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The Wicker Man


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#1 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:46 PM

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It's been my tradition for many years, inspired by the 1973 film I will admit, to make sacrifices at Beltane/May Day, as a devotional act to my Patron Deity, and also to petition for a fruitful growing season and annual harvest, which tends to take on different meanings depending on what's happening in my life. This year, like most, the theme of my petition is career and family. In addition, in recent years it's become clear that as my career progresses, not only am I able to better provide for my family, but my opportunities to advance the state of human knowledge (small increments of course, but still...) tends to increase. I'm particularly seeking for favor in that regard this year.

For me a meaningful sacrifice has to be something that I value, and that will be missed when its gone. So each year I choose something that I have and enjoy in my life on a regular basis, and I give it up for the year, untill the following Beltane. That's perhaps a touch outside of traditional Pagan sacrificial practices, but it has developed into a profoundly moving personal tradition for me.



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Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 02 May 2012 - 01:47 PM.

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#2 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:49 PM

This year, I'm sacrificing beer. Oh yeah, I'm going to feel this one!

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Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 02 May 2012 - 01:59 PM.

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#3 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:56 PM

This weekend I’ll till the yard and plant our vegetable garden: corn, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, peppers… Our garden tends to reflect the success of the sacrifice, which also tends to be reflected in our lives. Last year we gave away more than 300 pounds of excess vegetables and I saw my biggest career advances to date. That’s why I felt this year’s sacrifice needed to be something I really, really like. Heh. And I’m daring to hope for an even better year!

Best returns of the season to the readers here too.
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#4 Spraypaint

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:23 PM

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This year, I'm sacrificing beer. Oh yeah, I'm going to feel this one!

Just out of curiosity, (assuming you give up is things you do) after the year is over with, do you go back to doing that thing (like coffee, beer, ect) or after the year over with, you feel like its not really you any more?

Like I'm not into this any more?

Edited by Spraypaint, 02 May 2012 - 03:23 PM.

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#5 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:42 PM

It varies. I usually go back to it but my relationship with whatever it was is forever changed. There's a global effect after a few years of this practice too: it becomes increasingly difficult to take the little things for granted in general. I think doing this has profoundly deepened my engagement with the life I'm living, and I heartily recommend it.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 02 May 2012 - 03:42 PM.

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#6 Spraypaint

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 04:09 PM

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There's a global effect after a few years of this practice too: it becomes increasingly difficult to take the little things for granted in general.
There's a problem.

Most of the things (like drinking beer) have been given up as a result of well, just growing up. Life does this I guess.

Also, if you done this, any chance you could add something else to it?

Or to it?

I mean why not add something at the same time give something up?

Replace one negative with a more transformative positive?

One thing to embrace and one thing to let go?

Wouldn't this lead to a more complete transformation?

And what do you mean a global effect?

Cause I would like to know more.

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I think doing this has profoundly deepened my engagement with the life I'm living, and I heartily recommend it

Oh no doubt. I like the idea. Patron would be Pan?

Edited by Spraypaint, 02 May 2012 - 04:16 PM.

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#7 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 04:44 PM

View PostSpraypaint, on 02 May 2012 - 04:09 PM, said:

I mean why not add something at the same time give something up?

Replace one negative with a more transformative positive?

1) It's a sacrifice.
2) I don't give up "negative" things. That would be self-serving and would violate the spirit of sacrifice, for me. I give up things I like having on a regular basis.


View PostSpraypaint, on 02 May 2012 - 04:09 PM, said:

And what do you mean a global effect?

I mean everything in my life is impacted by the practice, not just things having to do with what I've sacrificed.


View PostSpraypaint, on 02 May 2012 - 04:09 PM, said:

Oh no doubt. I like the idea. Patron would be Pan?

I have been a devotee of Pan for about half my life, but He's not my Patron anymore. I still pay Him homage though, each and every day. My petitions, however, go to Tahuti/Thoth now.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 02 May 2012 - 04:45 PM.

