A Journal of Celtic Spirituality and Sacred Trees

Issue 21, Lammas 1996

In This Issue:
Out on a Limb: Editorial - Linda Kerr
From Other Traditions: The Three Worlds of the Oíde, Part VI - Adrian Loaghrian
Reflections on a Life's Journey: Now Where Did I Put That Sunblock? - Nion
Poetry: The Shining One - Sean P. Snakenberg
Our Measure of Time: The Development of the Earliest European Calendar - Ing
Aromatherapy: Essential Oils and Insects - Avalon
Death as a Return to the Sacred Grove: Part II - Erik van Lennep
More Silly Spells - Lark
The Glyphs of the Lunar Tree Calendar: Holly, Hazel & Vine - Linda Kerr
Faerie Faith 101: Steps Upon the Path - Linda Kerr
Ritual for Gort Moon, 3866 mt - Coll
Poetry: Web - David Sparenberg
True Modern Faerie Tale - Michael Devizes
Into the Light: Detecting Energy Fields - Marilyn Windle
Festival Memories: Moondance '96 - Linda Kerr
Festival Memories: Stones Rising 1996 - Dana Ston
Festival Memories: Rites of Spring XVIII - Vanessa Blue Heron
Ankh (Cross)-Word Puzzle - Sherlock
Letters to the Editor
About Our Staff & Contributors
Bubbles From the Cauldron - book reviews, etc.

Editor & Layout, Publisher, Web Page: Linda Kerr
Advertising Manager: Jay Lynch
Poetry Editor: Lark
Staff Writer & Artist: Stormy
Staff Writer & Web Consultant: Imré K. Rainey

Contributors: Avalon, Susan Baxter, Vanessa Blue Heron, Coll, Michael Devizes, Ing, Adrian Loaghrian, Nion, Nancy Passmore (The Lunar Calendar), Sherlock, Sean P. Snakenberg, David Sparenberg, Dana Ston, Erik van Lennep, Marilyn Windle. Cover art by Sean P. Snakenberg.

THE HAZEL NUT, Issue 21, Copyright © 1996. Lammas 1996, Holly/Hazel/Vine Moons. THE HAZEL NUT is published four 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 author.
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, with 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 includes its 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 life.
Holly is the eighth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in July or August, and this year it runs from July 15-August 13.
Hazel is the ninth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in August or September, and this year it runs from August 14-September 11.
Vine is the tenth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in September or October, and this year it runs from September 12-October 11.


Well, things are progressing nicely on the homefront. At time of this writing, I'm right at 8 months pregnant, and by the time you hold this, should be the new mother of a baby girl or boy (expected on August 1). Place your bets! The "kid's" first public appearance will be at EarthDance III, September 6-8, at Pine Mountain, Georgia.
Also, Raven gave birth on May 4 to a daughter, Patricia Deborah, a healthy baby at 8 lbs. 3 oz. A May Day baby! Good omen.
More good news: Jeff, the Garden Club member who was in a car wreck last Summer Solstice, 1995, and is now a quadriplegic, has moved out of his parents' home (yay!) and into a group home much closer to the rest of us. He's been over to these parts a few times already; in addition to getting happily drunk on our front porch with 10 other friends, he made it to Moondance, and will be at EarthDance III and maybe even FallFling. Needless to say, his spirits have quite improved since he's been able to get back out into the 'real' world. Now all he needs is an opportunity to go to school and/or get a job.
Our group did have a May Day celebration, which was quite fun, but our Green Man isn't doing his job--May was the hottest and driest month yet, and this summer isn't looking much better. Everything else is going okay though--no major crises, no major tragedies; in short, MUCH better than last year! I guess next year we'll have to get a larger Green Man; the skinny ones just don't seem to bring on the rain (except Coll, skinny as a rail, who brought us floods!).
Okay, time for my usual plea, with something new. I now need 2-color, or maybe even 4-color, artwork for the cover. Apparently the black-and-white stuff on the front just don't cut it, so if you do QUALITY color artwork that's relevant to this magazine and suited to the cover, please send it on! Pretty soon your artwork could be seen by almost 1,000 readers, nationwide and in different countries, if things work out the way I hope they will. Of course I always need articles, and my poetry collection is getting a bit small, too.

Until next time, party on, dudes! - Muirghein



by Adrian Loaghrian

The Deities
Among the oldest and most powerful of the inhabitants of the twain worlds are the ones called N' Déithe {jay ah} or the Ancient Gods. One of the least understood factors of ancient Gaelic theology is its adherence to a pantheon in the midst of what seems to be monotheism. Among the Uidh-Déithe ("The Fellowship of the People of the Sacred Journey"--see Issue #15) today, as it was among the ancient Gaels, the deific personae are not viewed as omnipotent gods or goddesses per se. Some if not all of those characters that appear in Gaelic folklore that rose from the status of mortal beings to immortal deities did so by virtue of songs and stories. These songs and stories were not written down as novels or in the form of biblical texts.
History bears no written record of the deeds of the Gaels prior to the coming of the Christian monks circa 450 BCE. What tales there were, were told by word of mouth. Oral tradition kept many things alive that were thought wiped out in theory by various invasions. Rather than lose the heritage of so rich an ancient culture, many of the Bards, Filí, and Seanache retold the stories as if they were metaphors or parables. Then many of the stories were told in the Gaelig (Scots) or Gaeilge (Irish) so that the "strangers" could not gather the true meanings. Where the Gaelic was forbidden, metaphors were used; poetry, song and story to tell the tales. It was in this way these memories of our past were remembered.
An excellent example of an Irish metaphor that seems harmless enough is the "fairy tale" of Jack and the Beanstalk. Pause to remember the story for a moment. Then change Jack into John Bull, and transform the Giant into Fionn MacCumhal.

What was stolen from the giant?
1. His Golden Harp, the icon of Irish culture and music.
2. The Goose, symbolizing his hidden wealth in the form of rich farmland and livestock.
3. And finally, the roots of his very culture, symbolized by the cutting down of the great beanstalk itself.

Just as we've been discussing in the previous parts of this article, nothing was or is as it seems on the surface. It was in this way that the oral traditions were kept alive in spite of more than one and one half millennia of attempted repression by foreign cultures.

In a more notable tale, the Dagda Mór (god of Life and Death) kept his castle in a fashion according to Brehon Law. A giant cauldron was ever filled with a fatted cow. A fire pit was ever filled with at least three pigs. The wine goblets at table were ever flowing with aged wine. No one could ever be turned away from the castle, however humble or however grand in appearance. Indeed, this god was highly accessible to his people. This god was and still is considered to be the most even-tempered of warriors. Some stories even place the Dagda Mór as one of the Fianna, while others place him in the midst of the Tuatha Dé Dannan. In any case, just as we have described the ability of the Oidí to pass easily between the twain worlds, in these ancient tales, anyone of stout nature could do as much with ease.
So in a sense, the concept of what the deities are amounts to little more than humans and heros who etched their place in the hearts and minds of their people with deeds that exceeded human bounds. Perhaps they were a bit like the Jedi Knights of the Star Wars novels by George Lucas. Death on this plane meant only becoming stronger by having no body to weigh them down while traveling to all places at once. Is this very different from the normal duty of a "god," intervening with an occasional spirit-boosting bump from behind?

Once History Began

Scholars of the science of linguistics maintain that history is the written word that records events. Therefore, that which was not written before the invention of the first alphabets falls under the category of pre-history. So what occurred in the world and has been kept via oral tradition, was but folklore and not history.
Many of the tales that were finally transcribed were placed on the written page by Christian monks. These monks wished to attempt to record what told to them by the Bards and Filí of their day. How much was contrived metaphor, and how much was true traditional lore, is hard to tell. In any case, by the 12th century many of the written texts were ordered destroyed by Roman Church for fear of being caught in that whole Inquisition mess. What we have left today are bits and pieces of stories that weren't burnt and were kept alive in the families of the Gaeltacht regions of Ireland and Scotland. In a fashion more closely related to Chinese culture than to that of the Secret Schools and mono-supremic systems of Nordic and Mediterranean, the tales were told to all that were wont to hear. All might not understand, but then it's only a tale or a song. Long has it been said that "one guards one's secrets best by revealing them constantly."
In Gaelic culture the word "witch," either in the classic Inquisition sense or the Seax Wiccan sense, did not exist until the rise of the Roman Church. The majicke was then and is still incorporated into the essence of the Gael's culture. The Irish on the whole are only "Christian by a thread" to quote an actor in the film The Field.
When one looks up the word "witch" in modern Gaeilge one finds only Drói (Druid) or cailleach (crone, hag). To research the word in the Scots Gaelic one may find the word buidhseach {bun-uidhseach}, which some scholars have interpreted as being "the people of the 'First Journey'," and others say that is a person of yellow or golden hue. In our Cuallacht (Fellowship) the first definition is the accepted one, while the Dara-Uishseach or Drúid (Drói) are the people of the 'Second Journey.' Though not all linguistic scholars have this view that the two words denote social caste and not magical skills, all agree that the prehistoric religions of the Bretons and Saxons had little or no effect on the pantheon of the Gaels.
In Gaelic culture, every farmer's daughter and every farmer's son were taught 'special ways,' amid the hedge rows and out upon the sea. Basically the entire bloody country was one well hidden "Secret School."
Moreover, in the pagan societies of the Gaulish descendants the majicke was kept and handed down by the pig keepers. The "Secret Books of Majicke" were called Grimoires or Books of Shadows. In Goidealucht (Gaulish) societies the majicke was read by the flight of the various birds, and especially the cranes. Even the Ogham languages were taught to a poet by Cór Mhona {korwona}, the mother of all wisdom (another goddess of the Gaels). According to the Ossianic Tales, the "Mystic Texts," once we Gaels could bring ourselves to write, were called "Leabhar Eoin" {ley or eon}. This is roughly translated as the Book of Flights. It is described as a book filled with recipes and incantations for dealing with spirits.
Judging from the evidences present in Gaelic lore the gods and goddesses were nothing less than members of a higher caste of the Sídhe. Some of the deities are from the Fomorii, others are from the Dé Dannan, others are from the Tuatha Cruithne (Picts). Other deities are even older than time can date. Just as other cultures had incorporated the deities of their enemies, so too did the Gaels. The Milesians came to Ireland with their own set of deities, yet after years of battles and finally intercultural marriage, they came to revere the ancient ones of Éire and incorporated their presence into their own mythos.
Understanding this primary difference between the Gaels and their predecessors might add a bit of light as to why the Gaels chose to keep their now multi-spectral pantheon very reachable in matters of song, story, and incantation. This sense of closeness to the gods created a sense of bonding by each and every facet of Gaelic and Gaulish society. Some of the deities were unique to Éire and Alba (Scotland), while others such as Lúgh and Brighide spanned throughout all of the Celtic worlds.

What Purpose Does The Pantheon Serve Today?

