Sunday, July 31, 2011

Setting Up Your Lammas (Lughnasadh) Altar

By Patti Wigington, About.com Guide

It's Lammas, or Lughnasadh, the Sabbat where many Wiccans and Pagans choose to celebrate the beginnings of the harvest. This Sabbat is about the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth -- the grain god dies, but will be reborn again in the spring. Depending on your tradition, you may also observe this Sabbat as the day of the Celtic craftsman god, Lugh. Either way, you can try some or even all of these ideas -- obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most.

Colors of the Season
It's the end of summer, and soon the leaves will begin to change. However, the sun is still fiery and hot. Use a combination of summer and fall colors -- the yellows and oranges and reds of the sun can also represent the turning leaves to come. Add some browns and greens to celebrate the fertility of the earth and the crops being harvested. Cover your altar with cloths that symbolize the changing of the season from summer to harvest time, and use candles in deep, rich colors -- reds, burgundies, or other autumn shades are perfect this time of year.

Symbols of the Harvest
The harvest is here, and that means it's time to include symbols of the fields on your altar. Sickles and scythes are appropriate, as are baskets. Sheafs of grain, fresh picked fruits and vegetables, a jar of honey, or loaves of bread are perfect for the Lammastide altar.

Honoring the God Lugh
If your celebrations focus more on the god Lugh, observe the Sabbat from an artisan's point of view. Place symbols of your craft or skill on the altar -- a notebook, your special paints for artists, a pen for writers, other tools of your creativity.

Other Symbols of Lammas (Lughnasadh)
Grapes and wine
Corn dolls
Ears of corn
Iron, such as tools or weaponry or armor
Fall flowers, such as cornflowers or poppies
Straw braids
Onion garlands

(Above taken from this page).

Lammas/Lughnasadh - activities and rituals

"Lammas/Lughnasadh is the first of three harvest Sabbats. Decorate the altar and house with grains such as barley, oats and wheat -- also fruits and veggies. Substitute bread for crescent cakes. The Sun God is waning, but the Goddess is full of abundance. Even as he wanes, he lives on inside her as her child. Begin gathering and drying herbs, flower, grains or seeds for spellworking in the next year. Make magickal oils now with fresh herbs.

Braid onion and garlic charms (same principle as Witches Ladders). Onion is sacred to the sun -- because of its shape, and its dye is a golden amber to burnt apricot (for egg dye at Imbolc or general purposes). When the onion is cut, it reveals the symbolism of the moon. Garlic, too, is sacred to the moon -- the crescent shape of the cloves. It exorcises evil and protects.

A good time for cat magick.

HERBS to use in your magic at Lughnasadh (there's a bunch): goldenrod, peony, nasturtium, clover blossom, yarrow, heliotrope, boneset, vervain, Queen Anne's lace, myrtle, rose, sunflower, poppy, milkweed, Irish moss, mushroom, wheat, corn, rye, oat, barley, rice, garlic, onion, basil, mint, aloe, acacia, meadowsweet, apple leaf, raspberry leaf, strawberry leaf, bilberry leaf, blueberry leaf, mugwort, hops, holly, comfrey, marigold, grape vine, ivy, hazelnut, blackthorn, elder, bee pollen.

STONES: Cat's-eye, citrine, aventurine, golden topaz, obsidian, moss agate, rhodochrosite, clear quartz, marble, slate, granite, lodestone.

ACTIVITIES:
Make Willo's Lammas Bread

Make sand candles to honor the Goddess and God of the sea.

Collect rain and storm water for use in spellwork or to empower objects, add dried mugwort and store in glass bottles.

Create and bury a Witches' Bottle.

Make a corn dolly to save for next Imbolc. I should note here that the definition of a corn dollie might be different among some witches. A corn husk doll is perfectly acceptable to some, but others won't use anything but winter wheat (which is harvested this time of year). A general consensus is that one must go with whatever the dominant grain is in your region. For wheat weaving info, go here.

Make a corn wheel.

Have a magickal picnic with libations to the earth of bread and wine.

At this time, witches cast spells for connectedness, career, health, and financial gain. Spells for abundance are completely appropriate now. As the sun is growing weaker, it is a good time to do grounding and sun meditations, then use the golden rays of the sun (gathered during meditation) in spellcasting.

Remember, the corn dolly you make now will be dressed and laid in the bride's bed at Imbolc.

FOOD: Fresh herbs, fruits and veggies. Bake corn bread sticks, collect blackberries and make a pie marked with a solar cross. Sprout wheat to add to homemade bread. Drink cider. Gather berries for use in recipes or wine-making. (Yum). Rose petal wine would be appropriate.

(Above taken from here).

Lammas Ritual

For the Lammas ritual contained here you will need your regular altar supplies. It is appropriate to have corn husks, corn dollies, wheat and grain decorating the altar and the quarters. In addition you will need:

Parchment paper (or regular paper) cut into squares, enough for each person
Pens or pencils
Large eyed needles
Heavy thread
Slightly dried sweet corn or indian corn with which to make corn necklaces prior to circle
A large cauldron, or some type of container resembling a cauldron in which a fire can be made to burn the parchment papers. Corn cakes and mead or ale is very appropriate, can use apple juice as a good non-alcoholic substitute.

Lammas Circle Notes:
Use a yellow or yellow-orange altar cloth, and green, yellow, or orange candles. Decorate with bunches of herbs, sheaves of grain, ears of corn, and small baskets of fruit and vegetables. Burn Lammas Incense (See our Lammas Incense Recipes). Cast the Circle using the athamé.

Lammas Circle Ideas:

Kindle a Lammas fire of herbs and wood to commemorate the Sun's passing. Say goodbye to the Sun by saying: "We thank You God of Sun and Light, for warming us from dawn 'til night. For fertilizing all on Earth, for bringing us Your cheer and mirth. For laughter, joy, and shining ray, for guiding us along our way. And as You go, we hold You dear, until the winter brings You near. And with the Yule You're born anew. Goodbye, dear Sun, we shall miss You." Thank the Mother for Her bountiful gifts by blessing the onions, garlic, and grain stables in your kitchen (flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, and so on). Line them up on the altar or counter, place your hands over them, and say: "We thank You, Mother, for these gifts, for meal and bulbs and that which sifts. Please bless these items with Your grace, and hold them dear within their space. So as we eat, Your blessings flow, within, without - from head to toe."

Bake magickal bread in celebration of the harvest. This doesn't have to be difficult or take all day. Just use frozen bread dough, and knead in a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs when it thaws (basil, oregano, dill, parsley, and chives are all good choices). As you eat the bread, say: "Cycle of Life contained herein, Birth and Death and Birth again. Help me to understand my role, in life, and help me cleanse my soul. So I may walk this path with ease, as I will so mote it be."

Make the corn dolly for next year's Imbolc. Just acquire three ears of corn and tie them together as directed in the Imbolc celebration ideas. Bless the dolly by saying: "Seeds of Life that burn and thrive, seeds of plenty come alive. By Sun and Earth this spell fulfill, become now Brigid, who melts the chill." Put the dolly in a safe place to await the Imbolc celebration.

Perform prosperity magick for the coming months by making a Witches' Bottle. Just gather together a small bottle with a tight-fitting cork, a fish hook, some clover, a bit of cinnamon, and a few coins. As you place the materials in the bottle, visualize money coming to you from all directions. Cork the bottle and seal it with a bit of wax from the altar candles, then enchant it by saying: "Money come alive and grow, pour down on me both high and low. By herb and hook and glass and coin, prosperity and I now join. Paper money and coins that shine, come to me, for you are mine." Bury the bottle near your front door. If that's not possible, set the bottle in a place where it won't be disturbed.

Harvest Spell author unknown

Set an orange candle on either side of the caldron. On a piece of small paper write the things you have harvested over the past year, light the paper from one of the candles and let it burn in the cauldron. After it is done put some corn or squash seeds in the cauldron. Stir" the seeds with your wand visualizing white light coming from the tip of the wand, filling the cauldron and entering the seeds. When you feel the seeds have absorbed their fill stop, put the seeds into another container to be kept on the altar until next years planting.

