A Journal of Celtic Spirituality and Sacred Trees

Issue 20, Beltane 1996

In This Issue:
Out on a Limb: Editorial
From Other Traditions: The Three Worlds of the Oíde, Part VI - Adrian Loaghrian
Party Naked: The Role of Nudity in Paganism - Coll
Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for the Garden - Avalon
Poetry: Green Man - Lea Stone
Reflections on a Life's Journey: ?? Which Wars ?? - Nion
Death as a Return to the Sacred Grove - Erik van Lennep
Fiction: Their Garden - Michael Deakins
Poetry: Talisen is a Candle - David Sparenberg
Silly Spells - Lark
The Glyphs of the Lunar Tree Calendar: Willow, Hawthorn & Oak - Linda Kerr
Faerie Faith 101: Faerie Tales - Linda Kerr
Poetry: Erecting the Temple - Chrisailes
Poetry: Clearing the Temple - Chrisailes
Willow of the Muses - Alan Shear
Into the Light: Auras - Marilyn Windle
The Gift of Fire - Stormy
Festival Memories: Stone's Rising '95 & '96 - Vanessa Blue Heron
Ankh (Cross)-Word Puzzle - Sherlock
Letters to the Editor
About Our Contributors
Bubbles From the Cauldron - book reviews, etc.

Editor & Layout, Publisher: Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Staff Writer: Imré K. Rainey
Staff Writer & Artist: Stormy
Poetry Editor: Lark

Contributors: Avalon, Susan Baxter, Vanessa Blue Heron, Chrisailes, Coll, Michael Deakins, Adrian Loaghrian, Nion, Nancy Passmore (The Lunar Calendar), Alan Shear, Sherlock, David Sparenberg, Lea Stone, Erik van Lennep, Marilyn Windle. Cover art by Baxter.

THE HAZEL NUT, Issue 20, Copyright © 1996. Beltane 1996, Willow/ Hawthorn/Oak Moons. THE HAZEL NUT is published four times a year.

All rights reserved. Copyright reverts to the individual artist or writer upon publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the editor and author.
Opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information published, but cannot be held liable for errors, changes, or omissions, or for any incurrances from the application or the practice of any matter contained herein.

In Celtic legend, the hazel tree drops its nuts into the well below, where they are consumed by the salmon. While cooking one of these salmon, Fionn accidently tastes it, and instantly gains all knowledge. As such, the hazelnut has come to symbolize wisdom in a nutshell. THE HAZEL NUT attempts to bring you this wisdom in a small package every issue, with historical research, herbal information, viewpoints, poetry, artwork, and reader submissions. We also explore, in depth, one or more trees of the Celtic tree calendar/alphabet (Beth-Luis-Nion system) as researched and explained by Robert Graves in The White Goddess. This includes its herbal uses, folklore, esoterica, lunar energies, psychology, mythology, symbolism, and other aspects. In this we hope to make the sacred trees a real, and positive, part of your everyday life.
Willow is the fifth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in April or May, and this year it runs from April 17-May 16.
Hawthorn is the sixth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in May or June, and this year it runs from May 17-June 14.
Oak is the seventh tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in June or July, and this year it runs from June 15-July 14.


Goodness, remind me never to try to get The Hazel Nut out around tax time! I put off doing my taxes to get this issue done, then I had to put off finishing this issue to get my taxes filed (which I did myself, by the way!).
Other than that, things are pretty good on the home front. My pregnancy is progressing nicely, and Raven is about to give birth any minute. I'm getting Moondance organized (May 16-20), and it looks like a lot of fun this year. Our group is also holding a small May Day celebration soon. We didn't have one last year, and things got really out-of-whack, to the point of tragedy. Hopefully this will be a better year for all of us.
We have some good articles in this issue, including "Willow of the Muses" by Alan Shear, and a new article by Stormy, who has finished up her Runes series (at least for now). Alan Shear's article is the first one we've received from outside the core Faerie Faith group that relates to the trees. If you work with the trees of the Celtic Tree Calendar in any way, either their mythology, folklore, herbal uses, history, or esoterica, it would be really great to have some more articles along those lines. It gets rather old being the only person writing about the trees, when I see from the email comments I get about the Web page that there are other like-minded folks out there. If you have other viewpoints about the Tree Calendar, or use a different system, or perhaps use different trees entirely, I'd especially love to hear it.
And my usual plea: We're still in desperate need of artwork, in exchange for issues. If you have any talents, PLEASE contact us! Send us your color, line art, or gray artwork, and we'll reimburse you with a copy of the issue in which it's published. For both articles and artwork, call or write for Contributor's Guidelines, or see them on the Web page.
Wishing everyone a happy Beltane and a good summer; maybe we'll meet up at one of the upcoming festivals this season.

Until next time, party on, dudes! - Muirghein



by Adrian Loaghrian

The Eight Guardians

Perhaps the four most classically recognized ritual guardians of the watch towers are those having derived from the Quabalistic rituals left to us by 11th century Magis. These Guardians are more than suitable for the works of many keepers of the majickal paths. Indeed, I have encountered entities created under the auspices of workers protected by these formidable Arch-Angels.
In such a working the Guardians each grant a portion of themselves and their properties to the entity being created. This is a bit like the story of The Sleeping Beauty, as told by the Brothers Grimm, wherein each "Good Faerie" bestowed a blessing upon the infant princess. However, the one "Evil Faerie" felt compelled to place the gifts of Her realm upon the infant and her ill mannered parents as well.
Just as these Faerie were called to oversee the presentation of the infant princess to her people, so too are the Arch-Angels called to oversee the workings of a ritual. The primary difference between the Faerie and the Arch-Angels is that there are no good or bad Arch-Angels. Just like certain citizens of Alltar (the Otherworld), the Arch-Angels are neither good nor evil; they do exactly as they are requested. Here again we see an example of the "Be careful what you ask for..." syndrome.
The origin of the mythos giving birth to these Arch-Angels is Hebrew; hence each of their names contains the last two letters "el." El is the oldest known utterance in the Hebrew language referring to God. Some Hebrew scholars have called these four Arch-Angels the "Four Limbs of El."
These four great Arch-Angels are:
Raphael {rah-fie-El}; masculine Arch-Angel and Guardian over all things belonging to the aspects of the Air and the realms of the East.
Michael {mick-ie-El}; masculine Arch-Angel and Guardian over all things belonging to the aspects of Fire and the realms of the South.
Gabriel {Gab-rie-El}; feminine Arch-Angel and Guardian over all things belonging to the aspects of Water and the realms of the West.
Uriel {eu-rie-El}; feminine Arch-Angel and Guardian over all things belonging to the aspects the North and the realms of the North.

A more earthborn set of worshipers have perceived these four Arch-Angels as Majickal Guardians transformed into animalistic or shape-shifted forms. These are: the Eagle of the East, the Bull of the South, the Dolphin of the West, and the Elephant in the North. No doubt you have seen these ionic representations in the Rider-Waite tarot deck. Native Americans have called upon similar guardians such as Wind Brother, Sea Woman, etc. Various majickal reference books will give listing upon listings of dominant rulers over the four quarters of the "Circle." Naturally, each tradition has its own set of guardians. Among the Oíde the rule of elemental association is, however, different.
The guardians of the Oíde are eight guardians or teachers, each encountered during eight separate journeys that each of Oíde must take. They come from the "Eight Coloured Realms of Alltar." (The colours of the Eight Realms are not coordinate with any other colour associations I have ever encountered in texts so far.) Each of the members of our fellowship must find and discover their own Guardians and their Guardian's names. Likewise each of us learn to perceive their unique features for themselves. The particular lessons taught to us by these guardian-teachers are unique to each traveler, yet we find that these lessons are very similar, in trait and purpose, among each of us. Before being accepted into the fellowship each applicant must first sojourn through each of the Eight Realms. In private, each journey is written down. During a teaching session these adventures and encounters are shared with others. The messages revealed in each realm have been the same or a greatly similar message since the origins of the fellowship.
This Shamanic technique of acquiring a team of "Guides," serves to provide both personal sanctity and common proof of their existence at once. However, there is another property these guides hold. This is that they are uniquely similar to facets of our own essence. Just as the Deity may be perceived as God, Goddess, & Divine Spirit; so, too, may each of us become separated into eight different aspects of growth and perception. Four of these Sean-Oíde, or Guardians, are feminine, while the other four are masculine. The simplest explanation of this principle is to employ the prime doctrine of The Church of All Worlds, and say "Thou art God, thou art Goddess."


by Coll

Skyclad! Clothed by the sky; what a wonderful feeling of freedom. It's something that is hard to describe unless you have experienced the total openness of being naked around other people and under the sun or stars. I love it as do many other Pagans.
My initiation was my first experience of being skyclad. I was told that it was my choice-- I could be naked or not. I was apprehensive at first. There was the fear that I think many males experience--uncontrolled erection at the slightest breeze. However, since initiation symbolizes a new birth, I chose to be nude. Interestingly enough, all fears left me as I was caught up in the moment of turning over my life to the Lord and Lady and being welcomed into a loving family.
After that first experience, it was really no big deal. Though we rarely used nudity in rituals, we'd been skinny dipping together on many occasions. I'd seen them, they'd seen me--ho hum!
Then I went to my first Moondance (and there hasn't been one like it since). What a shock to walk down to the pond and find 30 to 40 folks dancing wildly, jumping over the fire (one fell in, as I recall), and standing around in casual conversation--all stark naked!! It was like a naked cocktail party. I of course joined right in for the merriment of the evening, and I can't recall having more fun naked without having sex.
The following Moondances haven't been quite the same as my first one. I once saw Craig naked and covered with mud run through the middle of a Women's Mysteries class (what a hoot!). And despite the efforts of those of us who led the charge at this year's Moondance (my hooping and hollering while twirling a kilt over my head must have been uninspiring), things just weren't the same as my first Moondance.
Just when I thought maybe I'd never get to party naked witha lot of people ever again, I was delighted to find a nude beach. I went to Canavaral National Seashore to go bird watching. It seem that Brevard County had just passed an ordinance prohibiting nude sunbathing and 900 people had shown up to protest. The beach was never more fun as basking in the light of the Sun Father and frolicking in the waves.
So what's the point to all this? Well, I suppose there isn't much of one. Nudity is a personal choice and most Pagans aren't offended, even if they choose not to participate. I really don't see the need for nudity in ritual except where there is group consensus--again, a personal choice. I see nudity more as a form of expression rather than as an act of worship. However, when a large group of people begin to shed clothing, they also shed a lot of mental garbage. It's like a group consciousness begins to develop and the energy is very intense.
One old guy at the nude beach described it to me this way--"Out here we're all equal." It's true. Without clothing, we are exactly the way that nature made us--free! Maybe we should do more skyclad rituals. Dispense with the images that robes and costumes present--the things we hide behind--and be true to ourselves. Our Mother sees us naked even when we are clothed.

