December, 2010

Merry Yule and Welcome to our December Issue

December, 2010

YulePent

Blessing Everyone.  Welcome to our Yule issue packed with Yule information, spells, correspondences, and much more.  We hope you enjoy it!

Yule2

We are, of course, always looking for new and exciting writers to add to our family.  Some of the topics we are looking for writers for are:

Meditation

Kitchen Witchery

recipes

Or if you have any ideas of your own you would like to add.  If you are interested email us at admin@paganpages.org

We are still collecting for our soldier bags.  So please, find it in your hearts to help.  Write to us at admin@paganpages.org to help.

Have a happy and safe Yule everyone, and we will see you next month!!

Ask Your Mama

December, 2010

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Healing Circles

Dear Mama Donna,

Greetings!  I am seeking your advice. A friend is very ill with a lung condition that has plagued her since childhood. The condition has deteriorated rapidly over the last two years and now today she is at home on oxygen, fighting for her health.

I would like to perform a healing circle with some of our female friends. Not having done this before I seek your counsel on how to perform this ritual. My hope is to bring her to my home, which is a healing space, and the circle would be performed here. She is losing hope and needs a boost, and we know that the healing power of women can achieve that.  She has no daughters, nor any close friends and lives with her husband and  son. I know the time spent here would be a boost since she loves my home and enjoys spending time with me and my daughters.

I am grateful for your spirit,

– For a Friend in Need, in South Carolina

Dear Friend in Deed,

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. It is very sad. I agree that a women’s healing circle is just the ticket.

There are no rules about ritual. It all comes down to your intention. You need to be clear about that. Is it to boost her mood? Is it to recharge her hope and energy? Is it to heal her? Is it to reverse her condition?

It sounds to me like you are thinking about a circle of women to support her and surround her with compassion and comfort. This is lovely. Just make sure that you understand what you want to achieve. And that the entire group is in agreement. Keeping your intention in mind, whatever you do will be correct.

– Create a safe space for ritual. Do something to define the circle. Draw its circumference with ribbons, with chalk, with oil, with blessings. The idea is to consecrate a space inside of which is holy and safe and protected. I like to pass around a vial of oil and have people bless each other around the circle.

– Offer many blessings: bless each other, bless the elements that comprise all of life and existence, bless your selves.

– Express your intention for the ceremony. Maybe have each woman offer something to your friend: a thought, a prayer, a poem, a story, a memory.

– Why not ask each woman to bring a small, meaningful amulet (a lucky stone, shell, crystal, etc.) and as part of the ritual, have her explain what her amulet is, why it is special, and why she is offering it as a gift. Collect them all in a bag to give to your friend so that she can carry a continual reminder of the energy and hope offered by the group.

– Light candles as symbols of hope and cheer.

– You might have her sit or lie in the center of the circle and everyone reach out and touch her with hands extended in love and support to impart your intention for hr wellbeing.

All of these are only suggestions. If an idea comes to you, do it. Follow your own instincts. Whatever you do will be filled with love and well meaning. And she will feel that love and it will buoy her.

It is dear of you to do this. You are a good friend, indeed! I think your circle will be highly appreciated by every single woman who participates in this ceremony of woman support. It will be healing on many, many levels.

With blessings of compassionate concern,

xxMama Donna

*************************************************************

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net

www.TheQueenOfMySelf.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Henes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen_of_My_Self

Watch her videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/MamaDonnaHenes

Follow her on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/queenmamadonna

Connect with her on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/#/donnahenes?ref=profile

Read her on the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-henes/

Read her on Beliefnet:

http://blog.beliefnet.com/thequeenofmyself/

GypsyWytch

December, 2010

GypsyWytchColumn21


Yule-Time Log Spell

yule-log

Long ago, Pagan’s brought a live tree into their homes, then decorated it with symbolic items like bells that would ring when a Spirit was near. Small tasty treats hung on the tree to feed the hungry Spirits. The tree itself was for the wood spirits to keep warm out of the weather during winter. Green and red were the corresponding seasonal colors, and gift giving was embraced by all. Lastly, a pentagram was set atop the tree to represent Spirit, Earth, Water, Fire and Air.

If this ancient ritual sounds familiar, remember, Pagan’s had these traditions centuries before the Christians. Even the Horned God was represented as a stag during Yule, from December 20th to the 23rd in the Northern Hemisphere. Below is a traditional Yule spell that will bring good fortune to you and your loved ones.

What you will need:

  • Yule log of oak, walnut or pine, but never Elder.
  • Slips of paper and a pen for each member who joins you to celebrate.
  • Charcoal or white chalk to draw on the Yule log.

Use fire during Yule to leave failure behind you and set new goals. Find a large log-sized piece of oak, pine or walnut. Elder is never to be used. Now draw a large circle with lines emanating from the “sun” to symbolize this Sabbath as the rebirth of the sun God.

During Yule, the longest night of the year, light the Yule log with your family indoors or outdoors. Your family should write their goals, then visualize achieving their goals as they toss each folded paper into the fire while saying:

Mother Goddess hear my Yule-time plea,

I wish to _______________ for all to see

Blessed Be, so mote it be!

When everyone has made their wishes, dampen the Yule log and save a portion of the wood to protect your home until next Yule. You’ll use the wood to light the new Yule log next year.

banner-irish-gypsy-novels1

Interweavings

December, 2010

I love Winter Solstice!  It is the quiet moment before the holiday chaos.  The in-breath of stillness and peace brings the meaning of the season inward.

We have created a ritual for our family consisting of  walking a beautiful spiral labrinth.   Each person carries an unlit candle and walks the path to the center where they light their candle and then find a place on the spiral to stand and bring their “light to the world”.

An indoor spiral is created in our living room using stars cut out of white, gold or silver paper. I let the kids trace star cookie cutters onto the paper and then cut out. Glitter glue or other embellishments are sometimes added. Larger stars can be made out of paper plates and then covered in foil.

Lay a simple spiral of stars on the floor. Allow a 2-foot   path to walk on. Once set up, have everyone leave the space except mother. When called or on a musical cue the family enters, youngest to oldest, and walks the path one at a time.  At the center sits mother holding a lit candle.  Upon getting to mother, the child lights a candle and finds a place on the path for it to go and walks out of the spiral. Quietly each one takes their turn.

We use tea lights and votive holders for little ones. Mother lights their candle for them. When the children are older, other candles can be used. I have seen battery operated candles for house windows that could also be used if you had very active children.  I don’t even need to go into the list of safety issues needing to be in place in order to use candles, do I?

Gentle music playing and a story or poem read before and after everyone has walked the path. Then a quiet moment to take in the beauty of the room and the peace of the ceremony. Quietly leave the space with a parent staying behind to blow out candles. It is best not to let your children blow them out. To keep the image in mind is what we are after.

One year my oldest daughter made a very big spiral in our backyard  with strings of Christmas lights. I stood in the center and each person walked the twinkling path holding an apple with a candle in it. After lighting the candles, our family stayed on the path where they wanted their light to shine. It was lovely in the cold, clear night.   The spiral remained in our backyard for the whole season. It was magical to see it out the window at night.

