Killing Frost

..is the first life-ending freezing of the season. It clinches the deal on autumn and ushers in the energy of winter. Green foliage gives way to white tipped death.

Death however, like crystalline frost, is pure power. It is not the gentle comma of fall, but the abrupt period at the end of a seasonal sentence.

.is the first life-ending freezing of the season. It clinches the deal on autumn and ushers in the energy of winter. Green foliage gives way to white tipped death.

Death however, like crystalline frost, is pure power. It is not the gentle comma of fall, but the abrupt period at the end of a seasonal sentence.

In Alaska, we are given a heads up that this is coming in that we can see it a long way off. We have ‘Termination Dust’, that is, the first visible fresh snowfall on the mountainsides. We see this begin at the top of the mountain, and hold fast as it silently strides down the mountain toward sea level. When the termination dust settles upon the elevation that we each live, winter has come to us. And, like the finality of death, there’s no turning back from the stillness of winter.

I mention these terms because they have magickal significance to offer. Just as a first kiss and first sexual coupling are energetically powerful, so are first frost and first snow.

Killing frost and termination dust are literally the kiss of death. They come quietly like thieves in the night and take the last of the living with them. As they settle in and we wake, we register a new purity, an energetic cleansing. We can literally smell the change in the air and notice that the slate has once again been swept clean. We are at ground zero, and neat enough, this usually occurs in our area around Samhain, so it’s doubly potent for us here on the Kenai Peninsula.

I mention these things because in the autumn we pagans begin downshifting toward our season of introspection. While we may or may not realize the specific things or ideas in our lives that need to be called, we best be thoughtful and heed the wisdom of the Killing Frost.

The waters from the first frost and first snow are very, very powerful. They are dark moon in their core. The inherent energies of the element of water stand on their own. When changing phases, they seem to shift octaves. When we take this souped-up water element and bring it together with our magickal intent combined & our own spiritual energy, incredible results will occur. They literally have to.

So, heed this witch tip- collect the frost from the killing frost. Scrape it into a sterile jar and drop a smidge of alcohol in it to preserve it (ice vodka anyone?). Do the same with first snow. Either put them in the same or separate jars.. doesn’t matter to me. Be mindful that snow will melt to @ 25% it’s original volume roughly, so you’ll need four jars worth of snow to make a jar of snow water. I mention it because you won’t be able to collect another batch of Termination Dust for another year. As you can imagine, Killing Frost is more difficult to collect in abundance, so be set up beforehand.

Use these sacred and ultra strength fresh waters in spellwork which deals with endings. Not all Killing Frost or Termination Dust occurs on a dark moon of course, so you’d do good to notice the moon phase that you collected these within..as that is what you’re waters are also inherently attuned to.

These waters are guaranteed for one year, automatically great for any dark or new moon magick, can be incorporated into any working which aims to end habits, circumstances, or even bind someone.

Happy Reeving,

Peninsula Pagan

Advertisements

What is a ‘Pagan’ anyway?

Fair enough question, so let me take a stab at it. There are a couple of core concepts that delineate a pagan from a nonpagan.

The first concept is that, generally speaking, pagans are those on the ‘alt-path’, as they are not beholden to any of the three Abrahamic solar deities or their institutions. These folks are ‘othered’ right from the start in our culture as the judeo-christo-muslim is considered normative.

Paganism is an umbrella term for the original religions, and encompasses all faiths with the exception of the three mentioned. Each one of us has ancestors who we’re pagan (as the spirituality of all people was originally pagan), and many of us still have relatives who are.

There was a time we were hunted & killed for our knowledge and skill sets because others found them threatening, but in the Western world today, this is largely not the case. Pagans are today a minority in the Western world (only).

The second concept is that pagans today inherently know @ energy, they perceive it & utilize it for the benefit of themselves/others/their communities/the planet. The energy manipulation very real, and is what we call magick (delineated from ‘magic’ which is slight of hand trickery). As science progresses, physics is increasingly able to validate our interface with an energetically interactive & intelligent universe.

