Spirit Message of the Day for KIDS! – Lammas, A Pagan Holiday 2011

A PAGAN SABBAT –
Lammas/Lughnasadh August 1, 2011

Lammas is the first of three Pagan harvest festivals, and takes place on August 1, right around the time of the early grain harvests. It’s the dog days of summer, the gardens are full of goodies, the fields are full of grain, and the harvest is approaching. Take a moment to relax in the heat, and reflect on the upcoming abundance of the fall months. At Lammas, sometimes called Lughnasadh, it’s time to begin reaping what we have sown throughout the past few months, and recognize that the bright summer days will soon come to an end. Take some time to plan your celebrations, and if you want to learn more about the significance of Lammas, click here to read the Spiritblogger’s Blog.

ARTS & CRAFTS
Looking for some fun and inexpensive ways to decorate your home for Lammas? Make an easy grapevine pentacle, apple candleholders, a cornhusk chain and Lammas incense as a way to celebrate the season.

MAKE A BERRY BRACELET FOR LAMMAS
In parts of Ireland, it was tradition to weave a bracelet of bilberries for that special someone you have a crush on. Here’s how you can put one together. In some counties in Ireland, it became traditional to celebrate Bilberry Sunday at the beginning of August. Everyone went out with buckets to gather berries, and it was custom that a big berry harvest in August meant the rest of the crops would be bountiful a few weeks later. Berry-picking was also an excuse to sneak off into the woods with your special someone for a moment alone. Young men plaited fruit and vines into bracelets and crowns for their ladies. Afterwards, the best berries were eaten at a big fair, complete with singing, dancing, and general social merrymaking.

You can make a berry bracelet easily, if you can find firm berries that still have stalks attached to them. Ideally, if you can pick them right before you begin this project, you’ll get a really nice result. You’ll need:

  • Berries
  • A needle
  • Sturdy cotton thread

Thread the needle with the cotton thread. Run the needle through the stalks of the berries to make a bracelet. If you have other items handy, like seeds or nuts, feel free to add those into the mix as well. Give them to a loved one to wear as a Lammas token.

LAMMAS REBIRTH INCENSE
Lammas is the time when the harvest is just beginning, and so many Pagans and Wiccans celebrate the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Burn this hearty rebirth incense as part of your Lammas rituals, and give thanks for the blessings of abundance in your life.

CELEBRATE THE CYCLE OF LIFE & REBIRTH AT LAMMAS
By the time Lammas rolls around, it’s usually pretty hot. In some parts of the world, gardens are beginning to dry out, and the earth has gone from soft and pliable to dry and cracked. If you haven’t harvested your herbs yet for drying, now is a good time to start doing so — in other words, pick them before they die on their own. Any fresh herb can be dried simply by picking it and tying it up in small bundles in a well-ventilated area. Once they are completely dry store them in airtight jars in a dark place.

To make your own magical Lammas incense, first determine what form you’d like to make. You can make incense with sticks and in cones, but the easiest kind uses loose ingredients, which are then burned on top of a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. This recipe is for loose incense, but you can adapt it for stick or cone recipes.

As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. In this particular recipe, we’re creating an incense to use during a Lammas rite — it’s a time to celebrate the beginning of the harvest. We’re thankful for the foods we’ve grown, and for the bounty of the earth, and the knowledge that we’ll have enough to eat through the coming winter months.

You’ll need:

  • 1 part basil
  • 1/2 part cinnamon bark
  • 1 part coriander
  • 2 parts goldenrod
  • 1 part heather
  • 1/2 part rosemary
  • 2 parts Sweet Annie (you can use dried apple blossoms if you
    don’t have Sweet Annie)
  • 1 part yarrow

MIXING UP SOME MAGICK
Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:

We’re thankful this day for the gift of rebirth,
Fruits and vegetables, the bounty of earth.
For the Harvest Mother with her basket and scythe,
Abundance and fertility, and the blessings of life.
We’re grateful for the gifts we carry within
And for what will become, and what has been.
A new day begins, and life circles round,
As grain is harvested from the fertile ground.
Blessings to the earth and to the gods from me,
As I will this Lammas, so it shall be.

Store your incense in atightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its intent and name, as well as the date you created it. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.

Today’s ideas are from Patti Wigington at About.com

Click here to read Spiritblogger’s Blog.