Forest Moon Grove Church

December, 2010

So there I was in the first formation of my new company. It was 1 July 2002 and I was transferred from C Co. to B Co. since they needed more NCO’s (Non-Commissioned Officers) to take over a new section of the Motor Pool and me, knowing my job and good at leading Soldiers, was sent over. It was supposed to be an honor to be chosen but I felt like a red-headed step-child being sent to the worst company of the battalion by reputation. I was a witch, practiced in my home, and felt no need for politics or getting involved in a group setting although I had checked out a couple of coven options in Germany before. So, I was in this first formation and the 1SG came out and blatantly stated, “If you are a Wiccan or a Satanist, you will not practice in my company area. But, if you follow the same god I do, I will ensure you can always go to church.” Oh wow, I was appalled and infuriated. After formation I went straight to the company training room and asked the SSG behind the desk for every Pagan Soldier’s name that claimed Wicca or Pagan in their records. She looked at me and said, “Oh wow, you must be Pagan” to which I responded in the affirmative. When it was all said and done there were approximately 5 Soldiers claiming a Pagan faith and 1 Satanist. I was then told by one of the Soldiers that he had gone to the chaplain to ask a question and the chaplain had argued with him that he was indeed a devil worshipper. That got me going again and I went to the chaplain’s office to confront him and was met by his assistant, another SSG. She asked what she could do for me and I asked her about what he had stated about Wicca and she got a disgruntled look on her face and asked me, ”So what, you’re here to educate the chaplain?”  Upon which I replied, “Well I guess if he’s misinformed about what a Wiccan is then yes I am.” and I walked out. I did eventually meet the chaplain and got the misunderstanding straightened out and then we discussed the potential of starting a group on the base. I explained that there were Soldiers of Pagan faiths not allowed to practice due to the 1SG, and that they couldn’t light candles or incense in the barracks, a big part of their practice, due to fire regulations. I discussed having a location on base that we could do an open ritual, and the potential for a Wiccan Breakfast for all the Pagan Soldiers to gather one morning and discuss the group during Physical Training. The chaplain was excited about the opportunity and offered to sponsor the event. At last, it looked like everything was coming together, in the meantime I was talking to the Pagan Soldiers in my new company and keeping them updated as to what was taking place. 2 days later I travelled to the hospital for an appointment and I ran into the chaplain. I was told that he couldn’t sponsor the event since they weren’t allowed to have prayer breakfasts anymore either and that if I wanted to do anything I was on my own. I was a bit upset by this and returned to base. In the meantime, I had been talking to the Battalion XO, a Major who was very open minded. I was the battalion safety NCO as well so I had access to the officers in the battalion as I had to brief them on accidents, etc that took place. I was telling the Major about the Pagan issues and that the chaplain had dropped his support and I didn’t know what to do. He told me to go to the base café and go ahead and schedule my breakfast and he would get it approved and he set up a meeting with the Colonel to talk to him about a meeting place for rituals since he was the Commanding Officer of the base anyway. He was a bit upset and said he was going to look at the training calendar and if he saw any prayer breakfasts from that chaplain he was going to slam him for discrimination. I went to the café and talked to the owner, a very friendly German who then informed me the chaplain had prayer breakfasts there all the time and that he thought the Pagans meeting was great and how many did I expect so he could plan. I went to the local PR Office of the base and talked to them about advertising and they offered to put it on every electronic bulletin board in all the surrounding military communities as well. I returned to battalion and the Major informed me that he had contacted the chaplain and I had an appointment with the Colonel that afternoon. I was ecstatic, finally something might be accomplished. I told him when the breakfast was and he marked it on his calendar and said it would be announced to all the company commanders and if any Soldiers said they hadn’t heard it or were being told they couldn’t go to let him know. That afternoon I went to the Colonels office where the chaplain and his assistant were waiting outside. The Colonel came out and in a gruff voice asked what we wanted and we explained we had an appointment with him and then he saw me and his expression changed and he said, “SGT Cooper come on in, is this an open or closed door meeting?” I told him it could stay open and then we went right into the idea for a location to practice. He said that shouldn’t be a problem, what was the issue, there shouldn’t be one due to freedom of religion. We chose a spot on the backside of the airfield and that was settled. Then the chaplain’s assistant whined about the candles and incense in the barracks and that it violated fire code. The Colonel looked at the fire code and said those were his barracks and fire codes could be altered and how was it they could light candles in their chapel when that was also a government building. It was explained that there candles were never left attended whereupon I jumped in and said nor are a Pagan’s candles, they are always watched and I explained how spell candles were used. The Colonel said, “OK, problem solved we’ll get the policy changed.” The breakfast was great, we actually had 13 families show up and 2 other chaplains from other communities that were curious and wanted to help. I got a roster going and we scheduled our Yule ritual for on the airfield. Everyone was excited that we were actually starting a group and showed up promptly. It was a powerful ceremony, all the candles remained lit despite the cold chill and the breeze blowing. We finished the ritual and went to our house for breakfast and coffee. Everyone stayed at the house all day discussing herbs, rituals, other groups etc. It was a very good group. We met continually a couple other times and then I got orders to Fort Lewis leaving that February. It was sudden, but we established a family that would take over as leaders for the group so it wouldn’t collapse and everyone was happy. This was the first group I established and it opened my eyes to the needs of groups and the discrimination of the Army with Pagans in general. All would be quiet for the next couple years as once again I just practiced in my house. That would change January of 2004.

I got orders to go to Balad, Iraq with a signal company around October time frame to leave in January. We started preparing and I started doing some meditating. I meditated best with drum music and was laying in bed meditating when Morrighan visited me and showed me all would be alright. I continued to meditate and found myself looking through the eyes of an eagle down at a valley below. I was visited by the Bear, the Badger, and the Eagle and they were introduced as my totems. I have also always been drawn to the Raccoon but that being the cousin of the bear, would make sense. I didn’t start studying Paganism until I turned 18 as I was raised in the church by my parents. I would get home from church, put on my play clothes and be gone in the woods we owned for hours communing with nature. I found hidden valleys deep in the forest and follow deer through them and just lie on the forest floor for what seemed like eternity. I was a Pagan child but didn’t know what a Pagan was.

