Winter Solstice – Another Horned Crown Made

Well we all had plans of getting together here for the coven Yule ritual, but circumstances got the better of us this time. Hell I even bought colored Christmas lights (!) to decorate the altar with. So I just spent the day alone doing one ritual in the Hex House (the little white cabin next to my house) where i lit ALL the cup/jar candles in the morning so they could burn down even, then in mid afternoon lit some frankincense and chanted the name of Sol-Om-On to welcome the returning sun. Then I spent an hour or so making another antler horned copper disk adorned Witch Priest crown (see below). Then later in the early eve, having all the candles in my house temple lit all day, and the Christmas lights giving cheer, I lit some of the coven’s Healing incense the student/friend I made the crown for formulated and gifted me this season, and did another short ritual more in line with our traditional Yule rites.

I have posted before how to make a Priestess Lunar Crown and a Priest’s Horned Crown.

Aren Horned Crown (3)

I decided to make my student and friend in the SE part of the country a horned crown for him to wear in rituals, and as a Yule gift. So from the previous projects I had left over another one of those small children’s belts in black, the copper circle center of the plate from which i had cut the lunar crown, and two more deer antlers left over from my late Dad’s garage. After polishing up the copper circle I then drew a pentagram on it in magic marker (which comes off with alcohol on a Q-tip), then set the electric engraver on high and executed that. Then with the engraver on medium I engraved the sigils on the traditionsl Witches pentagram and in Theban the name Catta Coven around it. With one space left I engraved the founding year of our coven 1967 in Roman numerals. I took those down to the workshop and drilled holes through the disk and belt for the brown hemp tie on.

Aren Horned Crown (4)

One of the horns was perfect sized and rather spiral in curve. The other was longer so i used a hack saw to cut that down. Do you know sawing deer antlers with a hacksaw smells like burnt blood? I remembered then that antlers are actually formed from blood filled growths from a deer’s head which then harden into horn. The horns were not exactly the same but I fretted for awhile figuring out the best arrangement, then drilled holes in them and the belt. Then finally I used a big needle and the hemp string to tie the disk and horns on as tight as i could. Since I learned from other crowns the inside knots hurt one’s head i used the only unnatural object of a piece of foam glued over them for comfort’s sake.

Aren Horned Crown (1)

Since i am usually an anal retentive perfectionist the crown came out not quite perfect, but then how can one make something completely symmetrical out or natural materials? Well its all packed up well padded for shipment to my friend After Christmas since i Love standing in line at the PO So Much this time of year, LOL.

So I would say it was a very fulfilling and productive Yule Mid-Winter Solstice for me. Blessed Be!

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How to Make your own High Priestess Copper Lunar Crescent Crown

HPS Copper Lunar Crown (5)

After I made my own High Priest Horned Crown back in March and finally got to wear it in ritual at All Hallows I started working recently on how to cheaply and easily make my High Priestess Ember Willow Hawk a Copper Lunar Crescent Crown.

HPS Copper Lunar Crown (4)

It was really fairly simple. I already had a nice pair of tin snips from my late Dad’s garage, and a set of fairly flat 100% copper coasters that are a few inches across. I once again went to the local thrift shop and for $4 bought a pair of small children’s belts in brown and black. I had her measure her head and the size at the longest hole was perfect, and if it is too big she can belt it at the next hold. I kept putting off cutting the copper but it was simple as cutting butter and then i used a file to smooth of the edges. Then i used copper polish and determined the shinier side. She likes Theban so I used an electric engraver to put Diana Astarte (our Goddess names) on the front and on the back inside I engraved the first letters of her names and her degree sigils.

HPS Copper Lunar Crown (1)

Then I drilled holes in the copper crescent and belt and used a large needle and some brown hemp to fasted it into place and tied a knot on the inside. Since my knots hurt my head i will get a piece of thin foam from a friend and glue it over the knot, which makes it very comfortable. So on the front there is a horizontal piece of hemp and she can put seasonal decorations in there like flowers or feathers or whatever, or she can use jump rings (she makes her own jewelry rather skillfully) and hang crystals or whatever she wants. The belt also has a jump ring on the buckle that can be used to hang items from the back. I think it turned out pretty damned good if i may say so myself, though it took no great skill on my part, just a good eye and the proper tools and materials.

