Tag Archives: pagan festival

Imbolc Rituals in London (Jan/Feb 2015)

Imbolc (Candlemass) is one of the 8 nature based festivals that pagans celebrate – and it is said to be the time when the Winter Goddess who has kept her grip on the land loosens her hold, so that the ice melts and waters break and flow again. It is when the Goddess Bride (Brigid) `returns’ to the land. Her path is lit by candles, symbolising the return of light and warmth which is imminent. Bride is a Goddess of poetry, inspiration, healing, knot-magic and weaving. With her, she brings the gifts of 3 flames!

Imbolc 2014  banner- pagan frontiers of london -Mani Navasothy 2014

Here are some Indoor & Outdoor Open Rituals for Imbolc…taking place in London this week ..

1. Pagan Federation: London’s  Indoor Imbolc Ritual 

Thursday 29th January 2015.       7.30pm for 8pm start  at Conway Hall.

Facilitated by Goddess Enchantment.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Venue: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London.

Entry fee: £5 (for PF members & concessions), £6 for all others.

Time: 7:30 – 10:00 PM Arrive from 7.30 pm for pre-ritual socialising in the foyer. Ritual starts at 8 pm and usually concludes before 9 pm. Feasting and socialising follow the ritual until 10 pm.

HOUSEKEEPING:  Please do not arrive before 7:30 PM. If you are early, please utilise one of the nearby pubs, cafes or gardens to sit and socialise in.  Please switch off mobile phones before going into the ritual.  No photographs or video are allowed during the ritual.  Please bring a little food & drink to share during the feast after the ritual.

2.  Outdoor Druid Imbolc ritual 

Facilitated by The Loose Association of Druids of Primrose Hill

Sunday 1st February 2015.  — 1pm start —

Venue:  Hawthorne Grove at top of Primrose Hill (Primrose Hill, London NW1 8YH (entrance opposite Rothwell St),

Gathering time: 12.30pm onwards…for 1pm prompt start!!

Jeremy & friends provide a certain number of hard copies of the ritual..which is followed through out.. (many parts are read..so no need to memorise lots of words). Blessing of food & drinks follows then ritual continues into `closing ceremony’, and Astrology/ divination reading by a member there.

After Ritual, many attendees walk about 15 min to our regular pub for further drinks & socials

Info—-

We gather in the Hawthorne Grove between 12.30 & 12.45pm in order to select the concelebrants & to prepare the Site ready for a prompt 1 o’clock start.

Nearest Tube: Chalk Farm or Swiss Cottage
Nearest Overground: South Hampstead or Chalk Farm

Please bring a small contribution of picnic food & drink to share.

All are Welcome.

Celebrating the Three Druidic Freedoms: of Thought; of Speech; & of Association Called for by John Tollund in 1716, & assembled by Iolo Morgannwg in 1792.

DIRECTIONS

If you’re coming by tube to Chalk Farm,turn RIGHT on leaving the station & cross Adelaide Rd to get to Regents Park Rd into which you turn RIGHT (admiring the Banksy stencil graffiti of a uniformed maid sweeping dust under a wall) & go uphill to the cycle/pedestrian only bridge over a railway & turn LEFT over it.

Confronted by 3 roads take the middle one (still R P Rd) & continue past the trendy shops & coffee-houses full of minor celebrities as it curves very slightly to the left, until you reach the Queen’s Head pub on the corner opposite the gate into Primrose Hill.

Enter the Park thro’ this gate & take the steepest path in front of you to the top of the hill where you will find a viewing platform overlooking most of the old City of London to the South & East, & a Memorial to Iolo Morganwg.

To the WEST & just below the brow of the hill you will see a small copse of hawthorn trees which is where we meet. Do please come & join us & make yourself known.

