Wildness

May 4, 2019

“The early Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit ‘the wild goose.’ And the reason why is they knew that you cannot tame him.” John Eldredge, author Wild at Heart

Today, the gusty winds in the west of Ireland remind me of what is untamed in me. Having recently completed leading two tours – Ireland and Scotland – I’m now on the third leg of my journey with my husband, Doug. It’s included two days in Dublin and two days in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We are now snuggled into one of my favorite accommodations in the beloved village of Ballyvaughan, County Clare – Oceanville B&B. Check out the views from our room. I’ve soaked in these images and reflections on many occasions, always reminding me of the wildness of place. A rugged wildness I do not experience at home in Oregon, both in my witnessing and acting. What will bring the two together? I turn to Mother Nature.

What I am reminded of today is the natural trinity in The Burren’s landscape. I pause to witness where the sky, meets the water, meets the land. It’s a brilliant and windy sunny day in the rockiest part of Ireland. The expanse of sky reminds me of the guidance from above, Heavenly Father energy. It’s vastness, with blue skies and a smattering of clouds. The earth reminds me of support from below, Earthly Mother energy. Her garments are brilliant greens with startling floral designs. What unites the two? The brilliant azure waters of Galway Bay, playfully igniting a wild goose chase. I wish I had had this memory and vision yesterday while negotiating how to take the train from Belfast, to Dublin, and then onto Galway City where we picked up our rental car. Talk about a wild goose chase!

With tickets in hand, and reserved seats, we successfully took the train from Belfast back to Dublin. Here’s where the goose chase began. Our tickets said 12:45 Connolly, one of several train/bus stations in Dublin. Suddenly, I remembered that we could not travel from Connolly to Galway, so we took a taxi to Heuston Station, our initial starting point a few days earlier. We enjoyed breakfast and some leisure time, when I saw on the posted schedule that the train to Galway was at 1:30pm. Our ticket was for 12:45 at Connolly, so we flagged another taxi and returned to Connolly station, several bags in tow. There we soon learned that the 12:45 ticket was for Luas (Dublin’s light rail) taking us to Heuston for the 1:30pm train to Galway. Are you with me? See why this was a wild goose chase? Since I booked the travel, I took full responsibility for the confusion. But, come on. The tickets, time and stations were confusing.

When I’m in the midst of a wild goose chase, I really strive to stay calm and go with the flow, even looking for the humor in the hunt. But under stress I can get a wee bit cranky, focusing only on what I perceive as wrong. (I was also not feeling well.) When I’m cranky, it becomes easy to complain and blame. When I’m in that dynamic duo of negative thought, I have the power to call upon a third aspect. Call to mind the metaphor I mentioned above. Remembering the trinity of the landscape where I am in this moment. I can look up and complain about the weather, or I can look down and see the uncertainty of the path. But where will that get me? It eventually it got be to the right train at the right time, and all was/is well. Including today’s constant gusty winds having her way with the waters of Galway Bay. The goose has been chased. I wonder what lies ahead with one more week in the wild and untamed west of Ireland?

ANAM CARA TOURS

April 2020

I’m brewing duo tours again for next year. You can travel to either Ireland or Scotland, or both as six people did this year. There’s a discount if you do both tours, or are a returning traveler. Dates and costs will come in June. For now, I’m thinking of Ireland first, early April 2020. For Scotland, in mid-April, I’m specifically looking at a journey to the Outer Hebrides islands of Lewis & Skye, starting an closing in Inverness. That tour may have the exciting opportunity to travel with a very talented and wise young musician, Aaron Alderson. Look him up on Facebook.

Interested, or know someone who might be? Then send me an email to get on the interested list. I do not sell or share that list. It is specifically for my for-profit tour business, Anam Cara Tours LLC. kathleenverigin333@gmail.com

TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC SESSION

We enjoyed a lovely and lively traditional Irish music session Friday night at O’Loclainn’s Irish Whiskey Bar in Ballyvaughan. Entertaining and fun, while Doug sipped a Green Spot whiskey and I a hot toddy for my aching sinuses and throat.

Celtic Commandments

April 18, 2019

Greetings from Edinburgh, Scotland! 

