Pagan Americana

Sometimes it’s hard to express myself when it comes to issues that are affecting both Canada and the United States. I am proudly a citizen of both countries, I was born and raised in Canada but since my Mother remained an American citizen, I grew up with ideals of both nations. I find it hard to accept a monarch ruler and I have deep devotion to democratic system. The day I had to swear an allegiance to the Queen and her family in order to write parking tickets in my municipal community left a dirty taste in my mouth. To this day, I deeply regret having signed those papers. However, the day I went in to sign the paperwork for my US citizenship and had to swear an allegiance to America, I felt oddly proud to be a part of that.

Granted, I don’t always agree with what either of my governments are doing but I am proud to be part of both nations. Even in the light of the recent waves of racism and a political leader who doesn’t seem to understand how the world works, my heart aches for those living in the states. I love Canada for taking a stand against any form of hate speech. We value someone’s person protection over the right to free speech. Which is backwards to the states where they value the right to free speech over the protection of the individual. You would think that our parents and grandparents taught us that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Maybe we should all take that lesson to heart again.

This era we will in is totally unlike any era before us. Our access to information has never been more complete. Through the use of the internet, we can find out about anything happening in our world. We don’t need the mainstream media to tell us what’s happening, we can read and watch it on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit. Blogs offer us the ability to see the events from an individual’s point of view. I don’t envy our future historians who have to piece together the true using the millions of points of views that now exists on the subject. We are so overwhelmed with information that it is easy to get lost in what is true and what is fake.

Sometimes, I long for an age where we didn’t know what was going on. We had only our own individual needs to meet. I suppose, we can still do that but it’s hard when you see people suffering in other places. As humans, we like to seek ways to solves problems, so when we see a problem that we can’t solve by creating something, we don’t know what to do. There might come a time when the only thing we can do is give things up and make certain sacrifices. In regards to climate change and the use of fossil fuels, we might need to stop owning cars and start building trains again.

As a pagan living in this world of extremism, it’s hard for me to sympathize with the fundamentalist. Can you imagine if pagans united under a pantheon organized themselves to become extremists? Can you say return of the Vikings? Vikings were a proud people with rules, a written language, stories of the Gods, morals and values all their own. To die in battle was the highest honor. The rights of women and children defined by law but also the rules around slaves. They were not so unlike the Romans and Greeks in this regard. Can you say that our society is any more evolved than those? It’s only been 1700 years since the Romans became Christian. Did they really change? No, they kept doing the same thing only under a different God’s name.

When you get right down the bottom of it all, our society runs on the desire to own things. Whether it’s people, property, or possessions, we want things. For the most part, we let our media dictate what we want and keeps us distracted from our true purpose.

Can you say that you are truly satisfied with what you own?
Can you say that there isn’t something else that you want to make you more complete?
Are you filled with contentment?

If you said, “No,” to any of these questions, then you too are caught in the consumer trap. Sadly, we are all trapped in it. Our government needs us to be trapped in it so that they can continue to operate. There’s no easy way to stop it aside from stop buying “stuff”. That’s no easy task for sure. I actually started a group and page on Facebook called “Call of the Wild Pagan” dedicated to finding ways for pagans to start reclaiming some of those old practices of self sufficiency. The Facebook page shares articles about anything from hunting to making your own clothing and the group is setup for creating discussion and meet ups where people can try these things for themselves. One day, I would like to go so far as to help create traditions and ceremonies for these tasks like our ancestors did.

There are plenty of pagan sites out there like the ones I set up but I have found that many of them preach “White Pride” but not racism. Don’t kid yourself, white pride is racism. It’s the slogan used by many racist organizations such as the KKK and the neo-nazis. You don’t need white pride, you need cultural revitalization. You can be proud of your cultural heritage without falling into the trap of being associated with white supremacists. You can reclaim your heritage without needing to squash the beliefs of others and you can be better than other groups by opening your door to all who wish to learn about them. Just because you were excluded from a cultural event based on the color of your skin, does not mean that you need to do the same to others. You can be the better human, you can create a better world simply by not contributing to hate.

