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Friday, July 31, 2015

Magic, Science and the Natural World

8" diameter Abundance and Prosperity hex sign, painted
since new moon here at
I realize that my background in science -- and the "hard sciences" of physics, astronomy and of mathematics  and engineering as well -- likely give me a bit of a different perspective as a witch. Add to this that I see much of the alleged "common culture" in a different way (see previous post A Manifesto - I am not what you think you see. ) than most folks and I can easily understand when moments of disharmony crop up with other Pagans and witches.

Hence, this entry.

Many online sources have been making a big deal out of the full moon tonight, a so-called "blue moon." I have stated my opinion online that, " There are actually multiple definitions of "blue moon" and I prefer mine to be the least common of all -- when the moon ACTUALLY appears blue, because of particulate matter of a particular size, in the correct place in the air between me and it. THOSE happen "once in a blue moon" in my world. The other two varieties are far too common." Research has shown me that even my take on the potential frequency of the "blue moon" is more often than the term originally was meant to express, as it was used in the same manner as "when pigs fly." Short of being launched by a hurricane (which could arguably be considered to not meet the criteria) visually appearing blue moons are, in my experience, at least possible. I have seen one, just one, in my 67 years. I have also seen a solar green flash but that is a topic for another day.

I, personally, do not consider having two full -- or for that matter, new, first quarter or last quarter -- moons in the artificial construct that we call a month to be of any particular significance.  Although the month (in Old English monaĆ°, related to the word for moon) was originally calculated from lunar cycles, the increasing importance of agriculture (both planting and animal husbandry), upon which the seasons have more effect than the phases of the moon, led to an almost universal use of a solar-based calendar. This calendar has been changed, adjusted and manipulated across the centuries, and continues to be, although nowadays the ongoing adjustments are in the range of "leap seconds" rather than "leap years." Since I farm, using a conventional yearly calendar does help me to keep track of planting schedules, frost dates (both in the spring and fall) and mundane events such as appointments with my health care provider. 
One pea harvest, just after new moon

For other things, such as many "witchey matters" I find a lunar calendar most appealing. I do, given that our solar calendar has given one day of the week to Frigga, Odin, Thor and Tyr, acknowledge them on "their" days. As I observe and acknowledge the moon cycles, however, I am less likely to work with the astrological correspondences (either tropical or sidereal, the type of astrology that I practiced, which works with the actual positions of the planets in the constellations their precessed and therefore current locations ) than I am to tie my working to what's going on in the natural world around me. I understand the various cultures' naming of the moons, though I can not accurately apply any one sequence of names to what I experience. And, if you have followed my writings for any time at all, you will know that my own experiences (also known as UPG) are the basis of my practice and my work. Last month was The Month of the Fireflies. This is The Month of Summer's Coming, which leads directly into the cross quarter coming up early next month: First Harvest. While we do not yet have local corn to celebrate, there are, or have been lettuce and spinach, peas and beans and asparagus, strawberries and blueberries. I can likely harvest some early potatoes soon. None of the poultry are mature enough for the table yet, but the freezer is full of unexpected spring pork and last fall's second turkey. 
Beans and peas harvested yesterday

In my world, there are logical, repeatable and proven scientific truths upon which I base much of my agriculture and my witchey work. This has always been the very foundation of my life and will continue to be so. However much the natural world around me obeys the laws of physics and thermodynamics, though, there are also always variations and surprises. Worlds beyond mine intersect, touch and impact my little world, be they the doings of the Asgardians or of the mundanes.
Helping them to grow: trellis for
pole beans (dried bean crop)

While at least some, if not many folks might find that magic and witchey doings incompatible with science and I find some pagan and witchey folks somewhat out of sync with the actual natural world around them, in my world they all work together for me. That does not imply that anyone else's world's rules are anything other than different than mine. We all, to a greater or lesser degree, create our own realities and I know many folks do share the "common culture" world which I occasionally visit. Your mileage will vary. 
4 chicks hatched by Lady Grey the
turkey since the new moon

6 turkey poults hatched by Lady Grey
since new moon
Ducklings at 5 weeks old
Turkeys from the first hatch!
And here at the sign of the Fussing Duck and Dutch Hex Sign, I will lift a glass tonight to Frigga, light a needfire and toast the abundances coming forth from my fields and flocks and hex work. In addition to the 10 new additions to the flocks shown here, there are 11 young ducklings happily putting on size and feathers out in the barnyard as well as three young turkeys from the first hatch. The summer temperatures have arrived and while they do not make for a very happy worker, I am thankful for the growth on the tomatoes, peppers and vine crops. Hopefully there will be squash and pickles this fall!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Manifesto - I am not what you think you see.