Solitary Lammas Ritual from: Secrets of a Witch

Materials:
chime
loaf of bread
candles
The Chime is rung three times. Say:
"I come to this space in celebration Within the Sacred Garden of the Gods.
The Sun God, He gives forth light and the energy of life to all.
Through the Goddess and from the Goddess All things grow and mature.
It is She who is the bearer of life and rebirth of the Harvest to come.
The land is full and must be tended. Let me now share Her bounty."

Break off a piece of bread and eat it. Prepare a candle for lighting, saying:
"I must open myself to change. To do so, I must abandon my faults, Refresh and vitalize the body and spirit, And embrace growth as I prepare for what is to become; For what the future holds, Yet for me to grow it is necessary for a part of me to die."

Light the candle, declare any faults you would like to be cleansed of, and stick the candle in the ground before you. The Energy Circle is raised and at its climax blow out the candle. After a moment of meditation, say:
"Out of the death of this small part of me, life begins anew."
The ritual is complete and the circle is released.

Lammas Bread Protection Spell

A book of Anglo-Saxon charms advised the crumbling of the Lammas loaf into four pieces and the burying of them in the four corners of the barn to make it safe for all the grain that would be stored there. You can use this old spellcraft in a protection spell for your home.

Bake a Lammas loaf, and when it is cool break it into four pieces don't cut it with a knifeand take one to each corner of your property with the words:

I call on the spirits Of north, and south, east and west
Protect this place, Now, at the time of the Blessing.

Leave the bread for the birds to eat or bury the pieces.

Lammas Bounty Spell

Lughnasadh; it is a celebration of plenty and optimism, and of nature's infinite bounty. It is the time of the first harvests, and it marks midsummer's joyous and fanciful energy. This spirit is celebrated, too, in Shakespeare's A Mid-Summer's Night Dream. To tap into this energy, gather a small bundle of long grass or reeds to braid, and light a white candle. Braid the grass as you speak this verse:

Fairies prancing in the meadow, Spirits in the corn;
Green Man is flourishing everywhere On this Midsummer morn.
Grains begin to ripen, All things bear fruit.
Summer glistens with possibility, Blossoms take root.
Fairies whisper secrets, Powerful blessings to see.
Cycles move and all around, they share their gifts with me.
Air to fire, Fire to water, Water to earth, Earth to air.
Elements feed spirit, And the circle glows.
At Lammas, day and night, We witness Nature's awesome might.
Growing full And blessing all,
'Tis Earth's celebration Before the chill of fall.
Now braiding this grass, I mark this day
Protect my hearth, With the abundance of grain.
The blessings of the Goddess come again;
Place the braid above my door. Hunger be banished now and then.
Blessings be drawn to this place, Summer's energy fill this space.
Air, fire, water, earth unite, And bless us all this day.

Activities that may be incorporated into the Sabbat ritual or engaged in during the day.

From: Green Witchcraft, Ann Moura

Make sand candles to honor the Goddes and the God of the sea. If you don't live near a beach, you can achieve the same effect by putting sand in a large box, adding water, and working from there. This is definitely a porch or kitchen job, and newspapers are recommended under your work area for easy clean-up. Melt wax form old candles(save the stubs from altar candles) in a coffee can set in a pot of boiling water. Add any essential oil you want for scent(or scent blocks from a candle supply store). Scoop out a candle mold in wet sand(you can make a cauldron by scooping out the sand and using a finger to poke three "feet" in the sand). Hold the wick(you can get these ready-made in arts and crafts stores)in the center and gently pour in the melted wax. Wait until it hardens, then slip your fingers under the candle and carefully lift it out and brush off the excess sand.

String indian corn on black thread for a necklace.

If the Sabbat falls on a rainy day, you could collect rainwater in a glass or earthenware container, add dried mugwort, and use to empower objects.

Create and bury a Witch's Bottle. This is a glass jar with sharp pointy things inside to keep away harm. You can use needles, pins, thorns, thistles, nails, and bits of broken glass; it's a good way to dispose of broken crockery, old sewing equipment, and the pins that come in new clothes. Bury it near the entry to the house(like next to the driveway or the front door), or inside a large planter.

Do a Harvest Chant when serving the corn bread at dinner: The Earth Mother grants the grain, The orned God goes to his domain. By giving life into her grain, The God dies then is born again.

Make a Corn Dolly to save for next Imbolc. Double over a bundle of wheat and tie it near the top to form a head. Take a bit of the fiber from either side of the main portion and twist into arms that you tie together in fromnt of the dolly. Add a small bouquet of flowers to the "hands," and then you can decorate the dolly with a dress and bonnet(the dress and bonnet may be made out of corn husks if you wish, or and cotton material is fine too).

Collect blackberries and make a fresh pie marked with the Solar Cross.

Have a magickal picnic with libations to the earth of bread and wine.

Sprout whear germ in a terra cotta saucer(these can be found in nureries for use under terra cotta flower pots). The sprouts can be added to homemade bread or used as an offering. Children enjoy planting the seeds and watching them grow, too.

God the grain, Lord of rebirth. Return in spring, Renew the Earth.

Make a Solar Wheel or Corn Man Wheel:

Turn a wire hanger into a circle(standard circle material for wreaths too), keeping the hook to hang it by. Make a small cardboard disk to glue the corn tips onto. You can decorate it with any design, for example, a pentagram or sun.

Place ears of Indian "squaw" corn(it is smaller than regualr corn and fits easily on a coat hanger)with the tips inthe center of the circle and secure with hot glue to the cardboard disk. Use eight ears for a Solar Wheel, or five ears for a Corn Man. If all the ears of corn meet just right you won't need the disk, but if they are uneven the disk is helpful. Wrap a bit of the husks of each ear around the wire on either side of the ear of corn, leaving some to stand out free from the corn. Let dry overnight and hang on the front door.

Other activities:

bake breads, make preserves, canning
make corn dollies (burn previous years, and bury)
bless tools
make corn necklaces
spells for money
prepare house for fall
corn husking contests

Corn Husk Dolls

Corn dollys bring health, wealth and general prosperity to the land or property owner. A simple ritual could include writing a special wish with a marker onto the dolly (good health for a friend?) and burn the dolly.

Items Needed:
Corn husks
Large bowl of water
Twine or string
Scissors
Old pieces of fabric
Watercolors or markers
Glue

Soak the cornhusks in warm water for an hour, until they become pliable. Gather several of the damp husks and then tie them together with a piece of twine about ½ inch from one end. To make the head, hold the knotted end in one fist, then fold the husks down (as though you were peeling a banana) so that they cover the knotted end. Smooth out the husks to make a face, then secure them with a piece of twine around the doll's neck. To make the arms, roll up a single husk and tie it off at both ends. Position the arms up between the husks, under the doll's neck. Smooth the husks over the arms to form the chest and back then cinch in the waist with twine. For a skirt or legs, arrange several husks, inverted (like a skirt that has blown up over the doll's head) around the waist. Secure with twine, then fold the skirt down. For legs, divide the husks into two parts, tying each bunch at the knees and ankles To make clothes, hair, hats or other headpieces, glue on little pieces of fabric You can use markers and watercolors to give the illusion of facial features. Glitter can be added as well as any other decorations to the Corn Husk Doll.

(Above taken from here).

Lammas History: Welcoming the Harvest

By Patti Wigington

"Lammas or lughnasadhwiccan holidaysaugust holidayswiccan ceremonies Lammas is the first of three Pagan harvest festivals, and takes place on August 1, right around the time of the early grain harvests.

The Beginning of the Harvest:
At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.

This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures:
Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone.

In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A Feast of Bread:
In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas -- it meant that the previous year's harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheafs of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season.

The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church.

Honoring Lugh, the Skillful God:
In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh's influence appears in the names of several European towns.

