Five Reasons to Not join a coven (or magickal group) (Courtney Weber)

The following link is to the above article by Courtney Weber.  Whilst the five points raised are indeed not new (similar articles have appeared over the years), I thought I would share this article as a timely reminder for the novice seeker/neophyte as to what a coven or magickal group is not be considered a substitute for.  While I do necessarily agree with all points raised, or indeed the manner or even the style in which they are raised, I do agree with the overall points made.

A coven/magickal group is not:
:: A “replacement family” for your physical family – although the bond within a close knit working group can almost replicate this.
:: A support group – if anything, the Craft (as well as most other magickal groups) focus on taking self responsibility.
:: A replacement for therapy – in many instances this point follows on from the previous one with the focus however being directed more at those who are already seeking professional assistance.
:: A place to get laid – whilst intimate partnerships may occur between members in some groups, this should not be your prime objective for joining a group.
:: A place to validate yourself – if you need external validation all the time, maybe what you actually need is to address your own areas of self worth and self esteem through gaining professional assistance.

I would also add to Weber’s list that a coven or magickal group is not a place to join simply because your friends are and you are suffering a degree of “FOMO” (fear of missing out).  Likewise if you are not prepared to pull your weight.  There is a lot of preparation that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to coven work (usually by the High Priestess/leader).  Stepping up and offering assistance moves you from being a spectator to gaining more about what  happen behind the scenes, as well as assisting your own knowledge and experience in the work to hand … and after all, is this not why you have joined ….to gain experience and to learn?

Spring Equinox: The Time of Balancing

A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light.
And closed them beneath the kisses of Night.

And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

The Sensitive Plant by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

As the sun moves into the sign of Libra, it gathers in strength and makes its way across the equator to warm the southern part of the earth.  Nature echoes the increasing warmth as blossoms burst forth and new growth makes its presence felt.  As the sun’s strength increases, so do the visible signs of activity upon the earth’s surface.  It is as if, were you to close your eyes for a moment, you would miss the experience of another aspect of creation being reborn all over again.

In areas where the ground was still too cold to plant seeds at Imbolc, or the weather too uncertain, by the Spring Equinox (taking place on 22 September this year), both the soil and weather offer a perfect environment for seed planting.

The hours of darkness and light are equal now.  Life appears with great vigour and abundance.  There is an urgency in the air, as if life were both trying to make up for the months of delay during winter, and getting all the plants fully established before the heat of summer arrives.  Here in South Australia, we can experience extremes in climate with both cold winters on the one hand and stifling hot summers on the other. These Summers can arrive as early as October and last until the end of March – there can be some six months of baking the ground.

Echoing what is occurring in nature around him, the young God increases not only his strength but also his knowledge of the role he plays within the sacred Wheel of Life.  He realises his potential, his masculine power and he ventures out into the world, ready to establish his rule and prove his manhood.  He is now mastering his own Mysteries, that of the Divine Masculine.  His rough-and-tumble childhood games serve little purpose as he matures into the Hunter/Warrior.  Eager to impress, to make a statement and to announce his arrival, he bounds forth with great exertion – that is until he is distracted by the sight of his beloved Goddess.

Under his nose she has blossomed into a creature of exquisite beauty, shyly toying with him to gain his attention.  However, she is not as naïve as she may first appear to be.  She too has been schooled in the Mysteries and knows only too well the cycle of life and the roles that she and her beloved God will play within them.

The Goddess is ready to fulfil her role, to become pregnant in order for life to continue, while the God is holding the potent seed of life itself.  The pace quickens. Their eyes meet like in a classic Hollywood romantic movie and the game commences.  Both are aware of their own sexuality and their role within the Wheel of Creation.

Source: Dancing the Sacred Wheel by Frances Billinghurst

Florida Water: Perfumed History (Gwyn)

Florida Water
Florida Water is a 20th Century invention. Image by Hannah Karina via Flickr.com

Florida Water is a popular item from the 19th century still used in modern witchcraft. But what is the history of this magickal item? Who invented it? Why do people use Florida Water and for what purpose? Sometimes, we will use a product because it’s popular to do so without knowing its history, Therefore, I thought I’d take a look at the origins and uses of Florida Water.

