Observation

Portland Named Least Religious City

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Portland is named least religious city in a recent study of census information. This Scorpio town is located in the Aquarian state of Oregon, the 46th least religious state. It's no surprise that the study found the Mid-West and Southern U.S. to be most religious, Salt Lake City being the #1 most religious city and the state of New Hampshire to be the least religious state. Read more and see where your city and state compare by clicking the link below. Huffington Post - Most and Least Religious Cities in America

Saturn Disembarks the Virgo Train

Originally posted to the blog titled Pagan in Portland.

As Saturn disembarks the Virgo train on July 21st and walks into the golden Libra meadow, I can’t help but reflect on the changes and progress that Saturn has made in my life and in my personal transit.

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So what is Saturn characteristic of?

Bringing you back to reality, constriction or stripping away what’s not needed and revealing what’s so. Some people hate this grumpy Grandpa of a planetary influence, but some people realize the value in this force and can learn to appreciate it over time. I was both of these people!

With Saturn in Virgo

It’s about health, service to others and of course work, work, work. I also have a Virgo rising and this transit took place in my first house, the house of self, and the way the world perceives you.

During this period, my health and consciences had shifted enormously. Virgo also rules the delicate digestive system and in this timeframe, I began objectively and honestly listening to my body. I became a vegan, I reduced soy and processed foods, and I detoxified, almost eliminating wheat gluten. I also activated my obsessed passion with nutritional information.

Service to others? I recently read The Better World Handbook (Jones-Ellis) and it ignited developing values, one of those being volunteerism. I realized the value of volunteering and began giving back to my community; I had brief relationships with Forest Park No Ivy League, Oregon Food Bank, Cascade AIDS project and Turtle Ridge Wildlife Refuge. The storm drain of my volunteer efforts collected at Q-Center, where I wore many hats to support the gay community at large, even leading to a coffee cart project that I built, cleverly named Macchiato Moon.

And work you say Virgo? Ha! Two weeks from Saturn shifting into Virgo (September 2007), I became a Starbucks Store Manager. I was a hard worker! I worked a lot, entirely too much. During this transit, my values and how the world sees me (1st house) had begun a transformation. Alas, seeking a work/life balance, Saturn briefly moved into Libra (balance) in November 2009, at which point I quit Starbucks with an impulsive resignation (Aries Full Moon actually)!

When Saturn moved back into Virgo retrograde, it began a heavy working period once more as I started a new job as a restaurant manager in the RiverPlace Marina district. Hard work ensued as I tried desperately to prepare for Japan; including preparing for school, international travel, packing my condo and working at the same time. While in Japan, 12 credits in 4 weeks is a lot of work! Now as Saturn exits Virgo for good, my life is balanced…maybe! J

So what did the Saturn in Virgo transit mean for my first house Virgo ascendant?

After it entered my first house in September 2007, many friends and associates, including myself, thought that I was experiencing an early Saturn return, as I was only 25-27 years old. But this relentless planet has currently been transiting my first house, the house of self.

Looking back to the start of this transit, most notably in 2008; I noticed revisions in my heart. It seemed to me that my beautiful partner of 8 years suddenly was less important to me as I focused on myself and my own development and growth. To me, it became less about the collective and more about the individual. A temporary remedy was to initiate a three-person relationship, which lasted six months before my partner and I decided that our relationship had reached a successful point and it was time to move on.  Strip 1.

Strip 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6? With the removal of my partner went our condo, our cats and our life together. I also disposed of people in my life that didn’t serve my development as a human being, spending my energy with people that don’t contribute to growth is a waste of my resources.

Strip 7? Starbucks. Saturn moving into Libra in November brought my impulsive move to remove the company that had at one time been a small part of my identity.

Strip 8? Christian dogma that had been plaguing me. I struggled with it at this time as I developed my spirituality rapidly in a public way. I suppose this removal was a positive one to see right away.

Strip 9? Another difficult one, perhaps the most difficult to deal with even now, seven months later. The third boyfriend that my partner and I were involved with, continued a romantic relationship with me. I enjoyed our time together immensely, but without warning and much to my dismay, he terminated that relationship.

So in the middle-to-late transit, I was stripped of those things I thought I was; a partner, a hard-worker, and homeowner, status symbols for sure. It’s time to focus on myself and not someone or something else. And while I miss my cat-babies, my condo, my ex-partner and my ex-boyfriend, I know that it is for the best as I begin to peak behind Saturn’s unyielding curtain at a bright and beautiful golden Libra meadow.

A Pagan in Portland wants to know with Saturn as conductor, where did the Virgo train take you?

It's Not Always About You!

Originally posted to the blog titled Pagan in Portland.

Because I am on this path where I feel like the God/Goddess/Universe has a daily lesson plan, I question the reason behind events that may appear contradictory to my goals.

Case in point; my good friend Pam, whom I have known for thirteen years from high school in the Detroit area, has moved across the country to Portland and is living with me in my studio condo.

So why is this a kink in my master plan? Because I am planning to go to Japan, my first thought was ‘oh, I guess now isn’t the best time to go’ or ‘maybe the God/Goddess/Universe actually has other plans for me.’ I mean, she’ll be here until my condo sells, as it sits on the market now and traveling to Japan is pending on the sale.

