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December Solstice 2009 Issue II

December Solstice 2009 Issue II

December Solstice 2009 Issue II

Inside this issue:

_________________

Pagans at Parliament
2

Gossip-Craft
3

Our Magical Minds


6

Twas the Night before


Yule 8

Healing Circle
9
Winter Solstice.
The darkness looms as we await Teen’s Sacred Space
9
the birth of the new year’s sun.
Personal Stories
10
In death, we discover new beginnings. This may
be the least productive time in nature’s annual
cycle; however, it is a time to look toward hope
(Cole, 2007, Ceremonies of the Seasons). So
too, it is with the Pagan Pulse Magazine. It
may have gone dormant and seemed to die away,
but here we are feverishly striving to be reborn
with the light that returns this Yule season.

Many religions consider this a deeply spiritual


time with many themes focused on re-emerging
out of the darkness and into the light. Like the
phoenix that has been reduced to ashes, a new,
young phoenix arises, reborn anew to live again.

The Pagan Pulse Magazine is still in its reborn


infancy, bear with us; grow with us; and become
a part of this collective communication
community that we envision building here. 2
The vision is to provide a media available to
online pagans that can provide timely articles,
interesting personality features, information on
PAGANS AT THE PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD’S
events or travel spots, as well as support you
with the shared wisdoms gathered, and provide
RELIGIONS
an outlet for the many talented forms of art in
which we express ourselves. Our mission is to
form a positive
After aloving energyofthat
long history will connect
persecution, Paganism is returning to the world stage.
us in waysNumerous Pagan
that we can religious
learn, organizations
explore, reflect, will be participating in the 2009
Parliament
share, heal, of the World’s
grow, empower, Religions.
and evolve – bothDozens of individuals who identify
themselves as Pagan or
together and because of each other. Wiccan will attend and there are a variety of panels and
ceremonies devoted to Pagan spirituality.
- Pagan Pulse Magazine Pagan leaders, including Angie
Buchanan, Andras Corbin Arthen and Phyllis Curott will also be participating in
various interfaith panels and discussions.

In the last fifty years Paganism, a general term referring to the indigenous, pre-
biblical faiths of Europe, has undergone a rapid modern renaissance. Andras
Corban Arthen, a Trustee of the Council for a Parliament of the World's
Religions who is a PaganOnyx,
eldertheand the director of The Earth Spirit Community
cat, by
explains: "Most people RoZwho are part of Western culture don't realize that they
have Indigenous ancestors - like the Celts, for example - with spiritual traditions
very similar to those of American Indians or other Native peoples around the
world. Paganism refers to those early traditions in Europe, some of which have Peace ritual procession.
survived into the present. Contemporary Paganism also includes people of Photo by Moira Ashleigh.
Western culture who recognize that history, and are trying to reclaim their “There is
spiritual heritage in a modern context. This can be a very powerful experience."
The ARIS 2008 Survey (American Religious Identification Survey) conducted currently an
by Trinity College found that the number of American Pagans has more than increased
doubled in the last seven years. 2,804,000 individuals self-identify as part of awareness among
this “New Religious Movement, ” more than practice Judaism, Islam, Buddhism
or other Eastern faiths. Paganism is also increasingly practiced in Australia, women as to how
Europe and other parts of the world. shut out they are
when it comes to
While culturally diverse, most Pagan traditions believe the Divine is present
within its Creation. “Paganism sees that the world we live in is sacred -- and the majority of
people don’t destroy what they hold sacred. This wisdom is essential to today's
changing our relationship with the planet we’ve been destroying. It’s also one mainstream
of the reasons for Paganism’s growing popularity,” explained Phyllis Curott,
attorney, author and Wiccan Priestess who is also a Trustee of the Council for religions -- not
the Parliament of the World’s Religions. only shut out from
a personal
Paganism honors the Divine Feminine which has also contributed to its growing
popularity particularly amongst women who play important leadership roles in relationship with
the various traditions. Rev. Angie Buchanan, Director of Gaia’s Womb/Earth the Divine, but
Traditions said: "There is currently an increased awareness among women as to
how shut out they are when it comes to the majority of today's mainstream
religions -- not only shut out from a personal relationship with the Divine, but
from each other. The best that mainstream religion has had to offer women for
the past 2500 years is a patronizing place at the table - in the kitchen. Women
are no longer willing to accept that." Buchanan quotes Kathleen Pruitt of
Bremen, Ga. “A shepherd who cares only for the rams won't have a flock for
very long.” Rev. Buchanan has served on the Board of Trustees for the Council
for a Parliament of the World’s Religions since 2002.

Among the Pagan religious organizations participating in the Parliament are


EarthSpirit, Gaia’s Womb/Earth Traditions, the Temple of Ara, and the
Covenant of the Goddess. These organizations have participated in previous
Parliaments, including the first 20th century Parliament held in Chicago in
1993, South Africa in 1999, and Barcelona, 2004. 3

