Thursday, March 31, 2011

ee cummings and my daffodils

My daffodils in North Carolina.

And now, a poem by ee cummings:

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me,remember me

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Conspiracy Theory?

I would have never thought that Persephone would be the central figure in a little known conspiracy theory about the United States government.  But, it seems, she is.  I have conversations sometimes with folks about the fact that Paganism is not taken seriously in this country. I think ownership for that falls squarely on us as Pagans.  Average people don't even know that Paganism exists. To them it would be weird to think about people still honoring ancient traditions and old Gods. We need to educate everyone that Paganism is not only not "weird" but a perfectly valid and beautiful religious tradition.  Truthfully, weird political conspiracy theories don't really help. So which is it folks, do we have a Christian Country or is congress under the spell of Persephone, who is apparently the Goddess of Darkness?  I figure I'd rather draw attention to this very bizarre but apparently unknown issue to show just how ridiculous it actually sounds. 

The statue on top of the capitol building is actually Freedom.  As far as I understand it has never been Persephone.  But symbols are what we believe they are.  If these (hopefully few) folks believe that Persephone stands on top of the capital it seems to be to be better to educate them that their ideas about the Goddess are a little off. I've spent a lifetime studying and honoring Persephone and while she might have a bit of a dark side, I'm not certain she has ever had the reputation of the evil Goddess of evil. She represents change, cycles, beauty, youth.  The is both a maiden and a queen.  She is beautiful. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Equinox in Pictures

Action seems to be my mantra.  Don't just "practice" religion, live it.  So, today, on the Spring Equinox I spend the day getting my hands dirty, literally. 

I mentioned in my last post that one of the things that I wanted to get accomplished on this first day of spring was to bottle our newest beer.  I will start off by saying this task did not get completed.  And it was for entirely practical reasons.  We have 8 beers left in our first batch and I need those bottles.  But if you are interested in reading about the eventual progress, don't forget to check out my beer blog.  With that being said, here is the evidence of what I did do today. 

We started our day by heading out to gather our supplies.  We stopped at Whole Foods to get some organic potatoes to be able to plant in our new balcony container garden.  While we were there, we picked up some tilapia, and fresh beans to make for our Spring Equinox dinner (which Matt will be starting shortly).  We will also roast up the remaining fingerling potatoes that we didn't plant.  I also grabbed some cut daffodils to decorate the altar and the house.  Then we stopped by a garden supply store and picked up containers, top soil, fertilizer, a shovel and our plans.  We chose tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, and jalapeno peppers to go with our fingerling potatoes. 

When we got home, I started by putting the flowers on the altar for Persephone.  We also cracked open a beer, which I am sharing with her as well.  It isn't a homebrew, but I still felt it was an appropriate offering. 

Then, Matt and I got to work with our balcony garden. 

Praise to Persephone and may she bless our newly planted green growing things. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Daffodils, Beer and Potatoes: How I'm celebrating Spring

In spite of the title, this is really nothing to do with St. Patrick's day.  Though I did go out and celebrate on Thursday and enjoyed myself quite a bit.  Beer and Potatoes refer to something all together different.

Last weekend, I was up in Asheville and was excited to see that the daffodils I planted last year had made it through the winter and were beginning to bloom.  The hadn't quite bloomed yet, but I thought they were beautiful. I can't wait to go back next week and see the flowers.

But this weekend, we're in Atlanta.  Today, we are going out with friends to see the Atlanta Roller Derby. It seems like a great way to celebrate the return of the Goddess. Tomorrow, on the day of the equinox, I am going to bottle my newest beer, an ESB.  Matt also wants to start container gardening on our little apartment balcony. I know he wants to grow potatoes and poblano peppers and I think something else too but I don't remember what.  I also want to get some flowers to decorate Persephone's altar. 

I also keep reading about the Supermoon.  I've never been a very lunar oriented Pagan, but it is still always cool to see a gorgeous moon in the sky on the first night of Spring.

So, on this Equinox I encourage you to get out there.  Go outside.  Revel in the new Spring.  Revel in the return of the Goddess.  You can read your hymns and say your prayers, but don't stop there.  Do something.  It doesn't have to be bottling beer or planting potatoes, but it shouldn't just be nothing either.  Persephone is returning.  Rejoice.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Days of Spring

I am counting down to the Spring Equinox and the return of Persephone. I was recently introduced to this song and I think it is perfect. I don't know whether it is Persephone or Hades I hear in the lyrics. 

It's the first day of spring
And my life is starting over again
Well the trees grow, the river flows
And its water will wash away my sin
For I do believe that everyone
has one chance to fuck up their lives
Like a cut down tree, I will rise again
I'll be bigger, and stronger than ever before

If I'm still here hoping, that one day you may come back
If I'm still here hoping, that one day you may come back

There's a hope in every new seed
And every flower that grows on the Earth
And though I love you, and you know that
Well I no longer know what that's worth
And I'll come back to you, in a year or so
And rebuild ready to become
Oh the person, you believed in
Or the person that you used to love

If I'm still here hoping, that one day you may come back
If I'm still here hoping, that one day you may come back

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who Am I?

