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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

glitterFor those of you who are new to my writing, I have a very unglamorous (in the conventional sense of the word) day job as a nanny. So it's a lot of screaming, crying, snotting, pooping and food all over the place for generally ten hours a day. In the unconventional sense of the word, it's very glamorous in that my Tiny Charges are small enough to completely believe in magic so that's a lovely thing to be a part of.

My posts right now will be as they once were a while ago.  I write primarily on Tiny Charge naps which are getting shorter and less certain than they once were which means I have a short amount of time to write what I'm trying to write and very little time to edit.  Without editing, I write a lot of run on sentences so please bear with me as this is a transition period in my life.  Right now it's either post without much editing or don't post at all.  I would rather post and I hope you would rather that too.  I'm working on a lot of behind the scenes things in my "regular" life to try get myself more time to write and to write properly but that takes time.  And possibly austerities.  But that's the next post.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_448px-Oregon_forest_and_mist.jpgFor each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  So with the third virtue, Naturalism, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:

-Spend some time outside every day, even if just for 5-10 minutes.  (Spending a half-hour to an hour would be ideal, but not everyone can do ideal, for health reasons or other reasons.)  Look at the land around you.  Observe the weather.  Observe the changes of the land with the weather and the seasons.  If you are visually impaired, you can utilize your other senses - feel, touch, smell, listen.  (You can do this even if you're not visually impaired, doing things like holding a fallen leaf, smelling wildflowers, etc.)

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_10647028_10152639569303232_2654539940423990677_n-e1409779680543-300x300.jpgI'm not sure that every coven unrelated to a specific tradition needs a "Book of Shadows." I probably wanted one for my coven because I have strange control issues. After finding a ritual structure that worked for our circle I wanted to get it all down on paper, and share it with everyone in our little group. For our group a BoS made perfect sense because we work the same way ritual to ritual.  

A BoS is not necessarily a rigid, never-changing book of instructions, but it often contains ideas that consistently work. If the quarter calls I'm using "work" why would I want to change them every month or so? I also think there's real power in repeating a ritual structure over and over again. It takes the guess work out of ritual and creates an atmosphere that lets the mind and spirit quickly ease into ritual mode. When my coven's opening chant starts I'm in "work mode" and instantly push outside concerns away.  

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_bare-feet-on-path.jpgDo not be guided and influenced by public opinion. March boldly and cheerfully in the path of Truth, consulting your conscience and hearing the inner, small, sweet voice of the soul.” Swami Sivananda

At this month’s New Moon, the Sagittarian spirit of adventure sparks the taboo-busting, pioneering, unpredictable Uranus in Aries, and struggles to stay anchored amidst the deceptive glamour and misdirection of Neptune in Pisces and the stern demands of Saturn in Scorpio.  I’ll go into how this is all likely to play out on the national stage here in the US later, but first let’s look at what work we can do as individuals with the upcoming planetary weather.

The Magic Behind the Magic

This month, we are being asked to look at the beliefs that structure our lives, consider how we are putting them into practice, and how they may be tripping us up. We have a great opportunity to dig deeply into our own thought processes and unearth negative beliefs and patterns of thinking as the Moon waxes and wanes again. That opportunity could be life-changing, because our beliefs are a big factor in the formation of our individual energetic signature, and this energetic signature signs every bit of magic we do — it’s the magic behind the magic. The problems our beliefs can pose for us have to do with the fact that, unconsciously, we are carrying around a lot of old beliefs that are in conflict with the more conscious beliefs we hold. Make a point of trying to become more conscious of the beliefs you carry around with you over the next month. Keep a journal handy and write down what you discover so you can become more aware of the patterns that are influencing your magic.

