2014 – a retrospective

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As I sit here penning yet another belated post, I recall what I was doing this time last year. For New Years last year a friend and I road tripped up north of the state to a gay and lesbian camping/dance festival. By this time last year I was back in Sydney lamenting the end of the holiday period for me, and preparing to go back to work.

This time around, it is not much different. I sit here at my desk as the mercury rises to 30 degree Celsius and its not even midday yet, as I lament once again the end of the holiday period. It doesn’t help that today is a full moon, so the sea of emotion within me at this juncture in time is swelling.

I have always felt that the period between Christmas and the new year is a liminal period, a short period of time that exists between the years, and so sometimes it feels like anything goes during that period. It’s as if anything we do during that period won’t have a lasting effect on the rest of year. At least, I used to think that. Now I realise that the very fact that it is a liminal period, it lends uncanny strength to those actions we take during it, to impact the rest of the year ahead.

Last new years, as I stood on the precipice before diving into 2014, I made a promise to the universe and to myself that 2014 would be the year that I lived vulnerably, with an open heart. 2014 was going to be the year that I was going to be seen.

Boy did I dive.

From the moment that the new year’s dust settled, and the year took on its cadence, I found myself in situations where I was vulnerable. Rather than run away from these scenarios, as is my natural response, I took them as opportunities. Opportunities to open myself a little more, an opportunity to lean into the discomfort (as uncomfortable as it may have been).

An even that occurred not long after the Chinese New Year (2014 was the year of the horse. By what everyone has commented to me, the year really did gallop along super fast, with purpose), threw me in the depths of self-doubt and made me question my self worth and my place on this planet. It was a pretty dark time, but again, seeing this as an opportunity for me to truly understand myself, I sought out professional help and began a conversation with myself. By the middle of the year, I realised that when I had declared that I wanted to live vulnerably and to be seen, the person that was witnessing me, was me.

2014 was the year that I fell deeply in love. I met someone with whom I was smitten. We share a lovely 7 months together, but unfortunately I broke it off just before the beginning of 2015. 2014 wasn’t without tough choices, and ending it with this truly lovely man wasn’t any different. It was a product of all the self-discovery that I had done over the past year, and realised that what he could offer was not what I ultimately needed. Telling him this broke my heart – primarily because I didn’t want to hurt him. Yet if I had stayed with him, I figured that the pain would be monumentally worse later down the track.

I am still learning to back my decision and go with what I feel in my gut. It still doesn’t mean that making decisions that resonate with my soul and heart don’t fucking hurt while making them, especially when they involve another sentient being.

As for my spiritual practice, at times in 2014 it faltered and there were moments where I questioned what I was doing. I found however that during these times of doubt, as clichéd as it sounds, it is always good to go back to the very essence of my practice. I go back to basics. I go back to the daily morning and evening prayer. I go back to the silent meditation at my ancestor alter even if its 5 minutes. To be reminded, and to be reconnected.

As 2014 was the year of the horse that galloped straight through the year with purpose and passion, 2015 will be the year of the sheep according to Chinese astrology. I feel as if it will be a time of grazing, and consolidating the gains made by the travelling horse of 2014.

And so in 2015, may you find that which you seek, and seek that which you need. May you be free to following your heart.

Blessings.

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He who would be king, let him be a bridge. Beltane Fun!

He who would be king, let him be a bridge.

(old Welsh proverb)

Belated Beltane Blessings!

again.

I seem to have a history of wishing Beltane blessings in a belated fashion.

To all my Northern Witchy brethren, I hope Samhain was a special occasion for you all, and that you are still aware of the residual energies that are about.

Me Beltane Hat that originally made its debut at last Midsummer

Me Beltane Hat that originally made its debut at last Midsummer

I celebrated Beltane here in Sydney last week by attending my fourth public gathering in last 18 months, and my second Beltane in that time. It was put on by my friends at Gliding Seal events.  What’s more, this Beltane gathering was held at the same location of my very first public gathering that I attended back at Samhain in 2013. It was an odd experience to return once again to the place that has played such a pivotal role in my life for the last (coming up to) 2 years. On another note it was quite fun to return to the same location at a different season. When I attended Samhain in 2013, it was quite dark by the time I had arrived, and it was cold. My memories of the location were obviously coloured by the season. This time round though, it was hot, and the sun was still lingering low in the north-western sky as I made my way down the suburban road that led to the scout hall that would be my home for the next 2 days.

