Crystal Blanton writes the monthly TWH column. She is an activist, writer, priestess, mother, wife and Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the California. She has published two books "Bridging the Gap" and "Pain and Faith in a Wiccan World," and was the editor of the anthology "Shades of Faith; Minority Voices in Paganism." She also writes for the magazine Sage Woman.
The shifting of the seasons and the feel of fall in the air brings about some of the most meaningful and symbolic times of the year. Whether it is the crispness in the air, the Halloween decor, or the increasing conversations about the ancestors in mainstream circles, October is a busy month for all things witchy. It is one of the times of the year where some aspects of the Pagan world collide with the mainstream over-culture. While this time can be exciting for many of us, the depths of the coming celebration of Samhain is significant in many ways. We celebrate the turning wheel, the closing year, the power of the underworld, and the thinning of the veil between worlds.
Reverence is the way of radical respect. It recognizes and honors the presence of the sacred in everything — our bodies, other people, animals, plants, rocks, the earth, and the waters. – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
As the seasons change and we move into the fall months, discussions of ancestor reverence and the Mighty Dead become more prominent. Seasonal ancestor altars are erected and many practices engaging our connection to those who have transitioned from their physical existence become the focal points of our traditions. These very practices are a part of many different cultures, and are not exclusive to Paganism or Polytheism by any means.
There is something about a list in this culture: lists for best movies, most popular songs, best quotes of the year, best places to visit, most memorable books of the year. These are just a few of the many lists that are created in today’s culture every year. It is no wonder that the creation of lists are something that has also become a “thing” within the over-culture of Paganism as well. While we normally see the publication of these lists at the end of the calendar year, 2018 brought us a list early, starting conversations before the shifting of seasons begins. Everyone has been talking about the most recent list published on the Patheos Pagan blog Raise the Horns.
Ritual gives words to the unspeakable and forms to the formless. It brings the non-physical into physical form so we can see it, touch it, feel it, and process it. -Terri Daniel
In our exploration of grief, we have looked at the impact of grief on us as individuals and as communities when loss happens. While there are many types of loss, we have focused in our last two columns on the loss of a person. This is the most common loss we talk about within society, and we often do not see other types of loss with the same level of priority.
In last month’s column we explored the topic of grief and some of the ways that people experience grief within our community. Such a vast topic cannot be exhausted in one article, nor should it be. With a topic like grief, one that is so very complex, there are many different aspects and approaches to unpacking its impact. Individual grief will always be a part of the process of life just as loss will continue to be a process of life. The past month we have seen several high profile celebrity deaths that have promoted a lot of sharing around the sadness that death leaves behind.