FireHeart 3 Cover for EarthSpiritTHE EIGHTFOLD PATH
by Sherry Gamble ©1989

The sound begins as a low hum, tentative at first, hesitant, a quiet growl … uhuhuu. The breath is still slightly too shallow – the sound unsure of its origin, yet wanting to be created. As the breath deepens, the sound deepens, becomes surer, stronger. Centered low in the body, it resonates, emanating from one’s very core. The abdominal muscles vibrate, rhythmically, slowly, in and out, in and out. Thought ceases as the power of the sound changes this process from an intellectual beginning to a purely physical action. The naturally ensuing deep. diaphragmatic breathing makes exhalation seem endless, effortless.

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Rites of Passage Puberty

FireHeart 3 Cover for EarthSpiritRites of Passage: Puberty
by Sue Curewitz Arthen ©1989

Puberty is defined as the age or period at which a person is first capable of sexual reproduction, in other eras of history, a rite or celebration of this landmark event was a part of the culture. This is true of tribal societies that exist today, but for most of us, puberty as a specific event is part of a much more complicated piece of our lives called adolescence.

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Ways To Prepare for a Magickal Birth

FireHeart 3 Cover for EarthSpiritWays To Prepare for a Magickal Birth
by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen ©1989

The following are a few suggested ways to prepare for a magickal birth experience. Preparation is important on three levels: physical, emotional and spiritual. Without serious consideration of the first two levels, it will be nearly impossible to concentrate on the third.

A. It is essential that you enter into the birth process as relaxed as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to know as much as you can about what to expect on a physical plane, and to develop a support system that you trust:

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Toward a Magickal Birth

FireHeart 3 Cover for EarthSpiritToward a Magickal Birth
by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen ©1989

“It comes like the waves in the ocean,” my mother told me. “Powerful, strong and rhythmic. Unceasing. Wave after wave.” She was right. In labor with my son, my first child, he and I are carried over crest and trough, and we let go, freeing ourselves to be swept into birth. I feel and see my body writhing, snakelike and sensual as the waves come, one following the other. My body responds, knowing what to do. I let go. “You can’t fight the waves. Just let them carry you.” I hold her words in my mind, and, for one long holy moment, surrender myself to the magick as I have never done before.

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Reflections on Death and Transformation

FireHeart 2 Cover for EarthSpiritReflections on Death and Transformation
by Sherry Gamble ©1988

I am a Pagan. The last of my crops are in. I’ve preserved, dried, salted and stored every last ounce of food I can find to prepare for what might be a long deadly winter. Many of us will not survive to see the sun return. Everything around me is dying. The colors are fading. I know what lies ahead. I pray to my winter gods for kindness, but it’s hard not to feel fear.

I live in harmony with nature. I know the cycles of the year and the cycles of life. The dead feed my crops. I work toward a better life and I know that I am not alone. The Divine is within me. I am a part of the life force in every living thing, that which has come before and those yet to come.

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FireHeart 2 Cover for EarthSpiritTHE EIGHTFOLD PATH
by Walter Wright Arthen ©1988

To support himself, Nasrudin took a job rowing a ferry across a particularly dangerous river.
One day a famous grammarian came to him for help across the river.
The water was higher and more dangerous than usual.
“T’ain’t been this bad since before I ever was here abouts!” said the Mullah.
The grammarian bristled at Nasrudin’s bad speech. “My good man, have you never learned grammar? Half of your life has been wasted!”
A little later Nasrudin asked his passenger, “C’n you swim?”
“No. Why?”
“Because all of your life has been wasted! The boat is sinking.”

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Rites of Passage Circle Around Death

FireHeart 2 Cover for EarthSpiritRites of Passage
Circle Around Death
by Sue Curewitz Arthen ©1988

Death dances around us constantly. Watching the seasons change, mourning the loss of a familiar four-footed or winged friend, aching for the Maypole tree that once stood tall and green, we honor the death of all living things as part of the wheel of life. Losing a parent, love, child or friend is different. Our sensitivity to human death is heightened by our connection to human energy. And energy, transformation, and life are what we dance with as we circle around death.

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The Story of Real Vampires

FireHeart 2 Cover for EarthSpiritThe Story of
Real Vampires
by Inanna Arthen ©1988

“Real Vampires”-how can this be anything but a contradiction in terms? We all know about vampires. Stock characters of fiction, guaranteed box-office draws, the media vampire has been familiar to us since childhood. Generally speaking, our blood-suckers appear with a tongue planted firmly in one toothy cheek-from Bela Lugosi hamming it up in the 1950’s, to last summer’s teenage “vamp” movies, to Count Chocula breakfast cereal, the media seldom treat the vampire as truly fearsome. The stereotyped vampire traits are familiar to any child: vampires have big fangs, sleep in coffins, are instantly incinerated by sunlight, and are best dispatched by a stake through the heart. But the most important “fact” that we all know of course is that there are no such things.

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Rites of Passage Handfasting

FireHeart 1 Cover for EarthSpiritRites of Passage
by Sue Curewitz Arthen ©1988

Five years ago, as a mother of two, I began to write a magazine column entitled “Pagan Childe”, focusing on issues around raising the next generation. Complications set in … I left my mate and children and became quite absorbed in a new discovery. To be able to write about the generation I am helping to raise, I needed to have a better sense of the shape of the generation I am from – and what shapes me, in part, are the life cycles I live through. As a pagan, I have faith that my experiences of the rites of life can often be different from other people’s. The degree of conscious celebration and ritual alters the experience and alters me. As members of a pagan community, we share and invite these complex alterations, and it is on these experiences that this series will focus.

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The Wicker Man A Ritual of Transformation

FireHeart 1 Cover for EarthSpiritThe Wicker Man
A Ritual of Transformation
by Walter Wright Arthen ©1988

Rites of Spring 1982: a circle of witches gathers at twilight in a familiar clearing in the southern New Hampshire woods. They come deliberately in four lines from the cardinal directions singing their invocations to the beat of a lone drum. Only moments before, the members of each line had formed their own circle, chanting together and calling the energy and power of one direction, one element, to be with them. Now, wearing colored ribbons (yellow for air, red for fire, blue for water, and green for earth) the four lines merge in a circle surrounding a human-like figure woven of reeds and grasses that stands at the center. The chanting voices weave together as do the dancers, until the movement suddenly stops, each group in its quarter. Now the celebrants turn their attention inward. The elemental chants shift into a chant to the moon. Silence. A voice calls them to sink into the earth, to be connected with Her. Ouietly, those assembled there recall the arrogance and thoughtlessness with which humans live on the earth-wasting their Mother’s riches, destroying and polluting Her body. They recall how they themselves have done so.

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