Blessed be,

Priestess Spiritsong

My Take on the Wheel of the Year

I love the wheel of the year. I think it is the most profound connection I have to our planet. I have been researching it for years from not only a spiritual level but also a historical one. The Wheel of the Year follows closely with the older farming traditions of our ancestors. The way we would plan our year would fall dependant on the seasonal changes. Even in this age of climate change, it’s important to keep these seasonal changes in mind when making any plans for our crops. These crops might be physical ones or fiscal ones, either way, it’s important to keep track of what needs to be done.

As for the spiritual side of the Wheel of the Year, it’s important to feel the connection to the difference seasonal changes and how they relate to the season of your life. The year falls similar to your own life span, from the youth of spring, to the maturity of summer, to the golden years of autumn, and the final years in the winter of your life. We can celebrate the birth, life, and death of the year by following the Wheel of the Year.

The Wheel of the year is broken up into two sections of four, making eight in total. The solstices & equinoxes are Yule, Ostara, Litha, and Mabon. The cross quarters are Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.

Yule – December 21-22

For me, I start the year off at Yule, or the Winter Solstice. Mostly because that’s the start of when the sun begins its return and longer days ahead. I think of it as a time of rebirth and renewal.

The six weeks that follow are a time to begin preparing for the following year’s growing cycle. So this growth can either be spiritual or developmental. In ancient times, this would be the time of the year when farmers would start getting their plans for the crops in order. They would decide what foods they would want to cultivate and which fields would be tended to.

Since we are not a completely agrarian society anymore, we don’t really have need of this kind of planning. So, instead, we need to prepare for a self cultivation cycle. This is the best time of the year to take on a new project and start planning on what you will do to make it grow. This can be anything from writing a novel to making plans to become more healthy. This is why many people take on a new year’s resolution.

I celebrate Yule with a mix of Christmas traditions and also welcoming the Sun’s return to the Earth. I cannot fully escape Christmas in my country so I would rather work with it, then against it. After all, they celebrate the birth of a “sun” king too! However, I also bring Sol and Skadi into my practice. Sol for the sun and Skadi for the blessings of winter. I actually love winter and snow. I like to decorate my home with images of stars, trees, deer, and the colors of red, gold, silver, and green. I burn candles all winter to help with bringing coziness to my home.

Imbolc – February 1

Imbolc has always been a challenging time of the year for me. It’s that time of the year where winter is still very much here but you can feel spring hanging at the edges. This year, our Imbolc was very much on the winter side of the year. It took a long time for the signs of spring to start showing up. Normally by February first, the snow is gone. This year, the snow didn’t leave until just before the Equinox.

Typically, I would celebrate with lighting candles and inviting warmth to return to my life. Imbolc marks the time of the year when the lambs are dropping and beginning to nurse. In a sense, this would be the time of the year when you would finish up your planning and start the work for the year. Farmers would begin setting aside the seeds they want to ready for spring and caring for the newborns in the barn.

For my rituals, I tend to bring honor to the Gods as they prepare the way for spring to come. I like to do magic that involve rekindling inspiration and creativity. It’s also a good time to burn away anything that no longer serves you.

Ostara – March 21-22

That brings us to Ostara and the Spring equinox. This is the one of the two points in the year where the light and darkness are in perfect balance. This time of the year marks the point when daylight starts becoming longer than night time. This would be the point in the year when farmers would start clearing the fields and start some seeds that will eventually be transplanted into their fields or gardens. This is when the livestock would be let out of the barns to start feeding on the new grass growing.

For my practice, this is the time of year when I seek balance with myself. Having come out of the darkness of winter, I am ready to start being outside again. This is when I start cleaning up my yard from winter. It’s also the time of the year when I access my work and plans for the year. It’s a time in which I clear away the debris from the previous year and start anew.

To celebrate, I normally like to praise the Gods for their new life and work divination magic. THis is a good time to find out what advise the Gods have for you are your projects start picking up speed.

