Monthly Archives: March 2013

Maiden, Mother, Crone and Warrior

Maiden, Mother, Crone and Warrior

 

Sweetest Maiden Sister,

Lover of the wild,

In all respects a blossoming

And happy little child.

We name you Springtime Maiden,

Treading softly through the trees,

Awakening the flowers,

Your laughter on the breeze.

Beneath you, seeds are sprouting;

Above you, warm, the sun.

Around you, animals are born

Now that Spring’s begun.

The innocence of childhood,

The joy of simple things;

We find in you beginnings new

And pleasure without stings.

Blodewedd of blossoms,

The Vernal Goddess bright

Who brings the rains that nurture seeds

And longer days of light.

 

Great Goddess Mother,

Watching over all,

Lovingly we praise you

And you hear us when we call.

We call to you as Brigit,

The hearth and home you rule,

The holy wells and blacksmith’s forge

With love the burning fuel.

We name you, too, as Lakshmi,

Of wealth and hope you sing;

Candles lit in praise of you,

For happiness you bring.

The fullness of the Summer

With fields so ripe and round,

Your body in its glory,

The grand and fertile ground.

The King Stag your companion,

Your partner, God of love

Who walks with you in fields if green

And in the clouds above.

 

You, the Elder Goddess

Honored Lady of the best,

The Wheel can’t turn without you –

Our fair planet needs to rest.

You are the Harvest Goddess

Within the grain and corn,

And all that falls will rise again,

Life’s promise thus reborn.

We name you as Nokomis,

The Goddess of the field,

Giving of your body

When the gardens fail to yield.

We call to you as Winter Queen

Who puts the earth to bed –

The Goddess of the quiet times,

Keeper of the dead.

Rising with the crescent moon,

Falling with the rain;

Walking Winter’s frozen land

So silent once again.

 

And the Mighty Warrior,

She of sword and spear,

Confident within herself,

Strong – no sign of fear.

We name you as Diana

Who hunts with spear and bow –

The lives you take are done with honor,

And respect you show.

And you, the Goddess Morrigan,

The Celtic Queen of war,

Black crow of the battlefield

Who feasts on death and gore.

Goddess of the Dark Phase,

Of those things that we hide,

Our anger and our vengefulness,

The things we keep inside.

But also you’re our power

The strength of blood and bone,

The competence of women

That the brave have always shown.

 

© LSG 2:02PM 1.19.2010

Owning “Stuff”

Stuff

A Compilation Article from Maine Pagan Digest

[Ed note: The opinions expressed here are from many different people, so the subjective “I” is not specific to one person. Good luck!]

The Holidays are behind us, to which many of us breathe a sigh of relief… until the credit card bills come in. Did you get everything you wanted? So what? What do things truly matter? Remember being devastated as a child when that extra special toy did not arrive under yon tree? Do you still feel that way? A friend told us of a quote, which essentially said that fretting over things you don’t have is wasting what you do have.

I have had an epiphany.

While not a wealthy man, monetarily, I have too much “stuff.” Dumb stuff that I don’t need. Good stuff that I never use. Some stuff that I really don’t like but for some reason can’t get rid of. It is all getting in my way and requires me to get more space to keep all my stuff from the elements. (Sounds like the George Carlin bit huh?) Knowing that I don’t need it and having all this stuff that I already have somehow has never kept me from wanting more stuff that I don’t need. This gift season it really has struck home as folks have asked me what I want for the holidays, as if getting just that next thing will make my life more enjoyable. I really sat down and thought about it with the intention of making a list the other day and realized that even if I got everything on my list that this would not change all that is most important to me in my life so why bother. I suddenly realized that on our deathbeds in our old age (hopefully) I don’t think we’ll look back on our life and say “I wish I had gotten more stuff.” It is more likely that we would wish that we had spent more time enjoying and sharing our short lives with those we love.

