Monday, January 19, 2015

Developing Relationships with Deity...and anyone else...


Relationship is the mutual understanding and exchange between two individuals.  The nature of that understanding and exchange is determined by the nature of the individuals involved.  If they are both persons of honor, the exchange is positive.  This is the type of relationship I seek.  Not every individual is honorable, honest, ethical or worthy of respect and trust.  These people, no matter if they are human or other, are best avoided.  That being said, how do I know that the person with whom I am engaging is indeed someone I can trust?

Meeting someone new is always a challenge for me.  I have a default setting of “do not trust”.  That has not changed throughout my life but, I have learned to trust myself and my own intuition and judgment.   Not every person, human or other, is worthy of trust, but many are and if I choose to never trust anyone, I rob myself of a great deal of joy, growth and love. 

That being the case I take a long time to get to know people.  I learn everything I can about them from as many sources as I can. I seek out the worst that anyone has to say about them and the best. I evaluate the motives and veracity of those sources and try to find as many unbiased opinions as I can. I observe their behavior as much as possible when they are most likely to be uncensored.  Then I begin to test the waters to see how they will relate to me.  I test everything they say against my logical and skeptical mind and with my heart and my inner ear and my “gut”.  When I have finally decided to trust someone, I know that this person is worthy of my trust and perhaps of my devotion and loyalty.
 
I believe that the process works for any person, human or other, with whom I may choose to build a relationship.  Most people can be trusted to act according to their nature and if I understand what that is, I can trust that.  I do not expect the Dark Mother to be full of light, I do trust that she will destroy that which does not serve my greater good and so long as I do not fight her work in my life, she will dance with me as gently as possible and as brutally as necessary.  If you invoke a Deity into your life, there is a point at which you must realize that they do not answer to you.  I do not surrender my own free will or my responsibility for my choices.  Just because Deity asks me to do something does not release me of responsibility for it, I still have to choose.

Once I have decided that this is a person of honor and worthy of trust and respect and that I desire to build a relationship, how do I proceed?  I begin by learning everything I can about their nature.  I learn their stories, their history and about their culture and family of origin.  I look at images that they have inspired.  I meditate on them and have a conversation.  I ask them if they will work with me.  I find out what they want from me in return and what they think I can learn from them.  I tell them what I am hoping for.  I am respectful and honest.  They may tell me that they will not work with me at this time, or that what I am asking is not appropriate.  That is not the rejection that it sounds like.  If they are worthy of my desire to build a relationship, then they are worthy of trusting when they tell me no.  

If the happy result is that the Deity I wish to work with indeed accepts my petition, then I continue to learn about them and share my stories with them.  They may very well know a great deal about me but, the act of sharing my truth with them can be an important part of the process.  Sometimes as I hear my own words speak my own truth I can come to a greater understanding of that truth or discover inaccuracies in my beliefs about my life and myself. 

I like to create alters to Deity in my home.  I enjoy using them as a focus for my meditations with that Deity and as a place of devotion to them.  It is my way of telling them and reminding myself that they are welcome in my home and in my life, that my relationship with them is important to me.  And sometimes simply as a visual reminder to my own mind and heart that I am not alone and that I need to spend time in communion with my Gods. 

I spend time there talking with my Gods, sharing my heart, discussing my thoughts and ideas, asking for their guidance and thanking them for their gifts.  I make offerings and honor vows made to them.  I do divinations as a way of receiving their guidance.  I sing invocations or recite poetry that they have inspired in me.  I make offerings to them and create gifts for them.   I sit quietly and listen. 

When learning about the Gods I read as much of the original lore as I can get my hands on and as much academic and historic scholarship as I can find. I read inspirational material as well.  I read it all and give appropriate value to those works written by true scholars.  Personal gnosis is wonderful but it is just that, personal.  Every relationship is unique to the individuals involved.  One witch’s experience of a God is not going to be identical to mine. I also take into consideration that often the lore was written by human beings with limited understanding and perhaps personal bias and conflicting agendas, and I try to focus on the actual stories and not on the narrative commentary in which they may be cloaked.


