Thursday, December 6, 2012

"I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'"

This year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner at my house.  Using a Kitchen that I did not design, buy or know.  It was my mother-in-laws kitchen.  Well loved by her and well used by her; but for me it was awkward, cramped, and finally I adjusted. 

This year has been a tough one.  My husband lost his mother, me my mother in law, all of our children a grandmother and that loss has been felt.  To make matters weirder we moved in her home which we inherited and we live here.  Yep, everytime Brian's children come to visit us they have to walk into this home where their grandmother just lived and now doesn't anymore. I find myself worried about how that makes them feel.  Does it even ever cross their mind?  When they look around the room does their inside voice say in their head to them "Here is where my grandmother put her Christmas tree, etc...and now I will never see it again."  I wish I could balm their pain, and ease their loss but instead I invited them over for Thanksgiving dinner.  Which is the way we Southern Mommies love their children.

Before I moved into the house I had it painted and completely transformed it with color so that when I walked into it I did not see Mamie everywhere.  My fellow goddesses called it "making the house my own".  I kept on telling myself people buy houses from other people, or move into houses where people have died just recently.  I know though the reason I agreed to move here is because it was something my husband wanted to do.  It was if as long as he could live in his mothers home it would comfort him somehow....and I was okay with that because if that is what he needed to get over his grief and to eventually help him with his loss then who am I to stand in his way?  My job as I saw it was to give him what he wanted, while trying to compromise and make it to where it did not seem so strained and more peaceful to me.

The Templites (this is what we call our community because we find it very positive) all gathered together to bless me on this new venture and gathered a beautiful basket, witchy kitchen towels, a bottle red wine, a loaf of bread, incense, pink salt, candles, and fresh herbs that I would need to bless my home.  I blessed our home, I swept out the negativity and asked each and every God and Goddess to please move into our home.  Constantly I stroke the walls and tell the home I love it and am so appreciative of its beauty. I have pruned and petted the pear tree and apple tree in the yard until they seem newly rejuvenated.  I built altars at the apple trees base, and in the middle of the pear tree there was a altar hole alread with a pre-faded fairy door and window.  I have laid out offerings to the land spirits.  I have made way for the fairies and am building them homes along with the brownies and gnomes that have made their presence known. 

I have visions of how the home will look, and have finally gotten the outside painted as beautiful as the interior with french vanilla and dark burgundy cherry shutters and door.  The front flower bed with unkept roses has been pruned, and offerings of coins, and corn, and beautiful stones have been lovingly places at the borders so that the God Geb will feel our gratitude; and know that we are happy!  Life is sunny! Life is prosperous!  Life is abundant!  Life is beautiful if only we create it and take the time to do the work making it so...

I invited some really good friends to join us for the dinner with our grown children in our new home that I am adjusting too.  The home filled with light, laughter, lots of stories, children played in the home.  Games were played.  Wine was enjoyed.  Desserts were divine. 

I looked at everyone laughing and smiling and I realized that if I really do direct the Movie of my life that I had led it in a new direction.  I was tired of feeling grief, feeling guilty, being awkward.  I had re-written my script.  I was in love with a handsome man who loved me back in a healthy way; had beautiful healthy children; smart, talented, witty friends; a beautiful home; a fulfilling paying job; and a full spiritual life.  I had people who loved me, encouraged me, and were loyal, I have Gods and Goddesses that are evidently working in my life.  I have many children (four) and several grandchildren now (three).  My life is full!  My life is beautiful!  Life is good!

This year was the first time I was the grandmother and the Crone of my family that took care of everyone.  I was the eldest female, and I had somehow or another stepped into my role relatively easy. I remember being the grandaughter that was a little girl sitting on the counter while my Mamaw made brownies.  I remember being the woman that went to her mothers not bringing a thing because she was so poor and in college.  I remember coming to Mamies (my mother in law) with just a dish or two trying to help her more and more as she got older.  Now I am in her role, and in my Moms role, and where my Mamaw was.  I am the Head of the female household here...the changing of the guard was inevitable it always is.

As I wash the dishes and place things in the dishwasher I marvel at the relative ease that I really pulled that big meal off with and how smoothly I did step into that role.  The turkey was moist, the stuffing good, the gravy warm not too cold...and I hear my inner maiden say "oh no we are grown up!"  "It's okay"  I say out loud to her to comfort her.  I have been preparing for this role my whole life and had no idea.  I am so glad I had the Mother, Mother in law, the Mamaw, who patiently showed me what I was supposed to do when they were gone.

"Thank you Ladies!"  I say aloud.  "Thank you Isis!"  I say to my Goddess.  "Thank you house and kitchen for working with me today."  I say to our new dwelling.

I listen with my mundane ears and my "unseen ones"...."You're welcome"  I hear the air vibrate back to me. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Age is no barrier. It's a limitation you put on your mind.--Jackie Joyner-Kersee

I see my Mamaw Minnie alot walking around the town of Memphis, Tennessee.  Yesterday, a woman crossed the road in front of me in a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans, clogs, and a kerchief over her metal grey hair...I slowed down and came to a complete stop in my new car.  When she turned to look at me because she had finally noticed a car crossing the road, her blue eyes twinkled behind the cat-eyed old lady glasses she had on.  For a second, I saw my Mamaw.  I smiled and waved at the lady.  Then the face transformed to another elderly lady I had never seen before, but she waved at me with her gnarled hands and bright chapped red palms.  It was okay she wasn't really my Mamaw, but it was good to see her just for a minute.

