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Merry Meet Friends

Greetings and Witchy Blessings to you all!

Welcome to our latest newsletter.

As the daylight hours begin to lengthen, spring bulbs poking their heads through the rain soaked soil, with a few even breaking into flower. Signs that spring is soon to burst forth are appearing every day.

I know that personally that I am beginning to waken from the winter hibernation period, and I am eagerly awaiting the strengthening warmth of the sun upon my face and my garden.

Our Winter season of lectures with Bob Lapworth are continuing to run successfully this year in Hamilton. The courses are held the last Saturday of each month.

Bob, who's Craft background is of the British Native Tradition path, has over 19 years Craft experience and many years of teaching the Craft to others. The workshops he is leading this year are on interesting Craft topics poignant to our community.

These will include:

A journey though the elements - a workshop on each of the elements, Air, Water, Fire.
Ritual - Is it important in modern Paganism?
The Craft - What it was, what it is now and what it will be in the future.
Basic power raising.

If you are interested in finding out more information about the remaining workshops in this years series you are able to register for information on the Witchaven website.

The Craft calendars would call this occasion Imbolc for the Southern Hemisphere.

Imbolc Greetings

Imbolc (Em' bolc - hard, guttural "c")- 1-2 August Southern Hemisphere

Herbs: Angelica; Basil; Bay Leaves; Myrrh.
Stones: Quartz; Opal; Moonstone; Aventurine, Sunstone.

Also known as Candlemas, this Sabbat was traditionally keyed to the lactation of the ewes. This is a celebration of the first stirrings of the Earth as she responds to the wake up call of Spring. Although this is a fire festival, the emphasis is on light, rather than warmth.

Imbolc is one of the four principal festivals of the Irish calendar, celebrated either at the beginning of August (SH) or February (NH)or at the first local signs of Spring. Originally dedicated to the goddess Brigid, in the Christian period it was adopted as St Brigid's Day. In Scotland the festival is also known as Là Fhèill Brìghde, in Ireland as Lá Fhéile Bríde, and in Wales as Gwyl Ffraed.

It marks the recovery of the Goddess after giving birth to the new Sun god, who is growing into a young boy by this time. His power is felt in the lengthening days of sunlight, though that power is fickle in his youthfulness as we wake to warm sun one day and cold, grey skies the next. The Goddess begins to manifest the Maiden aspect, with the first few flowers of the season pushing up through the melting snow.

The most common theme is that of purification. This is symbolised by the sweeping of the circle. It is time to being spring-cleaning. Time to get rid of what's no longer of any use to us - bad habits, old ideas, and preconceived notions. It is time to make way for the new and exciting things to come.

Decorate Altar with White flower (representing snowflake), or snow in crystal container. Orange candle anointed with musk, cinnamon, frankincense, or rosemary oil.

Appropriate Foods include all dairy foods. Sour cream dishes. spicy, full-bodied foods in honour of the Sun. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, or chives. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins - all foods symbolic of the Sun - are traditional.

Looking for ways to celebrate:

* Turn on all the lights in the house for a few moments to guide the path of spring. Alternatively, burn a votive candle in each room.

* Burn any leftover evergreen decorations from Yule. This ensures good luck in the coming year.
* Tie small bundles of straw together with pieces of black ribbon. Name each bundle for some thing you wish to remove from your life and burn it.

* Have a through 'spring clean' using your broom to sweep out any stale energy that has been building throughout the winter months.

For any of you who may have wondered who Witchaven are:

So what is Witchaven?

Well it‘s just what it says a haven for Witches, Druids and many other Pagan Craft followers. We wanted to provide a website that would give information, support and general encouragement to folk not just within the southern hemisphere but around the world.

We've been around in one way or another for quite some time now, and have been hanging around cyber space for around 15 years. Prior to the web, we were housed on a couple of boards, one in NZ and one in the US. From small beginnings came the bigger world wide organisation we now call the Witchaven Organisation. (Yep we do pre date the game of the same name)

Predominately, we're a support and educational group. We provided courses, workshops, social events and the website. We don't profess to have all the answers but we hope there's something in here for everyone and it's just a starting block for seeking more information. The information in our website is from many sources, some as a family we agree with, some we don't. But we feel that all information and all paths are valid and worth investigating.

Witchaven is sponsored and run by the an old Grove currently based in 3 main areas, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Our Grove oversees and advises the path and direction and what work, the Witchaven organisation will take on. We do have selected volunteers from outside of the family who assist with some of our projects and running of the courses etc. As a closed Grove, we don't open our doors to outsiders for our Craft workings or rituals. We are and will continue to be a closed "Order". This doesn't mean however that we cant support and encourage others who find the Pagan path, so this is our way of contributing to our Pagan and General community.

As two thirds of our Grove now reside in the Southern Hemisphere and our seasons are opposite to those of our northern hemisphere cousins and we felt that there was a need to provide information that acknowledges these differences so you may notice that there is a Southern Hemisphere slant to our information. Although we're not a Sabbat based tradition as such, we have set our newsletters around the Sabbats that are currently used by the majority of the Pagan Paths at this moment and it's a good way of spacing out our contact with you.

Regarding Finding A Path - Some Advice

Our aim at Witchaven is encourage all Seekers to do just that SEEK!
There are many and varied paths out there, we advise you check out each and every path you come across. Everyone is different and our needs and our internal belief structures are different too. Information and being informed about what's out there opens you to choice and having a CHOICE is NEVER wrong. We do encourage you to get off the net and go find some flesh and blood people to interact with, face to face communities are still the best way to learn and grow.

Treat those who treat others with contempt to a dose of their own medicine or better still ignore them. You and only you can decide what is right for you. Be safe, be informed, trust your gut as much as your head and heart. Never be swayed into doing something that you feel is wrong, or not for you. Those who would bully you into going against your better judgment should be avoided at all costs. Your search for your path should be a personal journey, if others try to dominate your journey, you should ask yourself "Why do they need to do that, what's wrong with theirs?"

Good teachers/guides/mentors are rare, you wont find them on every corner, but if you find them they're a treasure to be admired and valued.

Of course as you travel though this life, it's great if you can find teachers/guides/mentors to assist you on your way, but show discretion in your choices.

Look for honest, humble, honorable people, who will likely tell you the pay off for them is they learn as much from you as you from them. Look for those who will willingly tell you they don't know everything and are still learning themselves.

Good teachers/guides/mentors wont want to control or to exert power over you, they wont make you feel foolish, wont bully or make you feel threatened, they wont want your money, your body or your possessions. There are people out there who display these terrible types of behaviour. Be aware that those types are just after power and control in one form or another, and although they think they can, they're not spiritually in a fit state to support themselves, let alone guide anyone else.

Over the years, we've seen a few of these awful types come and go, thankfully they usually tend to outstay their welcome within a couple of years as the community gets wise of their actions. We have been contacted for advise and support on many occasions by people who have got themselves "involved" with these unsavoury types.

If you do find yourself in a situation that you feel you cant deal with alone, speak up! Tell someone you trust how you feel, ask for help, let people know, the only way to stamp it out, is to get it out in the open and so we can deal with it together.

Coming up:

01/08/07 Imbolc

13/08/07 New Moon - Leo

28/08/07 Full Moon - Pisces

12/09/07 New Moon - Virgo

23/09/07 Ostara - Spring Equinox

Well on that note we will end this newsletter. Please let us know your thoughts and comments.

Until next Sabbat

Merry Part
Asrteia and the Witchaven Team