A New Pomonalia

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal …
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance …
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I don’t like Mabon.

Don’t get me wrong–I love this time of year.  I love the autumnal equinox.  I love the cool crispness that starts to seep into the air in the very early morning (even when you know that summer might rally a time or two or three before Samhain, and maybe even once or twice afterwards).  I love the promise of the land’s slumber, fruits still ripening, acorns ready to drop, the first hints of migration for a multitude of bird species.  I love celebrating the feast of apples just waiting to be plucked from the trees, and gathering the last summer herbs of the season.  I love the last weekends at the beach as the warm water currents receed a bit southward and the dolphins make way for their solitary porpise cousins and the crabs retreat upstream, ready to settle into the mud once it get cold enough.

But I don’t particularly like Mabon.

I’m not alone in questioning its use (or the day itself):

The Triumph of Mabon
Mabon, Mabon Not
Mabon–The Myth of Progress

The problem, for me, comes down to the fact that Mabon (the name, and the mythology of it) doesn’t really mean anything to me.  I don’t live in a part of America with a Northern Europe climate.  We are what is called “humid subtropical” here (according to the the Köppen Climate Classification System, the southeastern US climate is what is classified as Cfa–a trait shared with northern Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil, southern Japan, and southern China.  We just aren’t at fall yet.  Its not the year’s bed time yet…more that pre-bedtime, when you think about getting your jammies on and have one last snack before brushing your teeth, and rush around trying to get all the stuff done for the next day.

We have celebrated Mabon as the Apple Harvest–sort of mini-Pomonalia in the past (never mind that Pomona’s feast day is November 1, not being a Mediterranean climate, that (also the Descent of Persephone) doesn’t quite work here either).  I like Pomona.  She probably fits here, though its not as obvious in a costal urban environment as it was when we lived in the midwest, on the edge of a cornfield and down the road from an orchard.  But Mabon still, to me, feels like a manufactured holiday.  If I weren’t Pagan, I doubt I’d even realize that today was the Autumnal Equinox amidst the many things I should be doing right now.

Today is the autumnal equinox, when the hours of sunlight balance the hours of night. For most of human history the equinox — connected as it was to the harvest — was celebrated with elaborate festivals, rites and rituals. The equinox was a compass point. It was a mile marker for the lived year. Life was experienced through sky and season rather than through the construct of the clock. The equinox bound human communities together in a shared time that was both personal and cosmic.

Today hardly anyone notices the equinox. Today we rarely give the sky more than a passing glance. We live by precisely metered clocks and appointment blocks on our electronic calendars, feeling little personal or communal connection to the kind of time the equinox once offered us. Within that simple fact lays a tectonic shift in human life and culture.

Your time — almost entirely divorced from natural cycles — is a new time. Your time, delivered through digital devices that move to nanosecond cadences, has never existed before in human history. As we rush through our overheated days we can barely recognize this new time for what it really is: an invention.

Adam Frank, NPR Blogs (source) 

I think its time to for my celebration of the equinoxes to be a signifier of equal time, balanced time.  A time to think about time.  To think about balance and moderation.  To think about one’s place in cosmic time, and to measure it against the reality of the modern time that we live in.  To celebrate a modern cosmology of the unfolding of the universe.

Yes, we will still eat apples.  Yes, we will still celebrate the harvest that hasn’t come home yet.  Yes, we even will still probably call it Mabon.

But maybe we can do something deeper.

I’m not sure yet what that might look like.

But I’ve got some time to figure it out.

(also, please forgive typos, etc…this post was written from my phone)

On Spiritual Emergency, Shamanism, Mental Illness, Therapy, and Anti-Psychiatry Sentiment in the General Pagan/Polytheist Community


this…1000 times over.
Gods, I don’t know how many times I hear/read complete and utter BS about the fact that my child has ADHD (because, you know, its apparently some made up disease…that’s only been described in medical literature for about a century) and worse, that we are The Evil parents that use medication as one of the tools to help him learn to live more effectively with it (because, you know, medicine is some Big Pharma conspiracy). Or that maybe if we were better parents (because its obviously a problem with our dicipline philosophy and methodology (never mind that we have one, to borrow a term usually used in conjunction with autism, neurotypical child, without the same challenges)…and hey, why don’t you just change their diet (like we didn’t try that first) or focus on herbal remedies (nevermind that herbs are drugs too with their own contraindications and side-effects and are often not quality controlled or standardized) or do __________ therapy-of-the-week with him (totally ignoring that study after study after study shows the best results with a combination of behavioral therapy *and* medication.
The problem is that too many people don’t know what they are talking about, but feel free to pass uninformed and uneducated judgement on situations they aren’t living in.

Originally posted on Foxglove & Firmitas:

Alternative Title: I’m Gonna Keep Talking About This Until It’s a Generally Accepted Thing…

It happened again. Someone posted another article on mental illness being a sign of a healer being born on the Local Pagan Facebook Group with the general overarching but not direct message being that all native and ancient cultures saw it as this. Now I don’t deny that mental illness can be the birth of a healer. I’ve known too many people who have struggled with a history of it, myself included, that haven’t found themselves called to help others dealing with similar problems.