And remember, we’ll be meeting up in the pub afterwards! 🙂

If you’d like to be alerted to when our next event will be, please “like” the page 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/LooseAssociationOfDruidsOfPrimroseHill

Please do note the caveat concerning photography listed in our “about” section describing the LADS meetings:
“Please contact us first if you would like to take pictures, and please be sure that you obtain consent first. Thank you”

—————

**Click here for my Meetup Group with full details of Open Rituals**

Video: Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh (nudity involved)

Beltane Fire Festival Video (c) Mani Navasothy 2011
Beltane Fire Festival Video (c) Mani Navasothy 2011

Beltane is one of the 8 festivals of the Pagan annual calendar. It is a fertility festival  mostly celebrated in the western european countries, taking place at the end of April and beginning of May (Eve of May), and marks the beginning of Summer.  Many pagan couples get married (Handfasting) on or near this time.

This topic came up while I was speaking to some friends about visiting the Festival in Scotland. So I decided to blog this video I made few years ago.

Wiccan perspective on Beltane: The veil between the world of men and fairy (or spirit) is said to thin twice a year, at Beltane and at Samhain, which are on opposite points of the year wheel. At Beltane (May eve) the land is at it’s most lush and green, and fertile. If Spring Equinox is the time of fertility and mating in the animal kingdom, then Beltane is one of courting couples making commitment to one another- and Handfastings! In the God-Goddess myths, this is when the playful God is said to commit to the Goddess – which is symbolised by the Sacred Marriage! The Maypole dance that is traditional at this time symbolises the fertile powers of the masculine, penetrating the land, and the ribbons danced and woven around it lock that power! A ring of flower at the tip of the Maypole signifies the feminine. Magical working with the Fay (Fairies) is an important feature at this time, in contrast to the magical work with the departed spirits at Samhain, the opposite point. (c) WitchcraftAndMagic.org

 

Here is a short video (filmed and edited by me) of the Edinburgh Beltane Fire festival.

Content for this informal video was filmed in 2011 (some photos used were taken in previous years).    Video Published on Apr 27, 2012 by Gaian2012 (my YT video channel).  Music tracks used in this are royalty free, and license purchased. All rights reserved (c)Mani Navasothy.

 

Links for further Info

Wicca, Witchcraft & Magic – Read about Wicca & other Pagan Festivals – such as Samhain/ Halloween, Yule, Imbolc, Spring, Summer, Lammas and Autumn Eqx.  This site also has info / articles on what is Wicca/ Witchcraft, Spells, magic, Horned God & Moon Goddess and invocations.

Gaian Times Magazine explores the science & Magic of the earth, and features thought-provoking articles in science, psychology, ecology, environment, astrology and social trends. It is a not-for-profit company registered in England & Wales. No: 07515903.

 Beltane Fire festival in Edinburgh takes place on the night of 30th April of each year, organised by Beltane Fire Society (registered charity in Scotland ). for details. In 2012, they celebrate 25 yrs of running this festival.

Gaian2012 – video Channel –   named after the Earth Goddess Gaia – this is the Eco-spiritual channel for videos on Pagan Spirituality, Ritual Magic, Wicca, Mini-documentaries, How-to guides on magical techniques & tool making, clips of rituals & festivals, and thought-provoking debates on Earth, Environment & Eco-Spirituality.

 

Time for Magic – as Venus goes Direct, and Goddess returns at Imbolc

This particular Imbolc is extra special.. because the currently retrograding planet Venus – symbol of the Goddess – has become stationary..and is about to go direct..  on the eve of Imbolc! It’s a case of ..(for once) the Heavenly objects following the earthly festivals that humans have created..! It is perfect for doing a spot of magic!!

Time for Magic- Venus goes direct on day of Imbolc - 31Jan'14
Time for Magic- Venus goes direct on day of Imbolc – 31Jan’14

31st of January has always been special – it’s Imbolc – one of the 8 pagan festivals !   Pagans consider it a time when the Goddess – who has been withdrawn and in magical dreaming time during winter.. in some deep caverns under ground..returns to the surface..  The sprouting of Snowdrops ..first plant to do so after snow..symbolises the first sign of life returning to the land.

