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Lady Ishtar's Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 6
June 2004
© Lady Ishtar. All rights reserved
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====================

In This Issue:

1. Litha, The Summer Solstice.
2. Candle Magick: A Basic Guide to the Art.
3. Absent Healing.
4. Moon Gardening (for those of you with a green thumb :-)
5. Spell of the Month: Abundance Spell

* * * * * * * *
1.
Litha, The Summer Solstice by Gordon Ireland

Litha is also known as the summer solstice, Midsummer, All Couples
Day, and Saint John's Day. Litha is one of the fire festivals and
occurs on the longest day of the year. This is the time of year when
the sun reaches its highest apex, at the Tropic of Cancer.
It is the day when light overcomes darkness, a day of power.
Litha also is one of the "quarter days" or the Lesser Sabbaths.

Litha, as a Wiccan holiday, has the Sun/God reaching full power,
and the Goddess pregnant with child. She holds promise of the
bounty of the harvest yet to come. Litha's name, depending which
 author you read, has its roots in Greco-Roman, (McCoy, page 149)
or according to Our Lady of the Prairie Coven, Litha means opposite of Yule.
This may possibly have Saxon roots, though that is pure speculation.
No others authors that were researched for this article offered any
explanation as to the origins of Litha other than it is name for Midsummer.

Midsummer traditionally marks the beginning of summer (i.e. schools out).
Actually midsummer marks the actual middle of the Celtic summer,
falling between Beltane and Lugnasadh. Midsummer is known also
as a night of magic, made famous by William Shakespeare with his
play Midsummer's Nights Dream. As a Quote from Puck can attest to:

Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand;
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

(Shakespeare, Act 3, Scene 2)

June in Europe and America is historically the busiest month for
weddings, hence All Couples Day. This tradition begins because
this time of the year was a time of rest for the Ancient Celts, the
time between planting and harvesting. June allowed time for the
wedding festivals and rest. This is best described in an
English child's nursery rhyme.

"…marry in the month of May
most surely you will rue the day.
Marry in June when roses grow
And happiness you'll always know…"

Author Unknown (McCoy, 167)

Saint John's Day celebrates the birth of St. John exactly six months
before the birth of Christ as he foretold of Christ's coming.
The Celts, as was their way, easily adopted this day and incorporated
into their summer solstice festivities just as they did with Beltane/May Day.
 A poem demonstrates how the Celts and other cultures were able to
incorporate the various pagan meanings of Litha with a Christian one.

In praise of St. John--
May he give health to my heart.
St. John comes and St. John goes,
Mother, marry me off soon!

Author Unknown (Henes, page 61)

Litha's celebrations are as varied as the authors who write them are.
The times that the ritual should take place are also varied.
McCoy suggests that the ritual take place on the eve before June 21.
(Pages 163-66) McCoy further states that during the ritual one should
jump over or walk in between two purifying fires. (Pages 153-54)
Author of Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles and Celebrations,
Donna Henes, says that Midsummer is a sun festival and is best done
during the daylight hours between sunrise and high noon. (Page 56)

Litha rituals as all ritual should be personal. Several of the authors give
basic outlines some for covens, some for the solitary. Most of the
authors used for this essay are Wiccan. This particular point of view
uses a very pregnant Lady and a Lord at the height of his powers.
This ritual, no matter what the tradition or the Gods/Goddesses
involved should include either the sun or a fire, or both.

FOODS

Litha's foods vary, depending upon the author and tradition you adhere to.
Cunningham suggests fruits, Buckland, cakes and ale, and Starhawk,
bread and drink. However, given that this is a day to celebrate the sun,
foods should be of yellow (gold), orange or reds.

BAKED TOMATOES
Serves 6-8
3 whole fresh tomatoes
1, 12-oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Slice the tomato 1/2-inch thick,
place on tin foil. Liberal spread cheddar cheese on the tomatoes.
Baked for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle parsley over tomatoes.

SUMMER SQUASH
Serves 6-8
1 summer squash
1/4 cup of butter
Black pepper

Need one medium size sauce pan, set flame to medium.
Place butter in pan. Slice squash approximately 1/8-inch thick,
layer into pan, sprinkling pepper to taste on each layer.
Stirring occasionally, cook to taste. Takes 20-30 minutes.

