August 30 – Daily Feast

August 30 – Daily Feast

How can we know another man’s heart or true desire? We’re not even sure about our own. So many potent suggestions have been made to us that we question our own hearts. If we can understand who we are, we will know others. To identify something valuable in another person is to know it in ourselves. The, Tsalagi, calls it intuitive or perceptive – to know something without tangible evidence. The miracle is in finding something good in someone else and realizing we have to have it in us to be able to recognize it. One who never has a good word or a good thought for anyone reveals his terrible need.

~ Sentiment was against the Indian, that they could not be civilized….could not be educated….were somewhat like human beings….but not quite in line of human rights…. ~

WASSAJA

“A Cherokee Feast of Days” by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Seasons Of The Witch for July 19

Seasons Of The Witch

Corpus Christi

– This Catholic festival, which takes place on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, promotes the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation: that the host consecrated in the Mass becomes the Body of Christ. It was first established by the Council of Vienna in 1311 and really promoted during the Reformation as a demonstration of Catholic solidarity. It features a procession during which the priest displays the host in a monstrance, which is shaped like a sunburst. The whole point is a conspicuous display of pomp and pageantry. This year when it falls so close to summer solstice, the similarities between the two festivals, in symbolism and attitude, are readily apparent.

In France, it is called Fete Dieu or the Feast of God. The priest wears red and gold lavishly embroidered garments. The monstrance is a golden vessel shaped like the sun. It is usually shielded by a canopy of silk and cloth of gold. Streets are scattered with flower petals and householders decorate their homes, often by pasting flower petals on a sheet and hanging them up.

Small altars are created along the roads. In France, they’re called reposoirs and are built at crossroads. They are decorated with flowers, garlands and greens and covered with canopies of interwoven boughs. The priest goes around and blesses them. Perhaps this would be a good day for witches and pagans to sponsor Altar Tours, opening our homes for viewing of our altars and shrines. Or maybe we should go out and build a shrine at the nearest crossroad.

Carol Field describes the way Corpus Christi is celebrated in Spello, Italy, where pwople transform the main street into a carpet of color using flower petals (infiorate). Collecting the flowers takes as long as two weeks. The oldest women are given the job of taking the flowers apart, petal by petal, and separating them by the subtle differences of hue. Pine needles, ivy leaves, chamomile and fennel are ground up to make green. Poppies are used for red, broom for yellow and white from daisies. The designs are complicated, and often reproduce famous paintings, usually religious ones. The priest when he emerges from the cathedral holding up the Host walks down the length of flower carpet, and the petals scatter to the breezes. It is a display of beauty and richness that is as ephemeral as it is extravagant. Field, Carol, Celebrating Italy, Morrow 1990
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Saints Gervase and Protase – Another weather oracle day associated with the saint’s day of two martyrs of Milan. It is said that if it rains on this day, it will rain for forty days afterwards. Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc, Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Book of Days, Oxford University Press, 2000

School of the Seasons

Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!

GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

A Witch Brewing among Catholics

A Witch Brewing among Catholics

Author: Magaly Guerrero

How often do you think about the day you discovered Paganism? Not when you found it, at least not in my case—I have always been a Witch; I just didn’t call it that until I was teenager. Ironically, I saw my witchy light in a church…

The church looked amazing. The altar was adorned with huge candelabras, white roses and tulips, and there were chains of white daisies draping from the back of every pew. My catechism instructor had told the class that Father Elias was going to marry a couple after he was done with our confessions. I was a little confused because it was Wednesday, and I thought people only got married during Sunday mass.

I looked at my watch. I had been sitting on a wooden pew for over an hour; my butt was numb.

“You’re next.” Manuel Tapia’s voice made me jump. He was the oldest boy in my catechism group, and I had a crush on him. I confessed it to God as soon as I realized I liked him. I wasn’t sure if liking Manuel was a sin, but I told God anyway—you can never be too safe in the ever-watchful eyes of God.

I walked to the confession booth rubbing my behind. Please God, let the seat have some padding, I prayed in silence. My poor butt couldn’t take any more pew torture.

I got to the booth, climbed three steps, and took a look. Crap, another wooden pew. I stood very still waiting for my punishment, and then I guessed that saying or thinking the word ‘crap’ wasn’t a sin because God didn’t strike me on the spot. I sat on the bench.

“You have to kneel.”

“Crap.” Father Elias scared the living Jesus out of me. For a moment, I believed God had decided that saying ‘crap’ in his house was a sin after all, and I was about to get it. But it wasn’t God. The horrible breath sipping through the tiny-screened window belonged to a familiar mortal.

“I won’t tolerate that kind of language in the house of God.” Father Elias moved so closed to the window that I could clearly see his angry little eyes. I wanted to protest and tell him that God hadn’t said anything when I said crap, and it was his house. But Father Elias’s putrid breath made me dizzy. I just nodded.

“Well?” asked Father Elias impatiently. “Didn’t you learn how to confess? You need to kneel.”

“But I don’t have anything to confess. I ask God for forgiveness as soon as I make a mistake.”

“Insolent girl, you can’t confess without a priest.”

I stared at the livid man thanking God for the screened window. Father Elias would have probably spat all over my face if it weren’t for it. He continued ranting and I continued to stare without listening. My mind’s voice was screaming at me. Why do I need a priest to confess my sins? Why am I here? Why would I share anything with this lunatic? Will my mom be mad if I leave?

One question actually crossed my lips: “Why can’t I talk to my God on my own?”

Father Elias was in my face a couple of seconds later. “Get out! Go talk to your teacher and tell her you are not ready. I will speak to her later. Send in whoever is next.”

I walked out of the booth and looked at my best friend, Dahlia, who had been seating behind me, waiting for her turn. I froze. What kind of friend would I be, if I let her face the crazy man without warning? Help me God!

“Well?” Father Elias spat into my thoughts.

I looked at the condemning fire in his eyes, and I knew that I had to do something, and I had to do it fast. I took off running. I ran until my 11-year-old lungs ordered me to stop. I found an old oak tree to lean on, and waited for my breath to catch up.

“Maggy, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

It was Ms. Toledo, the town librarian. She was always nice to me. I touched my face and realized she was right. I was crying. I told her everything as we walked to the library. When we got there, Ms. Toledo offered me a chair, but I declined.

She let out a long sigh. “Oh, don’t worry too much. It’s not the end of the world.”

I knew she was trying to help, but she hadn’t seen Father Elias’s face. She wasn’t there when he told me that I wasn’t ready. Ready for what anyway? And why didn’t he answer my question?

Ms. Toledo must have read my mind because she said, “I’ll have a word with Father Elias.”

I gave her a pained look and said, “Thanks.” I just wasn’t sure talking to the priest was the best idea.

Ms. Toledo walked away and I thought about stopping her. She should know that Father Elias wouldn’t listen. I gathered some courage and was ready to go find her, but she came back before I had a chance to move.

“Here, ” she whispered. “Take it home. Come back next week and tell me what you think.”

The excitement of taking a book home made me forget all about Father Elias, sins, and confessions. You see, the library in my town was so small that it couldn’t allow people to check out books. So taking the book with me was an adventure, especially because I didn’t own any books. My family was very poor, so we couldn’t afford them. That was the reason why I was such a good friend with Ms. Toledo. I used to spend as much time in the library as I was allowed, in order to finish a book.

I thanked Ms. Toledo and left with a smile on my face. I walked the three miles from the library to my house, taking glances at the book every now and then, but not daring to open it. What if I dropped it and ruined it?

I got home, climbed my favorite mango tree, and opened my borrowed treasure. I read about ancient gods—males and females—who interacted with their people. I learned about olden times when humanity lived in harmony with the earth, when people honored the moon and the sun and these Old Powers listened; times when folks believe in the power of their own energy.

I enjoyed the book so much that I was really sad when Monday came and I had to return it. But my gloom didn’t last long. Ms. Toledo replaced the book. The new volume was filled with gods from all over the world. Some of the gods were terrible and scary, but I loved learning about each and every one of them. Their eclectic nature, the spontaneity of their ways, their darkness and light, reminded me of me.

Can a Christian Practice Magick?

Can a Christian Practice Magick?

Author: Belenus

For many years, I struggled with a personal conflict. You see, my Christian upbringing didn’t seem to fit in with what I call my “mystic callings, ” that is, my other path of mystery and magick. I kept my magikal pursuits separate from my religious activities. I began my magickal journey more than twenty years ago by studying astrology, because the notion of predicting the future and getting a better handle on my own personality and relationships with others appealed to me. I must admit that my romantic urges were a major driving force in all this investigation and revelation, as were my materialistic ambitions.

