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The Lonely Little Star

Once upon a time there was a lonely little star. She shone up in the sky every night but she shone all alone. There were no other stars for millions of miles. For millions of years she went round and around another star called Polaris because that was what all stars did near her and she got fainter and fainter.

One day the Star Goddess couldn’t stand it any more. All the other stars she shepherded were fine for stars are like sheep and have to be shepherded very carefully. They shone brightly each night and lit the night just like they were supposed to do but this little star was different. She wasn’t part of a constellation and she was way, way at the tip of her nebula so the Star Goddess could see how she could be lonely so she went to visit the lonely little star.

“Astra.” For that was the lonely little star’s name. “What can I do to help you shine bright like all my other stars?”

The lonely little star twinkled at the Star Goddess. “Keep me company?” Astra asked shyly.

“No, you know better than that. I have an immense flock of stars to keep watch on. There are millions and millions of you and you all keep moving all the time. I know time moves very slowly for you out here and not even a comet has come to visit you in a long time so I have a suggestion. See that tiny planet down there?” She pointed to a blue and green marble way down below.

The star twinkled faintly at her. “Yes. Why?”

“I want you to watch that planet for a year and see if there is anything you can do to help someone down there on it and if you do I’ll have a surprise for you.”

So the lonely little star started her vigil watching Earth for a year. She saw ships that sailed on the sea but no one seemed to need the kind of help she could give.

She watched the people who lived in the desert but no one seemed to need her there either.

She watched jungles in the Amazon but life seemed to be very busy in that jungle although she could see things like the cutting and burning of lots of trees.

She didn’t like seeing trees hurt but how could she stop the hurt? She became very interested in trees as she roamed over the world at night she looked at all the different kinds of trees. There were tall ones and skinny, funny looking ones with poufs at the top. There were tiny squat ones on the edge of cliffs or in deserts. There were trees that were constantly blown by the wind and trees that always had their feet in the water.

She crossed over the poles and one night while the Aurora was watching, below her she saw him, a tree all alone. He was a sturdy little tree. She saw that he was a beautiful deep green. He was very far north on the blue and green marble.

She watched him every night as she passed over the Pole. Sometimes he was covered in white stuff. Some times he wasn’t but he looked cold standing there all alone. She wondered how he got there since there were no other trees near him.

One time she did see some large animals with big antlers pass by him. It reminded her of how the stars move through the sky.

One day when the planet was tilting toward the star that was their Sun the Star Goddess came back.

“Is my year up already?” Astra asked.

The Star Goddess smiled at the little star. The little star didn’t know that ever since the star had found the little tree she had been growing brighter and brighter every night. She now shown so brightly that she could be seen on that little blue and green ball.

She also didn’t know that the Star Goddess had had a conversation with Gaia, the Earth Goddess. For the Earth Goddess was having a problem with a certain lonely little tree who was very, very lonely, so lonely that not even squirrels and birds visited him and they had a plan, “Little Star? What do you want your wish to be?” the Star Goddess asked.

“There is a tree that stands all alone in the snow. It looks so lonely. Do you think I could meet him?”

The star looked up at the Goddess with hope in her eyes.

“Do you mean the one that’s way up on top of the ball where it’s almost always white?”

“Yes!’ The star twinkled at her. “No one ever visits him except big herds of some beast and they only run by him. They don’t seem to stay and chat.”

“You mean the reindeer?” The Goddess asked.

“Reindeer? So that’s what they are. I wondered.”

“I have a job for you and I think you are going to like it. You might even make it your wish when you hear it.”

“What!” The star was bopping all over in excitement and getting brighter and brighter and somewhere down on Earth there were three very confused astronomers watching and wondering.

“Well, I talked to Gaia about you and she says she wants you to meet that very tree you have been watching. He has been drooping and she is very worried about him because trees live a long, long time. Not quite as long as stars but a long time down on Earth but he isn’t going to live very long if he doesn’t cheer up. Now, here is what I want you to do.”

And she whispered in the star’s ear.

“Just for tonight?”

“Just for tonight and if all goes well next year too and the year after that.”

