Friday, December 25, 2015

Revisiting the Past: My Ethics

As I've mentioned in my previous posts on Ethics, Honor, Justice, and Arete, being an ideal human being means that one is:
  • Emotionally mature
  • Self-aware - living a conscious life, making active choices, taking responsibility for Self
  • Well educated - a broad base of knowledge including but not limited to: other cultures and world history, with an emphasis on lifetime learning
  • Consistent at putting ethical system in practice
  • Possesses a continually evolving system of ethics
My goal is to be an ideal human. Back in my heavy martial arts years, I wanted to be the ideal warrior. This consisted of a range of warrior skills plus a good education in history, strategy, philosophy, art, and music. My focus has changed, but it's not so different. I just train in different disciplines now. No fighting now; instead, I practice Yoga (my own Pagan Yoga system that I'm designing). I hone my teaching skills. Music, always music. Healing work. I think I've posted about it before, how I can't be a physical warrior any longer; instead, you could say I'm a spiritual warrior, working to raise the vibration of the world, one person at a time.

But back to Ethics. As a person who walks the warrior way, even the spiritual version thereof, living an honorable life is central to my identity. It is the light that shows me the way. It is, at times, what shapes my path. I could tell many a story about how my insistence upon the ethical choice has cost me money, relationships or what have you. Other times, it's what has cemented a relationship or gained me a business ally. And I'm totally fine with that.

So in keeping with my philosophy, here begins an examination of my list of values and ethical principles. It's time for a periodic update!
  1. Arete - Excellence above all is still the most important thing to me. Keep this one!
  2. Courtesy - the first of the virtues from my old tae kwon do dojang. Still important.
  3. Integrity - the first of the virtues from my old tae kwon do dojang. Still important.
  4. Perseverance - from my old tae kwon do dojang. Still important.
  5. Self-Control - from my old tae kwon do dojang. Still important.
  6. Indomitable Spirit - from my old tae kwon do dojang. Still important.
  7. Honor - unchanged, truly.
  8. Lifelong Learning - hasn't always been on the list, but is what I've always done.
  9. Creativity - we all have it! Continue to practice and it will strengthen.
  10. Play/humor - don't take yourself or this world or anything else too seriously. "It's sacred, not serious" - adorable hippie child 
  11. Reverence - for every step, every breath, every living thing, always.
  12. Shibumi - the essence of what is, pure simplicity
  13. Tolerance - essential to harmonious living with other beings. It means that you acknowledge the plurality of our world.
  14. Stewardship of the Earth - new - I suppose this was so intrinsic that I never listed it before. But it must be said - take care of our home.
  15. Respect the autonomy of all beings. - new - also intrinsic to my belief system is the acknowledgement that all beings have agency and that must be respected.
As it turns out, not a lot has changed. There's been a bit of evolution and perhaps a bit more clarity in my thinking about my beliefs. I'm happy to say that they have accreted throughout my life, and I value all of these incremental additions. I may not always embody them at every moment. I may fail, like everyone does. Ego, petty annoyances, and other such temporary conditions may supersede my principles. But still, I strive. And to be quite honest, I mostly succeed. I can look myself in the mirror. My relationships are good, and I have a place in the community. These are signs of success, in my book - and an ethical life!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sun Reborn

The miracle has occurred again...the longest night has passed. The Sun is reborn, and now, light begins to return to the Earth!

The sun returns! The light returns!
The time of darkness has passed,
and a path of light begins the new day.
Welcome, welcome, the birth of the sun,
blessing us all with its rays.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Yule



The longest night has come once more,
the sun has set, and darkness fallen.
The trees are bare, the earth asleep,
and the skies are cold and black.
Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,
embracing the darkness that enfolds us.
We welcome the night and all that it holds,
as the light of the stars shines down.


Here at the Clan of the Wildlings stronghold, a 12 day and 13 night festival begins. We celebrate this turning of the Wheel. We rest and rejoice in this gap between the lunar year just ended and the new solar year not yet begun. We dream and vision what we will create in the year to come. We spend time with loved ones, making precious memories and strengthening family ties. We bring the good news of the returning light to the trees and the forest creatures. We reflect and feel gratitude yet again for all of the lessons, joys, pains, and blessings of this year. We make merry and sit by the fire. Each night, we light one more candle on the sun wheel and say a prayer. Each day, we perform a seasonal task. Today, I'll be gathering cedar, holly, mistletoe, and ivy branches to deck the halls in preparation for tonight's Yule ritual with the Clan.

