Friday, December 21, 2018

Why Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25th

reposted from la Vie Sirene, original from

No one knows the real birthday of Jesus! No date is given in the Bible, so why do we celebrate it on the 25th December? The early Christians certainly had many arguments as to when it should be celebrated! Also, the birth of Jesus probably didn't happen in the year 1AD but slightly earlier, somewhere between 2BC and 7BC (there isn't a 0AD - the years go from 1BC to 1AD!).

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.

There are many different traditions and theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. A very early Christian tradition said that the day when Mary was told that she would have a very special baby, Jesus (called the Annunciation) was on March 25th - and it's still celebrated today on the 25th March. Nine months after the 25th March is the 25th December! March 25th was also the day some early Christians thought the world had been made, and also the day that Jesus died on when he was an adult.

December 25th might have also been chosen because the Winter Solstice and the ancient pagan Roman midwinter festivals called 'Saturnalia' and 'Dies Natalis Solis Invicti' took place in December around this date - so it was a time when people already celebrated things.

The Winter Solstice is the day where there is the shortest time between the sun rising and the sun setting. It happens on December 21st or 22nd. To pagans this meant that the winter was over and spring was coming and they had a festival to celebrate it and worshipped the sun for winning over the darkness of winter. In Scandinavia, and some other parts of northern Europe, the Winter Solstice is known as Yule and is where we get Yule Logs from. In Eastern europe the mid-winter festival is called Koleda.

The Roman Festival of Saturnalia took place between December 17th and 23rd and honoured the Roman god Saturn. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means 'birthday of the unconquered sun' and was held on December 25th (when the Romans thought the Winter Solstice took place) and was the 'birthday' of the Pagan Sun god Mithra. In the pagan religion of Mithraism, the holy day was Sunday and is where get that word from!

Early Christians might have given this festival a new meaning - to celebrate the birth of the Son of God 'the unconquered Son'! (In the Bible a prophesy about the Jewish savior, who Christians believe is Jesus, is called 'Sun of Righteousness'.)

The Jewish festival of Lights, Hanukkah starts on the 25th of Kislev (the month in the Jewish calendar that occurs at about the same time as December). Hanukkah celebrates when the Jewish people were able to re-dedicate and worship in their Temple, in Jerusalem, again following many years of not being allowed to practice their religion.

Jesus was a Jew, so this could be another reason that helped the early Church choose December the 25th for the date of Christmas!

Christmas had also been celebrated by the early Church on January 6th, when they also celebrated the Epiphany and the Baptism of Jesus. Now Epiphany mainly celebrates the visit of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus, but back then it celebrated both things! Jesus's Baptism was originally seen as more important than his birth, as this was when he started his ministry. But soon people wanted a separate day to celebrate his birth.

Most of the world uses the 'Gregorian Calendar' implemented by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Before that the 'Roman' or Julian Calendar was used (named after Julius Caesar). The Gregorian calendar is more accurate that the Roman calendar which had too many days in a year! When the switch was made 10 days were lost, so that the day that followed the 4th October 1582 was 15th October 1582. In the UK the change of calendars was made in 1752. The day after 2nd September 1752 was 14th September 1752.

Many Orthodox and Coptic Churches still use the Julian Calendar and so celebrate Christmas on the 7th January (which is when December 25th would have been on the Julian calendar). And the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates it on the 6th January! In some part of the UK, January 6th is still called 'Old Christmas' as this would have been the day that Christmas would have celebrated on, if the calendar hadn't been changed. Some people didn't want to use the new calendar as they thought it 'cheated' them out of 11 days!

Christians believe that Jesus is the light of the world, so the early Christians thought that this was the right time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They also took over some of the customs from the Winter Solstice and gave them Christian meanings, like Holly, Mistletoe and even Christmas Carols!

St Augustine was the person who really started Christmas in the UK by introducing Christianity in the 6th century. He came from countries that used the Roman Calendar, so western countries celebrate Christmas on the 25th December. Then people from Britain and Western Europe took Christmas on the 25th December all over the world!

The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life. The 'Christ-Mass' service was the only one that was allowed to take place after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so people had it at Midnight! So we get the name Christ-Mass, shortened to Christmas.

