Book Review – Yoga: 7 Minutes a Day, 7 Days a Week by Gertrud Hirschi

June, 2019

Book Review
Yoga 7 Minutes a Day, 7 Days a Week
A Gentle Daily Practice for Strength, Clarity
and Calm

by Gertrud Hirschi

As a long-time kundalini yoga instructor, I really enjoyed this book. It describes a gentle, wonderful path to a daily yoga practice, something everyone can benefit from.

One of the things I found most enjoyable is the fact that Ms. Hirschi used certain exercises/postures for each day of the week, using the qualities and the energies of each specific day.

Keeping in mind that different practices/traditions have alternate names for each day, the author uses the following:

Sunday is the Day of the Sun
Monday is the Day of the Moon
Tuesday is the Day of Mars
Wednesday is the Day of Jupiter
Friday is the Day of Venus
Saturday is the day of Saturn

Each chapter describes the particular day, what it’s energies are, what it represents, followed by a kriya (exercise set) and meditation, including a daily mantra, or affirmation. While each day has it’s own unique set of exercises separate from the others, they build upon each other for a complete sense of balance within the week.

Ms. Hirschi ends with a chapter on taking this step-by-step approach to your every day life, focusing on planning our days in a very mindful manner, for organization, focus, creativity, analysis, generosity, celebration and spirituality.

All in all, it is a very easy guide to a better you, using yoga as your pathway to more energy, clarity and peace.

Yoga 7 Minutes a Day, 7 Days a Week: A Gentle Daily Practice for Strength, Clarity, and Calm on Amazon


About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis: The Egyptian Goddess on Amazon

Mindful Meditation

December, 2018

Winter Solstice Meditation

(Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash)

The Winter Solstice has been a time of celebration, merriment, and relaxation across cultures for millennia. The shift into winter has always brought a turning inwards for myself. The change from Sagittarius to Capricorn is a great way to use this energy for forward movement, instead of downward spiral. This is a great meditation for the Solstice, the couple of days before or after, or whenever you need a boost of inspiration and drive. If you are solitary and prefer to listen to the meditation, you will find that option below.

Find a comfortable position where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and feel where you are making contact with the ground. Feel a root come down from your feet or the base of your spine and burrow into the cold soil below. Feel the hibernating animals all around you, tucked in for the winter. Let the safety of the earth enfold you as you let go and fall deeper into yourself and the arms of Mother Earth.

You are in a winter field at night. You see a centaur, half man, half horse emerge from the tree line. He approaches you with eyes that are both wise and wild and smiles a confident and knowing smile.

“Where is your passion leading you next?” he asks as he takes off his quiver of arrows and hands them down to you.

What comes to your mind first? Do you embrace it or doubt it? Let other passions arise and be aware of your ego’s reaction to them. Does intuition or fear hold you back from any? Are some on fire, already filling you with excitement at their prospect?

See each arrow as a potential direction that you can explore, and choose the one that is singing loudest to your heart. As you pull it from the quiver, the arrow-head bursts into flame. The centaur smiles at you again and he hands you his bow, pointing off to the distant mountains and says, “Take your aim and fire.”

You notch the arrow and pull the bow back. You take a deep breath as you aim towards the mountains and as you exhale you let the arrow loose. You both watch it zoom across the darkened landscape until it hits high up on a mountain.

The centaur nods in approval and reaches his hand down to you saying, “Jump on, let’s go get it!”. You swing up onto his back and he takes off at lighting speed in the direction of the fire you lit on the mountain.

You are full of excitement and elation as you gallop across the land at an amazing speed. You keep your eyes on the blaze and you feel your passion growing as you near it. How does it feel to run unwaveringly to your dream?

Sooner than you thought possible, you’re at the base of the mountain. You notice a goat standing on a rock next to the path that leads up the mountain. The centaur turns to you and says, “This is as far as I can take you, he’ll show you the rest of the way. Remember your excitement when the path gets challenging. The view from the top is worth the work.” You slide down from his back and approach the gruff mountain goat, who with barely any acknowledgment, turns abruptly, jumping from his perch and trotting up the rock path ahead.

You take a deep breath as you gaze up the path. You see high above you the flickering of the flame you lit. How do you feel standing at the base of the mountain, looking up to where you long to be? Honor that feeling, and then start your ascent.

The path quickly becomes very steep. You’re thankful for the mountain goat leading you. He finds a way over any challenge, taking only a second to assess the situation and then calmly finding a solution. Any resistance you were feeling melts away as you take on his determination, finding a way up or around any difficult terrain you encounter. Anytime exhaustion begins to creep in, you shift your gaze from the path in front of you, to the glow above and you remember the excitement you felt rushing towards that blaze, when anything seemed possible.

You’re keeping pace with the mountain goat now, and where he seemed serious at first, you now see through his determination to the joy that is rising as the fire gets brighter and brighter as you climb. He is proud of the work you’ve done and so are you. You find yourself smiling as the warmth of self-confidence rises up through your solar plexus, up through your heart and fills your whole being. As you bask in that glow, you crest a peak and see your fire burning right in front of you. Feel the exuberance of success! You’ve made it! Take a moment to sit with the fire, giving gratitude, releasing any fears, and receiving any messages.

When you are ready, you shift your gaze from the fire to the horizon and notice that dawn is breaking. The sun has returned and the long night has ended. Feel the first rays hit your face and take that warmth and the warmth of the fire into your heart. Feel it grow and expand in your chest. Know that it will keep you warm through the cold months ahead as the sun, and you, get stronger and stronger each day.

Take a deep breath and feel the ground beneath you. Wiggle your fingers and toes, feeling yourself come back to your body. Keeping your eyes closed, wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug. Feel the warmth that is still glowing in your heart. Take a deep breath, release your arms, and open your eyes, knowing that you’re ready to take on anything to reach your dream.


About the Author:

Rebecca Coates is a Tarot reader, massage therapist and fire dancer. She has been in a coven for the past two years and is about to embark on a journey around the United States and is looking to meet other witches and lovers of magic. Visit beckycoateslmt.com to connect with her.

The Harvest Calls!

August, 2018


The harvest calls

Time to reap

What you have sown.


Flesh and bone

Tears and blood

All into the making

Of your harvest’s yield.


And, what have you sacrificed

As you stand ready to

Receive your reward?


What have you tended

And nurtured that

Has not produced

Sweet fruit?


