Faerie Tidings: A Feast for the Faerie Kin

The rain sounds like a thousand footsteps, all around the edges of the clearing. Fog drifts through and among the standing stones. We can feel the tangible presence of our ancestors. Finishing our rites, we carefully pack up our baskets and satchels; there will be no stargazing this Samhain Eve. It’s cold, wet, and windy, and our cozy cottage beckons us back down the hill.

We spy some moistened mushrooms at the edge of the path, gleaming in our lantern light.

During our meditative communion with our ancestors, we were inspired to create a delectable feast for them. As we crunch our way back to the cottage, we eagerly imagine all the delicious dishes and desserts we’ll be making tonight to honor our faerie kin.

We spy some moistened mushrooms at the edge of the path, gleaming in our lantern light. We harvest a few as accents for the feast, leaving a shiny silver coin as an offering. Nearer the stream, we find patches of fresh greens still poking their heads out amongst the copper pine needles and brown oak leaves. As we near the cottage, we gently pluck bronze pears from one of our favorite trees, thanking it for the pie we’ll soon create.

The three cats are huddled in the barn door, mostly out of the rain, awaiting our return. We share a pear with Maude the donkey, making sure she’s all settled in for the night. Then we open the cottage door for the rain-bespeckled cats, who twine happily around our feet in greeting, wiping their damp fur on our legs. We give thanks that we remembered our water-resistant cloaks, as we shake them off and set them by the newly-rekindled fire to dry.

We put on hot water for steaming mugs of vanilla tea, and then begin to take an inventory of the pantry, preparing for our marathon in the kitchen. We nibble a few roasted nuts as we merrily discuss our plans. We have apples and honey for pie, and plenty of squash, potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and beets. It sounds like a root stew is in order! We’ll also bake some bread, as we know our ancestors love to break it with us. And we’ll crack open the new wheel of cheese that Farmer Brown brought us yesterday, cutting through its beeswax shell.

We start chopping the veggies and sliding them off the wooden cutting board into a big black cauldron. Flour flies as we prepare the crusts for the apple and pear pies. A stray rolling pin slips off the table and makes its way across the floor, startling the orange cat into licking his paws in surprise. The greens and mushrooms we found will be sautéed into a wilted salad and dressed with our own apple cider vinegar and dried chives, fennel, and walnut.

Our bellies rumble, so we slice off a wedge of the cheese to share. As the dough rises and the pies bake and the stew bubbles, we prepare our dining space. We pull our best table linens from a nearby trunk and shake them out. One of the black cats finds a comfy spot inside the trunk, so we decide to leave the lid open for now.

Placing the tablecloth on our long table, we add place settings, napkins, and our centerpiece – Great-Aunt Eleanor’s crystal ball. Next, we add an arrangement of colorful candles and a garland of yellow mums. We put out our best fluted glasses, to be filled with some honey mead we saved for just such an occasion.

Soon, as if by magick, the fantastic feast is ready to eat! We serve out generous helpings onto each plate and pour the mead. There are no lively musicians and excited neighbors joining us this time; this feast is to share with our ancestors beyond the veil. As we sit down at our places, we can hear a distant haunting melody as if coming from the hills around the cottage.

We propose a toast to the ancestors and offer them their places at this Samhain feast. With blessings said, we quietly enjoy our own portion of the delicious meal we’ve prepared. The cats are all asleep by the fire, and we too soon begin to drowse. Dimming the candles, we make our way upstairs to bed and say a fond goodnight to our faerie kin. We leave their plates full, to be enjoyed at their leisure.

As morning dawns, we hear noises from downstairs. The cats are all snuggled up with us, sleeping soundly. Deciding to investigate, we tiptoe down the stairs. All the plates on the table are empty now, and sparkling clean. Noticing a gleam on one of them, we discover a bright shiny silver coin. We laugh in delight – the faerie ancestors have enjoyed their Samhain feast!

