Friday, 23 July 2010

Flower Blessings

I admit that I have no nugget of beauty to share at the moment and I think Tanisha is mostly without a computer at the moment.

This is not to say that Aphrodite hasn't been in my heart today.  She has been as I am preparing to attend the Glastonbury Goddess Conference next week.  This year's theme is "Celebrating the Goddess of Love".  Of course this means many of the indigenous Goddesses of the UK feature prominently but so do others, including our Lady, Aphrodite, and I'm SO looking forward to the workshops, the presentations, the ceremonies, the singing, the dancing, the connecting and so on!

I'm also dressing up as Aphrodite for the conference's masquerade ball.  I hope I can do Her justice!  Pictures will no doubt be taken and I shall share upon my return.

In the meantime, Lammas is coming up on the Avalon Wheel; the time when we are honouring the abundant Mother Goddess as we celebrate the first fruits of the harvest.  It's not really a holiday that Aphrodite fits easily into without a lot of creative license.  Me being me, I take that license anyway and celebrate Aphrodite as Mother to us all.  If you do so as well, I wish you all the blessings of Aphrodite the Mother at the time of Lammas!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Hemera Aphrodites

Once again Friday comes to the sweet relief of so many.  The waxing moon is in Virgo at present, providing good energy for earthly pursuits and endeavours, i.e., work, and then passes over into Libra this afternoon, just in time for a romantic evening blessed by Venus' energy.

I confess I did not get to do my sacrificial rite yesterday.  Not enough quiet time and too many people around, so I held the intent in my heart.  But as today is also Aphrodite's day, I did my sacrificial rite this morning.  As mentioned previously, I'm still honouring the element of water in the Avalonian wheel, so keeping with the theme of water, I sacrificed my stores of the waters of Avalon to Aphrodite.

As many know, in Glastonbury, from beneath the Tor, two springs flow from the earth.  One spring is iron rich and stains its path red, hence it is known as the red spring.  Today this spring flows from within the gardens of Chalice Well Peace Gardens, a beautiful sanctuary that honours the all encompassing Divine in nature and the waters of the red spring.  The other spring is calcium rich and sweet to the taste and is known as the white spring.  The White Spring well house is now where the white spring waters flow freely for drinking, for immersing in.  Much work is being done to restore the White Spring well house now and is once again becoming a loving sanctuary to honour the waters of this spring.

It's common practice to mix the waters of the red and white spring to balance and honour the energies of both waters.  The fact that they are "red" and "white" is meaningful as these colours are considered colours which mark gateways to other worlds, sometimes the under world.  Red and white are often depicted together especially in Celtic myths.  In Glastonbury today, some view the red and white springs as symbolic of the blood and sweat of Christ.  Some see them symbolising the blood and milk of Goddess.  Still some see them symbolising the balance between male and female, yin and yang with the menstrual blood of woman and the white seed sperm of man - coming together to create life.

Whatever view one takes there is no question to anyone who visits these two springs that there is something very special about them and the energies they carry.  Me, personally, always have a bottle of Chalice Well water (red spring) in my refrigerator which I use for various purposes, always ceremonial.  At the moment, though, I do have both red and white spring waters in my refrigerator so felt it appropriate to sacrifice these sacred waters to Aphrodite.  This is significant for me since I know not when I shall visit Chalice Well and the White Spring again to replenish my supply.  I therefore gave them to Her to show my deep gratitude and devotion to Her.

I made a mixture of the two waters in a chalice.  After invoking Aphrodite and expressing my gratitude I poured the water over my Aphrodite statue on my altar (which I stood in a bowl).  Some of the water spilled down from the chalice onto the altar as I poured, still a sacrifice upon my altar to Her.  I intend to leave the water until later when I shall take it to my allotment garden and pour the water over my tomato plants.  It seems only appropriate to do so.

I'm grateful to Laurelei for her book and the inspiration for this ritual.  It's been very touching and powerful.

In celebration of Hemera Aphrodites, I offer a sonnet from Shakespeare to honour Aphrodite and love today:-


Sonnet 55



Not marble, nor the gilded monuments 
   Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme; 
But you shall shine more bright in these contents 
   Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time. 
When wasteful war shall statues overturn, 
   And broils root out the work of masonry, 
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn 
   The living record of your memory. 
'Gainst death and all oblivious enmity 
   Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room, 
Even in the eyes of all posterity 
   That wear this world out to the ending doom. 
So, till the judgment that yourself arise, 
   You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Aphrodite's Festival

In accordance with the Athenian calendar, the 4th day after every new moon is the Festival of Aphrodite.  This makes tomorrow Her festival day.

I usually celebrate the festival days the same way I do her weekly dates in that I light a candle and incense, meditate and say prayers to Her, sometimes offerings; very often I will take a ceremonial bath or shower, using special soaps and shampoos and "annointing" myself with rose scented lotion after.