Florida Water is a Cologne

Believe it or not, Florida Water got its start as an American answer to Europe’s popular Eau du Cologne in 1808. Florida Water offered a fresh citrus-spice scent, lighter than standard perfume. Considered unisex, the cologne appealed to both men and women of the Victorian era and could be purchased in pharmacies and general stores. A young lady could carry the scent in a sachet on her person. People used the cologne to freshen their sheets, among other things.

Manufactured in New York by Lanman & Kemp Barclay, a company now known as Murray & Lanman, the cologne got its name from Florida’s reputed “Fountain of Youth.” Over time, it became known as a healing tonic, which when applied could reportedly soothe headaches and cool fevers. The company touted it as “The Richest of all Perfumes.” They still craft and sell their cologne to this day, using the original recipe created 211 years ago by Robert I. Murray.

No explanation could be found for how the cologne became perceived as beneficial for health. Perhaps the name of the cologne inspired the belief. However, many of the botanical extracts in the decoction have been used for such reasons for thousands of years. So, it’s unsurprising to me that people would discover the cologne had properties which could support the body. In addition, Florida Water became a popular way to clean the home and freshen the air of a room.

Florida Water
Florida Water provided a fresh scent for body and home. Image by DarkWorkX vis pixabay.com

Where Is the Magickal Connection?

The question remains, however, when did magickal practitioners begin to use Florida Water in their workings? Unfortunately, that part of the history is murky. Hoodoo, Santeria, and Wicca have included the cologne in their practices, along with many other magickal practitioners in this country and others, over the years.

When did the transition to include the cologne in esoteric practices occur? Unknown. But there is longstanding tradition for the magickal properties of Florida Water. So, one must conclude shared experience to have been intrinsic in the expansion from simply practical to magickal.

Regardless, this fresh scented cologne is useful for such workings as cleansing and protection. One source states Florida Water is a drawing agent for luck, love, money, etc. Not surprisingly, there is no actual “water” in the traditional preparation and while it is inexpensive to purchase there are many recipes available in books and online for making your own.

Florida Water
Making your own Florida Water is easy. Image by xbqs42 via pixabay.com

Gwyn’s Florida Water Recipe

All of the herbs listed in this recipe are dried. Buy organic when you can. Grow and dry what you are able, if you wish.

1 part orange peel
1 part bergamot
1 part lavender
1 part sage
1 part rose petals
1 part lemongrass
1/2 part bitter orange peel
2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
80 proof Vodka

Place all the herbs in a clean quart glass jar until 3/4 full. Pour vodka over top of the herbs until covered (there should be 1/4 to 1/2 line of vodka above the herbs). Place lid on jar and give a gentle, rolling mix. Place the jar in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks. Check every few days to give a turn and see if the vodka needs to be topped off again (you want to be certain the herbs remain fully covered). After 4 weeks, open jar and strain plant material through a wire mesh into another clean glass receptacle. Store in cool dry place. Use as needed.

Florida Water
So what can you do with Florida Water? Image by Angelo Rosa via pixabay.com

What can you do with Florida Water?

You can purchase the original cologne from the creating company. Wear it as a light perfume or aftershave. Add some to the washing machine to freshen the laundry. Put some in the solution you use to wash the floors of your home. There are online sources from which you can purchase Florida Water, offering their own formulations, including our friends at Artes and CraftBig Liz Conjure, and Box of Reign.

As mentioned, you can make your own version. Experiment. Do some research and give it a try. And remember, while you may be inclined to use water in your recipe (since it’s in the name), Florida Water is a cologne. Using vodka or some other clear alchohol will provide you with a longer shelf life.

Here are suggestions for magickal use:

Spritz it to purify a space before ritual.
Add it to bath water for spiritual cleansing before magical working or ritual.
Wipe down your altar and/or tools with a cloth after spritzing it with Florida Water.
Wash your floors (and walls) with it to remove negativity from the home.
Pour some in a bowl as an offering to ancestors and/or house spirits.
Use it as a substitute for holy water.
Use it to bless a new home.
Anoint your head with Florida Water for added protection.
Wash your hands with it after dealing with negative people.
Use it in a spell to attract something you desire into your life.
Anoint your head, neck, heart, and feet when feeling unbalanced.