Last night I went looking for her on the ley lines, the planes where we as Witches and Pagans travel.  A scene came forth...New York city, I was in a bus again.  I am sitting on the bus rocking back and forth with the speed of the vehicle looking out the window at the people mulling back and forth like ants going to their destination with packages, and umbrellas and coats slung over their hooked arms.  There in the middle of all that people traffic is a woman with iron grey hair and a bright yellow kerchief on her head.  She has on a polyester shirt with bright pink flowers on it and navy blue stripes that run down it vertically, the pearlescent buttons that are snap like twinkle in the fog, her faded blue denims and her busted out tennis shoes present pieces of flesh that peak out at me...Yes, it is my Mamaw.  

She waves at me, I wave back...then she takes off at a pace like a person gearing up for a race.  As she winds up she jogs, then she sprints, then she is faster than light and becomes a blur...she is ahead of the window at the bus.  The bus stops I get off.  She is waiting for me at the corner of the curb.  She has beautiful blue black hair, vivid red lipstick that almost is alarming, pale white shining skin, eyes so bright they seem unreal and blue as the ocean.  She grabs my hand and we walk together, saying nothing just swinging our arms and hands back and forth and humming like we did when she was flesh and blood.  I peacefully rub her young flesh hands, and hear her jingling laughter while marveling at her transformation and ripe youth. She winks at me, I stick my tongue out...and then I lean over and hug her and it smells like vanilla root, sage, and hyacinths.  

I wake.  She is still here.  Every time I see an older woman I see my grandmothers spirit within her, jumping out to remind me that she loves me.  I know she is never gone, and that she and I will have good times again.  I pray that one day when I am grey I will look in the mirror and see her smiling back at me.  Maybe I came to be so attached to my Mamaw so that I would be able to accept aging and the special beauty that comes with it.  She was the most active funny woman I have ever met. 
I did not celebrate my birthday this year.  No one celebrated it for me. I started to study the aspect of the Crone, and accept the possibility no the inevitability that I was in the throes of menopause and starting to not just "hear the call" but had her in my home.  I froze.  I clammed up.  I was living in the Nile and it was not the river...ha ha.

I go back to the ley lines, I see that old woman running at the speed of light and I realize that is the magic of the Crone.  You have to see beyond appearances and notice the details in the middle of the haze and confusion of "ant-like/worker bee" activities.  I am getting there.

Thank you for patiently waiting for me to have something I wanted to share with you all again...and for the gift of your time.  Happy Holly Days!

THIS week, take this quote to heart:  
The belief that youth is the happiest time of life is founded on a fallacy. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts and we grow happier as we grow older.--William Lyon Phelps

Monday, September 3, 2012

"We are as fit as a fiddle and walked catewampus across the water..."

Just in case you did not know Me and mine here at the Temple just got interviewed by the local television station for starting a Wiccan Temple.  Now, I found this amusing because we founded it several years ago; but no one knew about us until we had a building in the main part of the city.  This was just fine with us for a bit, because we did not want people to know about us until we felt we had something to be proud of.   We did not go seeking the news people out, we were just fine where we were and I am going to admit I was very nervous when all the sudden that day arose that they were all calling us.  We were not prepared really, we had no "stock answers" (I had wanted to have those prepared and ready) but with a little will power, and keeping it positive what was said, and alot of the love from Isis and the Gods it seems that Memphis came off as loving its Wiccan Temple, and this ATC Temple does love itself some Memphis, TN. (Sekmet and Ptah rule this city)

The reason why I am mentioning all this is------ for the first time in my life the Popular media gave me and mine some Positive coverage and portrayed us as being open minded and loving and the other faiths in town as not being as much so.  I smiled, because this is really how most of us Pagans see them and for the first time it was if they (the Camera and Reporters) were showing the world our point of view and no one had a problem with it.  If anything, they thought...GOOD, these people are brave and want a place to worship!  That is the case you know, we are people that needed and wanted a place to worship and we gather together many times a week to do just that; but seriously we are no braver than you and yours.

Our Pagan/Wiccan/fellow Witches seemed to think we were clever hiding the fact we were really only a coven or coven stead; but we are not either of these things.  I find it frustrating that we as Wiccans/Pagans/Witches cannot seem to think beyond the box of Coven or Covenstead. You see we have so many people that are Pagan/Wiccan/Witch in Memphis a coven cannot possibly serve all their needs for socialization and learning (and I bet your town is the same).  The Temple of the Sacred Gift-ATC really does consistently serve 40 adults and almost 20 children on a regular attendance basis and we know if we had MORE space (we just signed the lease four months ago) that we would serve more people.  There are just that many of us in this city.