In the modern mysticism of Gaelic or Celtic Shamanic culture all of the various aspects of the pantheon are employed in much the same way as the Saints are petitioned for aid within the Roman Catholic Church. Each of the deities has a special realm and field of strength that has been fed and energized for a great many centuries. The personalities and attributes of each deity is described later in this article. Unlike classic "Western" thinking, whereby one rung must be let go of in order to grasp the other, in the Gaelic mindset all the rungs and the braces together make up the whole of the divine ladder. Each of these deities are aspects of the Beathuile {Bay Haul lah}, the Great Creator (see Issue #17). Each may be invoked into manifestation in the form of the ritual celebrants or as working executives according to his or her skills. The difference between the Shamanic view of a pantheon and other views that incorporate the distinction of 'good vs. bad' aspects lies in the use of specialized skills to counteract a specialized ailment.
A contemporary example would be found in the use of chemotherapy. In chemotherapy a toxin is applied to destroy all cell benign and cancerous, to reduce the rapid destruction of the mutant cells. An Oíde is sometimes confronted with a choice of raising the stricken person into the Alltar, or Gaelic Otherworld, accompanying the patient there, and thereby attacking the mutant cells with the benign cells, calling on the aid of Eolais Chomhrac, or battling with wisdoms acquired from the teaching of the Mórrígan. Or the Shaman might invoke the aid of Dian Cécht, the God of Healing, to reform a wholeness into the renegade cells. The former technique is similar to the chemotherapy with the exception of not destroying the benign as well as the malignant. The latter technique would be to employ simple "positive energization," accompanied by "corrective visualization." Positive energization alone might cause the destructive cells to proliferate as well as the benign cells.
The point of this illustration is to show that a battle raven we night not normally wish to use because of dislike of war, might be more specially effective than the God of Healing for a given purpose. Here too we see an example of 'good' or 'bad' in the classic reasoning not being applicable to the course of action.
This is unlike the ways of the prayerful, where the deity(s) are approached on the petitioner's behalf and the desires are stated in the form of a request. The people of the Uidh-Déithe shapeshift and mind meld into oneness with the given Divine One so as to fully employ the skills of that aspect of the Beathuile to accomplish the tasks at hand.
In many religions one might pray to a given goddess or god or Lord God, to guard them from harm or to render a cure from the ailments imposed by being in harm's way. These petitions or prayers are offered forth in the belief that the deity petitioned is of a spiritual power or essence greater than those of the petitioner.
Among the Uidh-Déithe the Oíde or Shaman's own spiritual essence is combined and interwoven into the harmonic fabric of the deific aspect of the Beathuile that has been invoked. In other words, I do not become the god or goddess or even the Beathuile; rather I am made one with the wholeness needed to perform my tasks. Because we are made one with so ancient an entity we need not use more of our own energy than that which is required for deliberate direction of our purpose for the accomplishment of our task. Therefore we are not drained nor are we endangered by our travels or by our works while upon our journey.

Within The Riomball

In worship circles or Riomballs {rem bawls} (meaning the "encirclement of all life") within our fellowship's rituals, two among the Déithe are most often invoked into the celebrants. These are Dana {Dawna}, the Mother of All That Lives Upon the Earthly Planes, and An Dagda Mór {an Die Dah More}, "The Good God," wielder of both life and death. Both of these are primal deities of the Tuatha Dé Dannan. The etymological roots of their names even predate the Indo-European root language. Some phonemic scholars believe that these two names and the entities they represent predate Sumerian and Aryan theologies. They may well be two of the most ancient of divine couples.
If you ask, why seek out so ancient a goddess or god to commune with, I might answer, "Where but from the deepest of tap roots might grow the tallest of trees." In reference to other deities and entities we often refer to the works of Peter Berresford Ellis (A Dictionary of Irish Mythology) for verification of a deity's or a sidhe's specialized character. Yet it is often through our own journeys that we become enjoined with those entities that are most conducive to our own natures to act as guides for us along our chosen paths.


by Nion

As I was reflecting on what a great time I had at Moondance 96 and all the other festivals that I've been to, I thought I would pass on what you may be missing if you ain't been to one yet.
As for myself, first and foremost, it's a great way to escape from this mundane reality for a short time, to just relax and take it easy for awhile. So, just what can you do at a pagan festival? Well, you can git nekked, go to interesting classes on just about anything, git nekked, meet new interesting people (some of whom are even nekked), git nekked, be exposed to other traditions and spiritual paths and rituals, git nekked (either there are a lot of naked people running around, or nekked Nion all over the place!), go to drumming and fire circles with music, dancing, and storytelling, git nekked, buy crafts, jewelry, books, and other neat stuff from the merchants, git nekked, network with other pagans and like minded individuals, and of course, git nekked. You realize the ONLY reason I git nekked is to show off my latest tattoo additions (if you believe that, I got an extra bridge somewhere to sell to you cheap).
If you decide to go to a festival, you need to do some homework and prepare. Get basic information as to where, when, how much, what limitations or restrictions there are, anticipated weather, and what sort of site it's going to be held at. Is it at a prepared site, a state park, private land, etc.; because that may dictate what necessities you have to bring with you. As most of the pagans that I know aren't exactly well-to-do, early planning for the cost of the festival is a must. A word of advice: send your money as early on as you can, for in most instances, it can be a lot cheaper than waiting around till the last minute. And if you're just dirt poor broke, don't despair; most organizers will work with you on payments, grants, or trading services for attendance. Talk to the organizers early and see what can be worked out.
If the festival is at a prepared site such as a state park, there are usually cabins, bathrooms, and sometimes cooking facilities available. If it's at a primitive site, then usually you have to bring EVERYTHING in with you and take EVERYTHING, such as trash, out with you. Bottom line on trash is that we ALWAYS leave a site cleaner than we found it. Don't be afraid to pick up what someone else has left.
Behavior at these events is very simple. No infractions of mundane law such as stealing, guns or weapons, or endangering anyone, etc., and respecting and being open-minded to other people's beliefs, lifestyles, paths, and dress/costume (or lack of). In other words, simple manners such as the old Golden Rule thing, treating others as you want to be treated, or even more basic, "An ye harm none, do as ye will." Sound familiar, huh? That's all there is to good behavior and manners.
I know I do talk (and practice quite a bit) of gitting nekked, but on a serious vein, you DO have to know the site, and what you can get away with. At most non-private sites such as state parks, you gotta be somewhat discrete, particularly during the daytime around the lakes or pools, where being nekked usually is the rule rather than the exception amongst pagans. We don't want to shock poor granny or the young'uns of the mundane straight people enjoying themselves on public lands, which they have as much right to as we do. However, at most private sites, it's usually openly clothing optional, and most pagans are very tolerant (or should be), but if you don't want to expose your own young'uns or yourself to optional nudity, you may want to leave them home. Oh, by the way, if you do practice gitting nekked, don't forget the sunblock: don't want any dangling or normally unexposed parts getting roasted!
Well, I guess I'll mosey along for now; got to get ready for EarthDance. Besides, I still gotta rest up from all that resting I did at Moondance! So, if you haven't been to a festival yet, you don't know what you're missing. Get out there and enjoy yourself, and don't forget to say howdy to me sometime (can't miss me; I'm the middle-aged nekked plump guy wearing glasses with a Green Man tattooed on my chest). See ya'll around, and may the Lord and Lady keep smiling on you all the time. Blessed Be.



by Ing

Part I

We currently live in the beginning of an Ice Age. The deepest (coldest) point is still another 170,000 years away, so don't go stocking up on jackets or firewood just yet. Around 12 to 80 thousand years ago another Ice Age was ending. From the receding ice in Northwestern Europe, there was left a land soon to be inhabited by at least four waves of human cultures. Each of these left with the next, some of the earlier traits and beliefs.
The Beakers, Urnfield, and Megalithic peoples each held dominion in their own times. As recently as 4,000 years ago, the proto-Celtic peoples were in transit from our evolutionary homeland in the Indo-European area, into middle and western Europe. Along the Atlantic coastal areas we encountered the Stone Age people known today as Megalithic.
There are some unproven theories as to what happened to the Megalithic culture. Nothing is known of their language, and only a smattering of what was a rich religious life is left. That is not surprising, considering that to all primary cultures, religion is the most important part of life.
There is evidence that indicates that the early Gaels, Scots, and the Picts have a 30% Megalithic blood type. The physical characteristics can still be seen in extreme western Ireland, and among the Highlands Scots (the Scottish tribe itself coming from the old Irish). These include: hazel to brown eye color, light complexion, prominent nasal bridge, tapering forehead with a dolichocephalic skull, dark hair color, and a petite but muscular frame. The basic blood type is O.
These compare rather markedly with the later Celtic migration which took a more southern route, passing and absorbing influences from the Hellenic (Greek) culture. Therein lies the difference between the old and the new Pagan calendars. These wavy, sandy-haired, greenish-blue eyed people are called the Galatians in the New Testament of the Bible. Eventually this second Celtic wave met the remnant of the first wave in the Britannic area. The second wave is what is heard about most frequently in popular media and "New Age" books. These are the Celts that spawned the Druids.
Yet another, more northern wave of Indo-Europeans came later. The Danes, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians, and Francs were tribes which would thousands of years later fight their brother Celts for some of the last remaining underpopulated land in Europe, leaving the scattered Celto-Megalithic clans in what is now called the "Celtic Fringe."
However, the spirituality of our people has in many ways survived, and if you see carved gourds or turnips, and Witches and ghouls at a certain time of the year, you are witnessing a direct cultural link back to Megalithic origins. But this is not the only evidence. In 1897, the Coligny tablets were discovered in a Celtic area of western France. Although the stone tablets date from the period of Roman occupation of Gaul, it was definitely a Celtic calendar.
Certainly the Megalithics (who built Stonehenge, the dolmens, barrows, and circles, as well as villages in northern Scotland which are still virtually intact) had their own calendar. However, it appears that in its earlier stages it was by lunar cycles only. Some prehistoric bone scratchings were simple lunar calendars, using the full of the moon as the beginning of the cycle. Stonehenge itself, in its earliest form, was a circle of 3 foot stones aligned by lunar degrees. As a people living completely open to Nature, the early Celtic clans adapted (or borrowed) from the Megalithic culture, the same indigenous flora and fauna place names, totem spirits, and even blended their own similar time measurements.
Today we know that a galactic year is 300 million years (the time it takes for our solar system to complete one revolution around the Milky Way), that a year is exactly 365.242 days, and how to compensate for this with "leap years." As a digression, it is interesting to note that the ice ages are a manifestation of the galactic year. At various points across the belts of the galaxy are thick dust areas, dense enough so that much solar radiation is blocked--enough to change the Earth's temperature by 20 or so, and this triggers the ice.
The Gaulish "Coligny Calendar" is both a solar and a lunar design, complete with leap years. Whether these later Celts were adopting the Greco-Roman model, or they already had such a system is open to debate. However, this later model calendar has much of the primary lunar calendar built within. It gives prominence to the lunar cycles over the solar, just as proven by the Megalithic sties. Furthermore, the Coligny Tablets are divided into two 15 day periods--the origin of the fortnight. So we have a waning light half and a waxing dark half.
Some today who have studied anthropological data compiled during the Victorian era, place the solar, or new moon, at the beginning of the month. This has been perpetuated by Robert Graves in his book The White Goddess, and is a valid time measurement. Likewise, those who celebrate the quarter Sabbats on the first of the month (according to the Christian calendar) instead of on the full moon, are using a valid system, though not calculating the time of optimum power.
As nature-based lives and religions lead to more complex societies, a uniform system to gauge the very rhythm of that society is needed. The names of these periods took on significance as well. The Celts adopted tree names for nearly all the months and leap months. Here too, we have debate among those who place importance upon such trivial matters. To find that one coven celebrates Ailim on the new moon, and another celebrates Ailim on the full moon is and has been common in the inevitable fragmentation caused by time and distance.
The calendar has been more a part of religion than few other human inventions. By following it one would know in advance when to begin this or that activity. At what point the yearly cycles became associated with the lives of the God and Goddess is uncertain, but it came very early in our primary stage. The symbolism is so natural that it seems somewhat over-simplistic, but further study and actual practice of the old beliefs and calendar grounds one to the forces of the natural cycles.