My 15th Ireland tour – Land of Spirits, Saints & Scholars – unfolded beautifully with 14 fabulous travelers and my trusted driver and brother from another mother, Paddy Downes. We visited holy wells for Saints Patrick, Brighid and Columba, with various rituals and sacred sites between. The weather was mostly dry but constantly COLD. Brrrr.  The “knock you over” kind of winds. After 3 days of rest between tours Scotland begins on Friday – Castles, Cathedrals & Clans. All travelers have arrived, safely and on time. YAY!  I intend to continue to post daily updates with photos on Facebook. Remember, if it’s in ye to travel to Celtic lands, zip me an email and get on my interested list. kathleenverigin333@gmail.com You’ll know details before the general public. And, yes, I’m already brewing an Ireland tour for April 2020. Blessings to you!!!

Celtic Commandments

From the Carmina Gadelica, Ancient Celtic oral tradition, Pagan Carmina Gadelica by Mike Nichols

Give thou thine heart to the wild magic,
To the Lord and the Lady of Nature,
Beyond any consideration of this world.
Do not covet large or small,
Do not despise weakling or poor,
Semblance of evil allow not near thee,
Never give nor earn thou shame.
The Ancient Harmonies are given thee,
Understand them early and prove,
Be one with the power of the elements,
Put behind thee dishonour and lies.
Be loyal to the Lord of the Wild Wood,
Be true to the Lady of the Stars,
Be true to thine own self besides,
True to the magic of Nature above all else.
Do not thou curse anyone,
Lest thou threefold cursed shouldst be,
And shouldst thou travel ocean and earth,
Follow the very step of the ancient trackways.

  
A Wee Taste of Scottish Humor

When God had finished creating Scotland, He looked down on it with great satisfaction. Finally he called the Archangel Gabriel to have a look.

“Just see,” said God. “This is the best yet. Splendid mountains, beautiful scenery, brave men, fine women, nice cool weather. And I’ve given them beautiful music and a special drink called whisky. Try some.”

Gabriel took an appreciative sip. “Excellent,” he said. “But haven’t you perhaps been too kind to them? Won’t they be spoiled by all these 
things? Should there not be some drawback?”  

“Just wait till you see the neighbours they’re getting,” said God.

What if…

February 18, 2019

“You see, the what ifs are as boundless as the stars.” 
― Sally Gardner, Maggot Moon

What if you just walked out of your life? Literally, right now, just got up and started walking, with no destination in mind? That’s what’s unfolding in a delightful book I am re-reading: The Elegant Gathering of White Snows by Kris Radish. It’s about a group of women who gather for a weekly book club, which translates into deep sharing and lots of wine. On one particular evening, the women end up in a cuddle puddle on the floor of the kitchen, comforting a distraught sister of the soul.

The woman in despair says, between sniffles, “Sometimes I just want to walk out of my life.” Another woman sighs, “Me, too.” Several “Me, too’s” echo the sentiment. Together they say, “Let’s do it.”

So, this group of eight women, of various ages, body types and lifestyles, start walking. And walking, and walking, and walking. As they walk, they talk, disclosing dark secrets that have, until the walking, been simmering on the back burners of their soul.

Soon their walking is all over the local news. Strangers meet them on the road with cheers of gratitude and delicious food—and wine. Plenty of wine. This brings national attention. Some people offer overnight accommodations, free of charge. The conversations between the walkers deepen. The tears flow yet the smile never leaves a face. Suddenly their walking becomes international news. These eight women inspire women all over the world to do the same. Unhappy with your life? Then just walk out of it.

What a bold endeavor! I’m not sure I would have that level of courage. Yet the story has reminded me of the times when I have walked out of my life. When I answered the voice that said, “What if I stepped away from unhappiness and discontent, knowing that there was something greater Out There for me. And, each time, the outcome was better than I could have expected?”

A college friend said to me, “What if you moved to Portland with me?” I left Iowa in 1975 for greener and wetter pastures in Oregon. I had $300 in my pocket, no apartment, no job, just a desire to be somewhere else where the thermometer read -24. Pieces fell into place very quickly. Sometimes I wonder, what if I had stayed in Iowa?

I left a job in 1993 without a safety net. Single, alone, with a house payment. Yet my psyche and soul could no longer tolerate the destructive environment of that work place.