 None of the Clergy (all four of us licensed through the Aquarian Tabernacle Church) want a coven, we have all run covens for years and years or been in them.  We outgrew covens and the numbers were too large for anything else...we wanted a building with air conditioning, indoor plumbing, heat, a place to gather our tribes for activities with more than picnic tables or the ground to sit on.  We wanted something to leave behind to our Children and the future Neo-Wiccan-Pagans coming behind us.  We were tired of saying, "may we leave the path better" and doing nothing material to make that happen.  So we did it; and I am hoping this article will inspire you to do the same.

Now I do not think that there are more Pagans/Wiccans/Witches in this city that in your own home town proportionatelyWe are no exception if anything we felt/and still feel we are the standard and the model to show you an alternative to just coven-steading (nothing is wrong with that either but hear me out).

 The Clergy here do not get salaries or any monetary compensation (something the media was surprised to find out and many of you ask about) we pay for the rent, utilities and needs of the building (cups, plates, napkins, paper towels, lights, forks, etc) just like everyone else.  Our Clergy took a vow to serve the people of the whole community here, and while we know the Temple of the Sacred Gift-ATC is not the whole community it is our little Family and if you cannot take care of your own family how can you be expected to serve a greater world?  So here we are, every member sustaining the bricks and mortar and incense of the Temple every Clergy pitching in alongside of them...and we find we are double proving something.  IT IS A LIE to say that we the Pagan/Wiccan/Witch community will not support or own buildings or needs.  We are!   Let me repeat, WE are not the exception to the rule WE are you! 

I have gotten hundreds of emails asking me how we did it.  People want to know how to get that building.  We got it the same way the Christians along time ago got a Building to worship in...we raised money and saved it then shopped until we found a deal.  It took us a little over two years to collect (ten dollars a month from every person) enough money to do this but we patiently edged toward our goal.  With that little amount not one family or Witch/Wiccan/Pagan found themselves financially hurting if anything they found that they could with very little give an amount that would make a difference in the long run.  We say..."If you drop a pebble in a pond it makes a ripple" or "one grain of sand at a time makes a beach" but have we really been patient enough to make that occur?  I know I was not until I got fed up....the question is are you tired of the way things are and want more?

I GOT FED UP and at the SAME TIME I was getting FED up so were MANY of other people here.  I was tired of working and giving and loving a faith and Gods for so long that all I had to show for it was running to another park hoping to be able to reserve it then having to hope that the authorities liked us and had a relationship with us (because if one of them is fired or retires you have to start all over again).  I Got tired of having great festivals that pumped me up to only come home to the same rigamorole circles that the HPS or HP was expected to pay for or sustain.  I got fed up with only being able to hang with 9 or ten people.  Seriously if you are going to give every moon and Sabbat to something then you need more than 9 or ten people to be friends with every weekend.  I got tired of having separate lives and identities why should I have to hide something I love and defines so deeply who I am and why you might like and admire me or not?

I got TIRED of reading hundreds of books encouraging me to be afraid be very afraid of coming out thus I should stay shut up and in the closet and be a SOLITAIRE.  I am not saying that being a solitaire is BAD but I cannot be the only person in this country that has wondered WHO or WHAT wants us all to not gather together unite and start worshiping out in the open.  I am saying this because it is equivalent to Propaganda to scare people and use fear to tell them they cannot gather together if they do they might get tortured or lose a job, etc.  Pagans know more about conspiracy theories than any group I have met and yet they never stop and ask it possible that the books being published over and over by mainstream companies might be wrong?  What if the reason we are being encouraged not to get a leg up and get buildings and become legitimate is because as long as we are considered freaky and isolated then we have no voice, and no say in this or anything in the material plane that we walk on.  THUS all these gifts the Gods have given us are useless if we cannot use them to CHANGE the planet we live in and on.

IT'S Great if you can summon dragons, but why not summon dragons for the city you live in to help eliminate crime and do it in a way that is visible and people see?  If we want people to perceive us differently we have to first perceive ourselves differently.  WE KNOW as Witches/Pagans/Wiccans that we define a thing.  WE have power, and that words are uber important and yet we as a group seem to be doing nothing to seize that power and utilize it for the greater whole.  Why not?  Why are we scared?  Who are we scared of?  Ask yourself these questions...and if you have power and know how to utilize it then WHY are you scared?  If you really can manipulate energy then why not manipulate Energy to change peoples perception of us and change your planet that is why you are here right?  Surely you are not here just to do love spells and magic for your bills.

Minorities have fought for their rights since the beginning of time and won them.  Women got the vote!  Homosexuals are more open than we are and gaining ground!  YET, even though someone fought a fight for us and got us legal recognition we still hide and refuse to seize or opportunities and march, speak out, and COMMUNE with our home towns.  I don't want people to be scared of me, I want people to accept me for who I am.  What's so wrong with that?  I want to have my Goddess ISIS have a beautiful clean facility to walk in and be worshiped at just like she did in days of old but cannot have in her country today.  I want to do that with groups bigger than 13 because bigger groups can do MORE good than little groups of ten.

