Monday, April 25, 2016

Why May Day is One of the Most Sexy Days of the Year

Why May Day is One of the Most Sexy Days of the Year by Kyla Matton Osborne (Ruby3881) | Between the Wyrlds | #Beltane #Mayday #Pagan #rubywriter

In much of Europe the first day of May is marked as a day to honour the common worker. Since the 19th century, May Day has been celebrated as the International Workers' Day – an international equivalent to the Labour Day celebrated on the first Monday of September in North America.
But before it became associated with the labour movement, the first of May had been marked for centuries as a holiday. Known variously as Beltane, Walpurgis or simply May Day, this celebration reaches back to pre-Christian times when it was often seen as the transition from winter to summer.
Many Pagans and non-Pagans alike use the word Beltane – from the Gaelic bealltainn to denote the 1st of May and the celebrations that take place on that day. Some say the word means something like “bright fire”; Douglas Harper gives it as “blazing fire.” Whatever the derivation, it was the name given by the Celts to fiery celebrations that took place as the winter gave way to summer.

Beltane Fires

One of the best known traditions of Beltane is the lighting of a bonfire. The ancient Celts used to light two large fires and drive their livestock between them, as a ritual of purification. This would protect the animals as they sent them out to graze in summer pastures. People who sought the same purification after a winter of being cooped up indoors, could dance between or leap over the fires.
In a similar tradition, young couples would jump over the fire together as a celebration of their love and sometimes as a sign that they wished to be married for a year and a day. Couples who wished to stay together after this time, could return to the Beltane fires to renew their vows for another year. A variant on jumping the bonfire is jumping over a cauldron in which a smaller fire is burning.
Why May Day is One of the Most Sexy Days of the Year by Kyla Matton Osborne aka Ruby3881 | Between the Wyrlds | #bonfire #fertility #betweenwyrlds

A Deeper Gene Pool

In days gone by, the people from many villages might come together at Beltane to allow young people to look for potential mates. It was also not uncommon for people of all ages to slip away from the bonfire with a partner they took just for the night. These “greenwood marriages” may have addressed fertility issues for some couples, and probably also contributed to the genetic diversity of the communities involved!

Today’s Beltane festivals do tend to have that element of sexuality and ecstatic surrender. But as Kerry Mullen mentions, the decades old fire festival in Scotland is now “growing up” and beginning to include activities with a more family-friendly focus. The energy becomes more one of celebrating spring and a more innocent kind of frolicking...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What is the Significance of the Sun in Astrology?

What is the Significance of the Sun in Astrology? (Image copyright Kyla Matton Osborne 2016, modified from sun graphic by OpenClipartVectors/Pixabay/CC0) | #energy #identity #Leo #self #rubywriter

Sun sign astrology is what you get when you look at the horoscope column in your newspaper, or consult an online horoscope site. But astrology is really much bigger than that. There is also your ascendant or rising sign, which some of you may know. And there is your moon sign, and also a sign for each of the eight planets in the solar system (we don’t usually include the earth in astrology, as we’re looking at the sky from a vantage point on the earth.)
But the Sun really is one of the most important figures in astrology, and it’s the first celestial body whose location we plot on a birth chart. So what does it represent?

Who is the Sun?

The Sun in astrology is identified with the Roman god Sol, and with the Greek gods Helios and Apollo. It rules Sunday. Its symbol is a point inside a circle, representing the Sun at the center of our solar system. This more modern symbol, that replaced an older image of a sun with a single ray of light, first appeared during the Renaissance.

Significance of the Sun

In astrology, the Sun represents the conscious self – the ego, the basic adult identity of a person. It helps us to answer the question, “Who am I?
The Sun represents reason, as opposed to instinct. It represents energy and life force (prana, chi.) The Sun’s location in a chart shows what we identify with, what motivates us and gives us direction, what we are proud of in our lives. It also represents all the things we are learning to be in this life.