So when was Jesus Born?

There's a strong and practical reason why Jesus might not have been born in the winter, but in the spring or the autumn! It can get very cold in the winter and it's unlikely that the shepherds would have been keeping sheep out on the hills (as those hills can get quite a lot of snow sometimes!).

During the spring (in March or April) there's a Jewish festival called 'Passover'. This festival remembers when the Jews had escaped from slavery in Egypt about 1500 years before Jesus was born. Lots of lambs would have been needed during the Passover Festival, to be sacrificed in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jews from all over the Roman Empire travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival, so it would have been a good time for the Romans to take a census. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census (Bethlehem is about six miles from Jerusalem).

In the autumn (in September or October) there's the Jewish festival of 'Sukkot' or 'The Feast of Tabernacles'. It's the festival that's mentioned the most times in the Bible! It was when the Jewish people remember that they depended on God for all they had after they had escaped from Egypt and spent 40 years in the desert. It also celebrated the end of the harvest. During the festival people lived outside in temporary shelters (the word 'tabernacle' come from a latin word meaning 'booth' or 'hut'). Many people who have studied the Bible, think that Sukkot would be a likely time for the birth of Jesus as it might fit with the description of there being 'no room in the inn'. It also would have been a good time to take the Roman Census as many Jews went to Jerusalem for the festival and they would have brought their own tents/shelters with them!

The possibilities for the Star of Bethlehem seems to point either spring or autumn.

As well as Christmas and the solstice, there are some other festivals that are held in late December. Hanukkah is celebrated by Jews; and the festival of Kwanzaa is celebrated by some Africans and African Americans takes place from December 26th to January 1st.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

For the love of trick-or-treating

image photographed by Dr. J.P. Hergan
by Perzaia 

A juju wind stirs the dregs of forlorn and forgotten summer leaves hanging limply and cast aside to fade into late summer sun rags.  They crackle to dust, litter for the sake of the next generations, the bell tolls in tones of gray browns, hoarfrost and desolate seed puffs finding new homes wherever they land.  Time becomes a damp lethargy scented in ripe walnuts and fuzzy brown caterpillars spinning bunkers on branches.  Slow down from the lack of dog days that have faded into Indian red falseness gnawed frigid from frostbit nights.

It is time for the reap of harvests, readying the land for the sleeping death and not the sweet dreams of Nemesis’s short naps that filled the garden hammock in warm sunshine and singing birds.  Now the goddess sings her crone’s song, her future basks in the perfume of the dead and decay.   Grasses burn down to seed, pumpkins flare to brilliant orange globes sitting in bleak fields to await their pumpkin fates of stews or pies or faces.   These are the days we’re most thankful for warm woolen coats shielding the furless from Lammas brisk winds returning from kissing the grains ochre and the start of another frozen court paying homage to the Holly King.  Foreshortened daylight that tints the skin in the particular golden glow that touches the air for those so lucky to live in the ethereal world of a Maxfield Parish painting.

Maxfield Parrish, Riverbank in Autumn
I speak of course of Halloween. All Hallow Eve, All Saint’s day or Samhain, take your pick of titles, I abide by every one.  Most favorite of the yearly holiday seasons, a holiday that warrants all the rules that are imbued on any statutory holiday, how else can our costumes be made on time without regretting the missing of work Samhain is my holiday.

Born an autumn baby in a family born near or on the sacred of Samhain, (one of my brothers was born on this day and always, and I mean always, he always had the best birthday cakes ever), we celebrated as all frugal families do, by the harvest of the garden’s bounty, making preserves, eating hodgepodge by the gallons (a type of ratatouille), and smelling pickled vinegar until it is imbedded in my nose.

Autumn is walking to school with family or friends on those crisp mornings before winter bites into your skin like rabid weasels, making your walk unbearable.  Autumn is in fact the truest time of new beginnings, more so than New Years Eve.   Attending maybe for the very first time, school, in a flash of new friends, new teachers, new desks and a host of other ‘new’.  Or, it is the refresh of meeting up with those already met, to catch-up after the length of summer that can stretch a lifetime in recollections, uninterrupted fun and summer camps.

