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[Witch Way] Volume #3 Issue #10 -- The Return of Spring!
March 13, 2011
Hi, Happy Ostara!

Ken's Korner

I get email and questions all the time asking me if I know any Witches or Covens in ________ (insert any geographic area). The ugly truth is, the Pagan community is barely organized enough to be called a community in the cities where it can be found, there’s no way a national or even international community could exist.

Part of the problem is that because we are accepting of just about anyone, the Pagan community tends to attract a lot of losers who couldn’t get accepted into other groups and communities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone in the Pagan community is a loser, but there are a lot of them. These are the people who complain about things (or more usually the lack of things) but are unwilling to do what it would take to fix them.

To give you an example:
As some of you know, I am a member of the Board of Directors for the local Pagan Pride Committee. Putting on Pagan Pride once a year takes time, effort, and money. In order to raise the money to pay for the site, the insurance, the toilets and trash bins, and everything else required to hold the event, we hold several fundraisers during the year. This year we held a Mardi Gras Ball on March 5th as one of those fundraisers.

You would think that a majority of the local Pagan community would be behind something like this. It’s for a cause that helps Pagans of all Paths to show the world who we really are, and what we do. So we asked several metaphysical stores around town to sell tickets to the Ball. One of these stores is probably the biggest online Pagan retailer on the net.

All we wanted them to do, was put out our fliers, and have the tickets available up at the counter, and maybe mention it to their customers if they could. We did this with at least five stores around town, and of those five, only one of them sold any tickets (exactly two, and those were to one of the board members and his wife) and one of the stores never even put out the fliers. What’s really sad is that this one store has one of our board members working there.

As I understand it, the excuse given by these stores for not supporting Pagan Pride, is that the economy is so bad, and that they don’t have the resources to devote to selling the tickets. Excuse me? I must have misheard. What resources does it take to have a stack of tickets at the front counter, and maybe mention it to customers as they are checking out?

There are also the people who have decided that organization, all organization of any kind, is bad. These are the people who will go far out of their way to sabotage anyone trying to give the community any sort of organization. They’ll spread rumors, they’ll outright lie, and they’ll do whatever else they believe will keep the community from getting organized in any useful way.

Why? Two reasons I suspect. First are the ones who fear that once you start organizing a few things, you won’t stop, and the Pagan community will become the Christian Church. As ridiculous as that sounds, that is their fear. The second reason I think is the people who decide that if they can’t be the leader, then no one can. The problem is they won’t lead! They’re too damn lazy. Leading involves work, and work is hard. They would rather just have it handed to them.

It doesn’t work that way. There’s a joke in the Denver Pagan community, it goes like this: What do you call a Witch who does anything useful in the community? The Leader.

I have a friend who is the Gothi (Priest) of the local Norse Heathen Kindred. Most in the community call him loud, obnoxious, opinionated, bullying, rude, totalitarian, dictatorial, and unyielding. Yet everyone knows that if he says he will do something, by the Gods it will be done. I find it interesting, and very telling that when Magni talks about Wiccans, he uses words such as cowering, simpering, spineless, simplistic, and unreliable.

I have to agree with Magni. That is a very good description of our local community. Everyone claims to be a Chief, there are no Indians, yet few of the Chiefs are willing to lead. Everyone is so busy doing their own thing that no one bothers to do anything for the community. If anyone tries, the rumors run like wildfire that they are trying to take over the community. I speak from experience here.

Do I care what others in the community say about me, or think of me? With very few exceptions, no. I do what I do because if I don’t, no one will. I am greatly honored that when Magni goes off on a rant about how bad the Wiccans are about keeping their word, and how they do nothing but complain about every little thing but do nothing to change it, he always points to me, and says, “Except him, but he’s a Witch, and he is honorable”.

The Denver Pagan community has maybe a couple thousand people who claim to be a part of it, but the true community to which I belong, has only a few dozen. Those are the few who have shown that the community is more important than the individual. It is full of people who lead not by ordering others, but by example. All those others who claim to be part of the local Pagan community are nothing more than posers. Until they prove to the community that they offer something of value to it, they can stay out of it.

For those of you who fear that you have no Pagan community around you, consider yourselves lucky. First, you don’t have a large group of people benefitting from the work of a few, without lifting a hand. You also have the chance to make community based on what you decide is important. You are community, even if you are the only one. Only allow those you feel will benefit the community you make, to be a part of it. Tell the rest to kiss their collective asses. You don’t need them.

My small community of a few dozen is growing slowly. There are many who would like to be a part of it, but will not be allowed because they have nothing to contribute. It’s said that every group has their flakes. I say that isn’t so, not if you don’t allow it. You are your community, don’t allow others to take it from you.

