Rites of Passage Celebration of Birth

FireHeart 5 Cover for EarthSpiritRites of Passage
Celebration of Birth
by Sue Curewitz Arthen ©1990

Once, there was born a baby who brought such joy to her parents that they could hardly contain themselves. In celebration of her birth, they prepared a great feast, and invited all their friends, relatives, and the wise folk of the area to attend. At the end of the feasting and merriment, each of the wise folk made a wish for the baby. The first wished her kindness, the second wisdom, the third beauty. Another wished her virtue, another tenderness, and so on – everything a child could possibly wish for.

Read more

Rites of Passage: The Aging Pagan

FireHeart 4 Cover for EarthSpiritRites of Passage: The Aging Pagan
Crones and Wise Men
Dancing With Spirit
by Sue Curewitz Arthen ©1989

In 1984, our open Hallows circle began in a slightly unusual way. The darkened room filled slowly as people worked their way through a tunnel into a large ritual space and formed a circle in silence. But just as the circle was about to be cast, there was a ruckus in the tunnel, and a querulous voice demanded, “What the hell is going on here? Who are all these people?” Then, in a more tremulous tone, “Where am I? Why are you all looking at me?” A bag lady, returning for leftovers from the supper for the homeless held in this same hall earlier, entered the circle, and looking around, said, “I know who you are, and I know what you’re afraid of. You’re afraid of me!” I was the Crone. Playing a modern version of this traditional role, I tugged at the threads that people like to keep hidden, the threads of loneliness, alienation, and fear. And I held the cauldron that the threads were thrown into as people worked toward transformation. For the year following that Hallows circle, I thought I knew what it meant to be a Crone. I was wrong.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more