Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mabon Ritual/Autumn Equinox

I am really looking forward to celebrating Mabon or the Autumn Equinox tonight with my sisters and brothers of the Mists. Ritual tonight is at 9pm Eastern time. Would love if you chose to join us. If you are interested in joining us at Sacred Mists you can find out more information here: http://www.workingwitches.com/

MabonAutumn Equinox,
2nd Harvest, September 21st Mabon,
(pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year's crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.

Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter's Night, which is the Norse New Year.

At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

Symbolism of Mabon: Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

Symbols of Mabon: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Herbs of Maybon: Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, passionflower, rose, sage, solomon's seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Foods of Mabon: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.

Incense of Mabon: Autumn Blend-benzoin, myrrh, and sage.

Colors of Mabon: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.

Stones of Mabon: Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates.

Activities of Mabon: Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Spellworkings of Mabon: Protection, prosperity, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance.

Deities of Mabon: Goddesses-Modron, Morgan, Epona, Persephone, Pamona and the Muses. Gods-Mabon, Thoth, Thor, Hermes, and The Green Man.

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!

Mabon Ritual
Tools:In addition to your magickal tools you will need:

A Red Alter Cloth
A Wicker Basket
A Red Apple
Assorted Fruits and Vegetables of the Second Harvest (Berries, Squash, Corn, etc)
A Bell
A Fallen Tree Branch
A Bolline
A Sprig or Two of Ivy
An Autumn Blend Incense
Any other Personal items of choice
Preparation: Sweep area, moving in a deosil (clockwise) manner. Outline your Circle with a red cord, low vibration stones, or various Harvest items such as wheat, corn, beans, etc. Set up your alter and place the red alter cloth over it. At center top, place the wicker basket, filled with the assorted fruit and vegetables. Place the apple and the bolline on your Pentacle or a plate. Place the tree branch to the right of the basket. Place the rest of your tools and props according to your personal preference. Take a shower or bath for purity. Sit quietly and meditate to ground and center. When you are ready, begin by playing some soothing music associated with the Sabbat and your ritual.