The end of hard toil and the worship Pomona, to commence the plentiful of harvest, to bring forth the fruits of endeavor, enduring the sight of a southbound V of geese or the barren of a brown hydrangea bushes.  To give way to the loss of greens and flowers and birds for the realization that the ground will freeze and all will die a quiet stone hard death.

It a chance to cloak yourself in the skin of your inner enchantress, embracing the esoteric of those who have gone before, holding the world in your hand while gathering herbs to make a harvest talisman to guard the end of summer.  To dance around Samhain bonfires with a trusted coven and your token black cat-familiar to complete the circle, together bringing down the moon to cast spells that soften the effects of a harsh winter. Celebrating the ancient rite of throwing fistfuls of plain white flour at unexpected recipients yelling, “I banish thee”, as you dash away into the darkness, hoping to shock the persistent of household banshees into fleeing for another year.

Or perhaps it is a time to let your freak flag fly by way of gorging on the elaborate of gory immortal movies assuming the form of your favorites, dripping blood from plastic fangs, wrapped in erotic gauzy getup and groaning for brains in your own version of a sexy mummy, vampire zombie mix babe.  Hordes of strangely attired humans attending costume parties or hitting the pubs to win prizes for impossibly clever hydraulic limbed insects, or a swarm of frocked Steampunk beauties in Victorian inspired clothes, and over there stands a pair of perfectly sculpted Grecian plaster statuary. Incoming!  Make way!  Here comes Santa Clause, his sleigh and sack of toys, driving by eight scantily clad reindeer with one decked out with a red flashing nose, living life in the perpetual glow of a Harry Potter world.  Imagination is an endless thing.

Halloween has all the possibilities of kindergarten costume parade with an art therapist thrown in for good measure enhanced by the carnival of hiding behind a mask.  It is the costumes, the chance to be anything you want to be, that certainty that once a mask in donned, a different person opens to the world.  Halloween is a life coach remaking your personality or finding yourself hidden in a frock that brings out the inner you.

Then there is the whole deal of dressing little children in an astounding variety of plastic, funfur and nylon outfits ranging from the sweetest of bunnies, princesses, bumblebees, mutant turtles, Superman or any cartoon god, good ol’ Frankenstein or Freddie Kruger, supplying them with something large and bottomless to collect candies, chocolates, grab-bags full of sugar from neighbors and strangers alike, bringing it home to have it okayed by grown-ups, then eating it silly to bounce off the walls driving everyone crazy, smuggling it into bed getting gum and chocolate stuck in your hair with an embarrassment of photographic memory record to be used as blackmail at a later date (or maybe that was just me).

Include in this grand larceny perpetrated yearly by the angelic, the tiniest of little, driven by a pack mentality going door-to-door terrorizing the neighborhood, threatening the trick of egging or TP-ing if an appropriate treat isn’t procured swiftly.   No one can help you if you run out of bootie.

Even now I can’t say Trick or Treat without smiling.

I must own to a particular weakness at seeing tiny kids standing on my front stoop, dressed-up in memorable roles.  There is something so cute about a three year old robed up in a black satin cape lined in blood red, turned out in black trousers and a vest of the same intense red, curly blonde locks plastered down with black hairspray and slicked back, sporting fangs and a jaunty little moustache penciled in to look very Gomez.  I am putty, mesmerized under this teeny Dracula’s power, dumping a night’s worth of candy into his endless bag with a glazed look in my eye.  Judging by the weight of that bundle that he flings over his small shoulder, he has had this same effect on others tonight.

And it is not just the kids that focus on the masked.  Complete houses undergo the transformation from respectable home into the forlorn careless of a haunted house.  Looming under a dense fog of dry ice hiding a grave riddled boneyard, the rotting coffins lean haphazardly open to reveal skeletons and zombie corpses struggling to reach for the living.  A ghoulish laugh permeates the gloom.  The scent of twinkling pumpkins carved simply or complex infested the stoops and walkways cooking from within by their tiny candles.  Cutout witches in pointy hats croak around foam cauldrons boiling fog over fake fires, spooky spiders had draped their webs eerily around bushes and darkened windows, while the hiss of nine-foot blow-up pumpkin bobbles in a breeze.

