Saturday, December 31, 2005

For New Year's 2006

New Year’s 2006

After reading the Pagan New Year’s Resolutions article, I started thinking about what mine are. Well, I’ve actually been thinking about that for a few weeks now. I just haven’t put anything down on paper yet.

And then there’s Mark Morford’s article in the SF Gate “You Say You Want A Resolution” ( Especially the last two paragraphs which I’d like to quote here for a minute…

“So then, as the New Year races to engulf us all, perhaps this is what you can choose, this is what you resolve to understand: that the Great Battle continues. The great surge toward enlightenment and evolution must go on, will go on, can't not go on, as those of us who choose to see it understand that we are already reeking gleaming teeming brimful with all the divine juicy godhead we will ever need. It is merely waiting to be, quite literally, turned on.

It is, after all, all about subtle energy, shifts in awareness, the decision to move forward no matter what. It is all about focusing on micro to affect macro. This much you probably already know. In which case, this year you can simply resolve to, well, continue. To keep on, even when it all seems bleak and fraught and impossibly constricted. Because, sometimes, merely refusing to stop cultivating an unquenchable lust for beauty and truth and orgasmic life is the most profound and important thing you can resolve to do.”

Oh, that man definitely has a way with words, doesn’t he? Well, I think he does anyway. You can think what you like, of course. But I’d like to suggest that you take some time and read some of his past articles. That little plug aside….

I think that my header for this blog is quite accurate “Sometimes I sits and thinks. Sometimes I just sits”. Lately, there’s been a lot of thinking going on here. What do I want for the future? I know there’s a whole lot that needs to be done. The scale of it all overwhelms me at times. So I’m going to take Mark’s advice and “focus on the micro to affect the macro”. That’s part of why Othala Grove is coming back into reality this coming year. What’s Othala, you ask? The full name is Othala Grove Spiritual Center, and it operated in Red Creek when I lived there. Unfortunately, when I lost my house and land a couple of years ago, Othala had to be relegated to operating in cyberspace via its YahooGroup.
Http:// just in case you’re interested. Now I’m bringing it back into live time, and will be running it here at our home. Classes, Rituals, workshops, etc., back up to full speed, with Ostara (the Spring Equinox) as the target starting date.

Here’s Othala Grove’s Mission Statement:

1. To Provide a Gathering Place where people of all Religious and Spiritual Paths and all Traditions may come to join together in unity for learning, sharing ideas, healing of individuals and the Pagan/Alternative Religions Community as a whole, sharing knowledge and opinions in an atmosphere of peace.

2. To Act as a networking tool, and resource and information Center for all Groups and individuals in the local area, providing links to pertinent State and National Organizations.

3. To Provide a neutral zone for the discussion of problems/conflicts existing within the area Pagan Community, whether those problems be between individuals or groups, and aid in the mediation and resolution of those problems.

4. To Provide education in all areas of Alternative Religions/Spiritual Paths/Traditions, as desired by Grove participants.

5. To Provide an open forum for the discussion of Local, State, National, and World political, religious, and environmental issues and events.

6. To Provide a location and facilities for the use of all members of the area Pagan/Alternative Religions Community for the celebration of all cycles of the Wheel of Life.

That is my main goal for the coming year. I’m using the word goal instead of “resolution”. It’s just my preference; it works better for me in my head. My personal goals are still being worked out. We’ll see where that leads.

I would like to share my personal best wishes to each of you for the coming year.

May you find positive ways to be happy.
May you do what is necessary to achieve and maintain personal health and well-being.
May you know peace and contentment within yourself.
May you know the joys of family connections, be they biological or heart-chosen.
Every day may you experience....

  • something to smile about

  • something to giggle about

  • something to belly-laugh about

  • something to make you say "awwww"

  • a hug from a friend

  • a kiss from someone you love

  • a "thank you", heartfelt, both given and received

  • a compliment

  • doing something positive for someone, with no strings attached, without
    them knowing it was you who did it.

  • hearing a song on the radio that touches your heart with a smile

  • learning something new every day

  • joy

  • understanding

  • compassion

  • the knowledge that guilt and anger are both useless and harmful emotions

  • the ability to let go of guilt and anger

  • strength

  • courage

  • faith in yourself

  • serenity

  • gratitude

  • friendship

  • love

Blessings for 2006!

