Freewriting and Notes on the Journey 3/02/11

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Dear Friends,

So there have been a LOT of little nudges from the Cosmos, Kledon’s found in random discussions and comments from friends, and outright urgings from friends and acquaintances.  Keep Writing.  You should write a book.  Look at how successful online writers/E-book authors are…  So the Altar’s lit with the various candles and Brighid’s Candle from Imbolc is lit atop my Computer tower as I sit here writing freely and from the heart.

I feel like a fraud sometimes.  I write here about my practices and journey and yet my Practice is a sometimes fragile thing in the face of rapid changes in schedule or routine… yet still I try to keep my log book of Practices, and at least Ground and Center each day… the prayers and Chakra exercises and Meditation ebb and flow… but at least I ground and Center each day.

I sometimes wonder if one of the most difficult things we can do on our journeys of Spirit on our many Religious paths isn’t just going back to them each day?  Letting go of the distractions and the doubts and just trusting in the journey….

Today I stayed home from work, overwhelmed by allergies and a sky-high pollen count in Orlan0do in the wake of this Winter’s freezes; overwhelmed too by Benadryl… which always hits me like a trippy tidal wave when I first take it each year.  I slept for several hours this afternoon and have been up for a few hours this evening and am getting ready to pass out as my modern day flying ointment (aka benedryl) takes affect.

Sometimes you just have to slow down and let things happen in their own time… been getting that message too lately.  From the Spirits and from my own magickal work..

As I may have mentioned here I have been doing some prosperity related work lately.  Made myself a money candle and used some oils and herbs and added them to a 7day candle and used some silver and gold metalic craft ink to write things on the outside of the glass.  Been burning that a bit each day… had to re-make it once when the first ink I chose rubbed off quickly…

Made myself a money powder with a popular chamomile tea blend, which happened to have a lot of lucky and prosperity herbs in it for flavor balance – handy that, and some rice and ground them together in the coffee grinder.  (I lack a mortar and pestle as the mortar was re-purposed to an incense burning bowl a couple of years ago whilst the pestle was misplaced, and lets be honest, for a lot of uses a grinder makes more sense you can charge the herbs without inducing early onset carpel tunnel)  Sometimes though, it would be nice to have that mortar and pestle, to grind the herbs as best I could by hand and feel them breaking down, to smell their scents, to feel the energy of my action and will flowing into them as I break them down… sometimes.  Sometimes its nice to simply have some things on hand that I can say a quick prayer over and toss a pinch of powder into my pocket as I get ready to leave the house.

I Also started in on some Crown of Success oil.  Found all SORTS of recipes, but I started out by using the one in Judika Isles 500,000 Spells book.  Started by steeping fresh and dried bay leaves in Olive and Jojoba oil.  Blended that with some Sandalwood essential oil in Jojoba (because I need more success until I can afford retail Sandalwood essential oil), some Frankincense (because I was in a hurry and didn’t realize that the Frankincense was nearly twice the cost of the other until I got home and read the reciept) and Vetivert essential oils, and gifted the results to The Fabulous Jonathan.

That was the quick Crown of Success Oil, now I’m working on the slow long-term success so all that left-over Bay leaves and Olive/Jojoba Oil will come in handy!  I bought some Frankincense tears and ground them up and added them to the oil and leaves that remained, gonna try an old school home-made batch of Crown of Success.   May not have the “pow” of an essential oil batch, at least not for a long time and multiple herbal additions and steeping cycles, but I think a longer term steeping might be instructive and useful…. at lest thats the urgings/leadings/impression I’ve been getting.  Slow down, relax, do what you need to do but don’t be afraid to let things develop naturally you don’t have to be doing it all to have everything you need to have happen, happen.

So I will trust in the Gods and the Spirits and the Ancestors and light Brighids Candle and write something somewhere each day, and breathe, and Center, and do what I need to do.

What will you do?  What do you need to do?

Peace, and Curiosity, always the Curiosity,


PS- Technically speaking I shouldn’t be surprised at the changes and upheavals and jumping around going on in my life since I ASKED for it….  I need to remember to bless and remember that fact when the universe forces me to think and breathe and dance between the lines of the spiritual tides on the shores of my life.


Imbolc 2011: Rekindling
(C) Geoffrey Stewart / Pax

“Good Evening,

We are gathered here tonight to celebrate Imbolc, one of the Four High Holy Days of Ancient Celts according to history and folklore, and the especial Holy Day of the Goddess Brighid.