Cast the Circle and call Quarters.....Pick up your Wand in your right hand, face your alter, and with arms stretched out above your head, say:
"I honor Thee, Autumn Queen, and Thy consort, the God of the Harvest.
The Wheel has once more turned, and the change of season begins.
What will be is. What was will be.
The Equinox is upon us, and the time to reflect, at hand.
All time comes together, here and now in this sacred space.
And I, but a moment in time, feel the change as I pass
From one season to the next.
The Second Harvest has been reaped, and the time of rest is deserved.
Go now My Mother and slumber.
Go now My Father and dream of re-birth.
I shall be here to greet Thee on Your return."
With arms still out-stretched lower your head and close your eyes. Contemplate what you have just spoken. When ready, open your eyes and lower your arms. Pick up the apple and place it in the center of the Pentacle/plate. Cut it crosswise with the Bolline, to reveal the natural pentagram at it's core. Then lift half the apple, pentagram up, as if in offering, while saying:
"As the Wheel turns, the seasons pass, and the years give 'way To the next,
Guide me most Wise Ones,Lest I forget
Every beginning has an ending
And every ending is a new beginning."
Take a bite of the apple. Put the rest aside to share later with the wildlife. Pick up the tree branch and shake once at each direction, starting with North, saying:
"As the days grow colder, and the nights last longer,
May I remember the summer past.
With sunlight fading, and hearth inviting,
My memories will warm my soul. F
rom a season of hard work and hard play,
I hear Mother's voice calling me forward.
While I rest, shall She lull me, with songs of a dream,
As close to Her bosom I cling."
Face the alter and hold the branch out in front of you with both hands, saying:
"With memories of the summer, least I never forget,
And aspirings for the colder months to come,
Least I never stop striving,
I honor Thee with this symbol of Nature,
Keeping it and Thee in my home and heart,
That I may see it and pause,
To reflect on the Ancient Mysteries,
Leading me to a better understanding of myself,
And of others, and all that is Life."
Put the tree branch on the alter, into the basket of fruit so that it sticks out, back in your direction. Contemplate on the various memory symbols that you have attached to it. Also contemplate on the various projects for autumn and winter that you have attached to it. Close your eyes and feel the seasons pass within the circle from summer to autumn. When ready, say:
"Between the worlds I stand in this sacred place.
All time is here and now.
As I leave this circle, the season shall have changed,
And I will have changed with it.
May I use the short time of Winter Finding
To draw the strength and power from within
As I quest for vision, understanding, and peace."
Pick up the sprig(s) of ivy, and wrap around your arms, from the elbow to the wrist. Pick up the Bell with your right hand, and ring thrice, to toll the passing of the first 3 seasons of the year. Now place it in your left hand and ring once to usher in the 4th and last season of the year. Place the bell on the alter and the ivy in your cauldron (for burning later).
"In Life is Death, and in Death is Life.
The Sacred Dance goes on and on
From whence we came, we shall return,
And come again.Seasons pass, and pass again,
The circle stays unbroken
Heed the words of your child, here,
Through Your wisdom I have spoken."
It is now time for meditation and spellworking. Associated spellworkings would include those for protection, wealth, security, and self-confidence. If there is no spellworking, celebrate with Cakes and Ale, then release the Circle. Clean up. You are done. Find an appropriate place in your home to display the decorated tree branch.
*Find a fallen tree branch. It need not be a large one, for it will adorn your alter, then go on display in your home. The more smaller offshoots from the main branch, the better. Mine has four, which I think is awesome! Next, take a couple of pine cones, small shells, dried flowers, or any other item that reminds you of the late spring-summer months. With some string, tie each to the offshoots. Also take yarn or ribbon of yellows, oranges, reds, and gold and tie one end to the offshoots. Then, on very thin strips of (colored) paper, write down some projects to work on during the upcoming ' dark ' months. Wrap these around the offshoots (like little cocoons) and tie closed with silver thread. These you will open over the next couple of months when you start feeling lethargic or without a sense of direction. I tie on a couple of small bells, to add some ambiance to my ritual...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh My God(dess)! Feminist Spirituality in the Third Wave

Oh My God(dess)! Feminist Spirituality in the Third Wave
By Mandy Van Deven August 27, 2009

Feminists hate religion, right? Not necessarily. From Christian feminists participating in Wiccan rituals to Goddess worshipers honoring Jesus, the landscape of feminist spirituality is is not what it was in the ’60s and ’70s.

One distinctive feature of third wave feminism is the demand for society to remove all scripts—but the one script that persists among mainstream feminists is an antagonism toward religion.
Religion scholar Chris Klassen believes it’s time to move past this lingering division, and her new book Feminist Spiritualities: The Next Generation collects the work of eleven young women academics writing about the intersection of these two seemingly incongruent disciplines. With diverse chapters—like “Women’s Spiritualities, Literary Texts, and Third Wave Feminism,” “Queering Feminist Witchcraft,” “Not Pretty Girls? Sexuality, Spirituality, and Gender Construction in Women’s Rock Music,” and “Feminist Spirituality in Anti-Globalization Protests”—this book sets out to define what feminist spirituality looks like in the 21st century.

As a religious scholar and feminist, this isn’t the first you’ve written about this topic, but how did you come to writing a book about it?

This book came about because of my own teaching experiences, as well as that of some other colleagues. Having taught about feminist spirituality, Goddess religion, women and religion, and other similar courses, I was constantly using the same texts and theorists, but I noticed that some of my students were starting to ask different questions than these writers, most of whom started writing in the 1970s, were asking. I began looking for more recent contributions to the field, but had a hard time finding any. There is a lovely anthology by Danya Ruttenberg about young Jewish women called Yentl’s Revenge, but that’s about it. So I set out to create a resource that would help me in my own teaching.

Many of the essays in this book are keen to make the distinction between the second and third waves of feminism in relation to feminist spirituality—though not without the caveat that the “waves” are not rigid formations. Why is this distinction so necessary?

