GUIDE TO THE GODDESS MAIA

As we move towards Spring’s peak, it’s time to delight in the playfully creative energies of the Goddess Maia, says Rebecca Farrar …

Photo: Mari Lezhava

From the flowers blooming (aka plant sex organs!) to the weather warming, May is a month for delight and desire …

Named after the Earth Goddess Maia, or Maja, who represents passion, wishes, and playfulness, the month of May brings a slow burn after Ostara’s April spark. With the same root as the word “majesty,” Goddess Maia represents the peak of spring’s fertility and blooming.

Throughout history, May has been a month of celebrations, and in Roman, Greek, and Celtic traditions, Goddess Maia has represented sexuality, creativity, and growth. In ancient Greece and Rome, the first and fifteenth days of the month were particularly sacred for honoring her. And in Celtic traditions, Beltane or May Day rituals focused on feeding the senses. During the holiday, unmarried men and women jumped over bonfires wishing for partners and fertility, and the Maypole was originally a tree tied with flowers and ribbons, which represented the wrapping of female energies around the phallus. 

Goddess Maia also has an asteroid named after her. Astrologically, Maja is currently hanging out in tight conjunction with Neptune in Pisces. Making for a dreamy and romantic month ahead in May 2018 … 

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Tap into your own playful and sensuous Spring nature by finding Maia in your own chart. Wherever she’s placed, you’re invited to offer your wishes for more blossoming this month.

Below are questions to consider for reigniting creative sparks and growth with Maia’s help …

**To find Maia/Maja in your chart, go to astro.com, enter your birth information, choose “Extended Chart Selection,” scroll down to “Additional Asteroids,” and type in 66.

1st house// Where do I lack purpose or intention in my life? How can I become re-inspired?

2nd house// What makes my heart beat faster? Is it specific people, activities, being outside?

3rd house// Which books, media, or resources provoke or scintillate me? Conversely, which ones dull my senses or excitement?

4th house// How do my emotions put me into contact with my artistic process? How can I use them as fuel for my own fire?

5th house// Where and how do I experience my creative spark? What makes me shine and light up?

6th house// What habits or routines help me stimulate my imagination? How can I add them into my day-to-day rituals?

7th house// Have I been putting aside my own creativity because I’ve been focusing too much on others? Instead, can this relationship put me in touch with my own muse?

8th house// What kindling is missing from my inspiration fire? Do I need more nurturing, community, or time alone?

9th house// How can I re-create my own life vision and come more into alignment? Are there places I need to expand into or explore physically or emotionally?

10th house// Where have my passions been left behind in place of responsibility? How can I commit more to my own passion projects?

11th house// When and where do I come into contact with my creativity in the world? Is it through others or alone?

12th house// How can I move out of wishful thinking and fantasy around something I care about? What concrete actions can I take?

Photo: Caique Silva

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And no matter where the asteroid is in your chart, here are ways to connect to the seductive Spring goddess this May …

// Style // Show some skin, or your favorite body part- whatever makes you feel sexy

// Food //Sensual and decadent foods such as figs, truffles, or dark chocolate

// Workout // Think playful and sexy … pole dancing or Zumba

// Home // Add a romantic touch with flowers, soft colors, candles, or fairy lights

// Healing // Sacred sex practices alone or with a partner

ROUND THE MAYPOLE: WHY BELTANE IS THE SEASON TO BE SEXY

Does the Beltane maypole really represent the phallus? Elyssa Jakim uncovers the Pagan roots of pole dancing, and has some sexy tips for spring… Image: Ania Powalowska

The wheel of the year is turning toward Beltane. Traditionally celebrated on the first of May, this wiccan/pagan holiday conjures up the famous image of the maypole. I wasn’t told until recently that the circling maypole is an inherently phallic symbol—decorating and dancing around, well, a large penis. So much the better! Beltane is about fertility, sexuality, and abundance. This time of year, we are beginning to really dust off our bodies from the stiffness of winter, to come home to our sensuality. We’re moving from April showers to May flowers. It is all about blossoming. As such, it is the perfect time to celebrate sexuality fertility.

I’ve been getting this hint in strange ways in my inbox all week. Emails about “my orgasm type?”, an offer for a month of erotic tips, a request from a friend to be interviewed about love, a video about how to be a conscious and loving parent. It’s seems like we’re all tuning into this energy (subtly and not so subtly) so why not embrace it?

