Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring in New Orleans

Posted at by Brett Will Taylor... local blogger.

"Because I think there's a really awesome lesson to learn in the way that Spring really does bust out all over around here. The lesson is this: We live in a time when man actually thinks he is the master of Mother Earth. And, when it's spring in New Orleans, you can actually hear Mother Earth laugh at the foolishness of that notion!"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Italian Immigrants in New Orleans

Our local newspaper the Times Picayune is 175 years old.  They also are on-line at

They recently published a list of 175 Events, People & Things that shaped New Orleans.

The article below by Laura Maggi on Italian Immigrants was one of the 175.

The tourists waiting patiently for muffulettas in the aisles of Central Grocery likely have no idea they are surrounded by what was once a standard fixture of many New Orleans neighborhoods: the Italian-owned corner store.
italian-immigrants.jpgView full size

These grocery stores once dotted the city’s landscape, built by immigrants who flocked to New Orleans and surrounding parishes beginning in the late 1800s. Unlike Italian immigrants to other major American cities — who hailed from all over the then recently unified country — New Orleans’ immigrants came almost entirely from the poverty-stricken island of Sicily.

The Sicilian transplants found work on sugar plantations upriver or toiling on New Orleans docks. Many who stayed in the city settled in the lower French Quarter, creating what was known at one point as Little Palermo. Macaroni factories popped up around the neighborhood, while Italian vendors sold fruit at the French Market.

Eventually, some immigrants were able to open small businesses, such as corner stores or restaurants. Some didn’t stay small, such as Progresso Foods, the soup and condiment giant, which began as a New Orleans import company.

As Italians prospered, many followed the path of earlier immigrants, leaving the city for suburban parishes. Their culinary traditions, New Orleans twists on Italian food, can be seen all over the metropolitan region. These traditions include, of course, the muffuletta: a sandwich of deli meat and cheeses smothered in olive salad. Many local kitchens offer up red gravy, a long-simmered tomato sauce.

Each March, local families descended from Sicilian immigrants erect elaborate altars laden with bread, cookies and other food in honor of St. Joseph’s Day. St. Joseph’s has also been adopted as one of the few non-Carnival days of celebration for the city’s Mardi Gras Indian tribes, which don their elaborate suits in the evening and parade in the streets.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time and Direction and Circle Casting

We pagans put emphasis on the cardinal directions and meanings associated with directions.
East is where the sun rises and where seasons begun and from where new life and possibilities spring.
West is where the sun sets and where the path to the underworld begins. North is a position of power.
NorthEast an especialy important position for Streghe. This is where we enter our circles and where we interface with the gods.

Time and direction are woven together in our circles and our rituals.  When we set our circle and move through our rituals we are mirroring and influencing and interacting with "Time".

We pagans view the solar year as cyclical year, not quite linear time.The streghe view time as cyclical following the cycles inside of cycles approach. We have both the repeating annual solar cycle, monthly lunar cycle and the Ages which (I think) are stellar. 

A 2010 study looked at time and direction and shows that what we do in our rituals is essentially an innate tendency of humantiy but is also influenced by culture. The Science News article below talks about this study and is interesting in the way is shows different peoples will view time and direction differently. Time and direction are influenced by culture and these days technology. 

To quote from the article below:
For the Pormpuraawans {from a remote community in Australia}
"... time flows from left to right when facing south, from right to left when facing north, toward the body when facing east and away from the body when facing west."

"... studies have indicated that people use their bodies as a reference to lay out time."
Isn't that what we are doing when we lay out a circle?
"In the United States, time is generally thought of as running from left to right. Other populations arrange time from right to left, back to front, or front to back."  

Aboriginal time runs east to west
Sun’s trajectory may channel time’s flow for one remote groupBy Bruce Bower December 4th, 2010; Vol.178 #12 (p. 11)

Time rises in the east and sets in the west in a remote part of Australia. Aborigines living there assume that time moves westward, apparently in accord with the sun’s daily arc across the sky, say Stanford University psychologist Lera Boroditsky and linguist Alice Gaby of the University of California, Berkeley.

