Tag Archives: Moon in Taurus

They Say a Witch Lives Here

Gwyndolyn cottage storybook Homes

I wish that I’d read this article about making a house a home before I bought my little cottage. Please read the whole thing, whether you’re still dreaming of your own home or whether you’ve lived for years in the place you were born to inhabit.

I especially like points 7 and 8:

7. When you hear the great-horned owl calling, take your daughter out into the night. Listen with her, and let the certainty of a second child bloom in the whos.

8. When your daughters run to you, calling excitedly about a frog or praying mantis, push aside whatever work lies before you, and show them by your keen interest that what they have discovered is the real work. Let them take down your field guide and flip the pages. Let their wonder feed your own.

I knew that I really lived here the first time that G/Son, then only two, and I lived through a thunderstorm here and then went outside barefoot, walked in the stream in front of the house, and sent prayers to the Potomac River. I knew that I would stay when I tucked him into bed, full of roast chicken, and apples, and cheese, and sang him to sleep under heavy covers.

I am the Witch of this place.

May it be so for you.

Picture found here.

Wednesday Night Poetry Blogging — Sun in Pisces, Moon in Taurus Edition


The Curtain

~ Hayden Carruth
Just over the horizon a great machine of death is roaring and rearing.

We can hear it always. Earthquake, starvation, the ever-renewing sump of corpse-flesh.

But in this valley the snow falls silently all day, and out our window

We see the curtain of it shifting and folding, hiding us away in our little house,

We see earth smoothened and beautified, made like a fantasy, the snow-clad trees

So graceful. In our new bed, which is big enough to seem like the north pasture almost

With our two cats, Cooker and Smudgins, lying undisturbed in the southeastern and southwestern corners,

We lie loving and warm, looking out from time to time. “Snowbound,” we say. We speak of the poet

Who lived with his young housekeeper long ago in the mountains of the western province, the kingdom

Of cruelty, where heads fell like wilted flowers and snow fell for many months

Across the pass and drifted deep in the vale. In our kitchen the maple-fire murmurs

In our stove. We eat cheese and new-made bread and jumbo Spanish olives

Which have been steeped in our special brine of jalapeños and garlic and dill and thyme.

We have a nip or two from the small inexpensive cognac that makes us smile and sigh.

For a while we close the immense index of images that is our lives—for instance,

The child on the Mescalero reservation in New Mexico sitting naked in 1966 outside his family’s hut,

Covered with sores, unable to speak. But of course we see the child every day,

We hold out our hands, we touch him shyly, we make offerings to his implacability.

No, the index cannot close. And how shall we survive? We don’t and cannot and will never

Know. Beyond the horizon a great unceasing noise is undeniable. The machine,

Like an immense clanking vibrating shuddering unnameable contraption as big as a house, as big as the whole town,

May break through and lurch into our valley at any moment, at any moment.

Cheers, baby. Here’s to us. See how the curtain of snow wavers and then falls back.

from Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey: Poems, 1991-1995.

Picture found here.

Money & Pagan Values

I’ve started and then, electronically torn up several posts about money for Pagan Values Month. I don’t have the final and definitive thing to say about Pagans, values, and money. And so, please consider this post not so much a grand essay as a gumbo of thoughts about Pagans and money.

First, you don’t have to be a member of the Pagan community for very long to figure out that there are a few issues that seem to “cause problems” for us. Money. Time. Bodily health. Someone else’s success. And, I’d argue that those issues are all, if not precisely the same problem, at least all bound up together and indicative of a bigger, deeper, root problem. (It’s not, IMHO, an accident that all of these issues relate to the element of Earth.)

Second, it’s counterintuitive (at least to me) that Pagans would have these issues. It is, after all, the Christians who are supposed to believe that matter is fallen, that money is the root of all evil, that bodies are evil, and that seeing others get attention should not inspire jealousy or guilt. It’s Buddhists who believe that matter is illusion and that transcending it is the ultimate goal of our journeys here in the material world. And it’s Pagans who are supposed to believe that matter is not fallen, that there’s nothing wrong with prosperity, that our bodies are starlight and magic made manifest, that life here on Earth is to be enjoyed, that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, and that the Universe has enough for everyone.

And, yet, here we are. The Christians have clearly worked out their issues with money. The Buddhists go merrily along transcending Maya. And Pagans keep losing their shit, individually and collectively, over financial well-being, body issues, and success.

Third, John Michael Greer points out that money (as opposed to other systems of wealth distribution such as, for example, household, gift, or exchange economies) does some interesting things that often go unnoticed. (1) It “tends to draw all economic activity into its own ambit by supplanting other forms of exchange with money exchange. That can (and very often is) used for political control, but this is a side effect. The principal effect of money is to turn a society into an economic monoculture.” (2) It “makes it harder, not easier, to value certain very large classes of goods. What [are called] primary goods are the most obvious example. . . . Most traditional societies around the world, by contrast, have no trouble whatsoever recognizing the value of primary [aka natural] goods and finding ways to integrate that value into their own systems of exchange. . . . The Salmon People are perfectly capable of participating in a gift economy, but there’s no way they can cash a check — or, for that matter, write one.” (3) “Money functions as a good in its own right, and the right to use it functions as a service. [Thus,] it becomes profitable to exchange money for money. . . . When money dominates a society, so does the world of finance, and the amount of money being traded for money can exceed by many orders of magnitude the amount of money being traded for goods and services.”

