Tag Archives: Columbia

Hail, Columbia!

Hail, Columbia

There is an actual position in DC known as the Architect of the Capitol. This morning, the Architect posted the picture below: the full Harvest Moon setting behind the statue of Columbia (Freedom Triumphant in War & Peace) that sits directly atop the Capitol.

I love living in this city.


Hey, Baby, It’s the Fourth of July

I’ve used this national holiday to do trance workings with the Goddess Columbia. You can click on this link to read my earlier workings with her.

Hail, Columbia, Goddess of America and of my own urban Witchplace.

Tuesday Evening PotPourri

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

* I am a big fan of “nature cam” sites that bring a close look at nature into our homes. No, it’s not the same experience as being outside, in nature, but it does help us to remember how connected we all are to the All. And these sites do let us see things that we’d never be allowed to see, even if we sat quietly outside for hours, such as eaglets eating, hawks bringing meat to their babies, foxes giving birth to kits. Last Autumn, I was crazy about a site that showed bears in Alaska at a fishing spot, catching salmon. Before that, I was a regular at a site that showed some eaglets hatching outside of Richmond, Virginia, esp. since I saw their parents, from a train window, building their nest before the cam came on. Right now, I keep checking in with this site where a hummingbird is laying eggs. Last Summer, G/Son spotted the first hummingbird I’ve ever seen here, hovering over the white flowers on my Aphrodite hosta. But Landscape Guy gets regular visits from a hummingbird who is, if I do say so, a terrible flirt. What cams do you watch? How do you bring nature into your life? One thing that I really love to notice is the background noises. The eagle cam let you hear the train going by, which is one way that I knew that these parents were the ones I’d seen from my train window. The hummingbird cam is obviously quite close to “civilization.” What background sounds do you hear?

*We’re now almost six weeks into 2013. How are you doing on your Word of the Year, on your goals?

My brilliant friend is well on her way to learning to play poker, using social networking to find others who’ll play with her. Her new year’s goals are always of the “have fun!” variety.

I’m doing surprisingly well at getting lots more greens into my diet. Here’s Margaret Roach, who mostly writes about gardening, but also writes, sometimes, about how to use the food that we grow, suggesting an easy way to up the vegetables in our diet:

I’m making roasted vegetables this weekend, as I do most every week in giant batches. But I suppose there are always questions, such as: peel first, or not, or how hot should the oven be, and what do I dress the vegetables with first?

My favorite vegetable candidates in the cold weather months include parsnips, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, winter squash, onions, heads of garlic, beets (segregate if red-colored to prevent staining of neighbors), Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, broccoli raab. I hate fennel, but it roasts well. So do leeks. (In summer, when I have them, I do peppers, eggplant and summer squash.)

I tried Margaret’s approach this weekend, with fennel, celery, bok choy, garlic, beets, carrots, and baby potatoes. Having them on hand has definitely improved my daily take-to-work salads.

*Another way that I’m working on one of my goals is Fitbit. I’ve named mine Hygeia. I’ve resisted wearing a pedometer for years because they were big, bulky, guaranteed to attract attention. At the same time, I’ve been promising myself for years to get more active on a daily basis and, then, not doing very well. I don’t believe that everything worthwhile can be measured but, turns out, how many steps you take a day can be measured. And Fitbit is tiny, can be worn invisibly (the only time that I’ve worn mine visibly was this weekend with my Circle of Amazing Women), and downloads enough information to make the overachiever in me quite happy.

I find that I’m doing a lot of pacing when waiting for elevators, standing in line at the drugstore, talking on conference calls. I’m also being more serious about my plans to get up four or five times a day and take a 15 minute walk. I can see the results every week.

What one or two things are helping you to meet your goals? How can you recommit here, just five weeks out from Eostara?

* Speaking of overachieving, Thorn Coyle tweeted a link to this post today.

It just worked my last nerve. Here’s a sample:

[The woman being shred apart on the internet has a need to always] be better. To be stronger at what she does. She values what others think of her but what she really cares about is what she thinks of herself. What she thinks is that she needs to be better. To achieve aggressive goals and then to push them further. Usually to push them on before she even arrives; forcing herself to fail inevitably and improve relentlessly.

