Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: A Closeup

Earlier in September, during the period of national morning that the UK experienced, I visited the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition in Leeds. I might not be ever get to visit Rome or the Chapel in person, but seeing the high definition, to scale images of the work of a master such as Michelangelo was amazing in of itself. As well as getting to view in detail the major areas in the ceilings area the exhibition also allowed you to read/listen to how Michelangelo worked and the rational behind much of the composition and elements of each group of subjects, such as the ancestors of Christ and the Prophet’s and Sybil’s.

The Ancestor of Christ – Jesse Ⓒ Vicky Newton

For example the Ancestors of Christ are all presented as small family groups reminiscence of the Holy Family. Though the individual labels are disputed there is the male ancestor of Christ in the mid to back ground position along side a woman and child/children in the foreground. The tone of the art is dark and pensive, a hint to the emotion of the Passion, and none of them carry this sense more clearly than the piece labelled “Jesse” where there visual formula screams all the classic depictions of melancholy.

The Delphic Sibyl Ⓒ Vicky Newton

There is a consistent level of communication through detail in all of Michelangelo’s work. As another example, the Prophets and Sybil’s are all decocted with books and scrolls in positions of either reading, or having been disturbed in the act by the message of god, indicated by the two cherubic figures present in each image. This means that the exceptions leap out, such as the weeping prophet Jeremiah’s scene being dominated by the emotion of melancholy both in the form of the prophet and the more adult companions behind him. There is also the depiction of Jonah, where there is no scroll or book but a giant fish head, reminding the viewer that Jonah was a prefiguration of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ in his encounter with the Whale.

The Fall of Man and Expulsion from Paradise Ⓒ Vicky Newton

There are so many rabbit holes to fall down with each individual picture, and of course the Fall of Man and Expulsion from Paradise is what draws my eye with the depiction of a temptation involving a being both serpent and human in appearance.

There are so many pictures that I took so here is a selection of my favourites. Regardless of your faith or spirituality I defiantly recommend going to see this exhibition if you have the opportunity to do so. The standard tickets are pretty reasonable, particularly as you don’t need to pay extra for the audio tour, just download the QR reader app they recommend, plug in and listen.

Remembering Queen Elizabeth II

I had the honour and pleasure to represent the Pagan community of Leeds at this evenings interfaith vigil to remember the life and service of Queen Elizabeth II where youth from the interfaith community lit a candle in remembrance.

© Jay Anderson

In a setting of diversity I’m always mindful that when I speak I do so to represent an equally diverse faith group. It can be hard to find a common space between the differences but I think that regardless of the detail of individual belief we share some common concepts. Concepts where we recognise that a life lived is one to remembered and that when our end comes, as we know it must, we will be guided by the grace of our Gods and Goddesses to be reunited with those we have loved so we may know and love them again in the next life – no matter where that may be.

Much ink has been spilled and many words spoken on Queen Elizabeth II and her life and devotion and I am not inclined to repeat what has been said better elsewhere. What I did say this evening was that as a Pagan I would offer a poem to bring comfort to the royal family and the nation at large and shared the following poem.

I Shall Find You
In the grey summer garden I shall find you
with day-break and the morning hills behind you,
there will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;
and down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.
Nor from the past you’ll come, but from that deep
where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep:
and I shall know the sense of life re-born
from dreams into the mystery of morn
where gloom and brightness meet.
And standing there
till that calm song is done, at last we’ll share
the league-spread, quiring symphonies that are
joy in the world, and peace, and dawn’s one star.”

Seigfried Sassoon

May Her Will Be Favourable

Khaire Hekate!
Your light shines within,
And within all else,
Heavenly Queen,
You who brings forth virtue,
Who breathes life into the world,
Who works Her Will,
Who stands in the Heavens,
With one foot in this realm,
Mighty Hekate,
Anima Mundi,
Shining forth with Faith, Truth and Love.
Unto you do I life this praise,
You, the mighty Source,
And I, your devotee.
Hekate Megiste!
In your names I pray…

For Her Will to be Favourable – Evensongs for Hekate by Sara Croft
Hekate Statue by GraiMatter Ⓒ Vicky Newton

Anima Mundi – World Soul: a title attributed to Hekate within the Chaldean Oracles which also describe her as the source of all source and standing at the heart of the virtues of Faith, Truth and Love.