*Take care to keep out of reach of children or pets.*

Source: Florida Water: Perfumed History. Magickal Uses

The Most Powerful Spell (Phoenix LeFae)

Be mindful of what you think because your thoughts become your words. Be mindful of what you say because your words become your actions. Words have power, we Witches and Pagans know that. So I want to share with you the most powerful spell that I have learned. It is simple, but kicks quite a punch. This spells contains just one word. The spell is: No.

Take a moment to practice that one, it can be tricky. Go on, I’ll wait…..no.

How was that? Try it again, let the letters roll around on your tongue. What does it feel like to say that magick word? Is this an easy spell for you or do you find yourself struggling to get it out?

Yes, this post is totally about my stuff, but I’m not alone in my challenge to not do all the things. I love teaching and ritual. I thoroughly enjoy all of my side projects. My work is fulfilling. It is lovely to be invited to go out to an event. Of course, I want to say yes to all that is asked of me. FOMO (fear of missing out) is totally a thing. And it’s so easy to just say yes to all the opportunities that cross my path. It feels good to say yes.

But it’s not healthy.

We might feel called to help out a loved one. You might find yourself giving more than you’re getting. You could even discover that you keep saying yes, when you really want to say no. Perhaps you keep saying yes because you are worried if you say no the opportunities will stop? Saying no can be really hard. It’s a word that holds a lot of power and that power can be a little intimidating, especially if we don’t have practice with it.

You don’t want to disappoint anyone. You don’t want to come across as selfish. Maybe you really really want to do it, but it conflicts with a prior commitment. All of these things are and have been true for me. No can feel like you are burning a bridge or shutting a door forever, but the good news is that’s just not true.

Discernment is our most powerful tool. Combine that tool with the power of the spell of no and you become and unstoppable force!

Saying no is about self care. This is a spell of putting your needs first. When you use this simple magickal spell you empower yourself and take control. I’ve been working on this practice for years. I’m far from perfect, but I’m getting better at it every day.

via The Most Powerful Spell | Phoenix LeFae

The Cleansing Power of Salt Bowls: Removing Negative Energy from the Home (Astrea)

salt bowl plate remove negativity negative energy pagan witchcraft
A salt bowl, with sea salt, juniper berries, sprigs of juniper, peppercorns, and powdered clove. Photo copyrighted by Astrea.

For millennia, all over the world, salt has been considered a protective and cleansing agent, both physically and metaphysically.  A salt bowl in your home can absorb water, emit ions, and kill bacteria.  Some people like to buy fancy salt lamps for this purpose, but a simple bowl filled with salt can do the trick, too.

1. Choose a Bowl

Choose a bowl to use for your salt bowl.  You can go for something plain or fancy — whatever you prefer.  I like to use a black soup bowl for the black-and-white contrast.  You could use a smaller bowl if you’d like to take up less space.

If you’re going to leave the bowl out for more than a couple of days, I recommend using a non-porous bowl (i.e. not wood).  However, if you’re okay with salt penetrating the porous material, and possibly ruining whatever protective cover it has, you can use whatever you wish.

2.  Choose a Salt

I like to use natural sun-evaporated sea salt for my salt bowls.  If you’re feeling fancy, you can buy some black sea salt, pink Himalayan sea salt, kosher diamond crystal salt, Japanese big-flake salt, or any other kind.  If you don’t want to set out a whole dish of that kind of salt, mix the fancy salt with some good old regular sea salt.

juniper berries protective magic herb plant pagan witch salt bowl

3. Add Herbs and Oils, If Desired

Open your cupboards and peruse your spice rack and tea tins.  You can add anything to the salt.  It will add another aspect of cleansing to the dish.

I like to add juniper berries to my salt bowl because juniper is a protective herb.  Add cloves and peppercorns as they are also protective and are known to banish negative energy.  I also like to add a few drops of essential oils, like tea tree, lavender, or thieves blend.

Some people like to add garlic, rosemary, rue, bay leaves, and many other protective herbs.  Other cultures have been known to cut lemons or limes and set them in the salt.