She must never feel comfortable, she must never sit down. She forms a belief set that ingrains a sense of inadequacy. With that in hand, she has no option but to march forward, to make herself better and stronger. She cannot exist in a world where excellence is a prerequisite and where she is awful and so by grading herself down she drives herself ever forward, becoming ever better.

No, you don’t get to decide what’s “living” for me. Your assumptions about when I feel comfortable are irrelevant and presumptious. Maybe I am most alive when I am pushing myself and working to be even better than I was yesterday. Maybe that’s when I’m in flow, when I’m most comfortable.

I’m not saying that you have to get off on that, but I really am tired of the modern practice of showing up on the internet to insist that someone else is “doing it wrong.” You don’t want to push yourself all the time? Mozel tov. More power to you. I support your right to live the way that you want to live. Good for you if you go home 15 minutes early with just one marshmallow and enjoy the Hel out of that. But the need to shame those of us who find our flow in a different way says more about you than it does about us. /Rant off.

* Margaret Roach roasts parsnips, and I hope to roast some next week when the ones at the Falls Church Farmers’ market look a bit better. Here’s a poem about that prosaic bit of sustenance that lifted many, many, many of our ancestors between Imbolc and Beltane: the parsnip:

Come, Aristotle

~ Maxine Kumin

On April 4, moving
the pea fence to
another row
we unearth forty
perfect parsnips
that had spent
the coldest winter since
the seventies
condemned like leeches,
Aristotle says,
to suck up whatever
sustenance may flow
to them wherever
they are stuck.
Abandoned, overlooked.
Our good luck.

We ate them
in groups of fours
braised with a little brown sugar
(though they were sweet
enough without)
paler than cauliflower
or pearls, inverted fleshy angels
pried from the black gold
of ancient horse manure.
Pure, Aristotle.
Come, philosopher.
Come to the table.

What tides you over between now and Beltane, when pea shoots and asparagus grace our plates?

* If anyone at Pantheacon goes to the session on Columbia, I’d be v grateful for a summary, contact info for the presenters, impressions from the talk!

Picture found here.

Goddess Emergent

Last year, for Independence Day, I did some work with the Goddess Columbia and posted about my conversation with her. You can read about it here, here, here, here, and here.

This year, I again did a series of meditations and magic works and asked Her to tell me what form of devotion She wants from Her followers. Specifically, I asked about group rituals for Her, private, daily practice focused on Her, and about Her priestesses and priests. Using the Wildwood Tarot, I pulled three cards: The Shaman (who corresponds to the Magician in a traditional Tarot deck), The Two of Arrows, Injustice (which corresponds to the Two of Swords), and The Ace of Stones, The Foundation of Life (which corresponds to the Ace of Pentacles).

Columbia’s answer about group rituals for Her:

The Shaman: The Wildwood Tarot book says:

Meaning: The view of the universe possessed by these ancient artists [who drew the animal spirits in La Caverne des Trois Freres which appear on The Shaman’s clothing] was of a place where human elements and skills were intimately interwoven with the qualities and prowess of wild creatures. Human spirituality was dependent on an empathic exchange and respect for the sacred ancestral memory of all life, and meditation of the totem guardians and deities was a prime spiritual function of the shaman.

This is a gateway card, offering illumination to the labyrinth of the inner universe and the otherworld of the universal mind. The Shaman’s unique quality is the ability to enter and commune with all levels of sentient life on the Earth. it is [s/he] who shudders with the wisdom and joy contained in the howling of timber wolves. [Hir] soul reverberates with the unheard sonorous call of the mountains and smiles with pure joy at the laughter of the waterfall.

The Shaman applies [hir] magic with intent. [S/he] studies the habits of wild creatures [and] understands the weather patterns that bring good harvests or dry summers. [S/he] knows the healing plants form the deadly fungi and can travel through the dark by watching the ritual dance of the magical beings that populate the night sky. [S/he] gives thanks to the trees that supply warmth and light in the winter and gathers the young around the fire to tell stories of great adventure and courage to delight and educate those who would listen.