About The Author
Feline Dreamers

BlackLion and Starcat are the founders and joyful co-creators of Feline Dreamers. We enjoy sharing tools for exploring your personal spiritual path. Some of our offerings and wares include books, audio guided meditations, a bi-weekly e-newsletter, and the 30-Day Core Belief Kit. Come drop by for a visit!

Samhain

 

The season of death and of endings is here

And with it comes doubtfulness, worries and fear.

But trust in the Lady and trust in the Lord

As we all move toward Samhain with a single accord.

The pumpkins we carved, now all glowing and orange,

The grand, creepy sound of an old creaking door hinge.

Slithering shadows and sneaky black cats,

Whispering breezes and high-swooping bats;

Fairies and monsters with wings on their backs,

Ghosties and goblins are running in packs.

Kids all in costumes who run door to door –

Pagans, we know what this night’s really for!

Do divination and play party games,

Knowing that folks ‘round the world do the same.

Visiting ancestors’ gravesites and mounds,

Blessing the Earth and Her soon-sleeping grounds.

About The Author
Lorelei Greenwood

A writer since her early teen years, Lorelei enjoys sharing her works with her Pagan sisters and brothers. She has three books in varying stages of completion, one of which will be published in 2013 (From Hallow to Harvest: Celebrations for the Wheel of the Year). Lorelei is also a self-proclaimed Muppet, a breather of fire, and a baker of seriously yummy bread.

On Pagan Politics: Weaving Together Our Communities, Lifestyles, and History

Here in the US, we are nearing election day. Many of my friends in the Maine Pagan community are working tirelessly in various campaigns they believe in – some are supporting the “Gay Marriage” initiative on the ballot, others are supporting candidates they believe have the best chance to give them the future they envision, and a few are even running for office themselves.

But this is not the “pagan politics” I wish to address in this article. Rather, I wish to begin with an image. It comes from an extraordinary gathering, a recent event called The Weaving, which was to be a visioning for the Maine Pagan community, in how we come together as a tribe.

Photo by Aracos, www.bardtographer.com

This photo shows the fire from the event, and will serve as a metaphor for this discussion. By the time this photo had been taken, it had been burning for hours and hadn’t required anyone to tend it. This style of self-feeding fire is called an upside-down fire (I’ve also heard it called a pyramid fire and a council fire). Once it is built with the proper structure and the tinder is ignited, the fire will burn unattended for several hours. In an upside-down fire, the largest logs are at the bottom, with the next largest logs laid perpendicular on top of the bottom layer, and so on, all the way to the top which contains twigs of kindling and then the tinder bundle at the very top. The key to an upside-down fire is structure; the logs must come together in the right way, leaning on one another. When this structure is accomplished, and with a good tinder bundle to get the fire going, the fire becomes self-sustaining and will burn for a long time – several hours – without requiring maintenance.

I beg your indulgence at this clumsy extended metaphor – but I see the pagan community in the same light. If we come together with the right structure where we lean on one another, the smallest spark of inspiration will ignite the community and allow it to provide warmth and light with very little additional labor.

How a society is structured – even a disparate, “herding cats” society such as the Maine pagans – is the most fundamental question of politics. But I shall take this a step further and say that “paganism” is inherently political; indeed the very name “pagan” was created, and came into widespread use, as a result of politics.

I take great delight in the phrase: “Pagan” is Latin for “Redneck.” The humor in this expression is both a resonant, truthful image, and a great icebreaker for those “oh, so you’re a pagan… what’s that?” conversations. The Latin paganus means “country-dweller” – the term was created and came into widespread use during the Roman Empire, to describe those alienated from civilization and the great city of Rome. “Country-dweller” means more than just one who lives in the country. It also involves “dwelling,” which is a certain way-of-being, an attentiveness-to and attunement-with one’s natural environment; the meaning is much deeper than just where your primary shelter happens to be. There is a connection between one’s daily existence and the location; the land, with all its rhythms and cycles, becomes a sacred place within which to dwell. In urban environments, attunement-with the land and its natural rhythms is the most fundamentally pagan way-of-being to disappear. Nature began to be systematically abstracted within the new urban Rome. The term “pagan” began to describe other people, who had either already been, or would be conquered next.1

For more than a thousand years, use of the term grew, laying the groundwork for systemic oppression for the pagans, the witches, and the savages. We became Other, and suspicion and fear of pagans was rewarded in the dominant monoculture.