While these are the main two identifiers, there are smaller ideas/experiences that we collectively share.

Generally speaking, we understand that energy/life force is everywhere and in everything. This extends beyond our physical world and our physical bodies. As such, we perceive ourselves as eternal, part of a collective energy, and many of us believe in reincarnation (because we have memories and evidence of prior incarnations).

Pagans revere nature and it’s natural elements as we revere each other and our Source. We find the energy of creation within all natural things. We celebrate nature with the changing of the seasons and indeed honor the seasons themselves. It is because of these things that many pagan groups are defined as ‘earth religion’s.

Unlike those of organized religion of today, pagans are exclusively led by inner guidance. In this culture, there is no external authority structure or institution to tell pagans what to believe/how to think. Therefore, we key into the divine via our personal intuitive compasses, each individually. We use no intermediary to commune with ‘all that is’ but some of us are known to use aids for divinatory purposes (famously tarot cards, runes, pendulums, etc). Our learning then is wholly authentic and genuine, is deeply personal. We also realize that what fits one may not fit another and hold no judgement about that.

Some pagans have an structured faith system (Wicca, for example, is a pagan earth based religion..or Hinduism, Taoism..), but most do not. Yet each pagan identifies as pagan/heathen based upon the concepts mentioned prior.

Pagans are not evil nor aligned with the devil. Both of these constructs are based in other religions and are not applicable to paganism. Sin is another Abrahamic construct that is foreign to pagans. We do not find that there’s a boogeyman-type of scapegoat or entity that tricks people into being irresponsible any more than we find that there’s a constructive reason to emotionally manipulate people into submission via threat of consequence or bribe of reward. We do not find natural things ‘dirty’ nor do we perceive people to be inherently ‘impure’. We find these characteristics part of the culture of the unhealed religions. Strip all of the fanfare, ego & motive out of institutionalized religions, and paganism is what you have left.

Some pagans worship no deities, but most generally do. Some worship only one (that being the ultimate source of creation itself, or prima causam/first cause..larger than any one religion or planet) but most worship, or at least work with, a series of benevolent nonphysical deities or entities. It is because of this that pagans/heathens are seen as polytheistic.

Pagans are quite well known for walking the path between worlds and working alongside beings that others are unfamiliar with. Most, but not all pagans find some or all mythical creatures to be real on some level, work with totem animals, spirit guides, familiars, & natural energies (like water, air, fire..) to assist us in our paths.

Most of us align with benevolent energies of love/light and life itself but there are a few bad apples who have given us a bad name. The rest, and primary cause of our ‘othering’, is the result of the bastardization we endured as part of the control dramas of the religious structures that we would not submit to. In many ways, pagans, the tools they use, their lifestyle, and beings they work with, have been literally demon-ized by those in power.

Seldom if ever do pagans bow to anything/anyone. We perceive that deity wants us to handle our own dramas without hand holding, without need for grooming them, and without fanfare. We are expected to be strong and self sufficient, and we will be know by the fruits of our labor.

Pagans perceive themselves and our physical world as part of, not separate from, the divine itself and as such perceive all things and acts to be holy & have inherent value. We have no cause for being body phobic, ashamed of our sexuality or sexual preference, and do truly perceive all genders as being inherently equal. We do not see natural drugs or alcohol as wrong any more than polyamory, tattooing or allowing one’s hair to be long (as dictated by the ‘harm none & do as you will’ ethic).

The moral code of pagans is rather intuitive…do to others as you’d have them do to you and harm none. Honor is held in great esteem, as we feel everything/everyone is connected. Therefore, what one does for others is truly something you do for yourself. We are held accountable mostly by our own conscience, but also by our peers and our deities. We are in service to each other and to our Earth.

Pagans do not prosylitize. We find the behavior abhorrent and figure if you have to advertise something then you’re trying to sell a product. We do feel that spirituality is not something that should be for sale and those who peddle it are seen as snake oil salesmen. We feel indoctrination is about as close to wicked as things can come, and to state a need for an intermediary between ourselves and our Source is a perversion of truth.

