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Contents:
  1. What Does 666 Mean? Answers in Revelation
  2. Recently On Ask Roger
  3. Using the Spiritual Alphabet in Congregational Life - Open Horizons
  4. Beginning Again

Magical Aspects: Understand that no matter how thorny a problem may be, you can use your spiritual strength to protect and guide you. You may also find that you can provide strength to those who depend on you. D is for Duir, the Celtic tree of Oak. Like the mighty tree it represents, Duir is associated with strength, resilience and self-confidence. The Oak is strong and powerful, often dominating over its shorter neighbors.

What Does 666 Mean? Answers in Revelation

The Oak King rules over the summer months, and this tree was sacred to the Druids. Some scholars say the word Duir translates to "door," the root word of "Druid". The Oak is connected with spells for protection and strength, fertility, money and success, and good fortune.

In many pre-Christian societies, the Oak was often associated with the leaders of the gods—Zeus, Thor , Jupiter, and so forth. The strength and masculinity of the Oak was honored through the worship of these gods. During the Tudor and Elizabethan eras, Oak was valued for its stength and durability, and was commonly used in construction of homes. The bark became valuable in the tanning industry, and many areas of Scotland were deforested in the rush to harvest Oak. Mundane Aspects: Carry an acorn in your pocket when you go to an interview or business meeting; it will be bring you good luck.

If you catch a falling Oak leaf before it hits the ground, you'll stay healthy the following year. Remember that "Duir" means gate or door—watch for chances that may pop up unexpectedly, and take what is offered to you. After all, an unknown opportunity is better than a missed one. Magical Aspects: Be strong and steady like the Oak, no matter how unpredictable things may become for you spiritually. Your strength will help you prevail.

T stands for Tinne, or Teine, the Holly tree. This evergreen plant is connected to immortality, unity, courage, and the stability of hearth and home. Pronounced chihnn-uh by the Celts, the wood of the Holly was often used in the construction of weapons, and is known as a plant of warriors and protectors. In the pre-Christian British Isles, the Holly was often associated with protection—planting a hedge around your home would keep malevolent spirits out, thanks in no small part to the sharp spikes on the leaves. In Celtic myth, the concept of the Holly King and the Oak King symbolizes the changing of the seasons, and the transition of the earth from the growing time to the dying season.

When Christianity moved into the Celtic lands, the new religion associated the Holly plant with the story of Jesus. The poky spikes on the leaves represent the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the cross, and the bright red berries symbolize his blood. Mundane Aspects: Hang a sprig of Holly in your home to protect your family in your absence. Soak the leaves in spring water under a full moon, and then use the water as a blessing for people or items you wish to protect. There is strength to be found in standing together, and ultimately protection comes from honor and trust.

Magical Aspects: Develop the ability to respond quickly and wisely to your intuition. Learn to overcome and adapt to new situations, and to respond immediately to changes in your spiritual environment. Trust your instinct, but don't let your heart rule over your head. C, sometimes read as K, is Coll, which is the Hazel tree. August is known as the Hazel Moon, because this is when Hazel nuts appear on the trees—the world Coll translates to "the life force inside you", and what better symbol of life than the nut itself?

Hazel is associated with wisdom and creativity and knowledge. Sometimes it is connected in Celtic lore with magical springs, sacred wells, and divination. Hazel was a handy tree to have around. It was used by many English pilgrims to make staffs for use upon the road —not only was it a sturdy walking stick, it also provided a modicum of self-defense for weary travelers. Certainly, it could have been used as well for ritual. Hazel was used in weaving of baskets by medieval folk , and the leaves were fed to cattle because it was believed this would increase the cow's supply of milk.

In the Irish myth cycles, there is a tale that nine hazel nuts dropped into a sacred pool. A salmon came along in the pool and gobbled up the nuts, which then imbued him with wisdom. A variation of the story appears in the legend of Finn Mac Cumhail, who ate the salmon and then took on the knowledge and wisdom of the fish. Note that Mac Cumhail is often translated as Mac Coll. Mundane Aspects: Take advantage of your own artistry or creativity, and share your knowledge with others so they too can practice these arts.

