Underneath the Crescent Moon

Hello Dear Friends,

So it’s a temperate night somewhere around 67°F tonight here in Orlando.  The sliding glass door and one of the windows is open to let some cool breezes blow through our apartment of Greyhaven and to air it out and to diffuse the scents of scented oils and incenses.

Yes, I named the apt.  Or rather we did since Jon agreed to the idea.  The walls are a kind of Taupe with a slightly greyish tint in the right light and it felt right.

It’s been a very relaxed/semi-conscious kind of day at Grayhaven today.  I got home from working the overnight at the Motel and promptly called a few key folks at the U.U. congregation I’m a member and serial vollunteer at, to beg off greeting and ushering duties with a monstrous Sinus-something.  Then I medicated and passed out to a fitful sleep.  Feeling a bit better, but still stuffy and with that “Did I accidentally snort a 10lb weight up my nose while I slept?!” sort of feeling.  Nap.  Medicate.  Eat. Tea.  Putter online.  Nap again.  A very basic, foot in front of the other, what was I just doing, kind of day.

Alll of which influenced my decision for  a fairly simple and low key Noumenia.

Hestia’s oil burner was filled with a Citrus Cranberry scented oil and lit.  I have poured offerings of Whisky to the Household Gods; Red Stag (a black cherry infused Bourbon) for Herne, and Jack Daniel’s Green Label for Hecate.  Water has been poured to the Beloved and Honored Dead.  I have also made my own humble monthly Puja to Ganesh (who I am still figuring out).

Then I offered some lavender incense and prayers to the rest of the Gods…

“I praise the Ancient Gods,

I praise Them with the breath of my body,

I praise Them with the Works of my hands,

I praise the Gods of Olympus,

I praise the Gods that wander Gaia’s Green Earth,

I praise the Gods of the Underworld,

I praise the Ancient Gods with the breath of my body,

I praise the Ancient Gods with the works of my hands,”

Not that that’s verbatim, it’s more of an improvisation with those basic lines and elements repeated and interwoven as feels right.

The traffic noises from the road sound vaguely like a river.  The crescent moon hides herself along the Western sky behind the treeline and the horizons glow with the electric hum of the city.  Clouds sail slowly and stately in the darkened sky.

A good night, and good night!

Pax / Geoffrey

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Our Daily Offerings

Dear Friends,

Daily Offerings have become a part of my daily routine the last month or two, I’ve flirted with the practice before but a lot depends on your living situation and local laws.  For example in Orlando you can’t have a bbq grill on your apartment patio (fire code), so I make mostly offerings of Water and coffee and wine, otherwise I might be sharing small portions of our prepared meals with Them… someday when we have a yard I’ll also set aside a portion of the compost pile for Hecate.

Outside of the monthly and seasonal special occasions, I’ve been making offerings of Holy Water to the Ancestral and Honored Dead, and Coffee to Herne and Hecate.   With some variations as inspiration or the state of the pantry/larder dictates….

So Today I cleared the demitasse cups for Herne and Hecate, and the glass tumbler for the Ancestral and Honored Dead, of their Christengel Glühwein (a pre-spiced Mulled Wine product from Germany, tasty too!)  which along with a turkey sandwich for lunch was my only real nod to U.S. Thanksgiving yesterday.(1)   I poured the mulled wine into one of the small collection of bottles set aside for such things to be poured out at a Cross-roads, ideally tonight but at least in the next couple of nights, for the remains of offerings are also offerings unto Hecate.

I up-ended the usual order of things, which is to go from by bookshelf-top altar to the kitchen with the two demitasse and empty them and wash them and refill them and THEN take the tumbler glass empty it and wash it and refill it; I also usually give Herne the first offering, he is the first of the Gods to touch my life and heart and our relationship has bolstered me many times over the years.  Then Hecate, then the Ancestral and Honored Dead.  Then a daily prayer or two, and sometimes some incense.

Today, being the dark-of-the-moon or the Astronomical New Moon, a day sacred and especial to Hecate, things were done a little differently.  I took down her demitasse and emptied it into the empty offering bottle for later disposal, I cleaned it and washed it.  I unsealed and opened the Jack Daniels Green Label, letting the scent of the Bourbon Whiskey waft its way around me, and intoxicating cloud for the Queen of Phantoms; I poured the offering and carried it, washed in the heavy perfume of the offering, to the bookshelf/altar and laid it before her symbols.  Then I took the Tumbler and Herne’s demitasse.  I emptied them and washed them and took the Tumble with Coffee and Milk and made offering unto the dead, who are closer to us in the dark half of the year according to European folklore.  Then Herne received his portion and prayers.

This practice has been an interesting process, enlightened by posts from Veles and from Cat, as I offer myself and what I can to my Gods and try to dig my spiritual well.

These practices may seem quaint or unusual to some of my non-Pagan and Humanist readers, but in addition to building my relationship with my Gods, I can also see with the previously mentioned Acrostic Eye that I am approaching the Sacred and some of my highest ideals and deeply held values each day.

What are your offerings?  What are your daily approaches to your highest ideals, to the sacred?

Peace, and curiosity,

Pax / Geoffrey Stewart

(1) – The fabulous Jonathan an I are doing our feast sometime in the next few days as our work schedules were a little too juxtaposed to make any other option practical.

The Acrostic Eye

Dear Friends,

So as I was pre-writing on a project I realized I needed to define the idea of the Acrostic Eye, and then I realized that I while I’ve mentioned the idea on here before, I hadn’t dived into it… and I get the feeling I may be bringing it up again so into the Definitions page it goes…

The Acrostic Eye is a concept I first saw mentioned in one of Starhawk‘s books, and while she specifies it as a Witch thing I would suggest that ALL Pagans and Polytheists experience this phenomena.

