We are here on the Wheel. Again and yet again, it is pointed out that Yule is a lesser “holiday” for pagans and not such a huge deal as the Christian Christmas has become. There are many websites which will explain all the ways in which pagan traditions were taken to make up the traditions that manifest at Christmas, the tree, the Holly King, the sweets, the mistletoe and more. I’m not one to repeat all that here.
Yule is important because it marks the longest night of the year. The days have gradually become shorter until winter arrives and while Winter is nowhere near done, Yule marks the promise that Light will reign again. From this day forward, each day will become a bit longer, the light will last longer. It’s a promise of Spring and Summer that seem so far away.
These days, it’s easy to forget that. We have electricity and furnaces and food in plenty. At this time of year, I am always amazed that in older times, people would have such faith in the turning of the seasons that they would feast on the darkest of days. Think about it.
Their homes were drafty and cold. Even when the harvests were good, they didn’t have the means to store food like we do. Their lives depended on what they had stored from the harvest and what the men could hunt. On December 21st, they still had the coldest months of January and February to depend upon their food stores then March before they saw a hint of fresh herbs growing wild. Game was scarce. Animals stuck close to their dens and men close to their fires. Yet, every year, from the humblest of towns
to the high halls of the lords
the lady of the house would take stock of her stores and lay out a feast for Yule. What faith that must have taken! To use the best of what you had to celebrate the coming of Light when you could not know if you would have enough to last through the coldest months!
That is the magic of Yule for me, that incredibly enduring Faith. I am always mindful of it as this season comes. I wonder that it does not get “lost” in our mad scramble for gifts and decorations. I try to take time to reflect on what really matters, not what gifts I can buy but what gifts I can give, of my time, my love, stories, food and just sharing good energy. Call old friends, forgive someone, laugh with children, share joy and light, the riches you have and have faith that these are things you will not run out of.
Send a card: If you are looking for pagan cards, I know the perfect place to find them. Moondragon Cards is based in the UK and has some gorgeous cards for all seasons AND calandars! Find them on Facebook
Celebrate the birth of the child of Light
I’m excited about this 15th BNB challenge, hosted by Kathy Lindemar. She chose this painting “Who Will be Captain”? for our inspiration.
When we think of pirates, we think of booty!
In many old pirate legends, the captain killed some of the men who went with him to bury the treasure. Dead men tell no tales after all. This painting brought all that to mind. Pirates of old were either great heroes or great villains and legends of treasures lost abound. Johnny Depp and the Pirates of the Carribean have renewed the “hero” aspect of pirates and given us very lovable characters to feed our fantasies.
Before I reveal my pieces I created, I’d like to tell you the story of Lilly Larkin. This is a story I made up for my pirate loving little boys.
And, yes, I made them jewelry to match the colors in the painting. They love these pierceless earrings and I can show you easily how to make them. The boys love these. They take very little wire. They can go on your ears and you can wear one or twenty one! They can look like lip or nose piercings (make sure ye don’t mix up your nose and your lip rings……..YUCK).
Lilly’s story was based on a real life “character”, a wonderful modern piratess who lives in merry England right now whose name is Lily Lark of the Pirates of St Piran fame.
Lily Lark and her friends, the rapscallions known as the Pirates of St. Piran, dress up and do re-enactments of actual battles and sometimes the just dress up and drink grogg and have fun, hiring out for parties, weddings and funerals. They support some fine charities in merry England like the Childrens Hospice. Oft times, they dress up and go to schools to teach young ones about pirates. Anyone who works with and for kids is AOK in my book! You can read all about this motley crew here, see pictures and learn some piratical parlance. And if ye want to hire this bunch of scallywags to dance at yer weddin’ or liven up your party, well, the details are on their page. OR, you can check out their Facebook page and see what they are up to.
As a matter of fact, they have a brand new CD of sea chanties that is being released in November. What a great gift for children and adult children who love pirates. Or, check out one of the older CDs.
Now that you have an idea of what our legendary Lilly Lark might have looked like, let’s sit back with a mug of grogg, listen to a chanty while you read and I’ll tell you her story.
Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, Lilly was an orphan who loved the sound of the waves and watched the ships and took her first job aboard the Sea Witch when she was 8 years old. She started as a cabin “boy”, wearing tattered pants that were too short for her scrawny legs and a filthy shirt and called herself Larkin. Captain Morgan, of the Sea Witch took her under his charge and taught her to fight and taught her all about the sea and ships. She could climb the ropes like a monkey and fought like a fierce shark. She learned to swim when she was 11 and a new cabin boy who was jealous of her place on board threw her off the rails in a rage when he found out she was really a girl. Larke had to swim or drown.
Larke survived by splashing about until she could actually swim. She caught up with the ship, unseen by the crew. She clung desperately to a bit of netting that had become entangled on the anchor chain.
Captain Morgan, who loved Larkin like his own son, was furious when he found out what happened. He whipped the cabin boy and tossed him in the hold. He turned the ship about and sent down a life boat to search for his beloved orphan. They found her almost lifeless, tied in the netting and brought her back aboard. Captain Morgan named her his adopted daughter and the heir to his boat if anything should happen to him. Her official name became Larke Morgan with this adoption.
This divided the ship. Most of the crew respected and loved their captain for he was a fair man and generous sharing the booty they fought for. The first mate, however, a toothless lout named O’Leary, hated the girl. He thought he should be the one to take over the ship should Morgan die.
When Larke was 16, Morgan was killed by a lunatic commander of Her Majesty’s navy and O’leary took over as Captain. He did so, by saying he was only holding the ship in trust for Lark till she came of age, but she knew that she had to watch her back. He wanted the ship for himself.
Just before her 18th birthday, O’leary and the Sea Witch Crew took a grand haul from a merchant ship. He instructed Lilly to make a map when they landed at a lonely island off the coast of Cornwall. They took a small boat and four crew members plus his first mate, Lilly Larkin and set about to bury the treasure. It was clear to our Larke that when it was time to bury someone with the treasure, it would be her bones that lay there so she was ready when O’Leary threw down. When he came behind her, she quickly turned and buried her dagger in his heart. Pistol in hand, she faced the others. They decided that it was not the day to mutiny and swore allegiance to their new captain.
There are many stories about Larke and her merry crew, like the time HMS Constantine took her by surprise and she quickly dressed in fine ladyship clothes and put dresses in the cabin boy and the cook’s helper (who later married each other in a fine ceremony) and convinced the admiral that her father, a prosperous merchant had died at sea and she and her ladies in waiting were traveling to port to sell his cargo. She totally fooled the admiral and with much dancing to the hornpipe, caused him to fall madly in love, promise to maryy her and let her go.
Our Larke once made a fabulous haul with fantastic pirate booty. The jewels she stole were legendary and only she knew where she buried her loot. She had the map made into a necklace and no one ever guessed that here were the directions to Faire Lilly’s Booty.
She is my inspiration for this necklace. The focal is made from patined copper I got from Lillypilly designs. It has a topagraphical look to me and made me think of a treasure map. This particular embossed copper is a color called Enchantment. The beads are smoky quartz teardrops, tiny faceted garnets, pressed Czech glass and some weird glass beads that either look black or burgundy, depending on how the lights hit them. But watch out, if ye wear it. Some scallywags may want it for themselves.
I Pulled the darker colors from the picture for both the necklace and these bracelets. I do love bangles. These are made from steel wire covered with sari silk in the colors from the palette. I personally like to wear a lot of bangles. I came up with the idea to make a Bangle Brooch, a pin that would hold them all together and give you a whole new look. I made two Bangle Brooches, one in plain copper and one that looks a jewel. Ye’ll look like a saucy wench wearing these bracelets! And, being made of steel, they’ll help protect your wrist in a swordfight!
Last, but not least, I made an ear wrap and this time focused on some of the lighter colors. This goes ’round behind your ear. Notice the key to the treasure box that just naturally becomes part of the jewelry. . They are perfect if your ears are not pierced OR can be worn along with your favorite ear jewelry. I’ll be making 3 for my young pirates Christmas stockings. They went to Comic Con this year and are wanting their very own pirate costumes for that and for the Renn Faire.
So, let’s tip our mugs of ale and celebrate Lilly Larkin, the infamous piratess known as Larke and her modern day counterpart, the incredible Lily Lark while the hornpipes play the Drunken Sailor. And let us all drink to Faire Lilly’s Booty!!!
