Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Power of Words

"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." ~ Peggy O'Mara

Rowan is learning by leaps and bounds. Every day, he says a handful of new words that I have never heard him say before. Just yesterday, he came up with "money". I have NEVER told him what money is, nor have I given him any. He picked that term up by watching mama and daddy, evidently. The funny thing is, he is a modern baby- he thinks his library card (indeed, all plastic cards) are "money".

Now that we live with two other adults (Rowan's Nanny and Pap Pap), Rowan is being exposed to all kinds of language and ideas that he would not be if he was living with just mama and daddy. Some of that is good, some is not so great. I don't like the slips of tongue that call him "bad" when he acts out, for example. We are slowly educating my partner's parents on how we want to raise Rowan and getting them on board. We don't believe in using language that talks about permanent states of being. He is not bad, he is acting out. Hard work, this.

Running to brush the goat.
So far, things are comfortable here. Nanny and Pap Pap are delighted to spend time with their grandson and he loves them like crazy. When they are gone at work, he is constantly saying their names and asking when he can have "more" of them. when Nanny came home from work this evening, Rowan did a hilarious welcome home dance, chanting her name as he went.

When Rowan is being difficult (as all toddlers can be at one time or another), I have to carefully watch my tongue (and the tongues of others in the house). I can hear some of the phrases and words that I grew up with welling up in me- ones that I found hurtful and do not wish to pass along to Rowan. So I must check myself. We play and distract instead of restrain and say no. We ask questions rather than demanding compliance. In short, we treat Rowan like a human being worthy of respect.

Gentle. We are gentle with him, to model it and
because it is what he deserves.
And I think it is paying off. While sometimes he gets overstimulated and hits- he knows about being gentle is it is his default mode 99% of the time. Don't get me wrong- he is a wild spirited child- but he also is an affectionate one that expresses his love to all he meets. He is so good with animals and babies. He makes me beam with pride.

"Before you speak, ask yourself: is it kind, is it true, is it necessary,
does it improve upon the silence?" - Sai Baba of Shirdi

I am working on myself in order to be the best parent I can be. That means thinking before I speak.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Round on the Sides and High in the Middle!

How we had Booper in the car- tethered sippy, a snack jar,
an apple, hanging toys, and a backpack full of diversions
to hand him when he fussed.
Rowan, making the best of it, at the motel.
One of my parrots, Tallulah, giving me the stink eye
for being crated so long.
Rowan with Pap Pap at the park.
That's right, Booper. This move was all about you.
So we arrived in Ohio on Wednesday the 21st and not a minute too soon! Poor Rowan was done. After we left Denver (where we stayed with friends for a few days and visited), we went back to stay in motels and Rowan promptly pitched a fit.

When we brought him out of the car, still sleeping, into our room for the night in Kansas City, MO and he realized that we were not "at home" (perhaps he thought our friend's home was our final destination?) he pitched a fit. He started hitting the wall and yelling "NO!" over and over. Poor baby.

We had one more evening of motel after that- in Indianapolis, IN. He was actually better after that- perhaps we had broken his spirit by then, poor thing.

We arrived in the small Appalachian Ohio town we will call home for the next few months in the afternoon, and Pap Pap was out in the yard. We had been telling Rowan that we were going to stay "with Nanny and Pap Pap" for a while and he grinned widely when he saw him. I am unsure if he recognized him on his own (we visited in March) or if he was happy because I told him, "Look! It's Pap Pap!" We took it easy for the rest of that day, then on Thursday we unpacked the car (you would be surprised at how much stuff can fit into a Honda Civic! Nanny laughed that it was like watching an old clown car scene as we took out our stuff.

We took fragile things that we did not trust to the movers, things we would need right away when we arrived (important papers, school work for me), travel things (clothes, diapers, food), and things for the birds and baby that were traveling with us. It was quite the haul.)

I got caught up with some school work on Thursday, then went to the BMV on Friday to get my new license plates for Ohio. Mine were expired from California when I arrived. Can I just say- going to the BMV in a small town is a breath of fresh air compared to Oakland, CA? Why I took a number, I'll never know, because I was seen next! It took an hour- including travel 20 minutes each way! When I arrived "home", I was sad to learn that my partner's uncle had passed away that morning. His heart attack was actually a blessing, as he was battling very aggressive cancer and this spared him a lot of pain.

The subsequent days we have been here have been filled with funeral and viewing preparations. I was glad to be able to help- I downloaded songs and created CDs for the viewing and funeral service. What seemed like no big deal to me was important and hard for them to do- so I was glad to be of help. I never got to meet Uncle Jack, we were planning on visiting him the day after he died. We just missed him by a day.

Sunday, we went to the Marietta, Ohio Unitarian Universalist Church and were delighted to learn that the congregation has grown and thrived since my partner first attended as a teen. The building has been renovated, there were close to 100 congregants, including families with children. Some of the people he knew back then were still there, and there were happy reunions. Rowan had a delightful time in the nursery playing with other kids (Finally! He really missed playing with kids since we left California).

