Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mystical Experience: Wherever You Go, There You Are

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This weekend it was sunny and warm and I sat out on my screen porch, potting up seedlings and feeling completely in the flow.

A tiny chipmunk ran across my patio and suddenly noticed me, noticing her. She stopped, statue still, as chipmunks do when they are afraid that a larger creature has noticed them. They don’t really think about it; they just do it, the way that we just flinch when we hear a loud sound.

I tried to tell her that I was behind a screen and that, besides, I wouldn’t hurt her for the world. My sending of that message was too large for her; I couldn’t get it through. I tried to focus my thoughts, to send my message of goodwill into her tiny body.

The sun was brilliant and photosynthesis was happening all around us.

I got too small. Suddenly, I was the chipmunk and I was the three, tiny, pulsing embryos within her, each a cosmos, each limned with energy and veins, blue ones and red ones. I was with my mother’s mother’s mothers and with my son’s son’s sons.

I never did manage to tell her what I wanted to say.

Eventually, my old, aggressive cardinal showed up at the birdfeeder and distracted me just long enough (not long at all) for the breeding chipmunk to disappear from the patio.

And yet, even now, when the weather has turned rainy and cold and I sit inside, knitting and hearing the sleet on the warm ground, I can sense her, sense her and the three tiny smears of cells within her, hiding underground, out beneath the deck, nibbling seeds and snuggling into the dirt.

I am not separate from this interconnected Bit of Earth, here where fungi connect trees and newly-dug daffodils grow new roots, where birds grab the small bits of yarn that I’ve put out, left over from last years’ projects, for their nests, and where some ancient powers make themselves known every time that I ground.

May it be so for you.

Picture found here.

Monday Evening Poetry Blogging

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St. Kevin and the Blackbird
~ Seamus Heaney
And then there was St Kevin and the blackbird.
The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside
His cell, but the cell is narrow, so
One turned-up palm is out the window, stiff
As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands
and Lays in it and settles down to nest.
Kevin feels the warm eggs, the small breast, the tucked
Neat head and claws and, finding himself linked
Into the network of eternal life,
Is moved to pity: now he must hold his hand
Like a branch out in the sun and rain for weeks
Until the young are hatched and fledged and flown.
*
And since the whole thing’s imagined anyhow,
Imagine being Kevin. Which is he?
Self-forgetful or in agony all the time
From the neck on out down through his hurting forearms?
Are his fingers sleeping? Does he still feel his knees?
Or has the shut-eyed blank of underearth
Crept up through him? Is there distance in his head?
Alone and mirrored clear in love’s deep river,
‘To labour and not to seek reward,’ he prays,
A prayer his body makes entirely
For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird
And on the riverbank forgotten the river’s name.

Picture found here.

Sunday Ballet Blogging

Everyday Pagans — We Are the Norm, Despite Current News

black-family

Given the recent unpleasant news about some Big Name Pagans (BNPs), I think it’s time for another of my Everyday Pagan (EDPs) posts. I love when people share their stories; please share yours in comments or via email. While a number of BNPs embarrass the rest of us, here is how some EDPs live their lives:

* C. works in the science lab of a large, East Coast university. She takes a lot of pride in preparing samples with care, and knows that, ultimately, even her mundane work of keeping petri dishes clean, recording results to the fourth and fifth decimal point, and turning in meticulous records will help to make mothers and babies safe. She practices a very strict version of Reconstructionist Hellenism and does yoga to keep her body fit. C. first read the stories of Greek Goddesses and Gods when she was seven years old and she has never looked back. She coaches a local soccer team and makes her own yoghurt. She invests her savings in solar energy companies and has done rather well, using an algorithm that she learned in college.

* Puton is a solitary Wiccan. Ze lives in the Pacific Northwest and works in the local IT industry. Puton was drawn to Wicca because it included mystery and myth and because it gave zir a chance to explore different Goddesses and Gods. Puton cooks a lot of vegan dishes and writes a Facebook page devoted to vegan recipes. Ze has two teen-aged foster children and spends most evenings helping them with French and Physics homework, laundering their team uniforms, and packing their lunches — bento box style. Someday, Puton hopes to get an MBA, but, for now, zir children come first.

* M. is a chaos magician. M. came to Paganism through Freemasonry (a family activity) and an interest in alchemy. M. has two children and two polyamorous wives. M. is a nurse at a small Midwestern hospital where he works, primarily, in the emergency room. M. owns a small farm where he grown many of the greens and berries that his family eats and the mushrooms that his wives sell at local farmers’ markets; most evenings, he can be found working there when he leaves the emergency room. M. whittles chess pieces in his spare time and reads his children a bedtime story every single night, remembering the stories that his parents and grandparents read to him.

* P. lives in Alaska and works most of the year on TAPS, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. P. came to Alaska as a young man from Austin, Texas and fell in love with the local landbase. P. bought a small cabin in Valdez and quickly learned to hunt and fish the local landbase. He and his partner have studied how to live in the short Northern Summers and are expanding their solar greenhouse. P. says that T. Thorn Coyle brought him to Paganism; someday, he wants to find a Feri group in Alaska with which to study. For now, he and his partner observe the Eight Great Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year.

Picture found here.

