Life in a House of Testosterone!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
(HINT: The correct answer is "absolutely fuck-all". All three songs are survivors from pre-christian solstice celebrations. Every single thing your true love gave to you in Twelve Days is a pagan symbol :)
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
1. Real walks, not "drag-alongs" with someone on their cell phone who isn't paying attention to what they want to stop and sniff as well as outings to dog parks where they can safely run around off leash.
2. The opportunity to bark now and then. People talk all day long, yet dogs are often shushed if they bark even once―even when they're warning that someone's coming to the door.
3. Frequent and prompt bathroom breaks, i.e., don't make your dog wait for you with legs crossed while you brush your teeth and comb your hair first thing in the morning.
4. Veterinary checkups for painful dental problems―something not cool to neglect―as well as fresh, clean water rather than yesterday's.
5. Your time. Don't be a blur, dashing in, changing, and dashing back out again, leaving your dog to stare at the walls for even more hours. Get the ball out and throw it, give tummy rubs, hang out together, and see the first bulleted item above. Provide plenty of "outside" time, even if the weather's bad.
It is important to note that modern day Wiccans, Pagans and Witches generally focus on the major aspect of The One, Goddess and God without breaking deity down into the many subsets shown here.
ANGUS MAC OG (Makohk) ((Ireland)) *God*
One of the Tuatha De Danann. God of youth, love and beauty.
ANU (An-oo) / ANANN / DANA / DANA-ANA ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
Mother Earth, Goddess of fertility, prosperity, comfort.
ARAWN (Ar-awn) ((Wales)) *God*
God of the underground kingdom of the dead. Revenge, terror and war.
ARIANRHOD (Ari-an-rod) ((Wales)) Goddess
Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess. Honored at the full moon, beauty, fertility, reincarnation.
BADB (Bibe) / BADHBH / BADB CATHA ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess in Ireland. Associated with the cauldron, crows and ravens. Life, wisdom, inspiration and enlightenment.
BANBA ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
Part of a triad with Fotia and Eriu. They used magick to repel invaders.
BEL /BELENUS / BELINUS / BELENOS / BELIMAWR ((Ireland)) *God*
Closely connected to the Druids. Science, healing, hot springs, fire, success, prosperity, purification, crops, vegetation, fertility. A sun and fire god.
BLODEUWEDD (blod-oo-eeth) / BLODWIN / BLANCHEFLOR ((Wales)) *Goddess*
The maiden form of the Triple Goddess. Goddess of the earth in bloom, flowers, wisdom, lunar mysteries, initiations.
BOANN (Boo-an) / BOANNAN / BOYNE ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
Goddess of the river Boyne; mother of Angus mac Og.
BRAN THE BLESSED / BENEDIGEIDFRAN (Bran) ((Wales)) *God*
God of prophecy, the arts, leaders, war, the sun, music, writing.
BRANWEN (Bran-oo-en) ((Wales)) *Goddess*
Goddess of love and beauty.
BRIGIT (Breet) / BRID (Breed) / BRIG / BRIGID / BRIGHID ((Ireland, Wales, Spain, France)) *goddess*
Associated with Imbloc. Goddess of fire, fertility, the hearth, all feminine arts and crafts and martial arts. Healing, physicians, agriculture, inspiration, learning, poetry, divination, prophecy, smithcraft, animal husbandry, love, witchcraft, occult knowledge.
CERNUNNOS (Ker-noo-nos) / CERNOWAIN / CERNENUS / HERNE THE HUNTER ((Known to all Celtic areas in one form or another)) *God*
God of nature and all wild things. Virility, fertility, animals, physical love, nature, woodlands, reincarnation, crossroads, wealth, commerce, warriors.
CERRIDWEN / CARIDWEN / CERIDWEN ((Wales)) *Goddess*
Goddess of nature. Death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, magick, astrology, herbs, science, poetry, spells, knowledge.
CREIDDYLAD / CREUDYLAD / CORDELLIA ((Wales)) *Goddess*
Connected with Beltane, often called the May Queen. Goddess of summer flowers, love.
THE CRONE ((Known in all Celtic regions)) *Goddess*
One aspect of the Triple Goddess. She represents old age or death, winter, the end of all things, the waning moon, post-menstrual phases of women's lives. All destruction that precedes regeneration through her cauldron of rebirth.
