Tuesday Theology – Beltane

May 1st is Beltane.  It’s a joyous celebration of Spring, complete with flowers, ribbons and fire.

And yes, it’s a fertility holiday, too. 

BUT.

It’s not just about that.

Beltane is a fire holiday that celebrates not only the creation of new life, but the creation of prosperity.  In the old days, people would light the Beltane bonfires in celebration of the sun returning in full force to help everything grow.  Couples would hold hands and jump the flames to show their commitment to one another, with those that jumped the flames at their highest, without letting go of each other’s hands, bringing good luck to their relationship for the years to come.  Usually, the eldest couple in the village would wait till the end of the night, when the fire had dimmed to just coals, and holding hands, they’d step over the remaining fire calmly.  This was the culmination of the night, and afterwards, everyone would take some of the leftover coals home to light their hearthfires, knowing that they contained all that hope and love that had been infused into it by the people that leapt the flames.

The villagers would also bring their cattle, and drive them past the bonfires, to bring fertility to their herds, and luck to their farms.

Beltane is about the earth breaking open, to release the magick of the seeds that had lain just under the surface, and growing into the crops, flowers and grass that was necessary for life.

It’s about the breaking open of all sorts of magick, that’s lain fallow over the winter, waiting for its moment to come forth and spill good luck and prosperity over those that wish for it.  It’s about the fulfillment of hopes and dreams, and seeing the beginning of new and wonderful things in your life, after waiting through the darker times, and working for this new start.

And then, there’s the maypole.

Young maidens and young men were typically chosen to dance around the maypole, weaving the ribbons round it in a certain pattern.

It was designed to bring the young people together, allowing them to meet one another in a supervised setting, giving the parents a chance to find “good matches” for their children in the future.  It was also about “weaving the magick” to the earth, through the wooden pole stuck into the ground, making it stay in one place, to “hold” the magick and good luck in one place, ensuring the prosperity of the villagers for the whole year.

This Beltane, some friends and I are finishing a ritual that we began at Ostara.  Eggs were cleaned out, decorated, and a slip of paper containing our hopes and wishes were placed inside of them, and sealed with tissue and wax.  In this way, we were “planting” our dreams, giving the magick time to grow within.  At Beltane, we will crush the eggs in our ritual, releasing the magick into reality, and burning the slips of paper to deliver our dreams to the God and Goddess, in the hopes that they will be received and fulfilled for us.

No one speaks about their wishes that were written, safeguarding the magick with silence.  I know, though, that the magick has already begun.  Speaking with one of the others, as well as my own experiences, tells me that this is so.

And on Sunday….. everything will become the reality that I’ve been wishing for.

So Mote It Be.

Dissecting the Wizard – Finish Him Off!

The second half of the tale of Dorothy leads off with the girl and her pals wandering off to find the Wicked Witch’s castle, searching for a way to get her broomstick… so the Wizard will feel safer, more powerful, and hopefully grant the wishes of each of them.  A brain, a heart, courage, and a way home.  Just what should be on everyone’s list when shopping for your friends.

The Wicked Witch of the West?  Well, she sees them coming from mile away. 

I mean, after all… when you’re the envy of the neighborhood, you better keep your eyes and ears open, hadn’t you?

Adorable, ain’t she?

Yes, she is.  And I want one of those flying monkeys of hers.

Just sayin’.

Anywho

Dorothy gets snatched up by the winged primates, and hauled off to be confronted by the witch, who really – really wants her shoes.  And I don’t blame her.  Ruby slippers?  Are you kidding me?  How fantastic are those?

And the boys are left behind, cleaning up after themselves.  They immediately strike off to find their friend, and to get her and Toto’s ashes out of the fire.

Remarkably?  They get into the castle with very little trouble, and find Dorothy almost the moment they step inside.  Funny… the castle looks pretty big from the outside.  How’d they ever find her so fast?  Oh, of course, Toto… the tiniest member of this motley crew, finds the boys and leads them to her door.   Anyway, they bust Dorothy out of her room without rousing the whole castle (even with breaking down the door with an AXE, mind you)

Getting out of the castle, though?  They get stuck.  The Witch meets them at the door, and her guards pin them down at spear-point.  But, through someone’s quick thinking (ironically, the dude without a brain), they escape, only to get caught in a game of Tag, and end up in one of the towers on the edge of the castle.