Merry Yule and Happy Solstice to one and all. May you be blessed with light, love and laughter on this, the shortest day. May you sleep well sheltered by the ancestors on this, the longest night. May your fires be bright and your hearts be full. Blessings of peace, love, and joy be upon you and your family.

Blessed be!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Yule Eve Eve


Tomorrow, we go into the longest night. Solstice is almost here!

This is the long night.
This is the dark night.
This is the cold night.
This is the night of last hope.
This is the night of the little spark.
This is the night of turning from darkness.
This is the night of turning toward light.
This is the night of wonder.
The long night is here:
Come to us, you spirits;
Together let us fill the long night with light,
Calling all beings to warm themselves at our fires.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

What are Ethics?

The Pagan Experience - This month the focus is on ETHICS… As a member of the human species we are faced with choices everyday. The responses we make are most often guided by our definition of values, standards and what we consider to be just and ethical behavior.

Add the complexity of walking a spiritual path and he topic of Ethics becomes one that reaches deeply into the fabric of who we wish to be and who we believe ourselves to be. So, use this month’s writing to share, listen and explore your ethical landscape…
Ethics is a timely topic in my life. The Universe has its inscrutable sense of humor, as always...and its timing is impeccable. But what are ethics? I've written here about honor, about justice, and about arete, but not specifically about ethics. As a philosophy major and a person committed to living an honorable life, this topic is near and dear to my heart.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ethics are defined as:

"Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior."

I have discussed honor, which is essentially a system of personal decision making based on ethics and obligation. I have discussed justice, which is a system of applying ethics to governance. I have discussed excellence (arete), which is a tangentially related concept. Possibly one could argue that the good and true nature of actions containing arete are inherently ethical. But maybe not. Ethics are not only virtuous in and of themselves, but also in how they impact others.

In keeping with my post about justice, I think that ethical principles grow and change as we evolve as human beings. That means that study is important. We must understand ourselves, not only as individuals, but also in relation to our place in the world. We must understand something of world history, of other cultures, of ideas broader than what we may have been taught by our biological families and birth religions.

A broad knowledge base matters if you want to be a well-developed human being. It's easy to simply believe what you were told, and many people do. This unfortunately often leads to provincial, us vs. them systems of thought. Which is a big part of the reason why the US has problems, but that's a separate post. Suffice it to say that considering the highest good of all is a good filter to use when evaluating ethical principles, and knowledge is essential to that process.

So then. Ethics are moral principles, the foundational concepts that guide our behavior. Ethics are the things we consider to be right as opposed to wrong. Ethics are the values that we hold. But what is a value?

Back to the Oxford Dictionary:

"(values) A person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life."

Now we're getting to the root of things. Morality is a discussion that involves both ethics and values. The things that we think are right as well as the things that we think are important. Both of these things, ethics and values, guide our behavior in life. Both are relational - they are important in evaluating actions that relate to others. I propose that values also include concepts that are not relational. There are qualities that help us to be good human beings that are also just for us, or that support us in ways that then allow us to have good relationships. But that too is a separate post.

You could say that ethics and values added together are what make an ideal human. Oh, but what, what is ideal?

Back to the Oxford Dictionary:

"A standard of perfection; a principle to be aimed at."

So you could say that ethics are principles that guide us in our goal of becoming ideal human beings.

That's a useful definition, but it's important here to note that human beings are already perfect. We are learning creatures. We are experiments, if you will, experiencers of this cosmic dance we call life. Some say our purpose here is to learn. Perhaps that's true, but it's learning with no test at the end. There is no goal, not really. We are perfectly imperfect. No matter what we do, we are performing our purpose, which I propose is simply to exist and experience. The ideal human being is one that grows and changes throughout its life.

Me being me, I also think that we ought to be good to each other along the way. But on a universal level, we need all kinds of experiences to grow, even the painful ones. Even the awful ones. That means somebody has to volunteer to be the villain, at least some of the time. If we were all perfect paragons of love and light, what would ever happen? Change, growth, and evolution are impossible in a state of perfect bliss. Chaos, negativity, disruption, destruction, and randomness are essential to a growing and evolving Universe. But I digress.