THE DAGDA ((Ireland)) *God*
Protection, warriors, knowledge, magick, fire, prophecy, weather, reincarnation, the arts, initiation, the sun, healing, regeneration, prosperity and plenty, music, the harp.
DANU / DANANN / DANA (Thana) ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
Probably the same as Anu. Mother of the Gods, Great Mother, Moon Goddess. Patroness of wizards, rivers, water, wells, prosperity and plenty, magick wisdom.
DIANCECHT (Dian-ket) / DIAN CECHT ((Ireland)) *God*
Physician-magician of the Tuatha. God of healing, medicine, regeneration, magick, silver working.
DON / DOMNU (Dom-noo) ((Ireland and Wales)) *God*
Ruler of the land of the dead and entrances to the otherworld. Control of the elements, eloquence.
DRUANTIA ((All Celtic regions)) *Goddess*
Mother of the tree calendar. Fertility, passion, sexual activities, trees, protection, knowledge, creativity.
DYLAN ((Wales)) *God*
God of the sea.
ELAINE ((Wales)) *Goddess*
Maiden aspect of the Goddess.
EPONA ((Britain, Gaul)) *Goddess*
Goddess of fertility, maternity, protectress of horses, horse breeding, prosperity, dogs, healing springs, crops.
ERIU (Err-i-oo) / ERIN ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
One of three queens of the Tuatha Da Danann.
FLIDAIS ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
Goddess of forests, woodlands and wild things.
GOIBNIU / GOFANNON / GOVANNON (Gov-ann-on) ((Ireland and Wales)) *God*
God of blacksmiths, weapon makers, jewelry making, brewing, fire, metalworking.
GREAT FATHER ((All Celtic regions)) *God*
The Lord. The horned god, (Not Satan) lord of winter, harvest, land of the dead, the sky, animals, mountains, lust, powers of destruction and regeneration. The male aspect of creation.
GREAT MOTHER ((All Celtic regions)) *Goddess*
The Lady. The female aspect of creation, goddess of fertility, the moon, summer, flowers, love, healing.
THE GREEN MAN ((All Celtic regions)) *God*
See Cernunnos. A horned deity of trees and green growing things of earth. God of the woodlands.
GWYDION (Gwi-dee-on) ((Wales)) *God*
Greatest of the enchanters, warrior-magician. Illusion, changes, magick, the sky, healing.
GWYNN AP NUDD (Gwin ap Neethe) ((Wales)) *God*
King of the fairies and the underworld.
GWYTHYR (Gwee-theer) ((Wales)) *God*
Opposite of Gwynn ap Nudd. King of the upper world.
HERNE THE HUNTER ((All Celtic regions)) *God*
See Cernunnos, The Horned God, and Green Man.
THE HORNED GOD ((All Celtic regions)) *God*
Lord of the wild hunt. The masculine, active side of nature. Earth father, growing things, wild animals, alertness, fertility, desire, physical love, agriculture, flocks, brewing.
LLYR (Thleer) / LEAR / LIR (Hlir) ((Ireland and Wales)) *God*
God of the sea and water.
LUGH (loo or loog) ((Ireland)) *God*
God of skills. Druid, physician, smithing, war, magick, commerce, reincarnation, lightning, water, arts and crafts, manual arts, journeys, martial arts, poets, musicians, historians, sorcerers, healing, revenge, initiation, prophecy.
MACHA (Maax-ah) ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
Protectress in war as in peace, goddess of war and death. Cunning, sheer physical force, sexuality, fertility, dominance over men.
MANANNAN MAC LIR (Mannan-awn maklir) ((Ireland and Wales)) *God*
God of the sea, navigators, storms, weather at sea, fertility, sailing, weather forecasting, magick, arts, merchants and commerce, rebirth.
MARGAWSE ((Wales)) *Goddess*
Mother aspect of the Goddess.
MATH MATHONWY (Math math-on-oo-ee) ((Wales)) *God*
God of sorcery, magick, enchantment.
MERLIN / MERDDIN / MYRDDIN (Meer-din) ((Wales and Britain)) *God*
Great sorcerer, Druid, magician. Illusion, shape-shifting, herbs, healing, woodlands, nature, protection, counseling, prophecy, divination, psychic abilities, foreseeing, crystal reading, tarot, magick, rituals, spells, incantations, artisans and smiths.