What have you neglected

And allowed to wither and fall

Because you did not

See its bounty?


What sunlight and rain

Have you drawn into

Your own being to grow

The harvest of your

Own potential?


The harvest calls

Time to reap

What you have sown!


Author’s Notes: In the Spirit of Lammas, this poem offers up a call to look more carefully about how your efforts and focus are directed. The First Harvest brings us to a place of sacrificing what is not viable yield and gathering to ourselves what will nourish and sustain us throughout the months ahead. What hope and potential was fed at Imbolc is now manifest and what choices we make to cut away to reach the ripeness of that potential will impart their wisdom on the next Turn of the Wheel.


Blessed Lammas!


About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:


The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars



The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)



The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths



A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord


Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions


The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings


The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF


The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World


Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion


A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year


Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 


Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

July, 2017

Full Moon Rise




Merry meet.

An eclectic group of women in my area have been getting together for as many full moons as possible these past two year. One of our favorite traditions grew out of our coven – to gather at a small public beach that does not close at sunset. We bring blankets, camp chairs and food, and set up where we see the sun set behind the cottages and then watch the moon rise in the east over the water.




We do it as often as possible when the full moon falls on a weekend during warm weather. The most recent time was June 9, which happened to be the Strawberry Moon.






An informal, impromptu ritual included directional candles set up on a blanket and a fertility goddess. We chanted. One woman bought her singing bowl to bring us all into harmony. We all raised strawberries to the moon along with our petitions and gratitude.





There was raucous laughter and deep silence, and conversations both magickal and mundane. We dipped our toes in the ocean under the moon. We hugged and kissed and allowed our wild women selves to come out.

Perhaps these photos of that night will prompt you to have an equally awesome and awe-filled experience.





Merry part. And merry meet again.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

May, 2017

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times: Beltaine 2017


Bright Blessings!

I write this on April 21. It’s in the sixties here in Central Ohio, and my radishes and peas are coming up nicely. Big plans are in place to add manure to soil for our tomatoes, summer zucchini, cucumbers, and bell peppers.

Aside from that, people who have literally been hibernating save for the mandatory work, and errands, are slowly reappearing into creation. Outdoor gatherings and festival season is nearly here, and invitations are being sent left and right.

Every year here, this time of year is the same.

And every year, it is about Samhain time the hibernation begins.

Past articles I’ve written discussed the blessing of people and herds that were done at Beltaine time. The lingering “winter negativity” is blessed away, and there is much rejoicing about bursting forth into the Summer grounds. Gardens and fields, if they haven’t already been blessed, are, and while some focus on swimsuit bodies, Pagans tend to focus on camping, out-of-town Sabbats, and fire pits in the back yard whilst grooving with nature.

I find it interesting modern people follow the same patterns the ancestors did, and even non-Pagans do this. While we live in a climate controlled, and insulated world, the seasons still control how our bodies feel, directly influencing all that we do. Even if we don’t follow an Earth based tradition, we are still children of the Earth.

For us in Ohio, just before Beltaine, a Witchcraft Museum is set to open thanks to the man who brought Wicca to the United States, Raymond Buckland. I could write all about this, but you are better off seeing the Wild Hunt article about it. Here is the link!


Beltaine is a fitting time for this opening, and while it’s not specifically a
“Beltainy” topic, I wanted to make sure to include information about it to spread the word.

As to Beltaine, I’ve written about what is done in days past and how modern Pagans revive that through my own experiences. Here is last year’s Beltaine article, for example.


The bonfires, ritual blessings, and fertility rites are done in as many different ways as there are people celebrating. Generally, it is the Irish and Scottish festivities we look to for inspiration in modern times.

This year, I’d like to explore what is done in Wales.

Calen Mai

Like their other Celtic cousins in Ireland and Scotland, the Beltaine festivities mark the beginning of the Summer season, and the return of the animals to Summer grazing grounds. They also did the purification and blessing fires. They call May Day Calen Mai or Calen Haf.

The festivities kick off the night before, on May Eve, with the lighting of the bonfires.

Outdoor gatherings, are of course the order! A “fight” between Winter and Summer is staged, with actors performing the parts. Of course, Summer wins, and a May King and Queen can then be crowned. Human representations of the forces of Nature seem to be the rule no matter where May Day festivities are.

It is divination, especially, to see who you are destined to marry, that was part of the May Day festivities. It was believed that extra thinness of the veil between ours and the Otherworld would make messages from the spirits all the more distinctive.

Hawthorn is gathered to decorate the outside of the home to represent new life and growth- but the hawthorn blossoms are not taken inside, as that would be bad luck. Both hawthorn and birch were seen as auspicious for May Day, and in some cases, the Maypole itself was specifically made of birch.

Besides Maypole Dancing, folk dancing , including Morris Dancing goes on. I had not realized the rich history Morris Dancing has in the UK. It was first mentioned in writings at least six hundred years ago, and while some say their groups are modern revivals, other groups claim lineage for generations. The costumes and pageantry hearken back to pre-Christian Pagan times when masked dancers drove away the bad, and brought in all good blessings. I will mention the city UI live in has our own troupe of Morris dancers. They are called The Olentangy Motley Morris and Rapper Dance Team. Men, women, and children partake of this. While some Morris groups are men only, others include women and kids as well.

A video of modern day Morris dancers is here.





Some girls go out in the morning, and wash their faces with the dew. This is supposed to make them especially beautiful the whole year long.

Aside from these things, like any festival, there is music, food, fellowship, and good times. After a long, cold Winter, it is always nice to get out, and enjoy the weather and the good folk you are near!

Beltaine Working

This year, I suggest keeping it even more simple than I usually do, and having a day of a form of divination following a short offering for the spirits.

As it is believed Beltaine is one of the times the veil is thin, and messages from the Otherworld are stronger, it’s a good time to listen.

My opinion on divination is not a popular one. I believe being able to do so is a gift, not a skill learned. No matter how many classes you take, how many divination tools you buy, and how much you practice, if you don’t have the gift of prophecy, your readings will not be accurate.

However, receiving messages from ancestors and spirits is something we can all do, regardless of our gifts. So, instead of Beltaine divination, I’ll suggest Beltaine communication with the ancestors to receive messages.

Some have actual ancestor altars, and some don’t.

If you have an ancestor altar, all you need to do is give gifts and ask for messages, and omens about your future from your personal ancestors right at your very own altar. Just like always.

