GREETINGS

My hands are developing strange colors. I’m dyeing clothes for the small and me in an attempt at economy and art. I’m not sure how economical it is, but it’s messy and fun. It will get even more fun when we tie-dye!

This heat is not kind to me, so rather than continue to babble, I will melt away for the rest of the newsletter.

Blessed Be.

—Alia

JULY OPEN FULL MOON

July's Open Full Moon Ritual, on Friday, July 19, will be presented by Carol Lyon. We meet at the First Unitarian Church on 14th and Lafayette in the Capitol Hill area. The church doors open at 7:00 pm and we start at 7:30 pm.

Birthday of the Gods

(a Sirius Egyptian Ritual)

This is a ritual that is a drama, a storytelling of the birth of the Egyptian Gods or Neters. It takes place at the same time as the heliacal rising (at dawn) of the star Sirius. In ancient Egyptian times, this occurred on July 19. In our time, it takes place on August 1.

The appearance of Sirius at dawn coincided with the yearly inundation, or flooding, of the Nile. The fertile fields were but a narrow strip along its banks. The life-giving waters would cover the land for a season and deposit nutrients from far upstream that would enrich and prepare the soil for the next planting and harvesting cycle. The Nile WAS Egypt because of this cycle.

So important was this event that the Egyptians observed it from the earliest times. The rising of the star Sirius, the rising of the Nile waters, and the birth of the Gods were all honored together as a great New Year’s festival.

The story of the Gods’ birthdays tells of the creation and the ZepTepi, or first time. It was a history lesson and a memorial service that was told and enacted year after year and generation after generation. There were variations of the story over time and from place to place, but all parts were combined and told together with no seeming conflict in belief in them. The subtle differences became as layered as the rich deposits of silt on the riverbanks. They somehow all took root together, regardless of the depth at which they were planted. This refers not only to their historical depth — that is, the evolving chronological time — but also to the spiritual or symbolic dept of the underlying esoteric meaning. There is much to learn and explore here, but not now, not tonight –

Tonight, we will tell you one of the many versions of the old story. It is one that may be familiar or it may be one that is new. Come, join us in celebrating the New Year!

A priestess for almost 20 years, Carol Lyon has been trained in different traditions. For the past five years, she has been working with the Sirius System, a combination of “Far Memory” and “Future Knowing.”

THANKS AND A TIP OF THE HAT

Thanks and a Tip of the Thanks and a Tip of the Hat to Manea and Ellen for their evocative manifestation of the Sun God and Gaia at Hearthstone's June OFM in celebration of the Summer Solstice. The Sun God and Gaia lovingly expressed their passion for one another, and their care and concern for us, their children. The Sun feels when He is at His zenith, it is He who should be the focus of adoration. We children often honor and worship the Moon, but is it not the mighty Sun who gives Luna Her glow? An unsuspecting young "Luna" then toddled into the center of the circle, stealing our hearts as Luna often does. She was embraced and kissed by the Sun, then placed again to the side, as Solstice is the Sun's Day!

Thank you, Manea and Ellen, for showing us that with our feet on sacred Gaia, and Sunlight on our faces, we are always in the embrace of our divine parents. We are well-loved children of the gods. May miracles of Love and Light be ever ours.

—Arynne

SUGGESTED DONATION

**Updated March 2002**

We have determined that our break-even point is about $4 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 4 to 7 dollars per person. (The extra is to cover the pagans that are unable to donate.) 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.

ECO-PAGANS

From DragonHorse

Thank you to anyone who has contributed to the Food Bank lately. Following is a list of needed items:

If all you can bring is one or two of an item that is fine. Just because you cannot bring more is no reason to think that you cannot donate. Any amount will help. Thank you for any help that you can provide.

KITCHEN WITCH’S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE

I hosted my own birthday party this year. At my age, it seems silly not to. A friend of mine whose birthday is the day before provided the rest of the excuse. After all, it wasn’t just my birthday; it was Dea’s birthday as well.

Dea has a baby named Rhiannon who was, of course, the center of attention at the party, no matter whose birthday it commemorated. Rhiannon’s daddy is the sous chef at a restaurant out on the coast, and in honor of all the birthdays being celebrated he whipped up one of his specialties on the spot. He says this is served as the accompaniment to a baked or broiled fish entrée. The sauce recipe is the béchamel sauce in The Sauce Bible by David Paul Larousse, a book Dameon had purchased on his way to my house.

I hope that someday Dameon is a famous chef. He’s a wonderful person and a heckuva good cook. And I think, someday, when he opens his first restaurant, the Samhain specials are going to be awesome! (And the Beltane specials and the Imbolc specials, and the…well, you get the idea…)

Dameon’s Stuffed Tomatoes

Serves 6

Make a cut into the onion, about 1 inch deep, and slide the bay leaf into this slit. Stick the cloves into the onion, and place it, along with the milk and nutmeg, into a heavy-gauge, non-corrosive saucepan. Place this over medium heat.

In a separate pan, cook the butter and flour for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously, without browning, until it emits a nutty aroma. Remove from the fire.

When the milk is fairly hot, pour some into the cooled down roux, stirring until the milk is thoroughly blended in. Return this to the remaining milk, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, strain, and set aside until ready to use.

Preheat broiler. Cut tomatoes almost all the way through, into quarters or sixths depending on how large the tomatoes are; they will resemble blossoms. Place in a baking dish. Spoon a third of a cup of the feta into each of the tomatoes. Spoon béchamel sauce over the tomatoes, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Slide under the broiler until the cheese begins to bubble. It is not necessary (or even particularly aesthetically pleasing) for the cheese to turn brown.