We arrived in Kuwait for desert training before we were to drive 3 days into Balad, Iraq. We had no armor for our trucks as this was before they had up-armored Humvees so we had to construct armor using rubber mats and plywood. No-one had any metal as all the other units had already taken it. Then we were told the Iraqi’s were running wire across the highway to cut off the gunners head and we had to weld steel poles to the brush-guards of our trucks to cut any wire we encountered before it reached the gunner. By this time, I knew of another Pagan Soldier in my company so we stuck close together and as the day got closer for our 3 day convoy we agreed to do a protective circle on the trucks. I pulled out white candles I had brought and some sea salt and we circled the convoy with salt. That morning I heard a shout and looked up to see the sky filled with dragonflies all heading towards Iraq. The dragonflies filled the skies for a good hour and I took that as a sign that we had been heard and would be protected throughout our trip. I felt confident that everything would be alright. It was an uneventful 3 days other then the 2nd night sleeping on top of our trucks and we heard a suicide bombers car explode but not close enough to do any damage to any of our people. We arrived to Balad after crossing through Baghdad without a shot fired. Once we got situated, my buddy and I started thinking about starting a group on the base. It was evening and the moon was coming out full, we were looking at it in admiration and he mentioned how beautiful the moon always looked in the desert. We discussed it and that was the birth of our name, Desert Moon Grove was born. I looked around the base for any sign or chapel service for Pagans and found none. I made up a bunch of signs asking if you were a Pagan Soldier to meet us at the library at 7PM on a certain date. We arrived there and found 2 Soldiers waiting. I was called into my 1SG office and asked if the signs were mine I said yes and was reprimanded and told I couldn’t do that I would have to get proper authorization to advertise anything religious although there were bible study signs on every street corner it seemed but that was just fine. I went to the base chaplain and brought up that we wished to start a Pagan group. He seemed excited about the prospect and agreed to give us a spot inside his chapel compound outside a 9’ square for ritual use but first I had to find an endorsing agency to represent me and then he would sponsor me. I went online and found such an agency and after talking back and forth with them finally received the appropriate paperwork to present to the chaplain. I was then allowed to put up signs advertising we had a Pagan group on base called Desert Moon Grove. My Motor Sergeant who had also been a prior IG Inspector gave me permission to use my maintenance shop as a meeting place for the group since we didn’t have an official spot and so I set up a locker with all the herbs, books, incense and candles I had brought with me. I walked by the chapel and noticed in the spot the chaplain had designated our ritual ground he had stacked lumber and other junk there so obviously he had no intention of allowing us to use it anyway. One day the chaplain called me into his office and was smiling and unusually friendly. He started asking me religious questions about the holy-spirit and what our take on all that was. He asked about blood sacrifice and that he didn’t want to catch us running around the base nude and I just laughed at him and explained we don’t do that anyway. He had many misconceptions but he made it quite apparent he didn’t want to be corrected on them either. We had a spiritual debate for an hour before he realized he wouldn’t move past a stalemate. He let me go and was quite frustrated but we were legit and had our group. When we first started meeting I had out it out as a weekly meeting every Thursday night, but the Soldiers came to my shop every night so we turned into an every-day group as needed. I had coffee every night and if we were running low I would just say, “Morrighan, we’re running out of coffee.”  Sure enough a package would come in and it would be full of coffee. I placed a message on Witches Voice for Troop support help as I wasn’t aware of anyone out there that sent Pagan packages and sure enough, a huge response was shown from Pagan wanting to help but not knowing how. We got supplies constantly from that point and many friends were made still to this day. We had discussion groups all the time and one night, while we were talking, one of our Soldiers team leaders came in and told him his section had been ambushed in a convoy and his squad leader and platoon sergeant had both been killed. I took him out and let him ground on a tree and then we did a healing ritual with him. It was a very somber night and the realities of war were always made clear. We had mortar attacks every day and night at random times and it wasn’t unusual for us to have to put on our body armor and helmets in the midst of our meeting in case our building got hit. That made us laugh, it was Morrighan’s building after all. I had Morrighan’s altar in my office and when asked, everyone was told who my deities were. We honored all Sabbats and Full Moons. Beltane was engineer tape tied off to a tree and colored with red dye. We got apple juice and fruit from the dining facility and did a poetry reading after we danced around the May Pole. One major disturbance, a Soldier showed up one night touting all these degrees he claimed and being a warrior while following Apollo and Aphrodite. His claims didn’t make sense and after 3 days of disturbances he found himself out of the group. I have never physically or literally kicked anyone out of the groups, I believe if their meant to be with us they’ll stay but if they have ill intent it will come out and they will leave. It has always worked that way. The troubled Soldier emailed my endorsing agency making slanderous claims about the group and me specifically which upset everyone in the group. The Soldier who acted as my advisor emailed the kids organization to validate his claims of 2nd degree and let them know about his actions. They responded with a who-cares attitude so we then notified my endorsing agent about the false claims and although they never pulled my endorsement, I never, the entire year heard anything from them in support of anything we did. I dropped their endorsement after that tour and switched to a different organization.  Over all we had an excellent year, we saw over 100 Soldiers, Airmen, and even had a civilian contractor come. After reading the military newspaper, there was a big uproar about Pagans in the Military and I followed that quite closely, but what shocked me more than anything was seeing an article about a Wiccan Soldier getting stoned by fellow Soldiers and being hospitalized for practicing his beliefs. I was appalled and felt something should be done. I contacted the Camp Anaconda Newspaper and met a very Pagan friendly reporter who was intrigued about the prospect of a Pagan group on base. I told her my concerns about the incident in Baghdad and it was decided we would hold a Pagan Awareness day on Samhain open to the base. The reporter did a nice article on Desert Moon Grove and advertised our event. We decorated the maintenance shop and set up an astrology program on one of the computers to give people their own charts, set up a dry altar and handed out information pamphlets on what a Pagan was and was not. It was well received and we even had some Pagan Soldiers find us that weren’t aware we were there. On an interesting note, my boss, the SFC who allowed me to use my bay for meetings, and who also was catholic, in the beginning of the meetings was always kind of stand-offish and thought we were strange. Towards the end of the tour he would walk in and ask what a stone was or for a tarot reading etc and was very interested in what we did. As we were cleaning up and prepping to go home, I packed up Morrighan’s altar. The bay door which stands 12 feet tall slammed shut, there was no wind. One of our Christian NCO’s looked at me, and looked at the door. He asked, “SGT Cooper?”, “Ya?”, “What was that?”, “oh, that? That was just Morrighan leaving the building, we’re going home so She doesn’t need to be here anymore.” “Oh.” 20 minutes after that, there was an ominous sound of water hitting the floor, and again, the Christian NCO, “SGT Cooper?”, “Ya?”, “It hasn’t leaked in this building all year, it’s not raining outside, why is it leaking now?” “Morrighan has departed the building and her shield is no longer here, wow I feel sorry for the next unit moving on.” We left and got home with no issues, I never found a Pagan leader for the group so Desert Moon remained dormant until about 4 months later when I found a new leader on-line that was on Camp Anaconda. Before we left, the chaplain came to me and asked me to write him this wonderful book showing everything he had done to help us and what a wonderful sponsor he was since he was retiring and it would make him look so wonderful that he had helped the Pagan group out. I was disgusted, I went back and made a detailed book about how to start a group, everything we had done that year, every ritual and Sabbat, special occasions, and then in closing write everything that could be done to improve the sponsorship and the group as a whole. A month went by after I had turned it in and one day I felt like checking in with him so I went and knocked on his door. A Colonel answered and I introduced myself and he welcomed me in and explained he was the new chaplain there and that the Major had already left. I asked him about the book and then he smiled and explained he loved the book, it explained step-by-step what anyone coming in new had to do to keep the group going, but he was very disturbed. I asked him why and he told me everything that I had listed as an improvement should have been done automatically as that was the chaplain’s job. He told me anyone I sent to step in would receive full support, I left encouraged.

