” with a distinctive pentacle on the front.  Marblehead is only a short hop from Salem and Essex (i.e. Witch country).  It is quite possible that this perfume bottle was actually used as a witch bottle.

“Perfume bottle”, Marblehead Town Museum, Massachusetts

Although the classic definition of a witch bottle is a protection against witches, modern witches and Wiccans are repurposing these bottles as protection against negative magic.  Many Wiccan traditions have spells in their Books of Shadows about making witch bottles.

Making witch bottles is still practiced by traditional witches and practitioners of Hoodoo, Conjure and and other traditional magical systems.

Honey and sugar jars are another type of spell used in Hoodoo and Conjure.  The objective is to “sweeten” another person, or their opinion of you or perhaps just a situation.  A few years ago, Pagan Pride LA/OC volunteers prepared a sugar jar spell together for Pagan Pride Day.  The jar was for peace and harmony.  Unfortunately, by the time it arrived at the event, the contents had all jumbled together.  Nevertheless, it turned out to be one of our best Pagan Pride Days, both in terms of a peaceful day as well as very profitable for our vendors.  For more information about honey and sugar jar spells, I suggest reading Hoodoo Honey and Sugar Spells by Deacon Millett.*

Part of the appeal of making witch bottles or honey/sugar jars is that they don’t require a lot of complicated components or a high level of skill.  Once finished the contents can (theoretically) be reused. With respect to the Pagan Pride Day jar mentioned above, the layers were too mixed up to reuse, plus one of the components was Peaceful Home oil containing Pennyroyal, which can cause seizures, so the contents could not be reused. There are many such spells available in books and websites and all one needs to do is follow instructions, making them ideal spells for beginner witches.

References:

  1. Sandy, Jason “Mudlarking: Bellarmine Jugs and Witch Bottles” https://www.beachcombingmagazine.com/blogs/news/bellarmine-jugs-and-witch-bottles
  2. Victoria & Albert Museum collection: https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O48843/bottle-unknown/
  3. “Bartmann Jug” Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartmann_jug)
  4. “An American Witch Bottle” in “Uncanny Archaeology” by Marshall J. Beck (https://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/halloween/witch_bottle.html)
  5. Robert Hunter of the William and Mary Center for Archaeological Research

*Available from Lucky Mojo Curios in Forestville, California

8 Fun Facts about Juno

Compiled by Jack Stagg

“Juno and Luna” by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

1 – HAIL TO THE QUEEN

As a goddess in the ancient Roman religion and as a character in Roman mythology, Juno not only held a most important and powerful role among her fellow gods, but was greatly revered among the people of Rome. As the daughter of Saturn and wife to Jupiter (her twin brother and King of the Gods) Juno was referred to as the Queen of the Gods. Of her many roles, Juno is best known and worshipped for being protector of the Roman people and presiding over aspects of women’s lives.  (1)

2 – JUNE BRIDES

Juno was the patroness of marriage, fertility, childbirth and the general well being of women. The month of June was most likely named for her. ” June”  ultimately comes from the  Latin Iunius, “of Juno (Iuno),” referring to the Roman goddess. June was thought by the Romans to be the luckiest month for marriage, since Juno was the Goddess of Marriage.

 Another interpretation says that the name came from the Latin iuvenis, “youth or young people,” who were celebrated at this time. To this day, June is the preferred month for weddings to take place. Is it for Juno’s blessing or just because the weather’s so nice ?  (2)

3 – A TALE OF TWO FESTIVALS

The ancient festival of Juno was celebrated annually by Roman matrons on March 1. It was known as the Matronalia.  According to tradition, the festival was established by Titus Tatius,  the Sabine king who later ruled with Romulus, the founder of Rome, unlikely that it is either Titus Tatius or Romulus ever existed.