What if I had stayed with that job?

My husband and I left Portland two years ago for rural living outside McMinnville, Oregon. I remember thinking, how do I make friends at this stage of life? That didn’t take long. And still I wonder, what if I had stayed in Portland?

I can “what if” myself into a corner. What’s relevant to me is to reflect on the bold actions I’ve taken through my life, each time rewarded. To give myself a pat on the back for such boldness. “I did that!” It also occurs to me that every great endeavor in the history of the world started with a What If. 

Today, I ask myself, and you: What has become intolerable in my life? What if I just stay and tolerated? Or, what if I made a bold change? Is there something calling to me that needs to move to the front burner? What if listened to the What If voice? Took a leap of faith? Trusted my intuition?

As expected, each walking woman in the book has some level of introspection and revelation. Some joyfully return to husbands. Some don’t. Some quit jobs to pursue a new career. Some awaken to stirrings they didn’t know they had, but now had to be pursued. One particular story is about a woman following the walkers on the news. Unbeknownst to them, she too walks out of her life in pursuit of a sunset that has called to her for 70 years. I can visualize her tears and her smile.

No more “what ifs.” The time is now, and we are the ones.

Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=youtube%2C+these+boots#id=25&vid=b5bab7061340cfb3b037c0e4a4c19ba4&action=view

Doorways

February 3, 2019

“If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door.” Anonymous

Have you ever tried and tried and tried to do something, be a part of something, to align with something, only to have the door slammed in our face, over and over and over again? As quoted above, “If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door.” I thought I was long past that in my life, until some uncomfortable experiences this past year and one even this past week. The stories are irrelevant. My reaction to it is relevant as a reminder that not all doorways are meant for me. Walking away is sometimes the best option. Here’s a time when I did just that.

Years ago, I was invited to serve on an advisory board for a group of ministers serving large congregations. Their goal was to take their spiritual teachings out into the greater world. The first meeting was held at a fancy retreat center perched high in the hills above Malibu, California. My assigned roommate was the minister of a small church, similar to the community where I was serving as staff minister. We caught ourselves giggling like school children, wondering why we were there.

Right from the “get go” I felt invisible. Yes, the high-powered ministers were all nice and cordial, but I didn’t feel like I connected, like I belonged there. I kept asking myself why. Low self-esteem? Because I’m from hippy dippy Oregon and not sassy flashy California? It was mind boggling, and yet I hung in there, wanting to grasp what was unfolding before my literal and spiritual eyes.

I muddled my way through the first retreat, coming home confused and befuddled. A friend advised me that it was low self-esteem making me invisible in the eyes of what I called “high-powered ministers.” She encouraged me to look in the mirror and get that I too was a high-powered minister. I tried, but couldn’t quite get there. But that wasn’t going to stop me. This open door was too enticing to ignore.

Given that this was an incredible opportunity to serve and connect, a way for me to become more visible in the global arena of ministry, I decided to return to the next year’s retreat. The same woman was my roommate. We enjoyed a dinner out upon arrival, each wondering why we were on the advisory board, and why I personally felt so invisible.

The next morning, after prayer and positive self-talk, my roommate and I walked into the conference room with dignity and grace. Ministers were hugging and laughing, filling the air with enthusiasm and joy. It felt good. Soon a minister from Southern California—looking very surfer dude like—started walking towards me. We made eye contact and both smiled at each other as a way of recognition. As I extended my hand to him, he walked right by me and hugged another minister standing right behind me. He didn’t even see me. I was flabbergasted, even more so when similar patterns emerged throughout the day. I was totally invisible, even after gearing up my energy body. By now this was amusing, as I knew something deeper was going on.

It wasn’t until the closing circle that day that I finally got the message. I saw this door and was beckoned in, but I never really entered. My participation was half-hearted, for a reason. This organization was not my Tribe. I do not resonate with their desire to take their agreed upon teachings out into the world. In my thinking, the world has enough religions. No one was wrong or bad. It just wasn’t my tribe. It was time to stop knocking on a door that was not mine.

What happened next? I don’t know. Either they stopped meeting or they decided to leave me off the invitation list. I am grateful for the two advisory retreats I attended, and even more grateful to the many doorways since that have revealed my true Tribes.