I realize that this blog is going to not win me a popularity contest...but ask yourself why that is?  PLEASE Question .  Utilize more than the right to vote and stop thinking small THINK BIG!  The people at the Temple of the Sacred Gift-ATC are no more brave than any of you.  We are regular people who have families that work regular jobs.  We have the same issues in our communities that you do we just lay them aside for the greater whole not letting bickering and gossip tear us apart.  We all decided that to be strong we have to UNITE and be strong at the core of our being.  I pray that this blog inspires you to question, to look around (because many of you have more experience than I do) and see how you can utilize your rights and promote our Spiritual path in a positive way and to more than six people who you already know! If you dream BIG you will hit the stars!

Remember we believe in Magic and to believe is to ACT on something no one else can see.

Thank you for the gift of your time------------------and know that you are always loved and cared about by me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"In the words of a great Southerner I cotton to that..."

It took three weeks for my mother in law to cross over.  When we as a family were going through it, juggling the toddler, my job as a cosmetologist, the Temple building (newly acquired), our marriage, children, Temple seemed so much longer.  Then, Mamie drew her last breath.  It seemed very quickly everything sped up.  Services had to be arranged, songs had to be chosen, clothing had to be purchased, bills had to be settled, flowers had to be ordered, pictures sorted through....and we went to New Albany Mississippi to rent a hotel room and be present for the viewing of the body.

As we were slogging through all of it (three weeks of uncertainty and whens hospitals, etc), Elders constantly checked on us calling to listen and offer their emotional support.  Best friends and wonderful women came by and checked on us, or called keeping our spirits us and the Temple rolling forward....because life does not slow down for passages of life it just keeps on moving because that is what life has to do.  Life is organic, living, and breathing, it does not care if we tell it that it ceases to exist.  For it exists whether we see it or not.

Michele (the Temple squire) and Angela (my buddy and maiden) came and baby sat Cayden so that he did not have to go to the funeral and could remember Grandmother as a wonderful funny woman alive and full of energy.  I questioned this decision many times but the bottom line was we had to do business things and Cayden is a little obstructive in that arena.  So he will remember his Grandmother as a story teller and always laughing. 

At the funeral, people from all around came in and laughed and signed books.  Some cried, because they were so shocked and this is how we express our pain either laughter or crying.  I did some of both.  Brian did most of the latter.  My husband was stoic; he has already buried his Father and his older Brother and now his Mother.  Technically he is all alone, and has moved into the role of leader of his family.  Martin Heidegger said that one of the most transformational experiences in life you will ever go through is when you lose a parent.  I have never lost one, little on two.  I look at my husband differently gauging his moods, his tiredness, his gait, noticing how strong and broad those thin shoulders are and realizing he is the closest thing I know to a courageous hero.  He has survived and done so gracefully literally crossing over and dignifyingly laying to rest his whole family. 

When we got home, Rev. Belladonna Levaue, HPS and Dusty Dionne came in to spend time with us and to speak at the Temple the next day.  Laughter bubbled forth; great food was shared, we smiled, we hugged, we exchanged and learned.  They balmed our hearts, and did a great job bringing in people to the Temple so that they could see what we are really all about.  Rev. Amanda and Terry Riley came in from Jonesboro Arkansas with three car loads full of people coming to spend time with Bella, Dusty, and us.  Our house and Temple was overflowing with love...and this does not count all the regular Templites (this is what we call ourselves lovingly) who were there. They were alive, laughing, hugging, sharing, all together we were alive!

After everyone was gone, the house was cleaned, the trash taken out, the floors swept, we looked at each other still in shock but realized it had all been made better.  Our friends had become our family.  Somehow or the other the Gods of the Temple and our personal deities (ISIS, ANUBIS, THOTH, OSIRIS, SEKHMET, PTAH, ODIN) had all come to our side.  We were not alone; we did not have to slog through problems alone, deal with grief alone, take care of business without assistance, make sure our child was loved without hands to hold him, bury a Mother/Mother in law without a tribe of people guiding us....

In New Albany Mississippi I met Brian's blood relatives, and many of mine came to pay respect to Mamie Miller.  It is said down here that "blood is thicker than water"  technically yes it is.  Blood coagulates and water does not.  However here where I dwell we are Pagan to the bone, our organs and our blood is shared with many people and they are all Pagan; and this last week we needed water to feed our spirit not blood and the Gods provided.  Our community is thicker than our blood family and is there for us through thick and thin.  I pray that wherever you are that you look around you and take note.  Notice, those that are there for you when you need it...just a text message or a smile is sometimes all you need.  Some friends nudge you, some carry you, some buy you food, some text you, but they are all your support system...remember YOU are never alone.  YOU are loved. 

So this week, or just for today, look around you and notice the God and the Goddess they love you and they know that you are human and need something or someone you can feel and touch...that is why they sent you friends.  Cherish your friends, and thank the Goddess for them. 

Thank you for the gift of your time!  Thank you Templites, SDCW, fellow clergy, and Rev. Bella and Dusty for being there; you were the physical love of the Gods for me this past week.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ― Mitch Albom

So last week I posted about herbs, and thoughts on Death from the perspective of the experts.  I am no means an expert I am a human being.  Today, less than an hour ago actually, my mother in law let go and let her essence leave her physical form. 

