Autumn time, red leaves fall while the weeping sky looks overall.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Full Moon in October: Hunter's Moon

Today the moon reaches her peak of fullness.The full moon in October is known as the Hunter's Moon and coincides with Samhain, one of the eight major holy days on the Pagan Wheel of the Year.  In addition to being a time to honor our ancestors, for many who follow an earth-based tradition of spirituality, Samhain is also considered the time of the third harvest. At Lammas or Lughnasadh we celebrate the first harvest of vegetables, fruits and grains. At Fall Equinox, also known as Mabon, we celebrate the second and peak harvest of all that grows from Mother Earth, and at Samhain we celebrate the harvest of the meat. Of course, this calender is based on the European agricultural year and applies to the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere.

So what does this have to do with the full moon? Well, it's no coincidence that the Hunter's Moon and the Harvest of the Meat occur in the same month. Imagine the country folk, the pagans, living hundreds and thousands of years ago, dependent on the foods they grew and harvested from the wild and the animals they raised or hunted for meat. With winter coming it was time to take inventory of food stocks and double all efforts to prepare for the cold barren months ahead.

Not only was Samhain the time to decide which farm animals should and could be fed over the winter and which must be slaughtered, it was also the time for hunters to take to the wild and bring home meat to ensure their familys' survival. Just as the Harvest Moon in September allows farmers to work long into the night and complete the harvest during the full moon phase, the Hunter's Moon in October allows hunters to extend their efforts many hours after the sun has set and find their prey by the bright light of the full moon.

The Hunter's Moon represents survival, culling the herd (for in days of yore hunting did actually help wild herds survive the winter by decreasing their numbers), wise planning, and this year as the full moon passes through the sign of Taurus it's an especially auspicious moon for fertility and abundance.

What are your prayers this Hunter's Moon? What are you trying to capture, what prey alludes you? Now is the time to take action on your own behalf, to be fearless like the hunter who is willing to track by moonlight in order to stock her larder.

May you be blessed with good hunting this cycle.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tears of Crimson Halloween Celebration

I have a goal for this coming full moon. It's nothing earth shattering or life changing, but I'd like my book The Ones Who Dance Alone: Full Moon Celebrations for the Solitary Witch to break through to the top ten list on Amazon. It's been hovering in the teens all week, which is very exciting in itself considering the thousands of books about magic and witchcraft that are available on Amazon. At the end of the month it goes back to it's original price so now is the time to buy! It's filled with fun, practical and introspective suggestions that just may revive your full moon rituals.

I'm very honored to be part of the Tears of Crimson Halloween Celebration this year. My first published short story Zombie Cats can be found on this Listmania list for the entire weekend. At the Tears of Crimson promotion you'll find several great reads priced at 99 cents or less, some are even free! The list includes some well-known indie authors like Michelle Hughes and books from many genres like The Baptist: A Psychological Thriller by Ruby Barnes and the contemporary romance Love in Greener Pastures by Amanda Bretz.

This Tears of Crimson promotion runs through October 28. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's a Pagan Burial Like?

I'm getting old enough now that I need to understand what a proper Pagan burial should look like. Ten years ago the first of my contemporaries died. She walked the Red Road and her family honored her in death with the customs and traditions of her path.  Five years ago a coven sister crossed over. She was no longer active in our group and it was only by accident that we learned of her passing. She'd requested no public services but my sisters and I gathered at my home to remember her, to honor her before the Goddess and process the grief of not only her death, but of losing contact with her through the years. Currently our circle is mourning the loss of another dear sister. We are not in charge of her public memorial, but her non-Pagan husband has given his blessing for us to celebrate her in ritual as she would have wanted.

I would love nothing more than to gather with my sisterhood and wash our beloved's body in salt water and wrap her in a shroud we stitched together with our own fingers. I'd love to smudge her with burning herbs like a sacred bundle and lower her into the waiting arms of the Mother Earth. But those privileges aren't ours to perform. Her body belongs to her husband and her parents, as it should be.

Have you performed or attended a burial rite for a Pagan? I love Starhawk's The Pagan Book of Living and Dying and have gleaned a lot of useful and thoughtful ideas from it. But as the years march on and I come to accept that loss will become an ever-more common part of my life I wonder how other Pagan folk are dealing with their losses. We, the spiritual family members, often know more about what a person would want than their biological family members, and yet we are not empowered to act on their behalf.

Our circle will gather this Sunday at sundown, to rejoice and weep and pray together for the sister we have lost. She is free, I know, from pain and longing. As the seed sprouts, grows, flowers, and scatters as seen again. so will she. So will I, someday. So will you. I pray that in death we have a loving circle to honor us in the traditions that enhanced our living. So mote it be.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Maeve -- Honoring all Cycles

A much-loved circle-sister left her body three days ago. She transitioned, she passed over, she's travelled to the Summerland. None of those euphemisms are helping me right now. She is gone and I'm not to see her face, hear her sweet voice sing or feel her warm embrace again in this lifetime. On the night of her passing I lit the candles on my altar, burned herbs to aid her transition and pulled one of Doreen Virtue's goddess cards for guidance.

Maeve, who I think of as a warrior, came to me. "Honor the cycles of your body" she said. In Virtue's deck the goddess appears lithe and graceful; she is dancing. Not at all the solid Celtic protectress I've encountered before, but her message is an ancient truth -- ALL the stages of life deserve my attention. So yes, even the cycle of dying must be honored.

Samhain has been my "favorite" holy day since I began walking the goddess path. I love the rituals that focus on remembering ancestors or exercising psychic awareness. Over the years I've led and been led through many powerful Samhain rituals. I believe the veil is thin. I've experienced deep meditations and received clear messages during this time of year, but never before have I lived Samhain the way I, and all my circle sisters, must live it this year -- with the stabbing pain of fresh loss in our hearts.

Blessed Be,