If you don’t, you can set up an altar for this at any time. Simply put any pictures of deceased loved ones, and gifts of food, drink, or something they would like, be it a trinket, a lit candle or incense, or even playing music they liked. If you have belongings of theirs, make sure to include those. You are setting up an energy center to focus your communications with them. It will act as a place to draw them, and for you to go for that communication. It becomes a meeting place of sorts! While spirits don’t just communicate with you AT the altar, it’s an excellent way to establish initial communication, and a work center for yourself.

You can ask specific questions, and then wait for signs.

Communication with spirits is not always as cut and dried as it is with the living. Remember, they do not have bodies, and thus, communicate differently sometimes than they would have when they were alive. So, while you may ask a specific question, sometimes, your answer from them will be less easily interpreted. Of course, for some people, the messages are loud and clear! In the event they are not, it may take some interpreting, or waiting for the meaning to come to you.

A friend of mine always knows when he sees butterflies, that is a certain ancestor speaking to him. My lucky number happens to be 666. Whenever I see that, I know my spirits are telling me I am on the right track. For some, like my mother, a dream of the dead meant she knew she would soon hear from the living. In her case, it meant she would hear from a certain family member she seldom heard from. A message from an ancestor may be that you “see them in passing“ out of the corner of your eye, then you turn to do a double take, and they will have vanished. It means they are near.

There are times the messages don’t come immediately, and creep in days, weeks, or even months later, and at the most unexpected of times! For example, after my mother’s passing, an angelic spirit visited me, and was very warm, and wanted me to let her into my personal aura. I did not recognize her, and refused, of course. It took a few visits for me to realize this was my mother in her new form. She was not anything like the individual she has been while alive, and was popping in from her new world.

Set up your altar indoors or outdoors. One method of leaving offering is, of course, to leave it outside for the critters to accept. This can be especially effective if say, your departed loved one was a bird watcher. Leave birdseed. If your loved one used to go feed the ducks, go do that. If your loved one was in animal rescue, then either make a donation in their name, or go ahead and rescue an animal in their honor. If they are like me, and love to garden, plant something as a gift for them. It is a gift you will continue to tend and nurture, and can act as both offering, and “altar” of sorts where you establish contact with them.

Then, wait for their messages or answers.

It is always best, however, when establishing contact for the first time, to do so without asking questions or guidance. For a while, just talk to them. Over time, the communication will grow stronger, and you can begin asking.

However you decide to celebrate Beltaine, be it with or without divination, dancing, communication with ancestors, or gatherings, may you be blessed with new growth, and good beginnings.

Blessed Beltaine.

Blessed Be

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

January, 2016

Imbolc 2016 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings! It’s about a week before my Yule Celebration with friends, and already, I am putting together my 2016 Imbolc article. Time does fly.

Last year, I wrote about the ancient focus on the goddess Brigid, and how modern Catholics keep her traditions alive. The ritual I submitted focused on self-change at the time of Spring’s first awakenings. That article can be found here:


My article had a working to initiate self-change. My own self- change was focused on eating better. I improved some, and then I did not improve any further.

Something happened a couple of months ago that reminded me to get back on track. A good friend is diabetic, and is having serious complications due to sugar consumption. In conversations to try and encourage my friend to kick sugar once and for all, I was forced to take a good look at myself. I have all the knowledge and knowhow, but was ignoring it. I justified eating anything I pleased as long as I cooked it myself.

Discussions with people I know reveal an ugly fact about humanity. While we all have unhealthy habits, many of us justify our own as the ones that are okay. Like me justifying eating anything I wanted as long as it’s homemade, for example. Plus, I realized how fond I’d become of bragging I had quit smoking. It was as if I was saying I could eat anything unhealthy just because I no longer smoke. I was told a story about a group of people decrying the use of GMO’s as deadly in our foods- while they chain smoked together. My husband brags about his muscle tone and the fact he is in shape and good health. Yet he overworks himself, bragging about his great ethic!

Truthfully, many of us are killing ourselves regardless of how different our methods are. No one method is any more noble or justified than the other. I like to joke that “We all die anyhow, I may as well die happy.” But I am forty years old and have been saying this for many years. Just talking this way is mouth magic- making my words come to be- I am literally shortening my lifespan one word and one bite at a time.

While some ancient Pagans were very concerned about what they out into their mouths, the reality is that before the Industrial Revolution, people had to quite often, eat whatever was available. The Abrahamic faiths are famous for their purity laws and bans on certain foods considered things that defiled the body. We often laugh and scoff at them as unnecessarily strict, whilst shoving some saturated fat, sugar, and chemical laden foodstuffs into our mouths.

Not an advocate of strict dietary observations as holy, myself, the concept of the body being the temple of a god is absolutely one that is on my mind since I am aging and seeing people I love struggle with their health. And those who have read my articles the past year are aware I have had my own health struggles that are by no means resolved.

Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, most of us are in agreement that the soul resides in our bodies temporarily and moves on when this body dies. Personally, not only would I like to stick around in this incarnation for a while longer, but I would like to also feel good while I am here. Call it medical science, or call it holy if you like, but taking care of the physical body is in this sense, a magical operation.

I find Imbolc to be a good time to focus on this.

What is Imbolc?

Long celebrated as early as Neolithic times in the British Isles, and possibly earlier, this is a celebration of first signs of Spring and fires of purification. The home is often focused on, as Spring Cleaning commences. Visits to holy wells and sacred trees for healing focus on purification of the body itself. I am including wonderful videos here of Brigid’s healing well and a sacred tree there.

The Well-

The Tree-

The Saint Brigid is simply Christianization of the great goddess, Brigid. Imbolc has been a time to venerate her, ask for healing, and to invite her into the home for blessings and purification of house and inhabitants.

Our ancestors viewed winter as a terrifying time when the young, old, and weak would perish. So all the blessings from protective deities and spirits were called on. Many diseases from stomach ailments, to colds and bacterial infections and flu are passed around more in wintertime due to people staying inside and closer to one another more often. Our ancestors did not view germs and disease as we do. Many of them thought spirits caused them. Brigid and her healing was just one remedy for disease and to hold off death.

Celts would fashion representations of body parts needing healing out of wood and leave as votive offerings in bodies of water. A modern continuance of that can be found in the main Cathedral in Mexico City. A portrait of Mary surrounded by little charms pinned to the framing mat, asking for healing is hanging in the church. Nearby the front door patrons can purchase the charms to use.

