Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays

Blessings to you all, gentle readers, during this holiday season. Thank you for sharing your time with me and for all of your comments. It is an honor to share my thoughts with you all.

As many know, my day job is as a pet trainer for PetSmart. Because of that, I have the joy of saying, "Happy Holidays" to a lot of folks. In the deep South, them's fighting words.

Any use of "Happy Holidays" will, on more than one occasion, lead to a confrontation with someone who believes there is a "war on Christmas." I've been hollered at, forced to acknowledge Christmas before someone would leave my checkout line, told I was "the devil" or "satan" for not saying, "Merry Christmas." The list goes on and on. How in the world did we get from having respect for another's holy days to a "war on Christmas?" It's so not about ignoring Christmas! It's about being respectful of someone else's beliefs or holy days. Good heavens, people!!

I just don't understand all the militant attitudes by Christians. Forcing someone to submit to Christmas is about as encouraging as scaring them to Jesus during Halloween! Do the Christian fundamentalists honestly believe that this will convert people to their personal belief? How could it?

In a way, I'm glad the Christmas holiday has come and gone. When I go back to work tomorrow, I won't have to worry about a rabid fundamentalist Christian going off on me for saying, "Happy Holidays!" It will take a good bit of stress away from working during this time of year. Fortunately, "Happy New Year" is much less threatening to the religious right. Dear Goddess, I hope they don't find a way to make it a religious holiday or work will be unbearable!

My wish this holiday season is that we could all stand, hand in hand, heart to heart, and honor each other's traditions without the need to convert; without the need to force our beliefs on another. So, as you go through this holiday season, take time to wish someone who does not share your belief a Happy Chanukkah, Blessed Yule, Happy Kwanzaa, etc. What is so awful about that? Does it detract from your celebration, your holy day? Heavens no! But what it does do is recognize the spiritual in each person, respecting and celebrating with instead of against.

So for this coming year, consider giving respect to other's spiritual paths; honoring their holy days. Avoid forcing your personal spiritual beliefs on another person and take time within yourself to worship in the way you would do.

Happy Holidays and wishes for a prosperous and blessed New Year!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Take a Little Trip...

Going back to Mississippi is always traumatic. And it's usually because of a trip to the VA for my beloved. So...double trauma.

This trip, we drove through Louisiana because of a corgi rescue in Lake Charles (it's further than I thought it was). Now, it's difficult to look at the leftovers of Katrina in Mississippi. The pic at the left is one of them. We see this house on the beach each trip. Never fails to amaze me when I look at it. And, yes, those are slabs all around it. Slabs everywhere.

But I digress. I haven't been through New Orleans in a good year. And to be honest, I'm so sick of hearing about New Orleans when the folks on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are so very crushed. Everyone seems to have forgotten that the hurricane hit Mississippi. The levees broke in New Orleans. (Sorry I channel the disgust at every turn.)

However, during this trip I looked at the east side of New Orleans. Really looked. It's just horrible. There are buildings upon buildings that lie empty and full of mold and rats everywhere you turn. Lines of apartment buildings that used to be someone's home are in shambles, some ravaged by fire and looters. Businesses have started to reopen, but there is no neighborhood to serve. The Wal-Mart and Sam's Club lie in ruins, open to the rotten air.

As we left the east side traveling through Metairie and west, there were rebuilt homes everywhere. Road projects going at full steam were tying up traffic in knots. I can clearly see where all the FEMA money went...to the wealthy. The poor and minorities who need the help can't get it and the city wants to demolish what's left of their homes.

Don't misunderstand me, I get why these homes have to be torn down. They are a health hazard, and have been for some time. But, to take the hope of a home away and not give the opportunity for a new one is a travesty in a country like America! America, where everyone has an equal shot at prosperity. America, where we take care of our own.

I think not.

What a shame that the poor and minorities have been so forgotten. Isn't the premise of Christianity to care for the widows and orphans? Where are our Christians now? Where is our president who claims a mandate from God? He handed over a bunch of money to private companies associated with his family and the money went to line the pockets of the rich. This is our America, and it saddens me greatly.

To our brothers and sisters in New Orleans, my humble apologies for being so selfish over the slight of the Gulf Coast. You certainly need the help. It's unfortunate that our leaders, both local and federal, choose to look the other way while their pockets get heavy off the backs of the poor.

Christianity, indeed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Atypical Veterans Day Blog

Why atypical? Because I wonder how many of our Pagan brothers and sisters are serving in silence. Because I wonder how many of our military brothers and sisters would harm them for their religious belief. It took until April 2007 before the US Government was FORCED to recognized Pagan soldiers with appropriate grave markers. Grave markers!!

