Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Snow Has Arrived

I woke up this morning, got ready, and heard the kiddo go, “Oh, it snowed!”  Then came the scraping of plows clearing the parking lot across the street.  I knew it was supposed to snow, but hearing about it and getting your jeans wet are two different things.  The snow came down heavy and wet, still stuck to cars and roads hours after it stopped falling.

I’m ready for winter, but not for snow.

Persephone is snuggly tucked away under the earth, wielding her terrifying power with grace.  The seeds are tucked into the earth, blanketed under the fallen leaves.  The land is ready to sleep and the light is disappearing a little more every day. 

I am ready for the long, quiet nights with Orion overhead and warm blankets covering my lap, but I am not ready for snow.

The hectic pace of spring and summer has turned into harvest.  I have finished my annual project with my arts group and I am done initiating new projects until spring.  I will take this time to learn from the earth and relax, take stock, and give thanks to what I have harvested.

So with a sigh, I have to get used to the white stuff coating everything and people driving like they’ve never seen it before.  I learned the hard way today to roll up my jeans or tuck them into my socks before I head out into the slushy stuff.

I am not ready for snow.
There are still leaves on that tree!

Monday, October 3, 2011


People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered
Love Them Anyway
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
Do Good Anyway
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies,
Succeed Anyway
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,
Do Good Anyway
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,
Be honest and frank anyway
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight,
Build Anyway
People really need help but may attack you if you help them,
Help People Anyway
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth,
Give the World the Best You've Got Anyway

- Supposedly hung at Shishu Bhavan, a children's home in Calcutta, by Mother Theresa.  The author is unknown.

The above poem was recently used in a service at the UU I attend.  It was done call and response style and created a few chuckles at the 'be honest and frank anyway' line.  I think this might have been one of my favorite parts of the service.  I don't remember coming across this poem before, but it speaks to me, to my choices, and to my morals on a deep level. 

I've long held the belief that giving a stranger a smile can change their outlook on the whole day.  You know those old commercials where one lady would hold a door for a guy, then the guy would save a lady from walking in front of a car, then she would help do something else?  That's the sort of thing I'm talking about.  One little act adds up to a lot. 

Maybe it's not a calling like serving in the Peace Corp, but it is a calling.  Each time, I can feel the crossroads in front of me and I feel a moment of pleasure at serving.  It really doesn't take much either - a few quick steps to grab the door first, picking up the piece of trash I see by my feet, telling the cashier to have a nice day.  Yeah, it sounds like a lot of peace, love, and hippy stuff (and I've never said I wasn't), but this is the way I want to be treated.  I would rather have someone recognize that I am a human being, here in this place, at this moment, than just walk on by.

This is my compulsion to serve.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ahh Godzilla!

I’m a Cancerian, a Crab, born in the summer months under the Zodiac sign of Cancer.  That means my emotions are pretty changeable, like the water, they twist and turn in a moment.  It also means that all that twisting is done behind a thick shell so no one can see it.  We’re difficult that way.  While I’m used to changing emotions, a few weeks ago, I went off the deep end.

For a few days in a row, I came home from work and was filled with frustration and anger.  The kiddo was parked upside down in front of the TV and it didn’t look like he had moved in ages.  There was a cereal bowl in my clean sock basket.  Put together, these things should make me upset, yes, but not Grr Argh, Godzilla attacks Tokyo outbursts.  I couldn’t figure out why I was so upset.

Then I remembered what we had just read in Twelve Wild Swans.  My spirituality group had just gotten to the part about breaking wicked vows and letting go of things.  I came to the realization that my craziness wasn’t all the kiddo, it was mostly me. 

Work had been a big frustration.  I wasn’t focusing and I was feeling like I was lazy and wasn’t getting anything done.  Then I would go home, exhausted mentally and physically, and feel horrible for not getting my gigantic To Do list done.  When I saw the kiddo being a kid in summer, I transferred all my frustrations to him and Godzilla stepped on buildings.

The next day, I went to work, took a deep breath, and focused on doing what needed to be done, not what I couldn’t control.  I went home and got three things accomplished immediately.  It was so much better once I recognized where the overwhelming feelings were coming from. 

Now I just need to make the time to do the ritual in the book and hopefully I can continue to keep Godzilla at bay.  No promises that there won’t be a little Grr Argh.  After all, he did put a dirty cereal bowl in my clean socks…

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Golden Apple

After writing the post about how I recognized Eris was still in my life, I had a few experiences to verify it.  First, while trying to pack for camping for Lammas, I couldn't find anything.  Normally, it's the gnomes, but this felt more like Eris and I've been feeding the gnomes spare change pretty regularly.