Spring & Autumn equinoxes, and Summer/ Winter Solstices are celebrated on fixed points.. when the Sun reaches certain points..  So those 4 festivals are governed by the stellar objects..  but Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas & Samhain are thus far arbitrarily celebrated..on a human based calendar dates..(31st January, 1st May, 31st July & 31st October)..   except..this time, Venus direct date happens to coincide with Imbolc..which has to do with the Goddess returning.. (well, a planet going direct..is astrologically akin to energies of that planet positively enhancing all of us!)

Bit on the astrology – Venus rules Libra & Taurus…so these sun-signs are going to feel a big difference in the coming weeks..(if they have been feeling hard done by for the past month or so).   And as Venus goes direct in Capricorn, that sihn also stands to feel a positive shift..!

But it bodes well for all of us!!  (Or I will not be writing this good news!) 🙂

So .. what can you do…spiritually ..and magically at Imbolc?

What you have always done at Imbolc..  celebrate the return of the Goddess..  for this time..it really is!

And if you have been having a tough time of life lately..  you are now best placed to do some highly positive sympathetic magic..  !

Traditionally, at Imbolc, the virgin Goddess Bride (Bridget) brings with her 3 gifts of the flame.,  spark of inspiration, spark of healing and spark of smithcraft.!  Knot magic is often used..

Here’s what I suggest..   do some magic..  for any or all of those areas in your life..   creativity, romance, healing..  Do magic for wealth, if that’s what you seek, for beauty to enter your life, for love that makes your soul sing to come in.. The energies are perfect for it..   Do magic with candles..  or knots!  Or even images!!

I warn you though..  the time leading upto it may be overshadowed by that other stressful aspect – intense – obsessive- the pluto-opposition to Jupiter . That may make your heart and mind wander astray ..and push you into focusing on other primal  or animalistic quests of power and such.. (sex even!)   Battle those urges.. for if you give into those, you miss a golden opportunity..to seek the blessings of Bride..the Goddess with the Golden hair!

Bright Blessings of Imbolc

-Mani Navasothy

(Wiccan High Priest, London)

my links

Wicca & Witchcraft website – for articles, videos, courses & rituals

e-Book:  Coven Guide: How to become an initiated Witch

e-Book: Eclipse Magic workbook- Stellar Engineer your life 

e-Witch Apprentice Course (online training)

Imbolc video 2: Call to Virgin Goddess Bride

Mani Navasothy, High Priest of Wicca presents a video (part 2 of 2) marking the pagan festival of Imbolc – that occurs at the end of January in the northern hemisphere.

Imbolc is said to be the time when the Winter Goddess who has kept her grip on the land loosens her hold, so that the ice melts and waters break and flow again. It is when the Goddess Bride (Brigid) `returns’ to the land. Her path is lit by candles, symbolising the return of light and warmth which is imminent. Bride is a Goddess of poetry, inspiration, healing, knot-magic and weaving. With her, she brings the gifts of 3 flames!

In this video (part 2), Pagans ask that the Spring Virgin Goddess Bride may enter, bringing with her healing, poetry and magic. We call on Bride, and awaken the powers of the elements within us in this video.

Links

Watch Part 1 (Plea to Winter Goddess to leave)

Website for Wicca & Witchcraft

Corn-Kings, Dictators & Lammas Principles

Lammas is one of the 8 agricultural festivals celebrated by modern pagans – in the UK, Europe, America and other countries where pagan practices are observed (and growing).

What’s Lammas? Agriculturally? Magically? What does it mean for the non-pagans.. and for the world at large? These are questions I have asked myself – for being a pagan doesn’t mean socialising and caring for other pagans, but for the whole world- Paganism is all about nature worships, and nature in my book includes all on Earth!

Corn King mask worn at pagan Lammas ritual

Here’s what I wrote about Lammas in my Witchcraft and Magic website for the festival section:

“All that rise shall fall again.. says the popular pagan poetry! The newborn Sun-child of Yule has grown to be a rampant and playful youth and lover at Spring, committed man and husband at Beltane and responsible Sun-King at Midsummer. And at the time of Lammas, at the height of his supreme power, the King steps down- or rather gives up his life force to the land! This is harvest time in the fields, where Corn and other such grain are harvested. John Barleycorn is `baked’ and sacrificed. In God mythology, the God willingly gives himself up and the Goddess cuts him down, so that his blood may feed the land. Though it may sound alarmingly gruesome, this is to be seen in terms of symbolism, and not actual! The spilling of his blood is in fact the falling of the grains and seeds to the ground, that they may produce next year’s crops! Just as the fallen seed sleeps safely within the soil, till winter passes and next spring, so the spirit of the Lammas-King enters the underworld.”