The Sun in the Zodiac

In Western astrology, the Sun rules the sign of Leo. This is its natural home in the zodiac, its domicile or (domal) dignitySun is exalted in Aries; it has its detriment in Aquarius and its fall in Libra. (If you don’t know what all of these things mean, don’t panic! For now just take your cues from usual meanings of these words.)
The Sun is one of the most important parts of an astrological chart (Image: miradeshazer/Pixabay/CC0 ) | #astrology #horoscope #zodiac #sun #betweenwyrlds

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pomegranate and Quince

Summer’s consort waxed brightly
The tall and golden-haired prince
And She came to him nightly
With pomegranate and quince.
~ Gwydion Pendderwen, "The Wintry Queen"
from (Gwydion sings) Songs for the Old Religion

It's been chilly the last few days, here in the valley. It almost feels like fall is returning after our few days of glorious sun and balmy weather. An unseasonable chill in the air always reminds me of a young Witch I knew years ago, whose difficulty tolerating the heat and humidity of summer led him to wish for winter weather all year round. I can remember like it was yesterday, this curly headed young man with the laughing eyes, taunting the rest of us with his chant: "Now the leprous white Lady..." We'd all boo and hiss, but of course that only egged him on!

"The Wintry Queen" was one of the first Pagan songs I ever heard. Long before I was initiated, and even before the days of workshops, open circles and Pagan festivals where I picked up numerous chants in the style that Isaac Bonewits once mocked for its similarity to a funeral dirge. Back in the time when I knew only one other Pagan, and when the word "Witch" was pronounced only in hushed tones, that same young man had lent me his Gwydion LPs.

How liberating to listen to someone sing about my religion, about the things I cherished and the forces that made my world go around! Some of the tracks have become infamous anthems of Pagan religion, while others that I played over and over seem to be relatively forgotten these days. Even in my own mind, I don't replay the lyrics nearly as often anymore.

But occasionally a little snippet comes back to me, and I'll pause to remember those early days. I may even look it up online, try to see if anyone has written about it or been inspired to include it in their own work. So it was with the phrase, "pomegranate and quince."

There are surprisingly few returns for that search.  Of course pomegranate is really trendy now, and both fruits can be found if searched individually. But the combination had always seemed elusive. I could find no culinary, cultural, or magickal references to this pairing. Despite the fact that they are both fruits of the fall, and share similar energies, I never found them together.

Until now.

Nazima Pathan of the Franglais Kitchen offers up a quince and pomegranate jam recipe, which I am now dying to try out! Chunks of quince are essentially poached in spiced and sweetened pomegranate juice. The result is a lovely, ruby red preserve in which the chunks of quince look like cut jewels. And I can only imagine the aroma! Spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, like an apple pie, and the licorice-scented star anise, I'm sure both the scent and the flavour are divine!

I'm going to wait till these fruits are in season to test out the recipe, but in the meantime I'll leave you to listen to the song that inspired my quest.

Thanks to LoggaWiggler of Pixabay, for the lovely quince photo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teaching Our Daughters

We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between a man who flatters her, and a man who compliments her .... a man who spends money on her, and a man who invests in her .... a man who views her as property, and a man who views her properly ..... a man who lusts after her, and a man who loves her ..... a man who believes he is God's gift to women, and a man who remembers a woman was God's gift to man.

This anonymous quote is making the rounds on Facebook, and has been picked up in Tweets and blogs too. While I understand the message and quite agree that we need to teach young women to choose healthy relationships, I guess some of the wording just doesn't sit right with me. I thought perhaps I'd reply to the quote line by line, and offer my perspective to those who care to read it. (I am ignoring in this instance the possibility that a daughter may not be called to a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. I am also leaving the initial quote intact, despite the switch from a plural to a singular subject in the first line. There's plenty of time to be a grammar cop later.)

"We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between a man who flatters her, and a man who compliments her ...."
Yes, young women's heads are often turned by men who offer excessive praise. Then again, I suppose young men have the same problem with women who offer flirtatious praise. How sincere is any of it,

Monday, August 15, 2011

As Brothers Fight Ye!

Not to be a centre of pestilence, but I just had to point out that Crowley had it right when he said, "As brothers fight ye!" OK, lots of folks have known that for ages. But now a reputable institution has published scientific evidence that it doesn't hurt to duke it out occasionally.

Dr Claire Hughes, of the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge, conducted a longitudinal study of preschoolers from high-risk backgrounds. Among the conclusions drawn from evidence, sibling rivalry can actually help preschool children to develop social skills and a rich vocabulary for discussing emotional content.

The study also shows similar benefits when mothers talk with their kids in ways that contrast, compare, and elaborate on the child's feelings and interests.

Will this change the way you parent your preschooler?

This content is copyrighted. Please feel free to share by sending others a link to this page, or contact the author about purchasing reprint rights. Photo by Paco Loera.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Growing Up Pagan

Coming out of the broom closet. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek, but many of us have used the expression to describe how we revealed to the world that we are Pagan.

