Merry Meet and Welcome!

Merry Meet and Welcome!

We hope that you will find our content to be uplifting and educational. Please keep in mind that this is not a space for debate or criticism but rather a place for respect, curiosity and learning.

You are encouraged to take what you can from what we share here. If you want to know more, do not look to the contributors of this blog to teach anything beyond what we post. Seek out what feels right for you, trust the Spirit to guide you and have faith in our heavenly parents who are the givers of all pure knowledge.

June 22, 2011

Summer Solstice and the Celebration That Wasn't


This Solstice was spent the same way Beltane was- sick in bed. This is becoming a trend with me this year, coming down with something the day before the festivities are to take place.

But no matter. The cycle continues whether or not I speak the words or party with my kids. It still sucks, though, because Beltane and Summer Solstice are my two favorites...

I love sunflowers. My husband calls me his sunflower
because I love the sun as much as they do.

The Summer Solstice takes place on the longest day of the year, the zenith of the sun. It's at this time when the imagery of the light of God the Father is the most powerful as it is the most obvious to us. This day we set aside as a family to bask not only in the sun's light but in the Light of God the Father. 

We pray:
"Father, as the wheel turns year by year we are continually renewed by Your eternal vigor and passion. We honor Your wisdom and are blessed in Your teachings; through which we come to understand the cycle of Life and our part in it.” 
(adapted from Fiona Horne's Witch: A Magical Journey)

And we bask in the sun's warming rays.
<insert pictures of my children playing in the water under the sun here>

We eat the yummy fruits and veggies the sun helps provide for us.

my super awesome idea of yumminess that
will have to wait until next year, now...

We light colorful candles of yellow and blue and pink and green and we read the poetry of Valerie Worth:

King of seasons, tower of light, 
Tree of fire, crest of flight,
Eternal flower, crown of flame, 
Golden apex, summer's name,
Sun our ruler, sun our lover, 
Son our father, sun or brother
...
Lo, on the flames of spring have we aspired toward thee,
And on the wings of summer now we rise, 
On thy wings who are the father of all wings:
Thy winged sphere our kingdom,
Wither we ascend,
Where we shall find our immortality 
Beyond time and space:
The fires of they face and the fires of thy name
Shall be our own transfiguration and redemption. 
(snippets from page 134 and 135 of the book linked above)


We thank the sun and we thank the Father for the sun and the Son and for His wisdom and guidance.

And we prepare for the sun to begin his retreat and the dark to grow in it's strength...

June 19, 2011

Preparing for Summer Solstice and Midsummer's Eve

This blog is cross posted on my personal blog here


In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

-Robert Louis Stevenson


Summer is HERE. We are sweating, we are swimming, we are eating delicious fruits from the Farmer's Market and spending lots of time outside.

In the summer time it can be hard to get a hold of one's schedule. There are SOOOO many festivals and holidays to celebrate. Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed, similar to the way I feel in December. There are so many things I want to do, so many traditions I want to enrich my children's lives yet, I don't want my carefree summer overloaded.

My solution is to do some combining. I like to combine Summer Solstice (which usually happens on the 20th or 21st of June) with Midsummer's Eve, also known as St. John the Baptist Day (which takes place on the 24th). This way I can stretch a few fun activities and stories over a 4-5 day time period and take an easier pace with it.

I also like to do another combo week of Canada day (July 1st), Fourth of July, and Scottish Midsummer/Summer Solstice which is on July 5th and also happens to be my baptism anniversary.

But let's get back to this coming week and what it will look like in our home.

June 21st is Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year. The sun is at his height, he is as strong as he can get, beating down upon our fresh crops and feeding them with his rays. But this is also the tipping point. After this night the sun will grow weaker and weaker until he is reborn at Winter Solstice.

Have you ever stopped to contemplate sunlight? What a marvelous creation! The sun gives us everything. Light, energy, food, warmth. We cannot live without this cheery fellow in the sky.

The sun is constant. I think it's no coincidence that Father's day is celebrated near Summer Solstice. After all fathers are the sunlight of a family. Never wavering, always strong and constant. They rise every morning and set every evening and provide for us the whole day through. No wonder many cultures have equated the sun with Heavenly Father. Such radiant and dependable love!

Midsummer's Eve is a tradition which was held in various parts of the world, especially in Northern Europe. It was very much a part of the Summer Solstice celebrations and when Christianity arrived it also became the nativity of John the Baptist who as we all know was born six month before Jesus.