Green Blessings!


by Avalon

As Spring and Summer rapidly approach and we begin to turn our thoughts to outdoor activities, I thought this would be an excellent time to mention a few uses of essential oils that are beneficial for the garden. Due to new Federal controls on pesticide usage, we are getting closer to seeing the end of many hazardous chemicals. Agricultural usage is already down by almost 50%, and in the future, we will begin to see stricter controls on urban pesticides. As these changes occur, scientists will be directing their attention to biological controls for pests, making it essential that we begin to learn and understand more about plant systems and how they work together.
Plants are in continuous communication with each other. In 1982, two biologists from Washington University discovered a biochemical communication system operating between willow and alder trees when they deliberately infested the trees with predatory caterpillars and webworms. The trees responded by producing terpenes and tannins in their leaves as well as by changing their protein content, thus causing the insects to die as the leaves became unpalatable and indigestible. Although these trees were not in contact with each other, they managed to communicate a warning to other trees of the same species which in turn caused them to make the needed chemical changes in order to protect themselves. This led the scientists to conclude that the warning was sent by chemical scents or aroma molecules.
Just as we are limited in our knowledge of how aromatherapy works within our own bodies to encourage health and fight disease, we also suffer from a lack of understanding of plant systems and the symbiotic relationships they set up between themselves. Many plant oils have the ability to act as deterrents to a variety of pests as well as aid in the prevention of many common diseases that are caused by viruses and bacteria. The proven antibacterial and antiviral properties of some plant oils indicate that one of their jobs in the plant from which they were extracted was to provide protection against bacteria and viruses. Some common antiviral oils include patchouli, tea tree, cinnamon and niaouli; and for bacterial infections, hyssop and chamomile. To treat infected plants, mix 10 drops of the essential oil in a gallon of water and spray the plants with regular garden spraying equipment. Planting the herbs nearby or scattering them around the infected plants also works well.
Roses thrive in the presence of thyme, basil and garlic, and intercropping with onions, parsley, garlic and lupin help to increase fragrance as well as the health of the flowers. These herbs can be planted around the bushes, sprinkled around them or sprayed on with the diluted essential oil. Chamomile or savory can be used to treat mildew or black spot, and chive tea is good for the grey dusty mold that frequently occurs on roses. A tea made from horsetail helps to protect plants against many types of fungus because of its high silica content, and nettle tea helps keep cucumbers healthy. To make a tea, use 1 cup of dried herbs or flowers to 2 cups of boiling water and let stand for at least 4 hours (overnight is better as it makes a stronger tea). Add 2 tablespoons of the tea to a gallon of water, and spray on the plants.
Planting lavender or sage in a garden or just watering plants with the oil mixed in the water (4 to 8 drops in a 1 gallon watering can) helps to protect vegetables. Since lavender is a permanent plant, make sure to plant it around the edges. For healthier beans, spray with, scatter or plant nearby lavender, basil, savory or strawberries. Sage works well for carrots as does thyme for broccoli and savory for sweet corn. Basil planted near tomato plants or basil oil in the watering can will help to enhance the taste of the tomatoes, and yarrow increases the aromatic qualities of all herbs. Valerian is good for most plants as it contains phosphorus and attracts earthworms.
For control of insects, basil and lemongrass is good for aphid control and sandalwood, patchouli and pine work well for woolly aphids. Thyme and sage can be used for cutworm problems, weevils are controlled with cedarwood, sandalwood or patchouli, white flies can be managed with marigold, and lavender aids in the control of the white cabbage butterfly. For snails use cedarwood, pine, or garlic; and for slugs try garlic, cedarwood, hyssop or pine (saving pine needles from discarded Christmas trees and scattering them in the garden works well). Marigolds and lupin impede the growth of weeds, so intercrop with these plants if you don't have the time to do a lot of mulching. Marigolds also help manage soils that are infested with nematodes.
Just as essential oils are beneficial for many plants, there are some oils that do not mix well when grown with or applied to certain plants. Growing beans or peas around onions and garlic does not work well, dill is not a good planting companion with carrots, and roses do not like to be sprayed with rose oil. Fennel and rue are generally bad when grown around any plant.
As we move into this new era of biological control, farmers need to be encouraged to grow plants that can be distilled into essential oils. Currently, most essential oils are being imported from other countries. The production of plant oils makes sense economically and ecologically, and because there are so many uses for the oils, the market is wide open and growing. There is the potential for an excellent cash crop that can be used for medicinal purposes, for cosmetics, and for the food industry and consumers.
Plants live together in harmony and in a coexistence that enables them to protect and enhance themselves. Long ago, the African marigold was considered sacred by the Aztecs and was associated with their god of agriculture because of the improved crops that resulted wherever they were planted. We need to take guidance from nature and learn to utilize plants and their products in order for us to produce stronger and healthier plants. The natural build up of health in plants positively affects the fragrance of flowers, the flavor of fruits and vegetables as well as harvest yields, and as consumers, these benefits to the plants are ultimately passed on to us.


Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. 1991. New World Library, San Rafael, California. 1991.


- by Lea Stone

This song is for you, to connect you
to the divine embrace.

I turned and you my lover became
dark one, vast one
tangled amid thorn and sloe

I turned and you unmade me there
laid clean, unshriven
on moss, leaves, acorns, seeds of you

Your breath, your life, your touch
in my hair
along my spine
through my soul

I turned and you warned me
called me
thrilled me
with limbs and leafless hair
like snakes dancing--

Moonlight upon you there

I turned and mourned no more
'my own trewe luve
my derry down derry dol'
my oak
my hickory
my hazel and yew

I slip into your vast embrace
your peerless rapture
you woodland, you homeland
you -- -- --


by Nion

Howdy ya'll, Nion here. This article is in a little more serious vein than my usual cockeyed view of the Pagan world, although it does relate to it. As I have previously mentioned in other articles, I believe that most organized groups and circles in this neck of the woods are on good cordial terms with each other and usually have very good--if informal--ties. But, there does seem to be a few, and I'm sure it's the case everywhere, Pagans/Wiccans who for various reasons use their "power" to adversely influence or actually harm others. They are usually either the egomaniac/maverick who has few ethical standards, or, probably the majority, those who "dabble" in the Craft with enough "knowledge" to be dangerous to others but not enough understanding of the Laws, or a blatant disregard for the welfare of others, just because they can "do it."
The sending of poppets or "voodoo" dolls for harmful purposes is a very questionable ethical practice, because it DOES constitute a threat to a person. A non-Craft person may laugh it off; but to those who take magick seriously, the receiving of one constitutes a threat or an attack and they have every right to defend themselves in ANY manner they deem necessary. And in my view, whatever retaliatory action or retributive return was dealt--magickally or mundanely--would be highly deserved. Speaking of sending poppets to someone you are trying to adversely influence, even I as a novice know enough to know that you DON'T send that sort of thing to the recipient of the magick, because you just GAVE that person your "power" and a means of retaliation or retribution. Obviously, anyone who doesn't know or disregards even the basics of the Craft is most likely just a "dabbler" whose limited knowledge and lack of ethics clearly shows.
To me, what is also disturbing is that some practitioners condone or support such abhorrent behavior, either by action or by attempting to 'cover-up' for those who take the action, on the pretext of not taking Craft problems to outsiders. BULLSHIT!! Personally speaking, if a poppet, voodoo doll, threat to use black candles for harm, or any other such was sent and you openly discussed it, it would be a service to the Pagan community, as we have a duty to neutralize such "psychotics" in whatever way available. We, as a minority community, have a bad enough name among the non-Craft without the mavericks and dabblers making it worse.
By the way, MY definition of a dabbler is one who gleefully shows you their athame and other "neat" Craft stuff to show off, and who obviously has only a little knowledge but doesn't comprehend the ramifications of what they are actually doing. Dabblers also tend to use their limited knowledge of magick to threaten others with magickal attacks for the least provocation or perceived slight. Not usually a direct threat, unless lashing out indiscriminately, are those who have been in the Craft for a little while and who constantly see themselves being under psychic and magickal attack on all fronts (from under the bed, behind the cupboard, in the woodpile, etc., etc.), usually from imaginary foes, for every conceivable misfortune that occurs to them. I guess they either never heard the phrase "shit happens," or they have sent out enough bad vibes themselves that they are always quick to think the worst all the time. I just don't understand that type of thinking or behavior. To me, the Craft is a wonderful tool to try and help others physically, mentally, or spiritually, not one that should harm. Oh well, guess I've become part of the "real world."
As a newbie in this different and, at times, very strange world, I guess like other beginning Pagans, the thought of being on the fringe of 'witch wars' and punitive and retributive strikes here and there scares the hell out of me. I have heard of only a few mavericks on the outer fringes of the mainstream Pagan community, or troubled dabblers, or disgruntled coveners who were unable to maintain their covens due to ego or "power-gone-to-the-head-itus" that seem to be quick to send shit to other, or cry the loudest of being the recipients of every imaginable magickal attack possible. In the two years of my being a Pagan, I've met many, many friends and acquaintances, here and at festivals, etc. Out of all those I've met, the vast majority of them believe in one form or another of the Rede or equivalent code of ethics, and the Law of Karmic Return, or both. I personally and strongly believe that the vast majority of Craft, following the ethical mores of most mainstream Pagans/ Wiccans, need to police ourselves more closely and act to prevent or neutralize those that seem to do more "harming" than good; so as to minimize the detrimental public image we have at times when the "mundanes" hear of our 'darker' endeavors. What do You think??
Boy! That was heavy...well, guess I'll go and recharge the gray stuff holding my ears apart. So, bye for now, and may the Lord and Lady of us all keep shining Their blessings on ya'll. Blessed Be.


by Erik van Lennep

(Note: This article was originally published in Catalyst, Vol VIII, No. 3 and 4, and subsequently, in Green Egg. It bears repeating...)


