I hate bullies

3e0def269d0f9ddf5d6e4b508f39b844Believe it or not, once I was a very quiet child. I didn’t get in anybody’s way, I lived and let live, I was tolerant of everybody, and then – high school happened.

It was a small school, and everybody knew everybody. There were two main factions in our grade: The Baptists on the one side, and the pot heads on the other. I was neither, so I wove in and out of both groups. Each had their perks, each had their detractors. On the pot head side, one of the boys was just as mean as a snake. We’ll call him Bruce.

Bruce never had anything nice to say to anybody. He brooded in the corner of the classrooms, making smart ass remarks to anyone and everyone, trying to be cool. I talked with my momma about him and she said not to give him any mind, his parents had gotten a divorce and he was just mad at the world. OK.  I could understand someone who is having to deal with something so life changing. But I sure steered clear of him, everyone did.

That is until, the senior trip. We took a huge honking Greyhound bus to Atlanta, Georgia; Atlanta, because we never could figure out where we wanted to go, so our Senior sponsors picked it out for us.

On the way back home, someone borrowed Suzie’s baby pillow. Suzie was a pretty little thing, had been the Homecoming Queen, was a Baptist. She could be snooty but everybody tolerated her, because, well, that’s what we did.

Now as you can imagine, that baby pillow got passed on from one class mate to the other, until it finally ended up at the back of the bus to Bruce. Bruce took great delight in describing LOUDLY, how he was going to pull out his knife and rip up Suzie’s baby pillow and throw it out the window. Suzie started to cry.

I don’t know what it was about that little baby pillow that broke that last straw I had; maybe it was seeing Suzie cry. But I stood up, turned around to the back of the bus, stared Bruce in the eyeball and said:

“GIVE. SUZIE. BACK. HER. PILLOW.”

“SHUT UP YOU IDIOT AND SIT BACK DOWN,” was his reply.

“GIVE. SUZIE. BACK. HER. PILLOW.”

The whole bus fell quiet.

I saw our senior sponsor start to turn her head to say something to him, then snapped her head back around and pressed her lips together. She was a wise ol teacher, and knew when to let things play out. I didn’t back down, but stood firm. What was he going to do to me? It was our senior trip. Chances were good I’d never see him after graduation.

“GIVE. SUZIE. BACK. HER. PILLOW.”

There was shuffling, then Patty (a toker) spoke up: “Bruce, just give her back her pillow.”

“Yeah Bruce, give it back,” said Nancy.

“TAKE IT BACK THEN, I DON’T WANT THE OLD STINKY THING ANYWAY,” said Bruce, as he threw it on the floor. Someone picked it up, brushed it off, and passed back up to Suzie. “Thank you,” she mouthed to me. I nodded and sat back down.

1e2I tell you this story because there are bullies on the internet, much like Bruce, who want to destroy things you and I love. Like Bruce, they’re mad at the world, have no real joy, friendship, or community, and so they lash out to those who do. Such was the case recently when a small, obscure Asatru group managed to get Facebook to delete the Asatru Folk Assembly’s page there.

It’s really not much to crow about. FB will delete almost any page if they get enough flack from members about it – even their own page is at risk. And yet still they crowed about it, like they had won some major battle. I’m happy to report that many, many people – not even AFA members – called them on the carpet about it. True enough, Freedom of Speech doesn’t apply to a private entity such as Facebook, but it is very much a heathen- and American – concept. We all have the right to believe what we believe, and to say what we believe.

They’re just bullies. Keyboard warriors, with no lives, no friends, no real faith. The AFA doesn’t have to do anything to them – they’ll self-destruct under their own misery. Bullies always do.

Suzie went on to marry the man of her dreams, and had three beautiful children.

Bruce ended up in prison for dealing heroin.

By the way, Bruce did smack me upside the head when we got off the bus. I literally,  laughed out loud. That was the best he could do. I’ve not been afraid of bullies since.

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Retreat! Retreat! Retreat!

retreatWhile I did, for the most part, enjoy my limited time as a good Catholic girl, there was one experience that was say, less than thrilling. It was the women’s retreat I went on.

Catholics believe that everyone, lay and clergy alike, should take a retreat once a year. I agree with the premise. We all need to unplug for a bit and get back in touch with ourselves and our deity (or deities, as the case may be), if not yearly then at least on a regular basis.

