Sunday, 27 December 2009

See You in the New Year!


I'm flying to Manitoba today to visit my Mom for a few days. I'll be back blogging again in the New Year. So have a great (and safe) New Year's Eve, everyone, and see you in 2010!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Hey Santa!

Now that Santa has come and gone and all the gifts have been opened, let's make time for just one more seasonal carol, shall we?

"Hey Santa!" was written by an Australian named Kevin "Bloody" Wilson. It totally captures the contemporary spirit of Christmas and is surely destined to become a modern holiday classic. Here's a video of it being sung by one of my favourite Canadian comedy teams, Bowser and Blue, on their CBC Christmas special a few years ago. (FYI, the audio and video are out of sync for the first 30 seconds but everything's fine after that).

Enjoy!


Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas Day


Torches here, Jeannette, Isabella!
Torches here, to the stable, run!
This is Jesus, good folk of the village.
Christ is born, 'tis Mary calling --
Ah! Ah! Beautiful is the Mother!
Ah! Ah! Beautiful is Her Son!

--17th century Provencal carol

May the Magna Mater and Her Divine Child bring their special blessings to the World once again. Be it so!


[Do you see the vesica piscis in this beautiful illustration? And the crescent moon? Together they form the circle of life and wholeness.]

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Santa's on his way!


When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was the most magical evening of the entire year. Full of excitement and anticipation, it was the one night when we would go to bed early without complaint. After all, the sooner we got to sleep, the sooner Christmas morning would arrive and the sooner we could open our gifts! Right before bedtime, we'd put out a glass of milk for Santa and a plate with a couple of cookies on it. How exciting it was to find the empty glass and bare plate the next morning! Irrefutable proof that Santa had been in our house. How sweet is the innocent certainty of childish belief. And how fleeting, when viewed against a lifetime's experience.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Bun-O-Vision Christmas Classic


Has the Christmas rush got you down? Is your life a hectic blur? Don't have time to relax and watch those classic Christmas movies we all know and love? Well, have I got a treat for you! Now you can watch It's a Wonderful Life in a mere 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies!

http://www.angryalien.com/1204/wonderful_lifebuns.asp

LOL! Okay, now get back to shopping, decorating and baking! Christmas is just around the corner!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Winter Solstice


Deep, deep, deep into the heart of the winter.
Deep, deep, deep into the womb of the Mother.
Deep, deep, deep where there is no other
Song but the song of my soul!

--Anne Hill

As we mark the year's shortest day and longest night, enjoy both the Light that will return with greater daily strength and the Dark that nourishes us with introspection, rest and rejuvenation.

Night of long darkness.
Candles burn. Songs call the light:
"Return, touch our hearts."

--Antonia Matthew

Solstice Blessings to you all!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

My Spiritual Name: "She Who Seeks"


Many years ago in a Winnipeg mall, I ran across a temporary kiosk selling calligraphic prints illustrating the meaning of given names. I looked up "Debra," expecting (of course) to find it translated literally as "honeybee." Imagine my surprise when I found it translated as "she who seeks"!

After reflection, however, this new translation started to make sense to me. Honeybees are female. Therefore, "she." And what does a honeybee spend her time doing? She "seeks" flowers and pollen in order to make honey. So "she who seeks" is actually quite a wonderful symbolic or conceptual translation of "Debra/Honeybee."

But more than that, "she who seeks" accurately and succinctly summarizes my life of seeking spiritual truth wherever I may find it. After embarking on my spiritual journey as an adolescent, I spent nearly 20 years seeking before finding the Goddess Path. Like a honeybee, I went in turn to most of the flowers in the spiritual garden and took some wisdom teachings from each. I have now been on the Goddess Path for a further 20 years, but I still seek diverse wisdom teachings as I journey.

So although I was not actively looking for a spiritual name, "Debra She Who Seeks" came to me as a gift and fits so well that I have gladly adopted it.

And now you also understand the symbolism of my blog header, LOL!

Friday, 18 December 2009

My Spiritual Name: "Debra" (Part 2)


When I was a teenager, there was a book called Your Destiny is in Your Name. It concerned numerology, if I remember correctly. I didn't put much stock in my destiny being in my name.

But when I discovered the deep Goddess connections of my name, it did feel to me like I had somehow been marked as Hers right from the beginning. My mother unintentionally expressed my life's path simply by choosing that starlet's name for me. Funny, isn't it? Carl Jung would say, No, it is synchronicity. There are no meaningless coincidences.

