Saturday, June 20, 2009

Turn The Wheel To Yule

Turn the wheel; turn the wheel, as we welcome Yule
The Holly King’s reign, today shall wane, as the Oak King begins his rule
At the solstice of the winter time we enact the winter rite
The shortest day, Callooh! Callay! Also brings the longest night

New year, new cheer, the sun’s return, the festival of Sol,
Adorn the tree in red and gold and reflect upon the soul
Light the log and let it burn for twelve midwinter days
Turn the wheel; turn the wheel, to see out this harshest phase.

The Oak King and the Holly King and All Things Yule

In Celtic mythology, the Oak King and the Holly King are twins, but only in so much as they are two parts of the same thing. Each solstice, the Oak King and the Holly King fight for dominance.

The Oak King is victorious in the battle that takes place at Yule, therefore it is he who rules the waxing year from Yule to Litha. The Oak King represents light, growth and expansion.

The Holly King defeats his brother in the confrontation at Litha, therefore he rules the waning year from Litha to Yule. The Holly King represents darkness, decay and destruction.

In Pagan mythology, this sabbat is when the Goddess gives birth to the God, in his aspect as the sun. He will begin to grow in power as the days become longer from this point on, but he is a newborn now and has little power to warm us.

Tomorrow is the 21st of June and therefore Yule in the southern hemisphere. This is when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer so is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Yule is symbolic of the (re-)birth of the sun (or "son" in the Christian symbolism in the northern hemisphere Yule time).

The days and nights will remain cold once Yule has come and gone but the strength of the Sun is increasing so hope and potential are prevalent themes. It is a time to give thanks for surviving to the darkest point of the year in the knowledge that the world and therefore all of life and creation will brighten and become easier from this point on. The giving of gifts is an expression of this thanks and good will.

Other names for Yule include Alban Arthan (Druidic), Festival of Growth, Festival of Sol, Finn's Day, Great Day of the Cauldron, Midwinter, Pagan New Year, Sun Return, the Winter Rite, Winter Solstice or Yuletide.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Am Kora

Kora is the magical name I took on my dedication as a witch on 25 April 2009 following my traditional year and a day study period.

My first magical name, Bryn, was gifted to me by my high priestesses upon initiation. Bryn refers to armour, the brow or the edge and with is direct length and even number of letter, it is a strong magical name. In Welsh it means hill or mount. That Kora also has four letters is a tribute to the name Bryn and thus carries forth it's power and purpose.

Kora is an amalgamation of the names Kore and Cora, both names of the goddess Persephone.

When I first commenced formal study of the tarot in 2006 with the Mythical Tarot deck, my heart stopped in anticipation just as I was preparing to turn over the High Priestess card. I hadn't seen the card and wasn't consciously expecting anything, there was just a feeling that came over me and an 'Ah-ha' moment once I turned the card.

In the Mythic Tarot deck, the High Priestess is Persephone and tells the tale from Greek mythology of Persephone's abduction by Hades under the blessing of her father, Zeus, and of her mother, Demeter's pained search to reunite with her daughter. The interweaving of this story with the seasonal changes captivated me immediately and I felt the resonance with this deity from that moment.

Nearing dedication, the task of choosing either to dedicate under our initiate magical name, our Christian name or a new magical name was looming. I felt strongly that I was to take on a new name and while grateful for the blessed name of Bryn at initiation, I knew that I would be taking on a new name of my own choosing for this next phase of my journey.

Many a late night I spent randomly surfing the net; a child of the technological age with a passion for the random offerings of the universe, I felt sure that this was how I would receive my new magical name. Random magical name generators produced results in the fashion of 'Moon Shadow Princess' and 'Athame Warrior' but I knew that with each of these clichéd combinations I was one step closer to being gifted with my new name.

With every name that I rejected, I felt surer and surer of what my new name would relate to and Persephone was the continually recurring theme. In my searches on her name and her myths, I came upon the name Kore or Cora and they immediately resonated with me.

I felt strongly that the K was right so initially leant towards Kore, but it seemed somewhat wrong that my name would look so different to how it sounded when it would be fairly common for me to write my name for those who would never hear me speak it. I found that putting the inflection above the e would better show the long a sounding pronunciation so I wrote the name Korë on a piece of paper, meditated on it with the purpose of receiving further guidance and placed it under my pillow.

That night - nothing.

No dreams, no insights, nothing to indicate one way or another that Korë would be my new magical name. I read much into this nothingness, as is my way, and decided that while I was heading in the right direction, the path was not 100% correct.

I let it be for a few nights until I realised that I was thinking in terms of a combination between the phonetically perfect Cora with the soul-fitting K beginning and thus Kora was delivered. I noticed that Kora was present, although not entirely common in some versions of the Persephone myths as well - and that, for me, was perfect in itself. Quietly, subtly and while thinking I was getting close but was not quite where I needed to be, Kora weaved her way into my conscious thoughts.

Literally, Kora is a harp or lute like instrument and in this context is very relevant to me at this time.

Soon I began longing to use the name Kora, for it was me and I was ready to accept it, but dedication was still a few weeks away. During this time, I stored the name in my heart and the surety grew and felt good and right. I was Kora in my heart and soon I would be by name as well.

On dedication, as I looked in the mirror, I was surprised by the stoic and almost severe face that looked back at me, but I felt the power of my name and hearing it through my ears in that circle felt so right and natural that I almost swooned with the power, strength and feeling of fit that it radiated as I spoke my new name.

And thus, Kora completed gestation and was born unto the natural earth.

It is her journey that you will find in the pages here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bless This Blog

Bless this blog and all who call
That its essence may enthral
Let words of wisdom grace this site
And resonant with love and light
By the lady and the lord
Your teachings cannot be ignored
Great your power through the ages
Share your knowledge in these pages

Blessed be