October, 2008

Tarot Talk

October, 2008

Judgment (20)

Judgement

“Their errors have been weighed and found to have been dust in the balance; if their sins were as scarlet, they are now white as snow: they have been washed in the blood of the mediator and redeemer, Time.” ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck depicts a nude man, woman, child, and other individuals in the distance rising from coffins that are floating on the sea. Their arms are outstretched toward an angel hovering above them. The angel is blowing a trumpet that holds a banner bearing the symbol of an equal sided cross.  In the background snow covered mountains rise to the sky.

Symbols:

Coffins: Awakening, the limitations and conventions we place upon ourselves

Trumpet: A liberation from material limitations, realization of our spiritual calling

Nudity: Our true selves

Snowy Mountain Peaks: The heights of abstract thought

Solar Cross: Balance of forces

Sea/Water: Primal mother, birth of a new life or rebirth

Key Words:

Judgment, Absolution, Evolution, Rebirth, New Start

Fool’s Journey:

As the Fool continues onward, he senses that he is approaching the conclusion of his travels and the completion of his evolution. Near the end of the path, he can see the presence of a bright light. The light promises the Fool rebirth and a new start on yet another journey that will offer other experiences and lessons to learn. Using careful judgment, he begins to consider the entirety of his life that has led him to this point. Reflecting upon both the positive and the negative results of his accomplishments, the Fool accepts the truth of his actions, and by doing so gains absolution. Ready to move forward again, he embarks toward the end of his journey.

Lesson:

To learn how to base our accomplishments on their karmic value and to live our lives accordingly.

Meaning:

Judgment symbolizes the rewards and penalties that we experience according to the karmic value of our actions. The phrase, “As you sow, so shall you reap” reflects the Judgment card’s energy, and asks us to evaluate ourselves and our accomplishments from a honest perspective. Sometimes we can take delight in our achievements; other times we must come face-to-face with our mistakes and resolve the conflicts and trials they create. Only after resolving our errors can we continue forward, having evolved to a higher level of understanding through the experience.

In readings, Judgment can appear when we need to assess matters, weigh all sides of an issue, and discern the truth. When a situation tests our moral integrity, we are asked to judge carefully without blame, and make proper decisions based upon wisdom and candor.  Judgment advises us to take what is of value, correct what needs correcting, and never lose sight of our worth.

The Judgment card can also represent feelings of absolution. When we forgive ourselves or another we are reborn and cleansed of our burdens and guilt; the past is left behind and we are ready to begin anew. Coming to terms with the past allows us to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh new start on a path toward self-improvement.

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Welcome the the New & Improved PaganPages!

October, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us!  Three Years old this month!!  To celebrate we have worked hard to improve our look and setup to give our readers what they ask for.  We are always trying to please our fans 🙂

To kick off the new year and our birthday with a surprise!
We are pleased to feature an interview with the one and only CELIA FARRAN!!!!! She has blessed us with an amazing interview you are sure to love!

Celia Farran

Not only our look has changed but the directory has changed as well.  It is now searchable by keywords to make your needs easily met.

Tell us what you think of all the changes!!  You can email us anytime with your comments, concerns, complaints, etc…

We are starting new advertising for all you vendors and later this month our donation button will be back up.  I want to thank you all for your donations, you made it possible for us to be up another month.

Be sure to be our MySpace friend!  We are now featuring auctions to help raise money to fund PaganPages and keep us alive and kicking!  The items and prices can’t be beat!

With all our Love and Blessingsa for this New Year!

GlitteryBlessingsandLove,
Jennifer Wright
Editor

Faith (SageKatt)
Assistant Editor

Ben Wright
Assistant Editor

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Review: CELIA FARRAN

October, 2008

Blessed Samhain.
Normally in this section of the magazine you would find a great review of a most terrific book which I had found for your enjoyment.  However this is our Samhain issue and Pagan Pages, as you have noticed, has a new look and some new departments and this month I, also, am creating a new department of reviews which may at times included interviews.

With that said, I have taken some time getting to know this artist and it is going to be a blast getting to introduce you to a multi-talented person who is not only a SINGER, but also a SONGWRITER, ACTRESS, and a wonderful STORYTELLER.   The woman’s talents are mesmerizing and her fan base is so fierce that when they know she is in town they will rally together to find a venue to get her to perform for them.  Through her generosity for her friends and fans she arranges her time to do so.

I watched as her last visit to a town in Wisconsin was announced and immediately her fans went to work sending her emails asking if they found a place would she fit them into her schedule.  I thought to myself, “This I want to see”.  Sure enough, they found the place, it was packed and SHE put on the best show just as if they were paying her.  That ladies and gents is a STAR in her own right.

CELIA FARRAN

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“CELIA”
To quote a song from her current smash album, “she has alabaster skin, red hair and blue eyes”, and a lusty sultry voice that has been compared to Enya for this day and age and for one of the great female singers that I loved so much MS June Carter.   Celia also has the comic talents often compared to those of Gilda Radner.
For those of you scratching your head and saying to yourself who is this person Celia and why did Sage pick her?  Get a cup of tea, sit back and read on, don’t fret, by the time you have finished this article you will have come to know her and love her music as much I do. I have included all the links at the end of the article for her web pages, myspaces pages, and her yahoo fan groups as well.  I hope you enjoy the review of Celia as well as our new additional department “Music Reviews & Interviews”.
Happy Samhain everyone.

“I’ve been entangled in your soul
From the moment that we met
I can’t breathe to forgive
I’m suffocated to forget”

Once I heard the above words I kept singing them over and over again back in September of 2003, I can remember as if it were yesterday and for me that is a miracle.    My husband had been deployed for some time by then and the words were so fitting as I was so angry still trying to get over the events of 9/11 and at the fact that he had to be deployed while I was healing and my feelings were just so mix wired.   The name of this song is Trees Breathe.