Labeling and persecuting those connected to Nature culminated in The Burning Times, which were also a monumental time of transition at the very birth of present-day Western culture:

In this “century of geniuses”—Bacon, Kepler, Galileo, Shakespeare, Pascal, Descartes—a century that saw the triumph of the Copernican Revolution, the birth of modern science, and the development of philosophical and scientific rationalism, witchcraft became one of the favorite subjects of debate for the European intellectual elites. Judges, lawyers, statesmen, philosophers, scientists, theologians all became preoccupied with the “problem,” wrote pamphlets and demonologies, agreed that this was the most nefarious crime, and called for its punishment.2

The Witch hunts. Wholesale slaughter of entire populations, mostly women, put to horrible deaths and suffering. Why? What was behind the witch hunts? Why was it so important for the Establishment power structures to cultivate a deep, cultural, and popular fear of the witch—much like the “terrorist” of today? At the same time that the prevailing worldview was turning to those core values we hold so dear today—the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, the Reformation, and the rise of capitalism—there were also some of the most brutal examples of oppression and genocide ever witnessed, a fact that remains the paradox of our age.

In addition, the witch hunts were one of the first examples of a globalized assertion of power greater than the nation-state, as they occurred all over Europe in a time of great national division and antipathy:

“both Catholic and Protestant nations, at war against each other in every other respect, joined arms and shared arguments to persecute witches. Thus, it is no exaggeration to claim that the witch-hunt was the first unifying terrain in the politics of the new European nation-states, the first example, after the schism brought about by the Reformation, of a European unification. For, crossing all boundaries, the witch-hunt spread from France and Italy to Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland, and Sweden.”3

Together, these shifts in thinking, along with the accompanying violence and oppression justified by the new thinking, banished the pagans from their sacred lands, and forced them into urban domesticity and wageslavery. Since the witch hunts, to be pagan is, by definition, to be political, in the sense that we have resisted – and must continue to resist – the centuries-old history of genocide, oppression, torture, displacement, enclosure, slavery, and coercion that has been imposed by force. The smell of smoke lingers even today from this extraordinary turning point in our history.

It was not the theology or the “faith” of the pagans that were targeted in these systematic repressions. Indeed, evidence of pagan traditions and beliefs are too numerously extant for this to be the case, from Easter-egg hunts to Christmas trees to Yule logs to maypole dancing to Halloween to Groundhog’s Day. No, the target of these attacks were the very structure of society, the pagan values and ethos that people had lived under for centuries. Most of the countless “witches” burned at the stake4 were single women, who owned land and practiced the old ways of healing, spiritual mentorship, public counsel, in competition with the clergy of the church and the aristocracy. After their burning, with the acrid smoke fresh in the air, their lands and property were seized, and over time their practices were wiped out as allopathic medicine and capitalist modes of production became dominant.

In 2012, we pagans are more than ever a conquered people. Our “paganism” has been reduced to a pale reflection of the old ways in the form of rituals, most of which were re-imagined in the 20th century, with a handful of competing claims of unbroken lineages of pagan groups or families. For many of us, once the romantic appeal of these forgotten rites wore off, we began to see that they have a certain air of antiquatedness to them. It’s not that the rites are not historically valid (I will leave it to others to continue this debate), but today we live in a very different context than did our ancestors, the pagans of old. Nearly all modern pagans are domesticated urbanites, who would struggle to survive without the conveniences of civilization. The old ways are, for us, an abstraction, something we must apply our skills of imagination and visualization to bear on if we wish to engage them. Yet when we manage to listen to our inner voices and relate authentically with our ecosystem, we hear the same consistent, steady whisper: get closer to nature. Something is wrong. You have forgotten something very important. Not only do the power structures of civilization dominate all facets of our being, but they are destroying the planet to sustain themselves.