This is not a complete list of characteristics, but it’s a start. Apologies for the random nature of the list, but I was hoping to help you capture of feel of our world.

Brightest Blessings to you and yours,

The Peninsula Pagan

Mother Symbols

Good Witches Homestead

No single universal symbol for mother exists – that would be impossible. The Mother can be found everywhere, from the heights of the planets down to the Earth’s surface. Each person and creature on the Earth have a mother, making it reasonable that we each would have different, distinct ideas about what characterizes them.

Symbols are unique and personal to each of us, so there are no right or wrong interpretations. Because of this, the symbols associated with her are seemingly infinite. However, some are more common and prevalent than others, which are detailed below.

celtic gods and goddesses

Triskelion Symbol

The triple spiral, also called the Triskelion symbol, is an ancient Celtic symbol with many spiritual aspects to it. However, the mother is definitely one of the strongest, as the branching out of the spirals is strongly indicative of the phases of womanhood: maiden, mother, and crone, all of which are connected.

As a…

View original post 519 more words

Changing of the Guard

Here in Alaska we have three seasons; summer, winter and breakup.  Autumn is my favorite, but it whips by in a flash.  One day the world is on fire with orange tundra, red fireweed stalks and yellow leaves, but upon the first deep frost most becomes naked overnight. It shifts from brilliant to seemingly barren and it leaves a void.  It reminds me of the moon that was just there the last time you checked, but now it seems irrationally missing.  The stillness of it.  …things seem that they aren’t always what they seem…

I’ve decided time is fluid, in that it flows like water or air. Moving at differing rates and changing sometimes imperceptibly until much later when it takes you by surprise.  But that is the way of life isn’t it?  I can jog up to the top of the stairs and muse upon how strong I still am, until 3 seconds later and my heart rate and muscles tell remind me I’m not fit any more. Expectations and reality are different. It takes me by surprise every time.

This pattern repeats itself in the life experience of the sacred feminine. She too has three seasons and their arrival and departure can be just as abrupt. I remember playing as a little girl in the mud, often half clad. Tadpoles and fish hearts moved within my palm and it was impossible to count all the wishes upon a ‘blowflower’. I sang as loud as I wanted to in the shower.  My experience was as exciting or mundane as I allowed.  But my intrigue for this world and the next never waned.  I was innocent and unafraid. As I got comfortable with understanding my environment my body shifted.

Imperceptibly at first until the first bloody rude awakening.  I was disgusted and found the process so crude.  Frustrated that I was now trapped into a 28 day ‘Groundhogs Day’ scenario seemed limiting.  Over time, though I realized it for the gift that it was.  This season of my life was a gift, even if it was a gift I’d not expected.  Able to experience passion and romance, pure unadulterated fear and raw love in a way I couldn’t have known otherwise. I realized the depth of my emotion had doubled, but birthing a child pulls it all into focus. Blood again. Life blood.  Such power it takes to bring the nonphysical into the physical, and only a woman can do it.  Is there a mother who ever thought “I’ve got this, no big deal”?  I doubt it.  It’s unnerving holding that much power.

The shift into the season of the mother is just as abrupt and again, we feel grossly unprepared for it’s gifts and ill-equipped to receive it’s full blessings with grace and dignity.  Some of us step into the role willingly in the spirit of adventure, others are pulled into it as a consequence.  Either way the movement is there, flowing as fluid and adjusting only as a yoni is capable.  There is nothing as fierce as a mother’s love, of this I’m certain.  I’ve come to appreciate it’s gifts and I can only sit back in awe as the people I’ve created grow and realize their potentials. It’s humbling and I admit to basking in the splendor of it.  It’s funny though, that after the lesson is learned you are forced to move on.  Do you think the trees really want to let go of those leaves in the fall or are they sad when it happens. Does it hurt when a seed’s shell rips apart as it sprouts?  Can they appreciate the process??