Pagan New Year's Resolutions

This item came across one of the egroups that I'm on, and I wanted to share it here.
I'll be writing some of my own later today...
Happy New Year's to All!

Pagan New Year Resolutions

Besides the ever-popular resolutions to lose weight and to exercise more, I thought it might be fun to make up a list of resolutions specifically for the Pagans out there. Pick one or several to work on this year.

Attend at least one festival this year. - Get out there and mingle. Many solitaries have trouble meeting up with people and often feel very isolated. There are large festivals all over the country, often lasting 4 days to a week and usually held in a rural location with camping for accommodations. Do a little research and find a gathering near you, and make plans to go. If a major event just out of the question for you, then find a smaller gathering like an open circle on a Sabbat or Pagan/Witches Meetups or Pagan Pride Day.

Experience a new tradition or path - Are you a green hedge-witch, a Gardnerian Wiccan, an Asatru, Shaman or maybe a Celtic Reconstructionist? Well, no matter what your path, there is always something new to learn from a different outlook.
If you can, find an actual group and get in touch. They may allow you to sit in on one of their meetings or gatherings. Be respectful though. Make sure you let them know your purpose, and that you are not a member of their faith. Take a class, visit a gathering, talk to some members, read a few books. Really make a study of it.

Make one new altar tool - Is everything on your altar a mass-produced and purchased item? While there is certainly nothing wrong with that, why not create a tool that has the added energy of your own effort within it? You don't necessarily have to buy an anvil to forge an athame, but a wooden wand, hand-made candles or a modeling clay Deity statue should be manageable projects.
Spend time with your Deities - This is a big one for me, personally. Life is hectic and crazy on most days and I've found that my spiritual relationship with my Goddess has faded away to the equivalent of a once-a-month email note. How you choose to do this is up to you, but make a commitment to meditate, worship or generally commune on a regular basis. Daily would be exceptional, but weekly might be more realistic.

Volunteer - Not strictly Pagan but a good thing to do nonetheless. Find a local cause and offer some time. If you are comfortable, you could even wear a Pagan t-shirt, pendant or button. Let people know that Pagans do good works too. Of course, advertising your religion isn't the point. And don't forget our Mother Earth's Creatures.

Clean up your local park - What better way to honour Mother Earth than to find a local park or other green space and keep it free of litter and other trash. All you need is a pair of work gloves and a garbage bag. Maybe you'll motivate others to join you.

-Author Unknown

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Presents Are Wrapped....

The presents are wrapped
In their shiny papers and bows.
The decorations are lit up,
Reflecting out on the snow.
The menu’s all planned
For our Christmas Eve feast.
Just the shopping to do
And wine to make it complete.

I’m enjoying the music,
Christmas songs playing softly.
The cat’s been helping
With filling the stockings.
I can relax now and enjoy
All the fun still to come.
First time in years
I’ve gotten it all done!

Happy Christmas to All!

…Damn, I forgot to make the cookies…..

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Do You Believe in Magick?

I most certainly do! Definitely have since I was 4 years old, and still do, and always will!

I'm talking about probably the best known manifestation of Magick and its power that exists in our world today. Santa Claus.

Oh, don't give me that! Yes, I do believe in Santa Claus. In all that the Spirit of Christmas really is as represented by Santa Claus, and in the Magick that happens so freely at this time of year when people open their hearts to it.

Wanna know why I believe to this day? Because Santa Claus landed in my front yard when I was 4. Seriously! And if my parents were still alive today, they'd tell you it's true, because they saw the proof too. And they never forgot about it up to the day they died. You see, every year during the week before Christmas, I have the same dream, reliving the entire experience. And every year while they were alive I'd tell them I had the dream again, and ask "Did that really happen?" And each and every year, they'd say, oh yes, it really happened, we saw it.

So since this is the "season" for Magick, I'm going to share this story with you. Maybe, just maybe, it will help you recapture some of that Magick that, as children, we knew was really real...

