January’s Full Moon – The Cold Moon

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January’s Full Moon – The Cold Moon

In January, the nights are long and dark, and many of us are trying to stay warm under a blanket of snow as the Cold Moon approaches (in some cultures, the Cold Moon is the name given to December’s moon, instead). Some of the native tribes of North America called this time the Wolf Moon, because this was when the wolves were howling, hungry, outside lodges where people stayed warm within. Other groups referred to it as the Snow Moon, for obvious reasons.

This time of year, we’re all feeling a bit slow and “off” as our bodies adjust to chillier temperatures. It’s easy to just lie on the couch watching Netflix and eating comfort food when it’s cold and gloomy outside, and making any kind of magical effort can seem like a real challenge right now.

Correspondences:
Colors: Black and white, silver
Gemstones: Hematite
Trees: Birch, Hazel
Gods: Inanna, Freyja
Herbs: Thistle, nuts and seeds, marjoram
Element: Air

Cold Moon Magic
This is a good time to work on magic related to protection, both physical and spiritual. Use this time to develop your inner self, and advance spiritually, becoming closer to the higher aspects of your deities.

Take the time in your busy schedule to meditate and think about what it is you really want out of life, and whether you’re showing people your true self.

January is also a great time to work on full moon magic – after all, the nights are long and dark, and in some areas the moon itself is the only source of light. Put aside your lethargy, and focus some energy on developing your intuition and wisdom.

Finally, for many people, winter is a season of simplification. Set aside everything you don’t need, and try a minimalist approach instead. On a mundane level, try doing a thorough cleaning of your physical space – get rid of the clutter. On a spiritual and emotional level, try to do the same thing – teach your mind to let go of the things that are creating excess baggage for your spirit and soul.

 

Author

Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com

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A Little About January Birth Symbols

January Babies

“Little January, Tapped at my door today. And said, ‘Put on your winter wraps, And come outdoors to play.'” —Winifred C. MarshallZodiac: Capricorn until January 19 and Aquarius from January 20

Gemstone: Garnet
The garnet, from the Latin word granatum, means seed (think: pomegranate). The stone signifies eternal friendship and trust.

Flower: Carnation, Snowdrop
The carnation’s different hues suggest different meanings: red for love or pink for affection. Snowdrops imply hope and beauty.

Tree: Fir, Elm, Cypress

FROM: http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/photo-gallery/birth-signs-symbols#02

January’s birth flower, the carnation, comes in several different colors to convey different meanings, much like roses. A pink carnation means affection, while a red carnation means ‘I love you.’ White carnations mean pure love, striped carnations means regret that a love is not shared, and yellow means rejection or disappointment. The other January flower is thesnowdrop, which used to be considered bad luck due to the fact that it would always seem to appear to grow in graveyards. Nowadays, it signifies hope and beauty.

FROM: http://www.almanac.com/content/birth-month-flowers-and-their-meanings#

January Birthstone – Garnet

For those born in the month of January, the gemstone is garnet. Hindu religion will also recognize the serpent stone for this month, but for modern, Western society, the garnet is most familiar. Most people recognize this precious stone as a deep, almost blood red crystal. However, garnets can be found in brown, black, orange, pink, green, and yellow. With some more rare ones found with no color, though blues tend to be the most rare. Because they are more well-known for their red hue, the origin of the word, garnet, or, ´gernet´, is derived from Old English, meaning dark red. It has been adored for over five-thousand years. In Europe (where is was easily found), during the Victorian Ear, it was traditionally cut in the shape of a rose and linked with other delicately faceted gems.

Each month of the year brings in a new cycle. Each cycle represents a new season, has a renewed energy, and a new meaning. Throughout history, specific gemstones have been designated to symbolize our birth-month according to the Gregorian or Western Calendar. In the first century, a Jewish historian by the name of Josephus, stated there was a connection with the twelve stones on the breastplate of Aaron, and the twelve months of the year. In the earlier civilizations of Babylon and India, gemstones have been known to attribute magical properties in connection to their significance of the Zodiac calendar. It is believed that the gemstones for each month aligns with the season, our spiritual and mental energy, religion, magical powers, and even the power to aid in ailing health or allow us to maintain our health.

