Happy Spring Equinox ~

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All things being equal this day and night. A time of magic and Spring delights. Traditionally in witch mythology it is the time of Marriage between the God and Goddess, the time of handfasting and commitment to the Witches path through darkness emerging into the light of the new year. The new year is celebrated at Samhain but I have always felt that the wheel turned in Spring. The start of the Astological New year and the time of life springing out of the earth. We plant in Fall to see that life continues. We plant again soon to keep the circle going to spin the wheel through-out the year. A time for everything.

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The fairies full of mischief, having quite enough of the cold and snow. They – just like us are ready to dance on green grasses and smell and taste the air filled with life and summer. The birds are singing again and the sun hits all the right stones to open doorways to other worlds. We have come through the darkness to the other side. We wish our friends down-under safe passage through their journey. Guided by their seperate sky.

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It is time for sweet pastels and green things, quivering with possibility.

I hope you have been well and that Spring will find you healthy and ready to bloom.

I have always loved the bluebonnets and the poppies of my childhood that trumpeted the march of spring. Now I have Robins and Chipmunks and tiny little shoots of daffodils and tulips. Here’s to Spring – forever may she live.

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Imbolc or CANDLEMAS or Là Fhèill Brìghde – The Tide and the wheel turns.

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It was sunny and bright today and lovely. Our own sort of Groundhog Day to see if there will be more weeks of bitter winter. My children played for hours out in the snow swinging and doing the recycling. Waking the world of our sleeping gardens with their giggles and whispers. Throwing snowballs at each other and exploring the grounds for long buried forgotten treasures rising up through melting snow.

Tonight it is the Superbowl and we watched a smidge to celebrate the pageantry then switched it to Chronicles of Narnia where the White witch – naughty evil and bitter though she may be – is still my vision of what the Winter Goddess can look like. I just imagine her with better more loving parents and fairies who taught her to dance and play in the snow while making friends with the neighbor children. But for looks – 10 – Tilda it is. I just love the design elements for her character and her delivery in the role was perfect. Long live Aslan and poor dear misdirected Jadis.

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Tonight is the start of Imbolc or CANDLEMAS a Sabbat (holiday) for wiccans and green witches. We leave a bowl of milk and a muffin or carrots outside for the spirit of the Goddess and her animals to take comfort in our belief in all things kind and comforting. I am sure the rabbits and the raccoons and mice appreciate it.

 I also like thinking of Brigid as the fire Goddess bringing hope to us all reflected in red hair and flushed skin. Pale as the moon and snow but with the reddest lips and eyes brown and flickering like sparked woods in the fire. No one to play her in my mind she lives uncast but there is a lot of art through history to showcase her beauty.

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My baby says she saw a chipmunk today which would mean that winter will be almost over. It could have been a mouse. It has been a harsh winter for the mice but here where there is a constant stream of bird seed and popcorn they flourish, as long as they stay out of the house – where the cats await their presence with much glee. A Chipmunk in our world means that spring will be here soon and we watch for them with much hope.

For me and my family, CANDLEMAS is a celebration of the turn of the wheel –the shift of the earth (in our hemisphere) towards light and the start of new projects and for new focus. A time of initiation and the burning of candles and small cauldron fires. There was old fashion cooking in the fireplace when we were little and jumping over bonfires was the start of an all night party where the kids roasted marshmallows on sticks and in the sweet winters of California we would dance in a circle around the fires and sing sweet songs of spring come home – these usually took place right on the beach. There would be a family gathering where people brought covered dishes to rival the Lutherans and flowers were put into the ocean with prayers of thanks and promise. We made crafts from wheat and corn then burned them with such childlike abandon. Lot of dancing and ribbons.

The women in my family not shy with spell casting or kitchen witchery would share stories and recipes. Lotions and potions and smudge anyone willing with white sage and lavender.

My mother liked to make animal masks and put them out on baskets – people would be a unicorn or a bear or an owl, whatever energy they were looking for. So much laughter and singing.