AHOY! Here’s an IMPORTANT NOTE: All the lovely ladies who took part in this challenge have submitted their designs for a contest. You can see what they made and vote on what designs you like the best. Winner gets some great booty from Kathy’s Etsy shop. Voting begins on November 11th, that’s tomorrow, and lasts till November 18th and you can come back every day
Arrrrrrrrrrrr……….if ye don’t vote fer me, ye can walk the plank ye scurvy landlubbers……………….VOTE HERE
You can also visit the other artist’s blogs and see what inspired them. First, check out Kathy’s blog.
According to Wikipedia, a hex is “a magical spell, usually with a melevolent purpose, such as a curse”. We all know this. And, even if you are not pagan, you know some sort of way to offset a hex, you have a charm or amulet or lucky clover or you wear certain gemstones or your lucky shirt or carry a lucky penny. What fascinated me, when I started thinking about hexes, was a group of very seriously Christian folk who use pagan practices as part of their everyday life.
Early in the 20th century, these signs became a common sight on barns in Pennsylvania. Their simple folksy beauty became quite popular and their use spread. This type of art became well known all over the United States. I’m talking about the Hex Signs.
You’ve all seen them somewhere, particularly the distelfink. Distelfink is a German/Dutch word for goldfinch, a very common bird in this area. A distelfink in a hex sign is a symbol of good luck or good fortune.
So, who ARE the Pennsylvania Dutch? In the 19th century, and ending about 1863, a great influx of immigrants came to this country, not from Holland but from southwestern Germany, the Rhineland and Palatine areas, Baden-Wuttenberg, Alsatians, Swiss and even French Protestants. They came here seeking religious freedom. They spoke German or Deutsche and became known as the Plain Dutch (obviously a corruption of Deutsche. BTW, the German word for Germany is Deutschland). Plain Dutch differed from the more affluent Dutch (from Holland), who more easily assimilated themselves into mainstream America. Groups of these folk have become known as the Amish, Dunkers, Shakers and Mennnonites.
They live somewhat apart from others and have a closed society so not a whole lot is known about them.
Not much is known about their practices and beliefs outside of their own culture. They appear to be strict Christians who do not embrace “worldly” practices nor technology. If you look a bit closer, you will find that their folk magic is an integral part of their everyday lives. The tradition of Pow-wow goes back a long way into their past. Pow-wow is an Algonquin term and was borrowed from that native culture. For American natives, a pow-wow is a gathering of Indians and particularly medicie men.
For the Deutsche, the term pow-wow refers to a collection/study of European magic spells, folk remedies and recipes. The formulas mix Christian prayers, magic words and simple rituals to cure simple domestic ailments and rural troubles. The tradition is also called Speilwerk. (Hey, that looks suspiciously like “spellwork” to me) Its adepts are sometimes called hexenmeisters. The tradition of hex signs painted on Pennsylvania barns in rural areas is believed to relate to this tradition and some think the symbols for pentagrams were talismanic decorations.
The hex signs do have symbolic meanings. They were used to decorate indoors until the early 20th century Quilts and wooden household items were decorated with these designs to protect the home and hearth. When paint became more affordable, the decorations moved to the barns. After that, they became popular and now can be found even in jewelry items.
The nex daddy sign keeps away plague, famine and the evils of the world.
This hex sign uses both the distelfink and the Irish four leaf clover for luck and long life.
Pow-wow doctors use the Bible, the 6th and 7th books of Moses, a magical text which clams to be a sort of sequel to the biblical books of Moses, the Penteuch, and teh Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus along with a book called the Long Lost Friend, (Der Lange Verborgene Freund, published 1820). An excerpt from the 6th and 7th books of Moses: ……….”.we must first become Christians before we can perform cures by Christian methods.” But some cures , expecially in the Urlasswe practice speak of deities such as Holle, Frost Giants, Wudan (Odin), Dunner (Thor), and Ewicher Yeeger (the Eternal Hunter).
