Tag Archive | pagan

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.

I turned my abstract in!

This is my proposal for the Panel on the Arts at the Conference for Contemporary Pagan Studies at Claremont Graduate University in January. My friend Alfred is doing the future of Pagan Music and Loren Raine is doing the Visual Arts and I’m supposed to be doing Pagan Literature, hopefully, I can do justice to the topic.

Pagan Literature – Where are we going and where are we now?

A review of the presently available pagan fiction by pagan authors, pagan- friendly authors (or at least the one that try not to offend us, and by non-pagan authors.

What is good pagan fiction? Is there more than Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter wannabes? Is there more than retelling of old legends? How are our deities  and belief/knowledge systems reflected?

Pagan authors are filling bookshelves and Kindles with good fiction that reflects our community as accurately as it can and still retain readers. Do you know who they are? How can we support them best? How do we find them?

Non-pagan authors are also filling the shelves with dreck and really offensive or just plain stupid drivel. (If this weren’t a proposal I’d use a different word. The Twilight series is not pagan literature!)

Where is this all headed if anywhere at all?

A current list of reasonably readable fiction in the fields of mystery, fantasy, paranormal romance and urban fantasy which seems to be where pagan authors end up.  (Or at least as much as I can track down and hopefully read.

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.

Prayer to Hecate

Oh, Hecate

I see you

I acknowledge you

You are in the midst of harvesting people I love

Be with them

Let them see under your hood your caring eyes

Let them not feel alone on their journey

Let them see a light in the darkness

Hold their hands when they are afraid

Let them not see our selfish tears but our loving hearts

Watch over them in their new light and let us see that light.

Be their guide and comfort when we cannot follow

Be our guide and comfort here for it is not our turn.

Help us to remember we were loved when we think of them

Help us at the crossroads to let them go and to follow our own roads

Hecate, Hecate, Hecate

Guide us, heal our hearts and be ready for us when it is our turn.

So mote it be.

The Leaf and Hecate

Once upon a time there was a tree on the side of a hill and on this tree there was a bud, the bud of a new spring green leaf. This leaf was soooo excited to be on the tree. As spring went on he slowly unfurled from his tight bud. Each day he was a little more open. He was going to be the best leaf that ever was! He was going to be greener and prettier and he was going to see everything there was to see from his tree.

Everyday he looked out on the Earth. He felt the sun on his surface. He liked the way that felt. All warm and wonderful, he could feel the warmth turning to sugar to feed the tree and it made him proud to be able to do that.

He liked being near the other leaves and the rustling sounds they made together when the wind came. It was a soft lovely noise.

He liked it when the rain came and got him and his friends all wet and how the rain slid down from one leaf to another before it hit the ground. The leaves liked to play a game to see how long they could hold a drop of water before they had to pass it on to the leaf below.

He liked all the weather although thunder and lighting was kind of scary with all its loud bangs and bright lights. He was a little afraid of being burnt.

He liked talking to the squirrel that lived in the tree. The squirrel was always so busy. Running up and down, gathering nuts from nearby trees and talking to other squirrels. He always had the latest news.

He liked talking to the raven with his deep hoarse voice that came by occasionally. He had wonderful stories of the places he went in winter. Those stories were scary. All the other leaves told him they would be gone by winter but he decided he didn’t want to leave the tree so he listened to those scary stories carefully. What would this winter be like?

He talked to the owl that flew silently in at night. The owl made him jump and shake a little because he never heard the owl coming. Once the owl dropped a feather when he took off quickly to hunt and it landed on him. It was so soft and warm. It made him feel special to be able to touch the owl.

But time was passing every day and the days got longer and then one day they started to get shorter and shorter and he felt a change inside himself. He noticed that he and the other leaves had started to change colour. This wasn’t good at all! He wanted to stay green on his tree forever and he tried to stop is but it just kept happening and he got redder and redder each day. The other leaves started talking about some one called Hecate and they were very excited. All they talked about was going to be with Hecate and would she choose one of them. “Choose them for what?” he thought. “I’m staying right here. I want to see winter even if it is scary. I want to see snow. I want to see things turn white. I want to see the animals go to sleep.”