The fact that relationship-with-Nature is fundamental to our metaphysics, ethics, and theologies demands that we “dirty our hands” with politics, even if we ignore our history and reject the understanding that we as pagans are a conquered people. We pagans have known for centuries that the dominant paradigm is not sustainable, is irreverent and careless with the gifts of nature, seeing her as something to exploit rather than to be in relationship-with.

Political dialogue and practice in America is broken, at least to the extent that it all-too-quickly decays into partisan bickering and name-calling. While politicians on the Left and the Right blame one another, the system marches on, and 200 more species on the planet go extinct each day.5 Paganism offers a bottom-up politic that will, if we lead the way, offer a path forward to restore the pagan values that have been lost and suppressed for 500 years, stop the assault on our planet so that our ecosystems can begin to heal, and have a prayer of restoring balance to the world.

Whatever forms pagan ways-of-being will take in 2012 and beyond, they must begin and end with relationship. The existing top-down political system does not serve us, and will not be there for us as things continue to deteriorate. We pagans will need each other, and this need will only be foregrounded as more and more people are left with fewer answers and less support from the infrastructures of civilization. We pagans are suited toward bottom-up community building, and this sort of Pagan politics, where people lean on one another to sustain themselves like a long-burning fire, can be a beacon of hope to the wider world.

Notes

1   I am acutely aware of the complex relationship between modern pagans – especially white pagans who are part of the dominant culture – and indigenous people. In many ways, I don’t differentiate much between the two groups, because despite the history of brutal oppression the indigenous people have suffered, I believe our goals now are complementary at the very least. My broad conception of paganism – those who seek honorable relationship with nature – welcomes anyone for whom this is the case, no matter their racial heritage, personal history, etc. I will leave deeper analysis to others; it is beyond the scope of this article.

2   Silvia Federici, Caliban & The Witch, (New York: Autonomedia, 2004) p. 168.

3   Federici, 169.

4   Burning at the stake was both an unimaginably horrible way to die as well as a public spectacle, designed to incite fear about what happened to people who practiced the old ways.

5   This theme of mass extinction is explored in detail in Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, & Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011).

About The Author
JWL

James Lindenschmidt has been a pagan for more than 2 decades, having explored many neopagan traditions including Wicca, Grail Spirituality, and more recently, Druidry and Heathenry. These days he identifies more with paganism as an ethos rather than a theology. A large part of his spiritual practice is spending as much time in Nature as possible. He enjoys exploring the intersection between fermentation and herbalism at BardicBrews.net. His degree is in philosophy.

The Reaper

 

Autumn has come in all of its glory;

The evening shadows grow deeper.

Bounty is won, and low sinks the sun

As everything waits for the Reaper.

 

Turkey and pheasant and duck on the wing

Never know when Archer’s arrows will sing.

Deer in the field stand ready to run,

Waiting the sound of the Huntsman’s gun.

 

The sun starts His yearly descent into death

As Earth turns from giver to keeper.

Like a child at the breast, we start into our rest —

And everything waits for the Reaper.

 

Apples stand waiting in bushel and sack

To someday be applesauce, cider and jack.

Wheat turns to flour and barley to beer –

The Green Man has done all His growing this year.

 

Cellars and larders are bursting with bounty —

Nothing on branch, root, or creeper.

Growing is done; the harvest begun —

Now everything waits for the Reaper.

About The Author
Lorelei Greenwood

A writer since her early teen years, Lorelei enjoys sharing her works with her Pagan sisters and brothers. She has three books in varying stages of completion, one of which will be published in 2013 (From Hallow to Harvest: Celebrations for the Wheel of the Year). Lorelei is also a self-proclaimed Muppet, a breather of fire, and a baker of seriously yummy bread.

Samhaintide

 

Ring the bell and light the fire –

It’s Samhain once again.

Gather in the harvest hall

With family and friends.

