mermaiden: (Cozy)
2012-10-28 05:34 pm

'Twas the Sunday Before Samhain...

This Wednesday being Samhain (Halloween for all those crazy kids who don't wear pentacles and "Goddess Loves Me" shirts), I'm priestessing the FIRST EVER Samhain ritual at our Unitarian Universalist church. I orchestrated a Yule ritual there, and a very short and sweet Mabon ritual before our First! Annual! Mabon potluck, but they were both Pagan lite, in the sense that these were introductions to Pagan rituals for the congregation. This Wednesday will be the first ever COMPLETE Pagan ritual, which everyone seems to be super excited about. <3 This is what I wrote-up for our church newsletter:

Open Samhain Ritual -- The Beloved Dead
It was believed by ancient peoples--and still is by modern Pagans--that Samhain (Halloween) is the day of the year when the veil between worlds is thinned, and our loved ones who have passed on come to visit us again. Come and take part in a ritual that honors those loved ones who have gone before you, hallowing out a time and space in your life for magic. This will be a full Pagan ritual, including circle casting, Goddess invocation and a meditation. Please bring an image or trinket that reminds you of the loved one you miss most.

Samhain, I believe, is one of the most perfect Sabbats for non-Pagans to get super involved with. Everyone has a person or pet who has gone beyond, who they miss, and everyone understands the idea of honoring those who have gone before us. About a half hour before the ritual, I'm going to explain all of the building blocks of ritual--why we do it, and why we do each piece of the ritual itself. There are several people in the congregation who have been wanting to become Pagan, and several who are just open-minded awesome people, who want to be involved in meaningful rituals, so it's a very varied group. I'm so excited that people are so enthusiastic about this, and have a couple of surprises and magical ideas so that everyone carries something away from this, hopefully.

Jenn and I are both so blessed in the fact that our pastor, Lee, is so impassioned on how he backs up everything we want to do in the church. He *wanted* more Pagan involvement, and has asked me to do these things, when I showed interest in priestessing there. Everyone is so interested and supportive of our ideas, and backs us 110%. Sometimes, it makes me a little misty-eyed when I talk about our church family, and how deeply entrenched they are in our lives and hearts. We're more blessed than I could articulate. <3

So yes! Samhain! Open ritual! Lots of candles and cider and drums and magic! I can't wait. <3

~*~


I don't cook very much during the summer months because of how SATANICALLY HOT our house gets when it's hot outside. :D But cooking is one of my favorite things in the world, when I actually have five minutes in which to do it. And cooking in CROCK POTS is my FAVORITE. <3 I just whipped up a vegan pot pie in our slow cooker. SORCERY. Crock pots were invented by All of the Gods at the annual God Consortium one day, because they were like: HUMANS. THEY NEED SOMETHING AWESOME IN THEIR LIVES. And lo, verily, the crock pot was BORN. I know lots of people think crock pots are for old ladies with blue hair, but it is ALSO for YOUNGER LADIES with PINK AND PURPLE HAIR and everyone else, too.

C'mon folks. LET'S BRING CROCK POTS BACK. Like SEXY. But with more CARBOHYDRATES, surely. I will even give you my secret, super-duper crock pot recipe for my SORCERY Pot Pie:

SORCERY and RECIPE this WAY )
mermaiden: (Goddess)
2012-10-14 12:02 pm

The Goddess of Writing

One of my very first tattoos was the word "Storyteller" on my wrist.  It was a deeply empowering thing for me to print upon my skin, in ink, exactly who and what I was, and a reminder for those dark nights of the soul (EVERY WRITER HAS THEM), that we never lose who we really are.  Out of all of my tattoos, this is still one of my favorites, even though it's one of my smallest, and one of my first.

Since the very beginning, though, it was the start of a much larger piece.  Every inch of my body has metaphors and meanings going on in my tattoos and my tattoo plans.  My right arm is, simply, my Storyteller arm (makes sense, right?  My right hand holds the pen).  This is the arm that has the half fairy tale tattoo sleeve on it.  I wanted the lower half sleeve to also reflect stories, but to go back to the root of them.  Not necessarily specific stories, but why and how they're written.  It's, arguably, one of the parts of my body I see the most--a perfect place for constant reminders of some of the most important parts of my life.