We have all gone separate ways and yet not. I still remember and phone calls are made with good wishes and love. All the things that holidays should bring. I share the rituals with my own children and they will put their own slant on things. One to many pancakes mixed with excitement this morning and one of my daughters threw up all over the floor. Wild play acting and another is hit in the nose with someone’s head. It is a day like others but not. There is a hum in my spirit. I know as I have shared with my children this day – that spring and summer will come. In times past others did not know this with certainty. The world was more magical and science was held close by priestly casts that held power with their knowledge that the seasons were set and stone would cast shadows that illuminated the path forward. We share more freely with increasing speed all that we know and all that we believe or do not believe. We accept that others may not see things as we see them and we know with certainty that Spring will come and that the harsh, cold, fear filled winter will melt away and feed the rivers of knowledge running into the communal seas of time where all of us will float together on through space. There is freedom fueled by fires of hope. Children can go to school and learn all there is to learn, limitless with knowledge now. Freedom never known in our history opens wider daily for more to be hugged by her presence. Knowledge and Freedom. The lights against fear and oppression. The flames burn brighter.

To my sisters in faraway lands on the other side – today we all work on our quilts and blankets – today we here know the snow will melt and the birds will sing and soft grass will blanket our way to market. Today you sing a song on the other side of the wheel. The hot summer buzzes and shimmers and you shake blankets out on the line, and sing a song of the coming cool breezes and the falling of leaves. Our blankets equally warm, feed our souls with the rituals of returning.

I wish you many wonders. I light a candle for you and whisper to the flame.

We are all truly one and the same.

Blessed be.

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Romance est tout ce qu’il ya dans la vie digne d’être vécue.

Full moon.

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“The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.”

“We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.”

“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”

“What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.”

Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes

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Happy Birthday Jacob…

grimmon2Though my blog says it is Jan 5th for me in the Midwest it is still Jan 4th 7pm. and Jan. 4th is Jacob Grimm’s birthday and for me there is many a reason to rejoice in this day. As a child I loved reading Grimm’s fairy Tales – as much as Hans Christian Anderson’s lovely stories of brave children and harsh times. Edith Hamilton’s books on Mythology would round out my fantasy world and my parents were lucky if I came out of these imaginary lives for even a moment. I would sit in my club house closet or lay outside on the lawn under the oak trees and read all weekend till it was dark and sometimes with a candle or flashlight. My favorite stories were the ones of Princesses and of little brothers and sisters battling forces to save one another. National Geographic’s site on the Grimms Fairy Tales is truly a great tribute and lots of fun to do with or without kids. For my kids I have collected these books in Hardbound gold edged editions found for cheap on Amazon or at used book sales over the years.

January is a bleak time in the Northern Hem. the skies tend more towards grey. The air is crispsometimes biting, but there are many interesting things to do and people to celebrate. Here are some January Links for you and yours, mostly kid related.

The time of Brigid draws ever closer and in our Wiccan communities many of us scrub every inch of our houses from top to bottom with magical concocotions of natural cleansers and sacred salts preparing for Imbolic, myself included. No light task with the old man winter still howling through the cracks reminding us he is still here a bit longer. Whispery night winds move across the windows leaving behind their icey feathery songs.
MidWinter approaches and the days will be filled with school and making candles and soaps, taking down the Yule/Christmas décor and changing the focus towards the coming of Spring.
It is time to reach deep inside and reflect on the quiet Earth. Feel the bulbs reach out their roots and the trees dreaming – beginning to awake. Animals carrying their young soon to be born. The time of bonfires and goal setting. The lake move under its heavy coat of ice, the rivers shiver in their winter slumber.

It is has been a very nice Winter vacation filled with Wizard 101 and games for the kids and books and movies for mommy. I do feel the hope that is just over the horizon so many are yearning for. I do believe that this will be a wonderful year. Dear Jacob would love these times we live in. Like one of his stories we are moving through the days of fear and sorrow towards a softer time and a safer tommorow. I wish you all Happy Endings. May you live Happily Ever after. (Even you poor old witches – that’s another story for another day)

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grimmfairytales7snowwhitethesevendw I do rather like the Zenescope comic book “retold” stories of the Grimm fairy Tales and I did like the recent movie though I do not care for Matt Damon one fig – I adore Heath Ledger and love love love Terry Gilliam, and Monica Bellucci whom I have had a huge crush on since the Matrix – she is my “perfect woman” in my imagination. Equal to her beauty is Guy Dyas’s amazing Production Design. grimms-brothers
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What year is it really…

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Again, inspired by a PBS show – about the Wise men from the tale of the Magi – I was wondering  just what year it is really. For some of my people – the Cherokee for instance – it is 2009 on Thursday because our treaty with the occupying government says so. Who are we to argue – give us our government cheese, I mean casinos.

