THE HAZEL NUT
A Journal of Celtic Spirituality and Sacred Trees
Issue 14, April/May 1995
In This Issue:
Out on a Limb: Editorial - Muirghein uí Dhún
Aonghasa (Linda Kerr) & Imré K. Rainey
From Brighid's Hearth: Poke Root - Imré K.
Poetry: Spring - Brighid MoonFire
Runes: Making a Rune Set - Stormy
Poetry: Fenian Riddles - David Sparenberg
Night Stalking: Star Watching - Stormy
Poetry: Mother Moon - ldhunn S6ga
April Fool - Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda
Bach Flowers: Alder - Muirghein uí Dhún
Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Bach Flowers: Willow - Muirghein uí Dhún
Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Faerie Faith 101: What is the Celtic Tree Calendar? - Muirghein
uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
The Land Bridges and Atlantis - Chrisailes
From Other Traditions: Basic Pendulum Dowsing -
Reflections on a Life's Journey: So Now That I Am a Pagan -
Why "Bored" is a Four-Letter Word - Brighid MoonFire
Ankh (Cross)-Word Puzzle - Sherlock
Letters to the Editor
Bubbles From the Cauldron - book reviews, etc.
Editor & Layout, Publisher: Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda
Staff Writer: Brighid MoonFire
Staff Writer: Imré K. Rainey
Staff Writer & Artist: Stormy
Poetry Editor: Lark
Contributors: Miriam Carroll, Chrisailes, Nion, Nancy Passmore (The Lunar
Sága, Shadowcat, Sherlock, David Sparenberg. Cover art by Imré K. Rainey.
THE HAZEL NUT, Issue 14, Copyright © 1995. April/May 1995, Alder/Willow
HAZEL NUT is published six times a year.All rights reserved. Copyright reverts to the individual artist or writer upon publication.
No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the editor and
Opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor. We
make every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information published, but cannot be held liable
for errors, changes, or omissions, or for any incurrances from the application or the practice of
any matter contained herein.
In Celtic legend, the hazel tree drops its nuts into the well below, where they are
consumed by the salmon. While cooking one of these salmon, Fionn accidently tastes it, and
instantly gains all knowledge. As such, the hazelnut has come to symbolize wisdom in a nutshell.
THE HAZEL NUT attempts to bring you this wisdom in a small package every issue,
historical research, herbal information, viewpoints, poetry, artwork, and reader submissions. We
also explore, in depth, one or more trees of the Celtic tree calendar/alphabet (Beth-Luis-Nion
system) as researched and explained by Robert Graves in The White Goddess. This
herbal uses, folklore, esoterica, lunar energies, psychology, mythology, symbolism, and other
aspects. In this we hope to make the sacred trees a real, and positive, part of your everyday
Alder is the fourth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in March or April, and
this year it runs from March 30-April 28.
Willow is the fifth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in April or May, and
this year it runs from April 29-May 28.
OUT ON A
FROM THE DESK OF THE EDITOR
Next in our list of bios is Imré, who was the original editor of The Hazel
Nut when it
started back in May 1993. I'll let him tell you about himself.
My name is Imré K. Rainey, and I've been involved in alternative religions since I
years old. My first exposure came through stories about my great-grandmother. She was a
spiritual healer, an herbalist, and a proponent of the essential truth behind all religions. Being
one of the few people who owned property in her village, she decided to convert one of the
rooms in her apartment complex into a shrine for Muslims, Jews, Christians, Agnostics, and
For a brief time, from the ages of 15 to 18, I spent my spare time studying Christian
theology. At 18, I moved to Auburn, Alabama to attend Auburn University. My searching not
only emcompassed my need for a spiritual path, but also a need for a career choice. After 16
different majors, I finally settled for zoology and decided that Christianity was not the path for
Earlier in my life, I had found Celtic spirituality to be interesting, and so decided to
pursue the subject ftuther. I read anything and everything about spirituality and religion that I
could get my hands on. At 18, 1 established myself as a solitary practitioner of Wicca, and
remained as such for the next two years, until I met Muirghein uí Dhún
introduced me to a tradition called the Faerie Faith. I met with various members of this tradition
and soon realized that my curiosity in the Faerie Faith was more than idle. On January 9,
I was adopted into the Faerie Faith by Muirghein.
Since then I've steadily progressed through. the craft and am now equivalent to a 2nd
degree initiate in Wicca. I've also explored alternative therapies and healing. In 1994, I met
Cynthia Rose Young, Reiki Master and Medicine Woman. Cynthia took me under her wings, and
shared her wisdom with me and taught me the healing art of Reiki. In November of 1994, I
received the 3rd degree initiation of the Master in Reiki.
In March of 1995, my combined interests in healing and past lives culminated in my
certification as a clinical hypnotherapist with the American Board of Hypnotherapists.
Currently I live in Auburn, Alabama with my partner Paul. I teach Reiki, practice hypnotherapy,
and have recently taken on a formal student in the teaching of the Faerie Faith. And I still
contribute articles to The Hazel Nut on a regular basis.
Until next time, party on, dudes! - Muirghein
by Imré K. Rainey
(Phytolacca americans; Phytolacca decandra)
Common names: Pigeon Berry, American Nightshade, Garget, Scoke, American Spinach,
Coakum, Inkberry, Pocan.
Parts used: Fresh root and berries.
Two years ago, I attended a weekend herbal workshop held at Hawkwind (Mentone,
Alabama). The guest teacher was Susan Weed, founder of the Wise Woman Tradition and
Center in New York. At one point during the weekend, someone asked Susan about cancer. She
proceeded to tell us about a plant that she had only recently begun experimenting with. She
introduced us to pokeweed, or actually, its root. Susan spoke of the anti-cancer properties of the
plant, but left it to us to further acquaint ourselves with its medicinal attributes.
Since then, I have researched herbal texts and folklore and have found the following
Pokeweed is native to the United States and can be found mainly in the area from Maine
to Florida and westward to Minnesota and Texas1. Its properties are as follows:
alterative, deobstruent2, relaxant, resolvent, anodyne, cardiac-depressant, and
detergent3, to name
a few. Here, we will be mainly interested in its actions against inflammatory disorders (arthritis,
and rheumatism), colds, the flu, cancer, and as an aid to the immune system and the lymphatic
glands. We will either be discussing the usage of the berries or a tincture of the root (see
DosageSusan Weed recommended taking two to three dried berries as indicated by symptoms or
no more than 5 drops of tincture diluted in a cup of water two or three times a day. (Poke root
tincture should always be taken in a cup of water). Dr. John R. Christopher prescribes 3-10
drops of tincture daily and Alma R. Hutchens, herbalist, recommends 2-5 drops of tincture, or 1
teaspoonful of berry syrup every three hours as frequently as indicated by symptoms.
Personally, I use 3 drops of fresh tincture in a cup of water, three times a day and will work up to
5 drops, three times a day, if my symptoms persist.
The usage of Phytolacca americans or Phytolacca decandra is
potentially dangerous if
abused. The herb is very strong and should be used with care. Susan Weed even spoke of the
plant's dangerous hallucinatory effects (i.e. a pretty bad trip followed by floods of diarrhea).
However, I have never had a bad experience with the dosage regiment that I have followed.
IndicationsI am quick to jump for my bottle of poke root tincture as soon as I sense a cold, flu,
respiratory infection, or sinus infection coming on. If I catch the infection soon enough, I never
experience its full attack; however, if I start treating the infection after it has set in, poke root
tincture will lessen my symptoms within hours and effectively remove my infection within a
couple of days. A friend of mine used the tincture to heal skin cancer by applying a drop of the
tincture directly onto the affected area and taking 3 drops of the tincture internally daily until the
cancer was gone. I have also heard of cancer patients bathing in warm water that had half a cup
to a cup of the tincture diluted within it. I have extracted the following from Dr. John R.
Christopher, Susan Weed, Alma R. Hutchens, and personal experience.