Memorial Day dawns with the soft light of late May, as a gentle breeze stirs the leaves of a richly varied forest canopy. As the Sun warms the Earth, birds are busily searching out food for Spring hatchlings, bees work the blossoms on a wealth of different species, and a tardy few deer return to their deep woods shelter after a night of browsing and carousing. Hours later, humans begin to arrive for a day of reflection, reunion, and celebration among the groves. An elderly woman comes to plant hepaticas at the base of a young white oak. Tucking the roots into the dark compost amongst the oak's roots, she lovingly waters them, all the while talking to her husband, to the tree. They have been one in her mind since she planted the tree on his grave fifteen years ago. Further down the slope a young family sits at the base of a grand chestnut, amidst a scattering of smaller chestnut trees--all blight resistant American chestnut cultivars, of course--and tells stories about the relatives and ancestors whose bodies now feed the trees where they have spread their blankets. In a ravine, stand great white pines planted to hold the banks against erosion after the last-ever clearcut on this site. Flying squirrels peak from nest cavities in the boles of the eldest trees. Further upslope, a stand of shagbark hickories unfurls its leaflets like a bronzy green haze amidst the stout twiggy branches. The sounds of singing and the rasp of shovels against soil can be heard from the edge of the meadow, where a family in mourning is laying to rest the eldest of their Great Aunts, soon to be memorialized by a new thicket of her favorite wild plums. As a sign at the entrance reads, "We are all but compost for future lives. The cycle alone endures."

This is a scene from the future sacred grove, created by a combination of concern for restoration of damaged lands, climate stabilization, planning for the provision of increased old growth habitat, and creation of new recreation lands to alleviate pressure on vital wilderness. The land may have been secured through a new concept in land trusts, a trust devoted to environmental rehabilitation, and reclaimed through the hands of local citizens sick and tired of watching the world fall apart around them. A rehabilitation-as-empowerment project designed for and by youth may have played a key part. Sales of native plants, researched and cultivated by the youth eco-restoration corps not only helped to fund the cost of initial salvage operations, but continues today as a revenue source for the minimal\ management costs of the groves. The community surrounding the groves also reflects the local nursery activity, in some areas having merged with the Forest of The Ancestors. Initial costs of purchasing land was through sales of cemetery plots, at well below the going rate for the burial industry, but sufficient for project needs. The first "clients" were a combination of those whose families could not afford the high cost of plots and fees within the established system, baby boom environmentalists looking ahead as they reached middle age, and a scattering of garden clubbers and wilderness buffs.
Western Industrial culture holds few things sacred. It will tolerate few mysteries within its realm. For this reason, respect is also a rarity within contemporary western society. As a whole, we do not respect our parents, our elders, our ancestors, or our children. We do not respect our waters, the land, the air, or Earth's natural cycles. We do not respect our neighbors, and we do not respect other races or cultures. We rarely even respect ourselves.
One of the few forces allowed to retain some mystery, and therefore able to command
some respect, is Death. We accord some measure of respect to our own dead, and to their resting places. As callously as developers may treat the burial sites of other Peoples' ancestors, our own graveyards may come as close to sacred ground as any other place identified with our culture.
In the eco-cemetery, the final resting places would be marked by trees, or thickets and groves. Discreet markers at the base of trees would help families find the burial sites, and serve to commemorate the dead, but the most visible memorial would be in the living trees. Metaphysically, metaphorically, chemically, and conceptually, the dead would live on as a tree, a grove, an entire forest dedicated in loving memory.
While the impetus for the creation of eco-cemeteries may be found in a combination of economic and environmental concerns, the benefits go far beyond. The use of "sacred grove" as both an expression and as a concept is powerful. By connecting people with a positive image of the cycles of Life, the ensuing generations will grow to respect both forests and ancestors in a manner not seen for many western generations. The community and family ritual of tree tending coupled with acceptance of the natural order within a forest destined to grow old will engender different attitudes than the obsessive manipulation and manicuring of today's cemeteries. Human communities and all forests will benefit from the sacred groves, and the West just might begin to understand the ideas held sacred by other cultures.

Copyright 1993
Erik van Lennep
Reprinting by permission


Fiction by Michael Deakins

Part II

In the last issue, Justin Thyme met the fairy, Sparkle, who removed the veil from his sight. He was able to see the little people working in their garden. After telling him there was someone else who wanted to meet him, she packed up her briefcase and flew away.

I sat for a moment, watching the fairies going about their daily tasks. None paid any attention to me, and I wondered if they could see me or if they had a veil of their own that kept them from being aware of the intruder in their midst. I felt out of place and out of time, a stranger in a world far kinder than the one I belonged to. Was the path I had chosen for my life right? I wasn't sure anymore. I had spent my life finding the perfect wilderness settings, rearranging them to suit the needs of people who wanted to feel like they lived in the forest without having to cope with nature. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe having an air-conditioned house with the mailbox on the curb and the garage exactly twenty-two feet from the street wasn't as important as I thought. Maybe there was a better way to live. I looked at my watch, surprised to see that I still had thirty-five minutes before I was needed at the meeting back at the conference center. I looked around, searching for the path back to my car.
"Don't leave yet," a voice said from behind me. "Things are just starting to get interesting." I spun around, and saw him calmly stepping out of the woods.
Unlike Sparkle, he wore clothing. Black boots, brown pants, and a grayish shirt were topped off by a yellow cap with a golden feather. He had yellow hair and deep blue eyes. But what startled me the most were pointed ears that Mr. Spock (from the Starship Enterprise) would have been envious of. His speech was clear and precise, though his accent was different than any I had heard before. I had the impression those eyes had seen many years in their time.
"How rude of me. I should introduce myself." He bowed with a sweeping gesture of his hand. "My people call me Korangar, though your people would call me by a different name. I am pleased to make your acquaintance."
"The pleasure is all mine," I said, mustering what politeness I had left after such an unusual afternoon. "I am Justin Thyme." I watched as he approached. It was not every day that a person met an Elf.
"Hello, Justin Thyme," Korangar said. He sat down on a rock and stretched his long legs out on the grass. He seemed a part of the forest, almost as if he had always been there. "I understand Sparkle thinks you might be the One. If you'll excuse me for saying so, I'm afraid that I will be a bit harder to convince. I've seen candidates fail before."
"That's too bad," I said. "Though I'm not sure what it takes to pass, since I have no idea what the One is." I sat down on the grass in front of Korangar. "Maybe you could enlighten me. What exactly is the One, and why might I qualify?"
Korangar snapped his fingers, and a swarm of butterflies swept down from the trees, carrying two silver goblets. "A glass of wine, Justin?" he said as he held one out to me. "It's made from grapes that the hill fairies have been growing this year. Quite good, actually."
I took the cup, wondering if there were any rituals that should be observed. I smelled it. It had the scent of wild strawberries, mixed with honey. I tasted it, and was rewarded with one of the smoothest wines I had ever tasted. "This is great!" I said. "You could make a fortune selling this in Europe. I bet it would go for hundreds of dollars a bottle!"
Korangar shook his head, looking at me like I was a total imbecile. "Ah, my poor Justin," he said. "If you are the One, then we still have a long way to go." He set his goblet down on the grass and looked at me with a knowing glance. "Are you ready to give up all your preconceptions of the world? I should tell you now the course ahead of you will not be an easy one."
I suddenly realized that this was not a dream, and these creatures I had met were dead earnest. "What course? What One?" I was starting to get angry. "What the hell are you guys talking about?"
Korangar stood, a look of disapproval changing his eyes to ice. "There is no need to be vulgar, Justin Thyme. I am going to show you what your kind has done to us in your search for technology." He shook his head.
"Just remember, what you shall see is of your own creation."
"Let's just get this over with," I said. "I have a meeting to attend."
"As you wish." He snapped his fingers, and suddenly we were in a different place altogether.

It took me a few moments, but I recognized the place. About six years before I had been contracted to design a low income housing project. I had thought the final design I had come up with was quite good, with lots of grass and trees, and play area for the children. But I hadn't been back there since construction was finished, and if this wasn't some kind of trick, then my efforts had gone sadly astray.
The place was a wreck. All the trees were gone, just ragged stumps sticking out of the bare earth. Most of the buildings had at least one boarded up window, and there were several that appeared to have been burned to the ground. Paint was peeling off all the structures and there was garbage everywhere.
People still lived there. Sad, broken looking people. Dirty children playing in the trash. What were intended to be parks for the young now seemed to be hangouts for the local gangs. Broken down cars stood like rusted monuments in the driveways, and it appeared those who owned anything of value had placed harsh iron bars over what was left of their windows. Several toothless old men passed a bottle of cheap wine, and I could hear a man and a woman screaming at each other while their baby cried.
Korangar looked so sad I thought that he was going to cry. "You see, Justin Thyme. Though you had good intentions, this is what became of your dream for this place. These people have no hope, no desire to make a better life for themselves." He shook his head. "They no longer care."
I was appalled. "That's not my fault," I said. "I built a good place to live. I can't help it if they didn't take care of it." I looked around at the rampant poverty and sighed. "It's such a waste."
Looking me straight in the eyes, Korangar said, "It is more of a waste than you realize. Sparkle removed the veil from your eyes that had covered the Spirit world. That veil is still absent. Look more closely at this place that you created."
He pointed to a pile of trash near one of the burned out buildings, and to my horror, I saw there were fairies living in the garbage. But these were not the bright, happy people of Sparkles's garden. They were dirty, with torn wings and faded skin. There were no smiles on the faces of these little people. Two young fairies held sharpened sticks, and were trying to chase away a stray dog that was digging into the side of their trash pile. They looked as sad and tired as the rest of the place. I felt myself growing ill.
"Now you see," Korangar said. "When you built this place, you designed it for humans, never guessing you were destroying the homes of those who had lived here for hundreds of years. Long before this city was even thought of the fairies dwelt here." He picked up a rock and threw it at the dog, causing it to yelp and run away. The two fairies with their miniature spears nodded in thanks, then returned to the shelter of their trash pile. "We of the Spirit world are tied to the land, Justin Thyme, and though we may venture now and again, we must always return to our homes to replenish ourselves." He waved his hand in the direction of the pile. "Those poor creatures receive no joy from this place, though they are destined to spend their lives here."
Snapping his fingers again, Korangar returned us to the forest. I sat down on the grass, stunned by what I had seen. He stood beside me, a hand on my shoulder. "Though your heart is
heavy, Justin Thyme, know that it is not your fault alone. We have for too long avoided any contact with your kind. We have estranged ourselves, and in doing so may have brought on our own doom." He sat down on the grass beside me. "Will you help us, Justin Thyme? We need someone who will show places like these to human kind, so that maybe they will understand and work with us to build a world in which we all may happily live. Will you help?"
I looked around at the forest. The great trees stood green and strong, and the afternoon sun cast its golden glow through the branches. "What can I do?" I asked.
Korangar's shoulders sagged in relief and he smiled as he placed his hand against my forehead. "I give to you the power of the Spirit world. I give to you the hopes and fears of Elven and Fairy kind. I share with you my heart, and the heart of my people, who will aid you in all that you do. You now exist in both worlds, and have the power to make others of your kind see what you have seen." He dropped his hand and sat looking at me.
Once again, something had changed. But this time the change was inside me. My dear God, I thought. For the first time in my life I have needs more important than myself, more precious than any I had ever felt before. I cast my gaze around the forest, reveling in its every aspect. I looked at Korangar and smiled.
"I will help," I said. "I will bring my people here. I will show those who wish to see this world that you have given me. I will teach as best as I can." I saw something shimmering out of the corner of my eye, and I turned to see Sparkle hovering there, her face shining with excitement and hope. "It will take the help of all my new found friends," I continued, "but we must succeed. I will bring my people to visit your garden."

