Posts Tagged ‘elders’

First Nations Day of Action in Saskatchewan Sept. 26

First Nations Day of Action in Saskatchewan Sept. 26


Posted 25 September 2011, by ICTMN Staff, Indian Country Today Media Network,


First Nations of Saskatchewan are holding a Provincial Day of Action on Monday September 26 to draw attention to the ills and issues that they feel are not being addressed adequately by the provincial government.

According to the Regina Leader-Post, a few hundreds people are expected at the event. It will start with a pancake breakfast at the Creeland Mini Mart in Regina, after which the elders, leaders and youth will walk to the legislative offices, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) said in a media release.

The goal is to draw attention to a host of ills plaguing First Nations peoples, including the high rate of diabetes—four times higher the national average for women and 2.5 times that of men—as well as suicide rates that are five to seven times higher among First Nations communities than in the rest of the country, and an overall aboriginal unemployment rate of 18.2 percent, whereas non-aboriginals’ rate is just 4.2 percent, the FSIN said in a fact sheet.

“In Saskatchewan, First Nation and Métis youth are 30 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Aboriginal youth,” the fact sheet said. “First Nations and Métis youth make up 20% of the Saskatchewan population aged 12- 17, but comprise 66% of the young offenders population.”

The sheet listed numerous other sobering statistics as well.

Chief Glen Pratt of the George Gordon First Nation characterized First Nations’ relationship with the current provincial government as “challenging,” the Regina Leader-Post reported. He said that for starters there needs to be more treaty recognition, and that First Nations communities should be included in revenue sharing and the economy in general.

“I feel like this government is treating us like we don’t belong to Saskatchewan,” Chief Glen Pratt of the George Gordon First Nation said at a September 20 press conference, as reported by the Leader-Post. “If we don’t do something now, we’re going to get left far behind – to the point where our people aren’t going to have a lot of hope left.”

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Block By Block, City By City

Block By Block, City By City


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉


Posted 25 September 2011, by , Occupy Wall Street,




09/23/11; Day before Mass-Arrests from JRL on Vimeo.






Navajo Council Angry: Navajo President slashes funds for elderly, children and green jobs

Navajo Council Angry: Navajo President slashes funds for elderly, children and green jobs

President’s Shelly’s vetoes target green initiatives, resource development, young people and the elderly


Posted24 September 2011, by Johnny Naize, Censored News,


Johnny Naize is the Navajo Council Speaker


Navajo Council Speaker Johnny Naize

WINDOW ROCK Ariz. — The Navajo Nation Council voiced anger at Navajo President Shelly’s line-item vetoes of portions of the FY2012 Tribal Operating Budget on Friday. Among the cuts in the $556.6 million budget included $111 thousand for the Little Folks Day Care Program, $161 thousand for five Navajo Area Agency on Aging offices in Shiprock, Chinle, Tuba City, Fort Defiance and Crownpoint, $352 thousand from the Navajo Green Commission, $130 thousand from the Resources Committee, and $838 thousand for legislative district staff for the 24 Council Delegates.

“The Council is very concerned for President Shelly’s lack of cohesive management on the direction he wants to take the Navajo People,” said Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize. “The President says not to forget the elders but it appears he has. He has also said we need to nurture the youth because they are our future but instead has yanked funding that would do just that.”

“Additionally, at a time when other governments are looking for ways to build a green economy to reduce waste and become environmentally aware, President Shelly has decided that the Navajo people will not.”

“These vetoes were unnecessary after all the discussions we held in June between the three Branches and during the recent Budget Sessions which produced this budget,” continued Naize. “I unfortunately believe the President has suddenly decided on himself to rewrite all the work the Branches have done during the past three months.”

In the FY2012 operating budget, the Executive Branch was appropriated the bulk of the $556.6 million at a little more than $505 million for programs and set asides such as for Higher Education and Veterans. Next, the Legislative Branch was appropriated $16.6 million with the Judicial Branch receiving $15.4 million for their programs and set asides. Also included in the budget are $25.4 million for fixed costs and $4 million for chapter spending.