We lived in Rochester, NY, in the VERY early 60's. The area between Browncroft and Blossom Roads, to be more exact. Only a few blocks away from Route 590 and Winton Road. Needless to say, a fairly high traffic area, full of cars, buses, people, and also almost directly under the flight path of the airport. All of which translates into "NOISE". You'll understand why I made note of that a little later on.

We used to go to my Aunt's house for dinner on Christmas Eve, with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins getting together in one place. Much easier and a whole lot more fun with everyone there. We came home at about 8 pm, at which time my father discovered that he did not have his house keys, and we were locked out of the house! Fortunately, our next door neighbor kept a spare key for us, as we did for them. People used to do that for each other back then.... so off I went down the driveway and over to their house, and got the key, while my parents waited on the front porch (in full sight of me, and me of them). Don't think that this was not something that a 4 year old could or would do, remember again this was in 1960... a totally different era. And besides, this is me I'm talking about! :-)

As I was walking back to our driveway and house, I was looking around and seeing all the beautiful lights on our neighbors' houses. Seeing how their glow was reflected off the snow that had fallen all around... lots of snow, piled up high along the sidewalks and edges of the street. The beautiful, sparkling colors, and the wonderous warm light that was cast by the street lamps they used to have back then. And all those colors sparkled off the snow in our front yard, a wide long blanket of undisturbed, pristine snow. You see, we had a fairly large front yard, much larger than most of the rest of the houses on our street, and I would say it was about 60 feet or so long and at least 20 feet wide. So there was a beautiful big stretch of snow there which I NEVER played in! It was too beautiful to mess up, and looked so wonderful with the sun shining off the snow during the day, that I played in our backyard. Remember that, okay?

Again, as I'm walking along, I'm admiring all that beautiful, color-sparkling snow, and all the neighbors' lights and decorations, and also how quiet it was. So quiet that I could literally hear the snow falling.... Remember what I said earlier about the usual noise in the area? Well, all of a sudden I realized that it was QUIET. There was none of that usual noise. It was silent except for the sound of the snow crunching under my boots, and the little sound it makes when it lands on top of your hood. And my parents are standing out of the porch still, right where I can see them.....

By this time, I am about half way up the driveway with the house key, and suddenly out of nowhere, we hear the sound of sleigh bells! I hear them and look towards my parents. They're right there, they're not doing it. We all look up and down the street, trying to see if someone is leaning out a window shaking the bells. Not a soul in sight! And no other sounds in the neighborhood, no cars, no buses, no airplanes, no traffic. Nothing except the sleigh bells. My parents are just as amazed as I am! Needless to say, I bolted for the porch, threw the key at my father who fumblingly unlocked and opened the door, and this little girl ran upstairs and dove into bed, snowsuit, boots, gloves and all. I remember my parents' laughing as they peeled the clothes off me, but I also remember hearing them question each other about what they had heard. "Did you...?" "Yes, I did. Did you...?" "yes"....

The next morning, Christmas morning, dawned bright and sunny, and as with most children I was downstairs fairly early, with my parents not very far behind. We opened our presents, and Dad started on breakfast. That was his meal, especially on holidays. While Dad was cooking, Mom was cleaning up some of the mess in the living room, and walked over to look out the living room window out into the front yard. We had one of those huge picture windows, so there was a good view of that beautiful, undisturbed, pristine snow in the front yard, and it was always so wonderful to see the sun shining off the snow "diamonds" out there, as we used to call them.

Mom stopped in front of the window, and I heard her sort of gasp, I think, and she called out "Ray, come here for a minute, please". He did, and she asked him, "Did you do that?" and he looked and said "No, I did not, what the...?!" Nosey me had to go look of course, asking "What is it?" as I went to the window. We all just stood there and stared, for out in the middle of the front yard, in the VERY middle of that large stretch of beautiful, undisturbed, pristine snow was marks in the snow..... like this

___________   O    O       O    O       O    O
                                      O    O       O    O        O     O

___________   O    O       O    O       O    O
                                      O    O       O    O        O     O

Right dead center in the middle of the yard, running down the length of the yard. And not a single other track anywhere around them to be found. We went out a little later and checked from the edge of our driveway and the neighbors'. Oh, and when we were opening presents that morning, there was one small package that we had found tucked under the tree that I know had not been there the night before, that my parents did not know how it got there, that they swore all these many years they did not put there, and probably most significant of all, that the tag was written, signed "Santa" in a handwriting that did not belong to either of them or any of my other relatives.

