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Pathways

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I walk a different path
Always have
My steps converging with others
Once in a while
When the water drifts close
And my spirit vessel recognizes kindred hearts

They sync for a time
Joyous song
Dancing in harmony together

Until there is a tug inside
A whisper
The current changes, and I must go

Not a goodbye, not an ending
A course alteration
There is no need to follow
I revel in the solitary
I am here with you, always
Wishing you well

As we travel our destined star pathways
Guided by inner light
Seeking our own travel to the source.

For the Sisters of the Sacred Circle, I love you.
Amy Dionne, 2016

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A Yule Blessing and Solstice Wish

in the woods

In a shadowed time as the dark seeps in
May the flame find its spark
As the days are short and fleeting
May the inner compass guide true
When the cold permeates the stillness
May the flame find its spark
If the soul is worn and heart-weary
May the comfort of friends ease the hurt
To find the way through winter’s chill
Gather heart and light and warmth within

Amy Dionne, 2015

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Samhein Musings

Blessed Samhein.

The harvest is done and put away. Preparations for the long winter underway. The temperature dips, the clocks are set back, the animals don their winter cTree in Shadowoats.

Hail now the growing dark, for that is when we face the questions from the shadows that linger within. Only in the time of dark are those thoughts freely able to rise to the surface. They are personal. Necessary. Residing within the shadowed places in your body and soul. Accented by questions left unasked.

This is a time of shadow, a dark need arisen.

Remember though, shadows can only exist because the light does. While the uneasy topics rise up and those unanswered questions demand a response, the light will return in its own time.

Until then, sit with those dark places in soulful reflection. From now until the spring, ask the darkness what lessons it has for you. The answers that you didn’t even realize you seek are within.

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My Wish for Imbolc

holding candle

Time dawns anew
Formulate seeds
Intentions
Gather goals
Incubate
Future promise

Patience
Generate heat within
Create from soul
Heart pours
Progress grows
From inner light
Push past frustration
The urge to give up
To walk away

Around the bend
Ignition
Spark
Flare
Connection

Wait for that moment
Start at the beginning
Refuse to give up
Lay the foundation
Build it well

Amy Dionne, 2015

Image courtesy of SOMMAI at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Yule Conversation

yule altarI come to the goddess imperfect,
Wounded, dragging baggage behind,
Tears leaving streaks,
Through dirt on my face.
Heart weighted with black memories,
Options lost,
Connections ignored,
Heart weary,
Sorrow filled soul.

The goddess does not acknowledge,
Does not ask about the journey,
Does not ask about the open wounds,
Or the scarce healed scars.

She speaks with ancient knowledge –
I do not ask
I’ve felt each lash endured, self inflicted or not.
She gazes upon me, resplendent, whole,
Answers my unasked questions.

Daughter, while I felt your pain,
I did not let it linger
I felt each hurt and honored it.
Each a chance to grow.
Scars mold who you are
Learning molds who you become.
Know the past, but
You are not there.

What will you do now that you’ve arrived?
Your journey led you here
To the well of renewal.
Do not walk that path again
For recognition,
Walk beside me now.
We shall go forth healed,
The present will lead you forward.

Walk with me.
And I do.

Amy Dionne, December 2014

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Ritual of Mabon

There are few things in lif14 - 1e that resonate with me more than trees. Yesterday I was at a local apple orchard, an annual ritual with friends. The introvert in me decided to wander off for a few minutes alone. I wandered amongst the gnarled branches and trunks, touching the bark and selecting some of the multitudes of apples for baking into delicious goodies later.

Trees have always taught me about observation. As I nestled into the branches of one tree, watching the families meandering about the orchard, a few comments from the trees gently filled my mind.

These amazing organisms provide us with nourishment. They bear fruit to populate other trees and survive as an individual tree, but their fruit feeds creatures of all types. People and deer, birds and hornets. This one tree that grows from the ground can f14 - 3eed many.

The ritual of apple picking brings us together. Families with members young and old flock to the orchards every year. Those from the cities, and those that live in the country. Children interact with the trees, learning about how they bear fruit and how nature has to work together with water and nutrients. They get to see how the fruit is essential for life, as the apples are not only eaten, but preserved as jam or baked into pies and breads.