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Spirit Message of the Day for KIDS! – Create a Book of Shadows

HOW TO CREATE A KIDS BOOK OF SHADOWS
A Book of Shadows can represent many things to different people in different traditions or cultures. It is a place to document what’s relevant and exciting in one’s magical life, throughout your lifetime. It’s a great tradition to begin and personal and souvenir of honor to pass from one generation to another. It’s a go-to place to document how to address all types of different situations, peoples, sabbats, holiday celebrations, sacred traditions, ideas, rites and rituals, favorite cooking recipes, special arts and craft projects, poems that hold personal meaning, references to valuable books, divination techniques, your life philosophy, values, mythic and deity references that contribute to your life, and more.

To share this tradition with your kids, why not create a fun activity around getting started today that is age appropriate to your child. Gather some colored papers, pens, paints, and paper decor to dress it up and personalize each entry; it is a living journal that can change over time. The creative possibilities are endless. Ask your child about what colors best convey specific messages or feelings. Discuss the concept of what it means to contribute to a Book of Shadows. It’s important that each member of the family create and have their own unique journal to contribute how they see fit. Talk through different options to best organize what items they’d like to include and their purpose.

Talk through what it means to create, use, share, and reference their book of shadow, and create a special place in their room for safe storage of this sacred object. If you’re child enjoys art and drawing ask them to illustrate each entry for easy reference. Perhaps your children may want to start over and begin the Book of Shadows creation process every 5 or 10 years or so; so that it accurately represents who they are today and what stage of life they’re in. To learn more and capture some ideas, continue reading.

– Message from The Spiritblogger

“The Book of Shadows (BOS) is used to store information you’ll need in your magical tradition. Many Pagans and Wiccans feel a BOS should be handwritten, but some use a computer to store information as well. Bear in mind that a BOS is considered a sacred tool, which means it is an item of power that should be consecrated with all of your other magical tools. Copy spells and rituals into your BOS by hand – this will not only transfer energy to the writer, but it also helps you to memorize the contents. Make sure you write legibly enough that you’ll be able to read your notes during a ritual!

Despite popular movies and television shows, there is no one single book of shadows. A book of shadows, or BOS, is a Wiccan’s or Pagan’s notebook of information. It usually contains spells, rituals, correspondence charts, information about the rules of magic, invocations, myths and legends of various pantheons, etc. Sometimes information in a BOS is passed along from one Wiccan to another (and in a coven setting, there may be a coven BOS as well as individual members’ books), but you can create your own with a little bit of effort. A BOS is a very personal thing, and should contain the information you find most important.

Here’s How
To make your Book of Shadows, begin with a blank notebook. A popular method is to use a three-ring binder so items can be added and rearranged as needed. If you use this style of BOS, you can use sheet protectors as well, which is great for preventing candle wax and other ritual drippings from getting on the pages! Whatever you select, your title page should include your name. Make it fancy or simple, depending on your preference, but remember that the BOS is a magical object and should be treated accordingly. Many witches simply write, “The Book of Shadows of [your name]” on the front page.

What format should you use? Some witches are known to create elaborate Books of Shadows in secret, magical alphabets. Unless you’re fluent enough in one of these systems that you can read it without having to check notes or a chart, stick with your native language. While a spell looks beautiful written out in flowing Elvish script or Klingon lettering, the fact is that it’s just hard to read unless you’re an Elf or a Klingon.

When it comes to the contents of your personal BOS, there are a few sections that are nearly universally included.

