I recently facilitated a large, public ritual at a local state park. A lot of friends and old regulars came, and we were lucky to have a few new faces, too. One of our surprise guests was a young mother who we have known for a few years but don’t get to see very often. She comes to events when she can, but I really only end up seeing her once a year or so, at most. Much to my surprise, she brought her kids with her to the ritual. They’re sweet, clever little devils, and they have a history of being somewhat rowdy and in need of a lot of re-direction.
The children came rushing up to the altar as soon as the family arrived at the park. This was one of those moments where Childless Trivia thought in panic “Ooh... right… kids…!” I took time out to speak to them about the altar, making it very clear to them that they could look to their heart’s desire but touching was absolutely forbidden. The children nodded solemnly and then went to go play on some rocks, immediately forgetting about candles, statues, and various other temptations.
I got so many compliments about how well behaved and wonderful my son was at the Florida Pagan Gathering last weekend, mostly from people we don't know. I refrained from telling them all that he is that way because I practice positive discipline, as I didn't want to either come across as preachy or spend an hour explaining what positive discipline was to each of them, but I do want to explain how positive discipline works in my family, to my community.
Samhain is a time to see, not just with your eyes, but with your mind and heart. It's traditional to make predictions at this turn of the wheel (it is the New Year, after-all), and there are lots of tools that can help us do this. One of my favorites is a scrying mirror. You can make a scrying mirror out of things that are probably in your home right now--save for the peacock feathers. You will need:
Black Paper (If you have no black paper, you can paint the cardboard black once it has been cut--see directions below. Use as many coats as you need to get a solid color. Allow each coat of paint to dry before applying the next.)
Cling film plastic wrap
Peacock Feathers (Besides looking pretty, the tips of peacock feathers look--and function--like eyes, and since this tool is going to help you “see" in a different way, they will make a great frame for the mirror.)
Got plastic bags? Many businesses offer or sell reusable shopping bag swag, but we still haven't totally eliminated the old standard disposable sack. If you have any of these lying around, reuse them as much as you can, and then up-cycle them. This is important work, and one of the best ways to honor the earth and leave a smaller environmental footprint. Even the rattiest plastic bag can be made into something cool: a heavy duty tote, an apron, place or door mats, even a shower curtain; the list is endless. Use extra care when doing this work with children as ironing and cutting are involved. Here’s what you’ll need:
Assorted plastic bags (garbage, food, store) in different colors, sizes, patterns
Ironing board or table covered with a heavy towel
Cut the plastic bags so they lay flat (no handles or folds at the bottom). You'll need between five and seven layers to make one sheet of material, so plan ahead to make sure you’ll have enough! In order to know how many plastic bags you will need, you have to decide what you are making. A tote bag (which will require sewing or stapling) will require more than a change purse. Of course if you use large bags, then you will need fewer. We made an apron, and used five medium store bags for the fabric, and four smaller bags that we cut designs out of to decorate it.
We've arrived at the Spring Equinox again, which means its time to strike a balance. Use your Book of Shadows to develop and track this magical work.
Weigh Your Words. Four months have passed since Samhain, the new year, where you probably planned all sorts of wonderful changes for yourself. Draw a scale on a clean page in your Book of Shadows. One one side, write or draw all the things you've managed to accomplish since Samhain. On the other side, write or draw those things that are still in progress or waiting to happen. Look at both sides of the scale. Which side is heavier? Of the things you still have to do, are there any that you found difficult? What did you do when you were faced with that challenge? Did you put it off, or try and succeed? Or fail? How did you feel about that? Maybe you're in the midst of a task right now--how is that coming along? What about your accomplishments? Even if that side of the scale has less on it, perhaps those things took a great deal of work. Think about it and write down your feelings.
Flower Faeries are intriguing to have in the garden. A great way to invite them to move into your own herb garden is to plant an enticing Faerie Chair. Faerie scouts will be able to see this high rise Faerie Garden from a great distance! They will be so delighted that perhaps a whole clan will make their home near this awesome chair garden. You do however, have to make sure that your friends and relatives never try to sit on the chair. Who knows what will happen?
How lucky was I when I found out that I was going to a festival where Wendy Rule would be playing? Not only that, it was a super small venue--not only would I get to see her and hear her sing, but I'd get to talk to her as well. A native of Australia, and a leading voice in Pagan music, once you hear Wendy Rule, you won't forget her haunting voice and her enchanting melodies...
NZ: There are lots of kids who dream about being professional musicians--any advice for these budding artists? What is the most rewarding thing about being a musician? The most challenging?