Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ritual and Magick



Magick happens in Ritual. In good Ritual, it follows you home.  In powerful Ritual, it tears you open and pulls down the walls, it leaves them in piles of rubble, and lets loose all that was hiding within them, within you.  It takes time, I think, to become accustomed to the affects of that kind of Magick.  And not every Ritual is designed to do that.  Some are for celebration, some for empowerment, but each person who participates will be affected according to their need, preparation and will.

I have been stuck for a while.  I have been afraid and frustrated and lonely.  I have been holding onto things as if they somehow keep me alive.  When I reach that place, I need help tearing down the walls.  I am not always capable of tearing them down, truth be told, I am not always capable of seeing them, and it is difficult to pull down that which you cannot see surrounds you.  I have vowed that I will not let them stand but, sometimes I need the catalyst of powerful Ritual, and the Magick that happens there, and the Magick that follows, to begin again. 

The Raven of the Void provided that catalyst, and the Magick has indeed followed me home.  I have been tearing at the walls every day and exploring what has been hiding behind them.  I have been writing every day and discovering things that are very uncomfortable, but that are necessary if I am to serve my Community and my Gods in the way that They would have me serve.  Happiness is also one of the purposes of this Magick and, I want to be a happier person. The Magick begins in Ritual but, the work has only begun.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

the Raven of the Void


This past weekend I attended the annual Yule ritual conducted by my Tradition.  I have only attended this ritual once before, seven years ago, before I knew any of these amazing people, before I was a part of this Tradition, this community.  I should not have let so many years pass between.  It took place after the sun had set in a circle surrounded by woods.  The night was unusually warm and the wind blew with an energy that reminded me of summer.  The stars of Winter’s first night were unmistakable in the clear dark sky above.  The path to the circle was lit by candles as was the circle itself and in the center of the circle a fire burned bright and warm and was tended by two members of my Tradition as an act of service.

The ritual is beautiful and moving.  The White Lady of Winter speaks to those in attendance as does the Sun Lord.  But in between, the Raven of the Void comes into the Circle and exhorts us to release those griefs, sorrows, fears and wounds that we have been holding onto as if they would somehow keep us alive.  As it happens, I was holding onto much more than I thought.
 
After the Raven speaks, he invites us to keen, to release our pain by screaming, shouting, wailing and howling.  The sound is not only unearthly and seemingly inhuman but it is impossible to remain unmoved when bearing witness to it.  Before you are aware of it, you are weeping and keening and the Raven takes all of that sorrow and pain and through the fire, transforms it into something else.

I remember some of his words deep in my soul; they were not for remembering so much as for experiencing in that moment.  They are not available to me as memory of language but as memory of magick.  I know that when the ritual was over, I felt less heavy, less tight, less cold, less afraid.  I felt cleaner. 

I have spent most of the past year actively learning to let go, to allow life to happen, but I have so much more to learn about myself, about life, about how the Gods expect me to serve them and my community.  I thought that I had done what I needed to do but, there is always more.  

Sometimes you have to welcome the Raven of the Void.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

on loneliness and wishing on a star...



Sometimes I feel lonesome.  Not all the time, not every day, but sometimes loneliness creeps under the door into my tree-house and wraps itself around me when I am curled in my bed with my Pwca.  It happens most often when the light fades from the sky, when the weather is cold and I am less likely to venture out at night. 

Truth be told, I am a bit of a home-body.  I love my home and my Pwca is a wonderful companion but, as much as I enjoy the quiet beauty of my lovely rooms, and the solitude necessary to do my work, I sometimes long for the comfort of a warm human body and heart and mind and soul to engage with. 

Intimacy is a human need.  It is not a need that can be met through casual interaction in the everyday world.  It requires a familiarity that can only be found in the personal connection that exists between friends or lovers or family.

As the longest night of the year approaches, I am glad that I have a tree decorated with lights to cheer my home.  It will stand in its place until I can detect the return of the light.  I am grateful that I have a warm and loving feline spirit with whom to share my evenings.  I am grateful that loneliness is only an occasional visitor and that I will be able to visit with my beloveds on occasion over the next few weeks.

