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Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Firebird started out on her path in 1987 after finding her biological family where she learned of her Native American roots. She continued on a solitary journey, absorbing as much as she could about spirituality, when she joined a coven in 1994 where the focus was in Celtic shamanism, fertility, and healing. Ordained in 1999 in this Celtic tradition as well as in the ULC, she would be happy to answer questions on solitary practice as well as group dynamic. She specializes in herb lore, wildcrafting, as well as stones, ritual design, shapeshifting, dreamwork, spells, incense blends, and more. Feel free to stop in the Den of the Firebird and see if she can help.

Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby firebirdflys » Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:11 am

Elements and Quarters
A year and Day Study


I have tossed this idea around for some time and thought it could be beneficial to those on the path of the wise to have a sort of interactive study AS we turn through the wheel of the year.
For instance, so many folks come here and wonder how to connect with say, fire.... we would address this element when we come to the south.
We would travel through the wheel of the year with some food for thought as we pass each element and quarter.
I will approach this study from the perspective of the Celtic tradition I am a part of.

Since we have just entered the season of Imbolc, now is the perfect time to jump on the wheel and follow it around. The holidays are more than just 8 days on our calender year. Each holiday is a span of time that lingers on either side of these eight days. There is the energy building up ...the sacred day arrives and there is energy lingering after. The lines are not hard and defined, they are wavy and permeable.
Imbolc is when we have the new dedicants make their vow to study for a year and day. What does year and a day mean?
I really like this term, its sounds super mysterious and is generally associated with those on the path of the wise. In reality it is your spiritual birthday.
For example ...If you dedicate at Imbolc...
(February 2nd) , then 365 days go by, it is now the day before Imbolc (February 1st).
Add one more day and it is Imbolc once again !!!...February 2nd, hence A year and a day.

This is the wheel of the year we will follow
Image

Even though the light was reborn at Yule, the "light" HALF of the year begins with Imbolc. This is where there is enough light entering in the pupils of animals triggering certain hormonal responses, the ewes come into their milk, chickens start laying eggs, eagles are making their nests etc. Though much of the country is still in the grips of winter, it is the amount of light returned that determines the holiday. The light half of the year begins at Imbolc and ends with Lughnasadh.
The height of each season is in the middle of each quarter. Think of the wheel of the year in 4 basic pie slices, each with an elemental quality and each encompassing a seasonal quality.

Using the above diagram as a visual, the pie is divided like this...

Imbolc to Bealtaine- SPRING and AIR
...the height of the season is Ostara also known as the Vernal Equinox
Bealtaine to Lughnasadh- SUMMER and FIRE
...the height of the season is Litha, also known as the Summer Solstice
Lughnasadh to Samhain- AUTUMN and WATER
...the height of the season is Mabon, also known as the Autumnal Equinox
Samhain to Imbolc- WINTER and EARTH
...the height of the season is Yule, also known as Winter Solstice

There are 4 solar Holiday and 4 cross quarter Holidays. The solar holidays are on the Solstices and Equinoxes. The cross quarter days were very important, being "in between" these solar holidays that mark extremes and balances. The Celts found magic to reside in the tweeny places. The two holidays that are most often thought of to be the most magical are Bealtaine and Samhain. The veil between "this world and the next" is said to shimmer very thin on these two Holidays, and since the Celts were sensitive to these "tween" places, it is no surprise these 2 special holidays are half way between the light half of the year and the dark half.

stay tuned....
blessings, Firebird
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby firebirdflys » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:57 pm

Since we have just entered the element of AIR...
one of my favorite ways of connecting with that element is blowing soap bubbles. Sounds pretty simple eh? it is... :fairy:


Image
Image from wikipedia

Blessings,
bubblebird
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby Xiao Rong » Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:01 pm

BUBBLEBIRD! Too cute.

I'm going to link to this post from the Witchcraft 101 Table of Contents!
~ Xiao Rong ~ 小蓉 ~ Little Lotus ~
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Re: Blow a wish

Postby firebirdflys » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:23 pm

...
smiley_dance
Thanks dear! ...Image

BLOW A WISH

to expand on the above exercise (pun intended...)

