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On Personal Faith

BY Kat Kiefer-Newman
We recently celebrated my oldest daughters 7th birthday this past December. Like the dutiful parents we are, we trudged down to the local Chuck E. Cheese (a kids pizza place with tons of kid-stuff going on and kid-food and all that!) and turned our monsters and their friends loose for about 2 hours while we sat back and tried to ignore the blaring music and screaming all around us.

At one point there was a lull in the din and I looked over at my handsome husband and he looked at me and without saying a word we smiled in total understanding. We've been together for nearly ten years and sometimes it's like sharing one brain. The thought that we happen to share at that moment was: "Yes, it was all worth it. They're healthy and happy and we'd do it again."

Too often I find I'm worrying over the details and I forget to look at the big picture. My husband is much better at that than I'll ever be. He tends to loose the details as he's taking huge strokes in the pool called "The Big Picture". We are a good balance for each other on most things having to do with the kids.

But even my husband Ron, in all his logic and brilliance, and me with all my compassion and understanding, were not sure how to deal with what hit us the next week.

While at school my younger daughter was asked, at a public School mind you, if she believed in God. All of the children in her Kindergarten class were talking about the coming Christmas holiday and how they would celebrate it in their homes.

My poor Jenna, knowing that talking about "Our Faith" can mean a lot of problems, simply answered "NO, we don't believe in God."

For the most part, this is a true statement. Neither Ron (who is an agnostic) nor I believe in the Christian God. Both of my daughters have attended Rituals with me and we have had many long, and wonderful discussions on the nature of Faith and Personal Faith for everyone. We have talked about the Christian idea that only one Path and one God is the true way and my daughters have rejected that option for now as too narrow for them.

But because she said a flat out "NO" she was teased and ridiculed on the playground for the rest of that week. That wasn't the end of it for me, however.

I work with the mother of Jenna's bestfriend. She happens to be my boss, sort of. It was through this woman that I found out about the "god" things a few days later at work, while standing in the President of the companies office. This woman, (who is laterally my boss, remember), announced very loudly and merrily (did I mention she doesn't like me much?) that her daughter was worried about Jenna's soul since Jenna's family doesn't believe in God.

Of all ways for this to progress, the way it chose was the worst. Water finds it's own way, I know...but this was finding me totally unprepared. The President of the company looked calmly at me and said, "Well, kids are great, aren't they?" And it mostly ended there. But I've had many, many "conversations" since then with various co-workers about my Faith.

My husband thinks I should let them all assume I'm an atheist and leave it at that. But the truth, or should I say Truth (with the big "T"), keeps me from taking that easy road.
My daughters will not have an easy road waiting for them, either. Their journey to Personal Faith and Truth has only begun. There will be times I can help them. There will be others I absolutely can't. What a world we've made for ourselves... 1999 _________________________________________

THE GREEN LIFE

Trees: The Gentle Warriors
by Moon SpiritWolf

Trees have many values to life on Earth. These "gentle warriors" help battle things like air pollution, mud slides, extreme weather, and global warming. They provide food, shelter, and even help satisfy spiritual needs. In addition to all of that, trees are recognized in the Pagan community for their magickal properties. Trees deserve to be given a little extra attention these days.

There is a downside to having trees around in certain areas. When dead and if not disposed of properly, trees an become a fire hazard. They've also been known to fall on people, houses, across roads, and on power lines. So when they are in populated areas, trees do need to be maintained.

As far as spirituality is concerned, some people connect to a spiritual existence when surrounded by trees and other plant life. The sheer beauty of trees brings a sense of wonder to the admirer. It's believed that having trees nearby can help reduce stress. They even lend to the healing process.

Magickally speaking, trees have certain properties that can be used by those who recognize them. Here are some examples:
Alderconfidence, strength
Applelife, renewal, beauty
Ashrebirth, peace, communication
Birchbeginnings, energy
Blackthorncontrol, connected to the Dark Lady
Elderchange, life cycles
Firvigor, secrecy
Oaktruth, strength, endurance
Rowaninsight, premonition, creativity
Willowintuition, enchantment, psychic ability

MAGICKAL NOTES

Dressing Up Halloween Treats
by Psyche

Here are a few quick ideas for dressing up those Halloween treats, whether they be for trick-or-treaters or for a party, breakfast, or ritual:
Use for Halloweenish cookie-cutters:

  • Breakfast: These make fun designs out of your average breakfast foods, such as eggs(not scrambled or boiled), pancakes, and even toast. This can also be applied to your ritual food (cookies, bread, cake,etc.)
    Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters?
  • Throw a piece of white tissue paper of your lollipops, or suckers and tie a colored thread or yarn around the stick at the base of the sucker. Draw on a face with a marker and you'll have yourself a cute lil' ghost to give away.
  • Wrapping a piece of orange-colored tissue paper around small packets of candy corn, gumballs, etc. and wrapping with green thread or yarn will allow you to hand out lil' "surprises" to the trick-or-treaters this Halloween.
    These ideas are great if you enjoy really putting a little extra effort into this Halloween.