Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crafting Magic

I have never been able to separate my craft life and my magical life.

Crafting IS magic.

Take spinning, something I learned as a girl. The first revolution in human hertory was the string revolution, the process of twisting fiber into something strong and useful, and at the age of 8 I joined that herstory with my early attempts on a spindle. Twist fibers together in your fingers, build a spindle, find a spinning wheel, and you are making a magic that is associated with Fates, Spider Woman, Loki, Bridget, Frigga, Athena, and all of your grandmothers and grandfathers stretching back through millennia. Learn to spin and you are connected to spinsters, one of the earliest - and highly esteemed - jobs for women. Learn to spin and you are creating the fates.

Weaving, something I also learned in elementary school (the better to make cloth for my barbie dolls), has its own magic. There is nothing as strong as woven cloth. Take warp and weft, and string becomes a usable fabric: the fabric of life. Fabric can be cut, re-used, patched, repaired, sewn again, and transformed into both shelter and clothing. Weaving is a magical connection to human existence, right up there with spinning fate: Feminists now re-weave the web of life. The web of life is magical.

I have already written of smithing as crafting. Take magical iron and forge it into steel, into pots and pans, into kitchen knives and votive offering. Stones become tools. Transformation is in our hands, eyes, in our arms as we hammer, and in the fire. Every strike forges a world. Magic.

And sewing is magic; patchwork is magic. I have sewn up the years of my children's lives, into quilts and clothing, into wall art and gifts and blankets. Every intentional stitch is a spell. Every spell is creating the future.

Crafting is sacred to Bridget and needs to be explored as intentional spellcrafting as well. I realize that lighting candles to Bridget is a spell, and so is cleaning one's hearth or one's stove is spellcrafting or prayer. Yet I find my greatest spells come when writing, when spinning, when weaving. Molding beeswax into candles is a spell; couching beads is a spell. Bridget wants us to create with our hands and hearts, and she wants us to shape the world. (As Christian theologians and thealogians would argue God wants us to participate in Creation. . .)

In the process of growing in devotions to Saint Bridget or Goddess Bridget, or whomever you worship, I hope you add this knowledge of crafting. Crafting with intention is a spell or prayer as strong as any ritual - and with Bridget, perhaps it is even stronger. Whatever craft you explore, every step can be worked into spells and prayers in Her name. Your final creation can add to alters, hearths, homes.

Crafting is magic. Crafting is spellmaking. Make it intentional. Spin fate; weave the web of life; mold inspiration; forge worlds; knit prayers; bead stories; carve spells. What spell is greater than creating?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No Trips Without A Tripper Tarot Card

Another of my favorite cards from Morgan's Tarot. No Trips Without A Tripper is a nice "get up and do" kind of card, which, cheerful positivist that I can be, reflects one of my basic beliefs. Actions, I believe, do speak louder than words.

Morgan's words on this card are, as ever, wonderful:

"Sorry, but if you don't do it, it won't happen. Most ego trips require some sort of ego.

Strictly speaking, the tripper is not separate from the trip."

Translate that to "what we do is never separate from who we are." (Another famous version of this one: Galatians: 6:7).

When this comes up for me in a reading, I always advise my client to pay attention to their works. If you want to have a garden, start digging. If you want to have a relationship, turn off the computer and meet people. If you want more money, work harder or go to school. If you want to be an artist, go make art.

I, of course, am not saying that if we want to create endless success, that we can do so with positive thoughts. Come on. I still pay attention to realities of race, class, sex, orientation, ability, age and culture/language. When I wanted to have a baby, no amount of positive thought could open up my fallopian tubes, for example. On the other hand, when I moved to adoption as my trip, 3 kids followed.

And obviously where this card shows up in a reading matters, but in general, when you draw it, look to action and behavior. The best spellcasting is doing every possible action you can for a desired end. Tripping, after all, is a verb.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Find your fairy name!

Ok, ok. I am not usually a fairy person. . . The sidhe in Welsh and Irish and Scottish legend are not to be messed with, for example! Yet I found this link, and followed it to try, and got a name I liked so much I posted it on my link lists. . . Thorn Willowweb.

Well, heck. I love the name Thorn, fits me well. I'll add it to Onnen and the other names I've collected. I love willows, those lovely first to leaf out trees of spring and willowbark tea, and webs are intrinsic to a weaver like myself. (No I don't vacume spiderwebs out of my home. . . I love webs! This attitude does annoy my more arachnaphobic friends. . .)

