3rd degree Arician Priestess of Stregheria... thoughts, insights, wonderings.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Chapter 49 - Christianity and the Prophecies
It was July and plenty
hot. Owen smiled thinking, about Nola and her reaction to the pool’s water
temperature. Before he dove in he looked at the roof of the garage and decided it
was time to put what he had been training on and researching the last few
months into practice and put solar panels on the garage roof that could feed a
heater for the pool and supply power to the house.
James was picking
Jamie up from school, so Nola could go straight to Owen’s from work. She had
changed into a light slipover dress at work.Then she had stopped around the corner from Owen's to discretely remove
her underwear.She pulled up into the
driveway and made her way to the pool gate.It sounded like Owen was swimming laps.As she pushed the gate open the sound stopped and he came up at the far
end of the pool and turned around surprised to see her.
"Hello Big Man."
She dropped her purse
on the chair, pulled her dress over her head and made her way down the pool steps.
"Oh, woman! You
shouldn't do that to me!" He said in mock exasperation.
She had made her way
off the steps and into the pool but started to turn around as she said,
"Ok, Sorry. I'll leave." She teased.
And he pushed off from the side of the pool and grabbed her at the waist and
spun her underwater and around then lifted her to make sure she was ok. She was
holding on to him like Velcro but it didn’t sound like she was breathing.
“Nola?” and he held
her closer to him. And he felt her relax a very little bit. “Nola?”
And she breathed.
“Are you alright?”
alright.I think I need to keep a
bathing suit here because I’m not sure I can survive surprising you.”
He laughed. “It
wasn’t surprising me, it was threatening to leave. I’ll be gentle but you have
“Ok, Big Man. Ok.” And she held
on to him and dipped the back of her head into the water to get the hair out of
He smiled and enjoyed
the way her breasts looked in the water and her skin slipped beneath his fingers
then said, "Oh!"
“Well you boggled my
mind when you whisked your dress off like that. You made me forget.”
“Eric is coming in
“Your nephew Eric?”
“When exactly in
“He arrives July
20th. His basketball coach is going out of town for vacation. So he gets to visit
his favorite uncle."
“Well” and she sighed
deeply and then leaned against his arm so he would hold her up, “then I guess
there won’t be any swimming naked in the pool that week.”
“I guess not.” He
And she pushed away
from him to float across the pool. “How long is he going to be here?”
“From July 20th
until July 27th.”
“Yes, I can take you
to 2nd on the 18th and then Eric will be here to keep you
entertained for a week.”
“What? Are you saying
I won’t see you while he’s here?”
And he interrupted
her, “Why not? Eric knows you. He even likes you. You can still come for
“Owen, be realistic.
What could we possibly talk about in front of Eric? We are going to take a
And he said more
forcefully than he intended, “No.”
And his intensity
surprised her too. “No?”
“Well… there has to
be a way that I can have my cake and eat it too.”
And she laughed at
him as she floated across the pool on her back. “You can’t really want your 14
year old nephew to be here while I teach things most adults can’t comprehend?”
“No.I just want you here.”
And she stopped
floating and treaded water and said, “Oh. My. God. I hope Ryan and Stella
aren’t spoiling Eric they way your parents spoiled you.”
Owen was practically
speechless, “I…. I… You… I…” and he dove under the water and caught her by the
waist, and with their height difference was able to stand up and turn her to
him. He had been gentle this time so she smiled and said calmly, “Do you want
to go to 2nd?”
And he was caught off
guard by the question but answered truthfully, “Yes, of course.”
“Then be grateful
that Eric is coming to visit.After I
take you to second we need to spend a bit of time apart.”
“Because taking you
to 2nd requires preparation and recovery time on my part. And
because traditionally the 2nd degree initiate needs time to settle
in before they see their initiator again. It is required that we spend some
He heard the word
traditionally and knew she was serious but said, “You’re serious?” anyway. And
he paused worried before he asked “How long?”
“Well was thinking
that we could skip one week and then start up the next.That’s why I said Eric’s visit is perfectly
timed. He’ll keep you busy for at least a week.I’ll be back the next Thursday.”
“You’re serious.” He
repeated more for himself than anything else.
