Wednesday 18 November 2009

Christmas Madness!

The last two weeks of November and the first week of December are always the busiest time of the entire year for me. The reason is simple -- Christmas. These three weeks are when my holiday preparations come to a head: shopping, wrapping, getting cards ready to send, mailing packages, decorating. I like to have everything done by early December so I can relax and enjoy all the holiday parties, concerts and general socializing that fill the rest of the month. Because I work full time, scheduling everything that needs to be done for Christmas can be quite a challenge. So alas, I will probably not be doing much, if any, blogging between now and early December. But fear not -- I'll be back -- although probably trailing wrapping paper, scotch tape and a big tangled ball of mini-lights, with postage stamps stuck to my tongue.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Transporting Sacred Water

The Lion's Head is where pilgrims gather sacred spring water to take home and, for that purpose, Chalice Garden sells plastic souvenir bottles. When I went to buy one, the saleslady took note of my foreign accent, deduced that I would be flying home (not driving) and told me that I'd never get my water home in one of their bottles. Because of airport security, the bottle would have to go in my checked luggage, and the bottle tops were simply not watertight. The sacred water would all leak out during the flight, she said.

So off I went to the Glastonbury shops, where I found a metal Glogg water bottle with a good, waterproof, screw-on top. On the mystical morning of 09-09-09, I filled it full of sacred water and screwed the top on tight. For good measure, I put it inside a big zip-lock freezer bag along with a couple of the small (empty) Chalice Well plastic bottles. I'm pleased to report that the water made it back to Edmonton safe and sound! Once home, I decanted it from the Glogg bottle into the more decorative souvenir bottles.

At the October meeting of the Women's Drumming and Goddess Chanting Circle, we celebrated the Goddess of Avalon and had a special blessing with the Chalice Well water. Each woman received a tiny half-ounce plastic champagne flute as a Holy Grail stand-in. I poured sacred water into each flute from the Chalice Well bottle. Then we each thought of something in our life that needs healing, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or financial. I recited the following blessing --

Daughters of the Goddess, may you be blessed and healed by this sacred water from Goddess's holy Chalice Well in Avalon. Blessed be!

Then we all raised our glasses to the Goddess and drank Her sacred water of life.

Monday 16 November 2009

The Lion's Head

The Lion's Head is where one may drink from the Red Spring in Chalice Well Garden. It is essentially a spout which pours a steady stream of water over a couple of millstones in a small pool. (Note the heavy iron oxide build-up -- a reminder not to drink TOO much of this sacred water!) Our priestess and tour leader, Mara Freeman, led us in a beautiful ceremony at the Lion's Head. Each of us filled a pewter chalice to the brim with sacred water, thought of what we wanted to release from our lives and then poured the water back into the pool. Filling the chalice again, we thought of what we wanted the Goddess to bring into our lives and then we drank that water. Be it so!

Near the end of our stay at Chalice Garden, the Lion's Head acquired a stick-on diamond bindi on his Third Eye chakra! See it in the above photo? I suspect it was a gift from a hippy family that was in the Garden the previous afternoon. I thought it was a wonderful way to honour the Guardian of the Sacred Water!

Sunday 15 November 2009

Our Sunday Ritual

Every Sunday morning, my Rare One and I go for strawberry waffles at a nearby restaurant. It's our own special time. While enjoying our waffles, we try to answer the trivia questions in the local Coffee News. After that, we read our horoscopes for the upcoming week. Then we do the crossword puzzle in the newspaper.

In order to avoid any Sunday morning line-ups at the popular breakfast spot, we get there fairly early. We roll right out of bed and go. We don't even wash the stink off, as they say. Consequently, some Sundays we show up looking pretty much like this:

Ah, good times. Good times.

Friday 13 November 2009

It's Friday the 13th Again!

This is 2009's third and final Friday the 13th, so enjoy it! If Friday the 13th is doubly sacred to the Goddess at the best of times, then a rare third Friday the 13th must be triply sacred!

Thursday 12 November 2009

Welcome, Knitty Kitty!