Unlike any other group studied to date, these hardy foragers think about the day after tomorrow as two days to the west, the olden days as times far to the east, and the progression of a person’s life from infancy to old age as running from east to west, Boroditsky and Gaby report in an upcoming Psychological Science.

Grounding time in absolute directions makes it imperative for these people, called Pormpuraawans, to know which way they’re facing at all times. For them, time flows from left to right when facing south, from right to left when facing north, toward the body when facing east and away from the body when facing west.

Pormpuraawans rarely use terms for right and left and instead refer to absolute directions, making statements such as “Move your cup over to the north-northwest a little bit.”

Culture powerfully influences how people conceive of time, in Boroditsky’s view. “Pormpuraawans think about time in ways that other groups cannot, because those groups lack the necessary spatial knowledge,” she says.

Previous studies have indicated that people use their bodies as a reference to lay out time. In the United States, time is generally thought of as running from left to right. Other populations arrange time from right to left, back to front, or front to back.

“This new finding is of great significance since cognitive scientists have assumed that time representations must be body-based,” remarks psychologist Asifa Majid of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Cultural differences in thinking about spatial orientation shape time representations, proposes psychologist Daniel Haun, also of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. In 2009, Haun reported that Namibian hunter-gatherers remember dance steps and other body movements according to absolute directions. Time perception has yet to be studied in this group.

Some evidence suggests that an innate tendency to navigate by consulting external landmarks and absolute directions gets transformed into a body-centered viewpoint in certain cultures (SN: 2/10/07, p. 89).

Boroditsky and Gaby studied 14 Pormpuraawans and 14 Stanford students. Each group contained seven men and seven women. Aborigines ranged in age from the late 40s to the mid 70s.

In one task, participants examined six to 12 sets of cards. Each four-card set depicted a progression over time, such as a man at different ages. On each trial, participants received a shuffled deck and were asked to lay the cards out in the correct order.

In a second task, an experimenter placed a marker on the ground and asked volunteers to denote time periods with their own markers. If the experimenter’s stone represented today, volunteers indicated spots for yesterday and tomorrow. In other trials, volunteers arranged markers for morning, noon and evening, and for olden days, nowadays and far in the future.

Halfway through each task, each participant switched his or her sitting position to face in a different direction.

U.S. students always portrayed time as moving from left to right. Most Pormpuraawans depicted time as moving from east to west, so time’s flow systematically shifted course as the direction they faced changed.

The few body-based responses among Aborigines may reflect increasing exposure to television and other facets of Western life, as well as unfamiliarity with arranging objects in sequences, Boroditsky suggests.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Natural Resiliance

Below is an article published in the Times Picayune that talks about a community's resiliance.   If you've read any news in the past 6 years you've probably heard about at least 2 of the disasters that affected the Barataria community: Katrina & the BP Oil Spill.  While the article is short on detail the fact that these communities are made up of individuals who live close to nature and who understand how they are interdependent on nature *and* each other is at the core of their capacity to survive.

It makes a unique kind of South Louisiana sense when you come from an area named after the immeniently adaptable Pirate, Jean Lafitte, when you live in an area named for the Pirate Jean Lafitte  will you get someone saying that the secret to their success is that they are like a Pirate, Jean Laffite.
They were able to adapt and change in order to continue,” Peterson said. “It’s kind of the lessons from what we can learn from Jean Lafitte.”

Full Article captured for reference below:
Barataria area is model of resiliance.
Allen Powell II - March 11, 2011 - Times Picayune

Most communities couldn’t survive six natural disasters in six consecutive years, particularly if they destroyed hundreds of homes and cost hundreds of people their jobs. But if you ask residents of Lafitte, Barataria and Crown Point, they’ll tell you they aren’t most people, and according to a recent study from the University of New Orleans’ Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology, they’re right.
Researchers found that residents of the fishing enclave are extremely resilient, which is evident in how quickly their communities have rebounded from hurricanes, floods and the BP oil spill, said Kristina Peterson, a senior researcher with CHART. The group studied those communities to determine the root cause of their resiliency in the hope that it might help others.

“They were able to adapt and change in order to continue,” Peterson said. “It’s kind of the lessons from what we can learn from Jean Lafitte.”

