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The Silver Chalice E-Zine, Issue #10, Feb 2009 * Imbolc and Ostara
February 01, 2009
Imbolc: A Fresh Start
We're trying a new format with this issue: links in the Table of Contents to get you straight to the articles you want to read. Please let me know how you like the change ... and while you're at it, what you think of the Silver Chalice overall!
As we turn toward Springtime (those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), the days aren't the only things getting lighter.
Our moods, our collective energy levels, our optimism, our eagerness for new growth are all picking up. (Thank goodness!)
There are 2 Wiccan Sabbats that celebrate the Spring festivals, during February and March:
Imbolc (also commonly known as Bridgid, or Brigid),
Ostara (also called Eostara, and Spring or Vernal Equinox).
We have articles on both Wiccan Sabbats in this issue.
The Spring Sabbats celebrate the tipping point of the year, from dark to light.
Word On The Street remarks on the tipping point that's currently in process on the Planet.
And Fave Quotes speaks to how much power we have over that tipping point, by the author of the book, The Tipping Point.
I wish you the best of the season!
If you have any comments, opinions, or content ideas we'd love to hear from you. Please write!
|What's New on the Site||-- Useful Wiccan Info: Wiccan Holidays & Sabbats; Full Moon Calendar; Wiccan Gods and Goddesses|
|Book Review||-- The New Book of Magical Names|
|Sabbats & Esbats & Other Wiccan Rituals||-- Imbolc: A Fresh Start|
|-- Ostara: Vernal Equinox|
|Ask The Priestess||-- Do Wiccans Believe in Jesus and Heaven and Hell?|
|Fave Quotes||-- Tipping The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell|
|Energy Field Barometer||-- On the Blog|
|Word on the Street||-- The Planetary Rebirth|
|Next Issue||-- Beltane: The Sacred Marriage|
There's been a lot of activity on Wicca-Spirituality.com since last issue, mostly supplying basic Wicca information that many people have requested. The goal is to offer some extremely useful information that all Witches need.
The most exciting changes are the helpful tools for Wiccan Sabbats and Wiccan Esbats (ie, Full Moon rituals).
On the Homepage you'll now find both the current Moon Phase, and the upcoming Wiccan Sabbats.
We also have charts on the Wiccan holidays (ie, Wiccan Sabbats or holy days).
Not just for the Northern Hemisphere, either! Check out the Wiccan Holidays for the Southern Hemisphere. (Also has the current Moon Phase for the Southern Hemisphere.)
Also, you'll find a Calendar of Full Moon Dates and exact times from 2009 to 2012! It gives you all the New Moon dates, as well.
We also have an entire section devoted to Wiccan Gods and Goddesses.
And more basic Wiccan information: the Misconceptions About Witch Craft, in particular addressing Christianity and Wicca (which ties in with our Ask The Priestess column from last issue and this issue of the Silver Chalice -- see below).
Okay, if that's not enough to keep you satisfied! . . .
Here's a fun Wiccan Alphabet to share with your kids and Circle Siblings.
There's an additon to the Energy Field series: How to Tap into Positive Energy Fields.
In response to requests over the Yule season, I put together the 4 Things You Need To Know About Buying Wiccan Gifts.
More information on the Planetary Transformation currently in progress on Mother Earth, and what it means.
Whew! That will fill in a lot of the gaps that people have been asking about.
The best part is that most of these pages are useful tools that you can bookmark, so you'll have this information when you need it most.
If you're interested in choosing a Wiccan name for yourself, your child, pet, coven, business, or anything else, The New Book of Magical Names leaves other naming books in the dust.
Listed in the prestigious New York Times "Reader's Guide to the Best 10,000 Books in Print," it tells you what you really want to know, when you're looking for Wiccan names, or just unique, non-traditional names...
. . . Read the Whole Review
The current Wiccan Sabbat is Imbolc (also called Imbolg, Imbolic, Brigid, Bridgid).
It's a festival of Springtime. Imbolc is a fresh start!
And yet, there's a tension at this time of year... maybe you feel it. The days are beginning to grow, the first hopeful greens are making a cautious appearance.
Everything in us, and in Mother Earth, is desperate to throw off Winter's blankets and open the doors to Spring.
The upcoming celebration in the Wiccan Wheel of the Year is Ostara. To our forebears, Vernal Equinox was a time of great hope and promise. Life is visibly continuing. We will be fed for another year.
At Ostara, the Light and the Dark are in perfect balance.
The Earth-egg is poised between the contractive and expansive phases of the Wheel of the Year ... and tipping over toward the seasons of Light.
Out of the darkness of despair, out of the bleak dim days, LIFE returns!...
The Goddess AWAKENS!!
(Continued from last issue...)
I have questions. Like do Wiccans believe in Jesus. What do Wiccans believe in? Do they believe in Heaven & Hell? ...
I am afraid though. What if everything is true. The bible and everything? And I am busy being a witch, and Jesus comes, takes us. And I go to hell and burn for eternity.
SC in USA
Do Witches believe in Jesus? Depends. Many Witches believe that Jesus was a very special prophet: an enlightened person who came to inspire us to live in a better way and to understand God better.
There may be some Witches who deny that Jesus was real, but personally I don't know anyone who does…. That cynicism is more for atheists. Spiritual seekers know that there are many holy people who've come into the world... why shouldn't Jesus be one of them.
Even those Wiccans who would never consider themselves Christian don't necessarily discount Jesus.
We may disagree that he was "THE one and only" enlightened being who came to guide us, but most of us have a LOT of respect for him and his original teachings (which were much more mystical and spiritual than what the Church has allowed in the Bible).