Hiding behind doors festooned in paper skeletons, lurk grown men dressed in convincing blood and gore, plot retaliation upon the guilty and the innocent alike by lunging and moaning out in convincing tones, gleaming handfuls of candy in their cold, dead, hand.
Reactions can be hilarious.

Happy to know
I am not alone
in my love for

[shared from la Vie Sirene]

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Halloween Comes to America

Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other's fortunes, dance and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland's potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything "frightening" or "grotesque" out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday.

[from shared in la Vie Sirene 2013]

Friday, October 12, 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Josephine Wall - Mother of Fantasy Art

shared from original post in La Vie Sirene

I thought to start off this month’s issue with information on Gaia, the Greek goddess considered to be the personification of earth itself.  In searching for Gaia art I was thrilled to find a few breathtaking Gaia images by one of my favorite artists, Josephine Wall.  Her paintings are a perfect example of how pictures can convey more meaning than words could ever hope to.  Or so I thought.  Reading her descriptions of Gaia filled me with as much wonder as her evocative imagery, and I realized no research or historical explanation or new age narrative could better express the concept of Gaia than Josephine’s own brief captions. 

I craved more Jospehineness and was delighted to find an online video interview with her. Upon watching it I was so overcome by her humility and nurturing kindness that I dashed off an email to Josephine asking her if I could send her a few brief interview questions about Gaia.  Her email response was more intimate and meaningful than any interview could be.  I am so humbly grateful to share her words and art with you here today.

~J.S. Devvre
Josephine’s image of choice for both her website banner & Facebook page cover image

Hello Joy,

        So lovely to hear from you, and I am honoured that you want to interview me..!!  I am always amazed that people want to do this, as all I am doing is 'playing' every day, and fulfilling my heartfelt desire to be creative..!!  I am very happy that you like my work, and thank you for your very kind comments.  I will do my best to answer your questions.

Breath of Gaia
“Gaia, the Greek Goddess, is Mother Earth, the bringer of life and beauty.  Where Gaia breathes, she brings new life to a sleeping earth.  Renewal springs forth along Gaia's every path.”
    I am not sure which interview you watched, but I am always an optimistic, and happy person which you seemed to have picked up.  I am never happier than when I am standing in front of my easel with a painting underway, a brush in my hand, and a selection of my favourite colours to choose from.  I do however enjoy time with my family - following my second marriage I now have 5 children and 11 grandchildren which give me great joy.  I also have a source of models beyond my wildest dreams - little ones to put wings on, and to be riding mythical animals such as unicorns..!!  I also love countryside walks ( I find nature a source of inspiration ), dancing and gardening are my other hobbies amongst others.

        I am a great believer in the power of nature, and Gaia as the Earth Mother is symbolic of most of what I hold dear - that there is a power beyond mortal control, and I hope that she will make sure we will take care of our precious planet - the Earth will endure despite man..!!  She hopes that we will learn from our mistakes and repair the damage we have already done.

Sadness of Gaia
“The Earth Goddess looks on sadly, aware that our human weaknesses will mean many years of education to prevent the ruin of our precious world.”
        I am very fortunate to have my own gallery ( a dream come true..!! ) and very often I have young , and not so young artists visit me, sometimes for tips and hints on the techniques I use, but most often for advice on how to take their careers forward.  I always say to them that all you can do is be true to yourself, enjoy every moment of creativity and share your gift with the world - the world needs more artists..!!  I always say that I paint the world as I would like it to be rather than how it is.  As an artist you are able to create images that portray a world of opportunity, optimism and hope for the future.  Our aim should be that when people view our images they are uplifted and transported to a place that gives them peace, and understanding of what is really important in our lives - 'imagination'..!!  It is what has made man so successful as a species.

