Monday, February 27, 2006

New moon in Pisces

Tonight the moon is new in Pisces.

Pisces is emphasized this lunation, and the idea with this water sign is GOING WITH THE FLOW. Try to hold on too tightly, and things will just slip right out of your grasp.

Overall, this is a good time to take stock of the big picture (Pisces can see all perspectives, as well as the connections between things) and make small adjustments to your schedule, lifestyle etc. It’s also a good time to sample something new, especially anything Pisces related because things are going to be more flexible for the next little while. This is not a particularly powerful time for starting major projects despite the new moon energy; Pisces is not famous for discernment or stamina. Try to savour the flux while it lasts; ride the currents and you might be pleasantly suprized by the new and unexpected places you end up.

(More here.)

Pisces stirs both faith and fears. It drifts, is absorbent, sympathetic, sacrificing; also evasive and imaginative. It can take us into transcedence or confusion. It can make us poets or simply delusional. At this New Moon, Pisces is the celestial clay given for each of us to shape. We can remain blobs of confusion, or we can re-imagine our world. With Uranus conjunt the Sun and Moon, we're especially encouraged to shake things up. Uranus brings change. Even the bravest client may shiver when an astrologer says "changes" are on the way. But change is a natural part of life. And the expectation of change is appropriate this month, just weeks away from Spring...

(More here.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Songs for spring

Joanna Powell Colbert has created a playlist on iTunes called "Spring Songs for the Pagan Wheel of the Year." It's absolutely fabulous. I downloaded the list from iTunes and have been listening to it a couple times a day for the last few days. Most of the songs I haven't heard before. They're perfect for this time between Imbolc and Ostara when we're just starting to get inklings of spring - a smell in the air, a brave crocus.

You can find the link to iTunes here. The playlist costs $12 and change. Joanna promises us more playlists, and I for one can't wait. She has great taste.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Things You'll Never Hear a Pagan Say

Pandora links to this funny page at the Cardiff University Pagan Society: Things You'll Never Hear a Pagan Say (divided into subtypes of Pagans, of course, with a few individuals thrown in for good measure). A sampling:


"Shall we have an open ritual for all the men?"
"Face it - menstruation is just a bloody nuisance."
"The earliest cultures were patriarchal and peaceful."
"Sorry, I can't come to the ritual tonight. My husband's ill."


"Hang on, that doesn't make any sense!"
"Nope, too weird for me."


"No cider for me, thanks."
"Oh I couldn't possibly sing that! I'm too embarrassed!"

Gerald Gardner:

"Actually, we'll skip the scourging for this ritual..."
"For Gods' sakes, put your clothes back on!"
"Nah, I made it all up."

New Agers:

"Hello, I'm a New Ager."


"That card means you're going to die!"

Applies to all Pagans (or almost all, or at least those who consent to have it apply to them...):

"Nah, let's not go down to the pub tonight. Is there anywhere else we can have a moot?"
"Everybody here on time? Yes? Good."
"You know all those recent cattle and horse mutilation crimes? That was us."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Uranus transit

Right now I'm undergoing a transit of the planet Uranus through my sun sign, Pisces, an event that happens infrequently (2-3 times in a lifetime, I believe). My healer gave me this information about the Uranus transit. (I'm sorry I don't know the source.)

It is a time when you will try to achieve new means of self-expression and become more free that you have ever been. This transit can clear away limitations that have made your life less meaningful and fruitful - whether these have been imposed by self or others. Your life can become more real. You will be forced to break up old patterns and embark on a new course. The sun [sign] represents your heart, your vital core. Uranus calls the energy of your vital center to break free and express itself. Your own needs will take precedence over the needs of others until you feel free enough to be yourself. You'll be attracted to things new and exciting, such as new techniques in your work or personal development, making changes that allow you to be more truly who you really are and freer in your expression of yourself.

In my birth chart, Uranus is in the sixth house. The sixth house governs work. Here is what Elizabeth Rose Campbell says about the sixth house in Intuitive Astrology:

The sixth house sponsors the space in which to work. It is your day-to-day workplace and your service to community.... In the sixth house, you take the sum of yourself to community and join a group that is your support as you are theirs. Any planets in the sixth house illuminate what talents you may bring to that interdependence with community, as well as what tools you need to make your contribution.... The sixth house [also] encourages teamwork and, like its ruling sign, Virgo, the sixth house explores the delicacy of fine functions, ecosystems, your own body. How does my body work, and how can I help it work better? These are sixth-house questions.