Researchers used “participatory action research,” a method that lets residents drive the focus of the study. Peterson said researchers spent four years meeting with residents and developed an oral history of the communities. They discovered the skill sets and practices that made the areas stronger and made residents more willing to reinvest despite the damage caused by hurricanes like Katrina, Rita and Ike.
Peterson said researchers presented their findings to residents several times, and then residents would tell them whether those findings were accurate to provide a complete picture. She said this type of research is more valuable than simple surveys or data mined from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“They told us their story,” Peterson said.
What researchers found was that despite the lack of outstanding public infrastructure, the communities had intense and extensive private bonds that provided a helpful social network. In addition, certain skills that were essential to disaster recovery, like carpentry, were often tied to the livelihoods of many residents. Residents said they had a close relationship with public officials, and that allowed them to minimize or eliminate the red tape that slowed recovery in other areas, she said.
Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner said the study validates what he already knew about the area. Residents in those communities are willing and able to do their part to recover, but they do need a helping hand from politicians to make certain that things are not too difficult.

Lafitte, Barataria and Crown Point, Kerner said, play an important role in the Louisiana economy as well as the nation because of its fishers, and oil and gas workers. He said he hopes the study will stand as testament to the will of those individuals.

“I think what they saw is that the people here bounce back faster and stronger than some other areas,” Kerner said. “If you look, we’ve been through six disasters in six years, and if you drive through Jean Lafitte, Crown Point and Barataria, it doesn’t look like we’ve had one.”
Allen Powell II can be reached at or 504.826.3793.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nature Deficit Disorder

Click the link and read about Richard Louv and how critical it is to connect with Nature.

It makes me glad I have spent time this weekend with my hands in the dirt, planting and weeding.  This always centers and calms me.  

It always seems to come back "Nature is the Great Teacher."

Or as Richard Louv says it:
"Simply put, the Nature Principle maintains that a reconnection with the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being and survival."

Read more in Richard Louv's  "The Nature Principle"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chapter 45 – Initiate Full Moon

Nola was coming for a Full Moon tonight.  And he realized that it was the first Full Moon since his initiation. Was this why he felt on edge?  He didn’t think that the ritual would be any different now that he was initiated. But he wasn’t sure.  Had Nola said that anything would be different?

His mind wandered.  He and Nola had spent a good bit of time together lately but lot of it had been associated with getting the landscaping business off the ground, up to and including taking care of Leblanc.  Roger couldn’t stop kidding him about LeBlanc. Joe told the story with flare. He took special relish in the part where Owen was out gunned at the restaurant and left sitting there with Bryant. But Joe's favorite part was how he had knocked on the door just as Nola was going to have to let LeBlanc take her to the upstairs bedroom with a large king sized bed. Nola set LeBlanc up like pins. Then he and Nola had ridden off laughing leaving Owen to knock Leblanc down perfectly by landing all the landscaping and maintenance jobs as well as the large fencing and path work jobs at the Lakefront.  After they story had been told a few times. Roger and Joe became a team and Roger told the first half of the Leblanc story about the pool party and Joe finished it. An occasional comment from Maurice was guaranteed to spice up any telling. Nola was becoming a legend among his crew. And Owen was considered a very lucky man.

The plans he and Roger had to look over tomorrow morning were prepared.  He had worked out in his weight room and then had swum laps while Latasha had cleaned the house. Owen had already set the altar.  Everything was ready. There was nothing left to do. What was bothering him?  He felt like there was something he should know but that he was missing it.  It was frustrating. Was there something Nola was supposed to tell him that she had missed? No. That would be very unlike Nola.  She was more likely to tell you something you’d prefer not to hear than to hold anything back.  Then what was it? What was he missing?  He ended up taking a long shower hoping the warm water would beat it out of him.  He felt better afterward. It helped that she should be there any minute.  

Nola drove letting the other aspects of her life slip away and becoming teacher and priestess.  She felt that she had gotten Owen’s training back on track. He was initiated.  She thought the prep work for the Summer Solstice was as solid as she could get it.  They had spent time getting the landscaping business off of the ground but the good thing about that was Joe was well on his way to trained.  Summer heat would slow down the kind of landscaping they did. So she wouldn’t need to spend quite as much time with him on that.  All in all things were looking better.  She was looking forward to a Full Moon Ritual and the calm that had always settled over her afterward. She had decided not to worry about how the ritual would end.  The Gods and the Grigori would take care of that. The only thing she knew for certain was that when the ritual was over she was leaving.