Some cures, have a definite pagan resonance such as this charm for cataracts
Es Wassaer, des salz
Es Wasser,des salz
Des Salz iss am vergehne
glaarer binnich yetzs am sehne
Die Holle schteeht geeich yeder schaade
Kummt sie mir un heift mir graade
“the Water, the Salt
The Water, This Salt
The salt is ceasing to be
Clearer now do I see
Holle stands against every harm
she comes to me and helps me now
and pagan folk, how about this hex sign, the Eternal Oak which stands for strength in body and mind….remind you of the Oak King?
I know this isn’t strictly a pagan post but I did think it was interesting that folks we think are SO very different from us have roots in the very same pagan belief systems that we do.
There are so many stones to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down the field to a few that are MUST HAVES for every pagan, well actually every person could benefit from these. I’ve tried to choose just 9, a magical 3X3 number that every witch should have. If I had to limit myself to just a few, these are the stones I would have.
Amethyst: In addition to its usual well known uses, this stone is a powerful psychic tool, will protect you from black magic and will aid in second sight, intuition, and insight.
Malachite is probably the most powerful of all the “eye stones” which were prized in ancient societies to protect against the evil eye. Malachite is said to enhance visionary powers and to stimulate all types of personal power. It wards off negative vibrations and is said to warn an owner of impending danger by breaking. It promotes inner peace and hope and offers protection and inner security.
Moonstone: A very sensitive stone whose powers increase with the moon. It helps promote love, not just romantic love, but love of friends and family and love for humanity because it opens your heart to experience love. It lends you strength when you are emotionally overextended. It inspires self confidence. It is a great stone for people who carry around a burden of buried anger.
Carnelian is a must, not only because of its other properties, but because it is a stone which will clean the negative energies away from other stones. Carnelian can motivate you and give you energy to turn your ideas and dreams into form. It’s a stone of success and can give you physical power.
Lapis throughout history has been associated with wisdom and love and is a stimulant for psychic abilities. It strengthens your body and mind. It will stimulate your inner vision and enhance your wisdom, insight and good judgment.
This stone is a must because not only is it grounding and good for protection, obsidian acts like a screen to keep all negativity surrounding you at bay. Never exchange your own piece with another person or accept a stone that someone else has worn. It bonds to a person and should stay with its original owner.
This one is a given. Everyone knows you need clear quartz crystals, not only as a communication aid, but because it drains off any blocked areas that keep your dreams from coming true. It helps you use your own inner resources and potential and get ride of self blocks. It’s a wonderful energy conductor.
A stone that helps you find love, first self love because you cannot love someone else unless you first love your own inner person. Not only does it help enhance your outer beauty but it helps get rid of negative energy from the past.
Tiger’s eye is a great stone that helps you think clearly and helps you make right decisions. it helps yous ee what you are getting into before you take steps forward. It helps with clear thinking, good judgment and protection. Couldn’t ask for more.
So there they are. If you have these gems, you pretty much have all angles covered.
The stories of the “Evil Eye” originated in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean. It spread to many other countries. In some European countries, giving somone the evil eye is known as overlooking. The idea of the evil eye seems to come from the concept that we all have a third eye, located in the center of our forehead. The intent of the evil eye is to blind or obscure that 3rd eye in some way. You do not have to be a sorcerer or witch or even a “bad” person to give someone the “evil eye”.
Have you ever experienced someone looking at you with a hard stare, their gaze lingering on you overlong? Maybe it creeped you out. Maybe you thought about it later in the day. Maybe it seemed like your day got worse after that lingering gaze. This discomfort may come from some primitive roots. Animals stare each other down to establish dominance and it may be that in more primitive times, this was done among human animals. No animal, human or otherwise, is comfortable with another animal staring straight at it. Personally, I get the same feeling when a person has teeth that are way too white. Bright white teeth scream “predator” to me and I do not like to see a wide grin with bright teeth. I’m sure this comes from my primitive ancestor memories. We all seem to have these primitive ancestor “memories” to some extent even though we rely less and less on instinct in these modern times.
The evil eye has nothing to do with sorcery or witchcraft. It is thought to come from envy on the part of the person who is over looking. The original belief is that giving someone the evil eye can harm your children, your livestock, your frut trees or any over evidence of prosperity. It logically follows that one should not flaunt their good fortune and run the risk of making someone jealous.