Knock, knock
Who’s there?
Iva.
Iva who?
I’ve a sore hand from knocking!

Friendship

January 19, 2019

“When your spiritual study is sincere, the breaking-up of your material world—the desertion of friends, students, or family, a change in health or other outer activity—often ushers in the spiritual transition, or rebirth. This is the attainment of that which you have sought.”  – Joel Goldsmith, The Infinite Way

One of the assignments I was first given in ministry school, way back in 1993, was to make a list of the most important current friendships in my life. This did not include family members or partners. Then I was told to put the list away, and notice how those relationships may change over the next three years.  And change they did!  I was shocked the first time I returned to the list, just one year later.

One friend had moved to the East Coast, seemingly out of the blue. I greatly missed our spontaneous coffee dates and long conversations.  Another friend suddenly divorced and relocated two states away. I didn’t see the split coming, nor did I see her moving away. Like with the East Coast friend, our day-to-day interactions quickly faded.

I remember pulling away from a friend who had become toxic for me. Her negativity was predictable and a real downer. Not just with me, but with others when I invited her to gatherings in my home. These were spiritual gatherings! I heard from a mutual friend that she was very hurt by my withdrawal. I chose to do nothing, and just let it be. 

Then there was the woman I considered a sister of the soul. She dumped me as a friend because I was enthralled by my new boyfriend and his young children. “Kathleen, I never thought you would be the type to use me as a friend until you got a boyfriend.”  Ouch!  I didn’t even go through that in junior high but I sure remember the curse of it. What she didn’t recognize was that, in addition to school three nights a week involving a one-hour drive each way, I was working four days a week at a publishing company 20 miles away. During that time, I was building a relationship that would lead to marriage and step-parenting. Something in my life had to take the hit, and, sadly, it was her.

Did I lose friends that year because of my spiritual studies? Did I think I was too good for them, which is what the toxic lady accused me of? Or had these friendships just taken their course and needed to fade away?

Two years later, in preparation for ministry licensing, I was again told to revisit the list. I was surprised this time because of the healing that had occurred with some of the friends who had been filed under “former.” Facebook re-connected me with my friend who moved to the East Coast and the divorced friend that moved two states away. She’s remarried and happily so. The woman I labeled as toxic was moving away and wanted to have lunch. I was able to less clumsily speak my truth. We wished each other well. I became friends again with the woman who said I used her until I got a boyfriend. A few years later, she dumped me again. This time saying my request to not receive her right- wing rants post 9/11 was selfish. “If we can’t talk about everything, then I can’t be free to talk with you about anything,” said she. The bye bye was for good.

I share this memory inspired by Mark Dodich’s astrology forecast for this upcoming Full Moon & Lunar Eclipse. (see below) I share it too because of the Joel Goldsmith quote. (see above) I now know that when my spiritual studies are sincere—because I will be a forever student—some of my safety nets will fall away. Might be friends, might be heath, or might be financial security. That is as it should be. The blessing from this curse is that my friendships today are deeper and richer, with both parties more authentic.

Words

January 4, 2019

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot “one of the twentieth century’s major poets”

Do you ever get tired of your own story? The voice in the head that weaves a tale when trying to explain something unexplainable? A feeble attempt at making sense of the senseless? Proof that I’m righteous in my indignation? Always blaming someone or something else rather than taking responsibility for my reactions? And the more I tell it, the realer it gets? Affirming that I am indeed a victim and there’s no way out? These are conversations I’ve had in my head after nearly two years of health issues.

With the turning of the calendar from 2018 to 2019, I found that I had grown weary of explaining when and how my back pain started. “With the election,” was my common reply, to friends, family and a myriad of doctors and other health professionals. And I meant it. But in truth the election of November 2016 did nothing to me. I’m the one who chose to wallow in my sorrow and fear, for two whole years. “Enough,” I heard a voice in my head say right before New Year’s. Create a new story. One that is generative, supportive and, dare I say, fun! It all starts with a word. What word will guide me throughout 2019, making sure I stay on course and don’t slip back into stink’ thinkin’?

