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A prayer for a peaceful evening

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I pray for

Just one night of peace

All over the world

I pray for just one night

Of healing for people

Whose hearts are sore

Today.

I pray for just one night

Because if for one night

We can stop and look at each other

And the world with love

Then we can make one night into two

And two into twenty

And twenty into more.

I pray that all peoples

Can take time tonight

To look up

Look up at the shining moon

As She shines down on all of us

No matter where we are

She shines

No matter who we are

Or what we believe in

She shines

So let her look down on peace

Let her look down and see warm well fed people

Let her look down and see people who love

Love each other, love our Mother the Earth

Love our sisters and brothers who walk

On four, six, eight or many legs

On those that fly and those that slither

And those that swim or creep under the waters

Of the world

Let us look up with all the other people

And have hope that we can all be better people

Let us love and hope and heal

Let us be…

winter-solstice-2003

A Yule Story – Bjorn the Bear’s Winter Dream

Once upon time there was a small bear named Bjorn. Bjorn was born in a far northern forest up where it was very, very cold in winter. Bjorn had been born in the dead of winter with his brother and sister, Berta and Esben. They spent that first winter cuddled close to their mama and as they got older she started to tell them stories about the outside world.

Deep in their den she told them about tall trees they would see and deep, cold lakes and about the high mountains around the place they lived. He heard about the salmon that swam in the rivers in spring and about the rabbits and squirrels that lived near the den. His mom told them where they could find a honey tree and where the best back scratching trees were.

When spring came there were no more stories, Mama led them out into a world of wonder. To the bears eyes the world was born anew just for them. The snow was gone and the water ran clear. Mama taught them to hunt and to fish. She taught them how to hide in plain sight as they grew. She taught them to stay away from people. People had guns and guns hurt bears.

They grew quickly ambling along in the forest and the summer passed in beautiful days of deep burning blue skies and sunlit days in their northern forest. As the days got shorter Mama showed them where the best blackberry bushes were and the cubs stuffed themselves fat. They got so sticky Mama had to dunk them all in the spring and in late fall they went back to their den to sleep. This year, when they woke up in their long sleep Mama would tell them about a tree that she had seen one winter not far from their lair. She had woken in up on Solstice night and had felt the need to walk in the quiet of the forest. It had been silent except for the owls and she had seen a bright light.

Mama bear followed the light across the forest and watched it land in a little pine trees branches. The tree had stood there bearing the star in its branches and had lit up their forest. It was so beautiful. The bear had gone back to her den to sleep after the lovely sight and had never managed to wake up again on Solstice Night. The cubs bothered her the rest of winter for that story. It became their favourite winter story and Bjorn began to have a dream. He wanted to stay awake and see the tree and the star but that winter was deep and cold and the bears slept most of the winter and didn’t come out until the next spring.

The bear cubs were bigger that year and Mama spent most of the summer teaching them how to be on their own. That fall they would have to make their own dens for the first time. She taught them how much they needed to eat to store enough fat to make it through the winter. She taught them how to make it cozy and she taught them how to stay away from other bigger bears. Soon it came to be fall and the cubs split up for the first and last time. Each of them choosing a different direction to go and seek a place to make their own and all the time he was choosing and making his own den, Bjorn day dreamed. He was going to find some way to wake up and see the tree and star.

He kept trying to figure out a way to wake himself up. His mother had told him that just wasn’t possible, that if he was meant to see it he would wake up in exactly the right time to see it, otherwise it just wasn’t meant to be. She had supposed that it was something most bears would ever see once in a life time and then only if they were very, very lucky. She didn’t even know if it happened every year or if it had happened only once. She had never heard anybody else in the forest ever talk about it.

Bjorn swore he would be that lucky bear! He would wake up on Winter Solstice and he would see that star and his friend, the tree. He wanted to know what that special night was like. He wanted it with all his heart and he kept whispering to himself as he lay down for his winter nap to “Remember to wake up! Remember to wake up!”

He extremely disappointed to wake up and it was almost spring. It was different in a den by yourself with no brother and sister and no mama to tell you tales. He had slept the winter away and missed it. He was horribly disappointed and fell back asleep until spring had truly arrived.