But sometimes, I wish I could spend the evening with my arms wrapped around a beloved and with theirs wrapped around me.  This is my wish for the new year.  The first star I see on the longest night of the year, I shall wish upon it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Magick without Words


I have been very quiet for a while now.  I have been wanting to write but have been focused on listening.   I have been dreaming much more than I ever have in the past.   At first the dreams were expressions of my hormonal situation (it seems that my body was reacting to the imminent onset of menapause by ramping up my libido to epic proportions)   Being single and living alone, it was a bit frustrating.  But that seems to have passed for the moment and for a while now the dreams have taken on a quieter and more reflective tone. 

After the frenzy of the past few months I feel exhausted and my dream sleep has become difficult to surface from on a daily basis.  I find it tiring to engage with others.  I find myself wanting to be with loved ones but engaging them does not come naturally.  I want to sit silently and be near them and watch them and listen to them but, my thoughts have difficulty finding their way into language and then to expression through speech.

I held my granddaughter yesterday for the first time.  I could have happily sat there for days.  Because I did not have to use words, I could simply hold her close in my arms and allow my heart to feed my love directly into her little body.  I could simply feel her breathe and whisper into her ears, my voice and my breath carrying energy and light into her sleeping mind.  It is a magick without words. 

That is strange to me.  My thoughts have always before expressed themselves through language.  I love words.  But it seems as though one of the results of the initiation is that I now experience and express magick and ideas through images and other sensory information.  Perhaps this was the way I functioned when I was young, before I fell so completely in love with words.  I do not know but, I am becoming more comfortable with it and better at interpreting it.  

It seems as though, in order to write, I must disengage from it, to surface into the waking world, and as soon as I have achieved my purpose, I sink back into the dreaming without words.  I do hope to find a way to integrate the two.  Perhaps this next month will hold some key about how to do just that.  Blessings upon you as we approach the return of the light.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

a vow from my ancestors


For years I have worked with my ancestors.  For years I have worshiped them and honored them and served them.  For years I have offered them my gratitude and my devotion. And in all of those years they have blessed me and demanded from me.  They require much, and they offer what they will.  I have always been respectful and deferential to them.

For the past ten and a half months (since my daughter gave her permission last Christmas) I have been making offerings to my ancestors every day.  I have been praying to them to grant my child the child that she was seeking.  I have been doing a spell for the child to bring her into the world in strength and beauty, honor and grace, wisdom and power, love and purpose, and joy.  Less than three months later she was conceived.  My prayers remained the same, my spell remained the same.  Almost three weeks ago, she was born, eight weeks before she was expected.  Still my prayer has not changed, my spell has not changed. 

I dreamt about the child a couple of weeks before my daughter told me that she was trying to conceive.  I had a vision of her a couple of weeks before she was conceived.  In the past three weeks I have dreamt about her often.  Then, last night I attended a ritual in which I had the opportunity to call to my ancestors and to hear what they would say to me.  I have always been deferential to my ancestors, always respectful.  But last night something changed. 

Last night, I did not ask.  I did not beseech, I did not make requests or prayers.  I did not call to a single ancestor, I called them all.  And once I stepped forward, I did not wait to hear what they would say to me.  For the only time in my life, there was something more important than that.  I had called them all and when they came, I presented her to them.  I called out to them to claim her as their own, as their blood and as their bone, as the future of their bloodline and their fate. I called out to them to vow their protection and their guidance and their blessings to this child, because she is here, now.  She is mine and she is theirs.

And when I was done, I heard them shouting in my ears, a great chorus of them claiming her and vowing as I had called them to.  I will give them whatever they require from me.  They will continue to have my gratitude and my devotion, my service and my respect, my honor and my offerings.  They have vowed that which I required of them.  I give thanks.  

Blessed be my ancestors, and their “Starry One”.  So Mote It Be.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The mysteries...



