Thursday, September 22, 2011


Mabon (May-bone or Mah-boon) takes place anywhere between September 21st-23rd depending on the year.

Tomorrow is Mabon!!!
        Also known as the Autumn Equinox, The Witches Thanksgiving, Harvest Home, Mea'n Fo'mhair
Mabon is the second of the three Harvest Festivals/Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year.
        This is a day of balance between light and dark, and it marks the beginning of my favorite season... Autumn (or as I usually call it Fall).
Songs: 'Come, Ye Thankful People, Come', 'We Gather Together to ask the Lord's Blessing', 'All Good Gifts', 'Now Thank we all our God', 'Thanks be to God'...
        As you can probably tell from the songs... this is a time for giving thanks to the goddess and the god for all the wonderful things from the past year. And don't forget to be thankful for the harvest bounty as well. Whether or not you have a garden, you should be thankful for the wonderful foods that become available to you this season.

Activities: Grain Threshing, Dancing, Cider Pressing, Feasting, Crowning of the Harvest King and Queen, Hayrides, Wine Tasting with Cheese, Adopt a Pet, Gather Reading Materials for the coming winter, Making Wine, Gathering Herbs, Walking in the Woods. 
Foods: Nuts, Apples, Grapes, Berries made into Jams and Wines, Apple Butter, Neuweisswein (New White Wine), Heather Wine, Blackberry Wine, Hops, Inshore Fish, Oysters, Game Birds and Meats, Turnips, Marrow (Large Zucchini), Cauliflower, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, Fungi, Rowan, Root Vegetables, Goose, Cranberries, Raspberry Sauces, Fruit Cobbler, Fruit Liqueur, Ciders and Ales.
Crafts: Make Wreaths out of Grapevines, Quilting Bees, Plan and Gather Craft Materials for the coming winter.
Colors: Red, Orange, Russet, Brown, Gold, Maroon.
Symbols: Horn of Plenty, Indian Corn, Gourds/Pumpkins, Pine Cones, Acorns, Corn/Grains, Apples, Pomegranates, Ivy and other Vines, Dried Seeds.
Stones: Sapphire, Yellow Agates, Lapis Lazuli.
Herbs: Acorn, Benzoin, Ferns, Grains, Honeysuckle, Marigold, Milkweed, Myrrh, Passion Flower, Rose, Sage, Soloman's Seal, Tobacco, Thistle, and Vegetables.
Incense: Sage, Myrrh.
Gods: The Green Man, Hermes, Thor.
Goddesses: Persephone, Demeter, Modron, Epona, Morgan, Pamona and The Muses.

        This is also time for you to offer part of your meal in sacrifice... Put something out for wild animals, volunteer/give your time. As well as honoring your dead ancestors and visiting their graves if you can. Set aside old disputes, grudges, and quarrels. Discard unwanted habits and traits. Make sure you enter the new year with positivity, so this is the time to get rid of all the negativity you carry around with you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We Tied the Knot!

On September 16th 2011, My fiance Kellie and I had our Handfasting ceremony amongst a small group of family and friends. It was a wonderful ceremony and I am so happy with how it turned out. Everyone was telling us that it was a beautiful ceremony!
And now I'm sharing it with you!

 Here is a picture of us right before the ceremony!
First we had our Best Wo-Man and our Man of Honor ring the bells around us to clear the space of negativity. (We also had incense burning as well)
Then we exchanged vows and rings
We were handfasted when my Man of Honor tied the cord over our clasped hands (Surprisingly there weren't any pictures of this part. We have a short video of it, but I was unable to download it to put onto the blog) , then we sealed it with a kiss.
And we Jumped the Broom
And Hugged! We were so happy!
This is everyone asking to see our rings!
Our Rings!
I got a picture with my mom and my sister
After we ate dinner, we had a Champagne Toast!
And then we cut the (cup)cake and fed each other a piece... (Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting)

Later we opened our presents! And thanked everyone!

And let the craziness of the day take over... Sleepy Time....
Thank you all for sharing this wonderful day with us! I will remember it for many years to come!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Getting ready for a Handfasting & Thank Yous

       Whew... Only 4 more days until Kellie and I get Handfasted. It is so exciting... but it has also been exhausting. I knew planning a wedding would be hard, but I didn't realize planning a very simple Handfasting with a small group of family and friends would also be a lot of work.
       I love planning parties, but usually the little details aren't a big deal. But with the Handfasting I have been trying to get everything to work out nicely, and I am hoping everything runs smoothly... I think the hardest part of planning the handfasting has been the research. I know what all the symbols and traditions mean, but I am having trouble explaining it to our friends and family members in a way that doesn't sound confusing... and I also want to explain it quickly without having to delve too much into lessons about Paganism. I feel uncomfortable preaching about my religion because I don't want people to feel pressured into anything... It's easier to write about it in this blog because I know if anyone is uncomfortable with the topic they do not have to read it.
       But besides that, I have been having a lot of fun getting things together. I am so grateful to our friends and family members. They have all pulled together to help me and Kellie with the food and the decorations for the party. Without our friends and family helping out I don't think this Handfasting/engagement party would even exist.
       I would like to thank everyone who has helped me behind the scenes.
       Earlier I was starting to get really stressed out, but one by one our family and friends helped me with things here and there and now I feel so much calmer and I can even relax and enjoy the upcoming days. I am also calmer because the guest list is finally settled. There were a few problems here and there, but luckily they have all been resolved, and now I am so happy and excited to see everyone.