This is a Neo-Pagan ritual inspired in part by the Druidic Revival and Celtic Reconstructionist forms of Paganism.; as well as our beliefs as members and friends of this Unitarian Universalist congregation. In crafting this rite I have tried to balance the influences of historical and magical scholarship, folklore, polytheology, and theurgy.

Our rite this evening focuses on honoring- and engaging in active relationships with- the Gods, Ancestors, and Spirits…whatever we may conceive Their true natures to be. We will be honoring and invoking the 3 elements of the natural world as viewed through the worldview of Celtic spirituality, we will be honoring the Spirits of the World Around us, The Ancestors, and The Gods, and we will be coming to peaceful terms with some potentially hostile Spirits. Then we will be calling upon and honoring the local Earth Mother of Florida and making offering of gratitude and of our hopes for Her health and well being. Then we will be invoking and honoring Brighid. Then we will celebrate our feast.

Before we share breath and come together in community, there are some pieces of paper that have been handed around with parts of the invocation to our local Earth Mother where the portion in regular print is to be enthusiastically read by whoever has it, and the portion in BOLD print is to be spoken by everyone… lets try it once…

“We _____________________________ invite you,
Hear us, and be here with us.”

“We who live on and within your sacred land and love you, invite you,
Hear us, and be here with us.”

“Now, if any of you can think of a way of referencing your personal relationship to our regional Earth Mother with a short and more personal reference, modeled on the examples that have been handed out you are welcome to take a few moments to write it down… a short sentence or two, would be ideal to the flow of invocation…”

(insert flexibility time here)

It is also important to note, that we will be doing a similar call and response in the invocation of Brighid. I will read a portion of the invocation, and then all of us will join together in calling upon Her to…

“Hear us, and be here with us.”

(At the end of each of the invocations, we will chant this phrase for a time, and upon the signal of the opening of the arms in welcome the final phrase will be…

“Hear us, and be here with us, and be welcome here amongst us.”


Flowers are being handed around, take one as you will be carrying it with you and making an offering of it to Brighid later today.

Imbolc and Brighid a basic overview

For us here in Florida as 21st Century Pagans Imbolc is many things. Imbolc is one of the four ancient Celtic Holy Days, one of the Sabbats or Holy Days of Religious Withchraft, and one of the 8 Holy Days of Neo-Paganism. It is a celebration of the returning light of the Sun, and of the stirrings and movement of life as we shift from the time of the Citrus Harvest to the Strawberry Festival. In the Neo-Pagan Wheel of The Year, celebrated my many contemporary Pagans, we turn from Celebrating and Honoring the Honored and Beloved Dead at Samhain, to the Honored and Beloved Living at Yule, and between Yule and Imbolc we turn inward. We take some time to rest and renew after the mad rush of days of the many spiritual and Calendrical new years that start at Samhain and leaves us rushing busilly through our many cultural and religious Autumn and Winter Holidays. Imbolc is a time for rest and renewal, for rekindling ourselves spiritually and for new beginings.

Imbolc is also the especial Feast Day and Celebration or the Goddess Brighid.

Brighid is either One the Goddesses of Ancient Ireland, or three Sister Goddesses, depending on which of the schollarly sources you are reading. Brighid is a patroness of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft, who over time has also come to be seen as the Masterstroke of all Women and also as a Goddess of the Hearth and Home. Ideas of Brighid flowed into Saint Bridget at the dawning of the Christian Era, and back into Brighid as Goddess at the dawning of the Pagan Revival in the early to middle part of the 20th Century.

Affirming Community & Entrainment

“Now since Brighid is, among other things, a Goddess of Inspiration, and since Inspire means both to breathe in and to fill with Spirit, and since we are seeking as Pagans and as members and friends of the Congregation here at 1st Unitarian, to come together in beloved community; I would like us to take a few moments to breath meditation, really becoming aware of your breathing, please, close your eyes and to consider the following”

“Take these deep breaths and feel your muscles relax, let yourself relax and turn your attention simply on your breaths for a few moments. Air and Inspiration and Life Energy flowing into you, and as you breath our you are touching your connection to all life around you.”…

“Breathing in, taking in oxygen and life energy, air fuels our fire.”

“Air connects us with one another and with all of life around us, it fuels our bodies and enlivens our minds and stirs our souls; awareness and control of breath can work wonders in ourselves and through us in the world around us.”

“With breath we can raise power, call Spirit, connect with The Gods, and embrace the Numinous All That Is.”