“These cuts are concerning because they appear to be made as a vendetta against certain programs, council members and committees,” said Naize. “But in the process of doing that he vetoed funds for Summer Youth Employment, and an elderly group home in Blue Gap. Our people are in need and even though the President says his Branch provides direct services to the people, these vetoes prove they won’t. That is not how a Natani leads his people.”

Earlier this month President Shelley vetoed $2.2 million for Youth Employment, $286,000 for the Hoosh Doo Dii To’ Home and $1 million for the Navajo Department of Transportation.

Also in these latest round of vetoes was funding for 24 Legislative District Staff for the 24 Council Delegates.

“In the past, the Legislative Branch has worked with a little more than 8 percent of the total Navajo Nation Operating Budget, said Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize. “Not only do we need to remain at that level but we’ll also need some additional funds to address the increased workload for the 24 Council Delegates.”

At the district level there is a growing feeling of isolation as Council Delegates juggle up to 8 chapters and their work on their committees in Window Rock. The Legislative District Staff would assist the Delegates by attending meetings that otherwise may have been missed due to other commitments.

Although some thought a smaller Council would mean a smaller budget, the opposite has happened. The increase in Chapter representation has lead to an increase of meeting and on-reservation travel expenses. Speaker Naize and the Council are resolved in making sure the people don’t lose their voice just because President Shelly wants to ration and silence the Delegates ability to serve community needs and concerns.”

“Again, the Navajo People are becoming confused where President Shelly is taking us,” concluded Naize. “All these programs are for the people yet he refuses to acknowledge the need out there. For the last couple of months he has held numerous town halls to get community input yet for all the people’s efforts, he has decided to ignore them.”

“I want the people to know that the Council will not ignore them and will continue to work and make sure the business of the people gets done no matter how President Shelly tries to silence them.”


Harnessing healing power


Harnessing healing power


Posted 23 September 2011, by Staff (Cape Times), Independent Online (IOL),



ENIGMATIC performer Antoinette Pienaar can be seen in Kathleen Winter’s documentary, A Shaman’s Apprentice, with herbal healer Oom Johannes Willemse.

Filmed in the heart of the Great Karoo, it shows how a Griqua herbalist is teaching a white woman to heal people with herbs.

Oom Johannes, already in his 90s, was a little annoyed that it took the actress nearly 40 years to find him – he had been dreaming for decades that she would be the one to help him pass on his knowledge.

Willemse is known as a seer, herb doctor, healer, storyteller, and teacher. Born on Breekkierie farm in the Kenhardt district, the eldest of 12 children, he obtained his knowledge of Karoo herbs, and other wisdom and stories, from his grandfather, Hansie.

Since his descendants had no interest in furthering the herbal traditions, Willemse was especially relieved when Pienaar finally arrived, desperate to be healed and hungry to learn.

Pienaar, a Karoo child from Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, knew as a little girl that she would one day tell stories and learn about herbs. After studying drama, she made a name as a storyteller.

During a trip to Mali, West Africa, she contracted and nearly died of cerebral malaria. Seriously weakened, she went to live at her parents’ home in Beaufort West. During a coincidental visit to Theefontein farm, she crossed paths with Oom Johannes.

“Only now you arrive,” were his impatient first words to her.

Since then, Pienaar has moved into a workers’ hut opposite Oom Johannes’s, where she not only experienced complete healing but also slowly but surely learnt about herbs, veld-knowledge and peace.

Seven years later in 2008, her book, Kruidjie Roer My, became the first step in preserving the Karoo’s herb heritage.

At Theefontein, Du Toit learnt the art of living off the veld, its herbs and how to prepare herbal mixtures. She also discovered how previous generations lived and the wisdom that gave them endurance and longevity.

On a small rise near the farmhouse, she and Oom Johannes live in workers’ huts without electricity or running water. In Pienaar’s little white house, her stories roll out like river stones. Kruidjie Roer My was written on an old typewriter under her kitchen window.