Nearly 20 years ago I had lunch with a friend who is a writer. She shared with me that every January she chooses a Word of Intention to guide her through the next year. I loved the idea and started doing this myself in 2001, sharing with friends, at churches, with social clubs, and with my mentoring clients. Take a gander at my list:

2001 Aliveness
2002 Visibility
2003 Allowing
2004 Co-arising
2005 Liberation
2006 Vision
2007 Presence
2008 Trust
2009 Connection
2010 Focus
2011 Grace
2012 Confidence
2013 Action
2014 Courage
2015 Audacious
2016 Believe
2017 Discernment
2018 Diligence

I use my Word of Intention every day in prayer. Regardless of your spiritual/religious beliefs, the Word means nothing unless you incorporate it into your day. Every day!!! Here’s my prayer that I say aloud each morning.

Heavenly Father, Earthly Mother, Beloved I Am.
I am alive. I am awake. I am the holy.
I am the Diligence of the Living Christ in me.

There are juicy stories that go with each of my Words of Intention. I selected Diligence for this past year to help me complete a variety of on-going projects. I’m not sure what my word for 2019 will be, but I’m pretty sure it will be more uplifting. A word that will come to mind when I find myself spinning another tale about how who or what has let me down, disappointed me, hurt me, made my back hurt, yadda yadda yadda.

What will your Word of Intention be for 2019?

How can you incorporate it into your daily spiritual practice?

Consider a year from now when you look back and say, “WOW, that word really guided me!”

Aliveness

December 6, 2018

“The amazing feeling of being alive beautifully conquers the fear of death” ― Munia Khan

“Do you want to live?” was the first question I asked my friend Walt. It was 20 years ago that he came to me for spiritual guidance when he was on the transplant list. His health had been rapidly declining, and a new liver is what would save him, medically speaking. We both knew that a spiritual conversation needed to happen first. What that conversation was, neither of us had a clue. As an anam cara, a soul friend, I was prepared to listen deeply, and mirror back to him what I perceived as the greater truth.

After a centering prayer, we both opened our eyes and just stared at one another. Neither of us knew how to begin. After a period of silence, I heard myself ask, “Do you want to live?” Walt’s candid reply, “I don’t know.” Thus began a profound dialogue that would last for several months, and even years. A man of faith and compassion, Walt felt uncomfortable knowing that his chance of survival rested on the fate of another. Someone would have to die in order for Walt to live. Was he worthy of this?

During one particular session, I offered a meditation to help Walt connect with the present moment. After several minutes, Walt interrupted with a provocative question, “What does it mean to be present?”

I realized that I often used words like “in the present moment,” or “let us all be present.” What did I mean by that? So began a lesson for both of us.

To be present, to me, means to have awareness of all that is around and within. If someone took a photograph of this very moment, what would it show? As I write this, I am aware of the waning daylight. I see that the walls of my office are green. I notice that my hands are cold, and that my neck is warm. Artificial light makes the room bright on this dark December day. I sit up straighter, I smile. I am fully present.

What percentage of you is present in this moment?

When I am not present, which is a challenge all humans face, I am disconnected from myself, from others, and from life itself. How could Walt know what he really wanted if he was cursing the past (because of liver failure) or projecting out into the future (when am I going to die)? We can easily get paralyzed between past and future. What lies between is the present moment, a notion saints and sages have preached since the beginning of time: Be Here Now!

For months Walt and I would meet and explore his inner thoughts and feelings about the nature of life and death, and the many moments in between. I marveled at his stories of experiencing exquisite present moments, most often in nature. He discovered that trees are alive, squirrels are lively, and the laughter this brings him makes him feel totally alive.

Walt’s health continued a rocky path, as he held his breath in anticipation of receiving a new liver. When a year passed, and another, we both marveled that a donor liver had not presented itself, nor had his health declined in a life-threatening way. He was holding steady. Surprisingly, a third year passed. Walt had a few more health complications that called for surgery and hospital stays. Through it all, he remained present and engaged, embracing his aliveness.

At one point, ten years later, Walt was then too healthy to be on the transplant list. He cherished his aliveness for ten more years. His doctors were stunned, noting how many close calls he had. Walt and I knew the best medicine of all—being true to one’s self by claiming our aliveness. He stepped into the river of his life. He embraced living in the soul. He gave thanks for being alive.