The Latin word “granatus”, meaning grain or seed, might make one think about the seeds of the pomegranate fruit. According to Greek mythology, Hades, god of the underworld, gifted Persephone a pomegranate before she returned to the earth to visit her mother, Demeter. As she had been a kidnapped goddess forced to be his queen, the gift of this fruit ensured that she would return to him safely after four months time.

In the Antique Roman period, garnets were also used to symbolize areas in which they had taken control. These stones were inlaid in cells of gold using the ´cloisonne´method, utilizing enamel to strengthen the inlay. The artifacts of what the Romans left behind have been found in Anglo-Saxon England to the Black Sea.

Some other interesting facts about the garnet: The darker, more opaque stones of the garnet family are used in ´garnet paper´as an abrasive, the favorite among cabinetmakers. When mixed with water and high pressure, they can also be used to cut steel. It is the state gemstone of Idaho and Arizona, but can be found in India, Russia, Africa, the rivers of Australia, and South America.

Garnets, the January birthstone, have been used to encourage a heightened sense of sensuality and sexuality, with Metaphysical properties strengthening regenerative powers of the body, commitment, and giving insight to healing thoughts.

More symbolically, as a gift it represents constancy, and it utilized to balance one´s yin and yang energy. If you are one that experiences restless sleep due to bad dreams, you might use a garnet under your pillow to ward off these bad dreams and the evil spirits that might the cause of them. It is also meant to cure any inflammatory disorders of the body, stops hemorrhaging, and brings a silence to anger and emotional discord. With these powerful, life-balancing abilities, it is no surprise that people born in the month of January are described as, ambitious, and natural-born leaders. People with these characteristics might be individuals who travel and explore. The gift of a garnet will be a protective gem of these journeyers, a gift of love and a desire that they have safe travels and return soon.

The January birthstone garnet have unique light transmission qualities, and some garnets seem to change color in various light conditions.  With daylight conditions some garnets have many different colors, but in incandescent light they generally appear reddish or pink/purple in color.  Garnets that are more opaque (less color) are often the ones used for industrial purposes instead of those that are used as gemstones most commonly those that appear in shades of green, red, orange, and yellow.

January Birth Flower:

The Snowdrop is the January birth flower representing love, fascination, and purity. Meanwhile, the carnation is the birth flower of January and symbolizes: love, pride, distinction, and beauty for those that follow British traditions.

January Birth Tree:

The Cypress tree is said to symbolize understanding the role of sacrifice and has been associated with the Hades, God of the underworld.

Famous People Born in January:

Oprah Winfrey – January 29, 1954

Tom Selleck – January 29, 1945

Eli Manning – January 3, 1981

Drew Brees – January 15, 1979

Benjamin Franklin – January 17, 1706

To learn more about your birthstone garnet check out Wikipedia.

– See more at: http://birthstonesbymonths.net/january-birthstone-garnet/#sthash.Zp2ax2EG.dpuf

The Raffle Is Over & The Winner Has Been Drawn….

Congratulations and Congrats ImagesTo

Randy Paschall!

Randy is the proud owner of that brand new gift certificate awarded for the month of January. Randy will have the opportunity to purchase anything he would like in our online store.

One thing before the spending begins…..

Randy, please email us with your email associated with this site. That way we can verify you are you, lol! After we hear from you, let the shopping begin!

Congratulations again,

Randy Paschall!

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And Our $50.00 Gift Certificate Winner is……..

Congratulations Images
Congratulations

To

Randy Paschall!

Randy is the proud owner of that brand new gift certificate awarded for the month of January. Randy will have the opportunity to purchase anything he would like in our online store.

One thing before the spending begins…..

Randy, please email us with your email associated with this site. That way we can verify you are you, lol! After we hear from you, let the shopping begin!

Congratulations again,

Randy Paschall!