In common lore, the evil eye could cause a dehydrating effect, drying the milk of nursing mothers or cows, causing dry coughs, a lack of rain for crops, withering of fruit, drying up of wells or springs and impotence in men. Wow! I suspect that damage from the “evil eye” is greatly psychological in origin and probably in direct proportion o the extent of your belief. If you believe that someone has the power to influence your life with a malevolent stare, then you will reap consequences in proportion to your belief, drawing negative energy toward you by dwelling upon it.
In many cultures, jewelry is worn to protect one from the evil eye. In Mediterranian countries, the lucky hand is often worn. Any of the “eye stones” such as malachite or tigers eye, hawks eye or cats eye (chrysoberyls) were worn also to protect the wearer from the evil eye.
Recently, resin and glass evil eye jewelry has become popular like this evil eye and Greek Key charm bracelet.
If you feel you have been “overlooked” by someone who is ill wishing you, quickly use the hand gesture known to avert the evil eye.
For me, an extremely important part of being pagan is connecting to earth and nature. If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you already know that I love learning about rock and stone lore. It’s one of the ways I connect. If you know me personally, you also know that herbal lore and herbal remedies are another topic really important to me.
Spring is coming soon, at least I hope it is and with it, all the buds and blooms. Along with the flowers we all know and love come the so called weeds, the undesirables. So, I’m thinking that some of my Pagan Blog Project posts will be about these much maligned yard and garden “upstarts”.
I’m starting off with dandelions, the nuisance plant of every yardman. It seems that no matter what you do, there is a dandelion popping up right where you just mowed! They are one of the most prolific of the summer plants. Most people think they are good for nothing. Oh sure, they know you can use them for salad greens, but why would you do that when there is a perfectly good head of lettuce in the frig and the dog has probably peed on them anyhow?
Here is what else they are good for.
First of all, they are loaded with vitamin A. Yes, I know you can take a pill and get vitamin A, but if you run out of pills, remember where there is a natural source. Be sure and pick them when they are young and tender. They are just a tad bitter………well, quite bitter as a matter of fact. You can drink a tea made from them to cleanse your system: the bladder, the urinary tract, the spleen and kidney. Dandelion tea is good for gout, insomnia and rheumatism.
Now, I hear you saying, why would I want to drink some nasty old tea when I can go to the doctor and get medicine? I’ll tell you what got me started using herbs. My oldest son was born allergic to everything, soap, his crib, milk and was in the hospital probably half a dozen times with allergic bronchial asthma before he was one year old. Doctors gave him Benedryl. So much medication rotted all his baby teeth and he had to have 11 teeth all pulled at once because those teeth were making him sick. I wanted to stop giving him medication. I feared he would have false teeth before he was 10! So, all summer, I gathered “weeds”, anything that I thought might cause allergies. My idea was to build up immunity. I dried all the leaves from dandelions, goldenrod, clovers, violets and lots of other plants. After they were dried, I kept them in a jar. When I cooked, I tossed in a pinch. I put them in pancake batter, in biscuits, cookies, chili, soup, and hamburgers. The next spring, summer and fall, we had no problems with the hospital, no oxygen tents and no Benedryl. After that, I started learning all kinds of remedies.
I taught my kids: If you are out in the yard and get stung by a bee……….you pick THIS plant and rub it on the sting. My grandson was playing with the boy next door one time. I heard the other kid screaming and Josh, as calm as could be, came running in, dragging him by the arm yelling “MIMI! Show him how to put this plant on his sting!”
The gypsies say that the juice from dandelion stems will cure warts. Rub that juice on the warts at least twice a day.
Oh, and dandelions make some really potent home brew wine. I’ll never forget my first batch. I told my folks it was a science project down in the basement. My dad just looked at me. A week or so later, he told me I had better check on my experiment because it was about to blow up. No, dad, I got it under control. Next morning……….all over the basement……..dandelion wine, broken glass and a huge mess. I was more careful the next time.
And what about these? How much joy has blowing dandelions fluff given to hundreds of kids all over the country? Dandelion lore says that its a sure sign of rain when the fluff flies off the dandelion and there is no wind. And, everyone knows that when you blow dandelion fluff, you are sending love to someone special, don’t they?