4. Spell Out Your Intentions

I like to mix everything together with my fingers and speak my intention out loud.   I say something like, “May this salt cleanse the energy of my home and protect me from negativity.”  If you can go into an altered state at this point, do so.  Feel yourself become more cleansed, and align your energy with the purpose of the salt bowl.

salt bowl absorb negativity negative energy pagan witch spiritual home

5. Set It Out

Place your beautiful salt bowl somewhere in your home.  Be conscious of the salt bowl.  When you pass by it, use it as a cleanser of your energy.  You can push negative energy into the salt bowl, or touch the salt with your hands to ground any errant energy.

Other people like to place salt bowls in the corners of a room.  You can also sprinkle salt on your windowsills, as long as a pet won’t jump up there, and as long as the windowsills are not metal, which is susceptible to rusting in salty conditions.

To read this article in full, visit here.

Imbolc: Awakening the Spirit

Imbolc is taken from the Irish-Gaelic which is translated as “in the belly” (of the mother) and falls around 8 August in the Southern Hemisphere (when the sun moves into 15 degrees Leo).  It represents the quickening of light and life and around us we begin to notice the first stirrings of spring as the first flowers begin to appear.  These seeds have lain dormant within the earth over the cold winter months now begin to stir with life. All around us there is evidence of the earth’s slow awakening to the growing power of the sun, and we may find in ourselves this awakening as we venture more and more outdoors.

Being a festival of fire, Imbolc celebrates the light of spring piercing the darkness of winter.  As new life flows through the world of nature, we celebrate the waking of the soul as our spirits begin to quicken.  Now is the time look toward the future.

In contemporary witchcraft lore, at Imbolc the Goddess awakes from her slumber in the Underground and emerges youthful, bright eyed and virginal again.  She is the Flower Maiden and while there is an air of innocence about Her, this is coupled with a degree of knowing, similar to retaining knowledge of a past life.  She is aware of Her powers of potential and is unrestrained and full of the energy of youth.  There is an air of innocent about Her, however She is not naive.  It is the young God who tends to be the naive one, as He begins to understand His sacred purpose and is initiated into the mysteries of His sex.

Imbolc is a good time to contemplate what needs to take root and grow in our life, and what to be swept away in order to make room for our new plans.  In doing this, it is a good idea to sit down and ponder on some searching questions, to get in touch with what is seeking the light of day within us and to be prepared to let go of anything outworn.  However, it is best to proceed cautiously for it is a time to design and plan, to dig foundations rather than to build.  Imbolc is the glimmering of the year’s increase, but only the first glimmering for, as in nature, the weather can still change and nip new life in the bud.

Imbolc is a good time also to cleanse ritual tools, consecrate items we have not consecrated yet, and even rearrange the altar.  Add a small vase of spring flowers or a fresh white candle to capture the essence of Imbolc.

Source: Dancing the Sacred Wheel by Frances Billinghurst (TDM Publishing)

Herodias and the Queen of Witches (Coby Michael Ward)

Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches. Charles Leland. Ilustrator unknown. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches. Charles Leland. Ilustrator unknown. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

The Witch Queen in Traditional Witchcraft

The concept of a Queen of Witches is not new to modern traditional witchcraft.  When investigating this concept from a historical perspective many common themes begin to arise, and we see the fluid stream of polytheistic syncretism.  Certain names and themes circulate around this concept, shedding light on the transformative nature of pagan deities.  They are not fixed in concrete and steel like the gods of modern society, but ever changing and growing like the roots of a tree, branching out above and below.  For me, the Queen of the Witches is the chthonic aspect of the mother goddess embodied in the fertile earth.  She draws her fertility from the dark rich soil, feeding the lifeforms of the surface.  She is one of the elder gods.  A nameless primal archetype of early humanity who has overtime assumed multiple forms, names and identities based on the people perceiving her.

