1 Earrach 43 - Imbolc 2005 - Vol.3 No. 2
www.mithrilstar.org


Imbolc Poem
by Cerris

Her face is full, she is dressed,
Dressed in splendour.
A ripple spreads, her face undulates
Broken,
Broken into infinite pieces
Through that infinity
I am taken.

The mists surrounding my pathway
Clear, lucid.
I follow, winding. Deosil, deosil
The peak is shrouded
But I know
I know she waits

I pass the fire, the rebirth
The joy
She is waiting
Arms extended, grace of growth
Dreams alive
Memories of child, memories of youth
Bringing them to her bosom
For rebirth
For my life path

An offering I give
Enveloped, entranced
Womb-like waters
Flowing, creating, being

Vision ended, beauty untold
A glance up, she is hidden.
Clouds hang like a shroud
Over her face
Hiding her beauty

But I know
I know she is there

IMBOLC

Imbolc (pronounced 'im'olk' also known as Oimelc) comes from an Irish word that was originally thought to mean 'in the belly' although many people translate it as 'ewe's milk' (oi-melc).

Imbolc was one of the cornerstones of the Celtic calendar. For them the success of the new farming season was of great importance. As winter stores of food were getting low, Imbolc rituals were performed to harness divine energy that would ensure a steady supply of food until the harvest six months later.

Like many Celtic festivals, the Imbolc celebrations centred around the lighting of fires. Fire was perhaps more important for this festival than others as it was also the holy day of Brigid (also known as Bride, Brigit, Brid), the Goddess of fire, healing, smithing and fertility. The lighting of fires celebrated the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.

The Circle and the Flame:
In celebration of Imbolc

by Steven Craig Hickman

The Circle and the Flame for Imbolc
Wolf moon rises, broken promises
are healed and the feast begins:
as they say, “in the belly”,
the wintry light is pregnant
with Summer’s milk and flowers;
ewes’ udders waken light
and all the wights delight;
Tribe and Land, language and rocks,

meet in the circle of this flame:
the bones of earth, elemental nooks
of all the circle’s measure
hold the ancient tribes in bondage
to the laws of fealty;
knowledge of this old way
begins in words borne of valor:
deeds of ancient warriors dying
for the people of the Land;
remembrance of this light,
the women show their troth
sewing banners of the woolen cloth
with twisted threads of memory
to hold the thoughts of poets strong;
spider, asp, and wasp; thistle, gorse, and nettle:
all children of the goddess lands:
keepers of its mysteries;

Niall of the Nine Hostages knows this truth:
the Old Crone cast her eye upon him,
and he recognized the green spark of goddess tears;
the center holds, the Bilious, the World Tree:
golden leaves waving above
gathers the tribes into the inner circle;
so in the dead month, under the wolf moon
we celebrate in feasting,
when ravens nest and larks sing,
and rain brings lambs to birth;
for then the Old Woman of the year,

Cailleach, rises with her white wand,
a bride of spring, breathing power
into the Winter King, releasing him
from his dour sleep of harsh snow,
while serpent lords scatter
to the four winds of time,
knowing their time is at an end;
then the “Exalted One”, Brigid,
golden haired, encircled by children
comes among her people
to celebrate the Feast of Imbolc!

Imbolc is still a special time for Pagans. As people who are deeply aware of what is going on in the natural world they recognise that there is strength in cold as well as heat, death as well as life. The Horned God reigns over the Autumn and Winter and and although the light and warmth of the world may be weak, he is still in his power.

Many feel that human actions are best when they reflect the actions of nature, so as the world slowly springs back into action it is time for the small tasks that are neglected through the busy year. Rituals and activities might include the making of candles, planting spring flowers, reading poetry and telling stories.

In olden times, in lands like England, Ireland, and much of northern Europe , this tide of year was celebrated in a festival called Imbolic/Omlic/La Fail Brighid/Bride's Day/Candlemas and by several other names. All that remains of its presence in the modern world is Groundhog Day. A very watered down version, but the meaning is still in there. Spring is on its way, and it will be here sooner than you think.

Brighid, both saint and Goddess, is celebrated on this day. She is a light bringer, healer, triple-faced Goddess, master of smithcraft, weather maker, and giver of Imbas (the fire in the head that inspires all poets, artists and creative people).

