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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

 

THE TRADITIONAL WITCH’S CALENDAR:  1-7th FEBRUARY

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Witches and the Law

You might have seen recent news from South Africa about the Witchcraft Suppression Act (Act 3) currently under review by the South African Law Reform Commission. After 8 years of deliberation between the Commission, Witches, Pagans and Traditional Healers, the Commission has found that certain provisions of Act 3 contravene the South African Bill of Rights and the Act, a relic of a former colonial age, is unconstitutional.

In February 2007, as director of the SA Pagan Rights Alliance, I initiated an appeal against Act 3 on the grounds that it criminalized an already constitutionally protected religious minority (Witches and Wiccans). In 2008 my appeal for review was supported by the SA Pagan Council and the Traditional Healers Organization.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Shades of Winter: the Magick of Imbolc

I was driving to an Imbolc circle this weekend, through frozen drizzle. Imbolc, the Celtic fire festival, falls halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. As such, the day was perfect for celebrating it. It was very cold, and there was a stiff, icy wind out of the northeast, as the leading edge of a huge snow storm was just blowing in. The force of Winter, its power, was on full display in the roiling ocean of clouds above my head, socking us in a dense, icy fog. The mountains are obscured, the horizon is lost, and color has faded from everything. The landscape is white, the bare trees are jet black, the clouds above every shade of gray—granite, ink, mist, oyster, pewter, pearl. This is deep Winter, Winter at its starkest.

And yet—there would be a break in the wind, and the air felt soft. There was a break in the clouds and a tiny shred of pale blue sky peaked out, Springlike and bright. The gap would close, and the wind would start up again, and that brief glimpse into the coming Spring would disappear.

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Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, February 2

How do you cope with menstruation if you're homeless? What does Denmark's new law say about refugees? And how was it that Taiwan's pro-independence opposition finally triumphed over the Kuomintang? These details and more for Fiery Tuesday, our weekly segment on political and societal news from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Preparation and Change

So this morning, the groundhog said we're going to have an early Spring. Later today, I heard claps of thunder for the first time in months, and the rain washed away all of the salt on my SUV. I started with a new agency a couple weeks ago, and I am now designated as "pre-license", as I am studying to move forward as a real estate broker. Ron even got me a new phone as a congratulations present - just the one I wanted but was holding off until I made more money. (I closed on my first lease with the new company yesterday!)

It has indeed been a whirlwind of preparation and change, which is just how I see the season. All year long, animals like squirrels store up food to get them by through the winter. By the time Winter arrives, a squirrel who did a great job will have the problem of too much of a good thing. They will bury nuts all over the forest, forgetting where many of them are buried. The following Spring, that mistake can become a blessing in disguise - planting unintentional seeds. Preparation and change. I hadn't planned on switching agencies as quickly as I did, but it was time to do so. The groundhog didn't plan on anything other than waking up this morning. El Niño is probably attributing to lots of change, including the storms around here instead of a blizzard. And yes, for people who pay attention to politics, a relatively no-name did a great job in Iowa. (Disclaimer: I am not much into politics, but that doesn't mean I don't pay attention.)

The thing is, the world is in a constant state of change. Some changes are subtle, like the first tiny knobs on a tree branch. Some changes are wildly noticeable, such as the first morning you step outside and see green grass everywhere after months of brown and white. How I handle the changes, big and small, determines where my life will go. It's certainly easier for me to adapt than it is for someone who's starting from nothing, or someone who has more hurdles. I just remind myself I know people personally who were given every opportunity, but because they were not able to adapt to change, they have problems I have a hard time envisioning for myself

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Vegan Imbolc: Putting Plant Foods “In the Belly”

 

Imbolc is one of my favorite Sabbats. Here in Maine, it may not always seem like there is any sign of spring. But Imbolc helps us to remember that, especially the way that time flies, it will be here before we know it. Deep in the belly of mother earth, the wave of new life prepares and takes root. This time of very early germination reminds us to take some time and focus on the preparation and planning key to starting new endeavors. What do we need to spend our time on, while we are cooped up inside, so we can get a jump on the very first blessings of warmer weather? Because of this “new beginnings” aspect of the Sabbat, I see Imbolc as a very hopeful time.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Groundhog He Say

Minneapolis, Groundhog's Day 2016. It's a snow sky, sunless and white: there's a big blizzard coming.

Thank Goddess.

If you've ever wandered where the song-and-dance routine about the groundhog and his shadow comes from, it's a naturalized American version of some old European folk meteorology.

February 2 marks the mid-point of winter, and supposedly the hibernating animals come out of their hibernacula to reconnoiter. No groundhogs in Europe, so other animals do the job: bears, marmots, hedgehogs.

Traditional weather lore has lots of examples of days whose weather is said to portend what's coming. “If it's sunny on St. Whoozit's Day, the Sun will shine for the next 40 days.” Interestingly, Candlemas Day is the lone example when bad—cloudy—weather portends good weather coming. A cloudy Candlemas predicts only 6 more weeks of winter. (Which brings us, roughly, to the Equinox.) If it's sunny and clear instead, winter will last longer.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    It is nice, but when my family moved back to Richmond in the 70's they didn't bloom until the last week of February/first week of
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Wish I were a cartoonist, Anthony: I'd like to see that one myself. Around here we won't be seeing crocus or maple flowers for (go
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    For some reason I carry the image in my mind of a giant groundhog reaching 12 feet high as it sits on its hind legs wearing a crow

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