Chronic rheumatism - Take 3 drops of tincture three times a day, or 2
dried berries three
times a day, or 1 teaspoonful of berry syrup every three hours as long as symptoms persist.Cancer - Use poultice of fresh ground poke root, bayberry powder, and
poke root tincture
(diluted 1 drop to 16 drops of water) in muslin directly over breast;4 in extreme
cases of breast
cancer, use fresh grounded root directly on the breast; apply fresh juice of berries in a paste-like
consistency (made by allowing the juice to sit in the sun until enough water has evaporated out of
the juice to thicken it) over tumors and skin cancer twice a day until cured;5 take
internally 3 to 5
drops three times a day.
Goiter - Use tincture as a liniment (i.e. rub into skin over the
goiter) and take 3 to. 10
drops daily6, or take 1 teaspoonful every three hours as long as symptoms
Compromised immunity (swollen lymph nodes, infection of any
sort, low white blood
cell count, etc.)--take 3 to 5 drops of tincture three times a day (very effective when taken with
12 drops of echinacea tincture also three times a day).
PreparationThe alkaloid within pokeweed, phytolaccin, breaks down very quickly. It is very
important to always use fresh berries and root (Susan Weed claims that drying berries with
unbroken seeds preserves the phtolaccin). When preparing a tincture, the root should be
harvested at the beginning of the winter when the top of the plant has died off (this assures the
highest concentration of phytolaccin). Wash the root off and cut it into small pieces no bigger
than one inch square (DO NOT wash the root after cutting it up!). Put as much of the root as
possible into quart jars and top with 100 proof alcohol (I use the cheapest 100 proof vodka I can
find). Cover tightly and make sure that there are no air bubbles inside. If there are air bubbles
inside, they will surface when the jar is slightly shaken, and should be replaced with enough
alcohol to completely fill the jar. Label the jars and store in a cool place away from sunlight.
After a period of six to eight weeks, collect the tincture (liquid portion of the mixture) and as
much liquid out of the root pieces as possible. Store in a tightly sealed jar in a cool area away
from sunlight. Fill dropper bottles as needed and try to leave the stock jar sealed as much as
When drying berries (always freshly picked), use a dehydrator or lay them out on paper
towels where they can air dry away from the sun (to avoid spoilage, keep in a well ventilated, dry
area). The juice of the berries can also be stored in syrup form. Pour one pint of boiling water
over 2 1/2 lbs. of sugar; stir over warm stove until all the sugar has dissolved. Mix three parts
syrup to one part of fresh poke berry juice and store in a cool area away from sunlight
For further information on the usage of the pokeweed plant, refer to respectable herbal
literature (you'll find that a lot of people who are inexperienced with the proper use of pokeweed
will write overly dramatized and false information about its dangers, warning people against its
usage) and North American Indian folklore and medicinal literature.
1 Hutchens, Alma R. Indian Herbology of North America. 1973.
Boston, MA, pg. 223.
2 lbid, pg. 223.
3 Christopher, Dr. John R. School of Natural Healing. 1976. Provo,
UT, pg. 59.
4 Ibid, pg. 59.
5 Hutchens, pg. 224.
6 lbid, pg. 61.
- by Brighid MoonFire
Spring is the essence of life and all that becomes Her.
The robin is Her messenger, the groundhog Her foreteller.
We all await Her rebirth with the anticipation of bodies covered in the cobwebs of winter
With breaths hushed, She enters at night.
The fairies and devas awakening all like until it explodes with the first rays of the sun.
We awake to find that we have been renewed.
Our winter cloak cast aside to bathe in the buds and greenness of the turning of the wheel.
MAKING A RUNE SET
Often I am asked what kind of runes are best. There are purists in the field who will tell
you that runes made of bone or wood are the best. Two of the most beautiful sets I have ever seen
were made out of ivory and wood. The ivory set was made from deer antlers and the other set
was made from the reclaimed tree roots of South American rain forest trees that were irrationally
cut down for farming. These two sources may be controversial for some people and I do
understand. Know that deer actually shed their antlers every year, and the recycled wood was
used only after the loggers had already done. the damage to the rain forests. The usual way to get
rid of the stumps is by burning them!
In this day and age, I. believe that God/dess wants us to recycle and, conserve whenever
possible. I recommend that runes be made out of just about anything you are comfortable with as
long as it doesn't harm or hurt anyone! Remember to give thanks to your higher power(s) and
ask permission to use whatever resource you decide to make your runes out of. The deciding
factor will be availability, harm none, hurt none, and what you are attracted to. I have seen runes
made out of the following: tumbled rocks, river pebbles, glass, plastic, sea shells, twigs, metal,
card board, bottle caps, ceramic, nuts, and leather. Let your imagination go when you decide to
make your own, runes or buy them.
Carry your runes around with you at all times, if possible, in a pouch made of a strong
material you are comfortable with such as velvet, cotton, homespun, suede or leather. Let your
energies merge with the runes. You imprint yourself to them when you make them your own.
There is a way to dedicate each rune or make your own runes during each hour of a 24-hour day
or over a period of 24 days. Use the article I wrote on runes from the last issue of THE HAZEL
NUT (February/March 1995, #13, pp. 7-10) as a guide. The article is presented in FUTHARK
order starting with "Feoh/Fehu" and the standard accepted order of the Anglo-Saxon and
Germanic runes. The use of "Wyrd" or Odin is a 19th century addition which is still popular
today. If you include the blank rune "Wyrd/Odin," it should be dedicated and will add an extra
hour or day to your dedication ritual. (See the end of this article for other sources in case you lost
your last issue of THE HAZEL NUT or never purchased one. Shame on you!)
Start with a set of 24 (or 25 if including Wyrd) blank runes of your choice from any
material you are comfortable with and begin to inscribe and dedicate them. If your set is already
inscribed, then you can begin the dedication ritual. Remember, you can do this in a 24-hour
period or over a 24 day period. Always begin with the first rune, "Feoh/ Fehu." The proper hour
to begin dedication is 12 noon for a 24hour vigil. The first day of a New Moon or a Full Moon is
a good time to begin if you are dedicating over a 24-hour period or a 24 day period. It's okay to
inscribe or dedicate your runes during different phases of the moon.
Those with a knowledge of astrology may want to dedicate their runes on the
corresponding moon they feel most empowered by. The center of this journal contains the
upcoming lunar positions of the moon in The Lunar Calendar, by Nancy Passmore. I
when sun was in Virgo with the moon in Aries. So I check The Lunar Calendar for the
corresponding days when the moon is in Virgo or Aries during the months of Alder/March
30April 28 and Willow/April 29May 28. In Alder, I might pick the day, Tuesday, April 11,
the sun is in Aires with moon in Virgo. In Willow, I might pick the dates of Tuesday, May 9,
when sun is in Gemini with moon in Virgo, or Wednesday, May 24, when sun is in Cancer with
moon in Aries.
Make sure you have the proper tools handy to inscribe your runes. You might bum, etch,
engrave, gouge, paint, hammer, draw, or cut the rune into the appropriate material of your choice.
It really helps to keep a journal of your experiences and impressions while dedicating the runes.
Doing this will help you to remember and learn the meaning of the runes better. What you pick
up intuitively through experience makes you much wiser. Whether you are dedicating store
bought runes or the ones you made for yourself, follow the ritual for dedicating the runes as
closely as your spiritual path will allow you to do.
1. Center and ground yourself.
2. Thank your higher power(s) and the four directions of North, East, South and West as you
light your incense, candles or smudge sticks. The Norse traditions always start with the North!
Put your shield or cone of protection up.
3. Dedicate your rune with its appropriate name. Repeat the name inside your head as you
inscribe your rune. Imprint yourself with its name; e.g., "This rune is 'Feoh' or 'Fehu'." Keep
repeating the name until you are finished inscribing.
4. Once the rune is inscribed, or if the rune is being dedicated for the first time since it was given
to you or purchased, this is the next step: Hold the rune up, look at it, and say out loud its name,
"Feoh" or "Fehu." Then while still holding the rune up, repeat out loud three times the meaning
of the rune while imprinting the rune shape to your memory: "This rune is Feoli/ Fehu.