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New Moon in Aquarius Horoscopes

New Moon in Aquarius Horoscopes

Brilliance strikes during January’s late New Moon

Jeff Jawer    Jeff Jawer on the topics of new moon, horoscopes, astrology, aquarius

Innovation is off charts with the New Moon in unconventional Aquarius on January 30, 2014. This Sun-Moon conjunction in this super smart sign is excellent for expanding perception and triggering bright ideas. Idealism and a stronger sense of community can also emerge in the days that follow. Aquarius’ ingenious ruling planet, Uranus, favorably aligns with this lunation as well, making our mental laboratories more productive.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

Discovering ways to become a more effective member of a team is a potential gift of this intellectually energizing New Moon. It lands in your 11th House of Groups, where you can get a fresh start within an organization or find a place of inspiration supporting a cause. Idealism is strong in Aquarius, which can help you recognize ways to meet your own needs while being an even more valuable friend or colleague.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Get ready for some radically new experiences in your professional life. This brainy and innovative Aquarius New Moon lands in your 10th House of Career and Public Responsibility to spark a fresh start that challenges your usual ways of doing business. Be as open-minded and flexible as you can, because old rules and systems may start breaking down. Innovation and risk-taking should put you in a more exciting work situation.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

Travel and mind expansion are on the agenda with this brilliant Aquarius New Moon in your 9th House of Faraway Places and Higher Education. Your busy brain may suddenly turn in a different direction as you’re stimulated by a radically new idea. Sharing your discoveries, going back to school, or doing business with people in distant places are ways to put more excitement and meaning into your life.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

This quirky Aquarius New Moon lands in your 8th House of Deep Sharing, where it can have a significant influence on your personal and professional relationships. A lunation in your 8th house, associated with emotional intimacy and financial alliances, is about making choices in partnerships. Either you come up with a fresh approach that enriches connections, or fight change and settle for less.

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)

Fresh connections can enliven your personal life with this exciting New Moon in your 7th House of Partners. Sure, you may attract unusual individuals who don’t always follow the standard rules of love and business. But it’s also an opportunity for you to enliven current alliances with original thinking, or to take some chances by sharing brilliant insights that impress others with your original thinking.

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)

Surprises could shake up your daily routine with this rebellious Aquarius New Moon in your 6th House of Employment and Habits. Although adapting to unexpected circumstances is logical, it’s even better if you take the initiative to make changes. Going into a different profession, getting additional training, and altering the ways that you deal with diet, exercise, and health will work to your advantage.

Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)

Creativity and romance get significant shots of adrenalin from this electrifying New Moon in your 5th House of Self-Expression. Let your playful side show as this lunation is a signal to come up with fresh ways to get attention and to have fun. Experimenting with different approaches and looks will put more pleasure into your personal life and make your professional presentations entertaining and inspiring to others.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)

This liberating Aquarius New Moon occurs in your 4th House of Roots to provide you with a fresh perspective on your past. Old issues, especially from your family, can be seen with distance and objectivity that allow you to let go of emotional issues that have been holding you back. You’re becoming free of unconscious conditioning, making this an excellent time to break habits and try different ways feel safe.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)

Ideas are firing up with greater frequency thanks to this inventive Aquarius New Moon. It lands in your 3rd House of Information and Communication, cooking up fresh concepts and connections. Learning, teaching and meeting people should be more stimulating than usual. Just remember to ground what you say in a way that others can understand, because your enthusiasm may overwhelm others with more input than they can handle.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)

This inventive Aquarius New Moon occurs in your 2nd House of Resources, providing you with inspiration for making money and getting the most out of your assets. But instead of trying to squeeze more from your current abilities, this lunation signals the need to invest in developing different kinds of skills. Consistency is usually rewarding, but being innovative will lead to even more profitable ways to work now.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)

Are you ready for a fresh start? This exciting New Moon in your sign can light the fuse of change that you’ve been waiting for. Your innovative ruling planet Uranus makes a harmonious angle to this Sun-Moon conjunction in your sign, firing you up with originality. Trying a different look or coming up with a radically new approach to connecting with people are excellent ways to utilize this energy.

Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)

This ingenious Aquarius New Moon occurs in your 12th House of Spirituality to spur awareness of your connections with nature and divinity. Taking more time to be alone provides the peace and quiet needed to tap into the higher knowledge coming to you now. Don’t worry if it’s harder to get others’ attention, because the greatest rewards are more likely to come when you are less concerned with how others see you.