Celebrating Lammas Today:
Honoring the Past
In our modern world, it's often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it's no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one's crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

Symbols of the Season:
The Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and you may feel like decorating your house accordingly. While you probably can't find too many items marked as "Lammas decor" in your local discount store, there are a number of items you can use as decoration for this harvest holiday.

Sickles and scythes, as well as other symbols of harvesting
Grapes and vines
Dried grains -- sheafs of wheat, bowls of oats, etc.
Corn dolls -- you can make these easily using dried husks
Early fall vegetables, such as squashes and pumpkins
Late summer fruits, like apples, plums and peaches

Crafts, Song and Celebration:
Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lammas (Lughnasadh) is also a time to celebrate talents and craftsmanship. It's a traditional time of year for craft festivals, and for skilled artisans to peddle their wares. In medieval Europe, guilds would arrange for their members to set up booths around a village green, festooned with bright ribbons and fall colors. Perhaps this is why so many modern Renaissance Festivals begin around this time of year!

Lugh is also known in some traditions as the patron of bards and magicians. Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family."

(Above taken from here).

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lugh, Master of Skills

Lugh was known to the Celts as a god of craftsmanship and skill -- in fact, he was known as the Many-Skilled God, because he was good at so many different things. In one legend, Lugh arrives at Tara, and is denied entrance. He enumerates all the great things he can do, and each time the guard says, "Sorry, we've already got someone here who can do that." Finally Lugh asks, "Ah, but do you have anyone here who can do them ALL?"

Take the opportunity this day to celebrate your own skills and abilities, and make an offering to Lugh to honor him, the god of craftsmanship.

Before you begin, take a personal inventory. What are your strong points? Everyone has a talent -- some have many, some have one that they're really good at. Are you a poet or writer? Do you sing? How about needlecraft, woodworking, or beading? Can you tap dance? Do you cook? How about painting? Think about all the things you can do -- and all of the things you'd like to learn to do, and the things you'd like to get better at. Once you sit down and think about it, you might be surprised to realize how accomplished you really are.

Decorate your altar with items related to your skill or talent. If your skill relates to something tangible, like sewing or jewelry-making, put some of your craft supplies on the altar. If it's an ability to DO, rather than MAKE, such as dancing or singing, put some symbol of your ability on your altar. Do you have a favorite outfit you wear when you dance? A particular song lyric that you know you're fabulous with? Add as many items as you like to your altar.

You'll need a candle to symbolize Lugh, the god. Any harvest color is good, because he came up with the idea of a grain festival to honor his foster mother, Tailtiu. Place the candle on your altar in the center. Feel free to add some stalks of grain if you like -- you can combine this rite with one honoring the harvest, if you choose.

Lammas Harvest Ritual

Light the candle, and take a moment to think about all the things you are good at. What are they? Are you proud of your accomplishments? Now's your chance to boast a little, and take some pride in what you've learned to do. Announce your own talents in the following incantation. Say:

Mighty Lugh, the many-skilled god,
he who is a patron of the arts,
a master of trades, and a silver-tongued bard.
Today I honor you, for I am skilled as well.
I am deft with a needle,
strong of voice,
and paint beauty with my brush strokes.*

*Obviously, you would insert your pride in your own skills here.

Now, consider what you wish to improve upon. Is your tennis-playing out of whack? Do you feel inadequate at bungee jumping, yodeling, or drawing? Now's the time to ask Lugh for his blessing. Say:

Lugh, many-skilled one,
I ask you to shine upon me.
Share your gifts with me,
and make me strong in skill.

At this time, you should make an offering of some sort. The ancients made offerings in exchange for the blessings of their gods -- quite simply, petitioning a god was a reciprocal act, a system of exchange. Your offering can a tangible one: grain, fruit, wine, or even a sample of your skillwork -- imagine dedicating a song or painting to Lugh. It can also be an offering of time or loyalty. Whatever it is, it should come from the heart.

Say:

I thank you, mighty Lugh, for hearing my words tonight.
I thank you for blessing me with the skills I have.
I make this offering of bread and wine* to you
as a small token of honor.

*Or whatever else you may be offering.

Take a few more moments and reflect on your own abilities. Do you have faith in your skills, or do you deflect compliments from others? Are you insecure about your abilities, or do you feel a surge of pride when you sew/dance/sing/hulahoop? Meditate on your offering to Lugh for a few moments, and when you are ready, end the ritual.

Tips:
If you are performing this rite as part of a group, family or coven setting, go around in a circle and have each person take their turn to express their pride in their work, and to make their offerings to Lugh.

What You Need:
A candle to represent Lugh
Symbols of your skill or talent
An offering of some sort

(Above taken from here).

Lammas Bread Sacrifice Ritual

Grain is the heart of Lammas, and the beginning of the harvest season is a milestone in many societies. Once the grain is threshed and milled it is baked into bread and consumed, honoring the spirit of the grain god. This ritual celebrates both the harvest and the sacrifices we make each year, as well as the sacrifice of the grain god. Decorate your altar with symbols of the season -- sickles and scythes, garden goodies like ivy and grapes and corn, poppies, dried grains, and early autumn foods like apples. If you like, light some Lammas Rebirth incense.

For this rite, you'll need a loaf of Lammas bread and a cup of wine or water. You'll also need pieces of straw or other plant material, enough for each person in the ritual to make a small doll, and some yarn or string to tie the dolls together. Finally, you'll need a fire. You can either have a large bonfire, or a small tabletop fire in a pot or brazier.

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

The High Priest or High Priestess says:

"It is the time of the harvest once again.
Life, growth, death and rebirth,
all have come full circle.
The god of the harvest has died once more,
That we may eat and consume him,
Giving us strength in the months to come."

The HPs hands each member of the group a sheaf of straw, saying:

"We now create dolls in our image.
These dolls symbolize our selves, in our many aspects,
and all the things we give up each year,
so that we may thrive and flourish later on."

Each member of the group constructs a doll to represent themselves. Use the instructions here if you don't know how to make a doll: Corn Doll or Straw Man. As each person creates their doll, they should energize the doll with personal qualities. These are the essences of self that each person is bringing to sacrifice, so that they may be reborn as the harvest god is each year.

When everyone has completed their dolls, the High Priestess says:

"The god of grain is dying,
vegetation returns to the earth.
We call upon the gods of the harvest,
asking them for their blessings.
Tammuz and Lugh,
Adonis, Dumuzi,
Cernunnos and Attis,
Mercury, Osiris.
You are born each year,
and live in our fields
and are sacrificed as part of the cycle."

Raise energy by circling your fire or altar three times, moving in a counter-clockwise (widddershins) direction, building speed each time (you're moving against the pattern of the sun, because it's the end of the harvest season). If you like, you can increase the feeling of power by chanting one of these popular traditional Wiccan verses:

"Hoof and horn, hoof and horn,
all that dies shall be reborn.
Corn and grain, corn and grain,
all that falls shall rise again."

or:

"Earth my body,
water my blood,
air my breath and
fire my spirit."

If your group is musically inclined, have half the group sing the "Hoof and horn" part, and the second half sing the "Earth my body" verse, so that it forms a round robin. The effect is amazing!

When the raising of energy is complete, each person in the group approaches the fire, one at a time, and casts their doll into the fire. They can either say out loud what their sacrifice will be this year, or speak it only to themselves and the gods. As each doll is placed in the fire, direct leftover energy into the flames as well.

When everyone has made their sacrifice, the HPs holds up the loaf of Lammas bread. Say:

"Months ago, we planted seeds,
and through the summer watched them grow.
We have tended the fields in our lives,
and now we are blessed with abundance.
The harvest has arrived!
Thank you, lord of the harvest,
For the gifts yet to come.
We eat this bread, grain transformed by fire, in your name,
and honor you for your sacrifice."

The HPs breaks off a piece of bread for herself, and passes it around the circle, so that everyone can take a piece. Eat the bread, and then pass around the cup of wine or water. If you wish, you can say something as the cup is passed, like:

"May you reap the blessings of the harvest."

