My bag is packed--minus the Tevas that need a good scrubbing first--and I am mostly ready for pilgrimage. It surprises me when I think back on the times I've been in Britain during the month of April--when folks long to go on pilgrimages, according to Chaucer.
It's field research really, though most of my traveling these days is one form of quest or another. There is a deep longing in me for new lands and vistas, new smells and tastes. But my travel always brings me to Britain and Ireland, when I leave these lands of home. I think of them collectively as the ancient motherlands. My DNA test showed that to be true--so much whiteness here, so many blood-links to those places that know my soul.
My friends have been on pilgrimage. They’ve walked the Camino and hiked the Himalayas and climbed Glastonbury Tor. They've made it to Dharamsala and Rishikesh. I haven’t done any of that. But I have been to the ocean in Maine. And I have walked back and forth between two points twenty feet apart for long periods. Those are my pilgrimages.
For many people, walking is a seasonal activity – specifically it’s something to do in the summer when the weather is good, it’s dry underfoot and warm. My preferred time of year for walking is spring and autumn, when the cooler days can make the whole experience more comfortable, especially when climbing a hill!
That this is an unobvious time of year to talk about walking tempts me to do so – part of the point of this wheel of the year exploration is to be slightly perverse and flag up as many alternatives as I can think of.
An art contest opens to celebrate Midwinter. We're reminded of all we have to be thankful for. And we take a look at Paganism in South Africa. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” Jack Kerouac, On the Road
The New Moon this month occurs in the sign of Sagittarius (0°) on Saturday November 22nd, at 4:32 am (PST). Sagittarius is a Mutable Fire sign, meaning that it is a threshold sign, bridging one season into the next, and resonating with the visionary element of Fire. Sagittarius is the hero/ine searching for the Quest that will bring not only individuation, but ultimate meaning. Sag embodies enthusiastic, looking-to-the-future, outward moving energy after the inward directed flow of Scorpio.The mood is now noticeably lighter, and we are compelled to make sense of the truths that were unearthed while the Sun transited Scorpio.
I have learned as much about Goddess Spirituality from participating in rituals to the Panagia in Greece as I have from books. This is the time when Greeks honor the falling asleep of the Mother of God, an echo of the rituals of Death and Rebirth in honor of Demeter and Persephone.
From the evening of the 14th through the day and night of the 15th of August, thousands of pilgrims ascend the Holy Rock of Petra, Lesbos to honor the Panagia—She Who Is All Holy. There is something really beautiful in being among them. Last year six of us set out from Molivos at 7:30 on the 14th to meet in the square of Petra to ascend to the church.
Petra was already full of so many pilgrims that police had forbidden traffic in the main square and were directing cars into a nearly full parking lot in a field. When we got out of the car, the two others who came with me and I had a perfect view of the steady stream of pilgrims climbing the rock, which was already lit up in the twilight.