This went on for several years and Bjorn had decided it just was a dream his mom had dreamed and maybe he should just give it up. Bears belonged in dens in the winter sleeping not roaming around in the cold and dark forest.

Bjorn was making his den again one fall and he remembered the story but just shook his great black head. No point in wishing, he would just sleep anyway and tucked himself into his lair but this year was different.

One cold, cold clear night Bjorn woke up. At first he was disoriented. What had woken him up? And then he heard it. He could hear a faint chiming and see a bit of light filtering in the entrance to his den. “Could it be? Could it really truly be?”

Bjorn shot out of his den and pushed the heavy snow way from his den and stood up. The light was coming from the north but not very far away at all! He started to move quickly through the snow. He saw other animals around him, a small herd of elk. Snow hares that should have been asleep were lolloping through the snow. White owls that flew silently over head hooting softly. “Come, come celebrate with usssss”

And they came. They came to a tree that was standing all alone in a field of deep snow. In the tree’s branches a star hung nestled at the top and shedding star dust all around. The snow sparkled and shone all around. The animals crept closer and closer and soon it seemed every kind of animal was there and on this night it felt like they were all friends. A deep peace hung over the forest and the only thing that could be heard was a soft chiming from the star.

Bjorn had never felt this way before. No hunger, no need to hunt, just a need to be with other creatures and to maybe, just maybe have friends and be at peace. He looked at the other animals. They seemed to be feeling the same thing as they sat in large circles around that tree absorbing the blessing of the tree and the star and Bjorn thought to himself, “Sometimes having a dream come true is better than any dream.”

He sat in the snow and a small hare snuggled up to him and then a squirrel. A great deer lay down near by and an owl sat in the rack of his antlers. For this night there was peace in the forest and the blessing of a star from far away and a lonely little tree that was his friend.

***This follows yesterday’s “Lonely Little Star” and is available here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/146621239X/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1354728417&sr=8-1&pi=SL75

A day in the refuge

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The C word. It’s a scary word. I’m facing yet another abdominal surgery. I’m about ready to tell them just put in a zipper. I should be hollow and as my sister says ring like the Tin Man. No appendix, No female organs except ovaries, no gall bladder. So I guess the trouble makers who got left behind decided they needed to cause a problem. A 13 cm problem.

So this yesterday I went for a walk with two friends to one of my favourite places, the Sepulveda Wildlife Refuge in the Sepulveda Basin. If this really is an El Nino year then it may be the last chance we get until spring. It’s where the overflow goes when the water backs up behind the Sepulveda Dam.

It was beautiful and my loves, the white pelicans were there. They only come for a month every year. They are so beautiful and they are huge. Over 3 feet tall if they are standing on land.

I was surprised there were no Great Blue Herons out, there were egrets and a number of Night Herons but no Great Blues. I was glad to see the Osprey, usually there is a mated pair but I didn’t see the mate but he had a fish he was enjoying right under a vulture who was drying his wings up in a tree. There were several out, some were out soaring and looking majestic.

We saw BunniHoTep hightailing it into the brush, otherwise known here as an Audubon Cottontail or when I was in class at CSUN an Audubunny.

It was chilly but beautifully sunny and clear. The colours looked sharp because the air was so clear. Tons of cormorants and some mallards and one white duck that had somehow wandered in. Lots of turtles and fish putting their heads up.

It was a great day for a walk with Elizabeth and Tagh. The best kind of healing of all.

 

Attracting plant devas

Plants to attract the Fae to your garden.

If you feel the need to have a garden that attracts the plant devas and to start a relationships with them there are certain things you need to do. 

One make a place that has water in it. You need to have a bird bath or fountain or some way for the devas to access water. 

Certain plants attract them but truly all plants will attract some one. If you look up lists of plants that attract butterflies or hummingbirds you will attract active plant spirits. 

So plant things that smell good or have bright colours, things attract the child in you.

You can start with rosemary, sage, columbine, osmanthus, roses, abutilons, lantana, morning glory, ivy, coleus and coral bells all work. 