Take several deep breaths, fill your lungs, slowly... rhythmically. Become acutely aware of the air that fills you.
Think of the wish you desire, stay positive, keep negative thoughts out of your mind.
Face the East and break out your bubbles,
...think of your breath and your wish as you inhale deeply to blow the bubbles. Slowly release your air and the wish in to the bubble wand...Watch the little orbs of colors drift in the air, up up & away until >poP< ...they evaporate and disappear.
See your wish coming true, in other words ...visualize what the outcome would look like.
Blow some more, have fun. Remember the child.


NOTE:
be reminded wishes are for the Self and are not effective to control the will of another, for you would have to entertain negative thoughts thus negating the work.

Blessings,
wishingbird
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby Aderyn » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:27 pm

Thank you for starting this! :)
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby firebirdflys » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:42 pm

Hi there Aderyn! Glad you found me!
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby SnowCat » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:48 pm

I now have the perfect excuse for being an airhead the past couple of days.

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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby firebirdflys » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:04 pm

Snow... you silly kitty!

DAWN EXERCISE

This can be a hard one for those of us who keep vampire hours, on the other hand it may be easy
...if you go to bed at dawn
:surprisedwitch:

Before the sun rises...
If possible get yourself to a hill above the surrounding horizon. The desert also works well. The roof is an alternative. If this just isn't possible, and your backyard is as far as you can get that's ok too, but if you make it an event or adventure you may find you'll get more out of it.
If you wish you can cast a circle but this isn't necessary. Face the East just as the sun is beginning to rise. Imagine all the potential that is available in this new day (every day really) everything new and fresh again, reborn in the dawn ready to be imbued with pristine energy, and you are the waiting vessel of this energy. Reach high up in the air and wait, ready and in anticipation of that energy. As soon as the light touches your fingertips, take several deep breaths drawing down the potential into your body. Imagine your whole body being filled with each breath you take. Do this as long as you wish or untill your arms are tired, then draw your hands to your heart sealing the energy within.
You should follow through with this excercise by giving thanks to the East, ...speak to whatever deity or totem you work with, for me it would be red tail hawk, Lugh and/or Brighde. Leave offerings if desired, blowing bubbles with thankful breath works too!
ThIs is a good exercise to recharge your spiritual batteries, but it can also be use to draw new energy towards you, like when looking for a new job or house or enlightenment on some quandry in your life. Visualize your desire as if already manifested.
It is also a great way to begin or utilize within the Ostara ritual.

If you are lucky enough to live in an area that the dawn horizon is eaisly viewed, this could be a daily or weekly ritual.

Blessings,
dawnbird
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby Kassandra » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:26 pm

.


Bringing much-needed positive energy and interesting information to the board...good move, firebirdflys.




.
:fairy: bling ~ Have a magical day, now ~

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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby smash089 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:48 am

Following this; I love this!
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby SnowCat » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:02 am

I need to take a few seconds for this as I'm backing out of the driveway in the morning. I start my home visit rounds pretty early, but I face east as I'm backing out, so that would be a good start.

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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby SnowCat » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:12 pm

This morning I took just a minute to greet and thank the Element of Air and the sunrise. I asked that my work for the day honor The Creator. It put me in a better frame of mind.

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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby firebirdflys » Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:22 am

...
IMBOLC
One of the things I find really fun to do this time of year is make candles. Imbolc is typically an excellent holiday to do this. It represents the light returning, and back in the old days you were probably running out of candles from the long dark nights of Yule.
The light of the candle and the Holiday of Imbolc and Valentines Day were closely related. The colors of red and white were prominent to Brighde (Brigit), Brigid, Breed, Bride... woman of the forge, healing and song....and I believe this was carried over into Valentines day. Red has been long associated with the life blood of the woman and the white to be the the life seed of the man. The season hints at young love, and the rush of first crushes. Stolen kisses and even first furrow. This is the candles flickering flame of growing desire, in the cycle of the year and in the hearts of man and woman. We are in the quickening, the time of rest and reflection are behind us now and it is time to begin taking action.
Making candles is an alchemical process that falls into a "center" project of Spirit and Ether.
Candles are very much a fire element, but air is essential to bring them to life. Since there is no quarter of Spirit, we try to work in that realm in many different spots along the cycle. This is one of those projects. When you melt the wax and form it into a solid candle you are creating a change in molecular structure that is alchemical,
..the forge,..the change.
You can create candles for a particular use or just for working light.