Imagine, if you will, starting your retreat at 8 am in the morning (after you worked until 11:30 the night before), having your phone and car keys taken away with you, and being lumped in with 40 of your (as yet unknown) newest female BFF who are all just so loving and affectionate I wondered if they had been taking ecstasy. Jesus! I start getting heart palpitations just thinking about it. Going without my phone was anxiety producing enough, and then they’re gonna take my only means of escape away? And leave me with a bunch of touchy-feely women, all set to give their weepy testimonial? What type of kool-aid was that, anyway? You gotta understand – I work around men, all day long, every day. I’m far more comfortable with men as friends, than I am with women. The amount of estrogen in the air was enough to change the sex of a pre-pubescent boy, and I’m not kidding.

But Marilyn, who had been my sponsor in my year to become a Catholic, loved this retreat. She sponsored it every year. Marilyn was awesome so I figured the retreat must be awesome too, so I decided to stay and give it a chance. Besides, I hadn’t seen her all summer, it would be good to see her again.

It was as bad as you think it would be. First up: Mass at 8 AM to start the retreat off right. I’d had about three hours of sleep, but made it there in time. While I’m sitting in mass, bleary-eyed and trying to stay awake, our dear Irish priest announced that the weekend retreat was dedicated to Marilyn ___, who had passed away that past summer, and who loved the Christ Renews His Parish retreats.

Wait, wait, what?? Marilyn was DEAD?? HOLY SHIT HOW COME I DID NOT HEAR OF THIS?? Immediately the tears started falling, silently at first but by the time mass was over I was full throttle hysterical. A couple of mutual friends came over to comfort me and told me what happened: she had tried to teach her autistic son how to drive one day, and he proceeded to drive straight into a telephone pole, killing her instantly. Her son was fine. The only good thing about it was, her son was so autistic that he never fully sunk in what had happened. Sheeeeesh. I figured she had just been skipping mass and going to the beach like most of the parishioners had been doing.

So yeah. That was the start of the retreat.

why-women-cryOver the next 32 hours, it never got better. We had group projects (ugh.) We had confession, which normally I really actually – enjoyed, but the priest I was assigned was a fricken psychic, man, and I couldn’t put anything over on him. We listened to testimony after testimony from weepy women all telling of their love of God and how they found their way to Jesus. We had to sleep INSIDE THE CHURCH ON AIRBEDS which I thought was sacrilegious, and some even slept near the altar. WHAAAT. I thought this was a Catholic Church, not a UU church! And then it came time they asked me if I wanted to get up and give my testimony. Nope. Nope I did not. I’m fine, thanks.

The ONE GOOD THING that came out of the retreat was this: at the very end of the last day, they gave us a manilla envelope some kid had colored a cross onto, and told to go find a quiet corner to go through it. What was in it, were things from our fellow parishioners, prayer cards,  rosaries, beautiful hand-made cards telling us they were praying for us, and last but not least – handwritten notes from our loved ones, just tossed into the fray like little emotional time bombs ready to go all explodey on our tear ducts.

Apparently, when we filled out the paperwork to attend the retreat, we had to fill out the “Who to call in an emergency” section which, unbeknownst to us, they used that person to contact other people you were close to, to write a little something-something so they could put it in the manilla envelope. Those sneaky little bastids.

The notes from my sisters were sweet. One sister remembered a time when we were at school, she was in second grade and I was in third, she was shivering from the cold, so I took off my coat and covered her with it. I didn’t remember it, but it warmed my heart that she did. Another note was from a young man who is like a son to me.

But the note that really wrenched out the last of the tears from the pit of my dark little soul, was the one from my daughter. Bear in mind now, she was in her early twenties at the time, we had just gotten over a very rough decade otherwise known as “the teen years,” and were just kinda sorta building up an adult-to-adult relationship. The note went like this:

I know we haven’t always gotten along. But my best memories of you are this: I don’t remember you ever working. I mean, I know you worked, but I don’t really remember you doing that. I just remember you spending time with me as I grew up, and making stuff with you.

Yup. Wheeee-howdy, I cried like a baby.

All those years of scraping by as a single mother, selling my wedding ring set so we could have food, working the evening shift because I could make $1 more an hour doing so, but having to get up at 6 am to drive her to school, all that – was worth it. Through all the bad times, she remembered the GOOD times the most, and really, what more can a parent ask for?

So over the next several weeks, I’m going to be sharing with you, how to “make stuff” with your kids; to Yule and beyond! And yes, I know the season’s the most crazy time of year – but find time to do something with your kids, anyway.