So "Debra" remains the central component of my spiritual name. But where did the rest of it come from?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

My Spiritual Name: Deborah, Judge of Ancient Israel


The books of the Old Testament reflect many different historical eras in the life of the Jewish people. Scholars now recognize that the Old Testament contains evidence of Jewish spiritual beliefs which predate, or competed with, their belief in Jehovah, the male God of monotheism. Traces remain both of Jewish polytheism and of Jewish belief in the Divine Feminine. These traces, apparent in the original Hebrew language, are more obscured in the English translations.

One such trace is found in the figure of Deborah in the Book of Judges, Chapters 4 and 5. Once again, the Jewish people were in bondage for having done "evil in the sight of the Lord" -- meaning they'd been worshipping other deities again. (There was a lot of wavering back and forth by Jews in the Old Testament). Scholars now think that Deborah's name (Honeybee) was not her personal name, but a title meaning (as we have seen) Priestess of the Goddess. In that capacity, she was the leader of her people, a role that was not possible for a woman under patriarchal monotheism. So this story must actually have its origins in an era when Jews honoured the Divine Feminine. (In a later period, references to the Lord God were added to make the story conform to monotheism).

In her capacity as a Deborah, this female leader acted as a prophetess, a warrior and a judge or final settler of disputes. She led her people to freedom from their oppressor. The Victory Song of Deborah features prominently in the Old Testament text.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

My Spiritual Name: The Bee Goddess

Bees have been sacred to the Divine Feminine for thousands of years in ancient civilizations from Babylon to Rome. Virtually all bees are female and they serve a single Queen Bee. Only bees can perform the transformative magic of turning pollen into honey. In ancient times, honey was the only sweetener available. It was also a powerful and much valued preservative. Honey was accordingly seen as one of the most precious gifts of the Goddess.

In Classical Greece, many Goddesses such as Rhea, Artemis, Cybele and Demeter were characterized as Bee Goddesses (among their other attributes). Their priestesses were called "melissae," which is Greek for "honeybees," because they served the Bee Goddess. At the temple of Artemis in Ephesus, the Goddess was also served by castrated priests called "essenes," which is Greek for "drones" (male bees).

"Melissa," a name still popularly given to girls, means "honeybee" and connotes "priestess of the Goddess." The equivalent Hebrew name, "Debra," means the same thing.


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

My Spiritual Name: "Debra" (Part 1)


Being a child of the 1950s, I was named for Debbie Reynolds, the wholesome girl-next-door actress whose husband Eddie Fisher was stolen by that evil temptress Elizabeth Taylor. (For younger readers of this blog, think of Jennifer Aniston whose husband Brad Pitt was stolen by Angelina Jolie). Pop culture being what it was, there were a lot of Debbies in my age group.

I learned from books that "Debra" is a Hebrew name that means "honeybee." Well, isn't that odd, I thought.

I also knew there was a famous Deborah in the Old Testament. She was a warrior and a judge of Ancient Israel. Well, isn't that odd, I thought.

It wasn't until I was on the Goddess Path that I learned the full significance of those facts. What I learned taught me that my name profoundly honours the Goddess. It connects me to Her in such a way that no new spiritual name could improve on the given name that I already have. I'll explain more in my next two posts.

Monday, 14 December 2009

My Spiritual Name: Intro


It's not uncommon for those on a spiritual path to choose a new name for themselves. In paganism, it's usually called a spiritual name, a craft name, a magickal name or a circle name, etc. A new name often denotes a spiritual rebirth (like Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus) or the dedication of one's life to spiritual matters (like nuns and monks who choose new names upon taking their vows). A new name can also provide the safety of anonymity in case of religious persecution or danger (as for those in witchcraft covens). It is also an act of personal power to name yourself, a declaration that you take full control of, and responsibility for, your life. Great care usually goes into choosing a new name.

I did not actually intend to adopt a spiritual name but one nevertheless came to me over time. In my posts this week, I'll share with you how I came by my spiritual name, "Debra She Who Seeks."

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Sankta Lucia


Sankta Lucia is the Scandinavian Goddess of the Winter Solstice. After the longest night of the year, She brings back the light to illuminate the darkness so that Her people will have sunshine, food, warmth and survival. Her very name means "Sacred Light." When Europe was Christianized, the Goddess went "undercover" as a saint, but Her Feast Day remained on the Winter Solstice and Her rituals continued unchanged. However, when Renaissance Europe switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, several days were lost in the conversion and Her Feast Day ended up being on December 13.