As I settled into the gathering for the weekend, and caught up with friends that I hadn’t seen for a while, something else became apparent to me, about the extent of the impact that my first gathering had on my life. It appeared that my position had been completely reversed from last time I had set foot at this place. When I first attended Samhain, I was a complete outsider, knowing no one when I arrived. However this time, I had ritualled a few times with many of the people attending, as well as the organisers. I was really touched when someone commented to me whether everyone knew each other well, after seeing me interact with some of my friends. To me it was a testament to the strength of the friendships I have made with this pagan community here in Sydney, that all commenced back last year when I decided that I would take myself to a pagan gathering….

Anyway – the Beltane gathering!

Our Maypole after we had done our dance

Our Maypole after we had done our dance

This gathering was a little different from the previous ones I have attended. Rather than have workshops throughout the Saturday before the main ritual, this time round we had a series of challenges that we could chose to participate in or spectate. The challenges were built around the elements. Each person that won the challenge would collect points. At the end individuals with the most points could either elect to be an elemental guardian in the main ritual, or compete to be crowned king and queen for the weekend.

The Challenges proved to be a great way to build community amongst new and old friends.  They were:

  • Tomahawk throwing, for the element of Air, representing accuracy;
  • Balancing a cup filled with water on the back of our hand as we raced to fill a jug, representing balance, for the element of Water
  • Sneaking from one end of the communal hall to the other side, where a bell had been placed before the feet of someone who was blind folded. If they heard us and pointed in our direction, then that person was out – For the element of Earth, representing stealth; and
  • Last but not least, for the element of Fire, representing passion, we had a dance off. The dance off ended up being more of a silent disco for those spectating given that they couldn’t hear the music coming from the little Bluetooth speaker.
Our target for the tomahawk throwing

Our target for the tomahawk throwing

By the end of the challenges though we were all sweaty and exhausted, though filled with the fun from them all.

Now something that I had not expected happened to me while completing the challenges. I ended up with the most points. Going into the challenges I was banking on landing a role as an elemental guarding, namely air (given that I am an air sign). I didn’t expect to win enough points to put me in contention to be crowned the Spring King. Also I didn’t have a female with which to couple with as King and Queen. Finally, of course there is the little issue that I am gay, so any union with a female would be completely symbolic in every sense of the word.

The card I successfully cut

The card I successfully cut

Yet there I was with the most points to be crowned King. Now this might come across as trivial, but it felt like a bit of struggle for me, given my sometimes feelings of inadequacy at being a man (that I have spoken about in other posts). I was faced with whether or not I could stand up to the plate and represent the male regenerative forces of nature for the ritual that was going to take place. Perhaps I took it too seriously, but in that moment I felt like I had to make a decision that was not only right for me, but for the community that had gathered to ritual together.

My other problem was that I didn’t have a Queen. At previous Beltane gatherings, the King and Queen were usually a couple in all senses of the word, and on this occasion we were faced with a potentially different situation.

So as we rested and prepared ourselves for the main ritual (‘robing up’ as we pagans like to call it) I mediated and asked my ancestors what it was that I should do. The resounding answer was to ‘Stand up and claim what was mine – there is nothing else to worry about.’

Now the first part of that message was very powerful, given that they were the same exact words that I had heard previously participating in working with the training coven I’m part of.

So I did.

I stood up and tossed my hat in the ring for Spring King. As for my Queen, I asked the girl who had the most points after me to be Queen. It also helped that she had robed up in a beautiful white dress.

We then broke up into our separate camps, the masculine and feminine energies.

As the representatives of the masculine energies, sat around while we listened to one of our elders speak and we shared what it was that each of us hoped for and desired for the coming year, As I being the King would (symbolically) carry these for the men into the new   year.

