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This week I want to honor a group of people who have been outstanding in the support of each other and their community. While this storm has brought out the best in many people, this one group has far surpassed the efforts of kindness and generosity that Iíve seen in most others.


So what did I see at Misty Meadows? I saw offers of everything from food to firewood. People were opening their homes, offering others places to shower or sleep.


Itís one thing to give some money to the Red Cross, or to drop off some clothes you no longer wear. Itís quite another to offer true hospitality and open your home to someone in need. But thatís exactly what was happening at Misty Meadows. Some of the messages that were posted on Misty Meadowís web site included:

  • I am blessed to have my electricity and heat restored and would like to offer anyone in need in the Portsmouth area warm shelter, hot water and a shower or bath, many kinds of tea, and company!
  • Ö we too have power.  We can also offer hot showers and food prep, as well as freezer space.  It is limited, but we can work some folks in.
  • If any of you need some fireplace wood, I have a few bundles that I'm happy to share.  It's just pine, but it might help get you through if you have a fireplace or woodstove.


In some news today, while the Attorney General of California, who originally supported Proposition 8, has decided that it is, as most of us know already, unconstitutional, the sponsors of Proposition 8 have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court of California to nullify the marriages of those who were married prior to Proposition 8.


At the same time, President-elect Obama is catching heat from liberals because he asked Rev Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his Inaugaration. Admittedly, Pastor Warren has not been a friend to homosexuals looking for civil rights Ė he did endorse Proposition 8 Ė but he has helped a large number of people suffering from AIDS. This doesnít mitigate some of the things that Warren has said, but itís difficult to find anyone who everyone will like.


Itís important to remember this: Just because President-elect Obama chose Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation, this does not mean that our new president in any way is against homosexuals. Personally, I think heís doing what he promised to do Ė build bridges, work with both sides of many issues. In fact, perhaps if some conservatives see these bridges, there might be a little less acrimony, a little more desire to work across party lines.


Is Rick Warren one of my favorite people? I certainly donít agree with his views. But I donít believe him to be intrinsically evil. Maybe he, like so many of us, is capable of change. Maybe in having a bit closer contact with people such as President-elect Obama, his eyes might open just a little bit.


On other topics, S. J. Tucker will be doing a unique tour this year, and her manager, Kí Wiley sent us a note discussing what will be going on. Sheís working with an author, Catherynne Valente, as Catherynne is releasing a new book, Palimpsest. Weíll get you the details on this tour in our list of events during the Almanac.


Iím hoping to take a look at Catherynneís book, and weíre looking forward to a visit from her coming up in February.


Also, we got in touch with Gypsy Nomads this week, and theyíre now part of the ever-growing collective of musicians here on PaganFM! If you want to see who you can hear here, check out our artistís page on paganfm.com. Itís amazing how itís constantly growing, and they are from all over the world. So thanks to our artists, without whom PaganFM! wouldnít exist, at least not as a podcast. If youíre purchasing music, let the artists know that youíve heard them here; itís great feedback for them, and it lets people know that our program, on-air, and podcast, is reaching you. If you go to our artistís page and click on the images, youíll go right to the artistís home page.


Looking at our podcast, Iíve been trying to keep track of the numbers, and itís really amazing. Right now, weíre getting over 60 downloads per day, and that number is just growing. Over at Podcast Alley, youíre keeping us in the top 10 in the religion and spirituality category and we really appreciate that. If you want to vote for PaganFM!, you can find a link on our home page at www.paganfm.com, or you can surf on over to podcast alley, pick the Religion and Spirituality Genre, and look for us there. If youíre registered, you can just click vote. If youíre not registered, when you vote, youíll enter an email address and click on the validation link when you get the email.


Whileyouíre there, be sure to vote for the other fine pagan podcasts. Early in the Month, Darkly, over at The Dark Side of Fey actually managed to inch out the Christian podcast for part of the month. Given the number of Christians in the world, compared to the number of Pagans, that was quite an accomplishment. Who knows Ö if more of us are active in voting, weíll surely make a statement. I think that the fact that eight of the top 10 Religion and Spirituality programs on Podcast Alley are pagan shows is already quite the statement, so letís keep it up!


So, today is the Solstice! I hope that youíre having a great day, and that you actually got out and celebrated. As people who claim to be part of earth-centered religions, thatís really important. Lots of us point to people who claim that theyíre Christians, but arenít really acting like Christians. We need to look at ourselves too. If we claim to be part of an Earth-Centered tradition, but ignore the cycles of the Earth, are we really practicing our faith?


Solstice is somewhat a big one. It marks the birth of the God, the return of the Sun.


Then again, there are the Christmas and Easter Christians. Might we be Samhain and Solstice Pagans? So, if you are new to pagan traditions, and want to be active, is it hard? Lots of people who claim to be pagan WANT to celebrate, but often donít know HOW. What can you do to celebrate the Solstice? What can you do to celebrate any pagan holy day?


I think that will make a good topic for our Pagan Primer tonight.


Anyway, stay tuned. Weíll have some interesting Solstice music, and some Good Christmas music as well.


© 2008, Deirdre A. Hebert