Well, the changing of the seasons escaped my notice for a while, which is a shame as I really enjoy the turning of the wheel. However, my appendix decided it wanted all of my attention, and it got exactly that. After a week of debate as to whether I had appendicitis or not, I had my appendix out on October 2 and have been recovering from surgery since. I return to work this Wednesday, and will be at the Open Full Moon, although I may be sitting down again and wonít be lifting much, as Iím not to pick up more than 10 pounds. My cats weigh more than 10 pounds, not to mention the child and the dogs!
Garden update: With the snow coming in, I did get Doug to harvest my winter squash crop. I have a few small pumpkins, and several squash Iíll have to ask Adrienne to help identify, and three or four of the tiny decorative pumpkins. The Brussels Sprouts (didnít think Iíd forget them, did you?) are tiny and still growing. Iíve managed to restrain myself from harvesting them; they should be all right until early December.
I wish good health to all of you this fall and winter Ė please donít develop appendicitis or anything else nasty. Blessed Be!
The Pagan community as a whole has lost two important individuals recently.
Doreen Valiente, once High Priestess to Gerald Gardner and author of ďThe Charge of the Goddess,Ē passed over to the Summerland on September 1, 1999.
Marion Zimmer Bradley, an active part of the Pagan community in California and author of The Mists of Avalon and many other works of fiction, including the Darkover novels, passed over on September 25, 1999.
Our thanks to Oak Haven Coven, who provided us with a ritual to remind us of the passing of time and the turning of our lives.
The October Open Full Moon will be on Friday, October 22, 1999, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO. The doors of the church open at 7:00.
For this Samhain ritual., instead of visiting relatives and other humans who have passed on into the Summerland, we will visit our non-human loved ones Ė those with fur, feather, scales, fins, multi-legs, etc. Participants are invited to bring something that once belonged to the pet(s) or familiar(s) of your choice; be it a favorite toy, blanket, collar or even a photograph.
As individual reactions to visiting with our past animal companions can vary, we would like to request a couple of volunteers to be available for grounding after the ritual.
We have determined that our break-even point is about $3 per person.
We arenít going to start collecting at the door, and no one will be turned away for not having a donation. However, we would like to suggest a donation of 3 to 5 dollars per person. (The extra is to cover the pagans that canít swing $3.) If you canít afford it, you are still welcome Ė if you can afford more, weíd be delighted to accept it.
Some people believe that we are here to learn certain lessons, and that the universe will see to it that we learn said lessons. If we fail to get the point the first time, the lesson will be repeated, usually at louder volume, higher cost, or greater discomfort, until we grasp the point we need to learn.
This summer, I was walking around my neighborhood. There are many flowerbeds and gardens in the area, and I enjoy admiring and sometimes photographing them. One neighbor plants mostly asters. Another garden has several petunias. One woman has superb roses. There are also several schools here. South of one of those schools is an intersection that's a four-way stop. An ugly green station wagon drove up to this intersection, but failed to halt. The driver merely slowed for a few seconds, then accelerated.
Naturally, I thought this behavior unwise. Not only was that person risking a ticket, it was a school zone. What if a patrol car had come by? What if someone distracted by a cellphone had been headed across his/her path? What if a bus had been unloading, or a parent had been dropping off his or her kid(s)? Then I realized part of the reason the car looked so ugly.
It had sustained crash damage. The right rear door was dented and rusty.
Whoops. That person apparently didn't learn their lesson the first time.
I patted myself on the back, thinking smugly, "I drive better than that!" and resolved to practice more defensive driving, but that was all. There was a fleeting thought of my own lessons, but it faded.
Last month, I managed to put my foot into my mouth until the toes were tangled in my tonsils. Greyhart, during the OFM announcements, mentioned an idea for publishing local pagan information on the Web. Security has been a concern of mine ever since I was burglarized some years back, and I tried to point this out. Unfortunately, I did a very poor job of doing so. That was neither the time nor the forum for a debate, anyway. (Hey, watch that smugness drop like a rock!)
Greyhart and Stephen, I apologize. Mea culpa.
The next afternoon, another car caught my attention. This time, it was a nice shiny new bumper sticker. It read, "Encourage your hopes, not your fears."
A few days later, there came an email about a woman in Mesquite, Texas who'd left her car at an auto mechanic's for repairs. Someone had shot holes in her car's window. Why?
She had dared to place pagan stickers on the window.
I get the distinct impression there is a good lesson a'growing.
There are some not very nice persons around. They seem to actively despise anyone who is significantly different from them. Skin tone, language, education, religion and more are all fodder for the hate-mongers.
There are also some very nice persons around. They seem to actively try to make this a better world. Warmth, caring, and kindness are some of their attributes. Fortunately, they seem to be in the majority in this country right now.
What to do?
Hide? Not really, in the long run. Where?
Run away? Again, to where?
Fight? In court and at the ballot box, certainly. But that almost certainly isn't enough.
Bridges? Yes. The best option I can see, the surest way to encourage good persons and stay good persons ourselves, is to build bridges to those persons with good souls.
I think I'll visit a church this weekend.
There might be a lesson there for me.
I used to think ol' Martha Stewart was pretentious, to say the least. I mean, how could just one woman even pretend to know how to build a full-sized greenhouse, sew curtains from bedsheets, and make perfect from-scratch tortillas all in one half hour? But the other day I found myself glued to the TV as she made a lovely, simply spaghetti sauce. She called it Spaghetti 101 and I thought to myself, "Oh, no, this is gonna be ridiculous!" But it turned out to be one of the best, easiest, recipes I'd ever encountered for this kind of thing. Of course, I changed it when I made it. In fact, I changed it a lot. It's kind of like the way a kitchen witch does magick: take the original recipe and make it personal.
