Living the Wheel: Seasonal Musings of the Pagan Year

Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.

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Nicole Kapise-Perkins

Nicole Kapise-Perkins

I am a writer and poet living in western Massachusetts. I have a degree in English Lit, with a focus on the nineteenth century, and am working toward a degree in Women's Studies as well. My work has previously appeared in The Pagan Activist, The Pagan Review, GrannyMoon's Morning Feast, and The Montague Reporter. I am currently working on a series of children's books, a novel trilogy, and a poetry manuscript (I simply can't do one thing at a time!). I also have several random fantasy-based short story projects that I attack once in a while.   I am a Dianic Pagan and practice Kitchen Wicca, and am also a Reiki Master. For a glimpse into my own little corner of reality, you can stop in and visit me at Ellie.

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Walking the Ancient Paths

'Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies, and walk on them, and find rest for your soul.'  1001 Meditations (pg. 13) by Mike George

     The Crone is the guardian of the crossroads, and this is Her time. As we journey through our lives we come to many crossroads; we have so many choices, so many roads not taken. How do we choose? How do we know we've made the right choice?

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Changes

     In order to change we must facilitate change. Change doesn't just come, no matter how much we desire it. Change is often painful, jarring us out of a comfortable, though dissatisfying existence, forcing us into molds that don't fit who we are, but will eventually turn us into who we wish to be. Change in our lives is not the gracefully seamless flow of color and scent we see in nature as the Wheel turns around us. Do trees suffer as they burst from summer's green to autumn's golden splendor? How does the goldenrod and the Michaelmas daisy feel as their colors brighten beneath the cooling autumn sun? Of course we can't know; nature's children keep their secrets to themselves.

     It often seems that as much as we welcome change we are at the same time resisting it, fighting and forcing it back until opportunity has passed us by, only to leave us wondering what went wrong and wishing our circumstances (or we) could change. Why is this so, I wonder? I am as guilty of it as anyone, and like most others I recognize it, yet I still have to consciously remind myself that what I am doing (or am meant to be doing) really is to my own benefit, regardless of how much I detest it. Case in point: that excruciating half an hour on my elliptical machine every day, that half an hour I skipped this morning and will no doubt try my best to avoid doing tomorrow even though I know exercise is healthy for me, and if I want to do a 5K color run next summer I need to begin training now.

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Harvest-tide

     The full Harvest Moon rises tonight. As its clear light falls on forest and field, take a moment to meditate on the majesty of the season. Harvest-tide is a time to be thankful. Our ancestors knew this abundant season was their only hope for the winter months. Successful harvests meant survival. Today that dreadful uncertainty is taken from us. Of course we will survive the winter. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and breads available at the local grocery store. We have nothing to worry about.

     Or do we? This year-round abundance is available to us at a cost. Pollution from shipping, from poorly managed factory farms, over-planted fields stripped of nutrients, herbicides, pesticides--they are all eating this planet alive. I am as guilty of purchasing off-season produce as anyone else: my four year old adores strawberries and apples, and in my effort to instill healthy eating habits I am not going to refuse him fresh fruit in January.

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Family

     As I sat with my family before the celebratory Lughnasad feast, I looked around the table at the faces of those most dear to me: my husband, hardworking, honest, loving, driven, an incredible father. My seventeen year old son, quirky, awkward in his form, intelligent in ways I can't begin to comprehend, fiercely loyal and protective, especially of me. My four year old son, the child I never expected to have, a joyful, funny, curious, wiggly little boy who can't walk anywhere: his little feet constantly patty-patty back and forth from one task to another. And finally my fifteen year old daughter, my only girl, gifted with faerie-like beauty and a voice that has been described to me as 'like listening to a baby angel.' Incredibly talented, creative, and utterly unselfconscious, she dances into each day like the wild faerie child I knew her to be at birth.

     What did we talk about that evening? Truthfully I don't remember. The freshly-baked bread was sliced, the roast chicken, redolent with herbs from our garden was carved. Stuffed zucchini and sliced cucumbers dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar were placed on the table, candles lit, prayers said. We ate, we laughed; the children told anecdotes from their day, my husband discoursed on the ins and outs of his current work project. Dessert, a pear crostada that the four year old proudly helped make, was served, eaten with even more gusto than dinner, if possible, then, table cleared, we gathered at the front door so my husband could speak the ritual words of welcome to the season of Lughnasad:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Lovely, reminds me of Jewish Passover home celebrations. Do you have special prayers for your Sunday family gatherings too. You co
  • Nicole Kapise-Perkins
    Nicole Kapise-Perkins says #
    Thank you so much for your kind words Carol! I tried not to be pedantic, but I really wanted to stress how very important family m

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     How do I know I am living my life consciously? This question came to me as I stood at my kitchen counter preparing a morning cup of tea, gazing out at the neighbor's immense apple tree. I pondered it as I sipped my tea. How do I know? I realized I know when I'm not, and that seemed like as good a place as any to begin exploring this new question.

     When I am not living consciously, because I'm too caught up in everything going on and trying too hard to get things done that I fail to actually pay attention to what I'm doing, everything is just harder, and takes so much more work: plants begin dying, dishes pile up, the living room becomes a landmass of toys, laundry baskets, library books and shoes. This is not meant to be an essay on housekeeping, nor a meditation on homecaring as a metaphor for caring for the self--I'll leave that to Sarah Ban Breathnach. However, these factors are indicative of how consciously I am living my life. I am a mother and wife; a homemaker as much as a writer; I am a Pagan and Kitchen Witch. I write in between loads of dishes and supervising my four year old's writing lessons. I plot blog updates while popovers bake and then drive my seventeen year old to drumline rehearsal. Many, if not most of the people reading this have similar routines. I don't think my day-to-day reality is any more difficult than others'; indeed, it may be easier. I'm not rushing out of my house each morning to drop my youngest off at daycare, going to spend six to eight (or ten, or twelve!) hours at work, then collecting three children from various locations to come home and cook, clean and supervise homework. I used to. (I am not, however, implying that we stay-at-home parents do not work hard. I am reminded of this every evening around six o'clock when, having finished making dinner, I walk into the living room that my four year old has spent the previous half an hour demolishing, and my two teenagers have given up on their homework because I wasn't there to answer questions.)

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Songs for Ophelia by Theodora Goss: a Review

     I have been given an opportunity to read and review author Theodora Goss' newest book, Songs for Ophelia, due in stores soon. This is an exquisite volume of poetry, mystical, mythical, fantastical, even spiritual, a must-read, and I thought I would share my review here, so others might have the opportunity to read this volume themselves.

 

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  • Sarah Avery
    Sarah Avery says #
    I love Goss's work! When I start tutoring a new student, my favorite first assignment is Goss's "The Wings of Meister Wilhelm." Th

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The Seeker

     "Do I consider myself a Seeker?"

     This question came to me as I woke up this morning; it may have something to do with a dream I was having, though I can't remember. Still the question remains. Do I?

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