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Feliz dia da Espiga!

Happy the ear of wheat day!

This is a very old, “Christian” (they misspelled pagan, there), Portuguese tradition.

Today, we pick up (or buy) a bouquet of wild flowers containing the following:

Dia da espiga 1 - Feliz dia da Espiga!
Image found online
  • Olive branch for olive oil, light and peace
  • Marigolds for fortune
  • Ears of wheat (even if wild) for bread
  • Rosemary for health and strength
  • Poppies for love and life
  • Vine for wine and joy

You keep it behind your door for a year. For success and prosperity, for health and strength, for luck, for happiness and love…

In 2 Winters, when you already have a new bouquet of wild flowers, you may burn in your fireplace this year’s bouquet, for good luck.

May your bouquets of wild flowers bring you what you need in life.

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Image found online
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It’s beginning to look a lot like…

…that time of the year with so many festivities. There’s Christmas, Yule, Alban Arthan, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Pancha Ganapati, Koliada, Yalda, and so many others.

I am a Druid, so I celebrate Alban Arthan. But my family is Christian, so I celebrate Christmas with them. How come? Christmas, to me, is about family, is about of those I am from. My siblings and siblings-in-law, my parents, my aunts and uncles, my fiancée and my in-laws and, of course, my ancestors. So I celebrate my family and friends, I celebrate our tiny community, I celebrate that I have a family and I am not alone.

Although I am a Pagan, I will always continue my family’s tradition, and any other tradition we might create. My family accepts me for who I am, and I accept them as they are.

To me it’s beginning to look even more like family, love and acceptance, comfort and warmth.

Our Christmas/Yule/Family tree
Our Family (Christmas/Yule) tree

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Honouring our Ancestors

It’s Samhain time again.

Yesterday, for many people was Halloween. At home, was my Dad’s birthday. But it was also time to honour my Ancestors – the ones that came before me: Ancestors of blood (whether I knew them or not), Ancestors of Spirit, Ancestors of Land and Ancestors most Ancient (John Beckett, “Who Are Our Ancestors?”).

In general, I tend to notice patterns (not that I have a mathematical mind, as I always sucked at Maths while at school). And some are really easy to notice, if you keep your mind open a little.

And this season (if you will) is not different for me.

In Portugal, some people are really against celebrating Halloween – a “Trick or Treating” tradition brought from abroad, unlike our very own “Bread for God” (“Pão por Deus”), celebrated on November 1st, where kids go door-to-door, asking “Bread for God”. Notice the pattern? Because I did. I am certain both stem from a Pagan common origin.

Also in Portugal, a culture that is a mix of Catholics and Atheists (with some other paths in between, such as Judaism, Islamism, Hinduism, and Western Paganism), I noticed another pattern (when we went today to visit the closer cemeteries where our loved ones are buried – the ones in Lisbon district, as we will be visiting the ones in Coimbra on the second half of November). Honouring our Ancestors – Atheists, Catholics, Pagans, we all honour our Loved Ones that have already crossed to the Otherworld.

This season I honoured, once more, my Ancestors. Yesterday, while at home, with my very own solitary ritual (not a very elaborate one – I light candles, burn incense and meditate on my Ancestors). Today at the cemeteries (placing fresh flowers at my family and friends’ graves) and at a Catholic church (with my Catholic family, lighting candles).

I do my best to keep in mind that “Honouring the Ancestors” should be a daily practice (and in my immediate family we try to visit our Ancestors graves on a weekly basis).

But it is comforting to think that this, too, was adopted into other paths and not left behind when Christianity took over the Iberian Peninsula.

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Candles for the Ancestors. Conceição da Abóboda church. Photo taken by yours truly

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Mother Earth Day

Vale de Moreiro, Góis. Taken by yours truly
Vale de Moreiro, Góis (Portugal). Taken by yours truly

Mother Earth Day

A walk through the forest

Or a stroll by the sea,

Small things that can do wonders

For both you and me.

It’s not just the exercise, you see?

And it’s not just the sun, or just the fresh air.

It is all of that, and it is so much more.

It’s us, and the sun, and it’s nature everywhere.

Because with the fast paced lives we’ve been leading,

Along with the “ruler of the world” mindset,

We forgot that we’re also a part of nature.

We’re destroying our Mother – the Earth,

Destroying our Brothers – the Animals,

Destroying our Sisters – the Plants and the Trees.

We forgot what it feels like to be one with the Earth,

We forgot what it’s like to walk in nature

Without killing an animal, without littering the world.

While power and money blind us, and rule us and corrupt us,

We poison our waters, we’re killing us all.

On this Mother Earth Day

Go back to what we always were.

Take a walk through the forest

Or a stroll by the sea.

Sit down, take a deep breath,

Really feel the world around you.

And always, always remember:

Mother Earth is filled with life and magic,

Just like you and me.

São Pedro beach, Portugal. Taken by yours truly
São Pedro beach, Portugal. Taken by yours truly

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Sunrise

Sun, giver of life and warmth,
Brightening up our lives every day.
You are the promise of new opportunities at each dawn.