She pulled into the driveway a little after 9PM and Owen met her at the side door. 

“Evening, Owen.”
“Evening, Nola.”
She looked up and said, “It looks like the sky is trying to clear with the cool of the evening. I’m looking forward to some moonlight in your backyard” and she took his arm and he turned and walked to the kitchen.    Ok, she thought, what’s up? The energy is off.
“You are always welcome in my backyard, moonlight or no moonlight.”
“Thanks, Big Man.  I think I’ll change out of these street clothes and get my cord and meet you outside.” He nodded with only the hint of a smile. She slipped into the downstairs bathroom.

Owen headed for his office, got out of his clothes put his new 1st degree cord on and went outside. Nola met him there.  He was focused on the sky when she came out.

She walked up next to him and breathed in the night and the moon came out from the behind the clouds.

He turned to her and said, “Did you do that?”
She smiled and teased a little, “I don't think so. Did you? It’s nice. We should take advantage of the clearing and do the Rite of Union."

She breathed deeply and said the Rite and did the motions while he matched her.  He perked up a little.  She did the Rite again while he matched her. She breathed and his breathing was entraining with hers naturally.  She did the Rite again while he matched her.  After the third time the moon began to slip behind the fluffy clouds. 

She smiled. “I guess that’s our hint to go inside.”

He almost smiled and they walked back to the kitchen. He said, "Everything is set up upstairs.”

She was so grateful that he liked taking care of the ritual set up.  “Thank you very much for taking care to have everything we need."
And he smiled at that, "Well it's really just wine, cookies & some flowers from the garden. The rest comes out of that Harry Potter box of yours."
"It's still wonderful that you do it. Thank you."

She found her ritual binder and looked to him, “Would you like to cast?" He nodded and began and as soon as he began the energy began to change.  His calls to the Grigori and the Gods were strong and so were the responses.  It actually looked like he got taller. And she smiled to herself. I don’t know what’s bothering him, but it is good to see that the Ritual does for him what it does for me. It lightens burdens somehow.

He rapped the wand on the altar and said, “The circle is cast.”

“We gather on this sacred night of our Lady, beneath the Full Moon…” And as the words washed over him Owen relaxed a bit more.  They linked over the Brunello in the chalice and Owen felt like what ever he was looking for was coming to him. 

They both settled into a comfortable position on the floor before Nola led them on a meditation. They both knew where they were going.   

"It is a beautiful pleasant night.... The moon is high in the sky but hidden by light clouds…  yet through the clouds the moonlight still tinges the path a light blue…  you know the way and walk over the edge of a bowl shaped valley... the sound of the bubbling stream guides you as you walk along the soft path.... You smell the earthly scent of the oaks and the crisp scent of the pines… you step out of the trees to a smooth lake made silver by the light of the moon now free from the clouds...  you breathe in the moonlight... and then slowly make your way to a round temple.... you enter... and acknowledge the God and Goddess statues...... and then you step into the pool of moon light coming through the center of the roof..... You breathe in and out and align yourself with the energy of the moon........  You leave the temple and make your way up a path that takes you to a high ledge in the side of the bowl-like valley.....  You lay down on the ground under the moon and stars and open yourself up to the universe and all its wonder......"

Owen listened and let his mind follow her voice and the images it created. He was on the high ledge and so was his grandfather.  “Papa Eric, I feel like there is something right in front of me but that I can’t see it. What is it that I am missing?”

“Son, I can give you hints. I can guide you but I can’t just give you the answer. You have to be ready for it.”
“What do I have to do to be ready?”
“You are on the right path.  Stay on it.”
“Does this mean that Nola is part of the answer?”

Nola lay back and opened herself to the universe.  Tonight the physical reality of the meditation was strong. Images of marble columns and white robed men and women floated in her mind. She felt a strong sense of a place of healing. Who needs healing?  And Meana answered her, “You do.”