  1. Laws of your coven or tradition: Believe it or not, magic has rules. While they may vary from group to group, it’s a really good idea to keep them at the front of your BOS as a reminder of what constitutes acceptable behavior and what doesn’t. If you’re part of an eclectic tradition that doesn’t have written rules, or if you’re a solitary witch, this is a good place to write down what YOU think are acceptable rules of magic. After all, if you don’t set yourself some guidelines, how will you know when you’ve crossed over them? This may include a variation on the Wiccan Rede, or some similar concept.
  2. A dedication: If you’ve been initiated into a coven, you may want to include a copy of your initiation ceremony here. However, many Wiccans dedicate themselves to a God or Goddess long before they become part of a coven. This is a good place to write out who you are dedicating yourself to, and why. This can be a lengthy essay, or it can be as simple as saying, “I, Willow, dedicate myself to the Goddess today, June 21, 2007.”
  3. Gods and Goddesses: Depending on what pantheon or tradition you follow, you may have a single God and Goddess, or a number of them. Your BOS is a good place to keep legends and myths and even artwork concerning your Deity. If your practice is an eclectic blend of different spiritual paths, it’s a good idea to include that here.
  4. Correspondence tables: When it comes to spellcasting, correspondence tables are some of your most important tools. Phases of the moon, herbs, stones and crystals, colors – all have different meanings and purposes. Keeping a chart of some sort in your BOS guarantees that this information will be at the ready when you really need it. If you have access to a good almanac, it’s not a bad idea to record a years’ worth of moon phases by date in your BOS.
  5. Sabbat rituals: The Wheel of the Year includes eight holidays for most Wiccans and Pagans, although some traditions do not celebrate all of them. Your BOS can include rituals for each of the Sabbats. For example, for Samhain you may wish to create a rite that honors your ancestors and celebrates the end of the harvest, while for Yule you may want to write down a celebration of the winter Solstice. A Sabbat celebration can be as simple or complex as you wish.
  6. Other rituals: If you’ll be celebrating each full moon, you’ll want to include an Esbat rite in your BOS. You can use the same one each month, or create several different ones tailored to the time of year. You may also wish to include sections on how to cast a circle and Drawing Down the Moon, a rite that celebrates the invoking of the Goddess at the time of the full moon. If you’ll be doing any rites for healing, prosperity, protection, or other purposes, be sure to include them here.
  7. Herbs: Ask any experienced Pagan or Wiccan about a specific herb, and chances are good that
    they’ll expound on not only the magical uses of the plant but also the healing properties and history of use. Herbalism is often considered the core of spellcasting, because plants are an ingredient that people have used for literally thousands of years. Put together a section in your BOS for herbs and their uses. Remember, many herbs should not be ingested, so it’s important to research thoroughly before you take anything internally.
  8. Divination: If you’re learning about Tarot, scrying, astrology, or any other form of divination, keep information in here. When you experiment with new methods of divination, keep a record of what you do and results you see in your Book of Shadows.
  9. Sacred texts: While it’s fun to have a bunch of new shiny books on Wicca and Paganism to read, sometimes it’s just as nice to have information that’s a little more established. If there is a certain text that appeals to you, such as The Charge of the Goddess,
    an old prayer in an archaic language, or a particular chant that moves you, include it in your Book of Shadows.
  10. Magical recipes: There’s a lot to be said for “kitchen witchery,” because for many people, the kitchen is the center of hearth and home. As you collect recipes for oils, incense, or herb blends, keep them in your BOS. You may even want to include a section of food recipes for Sabbat celebrations.
  11. Spell workings: Some people prefer to keep their spells in a separate book called a grimoire, but you can also keep them in your Book of Shadows. It’s easier to keep spells organized if you
    divide them up by purpose: prosperity, protection, healing, etc. With each spell you include, make sure you also leave room to include information on when the working was performed and what the outcome was.
  12. The biggest dilemma with any Book of Shadows is how to keep it organized. You can use tabbed dividers, create an index at the back, or if you’re really super-organized, a table of contents in the front. As you study and learn more, you’ll have more information to include – this is why the three-ring binder is such a practical idea. Some people choose instead to use a simple bound notebook, and just add to the back of it as they discover new items.
  13. You may want to use one notebook for information copied from books or downloaded off the Internet, and another for original creations. Regardless, find the method that works best for you, and take good care of your Book of Shadows. After all, it’s a sacred object and should be treated accordingly!

Tips:

  1. If you find a rite, spell or piece of information somewhere else, be sure to note down the source. It will help you keep organized, and you’ll start to recognize patterns in authors’ works.
  2. Add a section that includes books you’ve read, as well as what you thought of them. This way, when you get a chance to share information with others, you’ll remember what you’ve read.
  3. Want to hear what other readers have done with their BOS? Be sure to check in over at our Readers Respond page!

What You Need

  • Notebook or binder
  • Pens and Paper
  • Sheet protectors (optional)”

Today’s guidance is from Patti Wigington – About.com Guide

See Pagan Dad Blog for Another great online article about creating a Book of Shadows for your kids or a family Book of Shadows.

Click here to read the Spiritblogger’s Blog.

Spirit Message of the Day for KIDS! – Let’s Get Creative

TEN FUN ACTIVITIES FOR PAGAN KIDS
For many Pagans and Wiccans, it’s hard to find kid-friendly activities that celebrate our spiritual path. Believe it or not, sharing your beliefs with your kids is easier than you think. After all, you’re the parent, so you can lead by example. Show your children what you do, and they’ll emulate you in their own way. Teaching by doing is the key. By living a Pagan life, you’ll show your kids what it means to be Pagan or Wiccan or whatever your family’s path is. These very simple activities are easy enough that you can do them with nearly any child, so have fun with them!