What does all this mean to us as Pagans? Obviously, I don't speak for everyone, but I post this here as a sort of impetus to deeper thought. What law do you live by? Are there built-in rules of ethical behavior in your belief system? Do you follow them as is, or do you add in values of your own? What are they based on? Have they changed over time? Do they still fit you now, at this time in your journey?

If you follow the Wiccan Rede, there is an awful lot of room for interpretation. What and who does "do no harm" apply to? How far do you take it? Does it apply to every situation? What do you do in situations where harm is not at issue? What qualities are important to you? I propose that a set of ethical principles and values is helpful in addition to the Rede. In my next post, I'll discuss my own ethical system.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Family of the Heart


Family is not only a matter of genes
The blood does bind, it's true
But another force is at work
Love is the greatest bond of all
-Tanaria

Every year, my friends and I have a Pre-Thanksgiving party. We gather to feast, drink and make merry. We're in our 23rd year of amazing food, stimulating conversations, excellent wine and general shenanigans. If you've ever seen Auntie Mame, you have an idea what this party is like.

Folks who know me in the physical world and longtime readers know that my biological family is tricky. The ones who treated me the best are in the Summerlands, and the ones who didn't are here and angry that I don't spend time with them. I have been very lucky to have found a chosen family over the years.

Our reasons for banding together are diverse. I am not the only one with challenges in the biological family department. Some don't have any family. Some are not accepted by their family for reasons of sexual orientation, religion, or lifestyle. Some just have awful families. Some live far away from family. Others just stick around for kicks.

The bonds we share are real. They are strong. They are every bit as valid as biological family ties. We have a shared history rich with stories. We support each other in good times and bad. We stand together even when one or more of us is being bone-headed.

We are all kinds of people - all ages, all cultures, all faiths, all orientations, all genders. Eccentricity and intelligence are the rule. In our midst, we have brewmasters, antique dealers, pipe makers, priestesses, seamstresses, dancers, musicians of all types, artists, gamers, geeks, nerds, athletes, dilettantes, drama queens, cosplayers, re-creationists, fairies, and more. We are colorful. We are wild, wacky, and wonderful.

This year, as every year, I am so thankful for you, my chosen family. Thank you for accepting me as I am, with all of my flaws, failings, and contradictions. Thank you for sticking with me as I grow and mature. Thank you for helping me figure it all out. Thank you for giving me the space to evolve and change. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for your presence in my life. Thank you. Without you, I don't know how I would get through November and December, much less the rest of the year.

Not all of my family was at this gathering. Not all of them are local to this area. In truth, my family is scattered across the miles. To these people, I say - you are in my thoughts and my heart. I miss you. I wish you were here to raise a glass with me. Thank you - all of these gratitudes are meant for you just as much as those who live nearby. Thank you.

There are many things for which I am grateful this year. I am housed, clothed, fed, employed, and loved. I am pursuing my passions and my sacred work. I am healthy. I am strong. Most of the time, I am happy.

But of all these things, my family is the best and brightest, the most important thing. These luminous souls make the journey worthwhile. We inspire each other to be our best selves. Long may it be so.

Monday, November 23, 2015

To All My Relations

As we move into the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, Clan of the Wildlings has this to say about recent tragic events and the divisiveness that they have spawned. 

To those who fear, there is a place set for you at our table should you choose to join us in peace. To those who hate, there is a place set for you at our table should you choose to join us in love. To those who are alone and hungry, there is a place set for you at our table should you choose to join us in gratitude.

So may it be. Blessed be. Aho!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

On Intolerance and Peaceful Co-existence

The past few days have been agonizing for me, as they have been for everyone following the news. I tried to stay out of it, to stay off of social media, to stay silent. I failed. I cannot stay silent in a world gone mad. 

People I thought I knew have been spewing hatred and intolerance. Many are calling for more war, more bombings, closing our borders, refusing to help refugees. I simply cannot stand by and do nothing. I'm reminded of a quote from a favorite film. Sure, it's a pop culture piece of entertainment, and sure, it in itself promotes violence. But this quote states it eloquently:

"And I am reminded on this holy day of the sad story of Kitty Genovese. As you all may remember, long time ago almost 30 years ago. This poor soul cried out for help time and time again, but no person answered her calls. Though many saw, no one so much as called the police. They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. Now, we must all fear evil men. But, there is another kind of evil which we must fear most … and that is the indifference of good men!"