Gad to be out of the car and in a park!
Afterwards, we went to an Auntie's home for family time before the scheduled viewing. Because of the funeral and viewing, many relatives we would not see right away came back into town. To Rowan's delight, there were also kids there for play. He imitated the baby, who is in that scoot-scoot, pre-crawl stage (and getting lots of attention!), and ran around with his older cousins playing with matchbox cars. (His older cousins were so patient and sweet with him. It was lovely.)

Today (Monday the 26th) is the funeral. Rowan is wearing his first ever suit- we got it on Saturday. It is adorable, complete with vest, tie, and pocket square. Tomorrow, we hope that the movers arrive with our things- I need to call them today to check in (living without your things is a drag). The rest of the week is filled with getting settled in Ohio and doing school work. This semester, I am taking "Dynamic Youth Ministry" and "Tibetan Buddhism". I will be working on a project in conjunction with the local UU church for that first class- stay tuned for details!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


So I am writing this from on the road, on Mabon actually- from a dining room table in Denver, CO and a desk in a Motel 6 in Indianapolis- furniture that does not belong to me.

In fact, everything that I own is either somewhere on a truck headed for Ohio (I hope!) or stuffed into my car. I have no more house keys- just a car key. It is simultaneously liberating and strange. I am very much a Taurus- earthy and rooted and I get attached to things.

Most nights, we stayed in Motel 6's: Wells, Nevada; Laramie, Wyoming; Columbia, Missouri; and now Indianapolis, Indiana. They are cheap and pet-friendly. As a weary traveler arriving with a cranky toddler and two frustrated parrots, I am grateful how easy they have been (although my back aches from the awful beds). In between, we stayed with other initiates of our Witchcraft tradition, wonderful friends- they opened their home to us and we stayed an extra whole day to visit.

Sitting at their dining room table, coffee in hand, I realize how profoundly grateful I am for my life and the people in it. I guess it is that time of year- Mabon is a Witchy thanksgiving of sorts. So I am taking the time to really feel my gratitude, since a sabbat ritual will not be happening today (today is the last of our driving days- tonight we sleep in Ohio!)

I am grateful for my Witch family- an almost invisible (to outsiders) network of people across the world who don't get all showy about their connection to the gods- because they don't have to. I am so grateful for tribe of all sorts, including my Rad Fae kin. I am grateful for my immediate family- my partner, my ex-wife, my son, my two parrots, and my Witch mama and siblings. I am grateful to have what resources that I do have- a car to get us across the country, places to stop, and great ideas to ponder and learn about in school. I am grateful for the food I eat today- with friends and family. I am grateful for the family that awaits us in Ohio, with promises of shelter, an oil change, and open arms.

I know that you reading this after the fact (there are posts queued up before this one), but Happy Mabon, y'all! For what are you grateful today?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Practical Magic Blog Party!

This is a post for the Practical Magic Blog Party! Check out the dozens of posts here, all inspired by this movie that so many love.

OK, I am admitting it- out loud and in public. I enjoy Practical Magic (the movie and the book). For the sake of this blog post (blogs being a visual medium and all) I will talk about the movie this time around. Why do I love this kitchy film*? First off, who wouldn't want Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing as their doting aunties and Witchcraft mentors? They are funny, practical and fierce.

Second, Practical Magic is one of the rare movies out there that portray Witches with a sense of humanity and fairness while also showing some of the problems Witches face out in the world. It shows that magic(k) has consequences, some of which you cannot anticipate. It shows how flawed Witches can be, despite having "powers".

OMG this kitchen is amazing.
And ultimately, my gods- I love that house! That house is the be-all and end all of houses. New England architecture and landscape calls to me like no other place on earth. (I am convinced that I lived on the rugged choppy coast, where forest meets rocky shore before. While I did not live in such a magnificent palace in my mind's eye, I would never turn down such an offer!) That house is a Witch's palace.

From the spellworkings done in the greenhouse to the digging a grave near the rose arbor in the yard, to the jumping from the roof to entertain the kids on Halloween to the infamous "Midnight Margaritas" scene in the kitchen, the movie and this house inspires good memories. Would that all Witches have such a building to contain their work and inspire them so!

I leave you with a scene from the movie that makes me giggle each time:

*For the record, I also love Rosemary's Baby and The Wicker Man. Oh yes, I do.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It feels really real now.

An old map of Oakland.
I am writing this the Monday before I pack my son, my birds, and some personal affects into our car and start our journey eastward, to our new home in Ohio. This weekend really hammered home that I may be seeing certain people and things for the last time, and I am in a state of awe and grief. The SF Bay Area, SF and mostly Oakland, has been my home for the last 18 years. I have created relationships, art, institutions, and projects here. It has felt like home since I first visited and now I leave for a place that I have never seen.

Saturday was a gauntlet of personal visits. We visited other initiates of our Witchcraft tradition to say goodbye and were bestowed with gifts. One gift in particular tugged at my heart: When I was pregnant with Rowan, I had some medical complications. My magickal community pulled together and helped me rectify these so that I was able to have a normal vaginal birth. Some made charms for me, others did rituals where they were in the world, still others collaborated on a quilt. Several initiates made quilt squares- they drew in permanent marker on cloth squares the most amazing images for him. And I finally picked them up on Saturday. I am excited to make Rowan this quilt- a lasting and fitting magickal legacy for such a fey child. I will be combining it with a quilt square that I got after Cora Anderson's death- one of the squares she always intended to incorporate into a larger project. Now it will be.