So, in my original plans for my forearm, I knew that I wanted a quill--the tip of it connecting, or almost connecting to the curlicue on the "Storyteller" tattoo, as if it just "wrote" that word upon my skin.  I wanted a very specific quill.  I'm Pagan, and I believe that, somehow and some way, all of my stories come from the Goddess.  I've built my entire life on loving Her and listening to all of the stories in my heart.  I'm also a lesbian, and that "colors" (HAH, A PUN) everything I do.  Maddie and I have been talking about both getting quill tattoos forever...so this past Yule, she presented me with my favorite tattoo parlor's gift certificate (ONE OF THE BEST GIFTS YOU CAN EVER GET MISS SARAH), and, yesterday, it HAPPENED.  <3

So I give you my Goddess of Writing quill tattoo.  The picture was taken a few minutes after the tattoo was finished, so IT'S STILL A LITTLE MESSY, and it's hard to see the rainbow She makes, because my arm is all GAH WHY DO YOU DO THESE THINGS TO US PRECIOUS (ie, enflamed).  She covers my entire forearm--the beginning of my bottom sleeve.

THERE IS A LOT OF SYMBOLISM GOING ON.  LET ME 'SPLAIN.  NO, IS TOO MUCH.  LET ME SUM UP:  the rainbow for lesbian stories, the peacock feather as a symbol of the Goddess, the repeating hearts as adoration of Her and love in general.  The dancing and playful posture of the Goddess as joy in the craft of writing.

mermaiden: (Salem: Hocus Pocus -- Binx)
2012-10-11 11:56 am

A Million Sacred Things

My Pentacle, on the Mother Tree in Salem, MA. <3


This past week, we celebrated our first year (and fifth!) wedding anniversary by journeying to New England. That handful of days, the moments of pure, intense magic and the riot of blazing colors nature gave us, in abundance, was a gift I'll cherish my entire life. It was the first time visiting New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont (that I remember--I went to these places when I was a year old, and less, but obviously that's not been kept in my brain ;D), and after a lifelong OBSESSION with them, getting to actually go was a dream come true.

Old Bennington Cemetery in Vermont.


We returned to peak leaves in New York state, too...so everything, for the past eight days, has been a treasure in my eyes. When I blink, I see rich colors, when I dream, I dream of palaces built of trees crowned with gold. My favorite season has unfolded itself in a savoring, beautiful explosion of sacred moments, and I've simply been soaking them up as each new one presents itself to me.

I'm going to post more in detail about everything--I have to go finish wirewrapping the Glamourkins for tomorrow's update--but I just wanted to share my many mixed emotions. I feel loved and held and homesick and sad and happy and just...indescribable, really.

Maddie's Yule gift to me last year was a tattoo that we both had spoken of getting for years and years. A quill. It's taken this long for all of our schedules to come together, but we're finally getting them this Saturday. I've had the design idea in my head forever, and yesterday, after we got home in the wee hours of the morning, I sent everything to my tattoo artist. This morning, I received the sketch and stared at the laptop screen, breathless. My heart stopped beating.

All of my stories come from Her, so I needed the Goddess in the quill. And She's there in ways I never could have imagined. Just like in my life. Just like in my heart.

And, on Saturday in the magic season, She comes out--again--upon my skin forever.
mermaiden: (Salem: Hocus Pocus -- Dani)
2012-10-01 01:41 pm

The Fable Tribe Halloween -- Preview!

The Fable Tribe Halloween update is tonight! The witching hour of 8 PM (EST) draws ever closer, and the veils have parted--you can now see the update preview at our Flickr!

Haunting hair flowers, Victorian Halloween Glamourkins (and Crystal Glamourkins!), and Samhain Blessing Bowls for your magical workings this Hallow's Eve (or to decorate your home with sacred intention this October). ♥

The ENTIRE UPDATE will go live when the clock strikes eight! ♥

See the update preview at our Flickr!




mermaiden: (Salem: Hocus Pocus -- Dani)
2012-09-29 12:16 pm

IT'S COMING

Expect magic when the clock strikes eight...
mermaiden: (Firefly)
2012-07-15 12:16 am

We Came, We Saw, We Sparkled: Marching in the 2012 Rochester, NY Pride Parade! <3

Today we woke up early, finished up all of our chores, made SIGNS OUT OF RAINBOWS, and then we were READY. For today was the ending of the week-long celebration in Rochester, NY: Pride 2012, ending in the culmination of the Pride parade and festival. And we were marching in the parade!

You have a fair understanding of how much we love and are obsessed with our church, Pullman Memorial Universalist. As married lesbians in an extremely rural community, being able to have a place that we can go, once a week, and be completely ourselves without any fear of repercussion or violence--and not only no FEAR, but the joy of knowing that you're loved by a family that embraces you in every aspect, cares about you so deeply, and is so intensely supportive of you? Yeah, it's one of the most amazing, cherished things in our world. So, when we found out that our church was marching with the contingency of Unitarian Universalist churches from Rochester and the surrounding areas, we were so excited to take part. <3 EXCITED MIGHT BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT, ACTUALLY.

