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It's Spring and What a Spring It Is!

March 22, 2020

It’s Spring, but this is a Spring unlike anyone has seen in their lifetime. Rather than the earth waking up and the world getting busier, we’ve all been put on pause and are semi-hibernating. The hope and beauty of Spring still promises all the good things of the wheel turning. The trees will soon be green. The flowers will soon splash their vibrant colors over the ground. The birds will sing and chatter, oblivious to human concerns.

We stand here at the brink of change. Looking inside and pausing our busy lives, we have the opportunity to re-evaluate what’s important and what isn’t. The Goddess has given us the chance to reset the world and it is up to us as one race, the Human Race, to do so.

I invite you as magickal people to envision the world as a more beautiful place, as the Utopia that it could be and was always meant to be. Remember that the Goddess provides and we are all under her protection and care.

I keep thinking of the Abbi Spinner song “Held in the Heart” (https://spiralwound.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/held-in-the-heart/). The song reminds us that we are “here in the heart of this holy moment.” I believe that this is the moment we have all been waiting for, the moment when real change is possible. We have to find new ways of doing the things that we need to do.

Humans are unceasingly creative and innovative. It’s part of what makes us who we are. I believe that we will find energetic connection when we can’t have physical closeness, the ability to work when we shouldn’t leave our homes, and the courage to help each other rather than only to look out for ourselves.

There are no coincidences. This is a time of great change at the beginning of the Aquarian Age. Business as usual is impossible so how will we replace it?

What is this Spring growing in you and how will you blossom?

Good News for the Environment

March 5, 2020

Here’s some more optimism for healing our planet:

  • A court rejected a BLM plan to allow oil and gas drilling in Colorado’s Western Slope, finding it failed to consider real-world impacts on climate.
  • A judge prevented risky offshore drilling in the pristine Arctic Ocean and deepwater canyons of the Atlantic.
  • Another court case stopped fossil fuel companies from avoiding paying millions in royalties for mining and drilling on our public lands.

Coming to you from Pronoia-inspired Network News.

Source: NRDC

Good News for the Animals

February 20, 2020

Last year our theme for the year was Heal Mother Earth. We often hear negative and scary news. In the spirit of Pronoia (the antidote to paranoia, a term coined by astrologer Rob Brezny), here are a few environmental victories in 2019:

  • An NRDC lawsuit forced more endangered species protections for giraffes.
  • The Gulf of Mexico whale has been granted endangered species status.
  • Stronger protections were put in place against the trade of Asian otters, giraffes, sharks and vaquitas at the global summit on endangered species.

Stay tuned this year as we report some of the positive changes that our world has made toward Healing Mother Earth.

By the way, our theme for 2020 is Dancing With Light and Shadow. Come to our events or check back here to find out more about how Hands of Change interprets this theme.

Source: NRDC

 

Dancing with Light and Shadow at Imbolc

February 6, 2020

There is no light without darkness; there is no shadow without light. This is a time of year that reminds us of how inextricably woven the light and the dark is. The light and dark can be many different polarities including God and Goddess, warm and cold, sound and silence, Yin and Yang. The truism is that one contains and is dependent on the other.

So what does this little bit of philosophy mean at this time of year? Here in the Northeast the weather is cold and although the days are growing longer, the nights are still longer than the days. Looking out my window at 7 a.m., it is still pre-dawn — there is light, but it’s a muffled light shrouded in a bluish darkness that hasn’t yet welcomed the sun for the day.

Although we may be longing for longer and warmer days in February, many of us thoroughly tired of the winter, this cold dark time serves a purpose. It’s a time when we can be indoors and spend quiet time looking inward. Especially with Mercury in Retrograde coming up, this inward focus on personal goals and projects is strengthened. It’s a time to regroup before the energy of the sun is at its fullest, drawing us outside into the hubbub of spring and summer.

Use this time for introspection and completion, to work on the things that you have been putting off. This Sunday’s full moon in Leo is excellent energy for motivation, courage, and rekindled passion. Take advantage of the coming month to really dive deep inside and focus on yourself.

