Answering the Call

The veil between the worlds has grown thin. I have been blessed to receive many ancestor visits Samhain2014Alterin the past weeks (as a be-loved is on the journey home). The sense of peace that comes when things are aligned has been magical for me, especially as it comes at the end of two very up-down-sideways years (and really many more before that). I feel centred, loved, be-loved, whole.

Tonight as my sisters gather on hilltops and beaches, in backyards and living rooms, I will light a candle, stand before my alter, and lift my voice in praise of Goddess, She-That-Is, She-That-Will-Ever-Be. Blessed Samhain to you and yours.

Blessed Be!


All Things in Balance

All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well…
– Julian of Norwich

It is the first day of spring (aka Ostara) – and in Calgary, that means it’s snowing. The only flowers in sight are the indoor kind, and no dancing on the grass for this hippie witch tonight, but day and night are in perfect balance – well, that might be the only thing that ever is in my life. I’m the queen of imbalance, of trying to have it all right now – later is not my favourite word. But as I grow older and shed that which no longer works for my life, I am finding joy in the spaces in between, in the waiting, in the silence. I am navigating the pull of freelance work and the push of paying bills on time, the richness of laughter and the hollowness of tears, and I am becoming wiser for it.

SevenofDiscsA big chapter of my life is coming to an end at the turn of this wheel (Goddess willing and the creeks don’t rise – again) and by the next Sabbat I will have graduated with a shiny new masters’ degree. It’s something I always wanted for myself, and there’s satisfaction/sorrow in ending (balance!) mixed with the desire for what comes next. Like the Seven of Discs, I will rest and be content for now. Blessed Be!




Offering to Brigid

Blessed Imbolc! My annual offering to Brigid comes with much excitement, as new poems by Sappho have just recently been found. Brigid, for those who are unaware, is a Goddess not only connected to poets, but also to survival:

There is perhaps no goddess more appropriate to invoke when survival – whether physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual – is an issue. For while many goddesses have survived the destruction of their culture by cloaking themselves in new names and new legends, we know of none who have lived so long in disguise as Brigid. It is 1600[+] years since her worship was surppressed in her homeland, yet her wells are still visited and her name kept alive by devotees who still honour her feminine essence, even when they no longer define her as goddess. (Patricia Monaghan, The Goddess Path, p. 174)

For those of us who are struggling, for those who cannot be heard, for those who despair that our work will be lost forever, Sappho speaks to us from the Archaic Past*. Her words of Elemental Sisterhood*, translated to English by Anne Carson, resonate then, now, and in the time yet to come. Blessed Be!

someone will remember us

I say

even in another time


* These ideas, and many others, can be found in the work of Mary Daly.

On Accountability and Enough

The Wheel turns whether I notice it or not. Half a year gone. Four holidays have passed.

My Beltane alter was colourful, full of hope and joy. It was bright and happy, just as the holiday was meant to be celebrated. My heart was full, and I felt blessed. I spent time posting ideas for future alters to Pintrest, excited about what I could create in the months ahead.

Then the waters came., and my Summer Solstice alter was left behind in the rush of evacuation. I spent the holiday itself glued to technology, trying to glean the truth amongst the grains of rumour and speculation. I greeted the sun, praying its arrival would herald the end of the rains. And then I travelled, and was fortunate enough to find a space where I could honour the water without dread.

My Lammas alter was subdued. While the waters had spared my home, that which I had to harvest was meager compared to earlier years. I struggled (and continue to struggle) with issues of sustainability, with alternative income streams, with sharing and gifting versus owning and consuming.

We’re now at Fall Equinox, and my alter contains small crochet leaves, a reflection* of my ongoing sustainablity concerns. I light the candle, breathe deeply, and open myself to the unknown. I ask for blessings for myself and for others who are struggling. I let myself feel despair even as I open myself to hope.2013-09-27 08.22.47

The Wheel turns whether I notice it or not. It turns if I have intentation or not. It turns if my practice grows from that intention or not. It turns even as the questions tumble from my mind.