Jenn and I wanted to dress as Pride Fairies, so I got my tutu out, our wedding wings, AND AS MANY RAINBOWS AS ONE PERSON CAN FEASIBLY WEAR. AND THEN ONE MORE, JUST TO MAKE IT GAYER. And GLITTER! THERE WAS A LOT OF GLITTER.

LOOK AT US. WE ARE SO HOT. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WE WOULD BECOME HOTTER. PROBABLY WE WOULD NOT BECOME GAYER. WE ARE ALREADY PRETTY GAY.


MORE RAINBOWS and the CONTINUATION of the Story of PRIDE... )

And lo, afterward, we gotteth Pistachio Rose vegan cupcakes as our PRIDE! TREAT! from our favorite vegan deli, and fainted, verily, upon ingestion of them BECAUSE THEY WERE SO DAMN GOOD, thus bringing a SATISFYING and SPARKLY ENDING to our SATISFYING and SPARKLY day. <3

The End. <3
mermaiden: (Faerie)
2012-04-20 11:00 am

The Fable Tribe Update!

The Fable Tribe update is live in the shop! This time around we debuted several new, shiny things, including Glamourkins made out of little wooden books, Invocation Blessing Bowls (of which there is only one left! [I'm so, so glad you guys loved them! <3]) and Fairy Wish Houses!

This is the update that's going to make the Fairie Festival possible for us and vanquish some pesky, unexpected bills, so any spreading of the word is extremely appreciated, and earns you magical, internet hugs! Possibly from unicorns! I'll see if they're willing to hug people. XD <333333333333

TheFableTribe.Etsy.com
mermaiden: (Vita)
2012-04-19 06:43 pm

The Fable Tribe -- Update Beginning Now!

Jenn and I are so pleased to unveil the latest the Fable Tribe update to you! We have several new, shiny things in this update, including Invocation Blessing Bowls, Fairy Wish Houses and a new type of Glamourkins, made out of tiny wooden books! <3

You can see what's upcoming at our Flickr, and you can follow along our Etsy shop! <3

TheFableTribe.Etsy.com




mermaiden: (Fairy circle)
2012-04-19 01:42 pm

The Fable Tribe -- Update Today! <3

Just a reminder that the Fable Tribe's update will be beginning in a few hours! Hopefully around four or five-ish. We have several surprises in store--stay tuned for magic! <3
mermaiden: (Journey)
2012-04-04 11:18 pm

Sanctuary

I meditate and do a small ritual every night. It's so soothing to pad my feet to the Temple Room, shut the door in the quiet of the dark, light my candles, choose my incense, ground and center and Open the Door to magic. I write every day--A Lot. The ritual replenishes me in a bone-deep, soul-deep dimension. I could never keep up the pace I do if I didn't have time, each day, at that proverbial well, replenishing my creativity, feeding the sparks, making time for the ushering in of magic in the form of Goddess, of Universe, of Faerie.

First, the hour begins in the dark. I listen to the shush of insects outside, or--if it's cold--my own breath and heartbeat, a primal rhythm. I plug in the fairy lights, suspended in generous loops around the ceiling, and suddenly everything changes. There is an expectant hush to the air as I light the candles lining the room, saving those on the altars for last.

On the main altar, the candles are lit: one for the Goddess, one for Creativity (in any form She chooses), one for the Goddess Mary (which Jenn gave me for Yule~ <3), representing compassion and love. I choose the incense with care. What am I thinking about tonight? What's in my heart, what's on my mind? Am I happy, or worried, content or wondering, peaceful or expectant? The incense is lit, waved in the air in the shape of a star (if I close my eyes, I still see the brilliant outline), placed in its holder.

On my Brigid altar, the candles are lit: three of a vibrant red for the Poet, the Healer and the Smithy. The final, tiny stub of sacred candle (blessed and consecrated) is lit to invoke Her.

"I had a good day," I tell Her with a smile. "Thank You for the sunshine, for the way Link leans on me when he's happy, for the jokes Jenn said that made me laugh for ten minutes, completely unable to breathe..." I pause and laugh and place my hands over my heart, breathing out long and low as I thank the Goddess for a stream of lovely little moments I was blessed with.

The Temple Room contains a never-ending circle of invocation, so I don't need to cast it, but some nights I do, just to replenish its hold. After the circle is cast, after the gratitude is done, I turn on the classical music, sit in my favorite meditation pose and...listen.