“Ooooooh! Goody!” squealed the little star.

And the star began to compress herself into a very, very, very tiny ball of very bright light.

The star whizzed down to Earth heading for that small tree way up on top of the world. She slid down the Northern Lights and bounced across the stone and snow until she came to the tree she had been watching.

People everywhere that Solstice Night, for it was Winter Solstice, saw a bright light move across the sky to the north and called out to each other about it but the star didn’t know anything about that.

“Hi! Tree!” twinkled the star at the lonely tree. “I’m here to visit you!”

The tree looked up at the little star.

“Why do you want to do that? No one ever visits me but reindeer passing by. I haven’t seen anybody else since a big black bird dropped me here when I was just a cone.”

“I’ve been watching you from way up in the sky and the Star Goddess said I could visit any one I liked on Earth and I picked you!”

The tree was quite astonished. Someone had noticed him! He didn’t think anybody but the reindeer, that big black bird and maybe Gaia knew he was here. He stood up a little straighter. He could have a friend after all.

“Would you like to rest in my branches?” asked the tree. “You must have come a very long way.”

“Oh, that would be nice.”

And the star settled down on top of the trees very top. As she settled in star dust fell off her and made the tree glow with hundreds of little lights. The Star Goddess had been careful to make sure that when the star visited she wouldn’t burn anything. The star and the tree started to get to know each other and as they started chatting something strange began to happen.

Some birds noticed the beautiful shining little tree and they came to visit. Then the reindeer came around to chat with both of them and drink in the beautiful sight of the star and tree shining on this longest night. Squirrels and badgers and bears woke up from their winter’s nap just to go see the beautiful sight knowing they would have to go to sleep again soon.

Owls and other night birds came to see. Pretty soon the little lonely tree and the little lonely star were surrounded by a party of animals and never noticed that they weren’t lonely anymore.

The night sped through all too swiftly and soon the sky began to get pink and yellow and the star knew she had to go back up into the heavens.

“I have to go now.” The star told the tree. “But the Star Goddess says I can come again next year. You only have to wait a little while and I’ll come again, I promise!”

The tree nodded but not too sadly. Now that all the birds and animals knew he was there they promised him they would visit too.

“I’ll see you next year!”

The tree cried. And the star flew back up into the sky of dawn light. She twinkled at Venus as she whizzed by. She had a friend now.

She settled back into her cold bit of space and watched over the little tree. The next Winter Solstice would come again soon enough and she wanted to shine bright enough that her new friends would be able to see her every night.

And so the little star and the little tree weren’t lonely any longer and the Star Goddess and Gaia saw this and knew this was a good thing.

And one year on their nightly visit a lone woodsman was out and saw them in their beauty and splendour and it made him feel very good and the next year he decorated a tree in front of his cabin just like he had seen the little tree shining.

And now little trees shine at Winter Solstice all over the world with stars on top and deep in the northern part of the world under the Aurora Borealis every Winter Solstice a very, very, very tall tree still lights the northern snow on the longest of winter nights with his friend the little star.

This story and others available here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/146621239X/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1354602640&sr=8-1π=SL75

Kat

The Lonely Little Tree 

The Lonely Little Tree looked out across the freshly fallen snow. His friend the Lonely Little Star would visit soon and he couldn’t wait. Soon the night he waited for would come and his first but not only friend would come down from the heavens, she had never failed to come.

The Tree was now tall and healthy and green. There were nests that nestled in branches and a badger had dug a home at his feet and Elen’s reindeer had already come around this year.

The Tree was getting a bit anxious about whole thing. The snow was not as thick as it should be and it wasn’t as cold as it should be. It was getting warmer and warmer every winter.

Bears who should have been sleeping like his friend Bjorn were wandering around. The snow shoe hares that should have changed to a white coat already were now changing before the snow came and that wasn’t good since then they stood out against the ground.

Other trees now grew within his sight, he no longer stood alone out on the snowy plain.

