Tuesday Theology – An it Harm None

The main tenet of the Wiccan faith is the Rede, shown above.

Basically?  It means that as long as you are not harming anyone, including yourself, you are free to do what you wish in your life.

Imagine that.  Freedom of choice.  Freedom of will.

Freedoms that we now enjoy in our nation.

After the news on Sunday night, I know that many people rejoiced that one of the world’s most heinous terrorists had been stopped from ever harming another living soul.  I was one of the people that found this to be welcome news.

But.

I also know that there are many people out there that find the idea of killing someone, even someone as evil as that man was (I don’t wish to give his name anymore space here, or anywhere, because names have power), to be just as wrong as what he did.

I disagree.

I do believe that you need to refrain from doing harm, to the best of your ability and knowledge. 

When I do any magick, and when I teach people about the ethics of Wicca and Witchcraft, I teach them that they need to be mindful of the consequences their actions could have.  They need to remember that all actions have results, and when you seek to change the world around you, you not only have to be aware of the changes you’re seeking to make, you also need to remember that everything you do, will affect others.  Not always positively.

Responsibility.

You have to accept it for the things you do in your life.

And whether that man ever took any real responsibility for the horrible things he did, is debatable.  I won’t debate them here, however. 

He’s being judged by a power by far higher than anything that we humans could ever hope to be. 

But, to get back to “An It Harm None”.

Yes, you should seek to avoid harming others.

But when the cost of not harming is greater by far, such as in leaving a man to run free, and allowing him to cause so many others to be harmed, or killed, on his orders… then something has to be done.

And yes, his followers may choose to follow in his footsteps.

But he won’t be making any new ones.

And his days of harming others….. are over.

I, for one, breathe a little easier today.

And, whether you believe in Allah, God, the Goddess, Buddha, or any of the other millions of names of God, Cosmic Karma, or whatever – Justice and Responsibility will always catch up with your actions.  Whether it happens in this life or the next, it will come. 

It has come for him.

“I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” — Mark Twain

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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.

The Runaway

I woke this morning to a moment of clarity. 

I’ve been a runaway all my life.

I remember the first time I “ran away”.  I was a little girl, probably about 4 or 5, and I was angry with my parents about something.  I felt like they “didn’t love me anymore”, so I decided to split, and find a new place to be.  I no longer remember what it was that caused me to pack my miniscule suitcase, but I actually made it about halfway down the block before I plopped my suitcase down and sat atop it, miserable.

They let me sit there for a while, what seemed like forever to my preschool-age heart, before my dad finally came over and asked if I wanted to come home now. 

He came after me.

I don’t know if that’s where the mindset started, but somewhere along the line, my deepest fear became the idea that someday, no one would come after me when I walked away.  And I would be alone.

When I was a teenager, and full of rebellion towards my parents, I ran away again.  They were making me attend catechism classes, which I hated, and regularly lied my way out of by telling the pastor that I had to babysit, when I didn’t.  I’d go to my best friend’s house, and we’d hang out.  It all came to a head, when the pastor told my parents that I would not pass the class because of missing too many classes.  There was an argument, and one day after school, I simply didn’t get on the bus to go home.  I went to my friend’s house instead, and hid out. 

My dad came after me again, even so far as to chasing me through our tiny town on foot, of course, catching me, and hauling me home, where I was told that if living with them was so bad, they would seek to find me another place to live.  I broke down, and gave in, because I really didn’t want to live somewhere else, I just wanted someone to care whether I was there or not. 

An aside on self-esteem:  (The first time in my life I heard that my parents were proud of me?  Was the day that I graduated from high school, and I was taking a picture with my parents.  My dad reached over, took my hand, squeezed it as hard as he could and said “I’m so proud of you”)  This is still one of my favorite pictures, because I was told that day that I was worth something.  I was worthy of pride.