Once everyone has eaten their bread and sipped from the cup, take a moment to reflect on what you have harvested for yourself this season. End the ritual as you normally would or move directly into a Cakes and Ale ceremony or other rites you wish to perform.

What You Need
A loaf of Lammas bread
Straw or plant material
String
A fire
A cup of wine or water

(Above taken from here).

How To Hold a Lammas Harvest Ritual

In some Wiccan traditions, Lammas is the time of year when the Goddess takes on the aspects of the Harvest Mother. The earth is fruitful and abundant, crops are bountiful, and livestock are fattening up for winter. However, the Harvest Mother knows that the cold months are coming, and so she encourages us to begin gathering up what we can. This is the season for harvesting corn and grain, so that we can bake bread to store and have seeds for next year's planting.

This ritual celebrates the beginning of the harvest season and the cycle of rebirth, and can be done by a solitary practitioner or adapted for a group or coven setting. Decorate your altar with symbols of the season -- sickles and scythes, garden goodies like ivy and grapes and corn, poppies, dried grains, and early autumn foods like apples. If you like, light some Lammas Rebirth incense.

Have a candle on your altar to represent the Harvest Mother -- choose something in orange, red or yellow. These colors not only represent the blaze of the summer sun, but also the coming changes of autumn. You'll also need a few stalks of wheat and an un-sliced loaf of bread (homemade is best, but if you can't manage, a store-bought loaf will do). A goblet of ritual wine is optional.

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

Light the candle, and say:

"The Wheel of the Year has turned once more,
and the harvest will soon be upon us.
We have food on our tables, and
the soil is fertile.
Nature's bounty, the gift of the earth,
gives us reasons to be thankful.
Mother of the Harvest, with your sickle and basket,
bless me with abundance and plenty."

Hold the stalks of wheat before you, and think about what they symbolize: the power of the earth, the coming winter, the necessity of planning ahead. What do you need help planning right now? Are there sacrifices you should be making in the present that will be reaped in the future?

Rub the stalks between your fingers so a few grains of wheat fall upon the altar. Scatter them on the ground as a gift to the earth. If you're inside, leave them on the altar for now -- you can always take them outside later. Say:

"The power of the Harvest is within me.
As the seed falls to the earth and is reborn each year,
I too grow as the seasons change.
As the grain takes root in the fertile soil,
I too will find my roots and develop.
As the smallest seed blooms into a mighty stalk,
I too will bloom where I landed.
As the wheat is harvested and saved for winter,
I too will set aside that which I can use later."

Tear off a piece of the bread. If you're performing this ritual as a group, pass the loaf around the circle so that each person present can take off a small chunk of bread. As each person passes the bread, they should say:

"I pass to you this gift of the first harvest."

When everyone has a piece of bread, say:

"As the grain dies, it transforms to bread,
and brings us life through the winter.
We bless this bread, and it blesses us in return,
and we are thankful for the gift of the harvest."

Everyone eats their bread together. If you have ritual wine, pass it around the circle for people to wash the bread down. Once everyone has finished their bread, take a moment to meditate on the cycle of rebirth and how it applies to your own life - physically, emotionally, spiritually. When you are ready, if you have cast a circle, close it or dismiss the quarters at this time. Otherwise, simply end the ritual in the manner of your tradition.

What You Need:
A candle to represent the Harvest Mother
Stalks of wheat
A loaf of bread
Ritual wine (optional)

(Above taken from here).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Plans for Lammas 2011

So, as promised, I'm writing the post to tell you about our plans for celebrating Lammas this year. It's going to be a quiet celebration for this holiday; not nearly as much activity as there was in the Litha celebrations. Anyway...

You may remember the post I did about the Timberkit we brought back at the start of July? Well, on Monday we will be putting it together, since that's August 1st, which is - if you don't know - the date we celebrate Lammas (also called "Lughnasadh" or "The First Harvest" as well as a couple of other things, I believe).

Once that's done we will be having a "feast" based on some appropriate Lammas foods. I would have liked to bake some homemade bread, but that isn't an option for us this year, so instead Kelly will be fetching some from a bakery up town, and we will have it made in to sandwiches, and follow it with some apple pie, washing the lot down with some grape juice. But, before we enjoy our meal we will be doing a simple juice and bread blessing. If you're interested in what the blessing is, read on... I'm about to post it for you. I'm afraid I don't remember where I got this from, so I can't give credit for it. Anyway...

***

Juice and Bread Blessing
Person 1 holds the bread aloft, person 2 does the same with the juice.

Person 1: "Here is bread, here is life. The fertility of the land combined with the skill of the people who ground the grain and baked this bread. Here is the body of the Earth Mother and the seed of the gods. Without such gifts we shall perish. I slay thee bread with reverence and joy."

Person 2: "Here is juice, here is life. The water of the Earth combined with the nectar of the green things that grow upon it. Here is the life blood of the Land. This holds the sweet blessings of the Earth. Without such gifts we would perish. I bless this drink with humble gratitude."

The first piece of bread is placed in the offering bowl by person 1, and the first sip of juice is placed in another offering bowl by person 2. All say:

"We give the first of fruits to the gods with gratitude."

Bread and then juice is passed around to each participant. When all present has their bread and juice, all say:

"May you never hunger, May you never thirst."

All present eat their piece of bread and drink their juice.

***

We will be lighting a candle before we start the blessing while inviting Lugh - and any other Gods and/or Goddesses who wish to join us - to attend, and leaving it lit throughout both the blessing and the feast (you probably figured this out, but the feast will begin as soon as the blessing is over). Then, once the candle is extinguished, signifying the end of the feast, we will place the offerings outside somewhere where they can be returned to nature in some way.

Jumanji

"After being trapped in a jungle board game for 26 years, a Man-Child wins his release from the game. But, no sooner has he arrived that he is forced to play again, and this time sets the creatures of the jungle loose on the city. Now it is up to him to stop them."

(Above taken from this page).

I've seen this one loads of times in the past, but when I looked - after watching it again the other day - there was no sign of a review for it, so I figured I'd do one now. Anyway, I've always thought this was a really good movie. I also like the space version, which I'm sure I've reviewed on here before... If you don't know, the space version is "Zathura: A Space Adventure". If you haven't seen either, then you really should! The idea behind them is kind of strange, but I think the movies are really good, and they're definately action packed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday's third post

Had the rest of my craft items show up today; more glue sticks, more Christmas tree sequins, some silvery blue glitter (they call the colour "silver frost") and a couple of small tubes of PVA glue (for when glue sticks and glue dots jus wont work). I haven't bothered with photos of them though. The only thing you might have wanted to see was the glitter, but since I have plans for it in upcoming cards then you can see it then. You will be able to see it more clearly on a card than in the tiny little pot, anyway. At least, I think you will. I will have photos of cards I've made for you soon though, since I made a couple yesterday.

***

We've had some really nice days - weather wise - recently. Nice and dry (apart from the odd light shower where it's just enough to water the plants, but not enough to even bother with a jacket, since the sun will soon dry the drops of rain that fell on you anyway) but not hot like some of you have been having. Perfect for walks with Kero, and sitting out in the garden with Kero. Just right so that nature isn't suffering for lack of water, but we humans can go outside to enjoy nature without either sweating like pigs or feeling like we're in Winter. So, no weather complaints here for the last couple of days! :)

***

If you're wondering why I haven't bothered with a weigh-in post recently, it's because I've stayed the same the past couple of weeks, so there wasn't anything to say. I'm going to work on evaluating things and seeing if I can make any tweaks or whatever in hopes that will shift some of this weight.

***

Lughnasadh/Lammas/The First Harvest is on Monday, so tomorrow I'll be posting what our plans for celebrating are, and over the weekend - starting with tomorrow (Friday)'s post, then right up until Tuesday, actually - I have several posts scheduled to go up with information, stories, etc in them, for anyone interested.