Through inner work and meditation, the Shaman will bring insight and understanding of your true place in the world. Then practical application and the manifestation of wisdom and willpower into your physical world is possible. This requires dedication, patience, and commitment, but it is the nature of real magic.

Reading Points: You may hear the beat of a drum or the song of the wind. It may be the dancing of light on water or the midnight barking of the fox, but whatever awakens your desire to return to the wild, the Shaman within you is ready for initiation into the mysteries. This may manifest itself in the form of a desire to study an esoteric science or philosophy and apply what you learn to the world. It may involve travel for the sake of gaining confidence and experience. But however the desire to begin a new spiritual chapter emerges, you are now in an emotional and intellectual position to bring forth real change in your life for the benefit of everyone. The process of focusing, meditating, and applying wisdom from the otherworld is the true work of the Shaman.

Columbia’s answer about daily practice focused on Her:

Meaning: The scales of natural justice have been skewed by false judgements, ignorance, or arrogance. [Those who sit] in judgement with unbalanced scales [based upon] an untrue premise, however ardently or sincerely [held], will not prevail. The bow is broken and useless through prejudice and misuse.

Reading Points: False conclusions and unjust decisions, based on disinformation, motivated by fear, greed, and prejudice, can cause innumerable problems. Either mistakenly or deliberately, distributed to pervert the course of natural justice and the revelation of the facts by those who fear the truth and wish to manipulate the situation for personal control or gain, this propaganda will not survive honest, wise, and impartial scrutiny. In many worldly situations, the truth becomes hijacked and twisted to become a false message, designed to confuse and instill fear in those seeking clear insight. The wise seeker questions and tests false messages and discerns the validity of a harmful accusation. Perversions of the truth will always bring frustration or bitterness to the individual or group that deploys such dishonorable tactics. The perpetrator of lies and falsehood will always be judged as an unreliable source, bent on mischief and destructive interference. For the victim of injustice, the best defense of the truth is always more truth.

Columbia’s answer about Her priestesses and priests:

Meaning: The most potent act of the mind is to conceive of an idea and manifest it into practical reality. This means being able to formulate and marshal your thoughts to bring about a real-world change, or transmutation of wish, dream, or desire, making it physically happened.

Reading Points: The concept of the material world as a solid, unchanging thing has evolved with our understanding of the cosmos. Human beings seem unique [How on Earth do the authors of the Wildwood Tarot know this??] in their ability to interact with the material world and yet have a foot in the otherworld of the mind, imagination, and creative will. To be connected to the Earth and the power that resides there allows us to draw from this primal source and direct the power of our minds to create changes in our world. The concept that the realms of matter and the realms of the mind are totally separate and detached is now outmoded and verifiably untrue. The primal rock is decorated with ancient cup-and-ring markings to express the emergence of creation and the cycles of energies within the universal consciousness and the still and stable point from which to plan and empower your life, fulfilling your material dreams.

So, oddly, in almost the exact reverse order that I would have expected from Her, Columbia seems to be saying that her group rituals should be devoted to shamanistic practices that will result in the practical application and the manifestation of wisdom and willpower into the physical world. This sounds to me a lot like the Green Wizard work of JMG.

She seems to be saying that the daily practice of her devotees should be devoted, not so much to internal work, but to battling the lies and framing of Fox News. I’d have expected almost the reverse: a group practice devoted to opposing the right-wing smear machine and a daily, personal practice devoted to getting in touch with Her landbase. But Columbia says that Her devotees should engage, daily, in fighting the misinformation coming out of the right wing. All acts of love and reframing are (apparently) Her rituals.

Finally, Columbia seems to be calling her priestesses and priests to act upon the discovery of the Higgs boson particle and to go ahead and “create changes in this world.”


She’s a Goddess who really expects action.

How do you read these cards?

Cowls for Christmas, Phygrian Caps for Occupiers.

G/Son comes, although he doesn’t (yet) really realize it, from a long line of marchers and protesters.