MAKING CANDLES

This is a quick and easy way to make some simple candles, you'll need
1. an old pan for water
2. a metal coffee can or other similar metal can that will fit in the water pan
3. a few wicks, hemp twine works well for this
4. stubs of other candles (this would be the scraps of old candles that are burnt all the way but still have wax remaining. these can be ANY candle even old spell candles...remember they will be alchemically transformed and any old juju will be burned away.)

Fill water pan halfway and set the other can in the water pan. Put your wax discards in the coffee can. Turn a low flame under the water pan, and Wait. It will take some time to melt the wax. Add more if you need to fill the coffee can almost full to the top. When all the wax is melted take your wick and dip, pull it out and wait. If you can rig something to hang them on while cooling that would be a nice tool, I lay them on wax paper.They need to cool fully between dips.
This process takes time, there is ways to make more at a time, if you like...but production isn't really the point.
Observe the process, solid...liquid...(magic added)... solid again. Change!
When you melt the wax you can make up releasing incantations, so that any lingering spell be gone. When you are dipping your candles you can make up incantations for a new use or spell, or if they are just for light ask the energy of the all to be present and imbue your candle with the energy of the "light".
Be creative, have fun, be careful, it can get messy.
You can pour into a mold, but this is a little trickier and requires some set up, and you'll need a plastic pan to put the mold in in case of leaks. It is also a good way to get all the wax out of your coffee can. Wax lined Dixie cups work well or small milk cartons.
A little hard to describe in details, but ...poke a hole in the bottom, thread the wick through and leave about a half an inch, seal the hole where the wick comes out with candle putty, wrap the other end of the wick around toothpick or bamboo skewer and secure it at the open end of the cup. Set cups in your plastic pan. Pour small amounts in the cups at a time, allowing for some cooling between pours. When they are ready just peel away the cup or carton!
DO NOT skip the water pan and heat wax in coffee can directly on the burner as that can be a fire hazard!!!!

Many blessings,
Candlebird
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby Luna87 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:40 pm

Hi love this thread :fairy:

Talking about air:

Since I have a child and much of my time during the day I spend with him, some of the fun things we do with the element of air is:

* Blowing ballons into the air

* as mention earlier blowing soap bubbles

* Makeing and flying a kite

* Blowing Dandelions into the air

I also love to burn incence and look at the smoke from the bonfire :flyingwitch:
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Re: Working with the elements and quarters, A year and a day

Postby firebirdflys » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:20 am

...

:mrgreen: by the way, thanks Kass...
Hi Smash, Luna87...good to have you along ::coolglasses::

@ Luna87 ..good air fun! Kites are a really great way to experience air. Wind socks are fun to make also. Any charm that flits about in the breeze is our air connection tools. I will make a post on more soon. blue_flee

MEDITATION
One thing I feel is very important to the study of any witch new to the path or those who are old timers, is Meditation.
Finding ease of access to the deeper recesses of the mind is key to much of the work for those on the path of the wise. When you can get a good grasp of quieting the mind, you can ease stress and tension, and sleep better. It will help with access to your creative potential, and assist you with visualization and pathworkings. Shamanistic transformations start with quiet access to the mind.
Many struggle with meditation, and it can be difficult to find time, however the more regular time you can devote, the sooner you will reap the results. I say regular because ideally the same time each day is the best, but doing it when ever you can to get a chance will work too. The more you do it the more it will get easier and become an invaluable practice in your witch tool box.
Breath is the focus. Count slowly as you breath in. Try to get to 5 but increase this the longer you practice.
Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Breath in...1....2....3....4....5 pause... Breath out...1....2....3....4....5 pause... Repeat
Concentration on the breath is the easiest for beginning meditation,... think about the air as it fill your lungs, feel all aspects of the air entering in and rushing through your nose past the throat and lungs slowly filling...expanding, try to sense all that occurs in your body as you draw each breath and release, when you feel your mind wander...bring your focus back to your breath. your mind will try to think, and that is what is designed to do, don't stress it, just bring it back to your breath. Start with a few minutes and increase your time as you get better it.
Air...
"new" life with each breath in.
For our visual friends, I found a little video that describes this process ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW_Jd23os-Y

Blessings,
meditatingbird
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