***

I have a question for those of you on Facebook: If you block the games, does it undo what was already done on them? Thing is, they're getting on my nerves, but people signed me up to get bonuses for themselves and whatever, and I was just wondering if me blocking them would undo that and cause problems for them? As an example, if I block them, would I still be counted as a neighbour for someone I'm a neighbour for? And would anything they built in my city still be accessable for them?

***

All for today... Hope you're having a great week! :)

Peter Pan (2003)

"In stifling Edwardian London, Wendy Darling mesmerizes her brothers every night with bedtime tales of swordplay, swashbuckling and the fearsome Captain Hook. But the children become the heroes of an even greater story, when Peter Pan flies into their nursery one night and leads them over moonlit rooftops through a galaxy of stars and to the lush jungles of Neverland. Wendy and her brothers join Peter and the Lost Boys in an exhilarating life--free of grown-up rules--while also facing the inevitable showdown with Hook and his bloodthirsty pirates."

(Above taken from here).

Did I enjoy it?

Put it this way, I've watched it at least three times that I remember in the last couple of years, two of those times being quite recently. So, I'm going with yes. ;)

Centurion

"A splinter group of Roman soldiers fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack."

"Britain, A.D. 117. Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus' legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the Earth and destroy their leader, Gorlacon."

(Above taken from here).

Not too bad of a movie; not entirely my cup of tea, but I liked it enough to watch it all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Furkid thoughts: Kero shares photos too

Hi there humans, this is Kero.

I have some photos to share too.

When I saw Gwydion getting brushed I got jealous, so I gave my humans my best "sad little puppy dog" look in hopes they'd brush me too...


It worked:



I love getting brushed!

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Lassie

"The dog everyone loves now leaps into the '90s in this all-new exciting, updated version of Lassie! Determined to start a new life in the country, the Turner Family - Dad, stepmom, little Jennifer and teenager Matt - leaves the city for the wilds of Virginia. The move creates problems for everyone, especially Matt, who feels lost and alone in his new surroundings. Fortunately, the Turners are helped by a homeless collie who becomes part of their lives - and Matt does a lot of growing up as a result of the dog's unflinching loyalty. Watch the extraordinary collie protect Matt from a snarling wolf, rescue him from a raging waterfall or just nuzzle up for affection, and you'll know Lassie is more than a story of a boy and his dog - it's the story of a boy and the most remarkable dog in the world!"

(Above taken from here).

As you can probably tell from the above text, the version I watched recently was the 1994 version. What can I say about this one? I've seen it loads of times - couldn't find a review for it on my blog though - and would watch it again. In fact, I'd watch any of the Lassie movies or TV show episodes over, and over, and over again! I mean, come on, who doesn't love Lassie?

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

"Jimmy Neutron is a boy genius and way ahead of his friends, but when it comes to being cool, he's a little behind. All until one day when his parents, and parents all over Earth are kidnapped by aliens, it's up to him to lead all the children of the world to rescue their parents."

(Above taken from here).

Another one where there's also a TV series; and where both the movie and TV series are really good (well, I think they are anyway).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Furkid thoughts: Gwydion shares photos

Hi humans, this is Gwydion again.

I thought I would share a couple of photos taken of me recently.

First, here I am getting groomed:


And here I am in my house in my cage:



Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Squeak soon,
Gwydion

Book: Presumed Innocent

By Scott Turow

" In the novel Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow, the main character Rusty Sabich, chief prosecutor of Kindle County, is helping his friend Raymond Horgan, run for re-election. During this time, Carolyn Polhemus, a colleague of Rusty's is brutually raped and murdered. With the case becoming an important issue, Rusty, who had a short affair with Carolyn, was assigned to it. The case goes no where due to the lack of evidence and no clues.
After Raymond loses the election, Rusty is accused of killing and raping Carolyn. The newly elected Nico Della Guardia and his right hand man, quickly bring up evidence against Rusty as he has to battle to prove his innocence. Rusty can only rely on the team of layers he assembled and a mysterious B file."

(Above taken from this page... WARNING: Link contains spoilers).

It was a pretty good story; worth reading at least once.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Explaining #7 AKA plans to move

So... I said I would give a bit of an explanation for the 7th "random thing" I posted in the post I did Saturday. I'm talking, as you will probably remember, about the fact I mentioned that we are considering moving away from this area. It's something we've been considering doing for a while now, actually. Remember all those times I mentioned how I was watching what money I was spending because we were saving for something? Well, this is what we've been saving for. Thing is, to be honest, we're more than considering doing it. We're actually planning to do it. In fact, we've been saving up the money needed for the move (as I already mentioned), decided on the location we're moving to, and have even started packing up those items we don't use that often, or don't mind not being able to use for a while (ornaments, DVDs, most of our books, etc), and have been "sort of" looking at potential places to see what's out there for when we're ready to actually move. We've got some things to sort out before we actually go and look at possible places, but we're hoping to have those things sorted some time in the next few weeks, and we're hoping to be able to be moving in the next couple of months, all being well.

We're looking for just a 1 bedroom place, because it's not essential that we have a second bedroom right now, rent will be a bit cheaper if we just go for a 1 bedroom, and where we're moving to there are plenty of places nearby for friends or family to stay if or when they're visiting. We aren't bothered if it's an upstairs place or a downstairs place, as long as it allows pets... We can't move without Kero and Gwydion!

Anyway, we're moving from South-West Wales to South-East England, to an area where I lived for a couple of years during my teens, which is only a little over an hour away from central London by train, and also near the coast.

We have quite a few reasons for deciding to move away, but they all boil down to the same thing... We feel that moving is the best thing for us.

Happy Birthday Nancy/Jade

Today is the birthday of one of the online friends I've had the longest. Her name is Nancy, though she sometimes goes by the name, "Jade" too. Anyway, I just wanted to wish her the happiest of birthdays.. Despite not knowing for sure if she'll read this. So, Happy birthday Nancy/Jade! My birthday wish for you is the same wish I have for all my friends on their birthdays... I hope today is a wonderful day for you, and that it brings you all the happiness you deserve!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Furkid Thoughts: Gwydion's turn at the award (FD)

Hi humans, this is Gwydion.

I thought I should listen to Kero and come on here and take my turn at the award thing... He can get pretty loud when he wants to, and I like my quiet time!!

So, let me see... 7 things about me...

1. My favourite vegetables are carrots and lettuce.

2. My favourite fruits are apples and strawberries.

3. My least favourite vegetables are sweetcorn and green beans.

4. My least favourite fruits are blueberrries and oranges (I don't mind orange flavoured things - like my orange vitamin C syrup - but I don't like actual oranges).

5. I always put up a fight when the humans try to pick me up, but I love cuddle time with them. It's become a sort of game; they have to catch me to earn cuddles with me!

6. I like to tip my dry food bowl up so that the food goes all over my cage, then I roll it about - just for fun - while weaking at the humans to tell them my bowl is empty.

7. I'm afraid of almost everything, and will run in my bed and hide whenever anyone other than the Mami human comes anywhere near my cage (and even with her I will run and hide sometimes... Especially if she approaches my cage quickly).

As for who I'm passing it on to... Well, any of my furry friends who didn't take Kero's invitation, and any of our human friends who didn't take Mami's invitation.

Squeak soon,
Gwydion

Movies: Beethoven and Beethoven's 2nd

Beethoven (Also Known As:Beethoven: Story of a Dog)
"The Newton family live in their comfortable home, but there seems to something missing. This "hole" is filled by a small puppy, who walks into their home and their lives. Beethoven, as he is named, grows into a giant of a dog... a St Bernard. Doctor Varnick, the local vet has a secret and horrible sideline, which requires lots of dogs for experiments. Beethoven is on the bad doctor's list."

(Above taken from here).

Beethoven's 2nd
"Beethoven becomes a father. But the puppies owner wants to use them and the mother in her divorce bargaining. But the Newton kids steal the puppies. Will they be allowed to keep them? And will they be able to rescue the puppies mother and re-unite her with her family?"

(Above taken from here).