Light & Peace,


The Presence of Gaia
“As a new dawn approaches Gaia emerges from our sleeping planet. The radiance of her aura lights up the heavens and her 'presence' gives confidence to the birds and animals to venture forth, secure in the knowledge that she will protect them. A river of life flows out to all corners of the earth, renewing and restoring. What greater 'present' could she give us!”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

When Hades smiled

an untitled retelling of the myth by Lyle Dagnen, originally written for the former Siren Lagoon 
and published in La Vie Sirene

Artist unknown
Persephone, goddess of spring, wife of Hades, sat playing with two smooth jewels that her husband had recently given to her. She so loved the fields of yellow jonquils in the spring; the stones were amber. Clear and golden. The cold months on earth had frozen the surface of the planet and it was time for her to return to visit her mother Demeter so that she would bless the earth and make it fruitful once again. When she was first brought to the underworld by her love struck husband she had cried of loneliness and she did not like the dark world. She had thought that her heart might break.

Slowly, day by day, she began to recognize that Hades was remorseful for kidnapping her but that he could no more let her out of his sight than he could shut down the dreary place he lived. The first thing he had ever given her was a pink stone that was the color of the flowers she had worn in her hair when she was captured. It was warm because he had held it closed in his hand. When she touched his hand to pick up the stone, she noticed that the mighty god held his breath, closing his eyes, enjoying the sensation of her touch.

He worked daily to provide tasty morsels for her to eat. She had not eaten a thing since she came to the underworld. Finally, she ate five ruby red seeds of a pomegranate. He smiled. It was such a lovely smile, she began to see the depth of the man that she at first thought she hated.

On earth Demeter was so grief stricken that she did not care for the earth and it had become barren. Zeus, king of all the gods, asked what could be done. Demeter wanted her daughter Persephone back. Zeus went to speak to his brother, but he soon recognized that Hades loved Persephone so much that he would never give her up. Finally it was decided that if she had not eaten anything she could come back to earth. The five seeds seemed to doom her to an everlasting life in the dark world and the earth itself would perish. It was decided that she could spend one month for every seed she had eaten with her mother; the rest of the time was to be spent with Hades. Neither Hades or Demeter particularly liked the bargain; however, they agreed.

As Persephone sat playing with the amber stones she realized that Hades, too, had been thinking about her time on earth. He had walked away rather than sit with her. She had come to know and love this dark, brooding man that was her husband. She loved her time on the surface, but she never regretted when it was time to return to him. She was frustrated because she could not make Hades or Demeter happy.

“Husband” she called as she walked up behind him. “Thank you for the lovely gift.” She placed her hand on his strong back waiting for him to face her.

“Carry them with you,” his deep voice rumbled “Think of me when you are away.” He looked over his shoulder at her.

She smiled up at him. “I always think of you. I miss you while I am away.”

He turned, wrapping her in his mighty arms, holding her as close as he dared. “It tears my heart so when you leave me.”

“I will always come back to you,” she whispered as she kissed him. The dark god gentled at her caress and her touch. 

“Come,” he whispered as his hands held her gently “I'll take you back.” 

Persephone knew deep in her heart that this was a gift he was giving her. He would carry her up the long passage way in his black chariot pulled by four mighty black horses that thundered when they ran.

Persephone held tightly to her husband as they began their journey. As soon as she appeared on the surface, the snow and ice began to melt, spring was on the earth, the growing season at hand.

Demeter was frowning when she saw her son-in-law. For the first time in forever, he did not speak harshly to her. Stepping from the chariot he reached up to lift Persephone to the ground. Before he sent her to her mother, he once again kissed her deeply, pouring all the love he felt for her in his kiss. “I love you, wife” he whispered, which was a gentle roll of thunder.

Persephone, caressed his face. “I love you, husband. I will return to you, my heart already longs for you.” 

Hades smiled.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Raise a Pom for Persephone's Potion

reposted from the original in La Vie Sirene

Persephone's Pomegranate Martini
submitted by her hubby, Hades (Ruler of the Underworld) via Sanndi Thompson of the mortal realm

My soulmate, Persephone makes a mean martini! I am sharing the recipe with you because my beloved is in the Upper world right now, visiting her mother, Demeter since it's Spring. 