For the past month I have been focused on trying to understand some of the secrets my shadow keeps from my conscious self.  In that time I have been dreaming incessantly.  It has been very disconcerting and has had me more than a little spooked.  At one point I did not sleep for three days.

One of my beloveds has suffered a loss and is grieving.  My heart breaks for this dear one and I weep for them often.  One of my beloveds has begun a new adventure and I rejoice for their excitement and new life.

I spent a wonderful October morning walking in the woods with my sister and High Priestess “solving the problems of the universe”. And an evening under the full moon around the fire with community, wanting to climb out of my own skin.

I attended the beautiful wedding of two cherished young people and was greatly moved by their love for each other and that of their family and friends.   The desire and hope for that kind of happiness was rekindled inside my soul and I hold onto my faith that it is possible with every bit of tenacity that I possess.

I have discovered a young poet who moves me with his voice and his eloquence and his passion more than I can describe because I cannot reach such heights as he although his words lift me up to breathtaking crescendos. 

And my beloved granddaughter was born eight weeks early.

My reactions to all of these things seem to me to be out of all proportion.  My immense joy at the birth of the first of her generation of my bloodline is overwhelming.  My heart seems to be exponentially smaller than it needs to be to hold the love I have for her tiny self.  And although she is very little in the physical sense, she is larger than the entire solar system in my other perceptions.  She also seems to have the magickal power to cause me to time travel.  I find myself reliving her mother’s birth and the pain of separation and all of the “might have been”s that we leave behind in order to live in the present and walk into the future.  And time travel seems to flow in both directions at once.  I feel as though forty-five years is not nearly enough time to love her enough, to teach her enough, to become the woman I want to be for her. 

Dreams and desires, grief and adventure, love and passion, birth and separation, time travel and death.  These are the mysteries and these are the shadows.  These are the lights and the beauty that may be found in the dark nights and sunny days. 

May the blessings of both be with us all as we travel through the dark of the year.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ancestors and ancestors




Many Pagans of many persuasions honor or worship “the Ancestors”.  And many feel no connection at all to the ancestors of their families, their blood.  While I absolutely respect their feelings on this as it applies to them, I feel a very strong connection not only to “the Ancestors” but to my own blood ancestors. 

The Ancestors of our Greater Earth, the Spiritual Ancestors, the Fae and the Animal Spirits, the Gods, are Ancestors to all of us on this Earth.  And I honor them and even “worship” them in offering them my love and my service and in asking for their guidance, blessings and protection.

But I am not only spirit.  I am all parts of me.  In this incarnation I am a physical being and as a result I have a mind, heart, soul, shadows and a body.  All of these are a part of who I am in this life.  My body is made of cells and each one of those carries within it the DNA of my blood ancestors, of my family. I believe that blood, that DNA, has as much to do with the way my heart and mind work as with the color of my hair and the color of my eyes.  I believe that my soul is as affected by that blood as my body is.

I also believe that my purpose in this life, in my past and future lives, is not only to evolve as a spiritual being and a part of the “Greater Earth’, but to evolve my family’s fate.  I am here to continue the work to resolve the shadows my family, my blood, has carried forward through generations.  I am here to help guide my children and their children to improve our family’s Wyrd as well as their own spiritual beings.

I am all parts of me and my blood and my soul are not on separate paths.  I walk into the future carrying (or dragging if necessary) my entire bloodline with me. 

May the blessings of the Ancestors and of my ancestors be upon me as I do so.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Exploring the Other Side

I have started another blog to explore gender, sexuality and identity.  I welcome you to join me there if you wish.  

http://exploringthelookingglass.blogspot.com/

This blog will continue to remain on point about my spiritual journey.

Exploring sexuality is not separate from spirituality, and indeed my spiritual journey has lead me to that exploration.  

