Samhain 2010

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It has been an emotional month for me. Upheaval included not-so-good news regarding my husband’s health, followed in a few days by the sudden death of my cat Amy, and closed out with the diagnosis of intestinal cancer in my elderly cat, Lisa. Woven into this tapestry the “normal” day-to-day trials and tribulations of life in general have not made it any better.

This afternoon, my Samhain alter is set up, complete with pictures of Amy. She is still missed. A pushy cat, she managed to be in the center of each activity I undertook. Her life was short, only 3 1/2 years, but she put years of living into every moment. I know why now. . . she knew her stay was to be short and made every day count.

Tonight after the trick-or-treat crowd have come and gone, I will light my candles and celebrate Samhain.

The spirits of ancestors, loved ones, pets and familiars will gather around me to comfort and guide me along my path.

The Wheel will click another turn. Spinning as we watch the night sky and await the winter winds.

Maybe I will get one more glimpse of Amy from the corner of my eye, as she races past to join those who also await me across the veil.

A Spiritual Quest: The Step From Wicca to Druidry

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I’ve been Pagan all my life, although for many years I didn’t have a name for my spiritual feelings. Many years ago I discovered Wicca and have been a solitary Wiccan ever since. When I discovered Wicca I had an intense feeling of coming home spiritually.

Over the past few years, however, I have felt a longing to learn more.

As they often will, the gods sent me subtle messages that I should turn my attention to Druidry. They were spaced far apart at times, and I did not heed them other than to think it was an interesting path. In time the hints and pushes became such that I couldn’t ignore them any longer.

The first question was would I study the Druid path alone, as I had Wicca, or join a Druid organization? After some reading and soul searching I decided that on this quest I would join an organization. I started researching various Druid groups. Some were dismissed quickly. Others required more thought. I narrowed the field to two groups.

At that point I became torn between these two Druid organizations. Which should I join? Which had teachings I would be in tune with? It was a never-ending battle inside my heart and soul as I pondered each groups web site.

The first group I considered is the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Headquartered in England they are the oldest of the groups I considered.  One drawback to OBOD is that their training course is a bit expensive. Another is that, since I will not fly, it would be impossible to attend their gatherings.

The second group I considered is Ár nDraíocht Féin. ADF was founded by the late Isaac Bonewits and is headquartered  in the United States. Their gatherings are miles from my home, but the prospect of attending is not out of the question (I could drive). Membership is reasonable.

I thought and thought and I meditated. I repeated the process.

Finally I decided to join Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF). I did so over the weekend and and am now awaiting my training materials.

Did I choose correctly? I think I did, at least for now. Neither group has any problem with a member belonging to the other group and I may eventually join OBOD as well. I have noticed many who have dual memberships and I feel it would give a more balanced perspective to undertake both avenues of training.

Have I forsaken Wicca? Not at all. A Druid can have any other religious faith they wish, as being a Druid is another thing entirely. At least, as a neophyte, that’s how I understand it. If I am wrong, I will correct the misstatement in a future post.

I stand poised to undertake a new journey that I will share with those who read these pages. Hang on. It could be an interesting ride.

Blessed Be.

Night Sounds

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The summer night sounds drift through my window as I wait for my hair to dry enough to go to bed. My husband is sleeping and the sound of the hair dryer would most certainly wake him.

I love the sounds of a summer night. so much activity going on in the darkness while humans and animals sleep. The small night creatures of yards, gardens and woodlands are active; singing their songs of summer.

Have you noticed that these night sounds change as the summer nights grow longer as we head into autumn? I hear you saying, “Autumn?!", it is summer and we are having a heat wave.”

Well, my friend, no matter how hot the days are or how warm the nights, the days are growing shorter and it will soon be autumn. As the nights grow longer and different small creatures begin their song the night sounds change. Listen for yourself.

As a country girl, I’ve listened to the change many times. It makes me sad, for it reminds me that the Wheel is about to turn yet again.

While I love all seasons, spring and summer are my favorites. The night sounds I hear tonight tell me, without a doubt, that they are drawing to a close. And they bring back memories of when I was younger.

Memories of me as a child, catching fireflies and carefully placing them into a mason jar my Daddy held for me.

Memories of midnight motorcycle rides.

Memories of campfires and gatherings where the night sounds were a backdrop for tall tales and laughter around the campfire.

Memories of Vision Quests, and soul searching, and crying out to the Moon when all things seemed for naught.

Now I hear the night sounds of summer and wonder at all those summers past, how each year has crowded into the next. Time moves with light speed as one grows older. Soon I will hear the sounds of autumn and smell the crisp smell of falling leaves. Then will come the winter winds howling across the sky. And, finally, the sounds of that group of night creatures who sing in the spring.

The Wheel turns endlessly. Each season of the turn brings its own sounds.

Listen. The Mother is speaking.

Discovering Pagan Podcasts

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I’ve been listening to podcasts lately. I operate machines where I work and podcasts on my MP3 player help pass the time. I’ve been listening to Pagan podcasts.