Went to the doc this week, not that I needed to... but when I went in a while back for allergies, the receptionist told me I had need of an appointment for something undefined so I bit. Turns out it was a follow up for my GERD, on account of having to have the prescription renewed. Whatever. I did find out that the doc who had ignored my rejection of his "if the antihistamine doesn't work" back up plan is no longer with the practice.

Skeins of black yarn, spun during the "Tour de Fleece."
Turns out my blood pressure, which has been high since last August-Sept when I started the rounds of dental work necessary to move forward with the knee surgery. It proceeded to stay high, hitting a few reading in the scary-high area over the next few months, including while I was in the hospital after surgery. Thankfully, no one suggested medication, as it came down into the high, but not dangerous level and stayed there pretty much since a couple of months post op. Until a week or so ago, that is... when I got a strange, off the wall, reading much closer to what it used to be... For most of my life it seemed to be fixed at 100/60. For the last week it's been a wee bit above that, but pretty much staying stable, not only with my wrist monitor device but also, today, at the doc's office. Thank you, spinning! Thank you, Tour de Fleece! So she could not fuss at me about my blood pressure... nor apparently my cholesterol, which was "excellent" with the last blood work. So she decided to pick on my weight.

I will admit I weigh more than I want to, at 170 more or less. But, as K says "we are not gaining, and in this world, that is something!"  I have been working on losing but it doesn't seem to happen. The only times I have been able to loose weight I have had to do things that are NOT good.. extreme calorie reduction, "eating funny" etc. I do not drink soda, eat processed or convenience foods as a rule (and seldom even once a week on our town trips now that I usually leave after an early lunch and go solo). I don't keep boughten "snack food" in the house and rarely snack anyway. Seldom buy chips, only have cookies or cake when I make them which is not even weekly.

She wants me to keep a food diary for a week, so I can get a calorie count. Standard good idea, except that when you cook from scratch, not using recipes or even measuring, how the heck are you supposed to find the calorie count of such things as tacos, casseroles, or even tonight's supper of turkey in gravy made from the broth resulting from the cooking in the crock pot and flour, home made stove top stuffing and peas. I could probably easily google the count on the peas, if I weighed or measured my serving , and the turkey as well but... "it's just math" she says... but even if I were to take the time to try to measure everything in a meal as I cooked it this week, I have a pretty good idea it won't be the same next time I make the same dish.

She wants me to walk. Just walk... not going anywhere or doing anything. Yeah right. And that was what got me going on this rant/manifesto.  Because I do not REALLY live in your world, Doc.

 I do not live in a world where I have a job and spare time and hobbies and such. And even when I did have a job in town -- last year... I am coming up on a year of "retirement" from that world -- I did not live in that world, only visited it when needed. That is true, today, as well. My egg delivery, staples shopping, visits to my favorite yarn shop for the weekly Tour de Fleece check ins are just visits to another world, scheduled (sometimes with difficulty) around what I consider to be Real Life. It's a long way from here to there in many ways. Fourty-five minutes for a one way trip is nothing to sneeze at when the price of fuel is up, but the mental distance is even farther and truth be told, I think the distance between the greater Bangor area and the lands of Fussing Duck Farm and hex central is even farther for those who live in town!

Ever hear that saying "You create your own reality?" Despite all those who diss the idea, yes, indeed you can. I did and I do. In my world it is important to DO as much as you can for -- and by -- yourself to keep body and soul together, keep roofs over heads, food in the belly and clothes on the back. No, I
Fruits (actually vegetables) of my labors -
yielded 3.5 lbs shelled peas.
don't live in the 1800s -- and for this I am glad, for had I been born there, I would have actually died. I do, sometimes, appreciate modern medical advances and technology. My pain-free knees, and the medium I am using to communicate these thoughts attest to that. But in my world, most often the old ways get first crack at solving problems: herbs over drug store potions, letters, face to face meetings and at last resort digital communication over electronic summoning of disembodied voices, the fruits of ones own labors over laboring for money to buy fruit. Exercise is not something one stops working to do, but something you get from working. Meditation is not something one stops thinking to do, but something you fall into while spinning or weaving or knitting. Everything, it seems, serves more than one purpose.

