Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wheel of Wonder May 8, 2016

Today lets remember what Mother's Day was always intended to be about:
In 1870 in the American States Julia Ward Howe created the "Mother's Day Proclamation" which was a call to women to engage in a day of protests against War and the Killing and the harm it caused their Sons and Husbands, and all others as a reaction to the losses of the "Civil" War.

File:Sarah Choate Sears- Julia Ward Howe, 1907.jpgArise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston
1870



The photograph above of Julia Ward Howe came from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sarah_Choate_Sears-_Julia_Ward_Howe,_1907.jpg and was listed on that site:  This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

In 1907 Anna Jarvis began the campaign in the USA To have Mother's Day officially recognized as a national holiday.  In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared it one.

Happy Mother's Day, perhaps those of a Pagan heart may also find it a day to honor Mother Earth!


 

 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Wheel of Wonder May 1, 2016

As Spring returns, winter's quiet and reflective, relaxing lifestyle can get busy.  I know mine does.  We just finished up on our spring fund drive at KAOS community radio, and thank you to all the new and returning members that not only helped Wheel of Wonder reach its fundraising goal for the drive, but actually exceed it!  Community without borders!
https://img0.etsystatic.com/000/0/5124363/il_570xN.279106004.jpg  If your involved in your community starting just after St. Patty's day, there seems to be an event every weekend.  I think, for an earth spiritualist a new event occurs every day, because spring and summer are returning!  Migrating birds sing their song from the trees reminding us there is more beauty in the world than just what we see in our friends, children's and partner's faces.  Their faces surrounded us through the winter months, bringing a natural warmth to the inside of our homes and the planning of our lives. We love that.  Now the sun shines down warming us outside as the greys, browns, and gusts of wind  are replaced by a rainbow of blossoms, the emerald budding of trees and the songs of the birds. 
Today, is Beltane, a time to celebrate all the growth and fertility of nature and the first shoots of seeds we've planted at the turning of the spring and under the blessings of Bridgit's fire. The sun, he shines down on us and reminds us of life's return.  These rays of hope and life brighten Mother Earth and we see her beauty even more clearly than before.  Happy Beltane!  May your inner fire again return, as you walk about surrounded by spring and summer beauty, feeding your creativity and your passion to do the great work you have awakened on this earth to do, and blessed be.

The picture above and to the right was found on Pinterest, but I could not find out who the artist was before the Pinterest "join now" filter blocked the view of my screen.  Please let me know who it is and how I can reach their website if you know, so I can credit them. Thanks

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Wheel of Wonder February 7 2016

January gone already?  The wheel keeps turning and now we've moved past Imbolc.  Imbolc, February 2 is a day of recognition for the multifaceted Irish Goddess Bridgit, some would say the Triune Goddess Bride.  Bridgit is often called the keeper of the sacred flame of inspiration, poetry, and spiritual transformation as well as the protector goddess of the newborn children, and the first maiden of spring whose influence in the people's lives grows stronger than the influence of the crone of winter, and this shows in the land with the warming of the weather and the beginning of the first early buds and sprouts coming out of the ground as we move into spring.  Imbolc is also observed as a good time to renew one's vows and intentions for the coming year.  As the Sun warms the world, more people leave their houses and have occasion to meet and greet other people and consider what sort of positive impacts they could have on one another's lives.

Shortly after Brigid's day is Valentine's day, on February 14th.  Originally know as Lupercalia, it was a three day festival from the 13th to the 15th of February.  Ancient Roman in origin, it celebrates the she-wolf goddess that nursed Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome, before leaving them for a Shepard in the field so they could be taken care of and then go on to create the city of Rome.  It is also known as a day to celebrate Faunus (Roman Pan), horned god of forests, plains, and fields.  So not only can one honor Bridgit in February but the horned god  as well, if they are so inclined.  Lupercalia as a festival was preluded by a spring cleansing festival known as Februa, which is where the Romans got the name for February from.  During Lupercalia ceremonies were done to ward off evil spirits and assure fertility.


Valentine's day in modern times was redefined into a holiday of romantic love in the 14th century.  So I suppose, Male identifying and female identifying romantic love is a celebration of fertility in a way.  Perhaps these days celebration of any romantic love, unbiased by gender identification is the way of the day. But it is interesting to see the origins of the holiday prior to the mythic martyrdom of the people by name of Valentinus under the Roman Empire.