 

The ownership of time like the ownership of land belonged to all the people and time was counted in our children’s steps and laughter. The seasons and the harvests kept the time. The music and the rhythms of life were very simple. For the Celts and my German ancestors same thing – whole different calendar than either of the Julian or Gregorian calendars with their own rituals and symbols and battles between bureaucratic errand boys. Then there are the Druids – Merlin would know I am sure of it.  Witches have their own ideas –Nature is the keeper of the calendar. So even if I embrace the spirit of Jesus – the calendar has still been jacked around by people seeking to serve their own purposes most of it having to do with taxes and money and as usual the poor. Ja ma.

China has its own thing going on Happy New Year for our comrades comes on January 26th ( year of the Ox -Brown Earth Cow) their calendar was  created by Emperor Huangdi in the year 2637 B.C.E, so it is the 4706th Chinese year. People in Africa and in the Amazon and India all have their own take on how to measure the passage of time and Mungo Man of Australia dates back some 40,000 years. (The Mungo Lady story would make a fabulous story if one of you writers is looking for something mythic and cool). The various religions also have their take on what year it is – cannot even imagine what the higher levels of Sciencetology and Pana Wave laboratories thinks and I will wager that in the none-to-distant future someone will go messing with the whole counting of the years again, Orwellian Style.  The atheists I am sure have a thought or two on this as well. The Illuminati  runs the whole thing anyway (so let them think) but truly I love that in the end it will be Nature who says what is what and she keeps time in her own way. Control her you may try, woo her and trick her and put her off.  Better hope you have a space ship…so then…What year will it be? Will the Aliens change things again?

I asked my kids what year it is going to be and they say it is 2009 and pushed to explain it more they said it was really year one million and that all time started with the Jurassic period and Pokémon ships.  Then some dancing broke out and someone got to wild and hit the other one with their knee – crying and madness. It is stop the madness year and calm down thank you very much sorry to bring it up  (to much chocolate milk and pizza lately) . We’ve got some work to do in the next few days –will make some charts and graphs and some dioramas perhaps. Puppet shows with dinos. Good times.

Of course there are always these scary thoughts ….one for you HF – this movie terrified me as a child beyond reason because Satanists were just a sect of Christianity, real witches do not believe in a Satan. That Myth belongs to the sons of Abraham and they are running most of the world.

 

 

 

 

Being a Ghost Story of Christmas

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I love Christmas. I fell in love with my husband at Christmas, at the time we were friends and we played the Masquerade and he had a brilliant witty mind and a deep rooted romantic nature (still does). Christmas is the essence of romance to me. When I was young everyone was always happiest during the holidays between the Solstice and the New Year. I loved going to church with my Nana and listening to the German hyms. I loved going to Catholic Mass with my mother where we could sit and do our magic in complete comfort surrounded by lovely incense and candles and men in rich robes with family friends. Later as a teen I loved going to the Solstice Sabbats openly and learning the Yule celebrations as Witches became more mainstream and free to have gatherings inspired by ancient traditions and mysteries.  Such beautiful connections with nature and God as the Mother of all as well as the Father. Yule is definatly one of my favorite times of the year. One of the traditions I love the most though is started soon after Halloween as the Earth in the Northern Hem grows colder and the World joins together in the Celebrations of the Mysterious and Magical. The telling of stories, the sharing of miracles whispered before bed, Little Women and Santa Mouse and The Snow Children to my very favorite story of the season A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. 

