Friday, February 24, 2017

Opening...again


Since the loss of my brother in July, I have been struggling against an old obstacle.  I have worked relentlessly the past ten years to open myself to feeling…everything. I began with being open, engaged, and connected in ritual space, then with connecting to inspiration, and intuition, and imagination, love and grief and sorrow and joy, desire, passion and pleasure, anger, purpose and power…everything that makes me a living, breathing, loving person. 

Being closed off to my Self, my mind, soul, heart, body, and shadow, is like being asleep, or half-alive.  It feels like sleepwalking through the world, and it has robbed me of my energy, my motivation and my joy.   It has also robbed me of my compassion, empathy and connection to others.

The loss of my brother was the first but, there have been a series of losses, none of which I have felt fully.  And while I have not lost my connection to my Gods, I have not returned to the head-blindness and deafness, for which I give thanks, this disconnection from feeling is an obstacle that has become intolerable.  I will not live that way again. 

I visited the Sweat Lodge this past weekend and there I became acutely aware of the current state of my magick.  I gave thanks for the blessings I have been given. I offered up the distractions and worries (and a portion of my grief) that interfere with my being fully aware and connected to myself, and I asked for the return of opening that I may again fully engage with all of myself and with those that I love and with my purpose in the world.

This past week, in conversations with two of my coven-mates I had become unexpectedly “emotional”, even becoming disproportionately angry about something relatively trivial.  At first, I did not recognize why I was feeling so strongly, and then it occurred to me that my prayers within the Lodge had been heard and were being answered.  I give thanks for the return of opening, and I will continue this work. 

One of the ways that I intend to do this is by engaging in new experiences and striving to be fully present with them. 

This has reminded me that the lessons of this life are always repeating, we become more adept at the work each time we return to a lesson, we learn new ways, and practice and practice and practice, and through practice we become wiser and perhaps more graceful.

So, I am opening…again.  May my Gods bless me in my work.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Blessing the Waters and the Community


I am the High Priestess of a Coven, the Weavers of the Moonfire.  I live in a small town where there is not a large public pagan community.  That is not to say that the community does not exist here, but that it is not highly visible.  And I am about to attempt to make it much more visible, if not to our mundane community, at least to its self.

The nearest Pagan Pride event happens in Philadelphia. Our Coven will be participating with other covens from our Tradition, as well as other members of the greater community.  But before that Saturday in September, we will be offering a Public Ritual in a Public Park in our town.

The Intent of the Ritual is to Bless, Honor and Protect the Waters that flow through our town.  We hope to inspire the members of our local community to take actions to honor and protect the Waters that give Life to the Land on which we live.  We are also hoping to raise donations to send to support the Water Protectors of the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota.   

But, I also hope that the individuals in our local community will see each other and will know that they are not alone here, that they will understand that we all have allies here.  I want the community to become more aware of itself.  


This is action that I feel compelled to take.  This is how I can act to make my world better.  This is how I can act to support others in the Great Work.  Yes, this action is outside of my comfort zone, but it is not outside of my abilities.  It is action that I have been guided to for over a year.  I will write more about the seeds that have been planted in me to do this thing.  But for now, there is much work to be done.  May it be Blessed.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monsters and Enemies



I am resistant to the thought of another human being as my Enemy.   Not because I cannot see just how horrific humans can behave, but because when we think of another as our Enemy we de-humanize them, we make Monsters of them, and that gives them more Power than they have a right to, but it also makes it easier for me to then treat them as less than my fellow human.  And that can be a slippery slope to me becoming the Monster.  When I am so focused on the Evil that a man can do, I can justify a great deal of Evil behavior myself. 

So, I will not think of 45 as a Monster or as my Enemy but, I will resist his actions and his behavior.  I can Resist his complete disdain for Truth, Liberty, Compassion, Justice, Peace, and the Rule of Law with Passion, Strength, Courage, Compassion, Love, and Truth against the World until there is Peace.

I will hold Compassion for those he harms and threatens with his unrighteous actions.  But  I will also hold Compassion for those who are confused, blind, asleep, and deluded by his deceptions. They are also not my Enemies. I will offer sanctuary to those who feel unsafe, support to those who are weary in the fight, protection to those who need it.  I will seek Truth and Speak Truth and Shout above the Shouting until there is Peace.

We are not the first people to face a human of his ilk, and I do not refer only to the fascists of the last century.  There have been men and women of his sort for as long as humans have existed.  We are all capable of living enthralled to our basest and worst selves and sometimes those humans most enthralled to the shadows within them are the most driven to seek and to gain power. 

Our Ancestors faced such power-mongers, some of them were such power-mongers…and some of us were as well.  We as a species are evolving.  We as individuals are the vehicles for that evolution.  Sometimes the worst of our shadows, in their basest human forms, are the catalysts for that evolution.

45 will eventually die, and perhaps he will be forced to relinquish power before he does so, or perhaps not.  What matters now is our behavior.  In the face of all his wrongdoing, what will we do?  When we look back upon our actions, what will we know about ourselves? 


