Last month’s OFM was a bust – we didn’t even get into the building. We had a brief, damp circle on the sidewalk and folks took off for warmer locations. I'd say it’s unlikely but not impossible that we will see snow this time. However, I've spoken to the church and we will get in – through the back door!
The UU will have a filming project going on that day, and will have the front door blocked off. They’ve assured us that the back door to the community room will be open. Please enter via the back door for this month.
I'm a bad editrix this month. I have a contribution from Morgan, but it is half a city away from where I am assembling this newsletter. So Morgan's column will be in the next newsletter. Morgan, I extend my sincere and abject apologies.
We still have openings for September, November, and December of 2001. Please let Southwynde or me know if you are interested.
Hearthstone will be 10 years old this August. If you have any memories or stories about the founding of Hearthstone, I would love to hear them!
The first June Open Full Moon will be on Friday, June 1, 2001, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO. The doors of the church open at 7:00. We like to begin at 7:30. Due to filming taking place in the front of the church, please enter via the back door! There will be a second OFM in June on the 29th.
This ritual will be presented by Aluna and friends. I have no detail on what she is planning – but I’m sure it will be lovely. Please join us.
We have determined that our break-even point is about $3 per person.
We aren’t 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 can’t swing $3.) If you can’t afford it, you are still welcome – if you can afford more, we’d be delighted to accept it.
NOTE: Hearthstone is a church and your donations to Hearthstone are tax deductible. If you would like to write a check so you can keep track of your donations, we can certainly handle that as well.
If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, (generally for grammar – I have the soul of an English teacher) please feel free to submit your writing. Content will not be edited, although it may be refused. We need more voices for the newsletter!
Your column could be here!
Summer is almost here! The little heathen is officially out of school and anxious to get started on her summer activities. What she doesn't know yet is I have a new plan. She is taking over the planting and care of the garden. I overloaded myself with bulbs this year so I gave a bag and shovel to Melanie and told her she could plant them anywhere she wanted to. Being a child of 8 years, she took me at my word and began to dig like a little mole. I didn’t get upset. After all, my bulbs were showing no sign of growth and I made a note in my BOS to not buy these particular bulbs again. Even my grandmother had never been able to get gladiolus to grow.
It's been a month since she dug her little holes. You should see my yard. It’s dotted with tall shoots of gladioli. Yes, Melanie's gladiolus bulbs are growing…rapidly. There is no pattern or organization to it. If you’ve ever seen a child dig holes in the ground, you know what I’m talking about. I've never seen her so proud of herself. I’ve promised her the first cutting of fresh flowers to put in her room.
Summer Solstice Activities
The Solstice will soon be here. Most ancient cultures worshipped the sun in the form of a god. Ra is probably the best known of the sun gods of old. The Eskimo people who live in Greenland still worship Malina, their Sun-Goddess. The Chinese once believed there were ten suns until the archer Yi went up and killed nine of the disobedient suns for being too hot, leaving the one sun we see today.
Whatever myth you believe in, the sun plays an important part in astronomical calendars. During the year, the sun “walks" back and forth across the western horizon. The Winter Solstice marks the southern limit of the sun’s journey and the Summer Solstice is the northern boundary. Want to track the sun’s journey yourself? Build your own Stonehenge!!
You can recreate it with a bit of ambition and a location offering an unobstructed view of the eastern or western horizon. Locations offering a 360-degree view are ideal (and rare). This would be a great project for anyone with space and people to help.
You will need a center stake for reference point, 50 feet of rope, 20-30 marker stones or small stakes, and a compass.
Start off by creating a viewing circle. Anchor a reference stake in the center point of the circle and place your compass on top. Find due north and place a marker at 50 feet north of the center. Repeat the process for East, West, and South. (The rope is used as a guide to ensure that all markers are equidistant from the center stake.) Again, using the rope as a guide, place a small marker stone every few feet around the perimeter of your circle. The center of the circle now becomes your fixed reference point and the westward-facing perimeter is where you'll be placing sunset markers.
The calendar can be started at any time, but the Solstice sunsets are the most fun. Mark the point of sunset with a pole, stake or other (not easily moved) marker. Tag the marker with the date of sunset. Repeat the process every seven days or so. Over the weeks and months, you’ll note that the sun appears to “walk" faster at some times of the year than others. When you’ve finished in a year’s time, you’ll have a working astronomical calendar.
Photo-op: Take a snapshot of the western skyline and tape it to a wall by a western facing window. With felt tip marker draw an arrow on the photo corresponding to the point of sunset and note the date. Repeat process.
Window Marks: (takes two people) Standing at the same point in the room of a western facing window, have the other person make a small mark on the glass where the sun sets. Note the date and repeat on a weekly basis. (Resource: www.familyeducation.com)
Happy Summer Solstice!
Hate Has Power
Unfortunately, hate has a great deal of power. Even today, or perhaps especially today. The human race has more empirical knowledge about the physical world than at any time in recorded history. This results in great physical power. We have the ability to greatly affect our surroundings, each other, the persons who follow after us, and the entire web of life. We like to flatter ourselves that we are enlightened beings because of this knowledge, but are we?
How have we used this remarkable gift bequeathed to us by generations of sages, teachers, explorers, researchers? For both constructive and destructive ends, alas. We have all but conquered numerous diseases that ravaged our ancestors, true. Yet, we also foul our air, water, and soil with chemical wastes undreamed of in earlier times.
Our forebears were, as we are, fallible. They were imperfect, as we are. Yet, we can learn from them even when they did not consciously intend to be teachers. A glance at history shows that, indeed, hate has power.