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New Moon in Aquarius Horoscopes

New Moon in Aquarius Horoscopes

Brilliance strikes during January’s late New Moon

Jeff Jawer   Jeff Jawer on the topics of new moon, horoscopes, astrology, aquarius

Innovation is off charts with the New Moon in unconventional Aquarius on January 30, 2014. This Sun-Moon conjunction in this super smart sign is excellent for expanding perception and triggering bright ideas. Idealism and a stronger sense of community can also emerge in the days that follow. Aquarius’ ingenious ruling planet, Uranus, favorably aligns with this lunation as well, making our mental laboratories more productive.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

Discovering ways to become a more effective member of a team is a potential gift of this intellectually energizing New Moon. It lands in your 11th House of Groups, where you can get a fresh start within an organization or find a place of inspiration supporting a cause. Idealism is strong in Aquarius, which can help you recognize ways to meet your own needs while being an even more valuable friend or colleague.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Get ready for some radically new experiences in your professional life. This brainy and innovative Aquarius New Moon lands in your 10th House of Career and Public Responsibility to spark a fresh start that challenges your usual ways of doing business. Be as open-minded and flexible as you can, because old rules and systems may start breaking down. Innovation and risk-taking should put you in a more exciting work situation.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

Travel and mind expansion are on the agenda with this brilliant Aquarius New Moon in your 9th House of Faraway Places and Higher Education. Your busy brain may suddenly turn in a different direction as you’re stimulated by a radically new idea. Sharing your discoveries, going back to school, or doing business with people in distant places are ways to put more excitement and meaning into your life.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

This quirky Aquarius New Moon lands in your 8th House of Deep Sharing, where it can have a significant influence on your personal and professional relationships. A lunation in your 8th house, associated with emotional intimacy and financial alliances, is about making choices in partnerships. Either you come up with a fresh approach that enriches connections, or fight change and settle for less.

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)

Fresh connections can enliven your personal life with this exciting New Moon in your 7th House of Partners. Sure, you may attract unusual individuals who don’t always follow the standard rules of love and business. But it’s also an opportunity for you to enliven current alliances with original thinking, or to take some chances by sharing brilliant insights that impress others with your original thinking.

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)

Surprises could shake up your daily routine with this rebellious Aquarius New Moon in your 6th House of Employment and Habits. Although adapting to unexpected circumstances is logical, it’s even better if you take the initiative to make changes. Going into a different profession, getting additional training, and altering the ways that you deal with diet, exercise, and health will work to your advantage.

Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)

Creativity and romance get significant shots of adrenalin from this electrifying New Moon in your 5th House of Self-Expression. Let your playful side show as this lunation is a signal to come up with fresh ways to get attention and to have fun. Experimenting with different approaches and looks will put more pleasure into your personal life and make your professional presentations entertaining and inspiring to others.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)

This liberating Aquarius New Moon occurs in your 4th House of Roots to provide you with a fresh perspective on your past. Old issues, especially from your family, can be seen with distance and objectivity that allow you to let go of emotional issues that have been holding you back. You’re becoming free of unconscious conditioning, making this an excellent time to break habits and try different ways feel safe.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)

Ideas are firing up with greater frequency thanks to this inventive Aquarius New Moon. It lands in your 3rd House of Information and Communication, cooking up fresh concepts and connections. Learning, teaching and meeting people should be more stimulating than usual. Just remember to ground what you say in a way that others can understand, because your enthusiasm may overwhelm others with more input than they can handle.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)

This inventive Aquarius New Moon occurs in your 2nd House of Resources, providing you with inspiration for making money and getting the most out of your assets. But instead of trying to squeeze more from your current abilities, this lunation signals the need to invest in developing different kinds of skills. Consistency is usually rewarding, but being innovative will lead to even more profitable ways to work now.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)

Are you ready for a fresh start? This exciting New Moon in your sign can light the fuse of change that you’ve been waiting for. Your innovative ruling planet Uranus makes a harmonious angle to this Sun-Moon conjunction in your sign, firing you up with originality. Trying a different look or coming up with a radically new approach to connecting with people are excellent ways to utilize this energy.

Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)

This ingenious Aquarius New Moon occurs in your 12th House of Spirituality to spur awareness of your connections with nature and divinity. Taking more time to be alone provides the peace and quiet needed to tap into the higher knowledge coming to you now. Don’t worry if it’s harder to get others’ attention, because the greatest rewards are more likely to come when you are less concerned with how others see you.

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Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Up-Helly-Aa

Witchy Comments & Graphics
Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Up-Helly-Aa

January 28th – 29th

Up-Helly-Aa

Up-Helly-Aa is a centuries-old fire festival held in the Shetland Islands. It is derived from the ancient Yuletide festival celebrating the triumph of the sun over darkness and winter, and it pays

tribute to the ancient Viking Gods and Goddesses. The festival began with torch light processions that ignited giant bonfires and culminated with the burning of a replica of a Viking ship. It was believed that the fire would dispel evil spirits from the villagers and their homes. The festivities usually ended with great feasting and dancing until dawn.