If you are interested in herbs and what uses they have, the best book I ever found was Jeannie Rose’s book, Herbs & Things. I wonder if it is still in print? I will have to look on Amazon. I still have a much battered and ragged copy I first bought in 1981. You can find cures, recipes for hair care, herbal baths and douches and some oddball lore that is just plain fun to know.
P.S. I checked on Amazon. A new copy will cost 39.99 but there are 4 used copies starting at 2.99 so hurry over and get one if you want to learn a lot. She also has a Herbal Body Book with bath salts, bath herbs, cosmetics and more but the first book is like my Bible. I bet I could not get 10 cents for my old raggedy wretched copy but I would not take 20 bucks for it.
Circle: no beginning, no end, or is there?
Our lives are a circle and follow a cycle. Everything in our lives comes full circle, following a cycle.
All things begin with a new idea, inspiration, a new project, a new idea, relationship, a birth, the new moon…..from the element of Air in the East of the circle, the gateway. Spring is the season associated with Air.
The south of the circle is Fire, the energy that implements new ideas, projects and inspiration. One cannot move forward on the Wheel without this energy pushing behind ideas. Summer is the season associated with Fire.
The West, the Water sign of the circle, the creativity flowing and moving your energy ever forward. Fall is the season associated with the West of the Circle.
The North, the Earth of the circle, the bounty and abundance, reaping the harvest of your efforts. Winter is the season associated with the Earth of the Circle.
If we follow the Circle of Life like the Circle of the Year, we will see that we cannot advance around the circle until all is completed with the cycle we are in at present.
In the spring (East/Air), you are planning your garden, or in life, you have an idea or are starting a new relationship and making plans. You cannot plant seeds on ground that is not prepared. The ground must be clear of weeds, they must be plowed under or burned off in the previous turn of the circle. If it is a new project, you must get rid of the remnants of old projects or ideas that did not work out. They will clutter your work area and your mind and the way will not be clear. If it is a relationship/partnership and you still have ties to an old relationship, baggage, these ties and bonds will interfere with the growth of your new relationship. Do a ceremony/ritual to celebrate the end of one thing before you begin another.
When you move on to the South (Fire/Action/Energy) of the Circle, your work is steady. Your planting of the crops can be finished, the weeds must be kept down, the ground kept fertile. If you are starting a new job or a new relationship, this is the learning phase, you are working hard to learn all you can, to build new ties, to insure that good roots are put down. In your leisure time, you can relax and look at how well your work is progressing and anticipate the time ahead when you will reap the rewards of your efforts. You can enjoy watching your garden grow, your job performance improve, your skills improve and your relationship grow.
The West of the Circle, (the Fall, the emotional/Water aspect). Seeing the first fruits of your work in the garden. Enjoying the kudos of a job well done. Rewards for your learning experience. The joys of a working relationship that has strong roots. Creativity flourishes and the bounty is forthcoming.
And in the North of the Circle (the Earth/Abundance) phase, you will enjoy the whole fruits of your labor, take satisfaction in well stocked larders from your garden and fields. On the job, you will relax a bit with your position secure (ideally) In your education, take pride in your knowledge and skills. In a relationship, you will enjoy the emotional satisfaction and comfort of a partner with whom you are comfortable and loved. At the same time, though you are relaxing, not working in the fields, you will be preparing for the next turn of the circle. In the garden, there will be days of burning off old weeds and stalks, clearing the fields for the next crop. On a job, you’ll be preparing ground for the next phase or promotion. In education, you’ll be exploring the next skill sets you might want to acquire. In a relationship, you’ll be preparing for the next phase of that relationship, maybe children or a move to another place.
And the Circle will begin again. You cannot move from one spot on the circle without following the Cycle. You can’t go from planning/planting seeds (East) to abundance (North) without passing through the other phases, doing the work. And, if a project/relationship/idea fails, you cannot immediately begin a new project without going through the steps of the cycle and understanding why it failed, expending the energy to find solutions to the problem and sitting back and contemplating what you learned by the failure. Only then can you move to the East of the Circle and begin again. Well, you actually CAN begin a new project or relationship but you will most likely get stuck at the same spot you failed beforehand and you’ll not move forward around the Circle but stay in the same spot even though you seem to be starting over.
Pagan Blog Project 2014:
B is for Beware
Beware does not just mean “watch out”. There is a meaning others don’t often remember Be ‘ware……be wary…….be AWARE.
