Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cernunnos; into the woods



My Coven’s Patron is the Horned God Cernunnos, Lord of the Wild, both the wild within the Natural World and within the Human Soul.

The following is a Journey I wrote a couple of years ago as a way to introduce others to my Beloved Wild God.  I hope you enjoy the experience.  Good Journey.

You are standing in a clearing on a hill, surrounded by woods.

Before you stands a stone tower, the surface half-covered with moss.

There are ancient symbols carved into the stones and as you try to decipher them you notice a rough wooden door, dark with age.

You pull on the latch and slowly, the door opens enough to allow you to enter.

Inside it is quiet. Air warm as a summer night drifts down from windows high above. The floor is smooth and worn.  There is a stair to your left spiraling upward and to your right leading down.

You turn to your left and begin to ascend the stair.  The stone steps are even and smooth and easy to climb.  The air is warm and fragrant.  You can see glimpses of a starry sky through the high narrow windows above you and you climb step by step up and around and up and up and up and around.  You can no longer see the door but you keep climbing wondering when you will reach the top.  Just as you are considering turning back you come to another door. 

The stair continues to spiral even further upward and you consider continuing your ascent but you are drawn to the door. It is a warm golden wood carved with spirals and ancient symbols.  You test the latch and the door opens smoothly and easily outward into a forest of ancient trees in full green, the stars of the summer night sparkling through the leaves and branches high above your head. 

Fire flies glow and blink their green light everywhere between the trees and as you watch them you notice a path before you and a creature standing in the path some yards ahead.  It is large and very still and you have to look for a few moments before you can discern what the creature is.  Then you begin to make out the graceful antlers reaching up from its brow and you know that the creature standing so still, waiting for you, is a Great Stag.  And He is indeed waiting.  You step forward onto the path and the Stag begins to walk away from you. You stop and he stops looking back at you and waiting, so you step forward again and follow the magnificent creature as it leads you down the path deep into the forest.

You follow the Stag for what seems a very long distance.  You begin to worry that you will be lost in these woods but then the Stag disappears around a bend in the path and when you reach the spot, your heart pounding from the fear that you have lost your guide, you find yourself in a glade, the Stag indeed gone from sight. 

The ground is clear and smooth, a small brook flows along one side and there reclining beside the brook, playing with the flowing water with one hand, is a very strange looking man.

He is naked and his long brown hair is braided with vines and feathers and from his brow raises a graceful pair of antlers.

This is Cernunnos.  Green Man and Horned God.  Lord of the Forest, Lord of the Beasts.  The Wild God. 

He looks up at you and grins, his eyes sparkling with mischief and what seems like laughter.  He doesn’t speak but rises and you hear plainly in your head “Lets Run!”

 He runs, and you follow.  You find that despite what you would have expected you are able to run as fast as He.  Faster and easier than you ever have, leaping higher and with more power and grace than you have ever known. It is exhilarating and your heart beats and your blood rushes through your veins and your muscles move with a strength and agility you have only ever dreamt of.   You Run and run  until you finally lose sight of him and you stop running, not even a little out of breath and step forward into the glade and find him as you did before.

Drink from the brook, cool your brow if you wish, relax on the soft ground.  Spend as much time as you like with the God.

When you feel it is time to go, thank the God and take your leave of Him.  Follow the path back to the tower. The door stands open and you enter and descend the stair then pass through the Door to the place where you began.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

a friend of the Fae...


In my experience of my Gods, Ancestors and Allies, the boundaries between Deity, Fae, Animal Spirits, Land Spirits, and Ancestors are blurred.  One may be all of those simultaneously.  The Fae with whom I have relationships are among the Deities that I worship and work with, They are among the Ancestors that I worship and work with, They are Deities of the Land, and They also often present Themselves as Animal Spirits.  Some Deities may be Fae, and some Fae may be Deity. 

I am a friend of the Fae, and I consider Them to be among my relations.  I have had a relationship with One for this entire lifetime, and with two Others for more than this lifetime. And I work with Others that I have come to know since I have walked this path.  

Aside of my own relationships, I am not an authority on the Fae.  I have on occasion been asked by other witches how to go about working with Them, and so I would like to share some of what I have learned through those relationships in the interest of assisting others to avoid doing damage to the relations between our two species.  It is very important to me that the bonds between us be restored and healed. 

Understand that the Fae are different from us and they are, like us, individuals.  Building relationships happens between individuals.  And understanding the differences in how to build relationships is important in order not to do more damage to the relations between us.
 
Until you have built a relationship with an individual and even after, whenever dealing with someone with whom you do not have a relationship, certain guidelines should be respected.  Do not “thank” the Fae, do not accept food or drink, do not offer or give a part of yourself such as hair, or any personal belonging.  Most of all, do not ever make a promise and not do absolutely everything within your power to keep it.

If you are only interested in dabbling, please do not pursue working with the Fae.  They do not take well to being trifled with.  They also do not deal lightly with liars.  That may seem a strong word to apply to fickleness but, in dealing with Them, “changing your mind” or “losing interest” or becoming distracted with some other area of interest, is not an excuse for not keeping your word. 

Building relationships takes time, They will not necessarily respond quickly to your efforts.  But if you truly desire to build a lifelong working relationship with an individual of the Fae, there are some ways in which you might proceed. 

Find a place where there may be Fae nearby.  Find places that feel welcoming.  If the place feels wrong, if you do not feel welcome there, leave and do not return, find someplace else.  Give Them respect and do not invade places where you are not welcome. 

Find Natural places, Wild places, Between places, where water and earth touch, or where sky and earth touch, or where certain trees are known to grow in close proximity to each other.  Visit these places and spend time sitting quietly. 