Crops are in and trees are bare

And fox soon seeks his den –

With cooler days and longer nights

We’re now at Summer’s end.

 

Call the quarters, hail the gods,

The gentle and the bold;

Hail the passing of the sun

Whose light is dimmed by cold.

Hail the bounty of the earth,

A wonder to behold.

Pass the bread and share the mead

And bless all, young and old.

 

Lanterns cast a golden glow

As Circle Is trod ‘round.

Every voice is lifted high

In joyous sacred sound.

Veggies added one by one,

A growing gorgeous mound,

As we bless the wondrous food

That came from out the ground.

 

Now we sing in praise of those

Who’ve passed from life before;

The veil is thin and we can see

Beloved Dead once more.

Share the tales and memories

And songs from days of yore.

Refresh the love and thoughts of those

That we love and adore.

 

We thank those things that held our space,

The north, south, west and east.

We counted things that bless our lives,

The greatest and the least.

The Magick’s done for health and wealth,

Our fortunes all increased.

So now is time for Circle’s end

And then to start the feast.

 

Local meats and veggies, breads,

And apple crisps and pies

Load the feasting tables full

And cause contented sighs.

And later still, the harvest ball –

We wear our best disguise –

And dance we all in merriment,

The young ones and the wise.

 

We celebrate the season

In an ancient Pagan way,

With ritual and honest thanks

And Rede which we obey,

And of course forgiveness

When we sometimes go astray.

And at this time, may I wish you

A blessed Samhain day.

About The Author
Lorelei Greenwood

A writer since her early teen years, Lorelei enjoys sharing her works with her Pagan sisters and brothers. She has three books in varying stages of completion, one of which will be published in 2013 (From Hallow to Harvest: Celebrations for the Wheel of the Year). Lorelei is also a self-proclaimed Muppet, a breather of fire, and a baker of seriously yummy bread.

The Power of Community

I recently completed a week-long course in timber framing at the Fox Maple School of Traditional Building in Brownfield, Maine. It was a very demanding and intense six days of learning and hard work. Although it was exhausting, I am so pleased I took it. The inspiration I have from participating in such an event is remarkable.

The idea of natural building methods and traditional timber framing construction has always appealed to me as it expresses a sense of ethics that fits perfectly into my spiritual practices and ideals. Our lives must become more local. Our work, our home materials, and our food need to come from where we live. Extracting resources from far-away places, shipping them around the globe and buying them from people who don’t live in our community presents a real ethical dilemma. If our existence is based on our engagement with our local environment, then we will find a balance where we live with concern for our ecosystem, and from that concern we won’t cause unnecessary harm. When we extract resources from an abstraction (that place far away where things come from and we don’t see the damage), we will use resources without having to deal with the immediate consequences. This allows excess. This way of being has to end. Local living is the only viable path. How do I know this? All of Nature lives locally. Yes, some animals migrate. But their passing is part of a known pattern of Nature that is life-enhancing rather than life-negating. We have to mimic Nature in order to live a sustainable, viable life. Any problem we have, Nature has already solved.

So anyway, this timber framing course has sparked an idea and a passion in me. I recall being in England where I saw a sign on an old stone and timber frame building. It said something to the effect of “England’s oldest continuous inn. Established 981.″ So this building has been an inn for over 1100 years. The original frame, foundation and walls are still standing. And I thought, why don’t we build everything to last? Why isn’t our work a gift to the next generation? A house I build will be passed on to someone who won’t have to spend time or use resources to build a house – or be a slave to a job to pay for it. It will be free. If I build something that will last, build it with materials that are local, crafted with a sense of permanence and beauty, it will be respected. And if it is respected, it will endure. Our ancestors did it with crude tools and no electricity. And these buildings are still in use today, hundreds of generations later. We can do the same. It is a matter of choice.

The other part of this course perfectly illustrated something I have been, for lack of a better word, preaching about for a long while now, the power of community. Twenty-two of us showed up for this course. No one had timber framing experience. Most of us were not builders or carpenters (I was in this category). And yet, in a few days we went from a stack of timbers and pile of ignorance to framing and erecting a two-bent saltbox with a great room with a beautiful hammerbeam bent. This frame will eventually stand on someone’s property for many hundreds of years.