Okay, call me nuts, but isn't what is put on someone's grave marker the final honor we give them? Were I Christian I certainly wouldn't want a pentagram on my grave marker, any more than were I Wiccan would I want a cross! Ughh. That this would even need debate amazes me.

And to take this thought one step further, how many Pagan soldiers are being given the opportunity for corporate worship should they choose? Not many. Why? Because the overwhelming number of Christian ministers in the military refuse to offer it. So the Pagan soldier is left to his own thoughts, choosing who he/she comes out of the "broom closet" to for fear of retribution by Christian superiors.

So then what do we do? We give vocal support to Pagan Soldiers. Find the organizations who are providing legal and moral support to these men and women and get involved. The least you can do is get involved in petition drives! Many sites have lists of Pagan soldiers to whom you can write and encourage.

So, to all vets, thank you from the depths of my heart for your selfless service. Whether one agrees with war or not, it is the soldier who deserves our gratitude. To the families of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, thank you. You have our thanks and our prayers. And to our Pagan brothers and sisters, may you find you do not have to serve in silence any longer.

The veterans are the foundation of our country.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Ripple In The Water

Hello Gentle Readers...
My partner and I have been attending a UU church in town the past couple of weeks. A friend who is Pagan spoke yesterday about her journey from a fundamentalist family to her life as a Pagan. It was incredibly interesting and I found myself hanging on every word and hanging on the edge of my chair.
This is some of my story, as well, minus the amazing education to which this woman has had access. I began life in the United Methodist/Congregational Methodist church and through many incarnations of religious thought have found myself on the door of Paganism. It is a long and thoughtful journey.
During my friends talk, she discussed the tenets of Paganism: "An' it harm none, do as ye will." I've always considered this the main thought in earth-based religion. Don't harm the environment, for it is Divine. Don't harm another, for they are Divine. And start with don't harm yourself, for you are Divine. One thought was that if one thinks ill against another it, by expense of energy, affects the other. Our energy enters this sphere with each action and thought. So if I think or harbor ill against another, I affect their lives. And in turn, this can affect the lives of others: the ripple in the water.
But, while we were discussing this concept, another woman spoke up and made this an even more important thought. She reminded us all that just as ill begets ill, so love begets love. If we chose to take that affect and turn it for good, we engage the ripple affect for good! Yes! This is that upon which we must focus! Returning good for evil. Changing what we feel by using our Divine nature and making the choice to be well and happy. We take that which would ruin us and use it to become even more Divine!
Oh my, what a revelation! We do not, as Divine Beings, have to simply take what is poured out on us by others with suspect intentions! We can choose to be Divine. I cannot tell you how this affects me! When my day at work is difficult, I can choose to be happy...and in that happiness and joy, overcome the evil or dark that would take my joy!!!!
I know this is rambling, and I apologize. But my mind is running in fast forward over this concept and truth. I hope you catch the enthusiasm this has brought to me and allow it to flow all over you! You can change your life. You can change your world. And you can overcome that which would hold you back!
Thank Goddess!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blessed Samhain

Merry Meet...again gentle readers...

We are fast approaching Halloween, the ancient festival Samhain (Sow'ehn) which celebrated the end of the harvest and the beginning of the winter season. This was a time of year where the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.

In ancient lore, the Goddess enters the place of the Crone. The God dies to be reborn at the beginning of Summer. To some, this would sound absurd. But to the ancients, who celebrated two seasons, this made perfect sense and it was how they celebrated the spiritual. The spiritual for these people infiltrated the whole of their lives. All things living and dead were honored.

In my personal journey, I have found a kinship to this spirituality. I have seen how my life has ebbed and flowed according to the seasons. As I seek to celebrate this Samhain, I am looking for ways to honor the dead who have gone before. Of course there are specific ways to celebrate and one can find them all over the internet. But what makes this personal is finding my own way to celebrate and give honor.

So this week I am seeking wisdom on this very thing. The altar set up you see in the picture above is beautiful. But where to set up an altar where the cats and dogs can't bother it? And where to find the wonderful things that are shown on it? There is a woman who has a booth in our flea market and I can probably find some things there. However, there is a strong sense of nature on this altar. And being in the deep south makes it difficult to find strikingly beautiful fall colored leaves. I am considering evergreens as a sign of the circle of life in which we all find ourselves.

I suppose this should be a blog of great insight and import. I am at a place along this spiritual path of seeking my own way and the immortals that would guide me in that way. Samhain this year will be a beginning of a new path, not necessarily an ending: finding my way through the winter season and learning to communicate with and honor those who have gone before.