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is the world’s largest global interfaith
gathering and will be held in Melbourne, Australia at the Melbourne
Convention and Exhibition Centre from 3 – 9 December, 2009.
Gossip – Craft: I can't speak for everyone
present at that event, but I
A destructive part of ANY heard that our local
representatives (the Board of
community Trustees, Council for a
Parliament of theon World's
These opinions are actually based low self
"Gossip-Craft"
"Gossip-Craft" what
what is it?
is it? Religions) felt it would be are
esteem, and fear of people finding out they
arrogant
NOT what they profess to to
be,simply
or againstpaytheir
and
HowHowmany many
times times
have have we walked
we walked intointo personal wishesgo forto this. They were
a particular organization.
conversations
conversations thatthat
startstart something
something like,like,
“Did“Did
you you
hear what happened at the coffee shop elected in the form of
hear what happened at the coffee shop Some of these individuals
yesterday between thousandsare of so self deluded
dollars in
yesterday between Sue Sue
and andRob?”Rob?”
MostMost people,
people, that they feel that spreading this information is
at least initially, are curious
at least initially, are curious about what about what donations collected to fund
their duty, and they are standing up, to show
happened. A quick
looklook at broadcast shows
will will their presence
happened. A quick at broadcast shows how bad another practitioner is, there.
regardless of
reveal
reveal a plethora
a plethora of gossip
of gossip programs.
programs. The The I think that says alot !
whether they have investigated, experienced,
supermarket is full of magazines that are are
supermarket is full of magazines that
-hdroz
or even spoken to anyone who has participated
primarily
primarily “he “he
said,said,
she she
said,said,
theythey
were…” were…” aboutabout
in any practice with the other individual. Their
celebrities. Well, what exactly IS
celebrities. Well, what exactly IS it? Individuals it? Individuals
berating is immaterial; they simply believe
across
across the the
globe globe
have have participated
participated in and in and
beenbeen
they know the other person is bad news.
the the subject
subject of gossip.
of gossip. According
According to to
dictionary.com, at one
dictionary.com, at one time a Gossip time a Gossip waswasa a However, as is often the case, experts in gossip
friend, usually female; in some British dialects it it
friend, usually female; in some British dialects
craft, sometimes deliberately speak against
had had
beenbeen defined
defined as aas a godparent.
godparent. Today,Today,
individuals who as we said earlier, they
however, it is best described as: idle talk talk
however, it is best described as: idle or or ‘perceive’ as a threat to their group,
rumor,
rumor, esp.esp.
about about
the the personal
personal or private
or private affairs
affairs pocketbook, or organization; especially in the
of others, light, familiar talk or
of others, light, familiar talk or writing; also,writing; also,
case of organizations where an individual is
gossiper,
gossiper, or gossipier
or gossipier is a is a person
person given given to tattling
to tattling successful at what they do, when the gossip
or idle
or idle talk.talk.
expert does NOT want that particular success
because of their personal opinion. These
In the
In the strictest
strictest sense,sense,
everyevery person
person whowho interacts
interacts opinions are actually based on low self esteem,
withwith another
another individual
individual in some
in some conversations
conversations and fear of people finding out they are NOT
along these lines is one who partakes
along these lines is one who partakes in gossip. in gossip.
what they profess to be, or against their
In all spiritual disciplines and religions, this this
In all spiritual disciplines and religions, is is personal wishes for a particular organization.
considered bad form, at the
considered bad form, at the very least, andvery least, and
sometimes
sometimes downright
downright destructive
destructive to the
to the wellwell It is true that there are plenty of unscrupulous
beingbeing of the
of the subjectsubject of the
of the information
information thatthat individuals that proclaim themselves as experts
someone is relying the information
someone is relying the information about. about.WhenWhen
in particular fields, and upon due diligence it is
an individual becomes well experienced,
an individual becomes well experienced, and and
determined that those claims were invalid.
utilizes
utilizes this this
mode mode of information
of information giving
giving as aas a When such an individual is "exposed" this is
means to manipulate another,
means to manipulate another, THIS is Gossip- THIS is Gossip-
NOT gossip. However, even though an
Craft.
Craft. individual may be deliberately misleading other
individuals, they are still human and it is the
A look
A look at Gossip
at Gossip way one would discuss these
Many individuals claims, and goes about exposing
Many individuals thatthat
havehave crossed
crossed my path
my path havehave
them that determine whether
been veritable experts in spreading
been veritable experts in spreading character character
assassination of those one is participating in Gossip-Craft
assassination of those whowhotheythey perceive
perceive as easy
as easy or being appropriately protective.
targets
targets or potential
or potential competitors
competitors for what
for what theythey
consider their territory. This territory can be be
consider their territory. This territory can
In my personal experience as a
seekers,
seekers, fellow
fellow workers
workers of a of a particular
particular healing
healing Spiritual Counselor, I’ve seen both
discipline,
discipline, fellow
fellow cardcard readers,
readers, ministers,
ministers, appropriate and inappropriate
workers,
workers, otherother covens,
covens, and and organization
organization 4
"concern" prevalent in our society.
members.
members.

SomeSome of these
of these individuals
individuals areself
are so so self deluded
deluded
that they feel that spreading this information is is
that they feel that spreading this information Patricia Crowther, in her book High Priestess,
Reg
In another case, there was an individual who In organizations, the same thing occurs; even
proclaimed he was a "Teacher of Witchcraft" and amongst those individuals who are not directly part
utilized his elevation in a particular tradition as a way of the situation, particularly in a voluntary
to justify his "teaching" ability. This particular organization, the fall out in insidious. Many people
individual was never elevated to a sufficient rank on the fringe of the "powerful" and even some
within that particular tradition to be a teacher of that individuals who have been working diligently for the

your
tradition. When a seeker, doing due diligence, asked a organization leave. This is never a good thing for
particular yahoo group, about the individual, it was any organization.
suggested that the seeker, contact the coven directly
that the individual proclaimed to be elevated from, As an individual, I have worked diligently to not
and make her own determinations. speak ill of another individual, even in the face of
gossip. While, I too, am human, I take solace in the

relig
As it turned out, the teacher soon revealed that he fact that by "staying in the light", or staying
had only received the first level of training and was positive, truth eventually comes out to the
actually teaching an eclectic version of the craft not detriment of the member of Gossip Craft.
the particular tradition he claimed to be. This was
handled without rancor, and all went well. No one in Conclusion and Summary
the yahoo group had ever had any contact with the

proc
individual, and due to the fact that the "facts' were Staying in the light, running away from gossip, not
brought out, the moderators made sure that is engaging in it, listening to it, or spreading it, is the
consisted of only facts, and not opinions. This has only way to stop the spread of the practice of
allowed all concerned to walk away with no hard Gossip-Craft. It has no place in spirituality, or in
feelings or damage to the seeker. relationships with whatever manifestation of
God(ess) one follows.

obvi
The Ripple Effect of Gossip-Craft It is damaging most of all to the bearer of the tales,
because eventually, the weight of evidence turns
Regardless of your spiritual or religious proclivities it is against them, and then THEY become the object of
obvious that there are admonitions and warnings further gossip, losing the very thing they were
against speaking Gossip. In fact, for some it is trying to protect.

are a
paramount to murder. One particular story told by the
Chafetz Chaim stands out as a great example of what Stay true to oneself, and one's spiritual path.
I call the Ripple Effect. Remember:

One day, two Rabbis were having dinner in a  An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will
restaurant. The owner of the Restaurant came over to
 To dissipate your energy is bad for you,
the table and asked the two men how they were

and
but you do that when you gossip"
enjoying their meal. The first rabbi stated that all was
wonderful. The second Rabbi said that the food could  To slander no one, to be peaceable and
use a little salt. The first Rabbi stated that the second considerate, and to show true humility
Rabbi had just spoke Loshon Hara against the cook. Of toward all men.
course, the second individual said this was nonsense
as all he did was give an opinion from his own It is LOSHON HORA (evil speaking) to convey a

agai
perspective, therefore he was being truthful. The two derogatory image of someone even if it is true, and
men stood up and went to the kitchen. When they deserved (false derogatory statements are called
arrived, the owner of the restaurant was berating the Moitzi-Shem-Ra). Or, dare I say, “Do unto others
cook for preparing bad food for the two great rabbi's. as you would have done to you.”
The cook got upset and started to speak angrily to the That's right, The Golden Rule; it just makes
owner, which resulted in the cook quitting and leaving sense.