NEWS FROM THE ARCH-DRUID
by Ceridwen Seren-Ddaear

The Earth never quite sleeps here on the Redwood Coast - and neither does Pacifica, the Sea Goddess. In fact, this past January She gave us quite an exciting time here in Eureka, CA! We had a wild phenomenon happen at the time of the New Moon, and it lasted for about 4 days - and there is even an official name for this phenomenon:

Perigean Spring Tides! Read about it here:

http://www.whoi.edu/seagrant/education/bulletins/tides.html

We had the classic combination of: New or Full Moon, high tide, gusting storm winds blowing onshore and whipping up the waves even further than a normal high tide, and the New Moon was at perigee (the closest it gets to the Earth)...

To make a long story short, for each of the 4 mornings of the high tide, the canals in our entire peninsula rose to their highest point, backing up into the sewer system - and rising over their breaker walls -and causing major flooding on the streets - which were all under about 2 feet of water, which also covered the yards. Our wooden walkway started floating away, potted plants and driftwood floated lazily by, as the water slowly crept up the side of our deck. Just 2 more inches, and it might have reached our door!

Naturally, all the neighbors had to go put on their hip boots and trudge up and down the street, causing "waves" to hit the houses as they passed by (a point of which they were blissfully unaware).

We had to park our car on the ocean road (higher elevation) so our brakes wouldn't get corroded by the salty water. We felt like we were living in a riverboat! The whole process from flooding to draining away each morning lasted for about 4 hours - then everything was normal till the next morning. Apparently this happens twice a year - the worst being in January, and a lesser form around August.

I have never felt Pacifica so strongly before, and I really wanted to walk down to the dunesand beach (less than a block away), but the water was a little too cold, and I don't even own a pair of boots (no need for them here)!

So who says that the winters can't get exciting in California? ;)

But today, on the holiday of the Maiden's awakening, it is a balmy 67º and the Sun is smiling warmly upon us. I've already seen plum blossoms, and the earliest of Spring flowers poking their heads up to drink in the warmth. The mating calls of the various sea birds fill the air with their lusty music, and their aerial dances are always a wonder to behold...


NEW LOGO UNVEILED

The Order continues to be blessed with new member Druids expressing many and diverse talents. So it is with Druid Thomas Butler, who has been working with Arch-Druid Ceridwen to develop a new logo for the Order, reflective of both our commitment to help save the remaining Coast Redwoods from extinction, and our position in the Reformed Druid movement.

It's a simple change really, subtle but powerful. Two Coast Redwoods now appear on the new design, representing themselves of course, and also turning the logo into a stylized Druid sigil.

The new design will be available on shirts, "hoodies", cups and other items at Avalon Risen, as well as incorporated on the website, our stationary, and on future editions of the Reformed Druidism 101 cdrom.

The new logo will serve as a tribute to the Order, the Reform, our beautiful Coast Redwoods and to it's designer, Druid Butler.

WITH THE NEW LOGO - A CONTEST!

Our snakey companion has been with us since the beginning, but his new, friendlier look certainly gives him a certain personality, so we've decided he needs a name -- and a gender!

The contest will run beginning now until midnight on "Bring Back the Snakes Day" (March 17th). The winner will be picked by vote of the Mother Grove and will be announced in the Beltane edition of Druid's Egg.

There will be two runners up, and all will receive a prize from our Avalon Risen store. In addition, we welcome cartoons of our snakey friend, and will publish the best of those in the next Druids Egg as well.

Submit your entries to the clerk: (contest now over)



REFORMED DRUIDISM 101: THE SELF-STUDY ON CD-ROM V.9.0

We've been selling it it at Avalon Risen, on the RD101 homepage, and on eBay. We're charging the general public $19 for the CD, but OMS members can pick it up for $5 (and that's post paid). See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mithrilstar/files/cdrom.htm to order at the member's price (of course, you must be a member to get it at that price).

Also, we have been giving it away to new members who joined without going through (or signing up for) the online D101 class -- that way they did not have to wait for a new session to begin - they were able to just jump right in to the self study.

Lastly, beginning with Imbolc 43, it is the only way to take the course. After 8 years and 22 sessions we are discontinuing the online class, at least for awhile.

