Word sonnet for Simbi Andezo

Galina Krasskovka recently introduced the concept of word sonnets on her blog.  So I decided to do one for Simbi Andezo:

Simbi Andezo





Welcome, Yule!

Every winter solstice, my spouse and I do a simple household ritual involving (amongst other things) beating the bounds of our property (i.e. a tiny suburban lot)… much to the bewilderment of our dogs and likely to our neighbors.

The core of the ritual is right towards the start, when we turn off every light in the house and observe a moment of silence, breathing in the peace and stillness, feeling the turn of the year.  Then we light a candle and recite this poem by Susan Cooper (a perennial part of the Washington Christmas Revels and all other Revels celebrations):

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreens;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new years sunshine blazed awake,
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing, behind us – listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day.
As promise wakens in the sleeping land,
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends, and hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now – this year and every year.
Welcome, Yule!

Wishing a safe, peaceful and joyous Yule to you and yours…

Poem for Brigid

A little context here: in the second act of the Washington Christmas Revels this year, the “Forest Queen” led the other women in the cast in a piece dedicated to Brigid:  they created two symbolic wells on stage, with a lantern in each.  All the women were veiled and had crowns of lights; they were singing Hildegard von Bingen’s “Ave Maria”.  My spouse later asked me about some detail of what they were doing on stage, and I replied, “I can’t help you… I was having an ecstatic religious experience.”

They lay out two wells in cloth, on stage;
Two lanterns candle them, and suddenly
Her eyes regard me.  I am caught up,
Unstuck, suspended in the tree-trunk,
Lightning-stroke connection of flame and pool,
Of land, sea, and sky; the long lines of
Singers, veiled, light-crowned, pass by me
Down the aisles, and all I can do is ring,
Struck by the voices, the light and shadow;
I peal out in my mind: praise, praise, praise,
And hope I can do my tiny part to pulse
Her peace throughout the world.


Oh Google…*sigh*

I just checked this, it’s legit. This is legit- I just checked. Google Translate takes “Esu” (there’s a dot under the ‘s’ which in Yoruba orthography apparently means the ‘sh’ pronunciation) and translates it as “devil”. So, so, wrong… The kindest interpretation is that they are relying on a dictionary written by some 19th century missionary…

Gangleri's Grove

Here is a petition that I am going to ask my readers to please consider signing. Google translate takes the Yoruba word “Esu,” the name for the Deity of the Crossroads, and renders it in english as “devil”. um. no.

Not only is this inaccurate but it’s borderline religious discrimination. Hundreds of thousands of practitioners of the African Traditional Religions around the world pay homage to Him. We need about 298 more signatures (at the time that I’m posting this here). Please consider signing.

The petition is here.


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Stealing Victory From the Dead

Some amazing words about death and dying.




I had a co-worker today who came to me in the verge of tears because she is losing a friend to dementia, and is having to accept charge of him, and his affairs, as his ability to care for himself slips away, and he slides from the vital life she shared with him, towards a death that promises to strip him of dignity, ability, and even sentience before the merciful embrace of Hel takes him to the mound, and his ancestors.   While he yet owns his mind, at least for periods, he is taking pains to let those he loves know what he has provided for them with his passing.  From failing hands, he offers a last gift to those he loves, before all power to aid those he cares about, or even recognize them, is stripped from him.

Out of love for the man, she strives to refuse…

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Pagan, Polytheist, or Both? Why Labels are Sometimes Important.

I’m both a Pagan and a Polytheist, so the latter part of the article in particular is something I agree with so, so very much.

Strixian Woods

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Many Gods West, a conference on Polytheism that took place in Olympia Washington.  It was a small, intimate event. An event that not only featured an astounding variety of speakers and presentations, but also powerful work with the Gods and land spirits, along with days and nights of deep conversations with brilliant people.

I have been to a number of Pagan gatherings, from the lighthearted and celebratory, to the deep and scholarly.  Being at a conference that was specifically Polytheist in scope was a meaningful and important experience, and different from any one that I have had before.

Why is a gathering of people who define themselves specifically as Polytheists important?  Why are these distinctions important to us, and why would the idea of having space for Polytheists to talk about Polytheist practice and theology cause problems among people who aren’t Polytheists?

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They make masks

They make Their masks from us-
Our deepest thoughts, words
New-forged in our souls’ fires,
Kindled by Them in our heads.
We change; how dare we say
That They do not (or cannot)?
It is not we who alter Them-
They choose anew the parts of us
To make Their faces, add and
Subtract us as They will, while
We learn to hold still, stop
To listen and see, to prise
Open the least peephole into
The camera obscura, that Their
Chosen image may be printed
Upon us, catching dustmotes
In a beam too bright to bear.

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