Mom McCoy's Lemon Chess Pie
(Makes one nine inch pie)
1 unbaked pie shell
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon corn meal
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup real lemon juice
1/4 cup grated lemon peal

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place unbaked pie shell in a deep-dish pie pan.
Mix the sugar, flour, cornstarch and cornmeal, then add eggs, milk,
butter, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Beat until smooth. Pour mixture
into the pie shell and bake for about 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.

ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE
(Serves 6-8)
5 zucchini
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground rosemary
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup fresh mushrooms
1 small chopped tomato
1/2-cup bacon bits
2 cups prepared croutons
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients together in a large
mixing bowl. Place the mixture in a lightly greased
9” X 13” baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.


THE RITUAL

The following is a mixture from the following authors, Shakespeare,
Buckland, RavenWolf, Starhawk, Cunningham and McCoy.

Altar should reflect the colors the colors of midsummer and face
the east. Bonfire should either be in the middle of circle or to the west.

Time: Sunrise

All enter from the west to face the rising sun. Those playing the parts
of the God and Goddess take their position on the east most side of the circle.
The Leader takes his/her place in the middle the rest form a half circle,
from west to south to north, facing towards the east.

Leader should cast the circle. After Circle is cast leader begins.

LEADER:         God of the Sun, we have gathered here to day to honor you,
for now is the day of your greatest strength.

ALL SAY:         We honor you.

LEADER:         Goddess, mother, we gathered here today to honor you,
for today is the day you are full of bloom.

ALL SAY:         We honor you.

LEADER:         Today is the day we mark the end of the Oak Kings reign,
and the beginning of the Holly Kings.

GOD:               (Facing the Goddess) Farewell to thee, my love.
For my power grows less with passing of the year.

GODDESS:      (Facing the God) Farewell to thee, my love.
For your son grows strong within my womb.

ALL SAY:         We honor you.

LEADER:         Lord and lady, come into our hearts, and purify us.
Smite the darkness from our souls with your light.

GOD and GODDESS:   (To jump hand and hand over the fire.)
Come join us children in the light.
Let our fire purify your souls and make your spirit bright.

LEADER:         (Jumps over fire in the waiting arms of the God and Goddess)
We thank thee for your love and light.

ALL SAY:         We honor you (Jumps over fire)

LEADER:         (Closes Circle) We dedicate ourselves to the
God and Goddess, Lord and Lady, whose union formed another life.
We give ourselves with these ancient vows.
Standing firm upon this earth you have blessed.

ALL SAY:         We honor you.

All leave towards the west.

 

WORK CITED

Bord, Janet & Colin, Earth Rites, Fertility Practices in Pre-Industrial Britain,
Granada, London, 1982.

Carr-Gomm, Philip The Elements of the Druid Tradition Element Books,
Rockport, MA 1998

Danaher, Kevin, The Year in Ireland, The Mercier Press, Cork, 1972.

Henes, Donna, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles & Celebrations,
 A Pedigree Book. NY, NY 1996

Hole, Christina, Witchcraft in England, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa NJ, 1977.

Holleston, T.W., Celtic Mythology: History, Legends and Deities,
NewCastle Publishing, Van Nuys, CA 1997<?P>

MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd.,
London, 1970.

MacCulloch, J.A. Religion of the Ancient Celts, Folcroft Library Editions,
London, 1977.

Matthews, John, The Druid Source Book: Complied and Edited by John Matthews,
A Blanford Book, London, England, 1997

Matthews, John and Caitlin Matthews, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom,
Element Books Rockport, MA 1994

McCoy, Edain, The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways,
Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 1998

Nichols, Ross, The Book of Druidry, Harper-Collins, London, England 1992

Powell, T.G.E. The Celts, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1980.

Sharkey, John, Celtic Mysteries, the Ancient Religion,
Thames & Hudson, New York, 1979.

Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth, Legend, Poetry, and Romance,
Newcastle Publishing Co., Van Nuys, CA, 1975.

Stewart, R.J. Celtic Myths, Celtic Legends, Blanford Books, London, England, 1997

Williamson, John, The Oak King, The Holly King, and the Unicorn,
Harper & Row, New York, 1986.

