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.
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Five people protesting the police killing of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man, are shot and injured by a group of white men in Minneapolis. A candidate for the United States Presidency says that a database for all Muslims is “certainly something we should start thinking about.” When asked the difference between such an idea and Nazi Germany’s registration of Jews and other minorities, his only reply was, “You tell me, you tell me. Why don’t you tell me.” The same candidate’s white supporters physically attack a black heckler at a rally; the candidate states in an interview, “Maybe he should have been roughed up.” In Greece, the neo-fascist political party Golden Dawn, which has no relation to the occult organization, became the third leading party in the country by winning 7% of the vote in the elections this September, approximately 500,000 votes. What do Pagans and Polytheists see when they read the news; when they look at history? Do they see deviations from an inevitable progressive march from animism and polytheism to monotheism to atheism, from savagery to barbarism to civilization?
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