Meditation is, perhaps, my oldest magical tool. When I close my eyes and dive deeper, into still waters, there is such a sense of peace. The Universe is a chalice of light, of possibility and magic and brilliance, and all else fades away as I go deeper.

Sometimes, I meditate for ten minutes. Sometimes an hour or longer. I get story ideas, I go fantastical, magical places...I sit in the presence of the Holy of the World. I am humbled and awed by beauty, reminded of things I humanly forget, am connected once more to all that is. We are all, always, connected to one another, but it's a conscious reminder of the web of life.

Sometimes, I sit with the messages of the meditations for a long time. I'll make an offering of gratitude, in the form of more incense, or a special candle or a piece of dried fruit, placed in my offering bowl. The Faerie denizens of our house and land love this new bowl, in particular, that a friend gave me--an antique bowl, blue as the sky and translucent, and I often give them shiny crystals to play with in it.

Tarot and Oracle cards are usually pulled out, then, though it depends on the day on which of my beloved decks I use. Lately, I've been using the Froud Faerie Oracle. I am passionate about this deck--the fae are strong and vibrant and so helpful and kind, though very blunt (aren't they always?).

"Yes, I know," I sigh and wink up at the heavens as I pull a card reminding me to take time to myself. "That's what I'm doing right now," I tell the Universe with a laugh, and then I pull another, and breathe out, hushed, because it's a reminder again of how connected I am to All That Is, and I know that, but sometimes...it's just lovely to be reminded that you are loved. There are tears.

I thank the faeries, I thank the directions, I thank the elements, and then I talk to the Goddess. "I'm hopeful about tomorrow...I'm releasing a novella," I tell Her, even though she probably already knows. "I'm so excited," I say, and breathe out. "Do You want to tell me something?" And then I shuffle the cards, getting ready to pull one, and I don't get that chance, because one falls into my lap.

This is the card of yes-ness, of the world going right, of your hard work blossoming into something unspeakably beautiful.

Physical work, emotional work, mental work, all tied up together in a single, simple message of yes-ness from the Universe, of an embrace from my Divine Mother...of a moment of you're doing all right, kid.

And I blow out all the candles but one and I watch the incense burn down to a single flame, listening to my heart beat and feeling whole.
mermaiden: (*  Faerie:  WAY)
2011-01-25 01:14 pm

MuseRising.com~

So, yeah! Remember seven months ago, when I was all like THIS THING IS GREAT AND COMING SOON, and then it never came?

She's here~ <3

After five thousand layout changes, post re-dos and second guesses, I have FINALLY launched my blog project, MuseRising.com--I hope you love her as much as I do. <3

I'm going to talk about creation, accomplishing what you want to do in your life, witchcraft, the Goddess, minimalism and creating the life you want to, all in hopefully poignant, somewhat dramatic and slightly hilarious bits. We'll see if I can manage that. ;D

mermaiden: (Yoga!)
2011-01-07 03:53 pm
Entry tags:

21 Day Yoga Challenge!

I've been doing yoga since I was twelve (TWELVE. I was a crazy child.), and ever since then, I've been trying to get a daily yoga practice going in my life. I'll do it for three months, then stop one day, and I'm back to my sporadic few times a week.

I'm a little obsessed with Yoga Journal--it's the only magazine I read front cover to back cover, every single month, and they have this *wonderful* thing starting on Monday, called the 21 Day Challenge--from their site:

Have you ever tried to start a home practice but couldn't stick with it? Well, we have the solution! In our 21-Day Yoga Challenge, which starts on Jan. 10, you'll receive all the help you need to create a home yoga practice that works for your life. No matter how much time you have or how you feel on any given day, it's still possible to practice yoga and reap the benefits.

How does it work? Each day, we'll present original videos of yoga sequences. There are 15-minute videos for morning and night; 30-minute videos to help refine your poses, work your core, and develop strength; and a super fun 45-minute flow sequence that'll have you moving all around your mat and getting a great workout in the process. By the end of the challenge, you'll have an arsenal of practices at your disposal to use whenever and however you want.

You'll also be able to listen to mediation and pranayama exercises, thanks to our friends at Sounds True. And you can blog about your experience on our Challenge Chat page. Finally, our Challenge newsletter will give you a little nudge each day, with background information about that day's video sequence, practice tips, and healthy and delicious recipes from Vegetarian Times.

How do you join in? Just sign up here with your email address, and on Jan. 10 you'll receive your first newsletter and a link to the first video and the 21-Day Yoga Challenge website. That's it! It's free and it's just for you.