The Tree worried about his friends as he watched the Aurora weave through the sky in beautiful bright colours.  Why were things changing? He had lived a very long time now. He had a wide strong trunk and he was firmly and deeply rooted but were the other trees? Did their roots go deep enough to reach the receding waters. He wondered about so many things as he listened to wind move through the quiet wood.

So he looked to the sky and he watched the beauty of the twisting shifting Aurora. He loved to see the colours of the Northern Lights, the greens and blues and sometimes if he was very lucky shades of brilliant red. Sometimes it looked like a shifting wall of light, sometimes other shapes scrolled across the lengthening night’s sky. Astra had told him it was from winds that came from the Sun but he didn’t care it was beautiful and for a while he forgot his worries.

He simply was. He was shelter. He was a sturdy home and a good friend. He was shade on warm sunny day in summer and when the snow piled up he was a warm shelter the animals around could dig into deeply. He knew things were changing and he didn’t know why. He just knew he would stand as long as he could. And he would wait for his friend, Astra and their yearly visit.

His friend, Astra had taught him many things, to be patient, that is was okay to be alone sometimes. And for one night a year to be a light in the darkness, to be a bright spot for the friends around him.

And then the one night something wondrous happened, Aurora came to visit him!

The winding, twirling tapestry of light lightly touched down in front of him. The Lonely Little Tree watched in wonder as Aurora shifted.

“Welcome!” cried the Lonely Little Tree.

“Hello, and thanks,” said a soft voice, “Blessed Solstice!”

“And blessings to you, replied the excited tree! What brings you down from the sky?”

“The Solar wind and the sky Goddess.” laughed the Aurora.

“I bring love, and light and a warning.”

“And warning?” whispered the Lonely Little Tree, “What about?”

“Things are changing as they always have. It’s going to get very hard before it gets better and probably very scary for everyone.”

” But someday it will get better?” asked the Tree.

“Hopefully,” said the Aurora thoughtfully.

“What can I do?” asked the Tree.

“Simply be who you are. Stand fast, care for others, protect those who need it and can’t protect themselves.”

” But I do that already,” replied the Tree.

“I know,” said the Aurora, “But now it’s even more important. And the only real thing we have that will last is love.”

” Just love?” the Tree asked.

“Love and all things that go with it. The actions we take because we love will always make things better.” The Aurora twirled a bit in the northern stillness and silence while the little Tree thought about what the Aurora had said.

“I can do that,” he thought, “I can be a refuge,  I can provide food, I can be for others. I can love and I can live.”

While he was thinking Aurora had twirled back up into sky and was shining brightly. Her colours of green, and blue and red rippling across the sky in beautiful ribbons and bands.

The Lonely Little Tree was still a worried but now he felt he could do something and that made all the difference in the world.

Away in the Manger Memories

When I was little our house was full of music and never more than in the holidays. Everyone in the family except my dad was in at least one church choir and us kids were in more than one, usually at least a bell choir and regular kid’s choir but Cam and I were also in a special kids choir that sang during the second service and was in Wylie Chapel. It was a miniature service just for the children from 4th to 6th grade.

The holidays meant lots of rehearsal and lots of singing at Church events and when we got to Junior Hi through High School we got to sing in the 1000 voice choir at Disneyland every year because our Minister of Music founded it. It was hard work but we thought a free night at Disneyland was worth it and we got to have adventures we probably shouldn’t have because we were back stage at Disneyland.

But my earliest memory of Christmas music was singing in the car with my mom. We were at the school my dad taught at. I can remember being in the backseat and my mom had moved to the passenger seat so dad could drive us home. Mom usually didn’t take time with me other than reading to my brother and I and that’s probably why it sticks in my mind. But I can remember sitting there in car and learning to sing “Away in the Manger” which is probably why it’s still my favourite holiday song.

It was probably because I could always sing and hold pitch and that was important to mom so it’s something I remember so clearly that I was alone with her and she was paying attention to just me.

It’s a rate good memory of my mom when I wasn’t disappointing her in some way,

Here is the pagan version I wrote so I could still sing it:

Away as I’m walking ( I prefer the Flow Gently Sweet Afton Tune)

Away as I’m walking upon the far moors

I look to your heavens and stand here in awe

I watch as the far stars all turn in sky

I’m small and a tiny part of the whole.