The geese at Lake Merritt.
I also visited a former Craft teacher on Saturday. She is mostly house-bound these days and we chatted about my initiation, my travels, my son, and general small talk. She loves children and is a former Montessori teacher, so she was delighted that Rowan was along for the visit. I am glad he got to spend some more time with her before we leave.

Sunday, we started the day by attending services at our church, First Unitarian Church of Oakland. We got to say goodbye to Dorothy, who staffs the nursery (Rowan just loves her, and I spent some time volunteering there as well, so we caught up since I was teaching Sunday School over the summer and didn't make it to FUCO). I got to say goodbye to a few more seminarians, my ministers, and the director of children programs and religious education (whom I volunteered for last semester). I dropped off some crafting supplies and turned in my key to the church. My keychain is becoming lighter and lighter these days. The service was amazing- a commemoration of 9/11 that managed to be uplifting, angry, and inspiring- all at the same time. I wept. The message that "friction causes growth" was a timely one for my family.

After, we jetted off to SF to drop Rowan off at his best friend's house for a day of play while his parents ran errands and visited some more. We then visited my Witch Mama (the Witch who took my oath) and Witch Sister (a sibling in regards to the fact that my Witch Mama also took her oath). We chatted away and laughed until dinner, and then ate the delicious coq au vin and watermelon salad that they had made for us. When it came time to say goodbye, I could not help it. I started to cry. "Don't forget us", said my witch Sister (as if I ever could!). I managed to hold it mostly together until we got out onto the front porch. There, my Witch Mama sang me a farewell song under the full moon. Gods, I am going to miss her. I am crying even now as I type.

Today (Monday) we are running ourselves ragged trying to accomplish everything- a DMV visit, renting a car while ours gets seen by the mechanics, the last bits of packing and purging. Tomorrow, we are having our last hurrah with our friends (whom will join us in Columbus next year and we will make a home together) at Stinson Beach. Then Wednesday the movers come to take away all our stuff, and we leave Thursday AM. A whirlwind, and I am sure it will pass in the blink of an eye.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Puck, getting a kiss.
Puck is a doll that I had especially made for Rowan, even before he was old enough to have he imagination to play with dolls. Dolls are important in all children's play, allowing them to act out scenarios and ideas in their heads and resolve puzzles and problems that they may have on their own. It is quite difficult to get a male doll these days, which is ridiculous as it is sad. We are not allowing our sons to fully develop these important skills! We are stunting our sons and our culture by denying them dolls- all in the name of "manliness".

I wanted to get at least one male doll for Rowan, but most of the ones out there had two major issues for me: most were strange non-human things with no genitalia AND the ones that were "anatomically correct" were always circumcised! I wanted Rowan to have a doll that was like himself- a boy doll that had a penis that was intact. He has lots of other stuffed animals and even a vintage (ugly and genderless!) Cabbage Patch Doll rescued from our Birth Center when it moved locations. But I wanted at least one of his pals to be like him physically.

That blur is Puck dancing.
So, like most things in life, when something does not exist, you have to make it yourself or ask someone crafty to make it for you. I found someone, and put in an order. It took quite a while to get- it turns out that this skilled doll-maker had NEVER made a penis and testes on a doll before and didn't really know what a child's uncircumcised penis looked like! I find that sad as well. Nevertheless, I laughed as she told me that many penis prototypes were made before she mastered making genitalia out of cloth thread, stuffing, and a needle.

Puck needs to go potty, says Rowan.
When we got Puck, he was adorable, and his button eyes are the same brown-blue color that Rowan's were when he was a newborn. His hair is particularly impish, hence his easy-to-pronounce changeling-inspired name. And his genitalia was intact and... HUGE. Puck is, er, particularly gifted in that arena, shall we say- which is just like his namesake.

Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck.
And Rowan now calls for his friend and plays with him almost daily, I am glad to say. He feeds Puck, undresses him, and his best friend is Baby (the Cabbage Patch Doll). They are about the same size. Since dabbling in potty learning, Puck has been quite helpful in showing Rowan how to put his penis inside the pot while peeing. Puck is a winner.

If you have boys, do they have dolls? Are they anatomically correct? Does anyone know a source for such a doll (I had such a hard time! It would be great to help others who may want one...)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street September 17th

While I cannot be there, I hope
thousands can.
While I don't normally talk about politics on this blog (and may lose some of my readership as a result of this post), I feel the dire need to do so today. Starting tomorrow, gods willing, thousands will occupy Wall Street in tents for several months. They do so because banks, corporations, and governments have collaborated far too long to take away our livelihoods, our welfare, and our civil liberties (more here). They have hijacked our system and the "American Dream" for the vast majority of us.