What are you waiting for? Take the challenge!


Whether you're a beginner who has never said an "om," or you've studied with the major yoginis, this sounds like it'll be fabulous and fun, and holy heavens, it might actually get me to everyday and keep me there. I don't want to pin my hopes on it, but why the heck not~ ;D That's my yoga of hopefulness right there!

I wanted to mention it here to see if anyone else would like to do the challenge with me~! I don't consider yoga an exercise (though it does have awesome healthy benefits!), but a spiritual practice...if you've always wanted to, there's no better time than the present~ Also, I'd love a few people to do it with and share our happy findings~

Who thinks they might like to try it? :) <3

EVEN THE KITTIES LIKE YOGA:

image by Greenland♥Canada♥
mermaiden: (Caretaker)
2010-11-17 12:28 pm
Entry tags:

so live and love and that's enough

God is in the ozone layer; holier and holier,
God is in the atom bomb (or at least the atom bomber's mom),
God is in Chechnya, Sobrenica, Slovenica, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovia, Montana,
Oklahoma...
God is incredulous at all the stuff we do to us,
God is inspired by those who fly and those who try,
God is insatiable so sing and dance way past full.
God is in you and me, someday God will help us see that
God is in love with love so live and love and that's enough.
God is inside of you and all you don't and all you do,
God is in your greatest doubt, the jury's out, the doctor's out, but
God is in, God is in, God is in your darkest sin, and out and in, and out and in, and God is
In .... Goddess in .... God is Zen .... Got us in .... God is in.

~ from "God is In" by Billy Jonas
mermaiden: (Beloved)
2010-11-10 01:27 pm

Icons~

I have made the first of two posts of Goddess icons at [livejournal.com profile] ohsweetwitchery--these are of various images of the Divine Mother. They were made as a thank You to Her, and a public offering of gratitude~ :) <3



( For behold, I have been with you from the beginning... )
mermaiden: (Magick)
2010-10-29 12:33 pm

This is Halloween (on Random!)!

- Last night, Jenn and I went with Hugh and Jer (and two of Jer's awesome friends) to the live Rifftrax screening of House on Haunted Hill. It was so great, oh my. XD For every major holiday (and even for some none-major), they do live screenings at certain movie theaters across the country, riffing movies like they used to do in their old MST3K days. It is still brilliance--and, perhaps, even better now (and I'm one of the biggest MST3K fans alive!). If you ever have a chance to see a live screening, do it! It's totally worth it, wickedly hilarious and positively awesome. :) Last year, we saw a bunch of Christmas shorts live, and it was just as great. I'm hoping they do one for Yule again~!

- It's totally silly and cheesy, but one of our Halloween/Samhain traditions is a visit to Holiday Hollow, which we saved to do for this Halloween weekend. I'm so sad that they're closed tomorrow--the only day we could do it. ;-; What will Halloween be like without the great pumpkin quest?! (Jenn will probably be endlessly relieved--the show changes very little, year over year, and she's always like...yay?...when I'm like WE SHOULD GO THIS WEEKEND! :D)

- So, instead, we'll probably go to the Great Pumpkin Farm Pumpkin Festival tomorrow, before...

- Maddie's annual Halloween party! :) Maddie, Jenn and I are Three Witches this year...my sister is going to be Lady Gaga, with all that entails. XD Yes, there will be many pictures.

- This is what I'm dressed up as, for work today!



A few more! There's a surprise under the hat! :D )


- (Can you tell this is my favorite holiday? Naaaaaaaaaah~ :P)

- Our house is decorated to the nines (you can see a few pictures here!). But, my favorite thing that I wanted to share was the window display at our local cloth-work store (they sell counted cross stitch and quilting supplies, and the ladies are AMAZING--as evidenced by this window display. :P). Here is the stuff nightmares are made of (he also has an evil twin!:



- Our Samhain celebration is all day Sunday--we're going to hike at Allegany State Park--one of the most haunted places in the region (I know I've talked about that place before here--it's one of my favorite parks in the world, and it's so very steeped in ancient Native American lore, stories and ghostly encounters. I love it with all my heart~), culminating with a feast at our house, and a beautiful ritual. I can't wait~ <3

- On Sunday, Samhain, is my eleventh anniversary of my dedication as a Witch. :) Oh, blessed Mother--thank You these years, most amazing. <3

- Whatever your plans this weekend, whatever celebrations or sacred or spooky things you'll do, whatever you may spell or conjure--may it be wonderful~ <3333 Happy Halloween! Blessed Samhain! <33333

mermaiden: (Persephone)
2010-10-20 09:58 am

love and gratitude

One little compliment can make you feel amazing.