Communities celebrate the orchards and harvest festivals, some dedicated to apples. For this time, we reward the farmers and their hard work as they have lovingly tended their trees all year round. We spend our money giving back to support them. And the ritual of picking apples continues on.

Apple picking is a grea14 - 4t way to celebrate Mabon, (the fall equinox). The second harvest festival is lined up with harvesting the bounty from the earth. The earth gives us these loving gifts during the fall, and it is up to us to celebrate the life cycle.

Visit your local orchards. Take your kids, your families, and your friends. It is a small way of saying thanks to the earth for her generosity in sustaining our lives.

Blessed Mabon, and peace to all.

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Imbolc

Imbolc altar - simple and focused on the flame.
Imbolc altar – simple and focused on the flame.

February 1st, or 2nd depending on tradition, is the pagan celebration of Imbolc, which marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Groundhog day shares its origins with Imbolc – there are six more weeks before the start of spring, so using a cranky groundhog who just wants to go back to sleep for a while and runs away from his shadow is a predictable encounter. This article has a nice explanation for the origins.

Imbolc is a holiday that always slips by me. It’s quiet, subtle, and yet maybe I have missed that it’s one of the most effective. Imbolc turns up the heat inside towards spring. It banks the coals of a fire used to start the bonfire for Beltane in May. It holds all the memories of our hard winter, it pours all our intentions and desperation of surviving the cold dark nights into a solitary fire that needs our attention and care.

Imbolc is a time of quiet doing. It’s time to add tinder and fuel to the spark, to the coal that is hot to the touch but not giving off much heat yet. Those ideas, those projects thought about or hidden away in a drawer – now is the right time to nudge them, to develop those ideas, to build on the dreams and plans that lie within. They must be tended carefully so as not to smother it. Between now and Ostara, the spring equinox, concentrate on creating the fire that will not go out with a brisk wind. Protect dreams and hold intentions close. Move the fire if need be, if it started out in the wrong place, or if it’s too exposed. Now is the time to make adjustments, to experiment with how a direction feels – is it right? Building heart fires authentically, on solid foundations, and protect them from outside influences. Whatever the goals are, now is the time to get them right, without letting others dictate how to build the fire. Guard its small flames close. Burn within, and let it build.

I’ve had many around me commenting on the rush towards spring, escaping from the winter doldrums, calling forth the energy from the fire into leaping flames. Not yet, for me at least, my friends. The wheel of the year asks our patience a bit longer. Stay with the hearth and keep the fire burning. Tend to the home and loved ones. Don’t be so quick to escape into the cold, for winter’s grip still lingers.

Well, according to the wheel of the year, anyway. The groundhog’s kinda sketchy.

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It’s ‘Happy Holidays’ for a reason

imageI get it. The world is far too PC these days, with everyone treading on thin ice to speak appropriately without offending someone. Nowhere is this more pronounced than with the upcoming Christmas season. Yes, I know it’s hard for teachers when they can’t do more than a winter celebration. Our society tends to go overboard – either we celebrate all holidays or none!

This PC overload tends to have another drawback. The Christian crowd are up in arms every year talking about taking back their holiday. It’s ‘Merry Christmas’ and a ‘Christmas tree’ as they put up their nativities and make a show of actually going to church and making sure their cards let you know damn well that they are Christian and proud of it. That’s great. Good for you. I realize Christmas is the dominating holiday this season, with a majority of those that live in the U.S. celebrating it. I grew up Christian and still celebrate a secular Christmas.

Ya know what though? Christianity isn’t the only religion here, and certainly not the only one to have a holiday around this season. How many people do you know that are Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan, atheist, and many others that I am woefully ignorant about? Perhaps not many. Why? Because many of them quietly go about celebrating their holidays, or non holidays as the case may be, and continue their days without making a fuss. The instant they try to say something more than ‘Merry Christmas’ they get attacked by the believers for stealing their spotlight for the season.

Can we just all agree to drop the attacks, people? I don’t want to take away from your holiday celebrations. Nor do I want mine diminished. Would it be the end of the world if I wished someone a Happy Solstice or Blessed Yule? No, you automatically start to say, but I see the hesitation in your eyes. My purpose is not to make others uncomfortable, but it gets tiring always having to put my celebrations in the back corner because they aren’t the norm, nor are they comfortable. Following my path and my celebrations only affect me. That’s it. There’s no war on you or your beliefs.