MAKE A WAND
What’s not to love about making your own wand? Take your kids out in the woods for a nature walk, and ask them to keep an eye on the ground for the “right” stick. The wand should be about the same length as the child’s forearm. Once your child has a stick, bring it home and decorate it with flowers, ribbons, glitter, even crystals. Hold a consecration ceremony so your child can claim the wand as his or her own.

DRUMMING
Everyone likes to drum, and the louder the better. If you don’t have a professional drum, don’t worry — that’s why the gods made coffee cans. Let your kids experiment with containers of different sizes and shapes, and see which ones make the most interesting sounds. Fill an empty water bottle with dried beans to make an impromptu rattle. Two thick dowels tapped together make a percussion instrument as well. Have a family drum circle night, and let everyone bang away to raise energy.

MEDITATION
Sure, the idea of teaching a toddler to meditate sounds crazy, but you’d be surprised what kids can do if they’re interested. Even if it’s just two minutes lying in the grass looking at trees, it’s not a bad idea to start your youngsters meditating early. By the time they get to be adults with stressful lives, meditation will be second nature to them. Use breathing as a way of teaching counting to small children. Elementary-school age kids can usually handle a ten- to fifteen-minute guided meditation.

MY VERY OWN ALTAR
If you have a family altar, that’s great! Encourage your kids to have an altar of their own in their bedrooms — this is the place they can put all the things that are special to them. While you may not want a tribe of Ninja Turtles on your family altar, if your son says they’re his Personal Guardians, give him his own place to put them! Add to the collection with interesting things your child finds on nature walks, shells from trips to the beach, family photos, etc. Be sure that young children don’t have candles or incense on their altar.

MOON CRAFTS
Kids love the moon, and they love to wave at it and say hello to it (my oldest claimed the moon as her own when she was five). If your family does any sort of moon rituals, such as an Esbat Rite or New Moon ceremony, have the kids decorate a mirror with lunar symbols, or make a Moon Braid to hang in a window, and use it on your altar during family moon celebrations. Bake a batch of Moon Cookies to use during Cakes & Ale ceremonies.

GOD’S EYES
These are an easy decoration to make and can be adapted seasonally, simply by using different colors. All you need is a pair of sticks and some yarn or ribbon. Make a God’s Eye in yellows or reds for solar celebrations, green and brown for an earth ceremony, or in the colors of your family’s household deities. Hang them on a wall or place on an altar.

SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS
Salt dough is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and you can create just about anything from it. You can follow our easy Salt Dough recipe, and use it with cookie cutters to make your own Sabbat ornaments. After your ornaments have cooled, paint them and decorate with your favorite Pagan and Wiccan symbols. After you’ve painted them, seal them with clear varnish. If you’re planning to hang them, poke a hole through the ornament BEFORE baking them. Then after you’ve varnished them, run a ribbon or thread through the hole.

WHEEL OF THE YEAR JOURNAL
Get your child a blank notebook, and have them keep track of the patterns of nature. Note the dates that the first buds appear in spring, when birds begin to migrate, and when the weather changes. If your child is old enough to surf the Internet, have him predict the weather for the next few days and then compare it to your local weather forecast — and then see who’s right! As the Wheel of the Year turns, your child can help you prepare for upcoming Sabbat celebrations.

MYTHIC TALES
Many parents aren’t really sure how to incorporate their Pagan beliefs into their children’s upbringing, so story time is a great way to do this. Teach your child the myths and legends of your pantheon. Storytelling is an age-old tradition, so why not use it to educate your kids about what you believe? Tell them tales of gods and heroes, fairies, and even your own ancestors.

SINGING AND CHANTING
There are a ton of great songs out there for Pagan kids, and most of them are really simple. You can make up your own with some simple rhymes and a little bit of ingenuity. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and celebrate the gifts of the earth. If you want to find pre-recorded music for your kids, read some of the Pagan and Wiccan magazines; there are nearly always ads for Pagan musicians and their work.

Today’s message is by Patti Wigington, About.com Guide

 

Spirit Message of the Day – Welcome to Spiritblogger for KIDS!

Welcome to my first post for Spiritblogger for Kids! Having started the Spiritblogger’s Blog over two years ago I wanted to create a sacred space for kids of all ages; kids young and old; a place where parents can visit with their kids. Here you’ll find ideas for fun, creativity, seasonal activities, recipes, and global inspirations from spirit to enhance joyful living while building awareness. Bright Blessings to One and All!