So give me a compliment, anything in the entire world, even that my shoelaces are pretty. If you like, put this in your journal, too--and once you get some comments, put that entry in a memory or tag and when you are feeling down, just go to that entry and this will remind you that you are fabulous and loved. Comments are screened~

Don't forget to post this in your own LJ so I can compliment you, too! :)


~*~


As a side note--I just wanted to publicly rejoice and mention some gratitude. Last night, I was starting to get sick, and I prayed with all my heart, took a bunch of vitamins, used some essential oils and trusted I would get better (I don't have any sick days left, and the next two weeks are filled with constant obligations). I was like: "Goddess, please, please, please--I can do all of this, but I can't if I'm sick. I need some more strength and courage and wellness, oh Mother, please..." And I had the most restful sleep I've had in months and am--this morning--totally well. I am so endlessly grateful--it's a tiny, perfect miracle. <3
mermaiden: (Woods)
2010-09-22 10:33 am

Hail, Autumn!

Last night, after we got home from a lovely dinner party with Maddie and Jared, I walked the dogs. It was late and so, so warm--the sweet, sharp scent of changing leaves had merged with the grass from the meadows, from the wind, from the moving branches. Clouds scuttled across the sky and over the face of the almost full moon.

It was Poesy's turn, and we walked out into the meadow together, intent on moonbathing. I lay down on a bed of hay and looked up at that heavenly, silver creature. Poesy nestled up to my stomach, and sighed contentedly, and we stayed there for a very long time. I didn't think of anything--I just stared up at the moon, at the clouds, at the countless stars and velvet black of the night, at the face of the Goddess everywhere, in all these things, and my heart soared, with gratitude, with love. My cup overflowed with it all, and we lay and we moonbathed in the silver light, the cicadas singing sweetly...it was the purest magic.

Poesy got bored with my silent joy and nudged my hand. I sat up, drew her into my lap and said: "it's all so beautiful, isn't it, baby?" She licked her face, wagged her tail, hopped off my lap, ready to go on to the next adventure.

I rose, too, and blew a kiss to the moon, my heart full.

And so, the Summer Queen stepped away and down, and Autumn--sweet Autumn, in all her resplendence, took the throne.

Hail, my beloved Autumn~ <3 Hail, Mabon~

mermaiden: (Little Red)
2010-09-09 03:04 pm
Entry tags:

Compassion and Hate

The following is lifted entirely from The Wild Hunt -- because I believe it's crucially important and perfectly said:
 

~*~


It seems fairly obvious that the debate over the Park51 community center has morphed into something far larger. It has transformed into an unacknowledged national referendum on the place of Islam within American society. Tensions are rising, and there have been a number of frightening incidents across the country aimed at, by all accounts, peaceful and integrated Muslim Americans. The recent punditry, activism, and protests seem to have awoken something ugly and uncontrollable within our body politic, and even demagogues like Sarah Palin are calling for cooler heads to prevail. As we ramp up to the anniversary of 9/11 this Saturday, with the protests (and counter-protests) in New York and the headline-grabbing Koran burning in Florida what should the Pagan response be to this turmoil? Can there even be a “Pagan response” when we are so diverse?

The Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, which counts three Pagans as members, has issued a call for solidarity with the Muslim community (a call echoed by some individuals within the Pagan community). Starhawk thinks we should turn off our TVs and go out to meet our neighbors, while Alison Shaffer wants nothing to do with the protests or counter-protests, and instead wants to honor the Buddhists commemorating the dead on the Hudson River, while engaging with Muslim scripture and poetry at home.

“Here in Pittsburgh, I will be lighting a candle of my own, and reading the astounding poetry of the Qur’an (in English translation), as well as the poetry of those Sufi mystics who inspired me, when I was still only a teenager looking for answers, with visions of beauty, longing and connection that eventually led me to my Druid path. In this small way, I hope perhaps to begin the process of bridging the great gulf between acts of hatred, and acts of honor. I hope to affirm the sacred connections we share even with those who disagree with us or threaten us. I hope to participate, by doing my small part, in the transformation of our community not by trying to repress or intimidate those who lash out in fear and anger, but by learning how to reach out to them in fellowship and forgiveness.”

Perhaps the most eloquent response to the hate, fear, and anger comes from T. Thorn Coyle, who proposes that we counter hate with compassion for those who are truly in need.

