Beauty, music, bellydance, the Dark Goddess, Nature, magick, ritual-theatre, death and love.

compendium of Aepril's communications on art, beauty, bellydance, the dark, faery tale, nature, magick, ritual, theatre, death and love. The talk of a priestess and shaman of the Dark Goddess.

Friday, March 23, 2012

“F” is for the Goddess Flora, and Flowers.

Spring has come early to Salem, MA. Its only March, and we’ve had many summery days already.
Next week I will be having artist Sharonn Bradbury of Witch City Ink complete my tattoo of flowers along both side of my hips and belly. We chose to do Lilies, a flower of remembrance, grieving, beauty, and also of the Goddess Lilith.

Last fall, my sister died. Not long after that, my friend and fellow bellydance artist Jeniviva Mia passed away. Both were about the same age. It was a devastating time, and my heart still hurts.

My flowers are for the mourning.

Both sister women had memorials, but in different ways. My sister was memorialized in the Black Forest of Germany during a trip where I taught and performed at Tribalfestival Offenberg. I was honored to have the support of a group of people who worked with me on a Samhain ritual. We honored the Dead by the fires in the night in the Black Forest.
Article about the ritual in hagalla Magazine.(in German)
My blog post about Germany and the Black Forest.

My friend was memorialized through a bellydance show and public ritual here in Salem, where she had twice came up from NYC to teach and perform.

My flowers are for the Dead.

Almost 5 months later, It is now Spring. The Goddess Flora is here with us already. Though her time is not “officially” until Beltaine, she is still popping up everywhere in the warm New England weather. Flora is a goddess of sex and pleasure, as well as flowers. She also has a history of honoring the Dead.

Flowers are for Death…and Eros and Rebirth.

My flowers are for the knowing that all are reborn. And all acts of Love and Pleasure are the rituals of the Goddess. That beauty is found everywhere, even–or especially--in grief and broken hearts. The flowers will move on my belly as I bellydance, continuing to explore the Mysteries of sex, love, death, transformation, spirit, beauty, darkness and light, through my art.

I have created this post as a participant in the Pagan Blog Project

Friday, March 16, 2012

“F” is for Forest Witch

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

I am a Shamanic Witch, and my love is the Forest. 

The Forest is symbolic of the unconscious and its mysteries. It is an entryway into the Lower world, the world of shadow and transformation. In fairytales, the heroic Princess often has to travel the forest to transform herself. She meets here the Baba Yaga, the challenging Hag, the Evil Queen, the Dark Goddess, The Black Madonna, Our Lady of the Dark Forest, Our Lady of the Great Place Below…

As I continue to explore in life, I am the na├»ve Princess, still. And, as an initiate of the Mysteries of the Descent, I am the dark challenging Witch as well. Both sides of me roam the Wood, in the daytime and the Night, under the New Moon, the full, and the Dark. 

 I am Raven totem; the photos posted here by Pamela Joye show a ritual done in the Salem Woods under the influence of the Crow Moon. I wear a skirt by Wings of Sin depicting the Full Moon with the Black Corvid Goddess. I am The Morrigan.

 The Moon that day was in Virgo. Virgo is Virgin, “whole unto the self”. I am the Black Madonna, Our Lady of the Black Woods. She is "black, but comely", as in the Song of Songs. The unknown one. 

Spirit of Wind blesses and clears

Calling the Quarters
Bowing to the Black Madonna

I chose this time to do Magick that protects and heals, that clears away that which no longer serves, that purifies. To this end, the Great Wind Spirits, element of air, blew with mighty force, clearing away all that was destructive to this Wood. 

 The Witch of the East pulled off my hair ornaments and blew them away, challenging my vanity. 

I walk the Forest; I hold my hands in prayer for the dispossessed, the ones who can’t speak for themselves. The Coyotes who live in this Woods, raising families and hunting for food. They are vilified, but they are here because they belong; they take the place of the Wolf who once lived here. It is the absence of the Wolf that has caused the debilitating Lyme’s disease; the Wood has its lessons, if we but listen. It is the Black Madonna that holds the Coyote and Wolf close in Her arms, protecting, respecting, cherishing.

I speak with the Spirits of the Invisisbles, the Ancestors who lived in this Forest as Natives to this land. I can only guess at and envision your powerful magic and medicine.