Wood-Martin, W.G., Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland, Kennikat Press,
 Port Washington, NY, 1902.

* * * * * * * *
2.
Candle Magick: A Basic Guide to the Art by Ostara Nitewillow

Research your spell– colors, herbs, gems, moon and astrological phases.
Create a visualization for your intent, a symbol, maybe a rune?
Light incense and cast your sacred circle. Invoke the deities needed for your work.
Relax, ground and centre. Now you need to purify the candle. Pick it up and anoint
with blessed olive oil or rub with salt and say:

“Creature of wax Be clean and pure. 
On this night I bless this candle”


Using your athame or the sharp end of a quartz gem, carve into the candle your desire,
(a symbol or just write what you need). Be specific!! Verbally affirm it. Next rub the
candle with the appropriate essential oil for your needs, whilst visualizing your goal.
If you are drawing energies towards you, rub the oil from the top to the base
towards you. If you are banishing, rub away from you.
Place the candle in the holder. To add extra herb power to your spell, sprinkle the
right herb for your need around the base of the holder, clockwise (deosil).
Place any gemstones needed at the foot of the holder.
Once again focus on your goal and place your hands on either side of the candle.
Imagine your goal forming into a silver orb, full of your intent, in between your hands.
Release it into the candle!! Now light the wick and say something like:

“With this fire I light my desire
Earth mother bless this, my intent
And bring it to be
With harm to none and help to thee
‘Tis my will So shall it be!”

Leave the candle to burn for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Some spells may require you to regularly burn the candle
every night- until it has burnt down. It is done!

COLORS

bullet

WHITE: Purity, peace, spirituality, a substitute for any other colour

bullet

RED: Health, energy, strength, courage, sexuality

bullet

PINK: Love, romance, affection, friendships

bullet

YELLOW: Intellect, creative imagination, memory, communication, mental awareness

bullet

GREEN: Luck, abundance, fertility, harmony

bullet

BLUE: Healing, truth, inspiration, wisdom, occult power,
psychic protection, health, understanding

bullet

PURPLE: Financial affairs, psychic ability, idealism, spiritual power

bullet

GOLD: Attracts positive influences, career, justice, male energies

bullet

SILVER: Astral energies, clairvoyance, far memory, past lives, female energies

bullet

ORANGE: Property, justice, selling, general success

bullet

BROWN: Animals, earth magick, saving money

bullet

BLACK: Binding, releasing, breaking negative energies

* * * * * * * *
3.
Absent Healing by Ostara Nitewillow

This helps send healing energy to those who live away from you and you can’t
see them in person. You could also use it to heal yourself.

You need: A picture of the patient, A blue or green candle, Sandalwood oil,
Clear quartz gemstone/crystal.  Project a white light shield around yourself to
protect against the illness your dealing with.
Hold the candle and project healing/love energy into it.
Do the same with the crystal.
Anoint the candle with sandalwood oil starting from the bottom and
working up to the top (away from you)
Visualize the person illness leaving them or that they are surrounded by green
healing energy. Place the picture under the candle and light it.
Place the crystal on top of the picture also.
Leave to burn for at least 20 minutes.
Light the candle once a day until the illness had subsided.
Bury the candle off your property and thoroughly cleanse the crystal.

* * * * * * * *
4.
Moon Gardening  by Solstice Moon

There is nothing more beautiful at night than looking up at the Moon and
looking down at its audience.
A symphony of beautiful flowers that stand at attention, when the night
comes upon us!  Whether you would like an Herb Garden, a
Medicine Wheel Garden, or maybe a Fairy Garden, these themes can
help you with ideas to bring Mother Earth alive, not in your imagination,
but in your gardens and your hearts.
So, each month, we will bring you a new theme.
A Moon Garden is flowers that bloom at night.
They are generally white, but can be in other pale shades.
Depending on the Hardiness zone you live, there are many flowers you
can plant for your Moon Garden.
Just be sure to check for your particular zone or call your local extension office.
Listed below are just a few of the flowers suggested for your Moon Garden.
Only some of these bloom at night, but the rest of them make wonderful
additions to the Moon Garden.

I hope you get as much pleasure from yours as I do from mine!