For those who request it, we will be offering "private mentoring" along with cd-rom. Members who wish to participate in this will be assigned a student as they become available and will earn degree points for participation.


     

AVALON RISEN

In January, Avalon Risen moved to it's own domain at http://avalonrisen.info
We are growing by leaps and bounds, and have now added an expanded line of unique Pagan jewelry and ritual goods!

There are now hundreds of items from which to choose that perfect gift for holidays, initiations, birthdays or any other special occasions (like maybe rewarding yourself for something you've accomplished) -
at a wide range of prices.

In the coming months we will also be further expanding our book and media line, and we plan to add bumper stickers and other related items as well.

The "Official OMS Bibliography of Essential Druidic Knowledge" is also included, for those who wish to continue their Druid education, or for those taking the RD101 self-study who wish to peruse the
source materials
from whence the lessons
were derived.

As always, a portion of our sales will be used in our ongoing
work towards saving the
Coastal Redwoods.



YULE/IMBOLC SESSION OF REFORMED DRUIDISM 101 WILL BE THE LAST

The Yule-Imbolc session of RD101 is currently underway at an execrated rate. The students there have made it clear to us that one lesson per week is too slow, so we've upped the pace to two. At this writing there are 12 new students, and a handfull of returning students taking the course.

It's been an "interesting" session to say the least. In fact, of the 22 sessions we held over the past 8 years, it was the most "interesting." For the first time in years, a TROLL infiltrated the class, and did a most thorough job of disrupting and upsetting everyone. We began the class with 27 students. She managed to influence 15. Since we had had such a peaceful time of it in the previous 6 or 7 classes, we were taken by surprise and did not ever realize that we were being trolled until it was too late.

Due to that, and the fact that we're getting more and more orders for the CD-ROM version, we are discontinuing the online class. Unfortunately, because of the way the troll infiltrated both the class and the Order we have had to discontinue dues contingencies as well. More about that later on.

OMS Druids may, if they want, start their own online course. The materials are here if you want them. Be aware of the troll problem though, and good luck.


Stats

As of today we have 145 members, of which:
22 members are eligible for ordination into the First Degree.
17 members are ordained First Degree Druids.
4 members are eligible for ordination into the Second Degree
7 members are ordained Second Degree Druids
3 members are ordained Third Degree Druids
1 member is eligible for ordination into the Fourth Degree
1 member is an ordained Fifth Degree Druid
2 members are ordained Seventh Degree Druids

During the first quarter of YR 43:
66 students started the Reformed Druidism 101 class
12 finished and became members

During the first quarter of YR 43, the Order experienced a net Membership gain of 9

Total Groves: 2
Total US Members: 115
Total Canadian Members: 10
Total International Members: 27
Total Countries represented: 8
Total US States represented: 32
Total Canadian Provinces represented: 6
Top 5 US States: OR=11, CA=8, WA=11, FL=11, NY=7
Total members in areas with Redwood Groves: 4

A new wrinkle: keeping stats like this, encouraging grove development, and having a website, makes us a "cult". At least according to the TROLL. Does that make any sense at all? Apparently she based this conclusion on the Advanced Bonewits Cult Evaluation Frame. We've included the link here so you can check it out for yourself. Feel free to send your results to me, using this form.

4TH ONLINE ORDINATIONS YIELD 5 FIRSTS, 3 SECONDS

We held online 1st Degree ordinations in the mithrilstar chat room on January 17th and 2nd Degree ordinations on the 18th. 5 new 1st degrees and 3 new 2nds were ordained.

Our congratulations to all the new 1sts and 2nds!

We anticipate that the next ordination ritual will be held around Oestara.

There are (as of this writing) 23 Druids eligible for the First Degree, 4 eligible for Second and 1 eligible for 4th.

If you are in a hurry, or not able to make an online ordination, and don't want to wait for the online date, you may make a private appointment with Ceridwen or Sybok for a phone or chat room ordination - or you can contact one of the three new Third Degree Druids, as they are empowered to perform the rites for First and Second degrees.

Write the clerk of the Mother Grove for a list of 3rd's.


ASTROLOGY FOR PAGANS

Ceridwen currently has four Advanced sessions and one Beginning session in progress. Because of this large amount of classes, she will be taking a long "hiatus" from the group class format for quite some time (at least until all of her current students graduate)...