My grandma once marched in a Suffragette march, although she had to lie to her parents in order to go. My dad was taking me to anti-Viet-Nam-war marches when I was barely into my teens. He worked in the union movement; walking a picket line was a sacred act in our family.

Son and the First-Ex-Mr.-Hecate marched to protest Bush I’s Iraq war.

Back before G/Son was born, Son and DiL once asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, and I told them that I wanted them to come with me to the Million Mothers’ March in Washington, D.C. They did. Years later, they marched with me and some women from my Circle in the March for Women’s Lives. I marched in a lot of anti-war marches while George Bush was in the White House.

This afternoon, I went over to G/Son’s house for Thanksgiving dinner (prepared by my wonderful DiL, who is, honestly, the most amazing cook EVER). When I sat down, I pulled out my knitting and G/Son said, “Nonna, are you knitting a Christmas present?” He likes to guess what I’m knitting and he knows that I usually knit something for everyone in the family for Christmas. I said, “No, I’m knitting Phygrian caps for the people who are at the Occupy D.C. protest. They’re protesting how some people are too rich and some people are too poor. Some of the protesters are out in the cold without enough warm things to wear, so I’m knitting caps for them. A Phygrian cap is a symbol of freedom, like you see on some pictures of Columbia. In Rome, a Phygrian cap was a symbol that a slave was freed.” “Oh, well, then, that’s good,” G/Son said. “I know how to spell cap: c-a-p.”

I love that kid.

He and the other men in the family are getting cowls this year. But I’ve had them finished for some time.

Picture found here.


Update: I’ve had several requests for the knitting pattern for the Phygrian cap. I used the linked pattern (which is for a doll), doubled the number of stitches, doubled the size of the needles, and played around with the proportions. Later this week, I’ll try to write down what I did and post it. How cool would it be if the Occupiers began to wear Phygrian caps?

Tricky Stuff, Magic.

Tricky stuff, magic.

I have no idea how my cell phone works. But I can use it to talk to my family, take a picture of my garden, send an email to my secretary, find North with the compass, get directions to a new restaurant. Magic’s a bit like that. People who have no idea (or who have a partial, distorted idea) of how magic works, of magical ethics, of magic’s impact on the magic-worker can still do magic. You don’t really need to understand the principles of magic or have a well-developed sense of magical ethics to cast a glamour, work a spell for prosperity, or use herbs to improve your love life.

Last Summer, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) declared a prayer war against Columbia, the Goddess for whom our capital city, the District of Columbia (DC), is named. They focused, in their videos, especially upon the statue of Columbia (known as Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace) that stands atop the United States Capital in Washington, D.C. They wanted Columbia cast down, wanted our capital to be renamed the “District of Christ,” and wanted to place “uncompromising” Dominionist leaders in every position of power in the United States, whether in government, in the arts, in entertainment, in business, etc.

Justice Brandeis famously remarked that “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” That’s certainly true when it comes to malefic magic. Once it’s exposed, it becomes far less effective. In July, Pagan bloggers began to expose and discuss NAR’s malefic magic. Sunlight. And that’s when things got interesting.

From the start, members of the Pagan community have noted that the NAR’s prayer war against religious freedom and the Goddess Columbia is simple malefic magic. Getting a large group of people to focus on an intent, raising energy via, in this case, prayer, watching videos with hugely-effective appeals to Younger Self, and focusing on casting down a physical symbol of all that you dislike: well, that’s magic. It may be poorly-focused and badly-sourced magic, but it is magic and it can certainly have an impact if left uncountered. And, of course, sending “blood-soaked arrows” at your opponents and declaring that your magic is already complete even before it takes effect (a sort of: “This is my will so mote it be.”) is malefic magic.

As I said, tricky stuff, magic. And malefic magic, in my experience, is trickier than most other forms of magic. Sometimes, it backfires.

One of the best, IMHO, results of the NAR campaign has been a focusing of attention upon American Goddesses and Gods. Websites and Facebook pages devoted to Columbia and other Americans Goddesses/Gods sprung up. Pagans began buying statues of Columbia for their altars. We debated the dark and light sides of American deities (of course, many Goddesses/Gods, from every landbase, have both light sides and dark sides; it’s hardly surprising that this is true for American Goddesses/Gods, as well).