Freedom of religion means ALL religions, (at least here in the U.S.), not just the commonly accepted ones. Go forth, celebrate, make merry, and let me do the same. If as a pagan my holidays bother you, feel free to ignore me, unfriend me, do whatever you need to. Just don’t get in my face and say that I’m undermining your holiday. All I want for you is peace. You want the same thing? There. We agree.

Peace, and Happy Holidays.

(Note: While I am happy to engage in discussion in the comments, if you attack, badger, or be mean spirited in general, you’re out. Respect for all should not be that difficult a concept.)

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The Power of Mabon

Leaves There’s something about fall and the autumnal equinox in particular. Although most shudder to think about the season after, autumn provides reprieve from the summer’s heat, and the bounty of the harvest. It’s the first inkling to prepare, to stock up for winter, to pull out the long sleeved coats and reluctantly put away the sandals. Some start realizing what’s ahead when the shadows start to lengthen in August. Others wait until the first frost to scramble to get the furnace filled and find the cold weather gear.

I’m right in between. The modern conveniences of our time have let us wait until the harvest is nearly passed before rushing to prepare for the first snow. Most people need the leaves in full color and the complaints about darkening evenings in order to realize that yes, summer is on its way out, and winter lingers over the horizon.

Autumn is about transition, and being ever fluid to the changing forces of nature. While fall is consistent in its ability to change, being ever in tune to the shift in the earth, it is often unpredictable, with cold temperatures one day and summer heat the next. No sense taking the changes for granted. They will happen regardless.

It’s this alteration of nature that I align with. I myself am hot one day and cold the next, happy for fall’s arrival and dreading winter’s chill.

The dark is one of the most challenging aspects to deal with. It’s a silence like none other when the force of the night rests heavily on the day’s shoulders. When windows are closed and the leaves are off the trees, we’re protected by the house walls and the furnace heat, but the sounds are muffled by the windows. We’re exposed more to our neighbors with the leaves off the trees, and yet at the same time the wildlife is revealed more fully. It’s like nature is asking us to strip ourselves bare and protect us at the same time. It’s a lot to ask of creatures that are fragile in so many ways; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our underbelly gets revealed in the transition to winter, pulled away from comfort and relying on nature more than ever for survival. Without her resources, the trees and streams for shelter, without the food we’ve gathered in the cold cellar, we won’t be able to sustain the life throughout the cold season. And that’s the lesson she asks us to learn every year. She wants us to realize that in order to survive, we have to go to our roots and find the strength that lies deep within. We won’t get through the snow and the dark without it.

So this year as the equinox transitions from one season to the next, keep that in mind even as we have to rely less on nature for survival, we still need to learn those lessons and hold on tight to each other. We need to rejoice in the harvest and know that by hunkering down and bundling up, we will make it through to Gaia’s gift of the spring.

Blessed Be.

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Solstice Reflections

stonehenge

I’m going to reflect on the Solstice briefly tonight, so that I can get back to honoring the earth and her keepers.

What does Litha mean to me?

  • Balance – Days and nights, swapping their time with each other between winter and summer. Warm and cold, light and dark. They return full circle.
  • Connection – As I linger outside, surrounded by green, I feel fully connected to the earth. I see the messengers in the birds, the animals, even the insects. We’ve emerged from our winter and spring shedding layers and breathing in the sun.
  • Heart – The pulse of the sun strengthens, echoing through my blood. The core of the earth, its people, all of its living beings are affected by the shift in the energy.
  • Energy – The pull of the moon and the planets draw us together.


  • I am grateful for the blessings I have, and the ease that the earth provides us during this time of year. Survival is not as much of a struggle in the summer as we will not freeze to death, and the harvest will be on the heels of the solstice. Yet in all things there is balance, and even as we celebrate the light and warmth, the earth reminds us that soon we will be preparing for the opposite. Both cycles have something to teach us, and our transitions are easier when we’re plugged in. We know the subtle changes the earth makes in preparation. We learn to listen in our bones and our blood, feeling the minute adjustments. Be prepared, and learn the earth’s changes. When you do, the seasonal transitions will not be so abrupt.

    Bright blessings.

    Image courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda / FreeDigitalPhotos.net