Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mary Landrieu - 1st female Senator from Louisiana

gets "The Last Word" with CNN's John King,
on both health care
and the 4th Anniversary of Katrina

As the Democratic Senator of a relatively conservative state she manages to find the middle ground and represent the people who elected her.
No easy task.

Note that she gets coastal protection issue correct.
Remember Katrina was a natural disaster,
BUT what happened in New Orleans was an engineering failure.
Levees.org founder is Sandy Rosenthal

Saturday, August 29, 2009

On the 4th Anniversary of Katrina

John Barry, author of Rising Tide and Influenza is also the Secretary of the Levee Board for the east bank of the Mississippi which includes New Orleans. Listen as he talks about the importance of reversing the damage done to Louisiana's coastal wetlands. Take a look at facts you might not know. For too long we've let engineers determine the fate of southeast Louisiana. It's time to respect the geology of southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi River and work WITH Nature instead of against.

For 4 years the people of southeast Louisiana & Mississippi have worked to recover from the storm. Please take time to share this with your senators & representatives. You may think this does not impact you. But when you look at the facts that John Barry presents you will realize that we are all more connected than we think.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Diana & Dianus Garden Plaques

Diana Garden Plaque

Dianus Garden Plaque

These are the same size. They were purchased at a local garden/nursery. I liked the fact that the were a matching set and the similarity to the New Orleans Water Meter cover.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rite of Union

One of the basic components of the branch of Stregheria I practice is the Rite of Union. It is in its most basic form a prayer. But it is also an alignment ritual. The words and gestures are meant to align our physical body with our spiritual selves and with the Gods. It is short and simple. The instructions for the hand gestures are given on page 115 of Hereditary Witchcraft.

Hail and Adoration to you O Source of my Enlightment.
I pray thee impart to me thy illumination.

Enlighten my mind that I may see more clearly all things in which I endeavor.

Illuminate my soul, imparting thy essence of purity.

I reveal my inner self to thee and ask that all be cleansed and purified from within.


When I first started practicing Stergheria I struggled to memorize all the new bits. I was being taught via the internet and eMail. My teacher was and is great, but far away. I didn't get the reinforcement associated with seeing and hearing someone else do this nor the benefit of doing the action with others.

Because the Rite of Union was both a part of many rituals and a smaller manageable bitsized piece, a Strega's prayer, I thought I should be able to memorize it easily. But I kept getting the words and gestures snarled up. One day I became so frustrated with not being able to remember all the parts of this correctly that I finally broke down and locked my self in a room in front of my Lasa Shrine and repeated these words and the associated actions over and over.

First just the beginning,
Hail and Adoration unto Thee O Source of my enlightenment.
So many times until it slipped from my tongue without thinking. Perhaps as a result of my initial frustration which became an internal plea, I ended up starting my Rite of Union with my arms raised in an outreaching V with my palms open. Hail and Adoration unto Thee O Source of my enlightenment. Which means for me, I am here. I acknowledge you O Source of my enlightenment. I reach out to you and honor you. And initially, while I struggled, a plea to help me get this, please!

Then, I pray Thee impart to me Thy Illumination
letting the action of creating the triangle of manifestation above my forehead bring the wide wonder and greatness of the one into focus. Me on the One and the One on me. Arms up reaching out Hail and Adoration.........
Hands into triangle ........ Thy Illumnation.

Then on to the triangle over my forehead... until it seemed so practical, so natural. Of course I would want to have my thoughts enlightened. Of course it would be natural for this enlightment to come to the location of the 3rd eye.
Enlighten my mind that I may see more clearly all things in which I endeavor.. Over and over again.

Now what? Why am I here? I am here for my soul, because this is my spiritual path, my center. So the triangle of manifestation goes over my solar plexus with the words: "Illuminate my soul, imparting thy essence of purity.". Not just my mind. Not just in your head. But your SOUL.

And then because there is alway the opportunity for more and because I want to bring this illumination into my core, I open my arms saying, I reveal my inner self to thee and ask that all be cleansed and purified from within. Cleansed and purified. Allow me to be open. See my arms are open, I am open. Allow me to start fresh, clean and purified. Again I did each section over and over again.

Until I decided to try the whole thing together and low and behold! It just worked. All the hand gestures all the words flowed as they should and their meaning flowed into me as well.

Now I can break into the Rite of Union at any time (well when I'm pretty sure no one is looking or will care). I do it to the Full Moon. I've done it at sunrise or sunset, to an oncoming storm front, to a magnificent bush of gardenia flowers. Or of course as part of ritual. Even when I do my rituals inside because my back yard does not offer enough privacy to do circle casting ritual outside, I always start the Full Moon Ritual by going outside and doing the Rite of Union to a Full Moon. My teacher encouraged this and was, of course, right.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chapter 6 - Ridgeline

“Uncle Owen! You’re right on time.”
“Hey there buddy, jump in. Your grandmother packed an apple and some nuts for you so we could go straight to the woods. We should be able to get at least an hour hike in before twilight catches us and we have to get back to the cabin to clean up before dinner tonight.”
“You mean I don’t have to go home before dinner? Cool.”
“I already have our glad rags at the cabin. So we can do a loop on the Appalachian Trail. How does that sound to you?”
“Are we going to walk the ridgeline?”
“Yep, that was my plan.”
“Cool.”

