Featured photo by Ken Gagne.
It’s foggy, not solidly, but with enough moisture in the air to make things grey. I bet spiderwebs this morning were awesome. At sunrise everything blushed for a few minutes. We can’t see the eastern sky from here, but the sky over the ocean was a very red version of pink and a photo from the Salty Dawg showed some really brilliant colors. Now, the sky is a rather blank grey, and distance is obscured and kinda mysterious-looking. There are some showers out at sea and enough have come ashore to have the computer say there’s a 60% chance…but we haven’t seen any here, yet. There’s a green blob on the map sitting right on top of us and the sun is trying to come out. Go figure! 53F, wind at 4mph and gusting, AQI28, UV1. It’s supposed to dry up and clear up a bit tonight and the chance of rain over the next week has dropped to under 25%, now.
We got the doors open for awhile, yesterday. The outgassing from the sauerkraut was getting to be a bit much. We didn’t notice when it was just one jar. 🙂 …but well before 5pm it was getting cold in the shop, so we closed back up.
We really weren’t busy. We didn’t even have very many shoppers in. I had been doing mostly bookkeeping after my Monday writing was done, and then went back to my sewing nook. Eventually I curled up with embroidery and a book. Tempus had been working on his runes and got one pendant finished. I have to do photos today.
Today we’ve been taking it easy. Other than getting all the clocks onto standard time and replacing some batteries, there’s nothing all that pressing, so we’re just dinking around doing small chores. Tempus is going to run a few errands this afternoon, one of which is dropping off our ballots at City Hall. I have my Fiber Night at the library and then we have the paper run later and Tempus needs to go as far as Sash’s tonight. Kiddo’s paycheck got shorter than his month. 🙂 I’ll be writing tonight, I think.
Dandelion, Taraxacum, Taraxacum officinale seems to be one of the most common plants ever! Other names are Blowball, Cankerwort, Piss-a-bed and Wild Endive. The two most common species came from Europe to North America, although there are native varieties across the whole northern hemisphere. T. Officinale, and T. erythrospermum are completely edible, blossom to root, although the latex in the sap causes allergic reactions in some people. The most common use is of the raw young leaves and unopened buds in salad, but the leaves add a pleasant bitterness when stir-fryed or stewed to kale and spinach. I often chop and use as a flavorant in bland stews (chicken….or beans) or chop with other strong-flavored herbs and plant tops in not just stew, but fritters, biscuits and breads. The roots can also be used in stews as a starchy vegetable and the crowns are great if blanched, battered and deep-fried! The blossoms are also deep-fried, but more commonly used in tea and wine. The roots may be roasted to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute. Medicinally it is used as a mild diuretic or laxative, for “bitters” to improve digestion and increasing the appetite. The latex can be used as a mosquito repellent. – Masculine, Jupiter, Air, Hecate. – The coffee substitute can be used to promote psychic powers, or if left hot beside the bed, will call spirits into your dreams. Make an amulet and bury it at the NW corner of your house to bring favorable winds and prevent wind damage. Use for spells against liver and gall bladder complaints, “bound bowels” and general good health. This may be used to welcome beings into your space and of course the “blowball” is a well-known divinatory tool!
Guy Fawkes Night (often referred to as Bonfire Night) is
celebrated with bonfires and fireworks on November 5, or the closest Friday or Saturday night. On this day in 1605, Guy Fawkes (“the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions”) and collaborators attempted to blow up the English Houses of Parliament over things that make little sense to us today. English people still burn a ‘guy’ in effigy, although the festival is more one of fireworks and parades and parties, rather than something more ominous.
The Fifth of November – English Folk Verse (c.1870)
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!