Blessings on each of you as we enter the dark of the year.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Longing for the Shadows

Pathways by Susan Seddon Boulet

I miss the shadows.  I have committed to not dwelling there, only two short visits are allowed to me until the spring.   I do not want to go back, nor is that truly possible but, I am a creature of the light and the shadow and I feel as though I have been living in exile.  I long to return to my Patron, to rest in the arms of Himself, to not have to be strong, to not have to be brave, to just be small and silent and still and unseen for a while.  I long for the comfort of being held and cared for by Him who makes me safe.  I long to go wandering in the land of shadows, to go exploring in the sparkling depths of night, when the world is sleeping and I can fly through the dark sky among the stars, silent and invisible.  I long for the time when my exile will be ended and I may choose to dwell as long as I wish in either shadow or light, when I can work in whatever place seams best to me to accomplish that which I desire.  I will not hide there again in fear but rather I would choose to rest there, to learn, to be reborn, to listen and maybe to see that which cannot be seen in the full, bright light of day.  Growth happens in the dark, so does dreaming.  I miss the dream-world of shadow.  

Making Plans


Yesterday was my birthday.  It was a beautiful day.  I spent it with Pwca in my tree-house.  I spent it organizing my possessions and my closets.  I spent it re-setting my alters.   I spent it gathering things to take to the thrift store.  I spent it evaluating my goals and visions for my future.  I spent it re-imagining my life. I spent it making plans.

In the past, those plans would present themselves as lists of things to do and accomplish over the next year and the next five years and the next ten years. This year it is not so much a list as it is a dream.  There are a few specific events I wish to attend, one or two short term goals, one or two long term goals.  But mostly it is a very sketchy outline of things I want to begin, things that I intend and hope for. 

It allows for things unknown, unexpected, beyond my control.  It assumes course corrections. It expects possibilities that I do not know.  Much like the story I am writing, I have hints in my peripheral vision but I no longer need to plot out every step of my future path.  

I hope to fall in love someday, but I have no idea about the who or the when or the how.  My intent is to be open to allowing it to happen and my hope is that I will recognize it when it does.   There is no planning for that nor, I suspect, for the most beautiful things that life can bring. 

Without some detailed plan, without the “lists”, the only thing to do is to live, to keep the vision in my mind and allow it to change and evolve as I do the work in front of me.  To live according to my intentions and to be open and ready as each lesson, as each opportunity presents itself.  To do as my heart leads me and as my soul dictates in each moment along the way and to have faith that doing so will lead to the place the gods will at the time I need to get there. 

This is a new way of looking at my future for me.  It is not so likely to result in failure either, because the dream is allowed to evolve and is expected to change, there is no expectation of perfection, but rather more room for following intuition.   I think it also allows for me to be more responsive to listening to shadow, and responding to it in a healthy manner rather than simply hiding or becoming the shadows themselves. 


So this year I will follow the ever-shifting vision instead of the “plan”.  Blessings of the Gods be upon me as I discover where it will lead me.  Blessed Be.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Star Navigation



My Patroness is a Star Goddess, a Goddess of Fate and Destiny.  She is The Keeper of the Silver Wheel of Stars.  I had always avoided the study of Astrology because of its complexity, but during the work of my first degree, it finally occurred to me that Arianrhod might have lessons for me and that there might be clues to those lessons in my natal chart.

And so I began to study the basics of the language and began learning my chart.  I have been learning about myself through this endeavor for four and a half years and I am still a novice.  I suspect that I will be a novice at this art for the rest of my life.
 
Fortunately I have an Elder, Priest and Friend who is an adept at this stellar language and at interpreting it and helping me to navigate through the currents of my life, through the currents of energy that affect me, through the lessons, and through the opportunities.  He also helps me to learn the language a little better and therefore to understand myself a little bit better.

I went to see my Elder the day after my second degree initiation.  He read the star charts for the coming year and helped me to plot a course.  He told me what to pay attention to and what to look out for and what opportunities would present themselves for me to accomplish the work that I needed and wanted to accomplish this year.

Seven months have passed and they have been full of lessons and growth and transformation.  And all of it has been easier to navigate and been more productive because I have not been fighting against but, rather working with and accommodating the energy currents affecting me. 