NAR indicated that it would bring its prayer war to Washington, D.C. at Samhein. D.C. Pagans have for some years gathered at the Jefferson Memorial at Samhein for a drum circle. There was some concern that NAR might show up and disrupt that event.

Local Pagan, Caroline Kenner organized a Celebration of the Divine Feminine and Religious Freedom in Lafayette Park (across from the White House) on October 30th. She was careful to arrange security in case NAR chose to disrupt the event.

Normally when we hold a community event in downtown DC, we have few worries about security, especially since all the Federal sites are protected by at least two police forces. This time was a bit different. Our security team was headed up by a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Army’s Military Police along with a former Staff Sargent. And people relaxed entirely when Frank Stormcatcher arrived to help. Frank is large and protective, and he is a Marshal of the Caomhnoiri Fian.

In the end, NAR didn’t show up at either event. The unconfirmed rumor was that they were stuck in Philadelphia, without the funds to come to Columbia’s district. The drum circle was meaningful and peaceful and the Celebration was a great success.

NAR may have wanted to topple Columbia, bring down The Queen of Heaven, and place their chosen candidates in power. The result of their working, however, is that Columbia, Lady Liberty, Innana, and many, many other Goddesses were invoked and honored publicly in our nation’s capital. The result is that American Pagans are paying renewed attention to American Goddesses and Gods. The result is that songs are being composed to Libertas. The result is that the two presidential candidates most under NAR’s influence are now well behind in the polls. One of them, Rick Perry, who kicked off his campaign with an NAR-sponsored prayer service, just this week embarrassed himself so badly that one wonders if someone hasn’t put a spell on him.

Oh, and it’s still the “District of Columbia.”

Tricky stuff, magic. NAR should leave it to the professionals. 😉

Picture found here.

Stand Up for Religious Freedom & the Divine Feminine

This Sunday, October 30th, is predicted to be a lovely Autumn day in Columbia’s District. That’s good news because, beginning at noon, Pagans from all around the country will be gathering at Lafayette Park, directly across from the White House, to hold a Celebration of the Divine Feminine and Religious Freedom, as a protest to the New Apostolic Reformation’s 51-day prayer campaign targeting Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, Heathens, and other Goddess-worshipers nationwide.

If you can possibly be there, even for a short time, please do come.

Because Lafayette Park is so near to the White House, there are some safety restrictions. For example, weapons are not allowed and that includes even ritual knives, athames, staffs, etc. More information on these requirements, as well as information on metro stops, etc. can be found here.

The ritual and drumming promise to be outstanding.

Will you be there?

Picture found here.

Conversations with Columbia: Part Five

This post is the final in a series begun in July, concerning my conversation with the Goddess Columbia. You can read the earlier installments here, here, here, and here.

My final question to Columbia was: “What do you want from your devotees?” Using the Wildwood Tarot, I pulled the Eight of Vessels: Rebirth.* The Wildwood Tarot book says:

Meaning: By looking at the past, acknowledging our mistakes and learning from them, we grow and attain new wisdom. The future waits to be unfolded by our positive action as we become “The Eighth Vessel” and receive powerful rejuvinating energies of rebirth.

Reading Points: Rejoice! A time of renewal and potential is here. The cycle of rebirth and healing brings inner peace and confidence. Once you accept that all the blessings and gifts of life can be your or, indeed, already belong to you, the fear of asking is gone. It is time to shed the skin of the past and accept and utilize the overflowing potential of the present that is freely available to you. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Do not be afraid to ask: “Why not me?” See potential where others see barriers. See challenge as others see impossible odds. Apply all that you have learned through experience and toil to any problem and you will not fail. You have striven to survive and absorb insight; you have endured loss to retain your integrity. All of these trials have made you stronger, wiser, and more effective. Drink of this new fountain of opportunity and renew your life objectives. You have endured the past; its gifts were hard won. [N]ow the chalenge of the future unfolds. Grasp it and shape it in your hands as you would have it manifest in your life.