Ben Franklin once wrote something to the effect that “if everyone else in the world were blind he should not want fine clothes and furniture.” I think he was right. (He usually was.) So in this traditional time of the making of resolutions, I wish to go on record as saying that it will be my endeavor to rid myself of much of my unneeded stuff this year and to attempt not to accumulate anything unneeded in its place. I will choose to be content with and thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me and my family.

Many of you know about my STUFF, especially those of you from the old Sunday groups who got some of my STUFF, and those of you wonderful people who have helped me move my considerable mountain of STUFF from home to home. Every now and again, I go through phases of wanting to get rid of STUFF. And a lot of it is “stuff.” I frequent yard sales and Salvation Army and such, looking for new things, interesting things. And I know why.

I found this pattern back in 1988 when I was living with a boyfriend who got called into the armed services 5 months early. He left a large hole in my life… a hole I unknowingly decided to fill with STUFF. I needed something new, something to like, something to distract me. I sometimes bought animals and pets, for a way to have something to love, something that needed me. And even though I know this, I still buy STUFF. I see this trait in some of my friends, and we are all in the same boat — the U.S.S. STUPH.

My parents tend to hoard, and I dread the time when we will have to clean out their home. They have almost every check they have ever written, an entire basement full of things that they “might” need. They saved clothes for me from high school (and a size 12 I may never be again, speaks the size 24). They have things that have not moved (Not. Moved.) since we moved into that house in 1982.

“It’s only $1, $3, it’s on sale….”  I need to find out what is causing my need for STUFF. Am I running away from something, trying to shift focus from other issues? What is so lacking in me that I need so much STUFF to “validate,” if that is the case?

Your material things do talk to you (“Put me away!” “Diet so I’ll fit!” “Are you ever going to read me?”). I have found that that’s why I am a binge-and-purge consumer — I get things cheap too, and later on throw everything out and start over. After a while I can’t take the stuff talking to me, and as my apartment is also quite small, I find I feel better and calmer, the less STUFF there is around.

Of course, when I told my daughter about this phenomenon last year, she said, “Well, I guess I don’t have to clean my room, then. My stuff doesn’t talk to me.”

Here’s some hints….  I hope they help.

* Look, seriously SEE your stuff, each individual object. Are there things in your house that are just there because they’ve always been there, and are so much a part of the wallpaper that you overlook them? Ask yourself: Do I use it? Do I NEED it? When was the last time I used it? What purpose does it serve? Why do I own it, why did I buy it?? What does it mean to me, and why am I keeping it? If there are no really good reasons, ditch it.

* What are your things saying to you? Are the books you bought and never got around to reading telling you something? Is that size 10 dress hanging in your closet and not on your size 14 butt? WHY? What is it saying to you? That you failed a diet? That you should be “thus and such” a body size or type? If you don’t like what it’s saying to you, junk it.

* As it is difficult for us “stuffies” to get rid of things, try this. Start boxes in your storage area. Mark one “Month,” one “6 Months” and one “Year” with the appropriate dates. Put those things you may use in the “Month” box. Those you rarely use in “6 Months” box. And the things you just don’t use or are really uncertain about in the “Year” box. Leave those boxes closed (but for putting more in) for the allotted time. If you have wanted nothing or used nothing from those boxes in that time span, DO NOT OPEN THEM – GIVE THEM TO GOODWILL. Whatever is in them, if you can’t remember and it has had no use to you, IT’S GONE.  You are free.

Many members of my family this year have been hard to buy for, because they literally don’t “need” anything. My son in fact has more clothes than we can fit in the bureau and more toys than the room can hold. I try to do practical things (grocery gift certificates and such) and that helps. Maybe after the holidays, my family and I can discuss what we **!NEED!** and how we can give that to each other.

Thank you, Aracos, for starting the thread on Maine Pagan Digest.

Defining “Pagan”: Coming Together as a Community

Within Paganism we have a seemingly endless list of traditions – and within those traditions, endless variation of practices. Paganism is a living dynamic spiritual path and this can make it very challenging to craft a definition of Paganism people can agree on. Many pagans would even challenge the idea that we need a definition. But I think we can craft a definition and that there is value in doing so. So here goes…

Why bother?