“Yes. I am. I
actually think it’s a good sign that Eric is coming.It’s almost as if the universe knew you would
need him.” And she gently pushed away from him and floated to the side of the
pool and began to flutter kick as she held onto the side and looked out at the
trees they had planted.
He waded over to her
he thought, the universe knew. This woman was unlike anyone he had ever known.
He leaned with his
elbows on the bench and watched her flutter kick.
“Owen, you said you
were raised Lutheran. Is Eric being raised Lutheran?”
of.Abby insisted that we be members of
the church she grew up in.We
attended" and he thought about it and calculated, "not quite monthly
and on special occasions like Christmas and Easter. But it was more a social
obligation than a commitment to a faith.Dad never put much stock in it. Neither did Papa Eric.I guess it's fair to say that Eric is being
raised the same way.Questions are
always asked when someone doesn't attend a church. Stella and Ryan know that
membership in a church helps avoid conflict."
She nodded."Yes, hide in plain site. Raven mentioned
something about Streghe being side door Catholics." And he looked at her
questioningly. So she continued, "Side door meaning using Catholicism as a
shield but Mary and the other saints like Joseph, whose shrines tends to be on
the sides of the church, as a stand-in for the goddess and god and other pagan
"I get it.Why did you ask about Eric?"
"Oh because he
will be visiting and I was just curious.It is amazing how many Christian principles and philosophies we pick up
without even trying.But I also asked
because we haven't gone over Aradia's Words on Christianity or the Prophecies."
He laughed, "You
want me to get the book and read while I'm in the pool?"
She laughed and
teased, "Teachers privilege, you get the book and read while I'm in the
pool." And she turned around and continued to flutter kick.
"If I get this
And she splashed him
and said as he laughed and she laughed with him. "I think I've reviewed this
subject enough with other students to be able cover it without the book for
now. We can read the words when we get out. Have you read them? Do you remember
what they say?"
"Oh testing me huh?"
"Maybe. You are going to 2nd."
"In the Words on
Christianity Aradia essentially says that there shall never be peace between
Streghe and Christians, because they have chosen faith over understanding or
one could say science, which I know appeals to you.I think that their charge to proselytize and
convert others to the one true way also inhibits peaceful coexistence. Aradia
sounds like she doesn't have an issue with the teachings of Jesus but that what
she saw as passing for Christianity in practice was not based on those
teachings. She's not the only one to ever make this comment.Aradia counsels us to avoid Christians,
especially anything that might anger them, because they can be dangerous. I'm
sure she would be perfectly aligned with hiding in plain site or side door
Catholics or your philosophy of using what others know and believe to explain
your personal philosophy."
Nola had stopped her
flutter kicks and was hanging on the side of the pool looking at him with
something close to awe. He grinned at her, grabbed her around the waist to hold
her up because he could stand and her feet couldn't touch the bottom and waited
for her to speak.She held on not sure
what to say but finally managed, "Impressive. You are definitely ready for
"Thank you. I've
had a really good teacher."
She smiled and
nodded."Well then... What about
He was still holding
on to her and said, "Well Aradia mentions the Age of the Daughter in her
Words on Christianity as if it is some golden time to come. But I can't find
any specific references to it in any other tradition. In the Words on the
Prophecies she also mentions the Age of the Son and I take it that this Age has
some relationship to Christianity and its power ebbing away in the Age of the
Daughter, the age of reason.Many of the
things she mentions sound a lot like the changes that we've seen with rights
and freedoms being established in the US and throughout the world by the
Rule of Law. Unfortunately we have a long way to go before we get to Aradia’s
Age of Reason. The U.S.
being more supportive of the UN would be a big step in that direction."
And she thought I
could so fall in love with this man. And caught herself and told herself to
straighten up. While Tago smiled to Papa Eric.Owen was on a roll."I don't
get the part about the daughter being 36 years old. But it makes perfect sense
that there would be someone, the silent prophet, who would bring the Old Ways back to
light.I'm hoping that my teacher will
enlighten me on these Ages and the prophecies." And he grinned again
because he could see she was impressed and because he was enjoying the fact that
she was letting him hold her and was holding on to him.
You seem to be doing pretty good on your own. Maybe I should just let you work
on it a little bit more."