And so, because it’s fun, I’ve gathered a few tips to help you love up your sexual self and celebrate Beltane! I’ll also be offering a by-donation Beltane ritual at Species by the Thousands in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on May 5, if you want to keep the juiciness flowing through the coming Full Moon period.

:: SPRING SEXY TIME TIPS ::

Light some genital candles. Seriously. Penis and pussy candles, sold at Enchantments among other places, are extremely powerful. They come in red, white, and black—my preference being the white ones, for healing and purification. You can light each candle with the intention of stepping into your sexual power, fully embodying the divine feminine and masculine, celebrating the goddess and the god, and clearing old sexual hurts.

I recently lit a penis candle as a way to “say goodbye to the old dicks” in my life, and heal past sexual relationships, wishing all old lovers light. I then lit the pussy candle with the intention of fully honoring and loving her, of stepping into my sexual power and sensuality. Of course, which candle you light and how you light it will depend on your sexual preferences and history and your intuition. There is no right or wrong way to do this.

Love up your whole body. Get some shea butter, coconut oil, or any nice body moisturizer that you enjoy, and use it to anoint every inch of your body. Go slowly, celebrating each part of you, telling yourself how beautiful you are, noticing small details and marks, and breathing through the experience. This process may not be easy, as we all have so many stored, often hidden, feelings about our bodies – which in turn store feelings that may be released through this practice. My advice is to go slowly and gently, play soft music and offer yourself as much compassion as you can. And don’t worry, it’s largely lovely and enjoyable!

Do something romantic for yourself. Buy yourself flowers. Take a bath with essential oils, rose petals, crystals, and candles. Take yourself out on a date and get dressed up for yourself. Then take yourself home and make love to yourself. And if you have a partner, do all of this for them too!

Play a secret, sexy game. Whenever you see someone you’re sexually attracted to, check in with your genitals and see how they feel. Intentionally connecting our visual cues of attraction from our eyes to our sex center is so healing and opening for us. This one is great for the subway. Oh, and throw in some kegels too, why don’t you?

Go out dancing. The Earth gods and goddesses (not to mention the fairies) just love dancing. So go dance for them! Dance for your body, and dance!

Happy Beltane all. I hope that by loving up your body and sexual essence your inner fire can melt away those last vestiges of winter, making you be ready for a spring that’s full of play.

Have you been feeling the Beltane awakening? Share your spring rituals with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Elyssa’s Beltane workshop takes place at Species By The Thousands on May 5. For more information visit Elyssajakimwellness.com

SPELLBOUND: INTERVIEW WITH A WHITE WITCH

The ancient holiday of Beltane (May 1st in the Northern Hemisphere), is celebrated as the first day of summer and carries a unique opportunity to authentically connect with faeries, romance, and magic! On its eve, white witch Lucy Cavendish shares with Madeline Giles what being a professional witch entails – and how true witchcraft is about inspiring others to remember their own innate magical powers.

“There’s an artistic aspect to being a witch,” muses a bright and bubbly Lucy Cavendish, calling from her native Sydney, Australia. “Even though a lot of spell work seems to be about attracting, it’s also about creating and contributing – there’s an eclectic, free-spirited vibe to it.” Cavendish, who is a self-declared bohemian witch, has been teaching, writing, speaking and practicing witchcraft for over 20 years. Through her bestselling oracle card decks and books (including Witchy Magic, Spellbound, and several others), Cavendish disparages the hoary viewpoint that real-life witches are fantasy.

Witches hold a rather notorious reputation in society. What’s your personal opinion on that?
I understand why people have a negative perception, because that’s been in our popular culture for some time – and I would say that just like there are bad postmen and bad teachers, of course there are people who work witchcraft in ways I would consider irresponsible and unethical. But the point people overlook is that there’s corruption and selfishness in all paths – whether you’re a policeman, a politician, or a witch – it all comes down to the individual and his or her intent.

How does one go about becoming a professional witch, out of interest?
It depends on what particular path you choose to travel, as there are various forms of witchcraft. Personally, I’ve chosen to follow a more eclectic, non-hierarchical path. I’ve done my Year And A Day, which is where you sit in a circle for 366 days with mentors discussing and practicing spells and conducting rituals. It’s a collective approach so you’ve always got people to support you and to question you if they think what you’re doing is unethical.

And how do you pass the teachings on?
It feels like; “I’ve developed this connection, if you would like to, you can develop this too. Maybe we could work together.” My aim is to inspire people to have a beautiful experience of the divine whether it occurs sitting in a grove of trees or through a celestial vision.