I promise you, they will remember it, and you will too.

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I hate to burst your bubble, so…

….Imma fixin to make you bust your own.

I don’t know how I became the Mother Goose to all my little liberal gosling friends, butjessie-willcox-smith-mother-goose-1914 they seem to be coming to me, huddling under my wing, hoping I will provide some comfort in these dire times. Me, who hates politics, who voted for Trump reluctantly, and who follows the news only because I’d be stupid not to.

But here they are, those who still talk to me, anyway. Apparently I do it well enough, because I get told “Thank you” a lot. I understand the need. They’re surrounded by Chicken Littles who are swearing the sky is falling, and who post faux-news article after faux-news article on Facebook and email, backing up their fears. Somewhere in that muck they find their way to me, who tell them to calm down, you’re not about to be rounded up and sent to a concentration camp (which was seriously, one of their concerns) – you’re not going to  have your right to abort a baby yanked away tomorrow, you’re not going to lose your same-sex spouse just because some LGBTQ website said you would.

Honestly I’ve been scratching my head wondering how we got to this point – where people a) don’t know how to do what every toddler has learned, and that is how to comfort themselves in times of distress and b) have apparently forgotten how to look at both sides of an issue, which is frankly what got the elitist leftists in trouble in the first place and what’s lost them the election.

So, let’s tackle both items and maybe someone will listen and learn, instead of interrupting me mid-sentence to tell me how wrong I am, which, you know, is one of the good things about having a blog – folks gotta wait until I finish before they start arguing with me.

First up: Comforting yourself in times of distress. Yes, I know many of you are anxious, worried, have true concerns about the upcoming Presidential term.The wailing and gnashing of teeth is hard to ignore. It occurred to me driving to work today that many people don’t have the same life-experiences I have had, so I’m going to share with you, what I do when I’m anxious about something, where I learned it, and how it helps. OK? OK.

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I learned it in child-birth classes.  You know, being preggers is a scary thing. There are a thousand and one different things can go wrong, your hormones are all wonky anyway, so you’re convinced every last one of those things are going to happen to you and your baby. You’re one great big ol’ ice-cream eating ball of anxiety. But my child-birth instructor, bless her heart, knew we were all like that and told us the ancient Chinese secret to fixing that anxiety problem: you educate yourself. That’s pretty much it. You educate yourself on what the REAL probabilities are and what you need to do to prepare “in event of….” That simple thing lowers your anxieties when you realize those monster events truly are rare – and when you know what can go wrong, you set up plans for even the rare things. Plan A, Plan B, the whole alphabet. The body is an amazing thing. When you educate yourself, the anxiety lessons, your body relaxes, and you hurt less. When your anxiety is elevated, you’re tense and you feel pain more intensely. That really is the best thing about child birth classes – you learn what to expect. Even if you don’t do the breathing stuff, you’re still more relaxed (and less pained) than if you had never taken them.

So educate yourself – which brings me to part B of my lecture today: learning to look at both sides of an issue.

echo_chamber_4_666_800_80You can NOT consider yourself an informed citizen if you are only reading one side of the story. You just can’t. One of my favorite buzz words of this election is “Echo chamber” and that’s what you do when you’re only reading liberal rags or conservative rags, or when all your friends think exactly like you do. You’re only learning what you want to learn, you’re only hearing what you want to hear, you’re only looking at one part of the elephant, and it’s usually the tail end of it.

I’m going to tell you to do something none of your liberal friends would DARE tell you to do – I’m going to tell you to feel up that whole elephant. Watch Fox News. Read the Breitbart stories. It works for conservatives, too: go on CNN. Check out Politico. Hell even see what thinkprogress has to say or even slate.While you’re at it? Make friends with people who think differently than you. You’ll both be richer for it.

elephant

Elephant. It’s an elephant.

Understand that EVERY media outlet has a bias, learn what those biases are, and learn how to filter them out to get to the core of the truth.

We have set ourselves into our own little bubble of an egg and it’s up to EACH of us to peck our way out of it. Do it. You’ll feel much less anxiety if you do, and besides, Tante Hilda demands it of you. I’m not going to be around forever to comfort you, you know, and you can’t live inside of an egg forever. That’s not where the living is.

Finally, one last word, because it seems so many need to hear it: It’s going to be ok. I promise.

Now get busy pecking.