My Aries sun clouded my understanding of the situation and maybe it was my Virgo logical and analytical rising that broke through the smoke and said “Hey! Sometimes it’s not always about you!” Boy, did I need that alarm call. Maybe this time for Pam in Portland, staying with me without rent and trying to make it on her own is clearly about Pam!

This situation is not without temptation. Having someone in Portland whom I have known for so long is refreshing! Talk of moving into an apartment together and the fun we’ll have has me thinking the opposite of my goal. Wanting to give a hand to my friend and keep her company in a strange land, rather than discover my own strange land.

Perhaps the temptation is meant to test my ambition, validity and the magnitude of this objective.

A Pagan in Portland is expanding his vision to the Universal changes to improve others lives!

If Cities Were Belief Systems, Portland Would Be Pagan

Originally posted to the blog titled Pagan in Portland.

Boston shines as an Irish Catholic. Lubbock boosts being Baptist. New York is a jovial Jew. Detroit has it’s Islamic influence. Hollywood loves Kabblah. If cities could be religiously personified, what about the emerald city we call Portland Oregon? I feel like being a pagan for me is highly represented by the spirit of the city of Portland, or Portlandia as we sometimes refer to her as. People living here understand and honor the true meaning of being children of the earth; So why is Portland so pagan?

The planet is important to us pagans and in Portland, we recycle like there ain’t no tomorrow—literally! Composting and all. Business too! Creative reprocessing of items, such as reusing take-out hinged containers for work lunches, or reusing glass jars for drinking mugs—that saves the planets resources in two ways!  I save napkins and plastic wear that I must use, and reuse at home. Or save used gift cards and rework as luggage tags! What weird creative things do you do? Please share!

Community is a fundamental pagan value. As a practice of ancient times, community was all we had. We relied on the integral support of a larger community for the micro and macro health of everyone involved. The city of roses has a large significance to building community on so many levels such as events that are city-wide, neighborhood-wide, block-wide, apartment building-wide and friends-wide. Community volunteerism or even volunteering with friends to trade services or to help move apartments is popular. People will help other people out here, supporting causes, supporting each other or even marching together on PSU campus to demonstrate against a recent Bush administration policy!

Protecting the earth even through industrialization with alternative thinking concerning  energy needs; wind turbines on housing units and large buildings, people building rainwater collectors for water use, solar panels used on homes and for car parking meters. I’ve heard of a few people, and have even seen someone who has removed their drive-way to their home to put in a garden, now that’s totes rad!

Another example of our commitment to our Earth Mother, alternative transportation; MAX light-rail, aerial tram, bus, streetcar and commuter trains. Also cycling! Portland is the countries number one cycling city! I am a commuting cyclist myself and millions of dollars are invested in bicycle infrastructure. Anyone out there participate in the annual NAKED bike ride? Yeah…it’s legal! (and they post pics online!)

With respect to nature spirits: laws against urban sprawl restricts the city from building outward, which will destroy parks, farms and rural areas. Park clean-up volunteer groups are popular and Portland boosts the countries largest urban park, Forest Park, and the countries smallest urban park. (I heard the downtown-based Portland’s smallest park has fae living there!)

A collective spiritual mind: Many, many people I have encountered since 2006 seem to have a collective respect for spiritual modalities that are occult-like; tarot, astrology, observing and celebrating the season changes, observing pagan sabbats (minus the label), mind, body and spirit focuses with yoga, whole foods and drum circles! Moon cycle observations are not uncommon either.  Lunar seed cycling anyone?

FOOD! Portland is such a foodie town, no doubt. But why is Portland’s attitude to food a pagan quality? Because as children of the earth, we should respect our bodies and love them, giving our temples what they need to function properly. This basic human pleasure is a gift from the Father or Sun and our Mother or Earth. Portland is HUGE on organic, hormone free foods from cheese, milk, meat, veggies and grains! Many restaurants, food cart vendors and grocery stores are aware of this trend. Also, vegan, organic and raw restaurants are plentiful and popular! Awareness of how our bodies respond to food is also evident in the rise of gluten-sensitive, milk-sensitive and soy-sensitive people in Portland and many people and food establishments are peachy keen to this issue. Respect for our bodies and the energies we consume are a focus with many residents. I could go for some raw live pizza from Blossoming Lotus in Irvington or up on Alberta for a gluten-free, vegan grilled cheese from Grilled Cheese Grill!

Local purchases help to strengthen the local web. We are all connected and this is a cornerstone pagan belief as it pertains to the web of life. Purchasing locally from a farmers market or for clothing, or goods, or services is a strong Portland value. ‘Keep Portland Weird’ is popular tag-line as evident by bumper stickers that adorn cars, bikes, bike racks, traveler mugs, guitar cases and abandon buildings, is actually a local business initiative. I believe the local government has also put forth ordinances restricting how many “chain” business’ are inside the city! Where the hell can I buy a Chinese manufactured quesadilla maker at my local 24-hour WalMart?! Next time you take a walk in the city, look around. Next time you talk to your neighbor, listen closely. Next time you take a local bit, savor gently. Next time you think about our city, consider it as a living, breathing entity and what does the energy of this city say to you?

A Pagan in Portland wants you to know that our city rides a broom stick, ya’ll!