Version from http://www.potw.org/archive/potw405.html
The “Anonymous” mask is actually one that is worn in England on Guy Fawkes Night. This celebration seems to tie in with folk festivals that go far back in history of a night of bonfires in this time of the year. More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Night
The shop opens at 11am. Those are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at email@example.com 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.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 11/12 at 5:34am. Waxing Crescent phase – Keywords for the Crescent phase are: expansion, growth, struggle, opportunity. It is the time in a cycle that you gather the wisdom learned in the new phase and communicate your intention to move forward. Light a candle. Write or read an affirmation. LISTEN & ABSORB. Commit to your goal. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, energy and enthusiasm – Associated God/dess: Artemis & Apollo, Mayet/Djehuti, Freya/Frey. Phase ends at the Quarter on 11/4 at 2:23am. Waxing Gibbous Moon – From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. For spells that need concentrated work over a ¼ moon cycle this is the best time for constructive workings. Aim to do the last working on the day of the Full moon, before the turn. Keywords for the Gibbous phase are: analyze, prepare, trust. It is the time in a cycle to process the results of the actions taken during the First Quarter. During this phase you are gathering information. Give up making judgments; it will only lead to worry. Your knowledge is incomplete. Laugh. Analyze and filter. LOOK WITHIN. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, but in the uncommitted phase, the Warriors – Associated God/desses: Dion, Dionysius, Venus, Thor. Phase ends at the Full on 11/10 at 8:34pm.
Very high in the southeast now is the Great Square of Pegasus. Its western side points down nearly to 1st-magnitude Fomalhaut. It’s eastern side points down, a little more askew, toward 2nd-magnitude Diphda.
Fomalhaut is lower left of the Moon this evening, by almost two fists. Look for Diphda (Beta Ceti) two or three fists left of Fomalhaut.
Although asteroid 4 Vesta won’t reach opposition and peak visibility until next week, it’s probably easier to find in this evening’s sky. The brightest object in the main asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, Vesta passes 0.3° due south of the 4th-magnitude star Omicron (ο) Tauri in far western Taurus tonight. The asteroid currently glows at magnitude 6.5 and shows up easily through binoculars or a telescope.
Saturn (magnitude +0.6, in Sagittarius) is the steady yellow “star” in the south-southwest during and after dusk. It’s about 20° upper left of Jupiter. Still below Saturn is the handle of the Sagittarius Teapot, highlighted by 2.0-magnitude Sigma Sagittarii (Nunki). Barely upper right of Saturn is the dimmer, smaller bowl of the Sagittarius Teaspoon.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky map for November –https://www.almanac.com/content/sky-map-november-2019
Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27
Celtic Tree Month of Ngetal/Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24 – nGéadal – (NYEH-dl)
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.
©2019 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of 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
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Tu 5 Low 12:51 AM 1.1 6:59 AM Rise 2:32 PM 53
~ 5 High 7:47 AM 6.4 5:00 PM
~ 5 Low 1:42 PM 3.5
~ 5 High 7:01 PM 6.0
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Give more hugs.
~ What is good, you ask? To be brave is good. – Friedrich Nietzsche
~ There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality. – Seneca
~ An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination. – Voltaire (1694-1778) French Philosopher and Author
~ It only takes twenty years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea. – Robert Anton Wilson
E’en in these bleak November days
There’s gladness for the heart that heeds.
The marsh to me no gloom conveys,
Though the grey frost be on the weeds. – CHARLES DAWSON SHANLY
Clay feet by T. Thorne Coyle – yezida – 5/19/09 05:01 pm[This has been edited by me to take out the comments and explanations in the comment section, because it gets up to 30 pages. If you want the full file, please comment below (note if you don’t want your comment to show….) and I can send you the PDF version – Anja]
This will be a long, three part post, so bear with me, or simply move along.
All of us need peers. All of us need to learn. All of us must grow, and be in our processes. All of us have blind spots. Every single one. And sometimes we become, or seem, intractable, staunchly defending our mistakes rather than attempting to learn from them.
This causes consternation for many of us, myself included, when we are faced with friends or lovers whose egos work overtime to defend. This also comes up around works or teachings that have inspired us created by people whose flaws seem egregious. And what do we do then? Do we discard the inspiration because of the person’s actions? This is a mixed bag for me. I do not seek out those people anymore. I do not accord them capital “T” teacher status, though I can still learn a lot from them. I still listen to their music or view their art… But when it comes to shaping my soul, I want to spend most of my time with friends, lovers and teachers who are aware of their own flaws and try to live, work, love and teach from their own best natures. I wish to be around people who are making attempts at integration, at walking their own talk.