Anyway here is the recipe:
  • 1 oz.Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau orange liqueur
  • 3 oz.pomegranate juice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker that's 1/4th filled with crushed ice
  2. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with 3 pomegranates seeds

Green Goddess Cafe, serving diving breakfasts & lunches
Goddess Cafe - A weekly hour long Cafe where women and men get together to discuss all things Goddess. Two women walking other's through what they've been through

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Artful Artemis

shared from original la Vie Sirene post

Artist unknown
Artemis was the greek goddess of the hunt, the moon, virginity, childbirth, animals, the wild, and archery. She was the daughter of Zeus, the god of the skies, and Leto, a titaness daughter of Koios and Phoebe. She was almost the exact opposite of her twin brother, Apollo, who was the god of the Sun, truth, healing, music, and poetry. He was very wild and had lots of affairs with other mortals, nymphs, and gods while Artemis was more serious and was a virgin goddess. 

In ancient art Artemis was usually depicted as a girl dressed in a short knee-length chiton and equipped with a hunting bow and quiver of arrows.

Some of the best known myths featuring the goddess include:
  • Her birth, immediately following which she assisted her mother in the birth of her twin brother Apollon;
  • The Trojan War where she was beaten by Hera in an angry contest of the gods;
  • The hunter Aktaion who encountered the goddess whilst she was bathing and was turned into a stag;
  • The Aloadai giants who attempted to storm Olympos but were tricked by Artemis into killing each other;
  • The sacrifice of Iphigeneia whom King Agamemnon offered to her for the passage of the Greek fleet to Troy;
  • The giant Orion, a close companion of the goddess, who was slain by the goddess or her jealous brother;
  • The Kalydonian boar sent by Artemis to ravage Kaldyon;
  • The nymph Kallisto, a companion of Artemis, who was seduced by Zeus in the guise of the goddess.

[sources: &]

Monday, July 9, 2018

Embracing the New Moon with Lore Raymond

by Lore Raymond
[shared from original la Vie Sirene post]

The New Moon calls on you to energize your dreams into big, BIG and BIGGER! Consider the following ritual to be like taking a MANIFESTATION aerobics class~ but without the huffin’ and puffin’. You are sacredly invited to stretch spiritually and laviesirenely (a new word?!) to don the spiritual mantle of your “inner goddess”. Yes, you heard me. Blasphemous? No way! Because YOU ARE DIVINE. And your inner-goddess job description is to share, serve, and most importantly, to love, bless, and know abundance!

  1. What does the word “inner-goddess” conjure up? After you’ve thought about this, and before July 8, find a Greek restaurant and feast there with a goddess friend and chat about your answer! (And there’s no calorie counting this night because Athena, Nike, and Aphrodite never did.)
  2. Explore your closet and drawers for items that make you feel powerful, possible, and peaceful. Look for clothing, shoes, and jewelry that are white and silver. Now’s the time to get blinged out and diafanous! And since Archangel Haniel reflects the sensitive, watery moon energy, use a moonstone to also connect.
  3. Gather up supplies for your New Moon Energy Ritual: a tray-size mirror (see notes below); sparkling water and 2 bottled waters; Epsom salts; natural sponge; white and silver candle(s); matches or a lighting wand; hand held mirror


Create your Inner-Goddess Altar using a mirror; it needs to be flawless, have a sturdy frame the size of a serving tray. (Check out thrift stores for inexpensive finds to be used for future moon rituals.) Using a mirror-tray makes it portable for the outside ceremony, and then inside as a home altar.

A 44-minute Ritual: Clear. Connect. Protect. Celebrate. Close.


The Inner: Breathe. Drink Water. Clear you inner heart space with forgiveness work. Ask yourself: Is there anything or anyone I choose to now forgive for my highest goddess? Forgiveness heals and clears out your lower energies, and makes room for new energies to be seeded, the purpose of a New Moon ritual. The Ho ’opono Ono Prayer is a powerful spiritual took to support you. Click here for the Ho’ opono ono Prayer video.

The Outer: 

Step 1: Breathe. Drink Water. Take a purifying moon bath using Epsom /sea salts and a natural sea sponge. Not a bath person? Take a shower or even an outdoor shower. Go swimming. Anoint yourself during and after word with an essence that can be also be used in the cleansing of your sacred space. It’s been said that the scents of lavender, lemon balm and calamus are all associated with the new moon. Choose only one or two scents.

Step 2:  Go outdoors if at all possible for your ritual. “Plan B” would be to find a place indoors without distractions. Then, clear whatever space you’re in using a sage stick or by lighting incense.

