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Halloween Humor

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Halloween promotes unfair portrayal of witches

Everybody’s familiar with the image of the cackling, snaggle-toothed hag on her broomstick. Most of us recognize, The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, The nasty old woman with the candy cottage in Hansel and Gretel. But not many know where the stereotype came from.

In medieval Europe, the old-nature religions were practised before and then alongside Christianity. There were Druids, Norse Odinists and the witches who were the healers, priestesses and wise elders in many country villages. When the Inquisition was launched, all these groups came under attack, and in order to feed the frenzy, the inquisitors pictured the witches as evil, ugly devil-worshippers. It was propaganda in a religious hate war.

Over a period of five centuries, several hundred thousand — possibly millions — of women, children and men were accused of witchcraft and killed. many were not witches, but elderly eccentrics or wealthy or attractive people with jealous neighbours. The real witches went underground and practised their religion in secret. The witch stereotype was false centuries ago, and it is false now. This hateful image connects women, old age, and power with ugliness and evil. It is a disservice to elderly women everywhere, especially strong, old women. And it is a slander on a living religion called Wicca or Witchcraft.

Wicca exists today. It is a benevolent nature religion which teaches respect for the Earth and worships the Creator as both feminine and masculine. (Goddess and God). We celebrate the turning of the seasons, and full moons. We hold healing circles for friends and also send healing out to our ailing Earth. It has nothing to do with satanism, warts or hexes. I know, because I am a Wiccan priestess — a real Witch, not the fairy-tale stereotype.

As such, October 31st is a special day in my religion because it is the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. We call it Samhain (Sam ain, rhymes with rain). People may not know or remember that the word Halloween is short for Hallowed Evening, also referred to as All Hallows Eve. Hallowed means sacred. It is a time when we remember and honour our ancestors and friends who have gone on before us (“Passed Over”, “Passed On”).

While others are out trick-or-treating, we will be conducting a sacred ritual, one not so different from Christian ritual. We use candles, incense, and sometimes music. And we have cakes and ale (or donuts and apple juice, cookies and milk, etc.) to honour the Lord and Lady. As Halloween approaches, it saddens me to see the ugly images in store windows and advertising as part of the Halloween “fun.” I certainly don’t have any problem with the truly fun aspect of Halloween, such as trick or treating, or bobbing for apples. My niece and I go out trick-or-treating in the early evening before the adults get together for ritual.

However, putting down any group of people — whether blacks, Jews, Muslims, old women, Pagan, Wiccans, or anyone else — is a poor way to celebrate a holiday. So here’s a request from a neighbour. Decorate your house or store with goblins and spooks if you like — they’re not real. And black cats and pumpkins — they won’t care. But skip the ugly “witch” pictures — I’m real, and I do care.

Blessed be.

New Years Superstitions

2014 is almost here!

Make some noise, enjoy a feast, talk to an old acquaintance! Join in the fun and celebrations!

At this time of year, superstitions abound:

  • Kissing at midnight:   We kiss at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at the stroke of twelve would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.
  • Letting the Old Year Out:   At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. He must leave before the New Year can come in, says popular wisdom, so doors are flung open to assist him in finding his way out.
  • Loud Noise:   Make as much noise as possible at midnight. You’re not just celebrating; you’re scaring away evil spirits, so do a darned good job of it! According to widespread superstition, evil spirits and the Devil himself hate loud noise. We celebrate by making as much of a din as possible not just as an expression of joy at having a new year at our disposal, but also to make sure Old Scratch and his minions don’t stick around. (Church bells are rung on a couple’s wedding day for the same reason.)
  • Stocking Up:   The new year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year. Larders must be topped up and plenty of money must be placed in every wallet in the home to guarantee prosperity.
  • Paying Off Bills:   The new year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to January 1st. Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives.
  • Money:   Do not pay back loans or lend money or other precious items on New Year’s Day. To do so is to guarantee you’ll be paying out all year
  • Nothing Goes Out:   Nothing — absolutely nothing, not even garbage — is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you’ve presents to deliver on New Year’s Day, leave them in the car overnight. Don’t so much as shake out a rug or take the empties to the recycle bin. (Exception to the rule: Some people soften this rule by saying it’s okay to remove things from the home on New Year’s Day provided something else has been brought in first. This is similar to the caution regarding first footers; the year must begin with something’s being added to the home before anything subtracts from it.) One who lives alone might place a lucky item or two in a basket that has a string tied to it, then set the basket just outside the front door before midnight. After midnight, the lone celebrant hauls in his catch, being careful to bring the item across the door jamb by pulling the string rather than by reaching out to retrieve it and thus breaking the plane of the threshold.
  • First Footing:   The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you’re about to have.