I don't suggest how much spaghetti this is for. I made it to serve two. If you prefer less sauce on your pasta, it'll probably serve more.
GYPSY'S SPAGHETTI SAUCE 101-A
Strain the tomatoes through a food mill, or, lacking a food mill, run through a food processor until they are well combined, and then strain through a sieve to get rid of the seeds.
Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the oil, then add the garlic. (This brings to mind one of my favorite Frugal Gourmet sayings, "Hot pan, cold oil, food won't stick" which he once recited like a chant on his show...) Sautť for a few minutes over medium heat, being sure it doesn't burn. If you are using hot pepper flakes (Ms. Stewart suggested it but I'm not fond of them), add them along with the salt, and sautť for about another minute, until garlic is golden. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes, dried herbs, tomato paste, and wine. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer 5 to 6 minutes, or until it starts to thicken.(If it starts to dry out, Ms. Stewart suggests adding a bit of the water from the pasta you are probably cooking on a neighboring burner. I would use wine, or beef broth, instead, but pasta water also works.) When it is done, remove from heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Pour over the aforementioned pasta, and serve immediately, covered with freshly grated cheese.
Now, your job is to figure out how much of that recipe is Martha Stewart's, and how much of it is mine. And then go to your kitchen and figure out how YOUR version will be made. Call it Spaghetti 201.
Spaghetti sauces like these lend themselves to magickal purposes. Adding the appropriate herbs is a simple matter, stirring with intent is obviously in order, and this sauce is a delight to consume, thus internalizing your commitment to your goal. And if your goal is to be just like Martha Stewart (not my goal, but it could happen!) then this particular project is perfectly suited. Even if your goal is just to be at peace with yourself, what could be more comforting than a plate of spaghetti with a well-wrought sauce?
It's a good thing.(Sorry. Couldn't resist.)
by Ken Cannon
Here's a quote for us to consider: "Whatever you can do or dream, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it." -- Goethe via Valerie, an ECO Pagan friend of mine.
Take care of yourselves. Healing ourselves and keeping ourselves healthy, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, helps heal our society, and by extension, will help heal the earth.
And as we move into the winter, with its flus and colds and dreary days, I thought of the S.A.D. syndrome, commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Be on the watch for that, too, and for another one I call Seasonal Acquisition Dysfunction. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against giving gifts and celebrating the season. But we do tend to get carried away sometimes, and that is not particularly good for us or for Mother Earth. So I for one will be trying to take it easy.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: ECO Pagans will be helping Denver Digs Trees to distribute information about the tree planting program on Saturday, November 20 from 10AM to noon. The work will consist of going door to door with leaflets, and answering basic questions as they arise. This is the first step in preparing residents to receive tree-plantings. Trees do us all a lot of good, so if you would like to come along and help out, phone me for more information.
MOTHER EARTH NEEDS YOU
ECO-Pagans has started a Recycling Task Force, to take some action on recycling around the Denver metro area. The exact projects we do will be determined by whoever joins the task force, but some possibilities are:
All are welcome to join this task force, even if you've never been to an ECO-Pagans meeting and never intend to go to one! We are currently setting up an initial meeting time, probably Tuesday October 26 or November 2 at 7:30 pm. (This is open to change if someone really wants to come and can't make those times.) We look forward to seeing you there!
You probably know how fond I am of saying that each of us makes a difference, because there are so many of us. Bit by bit, the small things each of us does accumulates. The People's Republic of China (how many billion people?) now has to outlaw throwaway chopsticks because they are seriously depleting their forests. Little things, chopsticks. Little things.
Monsanto Kills Terminator Seeds Well, they didn't actually kill the project, but they have decided to not market the things. In case you don't know, terminator seeds are those which have been genetically altered to prevent their fruits from growing. These were soy bean seeds, which even as late as the fifties and sixties were taken from the previous year's crops by American farmers. Third world farmers still save soy bean seed to plant next year because they simply can't afford to buy seed every year. Monsanto's Terminator seeds would have made that impossible. But that wasn't the only problem with them. As I heard someone say, "What nutritional value can a sterile seed have?" I suppose they would have some nutritional value, but it might be reduced.
At any rate, there have been a number of groups opposed to the introduction of terminator seeds, and a number of email "petitions" and letters of protest have found their way to my inbox. Now, I haven't really thought of these email things as doing any good, but in a case like Monsanto, I don't see how they hurt, either, so I sign them and send them on. But this time I wonder.
Monsanto didn't say they were canceling the marketing of terminator seeds because of the pressure of public opinion, but I suspect that had a lot to do with it. Little things. Like me putting my name at the bottom of an email message. Me and a lot of other people.
Last month I gave some history of how society has generated trash, and promised to follow up with a sketchy history of what we've tried to do with all that trash, but it's lengthy, so I'll wait until next month to do that.
Next ECO Pagans meeting: Saturday, November 13 from 10 am to noon at Wings
Sacred Voice Circle meets third Saturdays at 7 pm, Wings.
Guest Columnist, anyone?? There are other writers out there, some better than I am (Duh!), and some of you have some ecological things to say. How about saying them here?
If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, (generally for grammar Ė I have the soul of an English teacher) please feel free to submit your writing. Content will not be edited. We can usually make room for more voices.
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