“Our lives, our actions, all of our works of Spirit, all of our acts of Will, and all Magick begins with a breath.”

“When you feel deeply centered and full of vitality and life energy open your eyes and we will begin…”

The Rite

In ancient times nearly every major rite or festival began with a procession.  Perhaps you were starting out from your farmstead and traveling down the road, meeting up with others along the way.  Perhaps in the cities like Rome or Athens you would start from your home and meat at an appointed spot in the city.  They might be dancers and musicians, there might be stops along the way to gather items or individuals key to the rite, there might have been stops to bath in a river or the ocean… don’t worry we won’t be going to that extreme, but we will be walking from the feast-hall to our altar.  As we do so, remember we are journeying from the every day to the sacred and we are on our way to encounter the Gods and Spirits and to take part in the holy tides of the world.

(Procession makes its way from feast hall to altar circling clockwise around it, and once the procession come to a circle around the altar…)

“We find ourselves, despite the lengthening days, in darkness,
And So…

“Three Candles we kindle,
For the Three Rays of Light that shone forth at the dawning of all days,
Bringing with them Spirit and Inspiration and Illumination,
Bringing forth All Knowledge that ever was, is, or ever will be,
Bringing and shining with that which the Druids call Awen.

Gwron (“goo-RON”): The Knowledge of Awen
Plennydd (“PLEN-nyth”): The Power of Awen
Alawn (“AH-lon”): The Peace of Awen”


We find ourselves,
Gathered together on a Holy Day
Wishing to Honor and Celebrate
The Holy Powers and our Highest Ideals,

And so…

“We cast forth three handfuls of grain,
To the Spirits of the Wide World Around Us,
To Guiding and Guardian Spirits of this Holy Place,
To the Earth, and to all that Supports and Nourishes us.”

‘We pour three offerings of water,
To the Honored and Beloved Dead, without whom we and this congregation could not be,
To the Guiding and Guardian Spirits of This Holy Place,
To the Waters, and to All that Surrounds and Sustains us.”

“We light three offerings of incense,
To The Holy Gods and Goddesses of All of Creation,
To the Guiding and Guardian Spirits of this Holy Place,
To The Air, and to All that Embraces and Inspires us.”


“We find ourselves,
Within the Witness of the Earth, the Sky, and the Sea,
Within the Presence of the Spirits, The Gods, and our Ancestors,
Within the Knowledge and Power and Peace of Awen,

And thus we rekindle our sacred flame
In the light of truth,
And in the warmth of love,
We gather to seek, to sustain, and to share.”

“We are now gathered in beloved community, in sacred community, but there is one more host of Spirits we must acknowledge and attend to before the Rites may move forward. The assembled members of our community are asked to hold hands around the altar while I attend to the Spirits of the Others, The Outsiders, Those who would bring us harm”

“Hear me, oh Outsiders!

You of The Fomorians and Fir Bolg,
You of The Angry and Unquiet Dead,
You of The Spirits bearing Malice and Mischief for the Sons and Daughters of Humankind

So Long as you come bearing
Malice and Mischief and Anger and Hateful ways,

We ask you to keep away from our Friends and Members,
We ask you to keep away from our Sacred Rites,
We ask you to keep away from our Holy Grounds,

In service of our asking,
We make an offering of our Respects and Watchfulness,
We make an offering of Bread and Cream,
We make an offering of Peace between us.

Before departing, please know,
Should you ever be able to set aside,
Malice and Mischief and Anger and Hateful ways,
IF you can set such things aside,
Then we would also make you an offering of Welcome.

Hail and Farewell!”


Now Imbolc is the Feast and Celebration of Brighid, and we will honor Her in due time; however there is a Goddess already amongst us… or rather below and all around us, Whom we will honor first, for without Her and Her blessings, we could not be here to celebrate this Holy Day and the Holy Tides of All Creation without our own beloved local Earth Mother, The Goddes we know as Florida….

“We Call to You oh, Holy Florida.
We Call to a Granddaughter of Gaia, Goddess of the Earth,
We Call to a Daughter of Columbia, Goddess of the Americas
We Call to You oh, Holy Florida, Our Lady of the Feast of Flowers

We Call to You, oh Holy Florida,
Who was born amidst the fertile plains of Pangaea, many millions of years ago,
Who has swum through the oceans, and seen them ebb and flow over ages,
Who is the Earth Mother of this land we live in, and on, and love, in the present day.