I arrived back at FT Lewis January 2005 and upon reflection of everything we did in Desert Moon and the responses I had gotten from so many Pagan civilians wanting to support the Troops but also wanting to support Pagan Troops specifically, Forest Moon Grove was born. Many of the civilians from our support in Desert Moon joined this group and as time went on it grew larger. It started as and has always been the yahoo site. Websites started for Forest Moon have come and gone as people moved on so eventually I gave up the idea of having one. I started approaching the Pagan community around Fort Lewis and the response was shifty, I was told by one that we weren’t needed because Fort Lewis already had a Wiccan group on base and another Military group just wasn’t welcome. I was irritated and got discouraged by negativity but pushed on anyway and Forest Moon started developing locally as well as internationally on-line. I lived in Lakewood in an apartment and started having meetings on Saturdays and planned on us taking Forest Moon into a local parade. One of our members was using our group to meet her boyfriend behind her husbands back and she was making false accusations. The day of the parade she called telling us her husband had raped her and she couldn’t make it. That was the last straw, I knew she was making false accusations once again as CID proved and charged her with conspiracy and I never heard from her again. The parade was skipped and Forest Moon went on auto-pilot for a few months as I collected my thoughts and calmed down. The yahoo group was growing larger by the day and more and more stores and organizations were jumping in and offering Troop support. I knew another deployment was approaching and I made a war chest with recommended supplies listed for Pagan Soldiers. I loaded up 3 chests one full of candles, incense and charcoal. Another chest full of books for our library, and yet another full of herbs and ritual tools. We were prepared for war. I had a booth at Pagan Pride in Seattle and we were asked to perform a ritual so we performed a ritual to Morrighan in protection for our deployed Military. Desert Moon’s wheels were lifted yet again when we were flown to Tal Afar, Iraq November of 2005 to October of 2006.

We arrived in Tal Afar just after Thanks-giving of 2005 fully prepared to start a Pagan group once again. I had already gone to an endorsing Wiccan Sanctuary prior to leaving and already had my letter of endorsement ready to go. I had a Catholic 1SG and a Mormon Commander which indeed made for an interesting and negative tour but we made the best of it. I already had a good support structure in place through Forest Moon, went well stocked to get us started and there were about 6 Pagan Troops just in my company alone. My 1SG was building a HQ building for himself and his Soldiers and they were moving out of a frame tent which he wanted removed as it was an eye sore. I asked him if I could have it for an aid station as I was also the company medic since that was my prior job in the Army. He agreed and let me take it down and the tent was moved inside our compound as a medic station/Pagan house. I went to the installation chaplain and was met with a wall that really didn’t want to allow us to meet. He stalled the best he could as his unit was leaving anyway and he wanted to wait until the next chaplain came in to make us his problem instead. Eventually we were granted permission and there was an old chapel building they originally let us start meeting in which we met in once. It would have been a wonderful meeting place other then the fact that there was always a mix-up of times and we always got bumped which is why I got excited about the tent. We put up our fliers to let the Pagan Troops know we were there and again they came. Prior to deploying when I was drumming up support I was given 10lbs of coffee from Tully’s so we went there stocked with coffee. We set up the altar, the library, had our computer set up for music and files and had about 10 Soldiers a night at first. Everything was going great. I had a generator running my lights, heater and coffee pots. Things were going well. I went for my r and r for the month and while I was home I maintained contact with the group to see what was needed to bring back etc. one of the members informed me our tent was taken away and the group didn’t know what to do or where to meet, in the meantime, my room was moved to a fellow Pagan’s and we shared a CHU (Civilian Housing Unit) basically like a one room trailer for 2 people. I told them to go ahead and continue meeting at my trailer until I got back in country. Upon my arrival, I was informed my PLT SGT wanted my tent and 2 days after I had left he decided to use his rank and take it. I was to find out later there was no reason for him to have taken it when the 1SG told him he could have had a building built for his office. I got set up, unpacked all our supplies from where they had been stored and we notified everyone where to meet. There were nights we had up to 30 Soldiers at the chu, 6 would go in and get coffee then go back outside in case someone else needed to go in. I was then informed by the 1SG that I was actually not allowed to do that and I informed him to bust me a rank because as long as I had Pagan Troops wanting to come I wouldn’t turn them away. Furthermore, until we had a location to meet, we would meet at my chu. That was another eventful year with well over 100 on and off throughout the deployment, many I still communicate with. My Battalion chaplain flew in from Mosul to inform us we were being slandered back at the battalion and accused of proselytizing, I had to laugh because only Pagan Troops were there and no one at any time was pushing Paganism on anyone, they were just upset because we were meeting. I did bring up the point that again, like my last tour, we were removed from the Company compound but there were bible studies going on all the time, so again, the chaplain we had was infuriated and wanted to press discrimination charges against the company and the battalion in our name through his office. That chaplain hated the hypocrisy he saw and got out of the Army after that tour and even changed his religion to Catholic because he enjoyed our candles and incense and wanted a belief similar to him. He learned the differenced in incense and the correspondences in candle colors and was fascinated by all Pagan aspects and beliefs. We never saw the chaplain after that visit as the CSM and the Colonel, who both hated us kept him away and busy and charges were never filed. We were on our own and kept our group going. One day, my roommate and I went to the dining facility where we saw bible verses written on the dessert. He was upset and wanted to bring it to some-ones attention as that was proselytizing and how could they even begin to accuse us of the same. They were shoving Christianity down our throats and almost literally in that case. That’s when I had to explain to pick your battles. I will be quiet about that stupid stuff but not when it comes to telling us we can’t meet. I had a Soldier come to me saying her SSG told her she was devil worshipper and he was going to stop her from coming to our meetings. Worse yet, this man was her company Equal Opportunity Representative. I went to their higher command and spoke with the Division Equal Opportunity which was a Master Sergeant and she was furious. I gave her the Staff Sergeants name and phone number and the Soldier never heard another word about devil worship from the man again. As the year was progressing I wanted to expand on our support network so when I had the chance and internet time, I emailed artists, authors, musicians, organizations and the list goes on. We got packages daily almost and every time a Soldier wanted something specific, without even saying a word that item would come in a package the next day. Every Soldier got what they wanted and needed without asking as if there was someone watching and directing people what to send. About middle of the tour we were sitting, drinking our coffee as usual and I started drawing a Sanctuary. I wanted 100 acres, there would be a lake or pond in the west for water, a fire pit in the south for fire, a concert stage on the east side representing air and it would be standing in an open meadow for crowds of people and we would have Full Moon concerts called Moon Stock. That would leave the North. In the North would be a very large structure with pillars, named Valhalla. It would be fitted with a large community kitchen, a grand hall with a long table off the kitchen with a huge fireplace at the end. It would have a very large library, and 3 classrooms for candle making, wand making, herbs and stones and whatever class we wanted to teach. There would also be a loft upstairs where the care-taker would stay. Throughout the land would be various camps of log cabins where any coven or grove could come out and commune with nature and hold their seasonal rites. I took ideas from everyone in the group and that was the picture that came out. I write this all down in a notebook and we named it Desert Moon Sanctuary. Also about this time, there were foreign Soldiers who would walk by our chu’s on their way to the shower and two of them would wave every night as they went by. One night, they walked over and in very broken English asked what we did every night. They were Turkish Special Forces and they became like brothers to us. They came every night and at first we had them making us Turkish coffee, but after tasting our Tully’s, oh no, that was what they wanted and to hell with Turkish coffee they were hooked on Tully’s. I gave them tarot readings which they were in awe of since I obviously knew nothing of them but told them everything they needed to know. We learned a lot about Islam and what it is not, like they learned about Paganism and were in awe. They were familiar with the pentacle, they saw it in their country all the time. They knew that Paganism was the first religion as it says in the holy Koran also that there were faeries and djinn as it also says. After 5 months they spoke very good English as they had hoped and it was a very sad day for us to see them go back to Turkiye as it is properly spelled and pronounced. Another thing we learned while we were there was the Iraqi version of the Pagan was the Yezzidi. These people were the ancient Sumeri and Ishtar followers. It was very interesting to learn they were there and we saw them and they were as excited as we were at finding Pagan Americans. We got home October of 2006, and little did I know that would be my last combat tour, 4 was enough and my commander would agree.