Yes, it is hard work. Yes, I am often alone (but seldom lonely, thanks to this little bit of technology with which I communicate.) And yes, as I get older, it gets harder, I hurt more and more often in more places. But it is also just as satisfying a life as it has ever been, perhaps even more so.

In the modern world, where appearance seems to take the forefront and where many try to stand out by dress, or in other ways, you probably would not give me a second glance were you to pass me on the street. Internal differences, attitudes, outlooks don't often show. And I come from a long line of German witches. While we never tried to "fit in" we did not try to stand out, as many do these days. We were -- and are -- the folks that live just beyond.... just outside the routines of the mundane world, just a bit farther from town than you typically go. Those who need and really want to find us will, and do. To the rest, we remain overlooked.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Frigga's Day and Tour de Fleece

Just a quick blog post, for Frigga's Day and in honor of the Tour de Fleece which begins tomorrow in conjunction with the Tour de France cycling event. I started attending weekly knit-and-spin nights at my local yard shop, One Lupine, around about this time last year, and was intrigued by the folks who were busily spinning as part of this event.  This year, though it comes at a busy time of the year, I decided to join in.

Five of 8 bags currently full of FREE fleeces!
I know that, for the yarn shop, sponsoring a team is at least partly about making money. One Lupine sells roving (from which you can spin yarn), spinning tools, etc, as well as yarn. I also know, from having hung out with the folks at the store and some of the customers for a year now, that it is not just about making money or moving products. Everyone associated with the shop is passionate about fiber and eager to share their interest and knowledge whenever they can. As a business person, I also know that this is one of the best ways to build a loyal customer base, of which I am pleased to be a part.
...three bags full! Black, brown and
I don't buy lots of stuff -- and my main focus for my spinning projects for the Tour will involve trying to work up as much of my backlog of free fleece as I can -- but rest assured that I am hoping my current cash flow issues resolve
before the third week of the Tour -- when the "challenge week" at the store will feature a wonderful roving of yak and silk... two fibers that I would love to play with and I know I will never find offered for free -- like my fleeces -- on Freecycle or Craig's list.

Most of a fleece, in the grease,
that I am working on carding.
My first successful attempt at washing wool!
So today, in addition to working in the garden, I am hoping to get the bit of white wool that I have washed and dried processed through my new little baby drum carder. I have a decent start on the black wool which I am working in the grease ( my favorite way to card and spin wool). Above is the contents of ONE of many bags I have that I got for free, spread out on our kitchen table.
drum carder

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Connecting with "The Wild"

On Solstice just past, I attended a wonderful ritual with a local group called The Fellowship of the Wild. We met, in the rain, off a trail on land belonging to the University of Maine. It was a great event with good people, and I have been thinking about "the wild" with at least the back of my mind in the days since.

I was first introduced to the concept of "encouraging" or "allowing" the wild to be part of one's land in the 70s, by a friend who spent some time at Findhorn. This was long before they became an organized foundation and association, not long after the founders, Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean settled in an old Scottish trailer park in 1962 and began to transform the place, under the guidance of the land wights and plant devas, into an amazing garden spot. One of the first "teachings" that I recall my friend sharing, was the spirits insistence on having a spot left un-tended.

Now, I have never been any more fanatical about keeping my garden "Better Homes and Gardens" perfect than I am about keeping my dwelling to those standards, so untended areas were always about on any land I tended. I did, upon learning of the Findhorn protocol, begin deliberately setting aside a wild area and dedicating it to the spirits and wild things. And over time, I have noticed that the plants in my tended garden tend to "talk to me" more and do so more clearly.

Our "proto-forest" wild area as seen from the back field. Note the power lines running behind it; the darker forest behind
is on neighboring land, beyond a driveway.

Proto-forest wild area as seen from back deck.
Here at Fussing Duck Farm, our "wild area" is what we call the "proto-forest" in the back north east corner of the 4 acre plot. Since, as I joke, "we bought the only land in Maine without any trees," it was my intention to allow the "baby" birch, pussy willow and other woody things that were already trying to grow in that corner to continue and to possibly spread. The trees that were, at the tallest, my height in 2008 are now much taller. We use that grove as a place for offerings from our blood sacrifice (from butchering fowl for food) and as a final resting place for farm animals that die of old age or predation, when we find the remains.

Almost anyone who lives in a house on even the smallest bit of land can set aside a bit for a wild place. It really need not be any more than a square foot or so in an inconspicuous corner, deliberately left un-mowed and dedicated to the land spirits, the plant devas and /or the fae. If you feel inspired to do so, adding a flat stone in or adjacent to the wild place, can serve as an altar though even this is more for us than for "Them." It could be a place where you might put a small offering of food, or onto which you pour a libation at the turning of the year.