But anyway, here it is. Find your fairy name and see if you like it!

(fairy clipart by Webweaver! thanks!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crochet for Bridget: Save the Ocean

All crafts are sacred to Bridget, and I have always had a connection to Her through my artwork. I was weaving and spinning (mostly for my barbie dolls) way back in elementary school, and my 1974 sewing machine is one of the proudest purchases in my life (earned by babysitting back in the day, for 50 cents an hour!) Every craft project, from a pie in the kitchen, to sewing patches on jeans, to building an arbor for your garden, to knitting a shawl - all are sacred creations blessed by Bridget.

(I love the word craft itself. Craft encompasses meanings of skill, cunning, intelligence, going back to old high german "kreftig," and old english "craeftig." Crafts require intelligence and skill. Craft itself, of course, is another word for witching. . .)

Crochet, however, can do more than show your skill. Crochet can help save the ocean.

A Cornell mathematician was trying to use paper to demonstrate hyperbolic space to her advanced math students, and couldn't get paper to work. So as a crafter (intelligent and wily), Dr. Daina Taimina pulled out her crochet needles and found the perfect medium to demonstrate how in moving away from a point all the surrounding space expands exponentially. Turns out, crochet was perfect for this - as any crochet crafter can tell you from all of us knowing what happens when you add an extra stitch without noticing! Turns out all us crocheters were doing advanced math all this time.

Crochet is perfect for demonstrating hyperbolic space and hyperbolic organisms in the plant world (like lettuce, for example). Two women at the Institute for Figuring, Margaret and Christine Wertheim, realized that hyperbolic crochet was perfect to model the growth of coral reefs. Given how endangered reefs are at the moment from climate change and pollution, the two women realized this hyperbolic crochet was a wonderful way to show landlubbers what reefs are, and how they grow. Thus was born the crochet project: The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. The two women started their reef in their living room; today it has grown around the world, with sub-reefs, museum displays, and a huge trash reef installation made from beach garbage and yarn. Like coral, and hyperbolic space, the reef project has also grown exponentially.

And you can participate. The basic reef pattern is here. The Institute for Figuring has its own online website for both crochet and hyperbolic plane information here. Pics of various crocheted hyperbolic coral here (way cool, too!)

And for newbies, some crochet links:

Learn to crochet

Learn to crochet videos

If you live near a JoAnn Fabric Store, there are often really good and cheap crochet classes and help available there (where I go when I'm stuck on a project!)

And remember how valuable crafts are next time you are scrapbooking or baking a cake or sewing for your kids. Crochet, that much maligned craft of doilies and granny squares, turns out pretty important. I think of my many crocheting great aunts, all of whom never went to college, and who always felt themselves uneducated, and who were unknowingly creating models of mathematical space on their front porches through long summer nights. So many of us have grandmothers and great aunts and great grandmothers who, without any college, created universes of hearth and home with their hands and needles, their spinning wheels and cooking pots, their loving hearts and crafty minds. The feminist belief that all women are thus witches stems from this truth.

So whatever your religion, go and honor the earth and Bridget. Try a little crocheted exponentially growing hyperspace. Let's keep creating this world, from great aunts' porches, to a saved coral sea.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Great Pagan and Bridget links

I am so blessed to have literally hundreds of Pagan links sent to me each week, and I love exploring all of them. It's about time I listed some of them here! So here are some favorites - all open for you to explore and use as you see fit! So enjoy!

Bridget Links:

Tuatha de Brighid "Tuatha De Brighid - The People of the Goddess Brighid - is a Clann of modern Druids who are honored to call Brighid our Matron and Guide. We are both a community and a spiritual tradition. Our Tradition is inspired by ancient and modern paths as we seek to transcend differences and find common ground personified in the timeless Spirit of Druidry." (quotes from their website) Great links, free Bridget classes for joining, an online shrine and a place to share writings and poetry! Can't make it to Kildare? Try here.

Bridget's Forge
Articles from all over the UK, charms, prayers, meditations, more links, links to Bridget pacifist sites, and lots and lots of great information on Welsh folk religion. Huzzah for a Welsh Bridget worshipper!

You want more on Ffraid, the Welsh name for Bridget (pronounced Fride with a long i)?
Well here ya go (dyna chi!): Brighid: Goddess and Saint Information on churches all over Wales that are connected to Ffraid. Great pictures of Wales!! (hyfryd, iawn!)