Feeling Into Truth

You can let your feelings and emotions lead you to these beliefs. Question your reaction to events — are you over-reacting to a situation? This is usually a big clue. Here’s an example: I spent some time raking and pruning in the back yard this weekend, and, since I wasn’t quite done, I left my loppers and rake on the back deck. The next morning, as I’m looking out the window at the tools on the back deck in the pouring rain, I reacted with a clenching in my stomach, a thought of “oh, crap!”, and a constriction in my heart area. My first thought was to run out there and get them. Fortunately, my cat-like love of warmth and comfort made me re-think that impetuous decision, and I stopped to consider it more carefully. (I’m an Aries, but with Taurus rising)

Yes, I was over-reacting. When I took a deep breath, stepped back, and looked at my feelings, what finally came up were images of how my father would have disapproved, and my fear/resentment of/anger at his disapproval. Underneath that, I realized I also agreed with him — tools should be well cared-for. But leaving them out in the rain is not something I need to feel shame over, nor is it going to get worse if I wait until I am dressed and caffeinated before going out in the rain. I let go of the shame, let go of my father’s disapproval and my reaction to it. I called my own power back to me in this situation, and separated my personal beliefs (tools should be cared for) from the beliefs that were imprinted on me as a child (you’re bad if you don’t care for your tools — which was my interpretation of my father’s disapproval.).

Where are you giving your personal power away? What beliefs do you carry that are not your own? What hidden fears still drive you? Those beliefs and fears muddy your magic and mess with your life. With focus and awareness, you can let your feelings lead you to the truth that is your own.

Speaking Truth

There is another aspect of truth that would be worth considering during this time, which is how and when we are willing to speak our truth. Finding the courage to speak up is not always easy, but fear of confrontation can do considerable damage to relationships. Two women I admire, Macha NightMare and Anastacia Brice, wrote blog posts this week that — synchronistically — address just this issue. I recommend reading Macha’s post on scapegoating, and Anastacia’s post on not pretending.

A Spirit of Adventure

Nationally here in the USA, there will be a lot of “can-do” optimism and a spirit of adventure in the air, but it is likely to be marred by epic displays of ego and repressive authority, particularly in the areas of religion, law and foreign policy. We’ll also be hearing a lot from people who make an art out of being offended — and it can be useful to watch and discern where power is flowing in these situations. (I have written more about taking offense here). Ditto for people who make an art out of having fun — or who want to be perceived as having fun. Again, watch closely. Who is genuinely having fun, who is just trying to massage their ego or have fun at someone else’s expense?

And speaking of art, we may see some transcendently spiritual or deliciously scandalous creations in the world of art, music and ideas. (If you see or hear of any cool art this month, post a comment here about it, or on my Facebook page  Inquiring minds need to know!) On a personal level, if you are feeling creative, don’t hold back! Bring your creations into the world and share them.

Jupiter completely rules this chart and has some very challenging interactions with other planets. Jupiter can blow things way out of proportion. Watch how many people you see over-reaching, over-extending, over-reacting this month. (Try not to be one of them, OK?) Some of the positive aspects of Jupiter are being able to see the big picture, tolerance of other opinions, and a love of knowledge in search of truth. Keep in mind in your interactions with other people that they are looking for truth and dealing with conflicting beliefs, too. Can you, perhaps, help others stay grounded and sort out their conflicting beliefs this month? Sure. As long as you also do that work yourself, of course…

This is a volatile month. There will be much pontificating from various soapboxes, some virtual, some very real. The atmosphere is explosive, and patience may be in short supply. The New Moon is in a difficult aspect with Neptune, and there is a tremendous energy of deception and illusion in the air — don’t fall prey to it. The only way to handle a Neptune aspect is to take things up a notch, spiritually, in the areas ruled by the planets and signs involved. Here in the USA, the areas in question include things hidden, prisons, hospitals, places of spiritual retreat, the ocean, transportation and communication networks, the home and land, agriculture and real estate, and the ideals, values, laws and religious structures of our societies. Keep your own actions and speech above-board, but don’t expect it of others — and check to make sure you are being honest with yourself, as well. Look at where the late degrees of Scorpio and early degrees of Sagittarius fall in your chart — this is the house (or houses) where you are likely to be seeing a lot of action this month.