Gos
the restaurant. The story goes further by saying that
upon following the cook home, he had told his wife he
had quit for being insulted. The wife got angry with Resources
her husband for being bull headed, and egotistical. On Lashon Hara
They continued to fight until the man began to say Rev John Wesley Sermon
Hinduism Today Article
some very disparaging things to his wife, and she The Complete Wiccan Rede
locked the door in his face. Crowther, Patricia, Covensense, ROBERT HALE LTD (29 May 2009 - United
Kingdom)
5
We can see the chain of events here. Not
withstanding that the restaurant owner, cook, and
cook's wife all could have chosen different responses
to the original statement. The Ripple Effect of the
OUR MAGICAL The world is an inherently magical place, every child knows this
instinctively. Our minds are our tools for influencing the world around
MINDS By: us, thus manifesting all of our hearts' desires.

Paganism offers a rich and rewarding cultural context for those who
recognize their own magical heritage and wish to pursuit it. However,
paganism is comprised of thousands of folk religions, all of which
seek to address the magical nature of the universe and invoke all of
the mysteries and powers of creation.

To the perceptions of our own magical mind, the universes we live in


are all living entities; sapient, sentient beings. Everything in creation,
from the ultimate architecture of all universes (known as the plenum)
all the way down to the quantum scale, has the same properties of
consciousness and awareness. This fundamental awareness of the
living nature within every part of creation is called animism; for many
Pagans this is an important aspect of their personal perceptions of
creation.

The tools of a Pagan or Wiccan or Chaos Magician are all similar in


nature and intent. The best tools are made by the magician's own
hands, often with great care and attention to detail. The purpose of
these tools is to train our minds. The tools themselves may be
entirely arbitrary, contrived on the spot as needed. It is our hearts
and minds which do our magickal works; our tools are only
projections of those parts of our hearts and minds which we are
currently working on. These can be helpful reminders of how our
minds and hearts really work and how we may better use our hearts
and minds to influence creation and manifest our dreams.

Some people believe that magic requires great knowledge; however,


there is only one thing any true mage really needs to know, true
mages must know themselves. All other knowledge is false, only self
knowledge can ever be real or meaningful. Paganism has enjoyed a
new growth in the last few decades partly because Paganism
recognizes this truth, that we can only know creation through the
windows of our own unique perceptions.

6
The rising appeal of Paganism follows a spiritual groundswell, a spiritual movement that embraces our planet and our
entire species, accelerating us all toward our individual spiritual Our awakenings,
Magical Mindsand helping each other to evolve. This
– continued
awakening returns us to our natural state of being, a state of being in which we become increasingly adept at
developing our magical minds.
an inherent part of our magical minds and its
WhenBecause
we awaken we our
sharemagical
a commonmindsgenesis
we realizeandourselves
racial as divine beings,
ultimate goalas forgoddesses
our cognitive or gods, the creators
development. We of
everything we perceive. Our magical
heritage as other human beings, we share a minds intimately interface us with creation, guiding the quantum
begin to see how creation itself works, how all of manifestations
of all of the many
great universes
thingsweinperceive
common, around
whether us,we universes
are designedthetoplenum
be understood.
is manifest from the quantum.
Pagans, Muslims, Jews, Witches, Hindus,
ThereBuddhists
are many or tools we can create
Christians. to help us
Our common understand our own
ancestry This minds
emerging and pattern
the universes
has alwayswe perceive
been presentfor
ourselves.
unitesPagans
us in manyhaveways,
developed many tools
but perhaps the mostfor making the journey
within us, of part
self discovery that heritage,
of our genetic every trueamage must
heritage
make.important
Some Paganaspect tools,
of ourparticularly
shared human their myths
heritage andispantheons full of divine
recursively honedones andand spiritsbyare
refined ouruniquely
evolution. Pagan,
while our
other tools have
species' been development.
cognitive adopted or adapted from other cultures. We shall give birth to all of our gods and
goddesses in the far distant future, distant
SomeAside
of thefrom
mostcultural
commonly known tools
or geographic are astrology,
differences, we numerology, and tarot.
incarnations Two suchmore
of ourselves, tools,refined,
herbal and moremineral
lore, have strong
all start Paganthe
out much roots,
same,andinlater became
ignorance and known as alchemy whenThese
evolved. cultural change,
future selvesdriven by warfare,
already exist; have
introduced similar We
innocence. concepts
must allto develop
Europe from our ownthe Middle-east.
tools already evolved, even though they are our most
for understanding the world around us. Our remote descendents. Our future incarnations
All of cultural
these tools have may
heritage the same purpose,
help ensure to we
that train
can our minds. The havetools themselves
solved and our
the ultimate skills they
enigma; to wield
have them are far
less relevant
learn fromthan theforebears
our changesand these tools
carry ignite
their work in our minds. These
mastered are the
all tools
paradox for helping
of their us to learn how
self-genesis andto think
aboutforward;
our minds; tools for
building helping
a more us to understand
complete understanding how to guidehavethe development
learned to transcendof our ownspacehearts
andandtime. minds.
I Choose… At times I think I confuse people as I always seem to have a smile on my face and laugh a lot. I have flat out
of ourselves and the lives we share together on
had some ask me what I was happy about. Does one need a reason to
Following ourbedeification
happy? I don't think
as our ownso. remote
Does this mean I never get
this planet.
unhappy or lonely? Nope. I just choose how I react to things descendants we reach back in time frombreeds
in my life. It is my belief that negative more negative. So I
our own
do not intentionally draw it to me.
Our cognitive development is accelerating as our remote future to guide ourselves through the
individual cultures interface more thoroughly. present, laying a better foundation for our current
Concepts I have
oncea choice
poorlyand I choose toare
understood smile
madeinstead of frown. Isuccess
choose toby laugh instead ofour
influencing cry.past
I choose
in orderto strive
to for more instead of
give up. Life is a blessing
clearer by the inclusion of new cultural - Live it to the full, each day.
safeguard our survival and evolution individually, - Blog posted by Lis
perspectives. A synthesis of cultural and as a species.
convergence has begun to emerge which
transcends any of its parent cultures, a synthesis Our magical minds are complete in our far distant
driving our evolution individually, and as a future. Then, we’ll be perfectly evolved to be the
species. The more we embrace the more the masters of our own universes. In our future
world around us the more deeply we discover evolved state, our magical minds have encoded
about ourselves. all we need to know in our genetic and cultural
heritages to provide us with the means to escape
This accelerating pace of our evolution is the limits of our present levels of cognitive
inevitable; a product of the information age, functioning in order to achieve a new and
resulting in our increasing access to information. radically different, higher level of function.
As the chaff of our individual cultural biases are
swept away in the winds of cultural change, we Prayer, meditation, yoga, and ritual are all means
begin to see a pattern emerge, a pattern that is of attuning our magical minds awareness in this
incarnation to reflect our awareness in our most