Ceridwen is, however still offering PRIVATE TUTORING sessions! Because of the increased "personal attention" these entail, there will be a sliding scale fee required...

If you wish to take advantage of this offer, or need more information about it, send an email to Ceridwen Subject line: AstroPagan private tutoring

You will then be contacted immediately and a private database and schedule will be set up that will conform to your own personal needs - NO WAITING! All of the pertinent charts and tables will be calculated and sent to you, as you need them. Each lesson will be offered whenever YOU are ready for it - no homework deadlines! - and if you need to take time off at any point for personal business or holidays or whatever reason, your schedule will be adjusted accordingly!

Or...

If you are interested in a private consultation about your Astrological chart, please visit her home page at:

http://hunters-moon.org


ALMANAC

Today is Imbolc / Oimelc, or February 2, 2005 CE.

It is the 94th day of the 43rd Year of the Reform, the 1st day of the Season of Earrach, and the 1st day of the Month of MÌ na hOimelc.

It is also Wednesday, in the common tongue, or Dydd Mercher in Welsh.

It is the Druidic day of the Hazel.

FULL MOONS occur on 26 Earrach, 53 Earrach, and 83 Earrach.

NEW MOONS occur on 8 Earrach, 38 Earrach and 67 Earrach.

The Sun enters Pisces on 18 Earrach.

Me·n Earreaigh (March) begins on 30 Earrach
(a Tuesday - Dydd Mawrth - Day of the Holly).

The 9th birthday of Order of the Mithril Star occurs on 44 Earrach.

Oestara / Alban Eiler, or the Spring Equinox occurs on 48 Earrach.

The Sun enters Aries on 48 Earrach.

Deireadh Earraigh (April) begins on 60 Earrach
(a Friday - Dydd Gwener -- Day of the Apple).

In the USA, Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00 AM on 62 Earrach.

A Solar Eclipse occurs with the New Moon on 67 Earrach.

The Sun enters Taurus on 78 Earrach.

A Lunar Eclipse occurs with the Full Moon on 83 Earrach.

The eve of Beltane / Calen Mai, begins the Season of Samradh on 90 Earrach.

Op/Ed by Max MacMullen, Druid*

AS I SEE IT: WHAT IS ORDER OF THE MITHRIL STAR?

The Order of the Mithril Star (OMS) is one of the newest reformed Druid groups in the United States. Among its members are people of various faiths, including the Abrahamic traditions. OMS has an international membership that includes a board of directors, an ordained priesthood (of women and men) and a fellowship of consecrated members who are dedicated to the service of the Order. It has a process of personal development delineated by 7 degrees, local congregations called Groves and various subsidiary organizations. OMS promotes lifestyles that support personal freedom and responsibility, environmental stewardship, progressive and cooperative social order and pluralistic democracy.

In 1996 OMS evolved from a group of friends and lovers who were in part inspired by the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. This book suggested a spiritual and social way of life and was a metaphor expressing the awakening social consciousness of the times it was written in. Inspired by this awakening of consciousness and Heinlein's book, this group grew, evolved, and became "water-kin". They named this religious community the Order of the Mithril Star. The Order's organizing spiritual and social values include: a belief in immanent Divinity, a pluralistic perspective towards religion, living in harmony with Nature; self-actualization, deep friendship and positive sexuality. As OMS continued to develop, it was influenced and affected by the broader Reformed Druid and Neo-Pagan movements.

OMS believes that the nature of our universe and planet is a manifestation of Divine being. As such the nature of human being is an expression of Divine being. In recognition of this we greet and honor one another with the phrase " Thou art God" or "Thou art Goddess".

A fundamental rite of OMS is a communion of souls called Water-sharing. In this rite participants share water with one another. They recognize within each other the Divine Being with the phrase " Thou art God" or "Thou art Goddess". This similar to the Hindu greeting of "Namaste" which means "the Divine in me greets the Divine in you." "May you never thirst" is spoken when the shared water is drunk. Since water is essential to all known life on this planet it is seen as being very precious. OMS envisions Water-sharing as a way of honoring this preciousness. This symbolic act also recognizes that one believes Divine Being is a living experience in all Humanity. The phrase "never thirst" serves as a reminder of one's conscious connection with living as an experience of Divine being.