Eric told Owen about 8th grade. Homework was a drag. His history teacher was cool. Who knew that all those old gray hair guys who started America were such radicals? He and his buddies had found a great place to fish that was only a 20 minute bike ride and hike from their houses. He was top scorer in all the video games they played. Grandpa was taking him to Pittsburgh to see the next Steelers game against the Ravens.
Owen listened remembering that one of the things he had loved about his grandfather was his ability to just listen. Eventually Eric’s head of steam wore out.
“So Uncle Owen, what’s it like living in a disaster area?”
“Eric, I live in a city you know? They have an NFL Football Team and a huge stadium.”
“Yeah, but it’s a disaster area right?”
“Eric, what do you think you know about New Orleans?”
“Well its all below sea level so the houses are on stilts and the people are all poor and they have bad schools, folks probably shouldn’t be living there….
“Whoa…. Where in the world are you getting your information?”
“Well, the TV, Dad, Aunt Lisa, Grandma, ….”
“Ok, I get it. Eric, ever heard a Los Angeles or San Francisco?”
“Sure”.
“What do you know about them?”
“Well L.A. is where Hollywood is and San Francisco is where the Golden Gate Bridge is and oh yeah they both have earthquakes.”
That’s what he was looking for. “Eric, do you think all the people in L.A. or San Francisco should move because one day there will be a horrible earthquake?”
“Well, no it seems kinda silly to leave your home for something that might happen.”
“Do you think that all the people who live in Florida next to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico should all move away because of Hurricanes?”
“Well no”. Owen could see the wheels were turning so he gave Eric a minute before he launched.
“Eric, New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in the nation. It was a city before America was America. It has a rich culture and a history unlike the rest of America which makes it unique and special. New Orleans is where Jazz was born. It is a critical US port city. Most of the steel in America moves through the port of New Orleans. It's the top port for natural rubber & coffee. Almost 30% of the Crude Oil & more than 30% of the Natural Gas comes through Louisiana's coasts. 40% of all the seafood consumed in America comes from Louisiana. New Orleans is there for a reason, not just because the people were too stupid to build a city somewhere else. New Orleans has the most amazing food at even the smallest neighborhood restaurants. The people there are some of the warmest, friendliest, most down to earth people you'll ever meet. And based on what they've been through some of the toughest too.“
"OK, OK. Uncle Owen. Wow. I get it. Really. Jezz, You sound like the History Channel."
"Sorry buddy, but I have listened to people say the most ridiculous and mean spirited things about my adopted home. Promise me that before you just take someone else's opinion as your own that you'll do a little digging around first."
He grinned. "Now you sound like my history teacher. But, OK Uncle Owen, I promise".

They walked on until they reached the top of the ridgeline and stopped where Grandpa Eric had always stopped. It was a great view of the valley and the tree colors changing made for a beautiful panorama. They soaked it in, had a snack and headed back to the cabin to get cleaned up and dressed for the party.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Moonflower

PreBloom and a perfect offering to the God.
MoonFlower - prebloom night


Blooming and a perfect offering to the Goddess.
MoonFlower opening

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Seasonal shift

I know, right now in other parts of the country and northern hemisphere this is prime summer growing season. I live in New Orleans which has and I hope always will be slightly out of phase with the rest of the world. Now is the start of our inbetween season. Watermelons are ready and the okra is going crazy. But many summer plants are finishing up. Oh the eggplant and peppers will produce into the fall but it is time to think about pulling up the tomato plants. We can start harvesting and keep harvesting basil for pesto until the first frost. But the basil is at its prime now. It is also time to think about planting our fall crops.

While this process can seem wildly out of phase with other parts of our county it is in keeping with the mythos that is part of my tradition. Autumn Equinox is when our God dies. Here in New Orleans we start to see the signs earlier than most. It actually makes sense with our agricultural seasons for the God to die and go into the earth at the equinox. Seed crops like sugar snap peas, dill and root crops like onions, leek, radish, carrot are what we'll plant. We can plant other crops too like kale and parsley.

One of the things that I love about my tradition's wheel of the year is that it works with what passes as seasons here in New Orleans. This year I've decided to go with organic heriloom seeds instead of seed packs from Lowe's or Home Depot. I've placed the seed orders today. The seeds should be here in a week or 2.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Diana's Day Ritual

Keep to the ways beyond all obstacles. My backyard is not as private as I would like it to be. PreKatrina it was a bit more private but I lost some of the taller plants in the brackish water that covered everything for a little over a week. I have great backyard neighbors but when I want to be left alone to do ritual visiting is not what I have in mind. Sometimes I have to visit and then wait to do ritual. And then I remember that we are to keep to the ways beyond all obstacles.

I prepared 2 scrolls with my written petitions. These were a combination of symbols, images related to my requests, and written spells. I rolled these and tied them with white ribbon in preparation for burning.

I created a "lake" from a circular firepit and placed 13 votives around it's edge. I also set up my New Orleans firepit to burn the petitions.

After lighting the votives around the "lake" and the log in the firepit I did the Rite of Union to the Diana plaque I have on my garden fence. I then circled the lake 13 times remembering all those who celebrated Diana's Day or the Nemoralia in the past. I burned dried rosemary and spearmint cut from my garden weeks ago in the pit as incense. I did the Rite of Union to the Diana plaque again. Then I called to the Grigori and asked that they allow my magic to manifest. I then burned my petitions in the fire.

Burning Petitions on Diana's Day

I finished the ritual with one last Rite of Union. This was the first time I have done this outside and even with the still, heavy heat of August and the additional heat from the fire, the ritual was more powerful outdoors. So it looks like I be creating Diana's Mirror in my backyard again next year.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Words of Aradia: Concerning Worship

These words are taken from Italian Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi:

Remember to keep, and observe, all the sacred gatherings. For therein does the power flow, and emanate forth into our Being. Observe the time of the Full Moon, and all the Holy Days of the Goddess.

Honor the Sun and Moon for they are sacred symbols of the God and Goddess(which they placed in the heavens as a token of their convenant with us). But do not workship them, for they are but images of the Great Ones.

And you who are priests and priestesses, remember the times of union (and the rite thereof).

All acts of reverence toward Nature and toward life are acts of worship. So it is too with love and pleasure. Therefore, let each day be your rituals of adoration to the Great Ones.

Times of Gathering
Shadowfest (October 31st)
Winter Solstice
Lupercus (Feburary 2nd)
Spring Equinox
Lady Day (May Eve/May 1st)
Summer Solstice
Cornucopia (August Eve)
Autumn Equinox

The Holy Days
Festival of Diana (August 13th)
Festival of Fana (December 19th)
Festival of Tana (May 1st)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vinnie Russo on Grimassi and Streghe

Posted with permission.
From: Vinnie Russo
Subject: [traditional_stregheria] Moderator Note - Grimassi & Wicca bashing
Date: Aug 12, 2009 8:49 AM
Hello all,

First, I want to say that I am thrilled with all of our new members and the recent lively discussions. However, I need to step in both personally and as a moderator regarding Raven Grimassi as well as the recent attitude of "Wicca bashings".

I know Raven Grimassi personally. People who criticize his published material often don't have all the facts, have never talked to him, or have jumped to assumptions.

Raven's published material is just that published. You don't really think that he'd actually publish all the material that he has or what he uses to train personal students, do you? It's material that is appropriate to teach the public, he makes that very clear. However, what Raven teaches his students is both authentic and valid.