So, although I didn’t keep my Astrological studies from my close friends and family, I didn’t advertise it to those in my religious community. When I did divulge to a very select few, it was with a real sense of insecurity and fear that I was being negatively judged. When my Mystic interests branched out into the areas of Magick and Paganism, I did indeed keep it almost exclusively to myself, as I felt that this was even more off the beaten path and frowned upon by society in general and particularly so by my Christian family and community.

Now I am both a mage and a Christian, and I do not feel particularly conflicted about it. Just a fleeting guilt feeling now and again, usually brought about by some external reminder that there are Christians who do indeed condemn such activities. That even sounds funny in the same sentence, you know, Christian and condemning? And although I don’t go shouting my Magickal activities off roof tops, I am comfortable within myself that I am on the right path for me, and have integrated Magick into the other areas of my life, including my religion. I feel actually compelled to follow this duel path and even though I see some inconsistencies, I am confident that this is my calling for now.

I go to Catholic Mass and see many of its rituals and methods to be similar to Magickal rituals and methods. For example, the burning of incense in the Mass parallels Magickal rituals that use incense as a way to carry intentions to higher forces, be they Gods or Goddesses or what ever. The Catholic Mass is full of symbolism and what some would call Magic. Symbols are also a large component in Wicca, Paganism and are used in working Magick. Chanting and singing are other examples of techniques used in both Christian and Pagan rituals and rites.

One major difference I see between Christian prayers and working Magick is that with prayer, a person asks for something and then passively waits and hopes that it is answered in a way that satisfies a need. This is quite different from the Magician who inserts her or his own power and will into the work. Rather than hoping for something to change, the Magician “wills” the change to come about.

I feel that as a Christian Mystic, I have an advantage in many ways. I get to combine both prayer and magick in my rituals. Intuition dictates that with this combination, I should have even better results. I am not too concerned with this for now though. I am just answering the two callings I have in a way that helps me thrive spiritually. I use rituals that incorporate both some standard Wiccan magickal tools, such as a wand and an athame, but also include prayer and a chalice filled with blessed, Holy water from my local parish.

I like to think that I am the kind of person who accepts people from all walks of life and faith, or even no faith. This is not always easy in a world that has people of different faiths and paths, drawing lines and grabbing at power and control, but I think I do it as well as just about anybody. The key has been to nurture an open mind and often examine myself and my motives. Over time, this has lead to a level of self-awareness that allows me to be true to self, and at the same time, let others be as they are.

I remember a small event that took place several years ago, which let me know I was making progress. I realized as I watched a political debate on the television that I wasn’t getting angry with the commentator who was espousing what I felt was the wrong side of the argument. I told my wife that in the past, I would have turned off the T.V. in anger and disgust, unable to handle emotionally my own internal conflict that watching the show produced.

Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t too long ago that the very sight of a Pentagram made me cringe. In case you don’t know, the sight of a Pentagram can send shivers down the spine of many Christians who don’t know better; that it is not a symbol of evil, but of things that are life affirming and good. I look back on this now, and chuckle at my own built in sense of prejudice, especially now, knowing that much of what the Christians practice, borrow from Pagan traditions.

I personally believe that most religions have it wrong in the sense that they tend to foster a kind of ‘us and them’ attitude among their members. I believe, as did Gandhi and many others, that the idea of being separate from each other and even with the natural world is an illusion. We are all one and need to start acting that way. I look at it such that each being is like an individual cell that is part of a greater living being, and when one of us is deprived, sick or in trouble, we are all effected.

The Catholic Church systematically adopted many of the old ways and gave them a new twist, in order to bring more souls into the Christian fold. I think that after some analysis, one will find more similarities between Paganism and Christianity than differences.

I’ve recently begun investigating Hoodoo traditions and have learned how they are interrelated with the Catholic Church. I am excited to follow that path farther to see where it takes me. It is interesting to me that each Catholic Saint is attributed with special powers to help those who petition them with prayer requests. How is this different from one Wiccan praying to Odin and another praying to Diana?

I subscribe to the tenet that all Gods are one God, and that Love is the highest law. But, while I am here on this good earth, I expect that struggle and conflict, whether from external sources, or from internal issues, will always be a part of life for me, just less so as the years go by.