Sunday, October 31, 2010

Samhain for Aaron

The wheel of the year continues to turn and we find ourselves at Samhain.  Though Samhain is not a Hellenic celebration, I have always found myself drawn to this holiday.  Even as a child, before I knew what Samhain was, Halloween was always my favorite day of the year. Today seems like a day that Persephone and her husband would fully appreciate. It is a time where we can celebrate the lives of those who have passed on this year. This year, I experienced a loss that affected me a great deal. 

A couple of years ago, my husband's cousin had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Six months ago at Beltane he passed away.  I had a lot of trouble with the news at the time of his death.  Matt had gone to the memorial in Reno and I was alone to deal with the loss. At first I thought I could handle it, but I couldn’t.  My grief woke me up in the middle of the night where I cried alone in the darkness.  Aaron was my age and it was hard to accept no matter how sick he had been.  He had always been in shape and healthy.  There was nothing fair about his death.  To make it worse, Aaron and I had a sort of love/hate relationship.  I loved him and I'm pretty sure he loved me too, but we often disagreed about things and that would usually end up with a shouting match.

The funny part is I remember those fights, but I don't remember any of the reasons for them.  Even though we disagreed on a lot of things, I knew he would do anything for a friend.  I remember fun times with him too.  I remember going to a Halloween show that Matt's band was playing at and dancing with Aaron all night. It seems fitting that one of my favorite memories of him would have happened on Samhain night.  The last time I saw him was after we had moved to Georgia and he had moved to Reno.  We were both in Michigan for the holidays.  It was so much fun to hang out with him and many of our other friends.  We stayed up all night and played games and talked. 

So as these six months have passed my grief has turned to quiet gratitude.  I am grateful to have had Aaron in my life.  The only thing I wish I could do is tell him that.  And so this Samhain I will tell that to Persephone, the benevolent queen of the underworld, and hope that she can deliver the message.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Persephone for All Seasons

I just wanted to share some photos of Persephone in North Carolina.

Starting with Autumn.  I was just in Asheville this past weekend and I loved the soft blanket of leaves around her feet.  

And then the winter comes. Persephone becomes contemplative. 

But Spring does come again.  (This is the only photograph I didn't take, it was taken by a friend last Spring Equinox)

Spring leads to the lush green summer celebration of life.

And the season cycle begins again.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Persephone Greatest Hit: Breakfast

I wanted to share this recipe again.  Since it is Autumn, pumpkin puree and pie filling has made its way back to the store shelves.  That means I can make the vanilla yogurt and pumpkin breakfast again.  It tastes like fall and is a great way to start a cool October morning.  And November, and December.

So, here is my original post from the end of last year: 

There is no specific reason why I am associating this with Persephone except that one of the three ingrediants is pumpkin.  When I think "Pumpkin," I think "Autumn" and so I think "Persephone". 

I am not exactly sure where I saw this - it was on either on Yahoo! or MSN.  With the glut* of on-line articles about how to reign in your weight for New Year, this particularly suggestion sounded very tasty. 

It starts with Vanilla Yogurt.  I couldn't remember the amounts, so I guessed.  I got regular low fat vanilla yogert - just the grocery store brand.  One serving was a cup, but I didn't think I needed that much so I went with half a cup.  Next you add 100% pure pumpkin puree:  I added with a tablespoon which turned out to be plenty.  Mix.  Then add ground cinnamon to taste.    And Voila! A yummy morning treat or anytime snack.

*No pun intended...?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vivaldi Autumn and Sand Animation

It is kind of long, but it is lovely.

I actually would have loved to see the entire sand art display in progress instead of edited to go with the music. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shady Grove, my little love

There is an Appalachian folk song that I associate with Persephone.  The connection is entirely in my head but it comes from the Josh Joplin song "10 Feet Small", which I have written about before

I wanted to share some music on this blog today so I went to YouTube and searched Shady Grove.  The coolest thing about the folk tradition is that there are so many version of the same song and each unique. 

Here is an awesome version by Doc Watson:

Even the Stray Cats did a version:

But the coolest and most endearing version that I found was from The Andy Griffith Show:

Enjoy the music on this fine October morning!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

She Stays Because She Wants To

I keep seeing commercials for Disney's Beauty and the Beast. They have released it in High Definition.  If I had to pick a favorite Disney movie in the classic fairy tale genre, it would most certainly be Beauty and the Beast.  I know it isn't a perfect comparison, but I see this story as something like Persephone's.  At least in the way she journey's into the realm of the beast because she has to, but she stays (or returns) because she chooses to. I know for Persephone there is the whole Pomegranate story, but I do think too much attention has been paid to the magic of the thing.  Not that the seeds somehow magnetically bind her to the underworld, but rather it symbolically binds her to Hades.  Like a wedding ring. 

I love how strong a character Belle is in the Disney version of the story. But I also love Beast and can see in him the changes that Hades himself must have experienced after he brought Persephone into his world.