7
evolved forms, thereby opening a channel of
information to help guide ourselves through our
own spiritual evolution and ascension to divines.

There are many ways to attune yourself to your


own unique ideals, to become the epitome of all
you can ever aspire to be. Embracing other
cultures, understanding others' beliefs is part of
the key to embracing ourselves and our own
divinity, to awakening our magical minds.
‘Twas the night before Yule,

when all ‘cross the heath,


not a being was stirring; Pagan, faerie, or beast.
Wassail was left out & the alter adorned,
to rejoice that the Sun King would soon be reborn.
The children lay sleeping by the warmth of the hearth,
their dreams filled with visions of belov’d Mother Earth.
M’lady & I beneath blankets piled deep,
had just settled down to our own Solstice sleep.
Then a noise in the night that would leave us no peace,
Awakened us both to the honking of geese.
Eager to see
Thissuch
authoraresides
boisterous flock,
in California and can be found
blogging at:
When we raced to the window, our mouths dropped in shock!
On the west wind flew a gaggle of geese white & gray,
With Frau Holda behind them in her gift laden dray.
The figure on her broomstick in the north sky made it clear,
La Befana was approaching to bestow Yuletide cheer.
From the south came a comet more bright than the moon,
And we knew that Lucia would be with us soon.
As these spirits sailed earthward o’er hilltops & trees,
Frau Holda serenaded her feathery steeds:
“Fly Isolde! Fly Tristan! Fly Odin & Freya!
Fly Morgaine! Fly Merlin! Fly Uranus & Gaea!
May the God & the Goddess inside you soar,
From the clouds in the heavens to yon cottage door.”
As soft & silent as snowflakes they fell:
Their arrival announced by a faint chiming bell.
They landed like angels, their bodies aglow.
Their feet left no marks in the new fallen snow.
Before we could ponder what next lay in store,
There came a slow creaking from our threshold door.
We crept from our bedroom & were spellbound to see
…There in our parlor stood the Yule Trinity!
Lucia, the Maiden, with her head wreathed in flame,
Shown with the radiance for which she was named.
The Lightbringer’s eyes held the joy of a child,
And she spoke with a voice that was gentle, yet wild:
“May the warmth of this household ne’er fade away.”
Then she lit our Yule log which still burns to this day.
Frau Holda in her down cloak stood regal & tall;
The Matron of Solstice, the Mother of all.
Under her gaze we felt safe & secure.
Her voice was commanding, yet almost demure:
“May the love of this family enrich young & old.” 8
And from the folds of her cloak showered coins of pure gold.
La Befana wore a kerchief on her silvery hair;
The veil of the Crone who has secrets to share.
Photo by Greenman-Josh (son of RoZ)
at Starved Rock State Park Illinois

In her eyes gleamed a wisdom only gained by spent youth.


Her voice was a whisper but her words rung with truth:
“May health, glad tidings, and peace fill these rooms.”
And she banished misfortune with a sweep of her broom.
They then left a gift by each sleeping child’s head,
Took a drink of our wassail, & away they sped.
While we watched them fly off through the night sky we
laughed,
At the wondrous magick we had found in the Craft.
As they departed, the spirits decreed…

Merry Yule To You All & May All Blessed Be!


-Author Unknown

Tales from the Trails – Accounts from


Festivals, Nature Walks, and Vision Quests.

By Greenman-Josh at
Starved Rock State
If any of you have any requests for
healing thoughts, or an event
regarding universal healing, etc. that
you would like us to address please
send to: Paganpulse@mail.com
with the Subject heading: Healing
Circle.