So what's your guess? No, I do not remember what that present was, but that doesn't matter. Because I DO KNOW where it came from, and from whom. And so did my parents. Just as we believed and knew that Santa had landed in our front yard that night. And I will always remember the magick of that night and day. And that's why I believe in Santa Clause, to this very day.

It's not just Santa though, that I believe in. It's the Magick and Spirit that he represents. And that's what is so very important for us to remember. Remember the joy of being a child who believed in Magick, believed in Santa. Remember how it felt, what it sounded like, what it smelled like, what it tasted like, what it looked like! Feel that in your hearts again, because you can. I believe that although Santa might not make it to every child's house every single year, He does make it to each one of us at least once in our lifetimes. And if we believe in that Magick and that Spirit and that Santa, we'll know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, when we have really been touched by that Magick. It's a treasure beyond compare, and one to hold onto always.

Merry Yule, Blessings of the Winter Solstice, and Merry Christmas to All!

With Love and Magick,

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Energy Shifts and The Balance

Strange things have been happening lately. Not just here, but all around the world. As if you haven't noticed. Well, maybe you haven't taken a good look at all of it, and really thought about what's going on.

I believe that everything happening in the world now falls within at least one of the 5 points of the Pentagram, which are Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. Earthquakes, Tornados and Hurricanes, Wild Fires, Tsunamis and Floods, and Ethics. Each of these is escalating into Chaotic proportions. Whether or not you believe in all the talk about the Transformation of Consciousness and the End Date of the Mayan Calendar is up to you. But take a little time and do some research. Literally every culture and spiritual belief system around the world holds information, prophecies, concerning what is going on now and what is to happen in the not too distant future.

To make it a little simpler, from my perspective, the Universe exists and functions according to the maintenance of The Balance, wherein everything has a positive and a negative side, feminine and masculine, light and dark. Neither one can exist without the other. In order for existence to continue, the Balance must be maintained.

That is not what is happening now. The Balance is swinging toward the dark. In the process of our human evolution, a transformation is necessary for humanity to progress to the next level of what is being called "enlightenment". That transformation is "scheduled" to begin again at the end of the Mayan Calendar. Yes, I did say "again". This cycle has been initiated before, many times, with the goal each time being for humanity to transform and evole to the next level of enlightenment. So far we haven't been able to do it. Usually because humankind gave in to the darkness, the greed, the inhumanity to man. Each time there have been catastrophic changes in climate and cultures around the world. The last time this point was reached on this planet, Atlantis was lost. We lost all of the knowledge, technology, skills and abilities that existed in Atlantis. The land masses shifted and broke apart, the water level across the planet rose, and there is evidence of major climate changes occurring when all of this happened. And those of humankind who survived all of this went back to the beginning, and started over in learning to survive on this planet without all the "bells and whistles". All of this can be traced through the progress of recorded history "this time". Take some time and research it.

If we CAN accomplish the transformation, humanity and this planet will heal from the damage that has been done so far. We will regain the knowledge, technology and abilities that have been lost. If we can't, we will lose it all again, and literally have to start over, crawling out of the caves, and scratching and clawing to learn how to live again. I'd like to recommend a website that I came across It's interesting, to say the least. There are many others out there on The Internet, as well as a multitude of books available. Do an online search for "Transformation of Consciousness", and see what you get.

Looking at all the different "points" of the pentagram, I think that the Ethics portion of current events is the biggest indicator of how bad things really are right now, even though each of the others keeps escalating. It's probably the one that "scares" me the most. It's as if the sense of right and wrong has been forgotten. Lying, cheating, stealing, and killing seem to have become almost an accepted everyday occurrence.