Also to the Fae, who live and play in this Wood.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
~William Butler Yeats, "The Stolen Child"

The Dark Lady is also Mother to the Swans and Geese at the Forest Estuary. She protects and provides for them. And the singing birds in the trees. And the trees themselves; it is said that those who understand the trees, understands herself.  Here is where the World Tree lives. All of us ARE the World Tree, and we do best to protect and love the Forest and Her gifts, to love ourselves in our complexity. 

The Forest is a kind of sanctuary, a place to become whole again. Entry in the Online Etymology Dictionarysanctuary Look up sanctuary at
mid-14c., "...set apart for holy worship," from Anglo-Fr. sentuarie, from O.Fr. sainctuarie, from L.L. sanctuarium "a sacred place, shrine"... . General (non-ecclesiastical) sense of "place of refuge or protection" is attested from 1560s; as "land set aside for wild plants or animals to breed and live" 

Many Blessings on you, O Great Forest!

Friday, March 2, 2012

E is for Eris

Eris is known in mythology as Goddess of Strife and Discord. She opposes Harmonia (harmony) and stirs things up, making gods and humans alike very...well...upset.

But Eris does not show up for no reason. She is a goddess, after all, and therefore Her functions are sacred. But she is dark, and She could be thought of as the darkest goddess of all.

She causes discord when She is left out, uninvited, or scorned. She is an aspect of the sacred feminine that is mistrusted by patriarchy. Daughter of Nyx (Night), it is Her job to bring out the dark raw sexy taboo bad-assness in any situation. She is likened to the 13th fairy of the Sleeping Beauty story, the Wise-Woman who is pissed because she was not invited to the party to give her blessings. She then instead curses Sleeping Beauty with a coma-death at age 15, when she is to prick her finger (and bleed) and fall asleep. As in the Persephone story, Beauty is pulled into the dark Underworld at the moment of her sexual awakening. The unconscious (night, dark, underworld) is to become conscious through crisis and strife.

Eris also deals with Libran themes of beauty/ugliness, vanity/humility, peace/justice. She appears wherever there in disingenuousness and bullshit. She is often depicted as ugly or course, but She is also associated by some with seductively sexy Dark Goddesses like Lilith. Her personage is demonic, hot, fiery.

Wikipedia has the following passage about Eris’s vengeful role in the Iliad:
“She therefore …tossed into the party the Apple of Discord, a golden apple inscribed  Kallisti – "For the most beautiful one", or "To the Fairest One" – provoking the goddesses to begin quarreling about the appropriate recipient. The hapless Paris, Prince of Troy, was appointed to select the most beautiful by Zeus. Each of the three goddesses immediately attempted to bribe Paris to choose her. Hera offered political power; Athena promised skill in battle; and Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world: Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta. While Greek culture placed a greater emphasis on prowess and power, Paris chose to award the apple to Aphrodite, thereby dooming his city, which was destroyed in the war that ensued.

Eris can also be a catalyst for women standing up for themselves. Her original name as an astrological body was "Xena", as in the warrior princess played by Lucy Lawless. An active Eris archetype denotes the ability to tell the truth, to stand up and fight for what is just, without needing to please or keep peace. She could be heard to say Libra’s mantra “No Justice, No Peace!” Eris, with all her sexuality and psychic power, will not be ignored. It is sometimes through strife that equilibrium is established.

 I believe that we need to welcome some Eris energy now, considering the current political climate towards women. My friend and fellow astrologer Thomas Canfield, author of Yankee Doodle Discord
A Walk with Eris though US History, has the following prediction for the upcoming Vernal Equinox on Mar 21:

“In the chart for the Vernal Equinox, Eris, the dwarf planet of discord, is going to be exactly conjuct Ceres, the dwarf planet of motherhood and fertility. My interpretation is that this is going to be "Pearl Harbor" day for the war against women. Events may finally galvanize millions of non-political women, awakening them to the fact that they may be relegated to the status of second-class citizens unless they take a stand. March 20 is the day of the Illinois primary, and the rhetoric may be especially harsh since it is Obama's home state. Watch for some heavy Freudian slips.”

Wherever Eris is, it is sure to be exciting.

Aepril wrote this blog today as a participant in the Pagan Blog project, in which participating authors post on Fridays with an agreed upon theme. This Friday's theme is "E".