Once things finally got through my very thick head, and I really took time to listen to the entire song I got back to my roots and grounded with the oak tree outside my house and center and then was able to let go and be free and again breathe and trust in what will be.  That is the magick in Celia’s music.

Celia has a gift and a magical touch with every song she produces.  I have listened to 5 albums, and within that group there is the CD Breathe recorded after the 9/11 disaster and released in August 2003.  This album was completed with lots of love, warmth, energy and spirit.  It is vitalizing and all about re-energizing you life.  Her sultry voice seeps deep into your soul soothing the anguish, the hurt, the pain and encourages the light, the warmth of the moon and energy of your “self” to rise up and breathe once again.

When Celia released this album she did so with all original songs in hopes of touching the world after all the pain it had endured.  I don’t say this often but being one of those that survived 9/11 in NYC the album “Breathe“ does exactly that.  For those of you not familiar with Celia and her music you have truly been missing out on one of most talented performers the Goddess has created.  “Breathe” – enjoy it while on a country ride or just sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine or great cup of tea on a quiet evening.

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Celia’s current CD release Red Alabaster & Blue, is turning heads everywhere she goes and doesn’t go for that matter.  When I first heard the album I cried.  Being a pagan military spouse the first song that yanked at my heart strings, is her song Symbol.

This song was written when Celia heard about the fight with VA Affairs office by SGT. Patrick Stewart (a Wiccan Soldier) who was killed in action while in Iraq being denied his Pentacle as his emblem of belief on his grave marker.  Celia being stunned as the rest of the Pagan world wanted to show her support and thus “Symbol” was born.  It has sense been named the Anthem for the Pentacle Quest by Rev Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary.

This particular verses is my favorite:

“Well he served as any other with his hands and with his heart.
He prayed to Father Sky, bowed Down to Mother Earth.
He honored Air and Water and the Fire he danced around.
But you didn’t honor him before you put him in the Ground.”

We have several pagan soldiers deployed today who need your support
I applaud Celia for this writing and releasing this song in SGT Patrick’s honor for all the many other ways she supports the pagan military soldiers. You can take every one of Celia songs and in some way it is going to touch some part of your life.

The albums’ title song Red Alabaster & Blue is a perfect example of not only her vocal talent, and writing talent but also reaches out and touches every single American individually with its strength and energy. It is what America is all about and yet it tells you what is also all wrong with America.

Celia is a storyteller and tells a story with each and every song she creates.  With some music you listen to you get a beat and there are words and sometimes you get the opportunity to understand them.  At least I do.  With Celia, she doesn’t leave you asking yourself what the meaning of the song was.  If there is message to be given you’ll get the message.  If there’s a story you hear it and if it is just meant to just put a smile on your face you will have that smile when the song is over.  If you think I am kidding email her and ask her about the Marshmallow Dragon song.  The composition of her work is exquisite, and you feel a kick from her Celtic Roots.

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The song Quan Yin tells the story of young children stripped from the only adopted arms they knew since birth to be given back to the birth parents because they changed their mind and decided they wanted to play mommy or daddy again.  Quan Yin is the Goddess that protects all children.
This Celtic ballad We’ll Always Sing

Last month was the 7th mourning year of 9/11.  Being a survivor I feel it only right to honor the song which Celia was inspired to write to help heal the millions affected on that day. All that needs to be said about this song is take the time out of your busy schedule to listen to it enjoy the Lambeg Drums.  Your heart will race with the tempo and for once you will sing and dance and smile. Thank you Celia for making me smile.

My Favorite Fae

interview-celia-fairy3

While I have been a fan of Celia’s talent for a long while now, I have not had the chance to really sit down and concentrate on just her until the past two months.  Celia has a friend that has been hanging around her for a few years now and she simple “wows” the crowds whenever she decides to make an appearance.  If you ever get the opportunity to meet and catch her act, don’t turn down the chance you will so regret it, this awesome creature is “The Trestle Foote Faerie”.  Every great once in a while she is known to “pop in” on Celia’s shows to say Hello to the fans.

interview-celia-fairy

Trestle Foote Faerie is a star in her own right dressed in her pink tutu and her red flowing flocks harmonious singing out tunes as “The Cell Phone Song” where she is addicted to cell phones, aren’t we all? “The Health Care Blues” where middles class citizens die owing the health system everything they never had to begin with and their children trying to pay the system back.  How true how true and  “I’m Not Homophobic”, all about how she fell in love with Curious George, but found out he was Gay.

Trust me when I say, Trestle will always surprise you, make you laugh when the day comes to an end, have you saying, “Yes I would vote for her for President!”  She has announce her  candidacy for President incase you were unaware.  There is even a bumper sticker I am sure you can still purchase announcing there is an alternative to our choices. I am sure we could still talk her into running.

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Beltaine Correspondences

October, 2008

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite, Artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.

Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldron

Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz

Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology:
sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.

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Sudoku

October, 2008

funnies-sudoku

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Interview with CELIA FARRAN

October, 2008

interview-celia-21

Interview

Hi Celia, thanks for taking the time to visit with me today.  First let me say that I adore your music and so many of your songs move me in ways that I simple can’t explain and for even more reasons they really touch my soul.  I am thrilled to be introducing you to our readers this month as our featured artist in our Music Review section making its debut in this Samhain issue.   So if you’re ready lets get started.

PaganPages (PP): I know you just completed a show in Milwaukee, WI, which I understand was fantastic.  Are you from the area as I hear you frequent the city quiet often?

