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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 - 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

Stone Medicine - Citrine

by Alannah Hudis on 06/06/17

(Stone medicine interpretation by Alannah Hudis - Geological information

"Citrine is a variety of quartz whose color ranges from a pale yellow to brown due to ferric impurities. Natural citrines are rare; most commercial citrines are heat-treated amethysts or smoky quartzes. However, a heat-treated amethyst will have small lines in the crystal, as opposed to a natural citrine's cloudy or smokey appearance. It is nearly impossible to differentiate between cut citrine and yellow topaz visually, but they differ in hardness. Brazil is the leading producer of citrine, with much of its production coming from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The name is derived from the Latin word citrina which means "yellow" and is also the origin of the word "citron". Sometimes citrine and amethyst can be found together in the same crystal, which is then referred to as ametrine.[15] Citrine has been referred to as the "merchant's stone" or "money stone", due to a superstition that it would bring prosperity.[16]" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz#Citrine)

Sunny citrine, a stone of light and sunshine has a cheerful aspect, promoting optimism and banishing sadness. Citrine is a stone that fosters openness and reveals possibilities. Through all of its shade gradations, from milky white to golden hues, this stone is a benefactor of abundance. While often associated with material wealth, citrine's strength lies in its ability to open our hearts to the abundance that is all around us, and through its encouraging disposition, help support the ability to perceive and accept that abundance.

Energetically, citrine is associated with the Solar Plexus and the Summer season. The Plexus governs the organs of the belly and physically citrine is beneficial for the stomach, pancreas and spleen, and the whole of the urinary system. This stone is also good for the heart in that it engenders hopefulness and relaxation.

Citrine enjoys bathing in the sunlight which refreshes it and renews its energy. This is a good stone for children when they are sad or fearful.