Comet NEOWISE, now flying by Earth on its elliptical orbit, is named for the NEOWISE mission of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer space telescope. (Comets are usually named after whoever discovers them.) It’s interesting that it bears this punning acronym. I have been thinking about the meaning of its name and the significance of its appearance at this time.
The long period orbit of this comet is 6766 years. Comets have been viewed as signs of major change in the world. (Think Halley’s Comet and 1066, for instance!) Clearly we are in a time of major change right now! But what was happening, I wondered, when NEOWISE last visited Earth? Who saw it last time, and what change did it herald then?
Someone on the nightly weather report speculated that maybe no one was paying attention to comets the last time it visited. Hello??? The ancient peoples were way more aware of celestial events than we are! For one thing, they didn’t have the light pollution we do, so the night sky was bright with stars. Ancient sacred sites worldwide are oriented to track the movements of the stars, sun and moon. This comet—visible even to our eyes-- had to be noticed!
So what was going on in 4800 BCE? In Europe, it was the era of the Cucuteni, Sesklo, and Vinca cultures and the Malta temples were being built. Roundel ritual sites were in use in Poland and other eastern European areas. This was the time of the great Goddess cultures of Old Europe. Current anthropology doesn’t like to use the term Goddess, since it’s an anachronism to assume the many female figurines found in these sites are like the Goddesses of the later Greek pantheon. They will say things like “They had many functions, such as protection.” Well, what do you call a female figure that you carry for protection??? Maybe you would call her a guardian angel, but that would be even more of an anachronism! I chalk this up to fear of female power. They are Goddess figurines, if you ask me!
Marija Gimbutas, in her extensive study of the cultures of Old Europe, characterized them as peaceful societies, before the advent of the Bronze Age brought organized warfare. We don’t know whether the societies were peaceful: it’s hard to make an argument from absence! It’s also threatening to the warlike stance of the patriarchy to imagine a time of peace. But I trust Gimbutas’ theories, even though she made some intuitive leaps, bringing her insights from folklore and mythological studies to bear as she researched the prehistory of her own heritage cultures. In any case, 4800 BCE was a time when agrarian settlements produced a wealth of cultural artifacts, including a huge treasure trove of female figures. This is the age in which Comet NEOWISE last visited the Earth!
If comets herald change, and if this one was around in a peaceful, productive, earth-connected Goddess age, what does it mean to us this time around? It is no accident that it is appearing at a time when so many people are calling for peace, for justice for all, and for us to return to a way of life that recognizes our interconnection with Gaia’s living systems and with all beings. It is appearing at a time when we know we must change our worldview and way of life, on many levels. We know, in this pandemic, that everyone’s actions impact others, and we must protect one another. We know that we have to change our over-consumption and our energy systems because of climate change. We know that we have to stop destroying the habitats of earth’s creatures, as we perpetrate a mass extinction event on a scale never before seen. We know that we can no longer oppress one another on the basis of race or any other characteristic. We cannot continue to destroy the earth in war after war.
We are being called in many ways to return to a way of life that looks a lot like the societies at the time that Comet NEOWISE last visited Earth. I think it’s a sign for us to pay attention, and to become Neo-wise: newly wise in the ways we lost since last time the comet was here. May we build the Neo-wise society now, so there will be a thriving Earth community next time NEOWISE comes around!
Bright Blessings, Frodo
Hello, sisters! Bright Blessings on Beltane!!!
I am remembering past Beltanes, gathering in Michelle's Meadow in the sun or huddling under a canopy in the rain. Dancing the spiral dance, weaving the Maypole ribbons, or tying ribbons to the trees! Eating the feast together, with all the wonderful baking and fresh fruit, and garlanding each other with flowers.
How much we had then, and will have again, gathering in community!
But the ribbons have not broken: the energy web is still alive wherever we think of each other and light a candle, tie a ribbon to a branch, or dance! Not only between all of us in the places where we are, but between us and those beyond the Rainbow Bridge, all connected to the World Tree with Maypole ribbons of energy.
This Beltane, may we remember how much it means to be in community. May all who are in need of healing receive the energy Mother Earth is sending out! May we connect more deeply with each other and with all the other Beings.
Blessed be, Frodo
SisterSpirit’s Earth Day Virtual Ritual
SisterSpirit Council members created video invocations for each of the Elements and for Gaia. Vanessa provided the handout with the quote and suggestions for things we can do for Earth Day and for every day. Here is a suggested ritual outline. Blessings to you all as you celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day Wed. April 22, 2020! Elemental Invocation: Watch the videos with the links below for each direction and for Gaia. Invoke the elements and Goddess in your own space.
Reading: Read the reading in the attached handout. Choose an action or actions to do as you celebrate Earth Day. Raise energy, drumming and chanting in your own way in your own home space. Send the energy for the healing of Mother Earth and all her elements and creatures.
Here is a chant you might use to send: To those who fly in the air, To those who swim in the water, To those who live on the earth, And those who live under, You and we are one. You and we are one. --Pat MacAodha Thank the Goddess and the Elements. Pay special attention to those in your own home space. Blessed be, everyone!
Happy Earth Day!!!
Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again! --Frodo and the SisterSpirit Council
10 Earth Day Ceremonies
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed." ~ Written by an Irish author Kitty O’Meara” in the 1880s.
On this Earth Day we are unable to gather in community and create a circle with our linked hands or raise our collective voices in celebration and gratitude for all that our Great Mother Gaia provides. So, we invite you to join our virtual circle for practicing these Earth Day ceremonies in celebration and honor of our Great Mother, the Earth Herself. May each of us individually take time on this day to re-commit to taking care, honoring, and celebrating her in the year ahead; and in that individual action, we shall become a global circle of change.
