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The Weaving: A Pagan Rite of Vision – October 2012

Song lines entwine. Ancient stories, ever new on misty breath.
Air feeds sacred Fire,
Warming our hearts and giving honor to our elders.
Ancestors called to witness. Dancers whirl.
Soul touching Soul touching Soul, we weave a Pagan place.
Our tribe prays for Vision.

I wrote the poem above as I sat dreaming of a ritual where we come together as a tribe, as a community and reweave our connections to each other as we head into the long darkness of winter. I dreamed of everyone dancing together as equals, praying for a vision to share as a gift to the community, a dream that gives us insight on how to live well, how to move within this sacred landscape of Maine as Pagans that honor the Earth. I dreamed of those of us who are spritely enough dancing around a large central fire while our elders look on from their place of honor next to the warming fire. I dreamed of us finding our soul deep connection to Nature, communing with the Spirits of Place and the forces of Nature which are our gods. And from out of this sacred relationship we find a source of inspiration, we drink from the chalice that holds the mystery of Nature. I dreamed of this dance continuing into the future where one day, each of us will heed of the call of our progeny when they gather and sing songs, inviting their ancestors to join them in ritual, to dance with them as they seek connection to the gods and the wisdom to live well and walk gently on Mother Earth.

I dreamed this dream, and I connected with others who dreamed it as well. And we shared this with one another. And from the sharing, we have crafted such a ritual, a ritual of vision as we dance together in the forest, honoring the land, the people and the gods, dancing with our ancestors as we consider the next generation.

We have built the framework for this ritual, crafting a full day of learning, sharing, experiencing and communing soul to soul to soul. We hope to strengthen our community ties and begin to build a tradition of sacred rites to pass onto the next generation. And that, my brothers and sisters, is something I think worth our efforts.

Let’s consider the next generation of Pagan people here in Maine.

Today, Paganism isn’t the mainstream. Where once all human saw Nature as the highest authority, many now think we are above having to consider Her (and we see the obvious consequences of that point of view). The ancestors of all the races of the peoples of the Earth, were once pagan. The source and inspiration of their deepest spiritual ideals emanated from their experience of the divine in Nature. Things changed. But this core principle has been like a spring running underground, flowing through the landscape of time, purifying the water as it goes, and eventually coming to the surface once again to give us nourishment.

So here we are now, pagan people looking to Nature as the source of our religious ideals, finding our inspiration from the day to day, moment to moment experience of the sanctity of the web of life. Paganism has found root again in the open. And we embrace it because it offers us a way to live ethically, expressing our humanity, yet living within the web of life, taking the paths of least harm, considering the effects of all our actions, walking with integrity and honor in perfect equality with all the souls around us, human and non-human. These are our ideals.

We see Paganism as a way to live without destroying the Earth. Yet, we are part of a system that does just so. And I think it is our role as Pagan people to begin to work towards a different paradigm. We need to craft a better way of life, preserving what is of value and passing that onto the next generation. And this consideration of the next generation is something I see as vital and distinctly Pagan in nature.

Within Native communities all over the globe, there are rites where the whole tribe gathers to pray and reach for vision, to heal their communities, to hold them together as a people and to consider the future and what it will contain for their children and grandchildren and all their future generations. Here in America I think of the Sundance, the Long House, and the Naraya. These are community rituals of vision. What do we have in our pagan community that is clearly focused on reaching for a vision for the benefit of the tribe? I don’t see their counterparts in Paganism.

So, some of us have gathered to craft it.

We call this rite, “The Weaving – a Pagan Rite of Vision.” It is a ritual of trance and prayer, of song and creativity, of weaving our shared love for this Earth into a beautiful tapestry of connection. It is a rite crafted in our own language, honoring our Pagan heritage. It is designed to be the counterpart to our amazing Beltane on the Beach. Only this rite will be the inward look to balance the outward celebration of spring at Beltane. It will be a rite where we openly share what is gifted to us during trance. And out of this, perhaps a shared vision will come – or perhaps not, that isn’t important. It is the gathering and intention that matters. We will wrap the entire day and the entire ritual in our crafting conscious, soul deep connection to Nature, to the land where we gather and to all the souls present. Out of this place, only good things can come. If I have one belief it is this, if we open ourselves to Nature, we will find sanctity and it will fill us with inspiration.