Listening to the podcasts is showing me just how much superficial, new age rhetoric has infiltrated the Pagan scene. This disturbs me.

One of the podcasters has started a “Pagan Enough” movement. Apparently some are not accepted because they do not dress in pagan garb, or look witchy enough at gatherings or maybe even in daily life. A dress code for Pagans? Aren’t there enough serious topics to cover without worrying about a dress code?

Other podcasters argue about the Wiccan Rede in a way that indicates a complete lack of understanding of the Rede and its meaning. One even stated that the first verses of the Rede were senseless because the real meaning was in the last few words: “An it harm none, do what ye will.”

Another annoying thing some of the podcasters do is talk with the sing-song voice and tone of a stoned New Ager. Get a grip and speak normally. You do not sound powerful or witchy speaking in a breathless manner. You sound weak and ineffectual. It isn’t impressive to an old Crone like me.

One lady, a Southerner like myself, has no informative content. Another, a very young man who thinks his college education gives strength to his words, interlaces too much politics into his spiritual podcast.

On the other had, some of the podcasts are very good. I enjoy listening to Pagan FM Radio and The Infinite and the Beyond. The podcasters on these shows are knowledgeable and present very enjoyable shows. These shows and many more can be found on Podcast Alley under the religion and spirituality category.

I plan to keep listening to the podcasts, even the ones I don’t agree with. As a solitary Wiccan it provides me a way to say in touch with the community and see just what is going on out there.

If you know of a Pagan podcast I should check out, leave me a message in the comments section of this post. I’ll be happy to give it a listen.

Blessed Be.

 

Crone

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I am a Crone. Older and, I pray, wiser from a life lived. With over five decades under my belt I have seen many things. During the time the Goddess gives me during this life-time I will undoubtedly see many more.

I just read an article on The Witches Voice by Belladonna SilverRayne, On Becoming a Crone. Many years younger than me, she summed it up so nicely that not much else is left for me to say.

I did want to share it with you, and thought this the best way to do so this morning.

Be Blessed.

Wiccan Circle Desecrated

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I was overjoyed to learn that the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colorado has built a permanent outdoor worship area for those who practice pagan and earth centered religions. The stone circle was consecrated on December 21, 2009 and is scheduled to be formally designated as a Pagan Chapel in March 2010. Fort Hood, in Texas, has had such an area for its servicemen and women for some time.

The Academy noted the creation on its web site. Stating:

The Air Force Academy chapel will add a worship area for followers of Earth-centered religions during a dedication ceremony, which is tentatively scheduled to be held at the circle March 10.

The circle, located atop the hill overlooking the Cadet Chapel and Visitor Center, will be the latest addition to a collection of worship areas that includes Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist sacred spaces.

The Daily Kos reported as follows in part:

In recent weeks, there has been a pretty steady stream of articles reporting on the much improved religious climate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, many highlighting the addition to the campus of a permanent outdoor worship area for those who practice Wicca and other Earth-centered religions.

And goes on:

This all sounds great, right? Problem solved. No more Christian supremacy at the Air Force Academy. A new era of complete respect and equality has been ushered in. Well, not quite. A photo sent to MRFF tells a somewhat different story. Take a look at the message left by some of the Academy’s brave, anonymous Christian supremacists who recently decided to pay a little visit to the new worship site.

 

As for me, I wonder how these brave Christian Soldiers would react if a group of Wiccans hung a pentacle on their church door? The outrage would be horrific. It will never happen though. WE don’t do things like this to the worship areas of other religions.

I’m dashing this post off in the middle of the night and as you can see haven’t the brain-power tonight to put my feeling into words properly. Here are some links if you want to learn more. I will write more on the topic in another post.

New York Times Article

Associated Press Article

LA Times Article  

Aurora Sentinel Article

My Birthday

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OK, so today is my birthday. Wow! I have to pinch myself sometimes to realize I have actually made it this far on this plane of existence. I have beaten some heavy odds along the way. I mean, there was a big chance for many years that I would be murdered . . . become another statistic of spousal abuse.

I got away.

I’ve had good opportunities that I squandered. I’ve had some bad opportunities that I leaped into without a second thought.

Born under a Cardinal Grand Cross, my biggest battles have always been with myself. I’m a fierce adversary. I fight the battles, win some and lose some. Shoot myself in the foot some. Then I get up, dust myself off and go on. Often, with a sense of wonderment: life can be an adventure when you are pulled in all four directions at once.

I have lived 58 years on this planet on my current journey. If I lived no more than this it would be quite a story. If I live to an old age, the chapters of the story will no doubt become even more convoluted. The ending is yet unwritten. It is a mystery.

To all who have touched me on my journey I give my thanks. To those I have touched, I hope it was for the good.

Now, at the ending of this, my 58th birthday, I bow to the Four Directions and begin an attempt to draw them to the center.

Wish me luck, for I will need it.

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