When I went through my really bad phase, at about 19-20, I ran away a LOT.  There are simply not enough words to tell you how many times, in how many ways, and from how many people I ran away.  I ran away from college, leaving after only a year and a half.  I ran away from relationships, using all kinds of stupid behavior to push them away.  Run before you can get hurt.  Run before you can feel too strongly about anyone. 

Run, to see if you’re someone worth chasing.

When I first met the man I married, I had given up on relationships altogether.  I had told my best friend that I was “done with men”.

He sought to change my mind.  He chased after me. 

For a while.

But the years rolled on, and yes, there were good ones, I’m not denying that.  We had a lot of good years.  But there came a point, where the 2 of us, me included, stopped working for holding on to one another.  Complacency became apathy.  I tried to get back to the point where we had been, I sought reassurance that I was still important.  But I never heard those words “don’t go, I still want you here”.  I hinted about the way I felt, and when hints weren’t strong enough, I came right out and bluntly stated it.  No response.

And so, I started to walk.  Away.  And I wasn’t followed.

And when I reached that invisible line in the sand, the one beyond which there is no turning back, I turned one last time to look.  To see if I was someone worth following, worth chasing after. 

And found that I wasn’t even being watched.  He was too busy focused on other things, to even see that I had left, and was no longer standing next to him.  He didn’t care enough to see that I was so far away, and our relationship was drowning out its last gasp of air.

I’m not saying that my behavior was totally right, in any of the instances where I’ve run away.  I’ve been testing people most of my life.  Testing their feelings toward me, and their commitment to whether they care about me.  Trust issues, you might call it.  The fear that, if you fall back, is there going to be anyone to catch you?  My shaky self-esteem tells me to beware, to be wary, of trusting anyone enough to actually stay put, and to catch me when I fall. 

And still, to this day, there are times when I feel a strong urge to run.  To simply take the easy way out, and bolt.  Escape before you can get hurt, before you can be vulnerable with someone that could get close enough to actually get up close and be inside the walls of self-defense.

One person in my life lately, someone that I ran from years ago, recently reappeared in my life.  And this person was able to make me promise to “not run” again.  And promises, to me, are something that you have to keep.  It’s a measure of my own personal integrity, to do whatever I have to, to try to keep a promise.

So, for probably the first time in my life…. I’m not running away.

My feet are twitching, my hands are clenched in fear, palms sweaty and shaking.  But I’m not running. 

I’m trying, desperately, to change a lifetime of waiting for someone to come afer me, to make me feel as though I’m someone worth searching for.  This is one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever had to do.  To simply stand my ground, and face it head-on.  But I’m trying.  And sometimes, I falter, I fear, and I take a step away.  So far, I’ve taken just that one or two steps, and I come back, like a hesitant, wild animal, wanting the promise of what stands there, but not sure if it’s going to mean being hurt. 

I don’t want to be the runaway, anymore. 

Not even from myself.

And I’m standing right here.

A Request for Compassion

Map of Sioux County, North Dakota highlighting...

Image via Wikipedia

I am not one that normally shares a lot of stories that I read or see in the news.  I usually leave this to the pros, but this one touched me so profoundly tonight, that I couldn’t help myself.

One of my dearest friends teaches at a school in Fort Yates, not far from Bismarck, North Dakota.  She learned of this story, and shared her request for prayers for the people injured in a house explosion early Monday morning, at about 4 am. 

It is so far said to have been a propane explosion, although the authorities have not finished their investigation. I don’t want to post more information than has been stated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the state Fire Marshal’s office, who are investigating, so I’ll leave it with what has already been posted in the news media stories.

  The explosion blew the roof off of the one-story home.

There were 5 people in the house at the time, one of which is a baby, who suffered only minor injuries, due to the quick thinking of one of the other people in the home covering the infant with their own body in the blast.  At least 2 of the people were airlifted from a Bismarck hospital to a hospital in the Twin Cities with severe burns. 

To read the full story so far, click this link.

I ask that you please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers, and I will try to keep you posted if I learn anything more.  I do not, at this time, know of any donation information, but if I learn of it, I will post it for those of you that are able to assist, if you choose.