I've seen these two movies so many times I've lost count, but I don't think I've ever reviewed them, so... I'm doing so now. They are really funny, and really good movies! :)

There are, if I'm not mistaken, more Beethoven movies, but I've only seen these two.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award (FD)

On Thursday, Iggy gave me The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award... Thank you, Iggy! :)

I'm supposed to tell you 7 random things about me, then pass this on to 5 others. So, let me see... 7 things about me... Preferably things you don't know yet...

1. I would absolutely love to write a book that becomes as popular as Harry Potter, but I've never managed to complete any of the novels I've started writing. Also, I've never submitted one of my short stories to a publisher, because I'm worried I'll get one of those nasty rejection letters.

2. I've had the name for my first born son (if I ever have one) picked out since before I got married, but I change my mind about what I would call a girl constantly.

3. My favourite fruit has been grapes since I was old enough to eat solid food.

4. I've had the same favourite song since I was a toddler. It's "Ottawan - Hands Up"... I don't know why. I do, however, know that I used to call it "Babe," and used to know all the dance moves to it, and used to do them every time it came on. I don't remember most of them now though... It's been so long since I've done them.

5. Of all the animals that have been a part of my life, the one I miss the most is my Oriental cat, Myskanco "Chance" Silva Flame. Though I've loved all my pets, Chance is my favourite of the ones I no longer have (and there are quite a few... Take a look at the pets' page and you'll see what I mean). The only one who means as much to me as Chance is my little West Highland White Terrier... Castellan Keroberous.

6. I can - and will, quite happily - still sit for hours playing with Lego, despite the popular opinion that I should have grown out of it about 15 years ago.

7. Kelly and I are thinking of moving away from where we're currently living.

As for who I'm passing it on to... Hmmm... I can't decide, so I'm going to cheat on this... If you haven't had it, read my blog, and want to play along, consider this yours!

Movie: Remember Me

"A romantic drama set in New York City during the summer of 2001, where Tyler, a rebellious young man, meets Ally through a twist of fate. Her spirit helps him heal after a family tragedy, though soon the circumstances that brought them together threaten to tear them apart."

(Above taken from here).

A very emotional movie; seriously, make sure you have tissues on hand!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Furkid Thoughts: The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award (FD)

Hi humans, it's Kero here!

Yesterday, my pal Iggy gave me The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award... Thank you, Iggy!

I'm supposed to tell you 7 random things about me, then pass this on to 5 others. So, let me see... 7 things about me...

1. I'm not a morning dog. In fact, the only way I stay up long enough for more than a pee before about 10:00 am is if something happens to give me little choice (like an invitation for walkies, or someone knocking on the door).

2. I suffer from something called "seporation anxiety" and because of it can't be left alone. When my humans tried to leave me anyway I got in such a state I ended up on the floor struggling for breath. They tried a couple of times, but after that happened each time Mami decided enough was enough. I only ever stayed home without humans once... I was 2, and it was with Great-Grandma's dog, Jayde Bramblerose. The humans have never managed to get me to do the same again though. I can't help it... I just hate when the humans go away!

3. If my water bowl gets empty - or is too low on water for me to consider it worth drinking from - I will let the humans know by hitting it with my paw so it tilts on to its side, then remove my paw so that it drops back down with a clang. If this fails, I'll pick up the bowl, take it to the nearest human, and hit them on the shin with it. That usually gets their attention!

4. I love all other animals... Hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, and cats. But not birds! After a bad experience I had with our budgie, Charlie, I swore revenge on all feathered creatures, so birds are the one animal I will chase with intent to harm.

5. I hate vegetables so much that I will even spit out something like a pea if one is left whole in my dinner. The only vegetables I don't mind too much are carrots, but they have to be raw, and I will only eat them if I'm in the mood to do so.

6. I can do quite a few things... sit, wait, beg, and dance (exagerated beg where I move about a bit), but there are two commands that - despite the best efforts of my humans - I've never learned... "Lay" and "roll over"... I just can't do them!

7. I have very selective hearing, to the point where people have suggested I may be deaf. But I'm not. Mami tested it out... She tricked me by whispering some of my favourite words - "cheese" and "walkies" - in a crowded train station, and has put it to the test since (she's sneaky). I just ignore what I don't want to listen to.

Anyway, as for who I'm passing it on to... Well, first I'm giving it to my bestest online kitty friend, Karma, then I will issue an open invitation to any other furkids who are online... That includes you, Gwydion, so get your nose out of your food dish and get on here to take your turn at this thing!

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Happy birthday Tracy

Today is the birthday of a friend of mine I've known for several years. Her name is Tracy. I doubt she'll read this, but... *Shrugs*... I figur I'll say, "Happy birthday," anyway. Hope you're having a great birthday, Tracy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pagan Blog Prompts: Witches And Warlocks, Pantheons,and the Wiccan Rede (LBE)

I know I've already done two posts today, but I wanted to do a post for a couple of the prompts from the Pagan Blog Prompts blog, so...

Prompt: Witches and Warlocks
""Some men who are wiccans are reclaiming the name "warlock" in the tradition of women reclaiming the name "witch". Warlock is commonly said to mean oath breaker. What do you think? Can it/should it be reclaimed?"

I'd like to add:
Wouldn't it make more sense to have all Witches be called Witch, no matter their gender? Why do we need the distinction between males and females that practice magic?"

(Prompt for 21/7/2011).

I've always considered male witches to be just that; male witches. I accept that in nature there are mascaleine and femaneine aspects to all things - there has to be for life to continue (as a general rule anyway) - but I, personally don't feel that there is any need to differentiate in this case. At the end of the day though, it's up to the individual, and if some men wish to be refered to as warlocks, well that's up to them.

Prompt: Pantheons
"Do you have a specific pantheon (group of gods/goddesses) that you are particularly drawn to? Which deities do you work with the most?

Why do you think you are drawn to these over others?

If you don't work with a singular group, which group(s) are you drawn to, and how do you decide which to work with for any given situation?"

(Prompt for 16/6/2011).

The God or Goddess I use depends on what I'm doing. I decide on the ritual or spell I intend to do, and based on that I then make my choice about which God and/or Goddess will be more appropriate for my chosen ritual or spell. If the ritual or spell I decide on already names an appropriate God or Goddess then I will simply use those. If I'm not sure which is appropriate, then I will look it up, or simply use the generic terms of "God/Gods" and "Goddess/Goddesses" for whatever I'm doing.

Prompt: the Wiccan Rede
"While I know some of you are not Wiccan, I do know that lots of people follow a 'golden rule' of sorts. Do you follow the Wiccan Rede ("And it harm none, do as you will.")? Or some variant of?

Feel free to share a story from when following this rule made a huge impact on the outcome of an event..."

(Prompt for 27/5/2011).

I follow the Wiccan Rede, because it makes sense to me to do so. I believe though that all - or, at least, most - religeons have some varient of the rule about harming none, so it doesn't matter whether you follow the Wiccan Rede itself, or just follow that one golden rule in a way that is appropriate for your own beliefs. For example, the ten commandments are, in a way, a form of the same golden rule... They're all about not harming others, treating others as you would like to be treated yourself, etc. Well, that's basically what the Wiccan Rede is about too. Like I said though, I personally follow the Wiccan Rede.

The Wiccan Rede
(Full Version - taken from here)

Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.

For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.

Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name, let love and light be our guides again.

Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane, and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.

When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart's desire seek.

Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.

When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.

Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God's insight.
Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.

As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.

When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.

In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it's height time for Oak and Holly to fight.

Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you'll be.

Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you'll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.

With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.

Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.
These Eight words the Rede fulfill: "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"

Craft supplies and Ryan's scarf

The craft supplies I ordered from The Craft Superstore arrived yesterday!


I got a pack of 50 cards with envelopes, some glue dots, some scissors...


Some "funky foam shapes" (the actual "Funky Foam Shapes" are various shapes cut out of foam, but there should also be some snowmen foam shapes among the craft items somewhere)...


A "Jumbo Christmas Craft Kit" (containing Christmasy foam shapes, beads, craft sticks, and various other craft items in "Christmasy" colours)...