Celia: Yes, I am from the area.  I was born in Hartland, WI and raised in Big Bend, WI which is very close to Milwaukee.  I try to get back as often as I can.

PP: When did you know you wanted to be a singer/songwriter? And then get involved in performance arts as well.  I understand you were in the Off-Broadway premiere of Connor Macpherson’s “Rum and Vodka.”

Celia: Hmmmmm….I knew from an early age that I wanted to be on the stage.  I think I got bit by the performance bug when I “starred” in the Kindergarten Christmas show as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  From then on I was in every show I could find my way into from the Girl Scout Play to The Grade School Musical to Community Theatre.  I chose a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Michigan and then headed to NYC to try my luck on the BIG stage.  I didn’t truly begin my singer/songwriter career until  after I left New York although I recorded a solo album of 13 original songs when I was 16 years old.  Don’t even try to find it.  I burned all the copies 🙂

PP: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Celia: Hmmmmm I get my inspiration from any given thing in any given moment.  If I only followed every impulse I would be prolific with a capitol P!  My influences have been Irish Folk Music, Musical Theatre, The Muppets, Buggs Bunny, Shakespeare, Gilda Radner, and who hasn’t been influenced by “The Wizard of Oz”!

PP: You have 5 cds on the market and each one making greater headlines than the other.  I felt your Breathe cd was correctly titled as it left me as  the listener with the relaxation and the ability to breathe again after 9/11/01.  Being a survivor of 9/11/01 I suffered from severe panic attacks and each time I listen to that particular cd I find myself in a different world, relaxed, calm and at peace.     Now you have released Alabaster, Red and Blue at a time when the USA is a time of heavy debate over a Presidential election, in disarray against each other regarding their race, religion,  and just plain tolerance for each other.  Your timing seems impeccable with each release.   The 2 songs in this cd Symbol and Alabaster, Red and Blue should make every person stand up and take notice of what is going on today and ask why did that have to happen and what is being done to stop it.   Do you start out planning your cds this way or is this just my way of thinking it”perfect timing”?

Celia: I am so glad to hear that my recordings have found you at the right times.  I have not really planned out many of my recordings so far.  The only one that feels that it was focused in the way of timing is “The Bard of Armagh:  A Tribute to Tommy Makem“.  When I heard that Tommy had passed on I wanted to record this tribute.  I completed it in 10 days.

PP: How was Trestle Foote Fairy born? And does she have any other family members?

Celia: Trestle started out as a disembodied voice.  Her name was inspired by a conversation with my Sister on a car ride.  You can read the story of how it happened on Trestle’s Myspace page: www.myspace.com/thetrestlefootefaerie
I had great fun with Trestle leaving voice mail messages for folks.  She came to life for the
first time in Jan of 2003 when she debuted “How Could I Live Without My Cellphone”.   No other family members for Trestle.  She is one of a kind.

PP: Perhaps soon she will do an interview with me for our PaganPages readers I know she has a lot to say and also has her own cd  as well.

PP: Tell me about your immediately family?  Is there that special someone in your life?  What about furry kids and where you make your home now?

Celia: I am the youngest of 4.  My eldest brother Marty passed over a few years ago.  He was a fantastic banjo player or as he would say it “A Purveyer of Banjosity”.  My Brother Brian lives in Milwaukee and is also a musician with the guitar as his main instrument.  He played all the guitar on “Fire in the Head“.  My Sister Annalise lives in Turkey and is an architect.  Yes, I have a special someone.  His name is Chris and we live together in Santa Fe, NM.  We are currently traveling.  I am responding from China.  No furry friends in my life.  My last pet was an African Spur Thigh Tortoise named Liam.  He now lives in the Phoenix area at an alternative school.

PP: I understand you have just finished touring would you like to tell me about that, I know you visited the Washington State and Wisconsin were there other states on your list as well?

Celia: Yes, on that tour I visited Oregon, Washington and Salt Lake City, UT.   The tour after that was a very quick weekend flight to Milwaukee.  All very fulfilling and enjoyable!

PP: I am sure our readers would like to know how long does it take for you to create your songs?  Are most of your songs your own creations?

Celia: Most of what I perform is original.  It is very rare that I do a “cover tune”.  Each song is different so it is really hard to answer how long it takes to create a song.  Some songs come quickly.  Some I am still working on since High School…or rather they have been shelved until something strikes me to finish them:)

PP: Growing up was there one thing you did that you would not want anyone to know about.  That one funny thing that maybe you tried while playacting?  I only ask because I have seen your act and performances and I can only imagine you as a child and what some of the things you must have pulled while a little girl and your parents still tell that one story that makes you want to crawl under the coffee table?  With your fabulous personality and talents you surely were not the normal every day child to have in the household.   What
would your parents tell us about you if I could ask them what you were like as a young girl?

