Being Pagan Has Never Been Easy

wheeloftheyear

Contributed by the Rev. Tanya Trzeciak

Being a Pagan is not nor has it ever been easy.  For a large part of my life I had to stay in the “broom closet” with employers, many friends, and neighbors.  I had to hide the fact that I did not believe in one god almighty who was cruel and punishing. I was a solitary practitioner and did not seek out others for fear of being ostracized or,worse, fired from my job.

When I finally came out of the closet, some friends shied away out of fear while others asked questions.  The questioners embraced my strength to honor my beliefs while the others feared that I might be evil.  These people did not want any explanations or want to understand why I believe what I do.

However, I am a white female and I could hide who and what I was quite easily.  I didn’t have to wear a pentacle or goddess pendant in public.  I didn’t have to do or say anything to profess being a pagan.  I could practice what I believed in private and continue a public persona that didn’t upset the status quo.

My friends of color are not so lucky.  How do they hide the color of their skin? How do those who have to wear head scarves hide who they are?  How do they let others know that they are not bad people?

Society is so quick to judge a book by its cover and will not listen to explanations or even take the time to understand anyone who is even the slightest bit different.  We are all living beings and it is because of our differences that the world is such an awesome place.  Do we really want to be just another brick in the wall?

Beltane and Spring

bonfire

Contributed by board member, The Rev. Tanya April-Trzeciak

The Merry Month of May.  Here in New England May is a month for joy.  March and the Vernal Equinox offer us hope but the strong winds and rain, even snow, often don’t hold much promise.  Then April comes along with more rain and warmth but there is still the threat of cold winds and snow.  May is the time when that promise of hope is finally fulfilled.  The trees are more than just tiny buds, there is more color than just the Forsythia yellow and the birds are feeding their young and singing the praises of the beautiful weather.  We find the earth warming so we can get our tomatoes in and many have been harvesting the peas for a few weeks now.

For Pagans May is full of joy and celebration where wehonor the fertility of the earth and all living things.  Flowers that bring us the luscious fruit are pollinized by the insects, peas and radishes are being picked and we begin to think of all the happiness we pushed aside during the cold dark days of winter.  May truly is spring.  May shows us that the cycle really does continue.  There are no more false hopes and the promised warm days that we had in March and April are truly here.  No, we have honest to goodness days of warmth and sunshine and nights that are not freezing cold.

We may not celebrate May as some of the ancients did with the Great Rite (Divine Marriage), but we do celebrate with singing and dancing and playing games.  The light of the bonfires cleanses away all the negativity still holding on.  Celebrate May and be joyous.  Blessed Be.

Celebrating Ostara

from our board member, The Rev. Tanya April-Trzeciak

Ostara is the Latin name for the Saxon spring goddess, Eostre. Her counterpart in ancient Greece was Eros, also called Aurora. The vernal equinox is a time of balance when day and night are equal. It is a day to celebrate both the earth and the sun. Our ancestors included the symbolic union of the god and goddess in their rituals and honored the balance of all things; male and female, spiritual and physical. In Celtic Cornwall and Wales, Ostara was called Lady Day and celebrated the return of the goddess after her winter hibernation.

In the maiden-mother-crone cycle of the goddess and the season, the maiden phase is now unfolding as the earth renews herself. Signs of renewing life can be seen everywhere as snowdrops and crocuses emerge and trees come into leaf. The season brings freshness into our lives and new perspectives as we shed heavy winter clothes and feel the warmth of the sun on our bodies.

This is the time of spring’s return. The seed time, the joyful time, the time when life bursts from the womb of the earth breaking the shackles of winter. The time of balance when night and day, light and dark, are equal. Now is the time when the Prince of Light, born of the winter solstice, meets the Dark Maiden, who returns from the underworld. As they dance, flowers appear and warm sunlight makes the earth green.

Cranberry Circle CUUPS celebrates Ostara by performing a seed blessing and an indoor planting ritual. We decorate eggs after our ritual and consecrate them to the Goddess of Spring and the ever-returning God of the Sun. “New life lies within this egg as new life enters the soil. Let those who seek life find it.” Our altar is decorated with all the symbols of spring fertility…eggs, rabbits, flowers and seeds.

Cranberry Circle Covenant of Unitarian Universalists (CUUPS) will be celebrating Ostara on March 21 in the church hall at 7:00 P.M. of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleboro, MA 25 S. Main St. Middleboro. ALL ARE WELCOME.