Lead by example, and teach those who wish to learn. Find inspiration for your creative gifts, whatever your talent may be. Magical Aspects: Let the divine guide you in your creative journey. Speak to the gods through your art, and be rewarded with inspiration. If you're stuck in a creative rut, call upon the Divine to send you a Muse. Q is for Quert, sometime spelled Ceirt, and is tied to the luscious Apple tree. Long symbolic of love and faithfulness, as well as rebirth, the Apple is often associated with magic.


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If you cut an apple in half sideways, the seeds form one of nature's perfect stars. In addition to love, the appearance of Quert reminds us of the eternal cycle of life. After all, once the Apple tree dies, its fruit returns to the ground to birth new trees for coming harvests. The Apple and its blossoms feature prominently in folklore related to love, prosperity and fertility.

The Roman goddess Pomona watched over orchards, and was associated not so much with the harvest, but with the flourishing of the crop. Apples are also connected with divination , particularly for young ladies wondering about their love lives. Mundane Aspects: No one likes to be faced with choices, because sometimes what we want is not what we need.

However, we still must choose. Sometimes, we make decisions because they are the right ones to make, not because they make us happy. Be wise enough to understand the difference. Magical Aspects: Open your inner soul to new decisions, and allow yourself to harvest the gifts that your spiritual path has to offer. Know that sometimes, things might not make sense, but chances are good that you'll learn from this later. M is Muin, the Vine, that magnificent plant which produces grapes We all know that once we're under its influence, wine sometimes makes us say things we otherwise would never consider.

In fact, the words of one who has been consuming it are often uninhibited. The Vine is connected to prophecy and truthful speaking—because typically, people who have been partaking of its gifts are incapable of being deceptive and dishonest. Muin is a symbol of inward journeys and life lessons learned. Mundane Aspects: Take time to think about what you say before you open your mouth, but once you open it to speak, only speak the truth.


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It is better to be honest than to tell people what they want to hear just to gain popularity. Magical Aspects: Do rituals related to prophecy and divination. Be sure to record all messages that you receive—they may not make sense right now, but they will later on. When you're sampling its pleasures, don't allow Vine to take too much advantage of you or it may color your perceptions of what is Truth. G is Gort, the Ivy that sometimes grows freely, but often parasites upon other plants.

It will grow in nearly any condition, and its endless upward spiral is representative of our soul's search for self, as we wander between this world and the next. Gort, pronounced go-ert , is connected to growth and wildness, as well as confronting the mystical aspects of our own development and evolution.

Also connected to the month of October and the Samhain sabbat , Ivy often lives on after its host plant has died—a reminder to us that life goes on, in the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth. In folklore from the British Isles, Ivy is believed to be a bringer of good fortune, particularly to women. Allowing it to creep up the walls of your home would protect inhabitants from baneful magic and curses.

It also appears in love divination in parts of England; it was said that a girl carrying Ivy in her pockets would soon see the young man who was meant to be her husband. Medicinally, an Ivy tonic could be brewed to keep away diseases such as whooping cough and respiratory ailments It was even believed to keep away the plague, but there's no clear evidence that this worked. Mundane Aspects: Banish the negative things from your life, and eliminate toxic relationships.

Place a barricade of some sort between you and the things or people that would bring you down. Magical Aspects: Look inward to find self-growth, but turn outward to find spiritual companionship with like-minded individuals. If you've thought about joining or forming a group of some sort, consider it well if Gort appears. Ng, or nGeatal, is the Reed that grows straight and tall at the riverside. Long ago, it was considered the perfect wood for arrows because it was so perfectly formed. Symbolic of music and flutes, the Reed indicates direct action, and finding purpose in your journey.

