Forget the Maccabees.
This time of year, the press goes into overdrive about the Temple in Jerusalem, miracles, and trick oil cruets.
Don't believe them.
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
It was one year ago today that my life changed forever. It didn't change as much as it could have changed, and for that I'm grateful, but nothing has been the same since this day one year ago. My own error resulted in my falling 10 feet onto the thin edge of the control panel of a spare washing machine. I broke 6 ribs at both ends and broke my left shoulder blade in half. I spent several days in the hospital, 2 months off work, and 6+ months in physical therapy. I would never have made it through all of this without amazing support from my friends, family, and co-workers. I am still paying off medical bills, but I am alive and healthy. I am nearly back to the level I was before the accident (and in some ways I am actually healthier). It still amazes me that less than 2 months after the accident I climbed on a plane and flew to San Jose to do my 3 workshop presentations at PantheaCon. I owe thanks to many of the people at that event as well. While lurching around with broken bones, trying to haul incense making supplies from one workshop to the next, a lot of people I'd never met helped me haul things around and set up or tear down. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED IN THE LAST YEAR.
But there was more help given to me than that and I want to try and thank as many people as I can from the Pagan Community. In less than 1 day after my accident I was able to get online and, very slowly, type a message with one hand. I sent out that email letting folks know what happened and asking for any spare energy to help me with the extraordinary pain as well as energy to heal. The response was overwhelming and nearly immediate. Within an hour of sending that message, I began to feel the energy pouring in. I know that there were groups or covens who sent me energy and that was an immense kindness that truly made a difference. Even more surprising was the energy that continued to come to me for weeks, much of it being sent by Solitary Pagans who had never met (or even heard of) me and who lived hundreds or even thousands of miles away. That Community of Solitaries, without any coordination whatsoever, continued this outpouring of love and energy for months.
I like to think that I have embraced the image of The Great Mother as the epitome of dualities. It’s a mature image: she is both light and dark, strength and weakness, savior and destructor. This helps people relate to her, as humans embody all these differing and conflicting traits and we’re not static, one or the other. The Great Mother is everything, combines everything, reflects everything....
One of the things that strikes me about pagan holidays is the way that they're all implicated in one another. Yule doesn't just sit enshrined in its own golden halo at the end of the year, touching nothing else. As both the end and the beginning of the solar year—and indeed, the whole of the coming year in microcosm—it reaches back to the previous growing season and harvest, and forward to the coming ones. They say that the Yule you keep affects the year ahead. That's why it's so important to eat rich and ample food during all Thirteen Days. The Devil promised a would-be witch in hunger-stricken 17th century Lowland Scotland, “Thou shalt eat every day as [well as] if it were Yule.”
A few years back a neighbor popped in for some reason or other during the Yuledays. “Beautiful tree,” she remarked. “Not the least bit Christmas-y.”
Well, no. It's covered with blown-glass fruits and vegetables. Every ornament's a prayer.
As with naturalism, wildness is the Vanic virtue that seems to have been with me from the beginning. One of the main complaints I hear about "kids these days" is that they need to go outside more. In the 1980s, kids were just starting to have things like video games, which I was Not Allowed to play, my mother wanted me to read books or play outside. And I did a lot of that. Nature was my solace, my sanctuary. My heart spoke the language of the wind and the rain, my feet danced the rhythms of the Earth, changing seasons in New England. I spent enough time outdoors as a kid that my mother used to make jokes about me being a "feral child" and "raised by wolves", but it wasn't entirely a joke. There was this constant feeling of other-ness from childhood onward, that was further reinforced by my outdoor adventures. Kids played outside to play with each other, usually games of conquest and domination - I played outside to connect with the land, sometimes pretending I was a tree, or a bird or an animal, when I wasn't exploring or just watching the world around me.
I was a strange child....
Welcome to the 2014 edition of BookMusings' Literary Discoveries! *insert much tooting of horns and throwing of confetti here* Looking back over my LibraryThing account and my postings here on PaganSquare, as well as at Eternal Haunted Summer, this has been quite a year for good literature. Not only did I find many new books and series to enjoy, and recommend to others, but I discovered entirely new authors....
Local Magic is location-specific magic. It's the magic you can make, and feel, in the place where you live. Of course, where we live isn't always where we ideally want to be living, and the landscape isn't always the one that calls to our heart. Perhaps we prefer to create magic and ritual indoors, imagining we are really in Avalon, or an Egyptian temple, or the forests of our childhood. This can be a powerful magic, with the weight of our yearning, our imagination or our history bound up in it. And yet Local Magic - the type that happens specifically where you live, and happens only there, has its own allure.
Local Magic can teach you not just about locality, wherever you find yourself but it will also teach you about the nature of magic; specifically Pagan magic. Unless you happen to find yourself living in a temple complex, or on an ancient sacred site, the magic you will learn to participate in with Local Magic will be of the natural variety. It will concern the types of soil, rock, trees, birds and animals, airs and waters, skies and moods of the place where you live. Previous learnings, such as herbalism, astronomy, trance, working with deity can all be alive in Local Magic but there will be one great difference....