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William Brigley

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

May, 2019

May 2019 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Bright
Blessings

I
write this with a sore back from beginning the garden. I have planted
seeds for snow peas, radishes, milkweed, and sunflowers so far, and a
few packs of annuals as well. I nabbed more seeds, ordered three more
seed catalogs, and got a couple of hot pink pots!

Not
bad for the first week of gardening.

This
year, I am doing the unthinkable! I am killing a mint plant!

I’m
doing it so I can pull a shrub behind it and use the space for more,
well…PLANTS! The roots of the mint would take over the space the
second the shrub is pulled, so the mint goes first!

I
planted it, against proper advice in the ground, instead of in a pot,
way back in 2006! It’s a 13 year old plant, and it’s not happy
with me, as I pour pan full after pan full of boiling water on it. I
am determined to do this with no chemicals, and with my bad back,
digging is not an option.

I
also got a start on my fork plantings. You read that right. Forks. I
have a schnauzer mix, and a little cat who like to LAY right on top
of my plants, but they can’t if I have forks in the garden around
the plants, can they? Although the seeds have yet to sprout, I placed
48 brand new, shiny white plastic forks in the radish bed today. I’ll
gather more later this week and finish.

Then,
I have more soil to buy, more pots, and some soil to lay around a
shady area where I will put more seeds.

A
garden witch never stops gardening!

Beltane

In
years past, I have written about historical observances not only in
Ireland, but also Wales. I’ve written about doing group, and
solitary ritual.

What
I have not written about, however, is to do a smaller-scale group
ritual for it utilizing some traditional practices, but not all of
them.

Much
focus in groups is on the May Queen and King, and the Maypole Dance.

This
time, I’ll write the ritual I am going to use when my small group
of friends arrives.

Beltane
is a lot of things to a lot of different people. For me, it’s a
very big deal, and sometimes, the only Sabbat I actually prepare for.

Here is an article from past years outlining a more complex ritual we used, and some more historical information as well.

This year, instead of focusing on historic meaning, I will talk about the things Spring does to our bodies that makes us feel good

Feel
So Good

What
is it about warmer days, and growing things that make us feel so much
better, and that make us look forward to it anyhow? Why do we feel
more energy, get sick less often, get out and do more, and just
overall, feel happier in warmer days?

Science!

Before
I list all of this, I will note I know people who have Seasonal
Affective Disorder in the warm months. Their bodies do not handle the
heat or strong sun well, and they crave Winter. I validate their
struggles, and understand they have these issues. This is called
Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.

This article breaks it down nicely, and explains it well.

What
my friends who have Reverse SAD have told me is they cannot
physically endure heat, strong light, and humidity in the humid
regions. Some have issues with insects eating them alive, and others
just can’t sleep when it is warm or hot. Allergies from growing
plants can also absolutely destroy people.

For
the people who do not have issues with warmer days, and the things
that come along, several things happen that make us feel better!

  1. More birdsong- It somehow promotes well-being. Further reinforcing the interconnectedness of all life us Witches and Pagans have known all about all along. Hearing that when you first wake up is amazing.
  2. Longer days- Especially folk who struggle with vitamin D deficiency, these days are most welcome. Many of us get enough Vitamin D from food or supplements, but in warmer seasons, the sun gives us even more. Some have issues absorbing vitamins from food, and LIVE for days when they can soak up some sun. According to an awesome article, fair skinned folk can catch a few minutes of sun in the afternoon. People who are a darker tan, 15-20 minutes, and people who are dark need up to six times more sun exposure than fair skinned people. Here is the article I found that information in if you want to read more about the sun and its help with Vitamin D.
  3. We get out and about more- Even though we have paved streets and walks, going out when the weather is yucky is just something we don’t do as much of because it’s a pain in the butt. There are nice events to attend, including festivals, outdoor concerts, and parties. Sabbats are held outdoors more often in warmer months, and a lot of people enjoy life more when they are going more places, and participating in more things.
  4. Flowers and animals abound- Now, some of us love the look of nature no matter what the season, but you have to admit, unless pollen or allergies are killing you, getting out with flowers, trees, and seeing the animals out and about too creates a sense of well-being. The earth is teeming with life and activity, and as Pagans and Witches, we are sensitive to the life-forces of other beings, and it strengthens us. We are all connected.
  5. Cold triggers pain- If you have injuries, joint issues, arthritis, back problems, etc, cold flares up that pain oftentimes, and warmer weather is easier on your body. Some of you know this all too well, and I wish complete healing, and no more pain for you!
  6. Less illness- Being closed in to avoid cold keeps us in more close quarters with one another, and contagious viruses and bacteria enjoy jumping from person to person. As we are less cooped up when it starts getting warmer, we share less germs.

Basically,
for many of us, nature is easier on our bodies come Springtime than
it was in Winter, and thus we feel better, can do more things, and
enjoy ourselves more.

That’s
a big reason to celebrate!