Now imagine if we as a community were already skilled and that we joined together to help each other build lasting, efficient and beautiful homes all built from local natural materials. What a difference we would make in each other’s lives – a small or zero mortgage, living in environmentally friendly houses that will last, to be passed onto the next generation. Imagine if we had inherited such a thing, growing up knowing that we have a home and the only cost is that we respect, care and maintain it. Imagine if we had shared skills for all aspects of our lives: food, shelter, creativity, learning and religious practices. What if we as a community dedicated eight weekends a year to helping others build homes or put in gardens or create community events to support our local artisans? Can you imagine such a way of life? I can and I do and I am dedicating my life to building it.

As a side note, the word mortgage comes from Latin and is built from roots that mean, “death obligation.” In other words, it is an obligation that you carry until you die. When it comes to our homes we need to shift the meaning from “working a job for thirty years to pay a bank twice the value of a home” to “while we live in this home we are obligated to care for and maintain this remarkable gift of our ancestors who built this beautiful lasting structure with craftsmanship, vision and love. And for as long as we do, we have a home.”

I am skilling myself and I am ready to pitch in and rebuild my local community, one lasting green building, one edible forest garden, one annual celebration at a time. Any volunteers to join in?

Blessings of honor and beauty,
Snowhawke /|\

About The Author
Snowhawke

Snowhawke is a druid priest and a native of Maine. He is a student and colleague of Emma Restall Orr, completing her year-long Living Druidry course in the Cotswolds, England in 2006. In his role as a druid priest he is actively involved with pagan prison ministry and is on the Board of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association. He is also the co-founder of the Druid College – A Center for Nature-based Spirituality.

Naughty Pagans Year 3

On Saturday, September 15, the Naughty Pagan Project unveiled the latest in their collection of sexy, serious, and silly photos of local Pagans. This year’s themes included feminist re-imaginings of fairy-tales, tongue-in-cheek stagings of famous photos, deities, animal totems, and (as always!) men in kilts.

The project, spanning three years and including nearly 100 Pagans of all shapes and sizes, started out as a tongue-in-cheek fundraiser for Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Association. “We wanted to do something like Calendar Girls, y’know – pinups with a sense of humor – but with a Pagan perspective. As far as we know nothing like this has ever been done before,” says EMPPA VP Teresa Cassinelli. It soon became clear that the Project was heading in a different direction than simple fundraising. Says EMPPA Secretary Michele Littlefield, “We started hearing from people about how being in the photo shoots and seeing their photos at the release party was a life-changing experience. They started to reevaluate their self-image and see themselves the way the rest of us see them; gorgeous!” EMPPA Treasurer Merlin Littlefield agrees, “It definitely changed the way I see myself. There’s nothing quite like a room full of beautiful women cat-calling you to help you really believe you’re sexy!”

Promoting healthy self-image and appreciation for beauty in all creatures is part of the Naughty Pagan Project mission statement:

We believe that all life is beautiful. We challenge the notion that gorgeousness must be thin and young; that attractive only comes in a suit or heels or with makeup. The pagans found within these photos are vibrant, sexy, real-life examples of the vast array of shapes and sizes in which beauty can be found. Our models are not professionals; we seek out ways to help every person not only feel sexy, but show that sexiness to the world through the use of creative photographic expression. We purposefully do not use photo-shop techniques on our models. What you see is what you get – and what you get is amazing, natural, magickal photos of real people.

Originally published as a yearly collection of calendars, this year the Naughty Pagan Project has changed formats to full-color coffee-table books. EMPPA President Keri Alley comments on the change to book form: “The calendars were nice, but I don’t think any of us actually used the calendar portion; we just wanted to have copies of the photos. Having it in book form eliminates the date restrictions of a calendar and allows us to include more photos than we were able to publish before. Moving away from calendars allows us to explore other projects, too. We’re working on a Naughty Pagan Tarot deck, and on using photographs as illustrations to Pagan-themed stories.”

