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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Samhain

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In the Time of Reconciliation

Today we honor--even celebrate--balance. We acknowledge that from this swift point onward the nights will grow longer and longer until the Solstice. With that acknowledgement, we also ken that balance is not a static thing but a pause in the clockwork of the universe before we move on, and in.

Every six weeks there is this hinge in the year. Friends who serve as Christian clergy have looked askance when I (mock wearily) reply this way to their query about "Pagan holidays." They assume that there must be major and minor ones because they shiver to think of Christmas or Easter every six weeks, relentlessly rolling on through this beautiful and never-ending cycle that many of us refer to as the Wheel of the Year.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Secret Heart of Samhain

I was picking apples one afternoon. I'd worked my way down the row into the oldest part of the orchard when suddenly, for just a moment, I began to wonder if somehow, like some character in a story, I had stumbled out of this world and into Another.

I don't know how much you know about apple trees. They say that originally they came to this world from the Other World. Whatever the truth of that may be, what I can tell you about the apple trees of this world is that they always bear flowers first; then come leaves, and later fruit. There's never a time when they bear all three at once. In this, they are said to be unlike the orchards of the Land of Youth, which in fact do just that. The undying trees of that Land, so they say, bear flower and leaf and fruit at once, all at a time, together. For in that Land, all times are one, with never any winter.

And that's just what I saw in the orchard that day.

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All-Day Eating-and-Singing on the Grounds

We have this thing we do in the South.  It's called Homecoming but what it really is is a chance for reprobates and prodigals to return to the church of their wasted youth and to be welcomed home.  There is always a huge spread--fried chicken and homemade cakes and eleventy kinds of deviled eggs and potato salad.

The preacher prays over the food and at the drop of a hat. Gardeners and farmers head out to the churchyard and clean up weeds around the old headstones.  There is singing and working and gossiping and visiting and tea so sweet it makes your teeth ache.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Someday I'll have a garage sale and sell off all my witch kitsch.

I've got boxes of it. Some I bought myself. The rest came from friends, down the years. Boxes and boxes.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Season of the Witch. With maybe just a little help from the Brothers Grimm, Halloween has pretty much single-handedly kept the figure of the witch present in the cultural memory. Outsiders we may be eleven months out of twelve, but come That Time of Year and suddenly everyone's an honorary.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's been interesting down the decades to watch Halloween and Samhain growing farther apart. Yule and Christmas even more so: some
  • T-Roy
    T-Roy says #
    I will say that some witch kitsch is cute but I'm raising a baby Witch and have grown quite tired of the whys around the kitsch w
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Love this blog post. I get double the kitsch gifts from well meaning friends because I am both a witch and a christian minister.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    And here I always thought Hindus had all the best god-kitsch. Thanks, Lizann: you've made my world a larger place. I think. The M

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Margot Adler is Dead

And all I could do was pick elderberries.

Like most of the Pagan community, I knew Margot was ill, had been ill for a while. And now she is dead, gone to Tir Nan Og, passed into the West. She was best known, I suppose, for her terribly important book "Drawing Down the Moon," and for her love of vampires and for her smart reporting from NY on NPR.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks to you both.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Beautiful words, my friend.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Thanks for this post. She will be missed, but her spirit will live on in the communities she inspired.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Do our beliefs call us to be unconditional?

Good morning everyone and welcome back! How are you handling the Mercury retrograde? It's been a total pain in the rear for me, so I won't be sad to see it completely dissipate, shadow and all, come Thanksgiving. During these times, we're not supposed to really start anything, but how is that feasible? And in my line of work, helping people find new apartments, which includes preparing and signing leases, there is no such thing as taking a couple months off several times a year. So, I do the best I can with what I have, which is all anyone can ever ask.

I at least find comfort in knowing I'm not the only one who's been going through ups and downs: Misery loves company, doncha know. But at the same time, I don't wish misery on anyone, and boy howdy has there been a lot of that going on. Millions of Americans, which includes the elderly, the disabled and military families, on top of the biggest recipients - children - have seen their monthly food stamp allotments go down by around 5%. The healthcare website still isn't functional to the point some are saying to shut the site down all together until it's fixed. And, on top of everything else, many trick or treaters were rained out last week. Won't somebody please think of the children! Oh and yeah, flu season is back, and I'm wondering if it's going to be a mild one or severe. So really, what can we do? Again, do the best with what you have.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
It Gets Easier. Trust Me on This One.

This morning I packed a basket with Goddesses and Wiccan tools and headed out to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley.  I was invited to talk to the young people's RE (religious education) class--they are doing the section on Neighboring Faiths. I sometimes do the sermon at this sweet church and always enjoy the time I spend there.

I began by asking them all how well they'd scored in the Great Pumpkin Candy Berserker Night celebration. Most of the kids know me so it was pretty comfortable for them to talk--since I'm not technically a stranger.  I then read part of the Charge of the Goddess and we launched into an hour's worth of discussion on the Wheel of the Year, European tribes, tools of the trade and the nature of the Divines.  We finished with casting a circle.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks. Everything seems best when simplest these days.
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Great post. I really agree with the part about finding your practice getting simpler and deeper.

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