Before
I share my simple Beltane rite, I would like to share an interview I
was fortunate enough to have with a distinguished Pagan, and review
of an amazing Pagan ran establishment.

International
Pagan Radio and Onyx

International
Pagan Radio

International
Pagan Radio, or IPR is something I’d heard about because one of my
elders, Lady Brigid, has her own show, called Ask A Witch, on the
Radio. I knew it was a great organization, but I don’t listen to
radio shows, because of my hearing loss.

Here is the online link to find IPR.

I did go and listen to it to review it, and the show I caught was our beloved Raven Grimassi and his loved one talking to listeners not too long before he crossed the veil. They were sharing their love and appreciation for all the support they have gotten from the community. It’s like they knew he was about to cross over.

If
that is not enough to make you want to go listen right now, I can
tell you they have good music as well. Today is April 9, 2019, and
the agenda for today is Druidcast, The Magick Jukebox, and The Rift
and others. The available song is Black Swan Blues by SJ Tucker.
Honestly, this is something that every Pagan ought to know about, and
listen to. They have not only educational broadcasts, and music, but
messages from Pagans to Pagans. All for us by us! The best part is
the sound was crisp and clear, and I had no trouble hearing almost
everything, which is very good for me. You must go check out IPR
right away, and tell everybody about it!

Onyx

The
way I did this interview, as I do all my interviews is online. I send
questions, and the people either e-mail, or text me back. It’s
worked out well, as I am hard of hearing, and they can send me
answers when they have time. Sometimes, we do a whole interview in an
hour or less, and sometimes, we send messages back and forth over a
course of days. I also get 100% accuracy, as I am not worried about
mishearing what they say! I can be lazy, and copy and paste as
opposed to typing it all out when it is time to submit the interview
to my editor also!

Some
people, most especially film makers, have flat out refused to do
e-mail or text interviewing, and I have found people who write are so
used to writing, that an online interview is right up their alley!
Onyx granted the online interview, and instead of answering one
question at a time, wrote a beautiful statement I am proud to share
with you here. It speaks for itself!

“I
was working as the station manager for another Pagan network that
operated on Blog Talk Radio in 2015. I was approached by a guy to
manage a streaming station as well. This streaming station was to be
launched under my supervision and management as International Pagan
Radio. I agreed to take the job if I could also bring along William
Brigley. William and I had met at another network, and we had been
working together for some time. We had also become very good friends.

The
agreement was that I would manage the station with total autonomy and
our benefactor would pay the bills. William and I set out to create a
website and build the station. The station originally operated with
only donated music. We would approach artists and ask them if they
would allow us to play their music without royalties. The benefactor
wanted us to keep the cost minimal.

About
six months after launch, our benefactor informed us that he could no
longer afford the station. William and I proposed that we take over
ownership to keep the station online. Our benefactor agreed to
release all rights to the station to us.

William
and I changed a few things about the station. We decided that it was
not fair to the artists to only play donated music. We created an
account with Sound Exchange for them to manage the distribution of
royalties. We pay them for this service, and they ensure that the
royalties are distributed properly.

I
am the station manager for IPR. My responsibilities include managing
the Sound Exchange account, the bank account, station schedule,
shows, and any advertisers we may encounter. I also manage the back
end of the website and domain. We do not actively seek advertisers
but do have a rate card available if asked.

William
is the media manager. His responsibilities include more of the
technical aspects, such as website design and implementation,
ensuring that all the songs have the correct metadata embedded so the
reporting system will pick them up properly (for royalty reporting to
Sound Exchange), contacting and maintaining relationships with
artists, image design, and training videos for hosts and artists.

William
and I are co-owners of the station and share the financial
responsibility for all expenses. We pay for the streaming service,
the domain, the website, and all royalties out of pocket. We have
entertained soliciting advertisers, but have not actively done so.

International
Pagan Radio reaches out to all parts of the world, and anyone with an
internet connection can listen to us. Most of the artists whose music
we play are from the United States. However, we have artists from the
United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Australia, and Spain as well. In
addition to streaming music we also have several shows that can be
heard as well. Our shows are assigned a day of the week and are
streamed three times during that day to help ensure that fans in
differing time zones can catch the shows.

In
addition to our website, we also maintain a large Facebook presence.
We have both a public group and a page. In addition to our public
Facebook entities, we maintain private groups as well. We have one
group that is dedicated to the artists so they can interact with us
and each other. There is also a private group for the IPR team that
consists of the staff and the show hosts.

Neo-paganism
found me over three decades ago. I was raised primarily Southern
Baptist, but could never really internalize the teachings and
doctrine. When I encountered Neo-paganism it was like coming home
(yes, so cliché’).

In
the past, I have been among the High Priesthood of a few different
traditions. I have established and ran several temples and covens
over the years. I have trained, initiated and elevated many others
along the way as well. Have officiated handfastings, legal marriages,
funerals, memorials, birthing, and naming ceremonies, and coming of
age rituals.