When I lived in an apartment with a patio or balcony, I found a larger type flower pot and mostly filled it with readily available potting soil. Then, as I went about my wanderings in my neighborhood, I gathered little bits of actual soil from here and there and added it to the mix. Keeping the "empty" pot watered for a while (when and if the rain was not sufficient) I soon had a bit of wild at my doorstep! No one ever complained about, or actually ever said anything about my "pot of weeds"... but if it had been a concern, I would have just become familiar with the botanical (Latin) names of my potted wild things, so that I could rattle them off at anyone who might have commented, fairly sure that would deflect the issue.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Post Solstice Post

I had a wonderful experience on Sunday, celebrating the summer solstice with a group of Bangor area Pagans who call themselves the Fellowship of the Wild, and who are focused on DOING things and doing them OUTDOORS and for REAL.  Now, I have no issue with those who, for whatever reason, cannot spend much time outside, whose bodies no longer allow walks, cannot tolerate chills/wet and so on. But along the way on my path, it's been my experience that most of the folks I have met prefer to do their spiritual workings indoors. There is definitely a time and place for that in my world (the dark of winter, in the northlands, calls me to long sessions by the hearthfire, indoors, for study and contemplation and spinning and weaving), it is my considered opinion that those who avow an "earth- or nature-based spirituality," who do not spend at least SOME time in outdoor ritual, meditation, contemplation and simple observation are really missing the boat.

They remind me of Christian friends who seem to think that attendance in the church of their choice on Sunday -- at least some of the time -- is sufficient to cover their spiritual needs. Maybe it is, I am not them and do not walk in their shoes. However I have read in entirety their Book -- more than once -- and my "take away" was that their Gods want them to DO stuff... walk their talk, as is sometimes said. It is, I think, one think that my Gods have in common with theirs. They want me to DO STUFF.

There are probably those who scratch their heads and wonder, though, because the more I step into the Crone, the less inclined I am to do those things out in the world, in public and focused on collecting like-minded spirits and attempting to educate the masses. I have walked many miles on my path, over many years and much of my younger life and energy WAS outwardly focused as an environmental activist in the '60s and 70s, in community organization and in community organizations through the "mommy years." During those years, it seemed like I had the ability to tap into a boundless pool of energy, to just keep going and sharing and doing... Now, looking back, it seems like I was borrowing that energy from the Universe and not getting recharged, as many, if not most of the people I "served" in my activist days, took the energy for granted and did not in fact allow it to balance by sharing as well.

So now, by and large, I have pulled my energies back to focus on these four acres, on my own health and that of my partner, the creatures and the plants we tend. From our little homestead I share what and when I feel inspired with those to whom I am inspired to share. And as I age, I am finding that I must increasingly accept #OneStepAtATime as sufficient. 1/3 of the long row of peas weeded, one variety of trees, of which there are three waiting (10 of them) planted, manured and mulched... and so on.

Yeah, the garden looks weedy. I am doing things differently this year, as we and our equipment both age and change. Rather than allowing, needing, expecting the weed control between rows to be managed by Tractor Guy and Fergie (both of whom are having increasingly long down times) I have planted closer together with the intention to hand-weed. And yes, #OneStepAtATime it is getting done... between the paper weed block and hand work when the soil is damp. While I am working between the pea and onion rows (onions with weed block paper) I am pulling the weeds that are fighting to compete with the onions by poking up through the onion planting holes. The first planting of lettuce has been weeded, the second is holding its own, thanks to my having turned the soil manually before planting and the third planting is just beginning to sprout, under a light in the kitchen.

The spinach second planting is doing good, as well. These crops -- peas, onions, lettuce and spinach -- were all planted in soil that had not seen plow or cultivator since the previous year. Fergie was down and things NEEDED to go in, even later than usual on account of our prolonged early damp and cold spring. So the weed pressure on this early part of the garden is much worse than "it should be."
As you can see from this potato patch, which was planted in soil that Fergie worked with her cultivator, which was then loose enough for me to easily hit with the scuffle hoe early on as the potatoes were just beginning to emerge and the weeds were only 1/2" tall, the later plantings in turned soil are doing much better in the weed department.

