Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, “Dr” Gerald Brosseau Gardner. You would have been 134 years old.

Whatever your faults – as many as those of the rest of us, I guess – you still functioned as the catalyst around which the NeoPagan religion of Wicca crystallised, and for that I am very grateful.

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Anything Other Than Holy

I haven’t celebrated Samhain with all the trappings for years now.

The carved pumpkin heads, black and gold candles, myrrh-heavy incense, robes and a cast circle haven’t been seen around my place for a good long time.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten to mark the first day of Winter. Rather, the marking has become almost entirely internal rather than demonstrative for me, and I’m happy with that.

I might be fortunate to be someone with enough intelligence and training to be able to work out for myself when the mid-point between Solstice and Equinox falls, four times a year and hence have less need to display my acknowledgement of the Sun’s apparent position in the sky.

Or I might be a person who hasn’t much need for the validation of others when marking time.

Or I might be a person whose interior life is just growing richer as I go on whirling on a rock around a big ball of hydrogen fissioning into helium.

Whatever the reason, my withdrawal from external displays of Sabbat hasn’t stopped my ancestors gathering around me when the time draws near, or me dreaming of them every night, conversing with generations I have never known while alive,  or inviting them to accompany me throughout my day.

For perhaps that’s the point – no day is mundane any longer, and no experience anything other than holy.

Tides

There’s nothing quite like the Samhain tide to open your emotions.

It is said that twice a year, at Samhain and Beltane, the veil between the worlds becomes tenuous and crossings from one to the other are more common. But in my case, I reckon it’s just that at these times I’m more aware of the existence of the veil, and other worlds, than at more mundane times.

And so I am dreaming, and nightmaring, enough to keep me for the rest of the year, it seems.

My loved ones and ancestors are featuring quite heavily in my dreams – sometimes unrecognisable by their appearance yet completely known for who they are and were to me – old fears are playing themselves out and connections are being rebooted.

Head tipped back into the (finally) winter-blue sky this morning, I watch a fairy crossing above me.

No…not a fairy…a locust, with its rainbow wings whirring. I remember that I am quite averse to locusts on the ground and step out of its flight path quickly.

Music is getting stuck in my mind, so I switch my electronic collection on to shuffle and listen to Joe WalshCorvus Corax and Tim Hardin. Ah, the poor heroin-addicted boy who never managed to claw his way out of the poppy’s grip before it killed him.

Emotions are raw yet surprisingly manageable in this season of other-worldly connection.

I view a house a friend (and teenage sweetheart) used to live in as a boy – 4 doors down on Arthur Road, long since sold up as the matriarch’s health failed.

I reconnect with the Covenant of Hekate, thinking to honour Her Fires again this year, when the Moon is right.

I miss the Gautrain Bus, the drivers of which have been on strike for almost a week now, and don’t fancy the stress of driving in a car through Sandton traffic this afternoon – never mind what stress it must be giving Warren to do the actual driving.

I remember my Mom, who, when last seen in the dreamworld was wearing a different face, whose last-incarnation-birthday it is today.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I miss you still.

I’m thinking the tide will be gentler this year, as I get older and possibly more able to handle it. The retrograde motions of both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn seem to be helping this softer view along. We introspected our immediate daily souls last month with the Mercury backtrack, and now a slightly higher portion of our collective Self will be pondering the tracks and ruts of time and space.

Hopefully. As past the veil we slide together, holding hands, some of us shrieking, some of us crying, some of us looking about in wonder and awe.Tides.

Remember Their Names



For the next thirty days the Advocacy Against Witch Hunts will be focusing on a truly distressing facet of humankind : violent domination and suppression of the “other” , whoever and wherever they are perceived to be.

All over Africa, as well as India, Micronesia, the Middle East and parts of the so-called “first world”, the poor and marginalised in society are targeted as “witches” and tortured or killed under certain circumstances, which include but are not limited to hard economic times. The Other we blame for all our misfortunes.

Frequently, those targeted are women; probably because women often bear the brunt of poverty in every country on this earth, but also because, well, this is the Patriarchy we’ve been living in for the last half-dozen millennia after all.

Scapegoating? Sure it is. But giving it a name doesn’t excuse it one whit.
Neither does understanding at least some of the mechanisms behind the phenomenon.

This cosmos is, indeed, a work in progress. But that doesn’t mean that we can sit back and watch it unfold. We have many things to learn, as we continue to create this living universe, and one of them is the nature of  polarity. 

Our atrocious behaviour towards other living beings whom we are quick to “other” is an object lesson for all of us: one we can learn the most from by becoming engaged with it, recognising the inherent wrongness of it , and trying to address it.

You can do several things:

Sign the petition against witch hunts in South Africa.

“Like” the Facebook advocacy page.

Place a banner on your website or blog.

Join the Pagan Rights Alliance, especially if you are in South Africa.

And, mostly, when the time comes, remember their names.





Beltane Blessings




“Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways.

Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar.


Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be.


Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty.


Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names.”


..and the mercury hit 35 degrees Celsius today, Beltane in the Southern Hemisphere.

There is still, however, chocolate cake for tea.

Cognitive Dissonance


As we approach the astronomical midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice (on 7th November this year), we see the signs of Life burgeoning all around us.
Here, South of the Equator, the trees are almost all fully-leafed.
The thunderstorms of the Summer are in full swing on the Highveld.
In my garden, roses are scrabbling at the walls and cascading over the wooden patio frame – white, red, orange and purple – glorious in their profusion and heavenly in their scent.
Honeysuckle has regrown from being viciously cut back last Winter and is now blooming, too, on the North of the ritual space outdoors.
Grass has to be cut once a week, so fast its growth is now.

Everything sings, hollers and shouts of Life: growing, blossoming, increasing. Life yelling unto Life “I’m here!” under a bright, hot, Southern African sun.

Listen to the local energies. They are speaking to you of the upswing of the pendulum, the cresting of the seasonal sine wave. The Summer coming in all its glory.

So tell me – among all this Life, all this growth, all this increase – why in the nether hells would you celebrate the Day of the Dead?

Merry, lusty Beltane everybody South of the Equator.
And Blessed Samahin to you Northern lot!

Pic: Spheres of Light

Fire Under The Earth

Here in the Southern hemisphere of the world,

The long, slow pulse of Winter is quickening.

The seed which was hidden in the earth sends forth testing tentacles, uncurling.

We draw an icy breath together, and taste flowers, leaves and blades of grass Approaching on the chilly wind.

Pagani.

This is a Wheel.

Kindly add your shoulder to it. Blessed Imbolc.