And Nola almost gasped, “Am I physically ill?” And the answer came, “No, but your heart needs healing.  You need to feel safe and happy again.”
And Nola sighed, “I would like that.  I would like that very much.”
And the vision faded.

Nola ended the meditation with, "in the distance you hear the howl of one wolf..... and then the answering calls of others..... you make your way back..... past the temple.... past the silver lake.... through the oaks and pines ....  up... to where you return to the world....."

Owen slowly opened his eyes as he came back to himself.   Nola did the Veglia, then blessed the cakes and wine and offered the plate with the cookies on it to Owen and took one herself.  She took a sip of wine and then handed it to Owen. When he returned it to her she then offered the traditional toast to Aradia.  She refilled the spirit bowl and relit the flame. And then gave the Charge.  Each time he heard her give the Charge her felt a different part it resonate with him. Tonight it was “For she has been with you since you entered into the ways and she is that which awaits you at journey’s end.”

Nola recited the closing and then took Owen’s spirit blade from the altar. Tonight would be the first time they charged his blade.  Owen smiled faced her with his arms open. She stepped into his arms and put the blade to her chest. He pulled her close until the blade was wedged between them, careful with the point and the handle as his blade was larger. He held her close and they kissed gently. They hugged gently moving their combined energy into the blade. They kissed gently again and then Nola removed the blade from their embrace and put it back on the altar. 

She added a very small amount of spirit fuel to the bowl and relit it.  Owen moved to the altar and began to take the circle down. He snapped his fingers over the elemental bowls and put out the candles.  It was dark in his bedroom but he knew exactly where she was. He found her and lifted her and moved her to the bed without saying a word.  She didn’t resist.

He kissed her and in the deep darkness she felt as if she were completely outside of time and space.  She kissed him more urgently and wrapped her leg over his calf and moving her hands around his back.  He felt like he could dissolve into this woman and had a clarion moment: God, Goddess, One.  She moved slightly from under him and began to kiss his neck and move one hand across his chest and other up his thigh until both hands and her mouth found his sex. He moaned as she slowly circled the tip of his penis with her tongue while running her fingers along the ridge on the underside of his shaft. Then she slowly took all of him and worshipped the God until he was ready to explode.  But he needed them to be joined. He reached for her and found her wet open sex with his fingers and she moaned and in the process released him. He moved so he could use his mouth as well as his fingers, until a small, “please… please” escaped without her realizing it. He moved to enter her.  She had been transported since the first kiss and as he entered her they both were lost in the physical and dissolved each into the other.

Meana let them stay semi-conscious, floating in the left over and positive energy of the ritual, then sent them both into a deep sleep.  Nola woke and was completely disoriented. Initially she wasn’t even sure which way was up and which down. When she moved her arm slightly she was able to find up and realized that she was partially on her side and partially on her back. Then she returned more fully to herself and realized that she was in Owen’s bed.  He was on his side and had his hand across her ribs and his leg over and between hers.  Something wasn’t right.  The she realized that her head was at the lower corner of the bed and that she and Owen were essentially sprawled diagonally across the bed. Well that explained some of the disorientation.  She moved slightly and was able to slip from under his hand.  He hadn’t moved and she took that as a good sign. She slipped a little bit further from him and was able to get out from under his leg. Her exit from the bed was successful but it wasn’t graceful because she had to essentially hold herself up with one hand on the floor in order to slip out from under his weight without waking him.  When she was all the way out of the bed she ended up sitting on the floor. Owen rolled flat onto his stomach and kept sleeping. Thank the Gods.  She made her way silently out of the room, grateful that her eyes where adjusted to the dark.  She found her clothes and her keys without turning the light on in the bathroom and got dressed in the kitchen where the light from outside made it easier to see. Without realizing it she left her cord on the kitchen counter. She cringed knowing the noise could wake Owen then started the truck, slipped out of the driveway and made her way home. When she looked down at the clock on the dashboard it said 2AM.  How was it possible that 5 hours had passed?  It wasn’t the first time that she was forced to acknowledge that when you walked between the worlds time could pass very slowly or very quickly. 