How He Won

If you haven’t seen this video yet, watch it now. A leftist explains why Trump won. Language warning, if that triggers you –

People Have Done Lost their Damn Minds

indexIf you haven’t been on Facebook lately, don’t, and count your blessings. People there have done lost their damn minds.

I make a conscientious effort to have friends, both online and off, who fall on all sides of the political spectrum,  from far right to far left. Myself I generally fall somewhere in the centrist range. I always thought it’s best to keep one’s mind open and at least understand where the other side is coming from. I’ve always considered that a mark of an intelligent person.

Lots of otherwise intelligent persons are acting anything but, lately.

To start off, I have been pleasantly pleased (and honestly, surprised) with many of my friends who took Hillary’s loss and Trump’s election with style and grace. Even my daughter, after her initial hissy fit, settled into the “I don’t give a fuck” mode – which, you know, is not always a bad place to be. You can actually live a good life from that position.

It’s those who continue to beat their breasts, gnash their teeth, cry into their beer, and post every known speculative website article as “NEWS” ten times an hour on their Facebook page, that I really have concerns with. People whom I’ve always known as mature,  calm and rational are now raging lunatics.

67521285I understand outrage. I understand feeling shocked, crestfallen, and despair, which is why I called on my fellow folk to go gentle with them, give them time to heal, give them time to grieve. That is, until one of my self-proclaimed feminist friends started posting naked pictures of Melania Trump on her Facebook page, and then flat out denied that she was slut-shaming when I called her on it.

Now I know we all live near the River de Nial, but others  drown in it. You can’t help them out either, because they want to drown. It’s what they know and they’re going to stick with it, no matter what. All you can really do is hit the “unfollow” button and hope that one day they will see the error of their ways and calm the hell down.

And all these people protesting the election…. I certainly support their right to do so, but I have to wonder what they think they will accomplish by it. The election isn’t going to change. If they wanted change – they should have put all that energy into getting out to vote for their candidate, BEFORE the election. And who are these people protesting anyway – but those same “people of privilege” who are so demonized in  this day and age! imgur-833b51Who can afford to take time off from work to go protect an election? Certainly not me – I have to take PTO time to see the dentist, I’m not going to waste it doing something that won’t affect the outcome and most likely will get me arrested or pepper sprayed. Leave that for the rich kids whose parents are paying for them to go to college and have free time on their hands. I highly suspect most of them didn’t go vote and they’re really mad at themselves for not doing so.

But while we’re on the subject of “privilege,” let me just point this out, too: the left calling white people “privileged” because they’re white, is probably one of the reasons why white folks got out and voted. We know we’re not privileged, we’re hard working people, and what we have, is what we worked hard for. Continuing to push this guilt trip is only going to solidify Trump’s base.

Just so you know.

3 a.m Text From my Daughter…

… one line: “Well I guess you won’t be a grandmother after all.”

She was referring, of course, to Donald Trump’s election as President. She had told me before that if he won, she wouldn’t have any kids. This is what I texted back:

“Ronald Reagan won by a landslide the day after you were born. I was scared, too. It turned out OK. A strong, independent woman will live her life as she chooses, the way SHE wants, regardless of who’s President. Live fearlessly. It is truly act of rebellion. I will love you and support you, regardless of your decision.”

Let’s hope she chooses to have kids, or I’m gonna need to get an inflatable grandchild.

Grok the Folk

grokMany years ago, I took my then-love interest to visit my parents at their house, where we had coffee, chatted for a bit, and took a few pictures. John was second generation Irish, his grandparents, aunts and uncles were still in Ireland, and when they saw the photos, you know what struck them the most? My mom’s kitchen. “It looks like it came straight out of Ireland!” they said.

Now, I am NOT second generation Irish, in fact my mom’s family has been over here a long time. My grandmother’s grandparents came from Scotland, but my grandfather’s family came from Ireland – as far back as the Flight of the Earls, back in the 1600’s…..which is a long time to keep decorating your kitchen the same way your ancestors, did. One would think the 60’s or the 70’s would have changed one or two things.

Know what’s even weirder? I’ve had complete strangers ask me if I were Irish/ of Irish descent. I’ve asked them why they think that, and usually it’s because of how I talk. Apparently, every now and then, when I talk – I don’t break out in brogue as much as “sing-songy” – the cadence and inflection  of my speech changes to one similar to how the Irish speak.

So what difference does it make? Probably not much of one, but I do think it might have something to do with my choice of religion. I “grok” it better.

