Why don’t we talk about….

Dear Friends,
Hello from the humid and sweltering depths of Summer in Florida.  We still have to endure August before we make our way through and start to have cooler weather!

I have been e-mailing back and forth with a local Pagan friend of mine about the local community and some of our mutual and different opinions about it.  The topic of discussion group, lecture and discussion, style of meet-ups came up.  I tend to have an aversion to these, if you want an educational lecture series do that if you want a regular ongoing social event do that.  Then again in a purely social environment I am capable of being a social animal once I get through my initial period of shy.

(In groups anyway, I can be quite shy at first.  I have, on occasion been known to be pretty bold one-on-one.)

Anyhow, we were e-mailing back and forth and one of the things that Red and I started ranting to one another about is how in a lot of these educational/discussion/lecture type meet-ups and in a lot of the classes sponsored by Pagan community groups you will hear a lot about the four elements and Neo-Wicca 101, and a lot of things about divination and New Age and crystals and such.

Why don’t we talk about things like Social Justice?  Sustainable Living?  Health and Nutrition?  Community Organizing?  In one way or another most of the Pagan faiths I’ve read about have some interests along these lines, immersed in their ideals and ethics and values.  Why don’t we talk about charity or activism?

Why aren’t there more community based classes on things like Environmental Sciences, and History?

Why does it seem like so often we are limiting ourselves to niche topics of metaphysics and magic?

I realize that one response might be that we can go outside the Pagan community for these sorts of ideas and topics and classes.  It just seems to me though that as much as these topics are interwoven with our spiritual and religious ethics and values that perhaps we should start talking about them as Pagans?

What do you think?

Peace,

Pax

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Solstice and Solace

Hello Dear Friends,
The bedroom is wreathed in incense smoke and The Pagan Radio Network is cranked on the pc, I went for a walk a little earlier and am happily ensconced in front of my computer doing some surfing and writing.  It may seem an odd way to spend the Summer Solstice, but living in Sunny Florida(tm) its a very brisk Summer Solstice day today with 85* and 67% humidity making feel like a chilly 93*.  The humidity based heat increase (almost the direct opposite of the wind chill of my youth) is known variously and the “heat index” and even more euphemistically as the “comfort index”…. I have some opinions on that last one but they are NOT polite so I shan’t intrude my rudeness upon your Solstice-tide.

Happy Solstice-tide to one and all but the by!

Anyhow, here if Orlando, Summer Solstice is a good Holiday for a Pool Party or an Ice Tea Social or simply hiding inside until the cooler evening temperatures can tempt you out doors to toast with Ice Tea or Mimosa’s the Longest Day, the Sun’s Height, and the Endless Summer, the interplay of Sky and Sea that brings us our Summer Rains and Thunderstorms… so many things to celebrate and honor and observe here in Florida.  June, or so my sources tell me, also marks the 1st of the Wine Harvest for Florida… there is, it seems, ALWAYS something being harvested down here.

I am contemplating the year since the last Summer Solstice, and the many many changes my life has undergone.   Changes on every level, personal, professional, spiritual.  New job, new (and improved) boyfriend, new friends, new spiritual focus.  In the aftermath of my break up with The Big Guy I gave myself a year to just sort of, be… gave myself time for healing and to ride out the changes wrought by a deeply instinctual spell/prayer/offering.

I am free writing this post (although I suspect some of you already sensed that…) and have just taken a few moments to re-read some of last years posts from the break up, and time to remember that time…. ok, enough of that…

I am also looking at the many things I want to do and the juggling and ballancing I need to do to do them.  I want to work on building my career at the Motel, work towards my dreams of writing and of opening my coffee house, on my self in spirit / body / mind, on my relationship with The Fabulous Jonathan, on my many blossoming new friendships, and on my involvement at Church, and in Orlando’s Pagan community.