Take offerings of milk, or spirits (alcohol) or honey.  Take oats and apples and any other offerings that seem right to you.  Play music and sing for them, and spend time waiting and listening.  

Declare your hope and intentions and then, keep your word.  Even if you receive no response.  Even when you think that you have not been heard. Even when you get bored and tired.  Keep showing up and keep waiting and listening.  And when someone shows up, follow the guidelines above. 

Understand that not everyone who may show up is someone with whom you want to build a relationship but, if they prove to be honorable, you must be so as well. 

The Fae with whom I share relationship are beloved to me, and I strive to restore positive relations between our Human species and Thiers.  They have given me guidance and healing and purpose.  I give thanks for Them.


If you desire to know more, I can recommend teachers who can give an even greater understanding of Their kind.  Leave me a comment below including your email address and I will be happy to send you information of where to find such teachers.  Blessed Be.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

we belong to the Land...


I grew up on this Land, on Land close to where I now live.  My mother lived in the house I grew up in while she was pregnant with me and I lived there while carrying both of my children.  My body and their bodies were made from the food and water and air of this Land.  

The places where my parents were born hold a feeling of connection for me, and the Land across the sea that my ancestors lived upon before they came to those places holds a beauty for me, calls to me like no other place on this amazing planet we call home. 

The stream in the woods down the road from my childhood home is sacred to me, as is the stream in the woods just up the road from my tree-house.  These places, this Land, is sacred and is a part of me.  The Waters, the Trees, the Soil, the Stones, are a part of my body, always.  The Spirits of these places are a part of my soul, and I am a part of theirs. 

Earth is not only the planet upon which we live, nor an abstract idea of elemental power.  Earth is the Land that we belong to. I give thanks for the Land and for the Earth, my Mother.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Humanity


I am Human.  More than anything, I am a human being, a member of the human race.  Before gender, or ethnicity, or sexuality, or spirituality, or politics, or any other detail of my individuality, I am Human.  I think of the entirety of humanity as my relations.  Truth be told, I think of many other species as my relations as well, animals, trees, waters, stones, stars, and the Fae.  But this is about my Human relations.

I am an optimist.  I believe that the human species is not beyond hope.  While we are capable of great violence and darkness, and while many suffer from soul-sickness, and our society as a whole has a great need for healing, I believe that we are also capable of great nobility and compassion.   It is my hope to be a healing influence on those humans with whom I interact in this lifetime, my family and my community but, also those whose names I do not know. My Tradition is engaged in the mission of “Re-enchanting the World” and I strive to fulfill that mission in every encounter I have every day. 


I hold hope, and faith, and love, and joy, and truth.  I hold compassion and I pray for the healing of our species, our society, and our world.  May Humanity survive this sickness long enough to evolve to become the more noble version of ourselves, and may our world survive long enough to see us do so.  So Mote It Be.         

Monday, January 26, 2015

Arianrhod; a journey to the Temple of the Moon


I am a daughter of Arianrhod.  I have not written a great deal about my Patroness.  I have made reference to Herself many times and the ways in which She has led me on my journey.  It is my intention to write more about my own experience of Herself but, She will be known to those She calls on Her own terms and so first I will offer this journey. 

This is a journey to the Temple of the Moon, a place to meet with Her face to face.  I wrote this journey a few years ago, it was a gift given to me by the Lady Herself as a means of guiding others to a place where they could meet with Her.  Blessed Journey.

 You are standing beside a lake, a soft mist is rising from its glassy surface.  The moon overhead is full and bright in a deep sky, filled with stars.

Before you on the bank is a small white boat tied to stone moorings.  There are ancient symbols and graceful spirals etched into the stones. You climb into the boat and sit and it moves, out into the lake. 

The surface of the lake appears undisturbed as the boat carries you farther and farther from the shore.  You try to see into the dark water but, the still surface only reflects the moon and the stars in the dark sky overhead.  The mist that rises from the water surrounds the boat and you can no longer see the shore, indeed you can see nothing in any direction but the sky above, the water below and the mist all around you.  You are engulfed in dark water, and dark sky and mist, silver in the moonlight.  Surrounded by millions of stars.

You smell only clean water and hear only the soft lapping against the sides of the boat as it continues to carry you, you know not where.  Just as you begin to despair that you will be lost in the mists forever, the mist clears and you see an island.  It is heavily forested with tall ancient trees.  The boat comes to rest and as you step out onto the stone moorings you notice the same symbols and spirals etched into their surfaces.

A stone stair leads up into the woods from the landing and you begin to climb.  The moonlight through the trees is bright and illuminates the stair as you climb up and up through the trees, their branches whispering in the soft breeze.  You notice an owl gliding silently above you and you watch her for a moment. 

When you bring your focus back to the stair you have reached the top and before you is a circular structure.  Tall graceful arches surround a stone floor.  The bright Moon and starry sky illuminate the arches and the floor and they shine silver in the moon-bright night.

At the archway before you is a silver basin of water and a small silver bell.  You purify yourself with these and enter the Temple of the Moon.  The Temple is filled with Moonlight and a woman stands before you.  Her hair and skin are shining silver and she seems clothed in moonlight.  She holds a silver wheel sparkling with stars in her hands.

This is Arianrhod, Lady of the moon and stars, Keeper of the silver wheel, Goddess of Fate.  She greets you and you speak with her.  Ask what questions you will.  You may dance in celebration if you wish.


When you feel it is time to go, Thank the Lady and take your leave of Her and descend the stair, the boat will take you back to the place that you began.

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.