Now Acrostics, for those unfamiliar with them, are both a type of poem and a type of puzzle… basically you can see different messages and meanings in the poetic style depending on how you read it… for example if you take the first letter of each line or sentence or word you may get a hidden meaning.

The Idea is that as a Witch or Magick Worker dives into their studies they begin to look at the world around them differently.  One begins to consider the literal and symbolic, the metaphorical and the material and the metaphysical, and their relationships at work in the world around them.  My basic contention is that for ANY Pagan or Polytheist the process of learning about the myths and stories and Gods and Spirits… that the symbolic and mythopoetic and the everyday overlap in much the same way…

After all in looking at an approaching Thunderstorm is it all that uncommon for Pagans to see, both and at the same time, the complex interplay of atmospheric and meteorological phenomena, and the Presence of a Diety?  That sort of double-vision moment, that’s the Acrostic Eye.

Peace,

Pax

(edited to add)

PS- I would invite any who feel so moved, to share some of their Acrostic Eye moments here.

A Welcoming Week-end

Dear Friends,

So this Sunday was a New Member Welcoming ceremony and reception at 1U Orlando.  Being that I’ve ended up on a couple of the committees and love to cook, I was drafted to help with the Social Hour/Coffee House that goes on before, between, and after the services.  It was an interesting day, and I also ended up welcoming some folks who were visiting our Unitarian Universalist congregation for the first time ever.  In the course of introducing them to folks and trying to be welcoming there were some interesting conversations along the lines of how you can be Spiritual on your own, but you really need to be in a community to be engaging in Religion.

That really resonated with me.  All to often I think people in general, and Pagans in particular, can get so wrapped up in their own heads and lives that they can lose sight of the important and meaningful things.  This is where good friends and family and a beloved community can help us to become the people we are capable of being at our best.

I also received a reminder that I am capable of being an idealistic and sentimental mush-ball when it came time to recite our Congregation’s Bond of Union, which along with making an annual financial pledge is all that is required to be a full voting member of 1U Orlando…

“We associate ourselves together for the study and practice of morality and religion as interpreted by the noblest lives of humanity, hoping thereby to prove helpful to one another and to promote truth, righteousness, and love in the world.”

The ceremony itself involves presenting a rose to the new members, thorns intact, to not only symbolize our respect and encouragement for the beauty of their individual spiritual unfolding, but as a reminder that sometimes relationships amongst people can get thorny… we don’t promise there won’t be difficulties or bad times, but we do promise to be there for one another and to help each other through life’s prickly times.

At one time, I had given up on 1U because of some very thorny experiences with one group of folks there.  The experience had me not only determined to leave 1U and Unitarian Universalism but also had me questioning a lot of things, including my journey as a Pagan; yet a couple of small acts… one conversation with a few words of kindness, and a simple act of trust, led me to stay and have led to a great deal of joy in my life and some wonderful friendships and chances to learn and grow.

It’s funny how we don’t always know what it is we really need to nourish and nurture our souls, until we encounter it.

May you and your spirit never thirst, nor hunger,

Pax / Geoffrey

PS- Different U.U. Congregations will have different ways of doing things, each Congregation is an independent entity in an interdependent association.

 

Samhaintide Devotional

Dear Friends,

As I’ve already mentioned I view the entire time between Halloween and the astronomical Samhain (November 7th this year in many locations) as a sort of contemporary and personal festival blending both the the remembrance of Ancestral and Honored and Beloved Dead with a celebration of wonder and spooky stories and magick and childhood; I strive to combine the best elements of Halloween and Samhain in a week or so of wonder and remembrance.

So one year, inspired by the spirit or Spirits I created a filk

“It’s the Most Magickal Time of The Year”

by Pax (With apologies to Eddie Pola, and George Wyle, and, of course, Andy Williams)

It’s the most magickal time of the year
With the kids trick-or-treating
And everyone telling you “Spirits are Near”
It’s the most magickal time of the year
It’s the spook-spookiest season of all
With candy filled greetings and gay happy meetings
When Ancestors come to call
It’s the spook-spookiest season of all

There’ll be parties for hosting
Family Feasts for the Roasting
And acres of candy you know
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of Samhains long, long ago

It’s the most magickal time of the year
There’ll be memorial toasting
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It’s the most magickal time of the year

There’ll be parties for hosting
Feasts for the Roasting
And acres of candy you know
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of Samhains long, long ago

It’s the most magickal time of the year
There’ll be memorial toasting
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It’s the most magickal time
It’s the most magickal time
It’s the most magickal time
It’s the most magickal time of the year!

… the scansion is a bit rough perhaps in places but the tune is familiar enough that most folks can work it out, or at least I can.

So I am working on another filk, of I Saw Three Ships, and it occurred to me that others might want to join in the fun…originally I was going to issue a Filk challenge.  Then I realized I was thinking too small…

I am feeling moved  to edit and publish a Samhain/Halloween Devotional. with a blend of song filks and poetry and articles and recipes and remembrances about Halloween and Samhain.   If folks like this idea, I’d like to suggest donating the proceeds to a worthy cause?

If this project interests you, feel free to e-mail me at

samhainhalloween (at ) yahoogroups.com

(just replace the word “at” with the proper sign and scrunch the address together to e-mail me, or failing that post a reply and I’ll invite you to join the group!)

Peace,

Pax / Geoffrey Stewart

PS- this post is now “stuck” on my front page of the blog… feel free to help spread the word y’all.

 

POST POST-Script, so not a lot of action on this idea, I may have to shelve it… post a comment to this post if you are interested in the project…