by Avalon

There are many aroma-therapeutic plants and oils that can help to relieve the pain of insect bites and stings, and also prevent the arrival of these same insects. Essential oils are well-known for their repellant properties and form the active ingredients of many brand-name products. By using the essential oils in their natural form and unhampered by chemical solvents, you can have tremendous flexibility in their use.
Mosquitoes cause problems for most of us but can be dealt with by using practically any essential oil. Lavender and red thyme are the best. If you have been bitten, use neat lavender oil on the bite, and if you've been bitten over a large area take 1 cup of cider vinegar or the juice of 2 lemons and add to it 10 drops of lavender and 5 drops of red thyme. This mixture can also be used in a bath, making sure to mix the water before you get in. Afterwards, apply neat lavender oil to all the bites. Each night rub your body with an oil formulation made by adding 10 drops of lavender, 10 drops of eucalyptus, 10 drops of thyme and 5 drops of lemon grass diluted in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
For bee and wasp stings, remove the stinger if visible but try not to squeeze and break the venom bag which may still be attached. Apply 1 drop of thyme and then apply 1 drop of neat lavender every five minutes for a total of 10 drops. This will help fight off infection and reduce the pain and swelling. This remedy also works well for tick bites.
For swelling, alternate adding 1 drop of neat lavender (undiluted) and 1 drop of chamomile. As is the case with most essential oils, one drop can be rubbed to cover quite a large area, but use as many drops as you need. Of course, if the swelling is excessive, it could be the result of an allergic reaction and you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
While at the beach, jelly fish can cause a stinging sensation and reddening effect. To treat, wash the area thoroughly as soon as possible with soap and water and apply 1 drop of chamomile or lavender oil. Ice can then placed on the affected areas. Sand flies carry a parasite and can be responsible for numerous conditions ranging from mouth ulcers, chronic illness, fevers and lesions that can last as long as three days after the sting. Apply neat lavender as soon as possible, and to prevent a fever, massage the whole of the body twice a day for a week with a mixture of lavender (10 drops), eucalyptus (10 drops) and thyme (10 drops) added to vegetable oil (2 tablespoons).
As a general rule, prevention is the best approach when dealing with most insects. Lemon grass or citronella can be used effectively to keep insects at bay by using airborne methods such as a few drops of oil in a steam boil, on tissue paper strung on windows, on light bulbs both inside and out or on ribbons hung from trees. A synergistic blend for keeping most biting insects away consists of 4 drops of thyme, 8 drops of lemon grass, 4 drops of peppermint and 4 drops of lavender. While you sleep or during the day, put 2 drops of this blend on a cotton-wool ball or tissue and leave it on a bedside table. To deter insects from landing on your skin, lavender is a better option. To discourage insects during meal times outdoors, cut up lengths of ribbon or tissue paper and put one drop of the synergistic blend on each piece and hang them around the dining area.
Add 1 teaspoon of mixed essential oils such as mint camphor, eucalyptus, lemon grass or citronella to a small plant mister and spray around the room where insects are a problem. Before going out for the evening, run steaming hot water into the bath and add a couple of drops of lemon grass or citronella, leaving the steam to drift through the open bathroom door and into your bedroom. Place a couple of drops of the mixture onto the hot tap so that its heat releases the aroma molecules into the atmosphere vaporizing the room. You can also vaporize rooms by adding the oils in a bowl of hot water in each room around curtains, windows on chairs and in the corners of fitted carpets where fleas and moths tend to breed.
Geranium oil is also an excellent insect repellant. Make a body oil by mixing 16 drops of geranium oil to 4 teaspoons of soy oil and massage the body with it. Geranium oil can also be applied directly to the bite. Repeat several times a day to stop the itching. You can use this mixture on the face, but don't get it too close to your eyes.
Used in massage oils prior to going on a vacation, and during it, geranium oil discourages most insects from biting or stinging. Dilute 2 drops in 2 teaspoons of massage oil for a body rub or just add the neat essential oil to any lotion or cream you may have. A water-based splash can be made by adding 5 drops of geranium essential oil to 1 tablespoon of witch hazel and then diluting it in 4 tablespoons of water. Shake the ingredients together well before putting onto your body. Instead of the witch hazel, you can substitute an alcohol such as vodka, but use 2 teaspoons instead of the 1 tablespoon. Splash the liquid onto your body and smooth it over the surface of the skin. Other plants and oils that repel insects include basil, myrtle and niaouli.
Due to their antiseptic and repellant properties, essential oils make an excellent addition to any emergency travel kit when planning a trip or just relaxing at home. Not only do we get to enjoy the emotional and physical therapeutics of the oils, we also benefit from the invisible protection they provide us from the nuisance of insects. Have a great summer and don't forget to have your oils nearby.


Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. 1991. New World Library, San Rafael, California.


by Erik van Lennep

(Note: This article was originally published in Catalyst, Vol VIII, No. 3 and 4, and subsequently, in Green Egg. It bears repeating...)

PART II: Some thoughts on Beginning a Sacred Grove

Several persons have now responded with enthusiasm to my article, Death as a Return to the Sacred Grove, which proposes linking human burial with the creation of forests-to-become-old-growth. Another way of describing the idea is that of harnessing the sanctity accorded to graveyards (of white people, by white people) for rekindling the respect for trees, forests, and the web of Life. Frequently, the response is wonderful! How can I/we get started? So, although I mean to write back to each individual personally, perhaps some general principles can be determined to facilitate as widespread a discussion and as localized an organizing effort as possible. Please forgive what seems a form response.

The larger vision of the Sacred Groves concept is that of re-consecration of land, as much as possible, so probably we need to begin with a structure somewhat like a land trust. Land trusts can be set up with a host of specific intentions, and from what I understand, at least a few differing organizational structures. The main idea is to create a legal structure for the acquisition, holding, protection and management of land. I see the Sacred Groves as repair work for damaged land--clear-cut, strip-mined, shopping-malled, abandoned agricultural, inner city, suburban green desert--whatever. So, the purpose for the land trust would be several-fold, and would include burial, land repair, and always, public education. The idea and actuality gains power when parcels of land become linked to create ever-greater protected areas. Linkages could combine Sacred Groves with wildlife refuges, National Parks, Nature Conservancy holdings, other land trust properties, National Seashores, and so forth. This means that eventually, we may all want to engage in strategic planning for location and planned expansion of the Groves. Obviously, an urban Grove may be circumscribed by existing buildings and streets, but most likely, the burial plantings will happen where land is less costly.
This is a new idea, and must be demonstrated for most people to get excited about it. This means that initially it must succeed on pragmatic economic concerns as much as upon spiritual and long-term environmental vision. My sense, is that it will be important to make initial efforts at a location convenient to larger population centers, where burial space is at a premium, and where (forgive me if this sounds crass) the flow of recyclable materials--in this case human bodies--is a constant. If the cemetery lots can be offered at a price somewhat below the standard market rate for your area, then the future Grove literally can be financed by the square foot of land.
This brings us to the third important concept: at least initially, the concept of the Groves should be promoted free of any religious or organized spiritual slant. These must be ecumenical Groves, where the trees and the land, and a basic respect for the dead and their families are the most conspicuous aspects. The spiritual connections to being recycled into trees should be left to the individuals. If the Groves become identified with any one group, they will lose the potential following of all others. Once this system of burial becomes accepted, then many groups may choose to establish Groves for their own, but initially the idea must appeal to as broad a community as possible, again selling plots through sheer economics as much as anything. The initial objective is to plant trees and create new areas of protected land. The rest will come with time.

At this stage, it seems that the physical design of the Grove, and its management, ought to be two factors, perhaps among several others, which are not negotiable by individual plot buyers. If there is not some sort of binding decision which governs the installation of bodies and trees, the results will be chaotic at all levels and the needs of maintaining possibly unsuitable species will override the integrity of the evolving forest system. Based upon local geography and ecosystem dynamics, and upon the specifics of the site in question, as well as the long-term program goals of the particular Grove trust, the eventual configurations and species makeup of the Grove/Forest should be determined. When prospective plot buyers come to the Trust, they can be shown a plan indicating which areas will be planted, sequence of planting over time, what species are planned for each section, which areas are to be wooded and which left open as meadow or prairie, and given clear information about the style of subsequent landscape management. Management should be light-handed initially, to become nonexistent as the Groves mature. There should be a clearly stated intention of moving the entire planting toward old-growth. Acceptable grave markers would be specified, as is the case in more conventional cemeteries. They may be tree plaques, etched natural boulders at the base of the trees, wooden markers designed for eventual decay, or perhaps no markers at all.
Public education should always be woven through the activities and rhetoric of the Groves' effort. There are some urban cemeteries, such as Mt. Albans, near Boston, where the arboretum of rare and colorful trees supports migrating birds which stop to fuel-up on seeds and berries. Garden clubs, ornithologists, and school classes all use this burial ground to study the trees and birds. Similarly, Sacred Groves will offer the opportunity to teach many lessons, and should be conceived from the beginning as a place of rest, reverence, and learning. Ongoing classes in environmental rehabilitation could and should be included, and native plant nurseries established to supply planting materials for the Groves, can also bring in revenues for managing the projects, by marketing extra plants to the local and regional landscape industry and to area home owners. Youth empowerment and job training projects attached to the Groves could teach plant identification, propagation, and environmental rehabilitation techniques to be applied throughout the community. Do not forget the research aspect of the project. This is a solution for a host of recognized needs-- environmentally, socially, psychologically, and spiritually speaking. Be strong about the research which will be invested in, and derive from the ongoing project. There may be funding specifically for that angle.
Hospice programs also fit very naturally into the extended community which will form around a Sacred Groves project. Imagine, coming to die in a peaceful and comfortable woodland setting rather than enduring the indignities and expense of nursing homes and hospitals. A transitions center could eventually be included, where basic (non-heroic) medical facilities and trained nursing is available, as well as hospice support for families of the departing. The entire leave-taking and grieving process could have a warmly supportive and nurturing alternative based within the actual Grove. It is not at all inconceivable to me that eventually such a transitions center would make room for midwives and birthing centers, as our relationship to Life's cycles becomes rebalanced through our treatment of Death, and we once again begin to see life as a great circle.