What was your life like before you became a witch?
Even though I was always really drawn to this work and I did readings for people all the time, I spent a lot of time trying to fit in. I wanted to live a life that didn’t look quite so weird from the outside. So I went to university and worked in really ordinary jobs, but I never lasted long. I’d be the production editor at a magazine, but have my cards out on my desk – which is probably why I didn’t last! At the time I assumed that other people wouldn’t accept me, but really I wasn’t accepting of myself. I honestly thought if I did what I loved – which is what I’m doing now – I’d starve and my cat would die. I thought I’d be a little street witch, a magical homeless person doing readings on street corners (laughs). That’s what I was afraid of.

So how did you make the transition?
I ended up leaving Australia to travel for a few years, and that really opened me up by helping me get through the fear of making ends meet while doing what I love. I never thought I could be doing what I do now – I assumed I would have to be unhappy in a “real” job, and that this would be a passion to be kept secret from some people. Thank goodness I took the risk! I chucked myself out of the nest and learned that it is possible to live a precarious, artistic and magical life – that somehow, if you commit to it, it will work out.

Now let’s get into the detail. Can you cast spells on other people?
There are very strong ethics and laws around what we do, one of which is never cast a spell against the free will of another person. So if someone comes to me and says; “I’d like you to cast a spell for me,” I can do that – but it needs to be for them. Not for that man or woman they’re interested in, for their mother’s inheritance, their ex-husband or wife, etc. That’s not what we do, and I don’t consider people who do do this kind of thing witches as they’re ignorant of the law, and it’s not healthy. Witches uphold the Law of Threefold Return, which means whatever you send out will return to you to the power of three. It’s important to be aware of that. It’s not the same as karma, but it’s similar to it – and if you’re going to sit in that consciousness and stir up that energy, there’s no way you can avoid it impacting you.

What types of spells do you cast most often?
A lot of spell work is about empowering people by raising their confidence and self-esteem – because that’s really the root of manifesting the things we want in our lives. Sometimes people are afraid to go after what they want because they feel they’re not good enough to deserve it, and spellcrafting is designed to shift a person’s energy and help them get to a place where they feel strong, confident and grounded – and then their contribution can begin.

What’s the first thing you’d recommend to someone interested in strengthening their divine connection?
The first thing I’d ask is how often they’re outside. How much time do they spend in nature? Are they aware of their local environment and what grows near where they live? What phase the moon is in? How often does it rain? It may sound like I’m asking everyone to become climate specialists, but it’s more that I’m asking people to get back in touch with how things work at a natural level in their environment. When you begin observing where you live and how energy works there, you begin to restore the natural power source that flows not only around us, but within us. That way, we begin to feel more powerful – and thus increase our opportunities to be a fully contributing, creative soul, which is empowering for anyone whether you want to be a witch or not.

In the below extract from her book Witchy Magic, Lucy elaborates on how to celebrate Beltane. Back in the day, our ancestors used to welcome the sweetness of summer on this enchanted holiday by dancing around ceremonious Beltane fires and making love underneath the stars. Today, witches continue to celebrate this festive day with large celebrations and generously sweet offerings to mother earth.

“Beltane is representative of vitality, fertility and the energy of the sun, so its foods include luscious fruits like cherries and strawberries, green leaf, herb and flower petal salads, oat or barley cakes, and honey. Beltane is a festival of love and romance, and roses and other flowers can be added to your food, used as a garnish or table decoration, woven into a garland for your hair or used in spells for love, which can be as simple as lighting a pink candle and making a wish or soaking in a bath filled with pink rose petals. You can also leave a little plate of nuts, berries and flowers out for the faeries, as this is a cross-quarter day when the veils are thin, and their energy can be drawn upon. Dress in long, swirling clothes with flowers in your hair and dance barefoot on the grass, soaking up the vibration of the earth and of this powerful, potent time.”

LUCY’S BELTANE ROSE PETAL TEA
Rose tea has a light flavor, a sweet scent and a calming effect.
*Using one cup of fresh rose petals, cut off the biter white bases from the petals and rinse well. Place in a teapot and pour two cups of boiling water over them. Allow to steep for five minutes – the petals will darken and become discolored, which is normal. Strain the rose petal liquid into teacups and add a little honey of you like.

Read more from Madeline Giles at Mermadeline.com, and follow her on Twitter.