Then I went to Goodwill and look what I found...

A freaking golden apple.  Seriously?  Yes, seriously.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  It was only 59 cents and immediately came home with me.  I may be oblivious to most signs, but this one I figured out pretty quickly.

It was filled with really old potpourri and I spent the five minutes in line trying to figure out how to get it out.  I finally figured it out, though, and I'm pretty happy about it.  The gold part with the leaves and stem pops off the top.

Noumenia and an Anniversary

It’s been a month or two, but I finally lit a candle for the gods yesterday for Noumenia.  I didn’t do the whole ritual, but at least I made an effort. 

August 1st, Lammas, is my anniversary.  It’s the first ritual I remember performing as a Pagan and I’ve used it as my anniversary for fourteen years now.  My religion is older than my kiddo but I still feel like such a novice.  Most of those years probably had only one or two rituals done and long, long stretches of time where nothing was done.  I need to remember, however, that just because I don’t always do the magical side of my religion doesn’t mean I’m not a Pagan.

To me, Paganism is a religion.  I’ve always held the gods in my heart and head.  I feel that jumping up and down at the wonder of a rainbow or the electric green of spring is an acceptable form of worship.  I see the wonder of the world around me, I pick up trash and use reusable things, I try to walk my talk, and that makes me a Pagan, not just how well versed I am in casting a circle.

In this new month, as the moon grows and changes overhead, I am not going to devote myself to my path or try to get back into it.  I am going to remember that this is my path.  No matter where my feet lead me or how many rituals I miss, I am still a Pagan and the gods surround me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chaos in Motion

I had a thought the other day.  One I think has tried to make itself known and gone unnoticed until now.  I was thinking about how everyone needed some form of chaos in their lives in order to grow and change.  Without a challenge, situations and people stagnate and stay the same.  I believe I need to challenge myself in my religion, writing, and everyday life in order to grow into the person I’m supposed to be. 

My life goes from chaos to order and back again.  That’s why I never buy planners.  Within two months, the system no longer works for me and I need to change how I handle the different aspects going on. 

I’ve always thought this was a reason I like Persephone so much.  She changes everything over and over again.  She descends and rises, making do with what she has and leaving it all so that she can start over again.  Every time I fall I learn something new, some new way of looking at the world, some new way of living.

My thought the other day went like this:  Oh.  Eris is the change.  Persephone shows me how to deal with it.  Why the hell didn’t I think of that earlier?  No wonder chaos has been beating me over the head.

You see, I was introduced to the Principia Discordia and Discordianism back when I was a young Pagan.  I used to have a backpack with Kallisti written on one strap and Peace on the other.  I frequently would say “All Hail Eris” and I made myself a Pope.  But as I grew up, I left my wild goddess in search of a serious take on Paganism.

Now, I realize I was wrong. 

I need the spark of Eris in my life – we all do – in order to grow past my boundaries.  She is the spark that drives us to challenge ourselves.  She thrusts us into the wilds and teaches us how to live, to adapt, to become.  She’s been there the whole time I just haven’t seen her.

And so I hail Eris once again, and hope she won’t find me too interesting (or boring!).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Donating to My Future

I recently donated to the Sacred Paths Center although I am not in Minnesota and I am doubtful I will ever make it up to Paganistan.  Why, then, did I donate?  I did it because I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, and because they didn’t plead with me for it.

The site for Sacred Paths says it all, “There are thousands of us here in the Twin Cities metro, and among us all, we can’t give $3000 a month to keep that banner standing open. What does that say—really say—about “Pagan Community”?”  The SPC have made a stand and are challenging the Pagan community to stop talking and start doing.

I could say they should have started smaller, with a lower overhead and less things going on.  $3000 a month does sound like outrageous rent to me, but I’m not from that area.  I could say I don’t have enough to donate.  After all, I am a single mom struggling to get out of debt. I could say that I will never go visit. 

Instead, I donated $10.

The center is a community center, a place that is wholly Pagan and sacred.  It isn’t a meeting room at the UU or a shelter at a park.  It is a visible, tangible place where Pagans can be Pagans and leave the sacred altar flame alight.  It is a place where other religions can see we are dedicated to our faith and here to stay.

I long for such a temple here in Central Iowa.  If I cannot support Pagan community elsewhere, how am I to support it at home?  Who else is going to want to put forth the effort to make a physical place for Pagans when Paganistan cannot keep one going?  What hope is there my Iowan temple if they can’t do it?  Therefore, I put my money in a cause I believe in. 

If ten people like me donate $10 each, that’s a $100.  But more importantly, that’s ten people willing to give of themselves to see our community grow and thrive.  That’s ten people invested in the future of our faith.