Upon returning, I jumped right back into focusing on Forest Moon Grove and finding Troops deployed so we could get them on our list and immediately get supplies out to them. Also, at that time there were only 3 organizations endorsing troops for Lay Leader status so choices were limited but the one I was suggesting was the one here in Washington that had endorsed me for Desert Moon the 2nd tour. I had no issues with their endorsement and when questions arose I always had their answer quickly, unlike the others that just seemed to ignore you and didn’t seem to support you. I vowed if I ever got that far that’s the type of organization I would never be. I started Forest Moon coffee up in Lakewood at the local Forza coffee around the corner from the apartment and I maintained a booth at the Seattle and Portland Pagan Pride events. My focus end of 2007 now turned to Desert Moon Sanctuary. I started networking Pagans in Arizona as that was where I envisioned moving to. It was going to be built just like we planned on paper, with a community garden and its own power source so we could be off-grid. Some of our members were drafting by-laws and we had a board formed, then there was much dissent in the group caused by decisions I had made going with the people that had experience in the 501c paperwork process. We were slandered on the radio by an Arizona drama radio station trying to incite us as a cult, a professional on the topic was called in who corrected the woman and we never hear another word. The process moved on, we got our 501 status as a Charitable Trust under the umbrella of another established Pagan organization. All was going well and then the inevitable happened. I got online that morning, to find that my Desert Moon Sanctuary group had been taken over, I was a member status and the trouble makers had taken it upon themselves to remove me from the group, take the name, and slander me. I removed myself from the group as we remade the website and formed a new group under Desert Moon Sanctuary Charitable Trust where it still remains as a legal but not physical entity. Now, as of November 2010, it will be merged with an organization called Pagans United, a new Sanctuary will be formed and the organization will be formed under Forest Moon Grove as a branch of us; however, I’m jumping ahead of myself. After about 6 months, Desert Moon Sanctuary plans went by the wayside although Forest Moon as usual continued on. Many people were misled during that mutinous time but as I see, people come and go, but those who are meant to stay, continue on.

The end of 2007 was a trial period for me as I feel that everything tossed to us through life is a test to prepare you for things to come. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 1993 long before any of this, from my wonderful journeys as a Combat Medic in Somalia. I endured many trials and had nightmares as I continue to this day from time to time from visions of being shot at, explosions, death, and mangled bodies. All through my last tour I was writing monthly articles for a magazine called, “Moon Shadow” which has since gone out of business, but it was a fun time for me and got a lot of stress out of my system just writing rant articles. I wrote articles in death, memorials, sands of war, and PTSD which was quite graphic. I don’t ever regret what I’ve been through but see it as destiny preparing me to help those that follow in my footsteps and don’t quite know how to deal with it. There are many Pagan healing centers out there who focus on the Troops and PTSD. It was the end of 2007 when I had to go to a screening coming back from Iraq a year after and I was answering questions in a psychiatric survey. Half way through the nurse’s phone rang and I heard a, “Yes there is a SGT Cooper here,” I was a little stunned as I was the only one there and no one knew where I was. I was immediately called back and when the survey was gone over was seen as a high risk for hurting someone. Over the course of the next 6 months and trying different medication I was phased out of the real Army and sent to the Warrior Transition Battalion February of 2008. I was sitting in my commanders office explaining training I had conducted with my Soldiers. I put them through a mock SERE school when we were in Iraq, SERE being a school that teaches you basically how to survive and escape a POW camp. I taught them survival skills, we made a water still, a sun dial, and they were taught how to fight and kill with pressure point blows and how much pressure to exert. As I’m explaining this my commanders face was filled with concern as he told me he wanted me to go to the WTB because he saw me as a liability going back to Iraq. I had seen too much war and he wanted the younger guys to step up and do their time. It was the best decision and one of the best commanders one could have. Off to the WTB I went. And another chapter is turned.

Being in the WTB was a cake walk. I got up early and did my physical exercise which for me was walking as I have torn knees and then the rest of the day you went to doctor appointments, and training on certain days. Otherwise, you went and got a job you liked as I went and worked for a chaplain at the deployment center. He liked having a Pagan Clergy working with him and treated me as a clergy and helped me talking to Pagan Troops. I had, “Pocket Spell Creators,” an excellent book I recommend for any Soldier as it’s a perfect size and has every correspondent one needs. I had a case donated from New Page that I passed out along with small pentacles to give out that were also donated. I saw a lot of Pagan Troops come and go and it made me sad and wish I was going but those days were over. I was moved out of my apartment and into base housing which caused problems due to the Fort Lewis group having issues with Forest Moon being on base. I had to answer to the base chaplain and explain it was simply my HQ/Office and no, we were not there to interfere with the base Wiccan group. That group has issues to this day with any other group posting on their group board or trying to start a second group on the base. That pretty much sums up Army time. I was medically retired from the Army February 2010 and now have a 90% VA disability rating. I take my medication as It is much needed and I deal with the rest of the issues. As of this writing, it is November 2010 and Forest Moon Grove is now a legal Pagan 501c3 church. Much thanks to my wonderful soul-mate Ashley who has made it all happen and was the one to push me when things were dragging. Now we have our baby Cheyanne coming and yes she is a part of this story as she is destined to steer this group forward long after we pass on and it’s all of our kids and grandkids carrying on the Pagan Traditions. I will end this story with that. The future is always open, Forest Moon will go wherever we take it and it all depends on everyone here that supports it. As long as we have Soldiers in harms way, there is a need. As long as there are communities that still believe in harassing and discriminating witches, there is a need. And as long as we still have kids that question the meaning of life’s tests and wish to know their ancestors path, there is still a need. With that. The End.

Madame Mora’s Herbal, Lesson 2

December, 2010

Please remember, the information in this class is a look at herbal therapies that may show promise as adjunctive treatments to conventional medical approaches, and is not meant to give specific recommendations or advise for the treatment of a specific illness, nor is it intended to be a replacement for good medical diagnosis and treatment.