The goddess Brigid is traditionally called on at this time of year, not only for inspiration, but also as a goddess of hearth and home, assisting us in kindling the fires within as well as the more literal fires of heating and cooking. Look inside for that fire seed that will give you the courage to create anew.

We ask Brigid now for her blessings that she may inspire us during this month and provide healing, creating, and joy throughout the cold times.

Bright blessings!

Chemical Overload

October 2, 2019

This month’s blog is a request to all of you to be mindful of what chemicals we pour onto our Mother Earth. There has been an assault on insects that humans consider pests over the last 75 years. The chemical companies have come up with more and more ingenious ways to poison the natural order of life.Unfortunately, these pesticides not only destroy the pests that are targeted, they also kill essential pollinators.

The article below was sent to me by Environment America, and is reprinted with permission.Please, read, and remember that we all can make a difference for good or ill by both our actions, and our inaction. It is not enough to not use these poisons ourselves, even though that is imperative, we must also be willing to go further and do our best to curb their manufacture and use around the world. Please, get involved, write your congressional reps and put pressure on these short-sighted corporations that think only of their profits at the expense of the planet. And those of you with the resources, I suggest you research environmental organizations, and donate to those that do the things you consider important.

Blessed Be,
Gaia

IN JUST 3 MONTHS, PESTICIDES KILLED MORE THAN 500 MILLION BEES IN BRAZIL.

If 500 million dead bees aren’t proof that we need to rein in the use of bee-killing pesticides, I don’t know what is.In August, the BBC reported that that’s how many bees had died in Brazil in just a three-month span. The cause? Pesticides such as neonicotinoids (or neonics), which are known to be deadly to bees.

It’s the latest piece of devastating news for bees. Here in the U.S., beekeepers lost nearly 40 percent of their colonies last winter –making it the worst winter on record for bees. Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, South Africa and Russia have all experienced mass die-offs of bees over the past several months. We can’t afford to lose the bees. Bees are essential to our food supply, and the health of our bees is reflective of the health of our environment.

That’s why Environment America is working to stop the most common and problematic uses of neonics. We are working with members of Congressto ban the use of neonics in wildlife refuges – something that never should have been allowed in the first place. Of all places, bees should be safe in wildlife refuges.

At the state level, we’re working to ban the sale of neonics to consumers, similar to the bans our national network helped win in Maryland, Vermont and Connecticut. We’re also working to expand bee habitats by passing state laws to require pollinator-friendly plants along roadsides and other state lands.This work takes resources, and that’s where you come in. Your support allows us to get our advocates in the room with decision-makers in Washington, D.C., and in state capitols across the country.Thank you for making it all possible.

Sincerely,
Ed JohnsonPresident

PS from Gaia:

For those of you who are gardeners, here’s a list of brand names that contain neonicotinoids…

-Bayer Advanced 3-in-1 Insect, Disease, & Mite Control
-Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Insect Control
-Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed
-Bayer Advanced Fruit, Citrus & Vegetable Insect Control
-Bayer Advanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Care concentrate
-DIY Tree Care Products Multi-Insect Killer
-Ferti-lome 2-N-1 Systemic
-Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Spray
-Knockout Ready-To-Use Grub Killer
-Monterey Once a Year Insect Control II
-Ortho Bug B Gon Year-Long Tree & Shrub Insect Control
-Ortho MAX Tree & Shrub Insect
-Bayer Advanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Care granules
-Green Light Grub Control with Arena
-Amdro Quick Kill Lawn & Landscape Insect Killer
-Amdro Rose & Flower Care
-Maxide Dual Action Insect Killer
-Ortho Bug B Gon Garden Insect Killer
-Ortho Bug B Gon for Lawns
-Ortho Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer
-Green Light Tree & Shrub Insect Control with Safari 2 G
Safari
-Ortho Tree & Shrub Insect Control Plus Miracle Gro Plant Food
-Ortho Rose and Flower Insect Killer
-Ortho Rose Pride Insect Killer

And here’s a partial list of foods pollinated by bees – just to give you an idea:

  • Honey (obviously)
  • Tree fruits such as apples, peaches, apricots, plums, lemons, limes and cherries
  • Bananas, melons, mangoes and papaya
  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, elderberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries
  • Onions
  • Almonds, cashews and coconut
  • Avocados
  • Beans varieties such as green beans, adzuki, kidney and lima beans
  • Coffee (!!!!!!)
  • Tea plants
  • Vanilla
  • Sunflower and sesame oils
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes (and, therefore, wine!)
  • Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, turnips and Brussels sprouts
  • Beetroot, pumpkin
  • CHOCOLATE
  • Sugarcane
  • Agave (vital for tequila!