 

Be near me O Goddess

I ask thee to stay

Close by me forever

And bless those I love

I’m standing here silently under your stars

I can offer you humbly my hands and my heart

(2016 Kat)

 

 

A dream of wings

Once upon a time BunniHoTep was coming out of the Temple and came upon her friend Nestor sitting on the Temple steps. It was a beautiful winter day and the skies were clear and the winds were warm. A day when no one should look sad and Nestor looked very glum. BunniHoTep sat down next to Nestor. “What’s wrong Nestor?”

“Bastet has all her kittens running through the Temple granaries and we all had to run and hide.” Nestor, you see, was a mouse. A lovely all black mouse but nonetheless, a mouse. “I’m hungry and with those kittens running around there is nothing for me to eat and I’m hungry.”

“I’m very tired of running and I’m tired of being the only mouse that looks like me.” Nestor became quiet. Nestor was a very rare kind of mouse. He was really very beautiful. His coat was very thick and shiny. His eyes sparkled with mischief but in the Egyptian sunlight he was just too easy to see.

“Have you ever thought of coming out at night, you would be less easy to spot,” said BunniHoTep.

“To be quite frank, I see better at night than the other mice and I really don’t like grain that much. I’d rather eat flying bugs but I’m too close to the ground to get them often. I wish I could find a way to get up high over the Nile. There are lots of bugs there that those swallow birds don’t get. Wouldn’t it be nice to fly? If I had wings I could get them.”

BunniHoTep was impressed. She knew Nestor was quite shy and usually hid. And when he wasn’t hiding he was very quiet. She knew he had been thinking about this for a while to induce a flood of words like that. BunniHoTep thought about it for awhile and she thought she might have the answer to Nestor’s problem.

“Nestor, I think I can help you if you don’t mind a little pain and some help from Hathor. Would that be okay? BunniHotep asked.

“Do you really think you can help me?” Nestor cried.

“I think so. Run and ask Hathor to bring her sewing kit and meet me back here.”

Nestor took off at a run and BunniHoTep went into the Temple store room and came back with two strange objects that some travelers had brought back form China. She had been wondering to what use she could put them. She knew she would find a use someday for every thing there. She was the Finder, after all.

Nestor came back closely followed by Hathor and her large basket.

“Hathor, do you think you could sew these to Nestor’s shoulders?” BunniHoTep asked. She pulled out two shiny, black, silk fans. “I think we should make Nestor wings. He dreams of wings and eating those nasty mosquitoes. I think we can do this.
Hathor nodded and smiled. “I think that is a splendid idea. Nestor, are you ready? This may hurt a bit.”

Nestor smiled shyly. “I think having wings would be lovely. It would be worth a bit of pain to be able to eat what I need.”

Hathor quickly sat down to work. Nestor held very still and tight on to BunniHoTep’s paw. It was over very quickly even if it seemed very long to Nestor.

It was almost dark and the swallows were already flying towards the Nile. Nestor spoke up eagerly. “May we go up to the Temple roof and see if these work? I’m really hungry and I really, really want to see if I can do this.”

So they all went up to the roof and Nestor screwed up his courage and leapt off and glided perfectly. Hathor and BunniHotep clapped their hands eagerly. “Fly Nestor! Fly!”

And he flew off to find his dinner. He had found that dreams can come true if you are in the right place and the right time and you dream your heart’s dream.

So some night if you look out and see flying black mice at twilight think of Nestor and his dream of wings.

Dress like a nerd for Halloween? Yeah right.

Someone in our dept has decided that we are supposed to dress as nerds on Halloween. Seriously?

I told her I was going to come as myself, She told me I wasn’t a nerd. I don’t know what else you would call someone who presents papers at the Pagan Studies Conference for fun and wasn’t one of the PhDs or Mas doing it.

Not to mention having a degree as a Naturalist and 6 minors and dragging people through the shrubbery because you think it’s fun. Or an adult that loves museums of natural history or science and just became a family member at the LA Museum of Natural History.