Because of my massive allergy attack which did its best to emulate the viral illness that has been plaguing folks here abouts this spring, I lost a good two weeks of productivity -- and mis-allocated over $200 towards a small drum carder, when I allowed myself to order it while I was ill, not firing on all brain cells and therefore failed to notice that the check for the electric had not cleared. Ouch! Hopefully, more hex orders will come next month, as I am finally managing to complete the last of the current backlog with the intent to ship them this week.

And as I sometimes struggle to put one foot in front of the other (both literally and figuratively on some days... though the knees work well -- and I can even use my step stool now that I have continued to gain strength -- the rest of the body is still old, arthritic and stiff and lets me know a day or two after I plant 10 trees or spend hours with a hoe.... as I struggle I appreciate the efforts of my younger colleagues to step outside of their comfort zones and stand in the rain, on a cold day in June, in a woods in Maine, to welcome the turning of the wheel of the year yet another notch. We all struggle with something. Being out in the rain is not "natural" for town-raised youth. Finding one's place in the chain of life -- between the ancestors and our progeny; finding one's way through the middle years, through the mommy years, into and through aging... there are no directions and the few signposts that our forebearers may have left are hard to find and falling by the wayside as the rate of change in the world tries to make them irrelevant. May we all continue.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Grouchy, Selfish Witch

For years I have wanted to be that old crone, living off the beaten path, pretty much in solitude, and happily so... tending her flocks and gardens, picking herbs and concocting potions, spinning up fiber and thoughts of AllMother... and pretty much leaving the world to its own devices.

That seems like a selfish thing, although I cannot put words to why. In my imagining, said witch might, if someone found their way to her clearing, be willing to "try for them" as those of my tradition say... I say "might" because of course it is not only her choice but influenced by her perceptions of their commitment and motives, the input from the Gods and -- this is a witch, after all -- the phase of the moon. And of course, if they caught her in a good mood. LOL  Even good witches have bad days, you know.

Now that I have my 4 acres and a garden, flocks of chickens, ducks and turkeys, spinning wheels and looms, more wool that "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and no requirement to hit the town regularly for a paycheck, it seemed that I had almost become that witch in many ways.  Oh, my acres are far more open and visible to the naked eye of the passer by than in my imaginings, but the wards, and the electric fence, keep most wanderers at bay.

I have been working this past year towards a goal of no more than once a week trips to "town" (Bangor) and hoping to bring that down to an even lower number, including trips to our little town center, if it could be called that, with the post office and grocer and such.

There are things that I DO want to share with those who would hear and appreciate ... things about my spiritual path, about the homestead and such... and I appreciate having the Internet for such a purpose. But, at the same time, I feel I have gotten drawn too far into too many other people's lives. And having been so drawn, I guess it feels selfish to back away from friends -- both those I know in person and those I only know, though I fell I know them no less, though the miracle of electronics.

But I need to. I, more than anyone I know, gather strength and energy from my solitude; from hours of silence broken only by the calls of the birds (wild and domestic),  the whirr and buzz of passing wings, the rush of the wind through the grass and the trees. Solitude allows my thoughts to first unwind and then coil up around a stalk of grass or the tendril of a breeze and realign with the earth and the Gods.

In the busy-mess (I had intended to write busy-ness but my typo seems more accurate) of the world, Hearthfire Hill and the Fussing Duck Farm stand apart. While we are becoming a part of a widely dispersed community, sharing blessings as eggs and produce from time to time, it seems that I need to continue to move further into solitude for my physical and spiritual health. I am no longer the young woman, the mother, who could just keep drawing energy and keep going seemingly endlessly. I have limits and they don't just make themselves known gently. Like me, (since they ARE mine, after all!) they kick butt.

This is not to say that I do not need, want, and appreciate my larger community. I do... and in many ways I need it more than I want to admit. I could really use a couple of friends with trucks and a bunch more with shovels for a "shit slinging party" that would not involve politics but instead actual manure -- and most likely beer and burgers on the grill. Or, maybe an easier to come by group with hammers and pry bars for a less messy "nail pulling party" to help prep the recycled wood for our barn. The beer (or wine... this is me, after all!) or sweet tea and burgers or bbq pork are a given.  If you are local and interested in helping a sometimes crotchety old crone, shoot me an email.  Meanwhile, I'll be here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How I "Pagan"

A chance conversation at my knitting group recently -- one of the members trying to figure out how I knew some folks (not knitters) that we have in common on social media -- the subject of gaming and a conclusion of that being the commonality caused me to correct the assumption. No, not gaming... though I do know a lot of folks who play, I am not part of that community. The commonality, I said, is Paganism, which brought a bit of a puzzled look. Since I do not regularly attend events in Bangor, neither the quarter and cross-quarter rituals held at the UU church, nor the moon cycle events at the Temple of the Feminine Divine, I am not associated with that brand of spirituality.