GIANT MOONFLOWER:
A fast growing vine related to the morning glory, this annual may climb to 10 feet.
Tightly closed by day, its white flowers open at dusk to release a sweet fragrance.
Flowers can be seen very clearly in moonlight.

PINK EVENING PRIMROSE:
A lovely border plant growing to 12" with silky, rose colored blooms that deepen
to a butter-yellow center. Opens in late evening to release soft fragrance.

JASMINE TOBACCO:
Sweet scented alata
A very sweet scented flowering tobacco with pure white trumpet shaped
flowers 3-4" long and 1-1/2" wide that open in evening. Very free flowering.
Fall sown seedlings make great pot plants for growing during the winter.
A good Moon Garden subject as flowers open at night, and show up well in moonlight.

WHITE ANGEL'S TRUMPET TOLOACHE:
Excellent Moon Garden plant with large showy pure white trumpet shaped
flowers up to 8" long that open at night. Sometimes fragrant.
Large spiny seed pods. One of the largest Angel's Trumpet.

SOUTH AFRICAN DIMORPHOTHECA:
This is the famous flower from the flora of the South African countryside.
Grows only 12" tall with milky white blossoms so pure they appear to be luminous.
Shows up very well at night under moonlight.

PURE WHITE SPIDER PLANT:
A delightful spider plant that grows about 3 ft. tall. Very different, as it has
pure white glistening flowers. Pre-chill seeds for about a week before sowing,
should germinate in about 2-3 weeks.

PURE WHITE AFRICAN DAISY:
A fast growing African daisy growing to 10 inches with large, pure
white flowers with black eyes. A slightly spreading plant.

FRAGRANT BRIDAL CARNATIONS:
An unusual carnation with pure white, absolutely symmetrical,
very fragrant flowers. A must for any flower arrangement.

WHITE DILL AMMI MAJUS:
A beautiful plant growing to about 36 in. tall with clouds of white flowers
often in clusters 6 in. or more across. Excellent as a cut flower or as a filler
in bouquets. Seeds need light to germinate. Seedlings will appear in about two weeks.

SUPER WHITE CANDYTUFT FLORIST'S STRAIN:
This flower will stand out in any arrangement. Beautiful large trusses of brilliant white
flowers on sturdy stems. Very easy to raise. Seeds germinate in about 10 days.

WHITE LEAVED DUSTY MILLER:
The foliage of this plant is very white and fine leafed. Good compact growth.
A different looking dusty miller that will stand out in your garden.
Sow seeds on surface, germinates in about 2 weeks.

PURE WHITE SALVIA:
Grows 10-12 inches with dark green foliage and pure white flowers.
Very unusual and very early flowering.

PURE WHITE CONEFLOWER ECHINACEA VAR:
A lovely pure white version of echinacea purpurea that bears fragrant white coneflowers. Very nice cut flowers.

SNOW WHITE CARNATION DIANTHUS CARYOPHYLLUS:
Probably the whitest carnations you will ever see. An excellent cut flower, they
also make wonderful bedding and border plants. Have spicy-sweet fragrance.

FEVERFEW MATRICARIA CAPENSIS:
A native American herb with sprays of 1" single white daisy like flowers.
Yellow centers are flat. The flowers are said to repel bees and a tea made
from the plant is said to relieve headaches.

MAYWEED MATRICARIA CHAMOMILLA:
A gorgeous plant with fern-like foliage and white daisy-like flowers.
The leaves make a relaxing bed-time tea.

FOUR O'CLOCKS:
These are fragrant flowers that come in several colors. Their trumpet shape
blooms open in the evening around four p.m. and close in the daylight.

Happy Gardening

* * * * * * * *
5.
Abundance Spell by Ostara Nitewillow

Draw a pot of Earl grey tea first thing in the morning.
Chant 9 times while imagining abundance:

‘Spirits of prosperity
Send abundance down to me
With harm to none so shall it be’

Drink a cup and pour the rest into a warm bath.
Hop in and visualize the abundance you need in your life. Say:

‘Spirits of prosperity
Send the lush green light to me’

When you are finished bathing, take a cupful of
the water out and tip on the earth.

Do this on a Thursday during the waxing moon.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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