Now I know that many of you young whippersnappers have no idea what “grok” means, so I’m going to educate you. The word “grok” comes from Robert Heinlein’s book, “Stranger in a Strange Land” and it basically means to intuitively know or understand. To know it from your gut. It’s something you “get” with the whole fiber of your being. I think, to some extent, that for  some people – that “groking of ancestral connectiveness” is passed on from generation to generation. It may explain why my siblings support me in my spiritual pursuit of Asatru, but they don’t really “grok” it – because if they did, they’d be right by me practicing it. They didn’t get the grok gene, but I did.

I think it explains, too, that “aha!” moment many feel when we come across Asatru. It’s how we feel when we are around folk who practice it – we feel at home. We’re around people who look like us, talk like us think like us feel like us – because we all come from the same line that stretches back to our ancestors. It’s not that you don’t like people who are from other cultures, but these people are different. They are your tribe, your folk. You may not agree on everything, and in fact may take great pleasure in having many intellectual disagreements, but they are still  your extended family.

Maybe even our kitchens look alike.

……..

Finally, just a brief note to my mom, who died 14 years ago on this date. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long! I still miss you and love you dearly. Thank you for being my mom.

This entry was posted on October 30, 2016, in Asatru.

A Dream of Rituals and Ancestors

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“Votive Candle”                   Natesh Ramasamy on Flickr

I awoke this morning, basking in the remembrance of a delightful dream. I was with Duke, and we were getting ready for ritual. All of us folk were inscribing the names of our ancestors on individual votive candles, lighting them, and laying them along the path that lead to the ritual area. Then, it was time for ritual, and we progressed along- our path lit by the luminous candles. We were following the shining path of our ancestors, quite literally and figuratively, as they showed us the way.

It was a lovely dream, and a ritual action that would work quite well in the real world, I believe. So if you feel compelled to use it in a ritual, you are free to do so.

I seem to have a knack for constructing rituals and building community events. Many of the things I started back when I lead our local pagan group over ten years ago, they’re still doing: the Chocolate Ritual for Imbolc, the Fairy Tea Party for Ostara,  the Witches’ Masquerade Ball, and the Candlelight Labyrinth for Samhain, are still going strong today.

I’ve never really dreamed of ritual before, so that was unusual. A friend suggested I may have “traveled” to it and that’s possible I suppose, it’s happened before.

I’m still adjusting to the “Asatru” way of doing things, and I know Samhain isn’t a part of the “Wheel of Year,” but October will always be a month for me to remember my ancestors. Both of my parents died in October; my mother late in the evening of October 30th with her family all around, and my father October 17, from a massive heart attack four years later. It’s been over ten years now but I miss them so much, still.

It’s probably why I dreamed the dream, a subconscious reminder, perhaps, of a need to set up an ancestor altar again, and to make my offerings – “votives” are indeed, “offerings” – and I owe so much to those who came before. How could I possibly repay them? Well, I can’t of course, but I can remember them.

I Am Surrounded by Socialists

potluckA few months ago my uncle died, so myself and my four siblings went to his funeral. Yes, that is what Southerners do: when people die, we take off work and go to our fam’s funeral.

The only good thing about funerals, beside the church cooking, is you get to see people you haven’t seen in years. Now I see my siblings fairly frequently, as we all live within a couple of hours from each other, but some of my cousins I’ve not seen since I was a teenager. In other words: a LONG TIME AGO. It was good to see everybody, but…

…while my siblings and I were seated at a fancy country restaurant in Alexander City, Alabama,  talk turned – as it sometimes does in family reunions – to politics. In specific, all of my siblings were Bernie Sanders fans. As they’re going round table, extolling the virtues of something called “democratic socialism” and a “$15 and hour minimum wage” – I’m keeping real quiet. I thought to myself, “I am SURROUNDED by SOCIALISTS!”

My next thought was, “Hmm. Mom had five kids, four were breech, I was the only one born head first – I wonder if THAT’S why they’re socialists, they were born wrong-headed?” But nah, all of my siblings are smart people; one’s a lawyer (retired now), one’s an optometrist,  another’s a vision therapist and my baby sister is a marine biologist. Pretty smart cookies came out of my momma’s oven.

newsThen all eyes turn to me, expecting me to say something glowing about ol’ Bernie. I repeated my rote response in times like those: “Oh, you know I’m a no-party affiliate; I’m perfectly fine letting the candidates duke it out in the primaries,”  knowing full well that Bernie didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Florida of getting the nomination. Why burst their bubbles?