This is the beginning of my process in developing relationship with my Gods, Ancestors or Allies, be they Deity, Human, Fae or Other.  It is a practice that I consider to be fundamental to my faith and my work.  Relationship is an essential part of my path.  I give thanks for the relationships with which I have been blessed.  Blessed Be.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Journey...


The foundation of my personal spiritual practice is not something that I do every day (except for a week or two for very specific reasons).  It is something that I did not begin practicing until I was 28 years old, when I read my first book about the path I am now walking.

The Celtic Shaman by John Mathews was a book that I found in a “normal” bookstore in town while attending a very conservative Christian University.  I had moved to South Carolina and was living in a camper off campus in an attempt to complete my degree at the University my parents had sent me to when I left the College in Indiana.  It was a very intense four months of self-discovery and a very painful time of darkness.  In that book I first read the names of my Gods.  I first learned that there were stories and poems about the Gods of my Ancestors.  And through that book I experienced my first Journey into the Otherworlds.  That book changed my life forever.  That Journey and every Journey since saved my life.

For years I had no other practice but journey and building relationships, I did not even write for almost 14 years except for a rare poem or two.  And those Journeys eventually led me to my beloved Coven and Community.  My Patroness has led me through the Journey and I have met many who guide and strengthen me.  

If I lost all else, I would still have my relationships with my Gods, my Ancestors and my Allies, I would still have joy in my heart and the sustaining practice of the journey.
I give thanks for all of those with Whom I have relationship and for the new Allies I meet as I continue my journey on this path.  Blessed am I on this path.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

So Mote it Be


I spent New Year’s Eve the way I do every year, doing magick and journeying all night to gain guidance from my Gods, Ancestors and Allies. I look back on the past year to remember the lessons and the moments of profound joy and the moments of understanding.  I seek to hear the voices of those who guide me to discover what they would have me do, where I should focus my attention and efforts. 

This year I am in the process of doing the work to accomplish my third degree initiation.  This year They have given me more than guidance, this year They have given me specific imperatives.  In every area of my life there are specific things that I must accomplish if I would follow ALL that they require of me.

I must be writing every day.  I must be actively crafting poetry and create at least one poem each month.  I must write at least one chapter of the novel and one short story each month. I must journal every day; I must post to the Journeys of the Runes and Stories from the Cauldron each month.  I must post to Exploring the Other Side of the Looking Glass each week and I must post to this blog for the Pagan Experience each week.  I must finish the book and submit it to a publisher before the year is out.  I must read my poetry in a public forum. 

I must find opportunities to connect with my local community.  I must engage in broader community and with family and friends each month.  I must begin to engage in opportunities to teach.  I must begin to read the Runes for others and improve my ability to communicate the things they tell me so that others may understand what they have to say to them. I must complete the first year of Shamanic training that I have committed to for the next two years.

I must spend time outdoors each week and I must journey each week.  I must continue my daily practice and adapt it when necessary.  I must visit the Sweat Lodge and make use of the opportunities that my astrological transits present to me to grow. I must complete my staff and I must strengthen my relationship with fire by learning new skills and engaging with the element directly.

I must care for my mundane life by being diligent in doing the things that are necessary.  By saving for retirement and keeping food in the house and seeing my chiropractor and getting a massage more often. 

There are many things that I have hoped to do over the past years, and some I have accomplished and some I have not.  But imperatives from those who guide me are not to be left to chance, they are vows of intent and naming them on this blog is the equivalent to stating intention in sacred space because for me this is sacred space.  And words said in sacred space hold power over us until they have come to pass.  I will accomplish those things my Gods, Ancestors and Allies have given to me to accomplish in this coming year by diligently applying myself to my commitments day by day.  So Mote it Be.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas is Magick...


I grew up celebrating Christmas.  Christmas Eve was always a most magickal moment in time to me.  And while most of my life it was also a time of sadness (I did not truly understand why until recently) the magick of it is something that I cannot and will not forsake. 

I celebrate Yule, the Return of the Light but, I believe that the magick that follows a few days after is incredibly powerful.  Christmas enchants people.  People who cannot find enchantment in their world for most of the year can still find hope of it in that moment.  And that hope is a priceless treasure.