We Call to You, oh Holy Florida
Glorious and Enduring, Rain-bathed and Windswept Lady
Green-clad and Flower bejeweled Goddess,
Whose cornucopia, over-flows with food and flowers
Hear us, and Be Here With Us.”

(personal invocation call and responses)

Oh, Holy Florida,
By All Your Names, Known and Unknown, oh Feast of Flowers
By All the Ways in which we have come to know You, oh our own beloved Earth Mother
Hear Us, and Be Here With us, and Be Welcome Here Amongst Us!

We Welcome you with Water,
That your thirst may be abated, your aquifers replenished, and
Your bountiful and flowering mantle be renewed!

We Welcome you with Rum,
That you may be warmed, that the killing frosts may flee from You, and,
Your great cornucopia may be ever full!

We Welcome you with open arms and grateful hearts,
¡Hola! , Hail and Well Met, and Blessed Be!

And Now we come to the Guest of Honor, Brighid, whose Holy Tide of Imbolc we are gathered here to celebrate. We have rekindled our beloved communities sacred flame, let us now call out together to She Who Is the Sacred Fires…

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Oh, Beloved Brilliant Brighid,
Holy High Flying Arrow,
You who was Born at Daylights Dawning

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Oh, Delightful Daughter of the Daghda,
Mother of Midwifery
You who Welcomes every child into the World

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Oh, Beautiful Bountiful Brighid,
Green Mantled, Spear Wielding,
You who is the Sacred Flame

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Oh Exalted Fire of Inspiration,
Who kindles eloquence and understanding,
Within the hearts and minds of humankind

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Oh Transformative Fire of the Forge
Who kindles Craft and Creativity
Within the clever hands of humankind

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Oh Invigorating Fire of the Spark of Life,
Who kindles Health and Vitality
Within every indrawn breath of humankind

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Mighty Masterstroke of Women!

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Best Beloved of All The Immortal Host!

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!

Sweet Sacred Flame of Ireland!

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us!
(repeated, and after a time, at the sign of the open arms)

Hear Us, and Be Here With Us, and Be Welcome Here Amongst Us!

Exalted One, We Welcome You!

We Welcome You with Flowers
We Welcome You with Milk,
We Welcome You with Blackberry Wine,

We Welcome You With Open Arms and Gratitude,
We Welcome Your Blessings,
The Ever-flowing Tides of Life,
The Happiness of Hearth and Home,
The Gifts of New Beginnings,
The Transformative Fires of Change and Creativity and Renewal

Thank You, Thank You, Ten Thousand Thank Yous!

“We find ourselves, and our Beloved Community, Blessed
Within the Witness of the Earth, the Sky, and the Sea,
Within the Presence of the Spirits, The Gods, and our Ancestors,
Within the Knowledge and Power and Peace of Awen,
Blessed by our own Earth Mother Sweet Sacred Florida,
Blessed and Inpired by Brighid.

Let us always carry with us Their Power and Presence and Blessings,
Wherever we may go within the wider world may we carry them in our hearts.
May They be welcome in our Feasting this night,
As They are always welcome in our hearts and hearths,

We extinguish the flame but not the light of truth,
The warmth of community, or the fires of commitment.
These we carry in our hearts until we are together again.

And now let us feast!

Rekindling the Sacred Fires

“In the light of truth,

and in the warmth of love,

We gather to seek, to sustain, and to share.”

~ Chalice Lighting from1st Unitarian Church Orlando

Dear Friends,

I ~may~ be a bit of an absentee blogger for the next few weeks as I look and write and practice and work and Work towards Imbolc.

I am working on an Imbolc ritual for a group of Pagans.  I am doing it, primarilly, out of obligation.  I said I would do it and so I will.  We should keep our word, both when it is convenient and when it is not; that is the path of integrity, and why we should be damn careful about promising or volunteering for things!

It’s not that they are bad people, its just that the group itself has become incredibly hidebound and cliqueish and self-satisfied and convinced of their own glorious golden energy-ness.  New people with new ideas, experiences, and education, could not possibly have anything to offer this group they are just perfect… at least as they seem to see it.  So I have pulled back from my involvement with them, and Imbolc will be my last entangelment with the group.