Vines and Lianas are great, like solanacea, moonflower, bignonia.

Trees that bear fruit and flower like citrus and the stone fruits, acacia. 

Think about planting something and letting it go wild in one corner, you never know who might move in.

If you find you are attracting the neighborhood wildlife you will know you are on the right track especially if it is animals you wouldn’t normally find in an urban yard like large hawks or other raptors. 

Start spending time sitting in your garden. Learn who the regular visitors are. The corbie family of birds recognize people and will communicate with you. Hummingbirds will buzz you and let you know they are there. Never put a hummingbird feeder up. They kill more hummers than they help. The sugar syrup goes bad quickly and breeds harmful bacteria which kill the hummers. It also makes them dependent on human and if you aren’t there to fill it they can starve. A hummer can starve in 4 hours if not feedindg. They hibernate in cold rainy weather and are the only birds known to do that. 

Plant plants they can get sustenance from. Don’t plant double flowers unless you are also going to plant plants that are singles. Double plants are difficult if not impossible for insects and birds to drink from. 

If your yard is wet enough for it put a toad house in and see if you can get one to move in. Difficult in Southern California but not other places.

Put a bat box up. A single small bat can eat 1000 mosquitos an hour and some larger ones can eat more. They are very good for the environment and you. And don’t be discouraged if you only get squirrels at first. Squirrels are the vanguard. If they are happy the others will come too.

Oh, and use no pesticides or harmful products is a given.

Anyway, those are some helpful hints to start you out.

Epona’s Creed

Epona’s Creed

I believe in rolling seas

I believe in growing trees

I believe things that bloom

I believe in the changing moon

And all of these things I see

Come out of the air I breathe

They come from the fire and earth

These things that I hold of worth

I believe in faerie’s dreams

I believe in elven schemes

I believe that stones can dance

I believe there is more than chance

I believe in my sisters’ songs

I believe they make me strong

I believe the wheel has turned

This time we will not be burned

I believe in the eagle’s flight

I’ve flown with the owl at night

I listen to the raven’s call

There is wisdom there for all

I believe my hand can heal

I believe the goddess in the mirror is real I believe I have to sing That is how my soul takes wing.
Kat 2002

Hecate

The rattling bones sound from the Golden Rain tree seedpods follows me as I walk

The low tok tok tok of the ravens in the tree as he looks at me with cocked head

The low fog disappearing as I walk through the morning

I thank the Hecate for mornings that remind me of her

I walk in the between times of autumn

Leaves of flame from the liquidamber

Leaves of dust from the guardian sycamore

Leaves of green from the oaks I pass

Breezes that stir the leaves on the walk

Winds that clatter the fronds in the palm trees

Gusts that push you in front of them like sail

Colours of gourds in shining piles

Pumpkins with toothy grins and leers lurking on walkways

Sheaves of wheat and corn piled in doorways guarding, always guarding.

Hecate, guard the crossroads that I walk each day,

Show me what is to be feared and respected

And what needs no fear.

I see you in the eyes of the raven

Or the eyes of the shy cat hiding just under the bush

I hear you on the wind and in the leaves

I smell the dry dust of fallen leaves and in the crush of rosemary

I touch the brittle softness of leaves fallen and about to fall

Hecate, I know you are here now

This is your time of year and I listen.

The Littlest Druid gets ready for Am-Foghar

Aisling sat on the stone step outside the healer’s cottage. It was late in the afternoon and for once no one was in any of the healer’s cottages. The cottage next door where they kept the herbs and the medicines was still. The Herbalist was out on the moors collecting plants and everything that could be cleaned or mixed was done at the moment. The last grain harvest would start in a few days when the moon was full.