To offer a metaphor in hopes of giving some clarity to the point of this rite, think of this: this is a ritual where each person is a Tarot card of their own design, and the reading is for the tribe. We express our individual image, yet together we can begin to get a glimmer as to where we are at as a community, where we are going and what the future may hold. Or perhaps try this image: we are all tributaries, small streams flowing down from the mountains. We gather together to form a River (our community). And together we flow through the landscape, naturally taking the path of least resistance, causing the least harm as we carry our collective story, our collective nutrients downstream to the Ocean (our future generations yet to be born, to be carried on the wind and born of the rain falling on the mountains).

We hope such a ritual interests you and that it will be supported by the greater community. We already have great support and we are just getting this off the ground. In the future I see us gathering in large numbers for days of shared ritual, dance, trance, vision, and weaving our connections as a people of the Earth. But this Weaving is the first one, and we hope many of you join in and lay a strong foundation for the future.

Let’s gather together as a community for a ritual of sharing vision. Let’s consider the next generation of
Pagans, and craft communal traditions that bring our tribe into sacred relationship with Nature. Let’s begin the work of dreaming a beautiful world for our progeny and let’s begin the work of making it. We hope to see you in Casco on October 6th.

Blessings of Mystery,
Blessings of beauty and inspiration,
Blessings of soul touching soul touching soul,
Snowhawke /|\

For more information regarding the day’s activities or to register for the Weaving, please visit druidcollege.org.

Turning Over a New Leaf: How to Get Organized

With the arrival of autumn comes the impulse to get organized and be productive. At this time of year, our ancestors were gathering the harvest, working to store it for the winter, and readying themselves for the start of the cold winter months. In modern culture, many families are affected by the start of the school year and getting their fall schedule in order. As Pagans, we feel the quickening energies of harvest-tide, as well as the simultaneous slowing-down as the trees and animals prepare to slumber. Bringing these energies into balance can be aided by making some flexible plans.

Planning and organizing might bring to mind calendars and sharp new pencils, and may fill you with excitement…or perhaps with dread. If you prefer to “go with the flow,” you might resist the process of making plans. Yet the suggestions I’m offering are not at all rigid or absolute. How about putting in place a system of organization that easily adapts to each day’s changing needs and moods? One that suits you and your own biorhythms? How would you create such a thing?

First, give some thought to your organizational needs and preferences. Are you a night owl or a morning songbird? Are you keeping track of just your own schedule, or that of your entire family? What types of things are you looking to organize: events, projects, daily tasks, your home, or all of those? Don’t get overwhelmed, just brainstorm freely about what you’d like to accomplish. Make some notes on a pad of paper, so you don’t have to hold all of it in your mind. If you already work with goals, affirmations, or intentions, consult those so that you stick to your chosen priorities.

Next, make sure you have your basic tool for organizing: a calendar. Choose one that suits your own needs. Make sure it has room for lists, for jotting down inspired ideas, for doodling, or whatever you like. Choose a datebook with pictures and colors that inspire you and nourish your creative side. If you’d rather use technology, choose a free online system – I like Google’s calendar, as it’s easily customized and updated. If you’re sharing a schedule with your partner and perhaps your kids, you can create a shared online calendar quite easily.

If you’re dealing with many projects, the best way to handle them is to break them down into smaller tasks. A great way to do this is to make lists. I created a simple Word document with headings under which I could list my various projects and daily tasks. My own headings are: Creating, Feline Dreaming (because the name of my online business is Feline Dreamers), Homeschooling, Priestessing, Drumming/Performing, Daily Practicing, and Householding. Under your chosen categories, create lists of projects and regular tasks. Break larger items down into smaller tasks, ones which you can accomplish in chunks of five to fifteen minutes throughout your day.

Each day when you wake up, perhaps after your shower or with your coffee or tea, take ten minutes to roughly plan out your day. Start by getting quiet and taking some deep breaths. Ground and center yourself. Do something that signals sacred space for you: burn some incense, put on some relaxing music, or go outside and feel the elements on your skin. Let yourself experience the state of your body, mind, emotions, and spiritual connection in this moment. Then consult your list and your calendar. From them, create a shorter list for the day. Keep it very simple and realistic. Before you go on with your day, bless your list and your intentions for today.

On the weekend or your day off, take time to look at how your week is going. How can you readjust your schedule to your current circumstances? What has come up that might need to be added to your project list? Equally as important, what can you let go? What might need to be saved for a future time?

Remember to allow plenty of time for relaxation, self-care, and exercise. These are things that will keep you strong and healthy. In our culture, we are encouraged to be constantly going, doing, and performing. Acknowledge your desires to just be yourself, and experience the beauty of living on this lovely planet. Planning and organizing don’t have to be scary or boring. They are useful tools for balancing your life, at the Autumnal Equinox or anytime. Blessed Be!