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The next supermoon is January 1, 2014

The next supermoon is January 1, 2014

According to the definition of supermoon coined by Richard Nolle over 30 years ago, and popularized only in the past few years, the year 2014 has a total of five supermoons.  They are the two new moons of January, and the full moons of July, August and September.  January 1, 2014 is the first supermoon of the year, and January 30 is the second.  Expect large tides around both dates.  We won’t have a single calendar month with two supermoons again until January 2018.  Follow the links below to learn more about the supermoons of 2014, about what makes a moon a supermoon….Read More

For the Goddess So Loved the World

For the Goddess So Loved the World

Author:   Jeffe 

It had always been my dream to own my own house, with a yard and lots of trees. To have nature in my backyard, teeming with life, and a garden of vegetables I would tend to feed my family. It would connect me more to the Earth, far more than did the apartments and condos I’d been living in for the better part of two decades. But such conquests often come with doomful forebodings.

“That lawn isn’t going to mow itself, ” my Dad warned. “And just wait until the snow starts piling up!”

Dad had been there. Nobody’s quite sure where “there” is, exactly, but one look from Dad told me I’d know I was “there” when I got “there.” Shoveling snow with my father is actually one of my fondest memories of childhood, but therein lies the difference between a child’s memory and an adult’s. I remember it as playing in the snow with Dad, and Mom serving us hot cocoa when we came in. For Dad, it was hard work. These days, my father still perceives nature as work, while I see it as divinity.

This thirty-something Pagan, yours truly, hasn’t always been a city dweller. My graduate studies began at age nineteen, plucking me from the country home where my Mom and Dad raised me. My studies were followed by instructor and professor positions at several universities, all of them in the middle of cities. I lived in a series of apartments and condos. Nature had become a destination, an excursion, a break from the norm. I longed for it to be part of my everyday life again.

Shortly after Samhain of 2008, I finally got my house wish. My wife and newborn son and I moved into the first house we’ve ever owned. We had navigated the troubled waters of the depressed housing market to find a good deal on the perfect house in an area with award-winning schools. If you look up our house on Google Earth, you’ll see our yard has by far the most trees for blocks around. Squirrels, birds, rabbits, raccoons, and at least one groundhog are regular visitors. Ducks and crows pop in from time to time. Of course, most of them enjoy my garden a little too much, and apparently there’s a neighborhood skunk who likes to dig up grubs in the yard at night, but that’s alright – I’ll take a little bad with the good.

During the unpacking process, our computers had emerged first, a necessity since my wife and I both teach for a living. But we had yet to set up wireless or any other office stuff. Just on a lark one evening, I tried to search for a local wireless connection. With a little luck, I might be able to piggyback someone else’s signal long enough to check my work e-mail.

There was one wireless network available; a secure networked named “John316.” Perhaps the most famous Bible verse of them all. The verse well-known for its appearances in sports arenas. For its mystical ability to change the course of a football or baseball in mid-air.

“Oh great, ” I thought. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will have high-speed internet.” Like many eclectic Pagans, I’m actually quite well versed in the Bible, as well as numerous other spiritual texts. Blame it on a Catholic upbringing, or several Theology classes in undergraduate school. I like to keep as many doors to wisdom open as possible.

I thought it was a tacky name for an Internet server, until I remembered the numbers of Witches and Pagans I’d met who’d named their pets Merlin, or Lilith, or Hex. Glass houses and all that. I pictured the neighborhood in my mind, and narrowed it down to three houses close enough for their wireless signal to reach us. There were no outward clues to spoil my shell game of “Find the Evangelical, ” but I was sure I would learn soon.

I confess to having felt a little apprehensive about my new neighbors. As a mathematics professor at a Jesuit University, I’d met more than my share of avid Evangelicals. One year, after introducing myself and handing out the syllabus on the first day of class, I asked the class if they had any questions. One student stood bolt upright and asked, “Have you accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”

“Um … does anyone have any ‘math’ questions?” I responded.