Pick a spot in your yard to sit and be with the plants that call your space home.
Start a visual nature journal using old magazines, crayons, or printed copies of pictures you have taken of nature.
Write earth supporting affirmation cards and begin the daily practice of reading an earth affirming affirmation.
Donate what you can afford to an environmental organization that is on the front lines of doing environmental justice, look for groups that focus on environmental justice in marginalized communities.
Plant some seedlings in doors and watch them grow.
Write a poem for each of the four elements and add them to your book of shadows
Get up at sunrise, find a place of stillness and meditate, notice what sunrise feels like in your body, write about your experience in your journal or book of shadows.
Sit outside, close your eyes, and listen to the earth herself; do this at a different time each day for a week, and make note of what you notice.
Tend your garden, patio, or other green space, take time to create beauty in the natural spaces that support you in your day to day life.
Conserve water. Water is the life blood of mother earth. Set the intention to reduce your use of plastics, write a vow to conserve and preserve the earth. Place your vow someplace where it will help you remember your intention.
to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Emergency
In response to the need for social distancing at this time, all of SisterSpirit’s in-person events, groups and rituals have had to be suspended.
We know how hard this is for our community!
Many of us look forward to PaganFaire all year, and to monthly groups and rituals to see our friends and spiritual family. It’s a good time to remember that we are still here, connecting our energy across the miles!
Mother Earth has not cancelled Spring either—she is sending warm sun, healing rain (and even snow) and the trees have burst into flower. Birds are singing and nesting, and ecosystems are enjoying some recovery time from the stress our human activity places on them. There is no need to keep social distance from the trees, flowers, and animals! Like the trees, we can send messages to one another through the fungal network in the soil, nurturing each other to grow. Here are some recommendations:Call, email, or message one another, especially if you know someone is a Crone and/or lives alone. Call those you may know in care centers or locked-down senior facilities. Send energy and check in with those who are in other vulnerable groups, with health or immunity issues. Parents of children who are out of school, health care providers, and grocery store workers are also under stress right now. Hug a tree, plant your garden, spend time with your animal familiars. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine, keeping 6’ away from others but waving and smiling! Do rituals of healing for those affected by the virus. This is important! Our energy can be raised one-by-one just as it can be raised in circle.
Here is a simple ritual: Light a candle or virtual candle. Ground and center yourself. Invoke the directions: “Air I am, Fire I am, Water, Earth, and Spirit I am.” Call on the Goddess by the name(s) that most speak to you. “Goddess, I am calling on your presence. I know you are always present, but I want to be especially mindful of your energy surrounding me right now. Spread your cloak around me and around my community. Unite us with the whole world, everyone who is in need right now. I am asking for your healing. Heal our bodies, heal our fears, heal our communities! Let us be aware of our interconnection with you and with all the other beings. I place my trust in you.”
Sing: “I am the Circle”. If you have others with you, echo each line. Sing it 3 times. “I am the circle, I am healing you. You are the circle, you are healing me. Unite us, be as one. Unite us, be as one.” Spend a few moments holding the energy, feeling the interconnection and visualizing the light of healing spreading throughout the world to the places where it is most needed.
Say with energy, “So mote it be!” Then ground, thank the Goddess and the directions, blow out the candle and close circle. “Though the material flame be extinguished, yet the eternal flame burns on.”
Dear PaganFaire Community,
Given the Oregon Governor's ban on all events of over 250 people for the next 4 weeks, we have no choice but to cancel SisterSpirit's PaganFaire 2020 Sat. Mar. 21. This is to keep everyone as safe as possible at this time.
We would like to have rescheduled for later this Spring but given the uncertainty of the way the virus will spread and the need to not conflict with other community festivals, we don't think this is feasible.
We love you all and will keep you posted as soon as we get a date for PaganFaire 2021.
Spring is not being cancelled: it will come! May the energy of Spring bring healing to our community and to the world. Look at the sunshine, hug a tree, smell the flowers, and sing along with the birds today and send energy for a wonderful tomorrow!
Blessings and love, Frodo Okulam, SisterSpirit Coordinator
Vendor fee refunds will be sent out as soon as we can manage it. Your patience is appreciated. Blessed be, Jamie Okulam
SisterSpirit Calendar of Events March 2020
Mon. Mar. 2nd Nature’s Magick for women, 7:30 pm at our office, 3430 SE Belmont #102. All women (including transwomen) are welcome to come explore the connections between magick and the natural world! Office is wheelchair accessible.
SisterSpirit presents a monthly women’s spirituality ritual and Nature’s Magick group. More small groups may soon be forming.
Michelle’s Heart is an Emergency Fund for women and their families administrated by SisterSpirit. This is a last-ditch emergency fund designed to make the difference when emergency circumstances impact the ability to provide for basic needs.
PaganFaire is an all day artisan faire and talent stage.
"Michelle's Heart raffle, " to benefit SisterSpirit's emergency fund for women and children.
This year, you will be entertained by Renegade Rose, Treasa (Harp and vocals), "Frodo Okulam (Celtic Fiddle and vocals) and Jennifer Pratt-Walter (Harp and vocals), Portland's Dancing Witches, John Highcroft (sound, guitar, and vocals), and Tribal Heart Belly Dancers.
11 am to 5 pm, Oaks Park Dance Pavilion. $5 at the door kids under 12 are free.
At 5pm, (free to everyone) SisterSpirit's Spring Equinox Ritual, for the entire community:
"Seeds of Change – A rite of initiation, transformation, and magic. Guest ritual priest, Michael Agee!