To those Christians who would be agast at this journey, remember that your own journey infused these holidays and named them for your own use. What we in the Pagan community celebrate as Samhain, you named All Saints Day. The same is true with most, if not all, Christian holidays. They were borrowed from the Pagans and Heathens as their own. So how can one assimilate Christianity and Paganism? I can't say I understand. However, for me, they do infuse each other into a wonderful tapestry of spirituality.

So I encourage you to study Samhain and see how you can make this celebration your own. Look across the year and seek to honor the dead...and the living. Understand that you are fast approaching the end of summer and the beginning of the winter season. I have come to realize the refreshing that is winter. In meditation and celebration, you will see it too if you have an open heart and mind...and spirit...to that which is Samhain.

I wish you a blessed Samhain and a refreshing winter season!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Warrantless Wiretaps Approved????

You'll be broken-hearted by the image at the left. If you're not, you're not breathing.

In the last election, this country gave the Congress to people we had hoped would care about what America stands for; the freedoms and privacy we have sent our men and women to die for!

All hope has now escaped me. Just when I thought they, the Congress, might rebound and show some intestinal fortitude. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Lead by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, they gave our mal-administration an open door to spying on their own people - US - the Americans who bleed red, white and blue.

Even though none of it truly surprises me since I've seen this Bush group at work for several years now, it disappoints me to the point of despair. When will our senators and representatives stand up for us? When will we stand up for ourselves? Gee, we thought we did that during the last election when we effectively made George Bush and his minions lame ducks. But...no...here come the Dems we hoped to save us, save our military men and women, and preserve our freedoms and rights, and shove us under the bus of fascism.

Dear Goddess deliver us from this evil. If there ever was a wolf in sheep's clothing, this is it. If you think I'm incorrect, take time to go to the White House website and view the (p)resident's "signing statements." These are nothing more than Bush's circumventing of the checks and balances our forefathers saw as necessary to keep us free.

Stop a moment and read the article in The Christian Monitor. It's an eye-opener. And if you are enlightened, start doing your own research into the disaster which is this mal-administration. Amazing what one can find on the internet - if you look at overseas media. Certainly, our media is either hog-tied or tongue-tied (or both) and shamefully deficient at providing truth.

You ask what this has to do with spirituality? Everything! Spirituality is a search for truth. One only need to meditate on Goddess' goodness to see that America has been an experiment in designing a country around truth. Sadly, that truth has been twisted into a lie and many people are suffering for it.

(click on the title to see the CSM article in full.)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Independence Day

Independence Day

I could not let this holiday pass without asking each of us to thank a soldier. A soldier is the highest expression of courage and selflessness.

But, be angered by the carelessness of this Administration and their lack of concern for those who would serve them. The conditions at Walter Reed and many other VA Hospitals are deplorable. The backlog in determinations of disability are unforgivable. All the while these men and women suffer through war and its aftermath, those in the Administration continue to line their financial pockets with the profits of their blood lust.

It is wrong. Simple and to the point. Wrong. However, unless those of us who understand that to WAGE PEACE is the better way stand up and demand that our voices of dissent be heard, the wars will continue.

Iraq and Afghanistan. We are losing soldiers by the hundreds each month. And those countries are losing citizens by even greater numbers. It is holocaust. Now some in Congress and the White House are calling for, and implementing, plans to invade Iran. There is continuing war in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria... And the list continues to grow. We have the threat of North Korea, which is very real and very ignored. Unless something miraculous happens, we are well on our way to another World War.

And who is caught in the middle of this giant pissing contest by our leaders? Our brave, courageous and wonderful soldiers! They committed themselves to protect this country from all threats, foreign and domestic. But, this wasn't a threat until our (p)resident decided to invade a sovereign country, topple a foreign leader, and take over his country...and then take control of the country's biggest trade...the OIL. Oh, and "Osama who?" Our soldiers in Afghanistan are spitting in the wind trying to bring the one person responsible for 9/11 to justice!

All the while, our soldiers are
fighting for their lives. Be a stand up person this Independence Day. Stand up for our soldiers! Express your deep and abiding gratefulness for their continued sacrifice. Stop staring at the pretty colors of the fireworks and get a real sense of what is going on in our world today. Then get active! Wage peace. Write your congressional representatives. Tell them to stop the madness that is this war.

Goddess bless our military men and women...and their families who sacrifice greatly for our good.

Monday, June 18, 2007

An' ye harm none...

This is the Wiccan Rede. The two principles shown are pretty good...and pretty standard for anyone who seeks a spiritual path.

First, "An' ye harm none, do what ye will." So how is that important today, regardless of your spiritual path? Simple. What's the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have done unto you? Sound familiar?

I think every religion or spirituality has some kind of rule that is similar. It's important to act with respect and concern for others...and for onesself. The Rede does say, "An' ye harm none..." Doesn't that include self? I believe it does. So if we are living a path that is full of self-harm and self-degredation, are we not failing to follow the Rede?