This Saturday, a certain Terry Jones plans to burn copies of the Qur’an outside his Gainesville, FL church. People have been mailing books to him, to help with this cause. Meanwhile, the children in this photo, along with 20 million others in Pakistan, are displaced, hungry, and struggling. Which do I care about more? Terry Jones is seeking publicity – which I am giving him right now – so I’m going to use this publicity mongering to bring us back to sharp attention that we all have a chance to do some good to counteract hatred and ignorance. We can help some people who are in dire need.

This Saturday, to honor the memory of those who died in the toppling of the World Trade Centers in NYC, and further, to honor the memory of those who died on September 11, 1944 when Darmstadt, Germany was destroyed in preparation for the more famous Dresden bombing, I say let us organize to send whatever we can afford – be it prayers, energy, or money – to Pakistan. Let us feed the three to six million who have not yet received food or medical care. Let us not let the likes of Terry Jones win this day. In the name of all who are Compassionate and Merciful, let us not give up on humanity.

As mystically inclined Pagan, I am ever remembering my sense of connection with you, with this planet, with the stars, trees, and waters, and with God Herself – the Great Beyond, the Limitlessness, Ginnungagap, the Void, and the Existence. God Herself is comprised of every Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Bahai, Buddhist, Atheist, Heathen, Wiccan, Quaker, every jasper, every lamb, every grouper, every blade of wheat, every redwood, every crow. There are people who would argue with me about this. That is fine. As a polytheist and non-dualist, I can take these arguments as part and parcel of how things grow and evolve, of how we learn and change. I don’t need agreement from anyone. I do need to cultivate strength and mercy. I do need to generate the life energy that is the return to the great cosmic flow. I do need to connect, here on earth, to every particle that exists in past, present, and future. Right now, I need to connect with millions of people in Pakistan.

Thorn’s organization Solar Cross, will be donating to Doctors Without Borders to try to help get aid directly to people in need. For those who prefer a slightly more political response to the Koran burning, while still engaging in sending relief to Pakistan, Pagan priestess Morpheus Ravenna suggests making the donation in the name of Koran-burner Terry Jones.

Whether you are for or against the Park51 community center, even if you are ambivalent regarding the burning of the Koran, we can’t allow our civil society to deteriorate to a point where open persecution, violence, and acts of vandalism become tolerated. I’m as sympathetic to the criticisms against the dominant monotheisms as the next Pagan, but we can’t allow our rhetoric to empower, directly or indirectly, those who would use it as a mandate for discrimination and harassment. Arun Gandhi, the fifth grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, says that the wounds of 9/11 will never heal because we lack “genuine commitment to find common ground”, and do not allow for real healing to begin.

“For a wound to heal it needs proper medication and, above all, the wound needs to be rested. If we keep scratching and irritating the wound it will just go on festering. I have never looked at 9/11 as an isolated instance of some mad people ramming airplanes into the World Trade Center. It was the result of decades of exploitation and generations of bitterness between the Muslim and Christian worlds.”

Perhaps, as Pagans, what we can bring to this ancient tension between Christians and Muslims is to be outside of the “crusades” mentality of endless hostility and exploitation. To ignore the pundits and extremists on both sides and instead pursue a campaign of simple humanity, targeted charity, religious tolerance, and continual openness to dialog. We can avoid being swept up by the passions of either side and instead pursue our own agenda of growth and a new paradigm of interfaith relations. Not to forget the crimes and sins of either side, but to instead forge a new tomorrow where conflicts over simple belief is seen for the irrationality it is. We are small, and factions within Christianity and Islam ever-eager to engage in battle seem huge by comparison, but we must avoid the temptation to pursue their agendas, and instead work for the good a Pagan tomorrow could bring the world.

mermaiden: (*  Beauty:  Peace)
2010-07-28 11:36 am

I am Girl and Firebird



I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird's child!
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
And like the flame, I am wild wild wild wild WILD!
I am the firebird, the boldest song you've ever heard!

To see a maiden dance around a fire is not so strange
but fire dances round the limbs of this uncommon maid!
Be brave enough to burn and you'll be brave enough to fly!
Join your sister Solace as she lights the morning sky!

I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird's child!
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
And like the flame, I am wild wild wild wild WILD!
I am the firebird, the boldest song you've ever heard!

Sister will you follow me?
Sister will you dance with me?
Sister sorrow walk with me!
Sister sorrow dance with me!
Like a flame you must be wild!

~*~


Imagine this:

You've just taken part in one of the most amazing rituals you've ever experienced. You're at Diana's Grove, surrounded by exquisite community, men and women who shine with a vibrancy that can only be summed up as divine. You've gone through a weekend filled with growth and magic. Music begins, and you rise because you must. You rise to dance.

