Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Secret Meanings of Celtic Symbols

Like all symbols, those found in Celtic art, literature, jewelry, architecture, and decorative objects contain deeper spiritual and magical significance. The four most popular symbols used today--knots, serpents (or dragons), the cross, and spirals--can be found on artifacts dating back to the eighth century B.C.E.

Although exquisitely beautiful as design motifs, Celtic knots are not purely decorative. Knotwork symbolizes the continuing cycle of life, death, and rebirth––and the many twists and turns along the way. Celtic knots also represent the path to the ancestors, one's inner self, and divine inspiration--much as the labyrinth does.

The cross is a poignant symbol to both Pagan and Christian Celts, but its meaning in the two traditions is somewhat different. To Christians, the cross represents the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To Pagan Celts, the cross depicts the junction or union of two polar energies. The horizontal portion signifies the earth; the vertical symbolizes the heavens. In both viewpoints, however, the the cross signifies eternal life, a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms.

Serpents and dragons depict wisdom. In Celtic spirituality, as in many other traditions, the snake represents the life force as well as hidden (or occult) knowledge. Dragons are seen as keepers of secrets, as well as the gatekeepers to other worlds. The spiral shape depicts the path inward and outward, as well as the flow of life energy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice marks the sun ingress into the first degree of the zodiac sign Capricorn, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This year the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 (although it can vary a day or so from year to year).

In pre-Christian Europe, Britain, and Ireland the Winter Solstice celebrated the birth of the Sun God. This holiday of good cheer and festivities, also known as Yule, commemorates life over death and the return of the sun. The turning point in the year, it heralds increasing sunlight as the days grow steadily longer for six months. The holiday was so important to Pagan cultures that Christianity adopted this joyful season to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Like the Sun God, Jesus is said to bring light into the world during the darkest time of the year.

A Pagan custom was to build a fire from wood of the nine sacred trees (some people say seven) as part of the Winter Solstice ritual. An oak log, known as a Yule log, served as the fire’s centerpiece and represented the ascendancy of the Oak King, who would rule until the Summer Solstice. (A small piece of the Yule log was saved for next year’s fire.)

After the fire burned down, anyone who wished took ashes from the ritual fire and wrapped them in a piece of cloth, along with a pine cone. Then they placed their packages under their bed pillows to solicit nightly guidance and angelic advice about the coming year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Golden Cord

This sex magick spell combines your creative energy with a partner’s to attract prosperity.

Best times to perform this spell: During the full moon;
hen the sun or moon is in Taurus; on Thursdays

Ingredients or equipment needed: A gold-colored cord;
12 candles in rainbow colors;

candleholders; matches or a lighter

Acquire a gold-colored cord that’s as long as you are from the tips of your toes to the tips of your fingers when your arm is fully extended above your head. Arrange the candles in a circle around the space where you will perform this spell.

Enter the circle with your partner, bringing the golden cord with you. Light the candles, beginning in the east and continuing in a clockwise direction until all are burning. Make love, coordinating your activity so that one person reaches orgasm first.

As one person reaches orgasm, the other ties a few knots in the cord. When the second person comes, his/her partner ties a few knots. Throughout the entire experience, focus your minds on the objective: to attract money. Your intention and energy are tied into the knots.

When you’re finished, snuff out all the candles. Any time you need money,
open one of the knots and release the energy.

(Excerpted from Nice Spells/Naughty Spells, by Skye Alexander, published by Adams Media; copyrighted material.)