To begin – We would like


to ask that you join us in
lighting a healing candle to
send some energies out to
all our Military personnel
and their families.
morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a beginning of my spiritual journey. Do I
little higher and stays a little longer in the regret the teachings I learned? Not one
sky each day.
Teen’s Sacred Space Nothing in this life is a
bit. I have been able to see a love so pure
and divine come from the Christ but as
Personal Stories: coincidence. Everything happens for a Gandhi said, “I admire Christ, but not
significant purpose, for better or worse,
Coincidence, I think not! Christians".
we grow. I am a firm believer that I am in no way comparing myself
Submitted by Raven
In The Darksideeverything of Love that has happened in my life to Gandhi yet I lived within the
was meant to happen. The lessons I took Catholic/Christian Community and know
Yule, isBy. Ryan
when the Heyer
away made me grow in ways I would never first hand that as much as I loved Christ,
dark half of the year
want to change. I did not feel especially enamored with
relinquishesLove
to theislight
a battlefield
I was raised Catholic…the the people of his church. In fact, I figure
No matter
half. Starting how hard you try
the next
Things end up the same
With a hole in your heart Each issue hopes to
And tears in your eyes
Is this what life is all about? have a spot for Teens to
For if it is- bury me now, share their magical
With all my hopes and dreams forever gone
The unreal thing about it is
thoughts, experiences
When everything comes to an end and express their
What difference can anyone of us make? creatively inspired view
None, for we are all lost in a pool of waste
of the pagan path.
Death is Freedom
For when you die
you have absolutely nothing to hold you down
No laws, No Emotion
Just Darkness - Welcome home.
they got it all wrong and made the religion say I found many answers both pro and
about purified rules and regulations. Also positive spiritual influence as far as my con but found nothing fulfilling that would
and most bothersome was that women path is concerned. I had a very wise sustain me. That is when I started
were subordinate and vile creatures from paternal great-grandmother who was religion hopping, as I like to call it. I went
the first sin and we were to be punished always busy telling me her tales from the to every religion I could think of and
for it. That however, is another story for ‘old-country’. About seeing spirits after studied with a voracious appetite for
another time. they had passed and passing messages knowledge and answers to my questions.
Growing up I saw so much wrong along to their loved ones. My maternal This went on for almost 20 years. During
with what I learned and I searched for great-grandmother, I am told, was an avid my teenage years, I began Tarot Readings
answers within my community only to be tealeaf reader. My dad unknowingly for friends and I seemed to be very in
looked upon as a heathen and a sinner. nurtured and encouraged ancient tune to what the cards were telling me.
According to my teachers, I asked too mythology with his love for all things As this gift grew and things came true, I
many questions, did not allow my faith to Egyptian and Greek. These influences became terrified of what I was doing and
lead me. I had no trust in HIS word and would prove to be very important and set those cards down, never to be touched
so I was no more than a nuisance to significant as I matured and is another again. (So far anyway) I saw spirits, yet
teachers and clergy. This was reason why I say that life holds no more than that, I smelled them. I began
discouraging and left me feeling enormous coincidences. out of habit, salting around my home,
amounts of guilt for things To say that I was spiritually lost smudging with incense and feeling
I should never have felt guilty as I was growing up is not entirely true. I energies. The last part about energies
for. On the other hand, my family had a searched within Christianity for my left me feeling awful, it was like I was a
answers, as there are many different sponge and I have only recently been able
sects within the religion. I can honestly to properly cope with this part of things.
I did not learn these things so much as and ground myself and I extended this and going through a metamorphosis that I
they were second nature to me and until exercise to my family. It proved to work, had not yet found my path but I was
recently I never understood
The Tale of Befana or even cared yet the more I look at it now, I see that it heading in the right direction. I was at
about the why. was all in my intension. Yes, it felt good, the cusp of something great and
Retold bytwo
Just over SINyears
forago,
Pagan
I Pulse,and2009it did centre myself and my family but something I had been preparing for all
started to really look for answers and a I see now that the aftermath of these these years. What I had been doing in my
Culture:
stretches Roman/Italian
was because I was envisioning a studying of these many religions was not
Origins: Pagan
more stable family with less chaos and be in vain. I had already concluded that it
more quality time being spent with each was not a pointless venture because it left
When I was a child, I discovered
path I could follow that did not entail me the tale of La Befana – the Christmas
other. Another thing that Fawn did was Witch. It
meissoa open
tale passed from family
and understanding, but the
to family in the way that tales
jumping from religion to religion with no
were told so far back. Sitting
teach me about taking salt baths to
in a group, usually around a fire or near a
fact that there was more to come from it
hearth whilst the tale was spun and everyone listened with great intent. For me, it gave the holiday’s magic
real satisfaction. That is when I met cleanse and she gave me some pointers on was just baffling to me. Fawn and I
and wonderment. The idea that a Witch, bearing gifts, would fill my stocking with goodies seemed to trump
someone who would show me a glimpse of the proper way to smudge one’s home, parted ways, as I mentioned. As I look
the tales of Old Saint Nick. When I looked upon the nativity sets that covered my hometown of East Boston,
my path. I will call her Fawn. I met Fawn which would be further explained by my back now, I see that my path was full of
MA, to me the virgin mother represented La Befana. There are many variations of the story, as well as
just after
legends about the creation myth of La Befana. We no longer need to rely on oral traditionthings
Samhain of 2007 and parted beloved Priestess in the year to come. those quirky people like
to preserve to call
these
from her company
tales, in thejust after Yuleage
information of the
– we can etch them Before it was time for Fawn and I
in stone. coincidences that lead me to where I am
same year. I believe Fawn had a good to part ways, she did a Tarot reading for now. Where exactly am I?
heart This 2009wanted
and really season, I hope
to help to Ibring ame,
and so little magic
which provedback
to bein toofyour
one holiday,
the most and that
Well, you will
my name fall in love
is Raven,
Christmas,
listened and took itall
allover again.
in. She began to significant moments in my life. In the I am proudly Pagan.
teach me stretches I could do to centre reading, she told me that I was cocooning
One of my favorite versions of the story, (from memory):

Prophecy foretold that a great man would be born to liberate the people from tyranny. The Roman
Emperor ordered that all male children killed so that he may seize his own destiny and prevent the
prophecy from ever coming into fruition. The women created a network to hide their children away,
to save them from such a fate. They sought the help of the ‘Great Mother’, she who would offer
protection for their children; they only need to call on her. People believed that the doorway to the
home was also the gateway to the realm in which dead ancestors could communicate. People left at
the entryway of the home, in hopes of seeking the protection and guidance of the ancestors.

Legend has it that a woman was too late in finding a safe haven for her newborn son. She had
packed up clothing for warmth, food and gathered everything she owned of value to use as bribes
along her way. Just as she was to leave her home, she heard the footsteps of Roman soldiers. In a
panic, the woman hides her baby in a closet throwing the bundles she was carrying by the door.
When the soldiers arrived at her home, she told them she had no son for them to take. At that
moment, they heard the baby crying in the closet and seized the babe. The woman begged and she
pleaded with the soldiers to leave her only son. Yet they were under orders from the Emperor, and
so they took her baby as she screamed and wept, kissing their feet – begging for mercy. She then
laid there, in the doorway, her heart broken. She pounded her fists on the ground, screaming to the
ancestors.

