Native women of the Indigenous nations on Turtle Island (what is now called the contiguous United States)—along with their sisters around the world—may not often make it onto the front page of the New York Times, but they are nevertheless the center of their nations. Although the stereotype of “Pocahontas-type” Indian women still prevails in mainstream American culture, Indigenous women today hold their nations, traditions, and peoples together, as they have always done. From starting international networks to foundations and collectives to engaging in social activism and political movements to organizing classes and language schools, Indigenous women are active in their communities. They act, petition, march, and pray to protect the Earth Mother from further destruction, and perpetuate their ancient values, practices, and ceremonies through the time-honored traditions of their nations. They write books, music, and produce films. They teach at colleges and work in factories. Native women are everywhere in America—every walk of life, every state in the union, of every political persuasion and religion. Indigenous women may be a relatively hidden demographic in America, but that could not be farther from the reality of Indigenous nations.
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In order to change we must facilitate change. Change doesn't just come, no matter how much we desire it. Change is often painful, jarring us out of a comfortable, though dissatisfying existence, forcing us into molds that don't fit who we are, but will eventually turn us into who we wish to be. Change in our lives is not the gracefully seamless flow of color and scent we see in nature as the Wheel turns around us. Do trees suffer as they burst from summer's green to autumn's golden splendor? How does the goldenrod and the Michaelmas daisy feel as their colors brighten beneath the cooling autumn sun? Of course we can't know; nature's children keep their secrets to themselves.
It often seems that as much as we welcome change we are at the same time resisting it, fighting and forcing it back until opportunity has passed us by, only to leave us wondering what went wrong and wishing our circumstances (or we) could change. Why is this so, I wonder? I am as guilty of it as anyone, and like most others I recognize it, yet I still have to consciously remind myself that what I am doing (or am meant to be doing) really is to my own benefit, regardless of how much I detest it. Case in point: that excruciating half an hour on my elliptical machine every day, that half an hour I skipped this morning and will no doubt try my best to avoid doing tomorrow even though I know exercise is healthy for me, and if I want to do a 5K color run next summer I need to begin training now....
Fear. We’re in it all the time. The cancer patients I teach, friends on the financial edge, my husband who has nightmares. A disturbing childhood vision--an intruder climbing a ladder to his room but somehow never reaching the sill--means he hates to be alone in the house.
I don’t fear death or burglars, just failure and ferris wheels. But that’s been enough to affect many life choices. I don’t drive or have a career (or enjoy amusement parks). I lead classes and ritual, but both make me sweat. I imagine my friends rolling their eyes as I seek reassurance for something I’ve done a hundred times before....
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....
English: the sacred language of the Witches.
“Solstice” and “equinox” are fine old words with a rolling, Latinate solemnity to them, but to my ear they have a rather clinical sound. Wishing someone a happy Equinox always sounds a little stilted to me. When I'm snugged up in bed with another guy, we're probably not going to talk about “penises.” Chances are, if we're talking, we'll use something a little more intimate instead.
A while back I sat down with my friend Ro (“Granny”) NicBourne to see what we could come up with. We pulled my old grad school Anglo-Saxon dictionary off the shelf and gave it a look-see.
Happy Equinox! (It's so fun that the whole planet shares this holiday!) Today our Airy Monday feed focuses on archaeology and space science, with revelations from Greece, European ancestors, Venus figurines, Mars exploration and the wonders of studying space. Enjoy your Monday!
Anyone who follows Greek archaeology will enjoy these recent revelations from a mysterious tomb at Amphipolis....