Archive for January, 2012


Backyard Bounty.

There’s nothing I love more than a weedy yard. That’s right. I live in a rural area so there’s no one to glare at me as I stroll through the yard in the spring, when all the good stuff is sprouting.

I get a kick out of those ‘end of the world’ shows on the science channels. In one scenario, a man cut his hand, which subsequently became infected and he died. I was yelling at the TV, ‘put some pine sap on it for pete’s sake’!  Oh yeah, and the character was a doctor.

After World II, when American agriculture was fully conquered by industry and supermarkets full of frozen food popped up across the land, foraging was forgotten and many plants became disregarded as ‘poisonous’. When you know what is edible or medicinal in your area, you will never look at the environment the same way. It becomes less abstract.

The links below come from one of my favorite sources, Eat The Weeds. No matter your geography, you are sure to find these common herbal and medicinal plants right out side your front door.

Bidens Alba: This one fascinates me the most. The names of this plant vary as widely as the lore.

Dwarf Plantain: It’s found all over the world. It was called English man’s foot, because it was said to grow where ever they set foot.

Peppergrass:  I loved to just pick this and nibble it as a kid.

Pine:  There are about 115 species of pine.

Now, you can take over from here. Happy hunting!

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Binah

I am dazzled by Binah, Great and Shining sphere atop the Pillar of Severity. But I don’t yet understand the severity. I kneel before you to receive Understanding, not in words, for the need surpasses words.

I long to drift in your silent ocean, explore your deep reefs of mystery. I sing to you AIMA! Great mother, you give me form and receive me on my death.  You hold in your womb the free moving force set to work by your beloved friend that never parts, partner Chokmah. 

Your faces drift before me, fleetingly, you are innocent Persephone, terrifying Cailleache, fertile Ceres. You hide in your bosom the stars and planets. In you, I am stripped bare, left with silence. In this silence comes Understanding, knowing what you must struggle through and what you must let go of to grow. It is truly a death and birth.

I will build a temple to Binah, a place to contemplate you. I will wrap it robes of crimson and black and imagine Tzaphkiel at it’s gate, to greet me in the beginning and in the end.

 

Blessed Be.

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American Gods

You have all been asked the question, “What led you to this path”? Initially I felt the urge to explore my European heritage. But of course, the path becomes much more wider as the journey continues. The thing that brings me back, when I think about it or re-read it, is Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods.

For those of you who have read the book, I’ll tell you first about the pages that moved me most. It is the story of Mad Sweeney. The Mad Sweeney of the novel ends much like The Madness of Suibhne, the legendary king of Ulster in Ireland. He is found dead, propped up by a dumpster with a bottle of whiskey. The undertakers, however, know the true cause of his end. An old woman has died, an Irish immigrant, who was the last person alive in America who carried his story. “This is a sad wake for Great Sweeney, who flew like a bird across all of Ireland.”

I wonder who else has been forgotten? The image or rune, carved on a stone or fragment of unearthed metal. We give you a name, based on local legends or archetypes but is that really you Cernunnos, Arianrhod? How many Gods wander this strange land, dejected images of their former selves, like the stories main character Shadow,  who is collected by the shabby con man Mr. Wednesday from jail. Shadow is a shadow of his former self, he no longer even remembers he was a God.

Gaiman has described American Gods as ” much less about religion and much more about the nature of belief.”  But I feel the loss of the names of Gods was the result of religion, forced upon people with fear, the images of the gods burned buried and eventually forgotten. It’s easier to believe the cold and hunger.

Maybe we can remember, as Shadow does when he recreates Odin’s hanging from the world Tree. Maybe the names can come to us, briefly in whispers, carried by voices of ancestral spirits. Follow the voices and Remember.

Air.


The air enfolds me and moves through me. Air brings me inspiration and knowledge, carrying on it the voices of tens of thousands of years. Air moves seeds of every imaginable kind in it’s hands. These things alight in me and germinate. I breathe them out for good or ill.

I greet Air first, in the morning. Cool and laden with sweet scents, it awakens me. Later, warmer and more insistent, it hastens my progress. Much later, it slows and carries the songs of home in it’s voice and wraps me in slumber.

Air cannot stand alone. Air feeds it’s Brother Fire, carries Sister Water to the sky to fall again and moves Mother Earth from the highest mountain peaks to the shifting sands. I breathe Air into my core, where Spirit resides.

Blessed Be.