As we wrap up 2015, it’s important to think of what has been accomplished and what more needs to be done. While pagans are still a pretty small, religious minority, it is indisputable that our numbers are growing along with our influence in public life.
Since the beginning of the Neopagan movement in the 1950’s (along with more ancient traditions dating back to Medieval Times), pagan and occult practices have been limited to small (and mostly secretive) gatherings.
But now as public religious acceptance grows, these gatherings are becoming less secretive and more public. In fact, we have seen things happen in 2015, that have not occurred in hundreds – and perhaps even a thousand years.
In the beginning of this year, Scotland saw its first gay, Pagan wedding.
Then plans were announced in Iceland to build the first temple to the Norse Gods since the Viking Ages.
Meanwhile, the U.K. announced the creation of a druid college.
In April, Northern Ireland certified its first pagan priest since the time of St. Patrick. Ironically, the name of the pagan man himself is Patrick. Who says the Gods don’t have a sense of humor?
Another big story in April was when a Wiccan Priestess was invited to give the opening invocation before the Iowa State Legislature.
In terms of other big news, the U.S. Supreme Court made gay marriage legal nation wide this June.
And of course, last but not least, the metal heads of this blog will be mourning the loss of the metal god and legend Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead who recently passed. I realized since I wrote my last article, that I shouldn’t say RIP, because I can’t really see Lemmy sitting around quietly for too long. It’s more likely that he’ll be rocking out with the gods in Valhalla and writing some of the best damned metal anyone ever heard with Dio.
So this new years raise a glass in toast for all the good, bad, and ugly that happened this year. And let’s hope to make 2016 even more exciting and eventful than 2015.
The Cascadia Grove of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) is looking to build a shrine to Cernunnos, God of liminality, commerce and the forest. This will be at the beautiful White Mountain Druid Sanctuary in Trout Lake, Washington state.
(This is an artistic rendition of the proposed Cernunnos shrine)
White Mountain Druid Sanctuary is created and owned by Kirk Thomas, the Arch Druid of ADF. On the Sanctuary’s property, he has already completed three shrines, a massive Stone Circle, and a Labyrinth. The three other shrines include Dagda, The Morrigan and Lugh.
There is also a Bed and Breakfast (Trout Lake Abbey) on the property. People can reserve an individual room, a bed in the hostel, or places to camp and pitch a tent.
White Mountain Druid Sanctuary is one of the few places in the country that has recreated an environment that we think may be similar to what the ancient druids worshiped in (at least based on what we know). They are interested in creating a place to worship in the spirit of the old Indo-European spirituality, and connect with the Gods and Goddesses, our ancestors and nature.
SEPTEMBER 29 UPDATE:
The fourth and final blood moon lunar eclipse of the 2014-2015 tetrad just occurred on September 27-28. This was also the rare eclipse of a Supermoon (meaning the moon was closest to the Earth). Total eclipses of Supermoons are rare, and another won’t happen for 18 years.
So what is a tetrad? This refers to the fact that there were four blood moons between 2014-2015, each one spaced about six months apart. The first blood moon in the tetrad was on April 15th. Fortunately the world didn’t end that day, but people did have to pay their taxes (which was the next closest thing).
Blood Moon Tetrad Dates:
Total lunar eclipse: April 15
Total lunar eclipse: October 8
Total lunar eclipse: April 4
Total lunar eclipse: September 27-28
So what is the significance of The Blood Moon? Is it the end of the world or a mere astronomical phenomena? What causes this ominous sounding event?
WHAT SCIENTIFIC PHENOMENON CAUSES THE BLOOD MOON?
The word “eclipse” itself means shadow, an eclipse is the Earth’s shadow on the moon. The red color itself is caused by particles and dust in the Earth’s atmosphere. What’s even more significant about this particular Blood Moon is that it is the first of a tetrad of Blood Moons. This means that there will be four blood moons occurring over a period of 18 months. It is also said that each of these four Blood Moons will fall on a Jewish holiday: Passover, The Feast of Tabernacles, Passover again the following year and then the next Feast of Tabernacles after that.
BLOOD MOONS AND PROPHESY
I’ve had a very difficult time finding astronomical information on this event, because I’ve been bombarded by several news stories about the biblical prophesy that uses the Blood Moon to predict the end of the world:
Acts 2:19-20: “And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
Yet as rare as Blood Moons are, there have been other Blood Moons in history that occurred after this biblical prophecy was written, what is interesting is that each of the tetrads did usher in significant events for the Jews: their expulsion from Spain, the founding of the state of Israel and on The Six Day War between Arabs and Israelis.
WHAT DID OTHER CULTURES THINK ABOUT BLOOD MOONS OR ECLIPSES IN GENERAL?