John the Baptist is one of my favorite biblical characters. He very much paved the way for the messiah to come. His preaching and baptizing at the river Jordon is a beautiful narrative of the power of the natural world, in this case flowing water. 

John the Baptist is also very important in my faith tradition. John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith Jr and Oliver Cowdery on May 15th, 1829 and baptized the hence restoring the Aaronic Priesthood to the earth and giving every Latter-day Saint a direct baptismal heritage to John the Baptist.


Ideas for Celebration


Crafts

- Make streamers from a stick and some colorful ribbon
- Cut out orange suns from paper and hang them in the window
- Make paper fans
- Paint orange suns on a window using window paints
- Make pinwheels
- Make huge soap bubbles using a hanger and a large bucket of suds
- Do some face painting (add a few drops of soap to your regular non toxic paint)

Activities

- Take a trip to the river, pond, beach or city pool
- Watch A Midsummer's Night Dream
- Listen to the audio recording of A Midsummer's Night Dream on Libra Vox
- Read about John the Baptist in the scriptures
- Have a picnic
- Have a family BBQ
- Make fruit salad from summer fruits
- Drum, dance
- Journal about your baptism, what it meant for you and what it still means
- Decorate with yellow and/or orange streamers
- Felt flowers, fairies, and fruits from naturally dyed wool
- Visit the Farmer's Market
- Read summer poems
- Hold an orange dinner - oranges, scrambled egg yolks, orange bell peppers, rice with tumeric, etc.

Summer Blessings!

June 17, 2011

Maggie's Intro


There are few things as awkward as the introduction post and I am in the royal court of awkward. Fair warning...

Hiya! I'm Maggie mother to 5 little girls (yes, all girls)- Lilith Luthien (7), Mable Mirkwood (5), Olive Onodrim (4), and twins Birdie Bree & Poppy Peregrin (nearing 2). If those names don't show our Earth loving crunchy ways I don't know what will. I married at 18 to my wonderful husband in 2003 and before the age of 24 we were blessed with our 5 little ladies. Life is good!

We are striving to live a whole and simple life here in the Southern California desert. Part of this is a deep reverence not only for the gospel but for our Mama Earth. We follow the seasons and find that the symbolism found in the cycles of the Earth and in life are matched with the symbolism within the gospel. We learn through such symbols and find wisdom through their repetition so this has become an important family practice for us.

I was raised LDS though fairly inactive. In my teens I became a very faithful member but that was short-lived as I found the inequality between men and women to be inexcusable. At the same time I left my mother to live with my aunt in Washington I discovered Goddess spirituality with my older cousin and became Wiccan. For the next 5 or 6 years this was my path. Towards the end of those years I dived into the Dianic tradition and really began to explore womanhood. I truly believe that this opened me up to accepting the gospel again through revering womanhood, motherhood and, of course, Heavenly Mother. It was at this time that my husband (a Pagan more than a Wiccan) decided to convert to Mormonism. I felt moved by the Spirit that night along with him and made the decision to come back to the church and the gospel. With this we packed up our altars and put away our herbs, candles, cauldrons, statues... All of it. It was very emotional especially when I threw out my Tarot cards. I kept my favorite card from each- the Lovers. I still have them tucked away.

We played the good Latter-Day Saints for a few years. Were sealed a couple of years after his baptism and welcomed 3 more little ones. But we felt that something was lacking. We knew what it was but we felt "wrong" for it. And then we had a shift in belief... Long story short we have abandoned religious literalism and have become unorthodox Mormons with a fierce independent streak. The cores of this is that we were finally able to separate the church from the gospel. They aren't one and the same. We haven't felt as devoted to the faith as we do now, funny enough.

My husband does not identify as a Pagan though he still feels very much connected to that Pagan/Earth loving spirit. We do observe the seasons as a family which he is fully committed to. I believe that neo-Paganism/the Craft is my practice where Mormonism is my belief. My husband feels Buddhism is his practice. It all fits together nicely for us as individuals and as a couple.

I have returned to the Tarot. As I said above I have a deep love for symbolism and the Tarot is no different. I use them for deep inflection. They are a big part of my spiritual practice as much as meditation, prayers and mantras.

I have discovered the beauty of liturgy and poetry as prayer. This has really opened me up on a spiritual level. I include both in my everyday practice as well as in special ritual. Again with the symbolism!

That about sums me up. I have taken the liberty of re-posting two blog posts from our family blog here on the same date they were posted on my blog to maintain the year's flow of this blog. One is on Christmas/Winter Solstice and the other on the Spring Equinox.

So excited to be here again!