A Christmas Carol marathon is needed for this week. So this will give you time to prepare. I think we will start Sunday night here in the deep woods.
First enjoy this :
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8817517652455175582

Watch this version on your computer with your kids or with a nice mug of coco – a 1970s version I remember well watching every year at Christmas time. It is an amazing animated version.
Also I would recommend reading the book (best done aloud). How fun and spooky this time of year. Dickens wrote this story for money when he was in big time debt and how fitting for this economy when all is money lenders and economic hardships are on every corner. He wrote this to be read aloud to others as was the Victorian fashion.
A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles John Huffam Dickens you can read it online – free

http://books.google.com/books?id=f8ANAAAAQAAJ&dq=Christmas+Carol+movies&printsec=frontcover&source=in&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=13&ct=result#PPP5,M1

 

For more reviews than what I have provided you – Rotten Tomatos reviews – like tomatos, best eaten with a bit of salt. I like this site, sometimes very funny comments

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1004126-christmas_carol/

I find that  http://www.amazon.com/Scrooges-Christmas-Carol-Movies/lm/25FMOOBWJACF
There are Thirty two adaptations currently listed on Amazon.

“Scrooge” (1951)

The British film, released in the United States as “A Christmas Carol,” is “far and away the most powerful and faithful of the adaptations, principally due to Alistair Sim as Scrooge. He brings a lightness to a role that’s often overplayed.” He looks like Scrooge to me but then each actor brings his inner Scrooge uniquely to the part.

“A Christmas Carol” (1984)

A made-for-TV feature with George C. Scott, “who plays it straight as Scrooge but brings it off.” Loved this version.

Scrooge (1970)

A musical adaptation with Albert Finney as Scrooge and Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley. “Underrated. Musicals tend not to be taken seriously, but it’s perfectly delightful.” I really loved this version too. The music and the sets are gorgeous.

“Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962)

Animated feature with Jim Backus as the voice of Magoo/Scrooge. “To paraphrase Thackeray’s final pronouncement on the original: ‘Who can listen to objections regarding such a (film) as this?’ ” A staple to every Xmas growing up watched with Charlie Browns Christmas and the Grinch each year.

“Scrooged” (1988)

With Bill Murray as a cynical TV executive planning an adaptation of Dickens’ tale. “An intelligent script, a clever updating for a late 20th-Century audience. Murray is a bit like Alistair Sim — lighter, but with a twinkle in his eye.” In the Spirit of a Wall Street version.

“A Christams Carol ” (1999)

Standing out in the crowded field of screen adaptations of the classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol is hard to do, but this version pulls it off. When a transparent Jacob Marley walks through Ebenezer Scrooge’s apartment door, you know you’re seeing something both timeless and contemporary. Other strategically placed special effects–a funnel cloud that transports Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas present, the hollow specter of Christmas future–keep you riveted without slipping into anachronism.

But, as good as the technology is, the performances are what really power this 93-minute TNT interpretation. Patrick Stewart brings a depth to Scrooge that allows the character to go beyond the cartoonish qualities that have made him a Christmas mainstay. That doesn’t mean he’s any less heartless with his hapless employee Bob Cratchit (Richard E. Grant) or any less dismissive of his well-meaning nephew. A frail-looking Joel Grey makes an excellent ghost of Christmas past, and a superb British cast ably fill the remaining roles.

Director David Jones, shooting on location in England and at London’s Ealing Studios, has achieved a balance of science and sentiment that will help this version hold up for many years to come. Review from Amazon by–Kimberly Heinrichs which I agree with whole heartedly plus just love that Patric Stewart who loved this part so much he produced it for the Stage on the West End. Fabulous.

Barbie’s version new this year (2008). “Barbie In A Christmas Carol”

Which will be huge with my two girls, who are Barbie groupies. Have not yet seen this.

And the “Muppets Christmas Carol” of course one of my favorites. http://www.sheeplaughs.com/scrooge/muppets.htm

Snow Day 08

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My vintage paper nativity that we set up before the annual addition of Star Wars creatures, Penguins and Beany Stuffies and Bratz dolls. We watched the little drummer boy while putting it up and I just love that animation.