Megiste – Greatest:  Sarah Iles Johnston mentions this Hellenistic Carian epithet in Restless Dead, p. 206

New Moon

Thou jewel of heaven!
May thy light be fair to me!
May thy course be smooth to me!
If good to me is thy beginning,
Seven times better be thine end,
Thou fair moon of the seasons,
Thou great lamp of grace!
She Who created thee
Created me likewise;
She Who gave thee weight and light
Gave to me life and death,
And the joy of the seven satisfactions,
Thou great lamp of grace,
Thou fair moon of the seasons….

Excerpt From Selene XI Book of the Goddess, by Anna Livia Plurabelle

The new moon is rising just as an old cycle comes to an end… The summer holidays haven’t gone the way we planned but they went a way which was needed. There are a number of household decorating tasks that we’ve been holding on to for *years*. These jobs were not necessarily big but they would be disruptive, which is why they weren’t done through lockdown and furloughs in 2020. The unplanned kinks in our holiday plans meant that not only could we minimise the disruption we could totally focus on getting jobs done quickly and efficiently. My husband has been an absolute star, carrying much of the work on his own back whilst I’ve helped out where I can.

It seems fitting that the work will be finalised in time for the rising of the new moon.

The new moon, the first sliver of silver light in the dark night sky. This is a time of new starts, for preparing yourself for the planting of seeds which you can nourish and grow over the coming moon cycle. Whereas the dark moon is an opportunity it to explore our shadow side, the aspects of ourselves which are hidden, and working to separate ourselves from those aspects of self which do not serve us, the new moon is a time to search for the positive aspects and bring them into the light. Intention setting is an important part of this, as is the letting go of past energies and things that hold us back. Whether it is acknowledging that a manipulative personality trait, properly applied, can help develop our career without sacrificing our connections to others or removing a toxic influence so that you can make space for new opportunities the New Moon is the perfect opportunity to set things in to motion.

© Victoria Newton

In my case, the newly decorated rooms have resulted in greater organisation in my own room and my magical bones are telling me it is time to set some intentions to nurture over the coming moon cycle. I think my intention will be focused upon nurturing the energies (and funds) needed to carry on with our home improvements.

Looking at the moon phrases as a growth cycle; from the planting of seeds to its growth, nourishment, harvest and laying away for another day, I will create an intention which through a combination of sigil and candle magic I will magically bring to fruition. Magic begets magic and I hope that by committing to a full moon cycle of magic during the new moon will in of itself plant the seeds of growing magical and spiritual development not just in this moon cycle but in many more to come.

Uruz

2nd Rune of the 1st Atett
Modern Letter – U

Rune Cards by Chaotic Shiny Productions

Also known as –
Germanic name: Uraz (Uruz)
Norse name: Ur
Anglo-Saxon name: Ur
Icelandic name: Ur
Norwegian name: Ur

Icelandic Rune PoemTranslation
Úr er skýja grátr
ok skára þverrir
ok hirðis hatr.
umbre vísi
Shower lamentation of the clouds
and ruin of the hay-harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.
Norwegian Rune Poem Translation
Úr er af illu jarne;
opt løypr ræinn á hjarne.
Dross comes from bad iron;
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.
Anglo Saxon Rune PoemTranslation
Ur byþ anmod ond oferhyrned,
felafrecne deor, feohteþ mid hornum
mære morstapa; þæt is modig wuht.
The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.

