Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Circle of Life, Death and Rebirth

As Veritas Wiccans, we are taught to divide out Craft into what we call "The Four Labors." One of those labors is "Observation," meaning the observance of the natural rhythms and cycles of life.

This includes the Sabbats and Esbats of the wheel of the year, but with equal reverence, our own natural rites and passages, which if given ample time and contemplation you will find are a reflection of that seasonal wheel.

As Pagans, we seem to have a positive spin on Death. In my family for example, we have a tradition that embraces such passages.

A few months ago a member of our group was hospitalized for age related illnesses, she was 70. She had been constantly in and out of the hospital ever since. I have performed the Nenia several times, and I will never forget the first time I did it for someone who was still alive and aware of what we were doing. Looking them in the eye changes things.

During one of those hospital visits I preformed our "Wiccan Last Rights" on that very old and dear friend. I was a privilege to honor her request while she was alive and able to receive it. She kept fighting and was with us much longer than anyone had expected. She continued coming to rituals in a wheel chair with oxygen tank in hand. She had that very old school wisdom, humor and a grit we don't see much of anymore.

We called her "Q-tip" because of the ball of stark white hair which crown her head, and "Stinky-Biscuits" because like me, she had one of those names that was very difficult to get people to say correctly, and it was just easier to remember. She would roll her eyes and laugh every time we said it.

My wife is Mexican, strike that, my wife is VERY Mexican, and they have a very unique way of dealing with sensitive things like extreme sickness: they make fun of you. In only a way a Mexican can manage to pull off and make everyone laugh, including the one who's sick.

They would always hit her up, asking for a hit off the oxygen tank "Puff Puff Give." and once during an extended hospital visit they wanted to charge a cell phone, but some piece of critical medical equipment was plugged into the only outlet, and they were like "don't be stingy with plugs" And she loved them for it.

She had the most amazing attitude, during all this, friends and family came from all over to pay a visit. One by one they each became emotional and SHE comforted THEM. I even saw her comfort her Doctor who was grieved by the fact that there was nothing more she could do for her. Q-tip said just keep me comfortable, and keep that drip going. She told my wife "If I die today, it's ok because it was a good day to die."

On March 15th 2010, the oldest living initiated member of our Coven passed on to the Summerlands. She was our Friend, she was our Crone, and even in her last moments she made us proud to have known her. We celebrate her life, her Death and her Rebirth.

On Turns The Wheel...Blessed Be!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Return of The Son

My first marriage lasted about ten years, and the military was the secret to our success, because I was always gone. When I came back from Iraq, I filed for divorce and got custody of our two children.

Later, I moved home to California and remarried to the perfect women, a Witch. Who knew. But my ex wife took the kids and refiled in California courts and there was a year long battle for custody and visitation. In the end we were awarded joint custody, and the kids were to spend a year with each parent, flip flopping back and forth.

But my daughter was old enough to remember what happened and why I divorced her mother in the first place, and refused to to see her at all. My son, loved his mother like every son should and wanted to stay with her.

There has not been a day that goes by that I do not lament his absence and often in the late hours when everyone else is asleep, I sit on his bed and remember him cliff diving at the river, he has always quiet, but so fearless. I try not to let it spill out, and I wait for those Saturday morning breakfast rituals we do together.

I have had so many irons in the fire, but much more that usual lately. Some are not ready to be announced and some are, I'm just not ready to announce them. I had a good idea for a post here, it was going to be about my day lecturing at Fresno State's Religious Anthropology class again this year. It's something that I am quite proud of, not just because its a state university, as it turns out they round up "all sorts" to do this. No, I'm proud because I do a good job, I am proud because when I look at the faces of the people I am speaking to, I get that independent confirmation from them, that they get it.

Perspective is an incredible thing, and it's always changing. A single phone call changed mine, again. After a day of lecturing to four separate classes, I took a detour on my way home to pick up my son, and all of his possessions.

He has come home, to stay.

Somehow none of that other stuff seems as important as it did before.

Thank you Lord & Lady, for the return of the Son.

Blessed Be.