In a G-Rated nutshell, a conflict between the Romans and the Sabines began when Romulus invited the Sabines to a festival and abducted their women, of which they were lacking. Titus and the Sabines then seized Rome’s Capitoline Hill, and much fighting continued until the Sabine women rushed in and stopped it. A formal treaty was then drawn up uniting the Romans and Sabines under a dual kingship of Titus Tatius and Romulus, again unlikely the two men ever existed. Later established, the festival of the Matronalia symbolized not only this peace treaty but also the “sacredness” of marriage between Roman men and Sabine women. The festival consisted of a procession of married women to Juno’s temple, where they gave gifts and made offerings to the goddess. At home, the offerings were supplemented by prayers for marital happiness. Wives then received expensive gifts from their husbands, naturally. (3)

4 – JUNO THE MULTI-TASKING GODDESS

Along with husband Jupiter and Minerva, the daughter sprung from his head, Juno was one of the three original gods of Rome and a great temple was built in their honor at the Capitoline, one of the seven hills of Rome associated with eternity. Juno, as Queen of the Gods, also has many other epithets.

As Juno Sospita, she is the protector of those in confinement, referring to pregnant women awaiting the impending birth of their child. As a protector, this aspect of Juno is depicted in goatskin, carrying a spear and a shield. Juno Sospita was also the chief deity of Lanuvium, a city located to the southeast of Rome. (1) 

Juno Februtis is an aspect of Juno as a purifier and fertility goddess, who was especially connected with the month of February and the festivities in its latter half. She would seem to be related to Juno Lucina as a childbirth goddess.The references to Juno Februtis are few, however, and much of the information about her would seem to be of more recent derivation.  (4)

As Juno Lucina, Juno is known as the goddess of childbirth. Lucina, which means “light,” was described as “she who brings children into the light.” Her main duty was to ensure the safety of women in childbirth. In the temple of Juno Lucina, a woman could not present an offering unless all knots in her clothing were untied. It was said that a belt would hinder delivery.

As Juno Moneta, she is the protector of money and funds. In the Temple of Juno Moneta, the first Roman coins were minted and continued to be minted there for over four centuries. (1)   Juno has many more epithets, more than can be featured here. A Goddess’ work is never done.

5 – THE HOUSE OF JUNO

As Queen of the Gods, Juno is often depicted with a crown featuring lilies and roses, carrying a scepter, and sometimes riding in a golden chariot pulled by peacocks, her most famous trademark. However, at other times, she is pictured with a more matronly fashion, a veil on her head, giving off a grave and majestic attitude, as befitting her regal station. Occasionally though, Juno is in a more warrior-like mood, as protector of the people, and wears a goatskin coat, accompanied by a spear and shield, though sometimes with a patera. A patera was a broad, shallow dish used for drinking libations, I’m guessing, should she get thirsty at an event. A “must have” for everyone this season. (1)

6 – TIT FOR TAT

As Jupiter’s wife, Juno was known to be fiercely loyal, but was also jealous and vindictive, especially when Jupiter usurped her role as a mother and gave birth to Minerva from his own head. It is said he tapped his forehead and gave birth to Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom, from his mind. This incident is believed to be the reason Juno, with the use of Flora’s magical flower, gave birth to Mars, the God of War, on her own. She was also, according to works by Homer and Virgil, more often scolding her husband rather than caressing him. (1)  Just like Jupiter, Juno was also known to throw thunderbolts. (5)

7 – HOW THE PEACOCK GOT HIS EYES

It is ironic that Juno represents marriage as her own was plagued by the numerous affairs of her husband Jupiter. Despite the behavior of her husband she was faultless in her fidelity as a wife, though extremely jealous and vengeful of his many discretions.(5)

Io was a beautiful priestess of Juno, and it was not long before Jupiter fell in love with her. He changed himself into the shape of a dark cloud to hide himself from the jealous Juno.

However, Juno looked down on earth and noticed the small cloud. She knew it was her husband. As soon as Juno arrived, Jupiter immediately transformed Io into a white cow to avoid his wife’s wrath. But Juno tied the poor cow to an olive tree and sent her faithful servant Argus to watch over Io. Argus had a hundred eyes and only a few were ever closed at any time.

To free Io, Jupiter sent his son Mercury to sing and tell boring stories to make Argus fall asleep with all his eyes. Mercury told so many boring stories that finally Argus closed all his hundred eyes. Only then did Mercury kill Argus and untie Io who ran home free. When Juno discovered what had occurred, she was so furious that she sent a vicious gadfly to sting the cow forever.