Pagan resources from all over the spectrum:

Karen Tate's online radio show for Goddess spirituality, free downloads! I am beyond blessed to be on a number of online groups with Karen, whose brilliant radio show can be downloaded free of charge at her website. There find discussions with amazing pagan elders and leaders from around the world, from Mathew Fox to Z. Budapest, Riane Eisler to Jean Shinoda Bolen. Karen is an unwavering voice for women's empowerment, saving the environment, fighting for justice, and her website is a brilliant resource.

Pagan News
A longtime site for every possible article, link, marketplace, tools, ritual ideas, parenting ideas for the pagan family. . . join in and write your own articles. (Get published! It's fun!!!) This has been a long time stand-by in the Pagan community.

In addition to Starhawk's own website, you can read her in the mainstream press, too. As part of the Washington Post's religious forum, Starhawk herself writes periodically about current politics and religion for this most mainstream paper. Need to present pagan ideas to traditional liberals??? Need cogent articles about liberation from Pagan perspectives??? Here is a great place to turn.

Pagan Play Places!

AFter posting about playgrounds for the soul, I got lots of links to places for Pagans to play online. (Thank you gentle readers!) I haven't explored them all, but here are two.

Ancient Worlds An online role playing game set in, surprise, ancient worlds. Choose Celtic, or Roman, Greek, Mesopotamia, the Orient, or the Americas, and explore Iron Age life wherever you choose. Build your home, choose a trade, write academic articles, co-write role playing scenarios, or most important, choose your fashions! A fun world.

And who knew? Second Life, that huge online role playing, partly-real world (I actually know artists earning real money for their Second Life art, which just wierts me out) has a pagan area: information on the Pagan Second Life here.

The online Pagan world is huge, and worldwide, so even the most remote solo practitioner can find community and information. And, oh lovely readers, I love getting the links, so keep sending them!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Most of Us Americans Are Christian!

How is that for a topic title on a Paganish blog?

Well, it is an answer to my children, who though they love church's Bible study classes, choir, and theater and music lessons, all hate Sunday School. "Why do we have to go?" is an endless question at my house. "I'm an agnostic!" proclaims my son; "I don't know what I believe but most of Christianity makes no sense," declares my eldest daughter, and my youngest daughter happily attends Sunday School only when she knows if the snack will be good or not.

Well, I got tired of this. We are an LGBT family and we can't just ignore Christianity, no matter how Pagan I may be, or atheistic my children grow. My ex-partner (and still co-parent) and I fought long and hard to adopt our children, and without a ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court wouldn't be parenting today. It wasn't Pagans trying to stop LGBT adoption!

Christianity is a dominant worldview for western culture. You don't have to be Christian to be in that worldview. Christianity, whether you believe it or not, permeates our lives. And as politically minded people, Pagan, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Moslim,Wiccan, Humanist, Unitarian Universalit, Agnostic or Atheist, we all of us have to deal with, confront, and ultimately change Christianity.

So I set out to prove to my children that here in the Americas, almost all of us are Christian. So I asked them these questions:

When do we celebrate Jesus' birthday?

When do we celebrate Buddha's birthday?

When do we celebrate Shiva's birthday?

What is the holiday that celebrates Jesus' return from the dead?

What is the name of the holiday that celebrates Osiris' return from the dead?

Who are Jesus' parents?

Who are Buddha's parents?

What does a cross mean?

What does a Star of David mean?

Who said "Blessed are the poor?"

Well, guess which questions my "atheist" children could answer?

My little atheists know a ton about Christianity, and if you watch television, go to school or visit a mall in America, you can't help learn Christianity no matter your faith stance.

And when a doctrine permeates your culture, you ignore it at your peril. Churches in America have unprecedented power and political clout. Against such political maneuvering, I ask my children who cares if they believe in Jesus as their savior or not? Knowing how the Bible supports both oppressive and liberating themes is necessary to work in America's political world.

As citizens of the US, we need to know how Jesus preached liberation. We have to know that Jesus' life included ministry with people from all across the cultural landscape of his day - including hated and despised peoples. We also have to know that Jesus never once spoke out against lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgendered people, and that he lived and worked equally with women. "Blessed are the poor" is a message that everyone in the US needs to hear.

And churches matter because, still, mostly women attend them. Women make up so many congregations, doing the hard work of raising money, running Sunday Schools, and doing the dishes, while still more men stand in the pulpit telling everyone how to think. You may not attend church, but if you have women friends, lovers, wives, sisters, daughters, or grand daughters, then you most likely know women who attend church. Personally, I know more women who have found the Goddess in church than in any coven. And these women matter.

