Saturday, October 31, 2009

Art of the Month: October

Here are my Halloween critters. An owl for Ky, and some funny spiders. I wanted some little critters that were a bit creepy and homemade. They are probably more funny than creepy though...

Oh and here's a dancing Tigger...just because he's cute.

Happy Halloween and a blessed New Year.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Here are our offerings to the pumpkin spirits for this year. Dave made the skull, (here's hoping he wins the pumpkin carving competition at work tomorrow) Kyan's is a mummy. Out of all of the characters associated with Halloween he seems to like mummies best and I saw an example of a mummified jack-o-lantern in a magazine this year. And I chose a funny shaped pumpkin and thought an owl (also a favorite of Ky's) would be fun.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book of the Month: October

As usual I like to keep the book of the month posts as thematic to the seasons as possible. This month I've chosen The Pagan Book of Halloween: A Complete Guide to the Magick, Incantations, Recipes, Spells and Lore by Gerina Dunwich, which is now out of print it seems but she has another one, released in 2007 named A Witch's Halloween with the same subtitle. This book was borrowed from a friend and I found it useful in writing my guest blog post for Mrs. B's day 5 of the 31 Days of Halloween.

There is lots to read about in here as the subtitle suggests but I would say that it mainly focuses on the folklore surrounding Halloween. She has assembled an overview of just about everything you can think of that is associated with Halloween today: black cats, bats, jack-o-lanterns and such. It is a nice book to have as a reference and as a guide towards deeper research. It is a fun read but is not written for the pagan reader who wants to delve into specifics, so just keep that in mind if you consider adding it to your collection.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Preparing to Dance the Spiral...

I've caught the fever for posting ever day as we lead up to Halloween/Samhain. This is going to be an experiment for me but I'm just loving every one's posts for Domestic Witch's October Party and of course Mrs. B's 31 days of Halloween giveaway. If this week works out well I think I may do this for each Sabbat as a way of keeping myself present and mindful of the seasons and festivals.

Last night was Vancouver Reclaiming's 17th annual Spiral Dance. This was my fourth time attending. It has become a tradition for me and several of my friends. It is a chance to celebrate the New Year with other pagans and honour the ancestors, newly dead and newly born. Each year there is a trance journey to the summerland to visit the ancestors and last year I found that I had a hard time staying in the trance. I took some steps in the following months to work on trance and this year I noticed a huge difference. I also prepared myself by trying to have a mellow "ish" day.
I took a bath which was only interrupted once. Of course the interruption meant that the water filled with tangerine-sage bath salts got cold but I tried to enjoy it once I got back.

My witchy outfit. For the last three years I've worn this vintage feather hat and it really puts me in an otherworldly mood.

Took this one just before I left. The evening was thought provoking as always and this year they had some wonderful music. My trance was interesting and I'm still thinking about the messages and images I received. I will go into more details about them in the coming month as I plan on doing some introspective posts during November since it's the new year and my birthday month. There is usually a lot that comes up for me at this time of year. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Behind the Pomp: Pagan ceremonies & the Olympic torch

I was so thrilled to see the images of the Olympic torch being lit in Greece on Thursday. As you may or may not know the 2010 Winter Olympic Games are here in Vancouver this February. Representatives from Vancouver, tourists and dignitaries from around the world were witness to the ceremony that took place at the Temple of Hera where a theatrical group lead by an actress playing a high priestess made some prayers to Apollo and Zeus and passed the "sacred" flame and an olive branch to a Greek runner. I though the visual was lovely and I let my brain imagine a real ceremony and meaning behind the words, many moons ago. The eternal flame portion of the games was created for the 1928 Amsterdam games. Detailed in this article:

According to recent research by Bob Barney of the University of Western Ontario's International Centre for Olympic Studies, the mystical flame has its origins not in glorious Greece but in the rites of Freemasonry, and its belief in the regenerative power of fire.
"Jan Wils, the architect of the Amsterdam stadium, was looking for inspiration," Prof. Barney says. "And so he turned to his lifelong infatuation with the Masonic order."