Feoh/Fehu refers to movable possessions, money, cattle, nourishment; business opportunities are
5. Mediate on the meaning of the rune. Clear your head of undesirable junk and see if
impressions of the rune come to mind in either symbolic or spiritual images. Hold them in your
head and remember your impressions. Did you see cattle, money, gold, silver, caskets of jewels,
or movable possessions like stocks and bonds and paper currency? Did you see the cosmic cow,
the Goddess Ur or Isis? Or any other cow as a God, like Hathor? That's the idea! The rune
symbol for Feoh/Fehu looks like the horn of a cow and is associated with cattle!
6. Thank your higher powers; thank and bless the four directions for their protection; snuff out
the candles and/or smudge sticks. The incense probably burned itself out if you mediated for at
least 10 to 20 minutes.
7. Keep a joumal and write down your impressions for each rune of the FUTHARK whether you
do the 24-hour vigil or the 24 day dedication.
IF YOU ARE DOING THE 24HOUR VIGIL, PLEASE DO NOT DRINK ANY ALCOHOL.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND FRUIT JUICES. EAT FOODS THAT ARE EASILY
DIGESTED. EAT ABSOLUTELY NO RED MEAT AND IF YOU CAN'T DO WITHOUT
MEAT THEN EAT FISH OR CHICKEN IN MODERATION.
A fast is not necessary to dedicating the runes unless you've had a lot of experience
fasting and feel comfortable with it. Some people like to experience what Woden/Odin did as a
Shaman. I have done both and recommend the 24 day dedication ritual for most people. You
will have more time to memorize the runes and get acquainted with them. Staying awake for 24
hours is difficult and must be planned for properly. The plus side to staying awake 24 hours is
that there is a very good chance you'll be able to have a Shamanic experience as the result of
sleep deprivation. Please see a medical doctor, a nutritionist or health food practitioner if
adamant about doing a full fast during a 24 hour vigil. Don't be surprised if they
try to talk you
out of fasting that long, as you need to be healthy to begin with, and fluid deprivation is a
Other Sources of Information:
Aswyn, Freya. Leaves Of The Yggdrasil. 1992. Llewellyn Publications, St.
Paul , MN.
Blum, Ralph. The Book of Runes. 1987. Oracle Books, St. Martin's Press,
Cowan, Tom. Fire In The Head, Shamanism And The Celtic Spirit. 1993. First
Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.
Dolphin, Deon. Rune Magic, The Celtic Runes As A Tool For Personal
1987. Newcastle Publishing Co., North Hollywood, CA.
Howard, Michael. Understanding Runes. 1990. The Aquarian Press, Thorson's
Publication Group, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England.
Gundarsson, Kveldulf The Teutonic Religion. First Edition. 1993. Llewellyn
Publications, St. Paul, MN.
Pennick, Nigel. Practical Magic In The Northern Tradition. 1989. The
Harper Collins Publishers, Hammersmith, London, England.
Pescehl, Lisa. A Practical Guide To The Runes, Their Use In Divination and
1991. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN.
Thorsson, Edred. At The Well Of The Wyrd. 1990. Samuel Weiser, Inc., York
Tyson, Donald. Rune Magic. 1989. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul,
Willis, Tony. The Runic Workbook, Understanding And Using The Power Of
1990. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., New York, NY.
Woolfolk, Joanna Martine. The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need.
Scarborough House Publishers, Lanham, MD.
- by David Sparenberg
A sparkling eye
An agile hand
What needs a man
A wrap of fur
Some of the things
That never were
A sparkling eye
An agile hand
What needs a woman
A mottled peak
Some magic words
To make dreams sweet
A sparkling eye
An agile hand
All these things we need
Our modem-day astrology was invented by and credited to the Babylonians (present day
Iranians). They divided the sky into 12 30 parts based on a 360 circle. Each 30 part was for
one of the signs, which at that time were: Aries, Pleiades, Gemini, Praesepe, Leo, Spica, Libra,
Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces. Later the Greeks changed Pleiades to
Taurus and Praesepe to Cancer. The Babylonians also started their year with Pleiades and ended
it with Aries, while the Greeks began their year with Aires and ended with Pisces.
Have you ever noticed that people interested in star-watching seem to be drawn to one
particular star or constellation of stars? One of the most important festivals of the year is
Samhain, when Pleiades and Orion can be seen in the wee early hours of the morning in the
southeastern section of the sky. The other most important festival of the year is Beltaine, when
Pleiades and Orion can be seen in the early hours of the evening in the Southwestern sky. I'm
attracted to Orion, while I know many people are attracted to Pleiades. I think it's in our
blood/DNA/genetic code memories of earlier times from when we truly followed our star and the
Eight-Fold Wheel of the year.
In the last issue of THE HAZEL NUT (February/March 1995, Issue #13, p. 22) you
learned that Pleiades and Orion are last seen as Beltaine is celebrated. I have this theory that this
is our wake-up call to observe what the ancients did and become more aware of natural cycles
that occur throughout the year. One way of tracking these cycles is observing and becoming one
with the ever-moving stars that revolve around the planet like clockwork throughout the year.
We actually see the stars this way because the earth turns on its axis while revolving around the
sun. Our ancestors predicted floods, feast, famine, when to plant and harvest, and they lived by
the positions of the stars, the moon and the sun. If there is ever a cataclysmic planet-wide
catastrophe disabling modern technology, it will be the urban eclectic pagans and the unspoiled
simple cultures that will survive!
Pleiades is known by many names and is considered masculine by some cultures and
feminine by others. The Iroquois of New York said the Pleiades were the 'Seven Brothers,' but
only six stars can be seen with the naked eye. Their explanation is that one of the brothers fell
back to earth so that only six brothers could be seen. Most traditions around the world say that
the Pleiades consist of 'Seven Sisters' even though, again, only six stars can be easily seen.
There are many stories about one of the sisters marrying a mortal and going into hiding or
banishment because she did not marry a god like her sisters. This is a consistent story told about
the Pleiades throughout the ancient world on many different continents. The stories were
probably invented to explain the disappearance or fading of one of the stars. Today with
powerful telescopes, it is noted that the area of Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus does
indeed consist of many more stars than just seven, and veils of dust conceal many of the fainter
stars which may be newly developing stars.
You can get real technical when explaining what Pleiades is or might be, but one thing is
for sure; it is a beautiful group of romantic stars. While these stars mesmerize, they also wake us
up to vibrations of a different time and place in the past when the stars were consulted for
Krupp, E.C., Ph.D. Beyond The Blue Horizon, Myths and Legends Of The Sun,
Stars, and Planets. 1991. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, pp. 241-255.
Walker, Barbara G. The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets,
Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, pp. 802-805.
Woolfolk, Joanna Martine. The Only Astrology Book You Will Ever Need.
Scarborough House Publishers, Lanham, MD, pp. 302.
- by Idhunn Sága
Upon a moon beam's silvery web
So very softly we go
Timidly to the Shore
Feeling the Tides ebb slow
Mother Moon up high above
Dips her cup into the sea
Pulling life from the murky depths
Setting dreams dove free
The dove that shows serenity
Rises high up to the sun
The sunbeams cascading down to earth
Its work now just begun
The moon and sun together they waltz
To a melody eight turns long
Each one leading the other at length
Through a four fold seasons song
The stag alone, standing old
The green forests' only king
To spy a long haired maiden there
His courtship so to sing
With head bowed low in gratitude
The older now shall rest
The maiden now so strong to grow
The stag's long reign now past
For four fold seasons she will lead
A song of birth and growth
Until her time again shall pass
To honour an age old oath
And once again the stag shall bellow
Leading in darkness the dance
His long haired maiden by his side
A glimmer of light to chance
The Moon f ills her cup with night
The Sm sings calmly down
For eight turns round on dark and light
A circle complete is found
by Linda Kerr
April Fool's Day--that wonderful time when children and adults alike can play the
prankster and get away with it! April Fool's is an irreverent, happy holiday, falling at just the
right time to relieve some of the tension of the moons just past.
