Classes went well yesterday morning. Brea did the first hour while I was working on rearranging the office space. I did the 2nd hour, by which time Tempus was there and he finished the job. After the young folks left, I got some info about the black copal that I needed to print headers and headed home, while Tempus spent the rest of the day with customers.
I was writing and working on the website and blog changes that are going along with the new embroidery kit format. It takes some doing to coordinate! I’ve also been asked to teach a class up in Longview on 11/23 which is the day before the Elders’ Council and the OCPPG staff meeting. That’s going to be some weekend!
We talked for awhile, then he headed off to sleep and I wrote a little longer, mostly answering mail.
Today is my turn at the shop. I’ll be doing headers for crystals and copal and working on kit set-up while Tempus works at the house. There’s still a lot to do left from getting all of that stuff out of storage!
Today’s plant is Blue Elderberry, Sambucus cerulea. It’s a rather wild shrub that can be trained into a small tree, with icky-smelling white flowers that then produce dark fruits that appear blue because of a whitish coating on them. In Oregon it grows mostly from the valley out to the coast with some isolated pockets in the Eastern part of the state. There’s a lot of folklore surrounding the tree. “In some areas, the “elder tree” was supposed to ward off evil influence and give protection from witches, while other beliefs say that witches often congregate under the plant, especially when it is full of fruit. In some regions, superstition, religious belief, or tradition prohibits the cutting of certain trees for bonfires, most notably in witchcraft customs the elderberry tree; “Elder be ye Lady’s tree, burn it not or cursed ye’ll be” – A rhyme from the Wiccan rede [poem]. If an elder tree was cut down, a spirit known as the Elder Mother would be released and take her revenge. The tree could only safely be cut while chanting a rhyme to the Elder Mother.” From Wikipedia – Feminine, Venus, Water – The flowers are used for Crossing the Bridge rituals. Carry for protection and to prevent rheumatism and toothache. Dried berries are helpful in sleep pillows. All parts are good for protection. Grow near the home for prosperity. Magic wands and flutes are often made from this wood. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambucus_cerulea or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambucus
The Isia, ancient Egypt (Oct 28 – Nov 3) – Today is the first day of the ancient Egyptian Isia festival. This was a week-long autumn festival commemorating the mythological search of Isis for her son/lover Osiris in order to restore life on earth. The festival has a connection with the Eleusinian Mysteries, rites of ancient Greece centuries later. More on Isis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis
The shop opens at 11am! Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday, although we’ll be closing at sunset as that creeps backwards to 5pm. If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light or call the shop at 541-563-7154.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is a Waning Crescent. Waning Moon Magick –From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 11/1 at 4:50am PST. Waning Crescent Moon –Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 10/29 at 4:50pm.
Through the early morning hours and into dawn Tuesday morning, the waning crescent Moon forms a triangle with Mars and Regulus in the eastern sky — for the second time this month. By dawn it’s high in the southeast.
Mercury and Saturn are lost in the sunset.
Goddess Month of Hathor runs from 10/3 – 10/30
Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27
Celtic Tree month of Ngetal/Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24
Runic half-month of Wunjo/Wyn – October 13-28 – Wyn represents joy, the rune being the shape of a weather vane. The month represents the creation of harmony within the given conditions of the present.
Runic half-month of Hagalaz/Hagal – October 29-Novmber 12 – The Runic half-month of Hagal commences today, represented by the hailstone of transformation. It is a harbinger of the need to undergo the necessary preparations before the harsh northern Winter.
©2013 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Ngetal Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24 – nGéadal – (NYEH-dl), reed – The term “reed” is used with great imprecision in North America, but it is clear that the reed of the ogham is the common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steudel). This is a giant grass, with stems as high as 4 m (13 feet). It grows in marshy areas, where it often forms dense stands. Like most other grasses, the vertical stems live only a single year, dying in the autumn and being replaced with new green shoots in the spring. The dead stems rattle and whisper in late autumn winds. Common reed has spread as a weed throughout the world; in North America it is widespread in cooler climates. Common reed is in the Grass family (Poaceae, or Gramineae).