My Crown

My Crown

Suddenly the fun of being crowned King became heavy with a burden. Again perhaps I took this all too seriously, but for me it was really important at that I be a good ‘monarch’ (so to speak) for the community that had gathered. I mean in ancient times, so the myths of the Celts communicate to us, the King was wedded to the land. It was through his union to the land that the land remained fertile. If the crops were to fail, then the king was killed.

I certainly don’t want the crops of my community to fail, nor do I want be beheaded as the case may be! But all of a sudden, the deeper sense of those mysteries that are told through the myths became a little cleared to me as we were challenged by the Elements and then ultimately crowned.

The rest of the evening was, as you would expect of a Beltane, filled with revelry and fun. The Feast was delicious and the Bardic circle by the fire demonstrated the creative fire that everyone at the gathering possessed.

As I left the gathering, and as corny as this may sound, I left a changed man, with a new sense of responsibility and duty. To what, I am still uncertain. But it is there. It feels right though, as if another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place following the different events of this year.

Blessings & Bendith

The full moon the Friday night of the gathering

The full moon the Friday night of the gathering

Posted in Community, Divine Masculine, Elements, Masculinity, Ritual, Sabbats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Unexpected Loss

So I deleted Facebook from my smart phone a few weeks ago.

It’s been a great move because I feel like I’m no longer addicted to checking my phone, every 5 minutes. Instead my productivity has increased, and I restrict my access to the site for a short periods after I get home from work, or when I am doing something related to the training coven that I am a student of.

So it was very distressing last Friday evening, As I logged onto my Facebook account   to be met with the unexpected news that my friend, and teacher Peter Paddon had passed away in his sleep on Thursday night LA time.  To say that the news hit me like a ton of bricks is an understatement. I was in complete shock, as was everyone else who is part of the tradition that Peter and his wife lead, and dare I say it, the pagan community at large.

Words truly can’t express the loss that I feel, let alone the loss and emptiness felt by  my fellow coven brothers and sisters that knew him better than I. This post won’t be an obituary as such  (The Wild Hunt had a beautiful obituary dedicated to Peter on Friday, if you hadn’t read that already), rather I just wanted to share how Peter came into my life and changed it for the better.

Sharing water with the Ancestors

Sharing water with the Ancestors

I stumbled onto Peter’s podcasts when I rediscovered this pagan path that I am travelling back in late 2012. Having discovered the world of pagan blogs and podcasts I was going through them at a fast pace, seeking those out that really spoke to me. I found Peter’s to be refreshing and different. Here was this Brit with a typical British sense of humour,  delivering workshops and lectures in the US to a (obviously) primarily US audience. Now as an Australian, I always find that the British sense of humour translate a little better to our  sensitivities than it does to the US. So you can imagine my delight at listening to Peter interject his sometimes very serious and intense workshops with random bits of hilarity that would stump his US audiences. I would laugh out loud with my headphones on as I went about my daily business while listening to these, often receiving strange looks from the people at the supermarket or somewhere else in public where I would inevitably be tuning into the podcasts.

Peter’s humour and charisma always came through in the Podcasts. He definitely never took himself too seriously, even if the topics he was discussing were immensely rooted in vast research, personal knowledge and experience. I think the moment that I was sold on Peter being the ‘real deal’ and not some lunatic (though others may have thought otherwise according to Peter himself) was when he record a workshop he gave at Pantheacon on possession. He called on 3 different deities!!

From that moment on I was like “Right. I need to learn from this guy.”

It was a little time later that I stumbled on a post on his website calling for expressions of interest for potential students to his online training coven. The only problem was that I had seen the post too late to be part of the class of 2013 intake. While a little crestfallen I hoped that the course would be so successful that it called for a repeat in 2014.

Thankfully the training coven was a success, and Peter once again called on submissions from interested individuals to become students of the tradition he was teaching. I was quick to jump on that opportunity. I remember the time I took to prepare my application, hoping that I would be selected as a remote student, all the way on the other side of the world with a 17 hour difference.

I was very excited to receive an email from Peter a short time later telling me that I had been accepted.