I know it is hard to talk about "class" in this country (and when you do, most people snicker and think as you as some kind of holdover from the naive 1960's or even more out of date, the 1930's in the unions' heyday). Class is the unspoken disparity. We talk about race, gender, even sexual orientation these days. But class is where people that should interests in common divide- due to some serious media manipulations.

I believe that there is truly a war on the poor and working class happening all over the world as we speak. Right now in the US (I'll speak mainly to my country in this post), politicians and corporations have already took away our right to elect representatives in the state of Michigan. The governor there has created an executive order to replace any democratically elected official- for any reason- and replace them with anyone of his choosing. So far, he chooses corporate cronies.

They are cutting according to their priorities, which does not include
you or me. Their priorities are loopholes for the wealthy
(individuals and corporations).
The governor of Wisconsin has tried hard to take away the power of collective bargaining (thank the gods for the court system, at least in that state). Collective bargaining is the only thing that works against monied corporations who would have us all working in 1800's conditions once more for subsistence (or lower) wages. I kid you not- they are looking to roll back wages, undo years of struggle by slashing benefits and pensions, and take away our power to organize to get them back.

While many younger folks in the US have been trained to think of unions as passé and corrupt, the fact is they are the ones who have protected us- working conditions, health care benefits, living wages, paid time off and even the concept of the weekend- these all come from the blood, sweat, and tears of union activists. And these things are being dismantled now- as surely as the government tried to bring down the unions themselves. (I'll address the most common rebuttal I hear lately in regards to resurrecting unions: Yes, some union officials have been corrupt. So have some government officials, police officers, and business men- what is the point of invoking that argument when you don't call for the abolition of all these things? The problem is that everyday affected people have lost control of our government and our organizations.)

The governor of New Hampshire wants to restrict minimum wage.

Corporate lapdog pundits are talking about how the poor should not have the right to vote. 

Fox News tries to appease its working class folks by convincing them that "poor" does not mean what it used to. In one argument, they argue that because over 90% of the poor in the United States "have a refrigerator" they aren't "really poor". (See video link immediately below for actual footage from the station.) Notice they didn't say "own a refrigerator". They chose their language carefully to be accurate, but still untrue. You see, the vast majority of poor people rent their homes where landlords are required to have working appliances for their use. This kind of manipulation is nothing new for Fox.

While the wealthy may have always felt this way about the poor, what has changed is that they feel that they can do this, with the help of our government, right out in the open. They have become emboldened, because so many working people have bought into the right wing rhetoric that divides us. I say to you now- if you must work to make a living (whether that is a university professor or a garbage collector), you are working class. Your interests are not those that would strip of of our sufferage, our civil liberties (especially the right to peacefully assemble), and our ability to feed our families.

While corporate profits are at an all time high and the wealthy pay less in taxes at any time in our history, unemployment is much higher than the reported 9%. (These figures do not take into account those that were denied unemployment compensation in the first place, those who have dropped off the rolls because they have exhausted their benefits and still have not found a job, and those that are underemployed and are no longer eligible for compensation as a result.)

If you can make it to New York, by all means do so. You have my blessing. If you cannot, stand up for working people where you live, support those who are at home and abroad.

The call to occupy Wall Street:

Some international (Valencia, Spain- 2011) inspiration (although the stats on the video apply specifically to the US). We are not alone in this fight. It is happening all over the world.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

"Hit the ball instead" game.
"Oftentimes, some of our most difficult parenting challenges can be defused or handled gracefully if we choose to use play", said the carnival invitation. I had to laugh, as I live with a 19 month old toddler! I have a headstrong, willful, spirited toddler who loves to challenge my resolve, boundaries, and limits. And I have tried many different methods of working through this behavior, but by far, play has worked the best. But try as I might, it is hardly what I think to do first. Perhaps with practice, in time.

Why is it so hard for me to remember that play works? I think it is because most of us did not grow up in a culture where parents interacted with their kids in this way. So it requires a mind-shift and extra effort on the part of the parent.

Crumple the trash in mama's purse instead of yelling
in the restaurant game.
When I say mind-shift, I mean that I believe that I and many other people have been conditioned to think of the relationship between kids and their parents in a certain way. Parents are in charge, kids must obey. Parents make the rules, kids follow them. And if a kid breaks the rules, s/he gets punished or at the very least gets a lecture on "respecting the rules"*. Now, I believe that the previous statements about parents being in charge statements are still true, but as a parent who believes in gentle discipline, I believe that they need to be seen through a different filter. Instead of a top-heavy power dynamic laden with punishment and authoritarianism- why not see these statements through the filter of play? After all, games have rules that someone makes up. In order to play the game correctly and everyone to have fun, people must follow those rules.
He was having a tantrum minutes earlier.
Now he has a hat and a fun dress up game.

In my experience, it isn't extra work to use play. The extra work comes in getting past first inclinations of what I am supposed to do as a parent. I have been frustrated with my son plenty of times when he does things he knows that he is not supposed to do, over and over. But in my experience, he is doing them to get my attention. If he gets my attention, he stops "acting out" (standing or jumping on the furniture, smashing crackers with his feet, or banging his toys loudly, for example).

