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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Children's Ritual to Heal the Planet

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Our world is in trouble. Between pollution, deforestation, and overfishing our land and seas are facing a threat that they can barely fight against. Now things aren't quite as bad as some environmentalists would have you believe. They continue to find new species of fish and other animals. And there have been great strides in combating pollution. It also seems to me that many Pagans look for something to do but find that a solution is hard to come by. So here is a ritual that you can do with your kids to lend energy to Mother Earth.

What is needed:

Six candles -- Red, yellow, blue, green, two white
A feather
A bowl of water
A bowl of dirt
Bell for each child participating (or you can share a single bell)

Ritual:

Arrange the colored candles and other items in a circle around you. In the East put the yellow candle and the feather. In the South put a white candle closer to the center and the red candle a little further out. In the West put the bowl of water and the blue candle. And finally in the North put the bowl of dirt and the green candle. Light these candles as you set them out. In the center put the other white candle. Walk with your children from candle to candle, ringing the bell as you leave from candle to another.
Start in the East and tell them that it represents Air. Wave the feather at them so that they can feel the wind.
In the South tell them that here is Fire represented. Carefully let them feel the heat from the candle.
In the West talk to them about Water. Have them wash their hands in the water.
In the North speak about the element of Earth. Let them touch the dirt.
When you return to the Center talk to them about the Goddess and the God and how they are always there. Let them know about Love and the Blessings that the Gods can give us.

Now have the children sit and think on the Earth. For younger children you could have them imagine the Earth going to the Doctor to get better. For older children they could just imagine the earth, as pictured from space, bathed in golden or blue light. When you feel that the time is right then have them lay their hands on the Earth and say how much they love the Earth and all the animals on it. Have them ask for the Earth to be healed and strong.

You can take this time now to talk to your children about how we are all connected in the Circle of Life. You can tell them about the Elements and how they all are a part of each of us.

Earth my body. Water my blood. Air my breath and Fire my spirit.



Make sure that your children eat after this so that they can get properly grounded.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Story of Arachne

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Athena, goddess of wisdom, was a proud and talented, young goddess. In times of peace, Athena taught Grecians about the arts. She herself was a skillful weaver and potter and always took pride in her pupils' work, as long as they respected her.

One of Athena's pupils was a maiden whose name was Arachne. Arachne was a poor, simple girl who lived in the country. Her father was a quiet man of humble birth. He dyed sheep's wool to earn money for a living. Arachne wove beautiful fabrics of delicate designs, and people began to comment to her that surely she had been taught by the goddess Athena. Arachne denied this and stated that she was certainly better than Athena and that she had learned little or nothing from Athena's teachings. She even went as far as to say that she was a better weaver than Athena !

Arachne was known to have said,"I have achieved this marvelous skill due to my own talent, hard work, and efforts."

Soon Athena heard of the boastings of Arachne and decided to speak to her. Athena disguised herself as an old woman and went before Arachne stating, "It is foolish to pretend that you are like one of the gods. You're simply a mortal who talents are paled in comparison to those of the goddess Athena."

Arachne charged back to the old lady, "If Athena doesn't like my words, then let her show her skills in a weaving contest."

Suddenly, the disguise of the old woman was removed and there stood the radiant goddess Athena standing in front of Arachne. Athena accepted the contest challenge.

As the contest began, it was clear that the beauty of both Athena's and Arachne's tapestries were lovely. However, the goddess worked more quickly and skillfully. Arachne's attitude about her work showed that she felt her weaving was more lovely, but Athena felt it was an insult to the gods. This angered Arachne especially since Athena requested an apology. Arachne refused, and Athena slapped Arachne in the face. Almost instantly Arachne felt her head begin to shrink and her nimble fingers grow into long, thin legs.

"Vain girl, since you love to weave so very much, why don't you go and spin forever." Athena had turned Arachne into a spider.

