pagan

Repost: Samhain Altar and Activites

This is a photo of my Samhain Altar. This year, my boyfriend and I certainly wasted no time in celebrating Samhain. Not only did we have a beautiful autumn dinner, we left apple slices, M&Ms, wine and bread outside on the porch with a candle to attract ancestors and feed them on their way. We also celebrated the South American holiday of Los Diaz De La Muertos (Day of the Dead), participating in the parade downtown and pow-wow after. We painted sugar skulls as well. (pictured below)

Original Post: 2 November 2011.

Pagan Podkin Supermoot 2011

These are the photos following my trip to Salem, Massachusetts for the Pagan Podkin Supermoot 2011. Myself and 12 other pagan podcast shows met together to celebrate our medium and meet fans at Hex, a store owned by Salem-based witches, Christian Day and Laurie Cabot. To listen to my telling of this adventure, listen to episode 1.17: In Bed with the PPSM, published on 20 October 2011.

[gallery link="file"]

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!

Imbolc: Exploration Continues

Originally posted to the blog titled Pagan in Portland.

My second sabbat on my open and public pagan path! I did some research from a google search. I found traditional celebration tools for the holiday;

Incense:
 Basil, bay, benzoin, cinnamon, myrrh, vanilla, violet

Herbs: 
Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, heather, myrrh, rowan, dill.

Colors:
 White, silver, pale yellowSymbols of the season:

Candles, brides, grain dollies, burrowing animals, ewes, Brighid’s cross, priapic wands, brooms

Traditional foods:
 Cheese, recipes using sour cream or marscapone, yogurt, curries,  fish, white meat, dishes containing onions, peppers and/or garlic, spiced wine, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, muffins, scones, rice pudding, poppy seeds, poultry, foods or breads containing raisins, herbal tea

Saturday, I embarked out to New Renaissance Book Store in NW Portland. I purchased cinnamon and vanilla incense, more candles and myrrh to burn in an oil. Then on to Trader Joe’s in NW and Whole Foods in the Pearl. Here, I purchased ingredients for special meal preparations as well as white flowers for my alter.

Sunday, I spent a large part of the day cooking rice pudding using raisins and cinnamon, french onion soup with basil, thyme, garlic and bay and I made mini pearl onions sauteed with whole garlic, white wine, dill, basil and thyme. Because I am vegan, I made all dishes without animal products. Very fun. I tested the meal on a potluck I attended Sunday night, but had some left over for my sabbat.

On Monday night, I ate my prepared meal with white wine and while listening to Ariel’s ‘Bridgit’, a craft music podcast song he made and I listened over and over. Then I made crafts! I planted three pots each with a white flowering seedling. I choose three areas of my life I wanted to grow; spirituality, friendship and career and imagined those items coming into fruition as I planted, then I said a prayer before moving on to the next item. I also painted a white Imbolc symbol on two of the planters.

I took a burlap sack, three ears of corn and white paint and painted the Imbolc symbol on the sack, then I glued the corn on the sack to symbolize the child, mother and crone. I put this on my door, outside.

I put out a cloth on the fire escape to catch healing powers of Bridget. I lit every candle in the house and I did a meditation. Because I am recording this a few days later, it might be hazy. I went to the “solstice” garden I was familiar with in a previous meditation. Only the holly brick at the head of the gate was not holly anymore, but something to symbolize Imbolc. I walked the left path up the hill and met Bridget! She was wearing a white robe with a white crown of flowers. Red firey hair and fair skin. (I was also wearing white.) She walked me into the Celtic land and down the path. We examined the metal object, a reoccurring object, but I was still unable to see what it was. When we reached the second Celtic cross, we took off together, flying high to the circular grove of trees.

There I talked and asked questions but didn’t hear answers. I remember her telling me to meditate more and resume my fire exercises again…the physical items I was doing to help my elemental body. Somehow I was back in the garden, outside the gate and I went to the right outside the wall and came to a open meadow with tall grass with Bridget as a younger version. We both seemed to be 18 years old. We laughed and played in the grass, rolling around at one point.

In a different way, I saw the woman I see often, Alexandria(?). I asked her name and she told me “Alexandria” and I asked if she was my mentor and I didn’t hear an answer. She was sitting beneath me and was submissive of sorts, she wasn’t in front of me, but beside me. She is always in a white dress and robe with black hair flowing hair. Kinda looked like Brigit too.

After my meditation, I went into the bath with fresh whole basil, and a chamomile and peppermint tea bag and myrrh oil. While in the tub, I felt so inspired, that I wrote a poem about Bridgit based off my meditation and here it goes:

Imbolc

Bridget

crone of wise daughter of joy woman of strength must you be so coy?

you take me through the celtic grass and fly above until we pass into a circular grove of trees I sit in front of the Goddess on my knees

emotions high, the thanks I give she smiles and speaks, and the wisdom I shall live

Bridget

in the sun, we laugh in the meadow three seeds I lay, I breathe, I sow

my intentions are clear and i manifest just before she can rest birth is given to a beautiful son of lamb I am ready and willing Bridgit here I am.

That night, I slept with the ‘STAR’ Tarot card under my pillow.

A Pagan in Portland wishes everyone a happy and safe Imbolic