Currently,
I consider myself more of an Omniest than a Pagan. As an “Omniest”
I feel that wisdom is not limited to one religious form. I find
wisdom in all forms of religious expression. I tell folks that I am
an Omniest that chooses to express his spirituality through Neo-pagan
traditions and ritual.

I
am the father to three (two daughters and a son) and the grandfather
to one (a baby boy). I have lived in the Winston Salem, North
Carolina, area for just over ten years. Most of my childhood was
spent in the upstate area of South Carolina. The first twelve years
of my adult life was spent serving in the United States Army. Since
leaving the Army, I have worn many hats. I owned a metaphysical shop
for a few years until it was destroyed by fire. I have worked in big
box retail management, and also in executive sales.

I
hold both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology with a
specialization in conflict resolution. I am enrolled in a doctoral
course. However, I am currently taking a break from school work.
Hopefully, I will return to school shortly and complete the Doctor of
Psychology degree.

I
am not actively involved in the local Pagan community, so the station
is my ministry. I very much like the fact that we have listeners all
over the world and have heard from many of them. Many tell me that
this station is nearly their only contact with the Pagan community.”

Many thanks to Onyx for sharing his beautiful story with us, and for all his good work for IPR!

The
Working

As
promised, I am sharing the working I will use when my soul kin come
to gather with me for our Beltane. I will have a team effort to bless
food and drink, and ask the powers that be for some good magic,
healing, and goodness all around at this time of life, beginnings,
and great strength.

Here
is the working.

Have
two volunteers stand at either side of the entryway of where you have
your rite. For me, it will be my front door. You can do male and
female to keep with Wiccan practice, representing Mother Goddess and
Father God, but for me, it is going to depend on who is there and who
wants to volunteer.

These
two people will each hold something to bless with. It could be a
stick of incense for one person, and a candle held by the other.
Instead of having a Priest and Priestess bless these things, we will
all join hands and say a prayer, each of us, for the blessings we
wish for one another. Saying something as simple as “Blessed Be”
as people pass through the fires, or something more like a chant or
song you like can also be used, but as the people have blessed the
things, no words have to be said unless you want to.

After
this, people will form a line and pass between the two people with
their blessed things, emulating the scared practice of passing
between the blessed fires ancient British Pagans used to use.

Once
everybody has passed between the blessing fires, everybody will go to
two others, whoever has volunteered. This will be a blessing of
“cakes and ale”. Again, we will all take turns saying the prayer,
over them, blessing them. I am probably not going to have wine or
soda or sweets for this. Let’s face it, none of us is getting
younger. There are people coming with dietary restrictions,
allergies, and digestive issues. Plus, we don’t need to be drinking
after each other- germs, you know! As we are potlucking it, we will
take food to make a plate from the offerings, maybe even a variety,
so people can hand pick the food THEY choose to eat. Instead of a
communal cup for us all to drink from, individual tiny cups filled
with probably water, will be used. It really does not matter WHAT the
food and liquid is- it’s the blessings we will take into us.

Once
all is blessed, each person will approach who is giving the blessed
food, and the person doing this will say “May you never hunger,”
and each person in turn will take their blessed bite of food and eat
it. I’ve seen people use whole apples for ritual blessing, and I
don’t recommend it, as that takes forever. Also, cut the food up
into small pieces, so people can take just a tiny bite. They will
then go to the person who has the water, who will give them a water,
and say “May you never thirst.” Again, this should be a tiny bit
of water, enough for one sip. This is not the meal, but just a sip
and a nibble.

A
third blessing can also be given if so desired, by an individual or
individuals. Play it by ear, and see how your soul kin feel. This can
be perhaps the moving party of the rite, most especially when beloved
Priest and Priestess do the blessings. A simple way would be for
everybody to hug one another. You can also break off in twos and go
bless each other for a few minutes, walking away from the group, and
returning to a spot when everybody is finished.

After
each person has passed between the blessed fires, had their blessed
food and drink, and been further blessed if it is wished, the rite is
ended, and the feasting and fellowship begins.

This
rite can be customized as you see fit, as it is simple, and you can
tweak it any way that is meaningful for you. I have had to change how
I do ritual in the past few years. The biggest change is my condo
association has made it clear no fires are allowed on patios. There
went our blessed firepit! I also do rituals at the house as opposed
to at the campgrounds we used to use, so we moved into a smaller
space than before. We manage. Ritual can be meaningful even if you
have to make accommodations and substitute something like two candles
for two bonfires.

May
you and yours have a very Blessed Beltaine.

Blessed
Be!

***

About
the Author:

Saoirse is
a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11,
but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was
called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not
explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing
Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age
studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse,
pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I
serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor
as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and
Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I
received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my
Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently
focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and
Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein
University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s
Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be
reached through my Facebook page Tarot
with Saoirse
. You can, also, join me on my Youtube
Channel
.