He grinned, "I
am going to 2nd next week. Why don't you enlighten me now."
share what know.But first what do you
know about the precession of the equinoxes?"
"What? What does
the equinox have to do with the Age of the Daughter?"
She smiled and said,
"Well I guess that you need me after all. Not the equinox but the precession
of the equinoxes.It's an astronomical
process.You've heard of the Age of
"Yes but that's
astrology not astronomy."
"Actually it is
He shook his head. “Ok
like most people our age I know a bit about astrology but you've lost me."
She thought I need to
use my hands. "Owen I need to use my hands, will you hold me up so I don't
"Yes of course
woman. I actually enjoy holding you." And he held her tighter.
She smiled at him
going along with his teasing, "Not so tight, Big Man, I need some space to
use my hands."
"I have some
ideas about what you could do with your hands."
I thought we were having a lesson here. Maybe I need to get out of the pool and
He smiled at her and
then gave her a little space while still holding her up. "How's
She rolled her eyes
at him and said. "You know the earth goes around the sun" and she
used the index finger of her right hand and moved it around her left fist.
"The sun and the whole solar system" and she tapped her left fist on
the surface of the pool move against a background of stars in the galaxy and
the universe." And she moved her right hand through the water around her
left fist to indicate these stars."This background of stars contains the constellations that make up
our Zodiac. Your sun sign is in Taurus. This means that on the day of your
birth, when viewed from the earth, that the sun," and she bumped her left
fist on the surface off the pool “was in front of the stars of the
constellation Taurus." And she swept her hand in an arc around her fist
and then pointed to a specific spot on the arc and said "Constellation
Taurus", and bumped her left fist on the surface of the pool again, "Sun,"
and then used her finger next to her fist to indicate the earth,
"Earth." And then drew a line along the surface of the pool with her
index finger to where she had indicated Taurus was. Then she stopped and asked.
"Is what I said
clear so far?"
"Yes, the Sun in
Taurus as viewed from the earth. I get it. I never really understood it in
these physical terms before but I do get it now. Thanks."
She smiled and
continued."The earth is tilted on
its axis." And she used her right index finger to indicate the axis and
then used it to create the base of a cone as she circled her axis finger.
"As the earth rotates and revolves around the sun and the sun and earth
move around the galaxy this axis points to different stars. It takes about
26,000 years for the earth's axis to precess, or make its way, completely around
the cone.The spring equinox used to
occur when the constellation Taurus was on the horizon behind the rising
sun.Today the spring equinox occurs
with the constellation Pisces behind the rising sun.We say precess because the equinox going
backwards through the constellations: Taurus, Aries, Pisces and the coming Age
of Aquarius." And she shifted where her index finger was pointing as she
moved it around one third of a full arc.
"Is this still
"Yes. It is."
And he sounded just a bit surprised.
"Ok so what does
this have to do with the Ages?" and she answered her own question."Some say that the Ages are the Ages of
the Mother, Taurus; The Father, Aries; The Son, Pisces and The Daughter,
And he said with almost
awe, "The Age of Aquarius is the Age of the Daughter." And he held
her closer as he adjusted his arms and thought about it.
"Well now that
is very interesting." And he just held on to her and she let him think
about it. Finally he asked, "What do you think?"
"I think that it
is possible, especially when I consider the arc of human history.The symbol of a bull and its horns was very
common in ancient history 6000 plus years ago. Think of the bull goddess of
Catal Huyuk in Turkey
or the myth of the Minotaur. There is a theory that there was an age of warfare
and conquest of tribe over tribe and this fits with an Age of Aries. Then think
about Jesus and 2000 years ago and the Christian use of the symbol of the fish
and Pisces.While Aquarius is typically
thought of as male there is no reason why the constellation couldn't be a
"Now that is
something to think about. And this is part of the Words of Aradia?"
"Well the Age of the Daughter is part of the Words of Aradia. Star lore,
astrology and ancient astronomy are part of ancient earth history and part of
what the Tanara would have studied."
He asked, “What about
the daughter being 36 years old?”
She shrugged, “I
don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows for sure. My personal theory is that we
will be 36 years into the 2000 plus years of the Age of the Daughter when the
silent prophet appears.”