So when he catches me not paying attention these days and draws attention to it (mama gets sucked into her laptop all too often) by being destructive or doing reckless things I don't want him to do (to keep him safe), I pause, take a deep breath and redirect with play. The making funny faces game is always a winner, as is the "Hey, where's Toy X? Bring it here and let's play."

Do you use play in your bag of discipline tricks? How? As a new mama, I am always looking for more tips!

*Personally, I am teaching Rowan to respect individuals, not rules.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tomorrow's Full Moon

Tomorrow is the full moon in September, also known as the Harvest Moon (The full moon closest to the equinox is the Harvest Moon, but sometimes that is in October. If that happens, the full moon in September is the Full Corn Moon).

The full moon is a great time to do magick that is culminating (as opposed to the new moon, which is great for starting and blessing a new project) in nature. As I am about to leave the Bay Area, which I have called home for 18 years, it seems appropriate to do something to commemorate and celebrate my life here and bless those loved ones I leave behind in my new journey.

I will be making offerings to the local land spirits here, under the moon. I will give milk, honey, and whiskey and ask that they care and nurture my loved ones.

What will you be doing this full moon?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jai Ganesha!

While my religious tradition comes with its own gods, there have been a couple of others that have called to both me and my partner. Ganesh is one of those gods, and we have an altar devoted to him in our home. Here is a virtual offering, appropriate for a god so fond of dancing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teaching Children the Craft: Seasonal Altar for Fall

Back in February, I talked about how Rowan is learning about the seasons and their sabbats through a seasonal altar. Right now, as an extreme novice to Witchcraft, he has no altar tools or devotional practice. But he is gaining an appreciation for nature and its cycles partly by having a place for his collections. See, is part magpie, like his mama. He sees a pretty, and he must have it. He collects leaves, flowers, shiny pieces of trash, rocks (especially rocks!) and more. And they all make their way (through mama's careful facilitation) to his altar.

It's not fancy- after all, he is a force of destruction as a toddler. I place (and replace and replace!) his items on the play table so he can enjoy them and commune with them long after the original meeting. He knows the words for lots of the things he collects: rocks ("ocks"), flowers ("fowerr"), leaves ("eef!"), bees ("beee!"- Yes, he has found a dead bee on the sidewalk and I got it from him before he ate it. Eew- now it's a glass jar.), and more.

Now that fall is upon us, he is interested in the dead leaves in our driveway daily en route to our car. He is seeing more eucalyptus nuts and is very interested in them. Once we move to Ohio, the seasons are much more pronounced and the seasonal altar less subtle. I am looking forward to having Rowan experience the four seasons as I did as a child, and showing him how to revel in each one.

I am also looking forward to introducing the sabbats in a ritualistic way- so he can look forward to each one and come to expect those touchstones that anchor us to time and place.

In addition to the altar, we are spending more time pausing to appreciate and name the things he sees and hears outside. He also is watching the birds a lot more. He does the sign for bird and says "birr?" everytime he hears a crow, robin, towhee, or house finch, whether he sees it or not. He wants to know the names of everything, and repeats and retains those names with amazing efficiency. We have started creating first and last names for him of sorts- all birds have the last name of "bird" but the first name is what kind it is. Same with flowers and trees. He already knows that our parrots are caiques and the crows outside are crows. He can tell a marigold from a rose. He is amazed that everything has a different name. There is so much to learn, Booper!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pagan Humor

I was down in the dumps the other day, and a friend posted this joke for me. It made me smile. As someone who has been in the pagan community since 1989, I have seen a lot of the things parodied here. This is equal opportunity pagan sarcasm, folks- so please take it in the spirit in which it is given! Pagan Humor rocks!

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Alexandrian/Gardnerian: To reveal this would be to break my oath of secrecy. I can say, though, that it really is an ancient rite, dating far back in time, back even before 1951, and I have learned it from an unbroken lineage. As Gerald said, it takes a chicken to make an egg.

Asatru: First, we don't believe in a "One Chicken" or a "Hen and Rooster." We believe in many chickens. Second, "crossing the road" is part of the three levels, or worlds, and the chicken simply crossed from one level to another. Hail to the Chickens!

British Traditional: The word "chicken" comes from a very specific Old English word ("gechekken"), and it only properly applies to certain fowl of East Anglia or those descended therefrom. As for the rest, I suppose they are doing something remotely similar to crossing the road, but you must remember that traditional roads are not to be confused with the modern roads....

Celtic: In County Feedbeygohn on Midsummer's day, there is still practiced St. Henny's Dance, which is a survival of the old pagan Chicken Crossing fertility rite. Today, modern pagans are reviving the practice, dedicated to the Hen and the Green Rooster.

Ceremonial: "Crossing the road" is a phrase that summarizes many magical structures erected and timed by the chicken to produce the energy necessary for the intention of the travel across the road. For example, the astrological correspondences had to be correct, the moon had to be waxing (if the chicken intended to come to the other side of the road) or waning (if the chicken intended to flee to the other side of the road), and the chicken had to prepare herself through fasting and proper incantations. Note: certain forms of invocation (summoning an egg *inside* your chicken self) can produce abnormal or even dangerous eggs and should only be conducted inside a properly erected barnyard....

