Eight of WandsIf you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.
~ Albert Einstein

In this week of the actual cross-quarter holiday of Beltane, and in the wake of last week’s challenging Death card, it’s time to simplify, consolidate, and move forward. This week, we welcome the Eight of Wands.

The Eights of the Tarot are about abilities, innovation, self-directed action, and forging ahead. And of course, Wands are about fire, magic, change, action, growth, and energy.

Here we have a powerful but simple image – the only card in the R-W-S deck that has no human reference. In fact, there are no figures, animals, or celestial bodies of any sort.

We see a hill with a faraway building, green, rolling fields, and a river. The focus is on the eight staves, lined up neatly parallel to one another, soaring through a bright blue sky.

All are in perfect alignment and balance. The Wands are approaching the Earth, flying through the wide-open element of Air. The Fire is finding its goal.

Ready, Aim, Fire!

Because this card is associated with Mercury in Sagittarius, you may be in the midst of a situation that requires (or is the result of) rapid information being distributed. And it would not be surprising if you are finding yourself a little too busy right now, with projects and commitments up in the air.

If changes are happening too fast, moderate the pace a little by staying organized and focused. Simplifying and streamlining will do wonders for a more successful outcome.

We are entering the “shadow” period, two weeks prior to the Mercury retrograde that begins May 18. Things may already begin feeling a little off-kilter. Now is the time to get your ducks (or Wands) in a row.

This is not the time to be distracted or impulsive, but to attend to the details. Prepare for blast-off as you fire up each component that supports your most important priorities. Serendipity and synchronicity are working in your favor, so pay attention to coincidences and luck.

Out of the Cauldron, Into the Fire

This is an invitation to become more energized. Now you can set aside reticence or doubts. It’s time to put your recent lessons into actionSet an intention, follow your passions.

Just be careful that your longings do not lead you into poorly considered, impetuous drama, especially if you find yourself falling wildly in love.

Sunday’s Full Scorpio Moon was what my friend Lynn Hayes called a cauldron of transformation. And adding fuel to those fires, enthusiasms may burn most brightly now, in the days of Beltane.

Whatever desires have been ignited, life must move forward. In fact, Arthur Waite himself describes the Eight of Wands as the Arrows of Love.

So this could be action regarding a love affair, or proposals offered and accepted. There is a sense of haste, so you may be urgently infatuated, with all your energy going into seeking the rapid, most immediate possible gratification of your passions.

But planning is the key to a happy outcome. Yes, there is a sense of spontaneity, but prior to this launch, someone clearly took some care to line up a goal, and make sure that each component was aimed both at the target, and in such a way as to allow the other Wands to move unimpeded. That is why we have a harmonious flight, and not a chaotic crash.

Choose your target. Fire off your arrows, knowing there is magic in the air. May your aim be high and true.

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Wishing You a Most Merry Beltane!

by Beth on May 1, 2015

Hail to Thalia, Grace of Flowering and Mirth!
Hail to blessed Flora, and to Maia Majestas!
We bow in gladness to
The Lord and The Lady!

We merrily welcome the King and Queen of Faery! 

beltanetreeSong of Beltane

by Caitlin Matthews

I am the calm, I am the quickening,
I am the intoxication and the force,
I am the silence, I am the singer,
I am the stallion galloping to its source.

I am the bright pavilion and the feasting,
I am the wedding couple and the bed,
I am the morning chorus and the heartbeat,
I am the goal to which all paths are led.

While in the Southern Hemisphere, our brothers and sisters observe Samhain today, in the northern lands, we celebrate Beltane, Beltainne (pronounced Bel-tinna), Cetsamhain (‘opposite Samhain’), and Walpurgisnacht (German).

The medieval Church tried to rename this celebration Roodmas in an attempt to shift the common people’s allegiance from the Maypole (an obvious phallus and symbol of life) to the Holy Rood (the Cross – the symbol their God’s death and resurrection).

