February is probably my favorite month. It has little to do with the season and a lot to do with it being the month I was born. For such a short month, I always feel like there is so much going on in it.
Imbolc, Candlemas, Brigid
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JUGGLING WITH SEMANTICS...
The last holiday of the Vanic year (as the Vanic new year is the spring equinox) is called Rasthuas Ja'enladata (RAHS-thoo-ahs JIGH-en-lah-dah-tah) [in Eshnesk, the language of the Eshnahai, or citizens of Vanaheim) - translated as Lights of the Winter Storm, observed in early February, where lights are burned through the worst winter storms of the year as a reminder that soon the spring will come. This is the holiday where the Queen's half of the year and time of influence begins, power rising again in anticipation of the spring.
The Queen arrives at the ritual site at the capital, wearing a crown with unlit candles. A representative from each of the twenty-four tribes wields a wand and draws down light from the stars to light each candle. When all the candles are lit in the crown, the Queen lights a candle for each of the tribes to bless them, as the King dances around the Queen, spinning fire, a token of offering his power so that the Queen's power may rise. When all of the tribal candles are lit, the Queen removes the crown and places it on the snow, and the King and Queen mate ritually on the stone table in the sacred circle; the first sign of green growth appears, rising up in the circle of the crown, which will survive the rest of the cold season. The mating of the King and Queen empowers the candles with light and life and the gift of joy. When the mating is done, the tribal representatives take their candles and each tribal candle is used to light a candle for every individual within that tribe, so the Queen's light is given to all of Vanaheim and the land can begin to thaw from the winter and people's spirits can be lifted in hope....
In Awakening the Sacred Body, the author asks a hard question: "Who does your spiritual practice benefit?" That question isn't asked often. In fact, I can count on one finger the number of times I've come across this question in all the books I've read. It makes me wonder why this question isn't asked more often, but I think we can answer that by simply recognizing that a lot of the focus in spiritual books is on helping a person improve him/herself. Ironically, what isn't recognized is that in some ways what this encourages is a lot more focus on the self than on other people.
I think there's an assumption that goes into spirituality, which is that if a person is engaged in spiritual practices they somehow are becoming better people or more enlightened, or whatever else, but the problem with that assumption is that there is no guarantee that being engaged in any type of practice automatically makes you a better person. And that may not even be the point of the spiritual practice. Spirituality isn't always about making a person into a better person. It's a relationship, but what comes out of the relationship is also informed by what goes into it. Why we engage in spiritual practice is ultimately a personal matter....
There is a quite different argument against abortion I have heard from several Pagan women. I am more sympathetic to it than to the usual “fetus is human” claim that I demolished in my previous post. Even so, I think it ultimately fails, though it does complicate a woman’s decision....
Craig's mom was up from Texas to see the new house. She'd heard about the pagan guy that lived with her son, but you could tell that, being a good Episcopalian woman, she was working hard to reserve judgment.
One afternoon, while I was off at work, the doorbell rings. Naturally, she says: "I'll get it."
She opens the door. The man standing there is holding the dripping, severed head of a deer.
"Hi," he says, "Is Steve at home?"