And when the Witch takes her moment to tell them exactly what she’s going to do to them?  They douse her with a bucket of water, trying to put out the flames she’d laid on the Scarecrow.

(Really?  Who decided that they should use water?  All this told me as a kid – was that baths were bad for you, and would make you melt.)  Not really a message my parents wanted me to learn.

Well, they get the broom, and get it back to the Wizard.

Who tells them to get stuffed – he’s too busy for them.

Jerk.

So the dog turns him in as the fraud he is.  Good boy, Toto!  Who’s the Wizard now??

Hoist on his own – fraudulent stories – the Wizard comes clean, telling the troupe that he’s nothing but an old fraud, but that maybe he can help them out somehow, anyway.

Handing over some tokens, he shows each of the guys, that really?  They had what they were looking for, all along, they just needed to have someone else validate it for them.  Being seen through someone else’s eyes as a valuable, valued person, is something everyone strives for. 

And then, it’s Dorothy’s turn.

And the dud has nothing in his bag for her.  Well… except the balloon that dropped him in Oz in the first place!  Dude!  A ride!!

Of course, he doesn’t know how to drive, and ends up taking off without the girl by accident.  Of course it’s an accident – right?

Whatever.

And here’s where Glinda steps back into the picture.  Miss Obvious.

She explains her earlier silence by saying that Dorothy had to figure everything out for herself, or the magick of the shoes wouldn’t work.  Yeah.  Sure.  That’s why.

So, Dorothy clicks her shoes….. and wakes up.

Back at home, in  her own bed, with her family surrounding her.

Lessons learned?

Basically – You can’t run from your problems.  They’ll follow you, even over the rainbow.  Find your friends wherever they are, whoever they are, and hang onto them.  No matter how quirky, strange, or downright crazy they may seem.  They’ll help you keep on track toward your goals.

And don’t ever, ever forget – Home is in your heart, no where else.

Dissecting the Wizard – the Top Half

One of my all-time favorite movies, and something I have to watch every year, without fail, has always been —>

Ever since I was a little girl, this movie has caught my imagination, and my wonder.  And over the years, I’ve discovered that it has quite a lot to say to me.

There are a lot of funny, sarcastic moments in this movie for me, hidden behind the soft, “simpler age” cinematics.  And the music in the movie never gets tired.  At least not to my ears.

Many people are so rabid about their fan-dom, that they can’t take a joke about it.  I, on the other hand, love seeing things like this:

To me, this just proves my theory… namely, that the Wizard of Oz will resound with generations of children, and adults, far into the future.  Even if just to make them laugh.  But I think, really, that there’s a lot you can take away from this movie.  If you look closely, listen carefully, and really dissect the Wizard down to his socks.

At the beginning of the movie, we see Dorothy, living in a dull, drab landscape with her aunt and uncle.  She gets into mischief with her dog, Toto, because… well, there’s simply nothing else to do in her life.  And when the time comes to pay the price?  It’s excessive, yes, but she rebels, just like every normal teenager all over the planet.

By running away, fleeing from the consequences of her unthinking actions.

When she bumps up against an insurmountable problem, the “Twister” that threatens to tear up everything she loves, she’s knocked down, knocked out, and wakes up in a totally unfamiliar landscape, amongst strangers. 

The people are actually rather kind to her, after she does them an unforseen favor, that of ridding them of a bully – The Wicked Witch of the East- who’s been terrorizing them for a long time.

She also meets up with Glinda, the Good Witch of the North.

Now, part of me has always wondered why Glinda didn’t do something about her counterpart to the East, but, when I was  a young girl, I did actually read the books, and discovered that the witches were all sisters.  So, I guess it’s an unspoken family rule… you aren’t allowed to kill your sister.  Good rule to have, I guess, but awkward for the munchkins.

Anyway, Dorothy gets the bad-girl shoes, which have powers (which of course, Glinda won’t tell her about, or doesn’t know about, since she’s a “good girl” and not a “bad girl”).

Now enters my personal favorite character of the whole movie – The Wicked Witch of the West!

I’ve talked about her before, here, simply because she is someone that has always fascinated me, and I always thought got rather a bum rap.

She tells Dorothy off for killing her sister, and tries to get her birthright… the magickal shoes, thus setting the whole journey in motion.  Without her?  This would have just been a long, quiet walk through some rather pretty countryside… no excitement – all sugar, no spice.  Boooooorrrrrring.  And?  Dorothy would have never learned her lessons in the first place!