Beltane – May 1

Beltane marks a time for fertility. This is when farmers would begin planting their seeds in the Earth. This also marks the start of summer and the warmest time of the year. It’s also a time of year when lovers start marking their feelings more apparent. In my case, it’s the make or break time of year. It’s when I decided if my partner will be the father of my children. So far, I have not found someone who would fit that case for me. All of my major break ups in my life have taken place between May and June. I don’t think it’s any surprise that my latest break up also took place during this time.

Speaking of fertility, I have been researching the male fertility cycle. This cycle is yearly rather than monthly like the female’s cycle is. In the times between April and June, men’s testosterone cycle is at it’s lowest point. This is the time of the year when their hormones are more devoted to wooing a partner and securing them. This is why love seems to be in the air during late spring and early summer. The fall is the peak of the male cycle, which is why you start to see male driven ads for trucks and sports cars during the fall. It’s also the start of major male sports like Football and Hockey start at the beginning of the fall and end in May.

There’s a ton of creative energy that comes with Beltane. If you were working on a project that you started at Yule, this would be a time of year to start making a real dent in those projects. Or this is a good time to make your dedications of love and romance to your partner. If you were going to propose, this is an excellent time to do it.

The ritual work I like to do at this time depends on if I have a partner or not. If I do, then I like to bring together the sexual union of the Goddess and God as they bring fertility back to the Earth. If I do not have a partner or one who is not pagan, then I will do a symbolic fertility union involving the actual earth and planting seeds.

A fun spell to do during this time is to burn away any old dead leaves, grass, twigs and use their ashes to bring life back to the earth. You can also take objects that are safe to burn such as paper and write down your wishes that you would like to see brought to life.

 

Litha – June 21-22

The Summer Solstice, or Litha, is the point in time when the sun is at its peak. This is the longest day of the year and it marks the return of darkness to the world. The days from this point start being shorter and the nights longer. It’s also marks the start to the hottest time of the year for the Northern hemisphere. This is the halfway point of our year of cultivation. This is when we would be working hard in the fields to keep them free of pests and weeds. We also need to make sure that our gardens and fields get the water that they need. In our life, this is the time of the year when the real work is getting done.

I tend to celebrate the solstice by having a fire and barbeque. This is a great time of the year to feast and celebrate all of your accomplishments so far. It’s also a great time to put forth your energy to the second half of the year.

I like to use Litha as a time to rededicate myself to my practice. I spend time with the Gods in meditation and celebration round the fire. I will do concentration of my tools during this time. I like to use the energy of the sun to fuel my passions so that I can continue to work on them until Yule.

Lughnasadh – August 1

Lughnasadh is also known as Lammas, the bread harvest. This is the very first of the three major harvest festivals in the Wheel of the year. This is when you should start to see the fruits of your labour being brought forth. In ancient times, this is when the wheat and other grains would be harvested from the fields and stored away for winter.

I like to celebrate this time of the year with eating vegetables from the garden and celebrating the hard work that has been done so far. Typically, I will serve bread that I have baked along with the bounty from the garden. If I did not have a good harvest, I will source out the produce from my local farmer’s market instead.

This isn’t a time to rest though, there’s still more harvest to come and winter to prepare for. The days are shorter now and there’s a sense that there’s not enough time to prepare. If you have been working on a project, think of this time as a point on reflecting on your sacrifices so far and what you will still need to do to complete your work.

Mabon – September 21-22

This is the second of the three harvest festivals. This is when the apples and other tree fruits and nuts are ready for harvest. It’s also when the grapes come off the vines and the crush begins for the following year’s wine.

If you have been working on a project, you should be able to see the ending of it coming into sight now. There is still more work to be done but you will start to get the feeling that you are almost done.

This is also the second of the two equinoxes. This time, the days become shorter and shorter. The darkness has returned and the leaves will start to fall from the trees. This signals the beginning of the death of world before winter settles in.

I celebrate this time of the year with a feast of the bounty of the season. There’s lots of apples, nuts, and squashes. I will have a feast of either my own food or food from the local markets. To me, Mabon is my favorite of the Sabbats. The Okanagan valley is perfect for apples and grapes and we have orchards and wineries abound. So I will also serve wine and apples with my Sabbat feasts to celebrate my local spirits.