In keeping with the ancient practice of purification by water, many modern churches keep receptacles of holy water by entrances for ritual cleansing upon entrance to the sanctuary.

Each people view purity and spiritual pollution in their own way. Societies who observe a lot of taboos are a perfect example of this. Abstaining from alcohol in Islam is just one example. Some modern Native Americans believe it is impure to let a woman touch men’s sacred items when she has her period. Abstaining from sex before and during certain events is observed in modern Voodoo, and avoiding certain people who are considered to have sinned to avoid “catching” their impurity has been observed all through history.

Without the understanding of the importance of regular bathing, changing clothing often, not sharing plates and utensils, proper nutrition, and how much water is needed by the body, ancient people did the best they could. They did not have access to the variety of foods we do, and they could not just go to the store and grab decongestants, vitamins, and tons of fresh fruits and veggies. While they knew how to grow food and preserve it well, an accident could destroy all the preserved foods- such as a shelf falling and the glass or crockery containing preserved foods breaking. The food could somehow become contaminated and poison everybody. The crops could fail. A water source could dry out. Somebody could steal or deliberately destroy their food. There could be drought, floods, storms, you name it.

People needed all the help they could get.

Belief in magical/spiritual purity so as not to upset spirits or gods, or be unclean was just one way people tried to survive and thrive in ancient times.

Many neo-Pagans do not observe these practices. Many see their fasts as unnecessary and their taboos as constrictive. Many of us lean towards hedonism and believe life is meant to be enjoyed. Not everybody sees observance of taboos or fasting as deprivation and view anything less as overconsumption and lack of self control, harmful to both physical and spiritual health. This leads me to my recommended working- one I have been working on, really since 2012, and one I will focus on for the rest of my life; Personal purging and the fact that most of the time- less really is more.

My Story

I will keep this short.

I was raised by mom’s family. They were women who ate, drank, smoked, worked themselves into exhaustion, and fought too much. Some did more or less of one or the other, or none of one at all, but they all binged on some of these things. Guess who unknowingly grew up and took after them? You guessed it. Me.

But the time 2012 rolled around, I was a mess. I prayed to my god for a way out. He removed me from a toxic job. That was the beginning of my changes.

I quit smoking. While I’d not really drank that much, I found myself drinking even less. The daily ingestion of fast food went away seemingly overnight. The soda consumption dropped. My physical activity increased.

I also discovered I was a fighter. I decided I did not want to do that anymore. I stopped being engaged by people who liked to instigate drama. I also had to let go of some relationships as a result.

It’s due to be 2016- and by the time you read this article, it will be. Almost four years after my life changed. My career is not re-established. I have lost no weight. I have debt. Things are not perfect. But I am halfway to proper health due to something as simple as loss of a toxic job. It made me rethink everything. I realized not taking control of things I take into my body as well as situations I put my body and soul into was absolutely killing me.

I know from experience that letting go of things that not only do not serve us as well as take away from happiness is a good sacrifice, and a necessary one. It’s often viewed as a loss, but it’s not. Like a rose cannot grow if it is strangled by spent blossoms and dried out branches, our lives cannot grow if something is weighting us down either. Sometimes, the things we value most are the things that hurt us the most. Losing those toxic things we love might feel impossible at first, but it is every bit worth it.

This Imbolc’s working will be a purging for purification ritual.

The Ritual

Like last year’s working, this one is footwork based, not do a spell and forget it based. And like last year’s working, this one is a personal one.

First, identify one aspect of your life causing you grief, or something you feel needs improving.

Then, think of some way you have any say or control in the situation. If you can’t, that’s okay. Think of something you do that is directly linked to the situation or is a result of the situation that you can give up, improve, or reduce somehow.

Rather than JUST go out and sacrifice something to make positive change, your main task here will be to talk to somebody else about this scenario.


Because the people who love us see us in ways we can never see ourselves. They offer insight and crucial support- and make great partners in crime. Ask your loved one or loved ones for insight in what is going on , and while giving up whatever it is you need to in order to improve your situation, follow the advice that resonates with your soul as wise. In this way we are Priests and Priestesses for one another.

You can keep a journal to track your progress if you want to. Look back on it and see how you have progressed.

For example…

For me, this sugar thing is my big purge. I am currently showing no symptoms of disease , and my sugars have never measured high. However, I am aware that I eat so many sweets, I replace healthy foods with empty calories which have no nutritional value. I am literally starving.

I am of the mind that all bodies are beautiful, and maybe “thin is in” but I don’t care about that. I know just as many good looking plus sized people as ugly thin people, you know? So I am not looking to slim down to feel attractive.

I do have back injuries. The weight did not cause any of this, but it is not helping any of it at all.

I have forty years of eating habits to unlearn, and I have learned enough over the years that I know what to replace those bad habits with. It’s not going to happen overnight , and there will be temptation, but I can do this.

Because I talked to friends, I have supporters who I likewise support. Each of usare at different places in the journey to health. One girl became vegan. Another gave up gluten. Another had to give up pork. Another struggles to keep weight ON! We are supporting and encouraging each other.

My Imbolc working is sort of one I, myself have been adding to for almost four years now. Yours might be simple, and a one time, one event thing. You might need to downsize a home, and purge a lot of belongings. You might need to get a toxic relationship out of your life. You might need to stop being inactive and decide to give up sedentary time in order to take up those swim classes you always wanted to. Maybe you need to give up TV time to work at a hobby like writing, or knitting, or dancing . Maybe you feel you should go back to school and need to sacrifice an extra room at home in order to take in a roommate to afford classes.

Whatever you decide to do in regards to your purification or purge, may you be happy and enjoy the positive changes. Imbolc is a perfect time to clear away the old dust in the corners of our lives and ourselves, and open ourselves to the new life and positive changes the season brings.

Blessed Imbolc.

Blessed Be.

Witches Soul Work

September, 2015

Witches Soul Work: Laughter and Ritual













Usually when we think of ritual or ceremony we think of serious prayer led by serious officiates. We can’t imagine a church ceremony where the priest and the congregation laugh uproariously in lieu of prayer! Yet there are many good reasons why humour and laughter can be used successfully in ritual and many examples from around the world where it does.

