Pagans are busy Folk-The Wheel Keeps Turning

20160420_125701[1]Pagans are busy folks, conducting Ritual for 8 holidays per year, plus observing full moons and new moons.  That’s a minimum of 24 extra days, which brings us to 32 events per year, requiring some level of attention, or a covered dish for a pot luck.  Then there are the celebrations to mark rites of passage: birth, marriage, death, and reaching puberty.

Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, I have been actively looking at these many celebrations this year, and the four extra ones I celebrate:  Rainy Season, Hurricane Season, Dry Season and Fire Season.  I am walking around the year with all these holidays to see which ones fit into my lexicon, to form my Wheel of the Year.

I left off in my observations at Imbolc, followed shortly by the start of Fire Season in early February  Now the thing about the Pagan Wheel of the Year is that it is an on-going, rhythmic Journey through time.  The Wheel Keeps Turning.  Thus, it is totally possible to turn your back to it and dwell in the mundane world for awhile.  And that’s what happened in my case between the Spring Equinox and Easter and all the way to about now, May 1st, Beltaine.

Easter was early this year.  This means, it fell shortly after the Full Moon, which was right after the Spring Equinox.  That is the formulae for Easter by the way:  The first Sunday following the full moon, following the Spring Equinox.  You’ll remember that now, won’t you.  In my household this year, we had family visiting town from Up North, and family in Florida we visited.  All of them had new babies  and we cooed over the additions to our family.  Here was living proof of the miracle of life, and the deep truths in the birth-life-death cycle.

When I was a kid, Spring and Easter all kind of merged together like it did this year, since Easter is a movable feast.  We decorated hard boiled eggs, and my folks would hide them.  It was usually cold out on Easter mornings, so my folks would hide the eggs in the living room.    My Mom would carefully count them to make sure we had found all of them.  Growing up Unitarian Universalist, we didn’t dwell too much on Jesus at Easter, but we were keen on the Rebirth aspect of Spring.  We were on a daily and active bird watch and bud watch.  Would we see a robin, or the forsythia, first?  What about a Crocus?  Where would they turn up?   The days were growing longer, and the snow would thaw and the earth would, too.  And then we’d have MUD.  (Oh, I love mud!)

That’s a big difference here in Southwest Florida:  our ground doesn’t freeze like it does up north.  We might get a little frost one or two nights of the year.  But it’s  nothing like what happens in other parts of the country.

And here we are in Florida on a lovely Springtime Day, with Bougainvillea blooming …

Share Your Peace with Our Mother Earth and Father Sky, and the Great Waters in between.

(c) 2016, Whale Maiden

Be sure to visit the Earthways Shamanic Path Website.

 

 

Brighid and the Groundhog See Their Shadows and Go Bowling

I must confess, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, that the Pagan sabbat that I know the least about is Imbolc.   Imbolc is approaching on February 2nd.  My pagan friends used to explain this holiday to me as it was when the Lambs arrived and the Ewes began lactating.  You will find out  more about Imbolc here

My local CUUPS Group is having an Imbolc Gathering on Tuesday evening, February 2nd. The announcement says, “We will Gather at 6:00 PM to invoke the Triple Goddess Brighid. We celebrate the first stirrings of Spring. We will gather in the Amphitheater in Holton Eco-Preserve of the UU Church of Fort Myers. Our intention is to call for protection and blessings of the Waters of the World. We will especially focus on our waters of SW FL and the Everglades.”   I understand “First signs of Spring,” and “nursing Lambs,” in general terms, but it hasn’t quite fit my reality here in Florida because in the Florida Earthways Shamanic Path Wheel of the Year, this time of year it is (NORMALLY) Dry Season, and we are headed into Fire Season.  I’ll cover that in the next post.

When I was growing up Unitarian Universalist in the Northeastern USA, I loved the whole liturgy  about the Groundhog — Punxsutawney Phil — coming up out of the ground to greet the guys in their top hats  and to see his shadow.  My Mother taught me about Groundhogs’ Day.  She said it was half-way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  This is a factoid my young, rational mind could grasp:  It’s six more weeks of winter, no matter whether Phil sees his shadow or not.   But I remember how happy I was when the days began to lengthen and the snow began to thaw, and the mud began to return.  And I loved the days when muddy footprints would freeze up.   I remember waiting for the signs of Spring.

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When you are a kid,  you don’t have to “deal with your shadow issues,” because you are a kid and you are actually busy accumulating shadow issues.  It is left to maturing people, to inspect the cold dark places of their soul, and thaw them  out with sunshine, so that new shoots can grow.  And this work of deep introspection, and the radical growth of springtime, is incredibly told in the story in the movie, Groundhog Day,  which you can look up here  on the IMDB .  The movie stars Bill Murray, and Andie MacDowell.  In this movie, Bill is a weatherman and he wakes up February 3rd and discovers it is Groundhog’s Day, again… and again… and again…   it’s like rolling gutter balls repeatedly, until something miraculous happens.