AGRICULTURAL  SYMBOLISM

So effectively, Pagans celebrate the first Harvest of the crops (agricultural)..  harvest of the Corn and wheat!   And traditionally, the first cut of the corns is kept, woven into a Corn-dolly and kept in the house as a symbol, and at the start of the following year’s farming preparations, it is ploughed back into the fields. Thus the energy is returned to the farmland/ field.

In magical rituals, traditionally, one person takes on the role of the `Corn-King’ , and is invoked with those energies, revered, celebrated, and at the culmination of magical ceremony amidst songs and dance- symbolically cut down as a Willing Sacrifice. No, not in the style of some hollywood horror movie. But a designated Priestess (representing the Earth) passes a sickle or knife across the neck (symbolic!!) and the `Corn-King’ falls gently to the ground (in a dramatic way!) He is then covered up by a cloth, and all dance around and `mourn’ the passing of the Corn-King, and his willing sacrifice. Towards the end of the ritual, he is `resurrected’  (pagans don’t like to leave an enacting person `dead’ !)  This is ritual drama – that is all. Cutting off the head, releases the energy of the Corn king, which is needed to replenish the land once more!

MALE MYSTERY

But many years ago, I was having a dialogue with the late Maureen Brown (High Priestess) on these matters, and she discussed the idea of `Every man giving  (not giving up, but giving) his life-forces – the ability to create life. Yes we are talking about the sperms! There are impulses within all biological beings to procreate. But there are also primal instincts of self-preservation. To procreate one must choose to let go of some of those self-preservation instincts – because the Offspring born will eventually grow and rise, to challenge his/her father (parental figure). The next generation can not truly be free until the previous one lets go. The great Oak must fall, so that the acorn in it’s shadow can see new light and grow. The genetic material goes on (in the Offspring), but not the biological entity (father).

So for a man, the sacrifice is the letting go of his life-force, in favour of  his off-spring.  The `corn’   must be cut down, so that its seeds can fall to the ground and crate he next generation of crops. The corn holds the mystery.  And a man must let go of his seeds, so that they may create the offspring. This is the deeper male mystery that many have become oblivious to!    It has been known that in private & personal  magical Lammas rituals,  some Male priests have symbolically `offered’ their owns seeds to the Earth. As we all know, magic can be done with all sorts of body fluids – blood, sweat, urine, and of course sperms!

KINGS & DICTATORS – a special case

On a communal, world front, the Lammas principle is all about someone who has been in power – and serving the land and people- stepping down willingly his or her time has come!) – so that another one who has proved him/her self may take the place of the Ruler!

There is such a thing as holding on to power for it’s own sake – something Dictators are well known for doing!   They do not step down – for whatever reason, and te land and it’s people suffer under such dictatorial rules.  So unless old age, illness or some accident removes those dictators from power – naturally – it is left up to the People ..and rebellions to rise, and over-throw the Dictator!  (In democratic places, this would be some sort of referendum, public poles, elections etc, and in non-democratic countries, this often is outright civil unrest, rebellions, even warped rebellion which is terrorism of groups fighting against tyranny of their own government or rulership!  Here the Robin_hood principle comes into play!)

There are some special cases of people in power – even the `good ones’- holding on to their reign for so long. One must wonder if it is because of fear of their successor not doing a good job, or if it is pure ego.  One example of this that I can see is the Royalty in England at the moment!!