Awareness is a practice we all need help with. So many people get caught up in just surviving or in nonsense television shows, phone texting, gaming, problems, depressing situations, breakups and…..well, the list could go on and on. Some of us are only aware of ourselves and forget about Being Aware of the world around us, particularly the natural world.
Most pagans try to practice a one-ness with nature though I have heard people complain that because they live in urban areas, they do not have ready access to parks, forests, blah blah, whatever. Actually, if they opened their eyes, their senses, the natural world is all around us and is in great danger often because of our lack of awareness. This was brought home to me this week when I read a blog post from Debra, of Breathe Lighter Blog. She posted about a wildfire near her home and work. I commented and we began a dialogue that ended with both of us lamenting the lack of awareness, the carelessness that can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage from wildfire, to say nothing of the terror it causes for wild life. They lose their homes, their food sources and fires scare them to death.
I believe that everyone who enters or drives through a wooded area should have to watch a virtual reality program and experience, through the eyes of a creature, the terror of fire in the woods. Maybe people would think twice before throwing down that cigarette or leaving a campfire unattended.
Is it carelessness that causes these fires? Or is it a total lack of concern or awareness for anything that does not directly benefit or entertain us?
We could ask this same question about that chemical spill in West Virginia’s river last week. There was much publicity about thousands of people with no water but not much about thousands of wild creatures and livestock who had no other recourse but to drink tainted water.
We can learn so much from creatures around us. It’s winter now and no matter where you live, you can feed the birds who struggle to find food and water. Watch and learn. In Ohio, we have the beautiful cardinals, my personal favorites. They are ground feeders and the males are very very cautious when they feed. They fly first to the trees and perch high, eyeballing the ground for predators.
Then they jump to lower branches and check out the action from there. They whistle to the female and she perches high in the tree branches. Only after he has checked out the ground for safety does his mate come down and eat while he watches from above.
You can learn a lot about love and caring just by being aware of these little guys. AND, in the summer, if you can learn to whistle like they do, they will perch above you on the telephone wires and answer your whistle. My grandchildren get so tickled when my cardinals come. ” Mimi!” , they will shout, “your friend is here! Come and talk to him!”
We build and build and encroach upon animal space. They struggle to survive as human habitats take over their space. I awoke one night to find an unwelcome visitor in my kitchen. A skunk had come in through my dog door and was scarfing dog food out of my Jack Russell’s food bowl. When I asked him what he was doing in my house, he looked at me like I was foolish, shook his head and walked out the door. He had to be completely starved to come through that dog door, knowing I had a very feisty dog in there.
I learned a lot about “reputation” that day. My dog had hidden in the bedroom when that skunk came in. Once I thought about how hungry that skunk must be, I checked online to see what he might eat. I began to put all my scraps on a plate, vegetable peelings, leftover salad and fruit peelings, mashed potato and macaroni and rice leftovers, anything but meat.
I found that he was living under the crawlspace of my house, driven so close, I suppose, because of lack of food. I learned a little more than I wanted to know about his sex life when my house filled up with his musk late one night. Apparently, skunks not only shoot off their scent when frightened , but when sexually excited. I definitely had to put stop to THAT! I could not stand the middle of the night adventures of his bachelor pad!
I began moving his food plate farther from the house each night. He would waddle out to eat and entertain us with his antics. Skunks are very playful little critters. Finally, when I had moved his dish to the back of the yard, he left the crawlspace and moved under the toolshed. Whew! Thus began a nightly ritual of sharing a plate of scraps with whatever creatures are passing through my yard. We have had the fattest little groundhogs and chubby possums (even though I think they are creepy looking I still feed them) and much entertainment from our creatures.
Even in an urban area, you can see how the natural world would take over if we humans were not around to interfere. Humans are actually insignificant creatures in Mother Nature’s world. All of our buildings would crumble to dust if we disappeared. And, all of our technology cannot equip us to compare with the natural instincts and senses of wild creatures that adapt to whatever obstacles we put in their way and still survive.
Be aware Be ‘ware Watch and learn from the world around you. There are many lessons out there. You will connect with your spiritual beliefs in a stronger way by studying the tribes of “people” who walk on four legs, fly or crawl.