THE MORRIGU (Moor-rig-oo) / MORRIGAN (Mor-ee-gan) / MORRIGHAN / MORGAN (Moor-gan) ((Ireland, Wales, and Britain)) *Goddess*
Supreme war goddess. Queen of phantoms and demons, shape-shifter. The crone aspect of the goddess, great white goddess. Patroness of priestesses and witches. Revenge, night, magick, prophecy.
NUADA / NUDD/ NODONS ((Ireland and Wales)) *God*
Similar to Neptune. God of the water, oceans, fishing, the sun, sailing.
OGMA / OGHMA / OGMIOS ((Ireland)) *God*
Similar to Hercules.
PWYLL ((Wales)) *God*
Ruler of the underworld.
RHIANNON (Hri-an-non) ((Wales)) *Goddess*
The great Queen. Goddess of birds and horses. Enchantments, fertility and the underworld.
SCATHACH / SCOTA/ SCATHA ((Ireland)) *Goddess*
The shadowy one. Goddess in the destroyer aspect. A warrior woman and prophetess who lived in Albion (Scotland), probably on the Isle of Skye and taught the martial arts. Patroness of blacksmiths, healing, magick, prophecy, martials arts.
TALIESIN (Tal-i-ess-in) ((Wales)) *God*
God of the bards. Poetry, wisdom, wizards, music, knowledge, magick.
WHITE LADY ((All Celtic regions)) *Goddess*
Associated with the Crone aspect of the Goddess. Dryad of death, destruction, annihilation.
A. Some say yes, and some say no. I suppose the only way to navigate this question safely is to point out what some may consider the main differences. In general, Wiccans feel free to review different belief systems, such as Celtic, Norse, Essene, Gnosis, or Shamanism, and then blend together any points that "feel" right into their own personal path. Pure Witchcraft on the other hand, may focus a little more tightly on using Magick and ritual to work with the elemental and spiritual forces in nature. Regardless, I feel the differences are slight in that Wicca and Witchcraft both work to achieve balance and harmony within nature and self.
Personally, I follow a predominately Celtic Witch/Tantric path. As time passes, I find myself increasingly drawing upon the wisdom and beliefs of other spiritual paths as my knowledge and understanding of them increases. So, when asked I'll tell you I'm a Witch, I also consider myself a Wiccan and perhaps part Shaman because I utilize and blend aspects of them all.
Q. Who do Witches Worship?
A. There is a single power defined as the One or All, which is composed of everything it has ever created. This supreme energy force does not rule over the Universe, it IS the Universe. Since most find it difficult to talk to or call upon a faceless mass of Divine energy, this supreme power is personified into male and female aspects as the Goddess and God. This simply makes the concept easier for the human mind to comprehend and relate to. Some take this concept a step further and use actual names, like Astarte, Isis, Odin, Pan, Dianna, Cernunnos, etc., when invoking the Goddess and God. In the end, it is a personal preference and what a Witch uses depends on what "feels" right for them individually.
Q. How do Witches view Christianity. Are Witches Anti-Christian?
A. Not necessarily. Witchcraft, overall, is very tolerant of other religious views, and does not engage itself in criticizing the beliefs of other people, providing that their beliefs do not violate the basic tenant of "Harm None." Witches do object to religions that attempt to suppress the religious beliefs of others, or every human's right to seek spirituality in their own way. This is why there is a slight rub between Wiccans, Pagans, Witches, and some Christians. Many of them feel they have exclusive rights to the divine. We also have a strong disdain for those who use religion as an excuse to commit mass genocide. The "Burning Times" are a clear historical example of one religious group attempting to exert its philosophies and beliefs upon others using extreme measures.
Perhaps an over simplified way of describing our view is this: Imagine a beautiful meadow in the forest, and their are many paths leading to this meadow. It really does not matter which path you take to get there, the important thing is that you get there without harming anyone or anything along the way.
Q. Can I follow the path of Wicca or Witchcraft and be a Christian too?
A. Again, some say yes and others maintain that they are completely separate religions. I believe that if one looks closely at the true teachings of Jesus with an open heart, you will find some stark commonalities. It is only when one takes literally the sometimes frail misinterpretations of those who misunderstood the intent or used the teachings to suit their own political agendas that one see's wide differences.