OMS's vision is rooted in a shared value system whose core values are accepted by its members, regardless of belief. OMS does not ask or require members to give up their religious affiliation or beliefs, as long as they share OMS's common values. One of these core values is a pluralistic attitude toward life and religion, which is essential to OMS's identity as a Order. OMS sees this attitude as reflecting a valuing of diversity, with harmony in Humanity and nature as expressions of Divinity. It believes in a pluralistic acceptance of a diversity of belief systems, and fosters religious freedom and peace within humanity. As a result, the religious/spiritual orientations of OMS members may include animistic, polytheistic, monotheistic and monastic concepts.

OMS's diversity of beliefs about Divinity is expressed through a variety of religious practices or worship. These various religious practices seek to bring humanity into conscious harmony with Nature and the Divinity within it. OMS members follow the Druidic ritual observance of what is commonly called the "Wheel of the Year". It has 8 Holy days - the solstices and equinoxes days and the cross-quarter days. Many members ritually observe the monthly Full and/or New Moon. OMS believes that the ritual observation of the "Wheel of the Year" and cycles of the Moon can bring about a communion with Divinity through attunement of one's life with the waxing and waning of Nature. Some believers see in the changing seasons - the waxing and waning of darkness and light - an expression of the life cycle of Divinity that includes birth, love, death and rebirth.

OMS encourages its members to create and re-create rituals and myths that attune their life with Nature, bring honor to and communion with Divinity, reflect its values and build community. One such myth is the vision that our planet is an individual living system, a Goddess, variously named Mother Earth or Gaia. Many members believe themselves to be children of this Goddess. This myth expresses the basic OMS tenets that our planet and life on it are sacred, ("Nature is groovy) and responsible stewardship of life and its environment is an act of worship ("Nature is VERY groovy").

OMS believes that humanity needs to be in harmony with its Self, for the Self is seen as a manifestation of Divine immanence in Nature. It sees the human Self as the seed pattern and potential of the human Soul. As such the Soul is a "system of becoming" that seeks to actualize its potential - the Self. The human Self is a potential wholeness where there is a unity of behaviors and experiences. Examples of such are mind with body, consciousness with unconsciousness, spirit with nature, instinct with culture, self with other, community with individuality, humanity with environment and being with becoming. OMS sees conscious actualization of human wholeness and the gaining of experiential knowledge of the nature of Self as an essential religious endeavor. Self-knowledge and actualization make it possible for the Self-conscious creation of harmony between humanity and Nature. This harmony is part of the human potential and is a primary religious goal and quest for OMS.

OMS envisions the religious and psychological development of the Soul as embryonic. In recognition of this, OMS members will often refer to themselves as "Eggs" as in " I am just an egg". OMS seeks to foster, through contemplation, ritual, integrative behavior and lifestyle, this embryonic journey of self-knowledge and actualization. OMS recognizes that altered states of consciousness can be ways of becoming aware of and knowing unconscious aspects of the Self. Altered states of consciousness are enthusiastic, ecstatic and celebratory aspects of this embryonic journey, and include such techniques as drumming, fasting, chanting, ritual and magic.

Some members of OMS envision the human Self as the image or archetypal pattern of Divinity that is immanent in Nature. For them the phrase " Thou Art Goddess" or "Thou Art God" and the actualization of Self has additional religious emphasis. For them, the individuation and actualization of Self is a process that grows out of instinctually determined life and ethics into a more comprehensive way of being. This state of being is envisioned as a microcosmic Deity where instincts are in harmony with the self- conscious wholeness of soul.

In order to achieve the unity of instinct with culture, self with other, community with individuality, OMS believes friendship is essential. Friendship begins for a OMS member with the recognition that each human being, as a sovereign expression of Divinity, has the same rights as one's Self. This equality is seen as a sacred bond with all humanity and a fundamental quality of the relational interdependence of Self-actualization. OMS members are to give due respect and civility to the relationship of friendship. Members of OMS are friends, or "dear ones", who love themselves, but not only themselves - treating others with the same regard and respect that they would have others treat them. Through friendship celebrated by the rite of Water-sharing the membership of OMS creates and grows what is termed "Water-kin". This friendship is the value that weaves OMS members into a network of relational interdependence envisioned as a neo-pagan and post-modern tribe. Public Water-sharing by members expresses this friendship, and is a rite of tribal confirmation.