Today is the day of my Croning. Again the changing of the guard has crept up on me.  I look into the mirror and am startled by the grey hair that is framing my changing face. How inconsiderate. I thought blood suddenly running down my legs in school was a mean trick, only to have that topped by the pain and blood and gore of childbirth. Suffering such indignity in the beautiful process often opens us up to the reality of the power within.  You’re so alive and naked there’s nowhere to hide. Might as well own up to it.  Build up, release, and start from scratch again. Repeat. Own it.

Here I am again, a little unappreciative of the process of the changing of the guard, a little blind to the miracle that it all is, not fully able to get a bead on the gifts that come with it. Today’s indignity is being laid skyclad on a slab unconscious as the hands of strange men move across and inside my body.  They’ll pull my universe, my womb, out of my vagina and plop her into a cold silver sterile pan to be whisked away. The dichotomy of being a wombed-one without a womb…is this another joke?  I wonder what barren will feel like. It is that stillness of the soul again?  I’ve experienced emptiness and loss, will this be the same?  No doubt I’ll feel both violated and liberated at the same time.  This is a pattern which repeats at each changing of the guard.  I’m just wise enough now to learn to go with the flow rather than to resist it.

This time I’m here at the seasonal change by choice, backed by circumstance. The crone’s children can survive independent of her.  I know that the crone is no longer distracted by the monthly cycles of life.  I’ve paid attention long enough that I know what Luna is doing because I feel it in my bones, I don’t have to look at a calendar or wait for the pelvic ache to warn me. I look back and see that I’ve been through phases of learning, and through phases of having knowledge, and now possess the wisdom distilled from the process. I’ll not have tampax in my bathroom drawers anymore, any more than I’ll have sippy cups on the coffee tables.  Nah, I’ve been there done that.  And, since I’m comfortable, It makes sense that I’m going to birth anew reality again.  It will be full of gore and beauty.  Fully alive with nowhere to hide.  Blood yet again.

I’m leveling up and surveying my surroundings.  I have a garden full of powerful herbs that I’ve loved and grew from sprouts- and I know how to use them, cupboards full of potent supplies and have already collected all the tools I need.  I’ve birthed my grimoire and she’s beautiful and amazing.  I’m proud like only a mother can be. I realize that croning is a process, as I’m sitting in my power now and able to sense bullshit a mile away.  Drama makes me queasy these days, so I reach for a glass of wine without flinching. My role is to continue to distill knowledge, collect and dispense wisdom.  Like a toddler learning to walk, I’ll be a bit unsteady but not nervous about the process. No, leaves aren’t afraid of falling, or seeds afraid of sprouting, or the feminine afraid of bleeding.  There is no moving outside the cycle and the crone is one who has learned to cherish the seasons. She knows in her bones and blood that there is a reason for everything.

I’m curious what being a crone will be like. I’ll have more time to journey and am looking forward to the new depth I’ll find.  Today is my ‘day the frost came and took the leaves’. It’s startling and looks oddly desolate from this side of the fence because I don’t belong on this side of the fence anymore. I’ll never be the damsel in distress again, and I’ll likely never participate in the mommy co-op network of parenting that occurs either.  Thank God and Goddess because I’m out of fucks to give.  I get to focus on me. Only me.  I can walk in the woods alone knowing I’m the most potent thing there. My ass will fit just fine in my seat of power and that it will be an increasingly comfortable fit. I’m excited to see how the healer part within me will dispense grace and the witch will dispense wrath lol. Capable? Yes. Willing?  we’ll see.

I don’t know what it will feel like in the next season tomorrow. But I know it is going to be powerful, true and raw.  As always, there will be blood but I’m not going to apologize for it.  Oddly, I’m good with it.  It’s literally life after all. I’ll be fully alive and wild with anticipation. I’ll grow my hair long so that it can be wild, curly, and unruly in the most witchy way…perfect for me.  I can feel the shackles loosening like leaves dropping to the ground already.  Grace will come and the gifts will unfold with them but this time my arms will be open wide.  I’m fearless and have earned the right to be. My eyes still twinkle and my hair may whiten, but each day I’ll more alive, more powerful, more authentic. I celebrate the changing of the guard today and can feel the electricity buzzing around and through me.  I plan to spend a lot of time enjoying my new season. It’s going to be the most fulfilling one yet!