Call it an irrational fear, but I admit that it hung in the back of mind, for weeks to come: that being open about who I am and how I live might make me target. Not a target of violence, mind you, but a target of general disdain. The “black sheep” of the neighborhood. I envisioned my children someday being gawked at or picked on by the other children at the playground.

There is certain vulnerability inherent in the practice of a religious path that differs from the community norm. It takes courage to be yourself amidst strangers.

A few months passed, and I had enjoyed Yule, just before celebrating Christmas with the rest of family (everyone else in my family is Christian, Catholic mostly) . It was early January when the first monster storm of winter hit the Detroit area. My northern suburb tallied fifteen inches of snow, which came in three nearly equal waves over two days. My shovel was about to get some good use.

I soon learned that it takes me about 30 minutes to shovel 5 inches of snow off my driveway and sidewalks – quite the workout. For those who live far enough South to have not experienced the joys of snow shoveling, let me explain the effort involved. From a standing position, bend over and pick up a bowling ball. Then stand back up and toss it several feet to your left. Repeat this continually for 30 minutes. A quick tip – toss half of the balls in each direction, to even up the back strain.

When it was time for the second round of shoveling, I bundled back up and stepped out into the garage. My wife was out and my son had just settled in for a nap, so I put the baby monitor in my coat pocket. As the garage door went up and I put my boots on, I noticed curtains moving in the window of the large house across the street. I tried not to notice that I was being watched, and set to my labors.

A few minutes into shoveling, out came the neighbor, similarly bundled and pushing his new snow blower. I waved hello and he waved back. By the time I was halfway done shoveling, he had completely finished removing all of his snow, about twice as much as mine, without much effort. I pretended not to notice as he went back into his garage for a few minutes, talking to someone just out of sight, looking over at me now and then.

Finally he came over, with the blower, and with a few arm gestures asked if I’d like some help. I was happy for it, and together we quickly finished off my shoveling and did a little of another neighbor’s. I shook his hand and invited him for a warm-up coffee, and we introduced ourselves. I can’t remember his name, possibly because this is the only time we’ve ever spoken – I’ll just refer to him as “John316.”

John wasted no time and immediately started talking about the Bible Study his family had hosted the night before. I smiled as I poured the coffees. It quickly became clear that he had what I jokingly refer to as “Jesus Tourette’s” … the inability to have a two-minute conversation without mentioning Jesus three times. It’s the Christian version of “Pagan Tourette’s” … I define this as the inability to attend a Pagan meet-up in normal clothing and without mystical jewelry or flair.

John began steering the conversation in ways intended to draw out whether I was a Christian. I probably could have nimbly avoided his transparent attempts for hours, but I decided not to torment him. I let him know who I am. To blunt the trauma suddenly apparent on his face, I told him that I have a lot of respect for Christians who do Bible Studies. And that’s the truth.

Anytime people get together and talk about their faith and its literature, and then think about the moral and ethical implications, they are far more likely to learn something than if they just listen to a preacher. We could all take a lesson in that.

I have to say I enjoyed the conversation immensely. It’s so rare that I get to talk to someone about a spiritual text that we’ve both studied profusely. Any awkwardness was probably from the difference of our viewpoints. For him, the Bible is indisputable truth, laying down the laws and guidelines for the one true path to salvation. For me, it’s a storybook full of Middle Eastern history, both pacifistic and militaristic philosophies, poetry and prose, and fables that sometimes bear pearls of wisdom.

And let’s admit it, the book of Revelations is just plain cool.

He never discussed anything about Paganism, or Witchcraft, or the occult. He wasn’t interested in my faith at all – he just wanted to tell me about his, on the assumption that his way should be everyone’s way. And that’s fine with me. Pagan tolerance and acceptance means letting people be whoever they need to be, so long as they aren’t harming themselves or others. He was doing me no harm; in fact, from his perspective, his intentions were noble and good.

John needed to “witness” to me, so I let him. I think it’s important, as Pagans, to recognize that there are no wrong gods or goddesses, so long as their worshippers use them to try to become better people.

Our back-and-forth banter continued for about forty minutes. He seemed excited to meet a non-Christian could talk about obscure parables, the authors and histories of the lesser known books, and of course the “End Times.” But he also seemed a little angry that I could have studied the book so thoroughly without accepting it as absolute truth. It was as though he wanted to like me, but couldn’t accept me because I don’t fit into his working definition of “good person.”