Through their work and Pienaar’s Friday afternoon contribution to Amore Bekker’s Tjailatyd on radio station Radiosondergrense, they are dedicated to relaying centuries of valuable information, stories and remedies to present and future generations.

The documentary was filmed for SABC’s African Renaissance.

l The film will be screened at Wellington’s Die Bôrdienghuis at Breytenbachsentrum today at 10am (082 812 1112); Dorpstraat Teater at Summerhill tomorrow at 11am (021 889 9158); and at the Labia on Orange on Sunday at 6.15pm (021 424 5927). Winter will attend the screenings. Running time is 23 minutes.



Chicomoztoc and Origin Myths of Mesoamerica

Chicomoztoc and Origin Myths of Mesoamerica


Posted 23 September 2011, by , About (New York Times),


Chicomoztoc - Cave of Seven Niches. From the "Historia Tolteca chicimeca", ca. 1550 Photo of the image by Nanahuatzin

Textbooks and general public outreach articles about Mesoamerica often of necessity split Mesoamerica into discrete pieces: Toltec, Aztec, Maya, Olmec. It is plainly easier for us modern types to think of (and write about) these groups as separate entities, separate cultures with distinct cultural ethos.

But in reality, or at least as close to reality as archaeological research can take us, there were many points of interconnectedness. Much of this is visible in evidence of religious beliefs, the systems that people use to make sense of their world. How did we get here, what happens when we die, what is the meaning of life? These are questions that are universal to human societies. Because humans are social beings, when we create our own personal understanding of the way the universe works, we use what we understand of our ancestors’ and our neighbors’ belief systems to create our own.

An example of one of these interconnected bits is the origin myth of Chicomoztec, the mythical Aztec and Toltec “Cave of Seven Niches”. Chicomoztec is an origin myth that argues that people came out of the earth, a myth common to many groups in Central and North America.

Or get into the nitty gritty with’s

Photo of the image by Nanahuatzin


The Magic of Chickens


The Magic of Chickens


Posted 20 September 2011, by Robyn Lawrence, Care2,



If Harvey Ussery were stranded on a desert island and could bring only one thing, he would bring a flock of chickens.

“They would feed themselves by foraging over the island, keep me supplied with eggs, one of the most perfect foods,” says the Virginia homesteader and author of The Small-Scale Poultry Flock. “In the process, they would continually improve my island’s soil by working in plant covers and their droppings, increasing its productivity for whatever food crops I was able to grow. Hens who went broody would hatch out chicks to renew the flock each year.”

Harvey Ussery makes his chickens partners in food production. Photo courtesy of Harvey and Ellen Ussery/Mother Earth News

Harvey, a Mother Earth News writer who produces much of his own food on 3 acres, manages chickens holistically, enlisting them as partners for soil improvement, making compost, insect control and more. He’s been raising a mixed poultry flock, which he considers a key to greater food independence, for almost 30 years. “I am constantly reaching for new ways to integrate the flock with the work of food production, to make them happy and content, and to provide them more live, natural foods right on the homestead,” he says.

Harvey’s been experimenting for years to find new ways to convert organic “wastes” (chicken poop) into resources for greater soil fertility. “To truly imitate nature, we must banish all notion of ‘waste,’ remembering that in natural systems one critter’s waste is another’s priceless resource,” he says.

He’ll talk about this alchemy during his workshop, “Trash to Treasure: Bioconversion of Waste to Resources” at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, on September 24. Harvey says he looks forward to “sharing ideas with people who are passionate about finding saner, more sustainable ways to produce our food.”

Harvey’s chickens are housed in a comfortable roost with room to roam. Photo courtesy of Harvey and Ellen Ussery/Mother Earth News

I was at the Fair last year, and I wholeheartedly agree with Harvey–there’s nothing quite like this opportunity to swap ideas and learn from masters. I can’t make it this year, but I’m having fun reading about the passionate, sane voices that will be heard there at the Mother Earth News Fair blog. Check it out to join the conversation–and possibly win free tickets if you live near Seven Springs. There’s just nothing quite like connecting with likeminded others in a beautiful mountain setting (and checking out chickens and livestock while you’re at it).