And is a nerdy geek fan girl of multiple fandoms and has been to multiple cons. Or goes to Ren Faire in period correct garb, even if it is male garb and who was a member of a Pirate Guild.

And whose friends would probably not mind being subjected to impromptu factoid lectures.

If I had a flowered shirt and a striped sweater I could go as Amy Farrah Fowler. But I refuse to go as the taped glasses, pants pulled up kind they are passing pictures around as examples.

Hmmm, what would a witch nerd look like? Probably like someone in my coven since we’re all scientists. LOL!

Me, presenting at Pagan Studies Conference, not a nerd at all. The bow tie was in honour of William Blumberg from Cherry Hill Seminary who always has a bow tie on.

The Littlest Druid learns about Samhain

Aisling sat at the edge of the turnip field, a pile of perfect turnips piled beside her. She only needed one more. Her teacher had sent her out here to select the nine turnips that would be carved into lanterns to represent the skulls of the people who had died in the village for the procession on Samhain.

Her teacher had told her that they used to use the skulls of people who had died. She was glad they had switched to turnips. She knew death was a part of life but she didn’t want to see the skull of her friend Beith that had died this year. She missed her so much. It still hurt to lose her.

It was an honor to be picked for this job. She had to find the biggest and most perfect turnips for the lanterns. This wasn’t easy because turnips grow underground and she had to choose hers before they started harvesting the field. She was supposed to pull the turnips that called out to her and those would be the right ones and she had one left to go. She wanted the absolute most perfect one for Beith.

She closed her eyes and reached her hands out trying to feel which one in the field was calling her. She felt a tug from the left and started to walk that in that direction. She kept her hand out and cautiously walked across the field. She closed her eyes and stood still and put her hands out again. It was close by, she could tell and someone put a turnip in her hand.

Aisling’s eyes flew up and a woman smiled at her.

“I think this is the one you need for Beith.” The woman said as she handed Aisling the turnip. It was a lovely one. Beautiful clear white and just an edging of purple around the top and it was clean with no soil clinging to it.

Aisling knew she had been alone in the field but it was the gloaming time and she was well aware anything could happen in the between times and for her it usually did.

Aisling studied the woman and was trying to figure out who she was when the woman said to her, “I’m Anann. I’m the one who came for Beith. She wanted you to know she is doing well but she still loves and misses you.”

Aisling felt a lump in her throat. She swallowed trying to keep it down. She didn’t want to cry in front of the goddess. Anann reached her hand out and smoothed Aisling’s hair which really didn’t help at all.

“She’s happy and safe and not in pain anymore?” Aisling finally got out.

“She is happy and safe and not in pain anymore. She and the priestess you helped have a message for you.”

“They do?” Ailsing wasn’t sure how that worked.

“They want you to know they are always around if you need them and that someday they will be back.” Anann told her.

“I so want to carry Beith’s lantern in the procession. Do you think that they will let me?” Aisling asked beginning to relax.

I don’t think the Chief Druid would have it any other way but you know you will be the youngest in the procession?”

Aisling nodded. She really wanted to honour her friend and not do anything wrong. Samhain was too important a time and she wanted Beith to be proud of her and know she still loved her.

Anann spoke and it was if she had heard Aisling’s thoughts. “She is proud of you all the time because you don’t give up and you’re always learning. Do you know what my job is?” asked the goddess.

Aisling thought and remembered, “To comfort the dying, and to make the fields fertile and to protect the cattle.”

Anann laughed, “Good! That’s some of it. I also teach the dying about their existence after they die and help them get ready to return. You know how your teacher told you that you are supposed to rejoice when people die because they are being born into the Otherworld?”

Aisling nodded again. She still didn’t feel like rejoicing that her best friend in the whole world was gone and it made her choke up again and start being angry. How was that something to rejoice about?

Anann looked at her. “The rejoicing part is the hardest, isn’t it? You still want and miss your friend. She still wants and misses you too but part of life is learning to let go and rejoicing when someone dies hurts. There is no way out of that but you need to know that that is you hurting and she doesn’t hurt any longer. No pain and no strife, she is at peace.”