There are some practical considerations which must be taken into account to get a few model sacred Groves started. There are existing legal regulations which differ from place to place, regarding death and burial. It is hard to recycle a body into a tree when it is pickled in toxic compounds, encased in steel and plastic, and dropped into a concrete box below ground. Cremation, while wasteful of fuel, and largely missing the point of feeding trees with our bodies, may in some cases be preferable to canned remains. Each group will have to investigate their own state or local ordinances in this regard. In Vermont, you can still bury yourself or your family on your own land. This is no longer the case in many areas. The more simply the body is processed, if at all, the more readily it will convert to tree food: quick burial in a pine box (no box at all would be even better), without embalming would probably work best.
Zoning requirements, and local watershed configurations, also are important factors to consider before designating a specific site, and should become part of the data collected to form an action plan. My hunch is that attempting to get a variance at this early stage may be very counter-productive to what many will perceive as a radical concept. Let's attempt to prove it works before asking for special considerations.
We will also need to build some alliances and some bridges of understanding to make this all possible. After all, in many ways, this is as much about healing our communities as it is about healing ourselves and our planet. Potential adversaries should be considered early, and every attempt made to understand their concerns, so they can view themselves as supporters of the Grove idea.
High on the list of potential problems is the funeral industry, which has a guaranteed source of revenue (everyone dies) and will be threatened by diverting the dead from the embalming room, from fancy caskets, and from the carefully cultivated public orientation aversion toward dealing with death by which the industry thrives. Never underestimate the power of an entrenched industry and its lobbying--particularly when it holds the quasi-religious position as doorman to the otherworlds. It would be terrible to have the Grove concept outlawed by funereal lobbying before we even have a chance to plant a tree.

So, how to get started: Homework. Assemble some like-minded people in your area. Remember, this is a community-building, multi-generational effort. Talk to the land trusts, look at the map, drive around and look for potential sites. Make lists of what you know and what you need to find out, and write up a strategy for devising a concrete proposal. Who will be involved to make it work? Who has to be brought onto the team? What are your group's strengths and where are the gaps? Who has connections, or connections to connections? Who in the community enjoys a high profile and good favor with the public--and might be excited about the Groves concept? Who has experience writing SUCCESSFUL proposals? What are your local burial regulations? Can the Grove work within them? Where is there land needing to be recovered? Who in your area can consult upon legal structure, ecosystem rehabilitation, public education, media work, campaign design, fund-raising, landscape design, hospice programs, the funeral industry, and so forth? Find some people who have been successful in other community organizing and/or commercial ventures (this may be non-profit, and for the Earth, but a good marketing mind is invaluable here). Does someone in your community have large financial or land holdings and a possible interest? How about local Nature Conservancy or public land holdings? Where are they, and is there suitable land adjacent to them? MAKE LOTS OF LISTS, and then put them in order.
When you feel you have generated enough information to write a proposal, or a game plan, do so. Be sure to distinguish between immediate and long term goals, and between immediate and long term needs. Start simply, with achievable goals, so that you will be bolstered by success, but never lose the vision of where you want the project to lead. Be sure to place all your short-term goals within the larger context, so that you don't compromise yourselves in the long run. At the same time, a very different document which ought to be evolving, will deal with the operational strategy of the Grove. Detail procedural aspects such as: management goals (like leading-toward-old-growth and wildlife habitat), grave marker design and restrictions, tree species selection, membership in the Sacred Groves Trust if appropriate, cost of individual plots, burial restrictions or requirements. This is the document which will determine the success of the concept over time. The first document, the proposal, will determine whether the project even gets a start. Once you have gotten to this stage, you will have attracted enough interest locally, and built enough bridges, nailed down your location and ideals, that you should have a solid beginning. Time will tell the rest.

A word about process: All too often, well-meaning and justifiable community efforts become so entangled in process, and so freighted with political attitudes that they sink below the surface of the bog, never to rise again. Having been involved in many organizing efforts over the years, most of which were created in response to truly hideous events, such as political/economic schemes resulting in and profiting from genocide and ecocide, as in the James Bay dams of northern Quebec, I have witnessed a frustrating, predictable, and avoidable pattern. The problem lies in confusion between addressing a specific and pressing issue, and addressing all the other issues that are part of our dysfunctional society. When you add an ill-defined value such as political correctness (= formula sensitivity for lazy thinkers) to the dynamic of keyed up activists trying to make sense of a welter of confusing information, the confusion mounts and clarity retreats. Meetings quickly become a burn-out.
Progressive groups and community efforts tend to be acutely aware of the many negative patterns around us, and are also usually comprised of recycled activists from other struggles, who carry with them their pet issues. The problem becomes one of focus. In this case, where establishing a Sacred Grove is the objective, then an agreement must be made at the outset to quickly weigh against the main objective, each of the myriad issues which always rear their heads: Is this an important part of what we need to deal with? Tell us why in less than five minutes, or go home and work on it until you can tell us whysuccinctly. If it is important, decide when to address the issue. If it is not germane, then move on.
It is also important to know when to open a process to public scrutiny and input. Initially, the Sacred Groves working group ought to stay small enough to reach agreement on the goal and to establish some shared sense of vision. You want to invite people to join your group to fulfill a very specific purpose, creation of a Sacred Grove. Be very careful who you invite into this initial group, because the wrong mix of personalities or personal visions can kill your effort in the cradle. Either they are engaged and supportive, or they remain within the ranks of the waiting-to-be-convinced. Their time will come later. This should also be lots of fun, so make sure your working group likes one another enough to enjoy the process. As you get stronger and clearer about your concept, you can strategically add to your group, until you have built a well-balanced team. At that point, you can begin inviting others to share the vision, and undoubtedly the details will further evolve as people add their own good ideas, or valid critiques. A good beginning will stand up to this process, emerge enriched, and excite many others to become involved. Once you have reached this stage, you can open the process all the way, and form a group directed toward achieving the vision.

Let me know how it goes. We should attempt to link any groups which start up so that we can share support and ideas. As the person initially promoting this idea, I am available for limited assistance and clarification as my time and energies allow, and by contract (we all have to eat), as a consultant for more detailed and time-consuming assistance. I can help with strategy, design, proposals, site assessment, community organizing consultation, information on tree planting and species selection, public education, and more.

Erik van Lennep
Sacred Groves Project
PO Box 73
Stafford, VT 05072


by Lark

Everyone got a good hoot over my article "Silly Spells" in the last issue, so here we go again.
I have a collection of silly love spells which Annie and I giggle over from time to time. Love incantations always intrigue me, especially since no honorable witch would manipulate others. But I suppose all is fair in love and desperation.
For the following spells you'll need to find a willow tree. They also involve scooping up the dirt from your intended love victim's footprint. This could prove difficult in the city--or maybe you could just always carry around a bag of potting soil, just in case. And you thought casting spells was easy!
Find the footprint in the earth, and dig up the earth where the footprint is impressed. Take the earth to the nearest willow tree, dig a hole at its base, put the footprint into the hole, filling it over with the original dirt. As you are burying the footprint, chant:
"Many earths on earth there be
I make my love known unto thee.
For he (she) is the flower and I the stem,
He (I) the cock and me (she) the hen.
Grow, grow willow tree!
Sorrow not for the likes of me."
Or, take some earth from the footprint of the one you love. Put the earth in a pot and plant a sunflower seed in it. As the sunflower flourishes so their love for you will blossom. (Don't forget to water!)
Yet another: Stalk your lover and when you can, secretly remove the earth from his footprint. Take it to that willow tree and bury it near the trunk. While doing this mutter:
"Green grass and willow tree
His captured soul I bring to thee
Grow his love, grow for me
As green grows the willow tree."

No dirt involved in this next one, but you'll still be employing that poor old willow tree. This spell is performed on New Year's Eve. The inquirer takes an old shoe and throws it up into the branches of the willow tree. If the shoe is caught within the branches, you will be married within the year. If it falls through the branches, well, go back to scooping up footprint dirt!


by Linda Kerr

Each of the 13 lunar months has its own particular 'glyph,' or line, from the Song of Amergin, an ancient poem said to have been chanted by the chief bard of the Milesian invaders of Ireland as he first set foot to the island in 1268 BC. This poem was reconstructed by Robert Graves in The White Goddess and related to the Beth-Luis-Nion alphabet. Each of these lines speak of a particular essence of the lunar energies, and when studied in-depth, can help lead to a greater understanding of the tree month. This series of articles will attempt to explore these glyphs, and at least get you started in your own understanding. (See last issue for the poem.)

Holly/Tinne: I am a battle-waging spear

"T [Tinne] is the spear month, the month of the tanist; the bardic letter T was shaped like a barbed spear." [t] (Graves, 210)