And he hugged her
close to him and said, "Woman you are a very good teacher."
And she held on to
him and said, "Thanks, but my fingers are getting pruney. Do you think we
could get out of the pool and continue the lesson after I dry off?"
getting hungry anyway."
And she laughed as he
waded to the shallow water and took her with him.When her feet touch bottom he released her
carefully so she could wade to the side on her own. But plowed ahead with his
long strides and met her at the steps with a towel.
She said, "Thank
you." And he wrapped her up and gave her a kiss.
"How do you feel
about lasagna for dinner?"
"Ok. It's warm
in the oven waiting for us." And he made his way to the door."I'm going to run upstairs and get
dressed.I’ll meet you in the kitchen."
she walked through the door he was holding open. He headed up the stairs and
she shook her head as she went into the downstairs bathroom to finish drying
off and get dressed.She shook her head
wondering. Lasagna. He had lasagna for dinner and it smelled good. I wonder
where it came from.
He smiled as she came
into the kitchen.She was usually so quick
getting dressed that he had rushed to make sure that she wouldn’t beat him. He
had the lasagna on the counter. But she had taken time to dry her hair as
thoroughly as possible with just a towel. When she came out she said, “It
“Where did you get
“I know that New Orleans is famous for
its food but, I made this woman.”
“Oh… I… wow… I didn’t
think… what with your work schedule…”
“You are so cute when
you are flustered that it is almost worth being insulted by your assumption that
I can’t cook.”
“I…Well… I’m Sorry.”
He chuckled “and I
don’t set the stove on fire.”
She smirked, “I get
preoccupied thinking about other thinks and well….”
He chuckled again as
he took plates out of the cabinet, and silverware out of the drawer. He pulled
a bowl of mixed salad greens already tossed with a dressing from the fridge. “Will
you put this on the table?”
He pulled down 2 wine
glasses and asked loud enough for her to hear in the dining room, “Ruffino
She smiled as she
came around the corner, “Yes.” and he opened the wine.Poured to glasses and handed her one. She
held her glass up and said, “To the cook.”
He winked at her and
began to serve “This is a family tradition.I told you that my great great grandmother was a Boston Italian. This is
her recipe. Believe it or not my brothers and I were all taught to make it.
Mine happens to be considered the best.” And he slid a large serving to her.
“Good night Owen. I
think that serving needs to be yours. There is no way I’m going to eat that
much Lasagna. No matter how wonderful it is and it does smell and look
He looked down at the
plate and nodded and created a smaller serving on another plate, “Better?”
She took the plate
and her silverware, napkin and wine glass and went into the dining room. He
followed with his and the wine bottle and they settled in at the table.Nola served them salad.Owen lifted is wine glass to hers and said,
“Enjoy” and dug in.
Nola ate the salad
while her lasagna cooled.“Hmmm Balsamic
vinaigrette.Did you make this too?”
He nodded because his
mouth was full.“Its good, not too sweet
and a nice balance for the bitterness of some the greens. This salad mix is
He smiled and watched
her take a bite of lasagna and waited for her to close her eyes. Yep, there she goes.Open.Hmmmm, closed again. I wonder what that means?
“Mmmmm… This is
really good.Is that a bit of mint in
the meat mixture?
“Yes.” And he was
impressed that she could taste it so specifically.
“It gives it a middle
“My brothers won’t
use it. They don’t think it belongs. But it’s in the original recipe so I’ve
always used it.They can never figure
out why mine is better. I think it’s the mint.”
“But the cheese
mixture is different too. Isn’t it?Is
“Yes. Damn woman.
Anyone who can deconstruct a recipe like that has to be able to cook.”
And she grinned at
him, “Oh I can cook, just not without burning something… like the stove.”
And he laughed with
Then she raised her
wine glass and said, “Many thanks to your great, great grandmother.”He clinked his glass to hers and she added, “and
She sipped her wine
and then took another bite.
“Really good, Big Man. You can cook for me
anytime you want.”
“I can only cook for
you if you agree to come for dinner. The only way I got you here today was by
She smiled and nodded
her head in acknowledgment and chewed the bite she had taken and decided not to
say anything else.She asked a question
as a diversion. “Does Eric know how to make this dish?”