An "Art Attack Crafty Bits Pack" (containing pom poms, and a couple of other craft items), some "non-roll glue sticks" and some craft sequins (a pack of litttle gold and silver star shapes, and a pack of Christmas tree shapes)...


Some moon and star shaped sequins...


Those things should keep me happy for a bit, you think? LOL!

Anyway...

I finished knitting Pia's Ryan's scarf yesterday...



And, today, I made a start on little Max's plane. So, it's been a good couple of days for crafts, with many craft projects added to my "things I plan to make" list.

The Blind Side

"Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who take in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael "Big Mike" Oher. Michael has no idea who his father is and his mother is a drug addict. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael's skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft."

(Above taken from this page).

It's an emotional movie; I'm not 100% sure one way or another whether I actually enjoyed it though. I enjoy true stories - or movies based on true stories - but this movie didn't capture my attention as well as this kind of movie usually would. Still, I'm not saying I didn't enjoy watching it; I did enjoy it, but not as much as I expected to given that it's based on a true story, and I usually really get in to these kinds of movies. Does that make sense?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy 1st birthday Michael

Baby Michael is a year old today.

I haven't seen as much of him as I'd like, and I don't even know if Elizabeth (his Mother) will read this, but I wanted to wish him a very happy birthday. So... Happy birthday Michael! I hope it's the first of many, and that they are all filled with love, laughter, and all the good things you deserve to have in your life!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Furkid thoughts: four photos (kinda FD)

Hi Humans, it's Kero here.

I haven't got much to say, but I've got a few photos to share, so...

There's this thing called a "SpongeBob money tin" that sits on one of the shelves in the living room. I see it staring at me from behind the sofa - which is where the shelves are - so I hide from it. I hate how it stares at me!


Hey... I'm down here!


Did you say it? "Sweeties for bed"... That's my third favourite thing to hear (the first being "walkies" and the second being "cheese"). You did say it, right?


Ah... This is the life! Now that I have a happy tummy, it's time for me to go to bed... The sofa makes a great place for a sleep!


Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Asterix Meets Cleopatra

Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre (original title)

"The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra bets against the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, that her people are still great, even if the times of the Pharaohs has long passed. She vows (against all logic) to build a new palace for Caesar within three months. Since all her architects are either busy otherwise or too conservative in style, this ambivalent honor falls to Edifis. He is to build the palace and be covered in gold or, if not, his fate is to be eaten by crocodiles. Edifis calls upon an old friend to help him out: The fabulous Druid Getafix from Gaul, who brews a fantastic potion that gives supernatural strength. In order to help and protect the old Druid, Asterix and Obelix accompany him on his journey to Egypt. When Julius Caesar gets wind of the project succeeding, he has the building site attacked by his troops in order to win the bet and not lose face. But just like the local pirates, he hasn't counted on Asterix and Obelix."

(Above taken from this page).

It's one of the Asterix movies; I already told you I enjoy these movies!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coughs and crafts

*Cough, cough, cough*

Yep, I still have this Summer cold, complete with annoying cough!

Judging by everyone else who's had it I'm not going to be getting rid of it any time soon either... It seems to be one of those ones that likes to linger as long as possible.

*Sigh*

Anyway... That's enough of that...

I haven't done any card making for a while. I stopped doing it when I lost my sight. But I decided I want to get back in to doing it. My Mam thinks she still has all my craft stuff, so next week she'll come and get me so I can help her look, and if she does have it she says I can have it back. Some of it wont be much use to me any more, but I already know what I'll be doing with that stuff.

I also - in case Mam doesn't have my stuff any more after all, and... Well, just because getting new stuff is always nice - ordered myself some craft items from "The Craft Superstore" (which should be with me by the end of the week). I ordered some plain cards with envelopes, and all sorts of fun things I can stick on the cards to make tactile pictures on them (as well as glue and glue dots to stick the things on with). Things like foam shapes, etc.

I doubt my cards will be even half as good as the ones many of my online friends make. I know that Rita, for example, makes absolutely fantastic cards - I know, because I've received a few of her cards - and I could never hope to make cards as good as hers. But I'm going to do my best (and enjoy doing it), and that's what counts, right? I mean, it's the thought and effort behind the card that matter most, isn't it?

Oh, and if anyone is wondering...

I've almost finished Pia's Ryan's scarf, and will soon be ready to start on Max's plane (yes, that's right, I decided I would go with the plane for Max).

Happy birthday Tom

It's my friend Tom's birthday today. He hasn't been on the blogs in absolutely ages, but I know he's still about because we e-mail regularly, and I also have him on my Facebook friends list thingy. I don't know if he'll read this though. I figured I'd post it anyway. So... Happy birthday Tom! Hope it's a fantastic day for you! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kelly's HP review

If anyone is interested, Kelly posted his opinion of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2" on his blog this afternoon. To read it, go here.

The Willows In Winter

By William Horwood

"Description: Kenneth Grahame's classic story of Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad have been updated for a generation of new readers. In this sequel, the characters are brought to life. Most of the joy, magic and humour of KG's original novel have been re-written here. Toad is still as exasperating and lovable as ever.

Summary: If you have any affection for the characters in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame you will love this book. All the characters are still their - well written and nicely illustrated."

(Above taken from this page).

I can't speak for the illustrations, since my audio copy obviously didn't have any of those, but I can honestly say that if you enjoyed reading Kenneth Grahame's The Wind In The Willows - which I did... Though I haven't read it in years - then you will love this one! And, if you haven't read either... Well, then you know what to add to your reading list, don't you? ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

"The final chapter begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying the Dark Lord's three remaining Horcruxes, the magical items responsible for his immortality. But as the mystical Deathly Hallows are uncovered, and Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again."

(Above taken from here).

You know I had to rush out to see this one; I've been longing to see it since... Well, basically as soon as I'd finished watching the first part. LOL! But what you're really interested in is what I thought of it, right? Well, then I better tell you...

I really enjoyed it! If you compare it to the book and notice that they did change how a lot of things happened, then maybe you wouldn't be quite so pleased with it. Seriously, a lot of it was changed! But the point isn't meant to be whether it's exactly as it is in the book... None of the movies have been, so why would this one be any different? No, the point is what it was like as a movie in itself. Never mind how things happened in the book; this is the movie, not the book! And, hey, at least they didn't change it as much as they changed "Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince"... And all events happened in the right order. So, as I was saying... It was fantastic! Full of action almost from the start, and a pretty good movie to end on, I think! The only way it could have possibly been better was if they'd done it exactly like the book, but they never seem to do that when making movies from books.

Death Is Now My Neighbour

(Book 12 in the Inspector Morse series)
By Colin Dexter

"On the hunt for a sniper who shot a physical therapist as she sat sipping her morning coffee in her suburban home, Inspector Morse's search takes him from the striptease clubs of Soho to the courtyards of Oxford University."

(Above taken from here).

I thought it was an excellent book! But then, aren't all the Inspector Morse stories good reads? Not that I've read many of them - and, frankly, I can't remember which ones I have read in the past - but I remember reading a couple before, and I remember enjoying them; like I enjoyed this one!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tawe Tales 2011: The Creature's Call

Owen had another of his storytelling sessions last night, which I went to. It was absolutely fantastic (as usual). And, no, I'm not just saying it because he's a family friend. I genuinely think he's a fantastic storyteller!

He sent me a clip of himself doing one of his stories as an example for building suspense and creating atmosphere for roleplaying sessions and such, and he said I could share it with everyone. I know the roleplaying parts wouldn't be of much interest to most people, but I'm sure at least some of you would enjoy the clip for the entertainment value if nothing else. I couldn't get it to upload when I tried it just now though (I tried both directly to Blogger and through my ClipShack account). I don't know if it's just slightly too big of a file for them to upload, or if it's something else. But I don't have time to mess about with it right now, since I'm going out in a couple of hours (and have things I need to get done before I go). So, since I know Owen is fine with it being sent to anyone who is interested (and since I know it can be e-mailed... That's how I got it), if you're interested in seeing the clip, let me know and I'll e-mail it to you!