So ends the longest night
With light that She's bringing.
She is the Queen of Light
Joyfully singing!
Clad in Her garment white,
Wearing Her crown of light --
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

In the Procession of Light, Sankta Lucia is accompanied by many candle-bearing attendants -- Maidens in white dresses and Star Boys in conical star-studded hats. All celebrate the return of the light in this beautiful and ancient ceremony.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Shalom


Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. Tonight the first candle will be lit. Best wishes to everyone who celebrates the ancient miracle and blessing of enduring light!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Christmas Tag!


No, not that kind! Julie of The Domestic Witch has tagged me to do The Christmas Survey originated by Heather of Top 10 Christmas. Here are the official rules (and those of you who get tagged at the end will need them, bwa-ha-ha-ha!):

1. Copy and paste the questions into your blog.
2. Link to the person who tagged you and also to Heather of Top 10 Christmas.
3. Answer the questions.
4. Then tag 5 or more of your favourite blogs, and leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged.

Okay, here we go . . . .

The Christmas Survey

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
Started? I'm finished! What the hell's wrong with you that you're not done yet?

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.
Every year at Christmas I get pissed to the eyeballs on eggnog and rum and get all weepy and sentimental and annoying. (Actually no, I don't. But it sounds edgier than saying I go to a live performance of Handel's Messiah every Christmas.)

3. When do you put up your tree?
Usually about a month before The Big Day. The more revealing question would be: when do you take down your tree? One year I took it down in June. Hey, I was busy.

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper?
We don't have Black Friday in Canada because we celebrate Thanksgiving on the correct date in October. I also fixed all the American spelling in these questions and substituted the correct English spelling which we use in Canada. (*haughty sniff*)

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home?
Both, really. I stay home to celebrate Christmas and Boxing Day with My Rare One and then I travel to visit my Mom in another province.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?
That's a tough one. I could easily think of Christmas memories that are pleasant, loving, sentimental, bittersweet, awful or horrible, but funny? Hmmm. Probably when my cat played in the Christmas wrappings and got all goofy and tangled up.

7. What is your favourite Christmas movie of all time?
The original British black-and-white movie of The Christmas Carol, starring Alasdair Sim. But I have a weak spot for It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart, too.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking and what's your favourite treat?
I have never done Christmas baking in my life and have no intention of starting now. My favourite treat is anything baked by someone else. I'm a leech, I know.

9. Fake or real tree?
Who cares? Now, fake or real boobs -- that's an interesting question!

10. What day does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
Never. See answers to questions 1, 3 and 8.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Absolutely not. One year I went and saw Pulp Fiction on Christmas Eve. In terms of cultivating the Christmas spirit, it was a mistake.

12. What is your favourite family fun time at Christmas?
Opening gifts on Christmas morning.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?
Good God, I don't have time to do crafts. But I make time to go to Christmas craft sales and buy other people's.

14. Christmas music, yes or no? If yes, what is your favourite song?
I love Christmas music and would listen to it 12 months a year, if it didn't result in death threats being made against me. Hmmm, my favourite song? Right now I adore Gabriel's Message. "The Angel Gabriel to Mary came, His wings as drifted snow, His eyes as flame!" Yowza!

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
See answer to question 1. GLOAT!

So now I will pass on The Christmas Survey to 5 other lucky bloggers. If you don't celebrate Christmas as such, feel free to substitute Yule or a Yule/Christmas combo or Hanukkah or even something else entirely. Also, anyone who reads this and wants to do The Christmas Survey, just go ahead and do it. You don't need to be officially tagged to join in the fun and mayhem.

1. Jackiesue of Yellowdog Granny
5. Corey of Madtexter

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Pink Glove Dance

Recently, the doctors, nurses and staff of the Providence St. Vincent Medical Centre in Portland, Oregon got together and, in true Bollywood style, made this fabulous Pink Glove Dance video to promote breast cancer awareness. The manufacturer of those *groovy* pink gloves, Medline, donates a portion of its annual sales to the U.S. National Breast Cancer Foundation, which provides education and free mammograms for those in need.

I just love this video and its light-hearted sense of fun! And I love seeing REAL PEOPLE in a music video for a change! And it's for a good cause. How great is that?

Monday, 7 December 2009

Snowflake Fun


Remember how much fun it was to make paper snowflakes when you were a kid? Or perhaps the fun continues and you still make them!

It should surprise no one these days that there is now a digital alternative to the old paper and scissors method. Check out this website and start creating your own snowflakey digital masterpieces!

After all, 'tis the season for snow! (At least up here in the Great White North!)