Let us not become the Monsters we are capable of being, but let us prove to ourselves, to our families, our tribes, our ancestors, to our allies and our Gods, but most of all, let us prove to those poor deluded creatures who cannot see beyond the glamour and deceptions, that we are People of Truth, Peace, Liberty, Justice, Compassion, Courage, Strength and Love.  And let us hold onto Hope.  So, Mote It Be.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Prayers and Politics

I have felt many emotions today, about the past, about our history, about the men who have been president of my country during my lifetime.  I am still very proud that the transfer of power in this nation happens in a peaceful manner, with neither bloodshed nor imprisonment.   

I am not an overtly political person. I am a patriot, I believe in Liberty, in the rule of Law, in Justice and in a government of the People, by the People and for the People.  

I am neither a pacifist, nor an anarchist.  I believe in peaceful resistance and the great privilege of voting as a preferred means of revolution without bloodshed. 

When I was younger, I fell in love with the idea of a revolutionary named Ernesto “Che” Guevara but, while I have a theoretical weakness for the idea of “the Revolutionary”, I do not believe in armed rebellion.  I have never aspired to be “Great” in that way.

I believe that it is my duty as a citizen to be prepared to defend my neighbors from terrorists and fascists, especially if they come in the night in the guise of agents of my own government. But truth be told, I fear that possibility, because I fear that I may not have the courage to act when the moment of Truth arrives.

I know a lot of people who are afraid of what the future holds because they believe that the President who was inaugurated today will bring about untold horrors.  I am afraid that if those horrors indeed come to pass that, I will fail to do what I believe to be right.

I also know a lot of people who are hopeful because they have felt unheard and unseen and they have been afraid that they will lose their homes, or that their children will be cold and hungry, or that their loved ones could die if they are unfortunate enough to become ill because they cannot afford to be treated.  People who work harder than they should have to and are one small misfortune away from losing everything. 

We all have experienced fear of the future because it cannot be known.  It is a natural human reaction to fear circumstances that we cannot control. 

But fear of the future, and anger and hatred of others, the idea that other human beings, fellow citizens of our nation and our world, are “the Enemy”, is not the way to create the world or the future that I want. 

Civility, discourse and the ability to walk in another man’s shoes are needed.  The ability to listen to another man’s story, and to see that he is in no way significantly different from me, is necessary.  Compassion, understanding and hope, and a healthy dose of courage and honor will be as essential as they have always been. 

I do not like the President’s immaturity, his egomania, or his very fluid relationship with the truth.  I vehemently disagree with just about everything he has said and done over the years.  But he is just a very flawed human. 

I can do many things to positively affect the course of the future.  Now is not the time for rioting in the streets. 

I will not be marching tomorrow, not because I do not want to, but because it is not within my abilities for various reasons.  I will be praying, and holding those who are marching in safety and power. 

I will also be praying for the new President over the next 4 years.  For him to be guided, and restrained as necessary, and for him to learn, and grow and change, as any flawed human is capable of.  He is a 70-year-old father and grandfather.  He is not my enemy and he is not a monster, just a very flawed human just like every human who has ever held power. 

May the Gods, the Ancestors and the Spirits guide him, bind him, and teach him as necessary.  And may We the people learn and grow and evolve through this process as well.


And if the horrors we fear should be visited upon us, may They grant me the courage to stand for what I believe to be right.  So mote it be.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Grief and Conflict



We are humans, all of us.  Regardless of our spiritual paths or our religious beliefs, we are not immune to the truth that death is a part of our experience.  We will all lose people we love and we will all have to work through our grief over those losses.  None of us get a pass on this in life.  

Seventeen days ago, my younger brother died unexpectedly and suddenly.  We have shared more than one lifetime together, as well as our bloodline.  I loved Him and we had conflict between us, and we stopped working on our relationship about two decades ago.   

Sometimes we will lose someone we love without warning, with no time to prepare or to say our farewells.  And as is the nature of relationships, either family or lovers or friends, sometimes that loss will be of one with whom we have conflict.  Love and conflict are more often companions than mutually exclusive conditions.  For conflict with one we do not love is often reason enough to walk away from another person but, we will persist in spite of conflict if we love another.  And so, grief is often complicated by unresolved conflict with the one we loved and lost. 

We each grieve in our own way, and in our own time.  For me it is a delayed experience.  For the first two weeks, my perception of reality was surreal, often blurry and out of proportion.  Then life became normal again and my grief began to visit me at night.  When all is quiet and my mind can identify what my heart and soul are actually grieving and, my heart and soul can feel that grief, it is the conflict that I feel, and the pain of that conflict and the anger that it exists. 

Another conflict that accompanies grief is that in moments of unexpected emotional crisis, old habits of behavior, old patterns of relating within the family, reassert themselves.  Conscious effort is required to recognize these habits and patterns and to re-establish newer skills and ways of being.  It challenges my sense of self, and forces me to reexamine my relationships with those whom I love who remain.