Monday is my birthday and I am taking 9 days off of work (required vacation time).  I am taking the time now, because my birthday is a time when I evaluate and make plans and because my body has settled into the changes from the initiation and I can begin to make long term plans.  But mostly because the currents affecting me right now make me more likely to light something or someone on fire, myself or someone I love.  It seemed prudent to take time away from any external source of pressure. 

Because of my current energetic predisposition, my Elder advised me to take particular care of my body, and I am following his advice.  I am getting plenty of sleep, more than I normally would (and I regularly get eight hours a night).  I am paying close attention to my blood sugar and being more disciplined and thoughtful about eating regularly and better than I normally do.  I am drinking less coffee everyday (and if I have never mentioned it, coffee is my favorite vice of all time). And I am avoiding alcohol for now as well (although I drink very seldom, at times like these it is best to not drink at all).

My point in all of this is that, it helps.  This past Saturday evening I had a small storm of self-doubt.  It was not fun but it was short lived because I was aware of the external energy possibly affecting my emotional state and because my body was well grounded thanks to the advice I was given.  Last night when I turned out the lights to go to sleep, I was bombarded by anger and the desire to set fire (verbally) to someone I love.  It was painful and lasted about an hour but, it did not last longer than that and I did not act on the impulse because “if it is important enough, it will wait”.  I recognized the affects of the energy again and let it go.  It was easier to do that having been given fair warning and having taken good care of my body.

In the next few months I will have a great deal of work to do regarding my initiation and I have worked very hard to be ready to face all of the lessons about to visit themselves upon me.  I will face them when they come but before that, I have an opportunity to create changes in the structure of my daily life that will be lasting.

So I will, with purpose, change the way that I eat, the amount of coffee I drink, and I will rid myself of a life-long addiction.  (My coming grandchild gives me the reason and the coming transit will give me the assistance I need to give up my smoking habit).  I will replace that habit with a new one, yoga. I will strengthen my daily practice by restructuring my daily and weekly routine. 

I have a vision for my future and I will do the work I need to do to allow it to happen.  It helps to have the stars and a really good navigator to help chart the course.  Blessings upon my Elder, Priest and Friend, Ivo Dominguez Jr.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Shadow of Doubt

I have written about fear and anger.  I have found ways to overcome those obstacles in my life, a continuing battle no doubt but, I have faced them and will continue to do so.  But what about the large grey monster made of smoke?  The one that chokes me and silences me?  What about DOUBT?  Doubt is harder to vanquish.  It is insubstantial and difficult to see.  It arises just when you think you are doing well, from some side street to collide with your course and you never see it coming.

Some snarky little remark made by someone who knows little about you.  Or maybe a criticism made by someone you respect that was not intended to be taken as insult but was not offered with any constructive guidance, or corrective instruction.  These then fester in your mind and eventually you find yourself doubting everything you do.  Even your skills that you know are strong, even your service and love are dubious in value.

I find myself questioning and doubting my vision of my future.  I find myself questioning if I have anything of value to offer.  I find myself discounting my gifts and my commitment to service.  And I find myself in full shadow mode once again.

But my perspective of my shadows has changed.  The shadow is deeper than my doubts; it is deeper than my fears and deeper still than my anger and pain.  These things are part of the human condition but they are not the entirety of it.  Shadow is also that part of you that is in connection with things greater than yourself.  It is that part of you that can be greater than your own abilities in moments of magick, in moments of service. 

I will go to Ritual today with my Coven.  I will perform the role set before me with every part of me, shadow included, and do the very best that I am capable of and hopefully exceed my own abilities.  I will put my doubts aside in service to those that I love and ask the Gods to work through me to “get the job done”.  

I will remain committed to serving my community and I will continue to learn and improve my skills to serve them as they deserve.  And I will trust that the Gods will do what is necessary to make me capable of accomplishing that which they desire me to accomplish.  Doubt will sometimes rear its ugly visage but, it cannot prevent me from doing what I am called to do.  