Aisling was beginning to see the pain was about her. “Am I being selfish when I miss her so much?”

“No, you’re being human and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’d worry about you a lot if you didn’t.”

“You would?”

“Aisling, you are going to be a very good druid, maybe even a great druid and the best druids have felt all emotions and know that other people feel them too. They learn that everything isn’t about them. It’s about the all, everything and everyone that exists.”

Aisling was quiet for a bit. “Is it okay if I still miss her a lot?”

“Always, it will just hurt less and you will start to have more happy memories than sad ones.”

“Really?” Ailsing asked.

“Really, and it’s even all right if you cry during the procession and the ceremony. It shows you loved someone.”

Anann hugged Aisling, “Don’t you need to take these and go help carve them into lanterns?”

Aisling grabbed her sack and started stuffing the turnips into the bag she’d brought.

“Not so fast, you don’t want to bruise them.” laughed Anann and she helped Aisling put the turnips in more carefully.

“I’ll be watching tomorrow night with the rest of your dead. Be well, Aisling, you will be fine,” and Anann walked to the end of the field and was gone.

******

The next night Aisling lined up with the others. She was last in line with her lantern. She was very proud of the carving she had done. She thought she had captured Beith’s smile just right. They started the procession and Aisling started to weep. She missed her friend but it was going to be all right. She thought she got a glimpse of Anann, Beith, and the Priestess in the crowd but it was hard to see by the light of the turnip lanterns and she couldn’t be sure. When she got to the hall where they were going to have a feast and celebrate the lives of their dead, the Chief Druid caught her eye and winked.

“What was that about?”

This post references the events in this story:http://thelittlestdruid.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/the-littlest-druid-learns-about-loss/

and this one: http://thelittlestdruid.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/the-littlest-druid-learns-about-healing/

Just thinking about how interesting life is going to get for Millennials that are about to hit their first Saturn return.

It just occurred to me that a lot of the millennial generation or at least the ones on the leading edge are going to be entering their Saturn return in a year or so. Shit is going to get real.

Millennials are defined as reaching adulthood around the year 2000. A Saturn return starts depending on your astrological chart somewhere between 27-31,
all the people that have been yelling about trigger warnings and avoiding things that upset them are going to get hit right between the eyes and they will not have the coping skills to deal with it.

Saturn is the planet of death and to progress in your life you have to face a lot of different deaths. They can be real death or sickness or it can be a relationship or the collapse of values and constructions you built your life on up to that point.

It can be the first time you deal with huge responsibilities, Saturn is heavy. And your Saturn return generally means that that heaviness is going to sit on your weakest point and break it.

What happens when you have been living a life of avoidance? You have no coping skills or at best, weak ones. It can lead ill-equipped people straight into self-medication of some sort like substance abuse or severe phobias instead of turning around to face the monsters you have created because if you don’t you are going to get it harder in your late 50’s when you are even less resilient to physical stressors.

I had pretty good coping skills for the most part but I had a terrible time during my first Saturn return. The Goddess was using her Louisville Slugger right and left. I stopped working at Summer camps. I started my first professional job and finally graduated and got my BS because I realized I needed to go back to school and I realized I didn’t want to be a Supervisor at Penneys all my life. I had to move more than once and I hate moving. I came fully out of the closet, (that takes years sometimes) I became a Wiccan and learned to deal with the lack of shields I had once everything got stripped away. My gay male friends were dying left and right. The mid 80’s sucked. I had to divorce myself from my parents for a while and go into therapy. I had to restudy all my grandmother had taught me growing up.

Will all the brand new baby Pagans that proclaim all us old fogies know nothing, stop and listen, probably not. But if you are a Bride of Loki, Kali, Skuld, Hecate, etc, and any of the other more interesting shit flingers get going it will be very real all of a sudden and not how they expect. It’s going to come where you least expect it. Or will they go running back to the arms of the Christian Church because it’s predictable and not scary?

In short life is about to get really interesting for a lot of people. What are they going to do? There will be no trigger warnings beforehand.

