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