It is ironic that this Feast of Rekindling and celebration of New Beginnings will also be, at its heart for me, a blessed release… but I suppose it is appropriate that for me the time between Samhain and Imbolc is sort of The Cross-Roads of the Year…

We celebrate the Honored and Beloved Dead at Samhain when according to the lore the walls between the worlds are at their thinnest, then we turn to celebrating the Honored and Beloved Living at Solstice…

… Of course some Traditions, including Heathenry Celebrate the Honored and Beloved Living AND Dead at the Solstice, or near it…

Samhain is, for many, a spiritual/religious New Years based on the old (and increasingly suspect historically) idea that the Celts celebrated the New Year on Samhain.  (Whilst suspect historically, this is nonetheless valid, but lets cop to our innovations and inspirations shall we?)  For me the New Years will always be the Winter Solstice, hard NOT to think of it as a Major Sabbat and as the Turning of the Year when you spent most of you life to date someplace where you see 4 hours daylight on that day and know undeniably that the days will get longer…  one kind of thirsts for sunlight and Spring in that sort of situation…

Now we are moving towards Imbolc and I am trying to write a Rite that will express my Witchcraft and Honor the Gods and especially Honor the Holy Tides of this Sabbat and celebrate and Honor Brighid.  This is a challenge as, due to an early experience with The Morrigan, left young Witchlet Pax more than a little wary of the Celtic Gods… so I have been doing a lot of research and am STILL debating with myself after 3 months as to whether I want to do a Witches Circle or a more generally Celtic/Druidic inspired Ritual am trying to write an invocation to Brighid…

I had asked a number of trusted folks if they would help, only the Fabulous Jonathan got back to me… but I am doing the right on my own, for a group of people with whom (with only very few exceptions) I will not likely be willing to Circle with again, nor break bread…

And yet even with the mixed feelings I have about this coming Imbolc, I am working on it as best I can.  I am thinking and writing and meditating on it and going to to the best I can for this Holy Day… not only out of obligation, but if this is the ONLY real chance I am to be allowed to give my best for this community, that once meant so much to me to be involved, then I will give them my BEST…for both myself and for The Gods.

Then too as painful as my association with this group was, and as near as it came to causing me to give up on a lot of things, it not only taught me some valuable lessons, but led me to involvement and friendships and much healthier associations that I would not have found without them; so I will celebrate the Sabbat and ballance my accounts with them… paying the coin as the Traditional Witchcraft folks say…



PS- New links have been added to the Online Resources and New Books to the Suggested Reading…

Rekindling my Sacred Fires

As the annual Brighid Poetry Slam messages out there have probably already high-lighted for us, Imbolc-tide is upon us once more.  Depending on your individual faith or path as a Pagan, Imbolc or Oimelc can mean many different things.  Those meanings also change depending on matters of where you live and whether you celebrate as a Solitary Pagan or in a Group, and whether your Faith or Path even observes Imbolc or if it’s one of those Holidays that you sometimes go out to a community event for, simply for the Pagan fellowship, or to humor a friend; but for me it has come to be The Festival of Rekindling…

Growing up, and becoming a Witch, in Anchorage,Alaska early February was that time of year where you really started to see and appreciate the returning of the daylight.  In late February/Early March you also had the excitement of the approaching Fur Rendezvous, an annual Winter Carnival held in Anchorage.   So for the longest time Imbolc was a celebration of the returning light and of the first stirrings of the return of light and life and activity after the mad rush of celebrating the Beloved Living at Yule.

The last few years, though, I have had trouble figuring out what Imboc means to me.

Living in Florida the returning of the light is much less a dramatic or sought after turning of the Wheel, and it’s kind of difficult to get into its associations as celebrating the first signs/stirrings of spring when the citrus harvest is finishing up and the Strawberry harvest is on its way… part of my ongoing journey as I seek to truly understand this strange new sub-tropical world of mine.

Imbolc meaning “In the Belly”; Oimelc meaning “ewe’s milk.  Birth, beginnings, creativity, and renewal… those begin to feel closer to the truth of this Sabbat for me.   Though I don’t have much,  except that of a 1/4 Irish lineage, of a relationship with Brigid whose festival Imbolc is widely honored as, She is the Goddess of Sacred Fires and Sacred Springs.  Smithcraft, Arts and Crafts, Poetry, Spirituality, and Healing, Nurturing, Hearthcraft.

These feel, in that deep part of my soul that is touched by the sacred, like the right track…

So before I went to bed this morning (one of the many hazards of an overnight job…) I turned off the computer and the phone, I lit a stick of incense and before I blew out the flame used that stick to light a candle.  I sat holding the candle-glass cupped gently in my hands and meditated a bit.  I sought, not silence really, but clarity.  I let my mind wander over the last few days…

I thought about the New member’s potluck at First Unitarian, how enjoyable it was even though I am clumsy at best at social mixers with large groups of people.  I thought about meeting my sponsor/mentor Mary and talking with here about things around church.  My mind turned to the words of the Chalice lighting  we use at our U.U. Church

“In the Light of Truth,

In the Warmth of Love,

We gather to seek, to sustain, and to share.”