Celia: Um….okay….After a bath I loved nothing more than dancing naked on the furniture.  I thought nothing of it until for my 5th birthday cake my mother made a little frosting figure that was supposed to be me dancing naked.  Some comments from the adults made me realize that this was taboo…so I never did it again.  Hmmmm me thinks I should make a night of it and heal that old wound.  I feel a bath coming on 🙂

PP: It is so nice at that age to be so innocent and carefree.  I remember being in Hawaii (Oahu North Shore) where they had the nude beach and being able to swin in the ocean nude when I was 21 and thinking of how free I was.  Maybe I need to find an ocean again LOL

PP: I read an email from one of your fans, Lori, of a show you did in Milwaukee, WI at Linneman’s Bar.  In this email she had to let the rest of us know what we sadly missed out on.  With Lori’s permission I want to share part of the email with our PP readers and would also like to get  your reaction for their love for you:

“In all the years I have known Celia, in all the concerts I have heard her perform, all of which were outstanding, tonight’s concert was THE BEST I have ever attended. The best! It’s 2:00 am, I just got
home. Celia played until midnight. Yup started at 8:00, ended at midnight, 4 Hours!!! 4 Unbelievable Hours of sounds coming from this woman that I would not have thought possible from a human voice. it. I’m speechless!!! Celia literally had people sitting there with their mouths open is disbelief. One of her fellow performers may have said it best when she, while dancing to the music and with a huge smile on her face grabbed my shoulders and shook me while shouting a long excited explitive that could only be interpreted as a show of appreciation for what she was hearing. Everyone was smiling and loving the music, everyone moving to the sounds. The bar owner wasn’t even mad that he wasn’t making any money, he was busy listening to the music.”

[Copies from an email received for Lori from the thecreativesymphonyofcelia yahoo group with permission from the author.]

When you read a statement such as Lori’s what was your reaction?

Celia: I smile.  You know that inside smile when your Dharma is being truly seen by those you share it with.  Very satisfying.

PP: Besides concerts in cafes, festivals, Pagan Pride Days where else do you perform and when is your next performance schedule?

Celia: All over.  Wherever folks gather I have played.  My next engagements are in Arizona in October and November.  I always love my shows there and I am truly looking forward to them.

PP: What are some of your favorite things in life?

Celia: Music, Sex and Cookies.

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PP: A women after my own heart  YEA!!!!  If I get a chance to get to AZ in Oct or Nov I will bring the Cookies!!

PP : Do you a list of things you want to accomplish in life and if so what is left on this list to cross off?

Celia: I would like to attain Enlightenment……Dammit!

PP: Is there anything you want to tell our readers about yourself, that I have not touched on?

Celia: I have never smoked a cigarette, shot a gun, or vomited from drinking too much. I HAVE walked on Fire, worked as a Nanny on a Trip Thru Europe, and accidentally opened up for Melanie (folksinger from the 70’s) when she was late getting to the show.  My father (not a Dr.) delivered me and my birth notice said “Spontaneous Birth”.   It’s been like that ever since.

PP: I know your on your way to China can you tell us a little about your trip?  Is this a pleasure trip  or touring opportunity?

Celia: Not performing.  In fact, they made me sign a piece of paper that made me promise that I wouldn’t…talk about getting your wings clipped!  But I hope to bring The Trestle Foote Faerie out a few
times and grab some video:)

PP: Celia, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to talk to me.   You’re a firecracker; and the energy you put into your work is felt the minute your voice is heard in the air.  Thank you for coming into my life and thank you for coming into the lives of our PaganPages Readers.

Celia: Thanks Faith.   Its been a pleasure spending time with you also.

Links:

Celia Cds
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/celiafarran4

MySpace Links
http://www.myspace.com/celiaonline
http://www.myspace.com/thetrestlefootefaerie
http://www.myspace.com/atributetotommymakem

Celia on YouTube
http://uk.youtube.com/profile?user=CeliaOnlinedotcom

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Crystal Clear

October, 2008

Sow’in Stones for October’s  Wild Magic!

On October 31st, Sow’in or Halloween, the veil between our world and that of spirit is most thin.  This enables energies and beings, good or bad, to pass freely from the realm of spirit and other  realms into ours.  This opening of the veil allows extra magical and power sources to bleed through into our world as well.  This serves to enhance and heighten our power, so don’t feel at all surprised if your psychic ability is more right on, or your magic is stronger.  Take advantage of  it and enjoy!  The veil is actually thinning from around mid-September to very early November.   It is usually just the most thin on Sow’in.  This month’s column will feature the  stone friends that are most helpful during this time for power enhancement as well as for protection during this time.

Topic one, astral travel and communication. When the veil is thin, we’re more easily able to travel into other realms during meditation or psychic work.  Here is a list of stones most helpful with this.
Phantom quartz!  This is a crystal which has another crystal or other crystals growing in it.  A crystal within a crystal.  As quartz naturally magnifies power anyway, it magnifies your traveling ability as well.  Phantom quartz allows you to have part of your energetic mind leave your body during times of relaxation and or meditation.  Simply relax with the crystal and picture yourself sliding mentally into it, and into the phantom inside, then out of the tip and into the universe where you  travel up into the astral.  When you’ve finished your business, you may return through the crystal for better and safer grounding.
Jade and all forms of meteorite assist us in hearing what other beings from different realms are saying to us in these forms of travel.  They can also be beneficial for mediums as they open a good channel for spirit chat.

Topic two, psychic work.
Labradorite is a lovely opalescent green, blue, gray stone which is wonderful for clearing and opening the third eye.  It would be a wonderful enhancement to have about for your psychic work during this time of high magical power.  Dark Smokey quartz is a gentle enough grounding stone and works well with labradorite to enable you to be still inside to better receive psychic impressions without outer interference.

Topic three is protection. During this time, all sorts of entities have access to this world.  Some are not as friendly as others, so psychic shielding and protective stones on your person are always a good thing.  Tiger eye is a protective stone and keeps the sleeping mind safe from nightmares.  When we sleep, our mind travels  to the astral, and some of the things we encounter this time of year ends up being interpreted into some very odd dreams.  Tiger  eye is a wonderful shield against this.  Black onyx shields our energy field from psychic attacks.  Jet keeps our physical body safe from careless mishaps by putting  a ‘don’t touch’ shield around our physical person.  Black tourmaline transmutes negative energy into positive so  protects in that manner.  Hematite is protecting and very grounding.  When we’re  properly grounded we’re much safer from psychic attacks when waking or sleeping.