If I’ve offended you, good. You are one of those who sit around wanting change, but unwilling to do anything to create it or you are in the middle of everyone else’s business. We don’t need you, find some other group to poison.

Blessed Be,

Ken Biles

Chiron’s Lyre

A Monthly Column For Astrological Insight

Last month’s column completed our exploration of the Outer Planets and their influence. In this month’s column, I’m going to return to some of the more immediate transits occurring from mid-March through mid-April.

Relatively little is happening in the area of multi-Planet transits, but several individual Planets are doing things that are notable from mid-March through mid-April. Uranus will be definitively entering the Sign of Aries, and both Mercury and Pluto will be entering a retrograde period during these thirty days. All of these will likely have important effects on us here on Earth, as I describe below.

Take the longest-running transit first, that of Uranus moving into Aries. Although Uranus first entered Aries in May of 2010, retrograde motion brought it back into the Sign of Pisces by mid-August of that year. With Uranus’ entry into Aries on March 13th, it will stay in Aries until it has moved all the way through it, taking about eight years or so before it moves into the Sign of Taurus. Uranus’ motion through a Sign is obviously a long transit, taking several years to unfold, and so all of its effects probably won’t be observed upon the first 30 days of its stay in a particular Sign. However, the thirty days or so around the time Uranus changes Signs can be an important time period, because the events that occur around that time can set the stage for how Uranus’ influence will manifest while it is in that Sign.

Uranus as a Planet acts as an Awakener for us, and the area in which we are being awakened at a particular time is usually defined by the Sign through which the Planet is moving. The last time Uranus made the transition from one Sign to another— from Aquarius to Pisces— began in early March of 2003. Later that same month is when the U.S. invaded Iraq for the second time. The U.S. passed the Medicare Part D legislation early in December of 2003, a few weeks before Uranus made its second and definitive entry into the Sign of Pisces.

Self-deception and self-defeating behavior are two unfortunate traits of the Sign of Pisces, and it seems to me Uranus has awakened us to these traits within ourselves on a collective level these past eight years. Most of the socio-political steps taken by the U.S. since Uranus has been in Pisces— the invasion of Iraq, Medicare Part D, the various bailouts of banks and other companies, stimulus packages, the election of Barack Obama, and “quantitative easing”— have proven very disappointing, both in their meager results and their greater-than-expected cost.

We have told ourselves things before taking each of these steps that seem obviously delusional as we look back on them, but that seemed perfectly believable at the time. This substitution of wishful thinking for objective reality is a classic Piscean fault, and Uranus leaving the Sign of Pisces indicates that we have probably put the worst of our collective self-deluding tendencies behind us for the next ninety years or so.

Uranus’ current, definitive entry into the Sign of Aries is being accompanied by some very interesting events both domestically (Wisconsin’s struggle between its governor and its state unions) and internationally (revolutions seeming to sprout like weeds in widely separated countries). The last time Uranus was in Pisces was from 1920 through 1928, and the mistakes made then— Prohibition and the market speculation that led to the Great Depression— were if anything even greater than those we made during the most recent Uranus transit through Pisces.

Uranus’ stay in Aries from 1928 through 1935 was a time of “every man for himself” as various nations and groups tried to beggar their neighbors in an effort to fight off the worldwide depression that had set in from the mistakes made while Uranus was in Pisces. What’s already different this time as Uranus enters Aries is that we already have major events happening— both in Wisconsin and the Middle East— that are setting the stage for this Uranus transit, whereas last time we had to wait almost a year before the Market Crash of ’29 (or the five years before Prohibition’s repeal) set the tone for Uranus’ sojourn in Aries.

Aries imparts a sense of purpose and the drive to take individual action toward a goal to the influence of any Planet passing through its section of sky, and these tumultuous events already happening indicate to me that across the globe we will act much more quickly and more effectively to correct the mistakes that we made (or that we exaggerated) while Uranus was in Pisces. I believe it very likely that by the time Uranus enters Taurus in 2018 and 2019, the U.S. military will be completely out of Iraq, a majority of nations will be enjoying balanced budgets, prices for things from food to health-care will have stabilized at affordable levels and we will have substantially fewer decades-old dictatorships than we have at present.

Moving on, April 9th Pluto will turn retrograde at seven degrees Capricorn, and remain so until September 16th of this year, at which point it will turn direct again at four degrees Capricorn. During the seven months Pluto has been direct (from September of 2010 until April 9th of this year), most stocks, bonds and other financial products have seen a modest rise in price. This will probably reverse while Pluto is retrograde, falling to the lows of last August— or lower— between April and September this year. Although perhaps painful for those on a fixed income or those hoping to cash in on some investments during this time, if the fall in prices indicated by this Pluto transit also applies to things like gasoline and food (which recent history hints that it will), we may all have an easier time getting by on a little less.