Correspondences

Symbol: Ox, Auroch
Keywords: Strength, Tenacity, Courage, Untamed Potential, Freedom
Colour: Dark Green, Yellow
Herb: Sphagnum Moss
Gemstone: Carbuncle
Tree: Birch
Myths and Deities: Ullr; Loki; Odin (as a Shaman)

European Bison Bull – sourced from Wikipedia

Interpretation

Uraz is the rune of untamed potential so its association with the Wild Auroch / Ox is entirely appropriate. It is a rune of strength and dedication which brings fortitude to overcome any obstacle. These energies drive us forward out of periods of stagnation and into ones of transformation.

This is a transformation of destruction with old and outdated ways being dismantled to enable change and growth. These may be behaviours, patterns or even structures but they are tings that are in need of change. The scale of these changes may feel overwhelming but this is because we have become too set in our ways. The changes are necessary and the strength and fortitude to weather them is at hand.

The forces associated with Uraz are uncontrollable, like forces of nature, and they are beyond our ability to control. Resistance will bring no benefit so it is best to allow yourself to be carried along by these tides of change.

Where Uraz appears reversed the subject is warned against becoming dazzled by their own personal power and of the folly of misused ambition. Whilst periods of challenge can bring new opportunities over playing your hand may cause you to loose more than you might have been set to gain. Before moving ahead take a moment to check your understanding of what is happening and how it relates to your journey and personal development in relation to your important relationships at home, work and your wider social network.

Another manifestation of the energies of Uraz is in the form of our personal strength and power. This is not an external expression of such, it cannot be used to force changes upon another, but rather it is a exercise in personal sovereignty. Uraz brings us the ability to preserve ourselves against the blandishments of others. Some may describe this as stubbornness but the ability to speak for oneself in the face of overwhelming forces is an important life skill which can be enhanced by the energies of Uraz.

Uruz, Uruz, Uruz
U u u u u u u u u u
U u u u u R r r r r
U u u u u u u u u u

Uruz Galdr

Sources and Further Reading

Interpretations and Correspondences
Arild-Haue.com
ElderFutharkRunes.blogspot.com
Magicalspot.com
RationalHealthan.com
Runelore.it
WhispersoftheWyrd.wordpress.com
ZoryaWellness.com

Rune Poems
RagweedForge.com

A Walk Along the Beach…

Today I was by the seaside, and I delayed this weeks posting to enable me to share it whilst I’m still windswept and salt stung. We’ve taken a short day trip to Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire, taking advantage of the still sunny weather and slightly reduced heat.

Runswick Bay ©Vicky Newton

It’s such a nice place to visit lacking the worst of the tourist trap shops but still bosting some interesting geological features such as this entrance to the otherworldly…

© Vicky Newton

Runswick Bay is my number one place to go searching for beach treasures as there is a wide variety of agate and quartz colours as well as interesting flotsam and jetsom. I’ve taken full advantage and stocked up on stones for my rock polisher, probably taking a little more tha  I should but it’s been almost 2 years since my last visit so I’m rationalizing that I will be very restrained if I visit again in the near future.

My husband and I have very different approaches to selecting stones. He’s drawn to the bright whites of Yorkshire quartz, the rounder and brighter the better, and is eagle eyed when it comes to interesting ceramic shards.

© Vicky Newton

I on the other hand look for variations and marks, and concentrate on the duller tones of red, green, yellow and grey. I also tend toward those with odd shapes, or that are still very rough rather than sea smooth because I look for the potential as much as the reality.

In either event they are all treasures, and I’ve found a few outstanding pieces this visit which I am looking forward to seeing transform into their polished form and, where appropriate, a finished item.

© Vicky Newton

So, as I make my way home, keeping an eye out for tea rooms and farm shops, I will share part of a beautiful poem which captures the pleasure of a slow walk, head down, along a beautiful beach on a sunny day.

It was from the sands of a windswept beach
I picked up pebbles that were easy to reach.
They had attracted my attention while walking by
their coloured well formed shape caught the eye./ There were so many to choose from I had to decide
in selecting those which my fancy would coincide.
It’s truly amazing what some people see in stone
a subject which a lot of our imagination is prone./ It was almost as if I’d found treasure on the seashore
and couldn’t help myself as I looked around for more.
The simple joy of collecting something that attracts the mind
is an age old activity which all people do have of some kind.