The magic I work at this time of the year is all about storing away energy for winter. For bringing protection to family, friends, and pets so that their winter is sustainable.

Samhain – Oct 31- Nov 1

This end of the year and the third and final harvest festival. Samhain is also known as the blood harvest because this is the time of the year when the livestock that won’t survive the winter is killed and saved for winter. This is also when all the other crops of the year should be saved and stowed away. All of your summer canning should be put away for use in the winter and your wine racked off and bottled.

This is also the time of the year when you reconnect with your lost loved ones by cleaning their graves or taking some time to remember them. They have lessons to teach you about their lives and they need to be celebrated and remembered.

If you have been working on a project, this is the time of the year when you would be finishing up. You can start enjoying the fruits of your labours now. I like to celebrate this time of the year with a feast of all the bounty from the fall harvest. I also like to make soups and grill up root vegetables. I tend to relax this time of the year and enjoy walks in the crisp fall air and hearing the crunch of leaves as I sip on my pumpkin spice latte.

This is also the time of the year when many other cultures celebrate their ancestors and their dead. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is likely the biggest celebration of the year. It’s common to have a giant feast for the dead and take time to visit the graves to let them know that you honor and remember them. I have often gone to my local grave yard on Samhain to help clean up grave sites and give gifts of incense.

This bring us back to Yule and the start of a new year!

I would love to hear what you do to celebrate your Wheel of the Year or if you have other traditions that you celebrate.

Blessed Be!

Priestess Spiritsong

Invoking vs Evoking

A question came up on a previous article I posted asking, “Why do you invoke the gods?”. This is somewhat a double sided question. On one hand, the question is asking what the purpose in invoking the gods and on the other hand, the question is asking why would someone want to invoke the gods.

To answer the first question on why do you invoke the gods in ritual. Simply put, you invoke the gods to gain greater insight and understanding for your practice. By invoking the gods, you are allowing them to be pulled down into your being and have them to speak through you. This is not to be confused with evoking the gods, which is to call upon them and asking for their support and guidance.

The ritual format I described in the previous article about Beginner Rituals, was the order of events and didn’t really give a good description as why the acts are done and how you can do them. The purpose of that article was to get you thinking about ritual structure and ways that you can make up your own. If you are new to pagan ritual practice, I do not recommend that you invoke the gods to start with, instead, I recommend that evoke them. This will bring their attention to you without having them come down into you. The longer your practice with your chosen gods, the better your relationship will be with them. Once you feel ready to invoke your gods, then ask them for their permission.

I have updated my previous article in order to give a better idea on how to go about these two different styles of ritual. For further reference on invoking, I recommend that you check out the Drawing Down the Moon ritual.

For the second question as to why you would choose to invoke a god into you, that would actually be up to you to decide. I highly recommend that you have a purpose for it. If you are in a coven, you may have one or two members of the coven invoke gods to ask them questions, seek direct guidance, learn new stories, or spells to proceed with. I sometimes invoke my matron Goddesses or patron Gods to just sit with them within me and ask them if there is any work they would have me do and allow them to work within me until their task is completed.

I will say that it has taken me almost twenty years of practice to gain this much understanding with them. I don’t tend to invoke beings that I have not worked with, I find their energy is hard to understand and they cannot stay within me long. In which case, I will choose to evoke them instead. In which case, I call upon their guidance to help me move my own energy into the ritual.

Building a relationship with a deity or spiritual being is time consuming and requires dedication. I have spent the recent full moon cycle working with my matron goddesses in order to build a stronger relationship with them. I hope to upload a version of this practice that you can purchase to use in your own practice. Keep an eye out for a post about this soon!

Blessed Be!

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Completion of my 28 Days of Walking the Path of the Goddess

With the past full moon, I completed my month of working with the Goddess. It was certainly an interesting month of personal and spiritual growth. The first part of the month was spent focused on daily devotional work and the second part was focused on getting out and living my life with being mindful of the Goddess.