As long  as any magical work is done with safety and care, this time of year is simply wonderful!  Have a blessed Sow’in, and as always, happy stoning!

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Pagan Parenting for the Under 5’s Column

October, 2008

Welcome back to my column, I hope you enjoyed last month’s article. Please be sure to send me an email to [email protected] if you have a comment, suggestion or question.

Last month I touched on ceremonies for children less than one year of age. This month I’ll give ideas for ceremonies you may want to do with your child aged 1-5. As it’s also October, I will give some ideas to celebrate Samhain with your kids.

Ceremonies for Ages 1-5

A lot of people celebrate the birth of a baby, even if it’s just a congratulatory card to the new parents. It seems like after they get a little older, we forget that their newest accomplishments are just as important.

You can hold a ritual/ceremony for ANY reason. First tooth, first word and first step are at least generally recorded in baby books. However what about first time she put together two words into a sentence? (Me milk for I want milk) What about first time running, first time in big kid underwear, when he knows numbers 1-10, when she can spell her name or first word read? These accomplishments are important too and deserve attention. I’m not talking hour-long ceremonies for each of these accomplishments. A 10-minute or less ceremony will suffice. The child under 5 doesn’t have a long attention span anyway.

So what would one of these ceremonies look like?
Here is a sample ceremony for a child who has learned how to spell her name:

Parents, child and siblings, and perhaps grandparents, God(dess)parents or family friends gather at home of child. Everyone visits first for a while, with refreshments, background music and (I hope) laughter. When the time seems right, a parent (we’ll go with mom) gets everyone’s attention.

Mom: If I could get everyone’s attention please. (Room quiets down) Thanks. We are all here tonight to acknowledge that Aimee can now spell her name! (Note: don’t make the child do a demonstration of any new skill, it puts them on the spot and makes them uncomfortable.)

All:
Hooray for Aimee! Good Job!

Dad: Aimee we are all very proud of you. You are getting bigger everyday and we just wanted you to know that we are noticing and that no matter how big you get, you will always be our baby. (Or one of our babies)

Mom and Dad commence hugging and if child is comfortable with it, other attendants can hug her too

That’s it! You can include gifts but I would only do that with certain milestones such as toilet training (package of underwear), first word read (book) or any other bigger one. If you give a gift each time, your child will come to expect the gift, which is not what you want. This works for single parents too, just merge the Mom and Dad parts. For same-sex parents, it doesn’t matter what you are called, just make sure both parents are involved. If you are interested in more ideas, both for your children and for yourself, from birth to death and everything in between, I highly recommend you check out Life’s Little Rituals by Alexandria. It is not a pagan book but can be very useful to a pagan interested in celebrating their life. You can find my review of the book  here.

Samhain

Samhain is just around the bend; boy has this year flown by! Samhain and Yule are the most celebrated of the Sabbats, especially in families with children. This is because of Halloween and Christmas, holidays that were created from Samhain and Yule and so therefore contain many aspects of them. Pumpkin carving and Trick-or-treating are not the only ways to celebrate Samhain though! Here are some more ideas with age suggestions:

  • Samhain is the end of the harvest. Discuss beginnings and endings with your child at a level they would understand. Explain how in many ways, an ending is really just the start of a new beginning (as with the calendar year.) Perhaps brainstorm other endings that are the start of beginnings. (4+)
  • Dried gourds sound like rattles and are good for raising energy in a ritual. Unless you happen to have already dried some gourds many months ago, you won’t have what you need. You could see if you can find some pre-dried gourds (apparently available somewhere but I’ve not seen them,) or you can get some gourds and start drying them for next year. After they are dried, paint them however you want and they’re done! (2+)
  • Samhain is the New Year for many pagans. If this is true of your path, make some new year’s resolutions. A fun way is to write them down (or write them down for the children) and then throw them one at a time into a fire and watch them burn. (3+)
  • This is the time of the year when divination works the best. If your child isn’t already familiar with a type of divination, now is the time to introduce it. With this age group, they are not yet ready to actually use a divination system but can be shown them and explained the idea of how it all works. Stick with something simple like crystal ball gazing or scrying or dowsing. Stay away from Tarot, Palmistry or Graphology (handwriting analysis.) Runes might be okay too. Just sit down with them and let them manipulate the objects while you talk. Answer any questions they have and offer a little bit of information. If they seem disinterested don’t force it, they are still young. (3+)
  • Finally, Samhain is also the time of year we remember our ancestors and those we know who have passed on. If you did my first suggestion and mentioned reincarnation (if you believe in it obviously) then you’ve already touched on this subject. Now however would be a good time to visit the gravesite, view photographs of relatives past, or burn a candle and leave out a place setting at dinner for your ancestors. (Bury the food in the ground afterwards.) (3+)

For the younger children ages 0-2, focus on fall activities. Read books (yes even to newborns,) collect leaves and have your child arrange them on a piece of waxed paper. Then somewhere away from the child, put another piece of waxed paper overtop and iron it together. Sing fall songs, go apple or pumpkin picking and go on a hay ride. Keep it simple.

I hope that helps you a bit. Next month I’ll touch on some fun, everyday activities you can do with your children that have a Pagan or Mother Nature theme. You will also find some winter activities.

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HearthBeats Notes from a Kitchen Witch

October, 2008

Bewitchin’ your Kitchen

It does not take a lot of work, time, or money to transform an ordinary kitchen into a magical workplace. To begin with a sunny kitchen windowsill filled with pots of magical plants not only looks good, but releases magical energies into the room.
Even common culinary herbs that are found in the cabinets or nearly every kitchen possess strong magical properties. For instance, basil is traditionally used for exorcism, love, protection, and purification. Parsley is used for fertility, passion, and protection. Sage is used for healing, protection, and prosperity; and thyme is used for clairvoyance, courage, and love.