You may recall that last month I won a handsome Halloween Knitty Kitty (created by Thalia Took) in Mrs. B's 31 Days of Halloween contest. Well, he has now arrived in Edmonton after his long journey from the United States! We were overjoyed to meet him! All the household cats got together and threw a big party to welcome the newcomer. At first, Knitty Kitty was a little shy --

But soon he joined in with the others . . .

. . . and before he knew it, everyone was Best Friends Forever!!

Her Royal Highness joined the party as well and graciously extended the regal paw of welcome to her newest subject . . .

. . . and introduced him to the Lion Goddess Sekhmet, who fell for Knitty Kitty's charms immediately. Here they are, posing for the paparazzi --

Cat treats were consumed. Party games were played. Fun was had by all.

Knitty Kitty even went swimming in the pool with the Mermaid Goddess Yemaya and her Merkitty! Well, actually he just floated around in a lifesaver ring, but still!

Finally, the party wound down and everyone went to their various cozy corners and cubbyholes for a long catnap. Knitty Kitty finished his evening by getting a nice skritch behind the ears from Kwan Yin Herself. The Goddess loves all kitties.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

--from "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon

[Photo copyright by Bryan Scott and found here. Used with permission. See more of Bryan's fabulous photos at Winnipeg: Love & Hate]

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Healing Waterfall

Another of Chalice Garden's water features created to showcase the waters of the Red Spring is the Healing Waterfall. It is located in a walled bower of trees and ferns, a shady and peaceful spot. The spring water splashes down a red brick waterfall surrounded by slate rocks. People often leave small offerings to the Goddess here -- a votive candle, a small apple, a stone, a feather or two. Ribbons are tied to the surrounding tree branches.

The water then flows through a narrow channel to the Healing Pool, a small rectangular pool of shallow water. People may wade there, holding on to the handrail and others' hands, walking carefully because the bottom is slippery with iron oxide build-up. (The Healing Pool gets power-washed on a regular basis too).

One afternoon while I was meditating in Chalice Garden, a large group of Christian pilgrims held a ceremony at the Healing Waterfall. They were celebrating the Virgin Mary, reciting prayers and singing hymns in honour of the Mother of God. The Red Spring is always sacred to the Divine Feminine, no matter which form She may take.

Monday 9 November 2009

Vesica Piscis Pool

At the bottom of Chalice Well Garden is a magnificent water feature called the Seven Bowls Flow Form and Vesica Piscis Pool. Fed by the Red Spring, the large Vesica Piscis Pool has a reddish hue to it because of iron oxide build-up. In fact, the gardeners drain and clean the Pool with a power-hose every couple of weeks to keep the build-up under control. The Pond is surrounded by beautifully landscaped garden with roses and other flowers, stone paths, wooden benches and topiary bushes.

The spring water enters the Pool via the Seven Bowls Flow Form. As the water enters each bowl, it swirls in a figure eight movement -- the symbol of infinity -- thereby honouring the eternal nature of the Divine Feminine.

And see how each flow form bowl evokes powerful vulva imagery! The eternal waters of life break and flow from the womb of the Goddess through Her sacred yoni!

Friday 6 November 2009

Gibralter Rock Candy

I'm really enjoying the Gibralter rock candy that was in Rue's giveaway parcel! I expected that it would come divided into small individual pieces but no, when you open the package you find a single, large, rectangular slab of rock hard candy. To break it, I tried hitting it with the handle of a knife. Nothing. Then a cleaver, which worked better. Finally a hammer, which worked best. Once in your mouth, the rock candy melts easily and deliciously. There are two flavours -- lemon and peppermint -- and they linger long after the candy itself is gone.

Gibralters have a very interesting history, too. Apparently they are the first candy made and sold commercially in the United States. In 1806, an English woman named Mrs. Spencer was shipwrecked on her way to America and ended up destitute with her young son in Salem, Massachusetts. When her neighbours learned that Mrs. Spencer knew how to make candy, they all chipped in and bought her a barrel of sugar so she could go into business. Her Gibralter rock candy was a huge success for this single working Mom who was ahead of her time!

