A Blessed Summer Solstice from the Coven of the Catta and Lady Ember Willow Hawk 3rd*

crystal altar north

  The Great Wheel of the Year has turned again bringing us to the Summer Solstice.  Today the Sun reaches it’s zenith in the heavens and stands in strength giving us the longest day of the year and shortest night ,but on this night we see something rare , a Full Moon also rising to it’s height on the Solstice. So on this day the celestial symbols of the Divine Masculine and Feminine ,the Great God and Goddess , will share the heavens in balance. During the day the Sun will illuminate the sky and earth and tonight the Moon will do the same casting it’s light upon us all. This makes for a doubly sacred time and one to be celebrated with joy. It was traditional also at this time when the Sun stood at it’s strongest to gather protective herbs to make charms to protect the home and hearth, with the thought in mind that as all things cycle so too now after this Solstice do the days begin to grow shorter. This was also a time to protect livestock and cattle and one way the Pennsylvania Dutch did this was the use of Hex Signs on their barns to bring good fortune and protection. Lord Shawnus living in Pennsylvania dearly loved the symbolism and beauty of the old Hex Signs and would make beautiful ones drawn on glass plates which he later hung by doorways or gave away as gifts. The early Pennsylvania Dutch had their own beliefs , practices and folklore but the symbolism of the Hex Signs are universal and can be used and appreciated by all. As the Sun and Moon illuminate all on this Sacred Day we of the Coven of the Catta wish everyone a Blessed Solstice. BB, Aren
       Moon Night Sky

A Blessed Beltane to All from the Coven of The Catta and Lady Ember Willow Hawk 3*

28 August (11)

 The Great Wheel of the Year has turned again bringing us to Beltane where Springs promise has been realized , nature coming fully to life. This time of year the forests and wild places are teaming with life both among plants and animals. The Fae also are believed to be especially active at this time. As Samhain is the time when the veil between worlds is most thin and the Mighty Dead draw close , so Beltane mirrors it also being tied to the realm of Spirit, though more with the Fae and Nature Spirits than to the Ancestors and Beloved Dead we honor in the All Hallows rites. So it’s fitting that at this time when we here in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate Beltane and light the traditional fires to honor the Gods and Spirits of Nature, those in Southern Hemisphere are celebrating Samhain also kindling scared fires honoring the Gods and sprits of the Might Dead. It is indeed, regardless of your place in the world ,a time to honor life and Spirit in all it’s forms.
Similar to the Floralia of ancient Rome ,when the Goddess Flora was honored for the fertility of the earth and the emerging buds and vegetation, at Beltane we honor the coming together of the Great Goddess and God and the fertility of their union shown and made manifest in the flourishing of nature and life. Lord Shawnus greatly loved Beltane as it was then that the warmer weather was starting to finally take hold where he lived and he could better get out to enjoy the forest he loved. So this Sabbat always held a special place in his heart that he passed on to all of us.
Beltane has long been linked and celebrated with bonfires and the traditional May pole rites and village dances, so it is a good time to if possible gather fallen tree limbs and debris and use them to light and feed the Beltane fires. In the COC we sometimes instead of the traditional May Pole make use of a besom , or besoms , in it’s place and due to the phallic ends with which they are carved the symbolism works very well.
This is a time to celebrate life and nature and the Sacred Union of the God and Goddess that makes this possible. As the Beltane fires burn bright may the light of the Green Goddess and Her Consort bless us all.
BB,
Aren

A Blessed Spring Equinox to all !

nature-backgrounds-dogwood-tree-blooms

The Great Wheel has turned bringing us to the Vernal Equinox and Spring’s rebirth.  On this sacred day celebrated by peoples all over the world in different ways and under different names , though with a similar underlying meaning , we see the hours of daytime and nighttime standing poised and equal in length as the season of darkness wanes and the season of light waxes and days grow longer . For those of the Christian faith this time of year brings us to Easter and the Resurrection of Christ , while we Pagans celebrate the fruition of the promise of Natures rebirth and resurrection from Winters hold which was given and initiated at Candlemas. As with many aspects of Spirituality the outer forms may seem to differ though the inner meanings ring true and universal, for in this time of year whether Pagan or Christian we celebrate a time of resurrection and rebirth. I was not raised a Christian so much of it’s liturgy is not wholly familiar to me but my teacher and friend Lord Shawnus loved to attend Easter service when he could as well as celebrating the Traditional Sabbat and saw in both the same expression of the Light which is Universal. This way of seeing things and embracing the best of all faiths is a lesson that he taught which I treasure and always will. So whether this time of year see’s us celebrating during Sunday services or giving thanks to the Goddess for Her renewal of the Earth through Her and Her Consorts love and union , whether we dye colorful Easter eggs or the older more complex Pysanky of Ukrainian origin symbolizing fertility , protection and the cycles of birth , death and rebirth ; let us try and honor and embrace all the Blessings and meanings of this special time of new beginnings and Natures rebirth. BB , Aren

In Honor

Today would have been the 63rd birthday of Lord Shawnus Merlin Belarion  , Elder High Priest of the Coven of the Catta. He was to many of us an amazing friend and teacher who always gave freely of his time , laughter and knowledge. He also touched many lives through his writing , blogs and photography and we are all of us the richer for having known him as a friend and a teacher and a true High Priest of the Goddess. He was called too soon to the Summerland and he is greatly missed. Lord Shawnus embraced life fully and found joy in each day even when his health in later years at times made that a struggle. Today sadly he is no longer with us in the world of form to celebrate his birth, but we can all of us who knew him celebrate his life and memory. What is remembered, lives. BB, Aren
No Description5 March (15) 

A Blessed Candlemas to all !

snow harry lauder walkingstick bush

A Blessed Candlemas to all !
 