I was horrified when I learned the story of Kitty Genovese in college. I am horrified today by recent events, and by people's reactions to them. So this morning, when I ought to have been getting ready for work, this is what I wrote:

I don’t normally post about current events or politics. Recent events have made this reserve impossible. In the last few days, I have seen and read about horrific crimes against humanity in Tunisia, Beirut, and Paris. Here on FB, the response has been both compassionate and hate-filled. As an empath, this is intensely painful for me. No, it’s not about me. It’s a global problem, this use of violence to further ostensibly religious agendas. It’s not just overseas – it’s here in the USA as well. Let us not forget McVeigh and all the others like him – AMERICANS who have perpetuated terrorism.

But I will tell you this. As a medical professional, I see people of all nationalities, all faiths, all genders, and all sexual orientations EVERY DAY. Each and every day, I treat people with compassion regardless of these labels. I see it as my sacred duty to see people as human beings in need first, before any of these things. 

And guess what? We are all the same when we’re in pain. Everyone’s lower back aches the same. Everyone scrunches their shoulders up to their ears when they are stressed. Everyone looks the same when they finally let go and relax.

People often talk during massage therapy sessions. Some do it because they can’t bear silence. Others, to distract themselves from the sensations in their body. Others talk to me because no one else listens to them. And let me tell you something else. Yesterday, I treated a patient who spewed hatred for the entire hour. This person hates Muslims, gays, anybody who disagrees with their church, Democrats, women in general, terrorists, and liberals. The things this client said broke my heart and caused me to sit down and question everything I am, everything I know and everything I believe in.

A friend of mine asked me how I handled the situation and said I must have the patience of a saint. I simply let the client speak. I healed this person to the best of my ability. This patient needs healing most of all. This person says these things because of deep pain within. I don’t claim to be a saint. I tell you this story not out of self-aggrandizement, but in hopes that folks will realize the same thing that I did:

Hate only fuels more hate. Violence only fuels more violence. Divisions among humanity serve only the people who seek power. Like it or not, we are all in this together. 

It’s the 21st century, and it’s high time that we all start working together. Call me an idealist if you will. Un-friend me if this angers you, truly. 

I refuse to believe that Islam or Christianity are faiths that are fundamentally incompatible with peaceful co-existence. I refuse to believe that failures in the past mean that trying again to build tolerance and peace will fail. 

We must overcome. After all, what is the alternative? A World War in which we wipe every Muslim from the face of the Earth? A global ban on religion? More years of mass killings, until no one is left? 

No. These apocalyptic visions will not happen. We will find a way through. Humanity has a tendency to shine and find solutions at the very last moment.

I will not give up. I will not give in to fear and hatred. I will continue to resist peacefully. I will continue to speak up, speak out and to take whatever actions I can to create cultural change.

Currently, I have an idea to create a global peace accord in which we all agree to the following:
  1.  Everyone has the right to live as they wish so long as it doesn't harm others.
  2. The right of sovereignty of all nations must be respected - no more conquering others by force.
  3. Diligently work to solve problems without violence.
My idea is to write this up with a cover letter and start sending it to local churches. Since religion is used as an excuse for many of the violent acts recently committed by terrorists, mass murderers, school shooters and what have you, we should start with faith leaders. We must start in churches, and in homes, to teach our young people to respect and tolerate diversity. This is the foundation of peace. Peace doesn't just happen. Peace is more accurately termed peaceful co-existence. Peaceful co-existence can only happen when we reject the use of force and embrace our beautiful diversity as a species.

Will you take the pledge? Do you know of someone already doing this? Drop me a line or a comment!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Spiritual Goals

At the archery range 12/16/2010
The Pagan Experience - Wk 2- November 9: Spiritual Goals! What are they? Is there an expiration date? How do you set them and what is required to achieve them?

What a fascinating prompt! I don't believe that I've ever consciously set a spiritual goal. The story of my spiritual path has been a relentless desire to know, to become, and to heal. But what is it that I want to know? Everything. Curiosity is the fuel that drives my endless quest. Life is mystery, and I'm like some little spiritual bear, lumbering along, nibbling fruits, and following my nose.

That being said, I do have a secret yearning:
  • I want my very presence to fill people with peace. Just by being around me, people will experience an awakening or a healing. This wish no doubt comes to me via my studies in Yoga. Gurus and Yoga masters are like this. I hope I get there someday. My healing clients often tell me that they feel this way around me, but that's not my 24/7 state of being...yet.