Hang a “kitchen Witch” doll for good luck, and add magic to your cooking by drawing an invisible pentagram inside your pots and pans with a wand or athame. (A wooden spoon, fork, or knife can also be used.) , other  simple, yet effective, charms (such as a rope of garlic, a sun-catcher, or pentagram symbols) that can be placed in the kitchen for protection.

A well-stocked Witch’s kitchen has all it needs in it, from pots as cauldrons, wooden spoons for wands, and cleavers for athames/bolines.

Smudge your kitchen with a sage bundle if you sense negativity.
Anoint utensils and appliances with cooking oils saturated with herbs to bless and charge them with powerful vibrations.
Note: never use essential oils on things which will touch food.
Always stir food in a clockwise direction, and be sure to invite the Goddess and God into your new magical workplace.

A WITCH’S KITCHEN BLESSING
Blessed be this Kitchen of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.
Be warmed by the sacred light of Deity (God/dess).
May all that is created here by means both magical and mundane,
Bring nourishment, healing, and sustenance, and cause harm to none.
So mote it be!

Tools of A Kitchen Witch
BLENDER: Mingling with others, stirring up energy
COOKBOOK: Book of Shadows, Excellence, Virtue
FORK: Piercing, Penetrating, Perception
FUNNEL: Flow, Unhindered order, coaxing energy along
KNIFE: Cutting away, Sharpness of mind, Separation
MEASURING CUP: Evaluation, Allotment, Caution
PITCHER: Abundance, Invigoration, Refreshment
ROLLING PIN: Discipline, Moderation, Control
SIFTER: Sorting out confusion, Organization, Filtering negativity
SPATULA: Sensibility, Recycling, Changing directions
STEAMER: Slow processes, Even temperament
TEA KETTLE: Divination, Alertness, Kinship, Health
WHISK: Excitement, Increasing bounty
borrowed from and modified from “A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook”

MORE KITCHEN TIPS

Take time each morning to reflect on the blessings of the new day before you. Even if it’s only for a few minutes this reflection is a way to draw positive energy around you and send out gratitude.
When you go about your daily household tasks such as cleaning, cooking, weeding the garden, etc., be aware of the ways that these everyday tasks connect you to life and recognize the sacred in these actions.
As a beginning ritual, light a candle or sprinkle some fresh water around the kitchen. Cleaning your workspace, both physically and spiritually, is a good habit. Say a small prayer. Like .. “with my will and my desire and I cleanse this kitchen and make it my own.”

A quartz crystal placed on or near the stove when cooking makes food taste better.

A pot of basil herb grown in your kitchen keeps the area safe from negativity.

Always try to grow your herbs yourself and concentrate on their magickal purpose while tending to them. This will increase their energy – and add a lovely smell to your kitchen!

A witch’s kitchen should be aware of the lunar cycle and have on hand a lunar calendar or chart showing the phases of the moon .

Negativity should be kept away from the kitchen when cooking or preparing magickal recipes,       It is absorbed into it and then served to others.

An aloe Vera plant should be kept in the kitchen, as its juices are an instant cure for minor kitchen burns. Be careful as some may be allergic.. test small area before using on your skin.

Candles keep their shape better and burn longer when chilled thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Homemade incense always should be stored in tightly capped or corked jars.
Keep your life full of the freshest ingredients and at least once a week explore something completely new: A new recipe…a new book…an unfamiliar song…a new quote for your journal…dance outdoors…take a walk somewhere you have never been before…kiss a baby…write to someone you admire and include a favorite recipe
. Before casting spells or preparing potions, always keep in mind the Wiccan Rede!

Here is an idea, a Kitchen Altar. Not always workable in every Kitchen.. but A great Idea.. and something to plan for.
A Kitchen Altar

Kitchen magick has simple tools. If you think of it in terms of your
Normal altar you’ll see that they all have about the same role. All
that’s needed are some bowls, spoons, a mortar and pestle, and a tea
Kettle or cooking pot. The first step is to choose which cupboard
you will dedicate as your altar. Just don’t choose the one above as the
Refrigerator as it makes getting to your altar hard to do..

Now on the back of the cupboard, you could place a picture of your
Deity, a pentacle, or what ever reminds you of Divine Energy. Charge
the object in whatever way feels best for you. Next your altar Cloth,
You can use any type of cloth here but be sure that its
washable. This is where you will keep your tools.

Once you have chosen your altar spot and dedicated it its time to
dedicate which tools you use most in your kitchen magicks. Now you
can purchase new tools, or just cleanse and consecrate some that you
already have. Below are a few kitchen tools and what correspondences
they resemble on a regular altar.

Wooden Spoon = Wand.
Remember that most wooden spoons are made of balsa wood or pine.

Bowl = Cauldron, Cup, or Bowl.
Glass is easy to clean, and it won’t absorb any of the oils, water,
Or whatever you are working with. Glass also comes in many different
Colors. If you don’t want glass, there are also several inexpensive
Ceramic / porcelain mixing bowls.

Tea Kettle = Cauldron.
While copper kettles are the best you can also use I have read that
Porcelain coated steel. Copper kettles can get expensive and are a
High maintenance item.

Mortar and Pestle:
They represent the joining of the cup and wand. These come in all
sorts of materials. Choose a set that meets both your physical and
spiritual needs.