I would like to quote directly from Raven Grimassi:
"There is a rich legacy of ritual, lore, and magic in the teachings of Italian Witchcraft. It has always been my goal to share this with others in whatever way I can. This has been a challenge over the years because much of the material is protected by sworn oaths to not reveal various elements. I have pushed that envelope over the year and continue to do so today. Ironically this has brought charges from initiates that I am violating the oaths, and it has brought allegations from the public that I have nothing authentic to share and am simply using the "oath claim" as a shield. We are a fascinating community."

"The facts are that I plant the keys to initiate material in my non-initiate material. I use common material as a carrier for the inner workings. All that is required is for a person to sift through my books and join things together. The keys and the doorways are all there, it only takes a focused desire to reveal what resides within the written words. Is this the breaking of oaths? For some people it is, and some initiates feel that I am freely giving away keys that they have had to work for over the years."

"Some non-initiates look at my work, and because it contains some common Wiccan elements they dismiss it all as unauthentic. I guess this is like finding a fly in your soup; it ruins the whole thing. Except, of course, that the fly doesn't make chicken soup something else because the fly is mixed in. It's chicken soup with a fly in it. That's pretty much the situation with Wiccan elements in my writings on Italian Witchcraft. I was particularly amused one time to hear my book on Italian Witchcraft referred to as Wicca with marinara sauce. While inaccurate, the statement is still funny."

"I find that some of my critics invent things about me and work, which is really a misuse of valuable time for all concerned. While I appreciate respectful differences of opinion, and I value constructive criticism of my writings, I have little tolerance for unwarranted allegations and outright lies. But I do realize that being a public figure is going to draw attacks upon my work and my character. It's an unfortunate truth about human nature."
More can be read here.

OK, back to me now. In addition to responding to inaccuracies regarding Raven's work, I want to address the recent "Strega good, Wicca bad" attitude.

What's with all the Wicca bashing? There is absolutely no reason to denigrate or criticize another Path in order to compliment one's own. It is entirely possible to "sing the praises" of what Stregheria is WITHOUT the need to criticize what it is not.

Stregheria is a VERY diverse path and some families and branches have chosen to incorporate some Wiccan elements. So what? I applaud them. They are taking a long term look at things and incorporating elements into their own practices to ensure what they pass is a complete system rather than a fragmented system of lore and folk magic. Bravo.

The very culture of Sicily and Italy is syncretic in nature (Italian, Greek, Spanish, French, African, Phoenician, etc.) and there is no reason that our Craft shouldn't reflect that. As a matter of fact, it would be VERY surprising if our Craft DIDN'T reflect that especially as a living tradition. As many of us are American, English, etc. and NOT native Italian or native Sicilian, it only makes sense that we would begin to incorporate elements of the culture that we currently live in and make those elements our own. Just because something originally can be traced to another culture or Path doesn't mean that it can't also be part of Stregheria. It becomes part of Stregheria (at least in particular families) when the element in question becomes fully integrated into the composite fabric of the Craft.

Further, factual history of the Craft (of any culture) is almost non-existent. Most of the so-called facts are simple oral lore and stories but would not stand up to academic research to ascertain the validity of the various claims. Much of the initial modern Wiccan/Pagan movement started based on a fabrication of history (i.e. tweaking the truth and even outright lies). It's much better now with Wiccans becoming Academics and doing real research that will allow them to take a more honest look at themselves.

I don't want to see us (The Streghe) fall into the same trap that the Wiccans of the 1960's did namely, that of everyone claims to have a personal family tradition going back in an unbroken line for thousands of years; with unchanged material, lore, and mysteries; that is a complete system of magic and mystery; that was always secret which is how it survived; and is oathbound so no verifiable proof can be offered to corroborate. If we follow that path, it only makes us look like attention seekers and children that don't know any better.

So, let's all try to criticize others less and compliment good academic research, good heart, and honest discussion more.

---Vinnie

Monday, August 10, 2009

Festival of Diana - August 13

Take a walk into Lake Nemi as CMC Green, the author of Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia describes the setting:
"From here (the narrow road to the crater) the road curves, cresting the crater's ridge, and one finds oneself in a world of incredible remoteness and indeed, sacredness, even while the noise of school children playing has not yet died away. ...

Within the crater the woods are thick and green and birdsong fills the air, and the perfect blue of the lake reflects the sky and the crater's sloping sides. The old (asphalted) Roman road, still slopes gently down from the crest to skirt the lake, moving away toward the sanctuary at a point where the lake leaves a blunt triangle. To pass over the ridge into the crater is a very real experience of crossing a boundary into what is still effectively sacred space.

The crater is steep and the lake 30 meters deep, with only a narrow shoreline. On the northeast side is the one bit of level land beside the lake, roughly triangular in shape. ... Just to the east beneath the sheerest rise of stone, a great spring poured from the crater wall and into the lake. ... The crater is large enough to define a world of its own but not so large that it invites fragmentation of its interior space and in this very contained space, the triangular flatland forms a single orienting point.

The crater is the natural place for a hunting cult. It is the universe writ small, uniting the three cosmic levels - the earth, the canopy of the heavens, and, through the depths of the lake and the caves at its shore, the underworld. It was then, as now, a place of stunning beauty and peace, sacred and remote. ...

It is a small lake, spring fed, ... As there was no above-ground outlet, the lake level would have changed according to seasonal rain or drought although over time such changes would be modertated by the underground outflows. ... This triangle, broad across the curve of the lake and narrowing into the crater walls, is where the terrace for the lower sanctuary was eventually built. It resembled the stubby handle embracing the bottom of an Etruscan mirror. On a calm day the lake reflects the sky and the shoreline with shimmering perfection. The Romans, much more attuned to the visual impact of the setting than we can be, called the lake the speclum Dianae.

The crater has its own microclimate. Violent thunderstorms, earthquakes and thick fogs are all more frequent there then they are in the plains of Latium beyond. Trees - today chestnuts but in antiquity also beech and oak - as well as scrub and the larger woody bushes grew thick on the crater slopes: the area was densely populated with wildlife."

Imagine the ancient celebration as described by Ovid, from his Fasti:
In the Arician valley, there is a lake surrounded by shady forests,
Held sacred by a religion from the olden times...
On a long fence hang many pieces of woven thread,
and many tablets are placed there
as grateful gifts to the Goddess.
Often does a woman whose prayers Diana answered,
With a wreath of flowers crowning her head,
Walk from Rome carrying a burning torch...
There a stream flows down gurgling from its rocky bed..."