OMS encourages deepening or increasing intimacy in friendship. This it calls "growing closer". Part of growing closer is the increasing ability to act interdependently with others and achieving or approximating "win-win" interpersonal outcomes. OMS believes that development of such interdependence is fundamental to the psychology of Self-actualization and increasing social good. When two or more people feel they have established a level of interdependence and a bond of trust that expresses kinship, then another stage of water sharing may occur. This stage is a rite of confirmation that a spiritual kinship, similar to the tribal feeling of being cousins, exists between the people sharing water. It is a stage that initiates openness to further 'growing closer'. Continued 'growing closer' is characterized by increasing affection, affiliation and intimacy.

When a state of being is established between Water-kin where those involved recognize that the other's happiness is essential to one's own, then another stage in growing closer may be acknowledged. Water sharing at this stage recognizes that communion of souls called love. In OMS, the water rituals that recognize the 'growing closer' stages of kinship or love may be intuitively given or experientially earned. OMS believes that the process of growing closer leads increasingly to a fuller understanding of, and communion with, immanent Divinity. Such understanding is connoted by the term "grok" and is also symbolized by the sharing of water.

To foster growing closer and the development of water-kin and tribe, OMS has religious communities called Groves. The Grove is the basic local organizational and congregational unit of OMS. A Grove is a group of 3 or more members who come together to learn, discuss, and creatively practice the values and purposes of the Order. Just as a grove of trees in nature provides life with a means and context for growth, an OMS Grove provides an individual member with a community and culture to foster self-actualization and communion with the Divine.

As a part of integrating instinct with culture, OMS believes our reproductive instinct needs to be stewarded towards maintaining a sustainable human population upon our planet. OMS encourages responsible reproductive strategies and choices. Men and Women share the responsibility for pregnancy prevention and child rearing equally in OMS. OMS supports the ancient tradition of "mother right" - that women have the right to choose to give birth or not.

OMS believes that sexuality is an expression of the Divine. To honor this belief OMS values and encourages positive sexuality. Positive sexuality is the affirmation of ethical sexual behavior and the pleasure seeking instinct for the fostering of social bonding, including communion with one another and Divine being. Consent and peer-ship are the basis for ethical sexual behavior and positive sexuality. The expression of positive regard in human sexual behavior is essential for positive sexuality.

Positive sexuality includes sacred sexual behavior. For OMS, sacred sexuality requires an attitude wherein individuals affirm their essential worth, confirm the equality and essential self worth of others, and seek to act interdependently to mutually fulfill sexual desire and affection and affiliation needs. Sexual behavior that expresses or reflects this attitude is believed to be sacred by OMS in that such behavior honors and expresses immanent Divinity. The practice of sacred sexuality and sacred sexual rituals is encouraged by OMS. OMS believes that homoerotic and hetero-erotic sexuality can be expressions of sacred sexual behavior.

When nudity is a symbolic act that reflects an individual's affirmation of self worth, the beauty of sexuality, basic trust in others and a peaceful heart, then OMS believes nudity is a sacred sex practice that is an expression of Divinity within and fosters 'growing closer'. OMS encourages nudity as a sacred practice for those who are called to do so within the privacy of a Grove, in a secluded natural environment or at 'clothing optional' gatherings. Further, OMS believes if one chooses to be naked in one of its private rituals, it can be a sign that one is free.

OMS recognizes and blesses a variety of committed sacred sexual relationships as marriages. These marriages may or may not be sexually exclusive, and may be monogamous, polygamous or polyamorous. This variety of committed relationships not only reflects the ethical freedoms that OMS supports, but also reflects the historical and anthropological facts showing that humanity has practiced a wide variety of committed sexual relationships called 'marriage'. OMS believes multiple forms of marriage are, in part, a reflection of humanity's diverse nature, which desires both social stability and sexual variety, and that there are many ways to satisfy these desires. The pluralistic approach of OMS to marriage is envisioned as an expression of the diversity of nature and the Divinity within it. This approach, for OMS, is an essential religious concept and custom, in that it fosters humanity's harmony with nature and immanent Divinity through integration of instinct with culture.