Robyn Griggs Lawrence writes the daily Natural Home Living blog for Mother Earth News, the original guide to living wisely. The editor-in-chief of Natural Home magazine from 1999 until 2010, Robyn’s goal is to help everyone create a nurturing, healthy and environmentally friendly home. Her book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House, introduces Americans to the 15th-century Japanese philosophy of simplicity, serenity and authenticity.


More on Birds (104 articles available)
More from Robyn Lawrence (31 articles available)





Orissa: People issue forest rights title in own name


Orissa: People issue forest rights title in own name


Posted  21 September 2011, by Pradeep Baisakh, Orissa Diary,



 Report by Pradeep Baisakh; Kashipur: After approaching the Tehsil office, Block office and Collectorate Office time again to know the status of the claims they have filed under Forest Rights Act and having failed to find any answer each time, the people decided to prepare the forest right title of their own in the same style the district administration has prepared.

In place of the signatories in the title like Divisional Forest Officer, District Collector and District Welfare Officer the self-styled title contains the signature and seal of President of Forest Rights Committee (FRC), Sarpanch of Panchayat and Secretary of FRC respectively. One of the title which is issued in the name of Sripati Majhi of Ranjuguda Village in Renga Panchayat of Kashipur Block in Rayagada District of Odisha contains the signature of Saiba Majhi the President of FRC, Sumitra Majhi the Sarapanch of Renga Panchayat and Anantaram Majhi the Secretary of FRC. The title recognizes right over three acres of Forest land which was claimed before the Administration.

Hundred and fifty such titles in Renga Panchayat and fifty titles each in Kashipur and Mandibisi Panchayat have already been issued to the claimants according to their claim after due verification by the FRC. Local Activist Nabin Nayak says that around 15,000 tribal people had undertaken a march in February 2011 to ventilate their grievance of inaction and apathy of district administration in recognizing their forest rights. Scenario did not change, so the people finally decided to issue their titles by equating their Sarpanch with the District Collector.

These titles are already in the knowledge of government officials who still remain silent to such novel form of protest of people.



The Tale of Mabon: A Bedtime Story

The Tale of Mabon: A Bedtime Story


Posted 11 September 2011, by , No Unsacred Place,

The kids sit each in their beds, the littlest one propped up half upside-down on her elbows, her tiny bare toes playing over the pinewood slats of the bunk above hers. Their father has just finished lighting the candle of the newly created altar, its offering bowl already overflowing with small gifts from the day’s explorations in the park: acorns, stones, leaves and feathers and cicada shells. Everyone rests, quiet and attentive at the busy day’s end. I speak softly.

“When we picked out this statue in the store, your dad and I wanted to get you something that would remind you of your own mother, and of the Mother Goddess who watches over you all the time. And I know some of you—” I wink gently at the second-oldest, a serious girl who frowns a little in thought, “some of you liked the other statue better, the two parents cradling the infant, because it reminded you of rebirth and renewal. I liked that one, too. But the more I look at this statue, the more it reminds me of a story. It’s a story about separation and loss, and of finding family again in unexpected places. And I think—I hope—that when you hear this story, maybe you’ll begin to like the statue a little better and it will have new meaning for you, as it does for your dad and me.” The kids are silent, stretching restless limbs beneath their sheets.

“The story I want to tell you begins, ‘Once, a long time ago when the world was new…’”

Once, a long time ago when this ancient world was still very new, there was a mother. Her name was Modron, which means Great Mother, for she was beautiful and strong, and her love shone from her as light from a great sun. And Modron had a son whose name was Mabon, which means Great Son. Mabon glistened and glimmered with his mother’s love, and within him, his own heart also shone with love in return. Those who looked upon him were dazzled by his great youth and energy. But when he was still just an infant, a tragedy occurred. Mabon had not yet slept three nights at his mother’s side, suckling at her breast and nuzzling into her arms, when he was stolen away into the darkness! When Modron awoke to find her beloved son gone, and no one who could tell her who had stolen him away, she mourned and wept, and her tears swelled and flowed like a great ocean. For a Mother’s sorrow, too, can be great as her love.