Chaos: Thinking in terms of "roads" and "crossings" is simply looking at the formal, typically perceived structure of chicken crossing space-time. We, instead, focus on the possibility of chicken crossing itself; what appears to be a random act is thus actually the norm—it is the road which is the freak of chance. Indeed, quantum mechanics now demonstrates what we knew all along: two roads can simultaneously exist in the same place at the same time. Thus, by attuning ourselves to the dynamic energy (called "crossing"), we can manifest the road. Of course, to the knowledgeable, this appears as a chicken crossing the road.

Church of All Worlds:
The Chicken arose from dinosaurian ancestry at the dawn of avian emergence. In the fullness of Time, the Chicken crossed the K-T Boundary in order ultimately to reach the compost heap, where it's Sacred Mission is to incubate a network of information, mythology and experience to awaken the Chicken within and to provide omelets and buffalo wings, along with a context and stimulus for reawakening The Great Hen and reuniting Her chicks through barnyard community dedicated to responsible brooding and the continuing evolution of galliformity. Even though we are all but Eggs, the Chicken knows that the Rooster came first, which is why the True Chicken will always be a bit cocky! Thou Art Fowl!

Church of the Subgenius: Huh? Chicken, what chicken? *burp* Praise Bob!!!!

Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS): The chicken went to cross the road. Upon arriving at the crossing he met some fellow members. All felt he should send the idea out to committee first and debate the idea of crossing. After rigorous theological debate on every aspect of crossing the road, the committee set up a three-year plan for fulfilling the promise of crossing the road. The plan was then presented to chapters continentally and debated. Representatives brought reports back to the committee, who took their recommendations to the board of trustees who brought the whole thing to the annual meeting for discussion and a vote if a quorum was present. Debate continued. Given the structure of the regulations it was determined a mail ballot was in order. A committee to create the ballot was created. The ballot was sent to all members. Votes were tallied. Twenty percent send in their ballots deeming it okay to create a structure on crossing. Another committee was formed to implement the voters' requests. Then they all adjourned for coffee.

Dianic: The chykyn ("chicken" is term of patriarchal oppression) sought to reclaim for herself the right to be on the other side of the road, after it had been denied to her for centuries. By doing so, she reawakened the power of the Hen within herself.

Druid: To get to the sacred grove, of course! Keep in mind that 99% of everything written about chickens-crossing-the-road is pure hogwash, based on biased sources. Yes, there were a few unfortunate chicken sacrifices in the past, but that is over now...

Eclectic: Because it seemed right to her at the time. She used some Egyptian style corn and a Celtic sounding word for the road and incorporated some Native American elements into her Corn-name, Chicken-Who-Dances-and-Runs-with-the-Wolves.

Feri: In twilight times and under sparkling stars, those properly trained can still see the chickens crossing the roads. Reconnecting with these "fey-fowl" as they cross is crucial to restoring the balance between the energies of modern development and living with the earth.

Family Traditional: Growing up, we didn't think much about "crossing the road." A chicken was a chicken. It crossed the road because that was what worked to get her to the other side. We focused on what worked, and we worked more with the elders of the barnyard and less with all this "guardians of the chickencoop" business. We didn't get our concepts of "chickens" or "the other side" from Gardner, either. You can choose not to believe us since we did not "scratch down" on paper what was clucked to us orally (which, at certain times in history, was the only way to avoid becoming Easter chicken soup!), but that doesn't change the facts: there were real chickens, and they really did cross the road!

Kitchen Witch: The chicken crossed the road to get food, to get a rooster, or to get away from me after I decided to have chicken for supper!

Left Hand Path: White, fluffy chickens prancing across the road! Do you think that is all there is to crossing the road? Do you dare to know the dark side of crossing the road and the other path to self-development?

New Age: The chicken crossed the road because she chose this as one of her lessons to learn in this life. Besides, there was so much incense and bright, white corn to explore on the Other Side.


Newbie: well, 'cause I read in this really kewl book that said, like, chickens are supposed to cross the road, right?

Posting on an Online Discussion Group: What do you mean "why did the chicken cross the road?"???!!!??? Haven't you read **any** of the previous posts? We've been [expletive deleted] debating every word of that question, painstakingly trying to come to some kind of answer. I know you wrote "all i wnted to know was why chickens cross the road, i'm not looking for any chicken spells" but I'm fed up with newbies who can't even bother to REEEEEEEEAAADDD the posts on that very topic! No, this is *not* a flame. But, I and several others here have the *maturity* to properly explore and respond to this question, and IMHO we were properly trained; we *didn't* just read a book and think we were full-fledged chickens LOL (whew, feeling much better after ranting ;-D )

