the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
Do you love this world?
–excerpt “Peonies” by Mary Oliver*
Loving the world feels like a difficult topic to write about today when I see news coverage of the recent oil spill in Santa Barbara and read about the dolphins dying. It can be easy to start to feel discouraged and hopeless in the face of such destruction and lack of love for the earth, our precious, irreplaceable home.
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the flowers bend their bright bodies,
I've been examining the parts that make up many common Pagan rituals. I recently wrote about Cleansing. I'm moving on to Grounding. There's real irony here, because this week, I need grounding more than ever.
Alright! A few personal details about my life are in order to set this article up. I'm a busy witch. Over the next few months I have a lot going on. I am helping to organize California WitchCamp which happens in late June. I am presenting at the upcoming Many Gods West conference in late July. In early September I am teaching at Aurora Borealis WitchCamp in Canada and in mid-October I'm teaching/facilitating the Mysteries of Samhain retreat. Woven through all of this are planning meetings, research, magical work and scheduling - endless scheduling. I also have three classes I'm teaching between now and then and I'm one of the folks that is putting Reclaiming's 36th annual Spiral Dance on October 31st....
In support of Gaia Gathering: the Canadian National Pagan Conference, thirteen artists have come together to create an anthology of Canadian Pagan music and spoken word. Only available online, this album spans thirty years and includes some of the best of out-of-print Pagan classics as well as some up-and-comers. All artists have donated the use of their work: all profits from the sale of the album go directly to support the Conference.
Featured artists: Vanessa Cardui, Tara Rice, the Ancient Gods, JD Hobbes, Brendan Myers, Dano Hammer, the Dragon Ritual Drummers, Gallows Hill, Heather Dale, Tamarra James, Raven's Call, Sable Aradia,and Parnassus (Chalice & Blade)....
You know the song I mean. The one that begins:
Let the joyous news be spread....
Just to refresh your memory: first, the house begins to pitch. Then the kitchen takes a slitch, and lands on the wicked witch. In the middle of a ditch, no less. How humiliating.
It had been raining off and on for a week before we got to the festival site, and there were mud slicks everywhere. A friend of ours came limping into camp, clearly a little the worse for wear.
"What happened to you?" someone asked.
You are more than you think. Feel your feet on the earth, feel earth as a living being, and allow the strength that comes from that.
There is this strength in you that is natural, aligned, and beautiful. It is filled with your life energy. Every moment comes from the whole of who are, in connection with the bigger whole. It is true to everything there is. It starts, with becoming true to the connection that is right here, right now: your connection to Earth. Life energy is generated in connection with earth. This is what makes plants grow. Allow this felt connection with earth, and allow your movements to come from this place. Like the plant being strong because of the life saps running through her, so you become strong with this life energy. Allow it to fill you all the way. This is you, in your full potential. Live it, honor it, celebrate it. Share it today....
This pentagram is built into a small tower in Presidio Park in San Diego, California. The pentagram is on the tower roof, open to the air, which is reached by climbing a staircase.
The official name of the Witches' Tower is the Pattie Memorial, commemorating the first American to die to California. It is supposed to be built close to where a historical guardhouse and jail used to be. The Pattie Memorial is a storage building. Presidio Park is very convenient to the hotels on Hotel Circle. Multiple layers of candle wax on the pentagram attest to its ritual use.