by Carolyn Lee Boyd
For one glorious week each year, the rose and white-showered magnolia trees lining Main Street transformed the potholed, two-lane road into a processional as elegant in its own simple way as any gracing a medieval European or an ancient city. The town did festoon the street with flags and balloons for parades with the Mayor and town council, high school band, and Boy and Girl Scouts on special occasions. “But, it goes nowhere,” Mary reflected as she drove home on a Friday evening during that magnificent week one year, and, indeed, it ended in an empty concrete courtyard of buildings long since abandoned.
As the sun warmed her arm through the car window for the first time that spring, an unexpected memory came to her of summer Saturdays when she and her mother would gather in her grandmother’s kitchen to make jellies and jams from the fruits of her grandmother’s farm. The thought “I’m almost the age my mother was then. She had my grandmother and me. How did I get to be so old and end up so alone?” came into Mary’s mind unbidden.
Tucked into a strip mall at the corner where Mary waited for a green light was Demeter’s Supermarket, a small grocery that had been established by Greek immigrants decades ago when the neighborhood was mostly families who had immigrated from there. Their children had moved out a generation ago, but a few of the original businesses still served the surviving elders. Read More...
by Susan McCaslin
by Melinda Marton
I love the rich, spiritual feeling of this ancient land and spent my last summer holiday in Pythagoreion on the beautiful island of Samos. There is so much to see here, I didn’t spend much time lying on the beach!
First stop was the local museum, which is a beautiful new building in the middle of the town. It’s placed next to the ancient city and has current archaeological excavations right next door.
The Samos museum mentions all the following as local to the island:
- The main sanctuary of the patron goddess of the island (sanctuary of Hera, at the mouth of the river Ibravos)
- Patron God of the city, Dionysos
- Temple of Aphrodite – lies beneath the foundation of an old house
- On the heights of the city, sanctuaries of the Mother Goddess, Cybele
- Sanctuary of Demeter at the edge of the city, high on an isolated hill, as appropriate to mystery cults
- Artemis, Dionysus and Apollo cults
- A cult of Nymphs
- Inscriptions of Hygeia
- Temple of Isis with large, lavishly adorned altar in the south of the small square to the right of Lykourgos Logothetes street which leads to the harbour
Tips and Hints from Grannie Burton
The great Mysteries at Eleusis are one of the most astonishing stories in human history, because they are still mysterious in so many ways. It seems that over two thousand years of initiation for both men and women, young and old, rich and poor, no-one ever talked about what happened in the Rites.
This is almost impossible to believe, especially in an age of information and blogging. Most of the evidence for what actually occurred comes from archaeological digs and votive offerings. This in itself is very limited and the central rites are still a complete mystery. It seems that a person's chance to achieve life after death was dependent on keeping everything that happened a secret, so I suppose that could be a great incentive to keep it to yourself.
by Sue Oxley
The beauty of nature is in the circles She creates, the spinning of the galaxies and the twining of the sweet pea, the turning of the seasons and the circle of our lives. 'Nature hates a straight line' my grandmother used to say, 'probably even more than a full-stop'.
Let's dance and move through the Circle of the Goddesses of Time, thinking about the shining reality of each while leaving behind Her clothes, sorting out what is real and valid and what is shimmering mist, as the circle twirls around us.
Persephone, the Child that sings in the meadow, that rolls down the hills through the flowers, that leaves behind the Mother and yet comes back at night when the dark is frightening. Remember the wonder of moving so easily that it is like jumping on the moon, think of the loveliness of no worry, no knowledge of evil and hate, with just the dark to fear.
We pick up the Joy and leave behind the carelessness as we move to Artemis, while shouldering our fear of being alone, of having no apron to hide behind.
A Ritual by Elizabeth A Kaufman
Each year, on August 1st, I begin a series of three rituals honoring the harvest of the year's bounty, whatever that may be, as well as preparing myself for the descent into the waning of the year. In general, my rituals from February through July have focused upon growth and increase. Now, as the first harvest comes in, I gather, give thanks and begin the inner spiritual work of the season.
The gathering of the harvest includes many things, not just food. Creative energies, healing works, spiritual quests are all part of this harvest. We have planted ideas as seeds and now we reap what we have sown. Consider that this is also a time, the waning of the year, where we can go within, below and nourish and feed the sprouted and growing seeds.
My body struggles to unfreeze from the frozen wastelands of winter, as the snowdrops open fully to the still-freezing north winds.
I drag myself around from the drained exhaustion of all that happened, as the nights slowly open their dark arms to greet the light.
Moments of emerging happiness begin to feel possible … for She has returned, my dearest Daughter Persephone, and her heart is opening once more, to Life, to Love, to me, Her Adopted Mother Demeter.
The first narcissus shows its tiny yellow head.
Spring may be here soon.
by Elizabeth A Kaufman
As a Pagan, Goddess-worshipping witch and priestess, I have over the past thirty years celebrated the Winter Solstice in a variety of ways. As my path evolved, I made appropriate changes and adjustments, but never quite found that which truly felt right. In 2007 however, I came across a rite for Helios on one of the Hellenistic reconstructionist groups I belong to which provided the inspiration I needed.
While that rite, celebrated over three or nine nights, was dedicated to Helios, mine would be dedicated to those goddesses I most revere. While celebrating the season of turning inward for renewal and hope, I would honor the darkness of the days as looking inward for wisdom, finding that wisdom and then honoring the return and growth born of that wisdom, the return of light.