One Roman poet, Propertius, apparently attended the festival in the 1st century CE, as indicated in these words to his beloved:
"Ah, if you would only walk here in your leisure hours.
But we cannot meet today,
When I see you hurrying in excitement with a burning torch
To the grove of Nemi where you
Bear light in honour of the Goddess Diana"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Aricia: Diana & Rex Nemorensis

FROM: Ancient Legends of Rome, by Ettore Pais (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1905)
page 143-146:


"This circumstance, added to the torch which adorned the statue of Diana Aricina, favors a belief in the direct derivation of the cult from Diana Phaeelitis (the torch-bearer), worshipped by the Greeks of Rhegium and of Messana. Moreover, it was related that Virbius, on returning to life, assumed the appearance of an old man, and, though remaining unknown to others, was accorded an ignoble, yet immortal, existence near his beloved Diana.

Virbius (according: to the declarations of the ancients) was the name of a river. Other texts inform us that Virbius was the Sun. The two statements, rather than being mutually exclusive, are supplementary to each other for, the water which descends from the skies is transformed into fountains and rivers. Janus is, at one and the same time, the god of the Sun and of the waters; he is the lover of the fountains Camesa and Juturna, and of the spring Venilia, - that is, of the nymph which represented the currents of the springs. Likewise, just as Hephaistos, among the Greeks was placed in relation with the ocean, so Vulcan, at Rome, was placed in dose connection with the Tiber. Again, the mention of Egerius as founder of the temple of Diana, and, in even greater degree, certain remains found in the area of the temple, prove that the cult of the waters was closely connected with that of Diana Aricina also. On the whole, it seems a probable supposition that the cult of Virbius and of Diana was related with the cult of the nocturnal light, and that it represents one of the many forms of popular and sacerdotal fancies regarding the relations between the Sun and the Moon which illuminates the woods with its nocturnal light.

The most characteristic touch of the cult was, however, that one relating to its priest. As also in other places, he was considered an emanation and a perpetuation of the god himself. The god was considered a divinity which had to lead an ignoble life, and his priest had to be an escaped slave who with weapons in hand for fear of being slain, continually wandered through the woods. Whosoever killed him became his successor, and inherited the name of rex nemorensus that is, the king of the woods. The general metamorphosis of the cult, and the softening of sentiments, brought it about that, to the writers of the end of the Republic, this cult already seemed strange. There was, however, nothing strange in such cult. It recalls the conditions obtaining in the easiest Latin civilization, reminding us of the roughness and the brutality of the Roman Lupercalia, and of the ferocity of the Luperci, or, better still, of the Hirpini on Mount Soracte, These latter, it will be remembered, in imitation of their totem, the wolf, lived entirely by rapine.

Thus the priest of the Nemus Aricinum, as well as the god, is himself called rex. This brings to mind the asylum which Romulus established on the Capitoline Hill, and that other asylum on the Gelian where Tullus Hostilius or Servius Tullhis received bandits and fugitives. The fact that the legend of the very humble origins of Rome was at no time rejected by the national tradition, and was only partly modified and softened in later ages, is in perfect harmony with this primitive phase of Latin civilization. Moreover, even today in certain regions of southern Italy (where forms of primitive social life still survive) the brigand inspires no averse feelings in the farmer, who does not avoid his society. The bandit is more often the subject of admiration than of fear in the mountain fastnesses of Calabria, Corsica and of Sardinia. Perhaps, too, one may note that, notwithstanding so many centuries of civilization and the softening of customs, the country round about Nerni and Gerizano even today recall at times the ferocity of the ancient inhabitants of the Alban hills. Another series of facts illustrates, in still greater degree, the analogies, indeed the identity, of the cult of the lake at Aricia with that of Diana on the Aventine, The Aventine, being the region sacred to slaves and to fugitives of all the Latin nations, was always excluded from the powerittm* On this hill, not only did the slaves and fugitives find refuge (as for instance in the time of the Gracchi), but here, as well as on the Mons Sacer, was the tribunate of the plebs supposed to have been established. And the plebs, in fact, were originally composed of fugitive slaves and of those without masters.

These analogies extend, also, to the representatives of the cult in the two temples,—the one at Rome, the other at Anew. The priest at Aricia was a servus rex and Servius Tullius, sixth king of Rome,, was likewise the son of a slave woman. The servus rex of Aricia had to be a fugitive slave and was obliged to flee continually for fear of assassination by the aspirant to his office,. He was, indeed, the representative and the emanation of that Virbius represented as an aged man, who, under the name Hippolytus, had been trampled upon by the chariot-horses. Similarly, the old , Servius Tullius in vain endeavored to flee in a chariot, and was trampled upon in the Clivus Orbius (or Urbius), where the temple of Diana was situated. Indeed, the Clivus Virbius of Aricia was the street inhabited by beggars, and leading to the temple of Diana. Even today, in the popular speech of Italy, the Sun is called the father of the poor.

There are other points of contact still more remarkable. It is expressly said that Virbius was the Sun and the lover of Diana Aricina. This goddess was worshipped on the ides of August, in other words, in that month which the ancients gratefully placed under the guardianship (tutela) of Vulcan. The ancients also said that Servius Tullius was the son of Vulcan, or of the Sun. To him were sacred the Nones of each month, and his birth was said to have occurred towards the Ides of August. This day, a festal clay of the servi (slaves), was, too, considered the day on which King Serving Ttilltu* dedicated the temple of Diana on the Aventine. Though Virbius was the lover of Diana, Servius Tullius was beloved by Fortuna. In the sacred narratives officially accepted by the Roman priesthood, it was stated that Fortuna secretly visited Servius by night, entering: by the door called Fenesta. It is, therefore, easily understood how the various temples of Fortuna, and particularly that one in the Forum Boarium, were said to have been consecrated by Servius, The divinity worshipped in this temple seems to have been identified with Pudicitia Plebeia, a fact recalling the cult of Diana, which also at Aricia assumed special forms. So true is it, that she was there called Vesta, which reminds us of the Lares discovered in the temple of the goddess, and also of the fact that Servius was considered the son of the domestic Lar, or else of Vulcan.

