Are You Having Any Fun?

Morning folks.

 
I was just going through my memories here on Facebook and came across something that was said by Carl Johnson, Disabilities Liaison for the Mid-West & Wales. I thought I’d share it…
 
“I think people make this awful mistake of thinking they have to grow up and be adult. I know how crushing depression and illness can be. Which is why I think we all need to grab the fun silly bits whenever we can.”
 
I couldn’t agree more with this. Many years ago I worked with various military charities, raising money, awareness and morale within the veteran and military community and I became good friends with a man named William. He gave me some advice that has stuck with me for many, many years and I’d like to share it with you now.
Basically; have a little wiggle! Now, I know many of us have physical issues that may prevent a decent jiggle but even if only a mental wiggle is had, I feel this counts. Stick on a song, any song! A song that makes it impossible for you to sit still! A song that makes you want to dance and shake that bootay! Set it as your alarm in the morning and wake up to a wiggle! Even if you just wiggle a finger! Find something you can wiggle or belt out to and start the morning on a high of giggles!
Carl is right; people take life far too seriously and who does that more than us? The ones whose lives are serious by necessity, the ones who are too busy counting our pain medication, concentrating on physio, ignoring the puddles instead of jumping in them because putting one foot in front of the other without crying out in pain is far more important. But we need fun too! We need to stop and smell the roses, jump in the puddles, smile at the rainbows. We need that more than most because if we don’t take that time, the weight of reality can crush us.So, even if you’re like me and no good at self care… Even if you’re riddled with anxiety or crippled by pain… Do yourself this favour, this kindness; have a little wiggle!If you do decide that you can do this, I’d love to hear the songs you find irresistible! Please share them with me so I can giggle along with you!

Here are some of my favourites…


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB_RFcpRXoE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUqo31PUpgohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOou5i3IVsU

 

A Wiccan Spring Equinox

So here it is, my first blog on the Wheel of the Year. Why start here? Why not Imbolc, Winter Solstice or Samhain? All of which have been taken by some that because of their placement could be seen as the start of the year, if you can actually say Pagans have such a thing as a “new year” given our wheel is a cycle forever spinning, “with no beginning and never ending”, from one secular, linear year to the next. (Please note: don’t get me started on this little rant!).

So why start here?
1. I was uber busy in the run up to Imbolc sorting out the PF’s Pagans with Disabilities Online Imbolc Festival, and
2. More importantly, my Coven follows the Astrological Wheel of the Year, where the “new year” starts when the Sun enters the Sign of Aries, towards the end of March. This is also the start of the Magical Tide of Activation (the first of four tides in a year… More information on this concept can be found in Patricia Crowther’s Lid off the Cauldron.)

So, for us, our Equinox celebrations fall on or near the occurrence of zero degrees Aries. Another fact that dictates when we celebrate are peoples’ work commitments, including those of my non-pagan other half, so we tend to go for the closest Saturday night either just before or just after the shift of the Sun from Pisces to Aries, so that most members have Sunday to recuperate before work on Monday. During the festival we focus on the balance between dark and light, with especial emphasis on the increasing amount of light that this time of year represents, and the Sun’s effects upon the Earth and Nature around us.

Given that my oaths prevent me from saying what we actually do, I’m going to focus on our preparation for this festival. What have we actually, practically done in order to be able to celebrate our Equinox festival? Well, since you last saw the ritual room way back when, in between our seasonal celebratory festivals and esbats the room has been undergoing a necessary makeover. It has been redecorated (I’ve casually termed it “Smurf Blue”), a true, full spring clean to prepare for the positive burst of energy and activity signalled by the start of the Tide of Activation.

The previous tide, Lustration, has seen us take a break from esbats, full moon workings, and our yearly training group. Much as the Earth and most of Nature retreats into itself during this period (Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox), the energies we work with also retreat, and so we take a break from magical workings (unless absolutely necessary) and look after ourselves, nurturing our bodies, minds and spirits.