I was reminded of that last night, when I took my daughter to dinner. (Parents, if you want to know how to see your adult children – it’s easy. Just offer to feed them. They’ll usually come running.)

My daughter is 32 years old, an only child, and a Scorpio.  She is smart, opinionated, a force to be reckoned with, and has been since day one. I should have known better than to name her after a hurricane! She started in as soon as she sat down at the table:

“Oh my god, Mom, did you see the debate? If Trump wins, he is going to RUIN America. RUIN IT I TELL YOU! You’re voting for Hillary aren’t you? YOU’D BETTER! and you’d better hope Trump doesn’t win because if he’s President I’m not having a baby!”  (She’ll be a great mother. Already has the guilt trip down pat.)

“Well  aren’t you glad I didn’t think that way when Reagan was President, or I wouldn’t have had YOU!” I replied.

I used to be liberal. I was a child of the 60’s, all for the ERA, women’s rights, abortion, you name it. I even worked as a social worker for a few years.

Then I got older, had a baby, started listening to the OTHER side of view. The older I got, the more conservative I became. Sure, I think everyone should be considered equal under the law – but I also see how the feminist movement has eroded the family. Of course, if a woman is doing the same job as a man, she should be paid the same – but I also see how children do so much better, when there is a parent at home.

This election does seem more contentious than others. It seems like it’s an Us vs. Them mentality, throughout the country, and I wonder if some of that energy isn’t what’s driving the latest rift between Folkish and Universalists in Asatru. When I was first introduced to Asatru many years ago, it seemed to just be accepted – if you were conservative, you went into Asatru. Liberal, you became a neo-pagan. And that was that. With very little interaction in between the two groups, too, I might add.

voteNot so much these days! Seems the Universalists don’t have much, nay, any tolerance for conservative peeps, even if they are Asatru brethren. Which is kinda funny if you think about it – it’s not like they can kick us out of the clubhouse. The more they cluck like Chicken Little, the faster people run away from them, straight into AFA’s loving arms.

I’ve got no issue with people who disagree with me, or who will vote differently than me. I learned long ago that someone can be smart, and still disagree with me. They’re not bad people for doing so.

Politics is important, yes, but it’s not the sole measure of a person.

I just wish more people would keep that in mind, this upcoming election.

 

Grab Your Balls, Ladies – It’s Canning Season

ballA long time ago in a land not too far from here, I plunked down my $25 to hear Ted Andrews, of “Animal Speak” fame, speak at our local new age/pagan store. When it came around to question and answer time, I asked him, “When you see an animal, how can you be sure it’s a spirit animal with a message for you, or just a regular ol’ animal, crossing the road?”

He smiled a little bit and said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a spirit animal, or a real animal. The message it brings you is the same.”

We see a lot of animals here in the Deep South, and it doesn’t have to be just rural areas, either. I see a lot driving home late at night. Of late I’ve seen a lot of deer feasting on roadside grasses (stick to your clan), a lot of squirrels squirreling away acorns for the winter to come (prepare for the future), a lot of birds at my feeder (feast while you can!) the occasional fox and coyote (beware the trickster) and lately, I seem to have a pair of ravens following me wherever  I go. I haven’t figured that out yet, unless it’s just Odin checking up on me – in which case I suspect the Alfather must be rather bored.

Today is the first day of Autumn, and all around the globe the neo-pagans are having their Mabon rituals and getting ready for their Pagan Pride Day. A lot of them will be having them this weekend, and I hope to go to the one locally here. We’ll see; I’ve got planting to do, too.

I have always had problems with the “Wheel of the Year.” It’s a neo-pagan thing yes, I know, and all cultures had their own dates and seasonal celebrations – not generic ones. I don’t see how our ancestors would have had much time to celebrate the fall equinox, though. There was still so much work to do to prepare for winter – so many plants to harvest still, salt and cure for storage, so many animals to hunt and firewood to collect. Scarce time for celebrations, indeed!

Modern times aren’t much simpler – fall brings the hustle and bustle of the school year, football season and tailgating, all the local festivals, fairs, and carnivals, and of course, all those pumpkin spice lattes. For some of us we do still can, too!

But even in the busiest times, perhaps it’s a good thing to stop for a moment, and smell – not the flowers – but the whiff of changing seasons, hear the rustle of the leaves as the wind whirls them downward, and hear what the animals have to say to you.

You won’t know, unless you stop to listen.

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