That said, I still sometimes quote the Roshi who slept with students and did not apologize for it. Picasso’s misogyny does not erase the power of Guernica for me. I still like T.A.Z. even after finding out that Hakim Bey is a pedophile, though I read him with a more jaundiced eye these days. Heidegger should have detracted and explained his involvement with the Nazi party. He never did, but I still read his work – though I admit to loving Hannah Arendt much more, partially because she lived her life and philosophy more truthfully, I feel… despite the fact that she loved Heidegger.
I try to live with as much integrity as possible. I keep friends and peers around to use as sounding boards. I seek out teaching. I also have my own regrets from mistakes I’ve made that I am still trying to learn from. There are people by whom I have felt hurt and those who have felt deeply hurt by me. And life goes on. I show up in meditation every day and sometimes that is what I sit with. And other times not, because life does go on. We all have feet of clay.
And sometimes we need to try to make amends. Sometimes we need to say, “that was a mistake” or “I apologize”. And sometimes our apology is accepted and sometimes it is not. Either way, our process continues. We all can try to engage the processes of forgiveness and compassion. Including, often hardest, for ourselves.
All of this thinking not only comes from my own life, of course, from profound shifts of soul I’ve been through, from losses of friendship and painful breakups with lovers and partners. You know, the stuff we’ve all been through. The stuff that changes us.
But I am writing about this now, specifically, because I met Gavin and Yvonne Frost at the Florida Pagan Gathering. And I am writing about this now because I chose to record the panel I organized which I also chose to have them speak on. That podcast will post next month, once the video and sound are properly edited. Since this has been on my mind, however, I thought I would write about it all now.
The panel theme was “Paganism: Past, Present, and Future.” I had organized it knowing that veteran Pagan speakers Chas Clifton and Margot Adler would be in attendance, as would relative new comer Lydia Crabtree, and therefore the panel would be an interesting mix of ideas. Well, I got an email one morning saying “Please call” one of the organizers about a possible addition to the panel. Who? Gavin and Yvonne Frost. Ah. Yes. Two venerable teachers who have also had folks foaming at the mouth over the years. I was on my first cup of tea and still a bit bleary, but after some Libran waffling, the ACLU-donation-giver in me said, “Put them on!” A/ I don’t believe in censorship and B/ having a couple who have been around as long as they at the gathering and not having them sit on such a panel would have been simply silly.
But. They are controversial for good reason.
Those who know me, realize that I try to stay out of Pagan Politics, battles, and “he said, she said” sort of activity. I would really rather just do my own practice, teaching and learning as best I can. I also recognize that people grow and change and I generally try to not hold someone to where they were in their growth process five years ago, let alone thirty. I hope folks allow me the ability to change, as well. We all make mistakes and have our learning curves, and the times when we were not at our best, including some of the times I have been teaching! So, in general, I would simply let the Frosts go on about their business, assuming they wrote something almost 40 years ago that they may not even agree with any longer. But then I find that they do. Gavin stands by the words in question, that I will get to. And I chose to put them on the panel and to record the whole thing for posterity. So I feel it is incumbent upon me to speak.
I want to begin this round by saying some good things about the Frosts. They are warm, friendly, welcoming people. When Yvonne first saw me, she graciously inquired if I was T. Thorn Coyle and gave me a big hug. They have worked to teach their version of the Craft for 40 years and have always been open about their religious beliefs, including when they lived in rural Missouri in the 1970s. The sheriff, police and people at the local diner all knew the Frosts were Witches. For that alone, we can be grateful. They also have passed on sound advice about coven ethics, the consequences of doing negative magic, and sex magic among consenting adults.
I myself am sex positive. You will often hear me quip “I love my religion!” and part of that is the non-transcendent love and reveling in sexuality, good food, dance, music, connection with Nature and all of the other good things that come from embodied spirituality. As a baby Pagan, I had my own trouble with sexual coercion by a teacher but was later taught that sex was sacred and that sex and magic go together where coercion is absent. I was taught that leaders who use their teaching or magic as ways to get sex are suspect. Sex is natural. Sex is holy. Sex should be a joyous coming together and a reflection of the powers of Nature in full fecund swing, and of the processes of God Herself, ever creating, ever changing. There is nothing quite like a holy kiss. Pleasure is a sacrament to be celebrated. And the sacred should never be profaned by lack of consent.