And, Share Your Peace with Our Earth.

~Whale Maiden~

~~~ ♡ ~~~

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere. You just need to explore the magic of your land. What is it saying to you? What are the seasons, where you live? What do they mean to you? How are they celebrated?

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2000 to present, Whale Maiden. All Rights Reserved

 

 

hippo gnu ear

The Kit Tan who is Six doesn’t know this yet, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans everywhere, but one day this week it will be “Next Year.”

Kit Tan Who Is Six, napping
Kit Tan Who Is Six, napping

Kit Tan wakes up from her nap, stretches first the front and then the back, checks out her food dish, and then joins me out on the Lanai.  I sip my coffee and read Facebook posts.  We listen to the birds.  Kit Tan’s days are spent playing with my family members, napping, stretching , eating, grooming, and checking out the culverts outside.   Every day merges into the next one when you are a cat.  You are sentient and connected and aware of the world in a vastly different reality from the humans in the planet.  It’s an alternative reality.

This week, the Christmas Tree Tent has changed into the Fireworks Tent.

Fireworks Tent
Fireworks Tent

This week, the TV and other media are carrying out the Year in Review.  Top stories — who really cares the color of that damned dress — are paraded about 24/7.  If “Real News” happens, we won’t hear about it until next week.

Meanwhile, there are all the helpful stories about New Years Resolutions and how to start the New Year off right: Lose weight, eat right, get exercise! Become more enlightened! Volunteer at the local charitable organization of your choice. Be more creative! Work on your relationships. Dump relationships or jobs that aren’t right for you.   I believe it is good for us, to set goals and to make plans.

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I know a whole bunch of Pagans who celebrate October 31 — Samhain — as their New Year, but who also celebrate  the New Year this week.

End of December, Gregorian calendar
End of December, Gregorian calendar

January 1, is the start of the New Year, according to the Gregorian Calendar.   All of that is made up and has no relationship whatsoever, to the Earth’s cycles.

End of December, Lunar Calendar {Luna Press)
End of December, Lunar Calendar {Luna Press)

When does the New Year start, for Our Earth?

When does the New Year start for you?

Does it start on Samhain?

Does it start tonight?

Does it start on your Birthday?

Or some other date?

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Share Your Peace with Our Earth.

~Whale Maiden~

~~~ ♡ ~~~

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere. You just need to explore the magic of your land. What is it saying to you? What are the seasons, where you live? What do they mean to you? How are they celebrated?

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2015-16, Whale Maiden. All Rights Reserved.

Waiting for Christmas

My Kit Tan Who Is Six is waiting for something, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans.  My Daughter and I got the Tree out of the garage earlier this week, and set it up on a table and plugged in the lights to see… and Kit Tan hopped up on the table and settled in under the tree. This is her table, after all, her viewing perch where she watches the world go by.  And now she is waiting…

Buying Christmas Trees in Southwest Florida
Buying Christmas Trees in Southwest Florida

It can be  difficult to get into the “Christmas Spirit,” here in Florida.  It has been unusually rainy and warm here in Florida this month, so it sure doesn’t feel like Christmas.  Certainly not like the Christmases I spent as a Child.  I lived up in the Northeast then, and it snowed practically every Christmastime.  It was beautiful.

Growing up Unitarian-Universalist, and in my house, the focus at Christmas wasn’t so much about the Christ child as it was  a time of exploring Nature:  we put suet out for the birds, we walked through the woods in the snow, and we looked at the starry, nights — dark nights and the sky full of stars.  Sometimes, we would go sledding or ice skating.  We spent a lot of time out side.

Christmas was a time to decorate the house with family heirlooms:  ornaments and decorations.  Many of the decorations were animal figurines.  My sister and I would make a creche with dolls and put animal figurines on a table.  Each day, we would advance the animals towards the creche another step; by Christmas morning, they were all gathered around the manger.   My Mother used to tell me with great conviction, that on Christmas Eve, the Animals could all talk to each other.

Me and my parents and my sister and I would go in a car one evening to a place  where the Christmas trees were all standing in stands in the packed down snow.  We would all look at each tree from every angle and decide.  Once the tree was home and up, and watered, then we’d decorate. We had glass ornaments, and sea shell ornaments, and drink-stir ornaments made of glass, like ice sickles, and then the tinsel.   I think that tinsel was made from lead.  My folks were very frugal and we saved the tinsel every year, on pieces of cardboard, wrapped up with waxed paper.  Everything smelled like pine sap and history and the cold winter nights.

These days in Florida, I have a faux tree, which is reusable and comes apart for easy storage in the garage.  If I want a real tree, I hop in my car and drive a mile or two in the day time to a sandy vacant lot.  There’s a tent there, and in it are Christmas Trees.  There’s tents like this all over Florida this time of year, selling Christmas Trees.  (At other times of the year they sell:  fireworks for agricultural purposes, flowers, pumpkins.)  These trees come from Michigan or Wisconsin.  They are cut up there, and trucked down here.  I’m not sure how they keep these trees from drying out.  The tents smell of pine tree.