When you get down to the nitty gritty of it all, well, this ceremony is a fabrication. The actual torch relay portion of the Games in which the flame is carried throughout the host country originated during the Berlin 1936 Olympics when the Nazis ruled Germany. In short they fabricated it. They admired the strength and power of Ancient Greece and even conveyed some propaganda about Greece's sacred sites being created by Nordic immigrants.

Does this remove the meaning for me? Well, I can't say I'm a huge Olympics bandwagon girl anyway. I think that each year they become less about the ideals of peace between nations through the glories of sport and become more corporate and more political. I still feel misty when that Canadian national anthem plays...but I don't put much stock in that feeling for long.

The interest in this story for me was that somewhere deep down we still feel our pagan roots. Some dramatist somewhere thought, how lovely to put some stunning women in gowns, with simple stones, and a modest fire container and have them pray to the old gods. And the result is something that visually struck me and probably many others who aren't pagans as well. I wish those priestesses would have been real ones and I wish that the ideals that the Olympics represent were real too. I hope they are real for the athletes because they are the ones that I care about when it comes down to it. They dedicate themselves to their sports and work very hard to make their dreams a reality. Apparently the only pagan ceremony that happened around the Olympic games in ancient times was the sacrifice of 100 oxen on the altar of Zeus.

Somehow I doubt that would move us to the same degree.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Fall Change over

Fall took a while to arrive this year. We had some really warm days after the equinox and it wasn't until October pulled up that we turned the heat on.

Summer decor is more sparse for us. I tend to simplify in the spring, removing clutter and making things feel lighter so that when the summer heat engulfs us we aren't reminded of it by our surroundings.

Autumn brings us a different perspective. The increase of chill in the air, spending more time indoors, I head towards cozy. Our bedspread changes from a fresh, cream coloured quilt to a thick, dark brown duvet. The throws are put out on the couch and the basket of baseball caps is replaced with one filled with toques, mitts and scarves in all their wooly warmness. I haven't yet been able to get the Halloween decor up, but at least our entryway is prepared. The shoe rack/catch-all table now has a black table runner to contrast the fresh green on from the spring, My sole surviving fall leaf tealight holder (from a set of 3....don't still makes me cry to talk about it) sits there and fills the room with the sent of pumpkin.

I'm busy these days with work and our second runny nose of the cold season but I am having fun too. Visiting, anticipating the fun of Halloween, gearing up for the Spiral Dance here in Vancouver on Sunday and revamping our family meal plan to create more balance and nutrition in our food. How is your fall progressing, what are you stirring up in your cauldron for the season?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

Well here I am...several hours into Blog Action Day and just getting to my post. This morning was not the easiest as Ky was in quite a mood. So despite a to-do list the length of my arm and the breakfast dishes (now joined by lunch) still on the kitchen table we headed out the door for a walk. My intention was to ground both my little earth sign and myself and write some notes while he played at the park. As we walked, Climate Change this year's topic, swirled through my head and was reflected in many different things. My son's delight as he saw transit trains and buses bringing people from place to place. A homeless woman's smile at Ky in his pumpkin hat while she ate cold food out of a tin can. She had spent the night on a slab of concrete beneath the bicycle bridge leading to the park. The Styrofoam container floating in the creek we crossed over which is a salmon habitat. The beauty of fallen leaves, a warm overcast day, and the sound of birds in the trees. And now I sit here to write about something that I am ashamed to say I barely knew about a few months ago. Something that is a Canadian issue with climate, oil and how we interact with the natural world.

Several months ago I listened to Sierra Club Radio's podcast from 2008 about the Alberta Oil Sands. They were trying to lobby Hilary Clinton to prevent a pipeline being built to pump the oil from Alberta into the United States. I had heard of this before but I did not know the extent of the actions that our provincial neighbours were taking to extract this oil. In their March 2009 issue National Geographic published an objective and well written article on the oil sands entitled: The Canadian Oil Boom: Scraping Bottom. This article presents facts that are important for all Canadians and Americans to know about this oil. Here is a sampling:

-"The U.S. imports more oil from Canada than from any other nation, about 19 percent of its total foreign supply and around half of that now comes from the oil sands."