At any rate, it is certain that chaste Fortuna, who was accustomed to pay her visits by night and veiled, is strongly reminiscent of Diana approaching the sleeping Endymion. To this must be added the fact that the Dianium, which was situated near the vicus Urbius (the later called sceleratus) and which was inhabitated by Servius Tullius, does not seem to differ from the temple and the sanctuary of Fortuna, or of Pudicitia Plebeia, who assisted Servius in his dying moments. The bones of Orestes (which were transported from Aricia) were not buried in the Dianium on the Aventine, but beneath the temple of Saturn in the Forum. The thought naturally arises that there may have been more or less similar cults in the different Latin cities, and that the two temples of Diana (at Rome and at Aricia) were not closely related to each other. Nevertheless, it must be remarked that Roman tradition is consistent in stating that the Aventine was inhabited by the Prisci Latini, and that the temple of Diana Aventinensis was erected by the entire Latin confederation."

Rex Nemorensis is a part of the history of the area. But other than the knowing the story is in Frazer's Golden Bough and mentioned by other classical historians, it does not play a strong part in the pratices associated with the tradition I follow. We do have a strong link to Diana's Day/August 13th. This celebration, known as the Nemoralia by others, is one of our Holy Days.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia

Anyone interested in digging into the ancient links to our ways should read,
Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia.
The book is expensive, published in 2007 by Cambridge Press and "academic".
The author is CMC Green of the University of Iowa - Professor of Classics. (Scroll down to see the author... CMC Green.)

We are so dependent on ancient sources and because of this we are also dependent on translations and associated interpretations of these ancient sources. The woman who wrote this book does her own translations, she reads and speaks latin and greek. She quotes, Livy and Dionysus, Varro, Cicero others (and Greeks), she provides the original latin and then her translation and, most importantly, provides detailed historical context for the quotes.

Historical Context: Italic Penisula? Greek? farther East?
Here is a quote from page 85
"There was always an undercurrent of competition between Rome and Aricia over Diana. One curious fact: Romans and Aricians both acknowledged that their cult statues of Diana were borrowed - but not from Greece, except secondhand through semibarbarous Greek colonies. The Massiliote Artemis whose copy was placed in the Aventine temple was itself a copy in turn of Ephesian Artemis, whereas Aricia's Diana came from Tauropolos - a mythical place generally held to be somewhere on the Black Sea. These acknowledgements of barbaric borrowing become even more interesting in that there is no corroborating evidence for either claim."

Hecate too was not Greek but borrowed from Greek colonies. Hecate is The Great Goddess, the Ancient of Ancients and a triform goddess. The Triform Arician Diana is ancient too and is said to have links to Tauropolos, in which is somewhere around the Black Sea - think of Catal Hoyuk, said to be "the 1st known city". Think of those bull heads and ask yourself if Tauropolos could be another name for Catal Hoyuk. Even if it is not, what is reinforced is that humanity's connection to these goddesses is ancient, going back far into prehistory.

The Goddess link to the Moon.
Quote from p 117-118
"The Moon was "feminine" and the cosmic source of all moisture, and was particularly the source of dew, which she brought at night. The nutriment of the moon was contained in bodies of fresh water, as the sun's was contained in salt water. Thus the lake in the crater by Diana's sanctuary, the speculum Dianae,was not simply ancillary to her worship. The lake "fed" the mooon, even as it reflected her and by feeding her moisture served to help her assist the hunter. The moon was the hunter's goddess because without the dew and the damp to hold the scent of a hare or deer or boar, the hunter and his dogs had little hope of ever finding their quarry. The hunter needed the moon; and the moon , by bringing the damp, captured the scent and thus "captured" the animal, leading dogs, who led the hunter straight to the prey. From time immemorial, the moon *was* the huntress."

"Thus there was no time among the Latins when the moon goddess was not also a hunting goddess, or when the hunting goddess Diana was not also the moon. There is no either-or, no decision we must make between Diana the moon goddess and Diana the huntress. Diana was worshipped in the wild, in a crater beside a lake, because that was where her elements - the moon, the wild, the water - could be worshipped together."

Diana, Hecate, Goddess of the Underworld
Quote from p 134
"It is unlikely that we shall ever know the real Latin name of Diana in the underworld - if indeed there was one. The moon at the dark was called silens - not by the poets but by the technical writers, such as Cato (luna silenti) Columella, and Pliny. The dead were known as the silentes (the silent ones). This pervasive silence indicates not just that there was a relunctance to name these deites amount the Latins but that, for the Latins, the very silence of the underworld precluded naming. Ovid approprirated epithets like Tactia (Silent One) or Dea Muta (The Mute Goddess) for underworld feminine deites. He also seems to suggest that the ghosts of the dead could only moan, not speak. Lucan's Erictho make much of the fact that she needs a just-killed corpse for her predictions, possibly on the grounds that those who had been dead longer would do no good because they were unable to commmunicate. In Aenied, Vergil makes much the same point with the silence of Dido,the moaning and the wordless whimpering of the Trojan shades. Aeneas is allowed to speak with Palinurus, who has not crossed over the river, and Anchise, who dwells in the Elysian Fields."

"One characteristic of Latin religion is that it uses Greek mythology as a rich source of protective euphemism. Thus Hecate or Proserpina (the Latin form of Persephone) are used as names for Diana in the underworld."


This is why we *know* Diana to have underworld elements but we have no name for this goddess, but shade or shadow, Umbrea or we've borrowed the Greek.

Footnote pg 133
"Hecate was, at least in Greek theogonies, a separate goddess. The name, like that of Proserpina, was used to express Diana's underworld character. This is not to say that Hecate was Artemis (or Diana), only that it was useful for speakers to employ the name when speaking of the goddess in the underworld."

pg 134
"Diana, then, was Diana Triformis: Luna, Diana, Hecate. These were neither different goddesses nor an amalgamation of different goddesses. They were Diana, well represented by the triple statue of Diana n the coin of P.Accoleius Laricolus, Diana as huntress, Diana as the moon , Diana of the underworld."

There have always been questions regarding "our" use of Greek names for our Deity concepts. What the chapter titled The Many Faces of Diana indicates is that while the Latins/Romans, and the author uses Latins to specifically separate the religion of the people from the Roman state religion, *knew* the goddess and all her aspects, the Greeks gave form and name to what the became recorded by Latin/Roman writers of the time. And this is what we have today as "history".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Remembering my friend on her birthday

Remembering Polly

Today was Dana (Polly Surette) Pastori's birthday.

On July 27,2009 via a front page newspaper article I found out that she had been murdered in 2002, her body discovered in October 2005 in the PostKatrina chaos, and her boyfriend arrested on a million dollar bond in June of 2008. He was convicted of her murder last week as well and sentenced to live in prison without parole.

To say I was deeply affected only begins to describe how I felt. Some will ask, "But if you had not heard from her since 2002 how close could you have been?" and this is a reasonable question.