Likewise, there are plenty of LGBT kids out there, in churches, hearing messages that are designed to destroy their sense of themselves as holy. Changing churches matters for those kids as well.

Now, I will admit, that how to change the church - I should write The Church - is a personal matter. I attend a wonderfully pro-justice church that embraces diversity if not inclusive language. So I feel very comfortable working within and without a church family. Others may not feel comfortable in a church. And others may not feel comfortable outside the church.

I am ever one to embrace a multiplicity of strategies for change, however.

Years ago I worked at the Center for Women and Religion and heard endless discussions about how to change racist, sexist heteropatriarchy. (Always a fun and worthwhile discussion.) I remember the endless bickering between those who wanted "change from within" and those who wanted "change from without." I see that conversation still going on - 20 years later.

And it is silly. Let's change everywhere. Best strategies I have seen have ever been those working within systems coordinating with those who work from outside the system. And I see the least political change when there is no outside.

For those of us who identify with both Pagan and Christian, working within and without is easy. I say "huzzah" to us. For those within Christianity or for those in the Pagan world, I say "huzzah" as well.

Christianity is grounded in American society. To some extent, most of us are thus Christian. Building American roots into new religion models, and changing the Christian roots to healthier ones, will require all of us.

Even my atheist kids.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stop Puppy Mills - action!

Meet Nico!! My youngest puppy, now 2 and he has finally quit chewing barbie dolls! Of my four rescue dogs, he is the easiest - eager to please, smart and friendly. (Cookie, rescued from starvation and abuse in West Virginia, took months to quit biting men and to gain some weight; Skye, also abused before her adoption - as well as hit by a car while a stray, has tremendous health problems after her accident; and then Bingo, our criminal mastermind, the smartest - and shyest - dog I've ever met, who nipped until age 2, would be a shoe in for euthanasia if we hadn't worked and worked and worked to help her shyness.)

Nico was a puppy mill dog. He was born with health problems - no tear ducts, so as you see in his picture, he has constant tears streaming down his face and coloring his poodle hair. His first owners abandoned him in a park at the age of six months.

But good for him, he was abandoned near our old home, with the most wonderful "poodle lady" in the neighborhood, and when Nico was found our neighbors took him straight to Miss Julia and her rescue. She then placed Nico in our home, as she already knew all my dogs, going back to wolfhound/shepherd mix Murphy years ago. And despite 6 month old puppy teething, Nico was a delight from day one. Today, he and Cookie live in our laps - or your lap if you come visit.

Puppy mills are a huge problem here in the WV/PA/OH area - along with illegal dog fighting. Many of the farms that breed puppies either shoot the dogs that don't sell by the age of 6 months, or they sell the puppies to dogfighters. Thank heaven there is also a huge and thriving rescue community working to save as many puppies as possible.

Yet the best thing would be to shut down the mills. No dog should churn our litter after litter, in small cages, year after year. And no puppy should be kept in a wire cage, with no socialization or exercise. Yet that is what puppy mills do.

Help stop them.

Take Action at Care2Causes Here

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Universe Is Not Unfolding the Way It Should

Back to Tarot! Here is one of my favourite cards from the Morgan Tarot!

Morgan's interpretation of the card:

"Actually the universe is unfolding the only way it can -- the way it is.

Someone once said, "The most difficult lesson we have to learn is that we are always in the right place at the right time."

The basic message here is that regret and guilt are not useful emotions."

So how is that for a message that rocks???

This card comes up for me a lot as a mom.

I want to give my children everything possible, and many things are within my reach: a good education, good lessons, a great garden (too bad they all HATE my tomatoes), good friends. When two of my children were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, I know many friends and family commiserated with me, seeing their diagnoses as a huge challenge. (And sometimes the reality of autism is a huge challenge. The diagnoses, however, were wonderful because a diagnosis means getting help!) And I know, that for some in my family, autism seemed like a death sentence and overwhelming burden.

But not for me.

I've gotten my special needs kids some of the best services available in the United States, and in the process, found myself entering a new world for me - one of support, acceptance and kindness. Therapists have not always agreed with my decisions for my kids (therapists tend to dislike homeschooling), but in general, my kids have been so successful in mainstreaming that even the most public school committed doctor has had to acquiesce to my decision. And all over, teachers, musicians, actors, dancers, therapists, and other parents, greet me with huge hugs and overwhelming praise. A bit much for a former juvenile delinquent.