In Nepal the Gaijatra ceremony, also known as the festival of holy cows (!) featured a parade of participants who had lost loved ones during the previous year. These sad people brought their cows to walk in a parade because cows are thought by the Nepalese to transport the souls of the dead to heaven. The cows were presided over by representatives of the bereaved cow owners but if they could not afford cows, the representatives had to dress up as funny colourful cows instead. People in general that attended the Gaijatra also dressed up, trying to make themselves look funny and made a lot of noise by dragging iron wheels or broken pieces of metal. This festival dates back to medieval times when King Malla, who was the ruler of Kathmandu, lost his son to small pox. To console his queen he gathered people from the populace who had also lost sons, like a royal support group, and asked them to show ‘funny items’ or to entertain the queen. Many decorated themselves like cows (for the same reason mentioned above) and when the queen began to laugh her grief was finally resolved (Deep 1992, 57-60).

Nowadays they make sort of parade floats carrying the photos of their loved ones and the only resemblance to cows are horns stuck up on top with four legs represented by sticks that the ‘pallbearers’ use to move the cows forward in the parade. The noise is made with a stick dance. (Gaijatra, 2013)

Laughter has a physiological effect and can lead to an increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, respiratory depth and oxygen consumption followed by a period of muscle relaxation with a corresponding decrease in heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Post laughter relaxation can last up to forty-five minutes and is caused by the H-reflex depression of spinal motor excitability (Bennet and Lengacher 2008, 37-40). This translates into a relaxed group of people who are ready to connect with the energy and focus of the ritual.

We read about the Japanese laughing ritual dating back to 1199 when the stone fish was used to create humour and appease the Mountain Goddess (Abe 2010, 31-34). In fact there are seven major traditional festivals in Japan that feature ritual performances of laughter called Wa-Rai-Ko. All of these rituals are carried out in or near Shinto shrines where they dedicate the laughter to entertain and please the Kami hoping the laugher’s wishes will be granted. The word kami is translated loosely as ‘gods’, ‘spirits’ or more accurately ‘sacred’ (Milner 2006, 37). So participants are laughing to the sacred.

Doreen E. Martinez is an ethnographic researcher and trained sociologist as well as being an assistant professor at the University of Colorado and the Director of Culture and Community with the Native American Sustainable Housing Initiative (NASHI). Her paternal grandmother was Mescalero, Apache, born in 1899 and paternal grandfather was Chiricahua, Apache, born around 1897. She describes a cultural ritual she calls ‘Traditional Kindness and Ritual Laughter’(Martinez, 2012).

In this ritual if a person admires something that you have “in the right way”, that is not for material gain, then you should give it to them. Teasing, reflected in the ‘coyote trickster and Native clowns, regularly occurs and reinforces humility’.  The Apache believe that teasing promotes laughter of a certain type and makes the subject of the tease feel they are cared for. As one of her examples she tells of admiring a watch worn by another woman who gives it to her with much ceremony. Actually Doreen never wore a watch but it was considered rude to refuse a gift offered with such grace and friendship. A few days later her friend started teasing her because the watch was in Doreen’s bag, not on her wrist, and she laughingly suggested that she should give the watch back if she wasn’t going to wear it. Doreen returned the watch and later that night found a pair of bone earrings on her pillow.

Another example of cultural laughter comes from the story of the Laughing Buddha, called in China Budai and in Japan Hotei. He is one of the ‘Shichic Fukujin (seven gods of good fortune) and is considered to be an incarnation of Amida Nyorai (the merciful Buddha) and Miroku-bosatsu (the future Buddha)’. He is depicted as a ‘fat, jolly, bald priest with fat pendant lucky ears’ surrounded by laughing children. He carries a sack (hotei) which holds a bottomless pit of sweets and good food for the children. His image is placed at the entrances to many shrines, restaurants and stores both in China and Japan. The ritual of rubbing his tummy is supposed to bring smiles and good luck (Ashkenazi 2003, 168).

Recently I wrote a ritual for Beltane 2014 which involved laughter and kissing. My hope was to bring together between 60 and 100 participants, many of whom did not know each other, and help them experience the energy of the Sabbat which I identified as sexual-laughter. In this ritual I created or recruited 5 couples: one to cast the circle, one to bless the maypoles, one to read the Sabbat reading, one to bless the young King and Queen of May and the last couple to be the King and Queen of May. Since this was a non-specific gender ritual I had the circle casters as a married man-woman couple, the may-pole blessers as a man-man couple, the Sabbat readers as woman-woman couple, the King and Queen blessers an older man-woman couple (myself and husband Bran) and the King and Queen of May a younger man-woman couple. The drumming troupe raised energy for the maypole dance and the women’s belly dancing group danced the quarter callings wearing fancy dress.

The circle casting couple kissed very deeply, cheered on by the crowd and then Mielka ran off from her husband going clockwise from East. He gave chase and finally caught her again back at the East quarter after going full circle and they kissed again (more cheering). Hawk and Mitch (two guys) blessed the maypole making a lot of hard pole jokes and then kissed which brought a lot of laughter because it was unexpected. Mitch’s wife laughed the hardest. The Sabbat reading was done by Serafina and Oshun and then they gave the biggest sexiest kiss of the day, which surprised us all as they are not a couple and both are not gay. Bran (my hubby) and I kissed and blessed the Young King and Queen of May played by Ivy and her new boyfriend Paul. This was only his 2nd ritual and as the scheduled King and Queen were late Ivy ‘volunteered’ them. Poor Paul was quite unaware at how much kissing he had to do in the ritual and also that he was expected to perform the “Great Rite” when he got home to finish the ritual.

( Paul: You’re kidding right?

Me: No, it’s part of the ritual. Do you have a problem with that?

Ivy: giggles.

Me: Don’t you love our religion?)

The ritual was full of a lot of laughter and kissing in the spirit of the Sabbat and I achieved what I hoped to with the ritual use of laughter. I want to continue to explore the use of ritual laughter by incorporating a variation of the stone fish ceremony to create laughter and honour the gods during the Summer Solstice Ritual. I was inspired to work on this project by the Laughing Buddha Ritual (Laughing Buddha Ritual , 2013).