Although its origins are obscure, there is general agreement among folklorists that April
Fool's Day is probably associated with the feast of the Vernal Equinox, which was New Year's
Day on the old Julian calendar system. "An octave, or eight days, used to complete the festivals
of our forefathers, and since New Year's Day was commonly kept on March 25, the first of April
marked the close of the octave." (McNeill, 52)
The fact that the April Fool's activities are attached to a date in spring falling close to the
Vernal Equinox, and that, at least a couple of centuries ago, the festivities had to cease at a fixed
hour (12:00 noon), "suggests that their roots lie deep down in something more than mere
outbursts of exuberance. In spirit they are akin to those licensed buffooneries, jests, and
extravagances that were once associated with certain religious festivals, like the Saturnalia of
ancient Rome, or the mediaeval Feast of Fools, or Feast of Asses. At such festivals, the utmost
freedom of speech and action was tolerated, with open mockery of respected persons and
institutions, and even burlesques of sacred ceremonies. These odd and often unedifying antics
may have been survivals of very ancient rituals, but it was a deep-seated human instinct that
made and kept them popular." (Hole, 22)
Indeed, the medieval Feast of Fools, which occurred around New Year's (celebrated,
coincidentally, at the end of March), "...was like a religious chimney sweeping, brushing away
the year's repressed and hidden blasphemy, in a riot of filth and irreligion." (Taylor, 91) After the
Feast of Fools was suppressed in the late Middle Ages, the European follies shifted to the eve of
Lent and became Mardi Gras and Carnival. (Fuller, 20)
April Fooling may also have come from India, where the Hindus have had an identical
festival for centuries in their Feast of Huli. On March 31, people are sent in all directions on
fool's errands. Similar customs are found in China and Japan. (McNeill, 52) And Ralph Whitlock
suggests April Fooling may be connected with Lud, a Celtic god of humor, whose ancient
festival was celebrated around this date. (Whitlock, 52)
Customs of FranceApril Fooling became popular in France after the Gregorian calendar was adopted in
1564, which made the year begin on January 1. Under the old style calendar, the year ended with
March, and people traditionally exchanged new year's gifts and visits on April 1. Seeing that
conservative people objected to the change in habits, Wags (an old word meaning playful or
mischievous person) sent these people mock gifts on April 1 and made calls of pretended
ceremony. (Douglas, 199)
In France people were also sent on Fool's errands: an unsuspecting messenger was sent to
the dairy for a bottle of pigeon's milk, or a couple of boys to the saddler's with a request for some
good strong strapping, which they would receive across the shoulders. Other requests were for a
pennyworth of strap-oil or elbow grease, or some other non-existent commodity. "Apprentices
and juniors in factories and offices are despatched by their straight-faced elders to buy a pot
of striped paint, or a soft-pointed chisel, or a box of straight hooks," (Hole, 21) or sent for a 'long
stand' - only to be told 'you can stand there as long as you like!'
It was not until the beginning of the 18th century that April fooling became common in
England. (Douglas, 199) Similar tricks were played there, and "it was at one time no uncommon
thing to see in the streets of London several gentlemen, each with a ticket marked 'April Fool' on
his back, all laughing covertly at one another." (McNeill, 52)
It is recorded in Drake's News-Letter for April 2, 1698, that a number of people received
invitations to see the lions washed at the Tower of London on April 1st, and duly went there for
that purpose. Precisely the same trick was played by some unknown person with equal success in
1860. (Hole, 21)
Children have always been strong supporters of April Fool's day, with a large repertoire
of tricks and jokes. "Most of their tricks are far from original, and many have been used so often
that they have now become traditional, yet they succeed again and again, and will probably go on
doing so for a long time to come." (Hole, 21) One of the favorites is to tell someone his shoe is
untied, or his tie is crooked, or that something else is wrong with his dress; when in fact all is
order. When he checks out the 'problem,' the children joyously shout 'April Fool.'
One tradition that did not seem to hold up till the present day, but was strongly adhered to
in the past, was that April Fool's day started at midnight, and always ended promptly at noon. If
anyone attempted a trick thereafter, the intended victim retorted:
'April Fool's gone past,
You're the biggest fool at last!' (Hole, 22)
Scottish PranksApril Fooling was probably introduced by France into Scotland, where it is known as
'hunting the Gowk,' and children shout 'Gowk, gowk!' at their victims. April Fool's Day is there
called Gowkin' Day. (McNeill, 52)
" 'What compound interest is to simple addition,' writes Chambers in his Book of Days,
'so is Scottish to English fooling' (McNeill, 53, quoting from Robert Chambers' Book of Days)."
Not being content to make someone believe a single piece of absurdity, some poor fool is sent
out on a Gowk's errand. The victim is sent away with a note supposedly asking for some item,
but in reality containing only the words,
'Never laugh, never smile,
Hund the gowk another mile.' (McNeill, 53)
The recipient of this note, with a grave face, tells the victim that he doesn't have such an article,
but if the victim will go to so-and-so's with the note, only another mile away, surely he will find
it. Off he goes, only to be told the same thing by the next person. He goes on, hunting the gowk
another mile, then another; till finally he realizes what is happening, or some tender- hearted
person tells him. ''A successful affair of this kind will keep rustic society in merriment for a
week, during which honest Andrew Wilson hardly can show his face" (McNeill, 53, quoting
from Robert Chambers' Book of Days).
In Scotland, the word 'Gowk' means both fool and cuckoo. April 1, Old Style, fell on
what is now April 13, and it is usually in the second week of April that the cuckoo utters its first
note. People associated the cuckoo with folly a trait probably transferred from the cuckoo's
victim, as in the word 'cuckold,' and it may be this way that the term gowk became associated
with the victim of April fooling. (McNeill, 53)
At Mere, in the south-west corner of Wiltshire, England, there used to be a 'Cuckowe
King,' apparently elected annually to preside at a 'Church Ale' at this season. And in Somerset,
the folklore is full of references to 'cuckoo pennings' with vague meanings. (Whitlock, 53)
"One theory advanced is that the 'cuckoo' in many of the old traditions is not the bird but the
Britons of the Dark Ages. These Celts were derisively termed 'cuckoos,' meaning nincompoops,
by the advancing Saxons, largely because they were too stupid to understand the Saxon language,
as any normally bright person would do with ease! The 'cuckoo pen' legends usually refer to
places of ancient origin with at least the traces of a fortified earthwork, so it can be assumed that
this was where the invaders managed to get those British cuckoos penned." (Whitlock, 53)
The FoolThe symbol behind this holiday, the April Fool, seems to be one of the last survivors of
the ancient figure of Folly, who appears capering round the English Morris dancers and in the
medieval mummer's plays. The Fool, by his very nature, is not content to simply be associated
with April Fool's Day. He is the medieval court jester, skilled in juggling, tumbling, and 'playing
the fool'; the 18th century Harlequin, with his distinctive garb of multicolored diamonds and
triangles; and the circus clown of the early 1800's, in his wild face paint and androgynous
costume, forever the victim. But don't be 'fooled' - Shakespeare writes of 'wise fools' who
challenged and advised their kings; and the Irish bards, whose counsel was respected and their
satire feared by Irish chieftans, were sometimes called 'fools' in ancient Celtic tales. (Fuller,
"The Fool...is like a primitive recessive gene that keeps reasserting itself no matter how
high civilization evolves. The Fool is the fly in the ointment, the monkey wrench in the Great
Machine, and the only law he abides is Murphy's law.
I hereby offer a health to the Fool for his earthiness and for his free spirit...Long live the
Fool! (Fuller, 21)'"
Douglas, George William. The American Book of Days. H.W. Wilson Co., New York,
Fuller, Fred. "The Fool-The Clown-The Jester," Gnosis Magazine, Spring 1991, pp.
Hole, Christina. British Folk Customs. Hutchinson & Co., London, 1976.
McNeill, F. Marian. The Silver Bough, vol. 2 - A Calendar of Scottish National
William MacLellan, Glasgow, England, 1959.
Taylor, Rogan. The Death and Resurrection Show. Anthony Blond, London, 1985.
Whitlock, Ralph. A Calendar of Country Customs. B.T. Batsford, Ltd., London,
- by Miriam Carroll
Ride the wild nightWelcome the rage
O ye witches here!
Wild blows the wind
upon our rites
of Winter as He dies--
Laugh--as He dies
by Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda
Alder moon is an in-between Atime, partway between the yin energies of winter and the
yang energies of summer. As such, people can feel uncertain and doubtful of themselves. The
Bach Flower Remedies most suited for these feelings are Gentian and Larch.