Sunrise. Photograph by yours truly
Sunrise. Photograph by yours truly

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‘Tis the season…again

The wheel has turned again (I seem to say that a lot), life challenges us time and again and, suddenly, we’re back to Yule/Alban Arthan/Winter Solstice season.

For some odd reason, 2017 flew by. I hardly had time to adapt to so many challenges that have been thrown at my family. To be honest, since July last year.

Life has basically been a rollercoaster with everything happening at one and my family and I having to adapt to everything on the fly. Such as our impending move to a new house and serious health issues that are not to be taken lightly.

My parents and I have decided that I am moving in with them. Easier to keep and I on them and support them in any way I can.

But I haven’t been inclined to decorate my current house this year, with being on the verge of moving and being preoccupied with my parents.

This is how I cope with the challenges life throws at me: I become more introspective, I withdraw from my emotional side to some extent so I can take care of those in a more fragile state, while I keep my light and shadow sides balanced.
This can be unsettling for people around me.

Mom hadn’t been handling well the fact that I hadn’t decorated my house. So, last night after dinner, mom asked me to go with her upstairs (my apartment is in the floor above my parents’) and we decorated my house together.

And now you ask: You are a Pagan. How do you handle Christmas.

Well, my family is Christian. I am a Pagan following the Druid path (member of both ADF and OBOD). For us, this season is to be with the family. So I do what I do best: I find balance.

I have angels in my tree (an artificial tree because I hate the idea of killing a tree, especially for decoration purposes) to honour my ancestors. I have photos of my family (similar to a family tree) featuring my grandparents (now part of my ancestors), my parents, my siblings and their life partners, and soon I will be adding photos of my in-laws as well as of my beloved and I.
My tree has pine cones, balls, bells, stars, deer and snowflakes, lights and ribbons.

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My table’s centerpiece (made by my cousin – she knows me too well) has pears and apples, greenery and an owl made with a pine cone.

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I included my family’s beliefs because I respect them. They also respect my chosen path, even if they don’t understand it.

It is, once again, time to look back, to analyse what life has given us, to look ahead and prepare to what is coming.
It is time to find balance in darkness and in light, to nurture both our shadows and our light side.
It is time to take care of ourselves and each of our loved ones as whole beings, to cherish and respect them.

It is time to look forward to brighter days while being prepared to the darker ones.
And we can only do so if we, as John Beckett wrote in one of his posts on Under the Oaks (on Patheos) blog, ask ourselves the big questions of life.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year to my Sisters and Brothers of the Wyrd,
May this turn of the wheel be filled with enlightenment, wisdom and Awen,
With much success in all quarters of your lives.
May you find love, happiness, and balance in dark and light,
And may you always find your strength and might.

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Winter Solstice/Yule and Christmas

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

I see this as a season for letting go of the past, and to looking forward to a new cycle.

A season for introspection, for releasing the old, and embracing the new. If this was a tarot card, it’d be the death card. 😉

A season to be spend with my loved ones, the ones that have been on my side through thick and thin, and love me unconditionally.

I have already said my goodbyes to past cycles I needed to close, I learnt from the experiences I lived, and I am looking forward to new experiences (I would prefer them to be pleasant ones, please).

I spent time with my Family, helped Mom with the preparation of our traditional foods.

I spent time with my Deities and offered them good wine.

Yes, I am a Pagan on the Druidry Path and I celebrate the Winter Solstice (Alban Arthan), the return of the light, the balance between light and dark.

But my Family is Catholic and I see no inconvenience in celebrating this Family season with my own Family.

Before I return to my Family, my Goddesses (yes, almost forgot to tell you! Besides the Great Queen, Epona also chose to be part of my life, and I am delighted to get to know her better) and Gods, I wish you peaceful times. May you always find balance in dark and light. And may this season be an enlightened one.

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Detail from my Yule Tree

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My Song

Remember I told you, on my Inner Divinity post, that I was going to work on a poem similar to the Song of Amergin?

Well, I finished it today, and I wanted to share my first work as a Bard (I am already doing the OBOD Bardic course) with you.

Here goes nothing…

 

My Song

I am a daughter of the Forest.
I am a child of the Sea.
I am playful caress of the Wind.
I am an Oak of a thousand years.
I am warmth of the Sun.
I am one of Moon’s mysteries.
I am prophetic Owl in the night.
I am fierce Raven’s cunning insight.
I am weaving Spider.
I am wise Stag.
I am protective wild Boar.
I am Wolf for clan.
I am River running free.
I am Music and Poetry.
Who knows the secrets of the human soul?
Who reads the truth in cards and people?
Who protects worthy causes?
Who befriends animals and plants?
Who endeavours to bring enlightenment to others?
Who is a wave in the Sea?
I am, in the Forest, a tree.

 

Illustration from The Dream of Aengus, by Ted Nasmith
Illustration from The Dream of Aengus, by Ted Nasmith. Image taken from here.

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Finally!!!

And I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

Yule arrived a little earlier this year. Yesterday, to be exact.

I decided to go ahead with the OBOD Bardic course, and my packages arrived yesterday.

As you can imagine, I already started studying the materials.

I am so very happy, right now! ^_^

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My OBOD packages.