I met Dana (before she changed her name to Polly) in the early 90's. She moved to New Orleans after she left her husband. She was with me when I was still searching for my path. She was Italian in some of her heritage and definitely in her looks but Norse, very strongly so, in her pagan practices. She wanted us to be able to work together. She hoped that I would, with my Germanic background, find a home in the Norse/Odinic tradition. We shared a love of learning and talking and practicing what we learned. But we walked 2 different paths.

In me Dana found someone who was open and accepting of who she was, all of her facets and I found the same. With each other we could be fully ourselves. She said once, and I knew when she said it that she was right, that I would always be lonely, even with people who were my friends if I didn't feel as if I could share all of who I was: the corporate woman, wife, mother, scientist, and witch. Dana was my friend because we shared all the aspects of our lives with each other and we trusted and could depend on each other.

I remember telling Dana that I was going to try to have (my daughter) a baby. I said (and this was before Raven Grimassi had published Ways of the Strega) that I wanted to invite the souls of those who had passed but who had positively influenced me a place to reincarnate. Dana asked me, quite surprised, where I had read this. I had to think about it but I said, I really hadn't read about it, but it seemed reasonable that if you believe in reincarnation that you'd want to offer a positive environment for your soul family. She just shook her head at me quite amazed.

I also remember the Shadowfest/Halloween in 1994 when we did a ritual to call this soul family while the veil was thin. Dana carved the rune for fertility on the white candle we burned. I was pregnant by the 1st week in December and 34 years old. I have always believed that the power Dana had as a witch helped make my life what it is today.

Dana loved her daughters. She was separated from them by her powerful and mean spirited ex husband. She had visitation rites before she ended up "stealing them". I saw her 2 daughters. I watched and comforted her as she tried every legal means possible to get "the state" to protect them and give her custody. When she took them they were shadows of what children should be, too thin and needing her.

She was able to protect them for years. But her contact with an old friend from the Czech Republic, lead to the police finding her. She was convicted and sentenced to probation, which she served out in New Orleans. She lived with me and my family until she could get back on her feet. Her solace in all this was that she was able to have time with her children when they were young. They got to know their mother. And as a result of her taking them they were watched by the state to ensure that their father would do right by them.

Dana had a complex life. Her father, the man her mother was married to, abused her when she was young. This of course affected her for life. But this man was not her biological father. She didn't know her biological father until later in life. But once she found him was able to connect. He was always good to her and I know that she loved him and his family. I want to be able to remember the good that there was in her too short life.

I wish she had been able to go to the Czech Republic as she said she was in our last conversation. She was getting away from New Orleans, from the US, until her daughters were old enough to be able to ask for her. It was always her hope to be able to reunite with them.

To "seal our friendship" and thank me for the being there "when there was no other", Dana/Polly gave me a magical box, filled with magical charged items. One of the things in this box was her first pentacle. It was made by a pagan from a piece of her jewelry, a peridot (our shared birthstone) earring. She said it "showed me my craft". I wear it to remember her and to strengthen my pagan practice.
Remembering Polly

One of the things in the magical box was a bird nest "plucked from a tree by my love", the man who killed her. She said I should use it if I ever needed to renew my life. Just yesterday I took the nest to the Mississippi River and tossed it in. I do want to renew my life. I'm sure Polly understands this perfectly. I also wanted her and me to be free of any connection to her murderer. Watching the nest sink into the river helped me release my friend.

Before her divorce she was in a terrible accident and literally died at the hospital. She always said this changed her. It opened her to the pagan path in a powerful way. I'll always be glad that she and I shared a small part of this lifetime together. She was a unique individual who never stopped learning from her experiences even when they weren't all good. I hope to meet know and remember her in another lifetime to come.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chapter 5 - Back Home

The ride home was interesting. His mom had been quiet as he rearranged his tickets to fly home through Philadelphia on Monday. He sat in the front seat while his dad drove and his mom peppered him with questions from the back seat in a stream of consciousness conversation.
“Did you really just meet that woman at the airport? Why are you staying until Monday? Don’t forget that your nephew will want to spend some time at the cabin with you.”
His dad piped in just long enough to hand over the keys to the cabin and let him know that he had aired it out and laid in the supplies his mom provided. And then his mom chimed in to let him know that “…after breakfast coffee he was expected to the house for lunch and dinner. The keys to the car are on the ring with the cabin keys. While you are here you should get a hair cut.” And he thought, a hair cut? I did a military buzz cut in July when it was beyond hot in New Orleans. No hair was cooler for working construction and it was also low maintenance. Just how long could my hair really be?
“The party is Saturday and everyone is coming. I’m very honored. How are things in New Orleans? Are you still happy there? Yes, you are I can see it in your face. And who is that woman really.”
”Mom, she is just someone I met on the plane today. I promise.” And on and on. His dad smiled contentedly in the drivers seat as someone else got peppered and also because his big burly son really did look happy.

His brother was waiting at the house with his 13 year old son Eric. Eric ran up to him shouting, “Uncle Owen, Uncle Owen!!!!! Can I really stay at the cabin with you this weekend?” And he surprised himself and the boy by lifting him up and swinging him around and saying as he set him down “Of course, I wouldn’t think of staying up there without you!” But his father broke in by saying, “Now Eric, you can stay up there on Friday & Saturday, but tonight you’re staying home so you can go to school tomorrow”. Eric looked crestfallen and so Owen smiled at his brother and then said: “Yep, that’s right, but pack your bag before you go to school on Friday and I’ll pick you up straight from school and we’ll take a hike in the woods before it gets dark”. And the kid’s smile looked just like his grandfather’s.

They hung out and caught up a little before his brother and Eric left to get home so Eric could tackle his homework. His mom was never happier than when she had a full kitchen table so this was its own kind of present. After they left, Owen said he’d like to slip up to the cabin and get settled before it got dark. He promised to be back down for dinner at 8PM. It was only a 20 minute drive.

He arrived at the cabin near the top of the ridge at well before dusk. It was exactly as he remembered it, timeless in its own way. This place had been built by his grandfather when he was quite a bit younger than Owen. It was a 4 bedroom guy’s hangout where his grandfather, Papa Eric, could spend time with his sons and later his grandsons. There was a fireplace and a large deck. The deck was great for grilling either the fish they caught or rabbit or even deer. It also had a great view of the lower valley. He rarely worried about what he’d eat when at the cabin because there was a large chest freezer filled with the spoils of the hunt. Stocking the cabin usually meant some fresh fruit and vegetables, coffee, milk and some wood for the fireplace so no one had to chop wood, at least not on the first night. There was usually some liquor there. His grandfather had liked Jack Daniels and so they always kept an honorary bottle, but there was a small wine cellar and beer too.

