Daily Archives: September 28, 2014

T is for Traditions – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So here we are, getting into Blood Moon, and part-way through a move. When I first left my mother’s house, I wanted to dive into building my own seasonal traditions – stuff like specific meals or dishes, decorations and activities, that I’d bring back again and again to mark the Wheel of the Year. At first, this was tricky – in significant part because I was trying to strike a balance with a then-spouse who didn’t believe in… anything, really. But he’d been raised with Christian feast-days, so he wanted to keep those even though they weren’t particularly meaningful for him. My wife’s cosmology is significantly closer to my own, which makes things like ancestor plates and longest night parties a lot less contentious[1].
With each place I’ve lived since then, I’ve tried to incorporate those traditions, figuring out what’s easy to sustain, what feels appropriate, what needs to be marked and how, with each passing year.
My wife has referred to our new place as our “ten year house” and also as a house that is a “home”, and “ours”, rather than just a place to sleep while marking time… As we move in, I’m looking at it with an eye to the Wheel, and to the traditions I can foster within (and outside of) its walls. Traditions like:
Beltane as the day we turn the compost and plant out the first early veggies (like kale, chard, and peas), and the time of year when we mark our collaring ceremony and (typically) receive our year’s supply of maple syrup
Midsummer as the First of Tomato (to use a Barbara-Kingsolverism) and, possibly, the First of Serviceberry, rhubarb, and strawberry as well
Lammas (AKA: The August Long Weekend) as the time when the beans, raspberries, cucumbers, and other elements of Ontario’s “Yummy Season” come into fruition, a good opportunity for backyard grilling and all-day canning marathons (maybe even canning parties) using hot plates and slow cookers set up on the patio
Mabon as the gentle winding down of Canning Season with the last blanching-and-freezing, pickling, and fruit-butter-ing; a feast of apples and apple-friendly things like onions, kale, grilled pork sausages, and early baking squashes like delecata and acorn; and the gearing up (literally) for the other Harvest we attend
Samhain as the day we harvest the winter squash, toast the harvest & the generous land with a feast and a nod to the ancestors, and lay the garden to sleep for the year
Midwinter as the longest night, celebrating the old year and offering blessing for the new – along with personal family milestones like our wedding anniversary –
Imbolg – The time of year when seeds are ordered for the garden, Meat CSA orders are placed, and we celebrate the years we’ve been together, both in romantic partnership and in M/s service.
Ostara – Placing the veggie CSA order, the maple syrup order, watching the river as it starts to hint at breaking up. The time when we work to clear through any Extras we have lingering among the preserves we’ve been eating up since November in the name of “spring cleaning” and mentally prepping for Beltane and the beginning of the next cycle’s gardening season.
Some of these festivals – all of them, eventually – will include things like changing out the wreathes on the front door, switching from cooking primarily outdoors to cooking primarily indoors (eventually, when we acquire a grill – now that we have a patio to put it on) and back again, switching from one set of seasonal-weight blankets to another on the bed, putting up Midwinter decorations (December 1st, or the first snow, whichever comes first) and taking them down again (Imbolg-Eve). They’ll also include regular bouts of cleaning and tidying, purging and repurposing and, with any luck, switching out the winter clothes (particularly the outerwear) for the summer items.
Most of these traditions don’t sound particularly fancy – more to do with day-to-day living than with feasting and celebration. But I think that’s the point: To bring these moments on the year wheel into sharp focus but also into the rhythm of your life.
Meliad the Birch Maiden,
[1] I suspect they’re also less contentious because we’re better suited to each other in general, which is worth noting.

S is for Shadow (Shocking, I Know) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Maybe, given the number of posts that I’ve written relating to this theme, it’s not surprising that I’ve chosen “shadow” for one of my S prompts. The whole idea of “Shadow” is that all the things you don’t like about yourself wind up tucked away in a closet at the back of your Self where you stuff them to try and pretend they don’t exist… which never works.
For a long time, I figured that “shadow” was specific to “dangerous” things in the sense of “things that other people would perceive as dangerous” – you know, things that get you in trouble, things that “Good Girls Don’t” do, that kind of thing. It never occurred to me (until very recently, at least) that people’s insecurities, their meekness, that which is “dangerous” because it makes them (feel) vulnerable (rather than harmful-to-others or unwantable or something) could end up there, too.
I once did a “Guided Meditation” thing wherein my then-counselor took me on a trip in my own brain. I got to ride the Personal Bus and see who else was on there.
There was a man on my bus who dressed like a rough rocker type and who had a ring in his nose, and whose head was that of a boar or a bull (but I’m not at all sure which, because it kept changing), who looked scary and intimidating but who was really a bit of a gentle sweetheart. There was an unhappy, rather lonely lesbian with diamond earrings and jeans (who actually looks like someone I’ve now met… huh…). There was an old woman (who looked so much like the 4-of-Earth card in my tarot deck, it’s mind-boggling) name Angela who was bitter and hurting because nobody took care of her and a very young little girl (like between 4 and 7) also named Angela who wanted/needed to be taken care of but was wasn’t bitter or hurting about it yet, and still possessed some wonder about the world.
There were others, apparently, but I didn’t see them.
My counselor said that I was unusual because, while most people have one side of their Mental Bus all full, and the other side mostly empty – that all of their Shadow People fall along the same lines, so to speak – for me, if I had a person on the right who was imperious, sexual, and entitled (The Wicked Queen, let’s call her), I’d also have a person on the left who was the naïve, vulnerable, childish (child-like?) shadow of The Ingénue. Apparently there are a lot of parts of myself that I’ve learned (in whatever way) are “unacceptable” or “dangerous” for me.
I don’t have a clue why that is, but there it is. (Is this why I’m constantly frozen with indecision? …Perhaps).
I’ve heard it said – everywhere from self-help books to mythology classes to writing workshops – that what scares [you] most is where you have to go.
I know what scares me most.
And boy-howdy does it ever scare me, for more reasons than one. But there it is. So… down I go. At least I think I’ve found a way of putting my feet in that water without completely risking drowning. :-\

Wish me luck.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

S is for Singing (and Shelter) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

I was singing in the new house, yesterday, filling the walls up with song (lots of hard surfaces, so a great echo!) while I moved around the house, putting bags and boxes into their respective rooms. It’s one of the ways that I put my energy into a place in a very literal way. I learned that eons ago, during my first vocal class in high school. A decade of singers had already passed through that room and their voices are imbedded, imprinted on (in) the walls. Singing – whatever you’re singing – is one way to bless and claim a place, to make it your own and fill it with life. To wake it up.
My wife, after a quarter-century in the house-building industry, can feel it when a house is hungry, feel it when they’re happy. According to her, houses are very self-contained. They may or may not notice when the house next door has a power-outage, gets knocked down, or stands empty for years. But they feel it when it happens to them. People want to fulfill their purposes. You can read that in Aristotle or hear the Oracle say so in The Matrix, if you want to, but it’s true for everything, everyone. A house’s purpose is to have people in it[1]. And by the feel of things, this one hasn’t. Not for a while.
So when I go over there, I say hello to the house, I touch the walls, the lintels, the banisters, to say “I’m here, you’re lived in” (or will be shortly, at any rate), put my footsteps into the floor and my voice into the walls. Slowly, slowly, we are waking her up. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden,
[1] Gardens, for what it’s worth, are the same way, and they’ll pick up on the feel of a place real easily. My garden, the last time I had one? The squash turned bitter at the same rate that my then-marriage did. I call that telling. O.O