The Great Wheel of the Year has now turned bringing us to Candlemas where we honor the Goddess in Her aspect as Maiden and bid farewell to the harshness of Winter, looking forward to the brighter and warmer days ahead. Hidden in the womb of the earth is the promise of life anew that will arise with the Spring as days stretch longer and the blankets of snow recede. In the COC we also at this time of year celebrate the Ritual of the Return of Persephone from her rest during the Winter months. This addition to the Candlemas ceremony was taught and added to the covens Book of Shadows by Lord Shawnus who while always treasuring and honoring the traditions passed on to him by his teacher Lady Phoebe also believed that the rites were to be kept alive and vibrant and found this addition to be fitting. Persephone’s return is not a universal theme or practice among other Traditions but it fits perfectly with the meaning of this Sabbat as while Spring itself has not yet arrived and many areas are still in the grips of cold and ice the promise of the reawakening and quickening of nature has arrived , later to be seen in full. The hope and promise of better and brighter days ahead. So we of the Coven of the Catta wish a Blessed Candlemas to all along with the hope and promise of better and brighter days for all. BB, Aren

 

A Blessed Winter Solstice to all !

winterpondA Blessed Winter Solstice to all on this longest darkest night of the year. As in many Wiccan Traditions we of the Coven of the Catta on this night celebrate the birth of the Divine Child of Promise to the Goddess , symbolizing the light and hope that will lead us through the Winter and forward to Spring.  In the ancient Zoroastrian faith the birth of Mithra was also celebrated on this night symbolizing light , goodness and strength to the earth. Lord Shawnus loved and deeply appreciated the universal aspects of spirituality , the things that seemingly different paths and currents share at their heart and have in common. He believed that those things which link us all together,  regardless of Tradition or Faith , were most important rather than focusing on the things that divide us. So let us remember on this Solstice night when a Full Cold Moon waxes to culminate on the 25th of December , when those of the Christian faith celebrate the birth of the Christ Child , the things that link us together and that we share rather than the things that divide us. No matter the path we follow let us focus on the true meanings and gifts of this very special time of year, those of Hope , Peace and the Triumph of the Light in all of it’s many and varied forms and manifestations. Blessed Be , Aren

A Blessed All Hallows to all !

HallowsThe Great Wheel of the Year has turned again bringing us to Samhain and the thin veil. There are Jack-o-lanterns with glinting eyes and bundles of corn hung by doors and leaves rustling when there is no wind out to be seen. There is a magic and mystery about this time of year that makes it especially well loved by Witches and Pagans everywhere , but still it can be a bitter sweet time when there are those we care about that are no longer here with us , when we add new candles and photos to our Altars that were not there the year before. This year we of the Coven of the Catta add a new photo to all of our altars as this is the first Samhain since the passing of Lord Shawnus Merlin Belarion Elder High Priest of the COC. He loved this time of year , both the outer trappings of the lights and decorations as well as the much deeper inner meanings to be found in Nature, it’s changing Tides and Cycles and the Mystery of the Summerland. So this post is dedicated to Lord Shawnus and in memory of him , a Dear Friend , Teacher , and High Priest of the Goddess. May the Peace of the Lady and Her Consort be with him and may he know he is remembered and remembered well. In keeping with this , the Coven of the Catta will be dedicating our All Hallows ritual this year to Lord Shawnus as well. The ritual led by Lady Alsace and Lady Ember will honor the final harvest festival of the year and the passing of the mantle from the Goddess to Her Consort as per our tradition, as well as many others, but it also will be a time for us to remember and honor the man and High Priest who taught us all. Blessed Be , Aren

In memory of Lord Shawnus Merlin Belarion Elder 3rd* High Priest of The Coven Of The Catta

It is with great sadness that I write this post in memory of my dear friend and teacher Lord Shawnus Merlin Belarion Elder 3rd* High Priest of the Coven of the Catta. I received a call from Lady Ember Willow Hawk 3rd* High Priestess of the COC letting me know that he had passed into the Summerland on the 1st of July 2015 on the eve of the Thunder Full Moon. To those of us who knew him we were Blessed to have in him a loyal and true friend who was steadfast and always there when you needed him. His sense of humor and wit , though sometimes risqué , was always in good spirit and he truly believed in the tenets of compassion and kindness. He lived an incredible life , receiving not only his three degrees into the Coven Of the Catta and serving as it’s Elder High Priest for the past three decades but also receiving Tibetan Buddhist empowerments and initiations into Vajrakilaya , Avalokitesvara , White Tara and Phowa . He told me once he had been a Priest in three religions , Buddhism , Wicca and also having received initiation many years ago as a Priest of Anubis. Despite all of that , or perhaps because of it , he was a kind and gentle man who after working his whole life in the medical field upon retirement due to a persistent illness that he constantly battled was devoted to caring for the land and for the creatures great and small that lived upon it. He was fiercely intelligent and could talk for hours on any given subject that you could imagine and shared his knowledge freely and generously with so many of us. He worked tirelessly to preserve the Coven of the Catta and it’s teachings ensuring they were passed on to others and are alive and well and thriving. Due to him the founders of the Coven of the Catta , Dr Frederick Lamotte Santee and Lady Phoebe will never be forgotten , through his books and blog posts people all around the world have read about them and their story. Now it is up to us , we who knew him and called him friend and all those who have followed his blogs and writings to preserve and carry on the memory of a true Priest of the Goddess ,with whom he now rests. He is and will be greatly missed. BB , Aren