Lesson 2

Cold and Flu Fighters

Each of these herbs is shown to be an expectorant as well as serving other functions.  As well as being shown to fight against bronchitis, colds, cough, and fever (ephemeral, intermittent, rheumatic).

?  Elder (Sambucus Canadensis) – antiviral – also shown to treat ear infections, headache, mucus, pneumonia, respiratory conditions, sinusitis, sore throat, and tonsillitis. Part: berries

?  Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globullus) – antibiotic – also shows to treat asthma, croup, nausea, respiratory conditions, sinusitis, and whooping cough. Part: oil

?  Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium) – antibiotic, antihistamine – also shown to treat allergies, appetite loss, chills, earache, headache, influenza, mucus, nausea, sinusitis, vomiting, and wheezing. Part: leaves

?  Lovage (Osha) root (Ligusticum Offinale) – antiviral – also shown to treat headache, influenza, mucus, nausea, sinusitis, sore throat, and vomiting. Part: root

?  Mint (Mentha Offininalis) preferably Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) – antibiotic – also shown to treat abdominal pain, anxiety, appetite loss, chills, constipation, diarrhea, influenza, nausea, respiratory conditions, sore throat, and vomiting.  Part: leaves

Assignment 2: Take the 4 herbs and prepare a tea like in assignment one.  Take just a taste unless you are already ill.  Take the remaining water and pore it into either a glass or ceramic bowl and add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil, place a towel over your head and breath in the fumes for about 30 seconds (if you have need of the sinus clearing affects breath the fumes for 2 minute intervals until the water cools).

Email me what you find out about how these remedies feel in the body.

Also, I would like a 2 paragraph paper comparing the immunity boosting tea to this illness fighting tea.   Email your finding to moraravencall@gmail.com

Greetings from Afar

December, 2010

The Last of the Boys in Blue

It was November 11th, 1968, and even though it sounds trite and overused, I actually do remember it just as if it were yesterday. I was standing in my grandfather’s living room tapping my foot and being impatient while the old man finished putting on his old uniform, the one that he’d lovingly preserved for over 70 years. I know for a fact that next door, Sherry, my girlfriend and soon to be fianc?e, was doing the same thing while Papa Pete, her grandfather, was doing exactly the same thing, and two houses farther down Bobby Adkinson was doing the same thing while his grandfather did the same thing. I had the biggest car – a 1956 Pontiac Coupe that we all called “Old Matilda” — so when they all called each other and said they were ready, I’d make stops along the way and pick all of them up and take them to the High School football field where everything was getting organized – it was a bit crowded, but it was no bother for any of us. Then, us kids had standing orders to “vanish” until it was time to meet them back at the same place about two hours later. It was Veteran’s Day, they all called it Armistice Day still, and they were going to be in the parade. There were nine of them altogether; nine old men who had marched off together to “hang the Dons” way back in 1898. They were the last of the boys in blue”.

Now if you think I’m exaggerating that, think again. Those nine old men, all of them almost 90 and one or two a bit older, were the last men in our county – and some of the last men in the entire country — who fought under arms for the United States wearing what they called “dirty-shirt blue” of the “Old Army.” Our little town only had a population of around 500 the year the United States went to war with Spain. Out of those 500 souls, 31 of them marched off to follow the drums when Mr. McKinley called. That’s almost 1/5 of the total population.  Five of those never returned. This parade marked the 70th anniversary of that occasion.

The historians don’t pay much attention to the War with Spain now. They make jokes about it at best, or call it American Imperialism at worst, but to us it was far more than “that splendid little war”. It was our grandparent’s war — the one where they marched off to defend the country that they loved. Those 31 men who went to war represented a full 25% of the adult male population of our town, and all but three of those who were in the right age bracket to go. The three who stayed behind were what they called back then “invalids” and would have gone if they could have.

By the fall of 1968, there were only nine of them left, but they were all in fair health and intended to march as a unit, just like they’d done every year since we’d started having parades, the full two miles of the parade route and twice around the town square. They were tough men and always had been. When they started organizing the parade the Veterans of World War One (most of our grandfathers were that too) had offered to let them march as part of their formation because there were so few of them. They refused. They made up their own little formation, three columns of three, dwarfed in between the VWWI, VFW formations, our marching band and the marching bands from three other, smaller towns in our county. They were there, on their own, representing “their army” and “their war”.

I was allegedly a member of the band and so was Sherry, I was on the football team too, so I was exempted from the band for the duration of football season. (Wish I’d been exempted from football. We got beat like a drum that year and only won two games the whole season.) Both of us were exempted from that parade because of Papa and Papa Pete being in the parade and being some of the oldest members. I remember we stood in front of the bank on the town square and watched them pass — nine old men in blue.

We didn’t know about it in advance. They’d kept all of us grandkids and great-grandkids who were in the band from knowing it but when our grandparents came onto the square, and began to approach of the review stand, the band stopped in the middle of the march they were playing, went quiet for just a moment, then with only the drums, flutes and piccolos, began to play “The Girl I Left Behind Me”… the “unofficial” marching song of the “Old Army”.  The other three bands took the cue and joined them.

You should have seen those old men. I swear it was like some kind of magic. All of a sudden they didn’t look so old any more. They were a little straighter, a little taller and for the life of me, the nine of them suddenly looked like a regiment passing in review. That little knot of kids, me and Sherry included, standing there in front of the bank had never been so proud of our grandparents in our lives. For just a fleeting instant, most of us boys saw ourselves in those ranks. We saw ourselves in the faces of the men who had gone before us and given us the name that we bore. I know that the girls all saw our grandmothers, many of them long gone, standing there beside them as they waved handkerchiefs and threw flowers from the bank’s sidewalk planter into the path of the parade. The people in the bank didn’t care. They were standing there with us waving and cheering like everyone else. You just don’t see that kind of thing any more.

That was the last year they marched. We didn’t know it then though. Four of them passed away in the next year and two of them just got too feeble to march that far. The next year, the five survivors rode the parade route in an open car. The next year it was only three of them. Mr. Adkinson died in 1969. Papa Pete died in 1976. Mr. Adams and Mr. Harrison and Mr. Wheeler all passed on in 1979. My Papa left us on in 1982 — he was just a few weeks short of 101 years old and — he was the last man in our county to be one of the “boys in blue.” I’m proud as hell of him still.

I guess you just start thinking about things like this at some times, for some reasons. Usually it’s around Armistice — I mean “Veteran’s Day.” It’s hard to believe that my grandfather actually knew men who had fought in America’s Civil War. He actually met General Wesley Merritt, General “Fighting Joe” Wheeler, General Fitzhugh Lee and General Nelson Miles. In a thirty-odd year military career he became acquainted with several with other prominent figures of that time. He was in the “Insurrection” in the  Philippines the year after the fighting stopped in Cuba, then went to China in 1900 with General Adna Chaffee to relieve the Siege of Peking.  Papa was a professional soldier – a “regular”. The last time he saw “action” was in the First World War. A man could stay in service until he was 62 years old back then no matter how many years he had served. The professional army was small then and most of the officer’s corps knew one another, or at least knew of one another. Every doctor in the tiny, fledgling Army Medical Corps knew each other. It wasn’t a massive anonymous pollygot like it is today.