BunniHoTep learns about Samhain

Once upon a time a ship made its way into the harbor at the top of the Nile. It was visiting this harbor for a second time. The first time was after a mighty storm had brought them but this time they weren’t going to make it all the way home for their holiday and decided to visit BunniHoTep and spend it with her.

The ship nosed itself into the dock and a red haired little girl leapt off the dock and went streaking for a small temple at the end of Temple Row. Sesi flew like an arrow launched from one of her father’s bows along the avenue. She ran into the Temple looking around her for her friend. Where was she?

BunniHoTep was in her garden because here in the south they were still growing things in the garden. Her lovely pink lotuses towered over her by the edge of the pond and the papyruses nodded their heads in the slight breeze that was passing through. A late bunch of carrots were showing their shoulders in the garden patch as well as a nice crop of beets and cabbage and some leafy lettuce was starting up in the far bed. All in all it was a lovely big cornucopia of food and she was proud of it. Into this pond of calm came whirlwind Sesi who scooped the tiny goddess up and whirled her around making BunniHoTep quiet dizzy. One does not normally take physical liberties with a goddess even a small rabbit goddess so I guess it can be forgiven that BunniHoTep was confused for a moment.

“Sesi! Put me down.” BunniHoTep yelled.

Sesi dropped the goddess gently by the lotus pool.

“What are you doing here? You’re a long way from your island home, aren’t you?”

Sesi giggled. “Yes, but we couldn’t get back home before our holiday so I asked Mathair and Athair if we could spend it with you! We’ll head home right after!” Sesi was dancing up and down with excitement. She knew BunniHoTep would love it.

BunniHoTep was looking at her quite confused. “What holiday? We don’t have a holiday today”

“No but we do and it’s our New Year and you should spend it with good friends and people you love and you saved me and I missed you so we are here to spend it with you.” Sesi smiled at BunniHoTep but BunniHoTep still didn’t understand.

“We have a festival for Bast tomorrow and I usually watch her latest batch of kittens so she can party with Sekmet but it isn’t New Year’s for us.” BunniHoTep said.

“No, we have a feast for our dead on the days that are halfway between the equinox and winter solstice. It’s called Samhain.” BunniHoTep frowned at the strange word but didn’t interrupt. “That’s our new year and it’s when the dead come visit and we set the table for them and the faeries come and we bring in the last harvest and we eat and tell stories for 3 whole days and, and, and.” The words, as usual were flooding out of Sesi.

“Stop! What’s this about your dead coming to visit? The dead don’t visit us here on the Nile, we like our dead to stay dead in their tombs where we put them so they can prepare for their re-birth.” BunniHoTep looked at the little girl a bit apprehensively by now Sesi’s mother and father and siblings had caught up with the little girl. Sesi’s father picked her up and said. “Maybe we had better explain our holiday to BunniHoTep? She might not like all our customs.” He said raising an eyebrow at his daughter. “Maybe we can talk a bit before we ask her to join us?” and he lead the way over to the bench.

“We don’t treat our dead the way you do here.” He started stopped looking at BunniHoTep for a sign he should continue. BunniHoTep motioned for him to go on. So he did.

“Our dead stay with us and advise us after they are dead. We don’t mummify our dead we cremate them and keep their heads.” BunniHoTep looked a bit upset at this so he hurried on.

“Don’t worry they are at home where they belong in their niches.” He explained. “We’ll do something different this year, normally we invite them to our feast and we tell stories and treat them as if they were still here and let them know that they are still loved and remembered.”

BunniHoTep nodded. “I can understand that. When someone dies you miss them terribly it must be comforting.” And she motioned him to continue.

“We sometimes take them around to places they remember and also to scare any of the Fair Folk away that might have bad intentions.”

“Fair Folk?” BunniHoTep inquired.

“Beings that live in our country who can be mischievous and not always have our best interests at heart and at this time of year,  can lead people away and the people may never be seen again. They can drag you to live under our hills. They like creative humans and it’s best to keep away from them. They don’t always understand the love of families for each other.”

