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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The Wild Gods I love the word wilderness.  It conjures up images of windswept moors and heathland, dark tangling forests and craggy mountaintops.  That spirit of the untamed, the uncivilised, that spark that humanity cannot touch, much in the same way as deity is traditionally viewed.  For many Druids, that wilderness is deity – it has the power to give or sustain life or the power to kill.  It has not and, in many places, cannot be touched by human hands, existing without any human interference.  I like to think that same dark spark exists within our own human souls as well, offering us the sanctity of the wilderness within.

The concept of the “untouched” wilderness is an interesting one.  I rather wonder if it has anything to do with secular religious views that have crept into our culture predominantly for the last thousand years or so.  The concept of the virgin forest, the virgin wilderness – I have to say, I really dislike the term.  It is nice to think that there are places in the world where humans have never been – but still, it’s the terminology that is rather uncomfortable.  I have been to places where humans have lived with the landscape, and who live there no more – the wilderness has returned.  Where stone buildings once stood, nature has reclaimed it, slowly destroying it until nothing remains but the songs on the wind.  Virginity cannot ever be reclaimed – and in this regard, I find the term does not work within the context of the natural world.  As it works in cycles, what happened once can be undone.

As wilderness flows with the cycles, it shows that it cares little about anything else. It exists to exist – there is no other.  It follows its own song, and will continue to do so.  Humans may interfere with the existing wilderness, “taming” it if you will, but it will continue to carry on attempting to restore itself to its original state.  It is that spirit, that sense of soul song reclaiming itself again and again that I find so fascinating.  The weeds will continue to sprout in the garden, whether we are farming organically or not (I really hope that all reading this do!).  The wind will continue to blow regardless of skyscrapers, bridges, mountaintops or 500 year old yew trees.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Party of One: Ganesha

Sometimes I like to go to visit Gods and Goddesses from neighboring friendly pantheons. After attending my first Kirtan chant three years ago, I was introduced to the Hindu God Ganesh, the elephant-headed remover of obstacles. I was instantly drawn to him and "Gan Gan Ganapati" quickly became by personal favorite chant. It resonated on a deeper level of my subconscious. After some research, I discovered that Ganesh has his very own ten day festival every year in India, Ganesh Chaturthi. According to About.com Guide, Sharell Cook, it culminates with a huge celebration on the last day called, Anata Chaturdasi day. Cook notes that the festivities are dependant "on the cycle of the moon." The dates fall a little differently annually, but for 2013 "Ganesh Fest" runs September 9 - September 19. The website, http://goindia.about.com/od/festivalsevents/p/ganeshfestival.htm had some inspiring suggestions for setting up an altar and honoring Ganesh in your own home.

According to Subhamoy Das, also from the goindia site, Ganesh likes offerings of "coconuts, flowers, and camphor." You could also decorate your altar with figures of Ganesh and the color red.

Later in the article, "Ganesh Chaturthi, How to celebrate the great Ganesha festival," by Das, Swami Sivananda recommends, "On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding. Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path. Worship Him at home, too. You can get the assistance of a pundit. Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your house. Feel His Presence in it."

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