Living in Season: My Climate


Constitution Gardens during Canada geese overwintering

Pondering Washington D.C.’s climate, I constructed my own Wheel of the Year for living in season. Spring begins “Tulip Tree Blooms” in March and continues with “Cherry Tree Blooms” at the end of March to the beginning of April (the time of the official Cherry Tree Festival). April and May are “Humid Blooms.” June is “Wet Summer,” and July through September, “Tropical Summer. Autumn is be split into October, “Hot When Leaves Turn Color,” and November -December, “Cool When the Leaves Fall.” Mid-January is “Thaw” and End-February is “Pussy Willows.” This is how I live in sync with my climate.

Why would I want to do this? How does “living in season” help a person? We have seasonal cycles – times when we are active, and times when we become sick. Some people have winter blues, while others have spring fever. In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the seasons shape people’s lives. Living in artificial time means that people neglect or are unaware of their own cycles. No one can be a machine that goes at a constant steady state. People have down times and flat times. Living within the natural rhythm of “slow time” enhances both the physical and mental health of a person.

Living in season can be a time when we look forward to cherry blossoms or falling leaves playing in the wind. The month of May for me is a time of review where I am in my life. Summer is a time of going to the pool and reading. I am the most active in the fall. Around the winter solstice, I am at my lowest and must focus intently on self-care. Having little rituals for each cycle helps to remind me of the joy and satisfaction that nature brings.


Living in Season: The Eight-Fold Year

ndIshtar-star-symbol-encircled.svgI was introduced to the “School of the Seasons,” when I encountered the Eightfold Year of the Neo-Pagans (Wheel of the Year). Before that, I, like many other people, automatically adhered to the U.S. civil calendar. Summer started Memorial Day (around May 27), high summer – the Fourth of July, and the end of summer – Labor Day (around September 4). Fall lasted until Thanksgiving in November, when the holiday season began and continued to New Year’s Day. Winter was the next day and continued until Easter, when spring arrived. This was unsatisfactory to me since the delineation of the seasons seemed arbitrary. Since it did not fit the climate that I lived in, I felt out of sync with the natural world and living out of natural time.

Dividing the year into eight equal parts seemed to me a better way to follow the cycles of nature. The Eightfold Year starts with Yule at the winter solstice. The longest night and the returning of the light is commemorated. Imbolic (cross quarter – February 2), a time of restrained joy, celebrates the first signs of spring. Ostara, at the spring equinox, honors spring. Beltane (cross quarter – May 1) focuses on fertility in all its forms. Midsummer, at the summer solstice, commemorates the longest day and the coming dark. Lammas (cross quarter – August 1) is the first harvest. This festival celebrates the waxing and waning of the plant world. Mabon, the autumn equinox, focuses on the descent of Queen Persephone into the Underworld and the coming winter. Samhain (cross quarter – October 31) is the time of the Ancestors.

The Eightfold Year seemed to be more in sync with the actual seasons of my climate. However, I had several problems with it. First, it is man-made, and therefore arbitrary in deciding natural cycles. Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca, and Ross Nichols of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) based this Wheel of the Year on their romantic ideas of ancient Pagan festivals in Britain.

The second problem with this Wheel that it follows the climate of Britain. I live in Washington D.C., which is in the humid subtropical climate zone. Our seasons consist of mild winters from December/January, a windy dry March, the hot and humid springs of April-May, and tropical summers that extend from June into October. Fall usually runs from mid-October to end-December.

However, the Eightfold Year is an elegant way of discovering the actual cycle in the natural world. Dividing the year into segments of six weeks gives shadings to each of the seasons. This is an excellent start to reconsider how to live in each season. It can be adapted to the climate that one lives in. As Roman Polytheist, I do not celebrate the Neo-Pagan festivals. However, I do appreciate the approach to constructing a Wheel of the Year.

Nature Mysticism, Atheists, and the Numinous

Little marrow type pumpkin and flower.

Little marrow type pumpkin and yellow flower.

Before I became a Polytheist, I was a Nature Mystic. I felt a oneness with the world, since I enjoyed all things in nature. From my experiences, I knew that the earth is sacred. Since I had close encounters of the numinous kind, I gradually moved from Atheism to Theism.

By their nature, mystical experiences are altered states of consciousness. They are the neurochemical responses of the brain to outside stimuli. What makes the neurochemical response a transcendent one is when someone gives it meaning. A person may place import on a “supersensory” response by seeing the earth as “the Holy Body that we are all a part of.”