And so began my year and a day training with Peter at the helm. Every week, after work on a wednesday I’d log on to watch the class that was recorded at Peter’s house on Tuesday night LA time. As always, the classes were interesting, with a wealth of knowledge and peppered with Peter’s natural wit. Peter was a natural story teller and it was really great to hear him and learn from him.

I was fortunate enough, as part of my 30 birthday celebrations to holiday in California in June/July, and I got to meet my fellow students and Peter himself. I got to attend a live recording of the classes that I usually watched from my bedroom on my computer. Peter and Linda were so gracious to open their home to me, and I will always hold their hospitality dear to my heart.  What really got to me was how close I felt to everyone,whom I had only really had limited interactions with via social media. However I wasn’t made to feel like a stranger, but someone who truly belonged, that was part of a family.

I guess what is so shocking about the news about Peter’s untimely death was the fact that he was so full of life. He did so much! From publishing books, running workshops and classes, to glass etchings – Peter really did have his fingers in a lot of pies.

In losing Peter the pagan community has lost a fountain of knowledge, but more than that it has lost a great man who truly lived life.

VALE Peter you are missed. But I know that the ancestors will have embraced you with open arms, and it will only be a matter of time before we feel your presence weave its magick in our lives once more.

Thanks for teaching me.

Thanks for making me laugh.

Blessing & Peace

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Androphilia – A review

71w9BUZKkgL._SL1360_I actually finished reading Jack Donovan’s “Androphilia” a couple of months ago now, and ever since I put it down, I have wanted to write about it. I actually bought the book a a while ago now,  after hearing part of an interview that Jack gave on a Sunday night radio show that I regualrly tune into. I heard the part of the interview where he spoke about an alternative to same sex marriage for gay men, that was still meaningful, but not trapped with all the social baggage that comes with the lable of being married. Given my ambivalent stance on marriage on a whole, and in my quest to finding a life full of meaning as a gay man beyond the sex, dance parties, and unattainable (but appealing and beautiful) male physiques that gay culture/community is ladened with; I thought this guy’s writings could be refreshing and exactly what I was looking for.

Boy was I wrong….So utterly wrong.

I should first start out by declaring that I identify as a feminist. I don’t think (as the author does) that feminism is trying or has tried to steal men’s power and identity. I don’t think that feminists are all man hating, bra burning, arm-pit haired, lesbian women, though I acknowledge that some may fall in one or more of those categories. I firmly believe that feminism provides for a space for the voices that usually go unheard and the experiences in society that go unnoticed to be heard, noticed and valued. For those men especially who do not live up to the patriarchy’s construction of what it is to be a man in modern society; feminist discourse provides an outlet to be whatever type of man those men are – as counter intuitive as that may sound. If anything, feminism sheds light on the fallacy that the patriarchy attempts to uphold about our gender roles and our place in society, and colours it with the real, lived experiences of human beings. Ultimately being a positive things for all genders identities.

On that note, I really should have realised that the author and I were not going to see eye to eye, particularly when I came across this in the first few pages:

“As culture becomes increasingly female- and family friendly, as men-only institutions continue to fall from favor or become integrated, as masculinity is controlled, compromised and redefined according to the preferences and aesthetics of women- as straight men lose touch with their own masculine heritage – I see a role for androphiles as masculine purists, unlikely carriers of Mars’ ancient torch. Masculinity is a religion, and I see potential for androphiles to become its priests – to devote themselves to it and to the gods of men as clergymen devote their lives to the supernatural.”

The final nail hit the coffin when I found out that Jack (obviously) was writing from a (politically) right wing perspective.

Now that could have been enough for me to put the book down and never think about it again. But then, I hadn’t had such a (negative) visceral reaction to something I read in such a long time, I thought I owed it to myself not to shy away from opinions that I find challenging to my own, and to finish reading the book.

So I did.

For the most part I agreed with his views on same sex marriage, and  I did sympathise with some of his criticisms of modern gay culture as well as the caricature of masculinity prevalent in society, given that I too find both these quite constricting and at odds with how I live my life as a man.