The leaves around him started letting go. One by one they dropped away with an ecstatic “Whhhhhheeeeeeee!” and away they would spin in the fall breezes and gales but the leaf held on tight to his branch. He started to get lonely but he waited and waited. Soon everyone was gone. Maybe this was going to be lonelier than he thought but he knew it was the only way he was going to see winter. He could see the leaves on the ground under the tree. Most of them blew far, far away, farther than he could see. Was that where this Hecate was? Was that where they really went?

One day he had a big surprise. A woman appeared below his tree, a woman with deep lines in her face and long wavy hair the colour of clouds after the rain. She wore thick clothes in all the colours of all the trees in the woods. Her shawl alone had the deep green of the firs and the yellows of the cottonwood and the reds and oranges of maples, beeches and birches. She stood looking up at him with a kind look on her face. “Time to come down now.” She said quietly.

“Why should I leave my tree?” the leaf asked. “I want to see winter.” The leaf was going to stay right where he was, he thought stubbornly. “What does this woman know anyway?”

“You need to come down now, it’s time.” she said firmly.

“Time for what?” the leaf said sullenly. “I see no good reason to go. I want to see winter!”

“No leaf can see winter from their tree. It’s just not possible and it’s not the way things go. You need to come down here and be nourishment for the Earth. Leaves have just as big a job when they leave their trees. They fall to the Earth to make her strong and so trees will grow new leaves in the spring. If you see winter it must be from down here.” She said softly.

“Who are you?” asked the leaf. He wondered how this woman knew what happened to the other leaves and why she cared.

“Didn’t you hear the other leaves talking about me before they jumped? I’m Hecate and you really need to come down here to me.”

“Don’t wanna.” The leaf said. “I’m gonna stay right here. I want to see snow and see the animals go to sleep and I want to see it through to spring.”

“Well, you can’t.” And Hecate started to rise up through the air to him until her eyes were level with his branch and she could see him clearly. “I’ve never see such a stubborn, curious little leaf “

She looked at him carefully and she could see him shivering in the breeze. He could feel his anchors letting go. “No! NO NO!” he cried. “I won’t go!

“All leaves go sooner or later. This is later for you. It won’t be so bad. It’s just a new adventure.”

He let go of the branch and floated free. Hecate floated with him. He slowly spun through the air, whirling and turning. He could see he was going farther and farther from his old tree.

“Where, oh where was he going?!” But he saw that Hecate was going with him. Maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad if she went too. He liked her kind brown eyes. They were the same colour as some of the nuts the squirrels collected and he could see the whole wood reflected in them.

“Will you be there with me?” he asked her.

“Always.” She said. “I’m always in the winter wood. I watch over everything and all things and make sure they go at the right time and the right place and I make sure they aren’t alone on their new adventures.”

“Really??” The leaf asked.

“Really!” Hecate replied.

“Then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.” And the leaf floated away on the fall winds with Hecate next to him all the way.

The Littlest Druid gets ready for Am-Foghar (Autumn)

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.

I welcome Autumn

I turn my face to the east to welcome this Autumn morning.

The shimmering, sparkling green gold of the palm tree out my window.

The throaty croak of the raven watching over the neighborhood.

The fresh touch of the first cleansing winds of fall.

The castenet rattle of sycamore’s brown leaves.

The scold of the greedy squirrel in the tangerine tree.

The welcoming wave of the winds in the trees.

The fresh fall colours starting in the liquidambers.

The calmness of a quiet morning.

The blessing of a warm cat’s cuddle in the first chill of the season.

I welcome autumn with its fire and colour. I welcome the coming sleep of the trees. I welcome the harvest. I welcome a time of reflection and thanks. I welcome Autumn.