Southern Fried Pagan has talked about how my Mamaw died on my thirtieth birthday, and how my Great Grandfather died on my day of birth, and how two of my favorite Highpriestesses died...and now it is my Mother in law.  I do not dwell on death; I live.  Loss, and letting go is part of all of it.

But for a woman who raised and gave me such a wonderful Husband and Highpriest and Clifton (my son) Stepdad and baby Cayden a Dad.  I feel she deserves something great.  The best I can do for her right now is Give her a memorial on this page....

In my tradition you light a candle to help the Spirit of the deceased to cross over.  So I am lighting for Mamie a candle, and on this page giving her a space.

Thank you Mamie for being a wonderful Grandmother, and an interesting Mother in law.  May your afterlife be all you wanted and more.  May you dwell with your son, and your Mother and Father and Brother and Sisters.  Thank you most of all for the gift of your time and for leaving so much abundance behind left the world a better place than when you found it.

"May the choirs of angels come to greet you.
May they speed you to paradise.
May the Lord enfold you in his mercy.
May you find eternal life."-----------------The Christian Song of Life

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I got a quarter for the trolley man, I hope he slows down for me I know he can.....

Life.  It is a huge cycle.  Birth and Death.  Yeah, living is great.  Weddings and Wiccanings the bomb...but what about those Crossing overs, Funerals, Grief Counseling?  Yeah, that ain't so hot is it? 

In our Western Culture we either romatisize death through horror flicks or Gothic sensibilities or we tend to sweep it under the carpet.  Ignoring little telltale signs like skeletons, road kill, brown leaves (we even sweep these up and bag them to be taken away).  We shuttle our elderly off to the nursing home, and we act as if decaying, death, and all that comes with it is a mental disease called morbidity.  I am here to tell you it is not.

As a Pagan we celebrate the Dark Mother.  My best bud Allison seems to be an expert on her...but myself I tend to hold tight to the Dark God.  I have learned alot from the Dark mother do not get me wrong...but I find that the Dark God is where I am dwelling right now.  The God that puts me on the boat and rides me to my destination.  The god that recalls for me my life in the form of Thoth.  The God that when I die I greet and judges my actions as either pleasing or needing rectification; Osiris.  So here I stand; with new information and wonder; what should I do?  I decided to share with you all today some gathered stuff I have in my BOS about Dark Gods and herbs, etc.

Death and the Modern Pagan
by Melissa Pinol
Even though they may look forward to an afterlife in heaven, many people traditionally view death with fear and distaste. Death is sometimes seen as a tool of the devil, or as a force sent by God to punish sinners. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and others natural disasters are sometimes called "Acts of God", as if God had nothing better to do than sit up in heaven conjuring up disasters to punish unbelievers.
Part of this fear of death comes from the belief that we have only one life to live, and death is really the end. Mixed in with this fear is a large amount of uncertainty. When someone dies, how can they really tell where they will go? In this article, I will attempt to explore the alternate perception of death held by many modern Wiccans and Neopagans.
Gods of the Gateway
The Earth-Based, Goddess-Centered Pagan traditions, including Wicca, have a very different attitude toward death in general. Most of the Pagans I have spoken to over the years believe in reincarnation in some form, so that death is seen as a change, a "shedding of the skin", rather than the end. For this reason the snake that sheds its skin is viewed as a symbol of rebirth rather than as a symbol of evil. Pagans see life and death as two sides of one coin; one leads into the other, unendingly.
Deities of birth and sexual passion are often associated with death as well, because death is the gateway into another life. Nothing is permanent, and at the end of suffering there comes peace, rest, and the opportunity to start over again. Many Wiccan traditions believe that the souls of the dead rest for a while in an Otherworld called the "Summerland" where they are healed of the traumas of their last life before being born again.
Pagans also tend to see the natural world as a system that was set up in the beginning (or evolved, depending on your view) to function a particular way. We are part of that system, but not the rulers of it, nor does it single us out for special attention. The Earth is a dynamic unit, every function is important to all living creatures.
When Earthquakes happen, the movement of the tectonic plates helps to maintain a temperature that can sustain life on the planet. Sometimes cities are destroyed in the process, sometimes the quakes will happen in a completely uninhabited region like Antarctica. It's not personal. Those who are killed are comforted in the arms of the Goddess and given another chance next time. Diseases occur because the process of evolution created many types of diverse life, and some of those types of life are harmful to others. Again, it's not personal.
Creation, movement, and the ongoing process of change leads to both death and new opportunities for life. When forest fires occurs, new plants and trees have the opportunity to grow. In Hindu mythology, Shiva the Destroyer dances on the burning ground before coming together in Sacred Union with the Goddess to create anew.
Ancient mythology and religion is filled with literally thousands of deities that combine both creation and destruction within their aspects. In Wiccan theology, the Goddess is triple in form, appearing as either the Maiden, the Mother, or the Crone. The young maiden who symbolizes new life and potential, the Mother who gives birth to all, and the Crone who cuts the thread of life and scythes down old growth are all aspects of the same being.
Likewise, the God can appear as the Green Man, symbolizing new growth, the Lord of the Animals, wild and sexual, and the Dark God or Sage, the Lord of Winter who carries the dead through the gateway. In some mythologies, he takes on the even more fearsome aspects of Lord of the Wild Hunt, the one who hunts down and carries off souls who may not be willing to move on to their new lives voluntarily.
The ancient Irish even portrayed a figure, the Sheila-Na-Gig, which combined death and sexuality together in one being. The Sheila-Na-Gig commonly appeared as a withered crone spreading her legs and displaying her sexual parts, a shocking figure to modern sensibilities. The Sheila-Na-Gig was considered a powerful protective symbol, and was carved on doors to ward off evil. This symbol was so important to the Irish that they were reluctant to give it up with the advent of Christianity, and Sheila-Na-Gigs have even been found on the doors and walls of old Irish churches!
Hecate, the three-faced Goddess of the crossroads, is said in one ancient Greek invocation to be "strong to shatter every stubborn thing". Deities who are strongly associated with death are also deities of change and transformation, another manifestation of rebirth. Death is the greatest transformation, but there are also transformations that occur within life that are equally terrifying.
Wiccans and other Pagans do not avoid these energies, but invoke them and work with them carefully and respectfully. The "Stubborn things" that the Goddess shatters are often personal illusions. It is when you avoid dealing with these illusions that you begin to have problems: self-denial, addictions, interpersonal problems, and lack of motivation. Change is essential to the process of continued growth.