Meanwhile, Io, who was still prisoner in the shape of a cow, could not get rid of the malicious gadfly. Finally, after Jupiter vowed to no longer pursue his beloved Io, Juno released Io from her cow form, and Io settled in Egypt becoming the first queen of Egypt. (6)

In commemoration of the services which Argus had rendered her, Juno placed his eyes on the tail of a peacock, as a lasting memorial of her gratitude. White cows were Juno’s blood offerings. (5)

8 – BY JUNO’S DECREE : YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT

A Peacock wanted to have a nice voice as well as looking pretty. Juno said: “No.”                           Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything.  (7)

THE PEACOCK’S COMPLAINT

The Peacock considered it wrong

That he had not the nightingale’s song;

So to Juno he went,

She replied, “Be content

With thy having, & hold thy fool’s tongue!” Do not quarrel with nature.

(1)  https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/goddesses/juno 
(2) https://www.almanac.com/content/month-june-holidays-fun-facts-folklore 
(3) www.britannica.com
(4) http://www.thaliatook.com/OGOD/februtis.php
(5)  http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/roman-gods/juno.htm
(6)   https://www.windows2universe.org/mythology/Io.html
(7)  https://fablesofaesop.com/

3 Webinars – Reviews and Words of Wisdom from “Uncle”

In the past month (more or less), I attended three online meetings/webinars of interest to the Pagan Pride community.  The first on March 30th (which is what I mean by “more or less”) was “Britain’s Traditional Spring Festivals” presented by Professor Ronald Hutton through the Centre for Pagan Studies/Doreen Valiente Foundation.  Dr. Hutton is a lively and engaging speaker.  He focused on the origins of Easter traditions which have little or no roots in Christianity.  Most of us have heard this material before – “Easter” being derived from “Ostre”, a goddess of Spring, rabbits, easter eggs, etc.  It is Dr. Hutton’s belief that “Easter” is not derived from “Ostre”, but rather, from “Esther” the Biblical queen featured in the Jewish holiday of Purim (also a Spring observance).  In fact, he said that there is no ancient evidence of a goddess known as “Ostre” and that this connection was not made until Victorian times.  I had really hoped for my specific information about spring festivals such as well-dressings, Morris dances, etc., but he never touched on those topics.  Nevertheless, he is a lively speaker and I encourage everyone to look up his writings and attend future lecture opportunities.

The second lecture I attended was “Floralia: The Origin of May Day?” presented by Dr. Angela Puca, lecturer in the Dept. of Philosophy, Leeds University.  Originally from Naples, Italy, Dr. Puca has a PhD in Anthropology of Religion and is a specialist in “Indigenous Trans-cultural Shamanism in Italy”.  The answer to the question in the title is “no” there is no direct link between Floralia (which the Romans called “Ludi Florales”) and Beltane, but there are parallels.  However, before she came to this conclusion, she gave some background information about Roman religious practice.  Her information is based on her own research, including interviews with several priests and priestesses who practice Roman religion in the present.  These are not “Strega”, practicing the witchcraft Leland uncovered in Tuscany, nor the hybrid Strega/Roman blend popularized by the late Raven Grimassi.  These modern practitioners are reconstructionists of Roman religion before it was altered by the Greeks.  They do not claim any hereditary tradition, but they are trying to revive the true Roman religion, not the Greco-Roman hybrid more familiar to most of us.  Before the Hellenization of Roman culture, Roman deities were “forces of nature”, not anthropomorphic at all.  For example, Jupiter was not a god of thunder or lightning.  Rather he WAS the thunder/lightning.  One of the attendees asked if this was Animism, but she didn’t want to use that word.  Nevertheless, that is what she described.  Further, the original Roman deities did not identify with a specific gender.  The speaker could address the entity with whatever gender the speaker chose.  [For example, many people refer to their cars as “she”, but one could just as easily refer to a car as “it” or “he”]  However, when a non-binary attendee asked about gender-fluidity of the deities,  she cautioned about looking at ancient cultures through a 21st century lens.  Nevertheless, this is an area which others in the community who identify as Trans, Non-Binary or Gender-Fluid could research further (as it was not the main subject of her research).  Dr. Puca has a YouTube channel “Angela’s Symposium”, which I recommend highly, and plans to publish her doctoral thesis in English in the near future.