He thought about
that. “I don’t know.”
“You should teach
him, complete with the mint-nutmeg secrets, while he’s here.”
He nodded, “Not a bad
idea. I learned to cook in my teens. We all did. Abby insisted.She said, with 3 boys, if she didn’t she’d
never get out of the kitchen.”
They had finished up
dinner conversation about cooking and family traditions. Dinner had ended with
small bowls of lemon ice.They had just
settled in on the sofa, Nola with a glass of San Pellegrino and Owen finishing
up the wine.Nola was thinking, a dip in
the pool, a lovely dinner, I almost feel like I’m on vacation. He was thinking
that this was the first time he had seen her this relaxed without dirt under
“You look very
She smiled and said,
“I am. I was just thinking that with the dip in the pool and the lovely dinner
that it almost feels like I’m on vacation. Thank you very much my Taurus
“My pleasure.” And he
contently sipped his wine.“Why do you
always sit in that corner so far away from me?”
And she looked around
realizing that she did always sit in this corner. “I guess I do sit here… I
hadn’t really ever thought about why…” and she took the time to assess it
before she answered, “I sit here because I like looking out of the French
doors, because I like sitting where I can see all the entrances to the room, and
the sweep of bookcases, because like being able to put my glass on this table, because
it’s a good vantage point to be able to watch you and your reactions to what I
say or what you see on the TV.”
“I thought you said
you hadn’t thought about it?”
“Well not consciously
until you asked then I did and then I answered. Why do you sit there?”
“I… you know I hadn’t
thought about it either. I just prefer it here.”
“Well then maybe I
sit here because I could feel that” and she pointed to him, “is your
“Maybe so.” and he
settled contentedly in.
“You know today we’ve
finished reviewing the Words of Aradia.We’ve reviewed the mythos, you’ve mastered the Rite of Union and circle
casting. We have only 3 Treguenda and 4 Full Moons before we will have been
completely around the wheel of the year together.Do you think that you are ready for 2nd
“Wait… I thought you
said you thought I was ready?”
“Yes of course. I do.But I want to know what you think?”
And he thought about
that, “Yes. I think I’m ready. I feel that the Ways, your Ways, are a part of
who I am now. I know I’m competent in the rites and ritual trappings or you wouldn’t
let me cast the circle. And I also know because I’ve watched you hold back that
there are things that you haven’t talked about that you will be able to talk
about once I am 2nd.”
And she smiled
because he was right.He continued, “But
more than anything else I want to go to 2nd because one day I want
to go to 3rd and be your priest in fact as well as practice.”
And she took a sip of
her water to cover the fact that she could feel the effect of his intensity. “You
know 2nd degree comes with an obligation to ensure that the Ways are
“You mean I have to
“Well yes and no.”, and
he grinned at her frequent response to his questions. And she continued. “At
first degree you are opened up to the possibilities of all that you can learn
and guided by your teacher. At 2nd degree you are given the rest of
the story and you have all you need to carry on the Ways and to teach them to
others.And I know from personal
experience with this path and from teaching in college that nothing solidifies learning
like teaching. I think this is one of the reasons those who go to 2nd
are encouraged to teach.”
“Hold on. You taught
“Yes, as an
“Yes, I taught
mineralogy and crystallography lab for 2 years while I was an undergraduate. I
was offered the opportunity to make some extra money by teaching in the lab
because I had done really well in the class when I took it. And what I
discovered doing this was that I had learned it when I took the class but I
really knew it as a result of teaching it to others. The same is true for my
understanding of the ways. Teaching helps solidify what I’ve learned.”
She looked at him
like she didn’t understand because she didn’t understand.
“What haven’t you
She wrinkled her
forehead, “I’ve simply lived my life.”
teaching in college, waitress at the Café du Monde, you’ve been to more places
than I have, gigging for flounders, landscaping while you drive, rebuilding
your neighborhood, working at a refinery…”
She squirmed a little
in her corner of the sofa and then said, “Everybody has a story…”
“And you have more
than most folks I’ve known.”
“Well I’m old so I
have more than you.Besides Nature is
the great teacher.I think we teach best
from our experiences.”