Which is a lot to consider.

What I hear Columbia saying through the five Tarot cards that I pulled is this:

She’s the American manifestation of an ancient and significant Goddess, now the genius locii of my city and this nation. She’s more deeply connected to the green, wilderness parts of my city and of this nation than many suspect. She “the goddess of the land, sometimes expressed as Sovereignty” and validates the leadership of legitimate government, bringing them their land’s version of the sacred sword and the Hallows of Britain. She’s a symbol of the “power and protection of the land.”

On the other hand, She’s still young, still ecstatic in her dance upon This Place, still performing her initiation ritual, still overwhelmed with bounty and connection. In spite of Her connection to older Goddesses, Columbia’s “freedom of spirit marks [her] out as an original and unique personality” one with a tendency to invasiveness in territories not her own.

What Columbia wants from her devotees, it seems to me, is a period of renewal and rebirth in which, using the wisdom that we’ve gained from prior generations, we accept her blessings and stop acting from fear. She wants her devotees to step up, to be unafraid of asking, “Why not me?” especially when Columbia’s principles (liberty, freedom, democracy, justice) are threatened. Columbia wants us to grasp the future “and shape it in your hands as you would have it manifest in your life.”

Makes sense.

I plan to do future trance workings to get to know Columbia even better. I feel the need to do them around significant American holidays, and I won’t be using Columbus Day, for, maybe, obvious reasons. Hopefully, the Thanksgiving Holiday (which I do consider an almost uniquely American holiday) will allow me some more time. In the meanwhile, your interpretations of the cards, in comments, are always welcome.

*This Wildwood Tarot card is a significant departure from the traditional Rider-Waite-based Eight of Cups, which shows an incomplete set of cups stacked beside flowing water and a person setting off in search of something more. I think it can be significant when, in a Tarot reading, the card selected varies from the traditional card. Here, there is a sense of more being avaliable, but it’s not based upon an incomplete or lacking past; it’s more abundant and optimistic than that. Of course, the card reminds me immediately of the Potomac River, which flows through Washington, D.C. and which I very much associate with Columbia.

Picture found here.

Conversations with Columbia: Part Four

It’s fascinating to me, in so many ways, how Paganism has grown and changed in the few short decades since, just about the time that I was born, Doreen Valiente and Gerald Gardner reintroduced it to the Western world. In some ways, the Witchcraft that I practice today, on the banks of the Potomac River, is as different from Gardnerian Wicca as Gerald Gardner’s practice was from rituals enacted by the builders of Stonehenge (and we know very little about their practice. But I’m willing to bet it had no borrowings from Crowley, although Crowley may, or may not, have stumbled upon some of theirs. And round and round and round we go.) And, yet, there is something profoundly ancient and connected that everyone feels when they set the soles of their feet and the far-focused cells of their eyes upon THE LAND. And, at that level, what I do in 21st Century America — what Valiente did in 20th Century England, what my great-great-many-times-great grandmother did in a cave in ancient Sweden — has always been “the same” religion (even when, for my Methodist grandmother, it took place in a small church at the foot of the Rockies, making music on an old and wheezey organ).

One way that Paganism is growing/changing/morphing/transmuting is to become, in many ways, more local. If you read books from the 1970s/1980s, you’ll see a Paganism focused upon either the Old Goddesses/Gods of Britain or upon some other particular pantheon, often Kermetic or Greco-Roman. And my own personal opinion, which is mine, is that those Goddesses/Gods aren’t going anywhere. They’re growing stronger and more present and will continue to be so — as will the Hindu/Buddhist pantheons, and the increasingly modernized loa out of Africa, and a resurgence of some of the Goddesses/Gods of the American SouthWest/South American pantheon. And, that’s the thing. Earth is crammed, not a someone once said, with Heaven, but with Goddesses/Gods. But for a growing group of modern Pagans, Earth is crammed with local Goddesses/Gods, with Goddesses/Gods adapted to local practice.