“The Reed Month, is said by some to be most favorable for communication with ancestral spirits and the strengthening of all family ties, with magickal associations with fertility, love, protection, and family concerns. ‘Thin and slender is the Reed. He stands in clumps at the edge of the river and between his feet hides the swift pike awaiting an unsuspecting minnow to come his way. In his thinness the reed resembles arrows that fly, silver-tipped, up into the unknown air to land at the very source that one had searched for all these years. Firing arrows off into the unknown is an expression of the desire to search out basic truths. If you loose off without direction, the place of landing will be random. If the firing off is carried out with the correct conviction, determination and sense of purpose, then the act becomes secondary to the event that comes both before and after the moment.'” Source: Earth, Moon and Sky
Ngetal – Reed Ogam letter correspondences
Color: Grass Green
Meaning: Upsets or surprises
to study this month Mor – the Sea Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: AE, X, XI, M
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
M 28 Low 2:06 AM 1.5 7:49 AM Rise 1:34 AM 41
~ 28 High 8:48 AM 6.4 6:11 PM Set 3:08 PM
~ 28 Low 2:59 PM 3.0
~ 28 High 8:29 PM 5.9
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE…Getting back up is LIVING
~ If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. – Bob Hope
~ Accepting that which happens, with grace and understanding, is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. – Carol Armistead Hough
~ Colors are the smiles of nature. – Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) English writer
~ Never let your memories be greater than your dreams. – Doug Ivester
I Will Rise
Like a seed that’s growing,
I will rise.
Like a wind that’s blowing,
I will rise.
Though you tried to burn me
And destroy me with your lies,
I am stronger than your hatred.
I will rise.
Like the curling smoke
I will rise.
Like the sacred oak,
I will rise.
You did your best to stop me–
Goddess knows you tried.
I am stronger than your hatred–
I will rise.
Like an eagle flying,
I will rise.
There is no death in dying.
I will rise.
You tried to silence me,
But my existence testifies
I am stronger than your hatred–
I will rise.
Hear me softly drumming,
“I will rise.”
Know that I am coming–
I will rise.
Like the legendary Phoenix,
From the ashes to the skies.
I’ve returned and I am millions–
I will rise.
Written and Submitted by Maré )O(
Magick – A Terrible Beauty – For Brad Will – By Starhawk – 2004
It’s the night before the Spiral Dance, our community’s annual huge celebration for Samhain, more generally known as Halloween, the ancient feast of the ancestors and honoring of the Beloved Dead, which long predates the Christian feast of All Souls. The Spiral Dance is the biggest, most elaborate ritual our community, Reclaiming, creates throughout the year, with intricate altars, a full chorus, dancers, singers, acrobats doing aerial invocations, and a spiral that might include a thousand people. Into all this, we weave some deep magic, both personal and broader than personal, involving the mystery at the heart of our spirituality—death and regeneration.
Each year I take on different roles. Some years I lead the trance, other years I might simply invoke the spirits of the land or play the drum and leave the ‘bigger’ roles to others. This year my role seems to involve carrying a lot of heavy objects and buckets of sand, building altars and decorating the front of the house. Or not so much actually building and decorating, as providing the materials and suggestions for others to do the creative part.
And this year I’m calling the Dead. So I’ve been thinking a lot about death, and singing the song we will use to sing the Dead over into a place of renewal. Just before bed, I check my email, and I learn that a young man has died, shot to death in Oaxaca where he has gone to cover the teachers’ strike and the people’s insurrection for Indymedia. His name is Brad Will. I stare at his picture, trying to remember if I know him from all the demonstrations and mobilizations and meetings we have undoubtedly been at together.
In Miami, my friend Andy reminds me, after a wild ritual collaboration between the Pagan cluster and the black bloc, a young man stepped forward with a guitar and began singing Desert Rat’s song about Seattle, “When the Tear Gas Fills the Sky.” That was Brad—alive, singing, defiant. “I will wash the pepper from your face, and go with you to jail, And if you don’t make it through this fight, I swear I’ll tell your tale…”
didn’t know him well, but I know so many like him—mostly but not all young, sitting in long meetings in warehouses or donning respirators to gut flood-ruined houses in New Orleans, standing shoulder to shoulder as the riot cops advance, or as the bulldozer moves forward to destroy a home in Gaza. Filing stories at midnight on electronic networks set up by young geniuses with duct tape and component parts in dusty, third world towns, eating cold pasta out of old yogurt tops and sleeping on floors. Hitching rides into war zones and crossing borders. It’s as if a whole cohort of souls had arrived on this planet imbued with the unquestioned faith that they were put here to somehow make a difference, to interfere with injustice, to witness, to change the world. Ragged, intemperate, opinionated, passionate, and above all, alive.
And now another one of the tribe is dead, shot down in Oaxaca where a five-month teachers’ strike became a full-blown insurrection, the kind that radicals dream of, with streets full of barricades and ordinary people rising up against a rigged election and a corrupt, dictatorial governor. It hasn’t been much reported in the U.S. papers. But Brad Will was there, with camera and computer, to be a set of eyes.