This got me to thinking about why I do not travel to these events regularly (I have never, actually, been to the Temple though I have attended several rituals at the UU's facility since 2008) and exactly how it is that I do my Pagan thing. 

First off, while I DO drive and DO have (usually, at least) a running vehicle at my disposal, I do not LIKE being in town. Bangor is not bad as towns go, but I have spent lots of time in towns over my life and really would prefer never to have to go there. Town folks just seem to have different priorities, a different sense of time, not to mention the fact that towns are filled with people and cars and such.

I also have a very busy, crowded life here on the farm and time is always at a premium. When I was working in town (mostly mornings and usually early mornings at that) the last thing I really wanted to do was hang around for hours (usually with nothing productive to do) until evening came and it was time for a scheduled event. Town folk don't usually think about the fact that a 2 hour event that may require 15 minutes travel time for them turns into close to a 4 hour event when you count travel from an outlying town. The timing likely pushes supper time early and/or bed time late which not only affects the attendee, but also the rest of the family if they are not involved.

There is also the fact that I work with very specific Deities, who have some very specific ideas about how their followers need to live. I know many Pagans are actually quite satisfied with rituals that invoke an unnamed God and Goddess; many others are not even actually Deists, but more follow the lines of animism or other related paths, which they are welcome to do. However, generic ritual format, especially for "seasonal" rituals, when the season being celebrated or welcomed is weeks from its actual appearance in the Northlands, really does nothing for me. And, more importantly, nothing for my relationship with my Gods.

Frigga would much prefer that I be honoring her by cleaning my stove than by chanting in a circle. Mani (moon) and Sunna (sun) are not even viewed in my practice as having the same gender identification as is accepted in most Pagan circles. And while my practices are in a Northern Tradition, I am not of an Asatru community either, nor am I looking for one. There is too large an element of UPG in my practice (not surprising considering that the beginnings of my journey involved nothing more than inspiration -- or direct communication if you will -- from the Elements, celestial bodies and various Gods and Goddesses.) I began my journey, as I continue it, solitarily and based in my home and on my land. Have there been other people, books, etc. from which I have learned along the way? Yes, there have.. starting with a philosophical conversation with a young friend in which I first heard the word "pagan" applied to what I thought, believed and did. Have those people, books, etc been at the core of my practice or learning? No, never.

I "Pagan" by what I do, day in and day out, it's a "chop wood, carry water" kind of thing I guess. My Gods guide my mind and my hands as I tend my flocks and fields. I honor them as I harvest and preserve, as I spin and knit and weave and sew. Blood sacrifice? ...every time a fowl goes to "freezer camp," yes. Offerings to the spirits of the land? With every bucket to the compost, yes; with every "first harvest" pick of fruit or vegetable held aloft, the call of "Hail! and Thanks Be!" most definitely. With every Friday's Needfire and time of communing with Frigga, and fire at the dark and full moons (wind willing!) I honor the incremental turn of the earth, and the Powers That Be that guide us and I give thanks. With every dawn's greeting "Hail to the sun..." and "penny dance" abundance ritual that follows "From the Gods to the earth to us, from us to the Gods, that there might be much for many."

There are, I think, as many ways to "Pagan" as there are to "Christian" (and possibly to do other paths, though those are the two with which I am most familiar.) I was raised as what I call a "Christmas and Easter Christian." We regularly attended church at those times. Sometimes more often and my mom taught Sunday School for a while, but as I grew up, I learned that the church in which I was raised was a compromise for my folks and mostly they joined because it was socially required to be associated with a denomination. There was no prayer, typically, in our home; the Bible was not read regularly. There was no religious paraphernalia nor icons about. I know other Christians for whom Sunday attendance was mandatory, but little else was involved and even the ethics of following that path were ignored regularly. And I know still others for whom daily prayer, study and Christian ethics of charity and compassion take the forefront of their practice.

I am equally sure that there are Pagans for whom attendance at regular rituals is all that is required. I am also sure that there are many who include daily practice along with public or private group ritual.

Do I think, sometimes, that it would be nice to have a friendly Pagan neighbor just down the street, who might drop by and join me on a Friday night if s/he heard the drum or saw the flicker of my fire? Occasionally, yea, I do. But mostly I do like being alone, far from the madding crowd: the witchey crone surrounded by fields and fowl.