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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 1 blog entry contributed to teamblogs
Dishwater Days: Clearing out the end  of Winter

Towards the very end of Winter, the weather suddenly turns darker. The days have been getting longer, so by early March, there is a lot more daylight. The weather is slowly warming up. There may even be signs of the approaching Spring in birds returning or buds developing on trees. But suddenly a cloudy day no longer has a white or pale gray sky. The clouds are brooding, bruise-colored, dark. The clouds that pour over the mountains on those days are not fluffy and soft. They look dirty, like mop water. I call these dishwater days, the late Winter days when the season has lost all its icy sparkle and it looks as though all the grime and soot from the past three months is being washed away.

Because as thick as the cloud cover is, the clouds get blown away by strong winds, after they dump whatever sleety snow-rain mix they carry, and the whole next day feels fresh and clean. The wind is bracing, not brutal. It suddenly seems easy to think about new possibilities, new ideas. The wind blows through our hair, through our thoughts, sweeps detritus away like a broom.

There is a reason that “spring cleaning” is a time-honored tradition, and that both Lent and Passover traditions codify dietary restrictions that effect a type of cleansing. With the first hints of Spring in the air, we feel the longing to finally cast off the heavy clothes of Winter, we want to throw open the windows and scrub the house down, put coats and boots away for another year. We are waking up from the long slumber of Winter and we want to get cleaned up and get out into the world.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_tightrope-walker-in-moon_20140319-010748_1.jpgThe chart of the Spring Equinox of 2014 is an intense, powerful chart that suggests a strong possibility of a sudden and profound awakening within the country. This chart influences the next three months — until the Summer Solstice — and is cast for Washington, DC, so is predictive for the entire USA.

This chart (find it here, and a bi-wheel with the USA chart here) speaks strongly of ideology run amok — not that we haven’t been seeing enough of that lately in the halls of government, especially here in Appalachia, where Republicans Gone Wild has been the theme recently, and the environment we all live in is paying for their extreme ideology (coal ash, anyone? A cocktail of mystery chemicals? Some tailings from mountain top removal?). I suspect that that there will be strong components of religion and environmentalism in the loud and heated discussions and clashes of ideas that seem inevitable this Spring, not to mention explosive events. We are walking the high wire during this time of the Uranus-Pluto square, and all our focus needs to be on getting to the other side, to a sustainable, life-affirming culture.  

But there’s a strong call to spirituality, ethics and evolution in this chart as well. The conjunction of Mercury and Neptune in Pisces is a magical one, with the magic strengthened by the trine from Jupiter. Mercury is in his detriment in Pisces, which is kind of like being at a party where you don’t know the other people, and you’re not sure you want to. But we can give him something useful to do by directing our minds towards creating visions of a better future using the oceanic awareness of Neptune and Pisces. This is a great opportunity to sharpen and strengthen our meditation and  visualization skills. Magically, work to connect with tutelary spirits should be well-supported. However, there is also a risk of getting lost in fantasy or embroiled in deception, so it’s important to stay grounded and to listen if trusted friends question our judgment.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Crazy-good, as always. Shoo, kitty, you rock this stuff!
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Thank you, Greybeard. Agreed!
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    You are right that its a time for people to wake up. I read today that use of wood for heating fuel has doubled in less than 10 y

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at thirteen I asked give me this

every day of my life

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Springtime Ceilidh

St. Patty's Day can be an odd time of year for we Irish Wiccans and Pagans. On the one hand, the attraction of all things Irish is strong. First there's that stirring fiddle music and the rumble of the drum. The food is mighty tasty, folks are feeling celebratory, and who doesn't like the color of bright, springy green? On the other, who wants to revere a man for driving the "snakes" out of Ireland, a.k.a. the Druids? There is still a spirited scholarly debate regarding how much damage St. Patrick actually did on his own versus the mythic qualities that surround him to this present day. This presents a quandary, but not one insurmountable. I believe that you can partake in festivities in your own way, honoring your Irish heritage. Perhaps this year is one of the most opportune times, when we have the Irish holiday falling within the same week as the Spring Equinox. If you do up a dinner party combining the two, with a focus on some of the more classic Celtic traditions– problem solved!

Take down your favorite celtic knotwork wall hanging and use it as a tablecloth. Hopefully it is nothing you mind cleaning a little spilled food or drink off of. Decorate the table with fresh cut spring flowers, such as daffodils. Invite about 4 to 6 others to join you and pull up a chair. For your menu, think Celtic-eclectic. This is your very own hybrid holiday, after-all.

Had it with tired old corned beef and cabbage? Give this tempting main course a try: 

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Seven or eight years ago, I shocked a large group of my Pagan friends.  I was at a small festival in Oklahoma that happened to take place during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  I was vending and teaching at this festival (as well as performing my first song) and knew most of the attendees very well.  As we were cleaning the dining hall after dinner, I invited everyone down to my vendor table to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a drink of Irish whiskey.  The look of horror on some of their faces was priceless.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Wonderful. I'll remember it and use it perhaps next year.
  • James Taylor
    James Taylor says #
    I literally laughed out loud at this. Thanks Carl, great post.

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