Gently place each tomato on a plate, spooning up the additional béchamel sauce over each one. (Note that these tomatoes are relatively delicate and need to be handled with great care lest they break and you lose the gorgeous visual effect…I speak from personal experience…) Garnish each one with a basil sprig.

—gypsy

WHAT IS A PAGAN COMMUNITY?

by Flame

(Note: While I prefer to write about the ups and downs of attempting to raise a Pagan child, my little heathen is on a month-long vacation with her grandparents. I could have gone on and on with the various activities I'm coming up with to fill the enormous amount of time left when one is childless, but other events in my life prompted the following "essay". After all, the communities we build today are the communities we will pass on to our children in the future.)

As many essays on a word begin, Webster's Dictionary defines "community" as: a unified body of individuals; the people with common interests living in a particular area; a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society. So we can safely say that the definition of community is a unified group of people with common interests.

Now we move on to the word "pagan". Pagan is most likely to be defined as an umbrella term for Earth-based religions. Earth-based religions are those that revere nature and in most traditions or sects are also polytheistic.

Next, we combine the two words and we get "pagan community". Based on the above definitions, one can safely define pagan community as a unified group of diverse people with the common interests of revering Mother Nature and many believing in more than one God/Goddess.

But all technical definitions aside, what really makes up a pagan community? What binds us together and causes us to become unified in the first place? What is the "common" interest?

For many people, it is the basic human need to belong to something special. For others, the common interest is understanding. Pagan religions are misunderstood in much of society today and a community offers a safe haven and break from the mundane world. In a Pagan community, you can be yourself and people love you even more for it. And for some, it is just the right place to be. To feel loved and accepted for who you really are. The most common phrase I've heard again and again from people who find the Goddess is "It's like coming home". And for many, home is their community.

A Pagan community is a place to share your own beliefs and traditions and to experience the beliefs and traditions of others. For solitaries, it is a chance to experience magick with others, to find teachers, to make friends, and to perhaps form a group/coven of your own. For covens, it is a chance to show with pride the unity of your group and share your traditions.

A Pagan community is a place to celebrate the Wheel of the Year and the phases of the Moon with others. It's a place to network and meet others who share a common interest in growing and learning with the Goddess and other diverse religions.

I've been involved with many pagan communities in different places and on varying levels. I've watched them grow, recede, pull together in unity, and fall apart in diversity. I've laughed with my communities and I've cried with my communities. I've swelled with love for my communities and had my heart broken by my communities. I've watched people build each other up and I've watched them tear each other down. I've listened to complaints of a ritual not being done the right way and I've listened to praise of a ritual being done a new and different way.

Underneath all of the threads that weave and bind a community together is my own "common interest." My reasons for seeking out a community are not all about rituals and magick. In fact, as I sit here thinking about it, it has very little to do with that. What starts out as a common interest in the Goddess and Paganism in general becomes much more personal. It's knowing that I am not alone in my beliefs. It's finding new and different ways to celebrate the Goddess. It's experiencing different thoughts and traditions. It's making friends who love my different opinions and love me for who I truly am. It's having a place where I don't have to wear a mask to hide my true self and a place to be myself. It's knowing that when my world is dark and lonely and I can't see a way back to the light, gentle hugs and loving faces hold me close until the light returns. It's knowing when I have no where else to go and no one left to talk to, there are always enough willing people in my communities to listen and open their hearts to me because they know that I will do the same thing for them when they need me.

When the rest of the world turns me away and laughs at my silly, fantasy world I believe in, it is my communities that remind me I am not the only one that believes in this umbrella term of Paganism. It is my communities that keep me strong in my beliefs and strong in my world.

GROUND, CENTER & SHIELD

Are you lightheaded from all the energy at rituals? Have problems concentrating on the visualization in the ritual? Do certain people's energy bother you?

Then maybe, you might need to ground center and shield. It certainly couldn't hurt anyway.

Grounding: Are you lightheaded from all the energy at rituals? There are a number of ways to ground, hug a tree, kneel on the ground and put your hands in the grass visualizing pushing the excess energy out through your hands, stand and see the light come through your head and washout the excess into the ground out through your feet, see yourself as a tree, hold a piece of hematite or other black stone, get a hug, and my favorite.. eat a good meal. Or whatever works for you, find out what that is. Experimenting is ok.

Centering: Have problems concentrating on the visualization in the ritual? Mind can't settle on anything and keeps floating in 6 million different directions and seems to be racing? Centering might help then. Try some of these: get a hug, give a hug, close your eyes and breathe deeply 3 times, in through the nose out through the mouth, place your feet the same space apart as your shoulders, put your arms out to the side and make a motion of pulling everything into the center like your palms are pushing together in the sign of prayer until you bring them face to face in front of your heart, sit Indian style on the floor, straighten your back with your hands above your head hands together and bring them down in front of you slowly until they are in your lap (keeping your eyes closed and breathing deeply as you do so). Try any of these or do what works for you.

Shielding: Does certain people's energy bother you? Emotionally overwhelmed from the intensity of emotions? Then try shielding. Visualize a protective circle, sphere, capsule, pyramid (whatever works for you) of white light, gold, silver (anything reflective is excellent), or anything that mentally works for you. You can also use hematite to aid you. If you are into sci-fi then try the shields from Dune, or star trek. Use what ever works and feel free to experiment until you find what works best for you.

I hope some of this is useful, and please feel free to pass this along. (p.s. any of this is good for home and office too.)

Namasté

—Manea

GUEST COLUMNS?

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. We can usually make room for more voices.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER and COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

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 implied.


All writings are copyright to their respective authors. Please obtain permission before reprinting anything here with the exception of the Open Full Moon Dates. Those may be copied and transmitted as needed.

Open Full Moon Dates

2002

July 19
August 16
September 13
October 18
November 15
December 13


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