(and for those of you who are thinking “isn’t the Chalice a tool of water?!” Yes, it is, but there’s more than one way to wield a symbol and a tool!   Here is a link about the Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist flaming Chalice)

My mind also thought about how very, very much I enjoyed cooking my variation of Mom’s Classic Greenbeans (a Stewart family Holiday classic!)  for the Potluck; and how eager I was to volunteer to help my mentor Mary by volunteering to put together a Jambalaya for the New Orleans themed coffee hour…

I really do love to cook and it feels good to be able to use the skills and knowledge of years of work and study, and my recent schooling, in a productive way.  I actually see a lot of my future work in Community Building in the Pagan Community as a way to take those experiences and skills and offer them in Service to others… fundraisers and social events of all sorts!

I am really a hearth-Witch at heart I think, not necessarily limited to my own home; more that I am deeply drawn to and my gifts seem to lay in matters of Hearth and Community building.

Thoughts of the Hearth transition my thoughts from my Witchcraft to my Hellenic Polytheism and naturyally bring to mind Hestia.  She who IS the Hearth, and the Hearth Fire, the Sacred light giving, nurturuing, nourishing fire in our homes and lives.  Given this long present, but not entirely acknowledged or understood grounding I have in matters of the Hearth,  I need to find a way to honor Her especially as I seek to Honor the Theoi Ktesioi, the Gods of the Home,  in the coming year on the Noumenia and in my life.

THE THEOI KTESIOI were the gods of house and home. They were led by Zeus protector of the home (Ctesius) and of the family courtyard (Hicesius) along with Hestia, the goddess of the hearth. Hecate and Hermes were also important household gods who protected the gates and entranceways. -from an entry at

Chronologically, my thoughts carried me to the next day and back to thoughts of Witchcraft.   Waking up early at 3pm and performing my first, full and formal Witches Circle in…. well, in ages.  I remember how wonderful it felt to finally and formally welcome them into my live and works and to share with the Guardians of the Watchtowers in the Blessings of the Lady and Lord.  I had not realized how much I missed the immediacy and intimacy of my connection and communion with Them in a full Circle.

Then after Circle there was the mad rush of shopping for and prepping the ingredients for the Jambalaya, then work from 11pm-7am, then rushing home to actually cook the blessed dish, then off to Church to help with the coffee hour and to act as a Greeter.

My thoughts ranged over how much I am enjoying being involved in a community once more, and how eager I am to use my talents, experience, and education in service to that community.  Not only First Unitarian, but also the Mystic Grove, which is the Pagan/Heathen Affinity Group at the Church.  I am in that tricky stage of getting involved, but trying to not over commit myself or over extend myself… very tough to do for me, and from some of the conversations I’ve had with others at the Church I would guess U.U.’s in general.  This congregation, at least, seems to have a lot of that ‘somebody should do something about this’ energy that is so familiar to me…

I had to laugh to myself when someone described a Unitarian Universalist congregation like “herding cats”, how many times had I heard that phrase used to describe Pagan community… many!

I also, oddly enough, thought of the new involvement I have with a table-top role-playing group, getting my geek on and making new friends and reveling in the creativity and imagination of this cherished and long neglected hobby….

So for me the Festival of Rekindling is a time renew and recommit to those things that nurture the self and nurture and reconnect us to the wider world.  To take pleasure in our creativity, to explore and contemplate our new beginnings or what we might begin as the Wheel turns.  To celebrate the return to life and activity after the period of rest after the Winter Holidays.

As I breathed in my meditations by the light of that candle’s flame, focusing ever so slightly on the out-breath, I imagined breathing onto a charcoal or onto kindling, nurturing the fire with my breath to bring it to fullness and life…

Then after some Still and Sillent meditation, I blew out the candle, and welcomed the light of dawn.

“we extinguish the flame,

But not the light of truth,

The warmth of community,

Or the fire of commitment,

These we carry in our hearts until we are together again.”

May your Hearth and Home be blessed,

May you have food and clothing to warm your body,

May you have good friends to share your blessings with to warm your heart and soul,

May you find beauty and inspiration and creativity in your journey,

Blessed be!