The Last Sacred Space
Just as we do rituals to celebrate life, Pagans also hold rituals to honor the dead and the aspects of the divine that deal with death. On October 31st, we celebrate Samhain (pronounced Sow-in or Saw-wain), the Celtic New Year. At this time, we gather to honor our ancestors and other Beloved Dead. Many Pagan traditions prepare a special feast for the dead and invite them to come back and eat with us, a practice very similar to the Day of The Dead as it is still celebrated in Mexico. 

We recite the names of the dead and talk about their lives, their deaths, and the way we felt about them. Many Pagans act as if the dead were literally present and talk to them directly, perhaps also taking the opportunity to tell them things that we did not have the opportunity to say while they were alive.
At this time, we also recognize that the old year and the summer have died, and the older, darker aspects of the God and Goddess now reign. We welcome these essential, sometimes frightening beings and acknowledge their ascent into power for the duration of the winter months. We dance with the deities and the dead, feast with them, and wait to receive any visions or insights that they may bring with them.
With their radically different view of death, it is not surprising that Pagans often deal with literal death in their own unique way. In the Pagan community, as in many other communities in recent years, there have been deaths from cancer, AIDS, and other incurable illnesses. Rather than trying to avoid being around sickness and death, Pagans often gather in hospitals and hospices to surround the dying person with love and support, even to the extent of sometimes irritating the medical staff who wants only "Immediate family members".
Efforts are often made to remove a hopelessly terminal person from the hospital to a home environment where they will be allowed to have all the visitors they want and perform their own death and transition rituals without interference from outsiders. If this is not possible, efforts are made to carry out the dying Pagan's wishes even in a medical setting. I personally know of several people who literally died in Sacred Space created surreptitiously in the sterile hospital environment by their supporters, who made every effort to stay with them up to the very end.
The dying person is touched, sung to, talked to, and allowed to discuss their fears and feelings about their passing. This is radically different from the way in which most modern Americans die, and is probably a lot closer to the way our ancestors dealt with death. Even in the last century, people commonly died at home surrounded by their extended families.
At some point in the last hundred years, attitudes shifted. Death became a taboo subject, a distasteful thing to be avoided and left in the hands of medical personal, much to the detriment of those who were actually going though the death process. Though people today usually do not have large extended families to offer support, the Pagan community has tried to recapture that sense of compassionate involvement by creating an extended family of our own.
This voluntary involvement in the death process can even extend to pets, and I have known of many Pagans, myself included, who had to make the painful decision to euthanize a suffering, gravely ill pet. Instead of leaving the room and letting the vet take care of the "distasteful" process, Pagans will commonly insist on being present during euthanasia to comfort the pet and ease its passing, often holding it in our laps during the actual death.
We may do a silent ritual to assist the dying pet, creating Sacred Space and invoking deities associated with particular animals (Hecate, the "Mistress of Hounds" for a dog, or Bast, the Egyptian Cat Goddess, for a cat.) Seeing the suffering actually end brings closure to the human, and the presence and support of a loved human calms and soothes the animal, giving it a "Good death" rather than a cold, impersonal one.
Ashes and Wailing
When death, human or animal, actually does occur, I have noticed some observable differences in the way Pagans deal with their feelings. In the novel Catmagic, Jonathan Barry and Whitley Strieber erroneously claimed that "When a Witch chooses death, the whole covenstead celebrates". Though we accept death as a sacred part of the life process and even welcome it when it is appropriate, I have never seen anyone rejoicing at the death of a loved one.
While we may be relieved that suffering has ended and are not worried about punishment in the afterlife, the deceased person is definitely missed and mourned for a time. Most of the Pagans I have known have generally been more comfortable and open about expressing their feelings than most of the general population, even the "negative" feelings like grief or rage that may surface after as intense an event as a death.
When one very well-loved Pagan Bard died in the 1980's, his funeral was attended by both his family and the extended Pagan community. From what I have heard, the Pagans sat on one side of the church and the family on the other in a somewhat uncomfortable truce. It was the Pagan contingent that did most of the crying, wailing, and heartfelt grieving, to the visible discomfort of the more composed and stoic family.
There are reasons for these actions. I believe that this intense, cathartic expression allows us to purge our feelings more quickly than someone who "holds them in", and then move on more calmly to a place of release and acceptance.
This funeral was also an example of an unfortunate legal oversight on the part of the deceased Bard, who had often said during his life that he wanted a Pagan funeral, and to be buried on Sacred Pagan land. When he was killed unexpectedly in a car accident, his family seized the body and insisted on dressing him in a suit rather than his Bardic robes, and performing a Christian funeral.
He had left no Will to state his wishes in this matter, and there was nothing his Pagan friends could do. Many Pagans took heed of this incident, and are much more careful now to leave legal documents with instructions on funeral arrangements.
At the present time, there are no Pagan cemeteries or Memorial Parks. Though we hope that this will eventually change, at the current time the presence of such a facility would probably invoke feelings of discomfort or possibly even protest from our Non-Pagan neighbors, who do not really understand our beliefs and practices. Because Pagan groups do not generally tithe or collect dues, we also lack the monetary assets to back such an undertaking.
As a result of this lack of formal, established Memorial sites, most Pagans currently opt for cremation rather than burial. Some Pagan groups chose to keep the ashes close by in a shrine or on a memorial altar, others choose to scatter the ashes in some designated setting depending on the wishes of the deceased. The act of scattering the ashes often helps the survivors to feel the finality of release. As the ashes fly off on the wind, you can imagine the soul of the deceased flying into the next world.
After someone has died, we often perform a ritual called a "Soul Release" to bid them farewell and help them go through the gateway into the Otherworld. This is particularly important when someone has died an unexpected or violent death - we believe that in such circumstances the soul may be confused and need some extra assistance.
After we sense that the spirit has departed, we try to compose ourselves to go on with life, but the deceased person is still very much a part of our community in spirit. It seems the dead sometimes become "Guardian spirits" of the particular group or tradition they belonged to in life, and some of us believe that they may come back to us in dreams to give advice or warnings. At the very least, they are never truly forgotten, and are welcome back to feast with us every Samhain.
Sometimes we notice that a particular soul will stop coming back in dreams and does not seem to be present at the feast at Samhain. We hope that their absence in an indication that they have been born again, and see this as a cause for rejoicing. (COPYRIGHT 2009)

