Pagan Reflections on the Season of Samhain: Speaking to the Spark within the Darkness

IreneJericho

Yesterday, I posted on Scarred, Scared, and Sacred: Spiritual Practices for the Fall Triduum of Halloween, Samhain, and All Souls Day. Continuing on the theme of that post, this reflection is a guest post from Irene Jericho, a member of my congregation at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland, and a leader of our Earth-centered Spirituality ("UU Pagan") group. When I was 13, one of my closest friends lost a lengthy battle with childhood leukemia.  It was my first big … [Read more...]

Scarred, Scared, and Sacred: Spiritual Practices for the Fall Triduum of Halloween, Samhain, and All Souls Day

Wheel_of_the_Year

Can you feel the Wheel of the Year turning?Can you feel fall in the air — the chilling breeze and changing leaves, the tell tale signs of winter’s coming?In this season of each day growing incrementally shorter, can you sense our inexorable movement, here in the Northern Hemisphere, toward Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year?If you imagine the year as a circle, our Western, secular calendar marks four major seasonal turning points: Winter Solstice (the darkest day of the yea … [Read more...]

Blue Christmas: When Your Days Aren’t Merry and Bright

Asher

In my family mourning was not done publicly. Therefore, I, as a child, assumed it was not done at all. Both sets of grandparents died and I recall hidden tears, the quick turn away to look out a window, the closing of a door. This mysterious behavior seemed to commence with the announcement of death and end immediately after the funeral. Of course, if mourning is private, almost secretive as though shameful, there can be no comforting. Now I discover that, if honest emotion is shared, t … [Read more...]

Can You Feel the Wheel of the Year Turning? A Spirituality of Winter

Wheel_of_the_Year

Can you feel the “Wheel of the Year” turning?In this season of each day growing incrementally shorter, can you sense our inexorable movement, here in the Northern Hemisphere, toward Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year? It can be easy to feel caught up in the darkening of our days: disheartened, discarded, even depressed. At various times, I have experienced each of these responses to winter.As a way of navigating seasonal shifts, I have become increasingly interested in and ben … [Read more...]

The Sound of Silence: Reflections for a Soulful Solstice

Thursday, December 22 is Winter Solstice: the shortest span of daylight hours and the longest night of the year. In my neck of the woods, this means "The sun is above the horizon for approximately 9 hours, 26 minutes. Sunrise occurs at 7:24 a.m. and sunset at 4:50 p.m."On this day with more than 15 hours of darkness, perhaps Paul Simon offers us the most lyrical invitation for how we might begin to allow ourselves to savor a Soulful Solstice. Simon challenges us to sing, Hello darkness, my o … [Read more...]

Welcome Imbolc

In our pluralistic world, Christians are increasingly open to supplementing their faith with lessons from other religious paths. My understanding of prayer has deepened through practicing Buddhist meditation techniques. I've learned how to celebrate Sabbath more joyfully from Jews. The Muslim commitment to pray five times a day has challenged me to be more regular in my own prayer practice.Most recently, I have become more attuned to the Pagan notion of the Wheel of the Year, which invites … [Read more...]


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