I question to whom I am accountable: If I create an alter and stand before it, honouring the turning of the wheel, is that enough? If I write about my experience here, is that enough? If I organize circles of others, if I give my time and energy to support local pagan groups, if my words are published, is that enough? If I teach my son to honour the old ways, if I sing songs, if I bake and craft and share my blessings with others, is that enough?

I question what I am expecting in return: If I am blessed with a roof over my head and food on my table, is that enough? If I am able to buy my son a warm coat without sacrificing our food budget for the month, is that enough? If I am able to recognize that I am no longer carless by choice,** but by circumstance, and it has not changed my ability to move around the city, is that enough? If I remember that abundance is here and the Path is right, is that enough?

I question, and the Wheel turns, and I light a candle. Blessed Be.

* I crochet when I’m panicked about financial things, to in some way convince myself that if all is a wash I’ll at least have a stack of hats to sell.

** I actually question if I was ever really carless by choice, but that’s the subject for another blog post.

Blogging for Yana

**trigger warning**

As many Pagans, I was brought to tears this morning by Cara Schultz’s post about a Pagan woman in Syria with whom she had been corresponding:

I’m at a loss for how to write this obituary, this tribute to a life lost so horribly.  The usual forms a reporter uses won’t work in this situation.  I don’t know her birth date  or the exact day she died, and because I don’t want to put others in harm’s way in Syria, I can’t even use her real name.

Cara had expressed concern about Yana’s safety (and the safety of other Pagans in the region) earlier this year: I keep hoping I will hear something, but it’s been several months and still no word.

And now comes the worst kind of word: that Yana had been denounced as a whore and a witch (by her own brother), had been taken by authorities and tortured, had been dragged into the streets, raped, and murdered.

Goddess grant her peace.

As the news spread, other bloggers stepped up to speak of the global nature of Paganism (and our responsibility to it) and the importance of interfaith work in addressing intolerance. Cara has set up a donation page on Doctors Without Borders in Yana’s name and donors have already raised over $1,000 to help those most affected by the conflict in Syria.

Tonight I light a candle and mourn. Tomorrow, I work for change, because Yana is only one of many women trying to survive in Syria.

Til not another woman dies.

Blessed Be.


Blessed Ostara!

Wow, where did the time go? I’ve been super busy with class (How much Habermas can one person read? Apparently a lot.) and a new position (research assistant at the University of Calgary) in addition to several different things happening with the boards I’m on (like the upcoming Building Alliances for Change: Nonviolent Popular Action), crafting (little sandwiches for everyone!) and signing up for another round of tai chi (third times the charm).

But being Pagan means recognizing the changing seasons, regardless of how busy I get. The wheel is nowostaraalter2013 turning to Spring Equinox (Ostara). Equinoxes are a time of balance; the day and night are equal, and the Earth feels pregnant with all the things that spring brings us. I may not have got my ritual cloth finished started, but I did get some paska baked and my alter decorated. I won’t be able to celepaska2013brate on Wednesday (I’m facilitating a focus group) but hopefully will be able to pull out the embroidery floss later this week, or at least figure out what pattern I’m using before next year.

Offering to Brigid

Blessed Imbolc! In the spirit of Idle No More, my annual offering to Brigid comes from Lee Maracle, First Nations poet and author.

Bent Box (My Song)


My song hails

from a bent box

drums of earh tears

enjoys the unbending

of woman spirit

issued through a voice


in androgynous souls.

This voice

penetrates silence

cracks barriers.


I can build

a bent box, shape its womanly contours

build fire from moss

light lives

sing man-song

birth children.

But I cannot penetrate

the dark hidden pleasures







Take the Path

Blessed Imbolc! Tomorrow is the start of my 21st year in service to Goddess. Tonight I’ll be sitting down to celebrate as I acknowledge and release the lessons of the past year; bless the present and all that I am today; and take the next step on the Path that leads to a better future for all. My last six weeks (since the longest night) have been focused on this work, and the physical space(s) that I am creating to honour the Path have taken me through many incarnations of life-that-could-have-been.

This song has been on pretty much constant repeat over these six weeks, and will likely continue to guide me on this journey.

May your own celebrations be filled with light, love and laughter. Blessed Be!