Well Known DARK GODS:
Whiro (Mayan)
Yama (Hindu)
Pan (Has this side)
Dionysus (has this side)


The Charge of the Dark God
Copyright by Christopher Hatton

Listen to the words of the Dark God,
Who was of old called Iakchos, Donn,
Anubis, Hades, Setesh, Hoder,
And by many other names:
I am the shadow in the bright day;
I am the reminder of mortality at the height of living.
I am the neverending weil of Night
Where the Star Goddess dances.
I am te Death that must be so that Life may continue,
For Behold, Life is immortal because the living must die.
I am the strength that protects, that limits;
I am the power that says No, and No further, and That Is Enough.
I am the things that cannot be spoken of,
And I am the laughter at the edge of Death.
Come with me into the warm enfolding dark;
Feel my caresses in the hands,
In the Mouth,
In the Body of one you love,
And be transformed.
Gather in the moonless night and speak in unknown toungues;
The Dark Mother and I will listen.
Sing to us and cry out,
And the Power will be yours to wield.
Blow me a kiss when the sky is dark,
And I will smile,
But no kiss returns;
For my kiss is the final one for all mortal flesh.

WORTCUNNING:  The art of learning herbs for magical purposes


- By: Selena Fox


Since ancient times herbs have played a part in funerals. They've been used to
scent graves and cremation fires, to fill amulet bags and in making wreaths to
decorate burial places.

BASIL: Protection, Love
BAY LAUREL: - Communication with the dead, protection, triumph, used in 
              funeral wreaths.
BIRCH: Rebirth.
CEDAR: Prosperity, Purification.
COMFREY: Healing.
CYPRESS: Endings.
ELDER: Transformation
FRANKINCENSE: Purification, Spiritual Transformation.
GARLIC: Protection.
HOLLY: Renewal, Resurrection.
IVY: Rebirth, Celebration.
LAVENDER: Memories, Peace.
LEMON BALM: - Immortality, happiness; used in a tea for emotional cleansing
              and uplifting.
LILY: Resurrection.
MINT: Joy, a stewing herb.
MISTLETOE: Protection.
MUGWORT: Inner Sight
MULLEN: Cleansing.
MYRRH: Healing, Purification, Protection, Used in Mummifying.
OAK: Strength.
PARSLEY: - Good luck in here after; decorating tombs.
PERIWINKLE: Immortality, " Flower of the Dead, " Placed on graves.
POPPY: Restfulness.
ROSEMARY: - Friendship, purification, happiness; thrown into graves " for
            remembrance, " burned as incense, sprigs carried in funeral
ROSES: Love Purification.
RUE: Karmic Completion.
SAGE: Wisdom, Purification.
SANDALWOOD: Purification.
THYME: Purification.
WILLOW: Releases, Cleansing.
WORMWOOD: Transformation.
YARROW: Protection, Healing.
YEW: Immortality, endings; once planted in graveyards to protect bodies of the departed.