So this is also where the Frosts and I part company. And this is where people start foaming at the mouth and threatening, as AJ Drew unfortunately did, to sacrifice them in effigy. There is still that book, written in 1970, filled with misguided instruction, the most flagrant of which is the ritual deflowering of adolescent girls, by themselves, with full instruction of how to use the sacred phalli… in order to ready them for sexual initiation into the coven. By adults. The pubescent boy goes with the female adult and the pubescent girl goes with a male adult. The Great Rite occurs.
This is not only illegal, it is not OK. There is no way that this does not involve coercion because a 12 or 15 year old simply cannot give real consent to sex with a 30 year old. The power dynamic is too skewed. This is why adults do not have sex with children (unless they are pedophiles, who have a specific mental illness that has wired them wish to do what is not right).
This instruction, to me, is a violation of the sacrality of sex, of the celebration of this glorious part of my connection with Nature.
Do I think the Frosts have sex with children? I doubt it. But as an author, who knows the power of the written word, I wish they would explain. I wish they would retract. The fact that they have not taints their work for me and makes me wonder why they are invited to festivals to teach… And I like the Frosts. Remember, they are gracious, kind, warm, funny, knowledgeable, and apparently dance a mean tango. I am not here to demonize them, but to voice concerns.
Here is my supposition of one way this writing may have come about. I repeat, this is only my fantasy of how this may have happened:
The Frosts rightly saw the sexual repression and hypocrisy of the US in the 50s and the attempts to change that in the late 60s and early 70s. They may have seen that the way children were taught about their bodies, physicality and sex was something that fostered systems of shame and oppression. “What if, as a culture, we taught our children that sex was good, healthy, natural, and sacred?” they may have asked each other. Good questions, and one that many Pagan parents likely ask. Then those Pagan parents likely try to figure out ways to teach their children appropriately.
The Frosts, drawing on some archeological evidence for sacred phalli (I got this from them when I asked about the controversy point blank over dinner one night), came up with the idea for the girl to ritually break her own hymen, by herself, with instruction from the parents. I said that I had trouble with the “children having sex” part of this, and was told it was not sex. As a sometime dildo user, I disagreed.
I was not, at that time, aware that the ritual hymen breaking was preparation for sexual initiation or I would have pressed the point more keenly. Then Gavin kindly gifted me with the book in question, so I could see what the fuss was about myself. Things became more clear.
As a sex positive magical practitioner, the segment on initiation of adolescents was hard to read. As an author and teacher, who tries to act as responsibly as possible, it seemed to be evidence of startling irresponsibility and the promotion of something very wrong.
And I still had a panel to sit on. And I still had to struggle with what my responsibility was. As we all do.
The Frosts are old school. In a few ways, they remind me of Victor Anderson. And even though people may disagree with their take on it, they have a deep love of the Craft. Gavin also has a strong anti-Christian bias which comes out in the podcast, and I overheard Yvonne talking of “that dirty Gregory” meaning Pope Gregory of Gregorian calendar fame. You know, the one many of us currently use. They also don’t seem to like to explain themselves. Victor was this way too, never wanting to tell whether he got this idea from Margaret Murray or that one from his own spiritual explorations. We had to figure it out on our own, or take everything at his word. He was also a trickster teacher. I don’t know if the Frosts are or not, as I have not studied them very well.
There is also the outsider status they seem to promulgate. In the podcast, you will hear Yvonne speak of “locking our shields” though I am not sure against what or whom. I can respect this, given where they have come from and the trials they must have faced over the years. I also don’t think it is the reality most of us live with these days, as Paganism has become one of the fastest growing religions in the US and Australia and even Christians are marketing videotapes with breathing exercises. We may still be discriminated against, but in many other ways, the culture war has been won.