Owen didn’t wake until 6AM. He was disoriented too. But came around faster because it was after all his bedroom and because now there was more light outside. Why was he diagonal in the bed? He rolled over then realized that Nola should be here.  He moved around in the bed and then sat up. She wasn't here. What time was it? 6AM! How was that possible?  They had started the ritual a little before 10PM.  He got out of the bed and crossed the upstairs hall into his weight room. He looked out of the window and could see that her truck was gone.  He realized he had no idea when she had left. It could have been 10 minutes ago or hours ago.  He walked back to his bedroom and returned to the bed.  As he lay there he wondered if it was his initiation that had made the Ritual so… so… powerful, yes, but no… what was the right word…  otherworldly. Then he realized that his energy had been different yesterday.  He remembered feeling like some answer was just out of his reach. The feeling was still there but it wasn't as strong and bothersome as it had been yesterday.  He thought back to the meditation. Papa Eric had said that he was on the right path and that Nola was part of the answer. Now if he could just figure out the question.

He sat up on the bed and the altar was right in front of him. He sighed. The ritual may have been otherworldly but the altar was real. It took no time to pack the altar trappings into Nola’s Harry Potter Box. After he did that the only thing left as a reminder that the ritual had happened was the wine bottle and the vase of flowers. He shook his head, picked them up and tossed the bottle and the flowers into the trash. He added the vase to the rest of the altar trappings. 

He headed to the shower. Even as the water beat down on him he couldn’t shake the odd feeling that last night almost seemed like it had happened to someone else or in a dream state. What he really needed was Nola.  One minute she was here. Then she was gone. Her ability to slip away seemed downright magical.  He felt like…  like… he didn’t know what.

Roger was due at his house around 9AM to review plans for upcoming jobs. 

He needed to get his game on.  He got dressed and went down to make coffee.  When he sat on the barstool he saw Nola’s cord.  He picked it up and looked at the clock. It was before 8AM.  She was usually at work early. He found his cell phone and took a chance and called her cell phone. It ran twice and then she answered.

And as she opened the phone she glanced down at the number, “Hello Owen.”

“Hi…  I was calling to make sure that you made it to work Ok.”
“Not yet, I just dropped Jamie off at school. I’m on my way to work now.”
“Really? Where are you?”
“In the truck.”
“Very funny, woman. What street?”
“North Rampart.”
Good he thought she hasn’t passed me yet. “Could you please stop by on your way to work?”
“Is something wrong?”
“I’m not sure.” But part for him was thinking; Yes, damn it, you are not here.
“You’re not sure…   Ok, I’m on St. Claude now. I’m less than 5 minutes away.”
And she hung up. And he looked at the phone.  Just like that she’d be there.  No questions. Just Ok, see you in 5 minutes.

Nola thought the phone call was odd. In addition to it being unusual for Owen to call after a ritual, he had sounded strange. She thought that last night's ritual had been powerful and good. Perfect actually, a ritual moment out of time. Granted she had been a little disoriented and disconnected from everyday reality when she woke up. But it had cleared. She was hoping he just needed some reassurance.

She pulled into the driveway and all the way to the kitchen back door and got out of the truck.  Owen was standing in the doorway.

"Damn woman, did you fly that thing here?"
"I told you I was close."  He looked unsettled but sounded like himself and his energy was more like it usually was and not like what she had seen before the ritual yesterday.
"Well, I think about calling you. You answer on the 2nd ring. You're here in less than 5 minutes and then you pull all the way down the driveway to the back door."
Maybe he wasn't Ok.  Maybe the disorientation hadn't worn off. "Owen, you said you weren't sure if everything was Ok.  Why don't we go inside and you tell me what's going on." And she took his arm and he hugged her before she turned him into the kitchen.

"Ok tell me what's wrong." And she sat on the barstool.

"I don't know."
She looked worried, "Is this about the ritual or.... Is there something else going on? Are you sick?"
"No, I'm fine." He huffed.
"Well then?..." and she looked at him like what is it? "I can't help if I don't know what the problem is."

"That's the problem.  I don't know.  One minute we were...  joined... and then I wake up all turned around in the bed. You aren't here!  And it's 6 o'clock in the morning!" and she started to smile. "All day yesterday...  What are you smiling at woman?"