HPS Copper Lunar Crown (6)

Next project – make a silver lunar crescent for the black belt head band. When my Dad, who was a coin collector, passed I bought all his silver so have a lot of old silver coins to use, though it will be a little harder to cut and i will have to hammer out the images on them so i have a clean surface to work with.

See, you don’t have to be rich and be buying expensive stuff on the internet. Just make it yourself!

The Witches Wheel of the Year with Many Names Old and New

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Witches Wheel with some of the old names

There have been volumes written on the Witches Wheel of the Year with its various festivals and names from around the world, some names probably original to the Gardnerian and Alexandrian lineages, and in the last few decades many names from their original sources in the UK, Germany, various parts of Europe both western and eastern, and even names from the Catholic church. We all know from those books that the Christian church originally put their feast days on the same or near same day as original pagan festivals from the countries they conquered. I am neither an historian nor a linguist, but below are listed some of these names and then at the end I wish to put forward a theory regarding the names our coven, the Coven of the Catta, uses.

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Witches Wheel with some of the newer names

The Mid-Winter Solstice is usually called Yule by witches, which is I think a German name that was adopted into England and also used as a name for Christmas.

Imbolc or St. Brighid’s Day is from Scottish Gaelic and in the Catholic Church and our coven is called Candlemas.

Ostara is Old English and Old High German and in Christianity is close to Easter and also closer to Lady’s Day (the day of the Annunciation of the BVM), which is the name our coven uses.

Beltane is Gaellic for what the Germans call Walpurgis Night and what our coven refers to as May Day or Beltane.

The Mid-Summer Solstice is called St John’s Day by the Catholic church and our coven just calls it Summer Solstice, but in some places in our BOS it is also referred to as Beltane, the feast of Bel. (this may be a copyist error but i think Lady Sheba’s BOS used this name also). It can also be called Litha by some pagan reconstructionists.

Lammas is what we call this spoke of the wheel, though the Germans call it Lughnasadh after the old god Lugh in Scottish Gaelic lore.

The Autumn Equinox is sometimes called Mabon in Neo-Druidic systems and was coined by Aidan Kelly. We just call it the former.

Samhain is Gaelic Celtic and used widely nowadays, but our coven called it All Hallows.

So it turns out the Coven of the Catta uses many of the old Catholic names for our Wheel of the Year, and here is my theory – Before our coven was founded in 1967 in Pennsylvania by Lady Phoebe Athene Nimue and Lord Merlin aka Dr Frederick LaMotte Santee, Before that it came from Dame Sybil Leek of the Coven of the Horsa of the New Forest in England. But before that it came from the SE coast of France at an area called Gorge du Loup (gorge of the wolf) it was called the Coven de la Dragon Rouge. As you know from the history of the English Reformation Catholicism was brutally suppressed by the Church of England and for many years England was mostly a Protestant country. In Germany Protestantism took many strange forms that were considered heretical, and those sects with the suppressed English sects of Quakers and Puritans etc escaped to the New World. But Catholicism continued to be practiced in secret all across Europe in rich people’s secret chapels and poor people’s hovels with traveling priests giving the sacraments. By the late 1800s in France Catholicism was still very strong yet fighting for its life against a more scientific humanistic philosophy, but it survived. Also on the SE coast of France there were remnants of Gypsy and other old shrines to the Black Virgin. And French Catholicism was also able to stay alive by all the miraculous appearances of the Virgin Mary it propagated at that time, so the common people had a great love for The Goddess.

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Witches Wheel with old and new names

So my theory is (and it has probably already been proposed in many books I can’t reference) that just how Christianity took on the pagan practices and holidays, so the Pagans and Witches of France and maybe even England patterned their rituals after what they already knew and practiced, the Catholic Mass. The rituals of the Coven of the Catta, like rituals of many lineages, have the form and pattern and taste of the Mass. I do not think it is a bad thing, and have no problem with newer covens trying to reconstruct the paganism of their native lands, but it is what it is. Any comments or feedback on this?

For more on how our coven and I practice please refer to this link to a post called Every Witch Makes their own Wheel of the Year.

Note the images above come from multiple sources on the www.