Down the years, I've heard the same warning time and again from tribal elders all over the world--the Americas, Australia, Africa--as they contemplate the potential end of their own traditions.
If ever the Old Ways were to cease, the world itself would end.
I think that the elders are right.
Today is Watery Wednesday, the day we share stories for and about our many communities of Pagans (however widely defined.) Today we have ideas on how to boost empathy -- on the internet; two Pagan-themed internet campaigns; Reclaiming events in Minnesota, and finding a Pagan Pride event near you.
The internet provides us with many opportunities to create community -- or tear it down. This article from Yes! magazine offers suggestions of how we can create more empathy in our online connections.
A pair of Kickstarter campaigns — one for a new printing of the Celtic playing cards, and another for a "Witchy" tv show made by actual Witches — popped up on our radar this week.
Pagan Newswire Collective of Minnesota announced a set of Reclaiming tradition activities for the upcoming Fall season.
It's Pagan Pride season! Here's the central website to find a Pagan Pride event near you.
“Well, we were first at a lot of things,” I said.
“Like what?” she asked.
Twin Cities Pagan Pride 2014
I don't know about you, but I absolutely love Pagan Pride day! I look forward to it all year, as it's probably the biggest event in the area that doesn't cost a thing to attend. I think last year, over 500 people came by, and that's just counting the folks who signed in.
One of the things I love about it is the food drive, and we Chicagoans are big givers. The folks who put the day together work with the Greater Chicago Food Depository which is a non-religious organization who truly helps all those in need. As I posted on my Facebook today,
"I just wanted to remind folks Pagan Pride events, from its inception, was part food drive. The event has always been a non-perishable food item for admittance, but of course no one is barred from coming in.
Every year, I ask people to do more than the bare minimum. I am conversing, right now, with one of our own who is feeling low about needing to visit a food pantry, and things were not always that way. This person is far from the only one in need within our community, be it local or otherwise. I've had to use food pantries myself both growing up and when our son was small. I have never forgotten what that's like.
Now, because we are doing good financially and can definitely do more than the bare minimum, we donate one bag of groceries per household member. I'd like to think at this point in my life, I've at least broken even in giving back what we've taken over the years. But if I quit now, I would be again doing the bare minimum. I'm better than that. You're better than that. We're all better than that.
If all you can spare is one can of vegetables, see if you can shake the couch cushions to buy one more. Can you double that? How about doubling your double? What's in your cupboards that's still good but you know you're not going to use anytime soon? Remember, non-perishables also means bottled juice, spaghetti, beans, rice, instant stuff, peanut butter, jelly, granola bars, crackers, taco shells and so on!
When you go shopping for someone in need, make it a game. Clip coupons! See what you can get for $10. And hey, take pictures of your shopping cart! Bragging rights abound! And, just because you can't meet with the needy face to face, you can envision at least a smile from a stranger.
There is no greater magic(k) we can create than one that brings a smile to someone's face. So for every item, think of it as a smile.
How many smiles are you creating?"
Not only are they collecting non-perishable food items, but they're also hosting two animal rescues for reptiles and cats! And yes, there are a multitude of vendors scheduled, rituals and workshops to attend. And yes, yes, no matter how you get around, the location is perfect. There's plenty of parking nearby, including free spots, and public transportation comes in all forms (bus, Metra, L train, walking, biking, flying in on your broomstick!).
You don't have to be there all day, but we encourage every Pagan and magic(k)al person of every flavor to attend. See you soon!
The more traditional American holidays can leave some of we Wiccans and Pagans feeling a little left out and blue. Here are some ideas for taking pride in ourselves and where we live– as the old Francis Scott Key ditty goes: "the land of the free, and the home of the brave." Get your magical-minded buddies together for an outdoor picnic. For this, I would suggest your friendly, less populated county or state parks. If you are concerned about the forest ranger making the rounds, hold the festivities in your own (or co-host with one of your guests') big back yards instead.
Cook special dishes of significance to you. Cakes and Ale or Cakes and Wine are always an easy crowd-pleaser. Per Patti Wigington, at the about.com website: "The Wiccan ritual known as Cakes and Ale is often celebrated as a way of thanking the gods for their blessings. Cakes are usually just cookies prepared in the shape of crescent moons, and the ale can be alcoholic or it can be apple cider, juice, or even water." Here is her recipe:
SIMPLE SABBAT CAKES
3/4 cups soft butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 cups flour
1 cups finely chopped walnuts (optional)
Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the brown sugar and mix well. Add eggs, lemon juice and rind. Mix until well-blended.
Stir in flour and walnuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When chilled, shape dough into one-inch balls and place 3 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
One note– personally I would only use ale, wine, cider or juice for this particular ritual. It makes it more of a special offering than just water.
Invite others to use blessings and magical intentions to their fare to bring and share. Build a fire together in a safe pit and after your meal, join hands in a circle and sing some rounds of these Pagan favorites:
"May the Circle be Open"
May the circle be open
May the peace of the goddess
Be ever in your heart
Merry meet and merry part!
And merry meet again!
"We All Come From The Goddess/Hoof And Horn"
We all come from the Goddess: And to her we shall return
Like a drop of rain: Flowing to the ocean
We all come from the Horned One: And to him we shall return
Like a flash of light: Shining from a fiery storm
Hoof and horn, hoof and horn: All that dies shall be reborn
Corn and grain, corn and grain: All that falls shall rise again
"We All Come From the Goddess," by Z. Buddapest
"Hoof and Horn," by Ian Corrigan (lyrics adapted)
"Earth My Body"
Earth is my body (bending at the knees with palms facing the earth)
Water is my blood (making a motion with hands at womb level)
Air my breath (hands reaching up)
And fire my spirit! (clap hands above head)
Repeat these pleasant chants, breaking into harmony and rounds. Move in a circle, lead off into a spiral dance around the yard or site. Clap, make some noise. Be loud and proud. Today, celebrate your independence and your natural pride.
Photo, "Campfire," by frankly242 at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
As I explore how the Goddess and women made a mark on our shared spiritual heritage, I cannot forget that we are creating a history of Her, here and now. What we make, do, write, and become will be analyzed by future generations. How will we be remembered?
One of the traditions that we are creating now is the celebration of Pagan Pride throughout September. This weekend I attended the new St. Louis Pagan Pride event with the intention of seeking the Goddess. I found her in the faces of the women around me.