And, as always,



Awakening Aphrodite… a fragment…

So in addition to working and pre-writing and thinking about a book or piece on the 8 virtues of Witchcraft I have been toying for months with a writing fragment and story idea… here  in the spirit of Imbolc’s creativity and of modern February’s spirit of love is a story fragment…

Awakening Aphrodite

By Geoffrey Stewart (c) 2008

There were sounds, floating out over the oceans waves. Sounds of songs and laughter and drums and bells and sistrum’s and many other instruments; their joyous noise intermingling with the throbbing surf as the moonlight glittered upon the surface of the waves. Within the ocean the tidal ebb and flow would have seemed to be keeping a rhythm with the music, had anyone been there to see its dance. In the depths of the ocean something stirred, sensuously and slowly. A ripple of seaweed and a curve of wave-borne driftwood, a shimmer of sea-shells, rich sediment and glittering particles of sand, all pulsing in tune with the ebb and flow of the oceans rhythms, and those of the singers on the shore.

Nature’s most powerful forces sometimes take their own time, however, so the full moon was much lower in the Western sky when things really began to happen. No one was there to observe the first miracle, at least none who could fully understand its meaning.

Her footsteps, quickly disappearing in the oceans tides upon the seabed led from the place of Her awakening towards the shore. She strode beautiful and powerful and primal through the waters and as She neared the surface She rose Her lithe arms up and with Her fingertips parted the waves and, catching hold of them, pulled Herself up into the air to stride atop the oceanic waves for the last several yards to the shore. She sighed deeply, deeply drinking in the night air, the scent of the sea, smoke from a smoldering bed of driftwood coals on the shore, and hints of delightful if foreign flowers greeted her. She lifted Her eyes, which had been contemplating the ripples of the water beneath Her feet, and smiled up at the night sky.

The stars redoubled their twinkling in joyous response to Her. Sea birds cried welcome, and swans swam forward to do Her honor. The sea creatures who had given Her an honor guard fell away, except for the dolphins who chose to linger at the edge of the two worlds of air and sea. She smiled and shook some of the water out of Her golden hair.

As Her feet touched the shore there was a subtle stirring as the sea grass and scrub on the dunes rippled as if in a wind, as this sensuous tickle made it’s way inexorably from sea to shining sea as the natural world shivered, oh so slightly, at Her touch. People then abed rolled over in their sleep, smiling to themselves as their dreaming minds turned to thoughts of love and peace and beauty. Those who were awake at this limnal time between the latest of the night and the earliest of the morning sighed, and smiled, and felt a momentary yet encompassing sense of joy and inspiration. Lovers asleep abed snuggled close to one another, and those not asleep, well, they kissed and felt a moment of transformative love and life changing awareness and sensuality, and then they more than kissed.

Musicians played and children smiled and laughed, even in their sleep, and every dove and pigeon cooed and took flight.

She walked along the shore, delighting in the sensual ebb and flow of the water over Her feet and the sand. She came to a stop at a spot where a burnt out driftwood camp fire lay, out of reach of the high-tide erasing. Here they had gathered, She knew. Here they had sung Her ancient songs in a modern foreign tongue, not that it was a bad language, it had its rhythms and possibilities but it was not Greek. Drums with little cymbals, and sistrums, and wooden …flutes…no… recorders… they were called recorders…. These and those strange boxes that played the music… how sad that people should have to rely on those rather than being able to at the very least pound out a rhythm or pipe out a tune… at least some of them had the dance. She was glad of that… there was always the dance. She smiled to herself at that and birds across the continent stirred and burst into flight and into song.

She stretches Her lithe, strong, arms out over the ocean and begins to make a beckoning motion with Her hands. Slowly, against the direction of the wind, from over the waves the smoke that had been born from the fire traced its way back over the waves and began to gather itself back into the blackened driftwood. The burnt out grey coals began to rekindle and the fire began to burn backwards into itself as driftwood and bits of incense began to reform themselves in the flames.

She smiled as the pleasing scents of the incense drifted by Her on their way back towards the fire to rebuild themselves into flowers and chunks of resin.

Imbolc 2009


First time in a long time

Picking up the Cards

Rearranging the Shards

Lookin’ for and Scrying in

The Mirrors of my Contemplation again.


Stretchin’ so many muscles,

I haven’t even felt in a long long time.


Relearning to Write,

Relearning how to Scry,

Relearning how to Breathe,

Relearning how to Rhyme,

And the Ebb and the Flow,

And don’t you know,

Relearning my Craft

All Alone in my own Time.