Connect: Breathe. Drink water. Ask yourself: What do I seek to manifest in my life right now for my highest goddess? The answers become your intentions for the ritual. With the New Moon looking like a dark, circular chalkboard, she invites you to perhaps: write a new story; to make a new beginning; to ask for a new love; a healing and; a renewed commitment to a previous resolution. It is important to write down your intentions, even a few words because these words support thoughts, which then become things. 

Protect: Breathe. Drink water. Light your white and silver candle. Visualize a ring of powerful women, “goddesses” who have loved you, all surrounding and protecting you. When you have seen them in your mind’s eye and greeted each one with the word “Namaste”, ask each one for a gift to add to the circle of protection. See these “gifts” being symbolically placed on your Inner-goddess Altar. Feel the gathering power of these loving gifts, and the New Moon…her darkness and ancient mystery.
Continue absorbing this energy as you read and say out loud, each one of the goddess affirmations as you look into your hand held mirror:
I AM peace, I AM. I AM possible, I AM. I AM powerful, I AM. I AM potential, I AM.

Celebrate: BreatheDrink some sparkling water. There’s nothing to do. Breathe.

Close: Breathe. Sit in silence. Feel. Allow your mind to wander. Float. Finally, visualize your original protection circle of goddesses transforming as angels, who then float across the night sky, gently disappearing. You will intuitively know when you are complete. Extinguish your candles, saying a prayer in gratitude with each breath. 

How has your Inner-goddess been energized?
Lore is the Founder & Chief Inspirator of Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond Magazine. Connect with her and share your experience via her magazine and group pages on Facebook:

Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond Facebook page - like a “spiritual CNN” to empower women through the wisdom of nine gifted contributors; each shares inspiration, information, and resources.

Women as Visionaries Facebook group - a vibrant open space for Divine Dialogue where a daily VisionQuestion is asked.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Athena - from books & for cooks

[reblogged from la Vie Sirene]

In Greek religion and mythologyAthena is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, Minerva is the Roman goddess identified with Athena.
law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.

Athena is also a shrewd companion of heroes and is the goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patroness of Athens. The Athenians founded the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens (Athena Parthenos), in her honour.

Athena's veneration as the patron of Athens seems to have existed from the earliest times, and was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. The city of Athens and the goddess Athena essentially bear the same name.

The more famous myths featuring the goddess Athena include:
  • Her birth from the head of Zeus, fully-grown and arrayed in arms;
  • Her contest with Poseidon for dominion of Athens in which she produced the first olive tree and he the first horse;
  • The War of the Giants in which she buried Enkelados beneath Mount Etna and made her aigis from the skin of Pallas;
  • The attempted rape of the goddess by Hephaistos, who spilled his seed upon the earth and produced Erikhthonios, who she then adopted as her own;
  • The assisting of Perseus in his quest to slay the Gorgon and the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece;
  • The assisting of Herakles with his twelve labours;
  • The weaving contest with Arakhne who was transformed by the goddess into a spider;
  • The blinding of Teiresias for viewing her naked in the bath;
  • The Judgement of Paris in which she competed with Hera and Aphrodite for the prize of the golden apple;
  • The Trojan War where she sided with the Greeks in battle, but attacked their ships with a storm when they failed to punish Oilean Ajax for violating her Trojan shrine.
[sources: Wikipedia &]


Though courageous Athena was a far warrior’s cry from being what one might call a ‘chicken,’ she sure knew how to cook one.  Here’s the Greek recipe created in her name.  

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), chopped
  • 1/3 cup pitted Greek olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Place chicken in a 3-qt. slow cooker. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. 
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until a thermometer reads 170°. 

Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts: 1 chicken breast half equals 237 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat),         94 mg cholesterol, 467 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 36 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges:  4 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Wrestling with Excellence

A timely repost from la Vie Sirene

Going back nearly 2800 years the best athletes in the known world have gathered to compete and prove their skill as Olympians.  The ancient games featured athletic events as well chariot racing and tactical sports such as wrestling and the Greek martial art pankration.  Yet, despite the substantial number of female athletes participating in sports once labeled 
for men only, the respected millennia-old sport of wrestling has seen relatively few women competitors.  U.S. Olympian Kelsey Campbell intends to change that, while earning Olympic gold in the process.  La Vie Sirene is proud to feature the story of this extraordinary athlete and humanitarian.
You have been a major trail blazer in your sport, including being the only female wrestler at your university. How have your challenges improved your performance and vice versa?

