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Into the Fire:
the Healing Energy of Gold
by Aleah Sato
Edited and adapted from her blog “Juniper & Crow” on PaganSquare.com
Gold lion’s going to tell me where the light is…” Yeah Yeah Yeahs
"The Delphic priestess in historical times chewed a laurel leaf, but when she was a Bee surely she must have sought her inspiration in the honeycomb." Jane Ellen Harrison
Over the past two years, I have used meditation and visualization in my recovery and healing rituals. Both have been incredibly helpful in returning my otherwise scattered thoughts to the core of my Self, my expression, and my creativity. As with many of these practices, I was guided to a place of stillness, of my own imagination, and of course in my vision of sacred space I always chose the desert. One of my sacred places is one I have never actually known outside my mind’s eye. I call it Fire and Water House because it sits on the edge of a mesa, above a canyon with a spring, creating an intermittent creek running through its length. I envision its large courtyard with a tall fountain made of natural materials, where songbirds and cats (there are always felines around in my imagination) sip the cool flow and the sound lulls me into a stronger reverie.
In this dreamscape, it is morning and the gold and red sun rises above the mountains beyond, illuminating the expanse and teasing out the passion from the land. My life now is equally filled with the golden element – the fire of Phoenix alive with the flames that singe the feathers and quicken the pulse with its sensual song. The desert resonates with the symbolism of illumination – the initiate enters into this realm of masculine, yang energy. The sun gives life and brings death. Here, in the burning world, this truth is most palpable.
The color gold has esoteric and symbolic similarities across time and cultures. Gold is the Lion King who takes his powerful and honorable place within his dominion. The Lion in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe becomes the Godhead, the patient father as the fixed nexus (sun) centered on the dramas, complexities, threats, and petty concerns of worldly/otherworldly matters. Here, gold denotes wisdom and leadership.
In the tarot, I associate the Magician with gold as I do the Sun. The Magician seeks the eternal truth. The Magician is alchemist, working between worlds and within the subtle aspects of organic versus ethereal. The Magician is most concerned with his pursuits in higher arts and the portals between illusions. Likewise, the color gold does not work well, per se, on base emotions. Gold, however, does interact with the fountain of energy emanating above and outward. Truly, gold concerns itself with the mental and metaphysical aspects of healing and transcendence. Gold is also useful for those times when our vital life force needs a recharge, or for rituals focused on time, age, and longevity.
Gold is associated with the Third Chakra. Located in the Solar Plexus, this chakra governs the ego and the will. Working with this chakra, assuming it is weakened or unbalanced, one might learn to let go, to surrender. These lessons are imperative for those of us in recovery from compulsions and addictions as we learn to work with desire, needs, and wants in ways that promote balance and self-awareness.
Animal and plant helpers associated with the color gold are lions, butterflies, and bees and sunflowers, marigolds, and Mexican gold poppy.
My own experiences with gold and its symbolic power have complex reasons and results. I have always been drawn to the West. As a child, I would watch the sun descend across the tops of corn tassels – creating a most brilliant golden light that seemed to promise warmth, the eclipse of creativity with fiery passion, a promise of salvation. Before moving to the Southwest, I would longingly look through photos of saguaros, sand-covered bajadas, and lonesome roads that meandered across the heated floor of the desert. The photos and my Fire and Water House meditation kept me sane during the long, gray months in Toronto. Gold become not only my geographic manifestation but also desire itself, re-creation.
As I have gotten older, and the caustic urge to tear up the town or create ritual based entirely on passion and not on prudence have waned, I have softened my concept of gold as a healing color. For example, I see gold in places and in other life forms that are gentle, soft, and very healing. I see the golden hues of light in the doe’s pelt, the flicks of gold in my dog’s brown eyes, the golden hues of dried chamomile flowers.
When I was a young girl, I pursued the green longing – the buds were new, the blossoms not yet rich in their splendor. I dreamed of moors and meadows. My altars were draped with roses, yellow and pink. I wore lace and bathed in the soft scents of spring. These timid colors were my expressions, my charms.