Dorothy then heads off on her own, to try to find someone to help her get back to her life and family.  Through some accidents of her travels, and some divine intervention (of the “Glinda” variety), she meets up with just the right people (ironic, that) to help her find what she’s been looking for. 

The Scarecrow, who needs to get a clue… The Tin Man, who needs to get over being such an emo sap…. and The Lion, who needs to get some… uh, (PG rating deletes comment).

They go with her, trying to help out, and stumbling right along with Dorothy, until they reach the Emerald City, where they’re told that they’ve traveled all this way, only to be turned back. 

“Nobody gets in to see the Wizard, not nobody, not nohow!”

Well, of course, they end up getting in to see him, anyway, because they’re just that fabulous, and he sets them what seems to be an impossible task before he’ll grant their wishes.

Ain’t that always the way?

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Another Year, Another Anniversary

This Saturday, I will most likely be holed up, somewhere quiet, to pass the day.

Why?  Because that is April 9. 

2 years from the day that my sister and friend, Midnite, passed from this life, beyond the Veil, and onto the next stage.

After last night’s posting about the family in Fort Yates that suffered so much, I was a little down.  So much suffering and tragedy, it breaks my heart to witness it, and not be able to act.  There are so many times that I wish I could do more, say more, give more.  But there’s only so much that can be said, that can be done. 

And the same is true here.

I wrote, last year, about my friend.  About how she changed my life, how she lived, and how she died.  And now, that time has come ’round again. 

A lot has changed in the past year.  I truly found a new home, here in the blogging world, and thanks to my wonderful new “chosen family”, I’m once again writing, really writing from my heart, as I always wanted to do.  I wish that Midnite could have been a part of this, but it was not meant to be.  I know that a part of her is with me still, and always will be, but she has moved on.  And so must I.

This year, the anniversary of her passing is still painful, but not as badly as it was last year.  Time has softened the edges of it, blurred the lines a little, and the memories aren’t as sharp or well-defined.  This, too, is a natural part of the healing process.  I know that it’s different for each person who was touched by her life, and I know too, that there will be more “moments” where I simply am overwhelmed by her loss.

But the better moments, the happier memories, are starting to outweigh the grief.  And this… is a good thing.

I still miss you, Sis. 

And I will never forget.

Love you.

Good Night Moon

The full moon occurred on Friday night, and was carried over through the weekend, into the Spring Equinox, or as we Pagans call it, Ostara.

I captured this picture from my driveway on Friday evening.

I love the moon.

When I was a kid, I was frightened of the dark.  Terribly, awfully afraid – almost to the point of phobia.

It wasn’t until after I finally started learning about Wicca, that I stopped fearing the dark, and learned that it could be a comfort, too.  The moon is now, to me, the Mother’s face, watching, protecting, empowering me.

She hangs up there, throughout the night, my favorite time, and even when her face is not full, there is a special magick that follows her, and makes me smile when I see her.  It’s always been said that there’s a “man in the moon”, but they lie. 

It’s the Goddess’ face I see there.

This second picture was sent to me via text, the same night, from someone very dear to me, who knows about my fascination with the moon.

I love the fact that the camera on this phone turned the moon blue.  Beautiful, absolutely stunning.

It was a thoughtful, sweet gesture, and it was the perfect gift.

The next night, EldestDaughter came into town, as she had agreed to go to prom with a friend here in our town.  She stopped by the house, just so I could take pictures of her in her dress, as I didn’t get any when she actually went to her senior prom (a tale for another day), and so I FINALLY got my prom pictures of her…. 2 years late.

I told her about the “supermoon”, and later that same evening, I received this:

EldestDaughter also knows about my absolute love of the moon – and that she was thinking about me while at a dance with friends?  Priceless.

Also, one of EldestDaughter’s favorite books is “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown.

It was one of my favorites to read to the kids when they were little, and I think we have 3 copies of this book floating around the house. 

My favorite part?  The ending.

Goodnight stars

Goodnight air

Goodnight noises, everywhere.

(Goodnight, Moon, I love you)

Tuesday Theology – SPRING!

March 20th signals the Spring Equinox, and I am SO READY!