According to Wikipedia, an 1893 book called Gibralters a "Salem institution" and described the candy as follows:

The Gibraltar . . . is a white and delicate candy, flavored with lemon or peppermint, soft as cream at one stage of its existence, but capable of hardening into a consistency so stony and so unutterably flinty-hearted that it is almost a libel upon the rock whose name it bears. The Gibraltar is the aristocrat of Salem confectionery. It gazes upon chocolate and sherbet and says: "Before you were, I was. After you are not, I shall be."

The book's author says the lemon flavor is preferred by youth, and the peppermint by the elderly, and quotes a "charming old Salem dame" as saying "I know I must be growing old, because a peppermint Gibraltar is so comforting to me."

Today, Gibralters are still made in Salem, using the original recipe, by Ye Olde Pepper Companie Ltd.

Thursday 5 November 2009

Goodies via Canada Post!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the very good fortune to win a Halloween giveaway from Rue over at her blog, Rue and Hyssop. When the package arrived via Canada Post, what fun my Rare One and I had as we discovered all the treasures hidden within! Lovely incense, essential oil and sweetgrass . . . the cutest wee spell book and witchy broom-pen . . . very yummy Gibralter rock candy from the recent trip that Jaz of Octoberfarm took to Salem, Massachusetts, as well as a candy lobster from Maine . . . gorgeous Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards by the artist Susan Seddon Boulet . . . and a very spooky little rose quartz skull! Thanks so much for your generosity, Rue!

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Vesica Piscis Symbol

In sacred geometry, a circle is a wholistic symbol of the never-ending cycle of existence. When two circles intersect at the halfway point of each, a third shape is formed -- the vesica piscis -- an almond shape which, to pagans, represents the sacred yoni or vulva of the Divine Feminine. All of creation emerges through Her divine yoni from Her sacred womb. And all of creation returns to Her on death, to be reused in the Goddess's eternal cycle of transformation and regeneration. The vesica piscis also has Christian and Masonic interpretations.

In 1919, British architect and archaeologist Frederick Bligh Bond rendered a stylized vesica piscis symbol in wrought iron and wood to create the now famous cover for Chalice Well [see the photo in yesterday's post]. On the cover, the vesica piscis is bisected by a spear or sword. This may be interpreted generally as a symbol of the Divine Masculine (or more specifically, it might represent the spear which pierced Christ's body during the crucifixion or perhaps it is King Arthur's sword, Excalibur). The bisected vesica piscis is surrounded by foliage representing the Holy Thorn Tree of Glastonbury. Pagans interpret this beautiful well cover as honouring the sacredness of Chalice Well to the Divine Feminine.

The vesica piscis imagery of the Chalice Well cover is found throughout the Garden, including in a wrought iron gate and stone mosaic on a garden walkway, as pictured. The imagery is also the basis for the Vesica Piscis Pool, which will be the subject of my next post on Chalice Well Garden in a day or two.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Chalice Well

Two springs flow from Glastonbury Tor in England.

The White Spring is sacred to the Divine Masculine. Crystal clear and pure, it was diverted for municipal water use in the early twentieth century. Although no longer used for that purpose, the spring today remains relatively undeveloped as a result.

The Red Spring is sacred to the Divine Feminine. It is called Chalice Well because of the old legend that it flows from the spot where St. Joseph of Arimathea buried the Holy Grail. There is a high iron oxide content in the water of the Red Spring, which causes the surrounding rocks and pools to be stained red with accumulated rust. It is safe to drink in small amounts only. Yet the water of Chalice Well is reputed to have great healing qualities.

Over the past hundred years, a series of mystics and visionaries have created an exquisite World Peace Garden centred around Chalice Well. The Garden is full of beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees, with many quiet and secluded benches, nooks and crannies for meditation.

This photo of Chalice Well was taken by my Rare One on our recent trip. Tomorrow I'll post about the special vesica piscis symbol found on the sacred spring's well cover and throughout the Garden.

Sunday 1 November 2009

"Fall Back" Reminder

Ha ha, did you forget? It's so easy to do and then all day long you're an hour early for everything -- or so I've been told. It's not like I know from personal experience or anything.