It is connected with health and healing, and with gatherings of family and friends. Mundane Aspects: When this symbol appears, it's time to take on a leadership role. Often, it indicates a need to rebuild that which was destroyed. Use your skills and ability to put things in order, and guide situations onto the right track. Think before you act, and be proactive rather than reactive. Magical Aspects: Although you may encounter some bumpy spots in the road, ultimately your spiritual journey will be a fruitful and productive one. Understand that the lessons you learn on your way are equally as important—maybe even more so—as the destination itself.

This symbol, used for the sound St, is Straith sometimes seen as Straif , the Blackthorn tree.

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A symbol of authority and control, the Blackthorn is connected to strength and triumph over adversity. Blackthorn is a tree although some might argue it's more of a really big shrub of winter, and its berries only ripen after the first frost. White flowers appear in the spring, and the bark is black and thorny.

On a medicinal level, Blackthorn berries—sloe berries—are brewed to make a tonic this is what Sloe Gin is made from. In folklore, the Blackthorn has a fairly unpleasant reputation. An English legend refers to a devastating winter as a "Blackthorn Winter. Because it's a plant that becomes hardy when all around it is dying, it is associated with the Dark Mother , the Crone aspect of the Goddess, particularly the Cailleach in some parts of Scotland and Ireland.

There is also a strong connection to the Morrighan , because of Blackthorn's association with the blood and death of warriors. In fact, in early Celtic culture, the Blackthorn was popular for its use in the cudgel shillelagh. Mundane Aspects: Expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to change. Your plans may be altered, or even destroyed, so plan to deal with it.

The appearance of Straith often indicates the influence of external forces. Magical Aspects: You're at the beginning of a new journey , and there will be some surprises—possibly unpleasant ones—along the way. Overcoming these obstacles will give you strength. Realize that you—and your life—are changing. R is Ruis, the Elder tree, which is connected to the time of the Winter Solstice.


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The Elder represents endings, maturity, and the awareness that comes with experience. Pronounced roo-esh , Ruis is a sign that things may be ending, but will yet begin again some day. Although the Elder is easily damaged, it recovers and is rejuvenated easily. The Elder is also strongly connected with Goddess spirituality, and the workings of the Fae. The soft wood has a lightweight core that can be pushed out to create a hollow tube—perfect for a Faerie flute! Elder was also planted near dairy barns, in the belief that its presence would keep the cows in milk, and prevent collected milk from spoiling.

Elder flowers and berries are often brewed to fight fever, cough, and sore throats. Mundane Aspects: This is a time of transition; while one phase of life ends, another begins. With maturity and experience comes wisdom and knowledge. Remember that it's fine to be childlike, but not child ish. Magical Aspects: New experiences and new phases of growth are continual, and these will all lead to spiritual renewal, and finally rebirth.

Remember that the things we experience are all part of the formation of who we eventually become. A is for Ailim, or Ailm, the Elm tree. Interestingly, this group also includes the Pine or Fir trees. These giants of the forest are symbols of perspective and height, rising above those that surround us. The Elm has a clear vision of that which surrounds it, as well as that which is approaching. In Britain and Scotland, Elm trees grew very tall and straight, making them popular for use as a Maypole during Beltane celebrations.

In addition to this, they were popular as property markers—you knew you had reached someone else's land boundary when you crossed a line of Elm trees. Elm is flexible and bendy, so it doesn't make a very good building material, but it does withstand water very well, so it eventually became popular for use in making flatboats and wheels.

In Wales, early bowmen used the Elm in construction of longbows. Mundane Aspects: When this symbol appears, it means it's time to start looking at the big picture; see the trees, but also acknowledge the forest. Be aware that your perception includes long-term goals and ideas, and prepare for what may be coming along the path. Magical Aspects: Mark your progress well as you grow and develop spiritually. As you attain new levels of wisdom, look at the future and see where this new knowledge will take you.