Snow day today – The early start of Christmas VayK – The robotic message came this morning about 5:30. All schools closed and it is an official snowday. Everyone here at home has colds so it is an easy quiet day filled with rest and soft comforts and I am making chicken soup and then enchilladas for our Christmas Eve dinner where we do a sort of TexMex thing.
My family always does this Xmas Eve of the Dead kind of ancestor worshippy feel celebration…I love the mexican Xmas eve dinner it is the perfect send off to the old year.
The menue is :Tamales which I usually buy but if the weather stays yucky will have to make them. Spanish Rice, Veggies, enchilladas, tacos and chalupas and sophapias. Chicken nachos and the good hot cheese dip. Chocolate oreo cookie pie. We are not vegetarian but when I was we just skipped the meat and had more beans and corn. For the Solstice this weekend I wanted to make Turkey again because Thanksgiving was wonderful and I let the kids all pick a thing to make that was special to the harvest festival and to set their own tradition. So we have the beautiful bird thawing – sweet thing, she was my pick. My youngest picked Shrimp Cocktail and plans to marry a Shrimp farmer she says so she will never be without shrimps. My Son picked MacNCheese that he will make with his father and use more cheese than humans should eat in a year and teenPM wants an assortment of Pie in honor of the Goddess – so chocolates and fruited pies it is topped with glorious homemade whipped cream.

We are into canning and stocking up for winter so we are able to do the fruits but if we were to stick with what is seasonal I am afraid my kids would be on an ice diet with some rabbit and squirrel. Again I am amazed at the women of the past, when in the winter everyday was a snowday.
We decorated the tree – which we bought at Walmart two days ago knowing that this year we will not be able to get to the tree farm once this storm settles in for the weekend. It was 13.dollars and I think it is beautiful and in no way think I am selling out to Walmart and its ever increasing grasp around the neck of the american consumer. They were from a local farm and quite lovely. Though filling up the stockings with garbage from China that is probalbly painted with lead paint by children is not going to happen. I will celebrate Sams original mission and hope with this tree.
It is snowing now still. Ten inches since last night midnight but it seems like a lot more.
We have watched Christmas Movies while we decorate and cook – me the chicken soup and stuff and the kids cookies. The Little Drummer Boy, Santa Came to town, Polar Express, and now the Grinch with Jim Carrey which has them hypnotised. Nightmare before Xmas is next and then the Nutcracker. A Christmas Carol marathon of every version will be on the agenda for tonight. Princess Mononoke (which is what I call my teen) is off with her teengirl gamer nerd friends playing Left for Dead and Halo singing Xmas songs and freezing on their errand to the post office for me in exchange for an early solstice present (Left for dead ho-ho happy zombie game and latte money). I think the Hogfather might actually be next before Nightmare. I love its sardonic British humor.
I wish you and yours a Happy Merry Solstice and the magic that it brings. Remember the light is coming. Dance around your tree if you can. We like to put it out a bit from the wall for just such an occasion should the mood strike. Dog, cats, kids – it usually does.
It feels more Happy Holiday with a tree. “Sympathetic magic by the Pagans” Sheldon said  on “The Big Bang” how true, how true. It was lovely that this year my children who are all avid witches and wizards ask about the symbolism of the tree and how it is conncected to Jesus and Mary and the manger – in the desert. And the whole Jesus was Jewish are we celebrating Hannuka this year (why of course we can says I) I found some Dreidels and chocolate coins at the World Market. We have our advent calanders which mark the time till “Santas Birthday” according to the wee ones. We are learning about candle magic and incense and Frankincense and Muir. The three wise men – obviously magic men are of great interest to my children. Persian Maji and Asian Sorcercers who knew about Astronomy – whats not to like for young witches and wizards? A Miracle Birth of a baby protected by its devoted family, Mary the Virgin symbol of the Goddess across so much time – letting us Witches worship her in all her glory unscathed. I love this season as much as Easter and enjoy the rest of the world sharing in hope and love and family – as much as they are enjoying the myths created by Coca-Cola and Macys.
Everything is in a blanket of white and my heart and prayers of peace go out to the world and especially my sisters on the East Coast, may their bon fires light up the night and the season.

Peace on Earth and off as well.

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For tommorows Film Festival A marathon of  Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli in honor of the Solstice.

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