Taking it Personally

Having at least a basic understanding your own chart can be extremely helpful in unraveling both psychological and karmic knots, in spiritual development, and in planning your life. If you If you want to know more about your own cosmic blueprint, and how current transits are affecting you personally, contact me to schedule a consultation. But you may feel drawn to learning more about astrology yourself, and if so, you’ll want to take the 10-week online course I'm developing called "Chart and Soul". It will give you the information you need to use your own chart as a guide to your life and to better understand your friends and family. I'll be offering it right around the Spring Equinox. To stay in the loop about this, go sign up for my mailing list here

If you are already a student of astrology, here’s what you’ll want to note about this New Moon chart (the rest of you can go now :-) ). Find the chart here. You’ll see that Neptune in Pisces squares the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Venus and Ceres in Sagittarius, all clustered around the Ascendant. In mundane astrology, the Ascendant stands for the people of a nation. Of course now we need to look at Jupiter, which rules Sagittarius and co-rules Pisces. We find it in yet another Fire sign, Leo, in mutual reception with the Sun and dispositing 5 planets. It’s in a house that it rules, and it also rules the Ascendant and co-rules the house that holds the Sun and Moon. It’s square Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio, also in the 12th. So, as I mentioned above, Jupiter rules this chart. Venus rising will emphasize issues of money, debt, art, and probably women’s rights as well. Note that Uranus is also in a Fire sign, in a wide trine with Jupiter, and also tightly square Pluto. That aspect is within one degree of exact now. Mars, powerful in Capricorn, gains more oomph through dispositing Uranus, Saturn and Mercury. It is inconjunct Jupiter, semi-square Neptune, and trine the MC. 

Until next time!

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PaganNewsBeagle Earthy Thursday Nov 20

Today's Earthy Thursday posts concentrate on the gifts of lovely planet, even when it's (brrrrr!) cold outside. A strolling platypus; spectacular natural arches; an emerging urban food economy; feral farms reclaiming discarded land; winter gardening tips.

We were charmed by this footage of a platypus out for a stroll (it took the filmmaker years to get the shot!)

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Thanksgiving, an American Celebration

"Thanksgiving is celebrated as a family harvest celebration, and its origins are swept under the rug. Public schools of my era put up decorations of cutesy Pilgrims and Indians and indoctrinated children in the propaganda that Thanksgiving was a continuous celebration from the First Thanksgiving and had been celebrated the same way ever since, and that the First Thanksgiving was when the settlers had a great harvest and invited the happy, friendly natives to the feast."

That's a quote from my latest book, American Celebration. I decided to write this book for several reasons. One was because I decided to go in a more modernist direction in my personal path. I reached the point where I felt that heathenry had gotten enough reconstruction to have a firm foundation and it was time to build the rest of the house. Becoming a viable religion in modern times means we have to think about how we fit into modern culture. I wanted to spend more of my holidays with my family and friends who are part of my real life, and American secular holiday culture provides a framework for celebrating with friends and family of different faiths. 

Another reason I wrote this book is because I've heard all my life that the United States doesn't have a real culture like other countries do. It's not true. There are American folkways. I discovered things I never knew about my own country's customs while researching this book, which is new this year.

Another reason I wrote the book is because while I was running for office, one day a woman from another country who happened to be at a political event with her fellow asked me why Americans are always worshipping our flag. That got me to thinking, and I also wrote this book for foreigners who want to understand peculiar customs in the United States. 

I'll return to the story of my personal journey on my path in my next blog post.

Here's another quote from the entry on Thanksgiving in American Celebration:

"Thanksgiving as we know it today was created by Abraham Lincoln for the purpose of uniting the bitterly divided American people in the shadow of the Civil War. He created the mythology of Pilgrims and Indians feasting together as a model of how the North and the South ought to come together after the massive bloodshed which had just happened. In reaching back for a foundation myth that reflected a happier and shinier view of the real history of the colonization of America, he hoped to perpetuate a happier and shinier America in his present and the future."

Links to American Celebration:

Amazon (print edition): http://www.amazon.com/American-Celebration-Erin-Lale/dp/1304916138/ref=la_B004GLACQQ_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416415380&sr=1-2

Smashwords (ebook): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/400543

Barnes & Noble (ebook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/american-celebration-erin-lale/1118328548?ean=2940045599979 

American Celebration would make a great Yule gift.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-April_in_Vaucluse_Cecile_Bouillon_2014.pngOne of the things I love about Paganism is the ability to find beauty in strange places. What is beauty? What do we perceive as beautiful? Nature? Art? Music? Those would seem easy. But the sort of art I like may or may not be the same type of art that you like. I’m not a fan of abstract art. This piece on the left leaves me cold. (By Cesbou*) While I could stare for hours at 19th century landscape paintings. Here’s one from Thomas Cole. b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Cole_Thomas_Mountain_Sunrise_Catskill_1826.jpg

 

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