I think that the different adversities I faced shaped my appreciation for the sport. Every practice had to mean something because it took everything I had to get to it. The long bus rides, borrowing wrestling shoes, the fundraisers to raise money... And then, you get there and you realize-I represent women's wrestling. I'm this team's only look at what my half of the sport is all about. If I complain, if I slack off, if I quit, that means all women's wrestling do. It was important to me to represent the sport the best I could. I wasn't trying to break barriers-at the time-I was just trying to string two good days together. But then I look back and realize what that did for the sport, but also what it did for me. I don't think I'd honestly be an Olympian today if my journey had taken any other course.

Being an Olympian is something akin to being an astronaut. So few of the world's population will ever have that experience. What was it like? And what did it teach you about yourself?

It changed everything and it changed nothing. Once again, there is a responsibility that comes with the title "Olympian." On the other hand, I'm still me and I still have a lot to attain in this sport. A lot of unfinished business. The difference is, I'm the only one at my weight right now that has gone there and done that. That's it. Everything else is up for grabs. I fought with all my heart to do what I did before, and now I'm digging deeper to do it in 2016, but with a medal to follow. I learned mostly that it doesn't take a super human to be the champion. It takes a human making a decision everyday to put themselves in the best position. It takes humility to learn from those around me that have accomplished what I have not. It taught me that any day can be my day (to God be the glory), but that it may or may not be. I love wrestling. I loved it when I wasn't winning. I loved it when I was winning.

Clearly, you are a woman of faith. How does your spirituality drive your decision-making and your attitude towards competition?

It drives me because my motivation is about pleasing God. Honestly. I feel awesome when I see success and accomplish goals. But there's no fooling myself: I truly believe if God does or doesn't have it in the cards for me to go to Rio, then I won't be there. It's not an excuse or a cop-out. It's the reality of what I believe. But I love God so much that I'll live every day, doing my very best to allow that relationship to drive me. To work the hardest. To do my best. To admit my mistakes. To continue to be a student. To not neglect what the Bible calls me to do in being evangelistic and committed to Godly people. I think that sums it up.

I love that you refer to yourself as a 'music maker.'   What can you tell us about the role of music in your life?

The first thing I ever wanted to do as a young girl was be a famous recording artist. I wanted to write and perform my own music, and choreograph routines for it. I started at a young age and have even recorded some songs. What I have on YouTube is from high school, but that has always been my dream and what I believe to be my true natural "talent."

You've had so many huge moments in life already. Which have meant the most to you and how have they affected you?

Making the Olympic Team, of course. I loved giving that victory to God and to those around me that helped pave the way and create the path. There were many involved in that dream realized. Becoming a Christian was the single most important thing. It changed my life. It changed my heart. I forgave and repented and committed my life to something that would dictate every single decision I would make. Having my Dad at the Olympics to watch me on the biggest physical stage in Sport. There are so many. Meeting Kobe Bryant ;)

One of your various philanthropic pursuits is work with the Big Brother / Big Sister organization. What do you hope to impart to future generations and what draws you to working with kids?
Keep tabs on Kelsey’s quest for Olympic gold 
via her Facebook fan page or website

I literally want to mentor my Little Sister into a woman that is bent on changing the world. I love the hands-on approach of investing real and constant time into an individual. These youths come from situations where every single adult they know has been to jail or is in jail. It doesn't have to be that way for them. I'm incredibly passionate about mentoring youth and would also someday love to start a Foster Care/Orphanage for displaced youth.

What are you looking forward to next?

I am training to be America's first Olympic Gold Medalist. Whatever else happens along the way, I try to be opportunistic. I'm currently completing an internship with eBay, and coaching on various levels from developmental to elite level wrestlers. I'm also looking to once again pursue my performing side. I would love to get into acting and music again. It really is where my heart is at.