Back to School

September 7, 2019

Here we are in September already. A busy Summer is winding down and I hope all of you had a wonderful time. Here at HOC we had a successful Ishtarfest, Pagan Picnic, and Full Moon ritual as well as several personal trips, camping and picnic events by individual members.

As I’m sure you all know, school will soon be starting. There is a good chance that those of you with young children will sometimes be sending them in with a packed lunch. I urge you to think about not only their health, but that of Mother Earth as well. Rather than a plastic bag of munchies, send them in with a piece of fruit, preferably locally grown and organic. Apples and pears will soon be filling the farmer’s stands, as well as lots of fresh vegetables right up until frost and while the supermarket won’t have locally grown offerings in the winter, they will have organic to choose from.

For sandwiches, puddings, cut up fruit, chicken legs, cheese, left-overs from dinner the night before – whatever you’re sending – consider putting them in reusable containers with snap on lids instead of throw away plastic zip lock bags. Let the young ones pick a cool lunch box – the choices are plentiful – and help them understand the importance of caring for the Earth by using a thermos with a screw top lid instead of plastic water bottles. If your kids like using straws, use paper or the reusable kind instead of the plastic used once and thrown away.

For those of you with older kids, encourage them to either join, or form, an environmental club in their school. Campaign to ensure their school has a recycling program and that the trays and cups they use in the cafeteria are not Styrofoam, but either reusable or compostable.

If we are to have a livable planet teeming with life and biodiversity to leave to our children, and their children, we MUST change the way we do things. And we must educate the next generation. It’s up to us. If we don’t, how do we face our grandchildren and tell them we did nothing while their planet drowned in plastic?Thanks to all our you for caring!

Blessed Be
Gaia

Zero Waste Labor Day

August 31, 2019

My hobby for the past couple of years has been to collect as little new plastic as possible, from packaging to products. I even tried composting in an apartment composter for a while until I had several infestations of other insects and my worms died. While I am certainly not living a zero waste life, I have endeavored to have less trash and to be aware of what I’m bringing into my home that I eventually will have to throw out.

Going totally zero waste may not be your thing, but can you do it for one day? All over the country Zero Waste Labor Day celebrations are springing up to bring awareness to how much we contribute to the landfills. The average American makes 4.4 pounds of trash a day. Outdoor picnics are one of the biggest contributors to an individual’s trash because everything is typically disposable.

If you’re hosting a Labor Day event this weekend, consider using real silverware and plates and washing them. If you are going to someone else’s house, lug a mug, a plate and silverware to avoid using disposables. I keep a set of bamboo eating utensils in my purse and a metal container in my car for leftovers.

Here are some picnic tips:

  • Use glasses instead of plastic cups
  • Label trash, recycling and food waste bins
  • Repurpose decorations from other holidays
  • Pack leftovers for guests
  • Use foil instead of plastic
  • Choose a drink in a recyclable bottle or can

If you aren’t going to a picnic this weekend, challenge yourself to see if you can go one day without throwing anything into the garbage can. Use recyclables when you can. Compost food scraps – if you don’t have a compost bin or live somewhere where that’s impractical, collect your food scraps and bury them in the back yard or forest at the end of the day. Make sure everything is bio-degradable that you are burying.

Noticing what goes into the trash bin is the first step in reducing your footprint on Mother Earth. Few of us are aware on a daily basis of the packaging of our food items that goes into the garbage. Even fruit and veggies usually have plastic labels on them, which are easy to peel off but don’t recycle.

Most of all, though, don’t feel bad if you can’t do zero waste. Our society really isn’t set up to make that easy. But the first step in solving any problem is always awareness. Make Labor Day your day to work on the planet’s health by using the day as a meditation on what you can do to heal Mother Earth.