It is difficult to separate the Holly from the Oak; indeed, the word tanist, a key word in understanding Holly, meaning other self or deputy, comes from the word tannin, an ingredient of oak bark. Mythologically, the Oak and the Holly are united as twins, locked in a twice-yearly cycle of sacrifice and rebirth.
If you'll remember from last issues's article on Oak, Hercules first appears in legend as a pastoral sacred king and a twin, his twin being his tanist, or deputy, who is armed with a spear (Graves, 125). Hercules, who is the Oak-King, is the male leader of all orgiastic rites and has 12 archer companions, including his twin. (Graves, 125) Hercules is ritually sacrificed on a T-shaped oak at midsummer, the halfway point of the year, which also marks the turning from Oak to Holly moon. After the Oak-King's sacrifice, his tanist succeeds him and reigns for the remainder of the year as the Holly-King, when he is himself sacrificially killed by a new Hercules at midwinter. (Graves, 126) This same tanist appears in Greek legend as Poeas, who lighted Hercules' funeral pyre and inherited his arrows, as he inherited his rule for the second half of the year. (Graves, 126) These arrows are related to the spear of Holly.
Llew Llaw Gyffes, another figure of myth who was featured in the article on Hawthorn, is true to this twin archetype when he takes Gwydion as his twin to visit his mother Arianrhod. (Graves, 127) Llew's true twin and tanist, however, is Gronw Pebyr, who fell in love with Llew's wife and together plotted to kill Llew. Gronw reigns during the second half of the year, after Llew's sacrificial murder by Gronw with a dart, which is a type of javelin, or thrown spear. (Graves, 318) In the story of Llew Llaw, after Llew's murder by Gronw, he is resurrected by Gwydion, upon which Llew seeks out Gronw to make retribution with him. Llew will not accept anything from him but that Gronw stand where Llew was killed, and let Llew take aim at him with a dart, as was done to him. Thus is Gronw slain in turn by Llew, who takes possession of the land a second time and rules it. (Graves, 312-313)
To further make clear this cycle, much earlier in the story of Llew, Gronw hunts and kills a stag and flays it outside Llew's castle. The stag stands for Llew himself. (Graves, 318) This takes us back to the Stag of Seven Tines, representative of Birch moon, which is of course the first moon of the calendar, and the one in which the Oak King--Llew--is reborn.
Llew Llaw is generally identified with Lugh, the Sun-god, in Ireland called "Lugh the Long-handed." Lugh possessed a magic spear which thirsted for blood and flashed fire or roared aloud in battle--one of the four magical treasures brought with the Tuatha de Dannan to Ireland. His death on the first Sunday in August, called Lugn nasadh ("Commemoration of Lugh"), later altered to 'Lughmass' or 'Lammas,' was observed in Ireland with mourning and kept as a feast of dead kinsfolk (Graves, 301), but is now considered a type of harvest festival, which falls on August 1st, usually during the Holly moon.
Psychologically, the spear is a masculine symbol; its essential quality, however, is not sharpness or separation, but aim or direction and impact, an attribute particularly noted in the arrow. This speaks of the perception of the goal or awareness of one's intention, as in keeping one's eye on and reaching further possibilities; intuition, basically. (Jung & von Franz, 82) This quality of perception and intuition lead us into the next moon, Hazel.

Hazel/Coll: I am a salmon in the pool

"C [Coll] is the nut month. The salmon is the king of the riverfish, and the difficulty of capturing him, once he is lodged in a pool, makes him a useful emblem of philosophical retirement. Thus Loki, the Norse God of cunning, disguised himself from his fellow-gods as a salmon and was drawn from his pool only with a special net of his own design." (Graves, 210)

In the tale of an Irish hero, Fionn was told by a Druid with the same name as himself, to cook for the Druid a salmon fished from a deep pool of the River Boyne, but Fionn was forbidden to taste it. However, as Fionn was turning the fish in the pan he burned his thumb, which he put into his mouth. Upon doing so, he received the gift of inspiration. For the salmon was the salmon of knowledge, that had eaten the nuts fallen from the nine hazels of poetic art. (Graves, 75) The nut in Celtic legend is a symbol of concentrated wisdom; something sweet, compact and sustaining enclosed in a small hard shell, or, 'the matter in a nutshell.' The nine hazels of poetic art produced flowers and fruit, representing beauty and wisdom, simultaneously. As the nuts dropped into the well or pool, they fed the salmon below. However many nuts they consumed, an equal number of bright spots appeared on their bodies. All the knowledge of the arts and sciences was bound up in the eating of these nuts. (Graves, 181-182)
"Poets and story-tellers, speaking of any subject difficult to deal with, often say, 'Unless I had eaten the salmon of knowledge I could not describe it.' " (Joyce 1, 439; Squire, 55)
According to Emma Jung and von Franz, the fish, living in the darkness of deep water, is often symbolic of the unconscious that lies below the level of consciousness. Here our instinctual and spiritual aspects are still merged together, not yet separate from each other. Therefore, the fish is an inspirer, a bringer of wisdom, and a helpful animal--both insight and redemptive, helping to integrate the unconscious with the conscious mind; and instinctive and impulse. (Jung & von Franz, 189)
Thus Hazel is the tree of wisdom and inspiration, gained by eating the salmon in the pool. This inspiration is necessary in the next moon, Vine, the poet's moon.

Vine/Muin: I am a hill of poetry

"M [Muin] is the initial of Minerva, Latin goddess of wisdom and inventor of numbers; of Mnemosyne, the Mother of the Greek Muses; and of the Muses themselves; and of the Moirae, or Fates... The Vine, the prime tree of Dionysus, is everywhere associated with poetic inspiration. Wine is the poets' proper drink, as Ben Jonson knew well when he asked for his fee as Poet Laureate to be paid in sack [wine]. The base Colley Cibber asked for a cash payment in lieu of wine, and no Poet Laureate since has been poet enough to demand a return to the old system of payment." (Graves, 210)

Why is inspiration and wisdom so important to a poet? Obviously, without these qualities, they cannot pursue their craft. But let's look at the ancient Celts. These people carefully distinguished the poet, who was originally a priest and judge as well and whose person was sacrosanct, from the mere gleeman. The poet was in Irish called a fili, a seer; in Welsh a derwydd, or oakseer, which is probably the derivation of Druid. Even kings were subject to his moral teachings. During a battle, the poets of both sides would gather on a nearby hill and there judiciously discuss the fighting. The combatants, whom the poets often parted and even refereed, would afterwards accept their version of the fight, if commemorated in a poem, with reverence as well as pleasure. (Graves, 21-22)
The gleeman, however, was considered mere entertainment, and could just as easily be paid for his troubles by a pelting with beef-bones as with gold torques and honey cakes. But no man would so willingly insult an Irish poet, lest he "compose a satire which could bring out black blotches on his face and turn his bowels to water, or throw a 'madman's wisp' in his face and drive him insane." (Graves, 22) The court-poets of Wales, who had to depend on the legal system to right wrongs, could demand a payment of nine cows and nine-score pence of money; this figure nine recalls the nine-fold Muse, the patroness of the poets, and also the number of the Vine moon. (Graves, 22)
According to Graves, these ancient poets (usually) kept true to a Theme, the story of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the God of the Waxing Year (the Oak-King). The story is centrally concerned with the God's losing battle with the God of the Waning Year (the Holly-King) for the love of the Triple Goddess. The poet identifies with the God of the Waxing Year, and his Muse with the Goddess; his rival is his blood-brother, his other self, or twin; the God of the Waning Year. Graves claims that all true poetry celebrates some incident or scene in this ancient story. The test for true poetry is the reaction one has in reading a poem--the hairs stand on end, the eyes water, the throat is constricted, the skin crawls and is goose-bumply, and a shiver runs down the spine, if the poem is a true poem. This is because a true poem is necessarily an invocation of the White Goddess, the Triple Goddess, or Muse, the Mother of All Living. (Graves, 24) The Muse can easily inspire feelings of joy, exhilaration, and even wrath in her poets; these same feelings may also be gained, in a lesser degree, from the wine made from the fruit of the vine, the poets' traditional drink and method of payment.


Graves, Robert. The White Goddess. 1948. The Noonday Press, New York, NY.
Joyce, P.W. A Social History of Ancient Ireland (2 vols.). 1980. Arno Press, New York, NY.
Jung, Emma, and von Franz, Marie-Louise. The Grail Legend. 1960, 1980. Sigo Press, Boston, MA.
Squire, Charles. Celtic Myth and Legend, Poetry and Romance. 1979. Bell Publishing Co., New York, NY.


by Linda Kerr

This is a series of articles designed to teach the basic premises of the Faerie Faith in an understandable method. If you have questions or topic suggestions, let me know, and I'll address them in a future article. If you enjoy the series, and find that the articles make sense to you and help you, let me know--it's good to know if I'm taking the right approach.

In the Faerie Faith, although this has never been formalized, a student's progress can roughly be equated to the 13 lunars and their energies.

The Beginning - Birch
The student learns awareness, sensitivity, and self-discipline. She learns to work with someone who has authority over her; i.e., her teacher, the High Priestess. She learns to develop her own inner authority. She learns to be aware of all around her; of the plants, trees, devas, spirits, etc., as well as begin to be aware of the energies of the different lunations. She learns to be sensitive to these energies. She learns the need for self-discipline, as many things are "dumped" on her all at once: articles and books to read, trees to study, etc.

The student is now at the quickening or aborting phase. She must decide whether this is the path for her or not. If so, this is a good time for the adoption ritual, which sets her foot on the path. At this point she is wide-open to all around her, all influences, etc. This is when she begins to learn compassion and communication with the help of this openness. Once she is aware of the energies around her, she must be able to communicate with them. She must be able to communicate also with her fellow students and with her teacher, and have compassion for them and for all others.

The student must now learn patience. She must realize that she is still at the beginning, and to expect to know everything all at once is folly. She should be persistent, but patient, both with herself and with others. She must also be careful in what she says or does to others. This is where the compassion learned in the previous moon comes into play. For the impatience felt now can cause her to lash out, to act rashly, or to say more than she should. The waters are indeed moving, yet the child is still unborn.

The student will probably calm down a bit now, and come to appreciate order and rule. She will have learned that those who have authority over her, such as her teacher, have this out of necessity, and that it is wielded with love, not with intent of power. She will also come to know just how much she still doesn't know, and by doing so, gain a large bit of wisdom. This can be a time of painful changes, both internally and in mundane life. She has been touched by the fire of the new sun. She is being truly born.

The student begins to seriously apply herself to her reading and studies; to exercise her intellect and her instincts. Not all of what she reads or does will make sense yet, but she will soon find clarity amidst the confusion. As she progresses along the path, certain things are left behind. She may come to resent this fact; or she may feel like zooming right along anyway. She is changing and moving now. She may be ready for the next step: initiation.

The student is in a time of unlimited potential; if she was initiated, she may flounder a bit trying to get her bearings before she takes off on further spiritual ventures. This is a good time to sit back for a bit, take a fast both spiritually and physically. The student may know she wants to go on, but she's not sure where yet. Some students at this point take a brief hiatus from their studies, to let things settle back into place, especially after an initiation. She must test her boundaries, set her course.

The student regains her strength of will, and is ready for whatever the path throws her way. She has gained from her experiences of the past, and can now put that to use. She has come through several changes intact, if not unscathed. She may now become aware of a dual nature within herself, or perhaps a dual existence in the mundane world. How she deals with this will set the stage for the next phase. She has truly set the path in motion now; her life will continue to change even if she steps off the path. Now is when she must look within herself for inner strength and conviction.

In some ways, this is the culmination of all that has gone before. If the student has learned compassion, communication, sensitivity, and awareness, then she has a good foundation for her growth. If she has not learned these, this may be the time she is forced to by the cosmos. For a student cannot move beyond a certain level without these basic understandings. She should have reached a balance within herself, and if she has not, the rest of the path will be very difficult for her. If all is well, she will really begin to grow now.

If the student has passed through the tribulations of the last two phases, this can be a very calming time; a time to reflect, to understand. She has completed one part of the journey. This may be a good time for the second initiation. She may begin to get flashes of insight, a crack in the cosmic egg. Things will become clear to her that were not before. The mysteries will begin to be not so mysterious.