So it is said that all spiders have been punished for Arachne's boasting, since they are required to live within their own webs. Since then spiders have been called arachnids.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Time for Exercise -- Yoga for Children

Monday, May 26, 2008
Yoga, as well as meditation, can be a beneficial discipline for children. As much as for adults. But I must warn you that little children may not sit still for very long. So use your parental intuition and decide what is best for your family.
Some of the benefits of yoga for kids are:
  • Ability to concentrate
  • Better ability for children to follow instructions
  • A method for them to release stress and other energies
  • After a time they become more aware of the power of their mind -- this can lead to a better attitude overall
Below are some links to different poses that are appropriate for children.




Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Grilling Seafood for Litha

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
With summer upon us, the official grilling season is about to begin. Well at least for people outside of perpetually snow free Florida. Grilling seafood, especially fish, is the best way to cook it. But since fish is so tender and flakes easy special care must be taken.
You can cook most fish and shark on a soaked cedar plank. This will impart the flavor of the wood into the flesh. If you choose not to use a plank then you should use a grilling basket. Shrimp can also be put into the basket or simply skewered on wet skewers. Another tip to keep the fish whole you should avoid flipping it often. Since fish is so then, once is usually enough.

While recipes are not needed in most cases, grilling is oftentimes enough to make the food taste good. I have posted below a few recipes, courtesy of About.com. Hope you enjoy!

Hawaiian Style Catfish

Ingredients:

* 3 catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 cup pineapple chunks
* Marinade:
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon lime juice
* 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
* 2 green onions, chopped finely
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

Thread fish onto 4-6 pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Place bell pepper, onion, and pineapple alternately between catfish chunks. Set skewers in a pan.

To prepare the marinade, combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour mixture over fish skewers, cover, and allow to marinate in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Preheat grill for high heat. Remove skewers from pan, discard marinade. Place skewers on grill and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning once. The fish should flake easily when fully cooked. Remove from heat and serve.

Grilled Tuna Burgers

Ingredients:

* 1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh tuna, ground
* 4-5 cloves garlic
* 1 tablespoon minced ginger
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* buns

Preparation:

Combine ground tuna with mustard, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, parsley, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Form into 4 patties. Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Place tuna patties on a lightly oiled grill grate. Allow patties to cook for 3-4 minutes per side. They should remain slightly pink on the inside. Remove and serve on a bun with favorite condiments.

Happy Grilling and Blessed Be!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Lack of Spirituallity

Monday, May 19, 2008
I have talked in two earlier posts, about the Lack of Heroes in our Culture and the Lack of Myths to tell to our children. These two things are merely symptoms of a larger problem. Which is the overall lack of spirituality in our culture.
With mainstream churches becoming, for the most part, obsessed with money, they are failing their congregations. I mean seriously does a preacher need a Lexus and his own private jet? Now I know that this isn't all churches and all leaders. But even the smaller churches have their own problems and scandals and fail their members as well.
What is missing in these churches? Why do preachers, priests and reverends fall by the wayside? The answer is that they have forgotten to tend to their Spirit. They are more obsessed with dogma then they are about becoming better and more spiritual people. And less even so to teach their congregation.
Now there is hope for the world. Paganism and the New Age movement is growing at an exponential rate. Even Oprah has glommed on the craze, with her classes with Eckhart Tolle.
So don't give up yet.

But, the question could be asked, what is spirituality? Spirituality can be defined as experiencing a connection to the Gods or God, depending on your faith, in all moments of your life.
So what is it that you can do as parents to teach your children the benefits of spirituality. Well first off, and you are already doing this, is to read this blog. Go back through the archives if your new and try some of the activities I have talked about in the past. Next you can just open yourselves up to the Divine, let Her, Him or Them speak to you. Know that They are there. This may take time, for you to develop the ears and eyes to hear and see Them.
Take a moment each day to pray or meditate. Better yet do both and do them often. If you make an effort to know the Divine then They will meet you halfway. Speak to Them and They will listen and respond. You only have to listen.
Tell your children stories about the Gods and about the Sabbats. Include them in your prayers and in your rituals if they are old enough. My youngest daughter is four and has already memorized her daily prayer and is eager to do it often.
Just remember that if something you are doing to connect isn't working then try something else. Ritual should be a tool to commune with the Divine, not a roadblock.
If any of you have any suggestions then I ask that you comment and let us all know.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pagan Rosaries