"I will be the One."


- by David Sparenberg

I am the seafoam bright
of long memory. I
am the living core.
The spirit of Talisen
has entered my songs.

With the fire
of a single chant
I heal
the ailing earth.
I have dared to feel
to share
her man-made sorrow.

I have been invited
into the creaturely
of formative wisdom;
I have overheard
the sundering moan.

but a single spell
a spark
of warm-hearted magic
I bring relief
to wide disorder.

the rhythmic movements
of these hands
and these feet
I bring repair
to a thousand
enchanted lands, in worlds
both near and far.

Watch me this day
dancing the borders between
life seen
and life unseen.

The spirit of Talisen
is a candle
inside me. My soul
is a wax-
less flame. And pure
and clear
are the truths
of my poetry.


by Lark

I believe that sometimes we all take ourselves too seriously. What follows is from my amusing collection of ancient spells. They are for entertainment purposes only--don't try these at home!

For strength: Every morning give to the weak person a sandwich of a black spider between two slices of buttered bread.

To win the love of a woman: Find a pair of copulating dogs, throw a cloth over them and later give it to the girl you desire. She will be yours.

To free thyself from a love spelle, the bewitched and constrained partye must piss in the lover's shue. (That would certainly cause a major break up! So will the next one...)

Boil cedar leaves in water, then wet your foot or hand with the liquid and kick or strike the person who cast the spell.

In all of the old grimores that I have read there are always many spells to cure impotency. It seems in ye olden days men were most afraid of witches for this very reason. Few things change; men are still afraid of powerful women. Thomas Bromhall in a Treatise of Specters advises: "When ye have lost yer manhoode piss through a wedding ring." Another recommendation is to spit in your own bosome.

Here's a good luck charm for witches to say daily before going out: "The fire bites, the fires bites; hogs-turd over it, hogs-turd over it." Then spit over one shoulder, then over the other, and then three times right forward.

To cure disease, you must boil an egg in your own urine and bury it in an anthill. As it wastes so will your disease.

Baldness could be cured: Take milk of a slut, and saturate therewith the spot wherever the hair is desired to grow. Or if one has hair: Weave hair of a victim into a bird's nest to drive him mad.

And lastly a spell from Scotland: If anyone happens to commit squat at thy door and
thou wilt prevent that beastly trick in the future, take the poker red-hot, and put it into the excrement, and by magnetism, his posteriors shall become much scorched and inflamed.

More humorous spells and charms in the future!


by Linda Kerr

Each of the 13 lunar months has its own particular 'glyph,' or line, from the Song of Amergin, an ancient poem said to have been chanted by the chief bard of the Milesian invaders of Ireland as he first set foot to the island in 1268 BC.1 This poem was reconstructed by Robert Graves in The White Goddess and related to the Beth-Luis-Nion alphabet, as follows:2

I am a stag of seven tines, Birch Beth
or I am an ox of seven fights,
I am a wide flood on a plain, Rowan Luis
I am a wind on the deep waters Ash Nion
I am a shining tear of the sun Alder Fearn
I am a hawk on a cliff Willow Saille
I am fair among flowers Hawthorn Uath
I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke Oak Duir
I am a battle-waging spear Holly Tinne
I am a salmon in the pool Hazel Coll
I am a hill of poetry Vine Muin
I am a ruthless boar Ivy Gort
I am a threatening noise of the sea Reed Ngetal
I am a wave of the sea Elder Ruis
Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen? Winter Solstice

Each of these lines speak of a particular essence of the lunar energies, and when studied in-depth, can help lead to a greater understanding of the tree month. This series of articles will attempt to explore these glyphs, and at least get you started in your own understanding.

Willow/Saille: I am a hawk on a cliff - for deftness

This is an appropriate glyph for Willow, according to Graves, because Saille is the month when birds nest (Graves, 209).
The hawk which is on the cliff is, mythologically, the same as the kite, which is the bird sacred to Boreas the North Wind. In Greek legend his Thracian sons Calais and Zetes wore kite feathers in his honor and could transform themselves into kites. The Egyptian hieroglyph for the North Wind is a hawk, thus linking the hawk and the kite. The Welsh word for hawk is gwalch, similar to the Latin falco, or falcon, which is a type of hawk. The mystical Gwalchmai ('hawk of May'); Gwalchaved ('hawk of summer'), or Sir Galahad; and Gwalchgwyn ('white hawk'), or Sir Gawain, are all related to the hawk of Willow (Graves, 209).
Willow is a time of movement, and the hawk on the cliff represents this movement. He is perched on the cliff, ready to take off, but not yet flying. The hawk, an air symbol, also tells us
that we have come fully out of the watery depths of the last four moons.
The Willow tree is also sacred to Hecate, Minerva, Hera, and Persephone; all Death aspects of the Goddess. This may seem strange in the spring of the year, but remember the hawk, as a bird of prey, is a bringer of death himself. The Romance of Gwion illustrates this symbolically.
In the Romance of Gwion-- the boy who was eaten by the wild hag Cerridwen and reborn as the miraculous child Taliesin--Gwion goes through a number of transformations to escape the fury of the Goddess. These transformations run in strict seasonal order, as do the corresponding forms that the Goddess took to pursue him and finally catch him. At first Gwion was a hare in the autumn coursing season; She became a greyhound bitch; then he was a fish in the rains of winter, and She was an otter; next he was a bird in the spring when the migrants return, and she became a falcon (or hawk); and finally he became a grain of corn in the summer harvest season, and She consumed him in the shape of a high-crested black hen--the red comb and black feathers showing her to be the Death Goddess (Graves, 400).
A last thing to mention is that Hecate, the Death Goddess, has as her messenger the Owl, which leads us into the next moon, Hawthorn.

Hawthorn/Huath: I am fair among flowers

Huath is the season of flowers, and is ruled by the Hawthorn, or May-tree. Olwen is the May-queen, and the daughter of the Hawthorn, or 'Giant Hawthorn.' The name Olwen means 'She of the White Track,' due to the white trefoil that sprang up from her footprints. (Graves, 209-210)
Olwen is another name for Blodeuwedd ('Flower-aspect'), who was created by the wizard Gwydion from buds and blossoms (Graves, 41) to be the bride of Llew Llaw Gyffes (Graves, 85). In the myth of Blodeuwedd and Llew Llaw, Blodeuwedd met and fell in love with Gronw, and plotted with him to kill her husband, Llew Llaw. Through trickery, Llew was lead to his death-place, whereupon Gronw rose up and slew him with a spear thrust to the side. Llew's soul then rose up in the form of an eagle. (Graves, 310)
When Llew's father, Gwydion, came looking for him, Blodeuwedd said that he had gone away from home to hunt. Gwydion, however, knew better, and travelled all the countries in search of Llew. At last he created Caer Gwydion, or the Milky Way, as a track, or path, by which to seek Llew's soul in the heavens, where he found it. As punishment for her betrayal of her husband, Gwydion turned Blodeuwedd into an bird, whereupon she fled from her father-in-law. (Graves, 315)
The bird that Blodeuwedd became was an owl, and so she was called Twyll Huan ('the deceiving of Huan') for having caused Llew's death, Huan being Llew's other name, and tylluan being the Welsh word for owl. (Graves, 85)
In the story, Blodeuwedd was turned into an Owl by Gwydion. In actuality she had been an Owl for thousands of years before Gwydion was born--the same Owl that occurs on the coins of Athens as the symbol of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. In her two aspects as Love-goddess and Goddess of Wisdom, Blodeuwedd formed part of a pentad, herself representing Spring and Summer, respectively. The five goddesses are Arianrhod the Birth-goddess; Arianrhod the Goddess of Initiation; Blodeuwedd the Love-goddess; Blodeuwedd the Owl, Goddess of Wisdom; and Cerridwen the Sow Goddess; who together represent the five seasons of the year, or the five vowels of the Celtic Tree Calendar (Graves, 315).
So we can see from the story that Blodeuwedd, in her aspect as the Love-goddess (Spring), is the transformative power behind Llew Llaw, who upon his death at the hand of Gronw, takes the form of an eagle. His father finds him and returns him to human form, and Llew subsequently slays Gronw, Blodeuwedd's lover, in the same manner in which he himself was killed, by a spear to the side. Llew therefore rules again in Gronw's place. Blodeuwedd is herself transformed into her second aspect, the Goddess of Wisdom (Summer), who in the next moon will conduct the soul of Hercules, in the form of an eagle, to Heaven, and into the company of immortals (Graves, 126).

