Reading Books


It has been said that reading a bad book is worthwhile because there is always one good piece of information in it.

I suspect this has been put around by bad authors, as why do people want to read a bad book for only one piece of information when they can read a good book which will change their practice for the better with lots of pieces of good information? I don’t have time to waste reading bad books.

I also see people saying “I’ve read X book until it’s falling apart and I’d like to know what to read next”. Most books will have a bibliography in the back and you can start with this.
Also try lists or recommendations from people you respect. I’ve done this and sometimes the lists have turned out to be filled with bad books, but I’ve found some really good lists from people.

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Midwinter Solstice


Last Saturday I celebrated the Midwinter Solstice. Before breakfast I went out and did my ritual. It started well and then the rain came down. Despite my candles being in jam-jars the rain kept putting them out, so I gave up on the candles and did the rest of the ritual anyway.

After lunch I went wassailing. This is an old ritual where cider was splashed on apple trees and the trees were beaten to ensure a good harvest. I’ve adapted the ritual and I use it for the guardian trees around here, including my tribal tree. I use sloe gin, which is made from local blackthorn sloes I harvested awhile ago.

It’s celebrated in an old rhyme “a woman, a dog and an apple tree, the more you beat them the better they be”. Since I wish to become pregnant, I took the rhyme and applied it to myself and wassailed myself under my tribal tree.

I know this ritual is not Irish, but I am living on English land and the observances for that land need to be carried out.

Wreath


This year I am putting a home-made wreath up.

Over a year ago I twined the ivy clockwise for the sun into a wreath and it has been sitting in the violently pink bedroom for the last year while I waited for the wood to finish the drying process.

This weekend I cut holly and larch cones in the local wood. Not much of the holly had berries on, but there was enough. I was always careful to bless the tree I took the produce from. I found some mistletoe going free in town as the stallholder had left for the day leaving bags of mistletoe behind, so I took one.

For me, both the ivy woven clockwise and the circular shape of the wreath symbolise the sun. Mistletoe is not usually used in wreaths but I wanted it for its fertility associations and I am using holly to symbolise blood. I didn’t use the cones in the end, but will keep them to use for other decorations.

The Importance of Texts


It’s important to read the texts your path has. Most books are derived from them, but the writer’s interpretation of the text may not be what yours is and they may miss parts that are important to you. Some of the books written by authors who have read texts will be good. Others will not be so good. This is why we need to do the work and read the texts.

I’ve found this as I’ve read The Auraceipt, which deals with ogham. Ogham is a system of marks which denote letters of the alphabet and is found in some Celtic countries, notably Ireland and Wales. According to The Auraceipt Ogham has various meanings, for example ash is attributed to weaving. I haven’t seen anything that mentions ash as weaving in the books on Ogham that I have read, so it’s probably been missed out as not many people today weave.

This is why I am going back to the texts and working from there. It takes a long time to sort out meanings, but you know that you are using the correct meanings that work and not something that will be hit and miss depending on what else you use in that spell.

For someone following an Irish path who has not read any texts before, the best text to start off with is the Lebor Gabala Erenn translated by R.A.S. MacAlister. Most of the prominent deities are mentioned there and the book contains stories of their lives. Accallam na Senorach translated by Ann Dooley and Harry Roe is about the deities after the Lebor Gabala Erenn and a good second text to read.

Other paths will have their own texts which unfortunately I do not know about as I’m concentrating on Irish books and others which have been recommended to me.

Necromancy


Necromancy is one of the things that people often quail at. We’re brought up with it being nasty, evil and the sort of thing only witch doctors in darkest Peru do.

Necromancy is dealing with the spirits, which your average ghost hunter is hungry to do, although I haven’t yet met one that has seen more than orbs which cameras make.

Talking to your ancestors at their graves is another form of necromancy which is acceptable, yet people don’t think of it as necromancy. Graves are a form of ancestor worship. If you can go to your ancestors’ graves and talk to them then you don’t need to set up an altar as the graves will function as an altar.