Sunday, May 18, 2008
One of the biggest things that we can teach our children about paganism is ritual. The simplest of those rituals can be the ritual of the Pagan Rosary. Even the act of stringing one can be a ritual and a meditative experience unto itself.
I have found that a rosary of seven beads is both long enough to be effective and short enough that children, especially the oldest ones, aren't lost in the middle of the prayers.
The instructions for use of a Pagan rosary is relatively simple. Hold each bead in turn, saying the appropriate prayer. When saying the prayer and after, before moving onto the next bead, hold the visualization that the prayer brings to mind.

Necessary Items:
  • Six beads
    • Goddess
    • God
    • Four Elements
  • A seventh bead or pendant that represents the owner of the rosary
  • String or yarn
Now as you can see I have left this list of items very vague. And this is for a very good reason. I want you all to use your imaginations and intuition. This rosary is for you and for your children so it must resonate with you.
When you pick beads know that you are picking them to represent something specific on that list. Let your spirit guide you

Instructions:

String the beads in this order: Goddess; God; Air; Fire; Water; Earth; Seventh bead or pendant.
Make sure that they are all knotted into place. Leaving a short distance between each bead.

Rosary Prayer

First for the Mother, from who we all come
Second for the Father, reflection made real
Wind Blowing
Fire Burning
Water Flowing
Earth Standing
Seventh is for me wrapped in love
So Mote It Be!



Monday, May 12, 2008

Where are all the Heroes?

Monday, May 12, 2008
Men have been sidelined to a status almost approaching second class. At one point a boy could look forward to being a man. Could look for role models and actually find ones that were worth looking at. Before the feminist movement, men were the center of the world and after feminism they are nothing. Stripped of all that used to make them men, men today wonder around in a daze. Staying at home with their parents late into their thirties and failing to go to college and/or make anything out of themselves.
Now I must say here that the feminist served its purpose of making the world realize that women were the equal of men. What I am disagreeing with is how the extreme in the feminist movement fail to realize that we are equal and that we both need the other. In other words they have done to men what men did to women.
So we as men need to stand up and take our place again. We need to show strength and vision. Exude wisdom and power. Not to dominate or to rule over others. But rather to be leaders and heroes again.
When they say that there is no hope for the children, what they are really saying is that there is no hope for the future. Our children wonder lost looking for guidance and all they are told is how men are an evil, vicious, violent and sex crazed race. That they don't need men and if they are boys, then the message is that they aren't needed.
Check out some of the links below for further reading on this topic. Hope that this stirs many of you to action. Time for true equality, our children are depending on it.

Part 2 of a three part series part 1

Why men don't go to college
Nine Noble Virtues part 1 || part 2


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Summer Crafts -- Rainsticks

Sunday, May 11, 2008
With summer comes rain, for most of the country. So it is a fitting craft for kids to make rain sticks. But legend says that they appeal to the rain gods, so make sure that you don't use them to often.

Things You’ll Need:
  • 1 1/2 inch mailing tubes (with stoppers)
  • Wide, strong tape
  • 1 pound of 1/2 nails for each child
  • Hammers
  • Sand
  • Lentils
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Dried beans
  • Anything that might make a nice sound when shaken
Instructions:
  • Buy or find a mailing tubes that are 1 ½ inches wide for each child. These tubes are available at the post office, or at an office supply store. Make certain to keep the stoppers that come with the tubes.
  • Get a pound of ½ inch nails for each child. Collect hammers for each child (either buy or borrow them from friends).
  • Ask the children to hammer the nails into the mailing tubes in whatever configuration they desire. Supervise this step carefully. Make sure that only the head of the nail remains on the outside of the mailing tube. If the point sticks out the other side, pull the nail head back, readjust the angle of the nail, and hammer it in again.
  • Collect sand, lentils, dried beans, popcorn kernels, or anything else you think might make a nice sound in a rain stick, and stir them together in a large container. The children may enjoy doing this by hand (but make certain they don't put their hands in their mouths afterwards).
  • Put the stoppers on one end of the mailing tubes and secure it firmly in place with strong, wide tape.
  • Pour the sand mixture into the tubes with a funnel. Have the children test the sound the contents make—they may decide on only a little of the contents or a lot.
  • Seal the open ends with the other stoppers and tape them securely in place. This is an important step, as having the contents spill onto the floor or carpet would make quite a mess.
  • Teach children how to make music with their new rainsticks.
courtesy of ehow.com


Monday, May 5, 2008

Why are there no more Myths?

Monday, May 5, 2008
As a Pagan Father I have noticed that for little Pagan children there are no myths that are being taught to them. And in my opinion it is not from a lack of trying, there are just simply not any myths that are suitable for kids.
But why are myths important? To answer that question I think that we first must explore the definition of what myths are. Myths are the method and vessel by which, we as a people, try to explain our history and our beliefs. Now I know that for many of us there is very little history, either to our religion or to our own personal beliefs. But many of us have pantheons that we follow in our Craft and the stories from that pantheons will do well as myths to teach our children.
But is this all that myths are good for? Here is a list that hopefully answers that question in full:

  1. Myths grant continuity and stability to a culture. They foster a shared set of perspectives, values, history -- and literature, in the stories themselves. Through these communal tales, we are connected to one another, to our ancestors, to the natural world surrounding us, and to society; and, in the myths which have universal (i.e., archetypal) themes, we are connected to other cultures.
  2. Myths present guidelines for living. When myths tell about the activities and attitudes of deities, the moral tone implies society's expectations for our own behaviors and standards. In myths, we see archetypal situations and some of the options which can be selected in those situations; we also perceive the rewards and other consequences which resulted from those selections.
  3. Myths justify a culture's activities. Through their authoritativeness and the respected characters within them, myths establish a culture's customs, rituals, religious tenets, laws, social structures, power hierarchies, territorial claims, arts and crafts, holidays and other recurring events, and technical tips for hunting, warfare, and other endeavors.
  4. Myths give meaning to life. We transcend our common life into a world in which deities interact with humans, and we can believe that our daily actions are part of the deities' grand schemes. In our difficulties, the pain is more bearable because we believe that the trials have meaning; we are suffering for a bigger cause rather than being battered randomly. And when we read that a particular deity experienced something which we are now enduring -- perhaps a struggle against "evil forces" -- we can feel that our own struggle might have a similar cosmic or archetypal significance, though on a smaller scale.
  5. Myths explain the unexplainable. They reveal our fate after death, and the reasons for crises or miracles, and other puzzles -- and yet they retain and even encourage an aura of mystery. Myths also satisfy our need to understand the natural world; for example, they might state that a drought is caused by an angry deity. This purpose of mythology was especially important before the advent of modern science, which offered the Big Bang theory to replace creation myths, and it gave us the theory of evolution to supplant myths regarding the genesis of humanity. And yet, science creates its own mythology, even as its occasional secular barrenness threatens to strip us of the healthful awe which other types of mythology engender.
  6. Myths offer role models. In particular, children pattern themselves after heroes; comic books and Saturday-morning cartoons depict many archetypal characters, such as Superman and Wonder Woman. Adults, too, can find role models, in the stories of deities' strength, persistence, and courage. courtesy of http://www.mythsdreamssymbols.com/
So I encourage you over the next few weeks to think about these things and tell your kids some stories so that they have myths to tell to their kids. The longer a myth is told the more that it becomes history and legend.

Part 1 of a three part series part 2
Blessed Be!