Within the school of Traditional Witchcraft there are a handful of recurring deities that are linked in the historical procession of the primordial witch goddess; such recurring names as: Diana, Herodias, Habondia, Frau Holda and others help us piece together the etymology of the original goddess.  I am generally focused on those figures found within the folklore of the British Isles and Germany via the Holy Roman Empire.  Within this spectrum the earliest sources are traced back to Greece and Rome from which these themes disseminated originally.  Witchcraft scholars seem particularly interested in the goddess Diana.  Historical sources show that her veneration continued well into the Christian era.  Her origins, like many others begin in ancient Greece before making their way to the Roman pantheon.  It was a Roman custom to create composite deity names for various situations for example the Roman Juno-Lucina began as Hera-Diana in Greece.  It is here that historian Carlo Ginzburg, in his famous Ecstacies, points out that the original nomenclature was written and transcribed as Hera-Diana. The Church seeking to associate goddess worship with diabolism used this as an opportunity to distort the original theme.  Hera-Diana was transcribed as Hero-Diana to associate her with the biblical figure Herodias.  This was reinforced at the ironically named Council of Truer in 1310, which set Herodiana next to Diana to perpetuate this distortion.

Herodias, Erodiade, and Aradia

According to the research of Raven Grimassi; “the appearance of Herodias, as a biblical figure, in connection with a goddess of witchcraft is an intentional displacement of deity figures.” (Herodias in Witchcraft)  Initially it seems as though the close spelling between these two different names is what resulted in the distortion, however it played into the goal of the Church to dismiss the validity and reality of Dianic worship.  This allowed church officials to connect the pagan figure Hera-Diana with the Biblical figure Herodiana or Herodias, and the Italian translation of Erodiade into one cohesive idea.  The story of Herodias begins in the New Testament, much like the Old Testament’s Jezebel another wicked woman of the Bible.  Herodias is known for her role in having John the Baptist beheaded for criticizing her marriage.  She is depicted as one of the Bible’s many wicked women, in association with witches.

This depiction of Hera with a Hind is titled Diana of Versailles and is an example of the composite deity Hera-Diana. Louvre. Wikimedia Commons.
This depiction of Hera with a Hind is titled Diana of Versailles and is an example of the composite deity Hera-Diana. Louvre. Wikimedia Commons.

Erodiade (Herodias) remained part of Italian folklore prior to Charles Godfrey Leland and his popularization of the name Aradia.  According to folklorist Sabina Magliocco, Aradia was a supernatural figure of Italian folklore that was widely known prior to the publication of the Gospel of the Witches, which wasn’t published until 1899.  It seems that it is a common trend for the early Church to graft itself onto local folklore by creating Biblical connections with the intention of converting pagans, however in retrospect it seems that this only insured the survival of these entities by facilitating their transition into the new religious paradigm.  Papal proclamations and decisions made in councils would determine the Church’s official stance on these issues.

Diana, as the Queen of Witches

There are a handful of female deities that most fully embody the power of the mother goddess and the craft of the witch.  Diana, and her many counterparts and consorts are known for leading her followers on the winding path of spiritual discovery and personal power.  The Church also recognized this powerful embodiment in the form of Diana, attesting to her connection to the Unseen.  Their goal, after hundreds of years of polytheistic goddess veneration, was to convince people that Diana was an illusion created by the Devil to lead the unsuspecting away from God.  By introducing the concept of deception, Church officials attempt to dismiss the validity of Dianic worship.  They condemn those who believe in such illusions, however those who believe witchcraft itself is an illusion are even more deceived according to the Church.  Church doctrine at the time explicitly warns of women who follow Satan, fly at night and worship Diana as found in the Canon Episcopi.

The four main points of the Canon Episcopi are outlined in the infamous Witch hunter’s manual, the Malleus Maleficarum. The first and most important of these main points is that there is only one true God and no other should be worshipped except for him.  The second point mentions Diana specifically as the goddess of the pagans; it points out that she is actually the devil in disguise using glamour to deceive people.  The third point continues to discuss the devil’s power of illusion, by making followers think that are flying long distances, it is actually another glamour used by the Devil.  The fourth and final point again mentions Diana by name.  It states that real witches make a pact with the Devil and must obey him in word and deed.  The canon also encompasses all and every act of witchcraft which are many and diverse.  It also states that real witches are doing much more than worshipping Diana and flying at night.  It is suggested that the Canon should be extended because, “witches do much more than these women, and are of a very different kind.”  I believe this quote from the Malleus Maleficarum is an example of the distinction between pagan folk practices and actual witchcraft, which was a common nuance at the time.