Oak/Duir: I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke - i.e., gives inspiration

I am both the oak and the lightning that blasts it

Midsummer is the flowering season of the Oak, the tree of endurance and triumph, and which is said to 'court the lightning flash.' Its roots are believed to extend as deep underground as its branches reach into the air, which makes it a symbol of a god who rules both in Heaven and in the Underworld. Zeus, whom the Oak is sacred to, was once such god, and was armed with thunderbolts. (Graves, 176)
Hercules, the solar hero who has already been mentioned in connection with the first four trees, shows himself again when we look into the meaning behind the Oak's glyph. Hercules first appears in legend as a pastoral sacred king, and is a twin--his twin being his tanist, or deputy, who is armed with a spear. Hercules carries an oak club, because the oak attracts more lightning than any other tree. He is a sort of human thunderstorm, and makes rain by thunderously rattling an oak-club in a hollow oak and stirring a pool with an oak branch, and so attracting thunderstorms by sympathetic magic (Graves, 125).
At midsummer, at the end of his half-year reign, Hercules is made drunk with mead and led into the middle of a circle of 12 stones which surround an oak, in front of which is an altar stone. The oak has been trimmed until it is T-shaped. He is bound to this with willow thongs (remember Willow's Death aspect?), beaten, flayed, and finally hacked into pieces on the altar stone. These pieces are roasted on the twin midsummer fires, which are fueled with oak and kindled with sacred fire from a lightning-blasted oak. Hercules' head is sometimes cured with smoke and preserved for oracular use. His tanist, or twin, succeeds him and rules for the second half of the year, when he is likewise sacrificially killed by a new Hercules (Graves, 125-126).
In Classical mythology Hercules is credited with many feats, and undergoes many trials. Looking back at the last moon, Hawthorn, Hercules, like Llew, is also betrayed by his lovely bride (Blodeuwedd in her first form), after which he flays himself, fells and splits an oak for his own funeral pyre, is consumed, and flies up to heaven on the smoke of the pyre in the form of an eagle, where he is introduced by the Goddess of Wisdom (Blodeuwedd in her second form as an owl) into the company of immortals (Graves, 126).
In both the previous stories of Hercules, we have seen reference made to smoke from his fire of oak. Graves believes the meaning of Oak's glyph, "I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke," which also speaks of inspiration, is that the painful smoke of green oak gave inspiration to those who danced between the twin sacrificial fires lighted on Midsummer Eve (Graves, 210), the fuel of which was always oak (Graves, 176). These would be the same fires which consumed Hercules at the end of his half-year reign.
But what, Graves asks, is inspiration? The meaning of the word gives us two related answers. 'Inspiration,' the breathing-in of, or inhalation, may be the breathing-in by the poet of intoxicating fumes, which induce a trance in which time is suspended, though the mind remains active and can relate its experiences in verse. But 'inspiration,' as in divine guidance or influence exerted directly upon a person, may also refer to the inducement of the same poetic condition by the act of listening to the wind, the messenger of the Goddess Cardea (Goddess of Hinges, a key figure in Oak's mythology), in a sacred grove. Among the Gallic Druids, poetic oracles were listened for in the oak-grove, and perhaps induced in priestesses who controlled the oracle by the chewing of acorns (Graves, 439-440).
So if the smoke from Hercules' sacrificial midsummer fires gave inspiration to poets, and his smoke-cured head were used as an oracle, he would truly be a 'god who sets the head afire with smoke.'


Graves, Robert. The White Goddess. 1948. The Noonday Press, New York, NY.


by Linda Kerr

This is a series of articles designed to teach the basic premises of the Faerie Faith in an understandable method. If you have questions or topic suggestions, let me know, and I'll address them in a future article. If you enjoy the series, and find that the articles make sense to you and help you, let me know--it's good to know if I'm taking the right approach.

In this installment I'd like to demonstrate how important Faerie tales are to those of the Faerie Faith. First I will present a classic Faerie tale, and then reveal some of the deeper meanings within the story. And if any of this doesn't make sense, don't hesitate to contact me; my aim is to enlighten, not confuse.

The Twelve Brothers

from the collections of the Brothers Grimm

A King and Queen live happily together. They have twelve children who are all boys. One day, the King tells his wife, "If our thirteenth child is a girl, all her twelve brothers must die, so that she will be very rich and the kingdom will be hers alone." He exacts a promise from the Queen not to tell their sons of their fate. However, under pressure from the youngest son, Benjamin, who has discovered twelve coffins, the Queen reveals the King's intentions and abets the sons' escape to the forest. She also tells Benjamin that she will signal the birth of a boy with a white flag, and a girl with a red flag.
For eleven days, the brothers take it in turn to watch for the signal from an old oak tree. On the twelfth day, during Benjamin's turn to watch, he sees that the red flag has been hoisted. As a result, the brothers are so angry that they vow to kill any girl they meet.
They move into the heart of the forest, where they find an enchanted cottage. Here they set up house, with Benjamin as housekeeper, as he is the youngest and weakest. This continues for ten years.
By this time, the Princess has grown up; she is kind-hearted and beautiful, with a gold star right in the middle of her forehead. One day, she finds her twelve brothers shirts, and, upon inquiring of her mother, she discovers that they have escaped to live in the forest. Upon hearing this, she determines that she will find and rescue her lost kindred.
After travelling for a day, she comes upon the enchanted cottage where Benjamin is working, the other 11 brothers having gone hunting. Benjamin is immediately reconciled with her, and by a trick, persuades his brothers not to carry out their vow to kill any girl they find in the forest that they meet. The Princess stays to help Benjamin to care for the cottage, and, for a time, they all live happily together.
One day, the Princess and Benjamin prepare a feast, and she plucks twelve tall lilies in the garden as a present for each of her twelve brothers. On plucking the lilies, the twelve brothers are transformed into ravens, which fly away, while the cottage and garden vanish. An old woman, who is passing by, tells the Princess that her brothers will be forever changed to ravens unless "she is dumb and does not laugh for seven years." The Princess loves her bothers so much that she determines to restore them, and to this end, she climbs a high tree, out of sight of the world, and spins.
One day, a greyhound, which belongs to a King who is hunting in the forest, finds the Princess, and the King, falling in love with her, marries her, although she will neither speak nor laugh. After a few years of happiness, she is slandered by the King's mother, a wicked old woman. At last, falsely accused and unable to make any kind of defense because of her determination to restore her brothers, she is condemned to death by burning in the courtyard of the palace, while the King sadly watches from an upper window. But, even as the fires are lit, the seven years are over, and the twelve ravens return, changing into the twelve brothers of the Princess.
They immediately put out the fire and unbind their sister from the stake. The Princess, who is now freed from her self-imposed vow of silence, proclaims her innocence to the King. They all live happily together ever afterwards.

Now for the meanings hidden in the tale (originally from a paper titled Lesson Two in the Sharing of the Faerie Faith by Margaret Lumely-Brown, with some additions of my own):

The fact that the initial children in the tale number 12, are all royal and are all boys, offers several important keys to the symbology of the story.
In the ancient days of mythology, those of royal blood were presumed to possess a potency far above normal. In other words, whatever aspect or behavior of a person was being depicted, if royalty was added, the behavior or nature of the person was being emphasized.
The first thing being shown here is the number 12--a number universally related to matters that govern conditions on the material plane. It is also the number of established order. Also important is the gender of the twelve: boys--male--symbolizing the disunited lower nature of humans. Thus the twelve royal boys symbolize the conflicting emotions and passions of the lower nature, low self, or animal self.
Let's look at the symbology of the masculine self just a bit more. The god is the male archetype; the constantly dying and reborn god, as in the vegetation; as opposed to the female archetype, the Goddess, who lives continually. The Egyptian god Set, or Typhon, is the god of lust and desire; earthly, material matters. In the ancient mystery traditions, the male initiate had to fully experience his animal (Set) self before being redeemed and transformed. He had to be tempted, and overcome his own animal nature.
The same idea of royalty to emphasize the aspects of the two key symbols apply to the new child: The number 13 and the feminine gender of the Princess. Nowadays, the number 13 symbolizes death, as the skeleton with the scythe in the 13th card of the tarot's major arcana. However, as anyone who studies the ancient ways knows, death is symbolic of change, or transition; hopefully, a transition of improvement. Again, incorrectly evolved symbolism links death to women; funerary equipment was sold in the Temple of Venus. Universally, the ancients were aware that the end of life on this plane is an inevitable return passage to Mother Earth. The point is that it is a return passage; the passage is a one-way door, with death on one side, and life on the other. The fecundity of the Earth and mortal women are interwoven in this symbology of transition, a passage that should achieve some level of improvement. Thus, in ancient times, woman symbolized the higher nature within humans.
The King, the character who shows a higher level of perception, symbolizes a position almost forgotten in these "civilized" times. Kings then were not just political figure-heads, but served as Priest-Kings; they were the primary shamans of the land.
The Shaman path of vision is a journey to, and through, Death, Rebirth, Earthiness, and finally an encounter with one's own Higher Nature: a creation of the Mythic Androgyne; the Crowned Hermaphrodite depicted in the most ancient of manuscripts--a man who has accepted the internal feminine part of self (the anima in Jungian psychology). This is not an imitation of a feminine archetype; rather, it is an integration with the instinctual, sensual aspect of self. One is free then to accept one's own potential for create Shaman, or natural, magic; a magic that is less goat-directed, less artificial than ceremonial magic. One allows things to happen, rather than forcing things to happen. Shaman, or natural, magic, works with what is there, rather than what ought to be there. So the King is a man who has made this Shamanic journey, has accepted his anima, and has fully integrated his feminine side.
The Queen, who was born with a potential for Shamanistic magic, has voided her instinctual ability by her choice to change a natural flow in preference to what she believes "ought to be." This is seen when she defies the King, and thereby the natural order, and helps the boys escape to the woods. She has moved from the natural order of things, to an artificial, human-enforced order. In this sense she is symbolic of a sad aspect of human nature, not to fully appreciate what is given and to only fully appreciate what is achieved after great sacrifice and effort.
Now let's see how the symbolism of the participants are directly linked to the meaning of the story: "If a girl is born, all of the twelve brothers must die." The meaning of this Faerie allegory is that the lower spiritual nature must die in order for the higher spiritual nature to be born. The introduction of the number 13 upsets the established order of the number 12.
Both the Queen and the twelve brothers fight this necessary death and rebirth. The lower spiritual nature, or animal self, will struggle with every means at its disposal to avoid its fate, as the twelve brothers escaped, and then subsequently vowed to kill any girl they encountered in the forest. This is an obvious example of the aggressive determination of the lower nature to protect itself from the disturbance of contact with the higher spiritual nature.
The gold star in the middle of the Princess's forehead is a very clear piece of symbolism. We see similar meanings in the Pineal eye, the chakra Ajna, the third eye of Shiva, the Chiah of the Quabbala. All of these symbolize the perfection of the level of Spiritual Will. The perfected level, numerically symbolized by 10 or 1+0, the monad returning to potential existence. Most definitely, 10 does not relate to an age in years for a child to reach maturity, but is rather the number of true completion.
After spending 10 years in the woods, the boys seek to be released from their animal nature through the power of the Goddess, or the higher feminine nature. This is seen in their reunion with the Princess. In those "10 years," the youngest son Benjamin, by continually laboring at skills related to women, has achieved a level to be able to reunite with the Princess. Then, after their reunion, the Princess enters the garden and picks the lilies, flowers symbolic of death in ancient days, and also symbolic of another change in the state of consciousness.
The transformation of the boys into ravens is a rather obvious symbol. The Raven is the bird of Mercury, or thought; the removing of fixed ideas, a transformation of consciousness. Thus, as foretold, the drastic change has occurred after a reunion between the lower nature (the boys) and the Spiritual Will, or higher self (the Princess). The boys have undergone a ritual, symbolic death.
Remember, though, that this symbolic death leads to another transformation; the rebirth of the Spiritual Self. The number seven is relevant here. There are seven chakras in the human body, with the seventh being the Crown Chakra, that which connects one with the higher self. In the Beth-Luis-Nion tree calendar, seven is the number of the Oak, which represents (partly) the door of the year. This door leads one from one world to another, or from one part of the year to the other. The twelve brothers are reborn at the end of the seven-year period, after their Shamanic journey through the Underworld.
There is other symbology here also; in the old woman who passes by and tells the Princess her fate; and in the spinning in silence far above the world that the Princess does for a time. The Old Woman is another aspect of the Goddess; the Crone, who metes out death and transformation. The Princess must remain silent and solemn; she must devote herself entirely to spiritual matters in order for
the animal self (the boys) to be reborn, and for the true, complete, reunion to take place between the low self and the high self. So the boys in their raven form are not the only ones on a Shamanic journey. However, the Princess removes herself to the Upperworld, by climbing a high tree out of sight of the earthly world. The spinning activity can be seen as a type of trance-work to enhance this journey. We therefore see that both types of journeys, to the Underworld and to the Upperworld, are necessary eventually, although the Underworld journey must be achieved first.

