No is a complete sentence

Solstice Reflections

Winter SolsticeSolstice reflections. Every pause along the turning of the wheel is an opportunity for introspection, but the winter solstice invites us to go deeper within and let the past year float through our minds and hearts while setting our sights on the upcoming one.

Solstice is the longest night where we face our fears and the solitary existence we lead. No matter who you surround yourself with or how distracted you make your life, the darkest night is a reminder that we face our battles alone. Hide all you want, but the dark is right there, lingering just on the edge of the corners of your soul.

And that is okay. It’s how things are supposed to be. For in these darkest nights we learn who we are. We seek out real and honest connections. We hold onto what matters most, in raw moments when we look within, we face what haunts us most. Those shadows. Those are quiet moments where bravado and lies don’t work. The mirror highlights the shadows we have so desperately wanted to cover up and conceal. Denied their existence.

Solstice asks us only to look and reflect upon those dark places, not to take on the despair and depression that can accompany them. They are opportunities for growth and change, for our intentions to brighten and solidify. We are not bound to embrace the shadows or carry that burden. Merely to acknowledge that it exists, and validate that it lives within.

We find our breath in these moments of pause, in these reflections, in these times of uncertainty. Grasping for light shows us that if we hold on, if we keep reaching, if we keep striving, that we will find the illumination we seek.

Then we light the flame anew and restore the balance between dark and light.

No is a complete sentence

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

No is a complete sentence

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

No is a complete sentence

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.)

No is a complete sentence

Season of Slow

I found this phrase while meandering on Pinterest, one of my favorite time wasters. There are some amazing images on that site, and I use them as inspiration for my stories and art quilts. Not to mention the copious amounts of crafts, recipes, and home inspiration pins.

I digress from my original topic though, which goes to show that I have yet to learn how not to be busy. I can’t sit still unless I’m engrossed in something (I can sit in one place with a book or a craft and not move for hours, so no, I don’t have ADD or anything). I just need something to do, always. Reading, learning, crafting, writing, watching a movie, whatever it is, as long as it’s there I can be still. The rest of the time I need to be in motion or I go nuts. Don’t start me on the meditation path either. Meditation comes from movement for me – dance, horseback riding, archery. Finding the stillness in the movement, the breath, the heart. Those are my moments when clarity comes together. I appreciate the thought though, and I know meditation works for many of you.

Every year though about this time I become…discontent is the only word that I can find. The image above reminded me why. During the Yule season, our bodies and minds automatically want to slow down, to turn inward, to hold hearth and family close. Which is exactly the opposite of what modern society does. Black Friday, holiday parties, gift giving, charity functions, holiday meal planning, and the list goes on. They all serve to fill our perceived roles in society, but it does little to feed our spirits. Every year I say I’m going to listen to my inner self and slow down, and every year I find myself speeding up. It’s kind of tiring.

Since I have to be in motion always, this year I’m going to make a conscious effort to slow the dance down. Not stop, not go so far in the opposite direction that I’ll drive myself nuts, but slow the pace down enough to catch the rhythms of nature as the days get shorter and the night lengthens. The cold pulls us back to seek out the fire and the blankets, inviting us to settle in. I know my cat always appreciates the warmth, and there is nothing like a contented animal to know you’re in tune with nature.

I invite you to join me in whatever way you feel comfortable. Maybe you’ll say no to one more holiday party, or one more night out, or one more obligation. Maybe you’ll take five minutes each day to be still and listen. Maybe you’ll change the venue of the holidays so you don’t have to travel as much. Maybe you’ll chose one specific charity to give to instead of trying to give to them all.

Whatever way you choose to slow down this holiday season, no matter how small, do it mindfully. Notice how your body relaxes and your heart lightens. Go ahead and go to sleep a few minutes earlier and let the extra rest restore you. Nature knows what to do. Follow her rhythms.

The quote above was originally posted by on tumblr.