Recently, I completed a project where I was exploring the Homeric Hymn to Demeter in the style of Lectio Divina. I use to fall back on that project when I hadn't had any other original ideas for writing. Without that discipline, sometimes I feel like I am not sure what to share. I thought it would be an interesting exercise on this blog to explore some of the things that make up who I am exactly.  There are a lot of things in my life that make me uniquely me - just as they are a lot of things in each of your lives that accomplish the same thing.  We are each made up of multiple decisions.  These things create the core of our beings.  They create our essence.  Occasionally, we rethink and reconsider the decisions and processes that brought us to a certain place and we make a course correction, but there are some things that make up the core of our beings.

These life influences can come from a lot of difference places.  It can be music that touches our souls, people who have made a difference in our lives, books that changed the way we think, and places that we call home. I want to inventory some of these things in my life and the turning points they brought about and why they make me feel like they do.

Among the things that I will be exploring will be:

There may be more things that hit me as I explore my own path.  Join me on this journey and I hope it makes you consider the places you've been, the things you love and the things you've done.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Promise of Spring

There is so much to love about March.  Of course this is the month of Persephone's return and the flowers rejoice and bloom to welcome her.  It is also the national holiday to celebrate beer and all things Irish. I understand that some folks are less than pleased to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but I do not share that perspective. For me, March 17th is all about beer and Irish pride and since I like both of those things I will happily co-opt this Catholic holy day that most people don't even realize is a Catholic holy day. 

That is just the first of things that March delivers.  The second most notable event is the Spring Equinox itself.  Last year, I was able to celebrate the return of Persephone at the glade that I built for her.  My friend and I planted daffodils in her honor and read hymns and poured libations of beer.  I was so excited when I was back at the glade about a week and a half ago and saw that the green shoots of the daffodils were reborn this year. I will be able to visit the glad this coming weekend and am beside myself with anticipation to see if the flowers have bloomed. Persephone's return means a burst of energy.  Every year at this time I feel tingle of this new spring energy all over my body and it makes me want to accomplish something. 

There is one last day in March that is special to me.  My birthday, March 29th. Not only is it Persephone's return every year but I also know that within just a few days of her return I can also celebrate another year in my own life.  I can reflect on all that I have done in the past year and consider all the things I can accomplish in the year ahead. 

What kind of renewal is this spring bringing to you?  What will you celebrate?  What will you plant?  What will you cultivate? 

29. Hymn to Persephone Translation by Apostolos N. Athanassakis

Persephone, blessed daughter of great  Zeus, sole offspring of Demeter,
Come and accept this gracious sacrifice.
Much-honored spouse of Plouton, discreet and life-giving,
You command the gates of Hades in the bowels of the earth,
Lovely-tressed, Praxidike, pure bloom of Deo, mother of the Furies,
Queen of the netherworld whom Zeus sired in clandestine union.
Mother of loud-roaring and many shaped Eubouleus,
Radiant and luminous playmate of the Seasons, august, almighty,
Maiden rich in fruits, you alone are beloved of mortals.
In spring you rejoice in the meadow breezes,
And you show your holy figure in shoots and green fruits.
You were made a kidnapper's bride in the fall,
And you alone are life and death to toiling mortals,
O Persephone, for you always nourish all and kill them too.
Hearken, O blessed goddess, and send forth the earth's fruits.
You who blossom in peace, in soft-handed health,
And in a life of plenty that ferries old age in comfort to your realm,
O queen, and to that of mighty Plouton.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So, Seriously. I'm not a teenage girl.

However, if you look at some of the fiction I read you might think so.  I am currently reading the newest Rick Riordan Olympians book, The Lost Hero. I've written about the Percy Jackson series and the movie here before. Honestly, I didn't know there was a new Olympians book, but I am glad he wrote it.  And I like his particular take on the mythology, too.  I do plan to write a more formal review over at the Juggler once I finish reading it. 

I don't want you to think I don't take my religion seriously, because I do.  But I also think there is a place for a bit of whimsy.  I thought to myself if I had been a teenager who discovered that I was a demigod and sent to Camp Half Blood, who's child would I be?  Being a devotee of Persephone I first thought of her, but my image of her is defined so much by her childless status that I don't want to imagine that she's had any demigod children.

And that led me to Demeter.  In the books she is painted as a little one dimensional, at least so far, but Riordan has a way of turning your preconceived notions on their heads as you read the series.  This is why I think they are such a great primer of Greek myths for kids.  I have a feeling this may yet be explored.  She is the overbearing mother of Persephone, which is not untrue.  Her children are good with plants and food and cooking. This may not describe me perfectly, but I am good at recipes.  I can make beer. This is definitely in Demeter's realm.  I love the seasons, which she brings to us.  And that would make me Persephone's sister, which feels more like the devotional relationship I have with her anyway.  She is not my mother, but my mentor. I look up to her and I want to be more like her. 

I would proudly be a child of Demeter.