The student has now reached a new level. The purpose of the second initiation will now be understood by her. She is the sum of her parts, and more. She has gained more than just book knowledge, but a true understanding of the mysteries. Any feeling of duality within her may cease; she will feel complete. To share this new feeling, this exhilaration almost, she may take on a student of her own. This will help her in her own growth; show her again just how much she still doesn't know. But this time it's not so frustrating.

The student now has a better attunement with nature, the spirits, the cosmos, and the Goddess. She does not have to think about being as one with the Otherworld; she just is. It is important now for the student to remember the lessons of the past. She must maintain self-discipline in order to keep functioning in the mundane world, and at the same time to maintain her connection with the Otherworld. She must stay balanced within herself, for this is a shaky time, when her Low Self can get out of control easily. Above all, she must keep moving.

As the student anticipates her coming graduation, her final ceremony which will formally end her studies under someone else, she may feel worried, even terrified. No doubt she has heard horror stories of the final initiation. She may also be worried about being out on her own; she may have doubts about being ready to be turned loose. She knows there will be sacrifices to be made, not all of which will be pleasant. She should take some time now to look within herself, to assure herself that she is indeed ready.

A time of transition. The student prepares to go through with her Fifth Solar, the final initiation ceremony. She will become a High Priestess in her own right. She may have a giddy feeling, and may still feel a bit unsure. But the terror and anticipation of the last phase has passed. She has overcome her fear, and will go through the ritual and come out on the other side. This is a good time for her to be around her friends and other students on the path, regardless of their current position.

The Day Apart
After the Fifth Solar, the now-High Priestess should take some time to herself and reconnect with the Earth. This is a time to commune with the Goddess, to get a glimmer of what the future holds. She has shed her skin, and been born again. She has passed into the tomb, and come out of the womb.


by Coll

Ed. Note: This powerful ritual was performed at EarthDance II, September 1995, in Georgia, by Church of Rhiannon. Though written for a large group, it could be adapted for a smaller circle.

(Participants are admitted to circle in the accustomed fashion. Each participant is challenged, anointed, and smudged. A covener will make sure that each participant is led around the circle deosil until the circle is full.)
(Spirits are called: Druid and Priestess will go to each quarter. Thegn will sound a horn at each quarter after the ho chant.)

Druid speaks: "I call to you Pagans all. Listen to me! Now is the night of the Gort Moon which signifies the continuing harvest. The time of darkness approaches. Throughout the time of light, our Goddess has nurtured us. Soon will be her time of rest. Threefold is her face. It is meet that we honor all her forms. Let us close our eyes and listen to her voice."
Druid speaks: "Beloved Maiden, Earth Goddess Child Rhiannon, speak to us!"
Maiden speaks: "Green sap rising to greet the Spring. Elvin Queen am I. Every bird sings my name. To call the Green Man. That I may bloom with him at the year's prime. That I may blind him in his hour of joy."
Druid speaks: "Blessed Mother, Epona, giver of all life, speak to us!"
Mother speaks: "Eating the living germs of grasses. Eating the ova of large birds. The fleshy sweetness packed around the sperm of swaying trees. The muscles of flanks and thighs of soft voiced cows. The bounce in the lamb's leap. The swish in the ox's tail. Eating roots grown swoll inside the soil. Drawing on life of living clustered points of light spun out of space. Hidden in the grape. Eating each other's seed. Eating, ah...each other. Kissing the lover in the mouth of bread: Lip to lip."
Druid speaks: "Dreaded Death Crone, let us heed your warning."
Crone speaks: "Things are inexorable, and you cannot escape the Karma of my continuum. I am angry at your escalating assaults. You denude me. Turn my nurture into aridity. You plunder. You excavate... You are trying to paralyze me--to turn me into a broken toy, its mechanism spilling out its guts, kept functional only through the heroic and Faustian tricks of your technology. You drive me underground, where I am still myself and move according to my will and nature. Down there I have no use for you. I revert to who I was at the beginning. Down there I am a demon who destroys in an instant what it took me millions of years to build. I shove the continents around. Smash India into Tibet. Crash Africa up Italy's boot. Play scrabble with the North American West. Spin Europe like a top. Lift the seas to the peaks. I play and you die...without sentimentality. Alive or dead, it's all the same to me. But you pump me full of poisons. You force feed me substances I cannot tolerate. I try to absorb, to burn, to cleanse, but more comes. Always more. My bowels hurt. I am ill. I want to vomit! My intestines burst! My stomach lining cracks! Enough! Enough!"
(Druid explains the power raising part of the ritual. Power raised is to draw each participant within--to look at their own behavior towards the Earth Mother. All hold hands and slowly spin the circle during the drumming. When the drumming stops they should meditate for a couple of minutes and then ground by touching the Earth. Flute will bring us out of meditation.)
Drumming begins:
Thegn speaks (during drumming): "The stroke Ka is the sound of Earth. It is the bones of our body. All that we are comes from the Earth. All that we are will return to the Earth. Anything we put into the Earth, we are literally putting into our own bodies, and into the bodies of our children, and their children, and their children, and their children...
"The stroke Dum is the purifying, cleansing, life-inducing sound of water, whose purity all life depends upon. It is the blood of our bodies.
"The stroke Tak is the sound of fire. It is the sound of radiant heat and light. It is the energy of our bodies. It is the sound of transformation by destruction.
"The stroke Cha is the sound of air. Without air, there would be no life. It is the breath of our bodies.
"It is the Earth of all Earth! It is the Water of all Water! It is the Fire of all Fire! It is the Air of all Air!"
(Drumming stops and meditation begins. Flute brings all out of meditation.)
(Priestess offers prayers of thanksgiving to the Earth Mother and to the spirits in attendance.)
(Spirits are released!)
(Benediction sung.)
Druid speaks: "This circle has ended...go in peace."


- by David Sparenberg

If you receive the basket
handed you by the angel
called Dawn,
you will become a beam
of the upward sun.

If you enter this cornucopia
of creation's multitude,

divested of your ego's edges,
you will emerge
as apple or as orange.

Why not, with the taster's mouth,
be of the tasted fruit?

As the eagle flies,
so is the heart for flying.
The soul
for living its dreams.

Why not, with the hunter's talon,
be of the hunted quarry?

And within the pathetic network
of all living beings,
be as one
with the spider's threads?


by Michael Devizes

I unexpectedly got the call from "The Management" on CELestial 9000--my spiritual internet server--to go to Sweden last year. Reluctantly, because Sweden is such an expensive country, but having learned the hard way that it's worse if you resist, I spent two weeks out there and was guided to the remote inner lakes and directed by said "Management" to make direct contact with colonies of trolls (is that the right collective noun--or should that read a 'troop'?).
Polite but pretty forceful lot are trolls. I'd heard about their abruptness but never actually encountered it at first hand. Anyway, to cut a long story short these guys insisted on not only me taking them back to England but they further demanded to being escorted a further 250 miles on to deepest Cornwall (very western tip of UK) where I was to escort them their long-lost cousins; the famed Cornish piskies.
As you can imagine there were a number of problems to resolve, not the least of which was that I just did not have enough cash on my credit card to charter an aircraft. So we overcame this when they were loaned some very old but featherlight full length invisibility cloaks by their cousins in Helsinki.
NEVER AGAIN! Forget whatever you've read. These guys played me up somethin' rotten. You should know, by the way, that my work requires me to be teetotal, it proving very droll indeed when a medium mixes his spirits, but I distinctly recall putting only one pack of 200 cigarettes in my duty free plastic bag at Copenhagen airport.
When I got home and opened my cases there were FOUR packs --an amount way over UK customs taxfree import quota. There were also a handful of what looked like tiny dead birch branches. I've yet to work out and dread to think what these might be, but I'm hoping they'll prove to be some kind of faerie wands. The alternative option, trollshit, is too awful to contemplate!
OK, so we get back home to Wiltshire--the most unpopulated county in England where there are more pigs (4-legs) than folk and more sheep than pigs--and then we get MORE demands. They told me they were all off on some kind of faerie walkabout-cum-safari to make contact with the locals, so I agreed to go take them to likely places. We kind of did the circuit and then in one place they came face to face with the local elementals. The sight of two terrified local faerie folk, more than acutely embarrassed at being caught in working dress and being confronted by this band of bearded vikings, was potentially disastrous. But I played the stupid mortal and overcame their shame by appearing real dumb and appealing for their help in greeting these overseas visitors in the proper manner.
That turned out to be even dumber than I had realized. 'Cos this meant that the local Wessex chapter of the Faerie Council had to be contacted and THEN we discovered that this council didn't meet up before the next lunation which was then two weeks hence, so I ended up having to reschedule (oops, sorry, that should read 'reskedule' for you colonial types) our proposed journey to Cornwall for yet another two weeks. And let me tell you, having 30 or so unexpected house guests for a month can be rather tiresome. (My old aunt used to say "Guests and fish both go off after 3 days" --and boy was she ever right!)
In the end I got them there without losing any and this was no mean feat, such is their curiosity, and as a result was permitted to be guest of honour (oops, sorry; that should read 'honor') where I sat on the grassy bank of this remote B&B place I know on the edge of an ancient standing stone circle for a while whilst they greeted.
Boy, did they greet. EVERYONE, I mean everyone had to shake hands with everyone else and give their names, each one of which was four minutes long so, as you can imagine, I soon got VERY bored indeed with their very formal welcoming ceremonies that went on for hours; exchanges of gifts (which they banned me from 'seeing' by the way, which I think was jolly rotten of them, seeing as how I had been such a conscientious courier), all of which was followed by their insistence of tracing lineage back over hundreds of years since they had last had contact.
Agreed, these family branches had not seen each other for ages, although they had--and do-- keep in touch by what I can only describe as a kind of bird song mail. It seemed to go on forever and in the end I jus' discreetly withdrew an' left them to it. In truth there was so much celebrating going on I didn't have the heart to ask who was going to pick up the tab for my air fare to Sweden. (Well really, it's all very well fulfilling these urgent faxes from the spiritual internet, but no one even THINKS to ask you about your expenses. I mean, try telling that tale to your friendly neighbourhood H&R Block just before the IRS comes to call!
If you are interested AND you are truly ready then You can meet them too. I know where in Land's End--close by the sunken mystical city of Lyonesse you will find both them and other faerie folk.
But.... shall you have the required respect and patience? Aye, there's the rub.


by Marilyn Windle

Prior articles in this series have dealt with meditative techniques which allow you to slow your brain wave frequency down to a level where your right brain (or practical side) relinquishes control, and your left brain (the more intuitive side) takes over. Using this lower brain frequency, or the alpha brain wave pattern, you can learn to feel the energy fields around all matter. While this can be handy with inorganic materials (I have used this technique to diagnose problems with my car), you'll probably use it more with plants and animals.
The first exercise is a refresher on attaining the meditative state. If you have missed prior articles in this series, you can order back issues of The Hazel Nut from the publisher.