The Atheists who are Pagans often confer meaning to the world by science. However, by calling themselves, Nature Mystics, they have elected to enter the metaphysical realm. Nature Mysticism is a non-theistic religion with a belief in the numinous. It is the spiritual underpinning of the deep ecology movement.

Therefore, I ponder how some Atheists who are Pagans reconcile their beliefs of only science can determine the Truth with that of Nature is holy. I wonder how someone who discounts the supernatural can have the transcendent experiences that they often write about. The human places meaning on to what is sacred and holy. Science cannot do that. How does a person reconcile the two?

As a Polytheist, I am outside the norm of Western society, which is a secular one that has humans at the center of things. This society places a high value on science and cultural progress. A belief in many Gods is considered a throwback to a primitive past. Perhaps, that is my answer – in the society that we both live in, Atheists who are Pagans as the norm. They can believe in both without worrying about being congruent.


Embracing the Supernatural


I confess that I believe in UFOs of the space alien kind. At one time, it was an irrational fear of mine since I firmly thought that a UFO would abduct me. Although I live in the city, I still clung to this absurd fear. It inhibited my movements, keeping me awake at night. I decided to end my torment and get help.

While in therapy, I was presented with several choices. I could believe that UFOs were real but the odds of being abducted by one was nearly nonexistent. I could set up ways to prevent being abducted such as carrying a flashlight. I could decide that UFOs did not exist. I could interpret UFOs as a metaphor for hidden traumas. I could think that my mental illness manifested itself as a fear of UFOs.

I decided to make peace with the UFOs and move on. I did resolve several traumas arising from childhood that I had submerged. I admitted that my fear was silly and debilitating. At the end, I still believed in UFOs but viewed them differently. Now, they add a bit of mystery to the world.

Because of my experiences in resolving my thoughts about UFOs, I understand mental illness more clearly. Therefore I have problems with any Atheist who is a Pagan asserting that the Truth lies only in the reality of science. They usually add that believing in the supernatural is mentally unhealthy. A belief in “literal gods” is a cause for concern since that is rooted in the synapses of the brain. In other words, the supernatural is only the figment of one’s imagination. Because none of it exists, the only path to Truth is through science.

This philosophy is known as “Scientism. It states that science alone can determine the truth about the world. I find this to be very limiting, since, for me, the world is beyond human understanding. Moreover, this philosophy is self-annihilating because it posits that only scientific claims are meaningful. That is self-contradicting since science cannot confer meaning on anything or any idea.

Along with a belief in Scientism, many Atheists who are Pagans also espouse Humanistic Naturalism. According to this philosophy, humans understand and control the world through the scientific method. What occurs to me is that this centers all things on humans to determine how the world should be. That is an awful burden to bear especially if other Pagans do not agree with the assessment that the world is needs to be saved. Since many Pagans have other priorities, it becomes a cause of anger and frustration for these particular Atheists who are Pagans.

As for me, a belief in the supernatural means mental health. I do understand how a belief in the supernatural can be held in suspect. I grappled with my fears of UFOs as being malevolent. My imagination fed into my fears and prohibited me from living a full life. However, for many people, imagination and play lead to a more rounded life. A world without UFOs is a sad, empty one.


Squirrels: My Writing Muse


Whenever I am blocked in my writing, I watch squirrels. I see them bouncing from tree to tree or chasing each other. At other times, one squirrel will dig up a nut that another had just buried. Once I witnessed a lone squirrel sneaking up on a curbside vendor to steal a nut-bar from her truck. Before the hapless vendor could react, this crafty squirrel leapt off the countertop and scampered off with its prize.

Squirrels inspire me with their activity. Rarely staying still in one place, they leap from one tree branch, grab another limb, and then jump to the ground. This reminds me of my free writing, when I jump from topic to topic. Working with my squirrel muses, I seldom know where they will take me in my writing or where I will finally end up.

Another thing that squirrels do is to bury nuts and forget them. Some of these nuts grow into oak trees, while other nuts are dug up for food by different squirrels. In several forms, these buried nuts provide food for the squirrels. Like the squirrels, I stash writing topics in a notebook. Sometimes, I add scraps of information to flesh out the topics. At other times, I mull over one topic until it emerges as a full grown essay. Like burying nuts, my habit of stashing topics and bits of information provide me with food for thought.