Do we believe that only through Jesus we can come to God? Not at all!
Jesus himself never meant that. He told us there were plenty of rooms in the Mansion -- everyone comes to God in the end, through the different paths.
Wiccans believe that insisting that You Must Accept Jesus Christ As Your Personal Saviour is simply propaganda by the church, trying to control everyone and force them to behave in a way that suits the institution of the church. Jesus himself was much more open… for his times. (Even he had certain cultural biases... or those who wrote his story did.)
In fact, Jesus never said that the way to salvation was through "accepting him as your personal saviour." He would be astonished and dismayed, I'm sure, by such an easy out. He never wanted people to worship him. Read his teachings: he wanted people to follow in his footsteps, that is, to live as he lived.
That's a much harder way than jumping on his coattails. It's also much more effective.
Witches generally believe that Heaven and Hell are all around us, all the time, depending on how we live. We create Heaven in the world, and we create Hell in the world, by our actions and choices.
Jesus said things about this: The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, for instance.
What the heck does that have to do with a pearly place up in the clouds where people are playing harps? We have that inside us? Only in a symbolic way: we create our own heaven, in our hearts and minds and through our actions in the world.
But Witches don't believe in Heaven and Hell as physical places, one where God doesn't live or rule (?! -- How could that even be! God is everywhere, everything. Even in those who suffer through their own Hells.)
Jesus himself never said anything about going to Hell.
Did you know that Hell didn't even exist in Christianity until, was it the 4th or 12th century or…? I'm no good with dates. But there was no Hell in the Bible until one pope thought this way: If there's Heaven, where good people go to get rewarded, there must be an opposite, where bad people go for eternal punishment!
The church has these records, of how the Bible was altered over the centuries, as people put their own ideas in and took out ideas they thought had to be wrong, or just didn't want (like reincarnation -- Jesus himself refers to reincarnation, but one pope thought people would slack off if they thought they had future lives to depend on… so he took it out).
There's another question you don't quite ask, but seem to be wondering about:
Will we go to Hell for making magick, or believing that Jesus was a special gift of God but not necessarily THE saviour of humanity?
Every ex-Christian Witch I know has had to answer this question for themselves.
All I can tell you is that for myself, I don't believe in that kind of God -- petty, jealous, controlling, judgemental, punitive. That God only showed up in the Old Testament anyway…
I believe that this misunderstanding of the Divine is exactly what Jesus was trying to counteract! His God was LOVE! (How did Christians ever decide to keep the Old Testament, when Jesus himself refuted it?)
But look around at the Earth for yourself -- not what people are doing on it, but the Earth herself. Look at how nobly the animals act -- for the most part much better than humans, who were given the dangerous gift of free will.
And it seems to me (as a Wiccan) that if God gave us free will, She probably wants us to use it! (She didn't create anything else without a purpose... why would She create all these things inside humans, that supposedly shouldn't be exercised?)
Look inside your own heart. Your answers are all there....
What do these things say to you about the kind of God that creates us? The evidence is all around you. It's just up to you to interpret it.
It's so wonderful that you are wanting spirituality this much! And the questioning, that's great! You're on the right track to the Divine, when you are trying to understand things for yourself.
Keep asking questions! And keep looking for answers everywhere, especially within yourself.
In the end, it doesn't really matter which belief-system you go with -- Wicca or Christianity or Islam or Buddhism, or combinations of them.... All paths lead to God, right?
Thankfully, it's not impossible to be both Christian and Wiccan... not at all! There are lots of Christian Wiccans.
There's more information on this article about the misconceptions about Wicca: Christianity and Wicca is the first one (it even offers a link to a list of Christian-Wicca websites).
All that matters is that you find the Divine that's hidden under all the rules and dogma.
Then every religion will be a spiritual path.
I wish you blessings and every happiness. I wish you personal experience of Divinity!
Thanks for asking. Bright Blessings to you!
Do you have a question you'd like answered? Email the Priestess and your question could be answered in a future issue.
(Note: questions may be edited for brevity or clarity. No real names will be disclosed. For reasons of legality, all questions become the property of Wicca-Spirituality.com.)
Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push—in just the right place—it can be tipped.~ Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point
I'm sorry, but due to illness I wasn't able to get this column done.
Most of the fields I've noticed have been posted already in the blog, so please see it to check out the major fields.
This feature should be back on track for next issue!Notice or suspect an energy field going around? Can you confirm this reading, or shed more light on it?
I'd love to hear what's happening for you! Please let me know.
What to do about being caught in an unpleasant energy field? Click here for tips.
Word on the Street
Thanks for writing!! I appreciate hearing from you!
What People Are Saying About Wicca-Spirituality.com:Loved reading your message regarding the spiritual rebirth in progress... if only everyone could see this and rejoice over the collapse of the corruption rather than fear it.
It's great and comforting to know people like you are out there among the masses running around like chickens with their heads cut off, no offense to chickens intended. And no separation intended either, maybe a grudge against a lifetime of insults thrown at the sensitive hearts who have always seen through the media lies and government tricks, religious too.
As you point out Erin, we are the new leaders and Messiahs, once we accept full responsibility for what occurs in our lives rather than trying to pass it off to others or going along with the status quo even though our inner bells are ringing through a different tune, one that has been ignored for far too long, the song of the Goddess.
Blessed BE!-- J. in USA
Beltane: The Sacred Marriage . . . . See you then!
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© erin dragonsong 2009. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprinting any of this is forbidden unless you obtain my written permission: karma and the law agree on this one. And Copyscape is keeping an eye on these things.