Aisling had nothing she was supposed to be doing. Lessons would start again after the harvest and the village was quiet, something that didn’t happen very often. Aisling was thinking about harvests and the different kinds of harvests. The year would be ending soon and food being gathered for the winter. The weavers were busy weaving and knitting warm woolen and linen cloth to be made into winter clothes and yarns of different weights and colours to be used for knitting by the fire when the snows came. They had just finished dying the wools. Aisling had enjoyed creating the dyes with the herbalist. She thought it was rather magical when something that was green like yarrow could create a yellow dye or how some crushed bugs could make a rich red. She had learned a lot in this year. She had been there when babies were born and when the new lambs entered the world. She was there when her friend, the priestess had gone into the West. She learned about healing herbs and how to make teas and medicines. She learned some new divination techniques with the Ogham sticks. She’d learned to interpret the flights of birds and the patterns of clouds. She’d learned poem after poem and lots of new songs. Her friend the Raven had taught her so much about birds and things like how to go quietly and how to laugh at herself.

The harvest would start on the day of equal day and equal night that also happened to be the full moon this year so they could have the feast that followed the first day of harvest when the sun set and the moon rose.

Aisling was missing the priestess who had gone to the West. Aisling thought she had learned more from her than when she was supposed to be in class or with her mentors. She missed their cream teas. The priestess always managed to charm Cook into a plate of s’gons and some cream or freshly churned butter. The Priestess had become a favourite with everyone in the Druid village even the Chief Druid spent long hours comparing notes about their villages and how they did things. She had been a truly wise woman and when she passed over the water the last time the whole village had sung her home. The priestess had left almost as big a hole as her Anam Cara had when she had left. She knew Anann, the bean sidhe had said they were both fine and that death was a part of life but it didn’t make the harvest of loss any easier when you wanted to share a secret or what you had learned during the day. It didn’t make thinking you saw them in the distance and realizing it was someone else any easier when you knew it wasn’t them and that you’re heart had fooled you again. She did wonder when she smelled the scent of lavender when there was no lavender anywhere nearby if someone was visiting so she had started saying hello and chatting when there was no one around to hear the conversation.

The cottage faced west and the sun was starting to set. Aisling closed her eyes and let the last warm rays of the sun bathe her in the warmth when someone sat down beside her. Aisling was almost afraid to open her eyes because so many big and strange people had sat down beside her to talk. Who was it this time? She sniffed the air and knew who it was and laughed.

“Why are you laughing, Aisling.” The Chief Druid chuckled softly because he knew why, he just had to ask.

“You know,” Aisling said, “I’ve had some pretty interesting people sit by me when I least expect it.”

The Chief Druid laughed, “So what were you thinking about so solemnly?”

“Everything I’ve learned this year. It’s almost Samhain and we’ll start over again before winter. I’ve learned so much but I’ve also lost things I didn’t expect to lose.”

“Like your Anam Cara and your friend, the priestess? You know, Latharn, thought you were something very special.”

“She did?” asked Aisling.

“She did, and I miss her too.” Said the Chief Druid. “She taught me a lot too.”

Aisling looked at the Chief Druid in astonishment. “She did. She taught me to face death with a full heart. She taught me to say when people mean something to them. She taught me to count my blessings.”

“I thought you knew all those things” Aisling looked at the Chief Druid with big eyes.

“I knew them but I didn’t KNOW them. Does that make sense?” Aisling thought about it and nodded her head.

“I think so.” Aisling said slowly.

“Latharn thought that someday you will be a great druid because you have an open heart and an open mind and because you love so completely.”

Aisling sat in stunned silence. Latharn had really thought that about her!

“She thought I should start teaching you some things that the others in your class aren’t ready for yet.”

Aisling was looking at the Chief Druid like an owlet that had been woken up suddenly. “Wwwhhyyy? Did she want you to do that?”

“Well, no one else your age or even among the other druids have had conversations with Brighid or Lugh or the Green Man or any of the others that have befriended you since you’ve been here.” Aisling was just staring.

“Think that would be a good thing to start after Samhain” asked the Druid in a teasing voice.

“Really? You want to teach just me? No one else?”

“Just you and maybe some of your friends will help sometimes.” He smiled to himself. This was going to be an interesting winter.

“I’ll let you digest that for awhile. I’ll see you at ritual. Would you recite a poem at ritual about what you are thankful for this year?”

Aisling nodded. She didn’t feel able to speak yet. She looked to the West just as the sun was setting over the far hills. She felt like someone far away had just smiled at her and maybe they had.