       I want to thank everyone for coming to our Handfasting (especially those who have to travel long distances or leave work) even though we haven't even had it yet... I'd like to thank you all in advance! It's so great that our friends and family have come together to help me and Kellie celebrate this step in our lives. And I'd also like to thank everyone who is bringing food/drink/etc. And I'd like to remind you all to bring your cameras and take lots of pictures! I hope to have a lot of great pictures that Kellie and I can look back on for years to come.

Special Thanks To:
Julie: You have helped me more then you will know. Finding a Broom for me, and lending me lights, as well as buying Champagne, and being supportive through the whole process. You telling me how excited you were for the Handfasting helped me pull through some stress and get more excited myself! Thank you.

Mom (Claire): Thank you so much for making a Vegetarian Dish, as well as buying Apple Cider, and Getting all the Plates/Silverware/Napkins and all the other things you got for us. Also, talking about the future wedding with you has helped me relax a lot. I was stressing out about how Kellie and I were going to pay for our wedding, but you just mentioning that you'd help with the dress and jewelry lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. It's also such a blessing knowing that you support my and Kellie's relationship. I'd also like to thank you for all the recipes you share with me. And a really big thank you for showing excitement and interest in Kellie's and my wedding even though you are super busy with Melissa's wedding right now.

Kathy (Kellie's mom): Thank you so much for letting us have the Handfasting at the house, and thank you so much for making the roasted chickens and buying so much of the food. You took a huge weight off of Kellie's and my shoulders when you offered to help pay for the catering at our wedding. Kellie has been super stressed out about how we would pay for our wedding, but now she has been more relaxed and excited. I really appreciate everything. I am blessed to have such a supportive mother in law.

Daniel: I'd like to Thank you for being my Maid Of Honor... or should I say Man Of Honor. It really means a lot to me to have such a close friend in you. I would also like to thank you in advance for helping me with little wedding things, and helping out in the Handfasting ceremony.

Kellie (my fiance): Thank you for being so wonderful and loving and caring. I am so blessed to have found you, and I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together. Thank you for showing your excitement for our Handfasting and our marriage. It makes me so happy to know that you are as excited and happy as I am. Also, thank you for being supportive when I was stressing out. I love you more then anything.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jumping the Broom

       Jumping the Broom is a wedding custom from many different cultures. Historically, "broom-stick weddings" were first known in Wales, but it is unclear if the custom was started by the Welsh people or the Romani Gypsies living in Wales. A commonly held belief is that the practice originated in Africa. Brooms were spiritual symbols in west Africa. In Ghana, brooms were waived over the heads of a newlywed couple and their parents.  
 Two people jumping the broom at their ceremony
       Jumping over the broom symbolized various things depending on the culture. In the American south, the custom determined who ran the household. Whoever jumped highest over the broom was the decision maker of the household. The jumping of the broom does not constitute taking a "leap of faith" because the practice of jumping the broom pre-dates the phrase coined by Søren Aabye Kierkegaard by one hundred years, if not more. Among southern Africans, who were largely not a part of the Atlantic slave trade, it represented the wife's commitment or willingness to clean the courtyard of the new home she had joined. In England, jumping over the broom (or sometimes walking over a broom), became nominally synonymous (i.e. "Married over the besom", "living over the brush") with irregular or non-church unions  while in America the phrase could be used as a slang expression to describe the act of getting married legally, rather than as one specifying an informal union not recognised by church or state.
 The Broom my partner and I are using for our handfasting (Before decoration)
       Neo-pagans have borrowed this simple practice from the African American community, and have incorporated it into their handfastings. Many pagans, as well as non-pagans, now associate "jumping the broom" with pagan handfastings. For pagans not of African American decent, including a broom in the ceremony is appropriate. The broom represents a threshold. The handfasted couple, although still individuals, begin a new life together. Jumping over the broom represents crossing this threshold into new territory, a life vitally connected to another. The leap that the couple takes over the broom is also symbolic. Starting a new life with another person does require a "leap of faith". But by taking the leap, the individuals make a gesture of dedication to working together through the tough times ahead. Brooms are also symbols of the hearth, the center of the new family being created.
 The broom for our Handfasting after I decorated it with ribbons in our colors.
       The broom as it is used today in marriage or handfasting ceremonies represents the threshold of the home, and jumping the broom is symbolic of entering a new home together. Even if couples are already sharing a home or are currently married and are renewing their vows, jumping the broom can help symbolize entering a new stage of their relationship, and the leaving behind of old thoughts, behaviors and patterns between the two.
       Many witches, wiccans and pagans are already familiar with the usage of the broom as a symbolic way of sweeping out old energies and clearing away negativity. This is also a great usage of it in a wedding, and helps the couple to come together with a "clean slate".
 Red, Purple, Silver, and Black are our colors!
       Personally I think of Jumping the broom in the pagan sense. I think of it as a symbol of my partner and I leaving behind our old lives and starting a new one together where we are dedicated to working together. I also intend to use the broom to sweep the negative energy from the ceremony site, and will continue to use the broom like that in my future workings.

