First Weeks Fall

September is gone and October is just begun.  In those first few weeks of fall I spent my leisure time gathering walnuts from both my back yard and the woods to get enough to make walnut baklava later.  I also went paw-paw  hunting. For those that don’t know a paw paw is a tropical like fruit that grows in the Appalachian area of the USA. It can only be harvested during mid September. It is a local only treat that taste like summers’s last hurrah, with its banana /mango like flavor and custard texture.

My garden is just about done for the season. My pepper plants are still doing good, still producing hot peppers. My daughter harvested her 50lb pumpkin that she grew from the seeds of last years Jack-o-lantern. My cabbages were under the pumpkin leaves and it stunted their growth. I am hoping they will make a come back now that the pumpkin plant has been removes from the garden bed.

I celebrated Mabon with the Three Cranes ADF grove again. I don’t think they have the video of the public ritual up, but they did make a video for solitary practitioners that I am including in this post for those interested.

I came across a YouTube video called “A Tale of two Heras” that got my creative juices flowing. I am thinking about adding a category to focus on my view of the various Greek and Roman gods.  To supplement between my garden updates, and book reviews.  I have also been listing to a few other of Mirth and Reverence videos that has got me reflecting on my early days of learning about Wicca. I have been so busy with work and school and life that I haven’t focused as much as I want to on my spiritual growth as I have wanted to. (or blogged for that matter.  Been thinking on how I can fit it in to my busy schedule better. Been wanting to reread several of my books to brush up on Neo-Pagan basics. I haven’t done any proper meditating lately, let alone try trance working. I want to get more familiar with the Ogham system of divination. I also need to get through my pile of books sitting on my night stand. So I am going to make a point of trying to do more of those things between now and the spring equinox. Also still debating about whether I want to just stay as a “friend of the grove” or buy the full ADF membership. I want to join but until I finish this degree I don’t have the time to dedicate to it like I want.

So that is my summery of this part of the season, hope all is going well with you my dear readers.

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Farewell to Summer

This has been a rather remarkable summer for me. July started by me finally getting my Triple Goddess tattoo finished. I had a basic outline of the triple moon )0( on my chest when I was 18. Seventeen years later I had the center moon filled in to resemble the silver millennial crystal from sailor moon to represent transformation and growth. The side moons were colored in gold so the whole thing looks like a piece of jewelry. I then had a laurel wreath added behind it to represent my dedication to the Greek and Roman pantheon.

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The boyfriend took me to see the Roger Waters Concert, which was a neat experience. We then hit up the Dublin Irish Festival and watched The  Three Cranes Grove do their Lugahnasadh Rite.  I also manage to make it to two of their Druid Moon events which are much smaller celebrations to individual Celtic deities. I have been a solitary practitioner since I was 16 years old and working in a group setting a fun and challenging. Learning so much from the Druids been bringing elements of the ADF in to my home practice. I learned Wiccan principals early on because that is the only books you could find back in the day.  But I can say that I find the ADF format more satisfying. While Wicca seems to have a larger focus on spell craft the ADF is more focused on the connection with the Deities, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits.

The highlight of the summer was driving the six hours down to southern Kentucky to see the total eclipse. We drove down the day before and camped in Logan county. It was neat getting to meet so many other people at the campsite that came to see the same thing. Some came from as far as Vermont, New York and Florida. It was a fantastic yet fleeting moment. The sky looked like it was simultaneously sunrise and sunset, all purple and pinks.

My garden produces tomatoes and peppers faster than we could eat them and had to get creative with them in the kitchen making salsa, dehydrated tomatoes, homemade pasta sauce, and pizzas. The ground cherries were a fantastic first and going try lots more next year. we also got a pumpkin that is taking over everything like a slow moving monster. Pumpkinzilla has crowed out my cabbages…so no cabbages this year. 😦

Spent lots of time at the local metro parks enjoying the mild weather and all the flowers and trees. Had several close encounters with blue herons, owls, turtles and deer at the parks which was neat.

The days are shorter, the nights are cooler and there is a hint of autumn in the air. Plus pumpkin-spice-a-palooza has begun. Things are great here in the Buckeye state.

Book Review: ‘Hellenismos Today’, and ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Hellenismos’

Hellenismos Today by Timothy Jay Alexander is a book about Hellenic Reconstructionism, or in other words a a modern pagan religion based off ancient Greek religion. It is a hard polytheist moment  based that to quote the author ” focuses primarily in the public or popular religion of ancient Greece.” I feel like the author spends a lot of the book trying explain how it is not like Wicca / neo-paganism and poring out watered down Greek history and philosophy.  While an it is an interesting way to consider worshiping the Greek Pantheon it is just one way at looking at Greek reconstructionism.