Many years passed without sight or sound of Mabon, and all this time Modron continued to grieve and hope. Then, one day, a king arrived seeking to speak to Modron of her son. The king’s name was Arthur, and he came with a retinue of skillful and courageous knights following behind him. King Arthur and his knights had been set an impossible task: to hunt the huge and terrible boar called Twrch Trwyth. This boar was so strong, and so fast, and so tough, that no hunter in the world could track him down and kill him, save for the greatest huntsman of all. No one knew who this huntsman might be, but rumor in the land whispered Mabon’s name, the Great Son who had once shone with such energy even when just a babe. The people said that if Mabon still lived and could be found, surely he could kill the boar. And so King Arthur had come to Modron, to ask her if she knew where her son might be found.

The question pierced her heart and made her laugh through her sorrow. “Do you think I have not wondered that myself, all these long years? And yet, though my sorrow is as great as the deepest ocean, as vast as the darkest expanse of sky on a moonless night, I have never been able to discover where he is, or if he is even still alive. You have come a long way, King Arthur, but I cannot help you. You may as well ask the blackbird where the boy is hidden!” she added with a sad, helpless wave of her hand.

King Arthur, too determined to give up, went and did just that. He and his knights searched out the Blackbird, an old creature who had long guarded the gateway into other realms on the edge of dawn. “Blackbird,” Arthur called, “We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

The Blackbird peered down at Arthur and his knights with quick, obsidian eyes. “I am old, as you well know,” he said at last. “You see this dusty spot here where I sit? When I first was born, there used to stand here a smith’s anvil, the biggest you might ever see, made of the hardest iron. Yet no hammer ever touched this anvil, except that I pecked at it with my beak gently every day. Now, nothing is left of it but this dust beneath my feet. That,” said the Blackbird, stirring the dust with his wings, “is how old I am. And yet I have never seen nor heard of Mabon, son of Modron.

But,” the Blackbird continued, “I know of one who is even older than I am, and I will take you to him.”

Arthur and his knights thanked the Blackbird for his kindness, and followed his lead. He soon led them to the bright Stag of the forest, whose old coat glistened as with midday sunlight. “Stag,” called Arthur, “We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

The Stag lowered his huge, antlered head and gazed at Arthur and his knights with ancient amber eyes. “I am old, as you well know,” he said at last. “You see this massive oak tree beneath which we stand? When I was first born, this oak tree was barely a sapling sprung up from its acorn, and yet now it is the biggest tree in the forest, thick with years of growth, its heavy limbs stretching wide in all directions, and the prongs of my own antlers number just as many as its branches. That,” said the Stag, swinging his head with pride, “is how old I am. And yet I have never seen nor heard of Mabon, son of Modron.

But,” the Stag continued, “I know of one who is even older than I am, and I will take you to her.”

Arthur and his knights thanked the Stag for his kindness, and followed his lead. He soon led them to the Owl, whose rippling, moonshine eyes had watched the comings and goings of night for unknown ages and now looked on King Arthur with placid kindness. “Owl,” called Arthur, “We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

The Owl adjusted her silent wings and turned her haunted, blossomy face towards Arthur and his knights. “I am old, as you well know,” she said at last. “You see this ancient forested valley in which we stand? When I first was born, there stood a forest here even older and more wild than this one, and I watched as the people of the land moved in and cut it to the ground; yet as the people slowly abandoned the land for more fertile soil, another forest grew up in its place and that, too, became wild and strange with age, until again the tillers of soil moved through slashing and ripping up the roots from the earth, and the forest withered and disappeared and the valley became like an empty bowl beneath the sky. But the lives of people are passing, so easily will they go to war against each other, so quickly do they drain the sacred land dry—and so again human beings left this valley to the gods of wild places, and this is the third ancient forest I have watched grow to wilderness here. That,” said the Owl, her low eyes shimmering like deep pools, “is how old I am. And yet I have never seen nor heard of Mabon, son of Modron.”