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Montreal Massacre: Twenty Years Ago Today


Although it seems to me like it only happened recently, 20 years have now in fact passed since December 6, 1989 when a crazed anti-feminist gunman killed 14 young women at L'Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. I remember how, in the aftermath of that murderous rampage, many women across Canada wore red buttons emblazoned with a single word, Feminist, to show that the movement for women's equality cannot be stopped by fear or intimidation. In the early years, the annual December 6th Vigils focused exclusively on the women of the Montreal Massacre, but eventually the Vigils became a broader forum for remembering all women who suffer violence or death due to gender. In Canada, December 6 is now the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Friday, 4 December 2009

The Little Drummer Girls


Earlier this week the Women's Drumming and Goddess Chanting Circle met to celebrate the Winter Solstice. This is one of my most favourite circles every year. We honoured Sankta Lucia, the Nordic Goddess of the Winter Solstice, with drumming, singing and much snacking on seasonal goodies. We sang special Solstice songs and chants, some of which are "reclaimed" Christmas carols. One of these, "The Little Drummer Girls," is always a particular favourite of the women of the Circle -- for obvious reasons, no doubt! Here are the lyrics (and just imagine the pa-rum-pa-pum-pums in the second and third verses, okay? It'll save me lots of typing, LOL!):

Sun, they told us,
Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
Would rise again today,
Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
Her finest gifts She brings,
Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
Sustain us 'til the Spring,
Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
Rum-pa-pum-pum
Rum-pa-pum-pum
We will honour Her,
Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
When She comes.

Winter Solstice,
We come to celebrate,
You have a flame to bring,
A source of warmth 'til Spring,
We will honour You,
With our drums.

May we meet again,
May hand and drum keep time,
We play our drums for You,
We play our best for You,
May You smile on us,
As we drum.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Wise Advice and a Question


What I want to know is -- where can I get one of those brassieres? My old Wonderbra just ain't cutting it anymore!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Grey Cup ANGUISH


I only watch one football game per year -- the Grey Cup championship of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Okay, so sue me -- I'm not the most dedicated sports fan in the Great White North. But I have watched every Grey Cup game since I was a little girl -- probably at least *cough* 45 *cough* games by now. Hey, I personally remember watching the mud bowl, the fog bowl and the snow bowl too. I know the CFL rules and I actually do understand the down system, thanks to my Mom who taught me.

So Sunday was the 2009 Big Game, which was held in Calgary. As a loyal Westerner, I was of course cheering for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. They started off strong and led in the first half, but the Montreal Alouettes fought back. With about 10 seconds left in the game, it was Saskatchewan 27 and Montreal 25. Then Saskatchewan was assessed a 10-yard penalty for inadvertently having an extra player on the field and that put Montreal close enough to score a field goal.

Montreal 28, Saskatchewan 27.

So poor Saskatchewan snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, as they say, and Montreal stole the Grey Cup away from the West. Oh, the pain of it all!

But just wait until next year! The West shall rise again!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I'm Baaaaack!

Well, I'm breathing easier now -- my Christmas shopping is essentially done, the tree is decorated and this weekend I'll be able to mail all our Christmas cards and my sister's holiday package. There's still more gift wrapping to do but that's easily accomplished by December 25th. Now I can enjoy the holiday craft sales, concerts, parties and general merry-making of December without worrying about getting the basics done. Life is good.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Christmas Madness!


The last two weeks of November and the first week of December are always the busiest time of the entire year for me. The reason is simple -- Christmas. These three weeks are when my holiday preparations come to a head: shopping, wrapping, getting cards ready to send, mailing packages, decorating. I like to have everything done by early December so I can relax and enjoy all the holiday parties, concerts and general socializing that fill the rest of the month. Because I work full time, scheduling everything that needs to be done for Christmas can be quite a challenge. So alas, I will probably not be doing much, if any, blogging between now and early December. But fear not -- I'll be back -- although probably trailing wrapping paper, scotch tape and a big tangled ball of mini-lights, with postage stamps stuck to my tongue.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Transporting Sacred Water


The Lion's Head is where pilgrims gather sacred spring water to take home and, for that purpose, Chalice Garden sells plastic souvenir bottles. When I went to buy one, the saleslady took note of my foreign accent, deduced that I would be flying home (not driving) and told me that I'd never get my water home in one of their bottles. Because of airport security, the bottle would have to go in my checked luggage, and the bottle tops were simply not watertight. The sacred water would all leak out during the flight, she said.

So off I went to the Glastonbury shops, where I found a metal Glogg water bottle with a good, waterproof, screw-on top. On the mystical morning of 09-09-09, I filled it full of sacred water and screwed the top on tight. For good measure, I put it inside a big zip-lock freezer bag along with a couple of the small (empty) Chalice Well plastic bottles. I'm pleased to report that the water made it back to Edmonton safe and sound! Once home, I decanted it from the Glogg bottle into the more decorative souvenir bottles.