Here are some things I want to accomplish. I'm not sure if they belong in this category, but they are spiritually focused:
  • Create a sacred grove. My dream is to find one with a natural spring and some old trees that would only require a bit of refinement/manicuring.
  • Create a mystery school to teach the old/new ways. I'm doing this on a small scale now in training coveners, but I want to have a comprehensive, established program with a cadre of teachers. I'm looking at you, Autumn Pulstar and Super Duper Space Witch!

Here are some things I'm working on right now:
  • Journey/trance work - do it on command, travel with a mission, get smoother at leading others.
  • Spirit work - get over my fear and get more confident. 
  • Pranayama - there is a breathing technique that raises the body temperature enough to endure any climate. Ancient yogis could melt snow off of their body.
  • Pineal gland - decalcify my pineal gland and strengthen psychic abilities.
  • Sound healing - does this belong in here? It's for my career, but it's also a deeply spiritual practice.
  • Blood mysteries - the sacred cycles of woman. This is a project I'm working on for my coven.
Huh. Well, it appears that I do have some goals! The only expiration date in all of these is the grove and the school. Obviously, I'd like to get that done ASAP and in this lifetime. All the rest...they will be completed in due time. I'm working toward all of these goals with research, study and practice. The pineal gland goal also involves diet, eating whole foods and drinking filtered water.

Like everything else in my spiritual path, I don't consciously set these goals. Case in point, I didn't even realize I had goals until I wrote this post. I just...go where the path leads.


Monday, November 9, 2015

I AM

The Pagan Experience - WK 1- November 2: What do you define as your “place in the world”? How does that inform your spiritual pursuits?

I have always been a wanderer, a gypsy, a seeker. Seeking truth, seeking meaning, seeking myself and seeking a place in the world...these things are a huge part of my spiritual path. I've written a bit about my tumultuous early life, but today, suffice it to say that one of the hardest parts of it was feeling as if I belonged anywhere. I was treated as a second class citizen, as "less than", as "other". My parents divorced, I moved to a different state, and later tragically lost our family homestead. So a home, or a place where I belong, hasn't existed for me for a long time. How long?

I wrote this poem sometime during middle school, so age 10-12:

Mirage

An unused road
beckons
offering shade and sweet water 

almost
like a dream
seen from the dry and dusty reality
visions of a home
unattainable 


As an adult, I have created homes for myself. Many of them. My friends in Colorado used to tease me about being a localized gypsy. Out there, I moved nearly every year. There was no practical reason why this had to be the case. I was reasonably well employed, and apartments were fairly plentiful at that time. I just...couldn't settle down. Couldn't commit. I was heavily in search mode at that time.

Along with finding a literal place where I belong, I have tried on many faces and many personas. Who am I? Earlier in my life, that answer would be different from day to day. Case in point: at one time, I had a gigantic hat collection. Have you ever considered how easy it is to change your identity through hats? It's a thing, trust me. Clothing is hugely symbolic in human culture, and hats are an integral part of that. 

Searching for identity, I have tried many a pastime, many a sport, many a hobby. I'm still not truly into middle age, and already, I have been so many things: a dancer, artist, photographer, buddhist, witch, pagan, philosopher, writer, poet, clogger, flautist, drummer, healer, belly dancer, SCAdian (that's a medieval re-creationist), fencer, archer, martial artist, teacher, hiker, businesswoman, artisan, backpacker, kayaker, climber, mountain biker, knitter, gardener, visionary, priestess and more.

Now, I can say that I have claimed my place in the world. I know who I am. I accept and honor where I have been. I'm headed in a good direction. I know that I will continue to grow, change and evolve. I will continue to explore and try new things. I will always learn. I will continue to heal. 

I am still sometimes surprised to learn that my place in the world is one of leadership. Then I remind myself that I am worthy, that I have something worthwhile to say, and that what I do matters to people.

The reasons that I had for this intensive learning and exploration were really quite simple. I had to find a way to survive and to cope with my lot in life. I attribute my fanatical drive to my history of survivorship and abuse. Helping others is my way of striking back at my abusers. I'm not interested in revenge; instead, I don't want anyone else to have to endure what I did. That's a pretty beautiful thing, in my book. Out of such deep pain, I have learned so many useful things. I have attained a pretty good level of personal peace. 