Despite my lack of organized writing on the topic, The Pagan Values Blogging and Podcasting Month project is progressing well for 2010, with a number of artilces already archived and many that I haven’t found yet probably floating around in the aether…. I’ve even found a few from last year and added them to the 2009 archive!

…I breathe in the incense scented air, Frankincense and Lavender and Myrrh, I cherish the moment and the now for just a few minutes.   I make offerings of Barley, and of Water, to the Holy Powers and Guardian Spirits of my heart and hearth.

I wrestle with and wade through memories and emotions past, while at the same time contemplating the many desires and possibilities of the present.    I smile upon the thoughts of the many friends in Orlando, in Anchorage, and through the wonder of this blog across the World, that I am blessed with.  I contemplate the many ideas and ideals I have been exposed to thanks to the Pagan Values Event.

I think upon Solstices past, when I celebrated the Height of Summer and wandered from Saturday Downtown Market, to the A.W.A.K.E. Summer Solstice Fair, to the Anchorage Pridefest to verious goings on visiting with friends and enjoying the long Summer days and nights of Anchroage.  I think upon Soltices recent where I have worked in the stifling heat and humidity in the Parks to go home and collapse, huddled in something resembling climate controlled comfort and then to a public ritual.

I think about familly, and friends, and ten thousand things, and I breathe in the incense scented air.

I return to my breath, stillness for a while…

Then I return to my musings….

Peace,

Pax

Survey Says…..

So,

Working the overnight shifts this week I have had a fair amount of time on my hands at work.  The lull after the Memorial Day madness and before July.

I had listened to one of the early episodes of New World Witchery and was feeling especially Witchtacular so I grabbed my Tarot cards and in the early A.M. of the 17th did my first spontaneous reading in months.

(The one before that was in February of Last year and full of omens that I could have read to avoid a LOT of heartache and loss and grief had I paid attention to them rather than sweeping them nervously under my psyche… then again the disasters of that year have led to the successes and happiness of the present… so who’s to say I was meant to listen to them then anyways?)

Any how I emptied my mind breathed into my centers and Center and shuffled and mixed the cards, which had been separated into their Suits and The Arcana for some re-learning/studying earlier this year, and drew three cards.  I didn’t label them…. I mean it wasn’t like one was Past one was Present and one was Future, nor did I have a specific question.  I simply opened myself up to intuition and inspiration and let ‘er rip in the spirit of “What do I need to know?”**

The three cards I drew were, from left to right, the King of Swords, The Chariot, and the 9 of Swords.

Duh, dum, DOOM!  (that’s the musical riff that I heard inside my fertile imagination as I first looked at this little spread, familiar to anyone who’s watched any of the action/adventure type shows of the late 70’s early 80’s…)

I looked at the cards and their relationship and relaxed as the themes of Balance and Will seemed to percolate to the surface and was confirmed in my consultation of my trusted Paperback Tarot Book.  (I used to be able to read with out it… but then I set down the Cards, and a lot of my Craft, for years as I wandered emotionally and mentally in my early to mid 30’s.)

~~~

‘In the late PM of that same evening and the early AM of today I consulted the I-Ching for clarification/cross-referential purposes; a practice I first heard of from my dear dear friend The Incubus.  ( a nickname rather than an entity)

The coins were thrown and the Book of Changes consulted and I got

#32 Thunder above Wind – Long Lasting

moving towards

#35 Fire above Earth – Proceeding Forward

with special emphasis on the 3rd line, which would lead to #40 Relief…had it been the only changing line, which it wasn’t, but I felt that intuitional sort of nudge to go ahead and read up on #40 as well anyway, so I did!  After all what’s the point of Divining unless you truly give yourself up and over to the process?!

~~~

Over all, signs seem to indicate that continued Will development and working and Working on the proper ballance of Spiritual Work and my Stable Planes is in order.  The Suit of Swords, and the many moving lines from the Book of Changes, both suggest a lot of outside forces at work.  Yet the core message is one of True Will and seeking a ballance.  The coins of the Book of Changes counsel me not to rush anything.  Doing the Work of Spirit and Magick and nurturing Will and seeking Ballance; these will leak to Forward movement, Relief of hardship, and success.