You know the funny thing about the Philippine Insurrection and the War with Spain is that so many people who had served in the U.S. Civil War wound up back in Uniform from both sides. Aside from Wesley Merritt, there was Adna Chaffee, Nelson Miles, Fitzhugh Lee, Joe Wheeler, hur Machur and I don’t know how many others. Then you’ve got a load of what, on the surface, would appear to be “rich boy” political officers like Teddy Roosevelt and John Astor who turned out to not only be “adequate”, but to be damned fine soldiers who were loved by their troops. Both Roosevelt and Astor paid for most of the equipment for their units out of their own pockets? It’s a fact. They had nothing but the best available at the time on top of that. The “Roughriders” were fully equipped with Krag Jorgensen rifles when they were in extremely short supply in the Regular Army and Astor’s battery had the most modern Hotchkiss guns available. Both units also had the first model Colt and Maxim machineguns instead of the standard 1889 Gatling. I strongly suspect that there would have been a far different scenario for the First World War had TR won the election of 1912 and Astor survived the Titanic. It is very rare that one finds that combination of money, brains and guts, mixed in with a big dose of real and honest patriotism, in two individuals of the same generation in public life. As I said, the professional army was small then. Almost all of he officers knew, or knew of each other. For years Papa got cards and letters form some of them and their families. I’ve still got letters and cards that Papa received from some of them on holidays… names like Leonard Wood and John J. “Black Jack” Pershing. Fifteen years or so after the “Insurrection” he made the acquaintance of a haberdasher turned army captain from Independence Missouri named Harry S. Truman. There are more stories associated with that particular friendship. Lots more.  You see, it’s not “ancient history” to me I was privileged to know men who were there and part of it all. I grew knowing them.

They’re all gone now. All of them have been gone now for almst 30 years. But, they’re not “dead”. There’s a saying in the country that I live in now that “the only true form of immortality that any of us can hope to have is the amount of time that we live on in the hearts and memories of those who love us and remain behind.” Sherry’s gone now. She was taken far too soon. I don’t know about the rest of my childhood friends — the rest of the grandchildren of the “boys in blue”, some of them are gone now too, but I hope they remembered as long as they lived and I hope that they passed the stories of their grandparents along to their children and others. I know that as long as I live they will live also. As long as I am able, I will keep their memory alive in the hearts and minds of my children, my grandchildren and all that I can reach. One day, maybe, we will all be truly “dead”, but as long as I draw breath, “the last of the boys in blue” will live also.

Footnote:

My grandfather’s war changed the face of the world forever. It transformed the United States from an insular and isolated second-rate  nation into a global power thaat was recognized in leading the free world as the champion of democracy. It built up a beacon light that has cast it’s beam for generation into the darkness of tyrany. The children of these brave men fought in World War Two and Korea. Their grandchildre fought in Vietnam. Their great-grandchildren are today in the desert of the MIddle East, ‘soldiering on’ as the generations of  their families did  before them.

But — when the veterans of the Spanish-American War, Philippine War and Boxer Rebellion came home, there were no ‘flags flying’, no GI Bill, no veteran’s benefits and no veteran’s hospitals. There was no Veteran’s Administration, no disabled veteran’s pensions and no other benefits of any kind. ‘Their’ war was damned in the press as ‘that splendid little war’ and then doubly damned by history as ‘Jingoism’ and ‘US Imperialism’. Some even  laughed — and  still do — at the fact that more of them died from disease, while still in training, than from bullets. When it was all over, these men went home quiety and without fanfare, and those who could rebuilt their lives and went on with them without notice. In spite of the ‘warm’ welcome andd ‘gratitude’ of their government, ten years after they had all finally returned, all of them who were pofessional military, still young enough to be accepted and still in good health rose up and answered their country’s call again for the First World War — fully believing that it was truly the ‘war to end all wars’. After the blood-soaked, gas-filled trenches of Frannce, they came marching home once again. This time, they were treated somewhat better — but not much. By this time, the ‘boys in blue’ who were now the ‘men in kakhi’ didn’t expect anything from anyone. They did what they did — just as they always had — out of love for their country.

‘Armistice Day’, which we now call ‘Veteran’s Day’ originally celebrated the end of ‘that war’ — the ‘Great War’. We celebrate that still today. No one remembers the last of the Boys in Blue who served faithfully and well, some of them long enough to finallly be recognized  for a single time out of a total of four that they risked their lives for the sake of their country. By the time that happened, the vast majority of them were already long dead. There is not a single monument or memorial in the United States on the national level in honor of the sacrifices made by these men To compound insult with injury, very few records were kept on the men and women who served between the end of the American Civil War and end of the First World War. Even as late as the 1970s, when a handful of them were still with us, not even a tombstone was to be had from the US government in gratutide and thanks for their sacrifices unless the families of the deceased could provide their own ‘absolute proof’ of service during a time of war’. It is an interesting side-note to mention that the only existing  monument to these men and women ever erected by any government is in Havana Cuba, where it is still lovingly and carefuly maintained in memory of those who came in 1898 and helped Cuba gain it’s independence from Spain.

© 2006/09 by Dr. J. Lee Choron; all rights reserved unless specified in writing.

The Grove

December, 2010

Poseidon

Poseidon2

The Wheel turns & with it comes the creaking of oars & the smell of brine. The sun retreats for the year once again & I’m finding it hard to remember the promise of spring. It’s clear I needed some time out. Which is why I find myself on the shore watching a bit of driftwood get pulled around by the waves. I know how you feel, I think at it.

I try to divert my mind from dwelling on my problems by studying the waves as they crash against the sand. Perhaps it’s fitting that I’m here at this time. If I understood the article I read recently correctly, there was a month that corresponds roughly to January/December that was named for Poseidon in Athens & other parts of  Greece. I admit I have never fully understood the Hellenic calendar system. It doesn’t help when calendars seemed to vary from polis to polis. If Poseidon was meant to be a god of the seas, why would his festival month be held during a time when the Greeks were least likely to set sail?

It might be easier to understand the god himself than the days given to him.

Poseidon was the child of titans Rhea & Cronus. Cronus feared a child of his would displace him & swallowed his kids upon birth. In most versions of the myth he is devoured along with the rest of his siblings & later rescued by his brother Zeus. Another version of the story tells how Poseidon was hidden amongst a flock of sheep by his mother. Rhea the pretended to have given birth to a colt that she gave to Cronus to eat instead. Poseidon was raised on Rhodes by the Telchines whilst Zeus grew up on Crete.

After the defeat of Cronus the Olympian brothers divided the realms of the world between them. Zeus took the heavens. Hades was granted dominion over the underworld. Poseidon became ruler of oceans. In his benign aspect Poseidon was thought to offer calm seas & create new islands. However he had a quick temper.  One of his many epithets was ‘the earth shaker’. When offended he was said to hit the ground with his trident & cause earthquakes,  storms, shipwrecks, & drownings.

Poseidon was honoured as chief civic god of several cities. He vied for control of Athens with his sister Athena. Both deities wanted control of the city, & so a contest was proposed. All agreed that each would offer the Athenians a gift. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident & a spring spurted up. Unfortunately the water was salty & not at all useful. Athena presented the city with an olive tree, which provided them with wood, oil, & food.  Athena was naturally chosen as their patron.