The third event I attended was “Spirituality and Ecology: Religious Wisdom for the Future” presented by the Parliament of the World’s Religions.  There were five speakers followed by a general discussion.  Prof. Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University, spoke about the “Economics of Biodiversity” with an emphasis on the practical aspects of our relationship with Nature.  Saying “we must protect ourselves by protecting the Earth, he proposed

  • We need to address the imbalance between Nature’s needs and supply by reducing our demands on Nature (although he didn’t say so population control was implied)
  • We need to change measures of economic success; current methodologies are inadequate
  • We need to transform institutions to enable change to take place on a global scale

The second speaker was Dr. Rita D. Sherma, founding Director and Associate Professor at the Mira & Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies, representing the Hindu/Dharma tradition.  She explained that the features of Nature are viewed as sacred revelatory place in Hinduism.  The Divine did not create the earth, but became it.  There is also a strong communion with trees – in the Rig Veda (Hindu sacred text) large trees are called “Lords of the Forest” and are considered sentient.

The next speaker was perhaps the most interesting – Uncle Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, Shaman Healer of the Eskimo of Greenland (interestingly, he preferred “Eskimo” to “Inuit”) speaking about our broken relationship with Nature.  He was born mid-20th century, and was raised to be a custodian and caretaker of Mother Earth.  In 1963, the Eskimo elders first noticed that the glaciers (which he called “big ice”) was melting.  There are rivers in Greenland that used to be a trickle but  now millions of gallons of runoff water come down from the glaciers.  He was highly critical of well-meaning Western intellectuals who think they know what is best for the earth.  He related the story of meeting a glacier expert in the airport in Greenland and asked if he planned to consult with the Eskimo elders.  This “expert” seemed insulted – why would he speak with tribal elders when he was there to do scientific research?  He also related the story of how, in the 1970s, animal rights groups pressured the government of Greenland/Denmark to outlaw seal hunting.  The result is that the seal population of Greenland has ballooned to 15 million animals, who are decimating the sea life in Greenland’s fishing waters.  A cautionary word for well-meaning people who don’t really have any connection with indigenous cultures or know what is happening on the ground.

The fourth speaker was Chararijit Ajitsing, author of “The Wisdom of Sikhism”, representing the Sikh community.  She spoke of some of the Sikh Gurus and their relationships with Nature, and read from their writings.  “Rejoice in the infinite who resides in Nature” was a favorite saying of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion.  She also spoke about how trees are the sign of the prosperity of a Nation. 

The fifth and final speaker was Imam Saffet A. Catovic, representing the Muslim community.  He also read or recited many passages from the Koran.  He proposed that we need to reset the balance.  We are disrupting Nature and need to embrace all people of earth.  He advised us to read the signs around us, the signs of the natural world, and we will understand our place within it.

Mohammed said “Take care of the Earth, for She is your Mother”.  Sound familiar?

The conclusion of this webinar is that people of all faiths need to find ways to work together and with our governments to reverse the destruction of the earth.

The Earth is our Mother, we will take care of the Earth.

Magical Tools – How to Acquire Them Without Going Broke

By Morgana RavenTree

Art by Matt DeHaven

It’s your first Pagan Pride Day.  Everywhere you look there are wonderful booths full of jewelry, magical oils and incenses, sparkling goblets and fancy daggers.  Everything looks so beautiful – but your resources are limited.  How do you choose when and where to spend your money?

Most of us remember being new and overwhelmed by all the items to buy.  The first thing to ask yourself is – do I really need all of this?  With apologies to our loyal vendors, the answer is “no” – at least not yet.  When you are just beginning to explore your magical practice, you don’t need to splurge on expensive items right out of the gate.  You can wait until you have been in the craft for a while and then you can buy the fancy stuff.  In the beginning, stick to the basics.