Our world needs all the magick it can find.  Our people (human people) need all the magick and hope they can glean from anywhere they can find it.  There is so much hopelessness and sorrow in this world, there is so much grief and despair, there is so much pain and sadness, there is so much anger and rage in the hearts and souls of so many of my kin (humans and others). 

People I love are in pain and it breaks my heart to see them so.  So tonight I will leave you with this one thought.  Love is real, magick is real, we are not beyond hope, we are not beyond healing. We can find our way if we just keep seeking.  Love is the law, may it reign forever.

Much love to you, blessed be.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Us and Them


I have noticed a common theme in a lot of discourse lately.  In political discourse, in the discourse among the greater Pagan community, in the social discourse of our society.  The persistence of the idea that there are separate groups of people who are somehow common to each other and yet separate from other groups.  Black and white, male and female, rich and poor, cis and trans, gay and straight, old and young, christian and pagan, liberal and conservative.

The thing I find incongruous about these distinctions is that they are perceived but not actually real.  Not all women have the same experiences, not all cis women have the same experiences, not all white, straight, cis women, who grew up at the same time in the same socio-economic situation in the same geographic area, or even in the same family of origin have the same life experiences.

We are a common species with a common genome.  We are all human and that is all the commonality we really have or need.  Each one of us has a unique experience in this or any lifetime.  Any two or three people can find other points in common.  Mothers are mothers no matter the color of their skin.  Men are men no matter who they love.  Women and men of different generations and different backgrounds can find that deep inside they share something of shadow. 

We are each unique and yet, we each share points in common with other people.  I believe that if we look to see truly, we can find one point of commonality with any other individual human we meet.  We can each learn something, a different perspective than our own, from the unique differences of each other's experiences. It is my hope that in the coming year we will each strive to see us all as us, and not as us and them.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Yule



From the Darkness of the Void,
deep and silent,
on the longest of nights,
stars sparkle in the sky above;
reflecting sparks rising from the fires of Hope.
And in the East,
the horizon shimmers
with the coming Dawn.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ysbryd


I have lived in my tree-house for over three and a half years now.  When I first moved in, I cleansed my rooms, blessed them and cast protections. If those protections were not strong, they were sufficient for the magick that I was capable of at the time.  At that time my relationships with my Patrons were about as much protection as I needed, as my magick was not truly strong enough to draw attention from anyone with whom I did not have a strong relationship.

It took me one year and three moves to find my tree-house.  Since moving in, my home has supported me, comforted me and sheltered me.  It has kept me warm and safe.  It provides me with light and beauty and the quiet solitude that I find necessary to do my work.  It nurtures my life, my work, my heart and my soul.  It is the place I sleep, dream, write, make love, share tea with my friends and family and cast magick, worship my Gods, honor my Ancestors and my Allies.  It is the home I return to at the end of every day, and the place where my Pwca lives day in and day out.  It is that place of safety and strength from which I venture forth into this world and into the Otherworlds. 

During the past three years my magick has grow and at one point it became bright enough, strong enough to draw interest from “others”.  Pwca was reacting to the presence of other energy with a great deal of agitation, not a good thing in a familiar who is magickal and wild by nature.  So I decided that we needed to cast new protective spells in order to keep out what was disruptive to us and our peaceful cohabitation.  I included Pwca in the casting because he lives here and he has his own magick.

But something unexpected happened.  The spell was transformed.  It was made into something more elegant, lovelier.  Instead of simply providing protection, the magick lifts glamours and facilitates truth and healing.  This was not even in my thoughts although, my heart would have held these intentions had my mind thought of them.  I believe that it was the Spirit of the tree-house who affected the spells. 

Ysbryd is a Welsh word for spirit.  It is the name I use for the Spirit of my home.  I have been working to strengthen my relationship to Ysbryd.  I have a small altar on a corner of the kitchen counter where I make offerings of thanks and love to Ysbryd.  I greet her and light a small candle.  I burn incense and offer my thanks for all that she does for me and Pwca.  I place a small vase of flowers or a cup of tea and ask for her continued care and magick.  And I sing for her and then listen to hear what she might have to say to me.

I give thanks for Ysbryd and for her influence on my life and for her care of my beautiful home.