The reluctant King who does not step down – is not limited to royalty, but to other politicians, presidents, military leaders, Board of Directors in Companies, Media bosses…and even community leaders!  Anyone who stays past their time in a position of power and authority of serving or ruling is simply.. tempting the natural order to step in..  and Lammas principle to enter their lives. And it will happen, sooner or later!  (This will happen to all of us, in our own realms and communities, in whatever power and positions we each hold. That must not be forgotten. And yes, I am aware of it. It is why I tend to step down from certain things when I feel my time has come.. and I start to do that quite a few months before Lammas!  That is my way of working this energy!  )

So every time pagans re-enact a Lammas ritual, the cutting down of the Corn King- we are in fact enforcing and strengthening this magical principle – for I have realised, that is how we the people of the land rule and govern our Kings and Dictators – by magic!

In Magic, we trust!

-Mani

 

Midsummer & Stonehenge Conflicts

The Sun’s entered the zodiac sign of Cancer..  11.09pm GM on 20th June..  which is 00:09 hrs on 21st June (British Summer Time).

Happy Solstice wishes to all.

These pictures were taken last year, when I went to Stonehenge for Summer Solstice, with my wife April and close pal Marcus. What struck us was the sheer amount of rubbish people were throwing about..  which came to light..once  the mass of crowds had greeted the Sun!

At the entrance, more or less each person is given a bin bag. And yet, out of the 20,000 or more people who turn up, probably about a handful of them actually keep the place tidy, and put rubbish in bin bags.  For our part, April, Marcus & I went around picking rubbish and filling almost 20+ bags, along with the `hired help’ who were also beginning to tidy up after Sun-rise.

Beer cans, bits of food, crisp bags, cigarette buts, plastic bags, glass bottles, clothing items..gooey stuff…you name it..it was all there!  How utterly disgusting!!  We had no gloves, yet were doing our best.

What’s mind boggling is, for 363 of the days of the year, English Heritage keeps the stones off-limits to all people, except those who pay hundreds to hire it in the early hours or late hours – before or after tourist times- for small group personal ceremonies.  No fires, incense, candles…not even flowers are allowed – lest they hard and erode the stones…in those private hires.  Yet, at Summer and Winter Solstices, thousands of people turn up and totally and utterly ABUSE the stones..  from sanding on top to throwing disgusting and dangerous rubbish. And the rest of us – who hold Stonehenge sacred – just have to watch in horror and despair.

Free access to he stones is something people fight for – `It’s our right’ many say. But the English Heritage is trying to protect a `world heritage site’- that is thousands of years old. They oblige the campaigns of pressure groups, Druids, pagans and New Agers – and open it up in a limited basis. And thousands abuse and destroy the stones in that shot window.

I recall, few years ago, when I first saw the horror of the rubbish, and ill-treatment of the place, that I went around the 4 Quarters, and did a `banishing & closing’ energy work. I actually wanted Stonehenge to be closed for public. But the following year, I felt the errors of my despaired and angered emotions, and did a grounding (not that in between anything changed).  I am now just neutral.  Yes, the Stones have been here for thousands of years, and yes hey were sacred and people did magical and spiritual works there..  but perhaps they have had their time…and now Stonehenge wants to truly fall apart, rot and be gone – and so the stones have brought about this  themselves?   Yeah, I know…funny way of looking at it..   – The Stones want to commit Euthanasia.

I’ve been lucky – I’ve been to Stonehenge on a few private early morning gatherings – a wiccan coven ritual, a handfasting.. and so on. And I”ve been to the mass gatherings of winter solstice and a few summer solstices too.

Sometimes we can’t deal with impending loss – of elderly grandparents about to die, or sacred trees slowly dying, or stone circles – that are being ll treated and will fall very soon.. And when we feel that way, sometimes, we cut ourselves off those things that are dear to our hearts – it’s a way of self-preservation …for us!  

And maybe I am going through that now..for the Stonehenge.

My best memory of it-  in the middle of clearing all that rubbish, right in the midst of trampling  drunken abusive condescending crowds, I saw a small bunny rabbit hiding right under the central (fallen) altar stone. I smiled, wished it well and safety..and went on. I know it would have stayed safe, and would have come out, once all the 20,000 of us have left!

Those stones will fall..and become rubble, dust to dust, and grass and bushes and moss will grow..  Nature will win!

Bright Summer Solstice wishes

-Mani