More importantly, I have learned with my kids that together we can do anything. Parenting has been the most healing activity in my life. This dreadlocked, nose-ringed, tattooed mom is welcome at churches, afterschool programs, and therapeutic services, when back before parenting I felt like a stranger and outcast wherever I went! (Don't forget, gentle readers, that back in the 1990's people still routinely asked if lesbians should even be allowed to adopt children!)

On the other hand, there are things I haven't been able to give my children. A loving and accepting extended family has eluded me. I can't force my relatives to accept autism, to help with the issues my children face, or even to accept me. I can't force my relatives to get some social skills training they need, and I can't stop them from feeling angry and threatened when my children get therapeutic interventions they might just need themselves. I can choose school programs, but sadly, I can't choose how everyone else deals with disability. And it is sad indeed, that for my multiracial kids in a lesbian family, the biggest discrimination we face DAILY is ableism.

So back to the universe, unfolding away as we unfold ourselves. Autism has never seemed an example of the universe not being as it should, though I want my children to confront their disabilities and learn to have as many behavioral options as possible. I am not writing here that parents should "accept" autistic kids without also finding as many interventions and giving autistic children as many choices as possible.

And yet, I have done the "I should have given them more" Mommy guilt.

When I get this card, it is a lovely and gentle reminder to me. I can and have fought autism, and ableism, but sometimes the universe continues on its way no matter what I do. I can't change everything for my kids, but I can dance within the life that is dealt us. Autism has shaped my parenting, my wonderful relationships with my fabulous children, and given me new perspectives on myself as acceptable and even embraced.

Is the universe unfolding the way it should? Well, from my limited viewpoint, it is hard to know. However, my kids and I are unfolding the way we should be, to ever more creative skills and ever more loving circles.

As " a piece of the continent, a part of the main," this corner of the universe is grooving.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Contracts with Bridget

A fellow Bridget worshiper first told me about making contracts with Her, a surprise to me. Contracts with Bridget? The idea intrigued me to no end. But this fellow Bridget follower found he wrote better and with more success when he agreed to certain puja actions to Bride, and then asked for her intercession and support for his projects.

I started asking other worshipers about their own contracts with Bridget or other deities/saints, and several correspondents told me of their research in early Indo-European worship customs. These Celtic polytheists saw direct supplication as a key element to Pagan Bridget worship.

Well, certainly the historical antecedents for petitioning deity are well recorded in the British Isles. The Romans, literate peoples, bunged those swords down wells and asked Coventina and Sulis and Fortuna for health, wealth, and at times curses on others who had stolen from them. That the thousands of votive objects bunged to Celtic Goddesses might have carried specific - albeit non written - requests, seems a pretty easy conclusion.

Now I admit to feeling taken aback when I first read about contracts with Bridget. A socialist in my soul, I don't want to reduce all human interaction to the marketplace. (Great sermon on Christian ethics and challenging the Marketplace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury here.) Yet as a mother of two children with autism spectrum disorder, I know full well how contracts with my children have been stupendous ways to help them grow. (Currently my son receives 6$ a week for exercising daily, for example. I have paid my children for many things that astound families not in the autism community, yet the results are two children who have mainstreamed fairly well. Thus contracts, especially when special needs are involved, are not just mercantile: they are amazing and miraculous interventions.)

So if I contract with my son to bathe regularly, why not ask Bridget for something as well? I already light candles for her, so it is fairly easy to promise other actions in puja and worship. I considered making her a daily cup of tea, for example, as my first correspondent suggested.

Around this time I was working on a quilt. The quilt itself is dedicated to Bridget, patterned on one I had made for a Catholic friend dedicated to the Virgin Mary. I used old mass cards on that Marian quilt, copying the card images on to fabric, quilting and embroidering it, and adding holy items as decoration. It was utterly wicked, if I do say so myself. For Bridget's quilt, I looked for an icon or mass card that I liked, and found one: by Sr. Aloysius McVeigh, with the Sisters of Mercy in Northern Ireland. I didn't want to just steal her image, so I decided to write the Sisters, and to ask permission to use the image in a quilt. I offered to pay a small fee for copyright, if they so chose.

And I started gathering some lovely wools for the quilt, and some old holy medals, and looked at some Victorian buttons in my collection that I think will rock on the wool. And I wrote to other friends about contracts, Bridget, and whether or not contractual relationship is really representative of Indo European worship.

