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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Finding Communion in Mixed Company

Sometimes, where we least expect it, we can find spiritual communion.  This isn't my usual monthly post with tips and advice, but perhaps this anecdote has something to offer you, as it did me.

It was my birthday about two weeks ago, and though I wasn't planning a birthday party, the gathering planned for testing my new fire pit and grill ended up being scheduled the weekend after.  It seemed a good time: just after my thirty-sixth, just before Mabon.  I was surprised when I did a head count from R.S.V.P.s that we were expecting up to twenty-seven people, something our house isn't used to accommodating, but I was determined to make it work.

Then, the morning of the gathering, my one year old had sniffles, and not knowing whether it was an on-coming cold or just an allergy, I posted a quick update to my guests.  In under three hours, I had fifteen cancellations (understandable) and a fridge crammed full of food I'd bought and prepped specifically to feed the large guest list (unexpected).

By the start time, I wasn't sure anyone was coming, though I went to build a fire anyway.  Then someone showed up: a friend from university I hadn't seen since I'd graduated.  We sat alone together and carried on small talk, while I felt first embarrassed at not having anyone else there and then embarrassed because I didn't know what I was doing.  I'd never grilled before, nor had I done so by starting a wood fire outdoors.  (Can you tell I work mostly with water and earth?) As I'd expected other witches there, some far more experienced with fire who could give me a boost, and maybe join in a touch of spirit-calling to welcome the fire, I felt wholly out of my -- pardon the pun -- element.

My friend started giving advice from his own experiences camping, and we tried to implement them together.  Shortly after, one of my dearest friends arrived, bringing along his mother, whom I knew from online conversations, and his brother whom I knew not at all.

Feeling a little relieved, we proceeded to acquaint ourselves to one another while discussing the best way to start a fire.  As it turned out, two of the guests including my friend's brother, were experts.  Together, they worked to both encourage the smoldering wood and to teach me how to work with fire in a practical way I'd not learned before.

Though there were a few bumps in the process -- and one very stubborn sweet potato that refused to cook -- after two hours of talk and finesse with fire, we had all managed to enjoy a host of delectable, locally-grown vegetables and meats grilled by our own hands.

What's more, we created camaraderie through the evening's adventure that led to a natural moment of reverent silence between us.  Though each of us were from different backgrounds and honoring different traditions, the silence became a communion in which, serene and smiling, we found spiritual connection.


For several breaths, without intent to guide it there, our small group became one -- with each other, the food, the fire, and the night.  The embarrassment and disappointment I'd felt earlier in the day had burned away, and leaving a spiritual community created just for the purpose of one evening and to teach me an important lesson.

Though my usual band of friends who share in similar spiritual pursuits were unable to join with me that evening, I learned that no matter who I'm with, it's possible to create a supportive, spiritual community whenever needed.  Our paths need not be the same, only the willingness to sit with one another, share in the simple joys, and open our hearts to the possibility of communion.

Thus were my needs met that night, and I realized, have been at every point in my life when I needed connection of this sort.  This event helped me recognize and appreciate the abundance and connection we bring to one another, and all it took was sharing a fire.

Of course, it's been a week now, and despite a lot of creativity, our fridge is still burgeoning with food.  What a blessed challenge to have!

May your Mabon and harvest be as abundant!

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The Element of Fire: Passion, Creation and Ignition

This is the second of my series of posts on how I connect to the elements from a Southern Hemisphere perspective living on the western coast of Australia. Previously, I called in Air, in the East.

I now turn to the North, and call in passion, creation, desire, heat: I call to you, o Fire! Standing in the circle, we have already established a sense of presence in the breath of life, the whisper is on the winds, the intention is set, the inspiration has arrived. Fire is called next as it now has the Air to breathe, to ignite a sense of drive into what we do in this space, a flurry of sparks: let's turn that whisper into a roar. 

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Creating Sacred Space with Pagan Prison Inmates – III

Next Steps

Now that we have the banners, we await other supplies, primary among them being incense.

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Goddess Pele Paola Suarez

 

Fire-- the element we celebrated this year at Where Womyn Gather! In my June 13th Full Moon Share I wrote about how this year’s fire energy allowed me to work on my relationship to anger. Yet the fire energy manifested for me in other ways as well-- through love and courage.