Just then, the ‘Great Mother’ appeared. She told the woman, that she kept the connection between the ‘Old
Family’ (the ancestors) and the ‘New Family’ (the living family). The woman begged her, pleaded with her
to retrieve her child. The Great Mother asked her, what she had to offer in return. The woman gave her all
her valuables, which she kept in stockings and a broom she had hand-woven herself. The Great Mother
examined the items, and determined they were fine offerings. She took the coin, jewelry, and metalwork
from the stockings and put them in her apron pocket.

La Befana amidst the harvest, Bartolomeo Pinelli, 1825


La Befana: continued…

The Great Mother held out her hand and helped the woman to her feet. As she stood, the Great Mother
enchanted the stockings, the broom and the woman herself. She told the woman, "I give you the gift of
flight, and cover of night. You may retrieve your child, but in return, you must act as liaison for all the
world’s children. You must keep them connected to the ‘Old Family’, reminding them of the importance of
the family bond. Leave them gifts in their stockings when they are good, and coal when they are bad. You
must do this for all time. You will watch your son grow into a man, and die – while you live on. The
woman agreed, and La Befana was born. She watches over the world’s children, protecting them from the
Emperors execution, and acting as gatekeeper to the realm of the ancestors. Le Befana reminds the people,
of the importance of family.

As the centuries passed, Le Befana saw both the good and the bad of man. Men created religions to
destroy the spirit of family, but Le Befana is enchanted with trickery. When man sought to steal away the
old values and replace them with new ones – she found a way. The Winter Solstice became ‘Christmas’
and so Le Befana comes on this night to leave her gifts for the children. If they hang their stockings by the
fire, she will fill them with goodies if they have been good, and coal if they have been bad. She hoped that
in the spirit of giving, she could return men to family. To this day, the people love La Befana, and her
reminders to be good to one another, and to remember the importance of family. If you see an old woman,
carrying a broom, a satchel over hear shoulder and covered in soot – it might just be Le Befana. So be
good!

It’s possible that this legend comes from Ancient Rome, when reverence to the gods Janus and Strenia were paid.
Janus represents the Gates, and Strenia strength. It was customary to leave food offerings in the doorways of
homes, and a woman who represented strength carried the heavy baskets bearing produce and meat. A more
modern adaptation of this legend, replaces the basket with a broom, as service women often carried brooms and
brought food to quarters.

Later, the Christians adapt the story to their Epiphany and celebrate it on January 6th. There are many variations
of the Christian version.

(1)La Befana was an old Italian lady who spent her days cleaning and scrubbing her house. One day three
travelers stopped by who turned out they were the three wise men who were following the bright star in the
sky, which would lead them to the newborn baby Jesus. They stopped to rest with La Befana and before
they left, they invited the old woman to come with them and meet the infant king. La Befana refused. She
wanted to get back to her cleaning and felt she had wasted enough time as it was.

Afterwards, she thought the matter over and realized what a glorious opportunity she had thrown away so
she ran after the three wise men, broom in hand and apron still around her waist, to find them and go with
them to meet the infant king. She is still running but time has changed her errand. Now, at Christmastime,
she runs over the roofs in Italy bringing gifts to all the children every year on January 6.

(continued on Page 14)


“A great place
Community Perspectives to share a
viewpoint,
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of
concept or idea,
PaganSpace, PaganPulse Magazine nor its associates and staff.
but no ax-
grinding,
gossiping, or
excerpts from...The Trial by Existence - negative
Robert Frost
(Google and look up the full verse) Okay, wake up our thinking caps. From …an ever-over analyzing virgo☺

Even the bravest that are slain I picked up Caroline Myss's book Sacred Contracts. Just started actually, but at
Shall not dissemble their surprise the funeral for my son's old school mate (we knew her since their JR high
On waking to find valor[courage]reign, days)-- a spectacular young empowered brilliant, inspiring, an astute goddess
Even as on earth, in paradise;
in her own right – perhaps only 19 – mentally she was 90 -- spiritually 190...
The angel hosts, with freshness go, her mother (amongst so many others) spoke of her wisdom beyond her years...
And seek with laughter what to brave;-- This was the book she had last read- off her light reading list- before the car
And binding all is the hushed snow accident. The mother retold of when- at age 3- her precocious girl asked if she
Of the far-distant breaking wave.
remembered when-- 'she' was the mommy, and mom got to be the daughter?
And from a cliff-top is proclaimed Throughout the passing years, Mom often recalled the enlightened shred of
The gathering of the souls for birth, insight that her daughter no doubt once knew- to be a potent truth. For often
The trial by existence named, times it is the children who are still aware of the mysteries from beyond the
The obscuration upon earth. other side. Meanwhile, many times she'd have to remind herself that this time
And th[ose] loitering are turned "she IS the Mommy" - despite this young lady's charismatic, emboldened
To view once more the sacrifice views, artful debates and impactful actions of compassion and charity. Her
Of those who for some good discerned- college professors spoke of how she was both 19 yrs old and a very, very wise
Will gladly give up paradise. old soul. Gracefully shifting from deep discourse—to ‘have a great weekend” –
and off to be a 19 yr old – at play with her friends- again.
And none are taken but who will,
Having first heard the life read out All this is leading to some reflection on the philosophy that in many cases we
That opens earthward, good and ill, are re-born to the old ties with those whom we have 'sacrified paradise' for
Beyond the shadow of a doubt; some loving purpose we must fulfill. Perhaps, you’ll find yours in
numerology's life path- or hinted in the Kabahhla's tree of life. My 90 yr old
The tale of earth's unhonored things grandma, whines of her declining existence, “when will it end?” she pleas…
Sound nobler there than 'neath the sun; her purpose should have been (lest she return to have to live the same purpose
And the mind whirls and the heart sings, again) to find harmony & balance. I jest that – if her purpose was to bring that
And a shout greets the daring one.
between me & my mom… she better hang on and get comfortable for many
But always God speaks at the end: more years.
'One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for [this] Of course mine always seems to zero in on Patience... no matter what method,
friend, divination or source I use. So despite all our woes & lows-- we probably are
The memory that he chose this life;
But the pure fate to which you go – reliving the same sacred contract throughout lives... I know my other half has
Admits no memory of choice, suffered courageously to be my role model of patience and unconditional love.
Or the woe- were it not earthly woe-
To which you give the assenting voice. As in the much circulated prose, There are friends we encounter for a reason,
''Tis of the essence of life here,
or even for a season, or those we are attached to for a lifetime (maybe more
Though we choose greatly, still to lack than just one)... regardless which one-- we have become enmeshed by some
The lasting memory at all clear, universal power - perhaps for some brave reason that our souls contract will
That life has for us on the wrack not know during this life. So during this season keep alive the memories of
(=shipwrecked) those you love- and they will remain your guardians – even when they’ve
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride- crossed over to the other side.
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it [still] crushed and mystified.