Poseidon was also known as the father of horses. Like a lot of the Olympians, he had an eye for the ladies. Poseidon once chased after Demeter. She wasn’t interested, even going so far as to turn herself into a mare so she could blend into a herd of horses. Poseidon wasn’t fooled. He simply changed himself into a stallion & mated with her.   The resulting offspring was a horse called Arion which was capable of human speech.

I stand now at the water’s edge, letting it run over my bare toes. If I listen just right I can almost imagine the rush of the waves sounds a bit like the thunder of hooves. Remember the Earth-Shaker at this time. Draw strength from the waves as I am trying to & let them wash you clean.

Airmid’s Cauldron

December, 2010

Salem’s Best Cranberry Relish

Yule is fast approaching and this is one staple condiment you will want to keep in your refrigerator throughout the season. It is simple and will last for at least a month under refrigeration, and taste great on top of your favorite stuffing.

Salem’s Best Cranberry Relish (No Cook)

2 bags washed and stemmed fresh cranberries

1 Large sweet seedless orange (Blood oranges work nicely here as well)

1/2 cup granulated raw sugar

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Prep the cranberries, quarter the orange, run cranberries and whole quartered orange through food processor with a grater blade attached pour contents into a deep bowl, stir in sugar. Place in an air tight storage container and refrigerate for at least 24 hrs in order for flavors to marry, enjoy.

Yule Wreaths

3 Tablespoons butter

3 cups mini marshmallows

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 teaspoon green food coloring

4 cups crispy rice cereal

Melt butter and marshmallows over low heat, stirring. Remove from heat and add orange extract and food coloring. Stir. Fold in rice crispies. On wax paper, , shape into wreaths. Add red hot candies to decorate. Let cool and enjoy.

Interview with Cernunnos Rising

December, 2010

George

work by: Angela Jayne Barnett ~2010

Cernunnos Rising – Review

It is a rarity to find an album that every song touches the heart, but Wild Soul by Cernunnos Rising has accomplished something others have only dreamed about.

Interview with Cernunnos Rising (George Nicholas)

Pagan Pages: Since our last interview I see you have graced us with a new album Wild Soul, what was your inspiration here?

George Nicholas: Well, I had originally done my first album with Medwyn Goodall the famous New Age composer and producer; that project involved my guitar playing and singing only  and didn`t feature any of my friends or group who actually play with me when I perform live at venues etc. I also provided all the original songs to Medwyn and let him arrange a custom sound to it just to see how it materialized, and as it stands it seems to please people a lot and these versions are available on iTunes and on M.G. music’s site amongst other distributors around the world. The answer to your question, ‘what was my inspiration to produce The Wild Soul album’ is simple, many of the pagan/ Druidic fraternity I know had asked me to produce a version closer to what they had heard us play, and with the merry men I gig with, so I couldn`t resist, and I did have the need and compulsion to do this anyway ‘closer to heart’ you might say! And as for the title ‘Wild Soul’, well that about sums me up perfectly. I really feel a lot of folks today have forgotten their inner “wild soul”, and don’t know how to connect anymore… Laughing, dancing, singing, losing inhibitions, enjoying the realms of the creative imagination, not losing your inner child! Let’s face it, nowadays we are all hung up too much about how we look and what others think of us and are we “conforming” and “fitting in”! We really just have to be comfortable in our own skin (warts and all!) and enjoy this little journey!

PP: Are you planning a new album?

GN: Yes I am planning a new album, I want the title to be Urban Druid!-It`s alright me singing and warbling on about the verdant splendor of our wild spaces and places but let`s face it, most of the population live in heavy urbanized or city areas and rely on our meetings and festivals etc to keep us sane. I am very fortunate in as much as I have managed to situate myself in a green and rural environment to live, and I did exactly the same when I lived in Atlanta , Georgia U.S.A… I just had to be with the trees and greenies! That being said, I am originally an inner city Lad from a rough part of Liverpool and even then from an early age I found the need to be amongst the green spaces, and I made sure, I got to these nemeton, serene, bubbles of bliss, where I could ‘Green-Dream’, and meditate , one was in an old overgrown scrap yard , ironic, to watch Mother nature slowly dismantle the many vehicles of some of our recently departed ancestors’ prized and cherished possessions that they probably spent many a year polishing and maintaining… all part  of the ‘Coming and Going’ I suppose.  The other Green retreats was the local park and a wonderful (time-warp) Cemetery, and my bedroom that had wall to wall plants and trees and flowers and cactus, and wood and rocks, and my crazy collection of books and Man Myth and magic magazines etc . But it was inside myself, my heart and mind, I found the great escape!

PP: Will you ever be coming to the United States?

GN: It is a serious wish for me to come back to the United States and share my music with whoever may take the time to listen, I have had 5 emails this week alone asking me this question, many who have had the pleasure of listening to and attending my kind and generous friend Damh the Bard while he was performing over in the States have asked if I will be doing the same, all I can say is, it would be my pleasure!!

PP: So since your new album how have you and the rest of the group been getting on? What have Simon, Nick, and Phil been up to?

GN: Since the new album, Simon has been organizing his own solo gigs as an independent performer (and very cool he is too!). Nick has disappeared again into the mountains and valleys of north Wales; Phil Orme is helping others with their songs and album projects with his plethora of musical skills while feeding them with his superb cooking recipes and showing them some amazing magic tricks (this guy really does not realize how talented he is)! We are also blessed to have with us two new additions to Cernunnos Rising music. We have a truly exceptionally talented flute player Mr. Martin Clarke, who also plays a mean Harp and keyboard, and Mr. Matt McGrory, a brilliant guitarist who has played with many a known artist and has had venues throughout the U.K. including TV exposure… Oh, I almost forgot we are starting to feature some female vocals into the mix by way of my young daughter Katie and a local lass and good friend Carla Lewis; she is also the singing and gigging partner of Phil Orme!

PP: The artwork on this album is exceptional, who was the artist?

GN: A mix between myself, my young Daughter Katie ,and my fabulous and wonderfully talented friend Angela Jayne Barnett from  www.celtic-photography.co.uk A true green soul with an unbridled imagination… go see!!

PP: In our last interview you told us a little about you murals, do you have any new ones?

GN: Yes, I am in the middle of a huge multi-cultural mural project for children at an inner city Liverpool school right now, and another mural project highlighting our ancient and ancestral past featuring some of Britain’s most spectacular and sacred sites.

PP:  Bountiful Blessings go out to Cernunnos Rising. Thank you so very much for grating the readers and I such a magnificent opportunity to be the first to interview another such wonderful album. It has truly been awe an inspiring experience. Again thank you.

To the Readers:

To listen to Cernunnos Risings music click here and prepare to be intoxicated…

Cernunnos Rising Links

www.cernunnosrising.co.uk

http://www.myspace.com/cernunnosmusic

Also on Facebook/Youtube/Red Bubble etc – you can find links on the above sites!

www.celtic-photography.co.uk (Angela Barnett)

Next »