The pictures above:  Brighid is from the website spiritblogger's blog and the picture of Faunus comes from Pinterest

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Wheel of Wonder December 27, 2015

The Winter Solstice has passed, and pleasantly, on the evening of the solstice I had the honor to co-facilitate a Solstice ritual at the local Unitarian Universalist Church.  60 people showed up!  Its wonderful to now there are actually that many seekers wishing to learn and celebrate the old ways of Yule, the pre-christian holiday.  I'm glad my friend Amy and I could facilitate the experience for them.


Today was also Freya's birthday according to a seasonal observance book I found.  Freya: Norse Goddess of Love.

In the interest of stories at gatherings around the fire inside or out of the winter cold I was also thinking about the winter morris singers and dancers of England.  Much like Wassailing, these singers will go door to door sharing their songs and plays in the hopes of some drink or food in exchange for their christmas cheer.  It is said that if the Wassailing goes badly at a house they will sing intentionally off-key Christmas Carols in reaction to the situation.
One of the favorite plays of the midwinter morris revelers is the story of St. Michael and the Dragon done in fun and spoof by actors dressed as folkloric figures.  In the story St. Michael (the sun god figure)  will slay the Dragon (embodiment of winter), or in the process, St. Michael will be slain, only to be raised from the dead once again by the Faerie Doctor or other magics.  Much like the folkloric sun god/green man figure.
Winter blessings to all!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wheel of Wonder December 13, 2015

Today is a triple day of festivities!  December 13 is Santa Lucia day, popular in Sweden. If you ever wondered about the images you've seen of a young woman in white, or red and white with an evergreen wreath, crowned with burning candles on her head?  She's representing Santa Lucia.  The story of Santa Lucia is believed by some to be a christianized version of the story of Lucina, the sun goddess.  Thalia Took writes: “Lucina is a Roman Goddess of Light, a Moon-Goddess who is especially a Birth-Goddess, for when a baby is born it is brought into the light of the world for the first time.  According to the  blog Journeying to the Goddess:  “Lucina themes are banishing, kindness, charity, health and protection. Her symbols are candles (light sources).  Lucina means light."
Today is also the beginning of the runic half-month Jera.  The Futharc/Norse Rune Jera is a rune that represents the cycle of life. With this rune we see that we must go with the flow of nature to obtain the goals we want.(info found on this blog)
Also today is a day to pay homage to Demeter:  Here is a prayer you can prelude your meal with by Dorothy Morrison to reflect that:
Great Goddess of the plants and Earth
Who tends the crops that fill its girth
We ask your blessing on this meal
and honor you with the turning of the wheel

The picture above Credit:  Cristian Bait/The Image Bank/Getty Images/Demeter

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Wheel of Wonder December 6, 2015

"The traditional rules about how to be a “real man” in America are breaking down. Economic upheaval has shifted wage earning from men to their wives or partners. The rise of men as primary caregivers of their children is challenging our most fundamental assumptions about gender. The gay rights and trans rights movements are creating expansive new definitions of masculinity. Millennials are leading a much broader acceptance of diversity.
This generation is witness to a collision between traditional masculinity and a new wave, one that values intimacy, caregiving, and nurturing. But many of us have spent our lives under immense pressure to stifle emotional expression of any kind. And we’re learning there’s a cost: Men are suffering higher rates of life-threatening disease, depression, and death. Simply put, the suppression of emotional expression in men is damaging their health and well-being.
If you’ve grown up in the United States, then you’re familiar with the Man Box, the longstanding rules of how to walk, talk, and sound like a man in America:
1. Real men don’t express a wide range of emotions. They limit themselves to expressing anger or excitement. 
2. Real men are breadwinners, not caregivers. 
3. Real men are “alphas” and natural leaders. 
4. Real men are authoritative and make all final decisions. 
5. Real men are physically tough and sexually dominant. 
These rules take hold early in our lives. Boys 4 and 5 years old are told to shake it off, man up, don’t be a crybaby, and, worst of all, don’t be a girl. This is because the Man Box devalues any form of emotional expression traditionally deemed to be feminine. A devastating result of this anti-feminine bias is that women, gays, and trans people face epidemic levels of bullying, rape, misogyny, homophobia, and violence.
The Man Box robs our sons of a lifetime of opportunities to develop their emotional capacities. Instead, they grow into emotionally isolated men who wall themselves off from the social connectivity central to healing and creating community."
-----Mark Greene, from Why manning up is the worse thing to do Yes! magazine, December 2015