Also recognize that there will be others following in your footsteps, so make yourself available to guide them and give them a hand when they need it. O is Onn, or Ohn, and represents the Gorse bush, sometimes called Furze. This yellow, flowery shrub grows on moors all year long, and is full of nectar and pollen. It's a food source for many animals—the stalks are munched on by grazing livestock—but eventually Furze is set on fire. This controlled burn allows old deadwood to be gotten rid of, and clears the way for new life to begin.

Gorse Furze represents long-term thinking and planning—knowing that sometimes we have to do without in order to gain things in the future. Gorse is a determined sort of plant that always comes back, and so it is also connected with perseverance and hope. In some pieces of Celtic folklore, the Gorse is used as a protective barrier. Planting it around one's home would keep the Sidhe away, and it can be shaped into a broom for sweeping away negative influences.

Using the Spiritual Alphabet in Congregational Life - Open Horizons

Mundane Aspects: Whatever you've been looking for is right around the corner—keep pursuing your goals, because they are within your reach. If you aren't sure what path you should be on or which direction you should head, sit down and make a list of goals. Figure out the destination, and then you'll be able to focus on the journey. Magical Aspects: Your spiritual journey has provided you with an abundance of gifts. Don't keep these blessings to yourself—share them with others!

If you've been asked to take on a role as leader or mentor, now is the time to do so. U sometimes W is Uhr or Ura, the Heather plant, which symbolizes passion and generosity. This ground-covering plant grows on top of peat in the moors of the Celtic lands. The blossoms are full of rich nectar and are very attractive to bees, which are seen in some traditions as messengers to and from the spirit world.

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Uhr is associated with both generosity and healing, as well as contact with the Otherworld. Historically, the Picts used the flowers of the Heather plant to make a fermented ale—the natural sweetness of the plant probably made this delicious! It is also known to bring good fortune, particularly the white variety of Heather. A number of Scottish clansmen tucked Heather in their bonnets before going into battle.

From a practical standpoint, Heather was also harvested to use for thatching. Dyes and brooms were made from it as well; if you make a besom of your own, use some Heather for the bristles. Medicinally, Heather has been used to treat everything from consumption to "agitated nerves. Mundane Aspects: When this symbol appears, it means it's time to de-stress. Look inside yourself for healing if your body needs it, and don't delay. Listen to what your physical self is telling you. Remember how closely our physical well-being and emotional health are tied together. Magical Aspects: Blend the energy of the spirit with the healing of the body.

Focus on whole healing —body, mind and spirit—to build a healthy soul. Meditate on this symbol to increase your spiritual awareness. If you're feeling a bit fragmented, mentally, burn some Heather to help you gather your thoughts back together. E is Eadhadh, or Eadha, which is the Aspen, a symbol of endurance and courage. The Aspen is a durable, hardy tree that grows all over North America and Scotland, so when Eadhadh appears, take it as a sign of strong will and success. Challenges may come your way, but you will eventually conquer your adversaries and obstacles. In folklore and literature, the Aspen is associated with heroes, and many "crowns of Aspen" have been found in ancient burial sites.

The sturdy wood was popular for making shields, and were often imbued with magical protective properties. In the Highlands of Scotland, the Aspen was often rumored to be connected to the realm of the Fae. Mundane Aspects: Like the Aspen, you can be flexible without snapping. No matter what obstacles come, allow yourself to know that these too will be gone eventually.

You will be left stronger for the experience, if you can get over your fears and reservations. Magical Aspects: Don't give in to the pressures of the material world. As someone who has benefited from the wisdom of leaders who mentored her, she recognizes the importance of sharing wisdom gained, mistakes made, and lessons learned with the next generation of leaders. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.

Read preview. Hicks Cambridge University Press, Read preview Overview. Stanczak Rutgers University Press, Wheatley, Margaret J. Sodomka, Patricia et al. Frontiers of Health Services Management, Vol. Holy Warrior Nuns, Batman! Aging Today, Vol. Glueck, Nelson The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. We use cookies to deliver a better user experience and to show you ads based on your interests.