“BUT!” the boy chimes in loudly from his upper bunk, and I laugh. “That’s right!” I say, “I see you’re catching on…”

But,” the Owl told Arthur, “I know of one who is even older than I am, and I will take you to him.”

Arthur and his knights thanked the Owl for her kindness, and followed her lead. She soon led them to the noble Eagle, who held his head aloft and flourished a beak and talons so sharp and true they might slice the air itself in two. “Eagle,” called Arthur, “We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

The Eagle regally preened a few stray pinfeathers into place and blinked at Arthur and his knights with benevolent, piercing eyes. “I am old, as you well know,” he said at last. “You see this tiny rock I clutch between my talons? When I first was born, there stood here a mighty standing stone, so lofty that it towered above every mountain, and I could sit upon it every night and lift my head to strike my beak against the upper limits of the black sky, and each peck pierced the darkness and became a star. And yet the stars you see now are numerous, beyond counting, and I made every one; and the standing stone that thrust up from the earth met wind and rain, the elements of air and water, and together the three joined in a dance that wore the stone away, until now all that remains is this mere pebble at my feet. That,” said the Eagle, clacking his beak that had made the stars themselves, “is how old I am. And yet I have never seen nor heard of Mabon, son of Modron.”

The children moan in sympathetic exasperation, and I hush them and quickly return to the story, riding the energy of their anticipation, pulling their attention taut as a bowstring.

By now, as you can imagine, King Arthur was beginning to despair that he would ever find Mabon, the Great Son of Modron, to help him hunt the wild, terrible boar. His face was haggard with searching, his eyes sunk deep from sleepless nights and long journeying to these ever more ancient beings, none of whom seemed able to help him. His knights, though loyal and trusting in their king, were beginning to tire as well, and being a good king to his people and friend to his companions, Arthur knew he must soon call off the search for their sake if not his own.

The Eagle, whose keen mind could read the fatigue and stress in Arthur’s expression, had sympathy for the weary king. “But let me tell you a story,” he said to Arthur. “This story begins: Once, a long time ago when the world was new…. There was a great famine in the land. I was still young then, and had my fair share of suffering and hunger. One day, I had flown far from my usual hunting spots in search of something to eat, when I spotted far below me, in a small pool shaded by nine hazel trees, the quick shimmer of a fish in the water. Without second thought, I dove! I clenched onto the fish with both feet, sinking my talons deep determined to catch the thing, for if I didn’t I would surely starve before nightfall. But the fish was blessed with an almost monstrous strength, and it dragged me under, down and down into the spiraling, swirling darkness of the pool. If I had not finally relinquished the thought of my own hunger gnawing within me and released my quarry, I would have drowned.

“This creature, I learned later, was the ancient Salmon of Wisdom, even older than I, who had lived for ages upon ages in the sacred pool, feeding on the hazelnuts which fell into the pool from the surrounding grove. Hazelnuts, they say, are food for the gods, and I would not be surprised if the Wise Salmon herself were a goddess dwelling in that strange and mysterious place. A mere king like myself,” said the Eagle, “could never presume to capture a goddess against her will! But let me tell you, Arthur—if the Salmon of Wisdom still dwells within that pool, I can take you to her. Although all the oldest creatures of the land could not tell you where to find Mabon, son of Modron, certainly she will know and she will help! And if she cannot, then your quest truly is beyond all hope.”

And so, with new hope and fresh energy, Arthur led his knights with the Eagle as their guide far across the land, over gentle green downs and through dark twisting woods, until at last they came to the sacred pool in the hazel grove. Exhausted, King Arthur knelt by the side of the pool. Its surface moved in subtle wavelets from where a small stream fed into the pond, weaving and trickling between the roots of the trees. It seemed to Arthur, as he looked upon the water, that there in the reflection of shading branches he could see the ancient, sparkling eyes of a goddess smiling at him—then they were gone! In a flash, the silver body of a fish flickered by, and Arthur called out, “Salmon of Wisdom! We have come a long way to seek your help. We have spoken to the Blackbird, and the Stag, and the Owl, and the Eagle, and of all these ancient beings, none could lead us to what we seek. We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

From the depths of the pool there came a lovely, watery voice, barely distinguishable from the bubbling of the stream. “And did you ask his mother?”