…And my Kit Tan is waiting for Christmas Eve, the night the Animals all talk.

Share Your Peace With Our Earth

~Whale Maiden~

~~~ ♡ ~~~

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere.  You just need to explore the magic of your land.  What is it saying to you?   What are the seasons, where you live?  What do they mean to you?  How are they celebrated? 

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group   

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved. 

thoughts on Hal and Sam

Labyrinth at UUCFM, October 2015
Labyrinth at UUCFM, October 2015

In a short amount of time a few weeks ago, I attended the Halloween Costume party for families at the UUCFM, followed by the Samhain Celebration led by the CUUPS group there and then attended the Sunday church service, honoring our beloved dead. I’ve realized there is deep meaning for all these events, and they all serve very different purposes.

In the Earthways Shamanic Path (Florida Wheel) I’ve so far only identified four holidays so far:  the beginnings of Rainy Season, Hurricane Season, Dry Season, and Fire Season.  I was trying to see if we could do without the Days of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine, and Lunashgh.  Or to see how they play out organically, here in Southwest Florida.

The Halloween Costume party, provided a fun, kid friendly gathering for people in my Church Community. This party started with a community dinner prepared by one of our church members. She prepares a wonderful meal each Wednesday.  After the food and dishes were cleared away, then the party started. This party was organized by the RE Director, and she did a fabulous job.  There were people in costumes, and people who choose to not be in costume. We had fun activities, and entertainment.  I was in costume; and had a wonderful time, however, I couldn’t stay for the whole party.  This party was decorated with pumpkins and cut out paper bats and paper mice.  They were whimsical decorations, more festive than ghoulish.  It was perfect.

The Samhain Celebration was held outside at the amphitheater on Saturday evening. I stopped at a store on my way to the ceremony, to get some cookies for the pot luck, which was held after the ceremony.

When I left the store, it was humid, slightly overcast, and approaching twilight. I realized that it was later than I thought, that I was running late, and that it was going to rain soon. I hastened to the Ceremony. It was growing darker. There was a fire glowing already and people were seated around the amphitheater. I brought my midnight blue heavy cloak, but didn’t wear it; it was too hot out.  After I put all my things down, I brought my Ancestors Box and teddy bear to the altar table, which was set up to one side of the fire. Other celebrants had placed mementos of their departed loved ones on the altar.

We joined hands and sang a song. This promoted a cohesive feeling, and was energizing:  I love being in Ceremony outside at night time.  My Friend led the Celebration, asking us to rise and name our beloved dead, that they might be remembered,. As each person said a name, the rest of us would respond with the person’s name and then sing, “those who have gone before us, rise up and call their name.” I named my parents and a cousin, and my recently departed cat. Then I pointed to the Teddy Bear and said that was for the Florida Bears, since the hunting season had just opened earlier that week. Many bears had been “taken” in the hunt, among them lactating momma bears. As each person stated their beloved dead’s name, we chanted, “those who have gone before us, rise up and call their name.”  This was very moving, yet comforting to be with each other, as we went through this ceremony of shared remembering.

Next, we each took two pine cones, and placed them in the fire. One was to release something that wasn’t working for us any more, the other was to signify something we wanted to draw to us.  It was a Full Moon, still, so this was a great use of the energies of Samhain (to harvest) and the Full Moon, at the same time.

After that, some of us walked over to the newly rocked Labyrinth. The cobblestones lining the Labyrinth are easy to see in moon light, (even if overcast) and we all walked the circuits with ease. Then we walked back to the the people who were still at the amphitheater, sang some more songs and closed the circle.

It began to rain, and I felt that I had held the rain off, personally. After that, we went to the Hall and had our pot luck. It was fun to see people and chat with them. Some I hadn’t seen in a while, others I have.

Sunday was the day to honor our beloved dead at church. I brought a friend to church and we arrived late. When there was a good opportunity, I brought my pictures of my parents and my cat, and the bear, to the table that had been set up to hold these items. There was music and readings. We wrote the names of our loved ones down on slips of paper. Those slips were collected.  The Youth read the names. I wept for my parents and for my cat.

Now that my parents are departed, I feel their presence; they have become my Ancestors, and provide comfort and guidance.

As I listened to all the names being called out, I remembered more and more people from my Church family.  I wrote their  names down to be read out loud. I realized that I have been in this Church Family for so long, I may be the only one who remembers some of these people.  I know the names of our Church’s ancestors.  I must call out their names, so they will be remembered.  Next year, I will prepare myself ahead of time, and make a list before Church.

As you build your Wheel of the Year following the magic in your land, consider how you will remember your Ancestors.

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere.  You just need to explore the magic of your land.  What is it saying to you?   What are the seasons, where you live?  What do they mean to you?  How are they celebrated? 

And “Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.”

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

 

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved.