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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Sparky T. Rabbit

Posted by on in Culture Blogs



I've already been on the road for half an hour when, not without some inner grousing, I turn the car around and prepare to retrace my trail. That's the nature of sudden epiphany.

I finally know what to do with the rest of Sparky's ashes.


Singer-songwriter Sparky T. Rabbit died in 2014.

A third of his ashes we sent down the Mississippi.

A third have remained with his husband.

The rest I've kept since his death in the urn that will hold my own ashes some day, with no clear idea of what to do with them.

Sudenly, urgently, I know.


Through all the days of our Grand Sabbat, the urn, glazed with swirling patterns of transformation and rebirth, stands at the foot of our camp stang.

Now, on the final morning of the gathering, I carry it down to the circle where the sacred Fire burns: where, the night before, we had reddened the altar with the blood of a god. Having made our final offerings to the Fire, and extinguished it with wine, we follow the Horned up and out of the woods, his rippling flanks dappled with sunlight as he walks.

He waits for us at the edge of the meadow, its long golden grasses starred with white Queen Anne's lace and sky-blue chicory. I present the urn and he takes it tenderly. It nestles like a baby in the crook of his arm.

One final wave, and he turns and walks up the hill. Meadowlarks sing as he reaches the skyline and slowly sinks down into the earth: calves, thighs, buttocks, back, head, tine-tips.

Or maybe he just walks off into the sky.

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Pretty Much Everything That You Really Need to Know About Paganism

Bealtaine 2008, Hidden Falls Park.

Maybe 100 people are gathered in two concentric circles. The Great Man-Woman Dance is about to begin.

Our coven kid, of course, wanted to be in the midst of all the excitement, but at three he was a little small for the dancing, and I didn't want him to get tromped.

As it happens, I was standing in the middle of the circles, leading the singing, so I scooped him up and set him on my shoulders. There he sang along happily, drumming on my chest with his heels, and watched the wheeling of the Men's and Women's Circles, their parting and their coming together.

Afterward, over the food, we discussed.

“The presiding priest spent much of the ritual with a child sitting on his shoulders,” air-reviewed my friend Sparky T. Rabbit.

He laughed, then added:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
No Night Could Be Darker Than This Night

Singer-songwriter Sparky T. Rabbit (1954-2014) wrote this song/chant for Midwinter's Eve at Yule 2010. It is one of the last pieces that he ever wrote.

The words appear here for the first time. It has never been recorded. I come to know it only because it was written as a companion piece for the first public telling of my story Midwest Nativity.

No Night Could Be Darker Than This Night has become a foundational part of our Yule Eve liturgy. We sing it in the dark at the very beginning of the rite; then we kindle the fire.

Simultaneously restrained and shocking, this evocative and poignant song beautifully articulates the stillness and mystery that is Mother Night.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Sent chills up my spine, Steven!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Five-Minute Rule

It's right up there in the pantheon of the good things that life gives us, along with good food, good sex, and good ritual.

Good conversation.

Singer-songwriter Sparky T. Rabbit (1954-2014) was one of the most brilliant conversationalists that I've ever met.

He strictly adhered to what I'll call the Five-Minute Rule.

If you've been talking for five minutes, it's time to shut up and listen.

One of the things that made Sparky such a supple and engaging conversationalist is that he was an active listener. While you were talking, he gave you his full attention, and he was thinking about what you said.

I try to be a good listener. Gods help me, I try.

That's how I've come to realize that much of what passes for conversation isn't actually conversation at all.

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  • WiseCrone
    WiseCrone says #
    I love this! Makes me want to look up more about Sparky T. Rabbit. Thanks for sharing about him.
'For Frith and Year': The Story of Grandfather Sheaf

Listen well, now, for this is the story of Grandfather Sheaf.

Long ago our people lived on the shores of the Northern Sea, and we knew neither bread nor beer, neither brewing nor baking. We hunted and fished and gathered, as our people had always done, since the time of the Great Ice and before.

One day in spring, with the ice newly broken, a ship came slowly to shore: a long ship, with a high, antlered prow. The strange thing was that this ship was completely empty. But going down to meet it, we saw that indeed the ship was not empty, for in it lay a babe, a man-child asleep and naked, and cradled in a shield, and under his head a barley sheaf.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    It's my understanding that even though Hiawatha is an Iroquois folk hero Longfellow borrowed from an ethnographer who was writing
  • Paul B. Rucker
    Paul B. Rucker says #
    I will definitely keep this image in mind. I have a few others that have been incubating, or will be. Is this story Baltic or Nord
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Germanic all the way: Norse and Old English. The story of Shield (OE Scyld) opens Beowulf, in fact.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I think there is a story in Longfellow's Hiawatha were Hiawatha meets a young man in green feathers who wrestles with him. The yo
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    A religious connection to our food sources sure does pop up in tradition after tradition. Where Longfellow might have got his stor

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hearken to the Witches' Runes

We can be virtually certain that the Hwicce, the Anglo-Saxon tribe said (by some) to have given its name and lore to historic witchcraft, knew and used the runes.

They, of course, would have named them in the Mercian dialect of Old English, the language that they spoke every day. It is worth asking what those names might have become had the runes remained in continuous use into our day.

Certainly they would have modernized along with the rest of the language; many of the Anglo-Saxon rune-names have remained part of the living language and are entirely recognizable today. We would expect the names to have retained a certain amount of archaic vocabulary, and also to reflect a certain degree of semantic and phonetic “drift” as well: i.e. to include words whose meanings have changed over the centuries, and whose pronunciations no longer reflect those of Old English.

Since some of my family come from the old Hwiccan tribal territories, I figure I have as much right to the runes as anybody. My entirely personal decision to base this version on the Elder, rather than the Anglo-Saxon, furthorc may offend some rune purists. Oh, well. In my experience (I wrestle with it myself), purism is usually its own punishment.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I was standing at the till of our neighborhood Scandinavian store. (I live in Minneapolis, where we have such things.) The cashier was ringing up my purchase when the cash register ran out of receipt tape.

“This will take just a second,” she said, and began to put a new roll in.

It didn't take just a second. She fiddled and fiddled with it, and the tape just would not go in.

“What's wrong with me today?” she said. “I've done this hundreds of t—“

She stopped. Her squinched features relaxed into understanding. In an undertone, more to herself than to me, she said: “The nisse.”

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