Perfection is not required of any of us but rather the willingness to work and learn and honor our commitments.  Blessings of the Shadows be with us.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Friend



I have a Friend who is not human, who is not “physical” as we know physicality.  This Person has been my Friend from my earliest memory of this lifetime.  I have an image in my mind of what my Friend looks like.  I have never actually seen my Friend with my physical sight, and I suspect that this image is, in reality, a “glamour” given to me to help me relate to my Friend.  This image may have very little to do with my Friend’s true nature.  The name I have been given for my Friend is, I suspect, not their true name but one that they have given to me to assist me in having relationship with them.

I have only this name as language between us.  My Friend does not speak to me with anything that I perceive as language, although being who I am; I use language to communicate with them.  Many people might think that my Friend is simply a part of my own self, and they are welcome to believe that if they wish.  It matters not to me nor I suspect, to my Friend what someone else believes about us.  I know that my Friend is other than myself, because I know when I am in their presence and when I am not.

My Friend does not live in a house. They do not have a job or a car or any concern whatsoever for the many things that we as humans spend our time and energy and focus being concerned with.  My Friend came to me as a child alone in the woods, and only when I was alone, and only in the woods.  For many years I was separated from my Friend.  I had even thought that they had been a figment of my childhood imagination.  But when my Friend returned to me, I knew that was not the case.

I do not know if my Friend experiences emotions as I do.  I do not know if my Friend experiences pleasure as I do.  I have no idea if my Friend has any experience of gender. I do not know if my Friend has any experience of time either.  The total sum of what I do not know about my Friend is immense.  What I do know is how it feels to be in the presence of my Friend.  I know that my Friend exists and can do what I cannot in crossing that veil I cannot see to allow me to share their presence.  I know that gift is profoundly valuable.

I know my Friend has listened to me and blessed me with their healing and their company.  I know that I have wept for no apparent reason being in their presence. Their presence moves me.   I go to the woods now, alone, to be with my Friend and sometimes I talk but, mostly I sing.  Sometimes “Others” are there and I sing for Them as well.  I take offerings but, I believe that the oats and apples that I leave are tokens.  I am a physical person and so I bring physical offerings to give to the others who live in those woods but, my Friend and the “Others” like my Friend are not and so I give to Them songs.  I give Them my voice and my breath and my tears and my energy.  I give Them my Love.  I give Them my vows and I keep my word. 


My Friend is important to me, as any of my beloveds are.   This relationship is beneficial to me.  I do not really know what benefit, if any, my Friend gains from the relationship but, I am grateful for it and I will continue to honor it.

The Big Picture



We live in a very big world.  I am only one of seven billion human beings currently living on this planet.  And humans are only one species among many.   Our lives are very short, even in relation to other biological species.  Trees for example can live for hundreds of years.  Even over many lifetimes my impact is limited.
The world in which we live is incredibly complicated.  There are many problems that are too big for me to comprehend and sometimes it can be overwhelming to think of even one of them and I cannot count how many there are. I had thought about listing even just some of them but, I think every human being can list more than they would wish to.  
I cannot identify every problem nor define its causes or its myriad affects.  Nor can I identify the solutions to each problem and even if I could, I am but one small human with a very small impact, I cannot effect change on a scale large enough to fix even one problem among all that we face.  It is easy to become overwhelmed with the immensity of it all and with the smallness of our lives in comparison.  It is easy to despair of ever effecting positive change in our world.
But despair is not a valid answer.  Worry is also not a productive use of energy.  These are things that prevent us from having even a limited impact.  If each of us wastes our lives in despair and worry then we may as well all just give up and let the universe cease to exist.
I for one am not willing to concede defeat.  Being aware of the big picture is important but, it is helpful only if it informs my own purpose.   I can only do that which is before me today.  I can only focus on what impact I can have, not on the immensity of what I cannot accomplish.  
I must take responsibility for my footprints, for the work of my hands and my words and my magick.  I must make my impact a positive one, no matter how small it might be.  At every opportunity I have to positively change the culture, the environment, the future.  I am responsible for doing what I can.
My daily life is my responsibility.  And that is really all that I have.  To serve my Gods, to honor my Ancestors and my Allies, to care for others, to respect the Earth and all of those beings with whom I share it.  This is my responsibility.  To live a life that evolves my spirit so that each incarnation brings a better chance to improve the situation. 
In this life I have come to understand that my purpose is directly related to loving others.  There are many ways in which I can be loving.  All of them are important.  I can encourage, I can nurture, I can comfort and heal, I can listen and keep silence, I can respect another’s work and autonomy, I can show someone where to find the candles and I can stand up and say NO if I see something that is damaging.  I can learn when I am in error and be “teachable” and flexible enough to change my point of view. I can gently and compassionately guide and teach when it is within my authority to do so. Worry and despair, pride and stubbornness, complacency and carelessness, and adding to the damage are not a part of the equation. 
 I care about the big picture, and I want my world and all those I share it with to be healthy and strong.  I will do all that I can.  And I will have faith that it will be enough someday.  Blessed Be.