Cooking Pot = Cauldron.
The nice thing about this correspondence is that, with a little
Effort, you can find full sets of cast iron cookware.

Cutting board = Altar tile.
If you are skilled enough, or know someone who is, you could have a
Pentacle carved or etched into a wooden board. You could also put
your creativity to work with paint and paint a pentacle on a cutting
Board.

For a broom, you may want to use a small whisk broom, or basting
Brush. If you can wait until Halloween, you will be able to find
Miniature besoms for sale in the craft stores and departments of
Larger stores.

~author unknown

And here I end this. I hope to see you all back here next month.
Blessed Kitchen and Balanced life

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Helgrind: Letters From a Sorcerer

October, 2008

Thoughts on the Future of Revived Paganism

Okay, I’ve decided to write a series of letters to discuss the future of revived Paganism. Understand that I have to make a distinction here between “Witchcraft” in the traditional sense- which is really a wide-ranging term including many forms of sorcery, all of which can (and do) exist despite the culture that surrounds them. Some cultures make it hard to be a sorcerer or practice occult/sorcerous arts, but still, they persist. Traditional Witchcraft, in the true modern sense, is a phenomenon that existed during Christian times, and now exists in the skeptical/scientific post-Christian era.

I don’t worry too much about the “future” of Witchcraft; it will always remain, no matter how small or diffuse it is, because people will always seek out fringe elements of spirituality or the occult, regardless of society or culture’s mainstream beliefs.

But what of “revived” Paganism, such as Asatru, Celtic Reconstructionism, Hellenism, Romuva, and the other revived Indo-European Pagan models? They have adherents, good lore and sources, reasonably strong structure as far as rituals and notions of sacred days and seasons: they have all they need to induct newborns and converts into their communities, and all they need to marry people and bury them, with rites. These revived faiths are pretty much complete faiths, with one exception: they all have pretty small populations of adherents.

So where do they go from here? A small population is bad news, for many reasons, but chiefly because small numbers means “little known”, even in this day and age of the internet. “Little known” means “little or no political and legal recognition”, and that means no support from anyone or anything else other than whatever few people (if any) you have near you that also practice your faith or believe as you do.

The Individual’s Hard Road

Revived Pagan faiths are strongly distinct from “mainstream” Pagan faiths- they cannot enjoy the same sort of “recognition” given to Wiccans, for instance, because most (rightly) don’t want to be associated in the public mind with Wicca or New-Age religious movements. They tend to be more insular and even ornery about their beliefs. Couple these things with the fact that they are all strongly individualistic, on the level of person and their right to believe as they will, and quite defensive at the level of community (assuming that they are lucky enough to have communities) and not willing to even entertain changing their beliefs or ways, even if it means making them closer or stronger with other members of their own revived cultural movement. I’m not saying people should need to change religiously, but an attitude change towards cooperation with others would certainly be a powerfully good thing.

Two Asatruar groups will like one another well enough (sometimes) but will become very annoyed with one another if either side imagines that the other is criticizing how they do things or believe or worship. Within umbrella movements (like say, the Troth) you get certain points that all Troth Hearths agree on- such as their universalist policy towards membership- but beyond that, very little. I’m not saying that such stances as this “radical independence” is bad, but it does expose the Asatru movement as a whole to a special weakness. It makes the Asatru movement unable to spread fast or far, unable to advertise itself or present itself as a cohesive and attractive alternative faith for people.

Individual groups or people may try, in some ways, to display their beliefs, in the hopes that “like minded” others will be attracted to them, but the nature of cultural Pagan revivalism is such that it does not have much of an “evangelical” spirit. They don’t produce missionaries. There is no sense- or very little sense- that the Revivalist Pagan movement as a whole has a greater role to play in the world, or that it could make the world a better place: to be clear, most revivalists/reconstructionists have a more selfish stance on their faith, defensively viewing it as “their own thing” or “their subculture”, and once they have gained some standing within it, they scorn to share it with others.

If they have communities, they either attempt to keep communities small, or watch them break up with selfish in-fighting if they get too large. Even the umbrella organizations have a history of constant fracturing through growth and bad blood. It seems that the egos of the luminary members of all these movements have caused a great deal of trouble- and all the while, the idea that Asatru or Hellenism or any of these reconstructions could provide a very wide audience of people with a positive, life-affirming, nature-reverent, and philosophically sound polytheistic life-path was lost.

The Paradox

There was an interesting occurrence back in the 1800’s, in the United States: man named Joseph Smith claimed that he saw Angels and had the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven given to him and two close friends. He made a lot of claims, and a rather devoted cult following sprung up around him. They created their own community- the first Mormons- and after a lot of persecution, fled the settled east of the country, crossed the Great Plains en masse, and settled in Utah. They built a city, and prospered. Today they are well known, and while they are reviled by most mainstream Christians, that doesn’t matter: They have millions upon millions of members, massive stone Temples all over the world, billions of dollars in the bank, and legal protection everywhere in the civilized world.

I don’t like cults, and I especially don’t like Christian cults, but these people set out to live on their terms- they created a community by giving up on their old lives, believing in a shared vision, and striking out to find a new life, just like the Norse settlers of Iceland did.

Where have the days gone wherein people were willing to make radical changes in their lives, in the name of their beliefs? Revived Pagan movements won’t have much of a future until they decide to truly ante up, and do something as radical as say, create a community- a physical community somewhere- for their families. Failing that, the countless splinter groups of people calling themselves “Asatru” or “Hellenist” or what have you can realize that they have a chance to gain the sort of social stability and recognition that will win their children and their grandchildren many freedoms and a better ease in social living than they had, if they could put aside petty squabbles in the name of working together better, wherever they happen to be.