So that’s what I am trying to do.


**I should note that, for no particular reason I can identify other than it felt right in the moment, I shuffled and mixed the cards in such a way as to NOT reverse any of the cards.

Three Ripples from within the Well of Memory

(names have been changed to protect, well, ME!)

Incubus: “______ has just informed me she’s a Priestess, of ~The Celtic Religion~….

Pax: (blink, blink) “Am I to take it from your tone that she isn’t referring to some sort of Celtic Reconstructionism?”

Incubus: (shaking head sadly) “No, no she is not.”

Pax: (sighs)  “I see….”

~~~~~~

My Older Brother S___ visiting my Dad and I one day enters my room, takes a look at something on my books shelf and begins to shake his head.

S___: “Oh, Geoff…Geoffrey, (disappointed sigh) I can’t believe your involving yourself with such… paganism.”

Since I had been out as a Pagan for a while and it was MY bookshelf I looked up at him confused.

Pax: “S____, you’re going to have to be a little more specific.  There’s actually a whole lot of Paganism on that bookshelf.  What is it you’re objecting to exactly?”

He proceeds to pick up a copy of the Book of Mormon, of all things, that I had gotten for free from some missionaries on campus at U.U.A. and was reading out of curiosity.  And give me a worried and ashamed look, as only a student of our Father’s could.

Pax: “There’s surprisingly little begetting, all things considered.”

~~~

Pax: “What’s wrong?”

Nightbird: “So at the property I work at there are these rent paying bottom feeders who think they’re Witches and have figured out that I’m one and now they think that we have some sort of special connection, and their apartment is a nasty…. Pax, I mean NASTY.  They keep complaining about how there’s something not right and bad vibes and I’m like ‘why don’t you try cleaning it?’ and they are all ‘well we tried burning some sage…’ yeah, sage… or something….and I’m ‘No, I mean cleaning, like with a vacuum and a mop and a shovel?  And try NOT having 7 people in a 2 bedroom apt….’ and they get all offended and scuttle off.”

Pas: (Gasps as the lighting of inspiration floods his warped mind) “Do all of the apartments have individual air ducts,.separate from each other?!”

Nightbird: (smiling curiously) “Yeah, why?”

Pax: (chuckling evilly) “Well, have maintenance go in while everyone’s out and put some strobe effect in some of the lights and a hidden camera and speakers and a fog machine.  The next time they are trying to be Witchy hit the strobe and the fog and have this scary ass voice coming at them from all directions ‘GEEEEHT OUUUUWT….’, better yet wait till they’ve ‘smudged’ to do it.”

Nightbird: (smiling delightedly and clapping her hands together in front of her like a delighted child on Christmas morning as the fierce fires of unholy glee glow within her eyes) “Our Head of Maintenance is an ex Theater Tech….this could work!   Pax I love you!”


Free writing, breathing, and introspection…

Dear Friends,

I am still remembering to breathe.  Now I just need to remember how to write.  I have been trying and trying to write out pieces on perserverance and beloved community for the Pagan Values month event and not having much success or inspiration.  Although I have been puttering away here and there and everywhere with lots of writting, but I haven’t really completed any of it.  Not that I mind the practice I just wish I could mellow my Muse long enough for here to stay on a topic long enough to finish.

So I breathe.

In the midst of a lot of chaos I breathe.

As you may already know June is International Pagan Values Blogging and Podcasting Month, and a number of works on the topic have already been cast out onto the Aether.  I had looked forward to doing a lot more writing of my own on the topic but much like last year, this June has been full of chaos and changes and challenges.

In June of last year, my old desktop computer finally died on me and I had to purchase a new one.  Then in August my ex The Big Guy unceremoniously ended our mis-labeled life partnership.