With the Spring Equinox hailing the start of the Tide of Activation, everything we haven’t done since Winter Solstice begins again in earnest; this includes preparing materials for the Training Group for both “year groups”, restarting magical workings for esbats, and continuing with the celebration of the festivals of the wheel.

As I’ve said, I (or we, when other coven members have been available) have spring cleaned the ritual space. Normally, this means an extra thorough clean of the tools on the altar, the altar itself, and the room and the furnishing therein. This year, as I’ve already said, has been a bit different as we have had to have the roof of the ritual room replaced. This made a lot of mess, and managed to ensure that redecoration was necessary!

In the run up to our ritual, we look through the possible scripts we could use from our BoS, Book of Shadows; we decide which one we like, if we want to use it “as is”, or make suitable and agreed (amongst the coven) additions, or create a new one that fits the symbology of the Sabbat. Roles are assigned where needed, once everyone confirms their attendance (or not), and words are learnt. Ritual equipment , both altar tools and extra seasonal “bits and pieces” are checked for suitability, maintenance, etc., and a shopping list of missing items and consumables are added to my shopping list… Typical items on this list include:
Cake (which is Gluten, Wheat, Lactose Free and Low FODMAP)
Red Wine
Seasonally appropriate flowers for decoration around the ritual room (for this festival there will be daffodils)
Seasonally appropriate decorations

And then we celebrate; Coven members arrive about an hour before the ritual starts, we catch up with each other, and sort any last minute preparation needed – mainly making sure that everything we need is in the ritual room. Someone lights the candles and the incense, we go get changed, and then we celebrate!

If you have any comments, questions, etc.m please feel free to get in contact, especially if there is something you would like covering about one of the upcoming sabbats, and I’ll see what I can do within the limits of my oaths!

I hope you have a blessed Equinox however you are celebrating it, and I will see you for our next instalment of The Wonky Wiccan’s Guide to the Wheel of the Year, just before Beltaine!

Blessed Be!

 

Meet Jenny Luddington

Don’t be fooled by these jerks that I got.

I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block.

Well Jenny from South East and I’m your Disability Liaison. The jerks to which I refer are my myoclonic seizures. I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy when I was 17 and had a bit of tough time getting my tonic clonic and absence seizures under control but did manage in my mid 20’s after a couple of years I asked to try to be weaned of meds and all went well for about a decade. Had a breakthrough seizure in 2012 and suddenly started having myoclonic seizures, which I didn’t know where even a thing, they’re brief muscle contractions, I throw things and fall over. Again I have gained control of T/C’s but the jerks not so much!

I’ve been walking a Pagan path since my mid 20’s I was solitary and then joined a (w)icca learning circle, which pretty spectacularly imploded. I vowed off ever playing with others. Alas, I do like a bit of ritual and I’ve a soft spot for a sabbatical chant. Initially I joined the Dover Moot, but alas lots of people moved away. I then joined the Kent Goddess Group (a women’s ceremonial group) and my personal practice was becoming more Hellenic Recon.

Eventually some of the Dover Moot people who had moved away moved to Folkestone (hooray). We founded Folkestone Pagan Circle and I have helped to facilitate a Pop-Up Temple, Open Beach Rituals, Moot and Red Tent. I have recently stood down as chair and was looking for a new challenge.

This was around the time of the first Pagan Disability Team Online Festival. Nature, abhorring vacuums as she does, I thought ‘That’s a marvellous idea’. I was called to contact the lovely Debi and offer my services to Disability Liaison for the South East. Debi said ‘There isn’t one, would you like the job?’

When Goddess calls who are we to refuse?!?

So why volunteer? What do I want to bring to this role? For me I think one of the hardest things about living with a disability or chronic illness is isolation. Not everyone wants to go to a Moot or be involved in group ceremony and it’s awesome to be a solitary practitioner. However, it is nice to have the choice, whether that is helping groups to think about making events and venues accessible or using technology to bring the Sabats to you. What I hope to do is include you too. I want you to feel a little more connected to your Pagan community. Please share your ideas on how we can make that happen.

Jenny

Jenny Luddington is the Deputy Disabilities Manager and the District Liaison for South East region.