Otherwise the rest of the book comes across as one angry man’s diatribe.

As I have already alluded to, the guy really doesn’t like feminist and from what I glean women generally (obvious given that he calls himself an androphile). However I found his overall discussion on historical masculinity and modern masculinity lacklustre and poorly developed. His arguments would potentially have greater strength if he was able to demonstrate a more nuanced understanding of the ancient cultures he draws from. This particularly bugged me given my academic background in ancient cultures, and how gender was constructed (particularly in the ancient Greek context).  However in answer to this,  his argues that this book is his “manifesto” and his opinion, as if this relieves him from doing a little more research than just skewing the (little) evidence he uses, for his own purposes.

One of main issues with this book, is despite his continual harping on about masculinity and what it means to be a “man,” Donovan never actually DEFINES what he consider to be this wondrous “masculinity” which in his view needs reviving. Instead he rather vaguely relies on the the fact that “masculinity is universally understood.” To me this clearly adds weight to the fact that masculinity is not this static defined condition or thing. Rather it is ever evolving, changing, and being created by societies and the men (and women) living it.

I found his argument flawed and inconsistent. For example on one hand he posits that masculinity is essential to the male experience, differentiating men and women to the core. Then he goes on to say how masculinity needs to be earned and demonstrated. Surely if masculinity is essential to the male lived experience, it need not be demonstrated on a constant basis, but simple just IS in whatever shape or form man chooses to live his life.

What is more infuriating is the manner in which he criticises the stereotypical “sissy” gay, yet then encourages gays to be the manly men (that is universally understood of course), by using other stereotypes as examples! This is a crock of shit. This is where the book is at its most disappointing, because it doesn’t add anything new to a conversation about how today’s man that happens to be gay should live. The hypothetical life he sketches is just as bad an offering as that offered by gay culture, which he so vehemently criticises in the book. Further the values he promotes towards the end of the book as being “masculine ideals” are universal human traits (such as accountability, integrity, honesty and honour. Last time I checked these virtues weren’t the monopoly of half the population), that everyone and anyone can display regardless of sexuality or gender.

Ultimately Donovan comes across as a complete douche bag, that is anti-feminist, and anti-intellectual. However I am thankful for his book because it made me angry and made me think, fortifying my ideas of what being a “man” actually is. Thankfully it has nothing to do with the dribble that this guy writes about.

The book did however, leave me wanting to explore my masculinity and spirituality a little more, and I guess that is the link for me writing about it here on this blog. I am still yearning for and seeking the types of experiences that I had at last year’s Beltane with other men. I can see that Donovan’s manifesto is an attempt to find meaning in this life, as a man who loves men. To this extent I think we are similar. However it is our approaches that differ, and differ greatly. I truly believe that there is space for men to be ‘men’ with other men, in whatever way that ‘being’ is expressed. It need not be in any of the stereotypical examples that Donovan offers (though they too have a place). It is about recognising that as complete human beings, men should be able to live the whole gamut of human emotions and experiences, and not be limited to a particular subset of these, for fear of being caste as something less than a man.

I am all for finding meaning in life….just don’t be such a douche about it.

Peace

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The Biosphere that is the Earth

GAIA-1

Not all planets qualify as organisms – Mercury, Venus, and Mars, for example, are nothing more than rocks in space, as dead as dodos. Earth, however is biologically self-actualised. It possesses a biosphere – a resident population of biological forms – which cooperatively interact to create a global self-regulating system. All of us, from weasels to banana trees, unconsciously participate in the life of the Earth, collectively maintaining air, water, and soil in quantities and compositions to suit ourselves. Earth is a living planet, in other words, because living things are on it, collaborating to produce a favourable climate in the same manner that lungs, liver, heart, and brain cooperate to maintain a functional human being.

 There may be a few less admirable parallels, too. “It is far from easy to determine,” wrote Pliny the Elder, “whether she [nature] has proved to man a kind parent or a merciless stepmother.” Gaia, according to her ancient biographers, was no maternal role model: she committed incest and adultery, bore enormous numbers of hideous children, and had her husband, Uranus, castrated. This is Gaia’s dark side: nature, red in tooth and claw. The biosphere cooperates globally, but on the individual level its members go to unpleasant lengths in order to survive. Lions eat zebras; polar bears eat seals, snakes swallow mice; and sharks – though very rarely – even eat us, at least if given half a chance. Chimpanzees commit infanticide, in-crowd chickens peck outsiders to death; female spiders and praying mantises, after a bout of consensual sex, eat their erstwhile mates. To Gaia, it’s all one. Mother Earth happily dispenses flowers and fruit; then with cheerful equanimity, she dices us up for dinner.

Rebecca Rupp, Four Elements: Water, Air, Fire, Earth (Profile Books; 2005) 286.

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The Warrior’s Call

We will gather
We will gather
On this ancient southern land
We will stand long
We will stand strong 
Gathering strength hand in hand
Lets sow the seeds of Justice in the soil of this land
We’ll protect our water and wild places
From greedy miners plans


(Chant of power at our ritual 4 October 2014)

A week and a half ago I participated in a world wide movement to protect the Earth from Fracking. On that day pagans from around the world got together in their groups, covens, groves, and seed groups, answering the international call to arms (so to speak) and did what we do best. We cast circle, honoured the elements,  and the divine around us, through song and dance, to raised energy in the form of a protective web around the world in an attempt to halt Fracking.

Sacred Space

Sacred Space

What started out as a small ritual originally held on Glastonbury Tor, has quickly spread and this year has been the third global call to action from the group called the Warrior’s Call – a coalition of pagans against fracking.

The ritual was simple. The Warrior’s Call provided a sigil to be integrated into the ritual to be conducted, revolving around our waters, water’s sacred nature and our connection with it. Given that the fracking process utterly destroys water, our intention and connection with water was at the core of the ritual as we raised the protective web.

The Sigil

The Sigil

To be honest, up until now, I hadn’t been all that aware of the fracking activity that was occurring in my backyard. I had known that it has been a major issue in the United States and in the UK, but the exposure to what is occurring here in Australia hasn’t been all that great. That I suspect has a lot to do with the power that the gas companies wield over the media outlets in this country. However when I realised that there had been a proposed fracking site  no more than 5 kilometres from where I live (just on the outskirts of the city of Sydney – still in a densely populated area of the city) I decided that I had to participate.

It was a lovely day and a great way to come together with other pagans to raise energy and give back to the Earth. The bizarre thing about the whole attempted Fracking exercise is that the propose site was literally across the road from one of the most used parklands in Sydney! Not only that, but local authorities (local council and State government I think) spent millions of dollars reclaiming the land and making it into the beautiful park that it is now. Seriously…the mind reels at what companies and authorities are thinking when the decide on things such as this. Luckily though in this case, it was a victory for the Earth as the proposed mining site was halted….

Ritual Instruments

Ritual Instruments

However only recently, the Chief Scientist of the NSW (the State that I live in) has been credited with saying that “The risk to human health and the environment posed by coal seam gas can be managed but unintended consequences due to accidents, human error and natural disasters are inevitable.”

Um what?

Further she has said that the “technical challenges and risks” posed by the coal seam gas industry could be addressed by limiting extraction to areas withere the geology and land use were “appropriate.”

Ok, so I am not a scientist but there are a few things wrong with that sentence right there.

First – I don’t think that destroying the Earth and potentially making it uninhabitiable, as well as the risks of KILLING PEOPLE fall within the ‘technical challenges and risks’ category. Nor do I think they are unintended consequences…I mean sure the process of Fracking isn’t as ugly as traditional forms of mining, but it is just as evasive.

Also when is it ever “appropriate” to cause massive disruption and distruction to ecosystems?

Stuff like this makes me so MAD! I live in a country where if we took advantage of our surrounds in a positive way, to develop solar energy and other renewable sources of energy – we could be leading the world in this innovative exciting field. Instead we fall back on our sick addiction to oil and gas….

However this is post is not about whining. It is about getting angry but then springing into action. At first I was disappointed at myself for not publisihg this post faster. However the problem of fracking isn’t going to go away any time soon. If anything hopefully this has resonated with you to do something in your local community. You can still ritual in favour of the Earth. You can find out if there is a local action group mobilising against Fracking and get involved.