I am not Native American, and would not seek to offer information on a spiritual path that I am not familiar with, but I do personally offer my prayers to Kwan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and Compassion for these folks.

Blessed Kwan Yin, hold these people tenderly in your arms and in your heart.  Bring them the solace of love and the well-wishes of all those with compassion in their hearts for them at this time of great tragedy.

May the light of comfort touch them, and bring them healing from their pain and suffering.

Blessed Be.

April 1 – Really?

I’m pretty sure that someone told me that Spring was here.

I think maybe it decided it didn’t like North Dakota, and fled south.

But, then again, maybe it’s just working itself up to sticking around, by taking baby steps.  I have some pictures as proof.

First of all…..

At the local K-store, I see that the carts have begun their yearly migration towards the cart corrals.   They’re not actually in the cart corrals, you see, more scattered willy-nilly around the outside, as though waiting for that final big THAW, to actually commit to the full migration.

This signals a shifting in the temps, because during the hard, winter months?  They sit, shivering, huddled right up next to my vehicle.  At least, that’s where I always find them when I come back out of the stores, so I’m assuming that they either want a ride to somewhere warmer, or they’re just looking to be adopted.  Either way, I shoo them off to find other families.  I just simply don’t have the time, or enough WD-40, to look after them all. 

And Jack, our resident wheel-hater, would simply go ballistic if I brought these 4-wheeled monstrosities home with me.

Yes, anything with wheels attached gets chased, and attacked, with much loud barking and whining, when this big boy’s on the prowl.  Leave the roller-blades at home.

Next, we have the vision that greeted me yesterday morning as I was on my way to work.

Fog, thick, misty, and swirling around the buildings.  This usually means that the air is starting to warm up, and is planning on staying that way.

And yet, this afternoon, I got Winter Storm Warnings on my Weatherbug App on my Blackberry.  Saturday night….. all the way into Monday.

Joy.

But lastly?  I am pretty sure that Spring must really be on its way.  Because there are flowers everywhere…

Wait – What?  They’re from a flower shop?  Are you sure?  But they’re so SPRINGY

Oh, alright, so they’re a gift from a friend that thinks I need to smile more.

And they work.  I smile every time I look at them.

And… the women in the office?  Totally jealous.  BONUS!

So, is Mother Nature playing the ultimate April Fools’ Joke on us all?  Only time will tell.  But I’d be willing to bet, she’s just getting us ready to be truly grateful for a FABULOUS SUMMER.

And I’m gonna believe that’s the truth, and make it so.  Happy Friday, friends!

The Horse Napper

We had horses when I was younger, and I was completely mad about them.  I spent every spare minute I had, out in the pasture, sitting with them, brushing them, riding them.

When we’d go to friends homes that had horses, that’s where I’d disappear to, not caring if the animals were friendly or not.  Even if they weren’t, I’d still be found, staring longingly through the fence at the beautiful beasts on the other side.

And, if there were babies, I was crouched in the middle of the pasture, patiently waiting. 

I’d wait for hours if necessary, quiet, head down, non-threatening, with possibly a little bit of tasty grass clutched in my sweaty hands. 

Patience.

And, many times, it paid off.  The foals would approach, cautiously, fearfully, tentatively.

And once in a while, I’d get one to relax enough, to trust me enough, to let me be his or her pillow.  Stiff-legged, I’d sit, totally blissed out on the smell of horses, sunshine and dust.  Back cramped and a smile wide enough to split my face in half, petting the softest hides on the planet, to my young, horse-crazed mind.

The picture above is not my first shot at horse-napping, nor was it my last.  It was just the only one that got captured on film. 

I’m not especially known for my patience, in fact, most of the time, I’m the one chomping at the bit to get moving, get it over with, rip the bandaid off all in one go.

But I will wait for some things.  Patiently, quietly, with sweaty palms and heightened awareness.  When it’s something I truly want….. I can wait.

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!