In my work as a priest I have been deeply involved in Pagan prison ministry. Over the past decade, I have written hundreds of pagans in prisons across the country. While some states are much more supportive than others, there is a definite prejudice against pagans of all traditions in our prison system. I hear the same stories of blatant discrimination over and over again. While it is no easy thing to be a Christian, Jew or Muslim in prison, it is doubly difficult if you are Pagan.  Pagans are routinely refused a place of worship, the ability to gather as a group, allotted time slots for gathering, books, materials, visitors, and the right to wear a necklace or symbol from their tradition. There is an ongoing struggle for Paganism to find legitimacy in this country. This is especially apparent within the US prison system.

The purpose of this article however is not the issue of pagan prison ministry. I use it as an example of consequence. It is the consequence of our disconnection as a religious community.  Most institutions have little to no knowledge of paganism, especially given our many traditions and the solitary nature of the majority of pagans. We are an unknown. And the consequence of being unknown is very apparent when we try to exercise our religious traditions within established institutions: national, state and local.

What continually affects the few, eventually affects the many. I still see people in this country hiding their pagan beliefs out of fear. I hope that as a community, we can evolve past this. There is strength in numbers and it is important that Pagans of all traditions come together as a whole and help assure our religious freedoms are being respected.

As part of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association, I know from experience that getting people from our many traditions to agree on a definition of “paganism” is a real challenge. While I may have a completely different theological view of paganism than other pagans, I think we can find common bonds and core principles that we embrace in our spiritual life. I think we can all agree on the following:

1. All of Nature is sacred

2. We seek direct relationship and communion with the Divine

3. Self-responsibility and living with honor are at the core of our pagan values

In my definition of Pagan, the community expands greatly. I see Hinduism, Taoism, Shinto, Santeria, basically all nature-based indigenous religions around the globe sharing these common ideals. I see these as great pagan traditions. And I think it good to have an expansive rather than limiting view of Paganism. I think reaching for the common ground is much more effective than emphasizing the differences.

When I work within the prison system, I don’t feel any need to explain the principles of Druidry to people. I say I am a pagan and then if there is sufficient interest, I may go deeper. But I always go back to these three core ideals and it usually suffices. I think most people can identify with them. They aren’t hidden, occult, mysterious or dangerous. And while I could write an entire book on the nature of each ideal, they really don’t require much in the way of further explanation to give someone an idea of where I am coming from.

We all have aspects in our traditions and practices that are unique. And I think this very beautiful and powerful. But the differences are often used to draw divisions.

There is inherent disdain within the pagan community for institutions and organizations trying to define Paganism; to speak for the greater community; to make a judgment call on what defines a pagan or which tradition is legitimate. I love that this is the case. Nature isn’t filled with hierarchy and neither should religious traditions based on Nature be so. Our ideal of equality is one that makes paganism work for people. It is a key principle that attracted many us to paganism. My point in this essay isn’t to try to get all pagans involved with prison ministry or greater local, state or national organizations. It is only to get people to embrace the word “Pagan” and to reach for the common ground. If the word “Pagan” brought to the mind of the average American an image or understanding that encompassed the three principles I’ve mentioned, I think would see less discrimination towards pagans within our institutions and within our culture. It would dissipate a lot of the fear people have when they hear the word “pagan.”

Personally, I think one of the core strengths of paganism is the celebration of diversity. Finding a greater umbrella for the outside world is very helpful though, and I am hopeful we can all embrace the label of “Pagan.” Each tradition struggling individually simply isn’t working. I have encountered many prisons where “Wiccans” can have a group but “Druids” can’t. “Druid” groups can gather but “witches” can’t. These labels divide us. And division isn’t helpful. If we all claim the label of Pagan first and then state our tradition, I think this would make a significant difference.  It is my opinion that the common threads can bind us together as a community. If we can make progress here, its reverberations will hum with power and beauty throughout many aspects of our lives as Pagans here in the States.

Peace, beauty and inspiration,

Snowhawke /|\