A "Do Nothing" Saturday

 What is a “Do Nothing” Saturday like at Many Hands House?

I awoke to a much anticipated  blossom:

An inter-library loan jackpot:

And even more book packages in the mail!:

Started kombucha:

  I also helped make pancakes, tore phone books,  cleaned the basement, did laundry, washed countless dishes, breastfed, soaked my little guy’s owie foot, rinsed sprouts, tested a new vegan cheese, held rats, listened to a chapter of The Sword in the Stone, and knit while the men role played.

And there is still SNL.

 

What does your family do on a “do nothing day”?

 
by Melanie

Who’s your patron deity?

This question came up among friends recently, and I was surprised at how hard it was for me to answer.  For many years, I could come up with a goddess or god, from whatever pantheon that had caught my eye at the time, and rattle-off the many ways that I was “working with” that deity (usually in ritual, and usually for my own purposes). 

Now, I worship the eldest tribe: Sun, Moon, Earth, Storm, Sea, the four Winds, Fire, Horn, and Green.  They walk their own paths, and to “summon” or “devoke” Them seems odd,  to say the least, if not downright delusional. If your patron goddess were Inanna, but she strolled through your town every morning, how would you “work with” her?  

We hold sabbat when the Moon is full, we sing the Sun back home at Yule.  When worshiping the Eldest gods, you can’t answer questions like “Who are you ‘working with’?” without first answering the questions “Where?” and “When?”  Land and season unraveled from my gods would only leave me with personified ideas who could not move beyond the boundaries of my own belief and imagination. 

The other question that I must ask is, “Who else?”  The Eldest are a tribe; they are related, one to the other.  At spring, the Green stretches from his Mother Earth towards the returning Sun.  We live in the midst of (and because of!) these interactions. We cannot attribute our lives to just one of Them. 

If the forces of nature are your pantheon, and the seasons are your mythology, then a question like “Who’s your patron deity?” becomes a bit more complex.

How would you answer?
 -Chris

Some thoughts on pagan gatherings…

What if…

…the Fire folk (those who build and keep the gathering fires, who spin and breathe fire)  were the ones who lit the torches at dusk?  What if there were songs they sung along the way?

…those who love Storm watched the weather, gave reports, alerted the tribe, and also poured offerings and beat the drum for His coming?

…the Sun folk blew the horns and sang the songs at Her rising and setting?

…the Moon folk rustled past our tents in quiet procession, or howled and rejoiced at His fullness?

…and the Green folk garlanded the trees, and the Red folk raised the stangs, and the Earth folk placed the great stones? 

…we realized that our goddesses and gods are right here with us, and we celebrated it?

-Chris

Red Tribe, Green Tribe

     See, in your mind’s eye those Three: the black-veiled Fates, sitting in the dirt at the crossroads, back to back to back.  Each stares ahead, each with a cloth spread before them.  You approach, and she casts the stones, and points silently towards the the fire of the Red, or of the Green, where the drums beat, and the godman (antlered or garlanded) welcomes you to your tribe.

    The red and green people gather,  in their own places.  The drums rise and fall, the dancers slow, and each godman tells their own tribes’ story.  Oaths are asked for and made.  Will the Red honor the grove of the Green?  Will the Green be host to the wandering Red?  Yes, yes and yes.

     The Red Tribe comes, approaches the Green.  The godman of the Red comes forth.  Gifts are poured; streams of wine, water and milk reach for the Earth. The godmen meet, embrace, and exchange torcs.  When the stang is set between the great white oaks, the peace between the tribes is sealed.  Two tribes pour into one, dancing, drumming, and singing.  Now, this day is also that first day, when twin sons of the all-giving Earth first made peace.

 

    

     

Crafting a Rite: The Union of Red and Green

This is the first of several entries that will show my thoughts processes for crafting a large ritual.  This ritual will take place at Sacred Harvest Fest 2010 (with the continued approval of the ritual coordinator).  Since there is virtually nothing written about the topic, I thought this might be a good place to share.

Every year, people gather under the beautiful oaks at Harmony Park to celebrate the harvest season.  I thought it appropriate (and long overdue) to create a ritual that casts this event in a sacred light, so to speak.  Because, for me, (thanks, Steven Posch) the Red = The Horned One = the symbol of all animal life on the planet; the blood-bearers.  The Green = The Green God = the symbol of all plant life on the planet.

So, how do you use ritual craft to encourage the feeling amongst the participants that they are, in fact, a cell in the body of the Horned One?  One idea I have is to process to the Twin Oaks in the form of the Ram-Horned Serpent:
The ram-horned serpent is a well-attested cult image of north-west Europe before and during the Roman period. It appears three times on the Gundestrup cauldron, and in Romano-Celtic Gaul was closely associated with the horned or antlered god Cernunnos, in whose company it is regularly depicted. This pairing is found as early as the fourth century BC in Northern Italy, where a huge antlered figure with torcs and a serpent was carved on the rocks in Val Camonica.[5]

A bronze image at Étang-sur-Arroux and a stone sculpture at Sommerécourt depict Cernunnos’ body encircled by two horned snakes that feed from bowls of fruit and corn-mash in the god’s lap. Also at Sommerécourt is a sculpture of a goddess holding a cornucopia and a pomegranate, with a horned serpent eating from a bowl of food. At Yzeures-sur-Creuse a carved youth has a ram-horned snake twined around his legs, with its head at his stomach. At Cirencester, Gloucestershire, Cernunnos’ legs are two snakes which rear up on each side of his head and are eating fruit or corn. According to Miranda Green, the snakes reflect the peaceful nature of the god, associated with nature and fruitfulness, and perhaps accentuate his association with regeneration.[5]
Other deities occasionally accompanied by ram-horned serpents include the Celtic Mars (who was a healer rather than a warrior god), the Celtic Mercury, and the Celtic sun-god, Lugh, with whom conventional snakes are also often associated.[5]

Before the rite, the participants tie red strips of cloth to their bodies, smear on some red body paint, and process, arm in arm, arms on shoulders, hand-in-hand, etc.  At the front a ram-horned stang is carried, and the Ram-Horned Serpent, He Himself, wends his way through the oaks to the ritual site.

More to come!! Post your comments!

Chris