Her Majesty

The image of the Queen of Witches has taken many forms over the millennia.  The power to assume these cross-cultural forms is unique to the elder gods of our nameless tradition.  Sects of night flying witches were known to ride with various ancestral goddesses.  As the goddess of life, death, and rebirth; she presides over all aspects of our existence.  She is the primordial mother of the Underworld beckoning the souls of the dead back to her embrace.  According to many traditional witches, the Queen of Elfhame or goddess of witchcraft as she is known, is a counterpart to the Master of the Wild Hunt.(Craft of the Horned Piper, 17-20)  During the winter months from Samhain to Yule the Wild Hunt or Furious Horde led by the Horned One and his Queen, are known across Europe for guiding the souls of the dead across the sky.  Both assuming different aspects during the dark and light halves of the year.

Resources:

“Herodias in Witchcraft” by Raven Grimassi

The Goddess Aradia and other subjects

Wikipedia Entry: Herodias

In Line with Spirit – Staying on Track

In a world where we have routines to get everything done, we rarely have a routine for our spiritual self.

In a world where we have routines for nearly everything – our route to work, our physical fitness regimen, and our weekday schedule – it is amazing how many people forget to create a routine for meeting their spiritual needs. We run around in an attempt to be at our many appointments on time and meet our many obligations. In our efforts to be as productive as possible, however, our spiritual needs tend to take a backseat. After all, taking care of our spiritual needs doesn’t directly pay the bills or tone our abdominal muscles.

We may even wonder who has time to meditate or write in their journal when there are more pressing matters to see to. The truth is that nurturing ourselves spiritually is what gives us the energy and grounding that we need to make sure that our lives stay on track.

How you choose to nurture yourself spiritually is a personal choice. For some people, meditating once a day may be what they need to stay centered. While spending 10 to 20 minutes with your eyes closed and your brain devoid of thought may seem like a lot of time doing nothing, this state of nothingness actually allows you to stay calm and focused so you can be as productive as possible.

Writing in your journal everyday lets you stay in touch with yourself so that you are always tuned in to your feelings. Repeating affirmations for success, happiness, and well-being on a regular basis can help you live with optimism and enthusiasm and create what you want in life.

Having a routine for nurturing your spirit that you do each day lets you feed energy to your soul and can serve you well if your life suddenly takes an unexpected turn into a difficult period. This kind of routine grounds your spirit in your body so that you stay anchored in yourself as you move through each day. Nurturing yourself spiritually allows you to not only stay on track in your life, but it allows for your life to stay on track with what your spirit wants.

Source: Daily Om

Astrology of July 2019 – Eclipse Season (Astrobutterfly)

Are you ready for July? I’m not going to lie – July 2019 is perhaps the most challenging month of the year. We have two eclipses, several tense oppositions in Cancer-Capricorn, and Mercury Retrograde conjunct Mars for two weeks! 

When astrologers say “Don’t do this now…“, “Don’t make any decision at the Eclipse“, “Don’t sign contracts when Mercury is retrograde”, “Don’t fight with your spouse when Mercury is conjunct Mars…”, etc – they are missing the point. It is exactly when we have eclipses, oppositions, and retrogrades that we DO have to do stuff. That’s the whole point of challenging aspects, to DO stuff, NOT to not do stuff. 

An eclipse, an opposition or a square is a time of action – by definition. You can wait a lifetime and chase your trine transits and you’ll notice that nothing happens anyway – because things happen when we have tense aspects, such as squares and oppositions or when eclipses hit your chart. 

A planet is more active when retrograde (because it is at its closest to the Earth) so you can’t ignore its energy even if you try. Yes, you may have to redo stuff when Mercury is retrograde. Yes, some things might get delayed. But that’s what Mercury retrograde is here for. To push us to deal with stuff we didn’t deal with when Mercury was direct. 

If you try to avoid the energy of a planet or aspect, things only get worse (not better). When we refuse to work with the energy of a planet, we either deny it or project it onto other people. And this is exactly when the planet ends up overpowering us. But when we invite it, work with it, this is when we get the best out of it. You’re better off if you swim with the current – rather than against it. 

