“B” is for “Beltane”

Beltane is a joyful festival of growth that heralds the arrival of summer. It is the festival of the ‘Good Fire’ or ‘Bel-fire’, named after the solar deity Bel. Bel was also known as Beli or Bile in Ireland, with Bile meaning ‘tree’, so Beltane may also mean ‘Tree-fire’. Beltane is the counterpart of Samhain (and is sometimes referred to as Cetsamhain, the ‘first Samhain’), and these two important festivals divide the year into summer and winter halves, just as the two equinoctial celebrations, Ostara and Mabon, divide the year into light and dark halves.

f509a5b92b5c73bb5d7f8e5696f1e3a0Lighting fires was customary at Beltane, and traditionally a Beltane fire was composed of the nine sacred woods of the Celts. All hearth fires were extinguished on Beltane Eve and then kindled again from the sacred “need fires” lit on Beltane. People would leap through the smoke and flames of Beltane fires and cattle were driven through them for purification, fertility, prosperity and protection.

In terms of the God and Goddess cycle, Beltane marks the union of the two deities, bringing new life to the earth. It is a traditional time for Handfastings (marriages), and was a time for couples to make love outside to bless the crops and the earth. Maypoles were often danced around at Beltane to bring fertility and good fortune. The later addition of ribbons which were wrapped around the pole by the dancers brought a further sense of the integration of male and female archetypes, mirroring the union between the God and the Goddess. Beltane lore also includes washing in May-day dew for beauty and health, and scrying in sacred waters, such as ponds or springs.

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“A” is for Apollo

Apollo is the son of Zeus and the twin brother of Artemis; his special interests are archery, music (particularly the lyre), and health and healing, as well as being god of plagues. He’s a Greek god.

Apollo is also the name of the high school I attend. And it’s my favorite high school out of all the five schools I have attended in this lifetime.

As a believer in cryptomancy, or divination through the reading of omens, there are many strong symbols associated with the Greek gods at my high school. The creative arts magazine is called “Luna”, and their logo is a crescent moon. That’s Artemis to me, the twin sister of Apollo. The Luna Club in general reminds me of the artistic side of Apollo (after all, he’s a musician, poet, and pretty much everything, really, so I see him in nearly all things). The Muses are also present in Luna, the art room, the band rooms, and language arts classrooms.

Roman and Egyptian mythology and history (which, really, go hand in hand at some point) were introduced to me at a younger age in school, so it wasn’t until middle school after reading Greek poetry until I started learning about the Greek gods.

In ninth grade, for Honors English, I read The Odyssey by Homer. It’s a boring read for those who don’t like poetry or old lingo, but it’s pretty epic (ha). I really enjoyed that. It made me interested in studying Greek mythos more. I started reading fictional books by authors like Rick Riordan relating to demi-god sons and daughters. Apollo stood out to me. I began praying to him in the mornings, after the sun had risen. Sometimes at night. It seemed like a coincidence at first when searching for high schools in my area that Apollo High School stood out, but now I know it was meant to be.

Making the decision to attend AHS has become the best choice I believe I have ever made.

My goals are to get to know Apollo (the god) better by really devoting myself to him. I also hope to make the rest of my high school career at AHS amazing. I am on the B Honor Roll (my low marks in math brings me down) and hope to be on the A Honor Roll. My artwork has been accepted into the school creative arts magazine, and will be featured next week at a gala. Things are looking great.

Bright Apollo, patron of beauty and reason,
I pray to you. Grant me balance, grant me insight,
grant me inspiration.

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“A” is for “Altar”

The altar, the holy table, should be the most noble, the most beautifully designed and constructed table you can possibly find. It is part of your sacred space. It is holy and sacred as the focal point of your personal worship space, so it should never be used as a table of convenience or as a resting place for papers, books, or food that are not part of a ritual or special spiritual purpose.

Candles, flowers (dried, fresh, etc.), statues, crystals, herbs, and other items are desirable for decorating the altar. Try to associate your altar items according to the seasons and moon phases. It is wise to connect to the Earth, and observing one’s environment is a wonderful way to do so.

tumblr_n2sjjqzAeZ1suvucxo1_1280Altars may be erected anywhere for any reason. For example, an altar may be arranged on a table inside during the season of spring with flowers, rocks, and feathers native to one’s area. This altar celebrates spring and is a pleasant reminder of the Earth’s beauty and bounty.

Altars can be as complex or simply as you would like.

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My altar is arranged on my dressertop, facing east (towards the rising sun). On my altar, you will find candles, Tarot cards, crystals, and other items of direct correspondence to whatever I am honoring or celebrating.

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Update

I have deleted all previous PBP posts because I have decided to start over.

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