Gentian is the remedy for those who have a negative attitude and outlook, and suffer
from depression. This state is seen in the eternal pessimist who takes a perverse satisfaction in
how badly things are going for him, and in the persistent doubter, who isn't able to not worry
about something. Gentian types are easily discouraged when things go wrong or when faced
with difficulties. Any kind of setback, whether from illness or daily life, causes them to become
despondent1. The Gentian types refuse to believe that their own lack of faith and
prevents them from overcoming life's difficulties. They don't understand that their own negative
attitude attracts problems.Gentian is very useful when depression is brought on by a known circumstance; i.e., the
death of a partner, the continuing inability to find a job, etc. It is also good for a student who has
become discouraged over hard tests and difficult schoolwork.
Gentian is also related to faith, not necessarily in the religious sense, but faith in the
meaning of life, a certain principle, or a philosophy. The Gentian person is someone who would
like to believe but cannot. "Spiritually, the Gentian state may be seen as a blockage in the mental
plane. Intellectual powers are strong, but on the wrong tack. A healthy skepticism becomes a
compulsive need to question everything."2
Gentian helps to build faith; not blind faith, but that of a positive skeptic. The person will
be able to see difficulties without despairing over them. The person in the positive state of
Gentian knows that there is no failure when one is doing his best, whatever the end result, and is
able to see the light in the darkness.
Gentian (Gentianella amarella) is prepared by the sun method. It flowers
from August to
October in dry hilly pastures. Gather the flowers just below the calyx from as many plants as
Larch is for people who have very little self-confidence, who feel inferior to others.
They don't simply doubt their abilities, but are absolutely convinced they can't do as well as
others. Sure that they can't do certain things, they don't even attempt them. Whereas many
people have trouble recognizing their own limits, with Larch it is exactly the opposite. From the
beginning, the Larch types take for granted specific limits. This keeps them from growing and
developing, and leads to a feeling of discouragement and melancholy.The Larch person may have a very logical-sounding reason why they cannot do
something; "I haven't got any strong points, like other people," or "I'd really like to, but I know
even now that I can't manage."4 They may praise and admire others for their
yet feel no envy or jealousy at all5. These feelings of genuine inferiority usually
begin in early
childhood or infancy, the child having been exposed to the parent's negative attitudes. The
certainty of failure becomes an inbuilt automatic response, reinforced by each new failure.
People in need of Larch are often rather delicate psychologically, and do not always have
the decisiveness and strength to overcome their own negative programming. However, Larch
people are usually not only just as capable, but often more capable than others.
Larch helps to dissolve the self-limiting, fixed personality concepts. One is able to take a
more relaxed view of things, and to consider alternatives. The positive side of Larch is the
person who is willing to truly live; to take risks and never be discouraged by the results. The
positive Larch person knows that if he failed, it was not because he didn't try his
Larch (Larix decidua), blooms in April and May, on hills and near woods. Pick
of the twig from the tree with the young green leaf-tufts and the male and female flowers, and
prepare by the boiling method7.
1 Chancellor, Dr. Philip M. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies.
1971. Keats Publishing,
Inc., New Canaan, CT, pg. 92.
2 Scheffer, Methchild. Bach Flower Therapy: Theory and Practice.
1981. Munchen, West
Germany, pg. 87.
3 Weeks, Nora, and Bullen, Victor. The Bach Flower Remedies: Illustrations
1964. C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd., London, England, pg. 46.
4 Scheffer, pg. 116.
5 Chancellor, pg. 126.
6 Ibid, pg. 127.
7 Weeks and Bullen, pg. 70.
by Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda
Willow moon brings with it feelings of resentment and jealousy, and also confusion and
indecision. The main Bach Flower Remedy for this moon is, appropriately, Willow. The
remedies for the uncertainty we feel are Scleranthus, Wild Oat, and Cerato (which is useful for
the Alder moon, also).
Wild Oat is for people who are undecided about what they should do. This usually
to a life's vocation, but this Remedy can also help the vague, unfocused feeling of Willow moon.
The Wild Oat person is very talented and ambitious, but is undecided about his true work. A
person needing Wild Oat may be at a crossroads in life, unable to decide which path to follow.
Wild Oat was covered in detail in Issue #11 in "Bach Flowers: Ivy"; please see that article for
more information on this remedy.
Scleranthus is another remedy for the undecided, but unlike the Wild Oat type,
Scleranthus person cannot decide between two distinct things. They are unable to make up their
minds, and are swayed between two choices. This back-and-forth indecision can lead to
nervousness and an inner imbalance, just when we need to be steadying ourselves for the summer
months. Again, Scleranthus was covered in Issue 11 in the "Bach Flowers: Ivy" article, so I
won't go into great detail here.
Cerato types are usually very wise and intuitive, and hold definite opinions of
yet they doubt their own ability. They tend to follow the advice of others, against their own good
judgement, and thus do foolish things. When they learn how poor the advice was, they may say
"I knew better. I knew that I should have done so-and-so."1 When they are ill,
they will try one
remedy after another, always following the latest recommendation. They may also try one diet
after another, always looking for the best one.
Because they ask so many questions, they are very talkative people, and tend to sap the
energy of others. Every once in a while the Cerato person will ask advice but then follow their
own judgement, but this is very rare. Cerato differs from the Larch person of the previous moon,
Alder, in that unlike Larch, he has sufficient confidence in himself to stick by his decision once it
is made. They greatly admire those who know their own minds and can make a decision
Upon taking Cerato, the inner voice will grow stronger again, and one can pay attention
to one's intuition and have more trust in oneself. "You will find, to your pleasure, that suddenly
all necessary knowledge is at your fingertips just at the right moment, so that your are able to
make rapid decision, diagnoses, interpretations and correlations. A great desire then often arises
to share such knowledge with others."2 The positive side of Cerato is intuitive,
One is sure of his ability to decide between right and wrong, and he trusts his own
Cerato (Ceratostigma willmottiana), is a small flowering plant from the
which is cultivated in gardens. The pale blue flowers are gathered in August and September, and
prepared by the sun method. Pick single blooms just below the calyx from 2 or more
Willow is the primary remedy for this moon, being the remedy for resentment
bitterness. The Willow person blames everyone and everything but himself, and his thoughts are
negative and destructive. He can't understand why some people can be so cheerful and carefree,
but begrudges their happiness and feels tempted to ruin their day somehow. He may feel
depressed, and tend to sulk about their problems.
This state may be temporary, occurring whenever we have a bad day, or it may become a
chronic state. When this happens, it can have a very destructive effect on the person and his
whole environment. He will affect others by his attitude of being a wet blanket and a spoilsport.
The Willow person considers himself a victim of life, complaining that he doesn't deserve this
unfairness. The Willow type never considers his own behavior when he makes such accusations.
He doesn't feel it is his fault at all. "Willow is a state in which disappointments and resentments
are powerfully projected onto the outside world."4
The Willow people believe that their prayers are unanswered and their efforts
unrewarded, but they take without giving. They will accept or even demand all kinds of help as
their 'right' and so have no gratitude towards others; thereby alienating people who would like to
help them. When they are ill, nothing can please or satisfy them, and they don't want to admit
any improvement in their condition. They may say something like, "I may look better, but I
most certainly don't feel better,"5 as if to stop any positive feelings from arising
"A person in the Willow state is a 'victim,' and that provides the perfect excuse for not accepting
responsibility for his own destiny."6 The Willow person judges success in life not
experience but mostly by material criteria, and is usually not happy at what he sees or has. In
addition to feeling resentful and disappointed by their troubles, the Willow person attempts to
block any improvements by their inner self, putting up passive resistance and negative
"It is easy to fall into a negative Willow state in the course of spiritual development, at a
point when one has become aware of much that is negative but the personality is not yet strong
enough to integrate this. Annoyance at oneself is then... projected onto the outside world,
powerful prejudices develop, and there is a definite lack of cooperation.7
The key to overcoming a negative Willow state is to first learn to recognize and accept
one's own bitterness and negativity. The attitudes towards oneself must first be changed before
anything can change outwardly. Secondly, one must realize that every grumbling thought adds
another brick to the wall, so that the personal 'sun' is ever more blotted out. "Everything we
experience on the outside is the outcome of our own thoughts being projected outward, and every
human being lives in a world he has at some stage or other thought up and created for himself.
