Friday, April 25, 2014

Initiation-A Fire In The Head

Originally posted to the Pagan Blog Project 2014, Week I.

In religious art, saints are often shown with a flame positioned above the head. There are two meanings to this; the first is that the individual was among those present at the first (Christian) Pentecost and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-31,New Oxford Annotated Bible), the second is that the individual had a deeply spiritual connection to a Divine source of inspiration. During the Middle Ages of European history, the common human on the street lacked the ability to read and write, so the meaning of ideas was taught symbolically through paintings and street theater. It was not unusual for someone who'd had an epiphany or sacred encounter to be portrayed with a flame above their head-literally, "a fire in the head."  As far as I can trace it, the term originated in the ' Song of the Wandering Aengus',in which William Butler Yeats refers to the visionary experience as "...a fire in the head." It is an odd phrase which I don't fully believe can be understood unless you've experienced it first hand. Many of us have had this experience just before or during our initiation into the occult mysteries (the private one, between just you and the Immanent Divine).

So here is the story of my personal initiation. I have back-linked it to an earlier post that I wrote because I don't believe I can write it any better now than I did then. Sometimes you just have to allow a thing to stand for the record.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hare Comes Peter Cottontail...

Posted to the Pagan Blog Project 2014, Week H

Hare,hare...ahem...Spring is in the air, Easter eggs are on the lawn,and there are leapin' lepus  are everywhere! Unlike their close rabbit relatives, hares bare their young in a nest of flattened grass (not in a burrow underground), and they are fully furred with eyes wide open and are instantly independent ( those equally adorable baby bunnies are born with their eyes closed and are essentially naked)...which means the hare literally hits the ground running.

Normally quiet, the male hare goes into a hormonal frenzy during mating season. The image of two hares standing on hind quarters and "boxing" aren't two males competing over a female, but is more likely a female striking a male with her front paws to avoid mating.

In tribal mythologies-African and Native American-the hare is a trickster. A character who lives unconventionally by his wits, Brother Rabbit (Br'er is a contraction, likely an honorary title given to him by indigenous people to recognize kinship) wrecks havoc on his enemies in outrageous situations.  It is believed that the Br'er Rabbit Stories popular in the Southern United States, are versions of the trickster myths retold by slaves which were written down by Robert Roosevelt, an uncle of US President Teddy Roosevelt, among others.  Very similar stories were told and known in Alabama,Georgia and Louisiana.
[]Joel Chandler Harris made Br'er Rabbit into a folk hero through his books. These days we are probably more likely to recognize him from the Disney movie Song of the South [].

As a totem animal, the hare is know for it's ability to successfully hide when threatened; they are very clever and will double back when being pursued by a predator. Those with hare as a totem must be fluid and be able to change direction at a moments notice in order to take advantage of situations with only a brief window of opportunity.[Cinnamon Moon,] Hares are one of the animals traditionally associated with witches because of their nocturnal habits; witches were often accused of keeping hares as a familiar. Legend has it that a witch could shapeshift into a hare []. In Greek mythology, the hare is associated with Hecate, goddess of witches.

Hares and rabbits were also associated with the Moon in Asian and South American folklore. For centuries, dark markings on the lunar surface show an outline that it thought to show a rabbit. There are numerous myths in both cultures concerning Lepus.[].
The rabbit also appears as one of the signs of the Chinese Zodiac.

The Easter Bunny was first mentioned in a story by German physician and botanist Georg Franck von Frankenau in his work "All About Easter Eggs" [De ovis paschalibus,Satyrae Medicae XVIII,Heidelberg,pg 6.], in which he referred to a tradition of leaving eggs at Easter for children. German immigrants to the United States in the 18th century, specifically the Pennsylvania Dutch brought with them the tradition of Osterhase (which translates to "Easter Hare", not "Easter Bunny").

As a final point of interest, three hares pictured chasing one another in a circle is also symbolic of the Triangle or Trinity. It is seen in Christian,Buddhist,Islamic,and Jewish symbolism, as well as other Eastern Religions.[

Broom With A View- 300th Post

When I drew that first deep breath and put my fingers on the keyboard to begin what would become the very first post here at AmethJera's Broom With A View on Halloween of 2010, I wasn't sure about what was going to happen once I fired the finished blog into cyberspace.

Broom With A View originated on MySpace as a part of my personal account, and I suspect you can still see some of the old posts there.
When BWAV began getting attention,  I moved it from MySpace to Blogger so it could be more easily found by its readers. Later I made a slight adjustment to the title because, let's be honest, in hindsight, I didn't choose the most original title in the world...and I knew nothing about ranking for a search engine. I am embarrassed to admit that I am still blissfully and technologically ignorant of most things connected to the computer, even after graduating from business school classes ( Thank You, Vocational Rehab!) Despite my lack of computer saavy- praise be to the gods!-this blog had over 1,600 hits last month. I am still amazed...truly. Because I started out writing this blog for me; I figured if no one else ever read it, at least I'd made an effort to formulate my thoughts in a tangible way. I was then, and am now, a solitary practitioner of the Craft. That doesn't mean that I don't want to share my experience of that; and besides, I get to teach occasionally, too.

My first post here included a statement of faith. I included it because I thought it would show people a peek at who I am. Looking back, I think it was equally as important for me to put those things into words so when I needed to, I could remind myself who I am. From time to time I still need that, because it's not so simple anymore. As is the nature of all things, life changes continuously. I am not the same person I was four years ago when I wrote those words, and hopefully I have changed for the better. Like the lyrics in an old Bruce Cockburn song," You get bigger as you go. No one told me, I just know." I take that to mean that as we experience life, those experiences fill up and expand our consciousness. At least I hope that's it, because that's what makes sense to me about it. Stephen King says that " Writing isn't about making money,getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic." I couldn't agree with him more, except maybe about it not being about making friends; people I have come to love, who have become family, have come into my life because of this little blog.

If I were to add anything to that first post, it would be that I am more in touch today with who you know as AmethJera because of my spirituality. I was originally initiated into a Wiccan tradition, but I living my spirituality as a solitary, I'm not so sure that it's necessary for me to label myself anything other than Pagan, just for clarification. With so many of my fellow bloggers redefining themselves, maybe the truth is that we have out grown the limitations of labels. I don't think the gods care what we call ourselves, so long as we still come to our altars and occasionally look up at the moon and stars. I don't think it matters as long as we use our occult knowledge for the greater good and sustainable change in the world. The gods know us, even if we don't know ourselves: they are within us and live through us.They are recognized by us when we catch glimpse of them as we touch one another. If I may be so bold as to make the suggestion, I believe that is the task of the Divine and Humankind: to live through one another.

That first original post from 2010 appears here: I'd love to hear what you think about how the first 300 have changed and for you to make suggestions about the next 300.