I last saw Walt on November 8th to go over his wishes for an eventual celebration of life ceremony. Last weekend, on December 2nd, early in the morning, Walt finally made his transition. Because I was away over the weekend, the day before his partner held the phone up to Walt’s ear so I could say farewell. I’m told it was a peaceful passing, yet when I heard the news I burst into tears. Even through my tears, I chuckled, because, with Walt as my guide on the other side of the veils, I felt very alive in that moment. Thank you, Walt, for showing me what life is really about. Being alive and knowing it. Every day. With every thought and every breath, as best we can.
RIP my anam cara.

Take a moment and treat yourself to this viral video of a Baby’s Reaction to seeing holiday lights. Now that’s being present!!!!
https://www.romper.com/p/this-viral-video-of-a-babys-reaction-to-seeing-holiday-lights-will-even-warm-a-grinchs-heart-3902780

Foreign Nationals

October 24, 2018

“When people rely on surface appearances and false racial stereotypes,
rather than in-depth knowledge of others at the level of the heart,
mind and spirit, their ability to assess and understand people
accurately is compromised.” – Rev. James A. Forbes (retired pastor)

 

If I remember correctly, it was around 2006 when Ireland saw the arrival of 150,000 Polish immigrants. Known as “foreign nationals,” they were welcomed by some and not by others.

A Dublin taxi driver complained to me that crazy foreign nationals were now driving taxis. They not only got lost and created traffic hazards, they took the jobs from hard working Irish men. A tour bus driver told me that soon there would be foreign nationals serving as tour guides. “Imagine,” he said, “taking your groups around Ireland with a Pakistani driver.” A friend who works in the tourist industry complained that foreign nationals were taking hotel jobs away from hard working Irish nationals.

During that window of time, when the Irish economy was thriving, I had only pleasant taxi drivers and wonderful Irish bus drivers. But I did notice a difference at the various hotels. Most obvious was a language barrier. For example, I wanted to ship a box of gifts home to Oregon so I didn’t have to lug them around. I inquired at the front desk of my Dublin hotel. After several minutes of research, a very polite Polish man told me that the nearest UPS store was in a suburb of Dublin, perhaps a 20-minute taxi drive away. I stepped outside feeling frustrated because this didn’t seem right to me. Suddenly, around the corner came my bus driver. “Hey. There’s a UPS store just around the corner. Shall I carry your box for you?” Yep, the language barrier would have cost me dearly, both in time and money. But there’s another foreign national story that haunts me to this day.

My group of 22 women was staying at a lovely country hotel in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin. Every hotel worker I met that year was from Poland. As a tour group, we were required to dine together, alone in a banquet room taking up several tables. There appeared to be only one waiter for us. A young man, tall and thin, likely Polish, tried to describe the dinner menu. I could see some of my travelers getting a little antsy. The beverage and bread course took several minutes to arrive, with a variety of mix-ups. Now more women in my group were getting annoyed. In whispered voices I heard things like:

“He can’t speak English. Why is he here?”
“This is bad business-. They should hire someone who knows what he’s doing.”
“Maybe they should stick with hiring Irish people, or at least people who speak English.”

I understood the annoyances, yet something didn’t sit well with me. Were we reducing a live human being to an ethnic stereotype? I found myself sitting quietly and just observing our waiter and my travelers. Although I knew our diners weren’t happy with the dining experience, I told them I would speak with the manager, and, they should still leave a tip. “Remember, we are guests in this country.”

When everyone had departed, I stayed around in hopes of speaking with the young man. He emerged from the kitchen, looking very sad and despondent. I apologized to him for my group’s impatience. He replied with a weak smile and shrug of his shoulders. After a long pause, I very gently asked, “Are you okay?”

Suddenly his head dropped as his shoulders drooped. I could barely make out his reply. “I got word this morning that my father in Poland died and I cannot go home to be with my family.” We both stood there in silence. All I could do was be his witness.

I see you.
I hear you.
I believe you.