Anyone feeling himself to be a victim will inevitably sooner or later end up a
The positive Willow state is seen in the person who realizes they control their own
destiny. They have great optimism, faith, and calmness.
Willow (Salix vitellina) flowers in May, and is prepared by the boiling method.
catkins of either sex with about 6" of the twig and young leaves.9
1 Chancellor, Dr. Philip M. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies.
1971. Keats Publishing,
Inc., New Canaan, Cr, pg. 56.
2 Scheffer, Methchild. Bach Flower Therapy - Theory and Practice.
Munchen, West Germany, pg. 56.
3 Weeks, Nora, and Bullen, Victor. The Bach Flower Remedies -
Illustrations and Preparation.
1964. C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd., London, England, pg. 44.
4 Scheffer, pg. 197.
5 Chancellor, pg. 229.
6 Scheffer, pg. 199.
7 Ibid, pg. 200.
8 Ibid, pg. 199.
9 Weeks and Bullen, pg 80.
FAERIE FAITH 101: WHAT IS THE
by Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda
The Celtic tree calendar is based on a lunar year as opposed to a solar one, and begins
after the Winter Solstice, There are roughly 13 lunar months, which begin and end with the new
moon; each month is represented by a tree. In order, these are: Birch, Rowan, Ash, Alder,
Willow, Hawthorn, Oak, Holly, Hazel, Vine, Ivy, Reed, and Elder.
In the Druidic alphabet, each tree also represents a letter. The first letter of the Gaelic
names of the trees is a consonant. In order again, they are: Beth, Luis, Nion, Fearn, Saille,
Huath, Duir, Tinne, Coll, Muir, Gort, Ngetal, and Ruis, to give us B, L, N, F, S, H, D, T, C, M,
G, N, and R.
There are also five vowels, as in any proper alphabet: Ailim, Ohn, Ur, Eadha, and Ioho
(A, 0, U, E, and 1). These five vowels are represented by the 'solar' trees, which are,
respectively, Silver Fir, Gorse, Heather, Aspen, and Yew. The five solar trees are like 'umbrella'
trees; they cover a larger portion of the year than the lunar trees do; usually about 2-3 months
each. If you'll refer back to the December issue of The Hazel Nut, #12, at the article
Look at the Lunar Year," you'll see a chart that shows what periods the solar trees cover, and
when the lunars are.
This alphabet, when written, is put down in marks called 'ogham.' This is an ancient
system of writing, and there are almost as many ogham alphabets as there are rune systems.
Again, look in Issue #12 at that same article to see the oghams for each lunar and solar tree.
This entire system; the lunar months, the solar seasons, the trees in both their English and Gaelic
names, and the ogham, is the Celtic Tree Calendar. There seem to be two major Celtic Tree
systems; the one that we, the Faerie Faith, use, is called the Beth-Luis-Nion system. Its calendar
begins on the Winter Solstice, the months run from new moon to new moon, and the trees are
Birch, Rowan, Ash, etc., as listed above. The other system is called the Beth-Luis-Fern. Its
calendar begins at Samhain, November 1, the months go from full moon to full moon, and the
order of its trees is slightly different: Birch, Rowan, Alder, Willow, Ash,
Hawthorn, Oak, etc.
There is no one correct system; people just use the one that they feel the most comfortable with.
We use the Beth-Luis-Nion because that's what works for us.
Okay, that was the easy part; now let's go into the calendar in a little more depth. Each
of the 13 lunations has its own mythology and folklore, but most importantly, each has its own
special 'energies' that affect our moods and physical beings. When we understand the energies
that are acting upon us, we can deal with them better, and actually learn from them. For instance,
ever notice how crabby people get around the 'Dog Days' of summer, July and August? True,
you could put it down to the intense heat, but sometimes June is incredibly hot, and people just
don't act quite the same then as they do in the latter months of summer. In the Beth-Luis-Nion
system, Holly falls around July and August, and brings with it intense energies of hatred,
jealousy, suspicion, and general bitchiness. The remedy for this is the holly tree itself; a branch
of holly hung in the house can help us feel calmer, more accepting, even loving. We've tried it-it
Another system that lends credence to our belief is the Bach Flower Remedies: the Holly
remedy, made from the holly tree, is the remedy for hatred, jealousy, suspicion, and envy.
Coincidence? Maybe. But when something keeps occurring over a period of time, it stops
becoming mere coincidence, and becomes almost ... magical. That's the point we're at now.
To fully understand the tree calendar, and make it relevant to your life, you should
consider yourself a student of the calendar. Study it, research it, learn about it. Most of all, make
it an active part of your life. You won't understand the trees by just reading this article, or the
article in Issue #12, "A Quick Look at the Lunar Year," or by any one thing. Look into the
mysteries and myths attached to each tree. Read Robert Graves' The White Goddess
myths and fairy tales. Read all the "Lunar Energies and Esoterica," "Bach Flowers," and
"Folklore and Practical Uses" columns in The Hazel Nut. Look at the rituals in
of Moons, Season of Trees (see review in back of this issue), and write and perform a lunar
for yourself based on her rituals and what you've learned from Robert Graves. Make contact with
a tree; meet it, talk to it, and especially, listen to it.
Each lunation, each tree, when taken separately, can teach us about ourselves, and help us
get more in tune with nature's cycles. Taken as a whole, a study of the tree system can help us
integrate our personalities, broaden our intellectual horizons, and open ourselves spiritually to the
cosmos, going beyond the physical world. That is, after all, the point of being on the path in the
first place, isn't it?
Blessed be, and happy searching!
- by ShadowCat
A Moonshod sky
the feet of Pan
His music swirling
From the pipes in his hand
to His Love
Come be with me
Come down from above
And by and by
of silver sheen
The Goddess of His heart
Then through the forest
and fields as well
They dance the dance
of Life Love's spell
THE LAND BRIDGES AND
At this point, I dare say everyone has heard of the land bridges that are believed to have
once connected modem day Alaska to Asia, Indonesia to Australia, and England to France.
During the last Ice Age, large glaciers formed which dropped the level of the Earth's oceans to a
significant degree; hence the shore lines were extended and land bridges exposed. What does
this have to do with Atlantis? According to Plato, Egyptian priests believed that Atlantis lay west
of the Straits of Heracles, now called the Straits of Gibraltar. As it happens, there is a small
island chain directly beyond those straits, called the Azores. These islands lie on the
Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the ocean's waters are relatively shallow. A land mass encompassing
island chain would have been close to the size of modem Ireland, and linked to Western Africa
another chain of islands which include the present-day Canary Islands. I believe Atlantis was
this land mass. Hunter-gatherers could have made a journey to this large island by 'island
hopping' in small canoes.
Time frames are always important for anyone with an air of pseudo-scientific skepticism,
so I offer the following. As early as 20,000 BCE humans were in the Americas via the Alaskan
Land Bridge and possibly along the Polynesian Island chain. Atlantis could have been inhabited
at roughly the same time. According to Plato, again, Atlantis has a very old and advanced
Before the oceans began to rise, wo/mankind was building cities. Jericho, the oldest
known city, was built around 10,000 BCE. Metal working was being developed as far back as
10,000 BCE also, in Anatolia. It would thus appear that Atlantis could have been more than just
a group of Stone Age hunters (though the Stone Age hunters were more ingenious than often
The flood waters that would reduce Atlantis to the Azora Islands did not begin to rise
until 6,000 BCE. It took another thousand years before the shore lines reached the level they
roughly have today. Atlantis did not sink overnight, if my theory is correct. It was a gradual
process. Unfortunately, trouble often really does come in threes.
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a fault line. Hence it, and the islands around it, are prone to
earthquakes. Also, the Azores are peaks of long-dead volcanoes. Do you remember what
happened to Pompeii, from history class? Between 6,000 and 5,000 BCE, I believe it quite likely
Atlantis was destroyed by earthquake and volcanic eruptions, even as the oceans were rising.
Those who survived fled, possibly to Egypt.