Weeks passed, and I received something in the mail from Northern Ireland. Well, how exciting is that? I love getting mail from foreign parts! I opened the letter, and out falls a contract: from the Sisters of Mercy, on behalf of Sr. Aloysius, now deceased, giving me copyright privileges to the icon she painted of Saint Bridget. The contract was signed by the head of the Sisters of Mercy, with space for me to sign and return a copy to them.

So my exploration of contracts with Bridget, started in correspondence with another worshiper, now ended with me having a formal and written contract with the Sisters of Mercy, Northern Ireland.

And how utterly marvelous is that?

So I offer this story. Contracts with deity can lead to amazing things!

My original correspondent also contracted with the Irish Oghma for his writing goals. Obviously, contracts with other saints, angels, Goddesses and Gods, devas and spirits are all your personal choice. (I personally suggest caution on using contracts with the likes of Kali Ma or the Morrigan - though ya never know!) Otherwise, the opportunity for worship and growth is there. The question is yet again: what are you going to grow?

And the icon image above comes to you with the permission and contract from the Sisters of Mercy. Icon by Sr. Aloysius McVeigh.

Clearly Bridget moves in mysterious ways.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

More Celtic Augury

"Mom, stop the car!" yelled my youngest, the budding ornithologist, "it's a huge bird!" I screeched to a stop, luckily with no one behind me, and backed up to see why my kid was screaming. Well, gobsmack me! "It's a heron," she was yelling, and she was (of course) right. Two houses from our great big barn of a home, a great blue heron had landed on our neighbor's rooftop! It stood there, walking up and down the ridge sedately and deliberately, while my youngest and I watched it in awe (our neighbor came out to join us, wondering at first why we were staring at her roof!). After 10 minutes, the heron flew up and away, as only a heron can, with its full six foot wing span and graceful mien.


Now herons are no strangers around here. None of my neighbors keep koi, as what is the point other than as heron bait? Nearby creeks feed down to the Youghiogheny River, where herons find plenty of food. I see herons every week or so, winging over from creek to creek.

Yet this was the first time a heron has stood nearby on a house. That surprising action brings the bird from simple friendly neighborhood bird, to a visitation from the spirits. And so, budding augur that I am, I rushed my kid to the pool and sped home to learn what in heaven's name a heron might mean.

Off to some mythologies. Herons are connected to the Egyptian Ra, seen as a form of resurrection and renewal, a speaking metaphor for me these days. For the Greeks, heron was sacred to Poseidon, and was one of Athena's divine messengers - rather like hawk for the Cherokee. Early Christians saw the quiet hunter heron as a metaphor for contemplation and prayer. And in China, heron is a symbol for longevity (ok, I like that!)

In Wales, herons and storks are Creyr. (Say "cray" as in "crayon" and "ear" as in, well, ear, plus, if you can, roll that final "r," and that is the Welsh.) Blue Herons are Creyr Glas. The word "creyr" is akin to Welsh words for create and creation, and more loosely, innovation. (Thus there are many corporations in Wales that use creyr as part of their name!) Creyr, the heron, is a giver of and a symbol for life.

Creyr pops up all over Welsh legend. Rhiannon and the Lady of the Lake both change into herons, and heron was associated with the secrets of life. (Often heron keeps the secrets of life in a little bag under the water, which explains why it stands on one leg). Christians took both stork and heron to symbolize St. Columba. Intertwined herons and storks are common in the Book of Kells and other knotwork. Double laced herons can represent the constant relationship between the otherworld and our own world in the more physical realm. In knotwork, they show the constant interaction of both worlds, forever around us and part of us.

Creyr in my life seems completely appropriate. My home life is changing rapidly, as kids get older and as two of my special needs children are thriving with less and less services. I am back in school, planning new businesses, and hoping to actually get out and meet new people sometime soon! A year ago such changes were impossible. Now the changes seem scary, yes, but, like creation itself, also exciting! That heron on a neighbor's roof is a challenge to me, and a reminder of innovation. Rearing special needs kids has demanded endless innovations, creating new definitions of family and partnership. The goal was always - and still is - what is best for my children.

Yet suddenly Creyr appears on rooftops, at the same time creation seems not yet to be done with me! Somewhere in the work with my children these many years, they have somehow birthed a new me. And that me doesn't seem to be able to stop growing.

Perhaps heron is a invocation to us all. After all, creyr turned up just before last week's lunar eclipse at the full moon! Heron can be a divine messenger for everyone, urging on each of us to create anew. I asked about gardens just a few months ago, wondering what my gentle readers hoped to grow in their yards and window boxes.

Heron asks humanity a new question: what is growing within you?