As a solitary you are free to choose any path you desire, or any blend that "feels" right to you. The important thing is to not allow a name or word to become a stumbling block. It is the intent of your actions and spirituality that matters in the end. I realize it is a poor comparison; Peanut Butter and Chocolate are two completely separate things. The fact remains, however, that they work pretty well when mixed together. Ultimately you must do what "feels" right to you...
Q. The Wiccan Rede says "An it harm none, do as ye will." Does that mean a Witch can do anything they want and its OK if they justify the action to themselves?
A. An excellent question indeed! and the answer is no... The whole premise of our belief system is based on living in harmony with all things that exist. This includes, but is not limited to the earth, trees, rivers, lakes, oceans, air, and all of earth's creatures, as well as other people without regard to race, color, religion, or sexual orientation.
My interpretation of the Rede tells me that the creative force of the universe has given me an inner voice, or "conscience," which tells me what is right or wrong. It is also this consciousness that connects me to the creator. By listening to this inner voice, (Perhaps I should clarify here. No I do not hear voices, *smile* it is more like something I feel) I try to analyze my impulses and feelings to ensure they are not driven by greed, lust, envy, prejudice or anger. If they are, I try to put them in perspective or discard them all together. I then use common sense and judgment in my actions and accept full responsibility for them. This is not always easy to do, but I try. By keeping these ideals of right and wrong foremost in my mind, as well as seeking to obtain harmony and balance with nature and all living things, I am able to do my best at following the Rede as I go through my day.
This is not to say that Witches are perfect, never do anything wrong, or make mistakes. We are still human. We are aware of, or try to be aware of the karmic return of our actions, and are very careful not to send out negative energy in thought or deed.
Yes, sometimes a Witch will focus an energy form toward someone who needs a psychic zap. This is only done however when a person is consistently doing something very wrong within society and causing a lot of harm to others. If and when a Witch does zap someone, they do so with the full knowledge that it will eventually return to them and there will be a price to pay according to the Law of Three. There are times when we simply must make a personal sacrifice for the good of the whole and shoulder this weight.
When confronted with this type of situation, I prefer to bring this person to the attention of the Goddess, asking her that justice be done according to her will. In this way I am not focusing negative energy towards the individual and therefore am less likely to suffer karmic repercussions.
Q. If Wicca and Witchcraft are not evil, why do you wear black robes?
A. This is another baseless superstition and Witches wear clothing and robes of every color. Black is the combination of all colors and all vibrational rates of light on the material plane. It is known that black is a very good conductor of energy, therefore wearing black simply helps Witches absorb natural energy to increase the power of their thought forms. Personally, I do my Magickal work naked. Gawd, there's an ugly visualization for ya! LOL...
Q. OK, so if Wicca and Witchcraft are not evil, why do you hold rituals and ceremonies at night hidden in the woods?
A. This practice has its history in a couple of different things, none of which have anything to do with evil... In the old world, especially within the Celtic tribes, the day followed an entirely different schedule than it does in modern times. The new day for them actually began at sunset. This is also why most observances of holidays were celebrated on the evening before the actual calendar day. The second reason is that survival had an entirely different meaning during those times. Almost without exception, everyone spent their daylight hours tending the crops, their herds, or engaged in their trade. All daylight hours were vitally important simply for survival reasons.
OK, so that takes care of why we observed our rites at night during ancient times, and many of the reasons are the same in today's times. For one, most of us are busy working all day earning a living, so the evening is the only time we have to seek spiritual communion. Secondly, Wicca and Witchcraft are still largely misunderstood religions and we are still persecuted for our beliefs. Another reason which is important for me, and possibly for others as well is that I feel a special closeness to the Goddess and God at night. Yes I can, and do, enjoy the mountains and meadows during the daylight, or a sunrise and sunset, but I am truly more aware of the heavens and the great expanse of the Universe at night, so it just makes sense for me.
Q. What form does the practice of Witchcraft take?
A. The form and context vary from group to group, and between each ritual, and may run the gamut from elaborate ceremony to spontaneous ritual to simple meditation.
Q. How do you see the Goddess and God?
A. Wiccans believe that there are female/male aspects to the One or All and without the union and balance of these two aspects, nothing can exist. See Before Time Was or read the answer to question number two above again for more insight.
Q. Do all Witches practice their religion the same way?
A. Yes and no. Wicca is a highly individualistic religion. Moreover, the number of different sects within the Craft may give the impression that no two groups practice the same way. Though practices may vary, most traditions have many similarities, such as the working of magick and a respect for nature. Most Witches find enough common ground for mutual support and productive networking throughout the Craft community.