Radical Faeries: We Fowlies are Gay cocks and other Queer birds who flock together to explore our unique ways of dodging traffic and hatching eggs of cluck-CLUCK consciousness. Some Fowlies roost in cock-only coops. Some roost in panfeather coops where Gay cocks frolic with roosters who prefer other monikers to describe themselves, as well as hens and chicks, and chickens who choose not to be called roosters or hens, and beings who choose not to be called poultry. Fowlies often attempt to create community out of ritual, sharing and cooperation, except for those Fowlies who are attempting to create community out of subversion of process and structure, as well as some who simply enjoy clucking around celebrating chaos, chicanery, and chic enthusiasm. Sometimes we peck at each other, lose our heads, and then bake more quiche. Many Fowlies are “spiritual,” lifting all or part of their road from any one of the world's religions or spiritualities whereas some find their road in reacting against spirituality and religion as its own evil. Some Fowlies love to get gussied up and display their plumage in the woods, some like to flaunt their feathers anywhere they can, and some Fowlies don't look particularly different from chickens on any other street. Sometimes Fowlies stay up until cockcrow to drum, strut and cluck by a campfire, while some cross the road to get far away from all the squawking and get some sleep. This is what Fowlies are, except for Fowlies for which none of this applies.

Reclaiming: "Didn't we settle this in the November meeting?" ...."Yeah, why do we have to keep revisiting consensus all the time?" ...."Actually, in November we decided that the chicken did cross the road, but we ran out of time for why." ...."Well, I think the chicken came before the egg." ...."Can we stick to the point here!? Was it an organic free-range chicken, or did it escape from one of those awful factory farms?" ...."OK, everybody—breathe!! Remember that we're here for all the chickens." ...."I see lots of hands. Pondweed, then Mudflap, then ..."

Solitary: The chicken didn't want to be part of a coven or an oven.

Shaman: Crossing the road is a way to reconnect with the healing, visionary lifeways of the past. Chickens have long known this, but increasingly the Rooster's Movement is adding more roosters to the crossings too.

Snert: Hey, are you guys really chickens? Can you give me a spell that will make a chicken cross the road?

Vodun: After the feast we gather in silence. On the ground, a mambo draws the gatekeeper’s sacred veve with cornmeal while several drops of rum are also offered. At the syncopated signal of the drums and rattles, we begin chanting our invitation to the guardian of the crossroads: “Papa Legba!! Open the gate for me!! Ago eh!! Open the gate for me, Papa!! For me to pass, when I return, I will thank the Lwa!” More offerings are made: tobacco, sweet potatoes, plantains. Then, seizing the black rooster, with one hand on its head, the houngan wrings its neck. The remaining chickens wait anxiously with us for the other Lwa to arrive as the drummers and dancers continue to ride the waves of ecstatic rhythm.

Wiccan: The chicken crossed the road because she felt like she was finally "coming home." She could do it alone or with others, but she had to call to the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the Barnyard first ... uhm, after casting the circle.

How Some Pagan Authors Might Respond:

Margot Adler:
The recent chicken resurgence, it can be argued, is directly based on a response to the suburban middle class experience. While I found that chickens-who-cross-roads who responded to my survey are of a wide range of ages and backgrounds, I discovered some trends in the "why" of crossing the road. For some it is was freedom. For some it is chickenism. Many chickens told me they crossed the road for intellectual satisfaction. One thing is clear: the growth of road crossing by chickens is expanding in the numbers of chickens and in the ways they cross the road, including at chicken festivals and for political blocking of roads.

Starhawk: The chicken crossed the road to reclaim the crossing experience, the experience of being fully alive, with streams and earth and rocks and road, in the fullness of her chickenhood after thousands of years of roosterarchy. The chicken crossing the road—not a chicken laying eggs, not a chicken being roasted and eaten—a chicken strong and free, crossing the road, this is something I can believe in. We chickens, as chickens, can empower ourselves to live in harmony with the Earth who gives life to all chickens and Who has been terribly scratched by roosters. Exercises: Dance the Spiral Chicken.

Issac Bonewits: Real crossing-the-road, we have seen, is a very interwoven and complicated subject. Our conclusion could be that real crossing-the-road is the build up of chicken emotion in conjunction with chicken concepts to vary the modulation of chicken energy so as to effect the modulation of the road's energy. That's all! Perhaps it is unfortunate, though, to use the word "chicken" in relation to it, since the "C" word is being used now in a way it was never used before in the English language and is an utterly meaningless term without a qualifying adjective. And this, of course, is the fault of the medieval Christian Church, through the Gothic Chickens it invented and used as the basis of persecuting men, women and chickens. The word "chicken" itself comes from an Indo-European root, "cheeka/e" meaning "one who lays eggs," and it has no relation to the later Anglo-Saxon word for "wise spirit of flight," as so often stated by certain contemporary "Chiccans." An'Chk'Rrhod ("Our Own Chickens on Our Own Roads"), an authentic Neo-Chicken Rooster tradition, offers the best of paleo-, meso- and neo- Chickenism ...

Llewellyn's Practical Chicken Magick Series: To some people, the idea that "chickens crossing the road" is practical comes as a surprise. It shouldn't. The whole idea of Crossing the Road is practical for chickens. While Crossing the Road is also, and properly so, concerned with spiritual growth and psychological transformation --the "why" of crossing the road-- every chicken's life must rest firmly on material roads. Crossing the Road is the flowering of chicken potential. And the profits from publishing all those books on how to do so? Well, that ain't chicken feed...