First time in a long long time

Picking up the Cards

Rearranging the Shards

At Imbolctide.


So there is this idea in a lot of sources is of Imbolc as somehow being the first stirring of Spring.  Coming from Anchorage, Ak. and now living in Orlando, Fl. ~ I am really not all that into Imbolc as a stirring of Spring…

Although January and February do mark the Strawberry harvest, among others, in my locale!

For me, and this lack of Springy spirit may in part be due to the annual influence on my childhood of the Fur Rendezvous festival in the Anchorage, area.  Fur Rondy, is an annual Winter carnival that includes the World Championchip Sled Dog Races, carnival rides and games set up in downtown Anchorage, arts and crafts fairs and competitions, and social events of all sorts.  In part this is a celebration of the lengthening days as we move from Winter to Spring.

For me this returning of light and sense of renewal and creativity is the big part of what Imbolc is all about.  It’s why, despite my mixed past with the Celtic Gods, I really really dig Bride and the Poetry and Hearth and Crafts related aspects of Imbolc.

Imbolc is about  new beginings, creativity and invention are the themes for this season as we reach outward into the light half of the year.  This is a time of continued and growing engagement with the world around us, beyond our home and hearth, after the deep focus on our friends and families of Yule.  We start to look forward to the activities of Spring and Summer, we start looking towards the new secular year and the things we want to do…

I am realizing, that for me at least, on a very deep level the Wheel of the Year is overlaid with Spirals that wind in and out and intertwine with one another.  For half the year we are Spiraling outward from Samhain to Beltaine, from Death (and the mysteries of what lies beyond) to Birth and Beginigns and Growth and learning and LIFE…

Then, for half of the year we spiral inward from Beltaine to Samhain…

Death and Growth and Life and Learning and Death and Life again…

Time to pour a few libations in the chilly Florida air…

Peace foks,


Imbolc Poetry Blogging


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.


This poem was one of the first poems to really touch my soul. In the same way, with the same thrill and feeling of rightness that I felt when I first read the Charge of the Goddess.

Happy Imbolc Everyone!

I hadn’t even thought about Imbolc!!

I hadn’t. Completely slipped my mind. Bad Pagan, No Cakes and Ale!!


I need to dig out all of my poetry books; those and some of the essential Pagan/Magick books, and my RPG library, are all of my library that are down here in Florida right now. You know, just the essential soul-feeding stuff.

I think I shall be posting poety, my own and those that have inspired me, as a part of observing Imbolc and the Imbolc Season (most of February). Perhaps I can find some nice sensual ones to honor Dionysus and Aphrodite? Note to self, find box of poetry books!!

I also want to encourage any of you reading to try and hunt down a delightful, and sadly out of print, volume of poetry…

Her Words: An Anthology of Poetry about the Great Goddess

Bibliographic Data: Hardcover, 249 Pages, Shambhala Publications, Incorporated, November 1999
Editor: Muten, BurleighList
Status: Out of Print
ISBN: 1570624739Shelf Location: Literature/ Fiction > Poetry > Poetry Anthologies
Description: Combining the works of ancient and modern poets, Her Words is an anthology that spans the ages, from the hymns to the goddess Inanna through to poems from Janine Canan, Lucille Clifton, May Sarton and many others.

(info from

Track this book down, or write to Shambhala and encourage them to publish a paperback edition!! It has some amazing Goddess poetry, some from the ancient world and some from modern authors. Lots of inspiration in it!

Peace, and Happy Imbolc,

Pax / Geoffrey Stewart

Pagan Bloggers Imbolc Poetry Event

So Deborah Oak at Branches Up, is helping to continue a new Pagan Blogoshpere tradition…

WHAT: A Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading

WHEN: Anytime February 2, 2008

WHERE: Your blogWHY: To celebrate the Feast of Brigid, aka Groundhog DayHOW: Select a poem you like – by a favorite poet or one of your own – to post February 2nd.

RSVP: If you plan to publish, feel free to leave a comment (at Deborah’s Blog on this topic) and link on this post. Last year when the call went out there was more poetry in cyberspace than I could keep track of. So, link to whoever you hear about this from and a mighty web of poetry will be spun. Feel free to pass this invitation on to any and all bloggers.

Thank you, Reya, for beginning what is now an annual event.

…. Thank YOU Deborah for encouraging a delightful idea to become a tradition!!

For those not already familliar with the Goddess Brigid, and Imbolc, here are a few links