The Incans believed that the Blood Moon was a result of a jaguar who attacked and then ate the moon. After it ate the moon, Incans believed that the jaguar would come for them next. To prevent that, they would try to drive the predator away by shaking spears at the moon and making a lot of noise, including beating their dogs and making them bark.
The Ancient Mesopotamians believed that a lunar eclipse was an attack on their king. The Mesopotamians were also very good at predicting when an eclipse would occur. So for this situation, they would install a Substitute King to bear the brunt of whatever attack the eclipse may dole out. The Substitute King would usually be treated very well during this period, but then mysteriously disappear afterwards.
The Hupa Native American Tribe believed that the moon had 20 wives and lots of pets: mountain lions and snakes. When the moon didn’t bring his pets enough food to eat, they would attack him and make him bleed. The eclipse would end when the moon’s wives came to protect him. They would collect his blood and make him well again.
To the Luiseño tribe of southern California, an eclipse signaled that the moon was ill. It was tribe members’ job to sing chants or prayers to bring it back to health.
The Ancient Norse Folk believed that the moon (Mani) was chased around in the sky by a hateful wolf named Hati. And each time the wolf got close, it took a bite out of him which caused an eclipse.
The Ancient Egyptians thought an Eclipse was the moon getting swallowed by a sow and the ancient Chinese believed that it was a three legged toad who was doing the swallowing.
However, not every Blood Moon is negative. The Batammaliba people in Africa saw it as a time that the moon and sun were fighting. Yet the significance of the Blood Moon meant that it was a time to come together and resolve old feuds.
IS THE END NEAR?
None of the previous Blood Moons ushered in an end of the world, why is this particular Blood Moon the one that will do it?
In 2012, the world was was supposed to end on December 21st because that was the day when the Mayan Calendar ended. Before that the world was supposed to end in 2000, because of the infamous Y2k crisis, apparently resetting the digital calendars of the world’s computers is enough to usher in a robot apocalypse?
And now, looking at a shadow on the moon through the tint of some atmospheric dust is a sure sign of the end? Perhaps this is the omen that will usher in the end. Or maybe when this prophecy fails, someone will find an image of the Anti-Christ on a piece of toast and surely this will usher in the end of the human era. My point is that people are completely obsessed with the apocalypse and are constantly grasping for a new sign each year of this impending rapture.
So, I’m pretty sure you can all untwist your panties out of a knot and enjoy the astronomical phenomenon that is the Blood Moon with a cup of cocoa. And in the chance that the apocalypse is happening, I will eat my words by taking a jaguar sized bite out of the laptop I’m typing on and die of suffocation before the demons of the apocalypse can descend from the bleeding moon and play softball with my carcass.
Whether it is a portent of death or a cool astronomical phenomenon, we can all agree on one thing: it’s metal as hell. Get your Blood Moon on tonight with some heavy tunes.
VADER – WHEN THE SUN DROWNS IN DARK
SLAYER – REIGN IN BLOOD
The haunting music you hear above comes from a 43,000 year old Neanderthal bone flute. That’s right, I said ‘bone’ flute. It is believed that this instrument was made from the bone of a bear. Is that metal or what? The flute itself was found in a cave in Western Slovenia in 1995. There was a great debate over whether the holes in the bone were intentionally made or not. In 2009 this was finally resolved. A clay replica of the artifact was made, and it was verified that it indeed was made for a singular purpose – for Neanderthals to rock out with cave bears as if they were in some kind of early Led Zeppelin tribute band.
HELLY LUV – “REVOLUTION”
The Kurds have done the amazing. With the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world at their front door, they have still managed to protect their own with little outside help (aside from U.S. airstrikes and some volunteers). Part of the power of their fighting force are the brave Kurdish women of the Peshmerga. Their job is to send the ISIS scum to hell – literally. Many of the guys in ISIS believe if they are killed by a woman, they won’t get into heaven. So the Kurdish women are more than delighted to take up arms and send these assholes where they belong.
Helly Luv is a Kurdish music star who has used her voice and dancing to bring attention to the Kurds and their battle. She is a singer, dancer, choreographer, actress and model. Her career began when she started uploading her own videos to Myspace and YouTube and then took off from there.
In 2014 she created the Helly Luv non-profit organization to help the women and animals in need in Kurdistan. On July 6, 2014, Helly Luv visited the peshmerga headquarters in the city of Duhok, Iraq near the border of Mosul, Iraq during the defense against ISIL (ISIS); with a mission to deliver food and water to the Peshmerga troops.
She is famous for her ‘Revolution’ video above, calling people to help build Peace by fighting ISIS. It may sound like a contradiction, but as she said in a recent interview “you can’t hand these people flowers.”