"You.  It's going to be fine." And she stood up and opened the refrigerator and, ah there were English muffins. She took them out and then found the butter.

"What are you doing?!"

"Owen, what you need more than anything else right now is to properly ground. Nothing helps that like food."  And she turned the oven to broil, adjusted the top rack close to the top heating coil and then started buttering an English muffin.
"Yes, food."
She finished buttering the English muffin and opened the oven and put the muffin on the top rack leaving the oven door cracked slightly. 
"Where are your small plates?"
He pointed and she opened the cabinet.
He pointed. "Why did you just disappear on me?"
She got the salt and then checked the muffin, giving it a little more time. "I didn't disappear. I'm right here."
"You know what I mean."
She turned off the oven and slid the muffin on to the plate and put a pinch of salt on it, and slid the plate to him.

And he looked at her straight in the eye and defiantly took a bite...

"Hey that little bit of salt makes a difference!"
"See." As if it were all better now.

"Oh no, it's not that easy. Why did you disappear on me?"

"Ok Owen, you are right. The end of our ritual last night was different.  We were not ourselves. I think we managed to channel greater energies.  We did it exactly right. But I admit that when I woke up I was a little disoriented."

He smiled at that, "You were?" and took another bite as he realized he was starting to feel more like himself.

She smiled back, "Yes, we were diagonal in the bed and all tangled together.  At first I didn't know where I was. I managed to slip out from under you and you were out, solid, cold, out, soundly sleeping. There was no reason for me to wake you. So I went downstairs got dressed and got in the truck and when I did I noticed that it was 2AM."
"2AM, you didn't leave until 2AM?   What happened to us? We don't usually... whatever we did last night."

"Well... I agree that last night was different. But the ritual seemed Ok to me. Did it to you?"

"Yes... same Rite of Union outside, same circle casting, same everything… except for after.  Although... I was... I don't know, bothered by something all day yesterday, preoccupied... thinking that I should know something or discover something but .... "


"Well your energy was different yesterday."
"My energy..."
"Yes. You were distant. It was as if something was bothering you. You seemed preoccupied or focused almost outside of yourself. Searching.  But the Rite of Union perked you up and then the circle casting seemed to center you and the ritual went well. Sometimes, when the world is bothering me, a Full Moon Ritual can be therapeutic.  I hoped that was what it would be for you."

And he sighed and finished off one half of the muffin.

She continued, "I was focused on just doing the ritual. I wasn’t sure what would happen after the circle was down. I had decided to let the Gods and the Grigori decide… You know we don't have to follow that specific tradition every Full Moon....  When you acted.... I just followed your lead." And she paused thinking before she said, "You said we were joined."

"Yes. It was amazing.  God, Goddess, One and we were the physical manifestation of that and then we... we...

"we weren't physical."
She smiled. "I think we did it exactly right. Maybe better than we've done it before."
"Oh no. I think we've always done just fine."
"What I mean is maybe that what ever searching state you were in and whatever totally open accepting state I was in made it possible for us to go places we hadn't been before.  And maybe this is what made me and you a little disoriented when we finally came fully back to our physical selves."

He thought about that. It did make sense. 

She said, "Finish your muffin. It will help. I really have to get to work. I was already running late because I had to take Jamie to school."

He looked at the clock it was after 8:30. 
She watched as he looked at the clock and picked up her keys and said, "I'll still see you Saturday for Summer Solstice, right?"
"Of course." And he gave her an exasperated look.

"You're sure you're Ok?"

"Yes, woman I'm fine." And he sighed.
"Ok, see you Saturday for Solstice."

And he got of off the chair and pulled her into a hug and said, "Thank you."

She hugged him back, "You're welcome and thank you."

Owen was still standing in the driveway and the gate was still open.  Nola had just turned the corner so she didn't see Roger pull up but he saw her truck turn the corner.  Since the gate was open, Roger pulled into Owen's driveway and got out of his truck with a big smile on his face. "I see she's sleeping over."

And Owen thought, No. And then he realized that might just be the problem. 

And Roger said, "You're in trouble now."

Owen took the kidding and smiled and said, "Coffee's ready inside."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The stars and our connection...

Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked in an interview with TIME magazine, "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?" This is his answer.