Anyone who paid any attention in school is aware of the atrocities perpetrated under Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. Merely the scale of the slaughter they each inflicted is enough to make one cringe. Both were dictators, and neither seemed to have a functioning conscience. Yet, in the end, they were only human beings. As individuals, they simply could not carry out such massive crimes against humanity.
They had help.
Sometimes that help was reluctant. More often, it was enthusiastic. Both tyrants – and many others, before and since – denied the humanity of their victims. Many of their followers were willing, even eager, to swallow such libel.
Often, the construction of a façade of lies let the killers pretend their actions were other than murder. After all, one cannot murder an animal or an inanimate object. Nor can taking the property of said animal or object be considered theft. Hate let the butchers steal from and inflict terror upon their victims.
All it cost them was their humanity.
The human soul does not thrive on a diet of anger and hate. It weakens, and shrivels, and warps.
Do you want such a thing to happen to your soul?
I don t.
Yet I realized today that it is far too easy to let anger feed on itself, to grow into hate, to change into a Self-devouring cancer within one s soul.
What can one do about this?
Well, hate seems to grow most readily in an atmosphere of ignorance. When different people try to understand one another, the peddlers of lies have a tougher times selling their poison.
I think I ll ponder some of the Native American creation myths.
A few weekends ago, one of my friends and I both had need to do some spellworkings at the ocean. Fortunately for us, there is an ocean conveniently located about an hour and a half from my front door. (Otherwise the cost of these spells would have been prohibitive. ) The day was bright, the forecast was for warm weather and clear skies, and our gas tank was filled before prices went up. All signs pointed favorably. So I packed up my picnic basket and off we went.
The miles flew by, and we had much fun commenting on the passing scenery. ("Look, that’s where so-and-so lives." "You do NOT want to be at this interchange during rush hour." That sort of thing.) Gradually the terrain began to change and our comments changed with it. ("I once ate at the Bayside Delleri…I mean Deli and Bakery." "Look at the size of that place! It must actually be the Paradise Cove laundromat and international airport.") Then I saw a rock formation I fell in love with, shaped like a sea serpent and looming in the ocean about a half mile offshore. Predictably, that beach’s parking lot was jam-packed with fellow surf-and-sand-seekers, but the beach down the road, still in sight of the serpent formation, was easily accessible. We parked, got out of the car, and started to stroll onto the warm, soft sand.
We realized two things simultaneously. One was that it was much colder than we had anticipated. The other was that, for the distance we had to walk to get to a stretch of beach that wasn’t crowded, the soft sand was going to slow us down unacceptably. This last realization meant we would have to walk closer to the water, on the firm yet wet and cold sand where the tide was flowing slowly in. We plodded on determinedly, but my vision of a lovely picnic by the sea a lá James Beard rapidly dissolved.
We found our little piece of deserted beach, did our individual things, then started back. We immediately agreed that we would not be eating there on the beach. My vote had been to return to a park we had passed earlier, with sheltered picnic tables within view but not easy walking distance of the sea. My companion, however, was adamant that we would be eating in the car with the heater running. I was forced to agree, although there were some inland parks I thought we might find warmer than the beach. But if we wanted to see the sea while we ate, the only option was to have an in-car lunch.
We consumed our sandwiches, extremely hot coffee (from one of Aaron’s vacuum sealed containers, of course), deviled eggs, and scones while watching the tide come in and take our magickal energies out to the depths, as offerings to the ocean deities. In the distance, the sea serpent grew smaller, although it was obvious he was never going to disappear even at the tide’s highest point. Inside the car, our toes gradually thawed and our hunger pangs disappeared.
We packed up and started heading back home. The commentary on the scenery was much the same as it had been on the way. ("Look, cows. You don’t get those in Chicago, do you?" "Hey, look, a marker to let us know we’re at 1200 feet. Are you impressed?" gave way to "Didn’t someone say there were good hiking trails out here behind that mall?" and "Oh, gods, I HATE this traffic!") By the time we had gotten into Beaverton (the city that borders Portland) it was hot and sunny again and we had opened the windows and were thinking about stopping for cold drinks.
Despite the difficulty in finding a beach site, the cold at the beach, and the traffic on the way home, it was a magickal day and one we hope to repeat many times in the coming years.
A picnic, whether at the beach, in the mountains, or in the car, is a great deal of fun. Food tastes differently when it comes out of a picnic cooler. One traditional picnic dish that can be geared towards any magickal working you might be doing is generally called Devil’s Eggs. I realize most Pagans don’t recognize this "devil" character, but the idea that the dish can be adapted for magickal purposes makes it easy to re-name. I prefer Hecate’s Eggs, but you may choose the god or goddess of your preference. This is my basic recipe with a few suggestions for adapting it:
HECATE’S MAGICKAL EGGS
Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Separate the yolks from the whites. Reserve the whites, and place the yolks in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly until it makes a smooth paste. By tablespoon, fill the cavities in the reserved egg whites with this mixture, being careful not to tear the whites.
Suggested herbs and spices:
(Note that these are my interpretations; your usage may vary. There are a lot of good books on this subject, and many of you are well versed in the lore of magickal herbs. Use your knowledge, judgment and personal taste to custom blend your magickal picnic dish.)
And, no, I’m NOT going to tell you what I put in my Hecate’s Eggs.
Please note that information and opinions contained in the articles in this newsletter are the responsibility of the authors only. No endorsement by Hearthstone Community Church, Inc. is expressed or implied.
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