Finally, perhaps mercifully, my son woke up from his nap. John shook my hand, thanked me for the coffee, and left.

“Have a blessed day, ” he called over his shoulder, with a tone of irritation and resignation, as he pulled the door shut behind him.

“Blessed day ever, ” I thought, wondering whether I’d made a begrudging new friend.

Apparently not. We haven’t spoken since, and he seldom returns a wave.

His wife once approached my wife, to gossip about that awful Mr. Obama and all the bad things he has planned for our troops. My wife, to her credit, exhibited amazing restraint.

“I feel like they’re constantly judging us, ” my wife has told me, on more than one occasion.

That’s a strange thought, considering that John and his family never interact with us in any way. But I feel it too. It’s hard to say how much of it exists just in our heads. I can’t help but wonder what discussions they have about us. I have the feeling that they look down us, but the irony is that by making this assumption about them, I am in fact passing judgment on them.

It saddens me somewhat, but I take comfort in the little, normal rivalries we neighbors have. John’s lawn is a point of pride for him, and my yard is an altar for me. I see him on his porch sometimes, watching me gather up fallen twigs before I mow the lawn. And in the winter, whenever it snows heavily, he seems to wait until I’m shoveling before he starts, just so I can see him finish faster and more easily.

I catch a shadow of a smirk on his face sometimes, as though he’s thinking, “Look how easy it is when you have the right tools.” In my head, I respond, “Look how nice it is to exercise and be in shape.”

And that’s terrific! That’s normal neighbor stuff. I take it as an affirmation that I’m not considered a pox on humanity.

Tolerance doesn’t always begin with a welcome basket and an invitation to dinner. Sometimes it begins with a few people being just as irritated with each other as they are with everyone else. That’s human nature, and it’s messy, and sticky, and beautiful. Amen.

________________________________

Footnotes:
The Bible, John 3:16 (paraphrased)

Mystical Months – January

Days Of The Week Comments

Mystical Months – January

…You’d be so lean, that blast of January
Would blow you through and through. Now, my fair’st friend,
I would I had some flowers o’ the spring that might
Become your time of day…’

William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, Act IV Scene 4.

This is the second month of winter, the ‘Gate of the New Year’, the first of the Gregorian calendar, and the third month of the Celtic seasonal calendar known as Samhain, which translated means ‘The coming of the dark’.

The name, given to the month of ‘January’, is derived from the ancient Roman name ‘Janus’ who presided over the gate to the new year. He was revered as the ‘God of Gateways’, ‘of Doorways’ and ‘of the Journey’, later known as ‘St. Januarius’. Janus protected the ‘Gate of Heaven’, known as the ‘Lord of Beginnings’, is associated with the ‘Goddess Juno-Janus’, and often symbolised by an image of a face that looks forwards and backwards at the same time. This symbolism can easily be associated with the month known as for many the start of a new year bodes opportunity, casting out the old and in with the new. It is the time when many reflect on events of the previous year and often resolve to redress or improve some aspect of daily life or personal philosophy. January has traditionally been also associated with the qualities of ‘Goddess Venus’, ‘Freya’, ‘Hera’ and ‘Irene’, and the Egyptian ‘Nile God Hapi’ amongst many others.

‘Lauwmaand’ (The frosty month)
Old Dutch

‘Wulf-monath’ (Wolf month, a threat in a time of little food)

Old Saxon

‘Se oeftera geola’ (After yule)
‘Forma monath’ (First month)
Saxon (after influence of Christianity)

As part of the seasonal calendar January is the time of the ‘Wolf Moon’ according to Pagan beliefs, and the period described as the ‘Moon of Frost in the Tepee’ by Black Elk, Mystic and Medicine Man of the Oglala Sioux (Black Elk Speaks, Neihardt). It is a time when favourable colours to improve personal healing are black (jet stone), white and blue-violet (the colour of crocus flowers). These are the colours often associated with winter whilst the delicate crocus and snowdrops, along with the scented carnation lend beauty and a glimpse of the fine weather to come in spring to a time of austerity. The herbs and produce of the woodland too are closely connected, with nuts and cones, musk, marjoram and mimosa lending sweetness. As the second month of the winter calendar the holy thistle too reminds us of the link with winters rule and faith tested in times of extreme hardships..