Uranus is about "the instinct to express truth," according to Campbell. Jupiter, which I also have in the sixth house, is about "the instinct to philosophize;" it's "the ultimate optimist, aware that everything is interconnected." Jupiter "also illuminates where the universe supports your growth - not 100 percent, but 200 percent."

What does this all have to do with anything?

Ten and a half years ago, I began a Ph.D. program in (Western) philosophy. I was a very promising student, enrolled at a top program, and fully funded. I was sure that a competitive career in academic philosophy was where my future lay. More than six years ago I had completed my coursework and passed my qualifying exams, thus earning my MA degree and advancing to candidacy. I've been a candidate every since. I taught full time at small colleges for a few of those years, sometimes as a glorified adjunct (health insurance being key) and sometimes as an actual visiting lecturer. (Those fine distinctions of rank will only be meaningful if you've spent some time in the academic hothouse.) I traveled to conferences in my field and gave papers. Very, very slowly, and mostly unwillingly, I've discovered that I don't want a career in academic philosophy. I don't. I still could finish my degree, go on the job market, take a job wherever I find one, move, begin the crawl down the tenure track.... But no. Thank you.

Shit. Now what do I do?

Again, very slowly, I'm realizing that I want to continue to live where I live, have a job I enjoy but that doesn't entail building a career, and spend the rest of my time pursuing my spiritual life and my interests in related pursuits, mentioned here before: yoga, massage, Reiki, depth psychology, or somatic psychology, writing, ritual work, herbalism. My spiritual community at the mystery school and the work we do together have been instrumental in helping me think about what I really want, wandering off the path I set out on so many years ago. It's scary. I'm having to think of myself in entirely new ways and watch myself make decisions I didn't think I'd ever make. (I haven't decided to abandon the dissertation; I'm not ready for that.) Maybe life is just like this. Well, Uranus is calling the energy of my vital center to break free and express itself. Community is central to this passage. A new relationship to my body is one part of it. As for me and my new relationship with Fate? I'm hanging on for the ride.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Writing the Goddess as warrior

SageWoman has an upcoming issue on Visions of the Goddess as Warrior, and I'm working on an article to submit unsolicited. Briefly, it's about the significance Artemis held for my sister and me when she was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. I've a few months till the deadline, so my goal has been to write 500 words/day of the first draft. For inspiration, I've been listening to the Gladiator soundtrack as I write. I find it so moving.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hekate and Fate

This is Thalia Took's image of Hekate. I love Took's god and goddess imagery, although Hekate here looks less threatening than I envision her. Here we see the Goddess in her triple aspect, as Crone, Mother, and Maiden. She faces three directions because she guards the crossroads. The moon at her throat shows that she is a lunar goddess. And the lamp? I don't know what that symbolizes.

I dedicated myself to Hekate at Imbolc for three reasons. The first is simply that she's been with me for some time. Second, I find myself standing at a crossroads in my life with regard to work, career, meaning, and (whether or not to have) children. It's only natural to invoke her. Finally, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm interested in Fate. Hekate, in her triple aspect, and also as the death crone, is a Goddess of Fate.

This is the first time I've dedicated myself to a particular aspect of the Goddess (that's how I see the individual goddesses and gods). I have no idea what I'm doing. I've set up a small altar to her, and I wrote an initiation, which I performed at Imbolc. I find myself calling on her at times. But what else does one do? Mostly I'm just waiting to see how Fate manifests itself in my life this year.

I'm reading Liz Greene's book, The Astrology of Fate, which was lent to me by my healer. (In the mystery school I attend, we are each assigned a healer, a student who is further along the path.) Greene is a well-known astrologer and a Jungian analyst; the book is complex and learned. (My old stereotypes suffer.) From the introduction:

The denial of Moira [Fate for the Greeks]...has been a popular Christian theme for many centuries, and it does not require a mind of great brilliance to suspect that this denial rests on grounds somewhat subtler than the argument that fate is paganish. Although medieval Christians from Boethius to Dante acknowledged the pagan tradition of fate side by side with the omnipotence of the Trinity, the Reformation brought with it a conviction that the very idea of such a figure was an insult to God's sovereignty. God sometimes works with a grace which nullifies the influence of the heavens, says Calvin hopefully, and people are often made new by the experience of conversion. Just as the Reformation threw out the "cult" of Mary, it likewise threw out the other numinous feminine power in the cosmos [i.e. Fate].... Since the seventeenth century, we have not spoken of fate.