OMS is a religion, a system of values, customs and ideas, organized in an organic fashion. It will grow, develop and evolve in a way that brings about the best in humanity and honors Divinity.

*Note: Opinions expressed by Druid Max are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Druids, Groves, or officers of the Order of the Mithril Star.

FROM THE TREASURER

We are no longer accepting initial dues or donations in the form of copies of SiaSL or contributions to environmental groups. This is because during the last few months people have abused the honor system to join up and "troll" the Order, as mentioned elsewhere. In these cases people have stated that they have made payment to say, the Sierra Club, but offered no proof in the form of a receipt. We gave them the benefit of a doubt, and they proceeded to troll the online Grove, causing disruption and mischief.

In the future then, initial dues must be paid directly to the Order. Renewing dues (after a year and a day) may be directed by the member to another environmental group, but we will do that for you and send you receipt.

We regret this change in policy.

-- Moonflower /|\
-- Treasurer, Order of the Mithril Star

 

IMBOLC
by: Jill Yarnall

So the skies rumbled and the snows came,
And everywhere down through the centuries of this gray night,
Came women gathering to pray,
And to sink their hands into the dark earth.

They gathered seeds and prepared them for planting,
They meditated in the icy darkness,
And they celebrated the lambing of the first ewe,
To hasten spring.

And when through the earth they felt the stirring,
They sang songs encouraging the tiny seeds to grow.

In the dark, wet soil you can smell their work still;
They are digging along beside us. Listen!

The north wind carries their song across the snow,
This Imbolc night.

As the Earth prepares for Spring,
Wise women gather in circles to await the promise of new life,
And to sing praises for the green earth.

And so do we, here now,
This year, and every year.

Welcome Imbolc!

Op/Ed by Sybok Pendderwydd*

AN OXYMORON: "XIAN PAGAN"

Generally speaking, I'm pretty tolerant of people. Pagans especially are a diverseand eclectic group, often holding belief systems that incorporate paths that are not traditional to European Paganism. These would include ideas and techniques culled from Hindu, Buddhist, Indigenous American and other sources. The most common ideas are probably culled from the Jewish system of Kabbalah, which also inspired such magickal luminaries as Gardner, Crowley, Blavatsky and Fortune, and continues to inspire modern neo-Pagans as well.

But don't we have to draw the line somewhere? Can all belief systems be grafted onto the tree of Neo-Paganism?

I'm thinking of course of Xianity - the basis of which is the very antithesis of Pagan thought. Some have glomed on to parts of Xtianity and begun to call themselves "Pagan Xtians" or "Xtian Pagans." Others simply glom onto the worst aspects of Xtianity and call themselves "Libertarians". Now I want to qualify this: If by "Xtian-Pagan" one means that they are simply inspired by the teachings of Jesus, then I see little wrongness there. After all, much of Jesus' words are merely paraphrases from the Talmud, and there is some wisdom to be had there. What I am addressing here is the person who accepts the Calvinistic ideas of "utter depravity," "original sin" and the anti-sex phobia that permeates much of modern fundamentalist xtianity. How can a system which insists that humans are inherently bad and need to be redeemed be compatible or reconcilable with the freethinking of Neo-Paganism? Actually, there's a whole list of incompatibilities, only a few of which I will expound upon here:

1. Pagans worship a multitude of Goddesses and Gods and in some cases include themselves in the pantheon. But Xtianity limits you to 3 (in the case of Catholicism 4); but Xtians also insist that their 3 or 4 deities are in reality only one. A secondary deity is added to the mix to, but you're forbidden to worship him - you're only allowed to fear him (I'm speaking of Satan of course, who has the same powers as the Xtian God - though they deny this too).

2. Most Pagans believe you should "do as you will, but TRY to harm none". But Xtianity insists that there's a whole list of things (sin) you must not ever do (the majority of which are not inherently harmful to anyone) and you will be turned over to their lessor God (Satan) to be tortured forever if you do.

3. Many Pagans enjoy being naked in nature. Xtianity insists that's a sin and leads to more sin. Extreme Xtians believe your shouldn't even see yourself naked.