I have to admit, that planning a two week vacation in the middle of my 28 days might not have been the best idea but it certainly showed me that I am not really good with daily devotionals when my life is not in its regular day to day business. Instead of sitting down in front of an altar on my vacation, I instead went and visited places where I get the presence of the Goddess and while there, I also found the presence of the God.

The best part of my focus on the Goddess this past month was the return of my Red Moon. I have never been so thankful for its return in my life. With it being back, I finally feel the release from the past year. It felt like I was whole again.

My plan for this month is to fine tune my devotional practice to fit better in with my life. I also hope to be less busy this month. As the summer whines down and the chill starts to return to the air, I want to focus more on my harvest and prep for winter (it’s coming after all). I have already started baking bread and my knitting. With this prep, I also want to bring my Goddess and God practice into balance as well. I learned a few things while at a pagan festival a few weeks back that I want to put into my practice. I will share more about this in a future post.

I have also set up a group on Facebook called “Call of the Wild” and it will be for setting up events in my home city of Kelowna that focus on pagan practices in the outdoors such as hunting, fishing, gathering, martial skills, archery. There will also be cooking, knitting, sewing, and other domestics of the home with a focus on natural materials gathered locally. I have a Facebook page called “Call of the Wild Pagan” that will be used to sharing any resources I find online too.

This is a project that my coven and I will be working on together. We are just about at our two year anniversary and it’s time we stepped out into the public a little more. We will all be in our third year of growth, the Tree stage as we call it and it will be time to deepen our roots. I will talk more about our coven’s practices in a future post though.

Blessed Be,

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Last week of my Goddess path walking 

I am nearly at the next full moon and about to finish up my 28 Days of Walking the Path of the Goddess. It’s been challenging to get my devotional practice in while on vacation. That being said, I have done something a little different while I  have  been on vacation. I have been journaling along the way and taking quiet moments of meditation.

When I get back, I will share some pictures of my trip with you. In the meantime, check out my Instagram feed for current pictures.

Blessed be!

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Return of the Red Moon

A couple months back, I wrote an article about going on DEPO and how it affected my Red Moon Cycle. I am happy to follow up on that article and say that the Red Moon has returned to its regular cycle.

At last, this terrible nightmare is over!

A couple months back, I wrote an article about going on DEPO and how it affected my Red Moon Cycle. I am happy to follow up on that article and say that the Red Moon has returned to its regular cycle.

Why is this important? There are some of us in the pagan community who use our cycle to connect with the moon and the Goddess divine energies. Having cut myself off from my Red Moon by artificially changing it using hormones to keep myself from getting pregnant when I had a partner who didn’t even want to be with me was completely pointless. Of all the bad choices I have made this year, this was the worst one. I put myself through months of depression (which led to the breakup of that relationship) and emotional roller coaster from hell. It took over three months for my Red Moon Cycle to return to normal after the effects of DEPO were supposed to have worn off.

My point is, I have learned a valuable lesson about body and emotional awareness. I will not take any birth control that forces my body out of its normal hormonal functions again and I will not let a partner force me to choose between being with them and going on birth control again. I know now that if someone wants to be with me, they will not only accept my choices but will encourage them. If they don’t, I won’t negotiate the issue with them. Going on any kind of hormonal birth control is a deal-breaker with me.

Ideally, I would like to be with someone who also wants children and would like to share that experience and task with me. At this time, I would like to have one child but I am open to the idea of two. I have a feeling that I would be one of those hippy moms with the cloth diapers hanging on the clothesline with my own baby food made in the fridge. I would likely also be one of those moms that stayed home most of the time or maybe work part time if there was a financial need for it. That’s all future dreaming though, I am certainly not ready to take on that momentous task just yet.

To come back to the point, I welcome back my Red Moon Cycle with open arms and joy. I can’t believe that for the first time in my life, I am actually excited to have it return. I know myself better when I am on my cycle then when it’s gone. I felt absolutely not like myself when it was gone. Now that it is back, I can continue where I left off with my awareness study of it. I will post another follow up blog more about how you can deepen your relationship with your Red Moon Cycle.

Blessed Be!

Priestess Spritisong Dreamweaver