At the October meeting of the Women's Drumming and Goddess Chanting Circle, we celebrated the Goddess of Avalon and had a special blessing with the Chalice Well water. Each woman received a tiny half-ounce plastic champagne flute as a Holy Grail stand-in. I poured sacred water into each flute from the Chalice Well bottle. Then we each thought of something in our life that needs healing, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or financial. I recited the following blessing --

Daughters of the Goddess, may you be blessed and healed by this sacred water from Goddess's holy Chalice Well in Avalon. Blessed be!

Then we all raised our glasses to the Goddess and drank Her sacred water of life.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Lion's Head


The Lion's Head is where one may drink from the Red Spring in Chalice Well Garden. It is essentially a spout which pours a steady stream of water over a couple of millstones in a small pool. (Note the heavy iron oxide build-up -- a reminder not to drink TOO much of this sacred water!) Our priestess and tour leader, Mara Freeman, led us in a beautiful ceremony at the Lion's Head. Each of us filled a pewter chalice to the brim with sacred water, thought of what we wanted to release from our lives and then poured the water back into the pool. Filling the chalice again, we thought of what we wanted the Goddess to bring into our lives and then we drank that water. Be it so!


Near the end of our stay at Chalice Garden, the Lion's Head acquired a stick-on diamond bindi on his Third Eye chakra! See it in the above photo? I suspect it was a gift from a hippy family that was in the Garden the previous afternoon. I thought it was a wonderful way to honour the Guardian of the Sacred Water!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Our Sunday Ritual


Every Sunday morning, my Rare One and I go for strawberry waffles at a nearby restaurant. It's our own special time. While enjoying our waffles, we try to answer the trivia questions in the local Coffee News. After that, we read our horoscopes for the upcoming week. Then we do the crossword puzzle in the newspaper.

In order to avoid any Sunday morning line-ups at the popular breakfast spot, we get there fairly early. We roll right out of bed and go. We don't even wash the stink off, as they say. Consequently, some Sundays we show up looking pretty much like this:


Ah, good times. Good times.

Friday, 13 November 2009

It's Friday the 13th Again!

This is 2009's third and final Friday the 13th, so enjoy it! If Friday the 13th is doubly sacred to the Goddess at the best of times, then a rare third Friday the 13th must be triply sacred!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Welcome, Knitty Kitty!

You may recall that last month I won a handsome Halloween Knitty Kitty (created by Thalia Took) in Mrs. B's 31 Days of Halloween contest. Well, he has now arrived in Edmonton after his long journey from the United States! We were overjoyed to meet him! All the household cats got together and threw a big party to welcome the newcomer. At first, Knitty Kitty was a little shy --

But soon he joined in with the others . . .


. . . and before he knew it, everyone was Best Friends Forever!!


Her Royal Highness joined the party as well and graciously extended the regal paw of welcome to her newest subject . . .


. . . and introduced him to the Lion Goddess Sekhmet, who fell for Knitty Kitty's charms immediately. Here they are, posing for the paparazzi --

Cat treats were consumed. Party games were played. Fun was had by all.


Knitty Kitty even went swimming in the pool with the Mermaid Goddess Yemaya and her Merkitty! Well, actually he just floated around in a lifesaver ring, but still!


Finally, the party wound down and everyone went to their various cozy corners and cubbyholes for a long catnap. Knitty Kitty finished his evening by getting a nice skritch behind the ears from Kwan Yin Herself. The Goddess loves all kitties.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Remembrance Day


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

--from "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon


[Photo copyright by Bryan Scott and found here. Used with permission. See more of Bryan's fabulous photos at Winnipeg: Love & Hate]

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Healing Waterfall


Another of Chalice Garden's water features created to showcase the waters of the Red Spring is the Healing Waterfall. It is located in a walled bower of trees and ferns, a shady and peaceful spot. The spring water splashes down a red brick waterfall surrounded by slate rocks. People often leave small offerings to the Goddess here -- a votive candle, a small apple, a stone, a feather or two. Ribbons are tied to the surrounding tree branches.

The water then flows through a narrow channel to the Healing Pool, a small rectangular pool of shallow water. People may wade there, holding on to the handrail and others' hands, walking carefully because the bottom is slippery with iron oxide build-up. (The Healing Pool gets power-washed on a regular basis too).

One afternoon while I was meditating in Chalice Garden, a large group of Christian pilgrims held a ceremony at the Healing Waterfall. They were celebrating the Virgin Mary, reciting prayers and singing hymns in honour of the Mother of God. The Red Spring is always sacred to the Divine Feminine, no matter which form She may take.