Now his eyes are closed, forever. I put his name on our list of the Dead. At the Spiral Dance, I see someone has set up a shrine to him on our North altar, where the dead are honored. I meet another activist friend there, who tells me how he remembers Brad: running into a barrage of sound bombs in a demonstration in some foreign city. “I couldn’t explain to people that they were harmless,” he’d said. “We didn’t speak the same language. So I had to show them.”
I didn’t know him well, but I know how it is to walk into a situation that is dangerous, even life-threatening, how it feels to weigh the risks, to accept them, to tell yourself that you can be at peace with any consequence, and then to walk out into the street in the firm if unconscious belief that you will be lucky that day, once again. I can only imagine how it feels when the bullets rip through flesh, and your severed spirit stares back at a broken body, and in a blaze of light a different journey begins.
We Pagans have no dogma, no official Book of the Dead to outline the soul’s journey. If we share any belief in common, it is simply this: that death is part of a cycle that includes regeneration and renewal. That just as the falling leaves decay to fertilize the roots of trees, each death feeds some rebirth.
Death transforms us. The tribe of world-changers has its list of martyrs—the short list of those who are known in the first world—Carlo Giuliani, Huang Hai Lee, Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall—and the much longer list of names in some other language—Spanish, indigenous, Arabic, and so many others–who die every day. And the world’s religions each have their concept of that transformation, for those whose death is somehow special, powerful and meaningful: martyrs, saints, bodhisattvas. We Pagans don’t like to glorify martyrs, but we know that ‘sacrifice’ means ‘to make sacred.’ In an instant, that ordinary comrade you remember singing at the fire or arguing at the meeting, someone you might have been charmed or irritated by or attracted to, or not, someone who showed no mark of doom or prescience of what was to come, becomes uplifted into another realm, part symbol, part victim, locus of our deepest love and rage.
William Butler Yeats expressed it best, writing about the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916, the friends he admired and the ones he disliked, shot by the British.
“Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn,
All changed, changed utterly,
A terrible beauty is born…”
And death transforms the living. When someone close to us dies, we become someone else. When my father died when I was just five years old, my mother was transformed from a beloved wife to a grieving widow. I changed, overnight, from a blessed, fortunate child to someone set apart, marked by a tragedy, missing something deeply important that other children had.
And so one day you are someone with a job and a family and a neighborhood in which you and your kin have lived for generations—and a day later the waters rise and you are homeless, a refugee in a strange place dependent on the kindness of strangers. One day you are a mother filled with hopes and dreams and pride, and the next day you are bereft, with a gaping hole in your heart that can never be filled.
Yet we, the living, have some choice in how we respond to death, and what transformation we undergo. My mother, out of her grief, became a counselor, a therapist, an expert in loss and grieving. Cindy Sheehan, out of her grief for her son Casey, killed in Iraq, became a woman on fire, a modern prophet calling the powerful to justice, who galvanized the movement against the war. Mesha Monge-Irizarry, mother of Idriss Stelley who was shot dead in the Metreon by the San Francisco police, became an advocate for all the victims of police violence. Rachel Corrie’s parents took up the cause of justice for the people of Palestine. Grief can open the heart to courage and compassion; rage can move us to action. Out of loss comes regeneration: a terrible beauty is born.
A death like Brad’s calls us all to deeper levels of courage, to be eyes that refuse to shut in the face of oppression, voices that sing out for justice, hands that build a transformed world. – Starhawk
More info on Oaxaca and Brad: http://www.narconews.com/
SF Bay Area activities: http://indybay.org
NEW YORK CITY INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER RESPONDS TO THE DEATH OF BRAD WILL http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2006/10/77958.html
Starhawk is an activist, organizer, and author of The Earth Path, as well as Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising, The Fifth Sacred Thing; and eight other books on feminism, politics and earth-based spirituality. She teaches Earth Activist Trainings that combine permaculture design and activist skills, and works with the RANT trainer’s collective, http://www.rantcollective.org <http://www.rantcollective.org/> that offers training and support for mobilizations around global justice and peace issues. For her schedule and archive of writings, see her website http://www.starhawk.org http://www.starhawk.org . To get her periodic posts of her writings, email Starhawkfirstname.lastname@example.org and put ‘subscribe’ in the subject heading. If you’re on that list and don’t want any more of these writings, email Starhawkemail@example.com and put ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject heading.
© Starhawk 2004—feel free to repost and distribute this article for nonprofit purposes—all other rights reserved.