He dropped his bag into his bedroom, checked that there was firewood, grabbed a glass from the kitchen and poured himself a shot of JD. He walked out onto the deck and toasted his grandfather as he did each time he came to the cabin. Eric Ambioren had been a joyful, smart man whose great, great grandfather had made a small fortune during the Pennsylvania oil boom that started in 1859. Getting the oil from Pennsylvania to market had taken the original Ambioren patriarch to Boston where he’d met and married, at the late age of 29, a young Italian woman. His family had managed to hang on to the fortune through the Great Depression and because of this, while Papa Eric had always worked, he had never worried about money. Neither did Owen. His family had plenty along with a consistent work ethic that had served them well over the years. But even with their family tendency to hard work, Owen’s family didn’t understand why he worked so physically hard. He certainly didn’t have to. There was money in a trust fund he could tap when ever he needed it.

The only person who had understood and accepted him completely had been his grandfather. Papa Eric had been born to a certain amount of privilege but he had loved the wildness of nature and had not been happy unless he was close to it. He loved building things with his own hands, like this cabin. He loved catching or shooting, cleaning and cooking his own food. But he was smart too and he had found a way to make a living without simply living off of his inheritance. He ended up owning a very large amount of land that abutted the Appalachian Trail as well as land in coal country that was perfect for ski resorts. He had usually managed to spend at least a day a week “in the woods”, as he would say, and he also managed to add to the family’s bottom line and the family line of sons. His brother, Ryan, the oldest, was married and when his son was born named him in honor of the much loved patriarch. Papa Eric had died in 2005 at the age of 96. At the time Owen had been with his girlfriend Lisa for 10 years. Before he died his grandfather had insisted that Lisa was not the one he was looking for and that he needed to follow what was in his heart and not live someone else’s. “Go to New Orleans”, the old man had said. “You were happy and at home there.” Damn the old man. Owen knew Papa Eric was right but he had been too lazy and to loath to deal with hurting Lisa and his family’s expectations to listen.

It was only when he saw the TV coverage of Katrina that he knew with perfect clarity where he needed to be and what he needed to be doing. It didn’t take that long to make Lisa realize that he was serious. He had assumed that she would go with him. But he should have known better. Even when they had visited New Orleans on vacation she said she didn’t like the heat, or the way the people were so personal so quickly or the funky old houses that he adored. She liked it where she was, she like the seasons, she liked the people, she was comfortable and where she belonged. It had been a fun ride, but she had known for awhile that Owen wasn’t happy. She wasn’t stupid either. So when Owen started talking about going back to New Orleans, she acknowledged that it was over. She told him when they finally separated that Papa Eric had had a talk with her as well and that as usual the old man had been right. She was married within a year to his youngest brother.

He took another sip of his JD and wondered again what Papa Eric had told his younger brother Simon. Simon had enjoyed being the family playboy. Simon was bar none the most charming person at any party. Their dad had always said that Simon had more girlfriends then he had sense. And all of them liked him and each other. It was crazy. Yet somehow the very grounded and practical Lisa had pulled to Simon like a magnet. The minute Lisa was no longer attached to Owen. Simon started seeing her. At first they went out together because they had known each other for so long but Simon quickly fell hook, line and sinker. Now he only had eyes for Lisa. When Owen thought back on his years with Lisa, it seemed a shame that they hadn’t split up years ago. The situation could have been awkward. But it wasn’t. His mom and dad loved them all and just wanted their children happy. Their boys loved each other and that was all that mattered in the long run. And Lisa had never looked so beautiful. She glowed with happiness and would soon find out she was pregnant.

One more sip of JD and it was time to drive down to the house for dinner. As he took that last sip he smiled to himself and thought Papa Eric would have probably really liked Nola because they were both plainly direct and honest. He reached into his pocket for his ticket stub with her Email and the booklist. Maybe he’d jump on his parent’s PC and order “the manual”. With luck it would be in New Orleans by the time he got back home.

Dinner that first night was quiet, just Owen and his mom & dad. More stream of consciousness conversation from his mom. His dad’s views on global warming and what it might do to the ski resort business. According to his dad it would either be really bad, no snow or really good, lots of snow in the east and very little in the Rockies, which would encourage folks to rediscover just how great northeast was for skiing. He did his best to try to get them to understand what it was like in New Orleans, but deep down he realized that Nola was right, if they hadn’t been there then they couldn’t really understand. He hoped he could eventually talk them into visiting. Maybe next spring. After a visit they might be better equipped to understand. For now he stuck to the practical, how many workers he had, what projects he was working on, how much his investments were paying off, how many houses he had completed, how happy the homeowners always were on move in day. It was enough to appease the maternal senses.

He also got instructions on his responsibilities for the party. Dinner tomorrow night would be a family affair, all 3 brothers, their wives and Eric. Saturday was the big to do and he needed to make sure that he had a nice suit. Owen groaned and his dad said not to worry that Lisa had dug out a suit he had left behind and that they had an appointment tomorrow with the tailor who could work any necessary miracles. Sunday, the family was coming back to the house for brunch and he was expected to be there as well. It was perfectly scripted with the same touch that made their ski resorts the places to be. While Owen groaned about the festivities he knew that it would be flawlessly executed and fun in its own way. His mom was “officially” retiring and turning the event management over to Ryan’s wife, Stella, who was as good, if not better at it than his mom. Unofficially Stella, who was endlessly gracious, knew that Owen’s mom wouldn’t really retire until she was unable to lift her pinky finger. But part of what made Stella so good was that she knew how to make what could be for some a difficult situation work for everyone.

Later that night as he lounged on the sofa with his dad, his mom leaned over and kissed his head “Owen you are a thousand miles away.”
“Not really mom, I was just sitting here thinking about how lucky I am and what a cool family I have”.
“Well that’s something. Are you sure you don’t have a fever?”
“Mom.”
“Goodnight Owen.”
“’night mom.”
“See you tomorrow. Jack don’t stay up too late.”
“’night Abby.”