“Well, yes!” Arthur said, “But she said she did not know!”

Sad laughter bubbled up from the glimmering darkness. “Modron’s sorrow over the loss of her son is as great as an ocean, and as obscure,” said the Salmon, “but the ocean is my home, and I know the secrets of its depths as I know my own. Every year I return to this pool and follow the stream far into the hills of this country, all the way to spring in the courtyard of the Castle of Light. And I tell you, Arthur, that for many years now I have heard the weeping and sorrow of one lost and alone when I have come there.”

“Do you think, Wise Salmon, that this sorrowing sound may be of the Great Son?”

“I have no doubt,” said the Salmon firmly. “And I will take you to him. You may ride upon my back as I swim—but, I can only carry two. So you must come alone, Arthur, so that when you have freed the son from his captivity you may both ride back together.”

So King Arthur took leave of his knights, who saw their king off with a mixture of courage and trepidation, and he clambered aboard the long, slippery back of the Salmon of Wisdom. Quick as light glinting over the water, the Salmon swam with Arthur astride her, and it seemed the countryside sped along on either side of them with a magical speed so that in almost no time at all they were approaching the place where the stream began its journey, the spring by the great Castle of Light.

Now the Castle of Light was strangely named, for in fact it was a dark and forbidding place, overgrown and half-rotted and ruined from long neglect. As the Salmon of Wisdom drew closer to the fortress, Arthur too could hear the weeping and sorrowing sounds echoing from within its mossy stone walls. Leaping from the Salmon’s back, he charged into the dim courtyard of the castle and battered the hilt of his sword against the inner door. But the door was old and spongy with rot and gave way before him, and he thrust it open, following the sobbing noises down and down into the dripping dungeons of the Castle. There, at last, he came upon the hunched, weeping figure of a man huddled in a corner. At the noise, the man looked up, and though his eyes were red from crying, his face was radiant and youthful beneath the grimy streaks of tears.

“You there,” Arthur said, with the command of a king in his tone, “Are you Mabon, the Great Son of the Great Mother, Modron?”

The young man sniffled and wiped his nose with the back of his hand, straightening up. “For sure I am, sir, and I’ve been locked in this dreadful dungeon for ages upon ages.”

“Well,” said Arthur, “the doors have rotted and the walls have crumbled, and I have need of a great huntsman to stalk the wild, terrible boar called Twrch Trwyth. So I have come to set you free. Will you come?”

“Of course!” Mabon said, and followed Arthur swiftly from the black of the dungeons up into the wan sunlight above. Together they mounted the Salmon of Wisdom, who looked on the young man with secret gentleness and did not strive to keep the King and his huntsman dry on their return journey home. Waters from the stream splashed and danced against their sides as the Salmon leapt and plunged, her glistening body writhing with the joy of dodging rocks and limbs, and soon all the dirt and strife of years in the dark had washed from Mabon’s face and his whole being seemed to shine, strong and healthy again.

And this was how he came to his mother, Modron—bright and gleaming, accompanied by the majesty of Arthur and all his brave knights following behind—and she swept him up in an embrace of gratitude and happiness that was greater than the ocean, greater even than the sunlight and the sun itself. Then she released him, with a smile and one last thankful kiss, and gestured that he could go, with her blessing, to help Arthur hunt his ugly boar.

For, it turns out, he was indeed the greatest huntsman in all the land, and he made a swift end to the huge boar that had eluded so many before him. Then, there was a great feast and celebration afterwards, which I assume Modron and Mabon both attended with pleasure, seated honorably at the King’s own table. And that is as good a place as any for the story to end.

The children all begin asking questions at once: “Who was it who stole Mabon in the first place?” “How could he be good at hunting when he was locked up since he was a baby?” “Why did it take so long for them to find the Salmon, when she knew all along?” “Where did you hear that story, did you read it in a book?” the oldest asks. And the boy, perched on the edge of his bunk, asks, “Why did Arthur need to hunt the boar?”