Some older women who participated in the second wave of feminism have come to the point of asking different kinds of questions as well. They are no longer satisfied with ‘women-centered’ thinking, as was popularized in the second wave. Third wave feminism allows a shift in focus while still leaning heavily on the contributions of the second wave.

There is a certain common understanding now that women should be equal in society, which was not really common in the 1960s or 1970s. Many young women today do not have any real experience of fighting to access equal opportunities. Many grew up with mothers, and sometimes fathers, who believed women could do anything they set their mind to. When these women think of ‘feminism’ only as the issues their mothers dealt with, some of them find it no longer necessary. I think one importance of making this distinction is to reemphasize that there are multiple kinds of feminisms which ask different questions and come to different conclusions.

What sets feminist spirituality in the new millennium apart?

A big difference is that while some feminists in the new millennium continue to affiliate with a specific religion, like Christianity or Wicca, there is also a lot more religious pluralism within the individual. You have Christian feminists participating in Wiccan rituals and Goddess worshipers honoring Jesus. Like much spirituality in general in the new millennium, feminist spirituality is a bit of a smorgasbord, and it is important for the individual to create a spirituality that fits her own experience and needs.

Feminists are often attacked for being anti- or irreligious, but this text shows this is clearly not the case. Why do these depictions persist and how are they changing?

Some feminists are anti-religious. This has actually been a prominent theme is some second wave writing about religion. The assumption here is that just because some forms of religion are patriarchal, all religion is harmful for women. However, many feminist theologians and thealogians have shown the possibility of remaining within religious traditions, or creating new religious traditions, while taking feminist questions seriously. I have not seen a marked change within the academic Women’s Studies literature though; there is still a lack of consideration of religion on many levels by feminist scholars. Those scholars addressing women and religion still tend to be most closely aligned with Religious Studies (as an academic discipline) rather than Women’s Studies.

Did you intend for the book to focus primarily on newly-developed Western forms of Goddess spirituality, witchcraft, and paganism?

Actually I did not intend this. It is simply how it turned out based on the response to my call for papers. In hindsight, though, I think it makes sense. The term ‘feminist spirituality’ does, for some, mean ‘alternatives’ to mainstream religion. Thus people working on third wave feminism within Christianity or Islam or Buddhism may not have initially thought the call relevant. (Well, assuming there are folks out there working on third wave feminism within traditional religions—and I really hope there are.) But, as I said before, much feminist spirituality in the new millennium tends toward blurry borders between religions, so it could be that those most interested in third wave feminist spirituality are not focusing on traditional religions.

Many of the essays stress the plurality of the third wave, yet the book’s title is singular. Why?

Good question. I should have named it Feminist Spiritualities. I suppose I was thinking of feminist spirituality as a category rather than a ‘thing’—like the term ‘religion’ which includes many different kinds of religions.
We don’t tend to think of the Internet as a site for spiritual practice, yet many young women are running Web sites and blogs in order to build a community and engage in theological discussion. What effect might technology have on feminist spirituality?

This is the big question of the day for all religious use of the Internet. I think this kind of technology can bring people together from a wider range of contexts while simultaneously having the power to isolate us in our homes. One of the obvious ways the Internet effects feminist spirituality is in increasing women’s access to resources. This makes the picking and choosing of spiritual practices and mythologies much easier. However, it also reinforces as focus on “my” spiritual practice rather than “our group’s” spiritual practice. The internet facilitates heterodoxy and heteropraxis.

Yet it’s not so simple as encouraging individualism. Individuals are also brought together through the Internet to gain support from each other and to inform each other about events and issues, among other things. Overall, the effect the Internet has on feminist spirituality is not much different from the effect the Internet has on every other aspect of our lives.

What does a female-oriented spirituality do for feminism?

I believe it limits feminism. One of the contributions of third wave feminism is a stronger emphasis on disrupting rigid identities. This was present in the second wave, but it was not as blatant. ‘Female-oriented’ assumes there is a rigid definition of what ‘female’ is, and it also assumes that femaleness is a stronger tie for women than other elements of their identities. Many women of color called out early white second wave feminists for assuming they would have more in common as women than women of color would have with men of color. But why should they have to choose? Many third wave feminists, by virtue of their stronger individualism, see their identities as unique individual categories that only partially align with any other individual. Thus ‘female-oriented’ would only be a piece of their lives, and minimally useful—if at all.