If you’re interested in seeing more, or in joining the Project at their next photo shoot, visit their Facebook page: Naughty Pagan Photo Project for upcoming events and links to purchase the books and other merchandise.

About The Author
WalkingTree

WalkingTree is an active practitioner of “buffet-style” Paganism and a resident of Bangor, Maine. She is President of the Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Association, Ringleader for the Naughty Pagan Photo Project, and in her third (and final) year of the Iseum Musicum with the Temple of the Feminine Divine. She also plays trumpet with Six Basin Street, an all-women’s Dixieland band.

Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Day

On Saturday, October 13 from 1-5PM at the Herbert Sargent Community Center in Old Town, ME, Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Association proudly presents the 3rd annual Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Day! All ages, faiths, flavors, and perceived experience levels are welcome to attend. Admission is a non-perishible food item or an item from the Bangor Ronald McDonald House wishlist: http://rmhbangor.org/wishlist. All items collected will be dontated to the Bangor Ronald McDonald House, EMPPA’s preferred charity.

We have many wonderful workshops planned! The list includes:

“Through the Veil: Death and Dying from a Pagan Perspective”
“Weaving Our World”
“Sacred Sound”
“Living Your Magick Every Day”
“A Bardic Presentation of Lugh Lamfada”
“Out of the Broom Closet; Pagan Resources”
“Fostering Healthy Relationships; Polyamorous or Otherwise”

We have a wonderful collection of vendors too! For a sneak peak at their wares, you can visit their websites:

Caity B Photography
CopperTree Sculptures
Irish Daisy Bakery
Sylver Poet Designs
Temple of the Feminine Divine
Walt-King Sticks
DragonBrooke Designs
Lorelei’s Loaves
Snowflake Jewelers
Beyond the Willows
Lupine Ridge Botanicals
Exquisitely Original
Morgana Phoenix Tarot Readings
Rocky For Equality

We’ll be keeping our tradition of decorating personal flags of Pride and Celebration to string up and display around the site and will have supplies on hand for creating your own Harvest Hat (we had so much fun with it last year!). This year we’ll also have magazines, glue, paper, and scissors available for collaging in our craft and kids room.

Thanks in advance go out to the wonderful clergy at the Temple of the Feminine Divine who will be hosting our community Harvest ritual this year.

We hope you’ll join us – and bring a friend!

 

 

 

About The Author
WalkingTree

WalkingTree is an active practitioner of “buffet-style” Paganism and a resident of Bangor, Maine. She is President of the Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Association, Ringleader for the Naughty Pagan Photo Project, and in her third (and final) year of the Iseum Musicum with the Temple of the Feminine Divine. She also plays trumpet with Six Basin Street, an all-women’s Dixieland band.

Psyche’s Playground

It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices in divination methods when you are seeking to connect and receive advice from the spirit realm. In this new column, I hope to share reviews of a variety of divination tools and methods of use.

Review: Life Purpose Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

At first glance, although this deck looks beautiful, I was skeptical that it has anything to offer me. I mean, I have never been drawn to angels or sought out their guidance, but this deck seemed to really catch my eye, so I thought I would give it a try!

Guidebook

The deck comes in a small cardboard box with a tiny, softcover guidebook that gives you insight on the meaning of each of the cards, and a couple of ideas on spreads that can help you more clearly interpret the cards. The booklet is offers the standard brief introduction to how to cleanse, consecrate, shuffle, and perform a spread. Nothing particularly exciting there, but I can understand that this deck might be someone’s first exposure to divination.

Physical Cards

The cards are made of a lightweight cardstock with a high gloss finish. They are very slick to the touch and shuffle with ease, but you really have to hold on to them while shuffling because otherwise they will slide right out of your hand. All four edges of the cards are beautifully gilded, and gold does not seem to flake off and leave your hands sparkly.