Exercise One

Assume a comfortable position and close your eyes. (If you are new to meditating, don't try this lying down as you may fall asleep.) Become aware of your breath for a few moments. Don't try to control your breath, just feel the air filling your lungs, expanding your chest and abdomen, then flowing out. Now picture yourself in an elevator in a 10 story building, the kind of elevator with the numbered lights over the door. Feel the elevator begin to descend, and watch the light move from the top floor downward, feeling yourself going down, down, down. When you reach the bottom floor, the elevator doors open and you step out into a supremely relaxing place. For me, this is the beach. (If you prefer a different image of relaxation, feel free. Just try to include as many of your senses as possible.) Your towel is already laid out for you, and the sand is very warm but not hot under your feet as you make your way to it. As you lie back and close your eyes, you can feel the warmth of the sun being absorbed by your body. You can hear the sea gulls calling somewhere far above as the surf breathes in and out.
Relax with this image for a few moments. You can smell the combination of salt and sand, maybe even coconut. Listen to the surf and find your breath falling into the rhythm, breathing in as the waves pull out, breathing out as they come rustling back. Feel the warmth of the sun and a slight breeze blowing gently across your body. It's a perfect day at the beach. You don't feel hot, just relaxed, with the warmth of the sun flowing into you.
To end the exercise, simply get up and walk back into the elevator. Leave your towel so it'll be there for you the next time you come. Allow the doors to close, then watch the lights move and feel yourself moving up, becoming more and more aware of your surroundings until you reach the top and open your eyes.
Once you can reach this meditative level without falling asleep, practice maintaining this relaxed state with your eyes open.

Exercise Two

You know from physics class that all matter has energy, and that nothing is really solid at the molecular level. This constantly moving energy can be felt by anyone who practices the technique. Although everything on earth has this energy surrounding it, it is easier to pick this energy up from living beings, which are also emanating life energy, then from inanimate objects, such as a plastic ruler.
For this exercise, you'll need a healthy plant. (If you don't have any plants in your home, why don't you? Most of us exist in artificial environments, and are forced to breath processed air in our homes, offices and schools. Plants filter the air we breath. They are also living, breathing beings which help to connect us with the earth and its energy. Besides, healthy plants make you feel good about yourself.) Make sure the plant is healthy and thriving, not yellowing and drooping from over- or under-watering. If you don't have enough light in your home to support plants, find a bush or flower or tree outside that you can work with without attracting attention. (If your home is that low in natural light energy, consider moving or at least adding full-spectrum lights. If a plant can't live where you do, what effect do you think that environment is having on you?)
Find a comfortable position and use the meditation techniques we've practiced to slow yourself down. With your eyes closed, visualize yourself in your current position with a light glowing all around you. It may take a few tries to "see" yourself enveloped by this light. You might see this as surrounding your body uniformly as a soft glow. On the other hand, you may see the light as more active, arcing out from your head or from your out-stretched hand. You may see the light as white or having a color. What you are visualizing is your aura, the field of energy which can be seen or felt around all living things. (This topic was covered in the last article.)
Now direct your attention to the plant, and move your hands so that they surround the plant but don't touch it, stretching your fingers slightly if necessary. If the plant is small, and your fingers would touch, then hold your hands straight and parallel, one on each side. Visualize the light emanating from the plant. It may be extended uniformly all over, so that it outlines the plant perfectly, or there may be areas where it extends out (like from your head or hand) and areas where it hugs a stem or leaf. After observing the light for a moment, mentally ask permission from the plant to feel the light. If you don't feel welcome, just observe the light and try this experiment with another plant. If you feel it would be all right, move your hands closer together and touch the light. What does it feel like? Some people describe this as feeling like crackling, static electricity. Others feel a warm vibration. It doesn't matter how it feels to you, just practice feeling this energy. Before ending the exercise, send an image of perfect health to the plant and thank it for allowing you to touch its aura.
Always ask permission and give thanks when working with living creatures, whether plants or animals. Everything on this planet is on its own path of spiritual development, and you don't have the right to impose your desires and actions on other life without its agreement.

Exercise Three

For this exercise, you'll need to have several objects to practice on that you can probably find in your house and backyard. Gather together two or three common rocks, dead leaves or branches gathered from the ground (don't pull off a tree), a clay flower pot, something made of metal (like a ruler, a stapler or pair of scissors) and something made of plastic (like a ruler, a cassette tape box or a cup). Try to get "pure" objects that don't contain more than one element. For example, a tape dispenser may be made of plastic, but it might have a metal serrated strip for tearing the tape.
Find a comfortable position and close your eyes. Quiet your mind. Feel yourself relaxing and becoming aware at a different level. Keep your eyes closed. Visualize your aura glowing. Visualize the objects in front of you as also glowing with energy. Can you see the difference in your aura and the light emanating from the objects?
Once you can "see" yourself as surrounded with this glow, and visualize your gathered objects as also glowing, reach out and cup your hands over one of the rocks. Keep visualizing the energy field from the rock and more your hands until you are touching the light. How does it feel? How is it different from the plant? Is the light you see the same color as what the plant gave off?
Cup your hands over each of the objects in turn, and feel the differences in the energy given off by each of them. You may notice a difference in the energy pattern. The energy pattern of a plastic cup is flat and even, while you may feel ripples from the energy coming from the rock. You'll have to practice this with different objects and learn what the different energy fields feel like to you. A friend of mine can feel the difference in the energy given off by different colors, and can tell you what color something is blindfolded.
Try another plant and notice how different it feels from a plastic cup or stainless steel nail file. How does the dead leaf feel in contrast?

Exercise Four

Finally, try this again, with a tree. Choose an older tree for this exercise, not a small sapling. Feel the energy emanating from the bark as you move your hands toward it, but not touching it. (Ask permission first, of course.) As you do this with different trees, you'll see that they all feel slightly different, like different personalities.
Before sending an image of perfect health and thanks, quiet your mind for a few moments and open up to receive from the tree. Just as I was able to assist my puppy with housebreaking by sending mental images of where, when and the desired result, trees can communicate using images with you, as well. They aren't intrusive, though, so you'll have to open your mind and allow this to happen. Though I have been aware of and able to feel the energy fields around trees for over 20 years, a friend showed me how to communicate with them just last year. It had never occurred to me to open up to receive what they would say to me.

Opening yourself up to communication with other life is an incredible experience. While you may soon tire of feeling inanimate energy, there is always something new and exciting to learn from (and give to) the other life forms on this planet. Open yourself up to the energy flowing around you. You will wonder how you have lived so long without noticing it before.


by Linda Kerr

Moondance was held this year at a different site for the first time: FDR State Park in Georgia. We were afraid that the festival wouldn't have the same 'feel,' but also felt that it was worth it, since the site wouldn't be nearly as much work as the old one for a 7-months pregnant organizer! And yes, it was much easier to run the festival at a site with cabins, a full kitchen, electricity, and running water. This year also saw the addition of one more day to Moondance, so it ran Thursday-Monday, which was just incredible (but we still didn't want to leave!).
The classes were excellent, including one on Abortion Ritual, which was heavily attended by both men and women. Friday night Shelley held an Odinist ritual, then we had the Scottish dance marathon. Our proud but tired winners, after over 2 hours, were Mark and Marie, who each won a t-shirt, and in 2nd place were Fiel and Olivia.
Saturday night was one big party, starting with the potluck feast (imagine over 75 dishes!), and music by Lord Senthor. A small group of us left briefly to go see a "Native American Campfire" in the park by an Ojibwa Indian. This was a wonderful side trip, and after his talk, we invited him and his lady to come join us in our festivities, which they did. Upon arriving back at the festival, the drumming and dancing were in full swing--we were even able to build a fire in a central location with an energy which gave us much the same feel as Roxanna had in years previous. Our Ojibwa friends got there in time to see lots of naked bodies dancing and slithering around the fire in time to the drums. They weren't our only visitors, however; the park ranger heard our drums and came down to check us out. Rather than being upset at the possible violations, he actually wanted to come party with us!
Sunday, needless to say, was much mellower. The night ended with a Faerie Faith ritual on the Willow and Hawthorn moons, and then a bit more drumming around the fire. On Monday, we all had to pack up and go home...waah! The festival was a great success (about 100 people), which managed to exude its own special energy in spite of a totally different site. See ya'll there next year!


by Dana Ston

The opening circle of Stone's Rising 1996 was held at 4 pm Pagan Standard Time on Thursday, May 16. At that time there were over 200 gathered and our numbers continued to grow until we nearly doubled in size.
With a lingering presence of April showers in the air and moistened earth beneath our feet we began with Elspeth introducing some of our instructors for the workshops. The radical difference at this year's festival was the presence of Hawkwind, a Native American settlement, bridging the gap in the Pagan community and extending a blessing upon us. As the stone was lifted our tribe grew united with our descendants who will gaze in wonder at the work, the party, and the act of belief in the next generation. It will serve as a source for reassurance from their ancestors, us.
Most of us had traveled about 10 hours to attend the ceremony. It's difficult to write up the gathering as a whole. At every turn someone was experiencing a personal truth, a deeper level of the workshop or ritual.
The roll of guests reads like a Pagan Who's Who--Pete and Wendy Pathfinder, Laurie Cabot, Robin Wood and Mike Short, the Church of Iron Oak, and Nicki Scully. It was enough to make you say "Something's happening here!"
Time is a precious thing to all of us. Attending Stone's Rising, well, if it's a waste, then it was a wasting in good company. Please come and join us again at Stone's Rising III. Let's Rock!


by Vanessa Blue Heron

I've just returned from Rites of Spring XVIII, my first. Honey, let me tell you, they were anything but gentle, and I mean that in a good way. Beginning May 22 and concluding May 27, 1996, the Rites emanated a genteel encompassing energy refined through the years. This gathering draws one inward towards a community, a village in which acceptance matches the openness of individuals within the festival.
From the Tantra intensive followed by ritual (which was short--if it were finishing today it would still be too short) to the panerotic workshop, a theme of reconnection with our human brothers and sisters prevailed. A discussion of current and future issues facing all pagans was led by Oberon of CAW, Jacque Omi of Iron Oak, Andreas with the Glenshire witches, and Ellen Evert Hopman (AKA Willow). The panel was bombarded with tough issues from selling toilet paper (as a means of self support) to what to do about Satanists. Daily affinity groups explored everything from Sacred Circle Dance to drumming to sweat lodge. It was intense.
Believe it or not, there were hot showers, flush toilets, and good food. Lodging ranged from tents to cabins to a lodge. Oh, baby, this place in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Massachusetts has ruined me for all others.
No review could be without mention of the talent present. Magnus, the magician, brought tears of joy as 9 year old Brian was initiated into the art of illusion before a crowd of over 300. Late Nite at Rites had a coffee house flavor that our present generation needs to experience. In many ways I was transported to 1966 with its spirit of changing the world into a better place.
Before I wax nostalgic, be warned, at times the black flies were merciless, and in the open tenting area be prepared for the sounds of a growing community (most notably babies crying). Also spring in Massachusetts can be unpredictable and difficult to pack for. This Southern girl did not have enough warm clothes (thanks to Elspeth I didn't freeze).
My eyes filled with tears at the main ritual. The Glenshire witches know how to create a unique experience, which loses something in the writing, however apt. I know it will influence me throughout this year.
As gatherings go, Rites is a classic, one with more feelings than definition. It must be lived to be appreciated.
A tear forms in my eye now as I close. My home, the real world with my real family, seems far, far away. From one classic to another...
"Oh well, tomorrow is another day."


by Sherlock

2 Aganippe's spring flowed from Mt. .
4 Ngetal.
5 Not the purple man but the .
8 The guy who ran naked covered with mud through the middle of a Women's Mysteries class.
10 The four great Arch Angles are Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and .
12 is a candle.