He thought about that
and then said, “How would you feel if I were to teach someone else what you
have taught me?”
And she smiled
sincerely, “Pleased and proud Owen and very glad the Ways were being passed on.
I’m sure you could be a very good teacher.”
He wasn’t sure he
wanted to teach. “I’m not sure I want to teach.”
She said, “Everyone
serves the Ways as their talents dictate. You’ll figure it out. And everyone
always has a teacher who is there for them to answer questions, even after they
are 3rd degree. I still depend on my teacher. Sometimes teachers
change as the student progresses sometimes they stay the same. But we each
always have a teacher.”
He nodded, “Ok
teacher, so what do I need to know about 2nd degree?”
“You know everything
you need to know at this point. Technically I can’t tell you all the details
until after you are 2nd. I will be back on Thursday to prepare you.”
And she smiled at him, “And I am confident that you will like the preparation
“You are?” he said
“Yes. And then I will
be back to initiate you on Friday.”
And the 10 year old
face started forming as he remembered, “And then you will not be back for 2
“Well 13 days
actually. And remember, you’ll have Eric to help pass the time.And she teased, “I keep telling you that you
need more toys.”
And he said
defiantly, “And I keep telling you that you are not a toy.”
She didn’t want to
hurt his feelings so she said, “Ok… I’m sure you’ll find things to keep you
busy.Eric will be here and you’ll have
time after he leaves to figure out how to work with your 2nd
degree.You also have a business to run.
The time will pass before you know it.”
And he actually
pouted thinking, not fast enough.
She smiled at the
pout.He probably didn’t realize he did
“What are you smiling
“Your 10 year old
pout.Make sure you teach that to Eric
while he is here. It may come in handy.”
And he harrumphed.
“It doesn’t seem to work on you.”
She chuckled.“Oh it works just fine. I’m just older and
wiser and so it is easier for me to resist.” And then she smiled sweetly as she
got up and held out her hand to him. “Thank you for a lovely vacation, the
pool, the dinner, the wine. But it is time for me to return to the real world.”
He held out his hand
to her and she took it thinking he was going to get up.But instead he pulled her onto the sofa next
to him and he heard the sharp intake of her breath before he said, “The real
She was still
recovering.“Well I didn’t expect that.”
He said again, “The
real world? What does that mean?”
She pushed herself
more upright and thought before she answered, “It means…Jeez Owen can you turn down the intensity a
little bit?…. I… I almost prefer the pout.”
And he smiled and
released her hand. “Ok… but what do you mean when you say return to the real
world?You come here to teach me about
magic and pagan ways and then you tell me that you are going to return to the
She looked at him,
calmly breathed in and back out. “It means that it’s time for me to return to a
world where I work for a living, where I’m the one who makes sure that
everything is taken care of, where I don’t have vacations on a Thursday and
have time slip away from me because I’m having interesting conversations and
drinking wine into the middle of the night.”
And that seemed to
almost satisfy him. So he pulled her into a kiss and when he released her she
said, shaking her head, “and have men kiss me for no reason.” And she managed
to get up off of the sofa but didn’t put her hand out again.“I’ll see you next Thursday.”
“And Friday.” he said
as he got up smiling.
“And Friday for your
initiation.” She said as she continued to walk toward the kitchen.She had lifted her purse to her shoulder when
he asked, “Nola, why can’t this be the real world?”
She just looked at
him; he was half into the 10 year old pout and half thinking of something else
altogether.And she thought, thank god
because it dimmed the intensity. And she laughed at herself as she said, “Ok,
ok, Owen. For you I’ll let this be the real world on Thursdays and Full Moons
And his grandfather
said, “You can work with that.”
And Owen said as he
walked out with her, “Ok, I can work with that.”
I'm a wife, mother, postKatrina recovery activist and the breadwinner for my family. I live in New Orleans and have all my life. But I've also traveled quite extensively. In all my travels I have never found a place as wonderfully interesting as my hometown. It's the most European city in America and definitely has a unique energy.
My college training is in the sciences and the scientific approach colors the way I look at things and learn. When I look at what quantum physics tells us today, I have to work really hard not to see the metaphysical connections. As Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
I've practiced Stregheria since 1995 and became a 3rd Degree Priestess in October 2007.