  1. Dhurba, Deep. 1992. The Nepal Festival Kathmandu. Variety Printas: 57-60.
  1. Gaijatra Festival. 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIAbshKRcdU
  1. Payne Bennet, Mary and Lengacher, Cecile. 2008. Humour and Laughter May Influence Health: III Laughter and Health Outcomes. Evidence-Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine 5(1): 37-40.
  1. Goh Abe. 2010. A Japanese Ritual Performance of Laughter. http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/47656885/japanese-ritual-performance-
  1. Milner Davis, Jessica. 2006. Understanding Humour in Japan. Wayne State University Press: 37
  1. Martinez, Doreen E. 2012. Traditional and Kindness Ritual http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/traditional-kindness-and-ritual-laughter
  1. Ashkenazi, Michael. 2003. Handbook of Japanese Mythology. Oxford University Press:168.
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk9-gkT2bI8 Laughing Buddha ritual which inspired the paper, June 2013.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

September, 2015

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Mabon 2015

I have been so busy gardening and learning about seeds, soil, and planning next year’s planting that Mabon, or second harvest, snuck up on me this time. I just can’t believe how fast this year is going by!

Friends all shared their first harvests at Lughnasadh time. Some grew veggies, others flowers and herbs. Everybody gave thanks for the first things they harvested. My husband was so proud to bring the first tomato and the first berries of the season in to eat.

Fast forward a month and a half, and we are cleaning up some garden debris and saving seeds from things we want to plant next year. Next comes pumpkins, of course, and the radishes and peas I put in the ground for fall harvesting.

In today’s households, most produce is from the store, but some of us cannot resist planting gardens of our own. It’s not like I had anything better to do this year.

It has been ten months since I have worked outside of the home. You guessed it, I am not well enough to go back to work yet. Truthfully, NOT working has taken a major toll on my self esteem. Of course, my husband LOVES coming home to a clean house and a hot meal every day. I, on the other hand, feel like my life is on hold and my perception of who I am has suffered. Who am I if I am not doing those things that I always considered to make me who I AM? I am still myself, despite what I do, and I discovered that while what I do changes from time to time, who I am really does not.

At one time, I was a director where a lot of people relied on me to make things happen. Now, by professional definition, I am a nobody who has not earned one penny in months and is completely dependent on others. There was a time I gave rides to other people on a regular basis. Now, I can’t even drive myself anyplace at all most days.

So you see, my focus went from being on worldly things, to being… well… sick. Anybody who has struggled with a chronic illness can tell you it is counterproductive to just focus on what you CANNOT do. It became crucial to focus on what I CAN do.

And all year, I have done those things to the very best of my ability.

I have continued my normal crafting, painting, beading, and cooking, of course, but gardening and touching the earth every day is genuinely what kept me sane. (Assuming that I am sane!) I have gardened for at least an hour a day, for seven days a week since the first week of May. Sometimes, that just entails watering plants. Some days it entails crushing eggshells into soil for organic fertilizing. Some days it entails research about certain plants. We planted something new almost every week, and started planning next year’s planting. Every day it entails going outside and being with Nature.

As I age, my body is more and more affected by the seasons. I noted I could tell, based on joint stiffness, when rain was coming. After getting on hands and knees and standing up countless times to do garden work, and my blood pressure yo-yoing to the point I saw stars and psychedelic colors, my mood was always better. Not because of the blood pressure variance, but because touching the ground, tending the plants, and being outdoors in nature is naturally good for the human body.

Besides making you more aware of coming weather, gardening also plugs you in to the seasons. A lot of people, for example, just cannot understand why they start to feel sleepier in late summer and early fall. A gardener knows it is because the days are shortening and the body is getting less vitamin D from the sun. The earth’s fruits have reached their limit and are ready to harvest. The nights are getting cooler and it gets light later in the morning. Our bodies respond to all of this.

We have an illusion that we are separate from everything. We believe we are individuals who exist apart from all other individuals. We also have the illusion that other species are not as valuable as we are. Many of our creation stories even interpret gods or goddesses to be immortal human beings, and the earth and the animals were created simply for the purpose of satisfying human beings. We can kill another creature with no consequence, and we can step on other human beings to get ahead.

But if you think about it, we really are not separate at all.

Like I used to mistakenly consider myself an individual who could do everything all on my own, many modern people miss the fact that we are inter dependant on one another, and the earth, as well as members of the other species. Notice I said INTER dependant. Not CO dependant.

Even if you work, live alone, and pay all of your own bills, somebody had to work to build that car you drive. Somebody further produced the parts it was made of. Then somebody had to ship the parts to the place where they built the car. A salesperson had to handle the sale so you could buy the car. The bank staff had to approve the loan. Even your boss has to sign your paycheck so you can have the money to pay for things.

Having transportation and all the things that go into maintaining it is just one example of the fact that people rely on one another for everything, really.

We further rely on animals. Even vegans do. Animals, aside from providing food sources, maintain populations. Predators, even domestic cats, keep critter populations in check so we are not overrun with them. Their bodies further decompose into the earth when they die, fertilizing it so our soil can support plant life. Plant life is both food, and a way to clean carbon dioxide out of the air so we can breathe.

In this way, from death comes all life.

Being part of nurturing plants entails prepping soil, planting seeds, caring for baby plants, harvest, and then saving their seeds for future planting. It creates understanding of how life cycles and our role in that.

All this year, that has been my “job” instead of earning money. I always had plants, but never like this year. This year’s gardening has changed my perception of the cycle of life and my role in it drastically. It helped me realize that I am more than just somebody who earns money to pay bills. I realize we all are.

This Mabon will be the first one I have fully participated in an entire cycle of life of plants. So this harvest will hold different meaning than if I just bought plants and tossed them after a few months.

Mabon itself was first named by Aiden Kelly in 1970. He was referring to Mabon ap Modron from Welsh myths. He is associated with Irish god Oengus, ruler of Tir na Nog, land of eternal youth.

Mabon is the Autumn Equinox. Day and night will be equal, and afterwards, the nights will lengthen. I always think of Mabon as the right time for Thanksgiving. In the US, we celebrate that in November instead.

Mabon is really the time people are finishing up harvesting and storing the last of the crops and fruits before it gets cold. And of course, since foods are ripe and ready, it is the perfect time to feast and give thanks.

Throughout history, many people have celebrated harvest.

In Ireland, equinoxes were tracked and possibly celebrated at Loughcrew. Light strikes a burial cairn on both Spring and Autumn equinoxes there. The burial site dates back to 3500 BCE to 3300 BCE. Little is known about exactly what celebrations entailed back in

Pre- Christian days. The burial site was also used to keep track of seasons for agriculture. In a way, the dead were reminding their descendants of what to plant and harvest when!

