Blessed Samhain

As we sweep up leaves from Hurricane Sandy, and follow the news from New Jersey, New York, Haiti and the islands of the Caribbean, we come to the holiday of the scary and the sweet. Samhain, Halloween, All Saints Day, Dia de los Muertos are days of reflecting on mortality and celebrating life.

Starhawk, a very earthy priestess of engaged paganism, wrote these words in another stormy time– 2003, the first Halloween after the start of the Iraq War.

Much of our magic and our community work is about creating spaces of refuge from a harsh and often hostile world, safe places where people can heal and regenerate, renew our energies and learn new skills. In that work, we try to release guilt, rage, and frustration, and generally turn them into positive emotions.

Safety and refuge and healing are important aspects of spiritual community. But they are not the whole of spirituality. Feeling good is not the measure by which we should judge our spiritual work. Ritual is more than self-soothing activity.

Spirituality is also about challenge and disturbance, about pushing our edges and giving us the support we need to take great risks. The Goddess is not just a light, happy maiden or a nurturing mother. She is death as well as birth, dark as well as light, rage as well as compassion — and if we shy away from her fiercer embrace we undercut both her own power and our own growth.

There are times when it is inappropriate to feel wholly good. Now is one of them. As the saying goes, “If you aren’t angry, you aren’t paying attention.”

She reminds me of my minister, James Ford, who bids us go in peace, with a hint of unrest.

Starhawk’s entire essay is here. With more on BeliefNet here.

Blessings from Reclaiming Collective…

A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.

This year may we renew the earth.
This year may we renew the earth.

Let it begin with each step we take.
And let it begin with each change we make.
And let it begin with each chain we break.
And let it begin every time we awake.

This Samhain, on the knife’s edge of possible futures, remember that where there’s fear there’s power, and take the sweet with the scary.

Credit Where Credit is Due: The beautiful Celtic mandala is by the artist Nigel Pennick,found on Google Images through Wheel of Wonder– a Pagan blogspot.

Originally posted on Not So 30's...:

We have all seen the news footage and the online photos. Hurricane Sandy not only caused unimaginable damage but the emotional toll and stress it has caused individuals is heart breaking.

I am asking you today to take a minute to donate $10 to the American Red Cross. They are actively working in the NorthEast to assist those who were most affected by the storm. The American Red Cross provides shelter, food and additional assistance.

$10 can go a LONG way and there are very simple ways to donate!

The fastest way to donate is to text REDCROSS to 90999 on your mobile phone.

If you would like to donate another amount please visit theAmerican Red Cross Donation Page.

Thank you!


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Originally posted on News One:

NEW YORK (AP) — More New Yorkers awoke Saturday to power being restored for the first time since Superstorm Sandy pummeled the region, but patience wore thin among those in the region who have been without power for most of the week.

From storm-scarred New Jersey to parts of Connecticut, a widespread lack of gasoline added to the frustration.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Defense Department will set up emergency mobile gas stations at five locations around the New York City metropolitan area to distribute free fuel with a limit of 10 gallons per person. Cars and emergency service vehicles will be able to fill up directly from the 5,000-gallon trucks.

“Fuel is on the way,” Cuomo said. “Do not panic. I know there is anxiety about fuel.”

Gas rationing was starting at noon Saturday in northern New Jersey, where drivers will be allowed to buy it only…

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Kiersten Marek:

Diane Ravitch kind of says it all here, and eloquently. She also points out how NYC’s system of school choice has made it so that many children must commute heavily to get to school, and now cannot get to school due to the flooding.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Many people have written via Twitter or email to ask if I am okay, and the short answer is yes.

Unlike many in New York City, I and my family emerged unscathed. There was a lot of wind and rain, but no damage to body or property.

Many people, including good friends, did suffer terribly. One lives in a neighborhood that was devastated by a terrible fire. Others experienced flood damage.

And the city remains crippled.

The mass transit system is out of commission, so people can’t get to work and children–in this city so dependent on school choice–can’t get to school.

Most Americans depend on private transportation and find it hard to imagine a city where public transportation is critical to the life of the city.

This Forbes blogger explains here how she can’t get to work and her son can’t get to school. Without the subways, people are…

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Poll Addicts Go Cold Turkey

Remember the infamous ‘Heidi Bowl’ of 1968? When football fans went into seizures in their living rooms as the last crucial seconds of the historic Raiders vs Jets game were cut off for a special presentation of ‘Heidi’. Well, not to compare a devastating hurricane to a missed football game, but I can feel the pain of information withdrawal.
Gallup poll suspended after Hurricane Sandy…

“As a pollster right now I couldn’t poll from Virginia up to New Hampshire, it would be a total blackout,” he said. “All of New England is off the board, so you’re going into this last weekend basically not knowing,” he said.

Problems caused by Sandy add more uncertainty to polls that have already vexed voters and campaign insiders with their seemingly contradictory signals.

As they say, polls don’t win elections and blogging is not campaigning. Time to get active and get out the vote.