Carlos Castenada: 4/10/1964 I spent 14 hours, without food or water, sitting on the dirt and under the sun in front of Don Juan's house, grinding chicken feed. I asked Don Juan if I could have a drink of water, and he told me that it was always this way, that a man who wanted to cross the road with the chicken cannot have any food or water till the chicken feed is ground. I asked Don Juan if the chicken is an ally, like the little smoke. Don Juan seemed to get angry and stayed silent. After I completed grinding the corn, I hallucinated from heat exhaustion, and Don Juan said I was ready. As I collapsed to my side, I spilled the chicken feed around me. A chicken appeared to be eating the feed around me, and I became strangely absorbed in the vision. I heard Don Juan's voice tell me, "You must let the chicken cross the road into you. It is very painful, but for a man of knowledge it is easy."

Scott Cunningham: A chicken passes between the grasses, clucking. The wind blows, and the chicken knows, *knows*, that this is the time. She puts her energy into taking the steps, in harmony with the gravel and the stones of the road. She is across; it is over, and the chicken stands in the field on the other side of the road. ... Natural chicken crossing is unique among most other branches of the art of chicken road crossing. It doesn't require years of collecting or fashioning coops, feeders or hen houses. Indeed, the most important tools of natural chicken crossing are free: the road, the chicken and you, your personal chicken power. You're already familiar with it. You've felt it. You *are* a chicken. Crossing the road is you, with your chicken need. And, you can do it on your own. After all, who initiated the first chicken?

Janet and Stewart Farrar: Since so many editions of Gardner's Chicken Book of Crossings have appeared in print (some accurate, some not), we think it won't "lay an egg" too much if we clearly present "The Chicken Crossing Rite," especially if we do so after two and half pages of well researched introduction set in six-point type. In version A of the Chicken Crossing Rite, we find many pseudo-archaisms (e.g.,"Yea, Ye Anciente Rite of Ye Chiks and Ye Rodes is a moste powerful Crafting,taking thy athame..."); however, Doreen Valiente notes (in version C, which is what we present), and we agree, that underlying it all is a basic ritual for summoning the astral road through the spirit of the Chicken (drawn down in the person of the High Priestess, holding the black handled feed bin; of course, a second degree may assist or perform the rite when....

“Seth"/Jane Roberts: Session 666; Wednesday, Dec. 2, 1969; 9:00 p.m.: Now, you create your own chicken, each of you individually and en masse. Your physical senses fool you into believing you are seeing a chicken crossing the road, when instead, the chicken has already crossed the road, and hasn't even begun to cross the road. There is a probable chicken that never crossed the road as well. Further, because you each perceive a chicken, there is not only one chicken but, in fact, many different chickens. As I have said before, time is simultaneous. All probable versions of the chicken--past, present and future--exist at once in the spacious present. It is only because you *believe* [emphatically]that time is linear, with each moment followed by another in one-line kind of fashion, that you perceive the chicken taking chicken steps to get to the other side of the road. It does no good to ask "Which came first, the chicken or the egg," either, for they both exist at once in simultaneous time.
[9:10 p.m.] Now, there are families of chicken consciousness. All life seeks value fulfillment, for consciousness is consciousness. What you perceive as a chicken may be something far different in another reality. The chicken may, for example, be a fragment personality of your entity. The chicken is no less than you are, however, simply because it is a chicken. Now, the chicken has its reality, and you have your reality. But the chicken is more than a chicken [emphatically], and *you are more than you think that you are!* [Pause one minute]: The chicken crosses the road because it *believes* it can, and it does. It knows that it is sacred and that it will not die. You (underline 'you') also are sacred and you will not die. But as long as you believe that it is unsafe to cross the road, you must take chicken steps and obey the laws that you have agreed upon to get to the other side safely. [End at 9:30 p.m. Jane came out of trance easily. She didn't remember a word she had spoken as Seth.]

Doreen Valiente: Old Chicken really did exist, and she really did cross the road. Gerald talked about her often, but she didn't cross the road till before I began studying with Gerald. Still there are records of Old Chicken which confirm her reality. As for all the comments that Gerald had a "thing" for chickens, that is simply not true. The reason we worked with chickens is really quite simple: it worked!

Silver Raven Wolf: Although many times people have asked me why exactly the chicken crossed the road, I often wonder myself. My point is that every chicken comes to the road in a different way, and there is no one correct way for the chicken to get to the road to be crossed. The study of crossing the road is hard work if the chicken is going to develop any degree of proficiency. It is not something where you can just cluck yourself across the road. The first time my chicken crossed the road was for my chicken's friend, whose rooster was being abusive. The chicken worked the steps for crossing the road after carefully considering all the reasons for crossing the road and all the steps she would have to take. Finally, my chicken just started clucking and flapping her wings and started across the road. When she reached the other side, her friend's rooster was respectful! Afterwards, the chicken ate some corn to ground herself.

No, I didn't write any of this joke. When I asked my friend the source, he said that he had compiled the jokes from myriad internet sources and written maybe 5% of the rest. He did not want to be credited for this. So, we have no source but probably many!