Similarly in more modern times, in countries that have attempted to completely eradicate all folk traditions and spirituality, such as the Soviet Union, May Day was changed to a day for military and workforce demonstrations.

In both instances, when those in power are not forcing the people to obey, these appropriations have not been as popular.

Dancing with the Flame

Beltane is a reference to ‘Bel-fire’, the fire of the Celtic God of light (Bel, Beli or Belinos). He, in turn, may be traced to the Middle Eastern God Baal. Beltane Dancer

Whatever you choose to call it, this is a Fire Festival celebrating the beginning of Summer, when the breezes are scented and the evenings are getting warm.

Today we celebrate Life’s creative ecstasy. The veil is thin as we dance the mysteries of fertility, beauty, and Nature’s flowering.

This is our great festival of love, lust, and fertility. This Sabbat honors the great creative life force in all things. The young Oak King has won the hand of the Maiden Goddess and with their union, She becomes pregnant.

We honor and emulate the divine union of the Lord and Lady. Celebrations include the obvious pleasures of sexual coupling, like most all of Nature is doing everywhere right now!

MaypoleWe also observe this magical time by weaving a web of life around the Maypole and leaping the Beltane fires for luck.

Lilacs and hawthorn can be brought inside on this day, along with flowers of all kinds to represent the fertility of the sweet Earth.

This is a time of focusing on our own fertile possibilities! You might make a wish today and plant the seeds of your own desires with merry magic and joy.

Magical Trysts

Wiccan handfastings are common at Beltane, however the wise grandmothers knew very well that most lusty trysts formed in the merry month of May were not likely to last, so actual marriages were avoided and considered bad luck during this month.Jumping the Fire

Instead, the smitten couples were encouraged to enjoy their pleasures, but wait at least one lunation before the serious business of marriage.

That’s why June is considered a much more favorable time for a lasting union and to this day is the most popular wedding month.

And if a pregnancy resulted after the Beltane revelries, well, so what? The mother was considered blessed and the child was sure to be magical. Both were supported and welcomed by the whole village, and all was well.

Don’t you just love this wise way to work with our sexy nature, rather than to condemn it, and forbid it to take its course?

The Sidhe riding

The Fair Ones

At Beltane, we remember the landing of the Tuatha de Danann in Ireland, and we honor on this day the Great Mother-Goddess Danu (or Danann). The Tuatha de Danann (meaning, “the people of Danann”) were the fourth invading culture to arrive in Ireland, many centuries before the Christian era.

They were quite beautiful and astonishingly advanced, being highly skilled in science and metalworking. They came to be viewed as a race apart from humans.

They inhabited Ireland for about two hundred years, until the fifth and last invaders, the Milesians (Gaels), conquered them. When the Tuatha de Danann had been finally defeated, they withdrew to the hollow hills, where they reside to this day.

Now known as the Sidhe (pronounced “shee”), they are the source of our lore of the Celtic Gods, Goddesses, and ancient Faery races.

So this is an important time to give offerings to the wildlings and Elementals. The activities of the People of Peace are now growing and will reach their height at Summer Solstice.

(And if you’d like to learn more about working with our Faery allies, there is ONE more seat left for my workshop, June 27).Artist Altar

Now then, my dear — enough talk! Get yourself outside!

Light the Bel-fires, sing to the trees, dance with the Wild Ones, surrender to enchantment.

Revel in the sensuous delights of life and love.

May your magickal rites be blessed! Beltane Altar

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Feel the Sacred Power Rising on This Merry May Eve

April 30, 2015

Here we come a’ piping, In Springtime and in May; Green fruit a’ ripening, And Winter fled away. The Queen she sits upon the strand, Fair as lily, white as wand; Seven billows on the sea, Horses riding fast and free, And bells beyond the sand. ~ Witchcraft for Tomorrow, by Doreen Valiente Phoenix Publishing […]

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Wordless Wednesday: Returning Home To the Singing Woods

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Tarot Card of the Week, April 27-May 3, 2015: Death

April 27, 2015

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life…Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not […]

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