“All right, I’d love to celebrate your holiday with you but no heads traveling around here without their bodies, in fact no spirits at all. Can you honour them without that? I don’t want to be explaining to Ma’at why there are spirits around she hasn’t judged and it would confuse Ammit terribly and I don’t even want to know what Anubis would say.” BunniHoTep shuddered. She thought explaining to Isis would be bad enough but she thought Nepthys would understand.

“So what do we need to do?” BunniHoTep asked. “Get ready for a feast and a night of story telling?”

“Exactly.” said Sesi’s dad and they went into the Temple. BunniHoTep calling for her priestesses and sending the running to harvest the vegetables and start one of their lovely soups for dinner. Other priestesses were sent to set tables in the big temple chamber. They were airing the linens and beating the carpets that all would sit on. The Temple became beehive of activity. The smells of honeycakes and rich, warm cooking smells were found throughout the Temple and BunniHoTep couldn’t take it anymore so she took them for a tour of Temple Row and to see the eternal flame they had taught her about last time that resided in Isis’ Temple.

She was also trying to think of a way for them to honour their dead with out those nasty skulls. The very thought made BunniHoTep tremble but she was starting to have an idea that might work. Sesi’s family had contributed some vegetables to the feast from the place they came from and she has seen something that gave her an idea.

They walked around a long time and BunniHoTep suggested they all take a nap before dinner in the cool chambers of the Temple. They just weren’t used to the heat of an Egyptian day.

So while her guests were napping BunniHoTep went to work. She selected what she needed from what they had brought and took it to her workroom and set about it. She tried several different ways until she found one she liked and she was very pleased with it. She just hoped they would like it too.

Soon it was nightfall and time for the feast. After the gods and goddesses had been thanked for their presence and they had given prayers of thanks for the food, BunniHoTep brought out her creation from under the low table and placed it carefully at a place setting she had made. “I know you don’t have your family here to have a meal with us but I was hoping this might do.” She unveiled her creation. The family stared and then started to cheer and laugh and BunniHoTep relaxed. This was going to work after all.

BunniHoTep had taken a vegetable they called a turnip and had hollowed it out and carefully carved a face in it that looked a lot like Sesi’s father. She had carefully placed a tiny candle and put the top back on. It sat at its place glowing with a pleasant smile like it was bestowing a blessing on all that were at the feast.

Sesi’s family thought this was an admirable solution to what had seemed a big problem. The feast went on and when the celebration was over they family headed back to their ship in the harbor. Sesi clutching the turnip carefully so that it shown their way home.

Sesi’s parents thanked BunniHoTep immensely. It was a kind gesture to a family missing their loved ones and quite frankly, a lot cheerier than having Uncle Hamish at the table.

And so the Jack O’ Lantern was born in a land far away. Bet you didn’t know it came from a bunny.

A prayer for an early autumn morning 

I greet this fall morning with my face to the new dawning of the day asking for good judgment at the ending of the year from first light to beginning of the night and all through the comforting darkness.

From the first red of thin clouds

From the last furious fiddling of crickets

From the sleepy croaking of a  crow

From the peeping of just awakening small birds

From sun hitting the last of the corn fields

From the sweet smell of osmanthus on the air

From the buttery good taste of my English muffin

From shine of dew on the grass

From first chrysanthemums blooming in their neat beds.

Let me think clearly, act rightly, and do willingly all through this day to the Twilight and through the darkness until I greet the dawn again.

A Prayer at Autumnal Equinox

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I ask the blessing of this fall season on all I care about.

Blessing of the equinox sunlight at dawn that travels directly from the east and that sets in west

Blessings of the squirrel that rains down pine cone petals preparing for cold

Blessings of the raven keeping a careful eye on the garden

Blessing of the plants setting seed for next year

Blessing of the falling sycamore leaves in the yard

Blessings of the taste of freshly harvested corn

Blessings of the brightness of colour from pumpkins and squash

Blessings of the fall Santa Ana winds that blow.

Blessings of the crisp morning air

Be with me and those I love from the later dawn

Through the violet and pinks of twilight

Through the midnight blue of stars and night

To the next dawn of light.