Note: If I don't already have your e-mail address, you'll have to make sure to put it in your comment (preferably in the "person at provider dot something" format, or you'll end up with spam and all that, and we don't want that happening).

You can also check out the videos on his website: www.owenstaton.com.

Dragon Hunters

"The world has become a vast conglomerate of islands of varying size and shape. This babbling universe is mainly populated with ruthless rogues, surly peasants and illiterate, petty lords. Their main concerns revolve around two fundamental rules: Eat and don't get eaten. For this new world has become infested with a terrible plague: omnipresent, monstrously famished, mutant creatures, are wreaking havoc - They are known as the Dragons. Gwizdo and Lian-Chu are two dragon hunters, but are a long way from being among the best. Their only real talents: the size of the hulking brute with the heart of gold, Lian-Chu, and Gwizdo's talent for scams of all and any shape or form. Their sole ambition: to buy a little farm where they can relax and raise mussels, a creature that is a lot less unpleasant and difficult to hunt down than dragons. A few islands away rises the fortress of Lord Arnold. Arnold has a problem: he's living in terror at the thought of the return of World Eater..."

(Above taken from here).

I absolutely loved this movie; and - if you haven't already seen it - I advise you to do so! Especially if you enjoy fantasy type movies!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Athame, bell, and cloth

A few weeks back, Stephanie posted about a site called "Pagan Stuff Cheap" where you could - funnily enough - get Pagan stuff cheap. Well, I need some altar supplies (as I'm sure I've mentioned before), but they can get pretty expensive. I'd seen some at reasonable prices that I figured would do, but I hadn't rushed to buy them, because they didn't speak to me (if you know what I mean). But when I looked at this place... Well, I knew I just "had to" have these items. And since it was the week we actually had a bit of money...

Anyway, I had wanted an athame, but I needed one that was going to be solid while not being too heavy, but I also wanted it to look nice. There were two I really liked, but I chose the one I did for two reasons:

1. I was more confident of the sturdyness of this one.
2. It was in stock, the other wasn't.

Anyway, here it is:


And here it is out of the scabbard:


I also wanted a bell for rituals that call for it (like chasing away the trolls and such at Yule... I'll tell you more about that closer to the time). I'd seen some that would do, but this one... Well, it was exactly what I wanted!


And then there's the altar cloth I brought... There was no way I could have passed up on the oppertunity to get this altar cloth:


I hadn't even seen a purple one anywhere else, and a purple one with a pentagram on it... Well, the pentagram is the symbol I use most (if you have symbols of the pentagram on your altar, you automatically have at least some acknowledgement of all the elements). And since it was also half the price of all the other altar cloths I'd seen... Like I said, there was no way I could have passed up the oppertunity to get it!

I love my new items, and I also love the fact that I got ones I love rather than ones I was going to settle for because of affordability. And, I got these ones for less than it would have cost me for the ones I was going to settle for (despite the fact I had to pay international shipping costs for these items, but wouldn't have had to for the other items, because they were from a place in... London, I think).

Yeah, that's right... Even with the fact it cost me as much for shipping as it did for the items, it still cost me less to get these than it would have to get the others. And, I like these better!

There are a load of other things I wanted to get, but... Funds, you know?

I do intend getting at least some of them in the future though (as long as they're still available when I have the money to buy them, obviously).

Thank you Stephanie for posting about Pagan Stuff Cheap, they have some fantastic items, and I'm really, really glad I found them! :)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Tus: [voiceover] "Long ago in a land far away, there once rose an empire that stretched from the steppes of China to the shores of the Mediterranean. That empire was Persia. Fierce in battle, wise in victory. Where the Persian sword went, order followed. The Persian king, Sharaman, ruled with his brother, Nizam, upon the principles of loyalty and brotherhood."

"Set in the mystical lands of Persia, a rogue prince and a mysterious princess race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time -- a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world."

(Above taken from here).

I was looking forward to seeing this movie, because I heard it was fantastic; I heard right! Seriously... It was an absolutely excellent movie, which I highly recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it yet!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Courses and Gwydion

Almost all my courses are finished, and it takes a couple of days for new courses to start, so I decided to go ahead and get myself signed up for the next batch. If you're interested, the courses in this batch are as follows:

Analysing Horror Stories
Biography Writing
Comic Book Script Writing
Creating Super Villains
Creating Superheros
Creative Thinking Techniques
Dungeons And Dragons
E-Book Writing And Publishing
Enhance Your Writing Mind

As I think I said before, a lot of the writing ones I might not use; I have no idea when - or if - I would want to be writing a comic book, for example. I figured since they were free and available I might as well grab them though. I mean, why not?

And the Dungeons And Dragons one? Well, I already know how to play it, but I figured... Well, you know... It's free! Besides, they give you certificates, and I thought it would be really cool to have a certificate that says I know how to play it! LOL!

***

Gwydion's started something really cute. When I bring him his food, he's started doing a little running around game where he does two laps around his cage, then goes in his bed part - with only his head sticking out - to wait for me to put the food in his cage. He used to just skip to the part where he goes in his bed. Guess he's finally decided it's OK to exercise a little? LOL!

***

We've had some lovely weather lately, and last night we had a storm. Nothing like the big storms some people have had, but still cool (to me).

***

And that's all I really have to say today. I've got a couple of posts I'll be doing in the next few days, but right now I'm really tired and sleepy, so I'm going to check my e-mails, have some supper, and go to bed. I think my relaxing bubble bath (complete with soothing music and insense) did a really good job of getting me relaxed. So, e-mails, supper, and bed, I think... I'll get to everyone's blogs tomorrow, I'm too tired to worry about them tonight.

Daybreakers

"In the year 2019, a plague has transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind."

"In a world 10 years into the future, vampires make up the vast majority of the population with only 5% of the human race remaining. This presents particular challenges as the vampires' food supply - human blood - is dwindling and rationing is now the norm. There is growing evidence that vampires deprived of an adequate blood supply are themselves evolving into wild, vile creatures that attack anyone and anything in order to survive. Dr. Edward Dalton, a vampire and hematologist who works for a pharmaceutical firm, has been working on finding an artificial blood supply that will meet the vampire society's needs. He is sympathetic to humans and sees his work as a way of alleviating their suffering but his views on finding a solution change considerably when he meets someone who found a way to transform himself from being a vampire to again take human form."

(Above taken from this page).

This is definately not one to watch when children are about, due to some not so nice scenes, but if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind those kind of scenes - and if there are no children about - then you will quite likely find this to be a good movie. Personally, I thought it was quite a good movie, and worth watching... An unusual twist on the typical vampire movies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy birthday Becky

If I'm not mistaken, today is Becky/Wifey's birthday. At least, I think it's today... I could be out by a day or two. Anyway, if it's not today then it's around this time, so I'll just say it today, and if I'm wrong... Sorry! Anyway... Happy birthday Becky!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ummm... I don't know... Monday, I guess!

Well, I couldn't think of a title... LOL!

Anyway, I just wanted to say a few things, so...

Hope you had a good weekend, and that you're having a good Monday! My weekend wasn't enjoyable, but I don't want to discuss it. Basically a lot of worry that turned out to not be necessary (and that's all you're getting as an explanation).

Oh, and I did get that cold that's going around! *Sigh*

Anyway, enough of that... I don't want this turning in to a whiny sort of post...

It's a nice day here... Dry and warm, but not hot; my favourite kind of day!

Took Kero for a walk earlier and will be taking him again soon. He loves his "walkies" and I enjoy taking him (especially on days like today).

Last week I put on 1lb, this week I took it back off, so I guess I'm at one of those yo-yo weight patches, if you know what I mean. Would be much easier if I could get a proper routine sorted, but every time I come close something happens to mess it up (like my sleep pattern deciding to flip or something).

OK, that'll do for today... Need to take Kero for that walk!