The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Two days and one hundred years ago, women first achieved the right to vote in Canada. This was in the Manitoba provincial election; the federal government followed two years later. So it is perhaps fitting that the day before is the day I finally chose to start reading "The Handmaid's Tale."
I've been a feminist and a science fiction fan since childhood, so many people have recommended this book to me over the years. The year it was published, 1986, I was eleven. I think someone first recommended it to me in 1991, when I was protesting the Gulf War. I always meant to read it. It was "on my list," especially as a Canadian. Margaret Atwood is considered to be one of the most significant Canadian writers and "The Handmaid's Tale" is a feminist icon.
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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Well, here it is, right on cue: Bridey's Spring. What cowans call the “January thaw.”
Winter started off gently—the lakes didn't ice over until well after Yule—but we did endure a foul run of sub-zero highs in mid-January, just to remind us who's boss.
Then, just as we prepare to light the untamed torches of Imbolc (or what novelist Richard Grant calls “the mannerly votives of Candlemas”), it might as well be spring. The air is moist and fragrant, and oh that delicious music of dripping water.
Like Indian Summer, Bridey's Spring has its own painful beauty, that fleeting Yukio Mishima poignancy of the necessarily ephemeral.
Winter will be back soon enough. There's plenty more ice and snow in store.
We take a look at David Bowie's fascination with Buddhism. Progressive Christians argue why they don't want a God who "controls everything." And is Hellboy a Catholic comic? We discuss these issues and more in Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on faiths and religious communities around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
Sometimes it seems like we're all living in some kind of a prison and the crime is how much we hate ourselves. It's good to get really dressed up once in a while and admit the truth: That when you really look closely? People are so strange and so complicated that they're actually. . . beautiful. Possibly even me." - My So-Called Life, inscribed into my birthday card by my sister (who never watched the show but always knows the right thing to say to me)
I had been snowed out on my birthday before. I scolded myself for being self indulgent enough to even have birthday parties still, but really it's the one time of year almost everyone comes out of the woodwork for some reason and I cook my best things and make my best cordials and I think, this is what it means to be happy, just as long as we're together. I can hold onto these memories for the rest of the year and as the year goes on, all my petty grievances about the day will melt away and I will simply remember music and laughter and be reassured that we can all still pull it together even if it's just for a night....
What is an intention candle?
An intention candle is similar to a vision board in that you use collage as a way to visually communicate and affirm your ideas. It is different than a vision board in that it is not specifically intended to manifest your vision, but instead to offer your purest intentions. Imbolc is a perfect time of year to create one, as we continue to incubate ideas in the deepness of winter, while beginning to prepare for the growth and change of spring.
An intention candle sets forth your intentions. How do you want to experience yourself? What do you want to offer to others? What do you want to share? How do you wish to move in the world? What do you want to celebrate? What do you want to share about yourself?
Each lighting of the candle throughout the year serves as a reaffirmation of your intentions. I use mine to focus and to create sacred space. Lighting it is my signal to myself that I am going to do focused, sacred, centered work.
It's one of our people's oldest and most sacred symbols.
If anything could lay claim to the status of "universal pagan symbol," this might well be it.
Yet in Pagandom at large, they're few and far between.
The Sun Wheel. The Sun Cross. The Wheel Cross.
The equal-armed cross in a circle. It's the Sun. It's the Wheel. It's the coincidence of harmonious opposites. Male and female. Rounded and straight. Rectilinear and curvilinear. Up and down. Horizontal and vertical. Movement and stillness. Technology and Nature. Heaven and Earth.
In the Sun Wheel, Time and Space meet and embrace: the world with its four quarters, the year with its four seasons.
Such a deep and ancient symbol. Wherever has it gone?