I loved the fiery hugs I received from sisters dressed in reds, yellows, oranges and golds! Love for my sisters at festival-- many of whom I only see in person at this time.  Love for the sacred space created on that beautiful land as I prayed in the sweat lodge. Love for new found friends as I met sisters for the first time who I had previously only known virtually. So much love for my Goddess Sister tribe!

So much love. Love and courage-- freely given and received for 4 magical days.

I found the courage to speak up for myself and make my needs known! Courage witnessed in sisters sharing their stories-- in the Red Tent Temple, the Sweat Lodge, or while I painted their bodies. Courage to facilitate my Connect to Your Inner Fire workshop. Courage to hold sacred space for sisters who journaled, cried, shared and connected to powerful parts of themselves. Goddess sisters who gifted me the courage to continue on my calling, knowing I am making a difference!

Gratitude-- something we celebrate every year at Where Womyn Gather! Gratitude for the opportunities to experience love and courage in the sacred sister space. Gratitude for continued opportunities to offer my Connect to Your Inner Fire workshop. Gratitude for fire-- fire that feeds the love in my heart. Gratitude for fire-- fire in my belly lighting my path.

Our circle is open but never broken sisters. I let go with love and light. Blessings to you my Goddess sister tribe! ❤

 

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How I became a Pagan #4 - Pentecost and Solstice Fires

 

The fog is thick and cold and I can smell the fire before I see it. Flames are lapping up tendrils of wet air. Robed figures stand solemnly around the fire. Then the ritual begins. A procession of the cross, red ribbons, and drums starts down the hill.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joyce ORourke
    Joyce ORourke says #
    I truly enjoyed your experience and the fact that you speak and write about them is owning to your personal truth. It is through y
  • Ilyssa Silfen
    Ilyssa Silfen says #
    Beautiful, beautiful post! My family is what we lovingly and jokingly call "Diet Jewish," so I was lucky enough not to be raised i

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

It's a crisp night in late October. A friend and I have driven out to the annual “Burning Man Midwest” event that for the past decade or so a local couple has hosted at their place in rural Wisconsin. A stiff breeze is blowing out of the northwest. We process through the woods with jack o' lanterns, and circle up around the Wicker Man.

He's a Cornstalk Man, actually—this is the Midwest, after all—a 25-foot wooden armature covered with bundled cornstalks that we'd harvested earlier that day. As we arrive, we set our pumpkins in a circle around him, at his feet.

The ritual continues, and we all know where it's headed. But Fire has other ideas. From the candles in the jack o' lanterns, the Man lights himself, in several places. The dusty, dry cornstalks kindle with a crackle, and the fires mount alarmingly fast. In a nightmare moment of awe and terror, the separate fires merge into one, and their united voice roars with the terrifying freight-train roar of a tornado.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    For what it's worth, corresponding the elements with the directions goes back at least to Agrippa, and probably further. However,
  • Mabnahash
    Mabnahash says #
    That should be whom I am calling, not who, but I can't edit the comment. Also, after several years of ranting against them as a
  • Mabnahash
    Mabnahash says #
    Michelle- I don't understand what you mean by calling the directions. The compass points are hardly sentient. I certainly invoke a
  • Michelle Simkins
    Michelle Simkins says #
    Mabnahash, I mis-typed. I meant to write "I struggle with calling the elements as if they aren't ever present." I agree that creat
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Michelle. So far as I can tell, the assignment of elements to quarters originates with Eliphas Levi, which isn't very far

His-story. It's dark, and the air is chill--Summer is a'comin in--but not quite yet. You're standing in a circle around a tall, dark object. You can just make out its narrow limbs; arms and legs formed by tightly tied bundles of twigs and straw. Suddenly, flames blaze up. In the crackling firelight you can see the figure at the center of the circle--the Wicker Man.

The lighting of the Wicker Man is a very old tradition that we know little about. Of course, there's the obvious: a Wicker Man is a human figure made out of wicker, straw or twigs, but he's built hollow so that things can be put inside him. But how this tradition started is a bit of a mystery. The ancient people who first built them--the Celts--didn't write about their practices. The first person to actually record anything about Wicker Men was Julius Caesar, and the picture he painted wasn't pretty. He wrote that the Celts created huge, human-shaped wicker figures, and inside they would put small animals, grains and slaves (yes, people), to be burned inside as an offering to the gods.

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