There are even superstitions about who the “First Footer” should be:

  1. Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt.
  2. Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household. Aim a gun at them if you have to, but don’t let them near your door before a man crosses the threshold.
  3. The first footer (sometimes called the “Lucky Bird”) should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the householders.
  4. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered.
  5. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out. First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle.

Trickery was even employed to meet these “rules”. 

“Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the party goers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.”

Other superstitions attaching to the beginning of the new year are:

  • Food:   A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will attract both general good luck and financial good fortune in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.Other “lucky” foods are lentil soup (because lentils supposedly look like coins), pork (because poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands still, but a pig roots forward, ergo those who dine upon pork will be moving forward in the new year), and sauerkraut (probably because it goes so well with pork).Another oft-repeated belief holds that one must not eat chicken or turkey on the first day of the year lest, like the birds in question, diners fate themselves to scratch in the dirt all year for their dinner (that is, bring poverty upon themselves).
  • Work:   Make sure to do — and be successful at — something related to your work on the first day of the year, even if you don’t go near your place of employment that day. Limit your activity to a token amount, though, because to engage in a serious work project on that day is very unlucky.
  • Laundry: Do not do the laundry on New Year’s Day, lest a member of the family be ‘washed away’ (die) in the upcoming months. The more cautious eschew even washing dishes.
  • New Clothes:   Wear something new on January 1 to increase the likelihood of your receiving more new garments during the year to follow.
  • Breakage:   Avoid breaking things on that first day lest wreckage be part of your year. Also, avoid crying on the first day of the year lest that activity set the tone for the next twelve months.
  • The Weather:   Examine the weather in the early hours of New Year’s Day. If the wind blows from the south, there will be fine weather and prosperous times in the year ahead. If it comes from the north, it will be a year of bad weather. The wind blowing from the east brings famine and calamities. Strangest of all, if the wind blows from the west, the year will witness plentiful supplies of milk and fish but will also see the death of a very important person. If there’s no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year may be expected by all.
  • Born on January 1:   Babies born on this day will always have luck on their side

So with all the superstitions surrounding New Years Day, why risk the unknown?

Special New Year Reading-Only a few available per year

Yule Countdown

OK, you’ve got 24 days (approximately 576 hours) before the big day and there’s so much to get done! But don’t panic. Take a deep breath and read our Yule countdown calendar to help plan and prepare for the hectic weeks ahead.

December 1
You don’t want any anxiety-producing last-minute surprises. Book your babysitter now for the days and weeks ahead.

December 2
Take a stab at tackling your shopping list today. But stay healthy and hydrated while you’re at it. Stash a healthy snack and a small bottle of water in your purse before you leave.

December 3
Clean out the fridge and freezer to make room for holiday treats. Throw out anything that looks like it might have potentially harmful bacteria.

December 4
Get up early because today’s the day to put up your Yule lights. It’s guaranteed to give you a bit of a workout and get you into the spirit of the season.

December 5
Enroll in a first aid or CPR course. Or at least download the tip sheets from the St. John Ambulance Canada website . They will give you invaluable information on being prepared for any emergency that could arise this season.

December 6
Reduce your stress levels by getting more holiday shopping done today.

December 7
This is a good day to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors (and smoke alarms). You’ll also want to make sure the devices are in good working order before you turn on the furnace or use the fireplace.

December 8
Winterize your car today. Get an oil change, tire rotation and have snow tires put on if you use them. Also, make sure you have blankets and a flashlight.

December 9
Bring some Yule cookies and mulled wine to an elderly neighbour.

December 10
Get up early today and take the family to get the Yule tree. But make sure to place it as far away as possible from heaters, stoves, fireplaces and other fire hazards.

December 11
Take a spiritual moment for yourself, whether that means a walk in the woods, a meditation, or whatever feels right for you.

December 12
Get ahead of the game. Make some Yule dishes this evening to freeze in advance of the big day. For example, try Shortbread Stars.

December 13
Get out the Scrabble board or another favourite game this evening. You may not get another chance for quality family time with party obligations and visitors popping by over the next few weeks.