On March 30th, Mercury will turn retrograde at twenty-four degrees Aries, and remain retrograde until April 22nd, at which point it will turn direct at twelve degrees Aries. As with any Mercury retrograde, this three-week period is likely to be a time when communications and travel of any kind will probably become more difficult. It will be important to double-check appointments to make sure both yourself and the other person know when, where and why you are supposed to meet. Giving yourself extra time to get to and from appointments, and allowing extra time for the appointments themselves would also probably be prudent.

Since Mercury will be retrograde in Aries this time around, we may find that we need to rely on others to help us communicate or travel, whereas usually we can do these things ourselves. This dependency will not be a bad thing, but as long as we deny it or fight it we will have a hard time travelling or communicating the way we need to. Acceptance of the need to cooperate and patience with others will work wonders, as will remembering that our dependence on others will most likely be a temporary thing. As always with Mercury retrograde, keep in mind that others may not be as well informed of its effects and timing as you are, so be patient with others if they struggle with timing or communication issues that you know ahead of time to compensate for.

The Spring Equinox is fast approaching, and with it the warmer weather so many of us look forward to. This Spring Equinox may seem a little muddier than others with Mercury going retrograde, causing us to get “bogged down” in ways we don’t expect. As messy as it first appears, this is no bad thing. Today’s mud is tomorrow’s loam, which we till and plant with the seeds of our future sustenance. This will likely be a very productive and warming spring for many of us this year, with many of us experiencing the lucky break we have been awaiting for the past two years or so. Enjoy the rebirth that this represents, and make the most of it.

We have our whole lives ahead of us.

Jim Trader
Jupiter Rising Astrological Services

NOTE: This is not a typical “horoscope” reading, breaking astrological influences down by Sign for a given period of time. The information in this column should apply to most people, most of the time. If you have any questions, or want specific personalized information on how what’s going on in the heavens affects you, contact Jim Trader.

Time of The Season

It’s March again. Those who follow college basketball are counting down their favorite teams as March Madness begins. Then there’s mad as a March Hare, which is a reference to male rabbits looking for a mate (or two, or three). While the warmer climates have been warming up for some time, the colder northern places start to finally thaw out, and the green of Spring begins to appear.

March is the month Jews celebrate Passover, and Christians look to for their celebration of Easter, which as we all know comes from the older Pagan celebration of Ostara. Ostara is named for the Goddess who is honored at this time of the year. The name Ostara is Old High German, and the Anglo-Saxons had a month named for her, Eostur-monath. This is where the name Easter comes from.

Ostara is a Goddess of the dawn, and therefore the East. Her name derives from the Proto-Germanic austro, which means “to shine”. Most of what we know of this particular Goddess comes to us from The Venerable Bede, a Christian monk and scholar of the 7th century, and therefore probably biased in his account. Even so, we celebrate the holiday of Ostara at the Spring Equinox.

In his work Temporum Ratione, Bede gives us one sentence about Eostre, "Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated "Paschal month", and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honor feasts were celebrated in that month”. After that, it isn’t until the 1800’s when Jacob Grimm (one of the Brothers Grimm) claims to have found evidence of her in some oral traditions of Germany.

For modern Witches, Ostara is simply the day when the hours of day and night are equal. Living in warm houses, usually in the city, we don’t tend to feel the changes of the seasons as our ancestors did. We know more by the calendar, than by the weather, that Summer is coming soon. Most of us are too busy, and preoccupied with our daily lives, to pay much attention.

Those of us, who have made the conscious decision to re-attune ourselves to the seasons, have been feeling the warmth begin for quite some time now. We go outside and feel what the earth is going through, and we know that the dates marked on the calendar for the start of the seasons, are really their mid-point.

Still, these points make great markers for the seasons. It’s easier to pin point a day when that day and its night are equal, than that nebulous point where Winter changes to Spring. At least one Celtic story has Spring starting on Feb. 2nd, and the Equinox being the day when it finally overtakes Winter and becomes dominant. I gave a summary of this story last month.

Ostara is a fire festival. It celebrates the returning light and warmth of the year. Fire, which gives off both light and heat is absolutely appropriate as a symbol of the coming days. Life is exploding everywhere, all you have to do is stop long enough to notice. Have you heard the birds in the morning? They’ve been around for a while now.

Sheep are lambing, goats are having kids, all the herd animals are giving birth around this time. New life is all around us, if we only look for it. This is what captured our ancestors imaginations, and this is what they celebrated. Ostara is the celebration of new life everywhere.

This year, instead of doing a formal ritual for Ostara, go outside on a warm day, and reintroduce yourself to nature.

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Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,

Blessed Be,
Graphic Signature

Ken Biles

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