If you want to know more about a warriors call – their website is http://www.warriorscall.org

They’re also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sacredshieldwall

Answer the call, and take up arms for your Earth.

Peace

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Lady of Flowers, of Summer and Spring

hear our voices; hear us sing.

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The coming of the vernal equinox sort of hit me all of a sudden. I guess I became aware of its closeness a few weeks ago when I made my way to my usual Tuesday morning yoga class, which at that point hadn’t really been that regular, given that I had have been delinquent with my practice. However the last time I had made that early morning bike ride across suburbs to reach the yoga studio, it was still quite dark. It was pre-dawn then, the coldest, darkest portion of the night. The morning sun only making its presence known 15 minutes into the yoga practice, as it spread its light like long fingers, caressing our bodies in the studio as we downward – dogged.

When I finally did venture out again to do yoga, the pale blues, pinks and violets that herald the coming of the sun had replaced the darkness. The light had started to return. I no longer needed to have my red bike lights flashing as I made my way across busy morning streets. Nor was it so cold.

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Then it really hit home that spring had arrived as I began to notice the tree in our backyard was getting its leaves back. My sister made a poignant comment just a day ago. When she had left to go overseas a few weeks ago, the tree though greening had only a few smatterings of leaves among its pale brown branches. Now in only a few short weeks, the tree is fully clothed in its green armour, bring with it, the dappled light patterns to the backyard. The small lizards that inhabit our garden have also began to scurry, chasing the warmth that the sun provides, and trying their best to avoid us as we go out to dry our clothing.

For me this time of year heralds new beginnings and possibilities. It is the second time of the year that for a moment there is balance. The light begins to touch areas of life that were in darkness from the time of Samhain. The light gives us the chance to cast off the old and begin to set new goals and intentions for the next part of the year. While we may have been thinking about these things from the time of the Winter Solstice, the equinox is the perfect time to spring into action (no pun intended). I understand now why a lot of traditions mark spring equinox as the occasion where oaths are renewed, and commitments remade.

Thus we banish Winter

Thus we welcome Spring

We say farewell to what is dead

And greet each living thing

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With Wiccan group that I join to celebrate the Sabbats here in Sydney, we decorated the circle with flowers. Holding our beautiful, Outlander inspired torches (if you don’t understand what I mean by this reference, I suggest you look up the trailer for the Starz’s new series “Outlander” based on the book), we danced around the circle heralding the welcoming of the Spring, wakening up the last remnants of the land that need that extra push.

 

The Moon goes round the Earth

The earth goes round the Sun

When day and night are equal

The Greening has began

The tradition that I am currently studying under, follows the sacred king cycle. At this time of year, my tradition works the mystery of coming of age, when the King is named and armed, and is sent on a journey to find his fate.

See, according to the Welsh story contained in the Mabinogion; Llew was (for lack of a better term) cursed by his mother, the lady Arianrhod, that he would never receive a name or arms from anyone but her. If you know anything about ancient celtic/Brythonic etc cultures, you’d understand that this was an important component of a young man’s transition into adulthood. Thanks to the trickery on the part of Llew’s uncle, Gwydion; Lleu was eventually able to receive these 2 things.

How working the mystery manifest on a personal level means setting my intentions and goals for the coming part of the year. It is in this way that I can see how these 2 different ways of marking this time works with the rhythms of life. On one hand, I ask the earth to awaken, bearing witness to the greening. On the other, I bear witness to the ‘greening’ in my own life, by deciding what I wish to sow, what I wish to seek and accomplish.

Everything however comes with a price. By setting those intentions, in the back of my mind I know that sacrifices will have to be made, that the coin will have to be paid. Such is the way of the world.

So at this time I wish you a happy Spring Equinox! May you feel the greening beneath your feet, as all life starts to stir. May you put into action that which you need in order to achieve what you want.

May you find that which you seek; and seek that which you need, and be prepared to pay the appropriate coin.

Peace.

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