Mr. Greene's words could not be more true, and he expressed this idea much better than me.  To read the rest of the article follow the link above.  Social Media Sites and Politicians trying to run for office by showing "they are not scared of anyone" (and proving quite the opposite) through spewing hate, fear, and bigotry have been hard to avoid lately.  Considering hate talk to be normal, does not help American society head in the correct direction, most of the trash talk I've heard and seen comes from men, so I was pleased to find this article today as it addresses that.  Men's roles are changing in American society, so this is an important issue. This old, all about rough and tough men way of being has no place in this modern, 21st century.  At least its less prevalent in communities of Goddess honoring traditions, that is one of the things I appreciate about modern neo-paganism and its place in the world.
 Today, December 6th is also known as the day that is sacred to Odin, so we briefly covered some ideas of Asatru, the Norse Pagan faith.  I appreciated the "Nine Charges" of the Odinic Rite:


 The Nine Charges were codified by the Odinic Rite in the 1970s.[13]
  1. To maintain candour and fidelity in love and devotion to the tried friend: though he strike me I will do him no scathe.
  2. Never to make wrongsome oath: for great and grim is the reward for the breaking of plighted troth.
  3. To deal not hardly with the humble and the lowly.
  4. To remember the respect that is due to great age.
  5. To suffer no evil to go unremedied and to fight against the enemies of Faith, Folk and Family: my foes I will fight in the field, nor will I stay to be burnt in my house.
  6. To succour the friendless but to put no faith in the pledged word of a stranger people.
  7. If I hear the fool's word of a drunken man I will strive not: for many a grief and the very death groweth from out such things.
  8. To give kind heed to dead people: straw dead, sea dead or sword dead.
  9. To abide by the enactments of lawful authority and to bear with courage the decrees of the Norns.
The picture to the left is called "Odin" by Jeff Stokely this link should lead you to his gallery on DeviantArt

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wheel of Wonder November 29, 2015

MEETING GWYNN ap NUUD

To the King of Spirits and his queen:  Gwynn ap Nuud, you who are yonder in the forest
for the love of your mate, permit me to enter your dwelling
(Lindahl et al., Medieval Folklore, 190 re-quoted from the book of Celtic Magic, by Kristoffer Hughes)

Of late I've been experiencing dreams rife with the imagery of death, but not terror.  I attribute it to "living in the season" as I've mentioned in posts before.  Just the other day I was out at a wonderful grove I visit.  I was sitting there, surrounded by the presence of Cedars, near a cold, and fast running stream.  Some of the Salmon are returning to the place of their birth, to lay the eggs that carry their wisdom on through the young.  Its in their natural life cycle to die after fighting their way upstream for sometimes hundreds of miles just to spawn the young.  From November to February many dead fish lie along the shoreline of the stream as their bodies leave, then the dirt, water and sand bury their bones. The alder and the maple lose their leaves at this time too, skeletons standing erect over the skeletons lying below.  The ground seems frozen and cold, so thoughts of death and life are easily conveyed across the moistened landscape.  I accept it as a scene of rest before life springs up anew in the spring.  I wonder what is to be learned there...so my dreams reflect this yearning and from time to time a tall, strong, and dark haired facilitator to this learning meets me in that dreamscape of death, and I ask him questions and take in the sights.  All of these nocturnal wanderings lead me to consideration of the welsh diety Gwynn ap Nuud, King of the Faeries, dwelling beneath the Glastonbury Tor, as the shamans, historians and occasional bards relate.
This version of herne the Hunter was created by A.L Paciorek

Gwynn ap Nuud is variuosly described as the welsh god of the forests, the wild hunt or death.  Today on wheel of wonder we visited these stories as well as stories of other forest god figures like Tam Lin, Herne, The Satyrs, and the Holly king, rulers of the dark part of the year in the myths of the oak and holly kings.  Death is another beginning, a rebirth, and though most all people will agree that taking another's life in not right, as do I.   Fear of death maybe one of the aspects of being human that Gwynn ap Nuud may be able to help us overcome.  Perhaps there is some learning to be gleaned through understanding the darkness of the unknown that he so comfortably dwells within.
Holly King by RavenWillowHawk