And, for a growing group of modern Pagans, the Goddess Columbia is coming to represent that devotion to local practice. Columbia is a modern (as in, from the last 300 years or so) American Goddess. While her roots run back to Libertas and forwards to Marianne, (and, as my trance work with her has shown, back to the sovereignty of the land that the ancient cave bears embodied for Arhturian England), she exists today as a symbol of what is and can be good about America.

On Independence Day 2011, I did a series of trance workings with Columbia to learn more about her. I live only a few miles from her giant statue (entitled Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace) atop the United States Capitol. I see her every morning as I come across the Potomac River, leaving my Witch’s cottage and putting on the robes of a lawyer. She stands silhouetted against every sunset I see when I leave work on the Hill or dinner with friends. More than that, her statue stands on my altar, I come into sacred space meditating upon the base of her shield and her sandaled feet in the waters of the Potomac and the office buildings and bodegas of my City. And I felt that I needed to know her better, to get to know Who She Is, to learn, as I still need to do, her story.

I’ve recounted in prior posts how she revealed herself to me: Green Woman (High Priestess), Cave Bear (Queen of Pentacles), Ecstasy (Five of Cups).

I understood Columbia as Cave Bear (Often linked to Arthurian legend, the Bear remains a symbol of the power and protection of the land. Reading Points: Richness and plenty surround you. Your bounty and welcoming nature make you popular with all. Many depend on you, and your natural sensuality makes you powerfully attractive to others. Pragmatism and generosity open doorways at every point).

And I understood Columbia as Green Woman (In the Arthurian tradition, she validates the kingship of Arthur by bringing him the sacred sword, and establishes him as the guardian of the Hallows of Britain, sometimes appearing as the Lady of the Lake, who fosters . . . Arthur himself as well as the young hero Lancelot. In other stories, she manifests as the Flower Bride, sought after by more than one of Arthur’s great knights and offering the deep bonds of matrimony and joy to those with whom she shares her bounty. At its heart, her sacred role is the initiator of the human individual into the realm of the Wildwood.).

Columbia surprised me when she showed up as Ecstasy: a young woman still in the full thrill of her powers, lost in the dance, still as much used by the Power as she uses the Power. I blogged about my encounter with Her as Ecstasy here.

As I often do when I pull a Tarot card that surprises me, I sat for a long time with Columbia as Ecstasy. Then, I asked: “Really? That surprises me. What else can you tell me about yourself as a young person, about yourself as Ecstasy?” Then, I pulled another card. I pulled Stoat: Page of Bows. (In the Wild Wood Tarot, Bows correspond to Wands). Here’s what “the book” says:

MEANING: With a fierce hunting instinct and its ability to live underground, combined with the changing colour of its fur from white to red and its black tail (the three sacred colors of the ancient world), the Stoat has strong mystical links to the sovereignity of the land.

READIND POINTS: Often, you are seen as an emissary and, as such, your gifts are widely recognized and honored. Your ability to perceive the truth in almost any matter is vastly helpful and your freedom of spirit marks you out as an original and unique personality.

Wikipedia says that the stoat: “[I]s listed among the 100 “world’s worst alien invasive species”. And, “The root word for ‘stoat’ is likely either the Belgic word stout, meaning ‘bold,’ or the Gothic word stautan, meaning ‘to push.'” Sounds right to me.

So, there you are. Sovereignity of the Land tied into the youthful spirit of a Page. Freedom of Spirit tied into something original. A tendency to invasiveness. Columbia could hardly be more clear.

This sweet Goddess is still finding herself, finding her followers, finding a way to Be in a Land to which She was transported, where she wears a blanket, but also blood, from the First People here (as the Goddesses/Gods of Britain wear blood from the First Peoples there whom they pushed under the Hills). And, when you think about it, Aint’ that America?

A devotee of this Goddess, I’m figuring it out along with Her and I cherish her willingness to admit that She’s still working it out with a rattle, dancing in a circumscribed circle. I’m going to have to spend some time figuring out what this means in terms of Her worship, in terms of what it means for her erstwhile priestess on the banks of the Potomac. What are your thoughts?

I have one more post in this series. Stay tuned.

Picture found here.