2 July – Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer

July starts with a BANG. On 2 July 2019 we have a Solar Eclipse at 10° Cancer. This is a Total Eclipse, meaning it’s more powerful than a regular eclipse, and it is a North Node eclipse – meaning it’s about embracing the new (rather than dealing with the old).

Have a look to see if you have a personal planet or angle around 10° Cancer or 10° Capricorn. If you do, then this Eclipse will be very important for you and will bring new things into your life.

3 July – Venus enters Cancer

On 3 July 2019 Venus enters Cancer. Venus is what we value. Cancer is the sign of home, family, nurturing, comfort and security. In the coming weeks, these themes will become more important. Venus is also the planet of relationships, so Venus’ transit in Cancer is a good time to get closer to your partner and re-establish that sense of trust and intimacy.

8 July – Mercury goes Retrograde and Conjuncts Mars 

On 8 July 2019 Mars is conjunct Mercury, and then a few hours later, Mercury goes retrograde. What is interesting is that this time it is Mars applying to Mercury. Usually, Mercury is applying to Mars, because Mercury moves much faster than Mars. But because Mercury is now stationary, Mars takes him over.

If we normally think (Mercury) before we act (Mars), this time around, we will act (Mars) before we think (Mercury). And as a result of this action, we will decide to go back (Mercury goes retrograde) and make some changes. Confusing? There is much more to this story. Everything will become clear two months later, around September 3rd, when Mercury will finally apply to Mars.

9 July – Chiron goes Retrograde

On 9 July Chiron goes retrograde at 5° Aries. Chiron is where we feel broken and inadequate. Now that Chiron is in Aries, these feelings of brokenness and inadequacy are about the very foundation of who we are (Aries is the sign of identity). Basically, with Chiron in Aries, we feel that something is wrong with us.

But these feelings are a symptom of a healing crisis. Healing is about to come, but for that to happen, we have to feel the pain first. If we stuff it down, it doesn’t go away, it just “works” in the background, and becomes even more problematic. If you want to heal, there is no other way around. You have to face the pain. When Chiron goes retrograde, this search for integration moves inwards. When Chiron is direct we look for answers outside. When Chiron is retrograde, we look for answers inside. 

9 July – Sun conjunct North Node and Opposite Saturn and South Node 

On 9 July 2019 Sun is conjunct the North Node. North Node is our soul purpose, what we aim for in this lifetime. The Sun and the North Node are now in Cancer. No matter what your sign is, there is a part of you who is Cancer. There is a part of you who needs roots, who needs a place to call home, who needs to nurture and be nurtured.

However, Sun and the North Node are exactly opposite Saturn – now at 17° Capricorn, which is of course, also conjunct the South Node of the past (the North Node and the South Node are always opposite each other).

The pull to stay where we are is stronger than ever. Saturn is a very stable, solid, material planet. If you have a bad habit, something you want to get rid of, don’t fight it. Make friends with it. Thank it for what it has given you. And then let it go by itself.  

11 July – Mars square Uranus

On 11 July 2019 Mars (at 6° Leo) is square Uranus (at 6° Taurus). Mars-Uranus squares are very unpredictable. Mars is the planet of action, and Uranus is the planet of change and unpredictability. With Uranus, you never know what you’re going to get.

Mars square Uranus means that our actions (or other people’s actions) will take us by surprise. Mars and Uranus are in fixed signs, so we will resist change until the very last minute. Until we will eventually blow off, just like a volcano. Because Uranus aspects are almost impossible to predict – or to prevent – the best course of action is to reflect AFTER the event has happened.

At some level – whether you were aware of it or not – you were not happy with that specific situation. Something had to happen. What needs to change – about yourself, or about your life, so you can live more authentically? 

14 July – Sun opposite Pluto 

On 14 July 2019 Sun in Cancer is opposite Pluto, now at 21° Capricorn. The Sun is our identity, our center of gravity, it’s who we are. Pluto is the planet of power and the insurmountable forces of nature. Tense Sun-Pluto aspects always bring power struggles and ego wars. There is something you want to prove – to the world, or to yourself, and you will not take no for an answer.

Sun opposite Pluto ultimately brings the opportunity to expand your identity. You are much more than you think you are.  