Chapters

  • Introduction
  • Polythestic Reconstructionism
  • Ancient Greek Religion
  • Gods and Goddess
  • Cosmology
  • Ethics -(these are based off the Maxims of Delphi)
  • Role of Clergy
  • Rituals & Rites of Passage
  • Holidays & Festivals
  • Divination
  • Magick & Mysticism
  • Appendix I: Works and Days of Hesiod
  • Appendeix II: The Theogony of  Hesiod (note: both copies of Hesiod’s work presented in this book were translated by Hugh G. Evelyn White 1914 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
  • Appendix III: The Emperor Julian’s Oration to the Sovereign Sun (translated by Taylor Thomas in 1793 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Hellenismos  by Timothy Jay Alexander is the complementary book to the Hellenismos Today. As you can tell from the Chapter list below there is a lot of copy paste from the previous book, although the Appendix offer greater variety and complement the ones provides in Hellenismos Today. This book places an even bigger emphases on orthopraxy than the previous one did but offer little profound insights.

Chapters

  • Preface
  • Intro to Hellenismos
  • Theology
  • Three dimensions of Worship
  • Prayer & Hymns
  • Offerings
  • Rites and Ritual
  • Festival Calendar
  • Mysticism
  • Temples, Shrines, Statues & Images
  • Afterthoughts
  • Appendix I: Sallustius : On the Gods and the Cosmos (translated by Gilbert Murry 1925, edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
  • Appendix II: The Emperor Julian’s Oration to the Mother of the Gods (translated by Taylor Thomas in 1793 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
  • Appendix III: The Homeric Hymns (translated by Hugh G. Evelyn White 1914 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
  • Appendix IV: Epithets of the Gods
  • Appendix V: A Glossery of Greek Words

Overall I felt Booth books fell a little flat for my taste. If you don’t already have a decent grasp on neo-paganism ideas and language the average reader may get lost. and the historical reverences and examples could really use some more fleshing out. In general I would say if you want to read these books get a copy from the library cause it is not really worth the purchase.

Spring Fever

Well everyone is buckling down and freaking out about winter storm stella and I’m over here sipping a cup of tea patiently waiting for spring. I can’t wait to get outside and play in the dirt and plant some seeds. Last week’s temperatures were in the low 70s what a tease, but the weather gods in Ohio are bat shit crazy.

So what is a witch to do while the storm brews outside? Research plants and garden plan of coarse. I’ve read two different herb books (reviews coming soon) and about to start reading a third book on the native plants. Herbology is a subject I’ve rather neglected in my studies over the past 19 years. I focused most of my spiritual studies on history and magic theory, but now I’m trying to round out my education and spend a little more time connecting with nature.

I must confess I am far from a master gardener, this is only my third year doing it. My biggest battle have been with invasive wild strawberries and remembering to water. The Second biggest battle is with mosquitoes and what ever the hell keeps eating my cabbages. One year it was roly polys a.k.a pill bugs and last year it was cabbage moths.

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Book Review: Everyday Witchcraft

Today I am reviewing  ‘Everyday  Witchcraft; Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World’ by Deborah Blake. I should start by saying this is the first book I have read by this author so I came at it with no set expectations. I had bought it on a whim from Amazon because it had been a while since I had read any books of the subject of modern witchcraft (been focusing more on the historical research).

I felt it to be a refreshing read that over all left me feeling more centered. Deborah Blake has a easy going writing style that comes across a friendly conversation. The book has 11 chapters that are full of wonderful and simplistic suggestions on how to incorporate your spiritual path in to your everyday life. While a lot of her advise seems like common sense it gently reminds the reader how to take a step away from daily grind and nurture  your spirit. Personally ‘Chapter 3 Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World‘, and ‘Chapter 9 God and Goddess in Everyday Life‘ were the most useful to me. Chapter 3 is short but it reminds the reader the importance of making time for your faith and the positive effect it can have on your outlook. Chapter 9 is full of insight in to building a better relationship with the Divine.

While this book may follow and use a Wicca format I want to stress this is not another Wicca 101 book, but it is great supplemental reading for anyone following a neo-pagan path whether it be Wicca, Witchcraft, Druid or Reconstruction. I give it 2 thumbs up.