Awesome muse isn't it??? It may take


several readings to absorb. Ever experience
DeJaVu? May this cause pause…
Pagans, all too often get caught up in the blame game. “Blame the Christians”, rather than spending
so much time and attention to such counter-productive behavior, why not focus on the magic of
Christmas? What’s in a name? Reclaim it! Each time you see a baby Jesus, think of the child saved
by the ‘Great Mother’, and all of he children who find joy and wonderment in this holiday. When
you see the virgin mother, think of Le Befana, the Madonna of family.

Source:
(1) Italy Travel Escape, http://www.italytravelescape.com/befana.htm

(2) Abruzzo,2000, http://www.abruzzo2000.com/abruzzo/traditions/christmas/befana.htm

Le Befana bearing gifts, Bartolomeo Pinelli, 1825

Traditions:

1. Hanging stockings by the chimney


2. Food offerings in doorways
3. Burning an effigy of Le Befana, symbolizing life and death
4. Parades and festivals dedicated to Le Befana, and Family
5. Setting up altars dedicated to your ancestors
6. Dressing up as Le Befana, and distributing gifts to children (young and old)
7. Making ‘Le Befana’ witches to give as gifts to loved ones
8. Telling the ‘Le Befana’ story
9. Singing songs about ‘Le Befana’
10. Hanging keys above doorways, to mark the gateway to the realm of the ancestors
11. Gatherings to reinforce the importance of ‘family’
12. Reverence to the old Roman gods, Janus and Strenia

Editor’s note:

Befana is the heir to the Pagan Goddess named Strenua or Strenia who was the Roman goddess of strength and
endurance. Of course, after having lived through what she has, Befana is the utmost symbol of strength and
endurance. These long, cold, dark months are something to endure with strength as well. We must remember that
our families and children are everything that we hold most dear. We plants seeds of love within the bonds of our loved
ones and nurture their growth during these times. In doing so we nurture the seeds of our own growth and the circle is
complete. It is something that is worth the strength, worth the endurance for as we begin to see, there is a light just
outside the black of the darkness, which surrounds us. Blessed Yule dear friends!
LABYRINTHS – Perfect journeys for the mind any time of the year.
A Labyrinth is a spiritual tool; a symbolic journey to the center of yourself. Unlike a maze there are no dead ends, the
Labyrinth has only one path.

The path has three stages: the inward journey to the center, the neutral space of development and growth that is the center,
and the outward path of rebirthing toward any revelations encountered.

The inward journey is the time to let go of things that hinder or block us from reaching our full
potential, the center is a place of peace, used for reflection and meditation, the outward
journey is a rebirthing, a redefining of the relationships we have with ourselves, with others,
and with the Earth.

The Labyrinth belongs to no one and to everyone. Of unknown origin, it has been used across
history, culture and continents to enhance balance and bring a sense of what’s important to our
purpose in this lifetime.

It provides a place of connections through awakening and elevating our consciousness, often
representing a form of initiation.

Whenever you need to focus your thoughts – this active form of meditation can start your questing journeys.

Photo by RoZ
Bryce Canyon, UT

Labyrinth Time (by RoZ)

Walk inward to soothe it out


Let tensions & worries drain throughout
May your feet connect with earth’s energy
Grounding – this is an outlet – for you & me

The core- the hole that lurks within


We reach it thinking of where we’ve been.
Contemplate where we want to go
Envision our future selves happy & whole.

Is it too cold to find one under the snow? Refresh your body mind & spirit too
Or found none nearby? Prepared at last to emerge anew
Slowly building, a rebirth awaits
Simply trace the path – with a toothpick or New resolve – resolute- we near fate’s gate.
such- and journey within your mind’s eye.

Check out the site and locate the nearest


one to you:
http://www.labyrinthsociety.org
Garlic – The Stinking Rose
by Lady Winter Wolf

Garlic was worshipped by the ancient bladder problems, and ear aches. It is
Egyptians, chewed by Greek Olympian believed to cure worms in both people
and animals.
athletes, and thought to be essential for
For most internal problems, eating garlic
keeping vampires at bay. But it is also raw is considered grants the maximum
good for zapping bacteria, keeping your effectiveness. However, most individuals
heart healthy by lowering cholesterol and prefer a tincture can be made by soaking
1/4 pound of peeled and separated garlic
high blood pressure, regulating blood
cloves in 1/2 quart of brandy. Seal
sugar in diabetics, and warding off tightly and shake every day. Strain and
coughs and colds. bottle after two weeks of this, and take in
drops - 25-30 a day, if desired.
A good site to check out is: Garlic Central
( http://www.garlic-central.com ) which For cough, flu, and respiratory ailments,
make a cough syrup out of garlic. Slice 1
is has much information on garlic -from pound of fresh garlic and pour one quart
cultivation and cooking, to medicinal of boiling water over it. Let sit for 12
uses. hours, then add sugar until you reach the
consistency of syrup. Add honey for
Garlic is an important medicinal herb that better taste, if desired.
is readily available. It is one of the safest
herbs, and as such can be taken often. It For sore throat, make garlic tea by
does, however, have its drawbacks, as steeping several cloves of garlic in half a
we all know. Bear this in mind when cup of water overnight. Hold your nose
using remedies (especially internal ones), and drink it.
and cut back when family and friends
start avoiding you. Externally, garlic is useful as an anti-
bacterial and anti-infection agent. One
Garlic does indeed have scientifically- such interesting usage for ear aches is to
proven medicinal properties. It contains slice a garlic clove, heat briefly in a small
a substance called Allicin, which has anti- amount of virgin olive oil, and let cool,
bacterial properties that are equivalent to strain the mixture then use a drop of two
a weak dose of penicillin. Cooking it in the affected ear.
weakens these effects considerably, so
don't count on cooked garlic with meals Make an Ointment out of garlic (use
for much in the way of a curative. cloves instead of leaves, stems, or
flowers) for wounds, cuts, athlete's foot,
This medicinally valuable list includes or any other external skin irritation,
wounds, ulcers, skin infections, flu, fungus, or infection. Also, try a few
athlete's foot, some viruses, strep, drops of Oil on a toothache for pain relief.
worms, respiratory ailments, high blood
pressure, blood thinning, cancer of the I've grown garlic; it's very easy, and
stomach, colic, colds, kidney problems, takes little space in a garden. Buying
garlic braids not only adorns your
Roasted Garlic
kitchen, but garlic is just in your reach; your refrigerator.
or even buy it already minced and
soaking
Here in olive
a great oilGarlic!
idea for which you can keep in