Spring Equinox is one of 2 days of the year when the light and the dark are nearly identical in length.  This is when we in North Dakota generally truly begin to feel the warmth of the returning sun, and the signs that life is returning to us once again.

I, myself, begin to start getting horrible cabin-fever about this time of year, after hibernating for the last few months.

Wiccan theology paints the Goddess, at this time, as the Maiden Spring – Persephone returned from the depths of Hades, and once again reunited with her mother, Demeter.  Persephone is gowned in flowers, and is followed by rabbits, ducklings, lambs, and all manner of baby animals.  She is the first blush of Spring, the mist of green that adorns the trees and carpets the ground, telling us that the grass will be returning shortly.  She is the joy of sunlight and music, after the long cold silence of winter.

And to celebrate this, we paint eggs and we plant seeds, infusing them with magickal wishes for the upcoming growing season.  We plant our hopes and dreams in the fertile soil of the world, nurturing and watering them carefully, providing them with the warmth of our hearts and protecting them from harm by keeping quiet about them.  Like making a wish on a birthday candle, you don’t speak about it, allowing them to sprout in their own way, with the consent and aid of the Goddess and God.   Knowing that, if they come to fruition, then they were meant to be beneficial to us.  And, that if they do not grow, that it was not the right wish, or maybe, not the right time for it.

And so, this Spring, I plant the seeds I wish to come to fruition.  I will nurture them, care for them, and nourish them with my hopes and love.  If it is meant to be, the Goddess will allow them to grow.  I have faith that what is meant, will happen. 

And, I have already had my sign that Spring is coming.  The geese are back in the park.

Wish #1 – fulfilled!

Just Another Random Monday

I screwed up something in my neck over the weekend, and I’m riding a wave of painkillers, so I’m just going to be a little random.

*Ok, so I’m usually kind of random, but… anyway…

** I just keep circling the fact in my mind that my EldestDaughter is now the same age I was when I had her, and the same age my mom was when she had my brother.  This fact will not leave my brain.  I am so not ready for this stage of her life to begin.  I know that life keeps moving on, but…. wow… 

** I went to her place yesterday, to drop off her birthday present, and ended up doing some minor cleaning… picking up, dishes… I really am starting to act like my mother.  Another frightening thought.  At least I wasn’t snooping through her cabinets.  Ya gotta draw the line somewhere, right?

** It’s that time of year again, when my brain starts growling about getting outdoors again.  I NEED to get outside, share space with the trees and the grass, and the sunshine.  I need Spring.  Seriously.

** YoungerDaughter went out on her first date on Saturday night.  Nuff said there – cause she’s got me on a gag order.  Just telling you that she went could get me put in DaughterDetention.  And this kid’s a tough cookie, she’ll ignore you on principle alone, just to teach you a lesson.

** I am a total gamer geek girl.  I love to play RPG (role playing games) on the PS3 and Xbox.  No judging!  To me it’s like a favorite book, that I not only get to read, over and over again, but I actually get to be one of the characters, AND I get to fight bad guys.  Stress relief is spelled D-R-A-G-O-N A-G-E 2, thanks.  OH, and Fallout 3 is one of the best games ever, with a kickass soundtrack.   I have to admit, though, that Final Fantasy X and X2 are still my favorites of all time.  I still have them both, and yes, I’ve played them eachat least 3 times.   

Among my favorite games, ones that I have in my collection, are Final Fantasys IX, X, X2, XII, The Elder Scrolls Morrowind, and Oblivion, Fallout 3, Dragon Age, and Dragon Age 2, which I am playing currently.  I am a geek, loud and proud. 

** I can now say that I have perfected the Nestle’ Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe for the double batch.  Another recipe I get to add to my favorites that I am actually pretty good at.  There aren’t a whole lot of them, but the ones that I excel at?  Are a-fricking-mazing,  thanks.  Not to sound conceited, that’s just the painkillers talking.

**I can’t wait for next weekend.  I’m currently working on writing a ritual for Spring, for the next Wicca 101 class.  I just hope that we’ll have nice enough weather between now and next Sunday so that we can maybe do this outside, in the park.  *sigh*  I would so love to be able to do ritual in the park again.

Have a great week, my friends, and stay random!  If life hands you lemons, make strawberry shortcake, and watch everyone else try to figure out how the hell you did it! 

~Brea’s Random Moments ~

Brought to you today by the letter “O”, for ohmythesearegoodpainkillers…