I twist and turn as the Fates
Spin the multicolored threads
That are the web of life.
Strength and beauty grace my path
And Mother’s gaze softens
As she looks upon my weaving.
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...
Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.
Winter in Britain – it’s dark and it’s wet. Not very cold, compared to what I grew up with in Canada, but the damp just seaps into your bones. It’s a different kind of winter, one that I still sometimes have trouble getting to grips with.
The darkness is the first thing that my body has difficulty coping with. If it’s dark outside, my body wants to sleep. I’m very much a daytime person. Here in the UK, at a latitude of 52.0594° N (where I grew up it was 45.9500° N) it gets dark a lot earlier than what I’m used to, and it’s not light outside much before 8.30 or 9am in the darkest part of the year. Hibernation mode kicks in. I struggle to get out of bed even though I’ve had a great sleep if it’s still dim out. Come summer, and it’s light at 3.30am, I can get out and greet the sunrise no problem.
The darkness has a real thick, heavy quality to it sometimes, with overcast skies and damp air all around you, sounds hushed in the shadows. Like a blanket, it can completely cover you and, if you like your head above the covers, can seem stifling. I’ve had to learn to work with the darkness, to enjoy it, to see its beauty.
You are invited to The 2014 Annual Hassle-Free Thanksgiving Event.
I started it in the early 80s. It’s no longer annual or face-to-face, but I do it as many years as I can, because it makes me happy. Hey, the silly title alone always lifts my spirit.
The diplomatic event between an Indigenous nation (the Wampanoag) and English settlers in 1621, in a seaside Native town called Patuxet in present-day Massachusetts, has taken dramatic and far-flung turns in the mainstream American version of what became the holiday known as Thanksgiving.
In the autumn of 1621, Wampanoag Chief Massasoit and a large contingency of Indigenous soldiers engaged in diplomatic meetings with the settlers over a three-day feast that included women and children. Before this contingency of leaders met with the settlers, the People surely held lengthy council meetings, consulted their nation's rules of law in dealing with foreigners, and engaged in consensus-style voting before any action was taken. Determining the intentions of the uninvited English squatters would have been a top priority....
I was invited to guest minister at the Goddess Temple of Orange County in southern California the morning of Sunday, November 23, on the theme of "Our Blessings" and on that very day, my husband, Roy, and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and renewing our vows before our beloved feline Mother, Sekhmet. I thought I'd share with you the message I delivered to those gathered:
I know sometimes it doesn’t always feel like it, but we are so lucky, we have so many blessings, and none of them have to do with money, though that’s what our culture would have us believe is one of the things that count most - but truly, does having wealth bring us love? No, certainly not.
Does having money help us grow as better human beings? Not always. Sometimes I think not having wealth is more of a blessing. Out of necessity, we have to learn to connect and interact with each other because we depend on each other so much more.
So I’m here today, with Thanksgiving around the corner, to suggest we each peer into the window of our life as if we were standing before a department store window. Take stock and I bet you’ll marvel at all there is inside the “store that is our life” because I think sometimes there is so much clutter inside we stop seeing the blessings. And it looks different for each of us, just as every storefront we walk past in the mall has different and wonderful things within. Our blessings are all so diverse.
But there are blessings many of us have in common, too.
We are so blessed to live in a blue state and not be at risk of vaginal probes, personhood amendments, and loss of control of our reproductive health. We are so blessed to have this brick and mortar temple where we can gather to express the oldest religion on the planet - without fear. We are so lucky to have such a brave, dedicated and talented community, like so many of you here, including Ava and the women and men who keep this temple thriving. We are so lucky for the internet and clean water and advanced medicine. It’s easy to forget everyone doesn’t have that. We are blessed we aren’t forced to kill our girl children at birth because we can’t afford their dowry later in life. We are blessed because we can vote, although too many of us don’t. We can disobey male authority without paying a price. But we forget so many of these things. We’re human and we kind of take them for granted sometimes.
But as you put your nose on the glass of your own storefront - and I hope you will - to peruse all the goodness inside, I hope you’ll also be courageous enough to lift the lid of your challenges, disappointment and pain because I’ll bet there are blessings there too. I know Roy’s heart attack made him start to take his health more seriously. My mother’s death helped me deepen my ability to forgive. And sometimes it’s the bullies in life that teach us the most about who we are and what we’re made of.
And don’t overlook the little blessings that make us smile. See the blessing in the brave little hummingbird at the bird feeder, the beautiful and perfect roses in the garden, or the smell of bacon in the morning. Myself, I cherish that fleeting moment between being sleep and fully awake, feeling the cool sheets in the dim light of morning. Maybe your cat is sleeping next to you and you feel the softness of her fur as you hear the alarm go off and there’s beautiful music on the radio. Don’t overlook either sweet memories or your feisty friends who challenge your thinking and help you grow.
I know I feel blessed and Roy does too, that so many of you drove all this way so early in the morning to be here today with us. You too are our blessings and we love you. Thank you for being in our lives.
So this week and as often as you can, try to take inventory of your blessings like a good shopkeeper so you know the value of all the assets in the store of your life. Be sure you look in all the nooks and crannies. We can really find the blessings in the craziest and most unexpected places as I was reminded recently.
You see this “scholar” had blown me off because he saw me as a disillusioned advocate of Marija Gimbutas theories, but we talked, and talked - and to my surprise he’s offered me a private showing of the valuable artifacts within his goddess collection. Dare I hold out hope that crack in the door will swing wide enough for him to fully embrace Gimbutas herstory? Who knows. We shall see.
So think about that next week when Uncle George who parrots Fox News is talking crazy round the Thanksgiving dinner table. As he goes on and on setting your hair on fire next week, making you choke on the green bean casserole, maybe he’s helping you grow patience and tolerance. Who knows, you might even find a kernel of truth in all the crazy that can lead you toward bridging the gap. We can really find blessings in the craziest and most unexpected places sometimes
In the Gaelic language, Cailleach translates as old woman or hag. In Goddess mythology Cailleach is the Celtic Goddess of weather and storms. As a crone Goddess she is associated with the season of Winter, bringing brutal cold, biting winds and snow. She is fierce and, sometimes unforgiving.
The most predominate tale tells of Cailleach capturing the beautiful Maiden Goddess and holding her captive in a mountain cave until the arrival of spring....