The fox and its brother on a distant shore the coyote find the ability to retrieve food in the harshest of environments. As we approach spring birds too are seen to be remembered with January, with the pheasant appearing from the hedgerow and the jay (and the blue-jay) taking to the wing as a sign of the skies and earth giving hope of insect life and nesting materials.. A traditional belief amongst farmers in the British Isles said that a mild January was an omen of wet weather to come (from February through to May) and would give a bad crop in the field.

‘Bid the past farewell,
and receive the year that has just been born.’

As part of the astrological calendar, January has many associations. This is the month of the house of Capricorn (December 20 – January 20) and the house of Aquarius (21 January – February 18). Capricorn is the tenth sign of zodiac and depicted by the symbol of the ‘Goat’. The resolve to achieve is evidenced by Capricorn’s who work hard and long, like the goat, slowly but surely to reach the top of their mountain until they wish to move on to new and better pastures. The sign is said to embody authority and maturity being associated with the stage of latter life of the adult. Here is the chance for a Capricorn to work and rework ideas to get it right, as second best is not bad but things can always be better. In ancient Babylonian mythology Capricorn was depicted as the ‘God Ea’, fish-tailed, also known as the ‘Antelope of the Sea’. Capricorn is also known by the name the ‘Gate of Death’ (opposite sign Cancer, ‘Gate of Birth’). This is the time when the Sun enters its tenth phase of the journey and a time of new wisdom; Ea is seen to rise from the deep waters and instruct Man on the divine wisdom.

‘Saturn’ is the ruling planet of Capricorn bringing with it the qualities of wisdom, security, self-control, discipline, determination, responsibility and limitation. Saturn is also known as ‘Lord of Saturday’, ‘Kronos’ or ‘Time’. Capricorn is a cardinal and negative earth sign associated with the statement ‘I master’ and ‘I will refine’. It rules the skin, knees and bones. It is associated with the Aspen, Elder, Elm, Pine, Poplar, Weeping Willow and Yew, and with Burdock, Hemlock, Holly and the Black & Red Poppy. Colours associated with Capricorn are black, earth tones, indigo and orange. The main stone associated with Capricorn is the Garnet, and the main stone associated with December is the Turquoise. Lucky number is eight, lucky day Saturday. Metal associated is lead.

‘In spring, when woods are getting green,
I’ll try and tell you what I mean:
In summer, when the days are long,
Perhaps you’ll understand the song?’

Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac and depicted as ‘Ganymede’, a youthful male water carrier, also known as the ‘God with Two Streams’. Ganymede became cup-bearer to the ‘Olympian Gods’, ruled over by ‘Zeus’, and borne to ‘Mount Olympus’ on the back of an eagle. Out of the carrier springs new wisdom, for the good of humanity. The ‘Age of Aquarius’, generally thought to commence around 2000 AD, is foreseen as one which will embody these qualities. It is also the subject of many predictions, some of which indicate Armageddon, the Second Coming of Christ, one of major natural cataclysmic occurrences, and a shift in the earth’s axis. Yet the New Age is also the subject of excitement not because as it has been suggested the beginning of Aquarius will prelude either the weakening or strengthening of Christianity, but that with the new era comes a religion will be wholly embraced. So far this has been deemed to be one based on the now famous statement ‘Make love not war’. A desire to move away from materialism and violence is predicted to surface. There has, however, been extreme concern shown on the place of drugs in all this with some predicting that the New Age will signal no more than the beginning of a period not of reawakening but of sleep dictated by a drug induced delirium.

‘Uranus’ is the ruling planet of Aquarius bringing with it the qualities of revolution, change, unpredictability and disruption. Aquarius is a fixed and positive air sign associated with the statement ‘I am the embodiment of all that society needs or desires’, ‘I universalise’, and ‘I will change’. It rules the circulation and ankles. It is associated with the Ash, Birch, Cherry, Elder, Fig, Plum, and the Rowan, and with the flowers Apple, Lemon & Peach Blossom and Orchid. Colours associated with Aquarius are aquamarine, electric blue and turquoise tones. The main stone associated with Aquarius is the Aquamarine (this also has associations with Pisces, but the main stone associated with the month of January is the Garnet . Lucky number is four, lucky day Saturday. Metals associated are aluminium and uranium.

‘The dream-child moving through a land –
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast –
And half believe it true.’

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