1 The sacred grove is an eco- .
3 Hecate's messenger.
6 Alternate spelling of magical to denote it from stage magic.
7 Uath.
9 A common antiviral essential oil beginning with N.
11 Benjamin was the son.

The solutions to this crossword puzzle can be found in the Beltane 1996 (Issue #20) of The Hazel Nut. I took the questions from last issue's articles, so you'll have to read them to answer this crossword. Oh, and don't throw away this issue; its articles contain the answers to the next puzzle. Have fun!!!

Answers to last issue's Ankh-Word Puzzle
Across: 2 Sparkle, 6 Cruithneari, 9 Sleeping, 10 Ilmatar
Down: 1 Alder, 2 Sashrahar, 3 Universe, 4 Mint, 5 Iris, 7 Energy, 8 Olympiad


Dear Linda:
Nice to meet you!!! I have a true story I would like to share with you in the hopes you can direct me to the right place for more information. I am new to this internet stuff...and I do hope to meet a lot of new people who would be interested in this story. Well, here it goes.
In 1989 My father and I went on a fly-in fishing trip in a very remote area of Ontario, Canada. After fishing for a couple hours... I had an urge to go out by myself into the woods. I went hiking a few miles and found an old Indian campground. I found a tall staff nearby to help with the sore feet. The staff was notched at the top (why, I do not know.) As I was walking along, I suddenly realized it was starting to get dark. Believe me when I tell you that it is not a good idea to be in the woods in Canada after dark. Especially when there are no humans around for 100 miles or more. Anyways, I turned and started back. It was at that time I realized I was lost. I was starting to get real frightened. I sat down with the staff on a large boulder to think about how to get back. After a few minutes I saw some movement in the woods to my right. I turned and at that time a VERY large white wolf with red eyes walked up to me and sat right between my legs. As I looked at him I was not afraid. As we made eye contact I had a feeling of relief for some reason. He stood up and walked about 3 yards in a certain direction and sat down, turned around and looked back at me. He took a few more steps and sat down again and looked at me. I had a feeling he wanted me to follow him. I was following right behind him and after a few miles, he led me to where I started. He sat on the ground in front of me and cocked his head in a way that I sort of understood. I thought he was saying to me, "you're out of the woods and safe now." I then bowed my head and thanked him for his help. I heard a sound off in the distance...I turned to look and saw nothing. I turned back around to the wolf and he was gone.
You may not believe this story but I hope you do....It is VERY true. I had a silver ring custom made for me after this experience. I placed rubies for eyes to make it look like him. I also have an alter for the wolf. I also kept the staff from the campground. I feel it may have had something to do with the experience as well. I was told recently that the white wolf does not exist and is a myth. Is this true? and how was a myth able to help me? I was Catholic at the time. and never dwelled into other beliefs. I am now a nature lover and nature is my church. I guess. I am a Pagan...and a proud one too!!! I hope you can help me...I just needed to tell people of this experience. I feel I owe it to the wolf to do so. Wolves are so prosecuted, hunted to almost extinction....I feel he helped me to not only help me, but to help him and his kind. Let me know what you think.
Blessed Be
Jon Wolf Tamer
4433 University Ave. #104
Columbia Heights, MN


Linda Kerr (Editor, Layout, Manager, Publisher, Web Page) is a High Priestess of the Faerie Faith, a member of Church of All Worlds, and an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church. In addition to putting out The Hazel Nut and holding down a full-time job, she also organizes and runs a festival every May called Moondance; this was its 6th year. Other things competing for her time are Buckskinning (pre-1840's historical reenactment), teaching and competing in Scottish Highland Dance, and river canoeing. Write to her c/o The Hazel Nut, or email to: <>.

James (Jay) Lynch (Advertising Manager) has been a pagan for 6 years. He has always enjoyed studying parapsychology and other unexplained subjects, including Big Foot, UFO's, ancient civilizations, etc. Other interests include computers, camping, and bowling. He is currently working as a locksmith in Auburn, Alabama. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut, or email to: <>.

Lark (Poetry Editor) has been a solitary pagan for many years. She spent a decadent youth on the road as a rock-and-roll singer, and is still a professional photographer and musician. She is pursuing a Master's degree in Archival Sciences, and enjoys Civil War reenacting with her daughter. Write to her c/o The Hazel Nut.

Imré K. Rainey (Staff Writer and Web Consultant) was the original editor of The Hazel Nut when it started back in May 1993. He's been a pagan for six years, and is now an initiate of the Faerie Faith with a group of his own. He is also an ordained minister, a 3rd degree Reiki Master, and a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and is studying chiropractic medicine at Life Chiropractic College in Marietta, GA. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut, or email to:

Stormy (Staff Writer and Artist) is a solitary practitioner who studies Norse mythology and Runes, and co-organizes a festival called EarthDance, held in Georgia. She's also interested in astrology, astronomy, UFO's, and anything on psychic studies and the paranormal. Write to her c/o The Hazel Nut, or email to: <>.

Avalon (Carole Backman) is a musician and a research associate who once lived in a commune. She collects quartz crystals and tarot cards, studies Arthurian legend, archetypal theory and is taking classes in computer science. She has recently started a home business in Aromatherapy called Avalon Aromatics. Write to her at: 1329 Hickory Lane, Auburn, AL 35830, or email to: <>.

Susan Baxter is a 47 year old crone living on the brink of a ridge in the southern Indiana hills. Having flirted with paganism most of her life she embraced it whole-heartedly 10 years ago. Celtic, Druid and fairie are her studies of choice, and art and gardening are the things that keep her sane. She is mother of a grown daughter and wife for 27 years. She works in a friend's woodcraft shop a few days a week painting items that are sent all over the world as gifts and collectibles. Write to her at: Starwood, 9736 N. Hassetown Rd., Morgantown, IN 46160.

Coll is Druid of Church of Rhiannon (COR) in middle Georgia, which follows the Beth-Luis-Fearn tree calendar system. He teaches middle school, is a licensed minister, and has been in the Craft for many years. He is also a regular attendee at Moondance and Fallfling. Write to him at: COR, P.O. Box 260, Lizella, GA 31052.

Michael Devizes is a Spiritualist Medium in England. He has lectured across the globe on all matters mystical for some 25 years, and is the author of some 24 books. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut, or email to: <>.

Ing is Chief Bard of Church of Rhiannon (COR) in middle Georgia, which follows the Beth-Luis-Fearn tree calendar system. He was one of COR's co-founders back in 1983, when it was called Coven of Rhiannon. Write to him at: Rt. 4, Box 31, Blakely, GA 31723.

Adrian Loaghrian, now 44 yrs of age, was initiated into a hereditary Rosicrucian tradition at age 13. He's into studying other religions of the world, including Christianity, Judaism, etc., and has 12 years service in a public Wiccan coven. He previously studied ceremonial magic and finally formed this particular tradition in 1990, based on ancient and modern Irish folklore and Irish-Scottish folklore and literature. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut, or email to: <>.

Nion (Don Mikovitz) is 47, has been married 23 years to a devout Christian, and has 2 kids, 18 and 21. He works as a Registered Pulmonary Function Technician at the local community hospital. Nion was brought up as Catholic, but has always been pagan at heart. A member of the Church of Rhiannon (COR) since June 1994, he has the official capacity of the "Green Man." He's also a 1st degree Gardnarian witch since May 1995. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut.

Sherlock, otherwise known as Sherry Holmes, lives and works in Auburn, Alabama, where she also studies Wildlife Biology. She is a beginner student of the Faerie Faith, and runs a Samhain festival called FallFling. Write to her at: 1037 Mayberry St., Waverly, AL 36879, or email to: <>.

Sean P. Snakenberg is a freelance artist living in Columbus, Georgia. Write to him at: 1919 35th St., Apt. 2D, Columbus, GA, 31904.

David Sparenberg teaches classes and workshops in mythology and writing, shamanism and tribal spiritualities. His literary work has been published in over 80 periodicals and he is currently seeking a book publisher for a collection of short stories and visualization exercises, entitled Verbal Alchemy. Write to him at: 1713 14th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122, (206) 323-2115.

Erik van Lennep is a co-founder of the international Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco, and founding director of the New England Tropical Forest Project and the Arctic to Amazonia Alliance (an organization comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples). He has served as a consultant to Senator Leahy's 1989 Global Warming Legislation, and has advised The Nature Conservancy on Ring Mountain. He took part in the First Intercontinental Congress of Indian Peoples in July, 1990, in Quito, Ecuador, and co-produced the film "Columbus Didn't Discover Us." Write to him at: The Arctic to Amazonia Alliance, PO Box 73, Stafford, VT 05072. 802-765-4337, or email to: <>.

Marilyn Windle is a professional writer, with her first book being published this fall. She started studying the occult when she was 13 years old, beginning with Edgar Cayce, and has been a practicing psychic for 23 years. Write to her c/o The Hazel Nut.


Spellbound by Helen Glisic. Angus & Robertson Publications, Australia. Softcover.
- Reviewed by Baxter

This is a beautiful little treasury of spells, blessings, and ceremony. The language is gentle and simple to understand for people of any level of experience. Ms. Glisic posts the precautions, the basic laws of universal magickal working, the moon signs, colors and such, while introducing simple spells and ceremonies for special times and everyday.
Visually this small book is very special. The satiny cover is violet and gold, while the pages are midnight blue and gold with photographic images that help set the tone for each spell.
She uses flowers, herbs, oils, glass bottles, fabric and lace, candles, crystals, shells, paper, string, twigs, feathers, mirrors, symbols, and your emotions to help you bring about positive changes in your life.
If you are gentle of spirit this is sure to be the kind of magic for you--enjoy.

Music Review: Elemental by Loreena McKennitt. Quinlan Rd. Limited, available through Firebird catalog.
- Reviewed by Baxter

This Canadian songbird deals a hand of Celtic music that is stunning. Her clear, bell-like voice cuts right to the soul. The lyrics are printed inside the tape covers, and it purely enhances my enjoyment of the songs. There are two selections by guests, and both are wonderful. My favorite selection is "Stolen Child" about a child convinced to run away with the fairies.