These days, people meet me and say things like "are you *always* this calm" or "how are you this peaceful all the time". That makes me think I must be doing it right. 

I am a priestess. I am a healer. I am a musician. I am an artist. I am one who walks between the worlds. Look for me in the liminal spaces. On a random Tuesday morning, you may see me in the woods. On a beautiful fall day, you may see me high on the mountain. In the summertime, you'll find me on the river, quietly paddling my boat. There is my place. This whole beautiful Earth is my home, and I can be anything I want to be. And so can you!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Samhain-tide Hiking

The Pagan Experience - Wk 4- October 26: Any writing for the letter R or a topic of your choice– I am keeping this familiar format on week 4 for those who have joined me from the Pagan Blog Project!

Last Friday, on All Hallow's Eve, I went out for a little stroll after work. It was spontaneous, a whim, a deep calling of the soul. Such days as that one...one is not granted with so many in a lifetime. The weather was so perfect, golden and crystalline, a pause in time out of time. A gentle breeze blew off the lake, ruffling the jeweled leaves. I saw no one, spoke not a word save with my heart and breathed in all the beauty of fall.

It was warm enough to get in the water, so I did. I rolled up my pants and waded across the clay-sand, gravelled bottom through crystal clear water. With my feet grounded in Earth and Water, I offered a song on my flute to the waters, to the sky, to the sun, to the waning autumn.

Here and now, at the end of the growing season, the dying time is nigh, and the light begins to fade. Pachamama is putting on a show to teach us to blaze, blaze brightly at the night and face death in all our glory, dressed to the nines. We let go, we let go, we heal, we commune with our beloved dead and we rest.

Last Friday, it was a day to be with the forest and with the waters. A day to be silent, a day to listen without speaking. To soak in the harvest wisdom of the brilliant leaves. To sense the eternal reflected in the shell of Grandmother Turtle. These creatures have abided through the millennia, not evolving, only...perfecting. Existing.

Wabi-sabi, imperfectly perfect. Too beautiful to crop, so I put  a heart on it.
Out on the land, we must go at these seasonal changes. It's imperative to taste the air, to fill one's lungs deeply with the pure breeze. Allow your mind to grow quiet, your ego to rest. No need for individuality now, sink into the life of the forest. Observe the changes in the plant and animal life, each to their particular cycle in the endless dance of life. Now the Earth shows its beauty in a final outpouring of life as death draws near for many. The Earth and much of its life will rest, going deep within during the darkness. Do you see it? Do you feel it?

I had no recollection of the length of the hike, but stubbornly pressed on until it looped back to the parking lot, some 5 miles or more later. At one point, I walked up on some does, only a short bowshot away. Turtles were still out on logs, and wings of many kinds were on the winds. No need to look up, wing-shadows dappled from the tree trunks. I am watched over from above.

I am truly blessed.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hearth and Home

Cob home with stone and natural timbers
The Pagan Experience Week 3- October 19: Deity and the Divine – This will be the third week’s topic every month and an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you. Tell us about your favorite Deity of Hearth and Home.
"Home is a place where your heart is free." - Enya

Let me tell you about my dream home. I long to live in a place of community, on a gigantic piece of land, ideally in the mountains, near a river. Together, we will create a self-sustaining haven of permaculture farming, art, music, craft, spirituality, retreat, education and celebration. I will do everything that I like to do and never have to leave the homestead except to see new places. All the homesteading skills that I learned growing up and have continued to build through the years will find their true purpose. This has been my dream for as long as I can remember.

Here are some features my home will have:
We'll have plenty of guest cabins

Design

  • Log, Timber framed, Stone, Cob construction - depending on climate and site
  • One story preferred 
  • Partially built into hillside if site permits 
  • Central heat and air
  • Solar/hydroelectric/wind power/water heating as appropriate to site 
  • House sited to take advantage of prevailing wind, natural light, etc

Interior Features

  • Wood paneling
  • Stone, tile, wood floors
  • BIG stone fireplace – one chimney to feed two fireplaces – one in living room, one in kitchen; both have hearths big enough to sit on. Kitchen has operational spit for roasting and bread/pizza oven
  • Smart closets, storage in every room
  • Mud room/airlock to utility room with:
    • Boot dryers
    • Storage bench
    • Rack of hooks for coats and such
  • Built-in shelves
  • Built-in benches and window seats
  • Thick interior walls for soundproofing of bedrooms
  • Definitely a rocket stove and built in seating
  • Guest bedroom or additional bedrooms at other end of house from master   