The painful paradox here is evident: only brave, strong, self-willed individuals are going to be attracted to faiths like Asatru or Hellenism or CR, the sorts of people who have the guts to make a clean break from the previous religious or social conditioning they’ve undergone, to take such a radical new stance in life. And those very same people don’t tend to play well with others, suffer fools much, or deal well with seeing the high-quality religious reconstructions they’ve worked so hard on being “diluted” or defamed by lesser individuals.

The very sorts of people you’d want in a Pagan organization are also the sorts of people that don’t do “organization” well! This same population also (lamentably) tends to give us people who are excellent leaders, people of vision, but then, the inevitable happens: good quality followers emerge to follow them, and these “leaders” don’t want to share power or abandon their little fiefs to work with others.

SPQR

Radical individuality is, as I have pointed out in many writings, not even a perspective of the Ancestral faiths, which were based foremost on the bonds of community, the well-being of city-states and settlements, the honor of families and clans, and the like.

Not everyone in ancient days was a “hero”, a famous “known name” in the bard’s tales, and even heroes had family matters to deal with. A strong sense of “clan ties” or family obligations was first and foremost on the minds of all people of honor. With peoples like the Greeks and Romans, even a sort of “National identity” began to form, as they began to compare the merits of their larger culture-patterns with those of foreign people they came into contact with. Some of the greatest men in the standard canons of western literature and history were honored for what? For sacrificing much in service to Rome- to Rome- the Republic or Empire as a whole, with all its variety and massive population. They were honored for being loyal, in their own ways, to an idea that was much larger than any one person or small community.

And Rome flourished with men like this, driven in this way. Another group that arose in Rome flourished likewise and for similar reasons- the fledgling Christian church had a sense of a goal and a spirit larger than any individual. For the settlers of Iceland, the goal they all bonded together to achieve was freedom from political compulsion and the tyranny of kings that were growing too powerful for the good of the people of their homelands.

It’s certainly noble to honor the Ancestors’ notion that “orthodoxy” should never be forced onto people: I myself couldn’t agree more. The Ancestors, within their communities, were orthorpraxic and very much against “invading the heads” of other people, so long as those people held themselves up to whatever social standard was needed for the good of the community. I think this is a great model for us now- but the implications of the model have changed in our modern day.

You Must Be Worthy To Win

Whether or not many people will see it, we have threats and problems that the world has never seen before. What passes for “spirituality” in the mainstream has become shallow and materialistic, and in response, fringe lunacy has arisen- the politics of fundamentalism- which is just a manifestation of the hysteria one can expect when a movement comes crashing down, or begins to change so much that it is no longer what it was. This is happening to mainstream Christianity, though the process will not be done tomorrow. It will take another few centuries.

Islam will take longer, Gods help us- but all religious movements that are in violation of the basic truths of life cannot last forever. What are those truths? I list them as follows:

-The truth of animism and the need to live in this world of natural resources with wisdom and moderation;

-The truth of sacred reciprocity with self and community and world;

-The truth of qualified struggle between opposites,

-The truth of the natural sacredness and diversity of the spiritual world;

-The truth of the dignity of human life above and beyond what people may believe or what culture they may be born into.

If any religion or movement denies even one of these points, it cannot last. It will not last. It is not enough for an entity to win a culture war and set itself up as a dominant faith in an area of the world; it must be worthy to win, if the victory is to be lasting. How will we know who was worthy? We can see the organic spiritual beliefs of primal peoples all over the world that were NOT washed away in the crimson tide of revealed religions, and see that their beliefs were good and strong from the dawn of history, up till either this very day, or until the time came that they were destroyed. We will know worth in how they last, in how they endure.

And our Ancestral faiths have endured- through a firestorm of radical social change, and historical pogroms of annihilation. Why should we be drawn to them now? Because something of worth still exists, and has been passed down to us, something that was never defeated or forgotten.

We Don’t Inherit the World From Our Parents: We Borrow It From Our Grandchildren

And what is the future of revived Paganism? Its future will be precisely what you see now, if we do not change in some manner- and when I say “change”, I don’t mean a minor change that is washed away in a few days. Something- I myself don’t know quite what- has to change, a “second order” change as cyberneticians say- for our revived Pagan movements to be healthier and larger in the future.

No, an “evangelical” spirit isn’t required, though some Asatruar- one famous umbrella organization- has actually embraced just that. But they are alone; and despite the fact that I am still skeptical of their route to the future, I do agree with them on a few important points- we- all of us modern Pagans- need land and resources at our disposal, social and legal recognition, and education for the public.

If that means appointing boards of people to handle matters, so be it. These sorts of “panels” or “boards” can be non-sectarian; but someone has to break us out of the dark ages of our living rooms and campsites and get us all into phone books, into minutes at town hall meetings and sessions of legislation, and someone has to represent us to the public.

Who is the “us”? It isn’t any one community or another, but a new idea that we will have to embrace if we will have a future of greater religious fulfillment, and life fulfillment. It is the idea (to use an example) of “Asatru” or “Heathenry” which stands above all sects or “types” or communities or Kindreds. The same can be said for the idea of “Hellenism” which stands above this or that church or temple or deme. This idea doesn’t ask for obedience to any doctrine, or for people to do blots or sacrifices one way or another. It doesn’t ask for the worship of any God. It just asks that we work to display, protect, and solidify an identity to the world that can have the recognition and legal protection it deserves, and which our grandchildren will need.

And honestly, I believe the world needs Revived Paganism. It needs alternative spiritualities that can fan the flames of spiritual life higher in people, and which can bring people into a new paradigm of living in this world which is better for the world and all of the living beings in it.

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