“Why did Arthur need to hunt the boar?” I repeat, with a wink. “Well, that’s a whole different story, for another time!”

Categorized: Natural Reflections.

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Mabon – September 19-22


Mabon – September 19-22


Posted 06 September 2011, by Steven Day, The New England Witches Alliance,



(Note: In 2011, the exact time Mabon (The Autumnal Equinox) occurs is September 23rd at 5:04AM. The Moon will be in Leo.)

The Wheel of the Year has turned once again and we are now celebrating Mabon, the second harvesting Sabbat. This is the time of the Autumn Equinox or when the the days are again of equal length, but now the nights are becoming longer and the days grow even shorter as the Earth goes into its slumber for the long Winter months.

The month of September hosts the “Wine Moon” or the lunar cycle when the grapes are harvested and pressed to make wine; a beverage enjoyed by many. Wine and grapevines were considered sacred by early Pagans because Dionysus, a God of resurrection honored them as symbols of rebirth and transformation. Traditionally, the wine represents the God and the bread represents the Goddess.

The full moon that is celebrated closest to the Autumn Equinox in called the “Harvest Moon” since farmers would often harvest most of their crops by the light of the full moon. With the fading sun being seen in the sky the farmers would start to gather their crops in anticipation of the long winter months ahead. During this season farmers would also start slaughtering their herds so that they may have meats during the winter months as well. During early history people lived by the harvest and preparing for winter consumed many of their waking hours.

The Autumn Equinox is celebrated as the day when the God of light Lugh is defeated by the God of darkness (Lughs twin) Tanist. The night conquering the day. The story tells that the Equinox is the only day of the year when Lugh is vulnerable and it is possible to defeat him. Lugh stands on the balance of the Autumn Equinox with one foot on the goat ( the winter solstice) and the other foot on the cauldron (the summer solstice). He is betrayed by Blodeuwedd, the Virgin and is transformed into an eagle.

Two events transpire at Lugh’s defeat; Tanist takes overs Lugh’s place as the King of our World and lover to Tailltiu. Although Tanist sits on Lugh’s throne, his induction wont be done until six weeks later at Samhain when he becomes the Dark King and mate to Tailltiu who conceives and will give birth nine months later (summer solstice) to her son who is Tanist reincarnated into the Dark child.

Wiccan mythology sees Mabon as the days and nights being equal; when the God prepares his departure back to strength and developement within his mothers womb. Both with sadness and joy the Goddess awaits his birth again in the Spring.

Mabon is the Pagan Thanksgiving. It is a time to celebrate the passing year and give thanks for all that we have been given throughout the year and as well look forward to all the future holds in store.

During the Autumn months the suns rays are dying off and we now start to commemorate the dead with joyous celebrations (It is considered bad luck to pass by a burial ground and not pay our respects to those buried there).

Many choose to do rituals based around balance and harmony at this time because natural energies are aligned towards protection, wealth, prosperity, security and boosting of self confidence.

Now is the time to start decorating your altar with gifts from nature; acorns, berries, leaves and other symbols of the season. You may like to take some of the autumn leaves and dip them in paraffin; after they have dried you can draw sigils of protection into the wax and hang them around the house.

Going through your personal garden and harvesting what is ripe is also appropriate at this time (don’t forget to give thanks). Baking breads in the shape of the sun and combining them with fruits or vegetables of the season incorporate both major aspects of this holiday. The seeds of the various plants are harvested and stored so that they can be used again for planting next season, therefore the rebirth of the plant next Spring. Remaining seeds can be set out for wildlife so that they will have a healthy abundance to start off the winter season.

To honor the dead, traditionally apples are placed on burial sites to symbolize rebirth and gratitude.

Elders are also celebrated during Mabon for all they have taught us and all the energy and devotion they have given to us. Don’t forget to do something extra special for the elders in your life.

Finally, don’t forget those less fortunate than yourself. Small baskets of food can be donated to shelters in your city. What may be small and meaningless to you is another families next meal.