Q. Is Witchcraft a cult?
A. No. Cults are groups that trade a sense of salvation and belonging for the ability to think for oneself. They indulge in extravagant homage or adoration (Webster's Dictionary), usually of an earthly leader of some sort. If you know a real Witch, you'll quickly come to find the term "Cult" could not apply to us. Most Wiccans, Witches and pagans come to the Craft individually through reading and communing with nature. They often will remain solitary in their beliefs but other will also find like-minded people to celebrate seasonal cycles or monthly moons with. Witches are extremely individualistic, self sufficient and defend the right of free will without hesitation.
Q. Do Witches have a bible?
A. No. A bible is supposedly the word of a deity revealed through a prophet. Witchcraft is a Pagan folk-religion of personal experience. Witchcraft in the old times was much the same as the beliefs of the Essenes, Gnostics, Druids, and many other religions. The teachings were passed along by spoken word through long periods of one-on-one instruction with an Elder of the Craft. This approach was taken because the power and knowledge could be misused in the wrong hands. Therefore, by using only the spoken word, the old masters could ensure those who wished to follow the path had a true understanding and their hearts were in the right place as their knowledge of the mysteries grew. Unfortunately, when the medieval church began its attempts to convert and eliminate rival belief systems, the teachers were either killed outright or went underground resulting in much of the ancient knowledge being lost.
Q. If Witches don't have a bible, what do you use?
A. Most modern Witches keep a Book of Shadows, (BOS) or Grimoire, which is more like an individuals workbook, journal, or diary, meaningful to the person who keeps it. This book contains rituals, discoveries, spells, poetry, herb lore, etc. Covens almost always keep a similar group book. I am not exactly sure how the name "Book of Shadows" came to be, but I would assume that this also ties into the Burning Times when the church set out to eliminate all texts along with the followers of the old ways. The writings that existed were more than likely were taken into the shadows and hidden with the survivors.
Q. The word Tradition is used quite often. What is the exact meaning of this?
A. Here the word Tradition relates to the beliefs of a specific geographical region such as Celtic, Germanic, Norse, etc., and is sometimes broken down into further subsets. Essentially it is much the same as the variety of denominations seen within Christianity, such as Methodist, Mormon or Catholic.
Q. Do Witches cast spells?
A. Some do and some don't. Spellwork should never be the focus of following this path and those who seek our ways only for this purpose are very misguided. A spell is a ritual formula, or series of steps, to direct psychic energy to accomplish a desired end. This energy is drawn from the Earth with the aid of elementals, concentrated and sent out into the world to achieve a positive goal. Since Witchcraft teaches that whatever one sends out is returned threefold, Witches are very careful to never send out harmful energy carelessly. The Christian word for this is "Prayer". The only real difference is that Witches also invoke the aid of spirit guides, familiars or other elemental energies to add strength to the process as well as using ritual tools.
Q. Do Witches worship the devil?
A. No. Satan, or the Devil, has absolutely no place in Wicca or Witchcraft. The worship of Satan is the practice of profaning Christian symbolism and is thus a Christian heresy, rather than a Pagan religion. The Goddess and God of the Witches are in no way connected to Satanic practices. Satan, or the Devil, is a Christian creation and they are more than welcome to keep him.
Q. Are Witches only women?
A. No, although women do seem to predominate in the Craft overall. In fact, some traditions have only women practitioners, just as others have only men. A male Witch is simply called a Witch, never a warlock and it is considered an insult to call a male Witch "Warlock". The word "Warlock" actually means "oath breaker". Some traditions of Wicca separate between female/male. The word "Wicce" pronounced (Wik-kay) designates a female Witch and "Wicca" pronounced (Wik-kah) designates a male Witch.
Q. How do Witches view Sex?
A. Sex is part of nature and sacred to the Deities and Witches. Just like everyone else, we think it's wonderful. The Great Rite at Beltane is a symbolic representation of the union between the Goddess and God resulting in the creation of all that exists. Very few, if any, traditions engage in sex as a part of group rites and there are no orgies during ritual. Many couples who have chosen each other, and jointly follow the path, do use sex magick in their private rites and rituals, however. It is a deeply intimate sharing of body, spirit and soul which bonds them together closer than anything else can.