What to do on Ostara?

The cornerstones of Ostara are growth and balance.  This sabbat represents the rekindling of life within the Earth and the renewal of fertility of our spiritual selves. It is the vernal equinox, a day of equal light & dark, but also the middle of the three spring holy days. While Imbolc marks spring’s first breath and Beltaine is about springs height & power,  Ostara is about both growth & balance in between.

During this day of celebrating new life, we often plan an activity or walk outdoors. I look for signs of spring, hoping to see the first pussy willows! In effort to bring back balance and renew life, many of us celebrate Ostara by getting ready for growing season by ordering from seed catalogs, craft magickal eggs (dyed, with fortuitous symbols or drawn sprouts), planning our orders for chicks at the local feed stores, or by creating an Eostre altar (eggs, bunnies, cocoons, butterflies, bird’s nests, pastel colors, lambs, honey cakes, sprouts, lilies, daffodils..you know, that which was pilfered for the Christianized holiday of Easter ..and chocolate, don’t forget the chocolate!).  We’re all pretty used to the process of decorating eggs, but have you considered making a charm out of a hard boiled egg? You can decorate it with symbols or write the idea you would like to manifest on it, energize it and eat it.

eggs

Ostara brings us the new promise of life (resurrection of the sun/son), as it represents the union of the fertile Goddess and the God, the creation of life via blending earth matter and spirit.  Therefore, this is a time for planting new ideas to be born. Witches often utilize the time to cast spells for growth, from careers to families, or anything they wish to expand. Our equinox is 2:28 am our time on Monday March 20, to be exact & from that moment on, we will experience more daylight than darkness. The energetic momentum pushes forward to Beltaine. A grande idea is to plant a seed along with any magickal working you do on this day to grow your spell.  You can use this renewal energy to fuel any new project or goal, really.  You could even charge up a bottle of water or oil (three days, from either side of Ostara) to use as ‘growth’ water for spells for the rest of the year..

Likewise, you can perform a ritual to seek balance in your life, and honor both dark & light. This is the first of the four solar or ‘cross quarter’ sabbats that focus on balance and extreme.  Most perceive it as a balance of night & day but one would think of it as a balance of the universal & concrete, masculine & feminine, or balance of physical & spiritual as well. Given as above, so below, we should intentionally seek to rectify balance on this day. One could perform a cleaning ritual to cleanse your home of negativity or head out toward the highway or a park and pick up litter…either way make a point to lose the remains that you no longer benefit from. You could also light both a black and a white candle to meditate. Another good Ostara ritual releasing ceremony by creating an effigy of the dark half of the year and imbue it with the characteristics of this last winter that you’d like to leave behind then drop it in a fire or the nearest watercourse.

Obviously, if you attempt all of these things you’d be too busy to enjoy any of it.  Pick something that jives with your soul and leave the rest.  What about me? I’ll get the offspring off to school, then smudge my house followed by a good airing.  I grew and dried some sweetgrass so am excited to try it out as well. Then I’ll be sewing seeds in my little heated greenhouse for my summer gardens (it’s my meditative space) & head outside if there’s time after I’m finished. Generally, I’d go along the highway and clean up trash.  This year the snow is too deep to do that yet. I’m not too into honey cakes (honey is expensive) but I’ll aim for a carrot cake for dessert.  The kids will appreciate that since it’s the first day back from break.  If nothing else, we could roast a peep in the fireplace at some point (sidebar- they make pretty good s’mores).

If any of you can think of a park or area we could clean up we could all rendezvous on Sunday the 19th and make a project of it. I always am sickened by the trash that is revealed in the melting snow but am not sure where would be a good place where the debris is exposed. I’m happy to give our planet some TLC and every spring it’s sorely needed. Even if we delay the project by a month I’d be happy to facilitate it. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts!

Brightest Blessings,

The Peninsula Pagan