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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Labor Day Reverie, plus apples

Labor

We’ve just wrapped up our celebration of Labor Day weekend which is apparently another excuse for a sale in Retail-Land and a well-deserved day-off for American workers. At least the ones who get a day of for federal holidays, which isn’t everyone, of course.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for reading it, Ivo.
  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr says #
    Thank you Byron!
All-Day Eating-and-Singing on the Grounds

We have this thing we do in the South.  It's called Homecoming but what it really is is a chance for reprobates and prodigals to return to the church of their wasted youth and to be welcomed home.  There is always a huge spread--fried chicken and homemade cakes and eleventy kinds of deviled eggs and potato salad.

The preacher prays over the food and at the drop of a hat. Gardeners and farmers head out to the churchyard and clean up weeds around the old headstones.  There is singing and working and gossiping and visiting and tea so sweet it makes your teeth ache.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Margot Adler is Dead

And all I could do was pick elderberries.

Like most of the Pagan community, I knew Margot was ill, had been ill for a while. And now she is dead, gone to Tir Nan Og, passed into the West. She was best known, I suppose, for her terribly important book "Drawing Down the Moon," and for her love of vampires and for her smart reporting from NY on NPR.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks to you both.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Beautiful words, my friend.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Thanks for this post. She will be missed, but her spirit will live on in the communities she inspired.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Waiting For Freedom To Ring

Though we know the First Amendment by heart and have the Establishment Clause tattooed on our wee Pagan hearts, it's pretty tricky to belong to a minority religion in some parts of this country. Like gender, race and class, following a spiritual tradition that marks you as "Other" isn't always comfortable in the Land of the Free.

The recent Supreme Court decision about employers freedom to impose their religious views on their employees has been another blow in women's on-going quest for something approaching autonomy in this country.  We've been talking about the "glass ceiling" for decades and every few months, someone trots out the pay inequity that seems to be endemic in the American economic system. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
I and The Village  (h/t Chagall)

or...I was a PSG virgin.

Got back on Monday from my first sojourn to the Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of the largest and oldest Pagan festivals in the country. I've worked with Selena Fox, Dianne Duggan and Lady Liberty League for many years but this festival was simply too far away. Selena is very persuasive and my friend Oriana volunteered to drive, so off we went.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why I'm a Pagan

My local indie bookshop had one of these left in stock and they kindly held it for me. I ran up there in my garden clothes and damp do-rag because I was so excited to have this book in my hands. 

As soon as it was rung up and handed across the counter to me, I opened the cover, turned to the opening lines and saw---Lo! "Lo," I said aloud. "Interesting choice." I asked them if they needed any copies of my book ("Staubs and Ditchwater") and we agreed the 3 they have in stock will do until I get back from PSG. I declined a bag but got a bright bookmark.  Holding the book to my chest, I tip-tapped out the door and across the street to the car. I sat there for a moment, looking at the cover, then smelling the top of the book, as one does.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    It does seem ironic that a good Catholic man led so many folks to a Pagan world-view. But the Beowulf poet was much the same. The
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you for this, Byron - I must order a copy immediately! Much of my Paganism, too, derives from long nights of steeping my bra

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
1914

I've written--earlier, here and elsewhere--about my father's experiences in North Africa and Europe during World War Two. If you've read Rick Atkinson's excellent books (beginning with "An Army at Dawn"), you have an idea of how hard and frightening and wild that whole campaign was. My dad almost died a couple of times but still came home from war full of tales of adventure--a country boy in the ancient homelands. My mother would leave the room when he geared up for another story about Italy and German soldiers and stolen champagne.

I never knew either of my biological grandfathers but my grandmother's second husband was, in every sense, my grandfather.  His war story is different.

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