The Ambioren men looked at each other and rolled their eyes and smiled.
“Swing by around 11 and we can take the suit to the tailor, pick up a shirt, you can probably use one of my ties. Do you have dress shoes or just those boots?”
“Argh, Dad you know I’m not a dress shoe guy… we’ll have to buy some.”
“We figured as much. Your mother called ahead and they now have a supply size 14 dress shoes waiting for you at the shoe store.”
“We can also get some lunch while we’re out and let your mom and Stella have full reign over the house for the evening get together and Sunday brunch plan finalizing.”
“Thanks dad”.
“Well son, I’m turning in. It’s good to have you back and to see you happy. Lock up when you leave”. And his dad tried to muss his hair as he walked behind Owen and toward the stairs.
“I think we can probably skip the haircut…provided you comb it before you come to dinner”
“I think I can manage that.” Owen said with a chuckle.

The drive back to the cabin was beautiful with a moon high in the sky. He didn’t even light the fire but fell into bed and was asleep almost before he got out of his clothes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Chapter 4 - Mom

They walked off the plane to baggage claim. The time they had spent together had felt comfortable and awkward because it felt comfortable. She took her phone out of her purse and turned it on. With friends flying in on different planes a cell phone would prove useful, much as her time on call in while computer support and 3 horrible years working for stupid bosses made her hate the blasted thing. She still half jokingly claimed to have post traumatic stress disorder associated with pagers going off and phones ringing.
“Is your family meeting you?”
“Yes, they are probably here now. We usually meet at baggage claim.”
“When do your friends arrive?”
“3:40.”
“You have 2 hours!”
“I have to pick up the rental car, see if I can find a grocery store, get a local map and be back here for 3:40. I’ll be busy.”
"Have you been here before?"
"No, but I'm a big girl and have traveled lots of places. I'll be fine. I'm a Katrina survivor, we know how to make due. Are you worrying about me?"
He realized he was but said, "Well no, but I do want to make sure that you make it back to New Orleans in one piece, so we can start my training."
"Ah, the fire of a new student! It’s interesting to see it in person instead of via Email. This could be fun." Please Gods don't let him burn himself out. Slow and steady is what he needs.

“Wait, when are you flying back?” I want to continue to talk to this woman. I want her phone number, her Email address. Hell part of me wants to take her home with me right now. Where did this fire come from? Shit, I don't even know her name. How did she get away with not telling me her name? Witch, indeed.
“Monday.” She says absently, looking up at the signs and finally seeing the baggage claim area.
“Really, Monday when?”
“Hmm, in the afternoon, 3 something, via Philadelphia, but my friends leave at noon and I have to get them here in the rental car. Ah here we are and the carousel is already moving."
“Well then maybe I’ll see you Monday.” But what he was thinking is you bet I’ll see you Monday, because I’m going right to the ticket counter and adjusting my flight. I was planning on returning on Sunday but, Mom will be pleased to have me spend another night. And the guys can start the week without me.

She thinks definitely Bob Deja’vu. Vibe indeed. She is searching the carousel for her suitcase. "Do you see your family yet?"
He is looks around and seeing no one says "No not yet, but then the pilot said that the winds got us here a few minutes early.”
Her suitcase is coming down the carousel. She reaches for it. He sees her reach and is right behind her trying to help. When she pulls it off the carousel she bumps into him and drops the suitcase on his foot.
“Oh my, Oh, I’m so sorry.”
Surprised by his own intensity he says smiling: “Give me your phone number and you’re forgiven. Coehlo says : ‘learn but always learn with other people by your side.’”

She shakes her head at him and smiles and pulls his ticket stub with the book list out of his pocket and smoothly borrows a pen from the man standing next to them “Here is my Email address.”
“StregaNola?” he says looking down at it.
“Yes, I had the address before Nola got splattered on everything postKatrina. I sometimes use Nola as a nom de’plume and it is my teaching name.”
“Streganola, oh Strega Nola, I get it. Nola. I like it. But what’s your real na…..”

“Owen,” He finds it strangely comforting that his name has a unique link to her tradition. And she smiles when she says it. "I think that your family is waving at you”.
He turned and she’s right, it’s his mom & dad. How embarrassing to be met at the airport by his parents like some kid. He scrambled to write his phone number and email address on the ticket stub and tore it off handing it to her. “Nola, Promise you’ll contact me.”

“Owen, there you are.” And he hugged his mom and she hugged him to. They clearly love and even like each other. He grabbed his father’s hand and shook it and then they bear hugged while still holding hands. Very manly she smiled.
“Who is your friend?” His mom asks.
“This is Nola.”
“Hello, nice to meet you."
Sounding clearly pleased, “Owen you didn’t let us know you were bringing a friend with you.”
“Oh, no ma'am. We just met on the plane.”
Really, thinks his mom. I've seen that look on his face before and I'd swear that he has more invested in this woman than a plane ride.
"Ma'am, have a lovely birthday." and she dipped her head to Owen's father. "Owen, it was nice to have your company on the plane. I'm off to pick up my rental car now. "
"Nola..."
"Excuse me a minute, Mom.” And dropping his bag at his dad’s feet says “Watch this for me, please.” And he took her elbow and escorted her toward the car rental counter.
"Nola, promise me that you will contact me. A Strega's words have power".
Oh, she thinks, this one is definitely going to be trouble. "I promise. Now get back to your family before they think something strange is going on."
"Oh, but something strange is going on." he said before he walked away.

"O.K. Let's go" he says as he strolls up to his dad and grabs his carry on. "Mom, don't start. I have to make a small detour to the ticket counter, I’m staying until Monday”.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cornucopia

August 2nd is Cornucopia. It is the time when Streghe celebrate and give thanks for the gifts of the harvest. Also, most appropriately, the following week is (only the 2nd ever) National Farmer's Market Week. So get out and celebrate the gifts of the harvest by visiting a local Farmer's Market.

We are physical beings so we can and should learn from and appreciate the physical. But all of our Treguenda have spiritual elements. This is the time when we review our lives and look for what can be harvested and appreciated and what should be weeded and removed.

As the words from the ritual say:
"Now hear the words of Arardia: 'Know that every action brings forth another, and that these actions are linked together through their natures. Therefore, whatsoever you send forth, so shall you receive. A farmer can harvest for himself no more than he plants. Therefore, let us consider what is good in our lives, and what is full. Let us also consider what is bad and what is empty. And let us meditate upon the reasons for all of these things."
Taken from Raven Grimassi's 'Ways of the Strega', republished as "Italian Witchcraft".

So take some time to enjoy the harvest and reassess your life. By doing this you are aligning yourself with the energies of the Wheel of the Year.