Kitchen Features

  • Back side of fireplace in kitchen with:
    • Big serpentine hearth
    • Spit roasting apparatus
    • Wood fired oven
    • Swing-out hanger for pots, dutch oven, tea, etc
  • Old fashioned stove – gas + wood range
  • Air-cooled pantry
  • Convenient access to root cellar
  • Nifty compost container
  • Ceiling hooks for cast iron cookware
  • Concrete countertops? I want really tough, easy to clean natural or semi-natural materials

Bathroom Features

  •      Plenty of storage for toiletries, TP, towels
  •      Separate soaking tub
    No home is complete without flowers & kitties
  •      Big walk-in shower (big enough for two, with bench)
  •      Additional heater for wintertime (I hate being cold and wet)
  •      Make enough bathrooms, seriously. None of this one bathroom nonsense.

Exterior Features

  •      Deck/patio
  •      Screened in porch
  •      Portico
  •      Solar lighting along pathways
  •      Lots of garden space
  •      COVERED PARKING

Facilities of the Community

  • Meditation Room 
  • Indoor Temple 
  • Outdoor Temple (covered, no walls) 
    Plenty of gardens & herbs
  • Sacred Grove 
  • Large program room 
  • AV-enabled program room 
  • Commercial kitchen 
  • Cabins 
  • Art Gallery 
  • Performance space/stage

Programs

  • Educational Center 
  • Healing Center 
  • Retreat Center
  • Organic Farm 
  • Sustainable Community 
  • Artists & Writers Residencies 
  • Sacred Grove 
  • Spiral Scouts
  • Mystery School

Lots of big trees and barns

Surely we'll have at least one treehouse
And plenty of outdoor living spaces!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thirteen Days of Samhain: Day 1

On the first day of Samhain, the Goddess gave to me:

A holy New Year!

October 19       Thirteen moons a’glowing
October 20       Twelve suns a’shining
October 21       Eleven witches chanting
October 22       Ten ancestors calling
October 23       Nine woods a’burning
October 24       Eight sabbat dances
October 25       Seven days a’turning
October 26       Six jack o’ lanterns
October 27       Five elements
October 28       Four pentacles
October 29       Three Goddesses
October 30       Two Horned Gods
October 31       And a holy New Year!

New Year’s Eve is here, the blessed day of Samhain itself. On this, the third and final harvest of the year…the harvest of souls, we give thanks. We honor those that have gone before. We honor the sacrifice made by our Horned Lord, and by all the animals and plants who have supported and sustained us.

May this song enrich your season of Samhain as creating it has enriched mine. Please feel free to share and play the song non-professionally – I only ask that you attribute me as the author and copyright holder.

Blessed be!







Friday, October 30, 2015

Thirteen Days of Samhain: Day 2

On the second day of Samhain, the Goddess gave to me:

Two Horned Gods


The God, too, goes through his seasons and phases. He is sometimes seen as the divine twins – the oak king of the light half of the year, and the holly king at the dark half of the year. Each year, they struggle for dominance, but end up only taking each others places in an endless cycle of birth and rebirth. I also resonate with the concept of a third phase – the grain god or corn god…he who is reaped as willing sacrifice that all may be fed. He is also the hunter and the hunted – the prey that often too willingly submits to the predator that life may continue, energy transformed with no loss. He is Protector, warrior, son, lover, Master of Beasts – he is the Horned God.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thirteen Days of Samhain: Day 3

On the third day of Samhain, the Goddess gave to me:

Three Goddesses


Maiden, mother, crone – the cycle of life, the goddess in all her phases, the Earth in all its seasons. The Goddess as Maiden, the Spring, the beautiful stirrings and youth of life. Her innocence and promise are infinitely alluring. The Goddess as Mother, the Summer, fecund with abundance, her life giving womb feeds all. The Goddess as Crone, the Winter, the wisdom gained by many moons of life. Her teachings fill us with strength and give continuity to our community.

Blessed be the Great Goddess, known to all by many names and many faces:

Isis Astarte Diana Hecate Demeter Kali Inanna, White Buffalo Woman, Selene, Persephone, Aphrodite, Luna, Sunna, Skadi, Artemis, Freyja, Frigga, Cybele.

Naho and Blessed be!