The inventiveness of squirrels is legendary. They foil the most determined attempts by ardent bird watchers to keep the squirrels from raiding birdfeeders. When I am stuck in my writing, I ask myself, “What if I was a squirrel…” I usually find an off-the-wall answer to my writing issue. In these ways, squirrels guide me in my writing.

Invocation to the Squirrel Muses
Lay out several nuts (acorns or hickory or walnuts, etc.) in your writing space. Then speak out-loud:

Welcome Fellow Squirrels into my space!
Let’s play, My Squirrel Friends!

Planting ideas, chasing words, jumping from topic to topic, inventing new wonders of
Flicking our tails in constant motion, we “chee” at the world, while we
Build nests out of words,
Create snug homes for
Ideas, phrases, sentences,
High in the trees of thought.

Let’s play, My Squirrel Friends!
Who wants some nuts?
Chase you up the tree of words!


The Acheulian Goddess and The Green Hornet

From an essay on pop culture and the Gods in Walking the Worlds.



From Sacred Source


When I first constructed an altar for the Acheulian Goddess, She gave me specific requests of what She wanted for her sacred space.One of her desires was an action figure of The Green Hornet of the 1966 TV show. This confused me since this character was originally an invention of three men for a 1930s radio show.

An ancient Goddess from Paleolithic times, the Acheulian Goddess was first worshipped by Homo erectus (the predecessor to modern humans and Neanderthals). Because many generations of the human species have known Her, I wondered why such an ancient Goddess would want a fictional character of the 20th century in her shrine.

To know this Goddess, I have to side-step a popular notion amongst Pagans that human society was a matriarchy until it was overthrown by warriors on horseback. Also, I have to ignore the persuasive idea that the Acheulian Goddess is only one aspect of the Great Goddess. Today, lost in Goddess worship, She becomes yet another symbol of the fabled past.

To know Her means stripping away modernistic thinking. To see the Acheulian Goddess as Homo erectus does requires letting go of the present. As L.P. Hartley noted in his novel, “The Go-Between,” “The Past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” To me, She is the Goddess of the Beginnings, the Goddess who appeared in the dreams of Homo erectus. To them, She was the Keeper of Mysteries of Life and Death.



The Green Hornet and Kato, 1966


Meanwhile, The Green Hornet was created in 1936 by Fran Striker and James Jewell to complement WXYZ’s (Detroit) radio program, “The Lone Ranger.” Station manager George Trendle requested that The Green Hornet be a continuation of The Lone Ranger. He wanted to carry this character’s mission in the Old West into modern times. Therefore, Striker created Britt Reid (The Green Hornet) to be a grandnephew of John Reid (The Lone Ranger). Paralleling The Lone Ranger, this new character had Kato, an Asian sidekick, and Black Beauty, a super-powered car. Britt Reid, who is a newspaper publisher, would pretend to be a mobster to fight crime. Unlike John Reid, Britt would have a public life as himself.

What made The Green Hornet an enduring part of pop culture is his unique character. As a tripartite being, Britt Reid is a crusading publisher, criminal master mind, and a secret warrior for justice. In his triple role, The Green Hornet is devoted to repairing relations amongst people, communities, and authorities. This aspect of The Green Hornet made me think that he is more than simply a fictional character. Divinities as triads often show up in various religions. Christianity has the Triune God – The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. Wiccans celebrate the Maiden, Mother, and Crone aspects of the Goddess. Meanwhile, the Celtic Goddess, The Morrigan is referred to as “The Triple Goddess.”

Writing for NOW Comics (1989-1990), Ron Fortier devised a family tree for the character starting with The Lone Ranger continuing through various generations until the 1990s. (Note 1) Fortier cemented the canon that The Green Hornet was not a single man, but instead a family obligation for the male relatives of the Reid family. Fortier set up that The Green Hornet of the 1930s was the original grandnephew, and that the TV version (1966-67) was that Britt Reid’s nephew. NOW Comics continued with the generations into the 21st Century. (Note 2)

This reminds me of Roman customs of piety. In Roman polytheism, families devoted themselves to inter-generational rites of piety to specific Gods. For Romans, sacra gentilicia (rites of a clan for their family Gods) were necessary and imperishable. Sometimes a family had a duty to perform public rites (sacra publica) on behalf of the Roman people (sacra pro popula). When Fortier constructed his family tree, he instituted a web of family obligations for the entire Reid family that went beyond sacra gentilicia, and became sacra publica. Devoted to the cause of justice in their community, the Reid family became the intermediaries between the people and the authorities.