Egypt was not all desert then, and is known to have been populated well before 5,000
BCE. It is even possible, given the early Egyptians' love of trade, that Atlantis had been settled
by Egyptian sailors. At the beginning of the Bronze Age, Egypt was trading as far away from
home as the English Islands, for such things as tin and precious ore, and Atlantis was much,
In time, the earthquakes, volcanoes, and the flooding was remembered as a single
incident. 'There was earthquakes, eruptions, and the island sank,' the storyteller said, and while
that is what happened, it took place over a long time. Oral tradition is always good at
condensing time into manageable units.
I, myself, find nothing so farfetched about my theory of Atlantis. It may have been one
of the first cities of its day, but others like Jericho had either already been built or were being
built. Certainly human beings were active when the Azores were a single land mass of
considerable size. And certainly the Azores was this land mass, this Atlantis, as surely as ocean
Perhaps this is what is important. Science ponders its theories, not always looking at the
impact that they have on seemingly unrelated topics. Only the most skeptical scientist would
dare presume that melting ice could submerge major land bridges across the globe, yet not sink
the poet's Atlantis. If science is left to formulate its theories, it will remain the province of the
Pagan who understands that all of Nature is interwoven and interconnected to ponder the impact
of those theories.
The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Software ToolWorks, Inc., 1993.
Chrisailes is a solitary, eclectic Witch living in the enchanted backwoods of Alabama.
BASIC PENDULUM DOWSING
To divine answers to simple questions, women used to hold up their sewing needles by
the end of the thread and let the needle swung free. Then when the needle was still, they would
ask a question like, "Is Billy Bob my one true love?" or "Will they cancel classes the week
before spring break?" The needle would then swing in the appropriate direction.
In order to understand the answer, there are a few rules to observe. A 'Yes answer' is
indicated by the needle swinging directly away from you and then back at you. A 'no answer' is
indicated by the needle swinging left to right in front of you. A 'do not know the answer at this
time' is indicated by the needle moving in a clockwise circle. If the needle moves in a
counter-clockwise direction, it means 'ask again but on another day.'
This can get more complicated, because some people dowse with the pendulum using a
special round paper or board with letters, numbers, and the words Yes and No printed on it;
similar to a Ouija Board. You can make one yourself or use the one from this article. The
pendulum is usually a good size crystal on a rope, cord or chain. The crystal is sometimes worn
as a pendant as well.
To dowse, hold the pendulum steady over the board or paper, relax, think of a question
and let it move on its own. I wouldn't advise doing this on your own unless you're real good at
writing down what you see while the pendulum goes to each letter, number, Yes or No! Get a
friend to help write down what you both see. It's a lot more fun when you're both involved
sharing the experience!
I purchased a six-sided amethyst crystal pendant and put it on a long silver chain. I tried
dowsing with it and got surprisingly good results. I think wearing the pendant pendulum helps it
to attune to you as well.
Crystals and rocks need the dirt cleaned off of them prior to use. Warm soapy water
works for most crystals and quartz rocks. The hard-to-clean ones can be cleaned with a good
scrub brush to remove dirt embedded in them. Be careful, as some minerals will dissolve in
water. When in doubt talk to an expert in geology or gemology. Most rocks and minerals do
well to be handled, played with, meditated with, and charged in sunlight and moonlight! Some
people like to dedicate their crystals in a circle to the four directions and to all the elements as
There are many excellent books easily available on dowsing, rocks and minerals, and on
meditating and healing with them. Some reading sources are:
Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystals, Gem & Metal
1991. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN.
Medici, Marina. Good Magic. First Edition 1989. Prentice Hall Press, New
Melody. Love Is In The Earth, A Kaleidoscope of Crystals. 1991. Earth Love
House, Richland, WA.
Stein, Diane. All Women Are Healers, A Comprehensive Guide To Natural
1990. The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA.
REFLECTIONS ON A LIFE'S
SO NOW THAT I AM A PAGAN
Hi ya'll, Nion here again. As I was sitting on the ceramic throne the other day pondering
my existence and contemplating my naval, the thought struck me that maybe there are some
more, recently dedicated pagans such as myself who are still seeking their own particular niche
or path to follow. Well, as I was finishing the all-important paper work that all good jobs seem
to require, I decided to pass on to ya'll some of what we are going through.
According to my own research in quite a variety of sources, the central theme of most, if
not all, western pagan and Native American beliefs is the love and reverence of nature in all her
glory and aspects; the seasonal times such as planting, harvesting, and hunting; and the
acknowledgment of a creator source/Godhead as typified by a female Goddess/Earth Mother, and
a male God/consort/Sky Father. By the way, if anyone takes exception to what I'm saying,
PLEASE enlighten me further, because as Michael Valentine Smith says (and the way I feel),
"I'm just an egg."
Well, now that I touched upon what I consider the central unifying concepts of most
western pagan beliefs, what about the different paths and traditions of paganism? Personally, as I
see it, it's the same as Christianity and Islamic's subdivisions (i.e., Protestant, Methodist, Baptist,
reformed or orthodox Judaism, etc.), just a different way of interpretation of the same
book/Bible/Koran or Torah, based upon the same underlying things. Just a short while back, me
and my H.P. went to a Native American Shaman's lecture on Ceremonial Aspects of the Sweat
Lodge, and what fascinated me was the may similarities between paganism and the Native
American beliefs, the use of correspondences,. the spirits in various things, the quarters, the
circle or medicine wheel, the use of visions, meditations, and spirit journeys. Even though we
call things by different names, the basics and the flavor of what we believe is still there.
Having said that, where do you look for information? Sometimes you hear things by
word of mouth; from a friend of a friend of a friend, etc., etc.; on a bulletin board in a New Age
shop or a bookstore; or in this day and age, on a computer bulletin board service. You may have
started by finding like-minded seekers getting together in study groups and pursuing the various
books found openly on most book shelves; or you may have contacted a local circle, coven,
church, etc., and were accepted for training; or you may have just studied by yourself and
became a homegrown pagan/witch working alone. Anyway you came to the Craft or belief, as
long as it nourishes your inner being/heart/soul, is cool.
Unfortunately, along with all the good and brightness, there seems to always be the
unscrupulous and self-centered folk who just want your money or your psychic energy. As a
new seeker, if you run across someone who will offer WITCHCRAFT 101 in 13 easy lessons for
only $666, run like hell, cause the only thing you're gonna learn is how fast your pockets or
checkbook gets empty. And, particularly if you're a young, impressionable, good-looking chick,
that the Great Rite or sex magic is always seeming to be done or proposed for minor things,
guess what, lady? You have been screwed (in more ways than the obvious). But to me, one of
the worst of all folks who give honest, caring pagans a gad name is that egotistical, self-centered,
Knower of ALL Things who always seems to thrive on YOUR stamina, draining YOUR energy,
and just plain fucking-up YOUR psyche and mental processes. If you're ever unlucky enough to
run across one of these psychic vampires, leave quickly, and please remember there are far many
more genuine, caring and loving pagans out there. Don't give up.
The last thing I'll touch on is ethics. There are many, many articles and Craft books that
cover ethics, but the underlying theme is that if something goes against your nature to do,
DON'T, and if it don't feel right, IT AIN'T. To me personally, the Wiccan Rede "An ye harm
none, do as ye will," if truly followed and lived, can be a much stronger code of ethics than even
the Ten Commandments.
Guess I'll get off my box for now and finish this off. Remember all you fledgling pagans,
who like me, are just starting our journey; Seek, Care, Love, and always Question, and keep true
to yourself. Blessed Be!
WHY ""BORED" IS A
by Brighid MoonFire
Anyone who has been around The Garden Club (the umbrella group/coven in Alabama
and Georgia) for any length of time has learned the hard lesson that you never, ever, say you're
bored. Why? You might ask. Well, we have discovered that saying you're bored is like turning
on a neon sign in the Cosmos for them all to pick on you. One minute you're bored, the next
you're taking someone to the emergency room, your dinner's on fire, your child or your pet is
sick, Your car breaks down, Your phone rings off the hook with salespeople and bill collectors,
etc., etc., ad nauseam.
Don't believe us? Then you're on your own with the Cosmos. But what is it that makes
all this happen? Is it that we are like small children or like goofing-off employees? You screw
up and say you have nothing to do and the next thing you know they've given you every chore
that they can think of.