All of this maundering is simply me trying to put together the complex picture of these people who have taught thousands and remained on the very fringes of Paganism for all these years because so many just don’t want to deal with them. Some people no longer even know who they are, yet others go to hear them speak at festivals. The only reason I am writing about them now was I happened to be at a festival with them and then decided to invite them onto the panel.
I am struggling with the Frosts. Struggling because it would be too easy to do as others have which is to demonize them or relegate them to the “sweet old couple.” They are something far more varied than either of these. Some people want to sweep them under a rug, but I do not think they should be ignored.
Why? We need to figure out our theolog(ies). We need to know where we stand on sex. Many of us would still rather just suppress it like the overculture teaches us, because abuse may happen otherwise, or we may need to deal with our own demons. I say that abuse happens because of the suppression. Our demons grow stronger the more we constrict around our fears. Abuse happens when we don’t deal with our own sexuality, and we don’t teach our children about their own. And abuse sometimes just happens. And if nothing else, we end up prey to the media that uses degraded sexuality to attempt to coerce us into buying more things out of insecurity. And we are made to feel badly about our glorious bodies because we do not have airbrushed thighs and six-pack abs.
Many of us would rather just suppress sex in favor of the cleaned up phrase of “life force” because we don’t want to deal with our own complex emotions around pleasure, and sexual wounding, and emotional pain, and vulnerability and the very real, potent power that tapping into love, lust, sex and life force brings. Sex is not just genital pleasure, but it is not just the trees rooting into earth, either. It is all of this, and more. Our orgasms sing along with the stars in the sky. We are all part of the processes of creation, destruction, and rebuilding.
If sex is sacred, we need to figure out how that translates and is reflected in our own lives, and in how we pass on that teaching.
And this is why, Gavin and Yvonne, as two people who have taught many others, I wish you would explain. Or I wish you would retract. Or I wish you would apologize. We could use discerning words from you instead of simply a shut down or blustering defense, or the insistence that those who disagree with you are “plastic”.
Gavin, when you brought up AJ Drew on the panel, you said you stand by what you wrote 30 years ago, and this troubles me as much as his plan to ritually sacrifice your images did. It is why I mumbled a sleep-deprived non-sequitur about consent in there somewhere – because I had no desire to derail the panel into an off topic shouting match about sexual ethics. Though come to think of it, that might have been entertaining. But shouting matches are not what I’m about. I would rather engage in dialog. But I do not know if you are interested. Are you? I asked you two about your controversial nature over dinner because I was hoping to hear something in your own words, but felt like things got a bit cagey. So I’ll ask a couple more questions now:
What do you really think, today, about the sexual education of children? Is sex between adolescents with adults really the best way they should learn these mysteries? How did you teach your own daughter to appreciate the powers of sex, love, and Nature?
I know what I hope your answers are. I hope you will say that those words written almost 40 years ago were a thought experiment that you have since rethought. That children should be taught their bodies are sacred, should be talked with about sexuality, pleasure, and reproduction in various age appropriate ways, and then left to sexual exploration with others of their own age group, with parents around to answer still more questions when the time does arrive. Oh, and that heterosexuality is not the only sacred option.
And how about the rest of my readers? What do you think about your own relationship to sex? To magic? To life force? To our process? To mistakes? To feet of clay? To your own regrets? To the sacred? To teaching our children?
Thanks for bearing with me, and reading to the end of this long, three part post. We need to embrace the challenges that face us. There is, as always, a lot more that could and perhaps should, be said. There is a lot of conversation to be had about leadership, holding teachers accountable, and about sex, theology, and training in general. Hopefully we have a long time to help each other figure some of it out.
(late edit: I should mention that recent editions of this book now have a brief introduction to the chapter in question in which it is stated: “No formal initiation into a group that practices the great rite should be done before the candidate attains the age of eighteen.” However, as an author myself, I feel that a thorough explanation of why they would have included initiatory instructions for pubescent youths in their book in the first place would have been merited. Or, as an author, I would have stricken these pages from later editions of my book. To have done neither feels less than responsible to their students and readers. My apologies for not mentioning this before, but because of the layout of the book, I completely missed this brief introduction upon first reading.)