No longer am I the girl of the moors, the fairytale classics. In my gold world, I am warmed by the lioness who sees the world before her with clarity and mastery. I walk the ledges of smoothed slick rock and taste the rare, acrid pool of water, knowing all dissipates in time.
On my altar now are marigolds – those Dia de los Muertos adornments – sunflowers, beautiful in their fullness and potency, and an antique queen bee charm, of course – an oracle for a priestess.
Aleah Sato is a woodswoman, a poet and a desert wanderer who practices Gaia love every day. An eclectic pagan of no particular path, she seeks to find meaning in the sacred earth and its wild creatures. A lover of symbolism, oracles and omens, she aspires to find answers in the small and deep meaning in the ordinary. Her totem is the elusive yet ever-curious fox.
April Freebie Drawing:
“The Mandala Coloring Book”
For this month's freebie drawing we are offering Jim Gogarty’s new book The Mandala Coloring Book.
To be entered in the drawing, please use our contact form to send your name and postal mailing address and the words “Mandala Coloring Book.”
The winner's name will be chosen at random on April 21, at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Good luck!
P.S. Congratulations to Canadian Hilma Simkinson who won our March giveaway and received a copy of Skye Alexander’s The Secret Power of Spirit Animals.
Earth magick is the theme of this special issue, and there's plenty here to sink your roots down into.
Meet Pagan Leaders: This issue guest-stars a pair of notable Pagan writers. In "A Priestess for All Seasons" we sit down with loremistress, fantasy author, seeress and Pagan/Heathen community leader Diana L. Paxson. Diana is best-known for her work on the "Avalon" series (launched by Marion Zimmer Bradley) but has more than thirty nonvels and non-fiction books to her credit. Discover what inspires her amazing imagination in this exclusive interview. Western esoteric author Josephine McCarthy has been a working magician for over three decades; we discuss how magick arises from the power of the land spirits in "Visions from the North Gate."
Discover Community: Visit "A Sacred Place" a burgeoning Pagan farm and festival site in New Hampshire, and let author and philosopher (and proud Canadian) Brendan Myers introduce you to his homeland in "True North: Pagan Community in Canada."
Visit Sacred Lands: Celtic scholar, and druid/shaman-priestess Sharon Paice MacLeod guides us to earth altars, caves, and much more in ﾓGods of the Hollow Hills: Earth Sanctuaries of the Pagan Celtic World.ﾔ Also in Great Britain, meet Druid author Emma Restall Orr, and her deep-rooted quest to found and cultivate a natural sanctuary and cemetery in "Sun Rising."
Hone Your Spiritual Practice: explore the way in which artist and eco-Pagan Lupa Greenwolf honors the spirits of animals while working with their bones in "Sacred Remains" while Susan Harper concludes her series on the magick of the Elements with "Sensing Earth."
PLUS: A guest editorial on spiritual eating by the late Judy Harrow. Our columnists offer a cornucopia of lore, legend, and practical magick: Raven Grimassi teaches us to create a Shadow Garden; Archer treats us to the lore of household altars; HecateDemeter extols us to root our political magic in our land base. Two columnists extol their homes: Galina Krasskova explores her upstate New York home while Ashleen O'Gaea describes the magic of Arizona. Last, but hardly least, Deborah Blake shares grounding and centering tips; Jason Mankey reveals his 1890's ritual; John Michael Greer recommends against Pagan clergy; and Fritz Muntean goes to Great Britain. Plus letters, reviews, Pagan poetry and lots more! 88 pages, to be published in May, 2014.
Order the upcoming “Element of Earth” issue #28 of Witches & Pagans by April 21 at a special price to be sure and receive this issue as soon as it's released at the end of April.