4. Many Pagans are polyamorous, or homosexual, or bisexual. All Pagans agree that these are simply lifestyle choices. Xtians believe these to be the most vile of all sins, and want to pass laws against them. These life styles would become capital crimes if the most radical Xtians had their way.

5. All Pagans believe that Nature should be preserved and protected for both our health and welfare and for future generations. Xtians believe that their God has given them dominion over the Earth, and that they are to rape, pillage, plunder, pollute and lay waste to entire ecosphere, so that "when the last tree falls, Jesus will return." (Quote from Reagan's Interior Secy., James Watt).

6. Pagans believe that the idea that "you get what you pay for" applies not only to the goods and services you purchase, but those you offer for sale as well (including work for wages). Actually Xtians believe this as well, but refuse to apply it to human resources (a word they made up - workers are denigrated to "resources." Not much different from slaves actually). If a worker doesn't work like a dog for the most minimum of wages, he's considered a "slacker." This is part and parcel of the "Puritan (later "Protestant") Work Ethic," which suggests that man is being punished continuously for his sin by being made to work at the most unrewarding, menial, degrading, and exhausting labor for as little wages as possible.

7. Pagans believe that humanity is to valued, and that all of humanity is really one organism with the Earth. To cause harm to any one part then, is to cause harm to all. So Pagans fight for equality, for universal health care, for a "living wage," and they help those who are in need by providing food, clothing, shelter and education to the victims of Xtianities Capitalist system - and for those who are victims of natural disasters, war, and autocratic governments. Xtians look the other way, believing that these victims are just sinners who deserve what they get, or, if they do offer relief, offer a lot of proselytizing with it.

8. Pagans celebrate life and the joy of living. Most believe in reincarnation. Xtians are preparing for death and a supposed afterlife in Heaven, and seem to believe that the more of life's pleasures you are denied (and can deny others) the better your place in Heaven will be.

9. Xtians want to take over the entire world and make it into a Hell, where there is no pleasure, only hard work at low wages over long debilitating hours, polluting the planet and destroying nature for the glory of their God (and capitalism). A hell where you speak when spoken to. Where you can be killed for an opinion. Where there is no art, no music, no dance, and no books (other than the bible). Pagans want a world in which everyone's basic needs are taken care of, where no has to worry about being hungry or homeless, where war is outlawed, where health care is easy to get and available to all, and where people are free to express themselves in all ways.

The sad thing I find, is that many Pagans have fallen victim to the selfish parts of the Xtian paradigm, embracing so called "Libertarianism" and the whole Xtian "Marlboro Man" mentality, rather than the intrinsic Pagan ethos that we are all one on this Earth, and we need to take care of each other, and we need to take care of the Earth for our own good, for the good of all, and for the good of future generations.

-- Sybok Pendderwydd/|\
"Purveyor of unconventional wisdom."

*Note: Opinions expressed by Sybok are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Druids, Groves, or officers of the Order of the Mithril Star.

The Mother Grove wishes all of you a most blessed Imbolc,
and abundant blessings throughout the season!

May you never thirst!

Arch-Druid Ceridwen Seren-Ddaear, Managing Editor/Webmaster
Sybok Pendderwydd, Clerk
Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng Y Bydoedd Grove, OMS

NEXT ISSUE WILL BE PUBLISHED ON Beltane / Calen Mai- 1 Samradh YR 43

WANT TO JOIN THE ORDER? http://www.mithrilstar.org/join.htm

WANT TO DONATE TO THE ORDER? http://www.mithrilstar.org/donate.htm

The Druids Egg -- 1 Earrach YR 43 -- Vol. 3 No. 2
Send letters, submissions to mithrilstarnews-owner@yahoogroups.com
There is no guarantee that your submission will be published.
All submissions become the property of OMS.

All pictures are believed to be public domain, gathered from around the internet and/or sent to us by friends. However, if there is an image(s) that has copyright information associated with it and the copyright holder wishes for it to be removed, then please email us and we will remove it. Or, if any of the artwork is yours and you just want us to give you credit (and the piece can remain on site), please send us your link/banner and we will be happy to do so.

Published four times each year by The Mother Grove of the
Order of the Mithril Star
Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng y Bydoedd Grove
Eureka, California USA
"An autonomous collective of Reformed Druidry"

Copyright © 2005