Some people do not believe in helping each other, all they want to do is denigrate what good is done. The "Self" is what matters most to them. What can be done to promote themselves, to get what they want, and in the process, cut another person down or destroy them? Why? Because it's easier to take over something good that someone else has already worked so very hard to establish and made a good, viable entity than it is to do the work themselves. They don't care about other people, they only care about themselves and their own survival. They don't want to help others progress, learn, and grow. What's in it for ME? These are all trademarks and the "modus operandi" of The Dark Side working to overcome The Light and disrupt the Balance. So that's a bit of a stretch, or is it? Think about it.

Examples: A group of people do the work and planning to make a positive community event happen which benefits a lot of people in many ways, and one of the least important to the group of the many end results is some recognition and respect for this group. Someone else wants to have that kind of recognition, but doesn't want to have to do anything, to do any of the work, to share in the efforts necessary to accomplish something positive. So what do they do? They slam the group, make nasty comments, gossip, attack individuals of the group, pick on one or two little things that didn't work out as well as the rest and blow them way out of proportion, or do something at the event that goes against what has been established as "the rules", and then say "oh poor me! Look what they did to me". And sometimes, when their other attempts don't work out, they even employ psychic attacks and black magick against people in the group.

Don't believe in psychic attacks? How else can you explain sudden unusual illness or events happening that have no logical basis in current reality? It does happen. And the people who do these things have no qualms about doing it. No conscience. It's worldwide, but especially obvious within political and governmental structures. The agendas that are being pushed by extremist factions demonstrate this quite clearly.

And so the Balance slips even more, and all of the energies become more unstable, more chaotic. Weather patterns become more extreme in their fluctuations, earthquakes more destructive, the waters rise higher and higher each time a flood comes, the firestorms consume more land, the hurricanes and tornadoes more intense and damaging. How many hurricanes in the past year were Category 5? How much higher is the human death toll each time one of these events of nature's fury happens? And how much more out of balance are people becoming with each day that passes? The lies increase. But so is the Truth having its say. Sometimes in not the best of circumstances or situations, and many times with the costs of speaking The Truth affecting people on personal levels. But that is what it's being pushed to, and those who are sharing The Truth knows what is necessary, and why. And so we continue to do the work we know we must do, regardless. Hopefully, we will not be too late....

Monday, November 28, 2005

So Much To Do....

So little time.... Well, not really, I've got seven months. No, I'm not having a baby, I'm getting Handfasted in July 2006! lol

A Handfasting is a Wiccan/Pagan Wedding Ceremony, and despite what my fiance thinks, seven months isn't really all that long of a time to plan a wedding. It's amazing how the list of stuff to do and figure out keeps growing! I'd forgotten about how much is involved, but it's coming along. Ron's comment was "Honey, you're going at this like we're getting married next week!" The guys really don't have a clue, do they?

All will be well though, as I have a wonderful group of ladies as my attendants who are more than willing to help with the planning. Well, that IS why I picked them, after all!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My Sisters, My Dearest Friends

My Sisters are my dearest Friends in this world.

I've been blessed to have a wonderful Chosen Heart Family. These are the women who get inside my head, know my deepest, darkest secrets, my fears, my desires, my joys, and who are always there to share with me, whether it be sorrow, anger, laughter, or love. As I am for you. Always.

I love each of you dearly. I really wish we could find a great big mansion with six huge wings that we could all move our families into so we could always be near to each other! :-)

Distance notwithstanding, you are always with me, here in my heart. I love you all so very, very much. Thank you for being in and sharing my life.






Friday, October 21, 2005

Time Passes So Quickly....

Time passes so quickly.... It's Friday already... Make that, it's October already! It seems like it should still be June! Well, at least I wish it was still June with more warm weather still to come. I do not like cold weather! Seems like I live in fleece and thermal underwear from October to April! LOL

I keep trying to find free time in my schedule to be able to kick back and do nothing, nothing being sit down with a book and just spend hours reading. But there's so much coming up that I know I won't have that desired leisure time.

So what's coming up, you ask? Let's see.....