Fourth, anyone pondering issues of real wealth would be well-advised to consult Wendell Berry:

But I would insist that the economic arts are just as honorably and authentically refinable as the fine arts. And so I am nominating economy for an equal standing among the arts and humanities. I mean, not economics, but economy, the making of the human household upon the earth: the arts of adapting kindly the many human households to the earth’s many ecosystems and human neighborhoods. This is the economy that the most public and influential economists never talk about, the economy that is the primary vocation and responsibility of every one of us.

“The making of the human household upon the Earth.” That’s where, IMHO, gardening, keeping a few chickens, knitting warm clothing, knowing how to insulate a home, reading stories to grandchildren, reading Tarot, and figuring out how to brew tea from plants along the hedges comes in. As JMG, notes, such skills are likely to become far more valuable in the next decade or so. It’s also where learning how to manage money comes in. I’m not suggesting that all Pagans need to become hedge fund managers. I am suggesting that they all need to learn the basics that allow one to stay out of debt and live within a budget.

So, is there, Fifth, anything that can profitably (heh) be said about Pagan Values and money?

I’ll begin by admitting my own Moon in Taurus which leads to my preference for a safe, warm, tight little cottage stocked with rice & bean soup, firewood, linen, lavender, and surrounded by the trees and plants of my landbase; to my desire for over a year’s worth of salary tucked away in savings; to my own pleasure in long-term-disability insurance, a well-written will, canned goods and bottled water enough to survive a v bad storm; a snug roof; to my need for whatever safety and security is possible in this (as Starhawk said) interesting, but not perfect, universe. Those are, in fact, the pre-conditions that allow me to do magic, to be the Witch of This Place.

In my own humble opinion, there are two ways for Pagans to approach this issue.

My madcap friend R represents, for me, one way.

It’s v important for her to have plenty of free time to head off to Pagan festivals, to take off and go camping in the woods, to always be able to tell an employer to sod off. And, so, she takes jobs that provide more time off than money, counts every penny, figures out ways to stretch every dollar, and never wastes anything. She has made an art form out of living within her means. She’s done v well at it, having just bought her second house. And that’s what lets her do her magic.

And I represent the other way.

I have a job that stimulates me intellectually and that pays rather well, but that can, and often does, take away my weekends, my late nights, my staring-at-the-ceiling-at-two-am moments. I can’t easily head off to the woods even when I may want for several weeks to do so. But I make enough money to be very secure (at least as much as is possible in these rough times) in my nice cottage, in my tea-stocked larder, and in the warm blankets in my lavender-tucked linen closet. I have a wine cellar that will accommodate any guests blown in by Autumn winds and a guest room that will keep my friends dry in the strong Summer rains. And that’s what lets me do my magic.

R needs my secure little cottage. I need R’s involvement with the woods.

I think that we Pagans need to learn from each other’s relationships to money.

Which kind of Pagan are you? What’s your relationship to money, financial security, bodily well-being?

Picture found here.

House Blessing

My neighbors had a huge oak tree come crashing down during Hurricane Irene. It crushed their car, tore off their roof, and did enough structural damage that there’s now a big red sign from the county saying that their home is not safe for occupancy. Four days later, the tree company is still working at slicing down the tree and carting off the huge sections of trunk. That (and worse) happened to people all up and down the East Coast. It will be a long, costly project, but my neighbors (and many others) will rebuild.

Here’s a blessing from John O’Donohue‘s book To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings. It’s for a new home, but I think it will work as well for one that’s been rebuilt.

Elemental Blessing for a New Home

Before a human voice was ever heard here,
This place has known the respect of stone,
The friendship of the wind, always returning
With news of elsewhere, whispered in seed and pollen,
The thin symphonies of birdsong softening the silence,
The litanies of rain rearranging the air,
Cascades of sunlight opening and closing days,
And the glow of the moon gazing through darkness.
May all that elemental enrichment
Bless the foundation and standing of your home.

Before you came here, this place has known
The wonder of children’s eyes,
The hope of mornings in troubled hearts,
The tranquility of twilight easing the night,
The drama of dreams under sleeping eyelids,
The generous disturbance of birth,
The anxieties of old age unclenching into grace
And the final elegance of calmly embraced death.
May the life of you new home enter
Into this inheritance of spirit.

May the rain fall kindly,
May daylight illuminate your hearts,
May the darkness never burden.

May those who dwell here in the unseen
Watch over your coming and going,
May your lives of love and promise
Refine and deepen the mind of the land.

(Regular readers may note that I’ve linked to Bartleby’s Books, an independent Vermont bookseller. I usually link to Politics & Prose, my beloved D.C. independent book store. (If you are ever in D.C., P&P is definitely worth a side trip. It’s metro-accessible, surrounded by great places to eat, and it’s a simply fantastic, old-fashioned bookstore where you wander around, see more D.C. celebrities than at Mortons, and find books that make you go, “Oh, I never heard of this; I NEED it!” Bartleby’s store, like my neighbors’ home, was badly damaged by Hurricane Irene. (I admit the thought of rain water pouring down on the books in my home makes me sick.) While Bartleby’s rebuilds, their on-line sales will be their primary source of income. If you’re inclined to buy O’Donohue’s Book of Blessings, you might consider doing so from Bartleby’s. Or, your own independent book store.)

Picture found here.