However, I've been re-thinking this as I re-read Laurelei Black's Cult of Aphrodite in which Laurelei states that the festival days are days to make offerings of a sacrificial nature suggesting one should put some thought into what to sacrifice as it should be something meaningful to you.

I have no problem with this and like the idea of ritually sacrificing.  I do think the idea of sacrificing can seem daunting because it carries the notion that one is giving up something.  That maybe true, but if my dictionary is correct, to sacrifice is to make something sacred or holy (if you prefer).

That said though, I do then often wonder what I do with what I've sacrificed.  Do I burn it?  Bury it?  Give it away?  What?  I suppose it would depend on the nature of what I've sacrificed and where I was doing it.  If I had some really expensive wine that I coveted and poured some over an outdoors altar stone in sacrifice to Aphrodite, then it would kind of be a non-issue.

But Laurelei suggests other tangible things like jewellery or make up or other physical objects which we hold dear.  Fair enough, but then what do we do with these?  I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable burying my lipstick in the ground knowing it's plastic case will probably never decompose or at least not any time soon and if I put it in my recycling, would that somehow cheapen the sacrifice?  I suppose I could dig the lipstick out of the plastic tube and bury that and recycle the tube but frankly - what a mess!  So sacrifice definitely takes some thought and I shall have to think about what sacrifice I will make tomorrow.

In the meantime, I propose the following ritual, based upon Laurelei's suggested ritual in Cult of Aphrodite:-

Prepare your ritual space in whatever way you choose to include candles, incense and a bowl or plate for your offering.

Take a ritual bath or shower in whatever way seems appropriate to you and dress in preparation (or go naked if you prefer - sometimes I do).

Take a moment to ground, centre and focus on your purpose in this ritual.  And when you are ready, call upon Aphrodite:-

"I call upon You, Aphrodite, Anadyomene, Pontia, Beautiful Lady of the Sea, Ourania of the Heavens and the Stars, Pandemos of sensuality and sexuality, to be here in the place, to be in my heart, to receive these offerings I make in Your honour.  Come with Your all encompassing love and emotion, come with Your beauty and Your passion.  Bring the blessings of Your talismans, Your comb, Your Mirror, Your shells and pearls.  Bring Your totem animals, the graceful swan, the starfish, the water serpents, the mermaids, the dove. Be with me here in this rite as I honour You on this Your day.  Hail and welcome Aphrodite!

"Gracious Golden Lady, I am grateful for the blessings You bestow upon me each day; the love in my heart, the bounty of the Earth, the clean clear water I drink, the beauty of the land, sea and sky.  Thank You for passion, joy and pleasure both physical and emotional.  Thank You for family and the love I receive from others.  For all the gifts You shower upon me, I thank You."

Make your offering to Aphrodite.  "Lady, I give to You.....(insert what ever words you find appropriate) in gratitude and in honour of Your presence in my life."

How you choose to dispose of your sacrifical offering, I leave to your imagination.  If it can be easily and safely burned, then burn it and scatter the ashes, if it's food or something more solid, perhaps bury it, if it's liquid, perhaps take it outside and water a special tree or plant or even use it to water your house plants.

I like incorporating music, poetry and/or dance so I suggest at this stage reciting a poem to Aphrodite or singing a song and/or dancing.

When you feel ready, ground your energy.  In such situations, I like to ground by going into a pose of surrender in front of my altar.

Then give thanks to Aphrodite for the blessing of Her presence asking Her to stay if She will but go if She must.  Hail and farewell Aphrodite!


A word of note - I did focus a lot on Aphrodite's water aspect because at the moment, I am still in the season of the Summer Solstice in the Avalonian Wheel where I am honouring the element of water.  Feel free to change the wording to suit you and use epithets which are meaningful and relevant for you.  And yes, some of my wording may seem very Wiccan flavoured.  Go with what works for you.  This is just an idea of what I will do tomorrow and you are, of course, free to change it to suit you or use Laurelei's very good ritual in her book or even make up something that is completely your own.  Either way, I hope you enjoy tomorrow's festival day and wish you a deep and meaningful experience with Aphrodite.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Happy Birthday To...

Happy birthday to Tanisha!  


Wishing you many blessings of Aphrodite for your solar return!  Enjoy your day!

Painting of Aphrodite by Erte

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Summer

I've been intending to write since the Summer Solstice.  I hope everyone had a lovely Solstice!

Although it's not necessarily a Greek holiday or a day sacred to Aphrodite, I find that Aphrodite and Summer Solstice fit together very well.  In the Avalonian Wheel of the Year which I honour, the Summer Solstice is when we honour the element of water and the Goddess Domnu as Mother of Water.  As Aphrodite is closely associated with the element of water, I honoured Her at the solstice as well.


I love having Her on my altar at any time of the year, but it's felt especially right to have Her at this time of the year.

It's been very hot in London lately and many are flocking to the seashore for relief and to swim in the cooling waters of the sea.  Whether we're going somewhere locally or going somewhere on holiday, may we invoke our Lady as we swim in Her waters - Hail Aphrodite!