In England, Stonehenge is one place where the Autumn Equinox sunrise is still observed, the sun rising above the stones. Farmers would begin slaughtering animals and prepping meat for winter use as well as finishing up the harvesting of crops at Autumn equinox.

In the British Isles, at sites like Loughcrew and Stonehenge, more than just burials were held. Some of those places had multiple structures for multiple purposes. Like the Hill of Tara, these ancient complexes seemed to be the sacred centers of all rites of passage, religious celebrations, and in some cases, lawmaking, matchmaking, and even places for royal or chieftain residence.

In Japan, Autumn Equinox is a time for visits from the ancestors. Visits to families graves and tombs as well as making offerings of foods and incense are given.

Greek myths say the goddess Persephone returns to the underworld at Autumn. When she leaves, wintertime starts to come in, when she returns in Spring, the warm days and growing season begins again.

The god Kelly chose to name the Sabbat after is related to the god Maponos who comes from Gaul and Britain. He is compared with Apollo, of course, since Romans compared other gods with their own. In Britain, he is the son of the Dagda, father of the gods. In Wales, he is the son of Modron, a matron goddess.

In modern Wicca, the god dies, a willing sacrifice into the earth. He will be reborn to the goddess come Springtime.

Christianization brought Michaelmas, which is still celebrated. It is the feast of the Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. Those who use the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram will recognize those names right away as being those of archangels!

Michaelmas at some churches specifically honors the archangel Michael, who is credited with defeating the devil.

It was also a time when harvest was over, and workers would need new jobs. Hiring went on and accounts were settled during this time.

Christianization bumped Lughnasadh sporting festivities to Mabon time instead.

All was kept alive by the Christian church. Timeframe was rearranged and patrons were changed, but once again, the Christians kept the Pagan ways alive and well.

The founder of modern Wicca, Gerald Gardner, gives a ritual in the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, which can be read for free on the Internet at sacred-texts.com. The altar is of course, decorated with seasonal offerings, and the Priest says, “ Farewell, O Sun, ever returning light. The hidden god, who ever yet remains. He departs to the land of youth, through the gates of death, to dwell enthroned, the judge of gods and men.“ More beautiful things are said, and a procession around the altar is lead. Dances and games are called for as well.

Personally, I always have a feast when I am hosting with a very short ritual and blessing of the foods. By then, the exhaustion of festival season has set in, and people will soon begin Samhain planning, which for a lot of us, is a very big deal. This “in between” harvest, as some call it, is more enjoyable for some of us if it is kept simple and low fuss.

Here is a simple, suggested working for you and your loved ones.

Simple Mabon by Saoirse

Invite everybody over for the Sabbat and tell them you will potluck it.

Have everybody bring with them a symbol of their own personal harvest. It can be things like garden plants, or evidence of accomplishments, or even a few extra dollars to donate to some cause. For many of us, the fruits of our labor are what we earn at jobs, and that is as good a harvest as any.

Have everybody also bring something to give as tribute for thanks. This is an easy opportunity to raise donations for some cause. It can be as simple as asking people to bring non perishable goods for a local food pantry, or as fancy as doing a raffle, or even arranging to do some volunteer work together.

My favorite harvest altars are not covered with ritual items, or decorations. They are loaded down with the fellowship gathering’s food. Have everybody put the fruits of their harvest on the table amongst the food, and the tribute on or around the table as well, if it is physical tribute gifts.

To cast circle, join hands circled around the table, and take a moment of silence for everybody to focus.

Then have everybody take turns, clockwise, starting at the East, saying a short prayer or blessing directed into the food, their harvest items, and the donations. The best part of this is that shy people who are not comfortable speaking in front of others can say their blessings silently while they direct the energy and well wishes into everything.

This ritual form, as opposed to traditional Priestess and Priest and attendees puts everybody in the same role. Symbolic of community, it reminds, we all bring something to the group. Each person blesses every other attendees harvest, the food everybody will eat, and also the tribute. Together.

When each person has done their blessing, let the fellowship begin. Eat, drink, and be merry!

Blessed Mabon. Blessed Be.

Musings of a Hereditary Witch

May, 2015

Memories of Beltaine 2000

For Beltaine 2000, I invited my students and their significant others to participate in ritual on my family’s land. Everyone was asked to bring a potluck dish and 5 yards of 1 inch ribbon in a color that represented a wish. In making preparations I also had everyone sign a ‘hold harmless’ document, required by my family.

The morning of ritual we met at my home. The ladies were dressed up, some with floral wreaths, flowers or ribbons in their hair and the men dressed casually in jeans or shorts. We busied ourselves with packing the large cast-iron cauldron, kindling, flowers, food; the ribbons for the Maypole and the Maypole it’s self. I have a 9 foot free standing Maypole that my ex-husband made. It’s all wood and comes apart in 4 sections (the base and 3 sections for the pole done in a post and sleeve construction). I have to say, he did a very nice job and it’s withstood many dances.

The day was warming up quickly as it does here in California at this time of year. Old growth oaks stretched over the one lane road dappling us in faery light as we drove to the ritual site. Upon crossing the bridge, the trees give way on the left to an open expanse of property. We had arrived. We parked along the road and began unloading everything.

There is a lovely round plateau (about 50 feet in diameter) for performing ritual that is about 75 yards in from the main road; it is also quite visible to the main road. To get there we had to walk down an uneven path and cross a running creek. For me it was a case of hiking up my skirts and walking through about six inches of icy water. For the rest it was more about balancing on the rocks to not get their feet wet. Once on the other side, it was up a steep incline to the plateau.

Blankets and ice chests were laid out in the shade under the trees. The men and some of the women were busy getting the Maypole assembled and decorated. A fire was built in the cauldron. Soon the soft sound of Celtic music was drifting in the air around the Maypole.

Before ritual began, I called to our family Land Guardian (by name) and announced our intentions for the afternoon. She graciously gave her blessing. Having her blessing we could now begin our ritual. We opened ritual and acknowledge those things in accordance with the tradition I teach.

We had a rousing dance around the Maypole with lots of laughter and shouts. Cars on the road would slow down or stop to watch and we would wave and continue our dance. The varying colors of ribbon creating a beautiful woven tapestry down the pole. Once we could go no further, we all fell to the ground laughing.

Now it was time to make wishes and jump the Bel-fire. Some of the couples jumped together and the few who couldn’t jump circled the fire making their wishes. It soon became a competition of who could jump the highest over the flames.