It isn't an easy thing to tell friends and family that you no longer feel a part of the religion in which you were raised. Being honest comes with a price. Feelings will be hurt, and some relationships will never be the same again.

Even those who accept a loved one being Pagan can make life difficult: imagine going to a party where you are introduced to strangers as "my friend the Witch"!

My kids' experience is different from my own. They've only ever known what it is to be Pagan.

I left the Christian faith of my family as a young adult, and I found a new home in earth centered religion. Because I made the choice later on, my childhood was just like that of all my friends and neighbours. I went to church, took bouquets from my mother's garden to my Sunday school teacher. I never had to think twice about reciting the Lord's Prayer at school, or whether the wording of my Brownie Promise conflicted with my beliefs.

I had no trouble answering when someone asked what church I belonged to. I can even remember a time when my friends and I organized an informal religious exchange. We paired up and went to each other's churches, just to see how different communities went about their worship.

Growing up Pagan is different. My kids do think about things other kids take for granted, about things I took for granted at their age. So far, I must say their experience has been a positive one. Some people have really impressed me not only by their acceptance, but also by demonstrating a familiarity with basic Pagan tenets.

I am happy for my kids. I feel blessed to live in a world where they are accepted for who they are. And I have hope that this is a growing trend. A friend pointed me toward a news story about student atheist clubs in American high schools, and I see some parallels between these young people and Pagan youth. Their beliefs are not the same, but they encounter a lot of the same situations. Knowing there is a place for all youth to find fellowship with likeminded people is comforting.

This content is copyrighted. Please feel free to share by sending others a link to this page, or contact the author about purchasing reprint rights.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Musings on Sacrifice

The Druid Network application took some five years, and from the sounds of it a lot if that time was devoted to answering questions from the Charity Commission about Druid beliefs and practices. While questions of historical sacrifices (human or animal) have sometimes been a sticking point in conversations about contemporary Druidry, it would appear the Commission only touched on the subject in weighing the potential harm a group could cause against the good it does - something they must examine with any group applying for religious status. Their report quotes this passage from the Constitution of The Druid Network:

"While sacrifice is a core notion within most world spiritual traditions, within Druidry it is confused by historical accounts of the killing of both human and animal victims. No such practice is deemed acceptable within modern Druidry. What is sacrificed within the tradition today is that which we value most highly in life and hold to with most passion: time, security, certainty, comfort, convenience, ignorance, and the like. Indeed, most Druidic sacrifice is expressed through work that benefits the wider community and the planet as a whole, such as environmental volunteering, ethical consumerism, spiritual education, dissemination of information, caring for family and community (notably children, the sick, the elderly and dying) and creative expression."

Back in my teaching days I made it a point of looking at the word "sacrifice" with each new group of students, because tales of ancient human sacrifices are sometimes held up by those who would condemn practitioners of neo-pagan religion. The root of the word "sacrifice" is the Latin verb facere, which like the French verb faire can be translated "to make" or "to do." The other part of the word comes from sacra, "sacred rites," which in turn comes from sacer, "sacred."

The Online Etymology Dictionary gives an intermediate form of the word: sacrificus, "performing priestly functions or sacrifices." The combination of the two parts of the word also conveys a sense of making something sacred. In this broader sense, sacrifice is to turn any common action into a ritual or a sacred act. Think of a Japanese tea ceremony, in which every movement is done with heightened awareness and in which the simple act of preparing tea becomes a ritual. It is often the intent with which we perform an act, and the care that we take in carrying it out, that make of it a ritual.

Similarly, the desire to give of oneself and the care taken to benefit another can make of any common action a sacrifice. It is true that on a neo-pagan path the things we sacrifice are often those things humans tend to fear losing: certainty, comfort, convenience. Such is the way of a spiritual path that relies on individual experience of the divine rather than revealed wisdom. Such is also the way of any path that emphasizes service or stewardship of the earth. Pagans have no monopoly on hardship.

But there can be joy in sacrifice too, as is evidenced in the mentions of activities such as caring for a family and creative expression. It is in these acts that we learn how much returns to us when we give of ourselves. There is a transformation involved in those acts that are true sacrifices, a moment when the little piece I carve out of myself is for the first time just outside my grasp. It hovers for a moment and then it flies away, but many times it will return to me and I will recognize it even though its form has changed. Sacrifice has the potential to change the giver and the gift, and often to change the recipient too. It is much more than hardship, more than just making a conscientious effort to do the right thing. It is an act of creation, an act of birthing forth, an act of making.