December 14
Your feet are feeling the effects of marathon shopping trips and standing-room-only cocktail parties. Soak your tired tootsies in a footbath and pamper them with peppermint foot cream.

December 15
Get a head start on the upcoming family dinner by polishing the silver. Use a homemade paste of baking soda and water. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth to leave your heirlooms gleaming and ready to impress the in-laws.

December 16
Turn off the TV early tonight and get a good night’s sleep.

December 17
Pick up a red, white or pink poinsettia today to brighten your home.

December 18
Put on some rockin’ holiday tunes and dance away those shortbread cookies with your kids.

December 19
Have your brood make personalized place mats for the extended family to use at the big meal.

December 20
Decorate a gingerbread house with your kids.

December 21
Take your honey for a drive around the neighborhood tonight to see the fabulous spirit-lifting Holiday lights.

December 22
Inject a little magic (not to mention some fresh air) into your schedule with a sleigh ride for the family.

December 23
Treat your brood by going skating or tobogganing. You may just have the entire rink or hill to yourselves today.

December 24
Squeeze in one last visit to the gym before the big day. (Bear in mind, though, that it might close early today.)

Let Us All Light A Candle

I wont go into full detail here buy on October 3rd, 2002 Gwen Araujo (February 24, 1985 – October 3, 2002), was beaten, strangled and eventually buried in a shallow grave because she was a pre-operative trans woman. She was killed by four men, who beat and strangled her after discovering she was transsexual. Two of the defendants were convicted of second-degree murder, but not convicted on the requested hate crime enhancements. The other two defendants pleaded guilty or no contest to voluntary manslaughter. In at least one of the trials, a trans panic defense–an extension of the gay panic defense–was employed.

So let us all light a candle on October 3rd for this young woman (and yes she was a woman!).

Gwen Araujo

Full Details Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Gwen_Araujo

Happy Easter

Or is it Happy Ishtar?

Yes, it’s true Christians have celebrated Easter Sunday for centuries, as the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the true roots of Easter holiday traditions and activities can be traced back to pagan celebrations. Did you know, the word Easter appears only once in the Bible, and even then it is actually a mistranslation of the Greek word for Passover, the festival that Jesus would have celebrated (as a Hebrew).

That’s why strict Puritans in the past would have nothing to do with Easter, seen as merely a Pagan invention and therefore not a true religeous holiday.

So if Easter isn’t related to Jnesus, where does the word Easter Come from?
There are several theories, but most experts agree that the name Easter comes from Eostre which in turn is a corruption of Astarte, the mother goddess of the ancient Assyrians, also known as Ishtar. Eostre/Ishtar was the goddess of rebirth, and in early times the feast of Eostre/Ishtar took place around the time of the spring equinox, celebrated earth’s resurrection and rebirth.

So how did Christians get involved?
During the 2nd century, early Christians attempting to convert pagan worshippers called their Christian celebration “Ostara” which later became “Easter.”

What about the resurrection of Christ?
Here too, Christians made the decision to incorporate ancient pagan practices into their religion. The general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth, overcoming the powers of darkness, appears in many myths throughout the ancient world.

There were also plenty of stories of amazing resurrections from the dead. In fact, according to myth, the goddess Ishtar herself was hung naked on a stake, and later resurrected and ascended from the underworld.

Celebrating The Spring Equinox
But for millennia before the Christian religion imposed its beliefs, people were celebrating the spring equinox, possibly the oldest holiday in human culture. For a world tied to the rhythms of nature, the end of winter -a dead, dark season and the beginning of spring, with the rebirth of life- must have been a truly joyful time.

Interestingly, early Christians recognized this and used the spring equinox to determine the Easter date. In 325, the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would be the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox. (Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on a different date.)

Easter symbols and their meanings and origins
Bunny = fertility
Also the symbol of Ishtar. According to ancient myth, she owned a magic hare that hibernated all winter underground and bounded to life every spring, giving out presents to good children.

Egg = fertility
The egg has represented fertility and restoration for a long time, probably long before our ancestors had any knowledge of sperm and ova. Eggs are perfect symbols of the regeneration that comes with spring.

Cross = phalus
This symbol is so ancient scolars aren’t quite sure when its use began.

Baskets = female fertility
The fertile earth grows the reeds, the reeds are woven into baskets, which then hold eggs. Simply put, Mother earth, womb like basket that holds eggs.

Reserection (rising again) = …Um, I let you draw your own conclutions on that one.