The theological argument which replaced the ancient goddess and which is still viable today is the doctrine of God's Providence. Even Calvin's gloomy children will argue if one calls by the name of fate the predestined salvation of the elect in which they believe. Those of a more scientific bent revert to the terminology of "natural law;" but the irony of this is that Moira, as she emerged in the thought of Anaximander and the more "scientific" Ionian school of Greek philosophy which [Bertrand] Russell favors over those gullible and mystical Platonists, is nothing more nor less than natural law, raised to the status of deity.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Thoughts along the path

  • Here is someone doing the kind of work I want to do. Adonis says that one of my gifts is imbuing life with meaning and helping others see their lives within a context of greater meaning. I'm grateful to him for articulating this, and I know he's right.
  • Music for Zen Meditation helps calm my dog. We're listening to it right now. So does The Mask and Mirror (but that one drives Adonis mad when he's trying to sleep, as he is now).
  • I crave intimate connection with other people. I want community. I really value it. At the same time, I isolate myself from others. I don't reach out. I don't admit to myself or anyone else how much I need other people. To keep myself from feeling my need for friends and community, I often become judgmental of other people. I also tell myself that people don't really care about what's going on with me. Why won't I let myself have what I most desire?
  • Adonis and I are having a ritual this fall to celebrate our love within the context of our beloved community. We want to honor and thank the people, and the place, that have nurtured our relationship. It's our "unwedding." I want a pithy, descriptive term or phrase to describe what we're doing. I like the idea of placing the ritual firmly within a Pagan context, but I don't like the symbolism of handfasting, in which the couple's hands are bound together with ribbon or rope.
  • This candle, scented with cedar, sage, and sweetgrass, is rocking my world.
  • I haven't had a proper herb garden in four years, since we moved into our current apartment with no room to garden. I have grown herbs in pots on my front step. I'm craving my own garden again, and I'm thinking about leasing a plot at the community gardens this summer. Will I really tend it? Or will it feel like "too much work" when it's hot out and I have to drive or bike several blocks to get there? Will the other gardeners hate me for planting mints, which spread incorrigably? I can't wait to have an herb garden again that I can tend year after year. When I have my own land, I'll plant stinging nettle and let the dandelions and plantain flourish.
  • I'm thinking seriously about having a baby.
  • My ideas about who I should be and how the world should be often get in the way of my knowing what I truly desire.
  • I'm ready for what's next.

Monday, February 06, 2006


Check it out: a tarot wiki has gone live! Tarotpedia: The Online Encyclopædia of Tarot looks like an excellent resource.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Imbolc goings-on around the 'sphere

Joanna Powell Colbert recommends the following:

February Holidays by Waverly Fitzgerald, School of the Seasons
The Wheel of the Celtic Year: Imbolc by Mara Freeman
Imbolc by Sig Lonegren:

What seeds that have been planted in you, that have been laying asleep through the winter, have just moved on their own in your life? Can you sense an impending something in your life? Is there something that is yet to manifest above ground into physical reality, yet it lies there just sprouting under the dark covering blanket of Earth in side you? How can you nurture this seedling in the coming days and months?

Tina Treason writes about her day and her dedication to Persephone.
Moonchild is dedicating herself to Brigid.
Reya Mellicker posts a poem in honor of Brigid, and encourages you to do the same.
Andy thanks Brigid, his patron Goddess, and celebrates 1,825 days of sobriety. (scroll down)
Turtleheart shows us her lovely Imbolc altar.
Jason Pitzl-Waters welcomes Imbolc with his usual useful roundup of links, descriptions, and quotations.

And more:

Deborah Oak has posted a fabulous poem, new to me, that starts with "Give me the strongest cheese/the one that stinks best," and gets better from there.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A poem for Imbolc

As part of my Imbolc dedication ritual, I use the following poem by Diane Ackerman, from her book I Praise My Destroyer.

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
- wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell - on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.