Or is it that we project the desires for something to do, without any selection process, and
these desires draw in all sorts of things? In the Celestine Prophecy, it tells us that we can
manipulate the energy around us, as in what we think of that we want, we will get. Is our lower
self starving for attention and crises?
No one knows for sure, but I think that I'm through with being bored. There is enough
stuff out there for me to do; I don't need any more.
1 The same as the queen of heaven.
2 Yin and ________.
3 This type is a daydreamer who can't concentrate.
4 Raised on Mayday.
5 Mother of Mars; Goddess of Passion.
6 Indicates travel, a wheel, cycle of life, job or career changes.
7 A resource in trouble.
8 On the cover.
9 Feast of purification.
10 The brightest star.
11 Looks at shadows.
4 According to traditional Chinese medicine, Summer is to fire as Fall is to ________.
12 Featured orgiastic rites; named for a she-wolf.
13 In this ritual, red, black, and white are the symbolic colors of the goddess: This ritual is not
14 On the Wheel of the Year, this is opposite the Holly King.
15 The Seven Sisters.
16 Tension and over effort.
The answers to this crossword puzzle can be found in the February/March 1995 (Issue
#13) of The Hazel Nut. Yes, that was our last issue, but it's not gonna be that easy! I
questions from last issue's articles, so you'll have to read them to answer this crossword. If you
want the answers in an easier form, you'll just have to wait 'till the next issue, #15). Oh, and don't
throw away this issue; its articles contain the answers to the next puzzle. Have fun!!!
As usual, The Hazel Nut was informative and fun to read. I congratulate you
quality, month after month. Thanks for printing my poetry and stories, hope others enjoy
In Her Name,
Dear Linda:The Hazel Nut is as good as ever, and if you run a little late now and then, well,
Dear Linda:Please enter my subscription to The Hazel Nut. I'm wondering if anyone is
a set of corresponding American trees. Perhaps you've already addressed this-I'll find out!
Dear Friend:I am an inmate at Draper Correctional Center [Alabama]. I received some Wiccan
literature by mail and was forced to send it home. I applied for recognition, and the response is
copied. This response means that an institution may ban Wiccan literature from anywhere,
without the fear of penalty. The need is urgent. You may direct comments to: Religious
Activities Review Committee, John M. Shavers, 50 Ripley St., Montgomery, AL, 36130.
(Response from the Review Committee follows.)
Timothy T. Hornsby #166781
Draper Correctional Center
Request for Religious Assistance
- Wicea Faith
We the Religious Activity Review Committee of the Alabama Department of
Corrections do hereby deny the request of inmate Timothy Hornsby AIS#166781 to receive
literature regarding the WICCAN (Witches) faith for the following security reasons:
While there has been an attempt by Wiccan adherents to project the faith in a positive
light, inmates continue to view it with suspicion and overt hostility. In 1992 at Draper, an
incident occurred where some members of the Wiccan faith were trying to establish their
religion under the name of Neo-Paganism. They were viewed as devil worshipers by the
other inmates which resulted in a disturbance, and caused a general lock-down for a two
week period. The Wiccan activity created a serious threat to institutional security and
disrupted the orderly operation of the institution. A chief tenet of the Wiccan religion is to
engage in sexual frolics while under the influence of drugs. Sexual promiscuity in prison
already poses a serious health threat to the inmate population, and this particular way of
life could multiply that threat to a very dangerous level. Drug use in prison poses major
security problems to include turf wars and acts of extreme violence. The Wiccan religion
does not have a standard set of beliefs and practices, but varies from group to group and
from time to time to promote the philosophical notion to "do as you will and choose your
own path." There appears to be no boundaries or limits. Black magic is a central theme
where such practices as these are of utmost importance: wine and drugs, ritual sex, casting
of spells, and so on. We believe these practices can create serious security problems. The
Wiccan faith is hereby disapproved as an accepted practice in the Alabama Department of
People, this is some serious shit here! There are many blatant falsehoods in the reply,
which any first-year student would recognize. I urge you to write to the aforementioned
gentleman to protest his decision, and also to the political representatives of Alabama. I plan on
sending a copy of the book Witchcraft, Satanism and Ritual Crime; published by Green
these folks, and I'll also send a copy of the letter and reply to Green Egg and Circle Network
News. Let your feelings be known!
Linda Kerr, Editor
BUBBLES FROM THE
BOOK REVIEWS, ETC.
Year of Moons, Season of Trees by Pattalee Glass-Koentop. 1991. Llewellyn
St. Paul, MN. Softcover, $14.95.This is a book of lunar rituals, based upon the Celtic Tree Calendar, Beth-Luis-Nion
system. Pattalee provides a good overview of the calendar/tree system, and talks a bit about the
seasonal rituals and ritual work in general.
- Reviewed by Muirghein
There is some good information in here, but I suggest you treat her rituals as a base for
your own rather than using them as they are written. Her rituals, while pretty, don't really have
any substance to them. There is no meaning behind the words. For instance, I was thinking of
using the Hazel ritual, in which two of the symbols are the Pegasus and the Unicorn. The first is
mentioned in the sentence "When the Pegasus is in flight and wings beyond our vision, and the
salmon hide the fruit of the Hazel..." The second is found in the sentence "...I give the purity of
the Unicorn, Friday and Venus..." What does this mean? How are the Pegasus and the Unicorn
relevant to the Hazel moon? Nothing is explained, nothing is understood. This is empty
symbolism. True ritual should speak to your unconscious, should lead you to a greater
realization. This one didn't. It just left me confused. Now after some digging into Robert
Graves' The White Goddess, I found the meanings behind the Pegasus and the Unicorn,
discovered how they related to Hazel moon. I was then able to write a full, in-depth ritual using
these formerly empty symbols.
Lesson: by using Pattalee's rituals as a guideline and doing some additional research on
your own, you can come up with something that will actually speak to you and to your
Tree Medicine, Tree Magic by Ellen Evert Hopman. 1991. Phoenix Publishing,
Custer, WA. Softcover, $10.95.This book has a chapter on each of several trees, not just the 13 of the Calendar, but also
pine, maple, elm, chestnut, etc. Hopman provides different information about the trees,
including physical descriptions, where they grow, practical uses, herbal uses, and folklore or
'magical uses.' If you've read the "Folklore and Practical Uses" columns in the past issues of
THE HAZEL NUT, my articles and her chapters are very similar. I like the book, but
to it for any deeper insights into the Celtic Tree Calendar, or symbolism for rituals. Read it
strictly for the physical, useful information contained on the trees.
- Reviewed by Muirghein
The Celtic Lunar Zodiac by Helena Paterson. 1992. Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc.,
MS. Softcover, $19.95.This is a beautifully illustrated book, which treats the Celtic Tree Calendar as a zodiac.
Each tree in the Beth-Luis-Nion system is considered a sign that one may be born under.
- Reviewed by Muirghein
For each tree, there is a full-page illustration which is broken down and explained. She
then talks about the symbolism and myths of the tree, and the character of people who are born
under that tree.
This is a unique book; I don't think the Tree Calendar has had this sort of treatment
before. Buy it for the illustrations and the mythology, but don't expect to gain a deeper
understanding of the trees through it.
The Phoenix Cards, Reading and Interpreting Past-Life Influences With The Phoenix
Deck, by Susan Sheppard, Illustrated by Toni Taylor. Softcover, 261 pp. $25.95.The Phoenix Deck is a divining and a past-life influence tool. The deck consists of 28
beautiful cards. The first time you use them, place all the cards down face up in four rows of
seven cards each in a tow. Next, pick seven cards recording them one through seven in order of
picked. Card number one is the Sun position Card, followed by the Moon as two, Mercury as
three, Venus as four, Saturn as five, Uranus as six, and Pluto as. seven. The book has
corresponding chapters so you can look up the question and answer to each card picked. This is a
fascinating way to see the symbolism you are attracted to in each card and the answer you get
which may explain past-life influences in your present life. This is just one of the many ways to
read the Phoenix deck. Individuals interested in and studying reincarnation, may open up some
new doors by using these cards to reveal information that they would not otherwise have
- Reviewed by Stormy