Exerpt – Collecting Pebbles by George Krokos Nov 2010

Fehu

1st Rune of the 1st Atett
Modern Letter – F

Rune Cards by Chaotic Shiny Productions

Also known as –
Germanic name: Fe (Fehu)
Norse name: Fé
Anglo-Saxon name: Feo, Feoh
Icelandic name: Fé
Norwegian name: Fe

Icelandic Rune PoemTranslation
Fé er frænda rógok flæðar viti
ok grafseiðs gata
aurum fylkir.
Wealth
source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent
Norwegin Rune PoemTranslation
Fé vældr frænda róge;
føðesk ulfr í skóge
Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;
the wolf lives in the forest.
Anglo Saxon Rune PoemTranslation
Feoh byþ frofur fira gehwylcum;sceal ðeah manna gehwylc miclun hyt dælan
gif he wile for drihtne domes hleotan
Wealth is a comfort to all men;yet must every man bestow it freely,
if he wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord

Correspondences

Symbol: Livestock
Keywords: Wealth, Abundance, Success, Security, Fertility.
Colour: Light Red
Herb: Nettle
Gemstone: Moss Agate
Tree: Elder
Myths and Deities: Freya – goddess of fecundity and love; Brisingamen.

Livestock  ⒸLeamsii

Interpretation

The core meaning of Fehu has always been associated with abundance and its creation thiugh its nature has changed over time. Originally Fehu was associated with cattle, money on the hoof. In of themselves cattle represent a posession but they also represent a source of income, not just in the form of milk and milk. Bone, hoof, horn, skin… all can be a source of income for those with an eye to expand and improve their finances and this is the message that underpins Fehu.

Fehu is a rune of abundance but it is an abundance through effort and determination, there is no room for laziness or reckless behavious, such as greed. Fehu indicates that positive beginnings lay ahead, the energy and potential are there so long as they are managed correctly.

Fehu portents that it is possible to obtain a favourable outcome in a project, task or any new beginning but it also indicates that it is possible to preserve and even improve those situations already in place. It also suggests what a person may want to do with their wealth and their material possessions.

If reversed Fehu can be interpreted as a warning again indulging in whims and unnecessary expenses as such things put at risk your financial future. It may also mean that you are feeling frustrated in areas of your life, despite the outside appearance of success. Step back and search out the cause of this sense of disappointment, considering all aspects of the objective in relation to other areas of their lives such as home and family.

Magically Fehu can be used in the process of making a purchase or in obtaining a favourable outcome in financial matters such as a job or bank interview. It is also suitable to incorporate into creative projects or other scenarios where native talents are on display due to the runes connection with creation and success.

Fehu, fehu, fehu
F f f f f f f f f f
Fu fa fi fe fo
Of ef if af uf
F f f f f f f f f f

Fehu Galdr

Sources and Further Reading

Interpretations and Correspondences
Arild-Haue.com
ElderFutharkRunes.blogspot.com
Magicalspot.com
RationalHealthan.com
Runelore.it
WhispersoftheWyrd.wordpress.com
ZoryaWellness.com

Rune Poems
RagweedForge.com

Lammas 2022

It is the time of the first harvest. Whether it is celebrated as a time of friendly competition and games, as with Lughnasadh, or a time to celebrate the first fruits of our labours as with Lammas it is a time of celebration. Usually the weather is better, indeed if it had been but two weeks ago it would have been a perfect time for celebrating a job well done, but the weather in the UK is far cooler and somewhat damp in comparison. Still, there is much to be thankful for so let us share in a lovely poem and hope it brings a little transformation into our lives with its words.

A Poem for Lammas

We harvest the seed and the grain from the soil.
And transformation now surrounds us,
There is joy among the chaos, roses as well as bread
Lets share our rewards and bless the earth,
Release sparkles of thankfulness
With our smiles spread a glint of hope,
Let our spirits belong to the world
Move forward  together light and bold,
As summer recedes and winter draws near
Hold on to any chance that breaks,
Bless the departed the newly arrived
Let black clouds of hate drift on by,
In the noisy confusion of life
Keep gratitude within our souls.