An example comes to mind. Recently on a forum in which I participate a couple of folks were talking about being confronted by Christians (as they are Wiccan) or others who wanted to engage in conversation. One person seemed flustered and ended the conversation without even purchasing the book they went there to get. Another spoke about religious folks who come to your door.

Here's the rub: Are we to be kind-hearted and gentle with these souls even though we disagree and think they're obnoxious? Or are we to meet them head to head on spiritual matters? I think kindness wins out. Here's why: If we are confrontational, have we not done the exact thing we dislike in them? I believe so. Just as they are not going to change our beliefs with their approach, neither are we going to change theirs. It just becomes a stand-off of who's the better fighter. To me, this fails the Wiccan Rede. We are harming them by being confrontational and rude. And in the end, aren't we really harming ourselves by allowing our peace to be shattered by our rudeness?

Some may disagree, but I would put forth that it is easy to get caught up in the affairs of the world around us that can and will cause us to give up the peace we seek. And if that is the case, does the junk that clogs up our spiritual conduit give us an impairment when we seek to perform rituals or prayers?

I had to learn a while back that what Christians have been taught as "witnessing" is nothing more than quoting bible verses. When most are asked to explain their spirituality, they cannot. Again, they revert back to quotes. Now, does that mean we cannot involve ourselves in meaningful dialogue with them? No, of course not. I LOVE a good conversation on spiritual matters. It challenges me to think through my spiritual journey and to understand within myself that which is important. I don't really think of challenging the other. I think of what I can learn. However, in so doing, the person I am with is challenged, as well. This is the essence of conversation, isn't it? Mutual stimulation! There is a difference between the challenge of stimulation and the challenge warring against another's beliefs.

So, I offer you the challenge. When confronted by others who may not share your spiritual journey, consider your speech and body posture. Are you one who encourages another to find their inner self and God(s) or Goddess(es)? Or are you simply argumentative for arguments' sake? Arguments never solved a problem, nor have they ever encouraged self-discovery.

Dialogues do just that. So take to heart the Wiccan Rede which reads, in part: "An' ye harm none, do as ye will."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

In memory of those who served selflessly and gave all.

In memory of and to honor our female soldiers. They supposedly don't serve in combat roles. But our Defense Department lies. Many mothers, sisters and daughters have fallen in Iraq. Many who have returned home, are suffering not only the physical and mental scars of war, but are treated as wimps and whiners by their own V.A.

To honor soldiers who have faced the ugliness of war, cried for their lost comrades, and come home to horrible treatment at Walter Reed when they should receive the very best America has to offer. May we rise up in protest and give them the health care they need and deserve!

And to my brave soldier, my partner, my life. Her time in Iraq cost her much. But she wore the uniform with pride and served in spite of terrible conditions and a lying President. She will always be my hero.

Today, as you meet people through your journey, thank a soldier. Thank them for their selfless service. Thank them for being brave. Thank them for our freedom. Because without their willingness to sacrifice, there would be no America.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New Blog

I am pleased to announce a new blog: The Spirit Journey. I have found myself traveling along a path that is one of depth and surprise. I hope to continue to share my journey with you. As a Celtic Christian, I find myself reaching back to my ancestry to a place of reverence for nature and creation. I invite you again to join me on the journey.

Rev. Cindi


Sunday, February 11, 2007


Sunday. For some, a day of rest. For some, a day of worship. For some, a day for work.

This day has started out with a bang. Patti was rear-ended on the way to work. What started out as a day of work quickly turned into a day of worship and a day of rest.

I've wondered how a day can be all three things. It would seem that rest would negate the action of worship and worship would negate the requirement to work, etc. But here we are.

A dear friend and co-worker was on the doorstep this morning letting me know about the accident. My peace was quickly shattered and I prayed that Goddess had protected my partner.

Funny thing though. As I got to the accident site, I was struck by the beauty of the morning. Yes, everyone was alright, albeit a bit beat up and sore. But the sun was shining with a brightness I've not seen in days. The air was crisp and cold, heightening the senses. The dew had frozen on the windshield in the most amazing shapes and sizes! There was so much to behold.

As all of the people involved met with the police and exchanged information, I saw the trees on the side of the road. They were tall southern pines. Their size spoke of majesty. Neat thing about these southern pines: they grow very tall but all the branches are at the top of the trees. It's like the entire tree trunk is a root for the new growth.

I began to think about how much like those trees our lives become: We grow and each new level of understanding becomes a foundation for new growth.
So, even in the midst of confusion and concern our Mother speaks to us in the depths of our spirit about the importance of life.