Food and drink was much welcomed after all of the activity. We ate, told stories and lounged around. Some of the couples took this time to wander into the woods. It is Beltaine after all.

We closed our ritual, but before leaving we left offerings of fruit and honey in a hollow at the base of an oak for the Land Guardian.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and memorable Beltaine!

Blessings on your Hearth & Home

Goddess Cards

November, 2009

Thanksgiving & Harvest Celebrations


On Thursday, November 26th, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. Families will gather, and feasts, including turkey and pumpkin pie, will be eaten. Some may go to church. Some may even think back to the first U.S. Thanksgiving, celebrated in New Plymouth, Massachusetts in November of 1621. The fifty-three survivors of the one hundred two passengers who had set sail from Plymouth, England, aboard the Mayflower, in search of religious freedom, adventure, and profit, in the New World, offered thanks that they were still alive.

Of the eighteen women who embarked on that grueling two-month journey, fourteen died during their first brutal winter ashore. Only four remained to prepare that first Thanksgiving dinner for the forty-nine surviving men and children.

Added to their catering challenge were ninety Native American guests, led by Chief Massasoit. The natives generously contributed five deer to the feast of waterfowls, wild turkeys, and fish, provided by the thankful colonists.

That three-day celebration was an affirmation of Life! The Pilgrims were grateful both for survival, and for their first successful harvest.  The harvest of 1621 gave them hope and the promise of future survival. That reminds us of countless earlier pre-Christian Harvest celebrations.

The Pilgrim Fathers were obviously not the first to suffer deprivation, disease, and starvation. Our Pagan ancestors knew well what it cost to survive a bitter winter. That is why, in Greek mythology, the goddess Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, was one of the most beloved of the Olympians.


The Greeks loved her, not just because she showered them with abundance from on high, but also because they credited her with teaching them how to grow, preserve and prepare grain. Demeter’s promotion of the cultivation of the Earth to provide agricultural sustenance meant that her followers could progress from being nomadic hunter-gatherers, to becoming settled villagers and townspeople, whose harvests could sustain life through the cruelest winter. Even when game was scarce. Furthermore, she walked among them. She loved, and shared in their life.

It was for that, above all else, that they worshipped her.

The great story of her love for her abducted daughter, Persephone, and her relentless search for her, also endeared her to the people. They identified with her feelings of loss and despair. And while they suffered terribly when, in deep depression, she withdrew her care for the world, they understood her grief. Their petitions to Zeus, King of the Gods, for Persephone’s return, helped bring about the restoration of Demeter’s lost child for spring, summer and fall.  (She would still have to return to the Underworld to spend winter with her abductor and husband, Hades.)

Still, it was enough to guarantee a fine harvest. And that was all the excuse they needed for a great Harvest Festival!

Such festivals occur and have occurred at harvest time in every part of the world, throughout history – though dates vary according to the time of their harvest. Many customs and traditions have sprung up that reflected the culture of their people.

Our Celtic ancestors created corn dollies by plaiting wheat stalks to create a straw figure that was kept until spring. This was done in order to keep the spirit of the corn alive for next year’s crop. In spring, the dolly would be ploughed back into the soil to ensure an abundant harvest.

In Egypt, the spring harvest festival was dedicated to Min, the god of vegetation and fertility. When Egyptian farmers harvested their corn, they wept, to fool the spirits they believed lived in the corn into thinking that they were grieving – so they wouldn’t take revenge on the pickers.

The African people hold festivals at harvest time. In some parts of Africa, good grain harvests are cause for celebration. But the tribes of West Africa celebrate the yam harvest with a Yam Festival, held in August at the end of the rainy season.  Yams, songs and dances are offered to the ancestors and the gods.

In Alaska each fall, after the end of salmon fishing and the berry harvest, people hold a series of festivals with feasting, dances and songs addressed to the spirits who help them, and to the souls of animals on whom their lives depend.

Across Britain, Canada and the USA, churches still celebrate harvest festivals after the wheat has been cut and fruits and vegetables picked. Churches are decorated in flowers and greenery. Fresh produce is displayed, with a loaf of bread in the middle, symbolizing the bountiful harvest. Food collections are taken up for the poor, so that they too may share in the bounty of Harvest.

And so it goes. People across the world, in every time and place, have given thanks for Earth’s bounty that sustains them. That statement is particularly true of farmers, and of those agrarian cultures that still live close to Nature, and to the bone.

For those of us who live now in great cities where food appears magically in supermarkets, and where abundance is so common that we take it for granted, it is hard to imagine the profound relief and gratitude that our forefathers felt for a harvest that might guarantee them another year of life.

But on Thanksgiving Day, it is good to remember that abundance is a blessing that should never be taken for granted. We should always approach it with grateful hearts.

In 1844, 223 years after the celebration in New Plymouth, Henry Alford wrote the lyrics to a hymn by Sir George J. Elvey, the organist at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle for nearly 50 years. Come Ye Thankful People Come has become one of the most beloved of all Thanksgiving hymns.

Our Pilgrim Fathers, the ancient Greeks and Celts, Africans, Alaskans, and Egyptians, would all have recognized the sentiments it expresses:

Come ye thankful people come,

Raise the song of harvest home!

All is safely gathered in,

Ere the winter storms begin;

God our Maker, doth provide

For our wants to be supplied:

Come to God’s own temple, come,

Raise the song of harvest home.

Harvest blessings to all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Anne Baird, Designer/Owner of GODDESS CARDS, is a self-taught artist who has been painting and writing since childhood. Her chosen media for her unique line of greeting cards is watercolor, with touches of gouache, ink and colored pencil.

Her GODDESS CARD line grew from a birthday card she created for her daughter, Amanda, in 2001. Amanda was disheartened at being a curvaceous beauty in the Land of Thin. (Los Angeles.) That seminal card declaring, “You’re a GODDESS, not a nymph!” evolved into a long line of love notes and affirmations for ALL women. At over 125 cards, the line is steadily growing.

Anne is inspired by the archetypal Legendary Goddesses, who have so much to teach today’s women. Her greatest inspiration however, comes from the Goddesses of Today, who write her with wonderful suggestions and thoughts that expand her consciousness and card line.

She has launched  an E-Goddess Card website, where the Goddess on the Go can send Goddess “e-cards”, enriched with music and stories, at the click of a mouse. (A virtual mouse.)