Card Features

Each card has a title, image, and description. The card titles are described in the guidebook as “life missions” to help give you guidance and clarity about your life’s purpose and path. Some examples of card titles that reflect an actual career ideas include: “Environmentalist” and “Author.” Other cards are more geared towards actions; examples of these cards are “Practice” and “Study.” Then there are other cards to help you deal with any issues at hand, like “Time to Decide” and “Let Go.”

Artwork

All the artwork in this deck features angels. The guidebook explains that Doreen Virtue believes that before we are born, angels help “orchestrate” our life’s mission, so they play a central role in our journey on the earthly realm. I understand that many Pagans reject the concept that we all have a pre-determined destiny, but you don’t have to subscribe to that belief in order to enjoy using this deck.

The artwork style of these cards is varied, because different artists contributed to making this oracle deck. Some images are more classical in nature, and others are modern interpretations of what the angels would look like if they walked among us. An example of this would be the “Children” card that features children riding on the back of a lion with an angel walking beside them, and the “Travel” card that features a male angel, dressed in a suit, sitting in an airport terminal and typing on a laptop. Now, I know you are probably thinking that these modern images sound hokey, but I found them kind of charming. The cards do not have a border, which I prefer, but they do have scrollwork near the bottom that gives the cards a touch of elegance in an otherwise plain design.

The reverse side of each card features a drawing of a brunette female figure with angel wings wearing a blue dress holding a painter’s palette and brushes, standing in a doorway. The background color is a sage green that fades darker at the edges of the card with a mottled and textured appearance. I find the image appealing, because the figure appears to be in a contemplative yet creative state of mind.

Interpreting the Cards

The short descriptions on the cards give the reader enough information to quickly understand the card’s message and begin to apply it to their situation. The reader can go to the guidebook for a little more information about the card, but the booklet doesn’t elaborate too extensively. The reader will still need to draw heavily upon their intuition like all other forms of divination.

Suggested Use

I like using this deck for what I call a “Waterfall” reading. I ask a question, and then select a card. Then, this card raises yet another question, so I ask it, and draw another card, and the answers “cascade” out of the deck. I usually do three questions, but I have done up to five questions and gained really good insight from the experience.

For example, I ask the oracle “How will I know what the right career is for me?” I draw the “Healer” card. Okay, my instinct tells me that I have to heal before I can find my path. So, I ask the oracle “What do I have to heal?”, and draw the “Trust” card. Hmm…okay, so now I ask “What do I have to do to help heal my trust issues?”, and I drew the “Infinite Abundance” card. This card is about devoting yourself to your path. I interpret this as saying that before I can find the right career path for myself, I need to work on trusting my instincts and forging my own way.

Impression

This oracle deck has really grown on me! I find the images soothing and reassuring, while the card’s messages are broadly focused to slowly guide me to the answers I need in the moment. I don’t think I will be using this deck for daily readings, but I definitely see the potential in using it on a cyclical basis, perhaps as part of my solstice and equinox observances, when the seasonal shifts bring times of change and new possibilities.

Resources

If you would like to watch a video from Doreen Virtue herself about this deck, check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR1YmfFbGd4

If you want to see a video that shows the cards in more detail, check out this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AfVGwjIbBM

Share

If you have had any experience with this oracle deck, please post a comment and share you thoughts!

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Please let me know if you would like to write a review for this column!

~Poppy

priestess.poppy@yahoo.com

About The Author
Poppy

Poppy tries to live authentically and in the moment. She shares her life with her dashing husband, darling daughter and curious kitty. She is a Maine native, but is currently living “away.” She is a devotee of Hera, and adores birds, forests, and the wind. Please visit her blog Indigo Hourglass.

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.

About The Author
Snowhawke

Snowhawke is a druid priest and a native of Maine. He is a student and colleague of Emma Restall Orr, completing her year-long Living Druidry course in the Cotswolds, England in 2006. In his role as a druid priest he is actively involved with pagan prison ministry and is on the Board of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association. He is also the co-founder of the Druid College – A Center for Nature-based Spirituality.