“Love, Sex & May Day”
Instant download $4.95
What if you cast a love spell and it actually worked? Witch, attorney, and author Phyllis Curott's tells the true story behind the book The Love Spell: An Erotic Memoir of Spiritual Awakening.
More MayDay/Beltane Magic includes "The Hedonist's Pantheon: Deities of Passion," "The Wild Host: Introduction to Post Modern Faerie," "Elemental Magic for Growth & Change," "Gods, Goddesses, and the Energy of Astrology," "Elemental Magic of Earth," "Safety and Freedom: Wicca on the Web," "How to Make Magical Garlands," "Car (and Travel) Magic," "The Gothic Medieval Music of Qntal," "Pagan Fiction: Conjuring Johnny Depp," and much more.
80 illustrated pages, published in Summer 2005.
The Blessed Bee #5-8
Print Edition $9.95
The Blessed Bee #5 Starting a Family Tradition • The Wise Child: Summer Honey • Magical Parenting: Magic, Bad Grade, & Kids • Pagan Homeschooling: Busy, Bountiful Summer • Mama's Herbal Medicine: Eating the Flowers of Summer • Crafty Ideas: Make a Faery Aquarium • Pagan Family Values: Crafts For Long Summer Days • Earth Mother Stories: Isis, Osiris, & Horus • Songs for the Inner Child: The Virtues of Summer • Song Circle: Circle Round • Do You Believe in Faeries? • Return of the Moon • A Wiccan Birthday Ritual • Bella Luna Moon Tree! • Walking in Spirit • Goddess Medicine •30 illustrated pages. Edited by Lauren Foster MacLeod. Published in Summer 2000.
The Blessed Bee #6 The Changing Seasons of Pagan Parenting • The Wise Child: Leaf Learning • Magical Parenting: Kids & Autumn • Pagan Homeschooling: Have a Fairy Party • Mama's Herbal Medicine Bag: Healing With Yellow Root • Pagan Family Values: Sharing Nature's Harvest • Earth Mother Stories: Kali, the Black Goddess of India • Songs for the Inner Child: Mysteries of the Equinox • Song Circle: Place of Power • Crafty Ideas: A Wreath For All Seasons • Place of Power Meditation • How Becoming a Mother Has Brought Me Closer to the Goddess • Beer in Fridge; Breast Milk in Freezer • A Womb Loss Ceremony • Goddess Visions: A Birth Story • 30 illustrated pages. Edited by Lauren Foster MacLeod. Published in Autumn 2000.
The Blessed Bee #7 Timber Lines: Adapting Old Customs for New Times • The Wise Child: Enshrining Your Family's Year • Magical Parenting: Grand Experiments • Pagan Homeschooling: Balancing Winter Activities • Mama's Herbal Medicine Bag: Helps For the Hospital • Pagan Family Values: Heart-Warming Winter Ideas • Earth Mother Stories: Kwan Yin, the Compassionate Mother • Songs for the Inner Child: Yuletide Carols • Song Circle: Holy Water, Sacred Flame • Crafty Ideas: Wonderful Winter Crafts • Protecting Our Children • The Healing Use of Ear Candling • A Ceremony For Weaning • The Give-Away 30 illustrated pages. Edited by Lauren Foster MacLeod. Published in Winter 2001.
The Blessed Bee #8 Perennial Awakenings • The Wise Child: Nests & Wings • Magical Parenting: Guilty Pleasures • Pagan Homeschooling: Homeschooling Support Systems • Pagan Family Values: Celebrating Spring's Return • Earth Mother Stories: Oshun, the River of Life • Songs for the Inner Child: Songs for Blooming • Song Circle: The Rain Song • Crafty Ideas: Beltane Celebration Ideas • A Children's Herbal: Dandelion • Magickal Spring Cleaning • A Fairy Grandmother Blessing • Pagan Festival Community • On Being a Teen Witch • Three Mothers Review Pagan Parenting • 30 illustrated pages. Edited by Lauren Foster MacLeod. Published in Spring 2001.
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