By ©teifidancer
Field to Food ©cocoparisienne

Freyr’s Aett

Also known as Freya’s Aett this is the aett of the farmer and nurturer. The first three runes contain the most archaic symbols connected to life and survival in an agricultural and pastoral world, the material concerns and risks to our very survival. The fourth, fifth and sixth runes are in turn associated with the search for meaning in our existence through intellect whilst the seventh and eight seek to realise this meaning in the world as happiness.

Ultimately this is an aett of contrasts; wild and domesticated, life and death, fire and ice. These contrasts need to be experienced by the initiate in order to prepare them to move forward in their journey and meet the aett of Heimdall.

Freyr is the phallic Vanir god of agriculture, weather and all good things and pleasures which can be bestowed upon moral man. He was the ruler of Álfheimr, the realm of the Elves.  He is the brother of Freya, Goddess of Love Sex, Magic and War, with their names mean “Lord” and “Lady” respectively, and this, along with the opening of this aett with the letter F in the form of Fehu, explains why this rune is associated with both of these deities. Additionally Fehu is the rune associated with the wealth of the agricultural world, a wealth closely associated with Freyr himself.

The runes of Freyr’s Aett are Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kenaz, Gebo, and Wunjo.

When considering a reading make note of how many runes of the Aett of Freyr appear in the reading. A high number may indicate that you are highly focused on material matters and ensuing you have them present in your life. This may be a positive thing but it may also indicate you are not emotionally connected to the matter at hand, an imbalance which may indicate that that you are at risk of acting without thought in order to achieve the material results you long for.

The First Aett represents the ‘Life Cycle’.

Fehu is the potential of life, ideas, concepts, a seed.
Uruz is the beginnings of life, a foundational act, education, planting of the seed.
Thurisaz is the germination of life, beginnings of movement, application, a seedling.
Ansuz is the birth, connection, a finished product, growing plants.
Raido is growth, reaction, changes caused by a product, harvesting of plants
Kenaz is a period of adolescence, seeing results from the changes of a product, knowledge, knowing what the process plant is to be used for.
Gebo is the life lived, the outcome, benefits of the changes by a product, money from the sold plant. 
Wunjo is the legacy of life, using the benefits to better the product, wisdom, putting part of the money back from profits, surplus seeds for future planting.

Sources and Further Reading

Mind Unfolded Frey’s Aett
Travelling Within the Nine Worlds Frey’s Aett

The Aetts

The 24 runes of the Eldar Futhark are usually separated out into three separate groups, known as Aetts (Ætt singular / Ættir plural). The division can be viewed in a number of different ways, such as a degree system of initiation or the divisions of tribal society (Farmer, Warrior, Priest/Chief). Each aett contains runes which represent similar functions and overlapping meanings but which are complementary in character over all. 

The nature of the aett brings meaning to the runes selected in divination, indicating the nature and scale of the meaning. For example both Fehu and Ingwaz represent wealth but as Fehu is part of the Aett of Frey it is associated with the physical material of wealth, such as the cattle of the farmer or income of the nurturer, where as Ingwaz is the wealth of the Priest/Chief, the wealth of property or disposable income. This overlapping extends to concepts such as light, death and danger (though to varying degrees), protection, fortune and healing.

It is clear that the runes have been, at times, taught in this structured way as each set ends of a positive note which indicates expansion and a form of advancement to a new level. The implication is that each set was taught to those at a particular level of understanding and that they could only advance after passing through the degrees of tribulation. It is also interesting to note that the number of “negative” impactions contained within each aett decreases within each group, with Aett of Freyr containing the highest number and the Aett of Tyr the just one, lending credence to this concept of the aetts representing degrees of initiation.  

Sources and Further Reading

Mind Unfolded The Three Aetts
The Three Aettir in the Elder Furthark
The Three Aettir
Elder Futhark Runes

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