It is night. A full moon nestles in a bed of silver cloud overhead. A drum pounds all around you, creaking floorboards beneath your bare feet, the night smells sweet and green and there is grace everywhere. Women surround you, women in swirling skirts and jeans and t-shirts and velvets, and they're laughing and twirling and moving their bodies in a perfect embodiment of the Goddess. You're moving with them, slapping your feet against the boards, arching your back under the myriad of stars that crown you, overhead. The song shifts and change, and you hear cries of the purest joy. "Firebird's Child" begins to pump through the speakers, and suddenly, you hadn't even noticed, but the women are dancing in a circle, and you're calling to them, and they're calling to you. You are their sister, you are the firebird's daughter, and you must be wild, wild, wild. And you are. Oh, you are.

Something moves through you. Joy, euphoria, Goddess. It's all the same thing, isn't it? She moves through your limbs, and the fingers against the sky are yours, but not your own, and your legs move, and oh gods, you're a serpent, aren't you--the way you move your body, the way you bend and curve, and it's not you, but it is you, and it's the most you you've ever been. The candles burn, the flames flickering as the breeze moves among the women, circling them, drawing you closer. Your heart thunders along with the beat, and as you bend, heart up, arched like Diana's bow, suddenly, the skies open.

Rain, rain, cries of delight and joy, and everyone keeps dancing, but more and more and more, and it's a rising crescendo of euphoria and witchery and beauty and oh gods, it's building like the most exquisite circle casting you've ever taken part in, and it is, and the power, the power of woman, of beauty, of love, crashes around you and shoots into the sky, a reverse falling star--rising, this time, into the heavens.

The song ends, and everyone erupts. Cheers, applause, a deafening echo that you add to, by crying out from your belly, clapping your hands against your thighs, twisting and turning as another song takes place, surrounded by sisters, dancing in beauty, Goddess incarnate.

All acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals. And oh, you know this. So well.

Every time at Diana's Grove is life changing, an evolution of soul and spirit. I am a completely different person from when I went there, and the time before that...and before that. It is community, it is love and a place of safety and solace created by the Goddess Herself, it seems. The rituals, the community creations, the evolutions, the skins shed, the tempering fire, the illustrious inspiration of air, the crashing crescendo of water, the solidity of earth...I can't articulate it. The rush of the creek, the movement of the serpent, the embraces, the shift of tree overhead, and the echo of breath in my breast and the sparkle of every eye that held divinity...which was every one. Oh Goddess. Oh Beloved. Oh Brilliance. I returned from my time there Monday night, utterly spent, but glowing.

And tomorrow, we leave for Salem.

My heart is overrun, a pool of starlight, a spout of fire.

I am the firebird.

I am his daughter.

I am the firebird's child, and I am wild, wild, wild, wild, wild!

mermaiden: (*  Pagan:  Jubilation)
2010-07-06 10:20 am

26

Today is my birthday--I turn twenty-six.

Here are a few truths about me:

- I know the most amazing, incredible, kind, compassionate, passionate, exceedingly beautiful and magical people that this world possesses. When the Goddess made me, She whispered into my ear: "oh, baby, what a family you'll have..."

- I know great magic. Inside and out, I can see the web of the world, how it's put together, and the splendor in all things. Even in my darkest hours, there are stars. When the Goddess made me, She whispered: "you have everything you need, and someday you'll believe that."

- I'm a good writer, and I believe in myself, and in that. Every year on my birthday I've made a post about hope and writing, and how they're intertwined for me. I decided not to do that this year. I know what I am, and who I am, and it's Storyteller. When the Goddess made me, She said: "Tell the stories you know, and the ones you don't. This gift I have given you, use it wisely."

- I can speak the language of animals, of nature, of the clouds and sea. I am as much a part of the earth as any stone, and that connection is a constant. When the Goddess made me, She said: "you are part of everything, and you will know this, always."

- I have found my soul mate, my twin flame, my anam cara, my everything, and I have the complete blessing to share my life with her. When the Goddess made me, She said: "oh, my darling, you will find her, you will love her, and it will be so beautiful..."

And twenty-six years ago, I opened my eyes to this splendid, wonder-filled and full planet, and I smiled for the very first time, and I thought: thank You, thank You, thank You.

Goddess, I love You, I sing Your song, I sing through You and of You. Thank You for this blessed existence, this life, this everlasting love. Thank You, thank You, thank You.


photo by santacrewsgirl