16 July – Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

On 16 July 2019 we have the second eclipse of the month. This time we have a South Node Lunar Eclipse at 16° Capricorn. If North Node Eclipses are about embracing the new, South Node Eclipses are about releasing the old. “Releasing” doesn’t mean we have to get rid of something. Perhaps you have a hidden talent, but you’re not aware of it. A South Node Eclipse will bring it to the surface. ‘Releasing’ means that something is now ripe. All our work has bear fruits and now we have the ‘outcome’. 

That’s why South Node Eclipses are associated with karma. Indeed, what goes around, comes around, and a South Node Eclipse is just that – a time of adjustment and reconciliation. 

19 July – Mercury retrograde re-enters Cancer

Mercury Retrograde is about RE. Re-doing, re-searching, re-viewing, re-examining, re-inventing, re-thinking, re-scheduling, anything that starts with RE. RE means you need to pay closer attention to something. When Mercury retrograde changes signs, its modus operandi changes. The “look at me” Leo vibe changes. Mercury in Cancer is not anymore about getting validation from others, but about coming to terms with its own identity. Mercury retrograde in Cancer is an invitation to retreat into your shell and look for answers within. 

21 July – Venus opposite Pluto

On 21 July 2019 Venus (at 21° Cancer) is opposite Pluto (at 21° Capricorn). This is a “femme fatale” aspect. Cancer and Capricorn are feminine sings. Venus is the planet of love and values. Pluto is the planet of power.

When Venus is opposite Pluto we can completely lose our head. Venus follows her heart, not her head. But Pluto says “I don’t care what you want, there is a larger perspective and the world will not change to accommodate your wishes and desires”.

Venus opposite Pluto will show the tension between what we want and what is possible. You can either accept that you can’t have everything you want, or you can choose to fight even more for what you want. 

21 July – Mercury conjunct Sun

Mercury is retrograde and is conjunct the Sun. This means that we are about to begin one of the three yearly Mercury cycles. The Sun-Mercury conjunction takes place at 28° Cancer – so if you have a planet or an angle around there, make sure you take this opportunity to start something new. You don’t have any planets there? Then find the house in your natal chart where the transit takes place. 

29 July – Sun square Uranus 

Sun (at 6° Leo) is square Uranus (at 6° Taurus) on 29 July 2019. Sun is the planet of identity and Uranus is the planet of sudden change. When our lives turn upside down, the last thing to change is OURSELVES.

To read this article in its entirety, visit Astrobutterfly.

Welcoming Back the Child of Promise

As the Wheel of the Year turns, we find ourselves now at the Winter Solstice.  The sun is at its northern most point during its yearly migration across the sky which means that whilst the Northern Hemisphere is basking in its warmth, for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, the warming rays are a distant memory.  

It is with this longing that we create our rituals that focus around the return of the Child of Promise, the Invincible Sun, or as it was known to the Romans, the Sol Invicus, the Unconquerable Sun.

The Winter Solstice is also the time of the never-ending battle between the Holly King and his twin, the Oak King.  Twice a year (usually at the solstices) they meet and battle for the hand of the Goddess. 

At the time of the Summer Solstice, Oak King is at the height of his strength, while the Holly King is at his weakest.  However, the Holly King begins to regain his power, and at the Autumn Equinox, the tables finally turn in the Holly King’s favour for at the Winter Solstice, he vanquishes the Oak King. Robert Graves, in his poetic work The White Goddess, identified a number of paired hero-figures which he believes are variants of this myth, including Lleu Llaw Gyffes and Gronw Pebr; Gwyn and Gwythr; Lugh and Balor; Balan and Balin; Gawain and the Green Knight; the robin and the wren; and even Jesus and John the Baptist.

The Goddess reminds us not to take things for granted for the worse of the Winter storms are yet to come as the Night Hag, the Bone Mother of Winter still stalks the land.

Within the darkness, we ask ourselves:
“To die and be reborn, the Wheel is turning,
What must we lose to the night?”

We release our fears and inhibitations in order to expose that fragile light deep within our selves that has been stiffled or hidden.  And as we light our candles to honour the returning light that the Child of Promise will bring, we also encourge this light to shine forth.