 Brightest Blessings to you!

Making Wreaths Part 2

 The grapevine wreaths I made and blogged about here are finally dry. Well actually they finished drying a few days ago, but I have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to do anything with them until today.
The vines shrank a little, and I realized I should have wrapped the vines a little tighter when I made them, but I am still happy with how they came out.
And now comes the really fun part.... Decorating them!
I wrapped mine in ribbons that matched the color scheme of my partner and my handfasting. I have red, purple, and silver ribbons leftover from decorating the broom (post to come soon), so I used those for the wreaths.
I started with the large wreath, and I wrapped the red ribbon around it and tied it with a bow...
Then I did the same thing with the silver ribbon, and tied that bow a third of the way around the wreath. The I finished it off with the purple ribbon, also tying the bow so that it would be a third of the way around the wreath. I left the purple ribbon longer so that it would flow down decoratively.
I'm happy with how it came out, but I wish I had some dried flowers or silk flowers that I could have added as well.

With the Smaller wreath, I just tied three bows using the rest of the ribbon. I made a loop of silver ribbon at the top for hanging the wreath. I used some hot glue to make the loop. I left ample space on this wreath, and I think I might add to it later when I get more materials.
Here are the two finished wreaths!
Sorry the picture is so bright, I had to use the flash on my camera so you could actually see the picture. Anyway, I hung the wreaths up so you could see how they looked.
I hope you like them. If I add any more decorations to the wreaths I will update them in a new post.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Symbol of the Ring

With this ring, I thee wed
Shown are the rings my fiancé and I picked out for our engagement/Handfasting. I liked mine because the cut out on it made me think of the element of air. My fiancé’s ring is special. She has an allergy to some metals, so we had to be careful with what ring to select. This is a Stainless steel ring that is also a spinner. Meaning the outer ring with the decoration on it spins around the inner ring that slides onto the finger. It’s a very fun ring to fiddle with.

Its beginnings lie in the deserts of North Africa, where the ancient Egyptian
civilization sprang up along the fertile flood plains of the river Nile. This
river was bringer of all fortune and life to the Pharaoh’s people and from
plants growing on its’ banks were the first wedding rings fashioned. Sedges,
rushes and reeds, growing alongside the well-known papyrus were twisted and
braided into rings for fingers and larger bracelets for wrists.
The ring is of course a circle and this was the symbol of eternity for the
Egyptians as well as many other ancient cultures. It had no beginning and no
end, like time. It returned to itself, like life; and the shape was worshiped
in the form of the Sun and the Moon. The hole in the center of the ring is not
just space either; it is important in its own right as the symbol of the
gateway, or door; leading to things and events both known and unknown.

Wedding Rings are worn on the third finger of the left hand (The Ring Finger) because of the belief that the vein in the finger travels directly from the heart. This legend traveled from the Egyptians to the Greeks, then to the Romans who called this the ‘vein of love’ or the ‘vena amoris’. And so on and so forth.
The circle is a strong magical symbol and it has many meanins to many cultures. Some of those include: Inclusion, Wholeness, Focus, Unity, Nurturing, Reincarnation, Cycles, Initiation, Everything, Endless, Perfection, Womb, Unbroken, Centering, Timeless, Revolution, Infinity, Mobility, and Completion. It is not hard to see why the ring, a perfect circle, is used as a symbol of marriage.

The circle symbol meaning is universal, sacred and divine. It represents the infinite nature of energy, and the inclusivity of the universe. 

You might be wondering why then do Christians take the ring as such an important part of the wedding ceremony if the ring has pagan and magical properties. In truth, the wedding ring has little to no Christian religious significance. 

Like many other pagan symbols, the ring has been adopted into Christian ceremonies and rites. There is no biblical reference decreeing the wedding ring as a requirement.

What the ring means to me…
I think of the ring as meaning you are connected. The engagement rings are there to announce to the world that the couple are connected to each one another; and exchanging wedding rings is the act of binding to each other in a sort of contract. After all, Marriage is a contract when you really get down to it.
But that is not to mean I don’t believe in the romantic meanings of the ring as well. There is something so exciting about shopping for an engagement ring or a wedding ring. Looking for the perfect ring for your partner, then exchanging the rings and sealing it with a kiss and a hug is a wonderful and bonding experience. Announcing to the world that you have found the person you want to share the rest of your life with is a very exciting and happy experience.