I have work to do.  Including the work of reaching out to Him whom I have lost to assist in what way I can, and to ask Him to work with me to make some peace between us before the next life we share.  May our Ancestors and my Gods and Allies bless us and assist us in this work.  Blessed be. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd!

The Grand Sword of the Gorsedd of Bards 
“Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd” The Welsh proverb “The Truth against the World” is only the beginning of a ritual litany.   

Before the National Eisteddfod (a bardic competition of singing, recitation and instrumental mastery celebrating Welsh identity, language and culture) can commence, the Gorsedd (gathering) of Bards conducts a ritual in which the Grand Sword (upon which these words are inscribed) is partially unsheathed and laid upon a stone altar.

The call is made “Y Gwir yn Erbyn y Byd!” The Truth against the World!

The response is a question “A oes Heddwch?" Is there Peace?

Then comes the call “Calon wrth Galon!" (Heart to Heart!) and again the question “A oes Heddwch?"

Then finally the call "Gwaedd uwch Adwaedd! A oes Heddwch?” (Shout above the shouting! Is there peace?)  

Heddwch (Peace) is evidently a verb, so the question truly is “Will you bring Peace?”

The Eisteddfod cannot commence until the Gorsedd has declared Peace among them.

These words move me.  I have written before about the meaning that “Truth against the World” holds for me but; this past week I have been thinking about them a great deal.  My Third degree Initiation into my Tradition will occur in two weeks. It is an initiation into Service, as clergy and leadership in my Coven and my Tradition.  It is the beginning of a new leg of my journey. 

And I have been contemplating my purpose in this world in light of this new phase.  “Truth against the World” is a large part of that purpose, but it is only the beginning, only the starting point.  It is not about Truth for truth’s sake but, Truth for the greater purpose of Peace.  My heart calls out for Truth, for Love, for Healing of our World, and for Peace. 

Two days ago I had these words, Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd, inscribed (tattooed) upon my right forearm in red script, to commemorate the beginning of this stage in my life but, also to remind me every time I see them of my purpose, and of the entire litany.  To remind myself to ask the question “A oes Heddwch?"  Do I bring Peace?

I am not a pacifist, although I respect those who hold that place in our world.  My heart longs for Peace but, not for peace at any cost. Peace without Liberty is not Peace but rather oppression.  My purpose is Peace and Freedom, my purpose is Peace through Truth.  May my Gods, Ancestors and Allies bless me in my purpose.

Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Despair is the enemy of change...


This past week has been a difficult one for many, including me.  First there was the shock of the shooting itself.  Then came the grief and anger and fear, the frustration and desire for retribution, and the insult of erasure.  
   
The sheer stupidity and incredible ignorance of the public discourse was almost unbearable if you even bothered to listen, which truth be told, I did not. Because I knew it would be dreadful and I refused to subject myself to it.  But I am aware of the effect it had on those I love.

I do not advocate willful ignorance.  Hiding one’s head in the sand is not a practical solution to the ills of our world but, I can spend five minutes a day in research to discover the facts of what happened and to get confirmation that the reactions of the ignorant and hateful factions of our society are indeed what I had suspected they would be.  I refuse to spend the precious substance of my life, my time, exposing my soul to the wasteful and damaging effects of hate-speech.

I am angry that someone massacred forty-nine people.  Forty-nine of my fellow humans died for no other reason than the hate of another damaged human.  I am angry that those who have a voice are ignoring the fact that those who died were members of a community that has historically been targeted for violence and that has not been protected by those who are entrusted with the defense of the people.

I have loved ones who have been a part of that community for decades.  I too identify as a member of that community, I identify as Queer, although I am not seen as such by almost anyone.  I am angry at the erasure of identity being practiced by those with a public voice in the discourse surrounding this tragedy. 

But the worst thing of all to me is the despair I witness in the hearts and souls of those whom I love.  Two beloveds in particular have spoken words of despair this week, one young and straight, the other gay and middle-aged.  Despair does not discriminate.

Despair is the enemy, make no mistake.  It is normal and natural and completely understandable and I do not ridicule my beloveds, for their despair is a familiar shadow.  But Hope is needed and Faith is necessary.  We cannot affect change, and we need change, if we hold no Hope.  Despair robs us of our will, our energy, our purpose and our joy.

I know the world is a dangerous place.  I know that much of our society is ignorant and operating from a place of fear and hatred.  I know that much of our human race is ill and damaged.  But I believe that we are not beyond Healing, that we are not beyond Hope.

I have Faith that the majority of the human race is not represented by the voices shouting hatred at the top of their lungs.  Indeed those voices are so loud that they all but drown out the voices of our higher angels with their “Sound and Fury”.  But they are indeed idiots and their words signify nothing.  I have Faith that we can continue to affect change, and healing and the positive evolution of our species and our society if we keep working, struggling, fighting, believing.  I believe that we can indeed re-enchant the world so long as we do not give up Hope.


I am not delusional, although I may be stubborn.  And if the world chooses to see me as simple or sentimental because I choose Hope and Faith, so be it but, I will not despair, for despair is the enemy of change and I am a champion of Hope.