Q. What is the purpose of performing ceremonies Skyclad?
A. The term skyclad means "Clad only by the sky". Not all Witches perform rituals skyclad, but there are those who believe that the absence of clothing allows energy to transfer to and from them more freely. Many simply feel closer to the Goddess and God while in their natural form without the bindings of human technology, insecurities or socially retarded inhibitions regarding the human form. Many wear a robe or some other clothing made of natural materials while participating in group activities and go skyclad only when observing rites alone or with their mate. Regardless, going skyclad during ritual is in no way a sexual act, it is a deeply spiritual one for those who "choose" to do so.
Q. Is Witchcraft a religion?
A. Yes, Witchcraft is a nature based religion and it has been recognized as such in the United States and Canada. In the U.S., Wicca has full recognition as a religion and is granted all rights as such under the Constitution. The American Heritage Dictionary defines religion as "a belief in and reverence for a supernatural power recognized as the creator and governor of the universe". So yes, it does qualify as such. Our definition differs slightly in that to us, the creator of the universe IS the universe. Witchcraft, or Wicca, is not something that can be followed once in a while or when it is convenient or we need or want something. It is a dedication made to nature, the deities and yourself. It is a way of life, and as such we are mindful of the balance between ourselves and all things within the universe at all times.
Q. How do Witches view death?
A. Many Witches believe in reincarnation and the Summerland. After passing over, Summerland is where the spirit awaits to be returned into a new physical form. We do not believe in an absolute Heaven or Hell where the spirit spends eternity as reward or punishment for ones earthly actions.
Q. How can someone find out more about Witchcraft?
A. Ours is not a missionary religion, and we never try to make converts. We feel that if this path is right for you, you will find your way to it. We are, however, becoming more visual and vocal in an attempt to educate and dispel myths and superstitions about the Craft. You need not worry about a Witch knocking on your door and wanting to come in and share passages from their BOS. For those who are interested there are many excellent books in our suggested reading list. Some Witches also teach classes or facilitate discussion groups. In this way, people may make contact with a like minded Coven, form their own groups or share thoughts and beliefs with others. There is also a growing number of superb craft sites on the internet, periodicals, and national and regional festivals through which a seeker can make contact with the larger Craft community.
Hear now the words of the witches,
The secrets we hid in the night,
When dark was our destiny's pathway,
That now we bring forth into light.
Mysterious water and fire,
The earth and the wide-ranging air,
By hidden quintessence we know them,
And will and keep silent and dare.
The birth and rebirth of all nature,
The passing of winter and spring,
We share with the life universal,
Rejoice in the magical ring.
Four times in the year the Great Sabbat
Returns, and the witches are seen
At Lammas and Candlemas dancing,
On May Eve and old Hallowe'en.
When day-time and night-time are equal,
When sun is at greatest and least,
The four Lesser Sabbats are summoned,
And Witches gather in feast.
Thirteen silver moons in a year are,
Thirteen is the coven's array.
Thirteen times at Esbat make merry,
For each golden year and a day.
The power that was passed down the age,
Each time between woman and man,
Each century unto the other,
Ere time and the ages began.
When drawn is the magical circle,
By sword or athame of power,
Its compass between two worlds lies,
In land of the shades for that hour.
This world has no right then to know it.
And world of beyond will tell naught.
The oldest of Gods are invoked there,
The Great Work of magic is wrought.
For the two are mystical pillars,
That stand at the gate of the shrine,
And two are the powers of nature,
The forms and the forces divine.
The dark and the light in succession,
The opposites each unto each,
Shown forth as a God and a Goddess:
Of this our ancestors teach.
By night he's the wild winds rider,
The Horn'd One, the Lord of the Shades.
By day he's the King of the Woodland,
The dweller in green forest glades.
She is youthful or old as she pleases,
She sails the torn clouds in her barque,
The bright silver lady of midnight,
The crone who weaves spells in the dark.
The master and mistress of magic,
That dwell in the deeps of the mind,
Immortal and ever-renewing,
With power to free or to bind.
So drink the good wine to the Old Gods,
And Dance and make love in their praise,
Till Elphame's fair land shall receive us
In peace at the end of our days.
And Do What You Will be the challenge,
So be it Love that harms none,
For this is the only commandment.
By Magic of old, be it done!
From Doreen Valiente's, "Witchcraft For Tomorrow"
I am the Great Mother, worshiped by all creation and existent prior to their consciousness.