The tale ends; a new realm has been reached; joy and union is complete. Through severe conditions of sacrifice, Spiritual Will has regenerated the lower nature: the assimilation of the subconscious and the conscious minds is complete. It is the rebirth of a whole person, capable of kindredship on all levels of awareness, as foretold...

"She may be very rich, and the kingdom hers alone."

So may your realm of Self be rich and yours alone, if you are willing to let die all base and material desires. Then, and only then, may you be ready to regenerate your whole being, assimilated on a pure path of service; a path open to you if you but reflect upon, and remember, this tale once shared by our Faerie kindred.

"Every time you find in our books a tale, the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant both to reason and to common sense, then be sure that that tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious Truth; and the greater the absurdity of the latter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit." (The words of a scholar, Rabbi Moses Maimonides., from Lesson Two in the Sharing of the Faerie Faith by Margaret Lumely-Brown.)


- by Chrisailes

A Rainbow Bubble,
An iridescent Pearl.
A Temple that stands
betwixt the Worlds.

A Circle of Power
woven of Thought

wherein the Great Work of Magick
may safely be wrought

A Place Set Apart,
A Circle of Stones,
bound by the Art,
thus be it done...

Mighty Ones of the East,
South, West and North,
with these words,
I call you forth.

In the names of the Old Ones,
come now to my aid,
and be with me here,
as the Magick is made!


- by Chrisailes

Mighty Ones who have
aided me in Rite and Spell,
to you I say
Hail and Fare you Well.

Goddess and God
of Shadows and Lights,
thank you for attending to
these, your Hallowed Rites.

In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust,
stay if you will. Go if you must.

Now let this circle be undone,

to spin out through Time and Space,
to that Holy Place,
where all things meet as One.


by Alan Shear

From the ridges above Delphi a pilgrim can see snow-capped Mount Parnassos. The mountain rises over 8000 feet and is covered with pine forests. At its base, the River Helikon curves gently around an ancient grove of willows where the Temple of the Muses stood for many centuries. The site was so famous that Pausanius describes a painting in Delphi by Polygnotos depicting Orpheus, awaiting inspiration, reaching up and caressing willow leaves in that temple's grove. In the mind of the Delphic pilgrim, the Muses shared with Orpheus their inspiration and their grove. The willow is the tree of inspiration and so it is sacred to poets. That the most revered oracle at Delphi possessed a painting that referred to the Helikon Temple as the source of the most famous musicians' inspiration is a profound testament to the importance of that willow grove. The willow goddess Helike is not a Muse but goddess of the river sacred to the Muses. Certainly inspiration can occur anywhere, yet the old willows by the River Helikon at the foot of Parnassos had a special significance for pilgrims who for the over two thousand years sought inspiration there.
The inspirational power of the grove converted four different waves of Indo-European immigrants; Ionians, Aeolians, Achaeans and Dorians. In another story Helike marries Ion, a son of Apollo, the god of inspiration for the migratory patriarchal tribes. In late classical times Apollo and his brother Dionysus shared the Helikon Temple with the indigenous goddess worshipping Pelasgians. These gods represent inspiration for Ionians, who are mythically the children of Ion and Helike, and historically an Indo-European patriarchal group who migrated into the area between 2000 and 1200 bce. Employing Robert Graves' interpretive paradigm regarding history and myth we can conjecture that the marriage of Ion and Helike is a narrative of the peaceful joining of the indigenous matristic Pelasgians with the patriarchal newcomers.
In any ancient Greek population center there would exist a number of temples. Some places claimed a special relationship with a particular god or goddess. An individual shrine or temple might emphasize a particular aspect of a god or goddess. For example, Hekete, who is often associated with death, is also the "Hekete of Regeneration" who loved willows. In Thrace, Hekete's death aspect was secondary to her more primary attributes of regeneration. Neolithic Hekete was an agricultural goddess. Some traditions ceremonially separated aspects of the agricultural cycle by dividing the one goddess into three: Persephone the Maid of fertility, Demeter the Mother, goddess of growth and harvest and Hekete the Crone given dominion over dormancy/death. At Hekete's temple in Thrace she retained all three aspects in her one person, the original trinitarian formula. (For the "Hekete of Death," poplars and aspens have precedence over the willow, which in the Mediterranean basin is actually an osier since weeping willows are native to China.) Yet even with a proliferation of names and temples devoted to particular aspects, the ancients considered all life and death as a gestalt, an inseparable oneness. Each temple and each ritual had its special significance. Nevertheless, the fully integrated and authentic life was one that devoted to each and every aspect of life's oneness. The ancients worshipped at each temple in its time. Myths are filled with the wrath of a god or goddess punishing those who neglect their sacred duty. Wholeness is found in attending to each and neglecting none. Life indeed has many aspects but the pagan perception is one of synthesis and unity.
Even though the willow is the tree of inspiration, its most dramatic and so memorable representations surround death. Like Circe's willow grove cemetery at Colchis, notable in that male corpses are wrapped in untanned ox hides and hung from willow branches for the birds to eat while females were buried (Apollonius Rhodius iii. 220). Excarnation, the ceremonial exposure of the dead, was a very ancient practice (Gimbutas, p. 256). In Asia Minor from mesolithic times the bones of excarnated family members were gathered up after all the sinew was gone and buried beneath the common room floor of their homes. And there are numerous legends where the hanging of people or animals are associated with both Hekete and Artemis, another willow goddess (Frazer, p. 318). The hanging tree is not named but we might assume it is the willow. Hermes too, in his life and death aspect, is a willow god. So is Zeus where a willow grows at the entrance outside the his birth cave in Crete. Europe is name of the One Goddess in Crete. Her name is closely associated with willow, water and fertility rites that occur in the early spring.
The willow goddess Helike is the goddess of the river sacred to the Muses. Willows grow near water and the reasons why one particular grove assumes an inspirational reputation is lost in memory, yet from neolithic times willows and water were intimately intertwined with many gods and goddesses. On Mount Parnassos the Muses number nine, but in its shadow there were but three. The triple goddess of inspiration forms a nurturing relationship with their beneficiary. Inspiration flows like water. Muses inspire and the inspired in their turn inspire others. In other times and places inspiration comes only from the wind but here inspiration comes both from listening to the river and to the wind in the willows.
Away from the Helikon willow grove the muses numbered nine. They were moon goddesses of the mountains and orgiastic priestesses of the moon goddess. Not only on Mount Parnassos, but the one goddess was worshiped in her nine inspirational manifestations on Mount Helikon and Mount Olympus too (Gimbutas, p. 343). Mount Helikon is not far from Delphi, about 25 miles from its peak to Mount Parnassos. The nymph Aganippe's spring flowed "at the approaches of Mount Helikon and whose waters inspired those who drank of them..." (Larousse, p. 218). On Mt. Pieria in northern Thessaly, Nicander of Colophon retells a myth that once nine maidens who vied with the nine Muses and one maid was transformed into wryneck - a woodpecker with long, soft tail feathers which nests only in willow trees. Another writer may be able to discern if this metamorphosis was reward or punishment. Wrynecks are associated with Dionysus but appear in other myths such as Io, Zeus' messenger. Perhaps the one maiden turned wryneck denotes the arrival of the Muse Dionysus from the north.
The willow's metaphorical constellation embraces inspiration, quickening, fertility, fecundity and sexuality. Each of these realities, when we draw a mental line between them, makes a mythic constellation. A constellation of meaning where each reality is associated with myth and nature, the contemplation of which provides pagans with a source of inspiration. Each star in this constellation we might ponder at a particular place or appreciate them as they inspire us at times throughout our lives. Individually or grouped they are the stuff of life, and life is inspiration.


Davidson, H.R. Ellis, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, N.Y., 1988.
Frazer, James George, The New Golden Bough: A New Abridgement of the Classic Work, edited, with notes and forward by Dr. Theodore H. Gaster, Criterion books, New York, 1959.
Glass-Koentop, Pattalee, Year of Moon, Season of Trees, Mysteries and Rites of Celtic Tree Magic, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 1991.
Graves, Robert, The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, The Noonday Press, N.Y. 1991 (1948).
The Greek Myths, Penguin Books, Baltimore, MD 1974 (1955).
Gimbutas, Marija, The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe, Harper Collins, N.Y. 1991.
The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images, U. of CA. Press, Berkeley, CA. 1992.
Hopman, Ellen Evert, Tree Medicine Tree Magic, Phoenix, Custer, WA 1991.
Kerenyi, Karl, Hermes: Guide of Souls, Spring Publications, Inc., Dallas, 1976.
Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter, Princeton/Bollingen, Princeton, N.J., 1976.
Pausanias, Guide to Greece, Penguin Classics, N.Y. 1988.
New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, New York, 13th edition, 1977.


by Marilyn Windle

In the last two articles in this series, you've learned how to slow your brain waves down to a meditative level. (If you missed these articles, you can order back issues of The Hazel Nut from the publisher.) Now we're going to learn to use this meditative level to detect the energy fields, called auras, emanating from all living things. Next issue, we'll learn to detect the non-life energy fields surrounding all matter, whether alive or not, and then feel the difference between living beings, natural but inorganic material, such as rocks, and objects manipulated by man far beyond their original state, such as plastic or metal.