However, these articles tend to stress how society is actually the sick one, and how we need to stop shoving pills at people to fix all their problems.

Anyone who has ever been on psychiatric medication will probably tell you that pills don’t solve all the problems and most professionals are pretty…

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Front Doors are for Warding


This month’s Random Post, reposted:

Originally posted on musings of a kitchen witch:

Come along for the party and check out the rest of the posts!!

I’ve written a little bit about greener cleaning from time to time, and I’ve talked about blessing and cleansing the home as well, and creating magical surroundings (I especially love the evolution of my favorite all-purpose cleaner that I can follow in my blog posts). But for today’s blog party theme, I thought I’d talk about the correspondences of our homes themselves, and how that carries over into a home-based magical practice.

Now, not every home will have all of these specific locations as rooms, or maybe even at all….or perhaps your family calls it something else, or you don’t use what the room was designed for as its actual purpose.  That is perfectly acceptable, instead of getting hung up on the name of the space or the item, consider the purpose of that place…

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I’m working on making some changes around the house (its back to school time–time for post-summer vacay cleaning frenzy) and personal-life wise (nothing bad, just some post-summer slump recovery), which should hopefully leave me with more blogging time (I have about three dozen half-written posts in my drafts to finish up and start moving out, lol).


In the meantime, I leave you with some good reading:

In Defense of Ecclectic Paganism @ The Allergic Pagan

Hospitality and the Witch @ A Word to the Witch

In praise of the Wheel of the Year @ Under the Ancient Oaks


Stand-by for some new content, some blog redecorating, and maybe even a name change!!

And have a blessed day!


Edited to add:  If you had problems with links, I apologize…I neglected to check to make sure that they worked before I posted and I cut and pasted wrong (I always forget that wordpress includes an http:// already, lol…)

Thank you Margot Adler

I was in the car this morning, on my way to work, when I heard that Margot Adler had died in her home yesterday.  She was 68, and had been battling endometrial cancer for three years.  If you don’t know who Margot Adler is, its either because you don’t listen to NPR (she was a correspondent there for some 30 years), or its because you’ve never read Drawing Down the Moon (a book which, IMO, should be required reading for Pagans in the US).

If you are an American Pagan, you should know who Margot Adler is.

I first discovered Margot Adler in the summer of 1991 at the public library.  It is thanks to Mercedes Lackey that I had heard of Wicca, but it is due to Margot Adler that I learned what it was…and so much more.  I took the book home and read it (and its not exactly light reading for a kid in junior high) from cover to cover in 3 days.  If you haven’t read Drawing Down the Moon (or DDM as it is sometimes abbreviated), you’ve missed out on a critical piece of Pagan history–part ethnography, part journalistic review in long form of the Pagan community by a journalist that is also a Pagan, Drawing Down the Moon was probably the most accessible material about Paganism as a family of religious traditions availible in a time of a nascent internet (and dial-up at that).

I checked that book out four times that summer, until I had enough babysitting money to buy my own copy.

Margot Adler was my gateway to an entirely new world, by introducing me to an entirely new outlook on the world that surrounded me.  Her words were…they were like a plow, preparing the fertile ground of one that had already made a complete rejection of Christianity, and preparing it for the seeds of inspriation that would come from other books and a lifetime of experiences.

We are not evil. We don’t harm or seduce people. We are not dangerous. We are ordinary people like you. We have families, jobs, hopes, and dreams. We are not a cult. This religion is not a joke. We are not what you think we are from looking at T.V. We are real. We laugh, we cry. We are serious. We have a sense of humor. You don’t have to be afraid of us. We don’t want to convert you. And please don’t try to convert us. Just give us the same right we give you–to live in peace. We are much more similar to you than you think.

~Margot Adler

Many in the Pagan communitites across this country (and the globe) live in places where they fear to be open about their beliefs.  When I realized that the *something* I was religiously actually existed and had a name, there was no Pagan “coming out day” and no real online communities (and offline communities were not accepting of minors or even easy to find in the first place)— the only way to learn about Pagans was to read books or hang out in AOL chatrooms (using dial-up).  The only Pagans I “knew” were a friend’s mom that was Wiccan and Margot Adler.  Margot Adler was my impetus to take the idea of being Pagan seriously. Not just to take myself seriously, but to demand (nicely, of course) that I should expect my religious beliefs to be taken seriously, regardless of how unorthodox they might seem to others.

Margot Adler is the reason that I never thought that I had to live “in the broom closet”.

To some, she’s been a voice on a beloved news outlet (whether by voice or print), to many she’s been a friend, and she’s been a wife and a mother.  I’ve never met Margot Adler, for me, she’s only been a voice in my head from one of the books that have shaped my life.

Thank you, Margot Adler.

May the Lord and the Lady bless you and keep you.

May you be reunited with your beloved husband in the Summerlands.

We are all part of the life cycle. Like a seed we are born, we sprout, we grow, we mature and decay, making room for future generations who, like seedlings, are reborn through us. As for the persistence of consciousness, deep down, I thought, ‘How can we know?’ Perhaps we simply return to the elements; we become earth and air and fire and water. That seemed all right to me.

~Margot Adler (quote source)


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