Original Article

Incarcerated Wiccan claims prison system discriminates

Incarcerated Wiccan claims prison system discriminates
August 25, 2009 9:31 PM

McALLEN – A Wiccan man incarcerated in Edinburg has sued the Texas prison system claiming he has been prevented from practicing his religion behind bars.

Charles Roberts, 28, of Brownsville, alleges he has asked several times for religious books, pentagrams and a person to lead Wiccan services at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Lopez Unit but has received no assistance from the prison’s chaplain.

"They have programs for Christians, Catholics and Muslims, but not for us," he said in a lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this month. "It is discrimination against us and a violation of our constitutional rights."
A spokesman for the prison system declined to comment on Roberts’ specific claims citing the ongoing litigation but said TDCJ has established policies for accommodating minority religious groups.
"It is (our policy) to extend as much freedom as possible to pursue individual beliefs and practices consistent with security, safety and orderly conditions in the institution," reads an orientation handbook provided to all new inmates

Under current prison policy, there must be three inmates of the same faith in a given facility before employees will allow them to meet for worship services. An outside volunteer is also required to lead the sessions.
The department has established Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Native American and non-denominational Christian services at all of their prisons. Wiccan volunteers also lead worship sessions at two TDCJ facilities outside of Houston, department spokesman Jason Clark said.

But Roberts – a Brownsville native incarcerated for a 2004 conviction on aggravated assault charges — claims that prison officials failed to even note his religion correctly on his inmate intake forms.
When he told him practiced Wicca – a neo-pagan, nature based religion — an intake officer classified him as "non-denominational," his lawsuit states.

"The fact that my religious preference is said to be non-denominational goes to show that nothing is being done," he wrote.

A number of Texas inmates from various faiths have challenged the prison’s religious policies on similar grounds over the past several years. In nearly every case, federal judges and appeals court justices have found that the department’s guidelines does not put undo restraints on inmates’ ability to practice their faith.
Roberts has asked a federal court to award him $500,000 in damages and to force TDCJ to grant his religious requests.

A hearing date on the case has not yet been set.

KPCF to host Louisville's first annual Witches Ball

KPCF to host Louisville's first annual Witches Ball

August 31, 10:03 PM
Elizabeth Sippel

That's right Witches and Warlocks...Kentuckiana Pagan Community Fellowship is hosting a Witches Ball on October 24th, 2009. The Ball will begin at 6:00 PM and last until after the bewitching hour.
Tickets prices are ten dollars a person at the door or you can fly right over to Matrix Metaphysical Academe' at 1050 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY and buy them in advance for eight dollars. This is a Family Friendly event. Which means that all of your apprentices who are 12 years and under get in free. Everyone is encouraged to bring a canned good for donation to The Pagan Pantry. It's a wonderful organization that assists families in our community.

The Ball will be held at VFW Post #5421, 7111 Lower Hunters Trace, Louisville, KY. There are plenty of activities planned for the evening.

ACTIVITIES: Opening Greetings, Event Blessings, Children Activities, Dancing, Raffles, Samhain Ritual, Pot Lock Hors D'oeuveres and Snack Buffet, Psychic Readings, and Much, Much more.
Come out and meet Jack and David, founders of Kentuckiana Pagan Community Fellowship, Lady G from Matrix, Your Louisville Wiccan Examiner, and many others.

Costumes are optional however, your Examiner will be on hand taking pictures of the event. Therefore, the best costumes (Top 5) will be posted in my follow-up article. In addition, I (Louisville-Wiccan-Examiner) will be issuing a prize for the best costume. Best costume will be determined by the audience.
Hope to see you there...Blessings.

Stay updated on Kentuckiana Pagan Community Fellowship events by logging on at www.meetup.com/kpcfmeetup/

Wiccan inmate sues Texas prison system

Wiccan inmate sues Texas prison system

Associated Press
Aug. 27, 2009, 8:21AM
See Original Article