When garlic is roasted in the oven, the cloves become very


soft and sweet; it can be used as a spread, in dips, salads,
etc.
Apple Valley Books
121 Main Street
you’ll need:
Winthrop, ME 04364
1 head garlic
207-377-3967
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Pagan owned and operated
Just provide any title/author, or ISBN# of items
currently in print.
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. They can order and send to you – Ask about the clergy
discount.
www.applevalleybooks.com
2. Remove the outer papery covering of the garlic. Slice off
the top of the head so most of the cloves are exposed. Place
on a square of aluminum foil for easy cleanup, or select the
smallest baking dish you have. Drizzle the oil over the
cloves. Fold the foil over the head to completely enclose it,
or cover the baking dish with foil.

3. Roast for about 45 minutes, until the garlic is completely


soft and lightly browned.

4. To serve, separate the head into individual cloves, or


squeeze out the cloves into a small serving dish. If you
have leftovers, squeeze out the pulp into a small dish, cover
with olive oil, and store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator
for up to 1 month.

Now if anyone has a cold, put lots of chopped garlic into


chicken soup, or even just the broth (if you cannot down
the noodles and veggies in a
Image by Liz

A Beginners Guide to Working with Stones


Part 1 -by Krystina Stark - There are, at least, four ways to charge a
Introduction stone: Solar, Lunar, Earth, and Personal
power. When charging with Solar energy,
Stones, crystals, rocks. There are many please be sure to check that your stone
names for these fascinating and useful will not fade in sunlight, as some like
parts of nature. They are beautiful Amethyst and Celestite will fade in the
channels of all the elements. Although sunlight. Also, some stones, like
they are of earth, each stone has come to Moonstone and Labradorite, should never
represent and to radiate in different be charged with Solar energy as it will
elements. This series helps anyone who dissipate its basic Lunar power. An equal
has an affinity for stones to begin a great precaution is that Sunstone should never
relationship with them. be charged with Lunar power.
This part of the series deals with the
preparation and first friendship between
you and the particular stone. Stones pick
up the energy of those who handle them. If you are not sure, all
Really, they are very friendly. So, the first stones will benefit from
thing that one should do when obtaining Earth energy. One last
a new stone whether gifted by a human action, never charge a stone with your
or the Mother or bought is cleansing. personal energy; if you intend to use it for
those other than yourself. It's personal for
Cleansing a reason!
When is comes to cleansing stones,
NEVER use brine. Some stones can To charge a stone with Solar or Lunar
handle it fine, but most are too fragile for power, set the stone outside in direct
brine to be of any use, or they may be light (or in a window that gets the
water soluble. Burying your stone in the required light) and leave it for, at least,
ground for three days not only cleanses, 12 hours. To charge with Earth energy,
but charges it with Earth energy. Another leave fully or partially buried for 12-24
fail-safe way to cleanse your stones is to hours. To charge it with your Personal
smudge them (my preference is a energy, hold it in your power hand and
combination of sage, sweet grass, and visualize your energy flowing up your
eucalyptus). Otherwise you may pass body and down your arm into the stone.
your stones over a candle blessed and lit Let the stone keep your energy before
just for that reason. The candle should be you withdraw your energy back down
allowed to burn until complete, or snuffed your arm.
and used only for cleansing future stones.
If you have a cluster of Clear Quartz or Programming
Amethyst, the cluster may be Programming your stone is a lot like
programmed (more on this later) to charging it, except that you use your
cleanse. Carnelian may also be energy and will. A real caution here
programmed to cleanse other stones and intent, intent, intent. Please make sure
is highly recommended for any sort of you are focused and clear in your
Charm bag. Citrine, Kyanite, and request! Just wanting to heal is too vague.
Azeztulite never need to be cleansed. Heal what? Be specific. OK, so now the
procedure. First, hold the stone in your
Charging
power hand and have your energy carry every stone is different. Some have
your “program” message to the stone. attitudes! I would suggest taking
Make sure you're using the proper stone sometime to attune to your stone before
for what you want to do. I don't care how programming. Even though all Clear
bad you want your Snowflake Obsidian to Quartz do the same thing, certain crystals
help you astral project, it's not going are better for certain tasks. Let the
happen! It may help calm you and aid stone tell you. Open yourself up to
your meditation, but it's not going to do the stone with some crystal
anything astral projection-wise. Some meditation.
people, (a really good idea if you are just
starting out) may have to back-up their Dedicating
programming by vocalizing the request.
When dealing with stones you must It is my personal belief that programmed
remember that each stone is different. stones in general do not need to be
They each have their own dedicated to anything. However, if you've
personality, so be kind to them. They cleansed, charged, and programmed a
are aware once they've been Crystal Ball for scrying, or a stone to
properly awakened. Some stones may stand as a God or Goddess on your altar,
have to be programmed several times it should be dedicated for that purpose
before programming sticks. Like I said, alone. Such dedications should always
take place within a raised circle.
A reader’s question will be featured, for other wise readers to offer their
own handling of a similar situation, experience, suggestions or advice.
Limited responses will be selected.

Writer’s dilemma:

I have a request for your point of view.

I was requested to do the "prayer" at my boyfriends mothers house for Thanksgiving. She
knows I am pagan and a quite active pagan. They are Catholic. VERY Catholic and not so
understanding of my choice of religion.

I explained to my boyfriend that I am not Catholic and his mother knows this and therefore
should not have asked me to say "prayer" at her dinner.

His mother then said "Fine, I will do my Prayer, but she really should rethink her religion if
she is to stay here"

What should I do? Any suggestions?

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