Take it from someone who joined the craft in in the 1970s, before the invention of personal computers, when the Internet wasn’t available to us and there were few shops selling “witchy” goods.  We had to  contact shops across the country by telephone or snail mail, requesting catalogs from mysterious shops we found advertised in the backs of books.  It was either that, or we had to make do with whatever we could find.

If you are studying a specific magical tradition, speak to your Elders.  Find out what are the minimum items you will need.  In many traditions there are relatively few items you will need in the very beginning. 

If you follow a more general practice, or are a solitary practitioner, you need only a few basics.  My first athame was a wood-handled utility knife I found in my kitchen (I was a teenager).  My mother didn’t like the knife, but kept it in a junk drawer and I thought it would make a good first athame.  My first chalice was a lead-free pewter goblet I bought in a clearance sale for a few dollars.  My first wand was a stick of driftwood.

You can make your own tools.  I recommend highly Courting the Lady: A Wiccan Journey, Book One: The Sacred Path by Patrick M. McCollum [ISBN 0977798607 (ISBN13: 9780977798605)].  A memoir of his journey of discovery, it includes chapters on finding and making his own wand and athame. 

If you do decide to purchase an athame, be careful.  Many athames look like they have wood handles, but in fact are plastic.  They can very difficult to detect, so always purchase from reliable sources.  There are simple, inexpensive athames available, you just have to search for them, maybe attend several festivals, or search for them online.  Inexpensive chalices can be found in thrift stores.  They don’t have to be elaborate.  Remember, in the Burning Times, ordinary people would have used everyday objects.  They would not have used elaborate tools which would be dead giveaways to the witchfinders.

My first pentacle for the center of my altar was made of pieces of felt I had cut out and glued together (you could use construction paper, too, or just draw it on a sheet of paper). 

As for other supplies, if you need to make your own oils or incenses, there are any number of books that contain recipes you can use.  You can buy your herbs in bulk to save money, or just buy them in small amounts as you need them. 

Save your glass jars from the grocery store.  Spaghetti sauce jars are some of  my favorites (you can get the spaghetti smell out of the lids by soaking them in white vinegar and water). 

For candles, find a good outlet store like General Wax & Candle in North Hollywood where you can purchase your candles at a discount.  They also sell supplies for making your own candles!

My point is, don’t let your enthusiasm run away with you.  Work out your budget and purchase a little at a time and stick to simple, basic tools.  You will reach a point in life when you can splurge on fancy tools, but don’t let that stand in the way of your magical practice!

Morgana RavenTree is the current president of Pagan Pride LA/OC.

The Lusty Month of May

Maypole by Matt DeHaven

The Lusty Month of May – music and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe [www.youtube.com/watch?v=pljyjiIMH9o]

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty month of May

That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray

Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year

When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

It’s May, it’s May that gorgeous holiday

When every maiden prays that her lad will be a cad

It’s mad, it’s gay, a libelous display

Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks

Everyone makes divine mistakes, the lusty month of May

Whence this fragrance wafting through the air?

What sweet feelings does it send transmute?

Whence this perfume floating everywhere?

Don’t you know it’s that dear forbidden fruit

Tra la la la la, that dear forbidden fruit, tra la la la la

Tra la la la la, tra la, tra la, tra la la la la la la la la la

It’s May, the lusty month of May

That darling month when everyone throws self-control away

It’s time to do a wretched thing or two

And try to make each precious day, one you’ll always rue

It’s May, it’s May, the month of yes you may

The time for every frivolous whim, proper or im

It’s wild, it’s gay, a blot in every way

The birds and bees with all of their vast amorous past

Gaze at the human race aghast

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty month of May

That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray

Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year

When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

When all the world is brimming with fun

Hold them all un…

It’s mad, it’s gay, a libelous display

Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks

Everyone makes divine mistakes, the lusty month of May

Poetry Corner: Corinna’s Going a Maying by Robert Herrick

Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming Morne

Upon her wings presents the god unshorne.