Good thing I don't have to work until Tuesday...
Sunday, 10/23, is The Gem and Rock Show at The Dome Arena...
Monday night is the Council meeting at The Web
Work on Thursday...
Samhain Celebration at The Web Saturday night, 10/29...
Work Sunday, 10/30, followed by our (Ron & I) Hallowe'en Housewarming party here at the house...
Monday is Hallowe'en... our private Samhain Celebration and trick-or-treaters...
Work Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday...
Sunday the 6th is the Fall Family Dinner/Meeting for the Web at Al's Diner in Clyde.....
Wicca IV is Nov 11-13 and I don't have any of my "homework" done yet...
Thanksgiving is 11/24 and I think we're having Ron's mom and brothers here for dinner....

In between all of that, I have to sew Ron's costume, finish printing the Mabon WebNotes and get them mailed out (almost done), work up the Samhain WebNotes and print and mail that issue, mailing for the Family Dinner and Membership Drive for The Web, clean the house for the party, get and cook the food for the party - it's okay, it's mostly fingerfoods, do my committee reports for the Council meeting, get the Family dinner menu finalized cuz I haven't heard a word from Keith yet.... Okay, that's enough for now, I need a nap just thinking about all that stuff...

Don't ask me how I keep all this straight, cuz I really don't know sometimes!

Right now I have to clean the litter box (stinky cats!)... and then onto some alchemy practice before I have to go pick Ron up from work at 10 pm....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sad News To Share

I have some sad news to share today.

Many of you remember my black and white cat, MacGuyver (Mac) from The Web and Othala. Well, he has crossed over. He died at 2:30 am Sunday.

I think he had a stroke from the way he was acting. I sat with him in our Ritual Room, sending him Reiki energy to calm him and assisted him in finding his way to the bridge to the Summerlands and crossing over. He didn't want to leave and was fairly angry about it, but I kept talking to him, telling him it was okay to go, to stop fighting it, and go, that I would miss him very much, but I know that he will always be with me and love him very much. Then he started walking across the bridge, his back feet actually walking, and then with a long exhale of breath, he was gone.

Mac will be buried in the tree island behind the house at The Web sometime this week, for those of you who might wish to stop and see him as time goes on.
He was a good cat, almost 15 years old, and was my best buddy for the past 6-1/2 years.

I will miss you, Mac, and I love you so very much, as I know many other folks here do as well. And I know that you are happy and well in the Summerlands now. Blessings, my friend, I will see you again.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

For Your Consideration: Back to Basics

This is an article that I wrote which was published in PagaNet News last year. I'm posting it here for "your consideration". We're talking a lot about this particular topic in some groups that I participate in, and I'd like to see what you think/feel about the subject.....

Back To Basics: Planning for When Technology Fails

What’s been your first reaction when the power has gone out? Omigod, no computer! Remember when it used to be “oh no, no television”? As technology has advanced, people have become more and more dependent on things like computers and television and cell phones. We expect those things to always be working, just as we expect the lights to come on when we flick the switch. Unfortunately, in the process of having these wonderful things become so very commonplace in our lives, we seem to have lost what used to be an inherent ability to survive on a very basic level. We have also lost our connections to both nature and each other.

The power goes out, and we panic. Forget about not just having the computer or TV… No lights, no heat, no ability to cook. People who live under the same roof find they have to actually talk to each other, and discover they don’t know how to communicate. Neighbors are insulated from one another by the visible walls of their houses and the invisible ones of fear, so they miss out on the opportunity to help someone else or to be helped. Sometimes it’s only for a couple of hours when an accident takes down a power pole. Sometimes it’s a day when a bad thunderstorm comes through and shorts out a transformer station, or a power company makes an “oops” which causes rolling blackouts across the country. Then there’s the week or more when a major ice storm or hurricane hits. These natural (and man-made) disasters are happening with more frequency, and I think it’s Mother Earth’s way of letting us know she’s pissed. Humanity has crossed the line from using the resources She has provided to abusing them, and She’s giving us a wake-up call… “You change things, or I will”. It’s something for those of us who proclaim to follow earth-based spiritual paths to not just think about, but also actually do something about it.