Hot cross- In the Old Testament we see the Israelites baking sweet buns for an idol, and religious leaders trying to put a stop to it. The early church clergy also tried to put a stop to sacred cakes being baked at Easter. In the end, in the face of defiant cake-baking pagan women, they gave up and blessed the cake instead.

So there you have it Easter’s true meaning. So Happy Ishtar!

Pagan Humor LXXIX

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2013 Walk To Fight Arthritis


Sponsor me and help 4.6 million Canadians!

On Sunday, June 9, I am participating in The Arthritis Society Walk to Fight Arthritis, presented by the makers of TYLENOL®. I am walking and raising funds to support 4.6 million Canadians who live with the pain and disability caused by arthritis.

Since it was founded in 1948, The Arthritis Society has contributed $175 million to arthritis research and has supported millions of people living with the disease. Funds raised from events like the Walk to Fight Arthritis allow The Arthritis Society to continue the important work that they do. Every day they strive to improve the treatment and management of arthritis pain and, ultimately, to find a cure for the disease.

Please consider sponsoring me and supporting this important cause.

Secure online donations can be made with your credit card and an electronic tax receipt will be sent to you by email. Just click on the link below and it will take you to my personal fundraising page where you can sponsor me.

Thank you for your support!

Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support The Arthritis Society
******************************************************************************

Moygo Qu

Valentine’s Day

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Yule Countdown

OK, you’ve got 24 days (approximately 576 hours) before the big day and there’s so much to get done! But don’t panic. Take a deep breath and read our Yule countdown calendar to help plan and prepare for the hectic weeks ahead.

December 1
You don’t want any anxiety-producing last-minute surprises. Book your babysitter now for the days and weeks ahead.

December 2
Take a stab at tackling your shopping list today. But stay healthy and hydrated while you’re at it. Stash a healthy snack and a small bottle of water in your purse before you leave.

December 3
Clean out the fridge and freezer to make room for holiday treats. Throw out anything that looks like it might have potentially harmful bacteria.

December 4
Get up early because today’s the day to put up your Yule lights. It’s guaranteed to give you a bit of a workout and get you into the spirit of the season.

December 5
Enroll in a first aid or CPR course. Or at least download the tip sheets from the St. John Ambulance Canada website . They will give you invaluable information on being prepared for any emergency that could arise this season.

December 6
Reduce your stress levels by getting more holiday shopping done today.

December 7
This is a good day to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors (and smoke alarms). You’ll also want to make sure the devices are in good working order before you turn on the furnace or use the fireplace.

December 8
Winterize your car today. Get an oil change, tire rotation and have snow tires put on if you use them. Also, make sure you have blankets and a flashlight.

December 9
Bring some Yule cookies and mulled wine to an elderly neighbour.

December 10
Get up early today and take the family to get the Yule tree. But make sure to place it as far away as possible from heaters, stoves, fireplaces and other fire hazards.

December 11
Take a spiritual moment for yourself, whether that means a walk in the woods, a meditation, or whatever feels right for you.

December 12
Get ahead of the game. Make some Yule dishes this evening to freeze in advance of the big day. For example, try Shortbread Stars.

December 13
Get out the Scrabble board or another favourite game this evening. You may not get another chance for quality family time with party obligations and visitors popping by over the next few weeks.

December 14
Your feet are feeling the effects of marathon shopping trips and standing-room-only cocktail parties. Soak your tired tootsies in a footbath and pamper them with peppermint foot cream.

December 15
Get a head start on the upcoming family dinner by polishing the silver. Use a homemade paste of baking soda and water. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth to leave your heirlooms gleaming and ready to impress the in-laws.

December 16
Turn off the TV early tonight and get a good night’s sleep.

December 17
Pick up a red, white or pink poinsettia today to brighten your home.

December 18
Put on some rockin’ holiday tunes and dance away those shortbread cookies with your kids.

December 19
Have your brood make personalized place mats for the extended family to use at the big meal.

December 20
Decorate a gingerbread house with your kids.

December 21
Take your honey for a drive around the neighborhood tonight to see the fabulous spirit-lifting Holiday lights.

December 22
Inject a little magic (not to mention some fresh air) into your schedule with a sleigh ride for the family.

December 23
Treat your brood by going skating or tobogganing. You may just have the entire rink or hill to yourselves today.

December 24
Squeeze in one last visit to the gym before the big day. (Bear in mind, though, that it might close early today.)

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