Isn’t that what we all want? To be seen, heard and believed? Whether we are U.S. born, Irish born or a foreign national from wherever? I think about appearances with the immigration stresses in our country. Someone can appear one way—as a clumsy waiter—but underneath the appearance can be something vastly different—a real live human being with a broken heart. I think too about the millions of Celtic immigrants to the U.S., including my Connolly ancestors from Ireland and McKern ancestors from Scotland. Unless we are Native American, we are a nation of immigrants. As my grandfather-in-law, of German heritage, said on his death bed, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Have a listen to one of my favorite Irish ballads. Imagine what immigrant songs are in the hearts of those currently trying to come peacefully to the U.S.

Immigrant‘s Song Daniel O’Donnell – Cutting the Corn in Creeslough (County Donegal)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZyy8a65d0s

Are you a witch?

October 8, 2018

 

“When change cometh, she will bring peace at her back. She will not bend to your will; you must bend to hers.” ― Adriana Mather, How to Hang a Witch

 

There’s a rumor in my neighborhood that I’m a witch. At first, I laughed. And then, for a few days, I got scared and paranoid. I wanted to hide. I wanted to move away. I wanted to feel safe in unsafe times. For many of us, these are unsafe times. Yet hiding and moving won’t solve anything nor will it protect me. I wonder, is this how our burned-at-the-stake ancestors felt? That their very lives were on the line simply because they were spiritual women living outside the box of Christianity?

Women who never married nor entered the convent?
Women who walked outside at night without an escort?
Women who gathered under the full moon to share and commune?
Women who could take away the pain of childbirth?
Women who were midwives to the newly living and recently departed?
Women who had cats or warts on their noses?
Women who were just being women living under the pressure of patriarchy?

A dozen years ago, in late October, a group of friends and I put together a ritual theatre performance titled “They Called Them Witches.” The intention was to help heal the witches’ holocaust. All involved, mostly women and a few men, were dramatically changed by the experience, as was the audience. The research was stunning and sobering. So many were put to death for ignorant reasons. The creative pieces expressing the angst of real witch hunts inspired us to carry on our vision of a world that is safe for all women, including those who identify as witches. Wise women who know, embrace and express both the Light and the Dark, free of labels and senseless accusations. Are we currently in danger of another witches’ holocaust?

According to the dictionary a holocaust is, “… a great or complete  devastation or  destruction, especially by fire.”

Use of the word in reference to innocent women being burned at the stake–or drowned or tortured–in no way diminishes what we know as The Holocaust in Nazi Germany. Yet it applies to the Burning Times. How did this all come about? According to one source, “Historians believe the accused witches were victims of mob mentality, mass hysteria and scapegoating.” I add – women who were/are victims of idle gossip and speculation.

I propose that we are again living in a Burning Time—of distrust, paranoia and judgment. Does anyone really feel safe anymore? Safe to be who you are, at home and in public. To state our opinions, whether reflecting the Left or the Right, or the Light or the Dark. To have governance over our bodies. To have a say if we want to be touched or not. To have equal pay for equal work in a safe workplace. To live without fear of condemnation for just being a woman. Ultimately, to live without fear that someone could take your life because they think you are something they don’t understand.

From the King James Bible, Exodus 22:18: “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”

Check out these alternate versions:

Do not allow a Sorceress to live.
Death is the punishment for witchcraft.
Put to death any woman who practices magic.
Never let a witch live.
A witch thou dost not keep alive.

Can you see why I actually felt fear when I heard two separate comments referring to me as a witch? I’m glad to say that the fear has passed. If we are living in another time of burning, then let’s burn away ignorance, distrust and separation. Let’s burn away accusations, judgments and persecution. Stop the gossip and idle conversation that diminishes rather than uplifts our spirits. Instead, let’s burn with excitement over our personal freedom and the future of our beloved United States of America. We the People. All people. Even witches. Let it be so.

For the record. I have been asked over the years if I am a witch. This is my reply. “No, I’m not a witch. But I’m also not Lutheran, but sometimes I do Lutheran things.”

 

 

Stay tuned for news of a Witchy Flash Mob coming to a corner near you!!! For inspiration, check out this video that makes the rounds every October. Doesn’t it make you want to dress up and dance?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjUV-byB8ls
Wolfshäger Hexenbrut Walpurgis Wolfshagen im Harz