What do we do? Not a lot, if we continue following and being dependent upon the existing “systems”. A whole lot, if we can go back to basics, and learn to develop and live with an alternative mindset and a much less complicated lifestyle. This means a whole lot more than just an “emergency kit” in the back of your car, with a few extra blankets, batteries, bottled water, and all that. Many pagan folks I know are being strongly drawn toward intentional community situations, as well as reviving a lot of the “ancient ways” of living, if you want to call it that. This could be called survivalism, but I feel it goes further and deeper than that. It’s not just getting through a natural disaster, it’s a way of life that is beneficial to all of us, and potentially to the Earth herself. No, not potentially, definitely. It’s about taking a very hard look at our “wants” versus our “needs”, and walking away from the materialistic attitudes that exist today. The way society and our world are going, I believe it is also a necessity.

Growing and preserving our own food, finding alternative power sources, recycling, making our own clothes - the list can be endless. There are so many things that people used to do/grow/make for themselves, their families, and their communities. Skills and abilities, regardless of how intricate or simple, were shared so that many people benefited. Skills and abilities which we have lost through time and the “development” of technology. Everyone contributed in some way, people interacted and supported each other, relationships grew, and families and communities flourished. Not just on the mundane level, but on the spiritual level as well. Isn’t that what building community is supposed to be about?

So where do we start? What do we need to look at? How do we begin to do this? We start at the beginning, we look at everything that is part of our daily lives, and we change as much as possible to as simple, inexpensive, natural, and as independent of the “system” as possible.

Here’s a list of areas/things to consider, taken from Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills, by The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.

“Land: Buying It and Building on it” includes sections on converting trees into lumber and building a house, raising a barn, developing a water supply, saunas and hot tubs, sanitation, fireplace construction and design, stone walls, and fences.

“Energy From Wood, Water, Wind, and Sun” includes making your house energy efficient, wood as fuel and heat, waterpower, wind power, solar energy, and other energy sources.

“Raising Your Own Vegetables, Fruit, and Livestock” includes the kitchen garden, herbs, fruits and nuts, pest control, grains and grasses, beekeeping, fish farming and raising livestock.

“Enjoying Your Harvest The Year Round” includes preserving produce, meat and fish, making your own dairy products, maple sugaring, homemade beverages, baking bread, regional cooking, and cooking with wood.

“Skills and Crafts for House and Homestead” includes natural dyes, spinning, weaving, hooked and braided rugs, patchwork quilting, rope and twine, tanning and leatherwork, woodworking, broommaking, scrimshaw, household recipes, metalworking, stenciling, flower drying and pressing, gourd craft, soapmaking, candlemaking, and basketry.

“Recreation at Home And in the Wild” includes old-time good times, crafting a mountain dulcimer, celebrating holidays, canoeing and kayaking, wilderness camping, outdoors in winter, fishing, and living with nature.

This book was originally published in 1981, and is still in print today. There are many other sources available as well, like MotherEarth News and The FoxFire Books to name a couple. I had to chuckle a bit when I was reading through the table of contents because many of the topics are “arts and crafts” and “kitchen witchery” areas that many Pagan folks and groups I know have already started to incorporate into their lives. Herbcraft, soap and candlemaking…. See what I mean?

Getting back to basics can be done on many different scales. Very small scale means within your own home. Examples: get a generator for emergency power, put in a garden and learn to preserve food, sew your own clothes, install a woodstove for heat and cooking. Medium scale would be making connections with a few other families in your area. Each household can produce and supply one thing that everybody needs, i.e., one makes soap, another makes candles, the third does sewing, etc. Large scale would be either a whole bunch of folks moving into one house together (the old commune), getting a good sized parcel of land to put a few houses on, or building a town, a full scale intentional community, like the Eco-Village in Virginia and The Farm in Tennessee. Every person has a “job” to do and all share in the results. In any case, there has to be a sincere commitment to do what is necessary to succeed. And isn’t that what the “intent” part of magick means?

What is an intentional community? “An intentional community is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose. They work cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared values.”
[1] Definitely sounds like a group of Pagans to me. Should sound like all of Humanity. I don’t think it’s too late for that to happen.

[1] “Intentional Communities: Lifestyles Based on Ideals” by George Kozeny, Conscious Choice, (published by The Federation), December 1999.

Friday, September 09, 2005

And Away We Go....

Okay, so I'm starting a blog.... should be interesting to see what comes out...