See how Aurora throwes her faire

Fresh-quilted colours through the aire:

Get up, sweet-Slug-a-bed, and see

The Dew-bespangling Herbe and Tree.

Each Flower has wept, and bow’d toward the East,

Above an houre since; yet you not drest,

Nay! not so much as out of bed?

When all the Birds have Mattens seyd,

And sung their thankful Hymnes: ’tis sin,

Nay, profanation to keep in,

When as a thousand Virgins on this day,

Spring, sooner than the Lark, to fetch in May.

Rise; and put on your Foliage, and be seene

To come forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and greene;

And sweet as Flora. Take no care

For Jewels for your Gowne, or Haire:

Feare not; the leaves will strew

Gemms in abundance upon you:

Besides, the childhood of the Day has kept,

Against you come, some Orient Pearls unwept:

Come, and receive them while the light

Hangs on the Dew-locks of the night:

And Titan on the Eastern hill

Retires himselfe, or else stands still

Till you come forth. Wash, dresse, be briefe in praying:

Few Beads are best, when once we goe a Maying.

Come, my Corinna, come; and comming, marke

How each field turns a street; each street a Parke

Made green, and trimm’d with trees: see how

Devotion gives each House a Bough,

Or Branch: Each Porch, each doore, ere this,

An Arke a Tabernacle is

Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove;

As if here were those cooler shades of love.

Can such delights be in the street,

And open fields, and we not see’t?

Come, we’ll abroad; and let’s obay

The Proclamation made for May:

And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;

But my Corinna, come, let’s goe a Maying.

There’s not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day,

But is got up, and gone to bring in May.

A deale of Youth, ere this, is come

Back, and with White-thorn laden home.

Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame,

Before that we have left to dreame:

And some have wept, and woo’d, and plighted Troth,

And chose their Priest, ere we can cast off sloth:

Many a green-gown has been given;

Many a kisse, both odde and even:

Many a glance too has been sent

From out the eye, Loves Firmament:

Many a jest told of the Keyes betraying

This night, and Locks pickt, yet w’are not a Maying.

Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime;

And take the harmlesse follie of the time.

We shall grow old apace, and die

Before we know our liberty.

Our life is short; and our dayes run

As fast away as do’s the Sunne:

And as a vapour, or a drop of raine

Once lost, can ne’r be found againe:

So when or you or I are made

A fable, song, or fleeting shade;

All love, all liking, all delight

Lies drown’d with us in endlesse night.

Then while time serves, and we are but decaying; Come, my Corinna, come, let’s goe a Maying.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674) was an English lyric poet.

Five Books for May 2021

5 books with significant information about magical tools. This list is Wicca-heavy. If you have recommendations for books about tools in other traditions, please let us know!

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham [ISBN 0875421180 (ISBN13: 9780875421186)]

Courting the Lady: A Wiccan Journey, Book One: The Sacred Path by Patrick M. McCollum [ISBN
0977798607 (ISBN13: 9780977798605)]

An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present by Doreen Valiente [ISBN 0919345778 (ISBN13: 9780919345775)]

Wicca Altar and Tools: A Beginner’s Guide to Wiccan Altars, Tools for Spellwork, and Casting the Circle by Lisa Chamberlain [ASIN B015USV7GC]

The Spiral Dance A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess by Starhawk [ISBN 0062516329 (ISBN13: 9780062516329)]

Welcome to My Garden

by Circe

I am – the morning dew.

I sparkle on the pure yellow sunflower

as its petals kiss the rays of the rising sun.

I am – the fragrant breeze.

I swirl among the deep red petals of the crimson rose,

wafting their scent skyward.

I am – the heat of the noon day sun.

The warmth feels like velvet along the sands of time.

I am – evening’s repose.

Jasmine, primrose and evening shade wait expectantly

as the purple haze descends over the horizon.

I am – the evening star – a moment in time. 

Shine in the dark and give a glimpse of light twinkling beyond the heavens. 

I am the Goddess.  Welcome to my garden.

—–A member of the local Pagan community, Circe has been exploring Wiccan and Ancient Egyptian Spiritual Paths since 1991 and currently teaches in the San Fernando Valley area.