Exercise One

Find a comfortable position and use the meditation techniques we've practiced to slow yourself down. With your eyes closed, visualize yourself in your current position with a light glowing all around you. It may take a few tries to "see" yourself enveloped by this light. You might see this as a soft glow surrounding your body uniformly. On the other hand, you may see the light as more active, arcing out from your head or from your outstretched hand. You may see the light as white or having a color. What you are visualizing is your aura, the field of energy that can be seen or felt around all living things. Practice this until you can maintain the mental image of your aura for several minutes. Work on extending it outward so that it reaches out several feet, instead of hugging close to your body.

Exercise Two

In this exercise you will learn to see your own aura by looking in a mirror. Auras are easier to see against a white background, since most have some color. If the wall behind you is white, you won't need to do any other preparation. Otherwise, you can use masking tape to attach white paper to the wall behind your head.
Stand in front of the mirror and close your eyes. Slow your brain wave activity by counting down, visualization, or one of the other techniques. When you feel you are relaxed and at your meditative level, open your eyes.
Look at your forehead in the mirror while softening the focus of your eyes. If you stare at something, your brain frequency will speed up, so one of the tricks to staying at your level is to soften the focus of your eyes, and don't really look at anything. The first time you try this you'll probably feel yourself slowing to your level, then rising above it again. Continue to work on slowing your brain waves down while not focusing on anything.
As you do, notice the fuzzy area just beyond your hair that shows up against the white paper. Work on extending your aura so that you can see more of it. As you did in Exercise One, push it out several feet so you can see it better. Become aware of the color as well, which we'll talk about in a future article.
When you can see your own aura, you'll be able to see auras around everyone else.

Exercise Three

You'll need a friend for this exercise. Have them sit or stand against a white wall, and take a few moments to reach your meditative state. Ask them to close their eyes, and gaze at the area beyond their hair against the white. They can concentrate on extending their aura while you look at it, but it isn't necessary.
It may take a moment to start seeing it, but this is no harder than seeing your aura. If they open their eyes, don't be surprised if you lose your concentration! Ask them to just relax a few minutes while you work.
Being able to see someone's aura is not at all difficult, especially against a white wall or paper. Practice frequently and it'll become automatic, regardless of the setting. All living creatures have a life aura around them, not just people. You can also see auras around animals and plants.

Exercise Four

The technique to seeing an aura on a plant is much like what you've already learned to do. Position a healthy plant against a white wall (or paper taped on the wall). Enter your meditative level and unfocus your eyes, gazing at the white area around a stem or leaf. After a few moments, you should see the aura quite clearly.

Practice seeing your own aura and those of other people, animals and plants. One side benefit is that you're also practicing maintaining the meditative level with your eyes open, which you'll use with many other techniques.


by Stormy

The one common thread that runs through the Wheel of the Eight Festivals of the Year is the light of fire and solar energies. The solstices and equinoxes observe solar energies and the cross-quarter days observe fire energies.
It is theorized that the discovery of fire was accidental. There are a number of ways that fire could have been discovered, such as volcanic activity or burning meteors. Volcanos were limited to only certain areas of the world, and a burning meteor rarely falls and causes the surrounding brush and trees to catch on fire. Mythology usually credits fire being introduced to humankind by lightening striking a tall oak, ash or yew tree, and catching it on fire.
Humankind's methods of communication evolved from thought-forms given sounds that developed into speech patterns, ideas and verbal communication. Our early ancestors told stories about things that really happened to them as well as stories to explain how things came about. Science was not even a part of their world. Explaining what they experienced was the best they could do. Great awe and reverence was reserved for anything coming from the sky, especially lightening. When lightening did strike, catching something on fire (a bush, a tree, perhaps a whole forest), the spark of humankind's intelligence was also lit. Perhaps a burned animal was found after a fire, and when hungry one will eat what is available. The animal tasted better and humankind figured out that fire cooked food plus kept one warm when it was cold.
In the earliest observances of the fire festivals, it was the Shaman or High Priest/ess who was the keeper of fire. It took diligence and a lot of hard work to keep the fire going. If all the fires went out, it meant that fire could only come from the next lightening-struck tree. That didn't happen too often because who knew when the god/desses would send a bolt of lightening down to hit a tree and catch it on fire again.
The Eight Festivals of the Year represent active and dormant points of agricultureactivity as well. These days were given preference to deities presiding over each time of the year. Each locale had its own pantheon, divas or god/desses.
Notice the lightening striking the tree in the drawing for this article. The lightening goes through the tree, the snake and then into the ground. It is easy to imagine the snake giving the knowledge of fire to woman to cook and keep warm. In many primitive cultures, because of small children to care for, women were the keepers of fire; cooking and gathering wood while the men hunted for game. This story is told over and over until it becomes a snake handing an apple of knowledge, instead of lightening/fire representing knowledge, over to a woman while the man partakes of knowledge from the women! In primitive cultures, the knowledge of the snake was good. Later on, the knowledge from a snake brought shame, sin and banishment from the Garden of Eden. My, how those stories get told over and over till you can't recognize the basic beginnings.
The knowledge of fire is what we still celebrate today, but under the guise of observance of the Winter Solstice (Christmas), Imbolc/Candlemas (Ground Hog Day), Spring Equinox (Easter), Beltane (May Day), Summer Solstice (midsummer), Lugnasad/Lammas (Corn Festival), Fall Equinox (Michaelmas), and Samhain (Halloween).
Fire is a very important part of our culture whether we credit Pele (Hawaiian goddess of fire whose anger caused erupting volcanos), Thor (the god of thunder bolts), or Prometheus (the Titan who through cunning stole fire from heaven and gave it to humans), or another thunder or fire god/dess. I don't think people gather around fires enough to socialize, cook and honor the origins of fire. This is something sorely missed because we now cook on gas and electric stoves, heat up food in microwaves or eat out. Staring into a burning campfire often brings out such primitive memories we really don't consciously recollect; but the memories are good nonetheless.

For your information:

The rune for fire is Ken.
The rune for solar energy is Rad.
The rune for lightening is Sigil.


Budapest, Zuzsuanna E. The Grandmother of Time. 1979. Harper, San Francisco, CA.
Campanelli, Pauline. Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life. 1990. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN.
Pennick, Nigel. The Pagan Book of Days. 1992. Destiny Books, Rochester, VT.
VanRenterghem, Tony. When Santa Claus Was A Shaman. 1995. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN.

STONE'S RISING '95 & '96

by Vanessa Blue Heron

Recently Dana and I received the flier for Stone's Rising, May 16-19, 1996 in Pennsylvania, near Hancock, Maryland. Last year we were among 300 pagans gathered to raise the first monolith into place. Among those present were such notables as Janet and Stewart Farrar, Gavin and Yvonne Frost, and Isaac Bonewits. Iron Oak was well represented. Also from Florida were Freedom Fire and Cho to drum up some energy.
The Coven of Haven worked like the dickens against many obstacles to bring off one of the best gatherings of 1995. Many remember the gathering for the fabulous food provided by Haven (their wondrous cook overbought, much to the delight of many hungry pagans).
The setting was rustic, a beautiful farm in southern Pennsylvania. Dana and I arrived early and drove up to the site before the traffic got stopped at the farm house. Rain made mush of the road and we got stuck. The horse-drawn wagon made many trips and then a tractor was found to give all the animals, equine and human, a break. My car was noticed parked near the stone and half a dozen guys helped get it to a dry spot halfway between the farm house and the stone. We'd created a new road, and it soon became well-used.
The event had an air about it somewhere between the crucifixion of Christ and Woodstock--give or take a little. Workshops, music, people and circles were all spectacular.
What's in store for those attending this year? Goddess only knows! But I'm not going to miss it!

Stones Rising is a festival focused on the creation and dedication of ritual land, the casting of a circle of blessing and consecration around Four Quarters Farm, and the raising of three stone megaliths; the mate to the East Gate stone, and two flanking ring stones. All who attend will be part of ritual and able to participate in the raising and placing of these stones.
In respect and honor of the Native Way, the Stone Raising this year will be hosted by Charla and Tarwater, of the Hawkwind Earth Renewal Cooperative.
For more information about this year's festival, contact: White Dove, 108 Alabama Ave., Beckley, WV, 25801, 304-252-1094; or Four Quarters Farm, RD1 62C Silver Mills Rd., Artemis, PA, 17211, 814-784-3075.


by Sherlock

2 The name of the fairy in their garden.
6 The earth shaping ones.
9 Some beginners have trouble meditating without ______.
10 The mother of the waters.

1 I am a shining tear of the sun.
2 The Crown chakra, or thousand petalled lotus.
3 The world egg was split open to form the ______.
4 This family of plants is characterized by square stems.
5 The wife of rain.
7 Everything is ______, everything has consciousness.
8 Erik van Lennep's New Olympics would take place at what time?

The solutions to this crossword puzzle can be found in the Imbolc 1996 (Issue #19) of The Hazel Nut. I took the questions from last issue's articles, so you'll have to read them to answer this crossword, Oh, and don't throw away this issue; its articles contain the answers to the next puzzle. Have fun!

Answers to last issue's Ankh-Word Puzzle
Across: 2 Abred, 4 Sex, 5 Ylang-Ylang, 6 Priestess, 10 Vine, 11 Banshee
Down: 1 Prisniatic, 3 Dana, 7 Ensaughato, 8 Seven, 9 Oversoul, 12 Meditate

Answer to last issue's Word Puzzle
Blessed Be


Dear Ms. Kerr:
I have wanted to sit down and write to you and The Hazel Nut for quite some time now.
Let me tell you a little about myself and update you on the group that we have here at Central Correctional Institute (CCI). My name is R.D. Blanchard (Robert or "Wolf"). I am 43 years old (a Libra). I have been Wiccan most of my life, as I was taught by an aunt in our family tradition, which equates to Welsh Celtic-Druidic. I was initiated to Third in 1976, and ran a Celtic Grove with my former working partner for nearly 6 years in Alpharetta, Georgia, until my arrest in 1991. I have been incarcerated for 56 months, and look forward to parole, hopefully early in 1996.
The Wicca Study Group here at CCI is the only one of its kind in the Georgia Prison System. It was conceived by two of our inmates, Lary "Frosty" Hudson and "Gypsy." Frosty is not initiated but has an unquenching thirst to "learn all" in the Craft. On the other hand, Gypsy is a life-long Wiccan (Pictish) and is very guarded, as I am, to a point! Our group consists of 14-18 regular members, but we have as many as 25 on some occasions, which is more participation than the prison's Catholic, Moslem or Mormon groups.
Most of our members are fairly serious minded about learning the Craft, although slightly impatient at times, which I can understand under these circumstances. There are a few that I feel are serious enough to carry what they learn in here back to the free world with them and embrace the Lady and Lord. We have several different belief systems, or traditions, represented (none of whom are initiated except Gypsy and I--although several "self-dedicated"), from Norse to Native American, Gardnerian to Celtic and Alexandrian. A few are also Eclectic. They are all good men and deserve another chance to face society. I feel that most of them have gained valuable lessons that have helped them to better deal with our prison society, and to face their own inner-self--thus I see a great deal of spiritual growth among these guys, most of whom I knew before the group started.
Since the birth of the group I have done my best to support the concepts of the lessons that Siren and Valraven (publishers of Wiccan Works out of central Georgia, and Wiccan ministers to prison inmates) have introduced. I admit that I was not part of the group's conception, for my own personal reasons, but I have supported various individuals in their spiritual search. I have tried to do my best to aid Siren and Valraven in whatever way I can, either in lessons or "homework," and I have acted as Bookmaster/Librarian for various materials that Siren and Valraven bring in for us to use. I also report directly to Siren and Valraven any problems or news that may develop from week to week. I would like to think of myself as their trusted aid, as I feel they do.
Since I met them, I have become very close to them, and I show my loyalty to them, probably all too often! I have also developed a close working relationship with several other Wiccans and Pagans in the area, among them Nion, Lady Willow, and Myrtle, all of Church of Rhiannon. I count each of them as my loving, trusting friends.
I myself am well educated and articulate. I love to write poetry, prose, ritual and short stories. I currently contribute to Wiccan Works, D.E.W, and Avalon newsletters. I have also contributed to The Bard (California and Arizona), and New World Press magazines. I would like to contribute in some way to your publication as well, either in poetry, stories, or updates on our never ending battle with the prison administration to be recognized as a fully legit group. There is still a great deal of discrimination against the group as a whole, in that we are not allowed the same privileges as the other religious groups that meet at CCI. This is a struggle that has been ongoing since the first meeting 13 months ago.
I must admit that my main (or at least equal) motivation in writing to you was personal in nature, and not to secure a forum to air my grievances. I want to simply thank you and all the readers of The Hazel Nut who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers. Your support of the "Wiccan Study Group" is needed to help us to continue this important program.
I love to write, to correspond with other people, and to webwork. I would like to correspond with you or any of your readers that would be willing to write. I can assure you that any personal information shared with me (address, etc.) will be kept strictly confidential. I will answer all letters as promptly as I can, with truthfulness and friendship. My friends can vouch for my character and my trustworthiness, and you may contact them to check me out, if you so choose.
May the Gracious Lady and Lord protect you and guide you into the New Year with their Love and Warmth!
Beanachdt Bi!
R.D. Blanchard
EF 292434
Central C.I. C2-C7
4600 Fulton Mill Rd.
Macon, GA 31213-4099


Avalon (Carole Backman) is a musician and a research associate who once lived in a commune. She collects quartz crystals and tarot cards, studies Arthurian legend, archetypal theory and is taking classes in computer science. She has recently started a home business in Aromatherapy called Avalon Aromatics. Write to her at: 1329 Hickory Lane, Auburn, AL 35830, or email to:

Chrisailes is a solitary, eclectic Witch living in the enchanted backwoods of Alabama. He has been practicing Wicca for a little over ten years and enjoys runes, crystals, and anything remotely Celtic. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut.

Coll is Druid of Church of Rhiannon (COR) in middle Georgia, which follows the Beth-Luis-Fearn tree calendar system. He teaches middle school, is a licensed minister, and has been in the Craft for many years. He is also a regular attendee at Moondance and Fallfling. Write to him at: COR, P.O. Box 260, Lizella, GA 31052.

Michael Deakins is a southern California boy who got displaced and wandered the U.S. for a while, till he wound up near Atlanta. He has designed satellite components, arranged flowers, and been a veterinary technician, and generally is a jack of all trades. He is also a singer, composer, and woodworker. And he does love to talk to trees. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut.

Adrian Loaghrian, now 44 yrs of age, was initiated into a hereditary Rosicrusion tradition at age 13. He's into studying other religions of the world, including Christianity, Judaism, etc., and has 12 years service in a public Wiccan coven. He previously studied ceremonial magic and finally formed this particular tradition in 1990, based on ancient and modern Irish folklore and Irish-Scottish folklore and literature. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut.

Nion (Don Mikovitz) is 47, has been married 23 years to a devout Christian, and has 2 kids, 18 and 21. He works as a Registered Pulmonary Function Technician at the local community hospital. Nion was brought up as Catholic, but has always been pagan at heart. A member of the Church of Rhiannon (COR) since June 1994, he has the official capacity of the "Green Man." He's also a 1st degree Gardnarian witch since May 1995. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut.

Alan Shear received his B.A. in religion, philosophy and history from Wilmington College in Ohio and his Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. A former Presbyterian Minister and psychotherapist, Alan is currently a free lance writer and Adjunct Professor of Ancient History at Montgomery College in Maryland. Write to him c/o The Hazel Nut.

Sherlock, otherwise known as Sherry Holmes, lives and works in Auburn, Alabama, where she also studies Wildlife Biology. She is a beginner student of the Faerie Faith, and runs a Samhain festival called FallFling. Write to her at: 1037 Mayberry St., Waverly, AL 36879.

David Sparenberg teaches classes and workshops in mythology and writing, shamanism and tribal spiritualities. His literary work has been published in over 80 periodicals and he is currently seeking a book publisher for a collection of short stories and visualization exercises, entitled Verbal Alchemy. Write to him at: 1713 14th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122, (206) 323-2115.

Lea Stone lives in an Oak forest in Michigan. She writes fiction, poetry, and essays and homeschools her two sons. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is the founder of Acorn Enterprises, a consulting business that teaches stress management and accessing personal creativity. Her poetry has appeared in Pen and Ink and in The Writing Self. Her essay "Mastery; or, Where Does True Wisdom Lie?" will appear in the first issue of the Journal for Expanded Perspectives on Learning. Write to her at: P.O. Box 368, Manchester, MI 48158.

Erik van Lennep is a co-founder of the international Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco, and founding director of the New England Tropical Forest Project and the Arctic to Amazonia Alliance (an organization comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples). He has served as a consultant to Senator Leahy's 1989 Global Warming Legislation, and has advised The Nature Conservancy on Ring Mountain. He took part in the First Intercontinental Congress of Indian Peoples in July, 1990, in Quito, Ecuador, and co-produced the film "Columbus Didn't Discover Us." Write to him at: The Arctic to Amazonia Alliance, PO Box 73, Strafford, VT 05072. 802-765-4337, or email:

Marilyn Windle is a professional writer, with her first book being published next October. She started studying the occult when she was 13 years old, beginning with Edgar Cayce, and has been a practicing psychic for 23 years. Write to her c/o The Hazel Nut.


People of the Earth - The New Pagans Speak Out by Ellen Evert Hopman and Lawrence Bond. 1996. Destiny Books, Rochester, VT. Softcover, $19.95.
- Reviewed by Linda Kerr

This important new work by Evert Hopman and Bond may well be placed on must-read lists, along with other classics such as Drawing Down the Moon and Spiral Dance. A collection of interviews with well-known and not-so-well-known Pagan figures, People of the Earth presents a unique view of Paganism through the eyes of the ones who live it daily. Included are interviews with Selena Fox, Oberon G'Zell, Margot Adler, and other personalities.
Each chapter in the book covers a certain tradition or genre; Faerie Tradition, Celtic, Gardnerian, Pagan writers, Pagan students, Pagans in the military, Covenant of the Goddess, Church or All Worlds, etc. A unique view of their own tradition, organization, or circumstance is presented by each interviewee, with thoughtful questions by Evert Hopman and Bond to draw the subject out.
This would be an excellent book for a newcomer to the Craft to read to see what real-life Paganism is all about, as well as a great read for experienced Pagans, to gain new insights on their own religion. Well-organized and easy to read, this book is definitely going on my reading list.

The Urantia Book by The Urantia Foundation. 1955. The Urantia Foundation, Chicago, IL. Softcover, $20.25.
- Reviewed by Stormy

Recently I participated in a reading of a chapter from The Urantia Book entitled "The Ghost Cult." Actually, it was read to our Women's Spirituality group by Olivia de Orleans. I believe it took her 2 hours and 15 minutes to read it to us, in spite of the questions, gawking, hem-hawing and laughing that went on during the reading. We even resolved one of our out-to-lunch topics: "where does 'Holy Shit' come from." (It comes from the Vatican, of course.)
The reading itself was very interesting because it spanned about 10,000 years of humankind's ascent from no religion to some kind of religion. The Urantia religion (also referred to as the Urantia Cult) has been around since the 50's. The book is well over 2,000 pages long and was channeled by a number of enlightened and esteemed members of the cult.
In a nut shell, The Urantia Book says the foundation for all religions forming is based on appeasement of the ghosts that humankind was afraid of after people died. A quick glance at most religions today tend to be based got it-- appeasement! Evolving from these earlier appeasements came our customs of how we treat our dead today. This is an interesting concept and it does have a ring of truth to it.
This book is very hard to find, but is available for about $20.00 from the Urantia Foundation located Chicago, Illinois, which is not affiliated with the Urantia group in Sedona, Arizona. I would not recommend the reading of this book for enlightenment but for entertainment. The book is definitely biased, racist, prejudiced, and a lot of what is written is simply not true! Use your intelligence and common sense when reading this book.