Clarification

I wrote a post a few days ago over at Pagan Square. In that post, I shared some thoughts about the recent discussion/discussions that Pagans have been having concerning how we manage issues related to sex, sex abuse, and sexual harassment at Pagan events and within the larger Pagan community. Although this discussion started when a Pagan musician was arrested for and admitted to possession of child pornography and then spread to concern over having Yvonne and Gavin Frost present at an upcoming Pagan event, the discussion has now gone well beyond those specific events and beyond the issue of pedophilia/child pornography/child abuse. If it was not obvious, my post was a reaction to how this larger discussion has evolved, not specifically to Mr. Klein or the Frosts.

Earlier today, Galina Krasskova reacted to my post. It appears to me that I have been misunderstood, so I want to make my own position completely clear.

As I said in my post, “[I]f all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, sex without legal consent is the Pagan equivalent of a Black Mass, the turning of a sacrament on its head for evil.” I believe that any form of pedophilia/child pornography is wrong, because it involves sex without consent. (Minors are not legally able to consent to sex.) I believe that practices that pressure anyone, even those who can give legal consent, into having sex that they do not want to have are wrong. I believe that the use of power-over, which can come from being a teacher, a Big Name Pagan, an experienced Pagan dealing with new Pagans, etc. in order to obtain sex is wrong. I believe that when victims speak up, they deserve to be listened to and to have their concerns addressed, rather than swept into the shadows, as has sometimes happened in the past. I disapprove of the Frosts’ teachings.

As I discussed in my post, I believe that it is a good thing for Paganism to be having this current discussion. I urged there and reiterate here that I believe that the discussion would benefit from invoking deity, from breathing, grounding, and centering, and from not immediately assuming the worst of each other. Finally, I noted that an understanding of the current astrological weather may help us to navigate this very emotional topic.

I welcome further discussion of these issues, either here or over at my Pagan Square blog.

Peak Cherry Blossom PotPourri

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* Columbia’s District houses many treasures: the original Constitution, Matisse’s cut outs, precious Native American art, the huge collection of books, records, and film in the Library of Congress, masses of ancient azaleas at the National Arboretum, the Statue of Columbia (Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace) atop the Capitol, the only painting by da Vinci in the Americas, and Calder’s largest mobile. But one of the of the loveliest treasures in D.C. is the collection of cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. Many of them were gifts from Japan to America, given over a hundred years ago. When they all blossom, at least half of D.C. and tourists from everywhere come to be amazed. Peak bloom is often a different date from the “official” Cherry Blossom Festival and this year’s peak was delayed quite a bit by our long, cold Winter.

But today was the day. Finally, we had sunny weather and temperatures in the seventies. Finally, after several weeks of “will they or won’t they?” the cherry trees burst into bloom, all at once, perfect, ethereal, magic. For my landbase, for my shining city on a swamp, today was one of the most extraordinary days of the year.

I slipped out of my heels and into my walking shoes at 11:30, hailed a cab, and got as close as we could get to the Tidal Basin. The traffic is always impossible on peak day, so you have to be prepared to get out and walk. I hiked from the Freer Gallery to the blossoms and then all around the Tidal Basin. I paid tearful respects to Mr. Jefferson, sent blessings to all the young lovers having picnics under the trees, and to my former and future selves, walking with joy among the blossoms, under the blue sky, next to the tidal Potomac waters.

Is there an event that is particularly special to your landbase? How do you celebrate it? Have you ever seen the cherry blossoms?

* I lost a lot of herbs this long, cold Winter. It’s not surprising. Rosemary, sage, lavender, etc. come originally from the warm Mediterranean and our climate was distinctly NOT Mediterranean this Winter. I’m going to use the loss as an opportunity to redo the herb bed. I had far more rosemary, sage, and lavender than any one woman could use or give away.

I’m planning to put in more vegetables: cardoons, lettuce, squash, radishes, peppers. Coffee for Roses has a good list of suggestions for those of us who plan to grow more vegetables.

* I recently had a question on Twitter from someone who wondered why I post so many things that are about Arlington, VA and D.C. Were most of my followers, ze wondered, from Arlington? And, of course, the answer is “No. I’m not sure where they’re from but, obviously, many of my Twitter friends come from far away.” But, as I explained, I post a lot about my landbase because that’s what important to me and because I want to model what it can look like to be in relationship with your landbase. The Natural Capital has a great post up about plants that are in bloom in one of our local parks: bloodroot, cut leaf toothwort, fiddleheads, trout lily, and more. I would share this, not because that’s what’s blooming everywhere, but in the hopes that people will search out similar blogs for their lanbases, will go out and see what’s blooming in their cities. What’s your favorite site for information on your landbase?

* Many of you have been kind enough to inquire about Gemmy and the Place Without a Witch stories. Please know that Gemmy is coming back, and hopefully soon. I need to do a bit of research for her next adventure and now that the weather has turned wonderful, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do it soon. It’s nice to know that she’s been missed!!

Picture found here.

OK, Everybody, Breathe.

You can read my new post about sexuality at Pagan events over at Pagan Square.

Monday Lighthearted Poetry Blogging

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Always Marry An April Girl

~ Ogden Nash

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true –
I love April, I love you.

Picture found here.

Sunday Ballet Blogging

Saturday Chores Music