-"Oil sands production uses enough natural gas daily to heat more than 3 million homes."

-"The oil sands are still a tiny part of the world's carbon problem-they account for less than a tenth of one percent of global CO2 emissions..."

Despite the obvious reasons that I would object to this method of extraction which can be explained more in the above link to the National Geographic article, I feel the underlying issue for me is the effect of this type of oil refining on the earth. On the Government of Alberta's website they say regarding the oil sands:

"Through ongoing research and technology work continues to find new and improved ways of recovering this significant resource and reducing the environmental footprint."

My question is how is that possible? The environmental footprint from this practice is HUGE. The means is not justified by the end. In the long term the area where this extraction is taking place is being destroyed. Again quoting Robert Kunzig from The Canadian Oil Boom:

"No where on Earth is more earth being moved these days than in the Athabasca Valley [Alberta, Canada]. To extract each barrel of oil from a surface mine, the industry must first cut down the forest, then remove an average of two tons of peat and dirt that lie above the oil sands layer, then two tons of the sand itself."

This oil is the result of the Athabasca River eroding away billions of cubic yards of sediment that once covered the bitumen which is eventually made into oil. This process took millions of years. How long will it take for this part of the Earth to regenerate from this horrible process? The key to this issue is to stop extracting "dirty oil" and work towards alternative fuel methods. The oil sands employee thousands of people many of whom have traveled from other provinces in search of work. I feel for these people and yet I believe that the oil sands must stop. Our climate, our Earth, our health and the health of wildlife in Alberta is at stake here. Sustainability is what we must work towards and this method takes too many resources and creates too much damage to ever be worth the oil to me.
If you live in the United States I encourage you to contact your local officials and let them know that you do not wish to buy oil from the Alberta Oil Sands. Here in Canada I hope you will all voice your displeasure with their existence as well. Here are some more links with relevant information.

Greenpeace Stop the Tar Sands

Sierra Club BC Minister: Climate Plans in Peril

Find your Member of Parliament to send an Email

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Just a quick note to say that Dawn at The Domestic Witch has posted an interview that she did with me. So head on over for a visit. I have been loving her October Blog Party. Hopefully she'll have it again next year so I can get my act together and join in.

And don't forget to check in tomorrow for Blog Action Day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Still Yellow

As I write this a pumpkin pie bakes in the oven. It is the first of two pies that I am making for this evening's third and final Thanksgiving dinner. Dave has been off work for the past five days which have been filled with family, food and for me a little relaxation. I had a massage on Saturday and while my body was relaxing my mind meditated on the glorious autumn leaves that are on display. In the summer I wrote about my new love affair with yellow and it is certainly not diminishing as the days turn colder. The hues are getting more subtle, more golden. They blend with other colours now so that I have to look a little closer to find them.

the bright yellow of a fallen maple leaf

golden leaves with hints of orange and brown

cranberries, garlic chives, basil and parsley. some for the freezer and some turn into...

cranberry sauce to go with the turkey. in a bowl with a hint of yellow

Happy Thanksgiving Canadians.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Poem of the Month: October

The air is getting cooler, the days shorter and there is something spooky in the air out there. This month's poem is one that speaks of the wise women and witches of old, and how they live on in us.

Her Kind

by Anne Sexton

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air,
braver at night; dreaming evil,
I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves, closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.

A woman like that is
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor

where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.

I have been her kind.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Blog Post Today

Please head on over to Mrs. B's 31 Days of Halloween Giveaway and check out my guest post today. My topic was apple bobbing....and I had a great time researching it.

