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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in holiday

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Why I No Longer Celebrate Freyfaxi

Freyfaxi is an American Asatru holiday based on the American Wiccan holiday Lammas. Lammas means loaf mass, that is, a holiday celebrating harvest and the baking of loaves of bread. It is generally celebrated on August 1st.  In the early days of American Asatru, Asatruars borrowed Lammas from Wicca and then tried to find an appropriate heathen name for it. They knew that in ancient times, heathens regarded the horse an an appropriate animal for sacrifice. They found the name of a horse in the lore and named the holiday after the horse. 

I have been reading The Sagas of the Icelanders and just read the one about the horse. The name of that story is the Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgodhi. The story is a tragedy, in that Hrafnkel brought about his own downfall through his tragic flaw of rashness. Hrafnkel swore a rash oath to kill any man who rode his stallion Freyfaxi, whom he had dedicated to Freyr. Someone rode the horse, and Hrafnkel killed the man. Hrafnkel was outlawed for it. He lost his chieftanship / priesthood, his land, and the horse, too. 

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Taking fifteen minutes—or less—to plan your autumn and winter can make all the difference.

 

As you will see, I’m not suggesting the all-too-common, hyperactive, overly-ambitious, unrealistic agenda that leaves you exhausted and makes you want to rip your hair out.

 

If you view the modern holiday season as a non-Pagan concern and therefore see no reason to make plans, consider the following.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Pagan Do Not Labor Day Picnic

I've always strongly felt that "Labor Day" should read, "Do Not Labor Day," on the calendar. In fact, I usually mark it as such on my own and in my planner. Besides celebrating the hard-earned rights of workers, that is what this holiday is all about, right? We all need some relaxation time – to give ourselves permission to do nothing except decompress. This weekend, besides a small birthday lunch for my brother, I plan on celebrating the season finale of "Twin Peaks: The Return." I will do this with a bottle of, as Gordon Cole would exclaim, "fine Bordeaux!" Aside from that, what else can we Pagan-minded folk partake in, that is both relaxing and none-too-taxing? Well –

There's nothing quite like the simple joy of a picnic on a pretty day that brings your breathing rate right back to normal. Go on a short hike first and by all means, enjoy the last hurrah of summertime. A romantic picnic for two could make it all the less stressful. If you should start feeling frisky in a secluded spot in the woods, who am I to stop you (wink).

You can always pack the easy go-tos, such as fresh fruit, veggies, and various sandwiches. If you feel like upping your picnic game though, one of my favorite French chefs, Daniel Boulud, has some great suggestions for doing just that. If you must have your sandwiches, try his take on this staple, referred to as, "pain surprise." This would be a loaf of hollowed out wheat bread, stuffed with cream cheese and smoked salmon – what's not to love about that? Or how about Boulud's idea of dessert: An apricot puff pastry tart with three cheeses to choose from! For more Chef Boulud inspirations, follow the links listed at the end of this article.

Most importantly, bring plenty of hydrating liquids, "con gas or sin gas." A little mineral water always makes a simple occasion feel more festive to me – also more in touch with my European roots. If it floats your boat too, by all means, go for it. So chillax, already. Times like these are rare indeed. Set aside one day not to do work of any kind. No housework, no homework, no take home office projects. We should seize these rare excuses not to labor away. We should soak them up to savor while we can, in low-key style.

References:

http://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/slideshow/daniel-boulud-perfect-french-picnic
http://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/article/daniel-boulud-picnic
Photo by nenetus at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Candle to Light the Way

Growing up, my mother used to have white candles in the every window at Christmas time.  I remember loving how it looked.  Our traditions was different from most of the other people I know.  

Christmas eve my siblings and I went to the barn with my father.  Cows were milked, fed, tended.  None of us could go to the house.  We weren't allowed to go outside to play.  We all had to stay in the barn while the chores were being done.  My mother stayed in the house.  As an adult, I know she was prepping the house, gifts, and stockings for us.  As a child I thought it was magical.  

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
HOLIDAY PARTY ON ICE

An odd mix of emotions can flood us during the stretch between the Winter Solstice and the coming New Year. Missing those who we have lost, fretting about what we haven't yet accomplished, or just feeling blue about finances in general can all be commonplace. Sometimes the best remedy for this is breaking out of your normal routine and challenging your safety zone. I've always been a better roller skater than an ice skater, but my weak ankles won't keep me from doing my best at a cold winter rink.

Whether outdoors or in, just the clean fresh sound of those blades cutting their way through the ice is enough to wake up your senses and reenergize you. Many rinks offer their ice for free, and only charge for skate rental. For ideas of where to visit, check out my list of Midwest area resources below. If you have your own pair of blades collecting dust in the basement, all the better reason to clean them off and get going. Bundle you and your adventurous buddies up and glide around for at least an hour. Ice skating offers a lot of healthy benefits, according to Bonnie Schiedel at besthealthmag.ca. It's a low-impact sport, and good for strengthening your balance. Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid a stiff fall on your tailbone. If you do feel yourself starting to topple, it is safer to do so on your side, protecting the back of your head and your aforementioned butt. Don't worry about spinning out or looking silly. You're all in this together, and you never worried about that as a kid, right? Did you know that ice skating can burn a minimum of 387 calories, if you stay out for that whole hour? All the better reason to grab a Rum Hot Toddy or Irish Coffee after. If you haven't gotten your fill of cool treats for the night, indulge in one of those naughty spiked ice cream drinks, like a Grasshopper. Green crème de menthe equals a little cup of holiday heaven.

Resources:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/the-fitness-benefits-of-ice-skating

http://county.milwaukee.gov/RedArrow11930.htm?docid=11930

http://thepettit.com/public-skate/

http://madisonice.maxgalaxy.net/Schedule.aspx?ID=5&GUID=c01e0143-2d57-4b00-86f1-4c041eca0663

http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/millennium_park10.html

http://www.thedepotminneapolis.com/ice-rink.php

http://www.claytonmo.gov/page392.aspx

http://www.bryantscocktaillounge.com/Home.html

"White Countryside" photo by dan at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Yule Tarot Tree

Much magick is born in the moment of necessity. This month, my immediate need was to find something interesting to entertain and enlighten my monthly community tarot group.

I don’t always like to take credit for my great ideas, because often they don’t feel like my own. Often, they feel like a gift from the Universe.

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Ahimsa Grove: Vegan Pagan Thanksgiving Food, Family, and Gratitude

 

Like the Sabbat of Mabon, the secular holiday of Thanksgiving gives us a chance to sit down with loved ones and enjoy a meal. The bounty of the table is essentially an altar where the abundance in all aspects of our lives is symbolized. It may be bounty that we have, or bounty that we aspire to. Vegan Pagans add the component to this ritual of aspiring to be deeply aware of where each recipe ingredient comes from. Though we are as imperfect in this pursuit as everyone else, we seek to practice harmlessness toward others. Therefore a turkey’s body will not be at the center of our altar. We will seek to eliminate other animal-derived products, as well. Many of us will also take fair trade and other consumer issues into consideration. Is it all too overwhelming?

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