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#8 Caliban

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 04:56 PM

My cohorts and I did a wicker man as part of our Lughnasadh rites for several years, representing the defeat of the Fomhoire by the Tuatha de Danaan, with the wicker man standing in for Balor of the Evil Eye. We did include a living sacrifice of condemned criminals, burning tent-worm nests in our effigy of woven twigs. Had little trouble with tent worms after that. :)

Your variety of sacrifice seems really powerful, like Lent taken far more seriously. I'll be interested in how your garden grows. How fortunate you are to have actual agriculture to associate with your observance - something modern Paganism is increasingly isolated from.

Edited by Caliban, 02 May 2012 - 04:59 PM.


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#9 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 05:34 PM

View PostCaliban, on 02 May 2012 - 04:56 PM, said:

...How fortunate you are to have actual agriculture to associate with your observance - something modern Paganism is increasingly isolated from.

I am the most fortunate man on earth, as near as I can tell. I started to list out all the ways that's true, but I sounded like such a braggart I had to cut myself off... heh.

};-)>

You're so right about the value of growing food as part of a Pagan lifestyle. It makes the whole thing "real" in a very, well, "real" way. We've always given away our excesses to friends (till they run away when they see us coming with the bags), then through freecycle, but we're going to try our hand at canning this year. I expect that will add a new dimension to the whole thing as well.

I'll try to remember to post pictures of the garden later on.
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#10 Somniphore

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:01 PM

This thread just made my day.

#11 QuercusRobur

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:19 PM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 02 May 2012 - 05:34 PM, said:

but we're going to try our hand at canning this year. I expect that will add a new dimension to the whole thing as well.

Have you tried chutneys? Chutneys are usually veg that's been cooked with vinegar and sugar to preserve it. Like a savoury jam with chunks in it. I make rhubarb chutney which goes well with most things. Us Brits generally use them to perk up a sandwich. Pm me if you want a recipe for rhubarb chutney.
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#12 Roland Deschain

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:28 PM

Is that a Newcastle? I LOVE Newcastle. I would be on the fence about sacrificing that!

Edited by Roland Deschain, 19 May 2012 - 08:30 PM.

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#13 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 09:42 PM

View PostQuercusRobur, on 19 May 2012 - 08:19 PM, said:

Have you tried chutneys? Chutneys are usually veg that's been cooked with vinegar and sugar to preserve it. Like a savoury jam with chunks in it. I make rhubarb chutney which goes well with most things. Us Brits generally use them to perk up a sandwich. Pm me if you want a recipe for rhubarb chutney.

We're considering a lot of options, and that's a good one I hadn't thought about yet. Last year I made a lot of tomato soup and froze some, but freezer space is pretty limited. Thanks for the suggestion.
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#14 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 09:47 PM

View PostRoland Deschain, on 19 May 2012 - 08:28 PM, said:

Is that a Newcastle? I LOVE Newcastle. I would be on the fence about sacrificing that!

That's what it is, and it's my favorite. I've been having one of those with dinner pretty much every evening for as long as I can remember, and of course another after dinner now and then. I've been picking restaurants by whether they have it on tap (although I'll stand for Bass on tap as an alternative) for years too, so if we go out, or have company over, well... you know.

I'll be mindful of it through the year for sure.
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#15 Roland Deschain

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 11:27 PM

I'll be sure to drink one for you later. :D
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#16 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:30 PM

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#17 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:33 PM

These are some of the feral cats that live in the neighborhood:




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Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 12 June 2012 - 09:43 PM.

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#18 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:34 PM

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#19 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:44 PM

So, the garden is doing well so far. Since planting my wife, who mostly does contract work, has had so much work come in that she's actually turning some away; my daughter has nailed down a slot in the graduate program she wanted, starting in the fall; my son earned a 5% raise after a 6 month review, his first job out of college; and just a few days ago I learned that my new appointment that starts in July will pay about 5K/year more than I expected.

I miss the beer, but don't regret the sacrifice.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 12 June 2012 - 10:22 PM.

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#20 Caliban

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:48 PM

Cats will control rabbits, mice and moles and these seem to particularly enjoy the energy of your garden space. I read them as a good sign, but then I am a cat person.


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