For anyone visiting today from Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom, Welcome! And thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you find something interesting to read and come back again.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Living on the Edge: An Evening with Starhawk

Under an almost full moon I spent last evening listening to Starhawk with an intimate group of about 50 or 60 people. I can't imagine that any of you are not familiar with Starhawk but if not there is ample information about her on the web. Here are some links that can educate. Her blog: Dirt Worship, her website:, and Reclaiming's website, the tradition that she co-founded many years ago.
Starhawk's work is abundant and she is definitely a BNP (big name pagan). She is a role model for me. I was honoured to be in the same room with her and her talk did not disappoint me. She is humble, articulate, funny and very well educated. As Pat Hogan said in her introduction Starhawk walks her talk. She is a person who lives out loud but somehow remains grounded. I admire her writing but I admire her way of life as well. I think she represents a life choice that one part of me thought I might be someday. An activist in the outward sense, going to protests, being a public voice of change, working to connect different groups, standing up for change. I do feel that I'm doing that but the scale is very different. And I have chosen a path on which my feet need to tread at this time. I can not live the life that some one else lives. I must find my activism and work it from my path. But enough about that.
The topic for the evening was Frontline Spirituality. And what was meant by that was that the front line is where politics and spirituality meet. She made some great points one of which was that we should not always get warm fuzzies from our spiritual practice. What is spirituality for? Healing, a safe space, yes. But Starhawk believes that real spirituality is about making us feel uncomfortable sometimes and making us face our edges as humans and as a community. You grow by moving into the scary places, pushing the edges and moving through them. She spoke of the species that live on the edge of systems. Creatures that live where the water meets the rocks, where the forest meets the meadow. These are the most diverse creatures. This struck me as well.
I think that I've always thought that I live between things rather than in the thick of them. I have never subscribed to an exclusive group. I prefer to live on the edges where I can move between worlds. It just feels more real to me, it feels like I'm trying to honour the little parts that make up the whole rather than denying some that may not seem to fit with the others. Starhawk described living at the edges as being adaptable and creative. Creativity being our most valuable unlimited resource. She believes that through our creativity we will be able to change this world and deal with the challenges we face today like Climate Change. One key she feels will help us creatively is to have a daily communion with nature. Listening to what the earth is saying to us. Letting the mother open a dialogue and guide us toward the work needing to be done.

What a great experience this was. Not to mention that when I got home Dave had managed to get Kyan to sleep for the first time alone. It's a whole new world out there for me now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Another year of Apples & Pumpkins

This year's visit to the Apple Barn was new and exciting. Looking back at last year's post I can't believe how much Kyan has grown. He couldn't walk yet...and I seem to remember he liked the hayride much better last year. This time, not so much. He cried through the whole ride. But he did go into the bunny pen and he even exclaimed "Bunny!" a few times. He enjoyed jumping on the jumping pillow but most of all he loved picking the apples. It was a long day but a fun day. This new stage of his, being afraid of new things etc. is challenging, but I'm hoping he'll move through it and be all the better for it.

A few announcements...

Hey all. Welcome to October. It feels good to be here. I wanted to remind you that the new issue of Pagan Pages is up and here is the link to my Pagan Parenting article for this month. It's based on the concept "It takes a village to raise a child."

I also want to thank Sunfire at Pagan Blog Prompts for awarding me with the Kreativ Blogger award. A small disclaimer: I've only chosen one blog to nominate this time. I'm not much for rules.

Here are the award rules:
1. Thank the person who gave this to you
2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog
3. Link the person who nominated you
4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know
5. Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers'
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them

I would like to nominate Kaleanani at Alpine Sanctum. Her writing is so touching and I especially loved this post this week.

Ok. Seven things about myself that no one would really know.

1. I had a labret piercing (between chin and bottom lip) for a year.
2. My new t.v obsession is watching Rome.
3. Some day I would like to write a book and have it published.
4. I like to mimic accents.
5. I love thunder storms.
6. I broke my arm in Grade 4 after strapping cross-country skis on to my winter boots and trying to ski down a hill. (not my smartest moment)
7. I have sung back-up on both of my best friend's albums.