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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Cannon_Beach_02.jpgWhile the Vanir are always present in the world around us, I personally tend to feel Them the most strongly in that liminal space when the seasons change: Nerthus when fall becomes winter, Freya when winter becomes spring, Frey when spring becomes summer... and Njord when summer becomes fall.

This is the time of year when depending on where you live, it's still warm enough to be comfortable, but the oppressive heat of summer starts to fade, and the rains come or will be coming soon.  As the land mellows, I feel Njord's gift of serenity, water after fire, which will later wash color into the world.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Vegan Pagan - Introduction

In the next several weeks, I'll be discussing intersections between veganism and Paganism. As a long-time vegan, animal rights activist and wildlife rescuer, I believe I can bring a perspective to the discussion that might be helpful to vegans and non-vegans alike. But before I do that, I think it's important to lay some groundwork, and that's what this entry is all about.

First, I'd like you to check in with your body and your emotions right now. Take a breath and ask yourself if reading the last paragraph left your neck, shoulders or any other part of your body feeling tight or tense. Consciously release those muscles. Give 'em some love. Now ask your mind, heart and gut if they've thrown up any defenses to the topic at hand. Acknowledge those defenses, if they exist, and remind yourself that you are ultimately in control of your body, your mind and your words. You don't have to let anything in that you don't want to explore, and you don't have to let anything out that hurts others. Now take another breath. Thanks, and good on ya.

I began with that exercise because many people have strong, negative reactions to veganism, and that's okay. It's a mighty challenging subject. That said, I don't want for this space to be about offense and defense. Yes, I believe in what I'm writing about, and yes, I'll be writing about some challenging things. But I'm first and foremost a fellow traveler on the path, and I'm not here to pass judgement on your plate. I'm also not here to be the recipient of reactionary discourse. So let's be kind to one another around this topic, even when we disagree.

For those of you who plan to comment on this series, there's one other thing I'd like you to do. You might not know this, but vegans are asked the same sorts of questions all the time, so often that there are many articles on the Internet devoted to listing and answering them. So before you ask a 'What about...?' question in the comments, please peruse the fine selection of links below. No disrespect, but I won't be answering those questions here if they should pop up.

Song A Day #810: Vegan Myths Debunked WATCH ME FIRST!
Simple Answers to Vegan FAQs
A response to typical comments vegans hear from non-vegans.
Vegan Outreach - Frequently Asked Questions

Above all, I ask that you hang in there with me while we have this discussion. Pretend you're in my house eating an awesome chocolate chip cookie and drinking the finest tea my prodigious tea cabinet has to offer. Pretend you have strong opinions and I have strong opinions, but we want to keep eating these cookies and drinking this tea because they rock and we want to be friends. Thank you.

Last, but not least, I offer you the beautiful, inspirational and amazing "Vegan Pagan Prayer" written by one of our fellow travelers on the path, Dianne Sylvan. Go read it. You won't be sorry.

I'll see you next month.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Remembering Sparky T. Rabbit (1954-2014)

 

Remembering Sparky 

A Rite of Memorial

and

Crossing the River

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Anxiety and the Black God

A friend of mine hosted the Lughnasadh celebration for our multi-tradition ritual group, and she asked me if I’d help her out and take some speaking parts. I accepted, and I made sure to go over my lines before we gathered. We even practiced together before the ritual began, which should have meant that I was prepared for my cues and that the script should have flowed smoothly and beautifully.

Only it didn’t because naturally I missed my cue and had to stumble to find my place and get the ritual back on track while everyone waited patiently for me to get my act together. I was a little embarrassed of course, but no one really minded (or if they did they were gracious and didn’t make me feel bad.) But I’ve been thinking about this moment a lot since the ritual, held at the end of July. Maybe I missed my cue because I just wasn’t paying attention and I’m easily distracted, but I’d like to think that I missed my cue because the ritual was actually working, that the message our talented hostess was trying to share with the group was coming across to me loud and clear.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Date with a Tree

I love rituals. I mean, I really love rituals. I'm enchanted by the very act of drawing a temenos line between this moment and that moment. Time itself seems to stand still or speed up or shift in some way that doesn't seem quite congruent with the way I understand the universe to usually work on an otherwise ordinary Monday afternoon. I find there's a fluidity of speech and movement. The words and actions take on a life of their own as if they themselves are animated for the sole purpose of co-creating this exact moment of devotion.

I've found that effective ritual practices don't have to be elaborate or on a grand scale. Although, let me just say that I'm partial to a thrumming mass of Pagan-type folk all gathered together for the expressed purpose of being in consensual ritual practice together. I've had the pleasure to attend and help create the magic for the annual Reclaiming Spiral Dance in San Francisco, which is now in its 35th year. There's a variety of rituals from every imaginable Pagan tradition at events like Pantheacon. I thoroughly enjoy being a little thrown off by rituals that use a different lexicon than my own tradition; rituals that have their own distinct meter and rhythm.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Niceville City LimitI was going to write about something related but different in my next column.  But I read Shauna Aura Knight’s excellent post about her stance on the Frosts this morning, and the controversy she has encountered has encouraged me to change focus.  It seems to me that much of the criticism and condemnation boils down to, "She's not playing nice."  Well, here's the problem with "niceness."  I must tread carefully to protect privacy so much of my language is deliberately vague.

One of our tradition members – an initiate of an initiate – contacted my husband and priest.  She said that her teenage daughter had told her that her husband had sexually abused her.  The couple have been married for many years; the girl in question is the man’s daughter genetically.  The mother was, quite understandably, in tears.  She wanted to know what she should do.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Shauna Aura Knight also posted a related post some time ago on her blog, I just saw. Here's the link: http://paganactivist.com/20
  • T-Roy
    T-Roy says #
    Let me mention that that 'niceness' may also have been part of why that man stuck around long enough to be caught. Such men tend t

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Element of Water: May You Never Thirst

This is the third of a series of posts about how I relate to the elements in the Southern Hemisphere living on the western coast of Australia; this time, we are going To Dare and explore the element of Water. Previously, I called in Fire, in the North.

I've always wanted to be a mermaid. There was just something so appealing about it. I never actually watched The Little Mermaid as a child, weirdly enough as a kid who grew up in the 1980s and 90s, that boat sailed right by me. However I have always been enchanted by the 'seaside', and I have lived within a short drive or a short walk away from the beach my whole life. I am lucky enough to be on the doorstep of the Indian Ocean, and have ready access to some of the world's most beautiful beaches. I used to run down to the beach in the hot summers as a lanky 14 year old with my body board in tow and the waves I used to catch when I was by myself makes me shake my head with bewilderment today. Somewhere I found my fear as an adult; perhaps it was one too many times getting dumped by the waves into the harsh sandbar.

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