Herbs for Death Southern Fried pagan Style….:)

ACONITE is a VERY POISONOUS herb, and should only be administered by a qualified healer. It has been used to help the dying (at the time of death) transition comfortably to the stage after death. It can be planted on a burial, and used in an incense in ritual. The roots can be placed on an ancestor altar, especially around Samhain.

ANEMONE can be used in a ritual fire after the deceased has past over to encourage reincarnation.

ASPHODEL has traditionally grown on graves and washing the corpse. Gather in a bunch and tie in a red ribbon to aspurge the body in ritual.

BASIL is associated with love and protection, and is excellent to be used in an incense. It is used to help bring dignity and courage to one facing death. Can be incorporated into the ancestors' feast on Samhain.

BAY LAUREL is used for communication with the dead, and is sometimes used in funeral wreaths. Can be used in dishes for the ancestors' feast at Samhain.

BIRCH is often associated with rebirth and reincarnation. Blessings for the deceased can be written on birch bark and can then be buried or burnt with the corpse.

BLUEBELLS are planted on graves to bring peace and blessings, and may also be used to decorate the altar at the funeral, or on Samhain.

CHERVIL can be drank to aid one to in rituals of communing with the dead.

COMFREY is a helpful herb to help one get over the loss of a loved one. Excellent to plant in the garden in memorial of the deceased.

CYPRESS is associated with endings. Can be used to ritually bathe the body of the deceased.

ELDER is an excellent wood for a cremation pyre, or a sprig of elder can be buried with the deceased. Elderberries are excellent to decorate the funeral altar, or the altar at Samhain.

FRANKINCENSE can be burned at the funeral ritual, or in ritual while communing with the dead for purification, and spiritual transformation.

GARLIC is used for protection, and can be put on a grave, and cooked in dishes for the ancestors' feast at Samhain.

HOLLY is associated with resurrection and renewal, and can be buried with the deceased or used to decorate the funeral altar.

IVY can be planted at a grave to celebrate the life of the deceased and to encourage rebirth.

LAVENDER should be planted in memory of the deceased either on the grave or in the home of a living loved one to bring peace.

LEMON BALM is associated with immortality and happiness, and can be drank in a tea to lift spirits of the mourning.

LILY can be planted on a grave to represent resurrection.

LOTUS pods can be used as an incense burner to aid the soul seeking reincarnation.

MANDRAKE root can be buried with the body to protect the spirit and send it safely on its way. It also can be used to decorate the ancestor altar at Samhain.

MARJORAM can be planted on a grave and used in the ancestors' feast at Samhain.

MINT can be used as a strewing herb to bring joy to the mourning.

MISTLETOE can be buried with the deceased for protection.

MUGWORT can be drank by the dying to gain inner sight.

MULLEIN can be used to cleanse the body of the deceased.

MYRRH was once used in embalming, but can now be used as an incense at the funeral to bring healing, purification, and protection.

OAK is a tree of strength, and is an excellent pick to plant in the memory of the deceased.

PARSLEY can be strewn on the path of where the body is being transported, and can be planted at the grave site for good luck in the after life.

PENNYROYAL is used to bathe the corpse to assist in the soul being reborn.

PERIWINKLE is a herb of immortality and can be used in a funeral wreath or used to decorate tombs. Often used in the passing of children.

POMEGRANATE can be eaten at the ancestors feast on Samhain to represent rebirth.

POPPY can be used in funeral wreaths or planted at a grave site to bring restfulness to the deceased.

ROSEMARY can be thrown into grave sites, carried on funeral processions, or burned as an incense. Can be used in the ancestors' feast at Samhain, especially to commune to deceased friends.

ROSES represent love and purification, and are used in funeral wreaths and planted in memory of the deceased.

ROWAN is associated with protection. The berries can be buried with the deceased or used to decorate the funeral and ancestor altar, and can be planted on a grave site.

RUE can be burnt for karmic completion.

SAGE can be used as a smudge for purification, and ingested when communing with the dead, and to bring wisdom.

SANDALWOOD is an excellent purification incense that can be used during the funeral ritual.

TANSY was once used for embalming. It can now be used to aspurge the temple and the body of the deceased, and used to decorate the ancestor altar.

THYME makes an excellent ritual cup to drink before communing with the dead, and can be used in a ritual incense or bath for purification.

VIOLETS are appropriate flowers for the graves of children.

WILLOW is said to ease the soul at the time of death if it is planted by the deceased in their lifetime. Willow baskets can be used as offering containers for ancestors.

WORMWOOD can be used as an incense for transformational healing for the mourning, or to bring insight to the dying.

YARROW can be grown on graves in in the gardens of the mourning to bring protection and healing.

YEW is associated with immortality and endings, and was often planted in graveyards to protect the bodies of the deceased.