This years June has seen a lot of Chaos at the motel I work at with folks in the front desk department quitting suddenly and calling in sick repeatedly resulting in 11 hour shifts and extra work days all around as well as an atmosphere of chaos and shell shock.  Then there was the other Monday, the day my new boyfriend (or should that be bearfriend?) The Fabulous Jonathan’s mother was going into the hospital for heart valve surgery, my car started to leak coolant fluid (again) like a sieve, my friend A___ called to let me know his partner P___ was in the hospital with a parasitic infection affecting ALL of his lymph nodes (the doctors have since eliminated HIV/AIDS and after a biopsy eliminated Lymphoma as suspects and figure it was just a very serious infection) Then my friend Aarnvast’s car died on him the next day after he had driven me home the night before and the tow truck had come to pick my car up from his house!

I am beginning to view June and July and August with some suspicion I can tell you!

BUT I continue to breathe, to find ways to honor my relationships with my family and friends and community and with the Spirits and Ancestors and Gods.  I continue to move forward with my goals and have done well at updating the Pagan Values project blog.  I am still moving forward even as a tough anniversary approaches and I feel moments of grief and sadness over the death of a cherished relationship, even as I hope that someday The Big Guy and I might renew acquaintance and become …friends?

And still I persevere, I pray to my many Goddesses and Gods, I breathe into my Center, I Ground, I try to take time to listen either in formal meditation or in seeking even a moment of stillness and connection with The Numinous within each day.

The subtle signs around me seem to be saying “worry less about your words for a while.  LISTEN and OBSERVE and OPEN UP TO THE MYSTERY”  even as I struggle to understand just what that mystery is.   Am I fooling myself or have my regular applications of prayer begun to work their magic upon the Universe and upon Me.  Am I to learn who this flower above me is and what This Gods work is soon and shall all my parts become known to me?

The approaching anniversary of my life falling apart last year feels like, a gateway, or perhaps a new cross-roads.  I gave myself a year to just be.  With that anniversary comes the anniversary of my cross-continental move to Florida to begin a new life with the Big Guy…  Even though I am no longer with him in many ways that new life is now much more underway than it ever was with him.

And still I breathe.  Breathe the breath of life and reach out to the Divine and the beloved living and honored and beloved dead and the nymphs and the Guardians of The Watchtowers and all my many relations.

I feel a yearning for poetry… I think I shall dig out my books of poetry from their plastic tote boxes and read and declaim and luxuriate in the sensuality of language for a while… perhaps a bottle of wine,,,

First though some sleep, and more wandering words working towards completion.

Peace.

Pax

Remembering to Breathe…

Dear Friends,

Wow.  I mean, friggin’ WOW!  The last few weeks have been hectic and crazy and very educational… in no particular order we have…

Co-worker C____ quits work over something very minor,  Co-worker L____ starts acting like a flake of the first water calling in sick and not showing up,  extra long shifts because of the previous two events including a few 11 hour shifts, on the ONE night off this week I had the car break down (was able to get it towed and repaired), The Fabulous Jonathan’s mother is in hospital for heart surgery, my friend P____ is in hospital unexpectedly for a parasitic infection and possible lymphoma…

And that’s just what my sleep needing brain can remember of the last week.  Yet through all of this I have been strangely blessed.  In the midst of a trying time I have been remembering to breathe, remembering to Center, and to Ground.  I have breathed out prayers to the Holy Powers and am feeling challenged (and perhaps a little pressured) BUT NOT OVERWHELMED!!!

There was a time when any one of the above might have left me huddled underneath the covers… well I have been under the covers but that’s generally been desperate exhaustion rather than panic, so that’s ok.  In remembering to breath I am also remembering my humor and rediscovering my spark…. so look for some more writing here this week.

Now to sleep, well, to nap and to go to the hospital to be there for the bear I love whilst his mom undergoes heart valve surgery!

Peace,

Pax