I am the primal female force, boundless and eternal.
I am the chaste Goddess of the Moon, the Lady of all magic.
The winds and moving leaves sing my name.
I wear the crescent Moon upon my brow and my feet rest among the starry heavens.
I am mysteries yet unsolved, a path newly set upon.
I am a field untouched by the plow.
Rejoice in me and know the fullness of youth.
I am the blessed Mother, the gracious Lady of the harvest.
I am clothed in the deep, cool wonder of the Earth and the gold of the fields heavy with grain.
By me the tides of the Earth are ruled; all things come to fruition according to my season.
I am refuge and healing.
I am the life giving Mother, wondrously fertile.
I am the Crone, tender of the unbroken cycle of death and rebirth.
I am the wheel, the shadow of the Moon.
I rule the tides of the oceans and of women and men.
I give release and renewal to weary souls.
I am the Goddess of the Moon, the Earth, the Seas.
My names are many, yet know that by all names I am the same.
I pour forth insight, peace, wisdom and understanding.
I am the eternal Maiden, Mother of all, and Crone of reckoning,
and I send you blessings of limitless love.
‘WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.
I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.
I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.
NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.
WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.
FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.
THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.
WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?
I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.
SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.
THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
I COULDN’T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.
THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.
THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
SANTA DON’T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE,
I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.”
THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND SOON DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.
I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.
I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.
THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”
ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”
Friday, December 2, 2011
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even
rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind,
you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Yule Trees aka Christmas trees are a central part of the holiday celebrations around the world. Families gather around them to exchange gifts, cities put them up in squares and town halls, you'll find them in nearly every hotel and shopping mall... Although there's some debate as to whether the Yule/Xmas tree as it's used today has Pagan origins, it's clear that several non-christian cultures brought evergreen plants indoors at the time of the winter solstice.
Dating back centuries before Christ, cultures brought evergreen trees, plants, and leaves into their homes upon the arrival of the winter solstice, which occurs in the northern hemisphere between December 21st and 22nd. Although the specific practices were different in each country and culture, the symbolization was generally the same: to celebrate the return of life at the beginning of winter's decline.
Egyptians particularly valued evergreens as a symbol of life's victory over death. They brought green date palm leaves into their homes around the time of the winter solstice.
Druid priests in Great Britain also used evergreen plants and mistletoe in pagan ceremonies, and the mistletoe plant was the symbol of the birth of a god. Celtic Druids and Norseman of Scandinavia also used mistletoe in a mysterious ceremony just after the winter solstice.
Romans had a public festival called Saturnalia, which lasted one week beginning on December 17th, and included a variety of celebrations around the winter solstice. Curiously, the Roman winter solstice was marked on December 25th on the Julian calendar. These celebrations are thought to have merged with pagan practices of hanging mistletoe and the burning of the Yule log.
In Britain, the Yule log was originally seen as a magical amulet, and eventually made it into the hand's of Father Christmas. In Italy the Yule log is still burned for the "Festa di Ceppo". In Catalonia, the log is wrapped in a blanket until Christmas Eve, when it's unwrapped and burned for the custom of "fer cagar el tio". And in Serbia, families bring the Yule log (known as a "badnjak") into their homes on Christmas Eve to be burned along with prayers to God to bring happiness, luck, and riches.
In the mid 1500's, Germans began using evergreen trees as a symbol of hope for the coming of spring. This practice is likely to have gradually evolved from Pagan rituals of past, and merged with the celebration of Xmas leading to the tree's being shared as it were by other religions.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
And I am not tall nor strong.
My clothes are wet, and my teeth are set,
And the way was hard and long.
I have wandered over the fruitful earth,
But I never came here before.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!
The cutting wind is a cruel foe.
I dare not stand in the blast.
My hands are stone, and my voice a groan,
And the worst of death is past.
I am but a little maiden still,
My little white feet are sore.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!
Her voice was the voice that women have,
Who plead for their heart's desire.
She came--she came--and the quivering flame
Sunk and died in the fire.
It never was lit again on my hearth
Since I hurried across the floor,
To lift her over the threshold, and let her in at the door.
~Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
Dear Dr. Laura: Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination .... End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them. 1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians? 2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? 3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness -Lev15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense. 4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord -Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them? 5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? 6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexual ity. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination? 7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here? 8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? 9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? 10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/po lyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan,
James M Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia