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4 Point Celtic Knot

What I seek to provide here are some episodes from my own journey in spirituality and healing that perhaps may help others who are struggling with similar issues. Also find articles on metaphysics in general, stone medicine and articles specific to intuitive health readings, including counsel for selecting an intuitive health reader. I hope the entries in this blog help you on your journey.

Mist in the Pines

Healing Stories and Articles by Alannah

Celebrating the Seasons - Autumnal Equinox

by Alannah Hudis on 09/22/17

Celebrating the Seasons - Autumnal Equinox

A time of ripening, letting go, moving inward

By Alannah Hudis

Autumn Leaf

Photo by Costea Alexandra on Unsplash

Crisp morning air, soft afternoon sunshine, leaves beginning to turn color, who doesn't love the subtle pleasures of Autumn? As the earth nears the halfway mark in its orbit around the sun, its axis pointing neither toward nor away from the sun, we come to one of the two points in the year when the entire globe experiences equal day and night. For those of us in the northern hemisphere away from the equator, it is a sublime time of year, falling in the middle of the autumnal season in the Celtic calendar, bracketed by Lughhasadh (beginning of Autumn) in early August and Samhain (beginning of Winter) near the first of November.

While, according to reliable sources[1], the quarters (equinoxes and solstices) were not of the same importance to the Celts as the cross-quarters, there is mounting evidence[2] in terms of the megalithic monuments of the cultures that preceded the arrival of the Celts that, at least in astronomical terms, the quarters were important to the spiritual and daily lives of the Neolithic peoples. Many of the monuments in Ireland, Scotland and the rest of the British Isles host stone circles, cairns and passage tombs thousands of years old that are aligned to sunrises and sunsets during the equinoxes and solstices. Some better known examples of these are: Newgrange in Ireland, a passage tomb whose inner chamber is lit by the light of the winter solstice sunrise; the Callanish stone circle in Scotland, which is reputed to have both solar and lunar alignments; Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England which some theorize may have been built in part as a celestial observatory.

Traditionally, the Autumn Equinox was the second harvest festival. Celebrations included feasting and the making of offerings to give thanks for the bounty the earth provided.[3] I have found no evidence that the Celts had names in their language for the equinoxes or solstices, but the name Mabon, (referring to the autumn equinox) has come into relatively recent use among neo-pagans and Wiccans and "was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology."[4]

Whatever the historical significance of and the celebrations associated with the quarters, for those of us embracing a nature based spirituality, marking the Autumnal Equinox and the other seasonal stations associated with nature's cycles is meaningful and lends a richness to the cycle of the year and our lives.

The season reaches a fullness at this time, garden harvests are in full swing, fruits of summer labors. It is a liminal time of year when the veil between worlds becomes thin; perception heightens to subtle smells, sounds and presences. Angles of light shift, surroundings take on a gauzy quality. Perception deepens to detect the subtle, energetic, mutable nature of the world.

It has been my sense for many years, that the equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarter days span a period of time, a window, if you will, rather than a single day or moment. While it is true that they have an astronomical point in time, their influence can be felt over a period of days. That said, particularly with the quarters, I sense a "stillpoint" at the astronomical moment, a palpable pause, when there is a great stillness to the world. Even though there are still actual sounds and movement happening, underneath surface activity there is a profound silence; as though the earth is holding her breath, waiting to exhale and then move on.

For me, in no season does the sense of that fullness reach such a height as during the Autumnal Equinox. Each point around the wheel of the year has its own character, from the promise of Spring with its new growth and subtle movement at Imbolc in early February, to the icy cold and depth of the night on Winter Solstice. However, Autumn is such a time of change; a time of accepting the gifts of bounty from the earth in tandem with being a time of letting go, moving deeper, going within. It can be a time of contraction, life force drawing in, husbanded in the womb of the earth, until she warms once again, and life burgeons forth. It is a good time to commune with the forces and elements of nature as they transform and become, for a short time, more transparent in their activities.

Autumn is a wonderful time of year to spend outside in nature, observing the changing of the guard of the migratory birds, who leaves, who arrives, who stays - spending time with trees, watching them change their robes over to Winter wear, feeling the descending of energy to their roots for the long sleep of the coming season. It is a time of changing light, the sun playing across the landscape in an eternal shadow play.

Autumn is a superb time to start a meditation practice. The sometimes hectic, outward moving energy of Summer gives way to a more measured pace, lending more calm and focus to practice. Cleaning and clearing out of the old and disused in our homes is fruitful in Autumn also, making way for cozy, tidy spaces in which to retreat during the long Winter months. A useful counterpoint to Spring cleaning! Other beneficial activities with which to engage at this time are long, contemplative walks in nature, (bundle up, it's getting chilly!) evening prayers, and handcrafts to engage your creative side. Textile crafts such as sewing, weaving, crochet, knitting or quilt making are comforting as are paper crafts for the long, bleak days to come. Try making your own Christmas cards!

However you choose to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, know that recognizing these seasonal days can bring you closer to the heart of nature, and bring your physical system and your spirit into more harmonious relationship with natural cycles.

Autumn Blessings!

[1] Loren Cruden, Walking the Maze (Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1998), 95.

[2] Anthony Murphy, Newgrange, Monument to Immortality (Dublin, Ireland: The Liffey Press, 2012).

[3] http://ireland-calling.com/mabon/. Retrieved 13 September, 2017.

Celebrating the Seasons - Lughnasadh

by Alannah Hudis on 08/04/17

Celebrating the Seasons

Celtic Sacred Days & The Cross Quarter of Lughnasadh

(Beginning of Autumn)

by Alannah Hudis

Callenish Standing Stones

Callenish Standing Stones - Scotland

Photo by Simon Hattinga Verschure on Unsplash

The ancient Celts of Europe and the British Isles saw time as circular rather than linear[1] and the cycles of the seasons were as important to their spirituality as to their daily lives. While the major seasonal celebrations are most often attributed to the Celts alone, it is probable that peoples before them all the way back to the Neolithic period influenced the beliefs and practices of the Celts. Megalithic stone monuments and circles found throughout Europe, England, Scotland and Ireland give testament to the importance these ancestor people placed on delineating seasonal changes as it is being increasingly theorized that these monuments have celestial alignments. Additionally, many of the myths that have survived to the present day, particularly in Ireland and Scotland, can be connected to both the monuments and the seasonal celebrations.

The predominant celebrations in the Celtic wheel of the year consist of eight sacred days known as Quarters – solar festivals, and Cross Quarters – fire festivals.[2],[3] The quarters are both of the solstices and equinoxes, and the cross quarters occur half way between the quarters. The cross quarters have names that derive from ancient Gaelic and they are: Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain. These days signal the beginnings of spring, summer, autumn and winter respectively.

It is widely thought that the cross quarters were of more importance to the Celts than the solstices and equinoxes, but irrefutable proof of that is lacking. Given the solar and lunar alignments that are being increasingly found in the megalithic monuments, it seems probable that the quarters were equally important to the Neolithic people, so it is possible that the Celts found them significant as well.

There are names for the quarter holidays that are in use today, particularly by neo-pagans and Wiccans, but unlike the old names for the cross quarters, the quarter names do not have Gaelic origins, being derived instead from Anglo Saxon and/or Germanic languages. The names most commonly found are: Ostara – spring equinox; Litha – summer solstice; Mabon – autumn equinox; and Yule – winter solstice.[4]

The Celts (and possibly their predecessors in the lands they occupied), considered the cross quarters to be an indication of the beginning of the seasons, unlike our present practice of linking seasonal beginnings to the quarters, the solstices and equinoxes, which the Celts considered to be mid-season days. Thus Imbolc was the first day of spring, when buds begin to form on plants and crocuses push up through the snow. Birds and small animals breed and some even have babies this early! The first day of summer was Bealtaine, on or close to our current May Day. Crops are growing higher and flowers are gracing us with their color and beauty. Lughnasadh falls during the first week of August and ushers in the autumnal season and is the first harvest festival. Samhain, at the time of our Halloween celebration heralds the beginning of winter. Plants are dying back, grass has stopped growing and the weather is turning cold.

It is interesting to note that for the Celts not only was the festival of Samhain the beginning of winter but their new year as well. Additionally the Celts reckoned days differently than do we, their day beginning at sundown instead of sunrise.[5]

This month we will take a closer look at Lughnasadh, (pronounced Loo-nah-sah) which is typically celebrated on 1 August by international agreement or on the full moon closest to that date[6], which occurs astronomically on 7 August this year. Like most of the Celtic sacred days, is not necessarily restricted to one day of festivity, but may be celebrated over several days.[7]

Lughnasadh, is named after the ancient Irish god Lugh who is known as a Celtic god of light or god of the sun. Lugh was a member of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, a group of deities in Irish mythology.[8] Some legends attribute the holiday to Lugh’s foster mother Tailtiu who is said to have cleared the lands of Ireland to make room for crops.[9]

Lughnasadh was historically celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. A similar festival Calan Awst, was held in Wales, the English had a holiday known as Lammas and in Breton the festival name was Gouel Eost.[10],[11] It is above all, a celebration of the first harvest and it marks the noticeable decline of the sunlight as the earth moves toward winter.[12] Celebrations in antiquity and through to today include ritual cutting and offering of grain,[13] feasting, bonfires, athletic competitions, visits to holy wells and matchmaking.[14]

Today Lughnasadh is enjoying a revival in many places in Ireland and is celebrated by neo-pagans  in many locales.[15] Simple ways for us to celebrate this holiday include making corn husk dolls, chains or herbal sachets, decorating the home with harvest themed items, harvesting and hanging herbs to dry in the kitchen, making berry bracelets or chains, or just having friends over to celebrate with food and drink.[16] If the weather is hot and dry, you might want to put off those bonfires until the rains return and burning outside is allowed! If you must have a fire, please confine it to a kettle or cauldron on a fireproof surface for safety.

A Blessed Lughnasdah to all!

[1] The Celtic Year. Livingmyths.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[2] Celtic Festivals. Sacredfire.net. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[3] The Celtic Year. Livingmyths.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[4] Wheel of the Year. en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[5] The Celtic Year. Livingmyths.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[6] Deeper Into Lughnasadh. Druidry.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[7] The Celtic Year. Livingmyths.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[8] Lugh. en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[9] Deeper Into Lughnasadh. Druidry.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[10] Lughnasadh. en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[11] Deeper Into Lughnasadh. Druidry.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[12]  Deeper Into Lughnasadh. Druidry.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[13]  Deeper Into Lughnasadh. Druidry.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[14] Lughnasadh. en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[15] Lughnasadh. en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

[16] Lammas Craft Projects. Thoughtco.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

Stone Medicine - Chrysoprase

by Alannah Hudis on 06/16/17


(Stone medicine interpretation by Alannah Hudis - Geological information https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)

"Chrysoprase, chrysophrase or chrysoprasus is a gemstone variety of chalcedony (a cryptocrystalline form of silica) that contains small quantities of nickel. Its color is normally apple-green, but varies to deep green. The darker varieties of chrysoprase are also referred to as prase. (However, the term prase is also used to describe chlorite-included quartz, and to a certain extent is a color-descriptor, rather than a rigorously defined mineral variety.)

Chrysoprase is cryptocrystalline, which means that it is composed of crystals so fine that they cannot be seen as distinct particles under normal magnification. This sets it apart from rock crystal, amethyst, citrine, and the other varieties of crystalline quartz. Other members of the cryptocrystalline silica family include agate, carnelian, and onyx. Unlike many non-transparent silica minerals, it is the color of chrysoprase, rather than any pattern of markings, that makes it desirable. The word chrysoprase comes from the Greek ?????? chrysos meaning 'gold' and ???????? prasinon, meaning 'green'.

Unlike emerald which owes its green color to the presence of chromium, the color of chrysoprase is due to trace amounts of nickel compounds in the form of very small inclusions.

As with all forms of chalcedony, chrysoprase has a hardness of 6–7 on the Mohs hardness scale and a conchoidal fracture like flint." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysoprase)

Chrysoprase comes in a variety of intermingled shades of green and has a waxy luster. An earth stone that also resonates with the element of water, chrysoprase enjoys being refreshed on moist ground.

Chrysoprase aids attunement to earth energies and ecological balance and understanding of our place in the web of creation. Its peaceful energy is enjoyed by animals and it is beneficial in the garden for all green, growing things.

Physically, chrysoprase attunes to the heart chakra and helps to open heart centered communication with the elements and beings of nature. It also has a stabilizing effect on bodily energies and helps maintain iron balance in the body.

Stone Medicine - Jasper

by Alannah Hudis on 06/16/17


(Stone medicine interpretation by Alannah Hudis - Geological information http://www.minerals.net & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)

"Jasper is an opaque form of Chalcedony, which is a microcrystalline variety of the mineral Quartz. It often contains an abundance of impurities, and therefore some regard it as a rock instead of a mineral. Jasper is usually associated with brown, yellow, or reddish colors, but may be used to describe other opaque colors of Chalcedony such as dark or mottled green and orange. Some forms of Jasper are banded, and these banded Jaspers may appear similar to Agate, but unlike Agate they are opaque. When Jasper is dull and lacking interesting colors or patterns, it is not Jasper but rather Chert." (http://www.minerals.net/mineral/jasper.aspx)

"The classification and naming of jasper varieties presents a challenge.[13] Terms attributed to various well-defined materials includes the geographic locality where it is found, sometimes quite restricted such as "Bruneau" (a canyon) and "Lahontan" (a lake), rivers and even individual mountains; many are fanciful, such as "forest fire" or "rainbow", while others are descriptive, such as "autumn" or "porcelain". A few are designated by the place of origin such as a brown Egyptian or red African.

Picture jaspers exhibit combinations of patterns (such as banding from flow or depositional patterns (from water or wind), dendritic or color variations) resulting in what appear to be scenes or images (on a cut section). Diffusion from a center produces a distinctive orbicular appearance, i.e., leopard skin jasper, or linear banding from a fracture as seen in leisegang jasper. Healed, fragmented rock produces brecciated (broken) jasper. While these "picture jaspers" can be found all over the world, specific colors or patterns are unique, based upon the geographic region from which they originate." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasper)

The jaspers are the quintessential earth stones. They like to be refreshed by being laid on open ground, to connect with the energies that nourish them. Jasper reminds us to embrace embodiment, to care for the physical self that supports our journey through this life. Jasper also connects us deeply with the nourishing energy of the earth, reminding us of Source.

Jaspers, like all stones, carry the memories of the earth in their cells, which they are agreeable to share if one is willing to be very quiet and pay close attention. Picture jasper shares its earth memories in visual form in the patterns in the stones. Jaspers may seem more reticent than some other stones, but in reality they simply have a slow, steady energy and patience is required to access communion with them.

All colors of jasper support the organs and structure of the lower body. They are especially beneficial for the adrenals, kidneys and organs of elimination. Structurally they support the lower back and resonate with the base and second chakra energies.

Stone Medicine - Calcite

by Alannah Hudis on 06/09/17


(Stone medicine interpretation by Alannah Hudis - Geological information http://www.minerals.net & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)

"Calcite is the one of the most common minerals. It occurs in a great variety of shapes and colors, and it constitutes a major portion of many of the earth's rocks.

Calcite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, have perfect rhombohedral cleavage, and exhibit strong double refraction in transparent rhombohedrons." (http://www.minerals.net/mineral/calcite.aspx)

Calcite "has a defining Mohs hardness of 3, a specific gravity of 2.71, and its luster is vitreous in crystallized varieties. Color is white or none, though shades of gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, or even black can occur when the mineral is charged with impurities.

Calcite is transparent to opaque and may occasionally show phosphorescence or fluorescence. A transparent variety called Iceland spar is used for optical purposes. Acute scalenohedral crystals are sometimes referred to as "dogtooth spar" while the rhombohedral form is sometimes referred to as "nailhead spar".

Single calcite crystals display an optical property called birefringence (double refraction). This strong birefringence causes objects viewed through a clear piece of calcite to appear doubled." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcite)

As can be seen in the above photos, calcite comes in a dizzying array of colors, shapes and luster. As a group, they have commonalities, but also have particularities of medicine depending on color and type. Calcites are lovely stones to have in a healing collection. They have a cheery aspect and are easily communicative. As a group they are beneficial for maintaining mineral balance in the body and are especially good for the teeth, bones, muscles and tendons.

These stones prefer to be refreshed in moonlight, direct sunlight may fade their colors and they are not fond of getting excessively wet. Communally they correspond to the elements of air and water vapor.

Individual correspondences of some of the colors of calcite are:

Blue:  The moon: moon phases/moon magic; watery systems/tidal volume in the body; evening/nighttime

Green:  Muscles; heart & lungs; daytime; growth; garden;

Orange:  Sunshine; stomach; nourishment

Yellow:  Muscle & tendon healing; urinary tract; kidney function; optimism

Optical: White light; physical vision; scrying