Through Fortier’s actions, The Green Hornet became “sacer,” a thing given to the Gods. He went beyond the nascent obligation set up by the original creators of granduncle and grandnephew. This made the duty of The Green Hornet “res divina,” a divine thing. (Note 3) What occurred was the character became the personification of pietas, the maintaining of right relations between people, the Gods, and authorities.

Using divination, I asked the Roman Gods what was The Green Hornet. They said that he was an example of pietas, both as an individual and as a family. The Gods gave this thoughtform agency to become a sacredos, a priest.

The request by the Acheulian Goddess for The Green Hornet for her altar meant to me that She claimed him as her own. To Her, he ably demonstrated sacra publica. I concluded is that The Green Hornet is probably the rex sacrorum (King of Sacred Things) to Her. (Note 4) I believe that the Acheulian Goddess relates to modern humans through what is familiar to Her. Therefore, The Green Hornet acts as the rex sacrorum, an intermediary for Her. Since Romans often have altars to Non-Roman Gods, it made sense to me to have a Roman practice for the Acheulian Goddess.

The Green Hornet proves that not every longstanding character of pop culture becomes a God. His creators set up the means for this character to become more than simply fictional. Fortier’s canon allowed The Green Hornet to be the representation of pietas. Afterwards, the Acheulian Goddess chose him to be a part of her veneration.

1. Fortier wanted to connect the various versions of The Green Hornet into a holistic narrative. Desiring to update the character, he worked on retaining the essence of The Green Hornet.

2. After the demise of NOW Comics, Dynamite Entertainment obtained the rights to the character. In 2010, for the debut of the character at Dynamite Entertainment, Kevin. Smith, noted film-maker and writer, started with the TV version, updated him to the 1980s, and then had his son Britt Reid, Jr. be The Green Hornet for the 21st Century.

3. Ancient Romans divided the world into two spheres – res publica (affairs of the public) and res divinae (affairs of the Gods.) In his many writings, Varro theorized that the mythic writings (theology) of poets were “res divinae.”

4. The office of rex sacrorum was established by the Roman Republic to carry out the former Roman king’s religious duties.


Daily Devotions

For me, being a Polytheist means daily devotions to the Gods. Like many modern Polytheists, my Gods do not all belong to the same Pantheon. Although I consider myself a Roman Polytheist, I do venerate Other Gods. Because of my brain injury and devotional work with the Dead, Anubis, Hekate and the Morrigan have requested devotions. Meanwhile, my Anglo-Saxon Ancestors want their family Gods honored. Finally for reasons unclear to me, the Gods of Babylon and Canaan have asked me for devotions.

To accommodate all the Gods Whom I honor, I had to set up a schedule. How did I go about doing this? First, I read the lore, and then did divination which days would be appropriate for which Gods. Finally, I broke my day into three parts – morning, afternoon, and evening for my devotions. Since we all have our daily rituals such as brewing coffee or checking our phones, including one for devotions seemed reasonable.

Mornings are devoted to the Household Gods. Before breakfast, I light a candle and offer incense. I offer to Janus (who always receives the first and last offerings) for his service in guarding the doors. Then to Apollo for the health of our family, and Juno Custos for guiding my family. Vesta, the Eternal Flame who warms our home, receives her offering and prayers next. Finally, the Genius of the Paterfamilias is thanked for guarding our family.

After I do this, I do my weekly devotions by splitting the various Gods into mornings and afternoons. My schedule is as follows – Monday – Anubis and Hecate (morning), The Lady of Beasts and The Morrigan (afternoon). Tuesday – Freya (morning), Anubis and Hecate (afternoon). Wednesday – Odin. Thursday – Hercules, Neptune and the Roman Pantheon (morning), the Gods of Babylon and of Canaan (afternoon). Friday – Frigga. Saturday – the Penates and Lars. Sunday – the Dead.

Why these particular days? Monday is “moon” day, and those deities prefer that association. Tuesdays is traditional for Freya, Wednesdays for Odin, and Friday for Frigga. Anubis and Hecate asked for Tuesdays, and the Gods of Babylon and of Canaan for Thursday. Since Thursday is Thor’s day, Hercules reminded me that it is his day also. The Roman Gods requested Thursday as well. Saturday is grocery day, which is when the cupboards are replenished. Sunday is for the Dead, since it is a day of reflection for me.

The evening is reserved for the Gods of the Month. Nightly, I say prayers to Them before going to bed. It is a part of my evening routine like brushing my teeth.