As many people are aware, November is National Novel Writing Month: participants have daily writing goals intended to spur them to complete an entire draft of a novel during the month of November. Not all of us are novel writers, however, but sometimes we like to join in the fun. Rev. Jan Avende challenged her fellow ADF clergy to write a prayer a day, and since then it’s taken off — not just with clergy, but also with bards, liturgists, dedicants; all manner of the folk writing prayers to the Kindreds. Continue reading A month of prayers: week 1
Yesterday, Three Cranes Grove gathered to celebrate the feast of Imbolc, the time of the first signs of spring. We sang the praises of Brigid, goddess of the fires of healing, hearth, and creativity; we lit nineteen candles surrounding the Well, each representing a line from a praise-poem that accompanied the lighting; we reblessed a healing blanket that passes around the Grove. My friend Meg was there, with her son C, who also happens to be my godson. C is just shy of a year old, excited and curious about everything he sees. I was filled with joy to be able to introduce him to my way of honoring the Divine, and he went with me to give offerings to the Kindred and to sing a hymn of praise to Brigid. (Pro-tip: barley in a small plastic container turns out to be an excellent rattle, and I’m certain the Kindred didn’t mind exchanging some of their physical offering for the happiness of a child.) He is so full of innocent life, and I look forward to watching the springtime of his life as he grows and learns. This is Imbolc. Continue reading Imbolc: life against all odds
I realize it’s been a few weeks since I posted here. I got bogged down in work, including some travel, and then it started feeling like I had to come back with some big, crazy, summative thing. Luckily I remembered my friend Erika’s gentle reminder on a similar occasion: “you need time to be a person, too.” So let’s consider the past few weeks some personal fallow time. It is in fact winter, the time of the sleeping earth! But as February and Brigid’s feast of Imbolc approach, I feel life coming back to my writing, and I’m most grateful.
[As I was searching for an appropriate header image, I found the one you see above. It’s a simple, pleasant image, but the real key is the creator’s description on Flickr, where he refers to a flower associated with Brigid: “Where are the snowdrops? Underneath.” Just so.] Continue reading Brigid’s hands, underneath
When the broader public thinks about paganism (if they think about paganism), most likely they think of magic and spells. I know I did: my first exposure to paganism was through a pair of Wiccan coworkers in the late 90s, right around when The Craft came out. And so even as I curiously picked up a copy of Vivianne Crowley’s Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millenium and read Crowley’s calm explanations focused on personal transformation and self-exploration, I always saw Fairuza Balk’s crazed, too-eager eyes whenever Crowley said anything about a spell or incantation.
Continue reading Spelling away sickness
A week and a half ago, my uncle Robert sent out a message to the whole family: my aunt Suzanne had suffered a seizure, and was in the hospital. Over the next few days more details unfolded: there was a mass, but doctors weren’t calling it a tumor. Suzanne was doing well, and was back at home and still planning on hosting Thanksgiving (a major undertaking in my large extended family, 50 or so people). Surgery and biopsy wouldn’t be till after the holiday weekend. She appreciated all our prayers. Continue reading Anointing with oil and song