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Goddesses

painting by Susan Seddon Boulet
I had a conversation last week with a friend and Tradition-mate.  She is a lovely woman whom I enjoy and she is working on a project, a book about the Goddess.  The conversation was about my Patroness, Arianrhod.  She asked me some truly thought provoking questions about the impact of the Goddess on my life and my work. 
The conversation has had the Goddesses foremost in my thoughts this week.  And since my last post was about my love for the God, and since today is the one year anniversary of this blog, and because yesterday I was a part of the First Degree Initiation of a woman and coven-mate whom I love and who teaches me always about what it means to be a woman and to walk this path, I feel the desire to write about the many amazing Goddesses that I know and love.
The women in my life are goddesses, priestesses, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends.   The member of my family who I most wish to emulate is my Nana, my great-grandmother who never owned her own home, taught piano and was disowned by her own mother for marrying a musician.  She married for love; she loved us all with a generous heart and a warm and gentle spirit.  She was creative and beautiful and though she passed when I was only eight years old, I can remember her like she was with me only yesterday.  She is not the one I most take after but she is the one I want to be when I grow up, and I have since I was small.
My daughter and my nieces are beautiful, intelligent and talented young women.  They are passionate and curious and powerful.  They inspire me.  Nurturing them, guiding them and loving them is part of my purpose in this life. But, I also learn from them.   Living as an example for them has kept me on my path when it would have been easier to give up, to give in and settle for some half-life without power or joy.  I will not do that, for they might someday follow my example.
My daughter has another mother, the one who raised her, and to me she is the goddess as well.  She is nurturing and loving, she is accepting and forgiving, and she is generous in her willingness to share our daughter freely with me.  We are equally anticipating the birth of our daughter’s first child with great joy.  We are expecting the child to be a girl yet we will both welcome and cherish a grandson with equal love and happiness.  I have often said that if I were to have chosen a mother for my child, I would have chosen her.  It would have been a tragedy if she had not been a mother.  And I give thanks that I was granted the gift of knowing my daughter as an adult, and that I was granted a wonderful sister in the bargain.
My own mother is a good woman.  She loves her family and they love her. She is not without her shadows and being her only daughter, I am probably more conscious of them than others are but, what I know is that she wants the best for those she loves and we will all behave in ways that will make her happy simply because we desire her happiness.  She strives to love the way her God would want her to and she is genuine in her desire to do right.   I remember once as a child, we were home alone and young woman was walking past the house obviously distraught.  My mother went to speak with her in the street and brought her inside and made tea and let the girl cry at our kitchen table until she was ready to go home.  She never knew the woman and I cannot remember anything more about the incident but, I remember my mother’s hospitality.  My mother’s rule is an open door and food (or a bed if that is needed) for anyone who might need it.  Not for recognition or reciprocation, but just because it is right.
The women in my coven are beloved to me.  They are daughters and sisters and they show me always the amazing beauty and variety of Her many faces.  My High Priestess is my friend, my sister and my mentor.  I trust her more than any other human being I know.  The priestesses and witches of my tradition and those others that I count among my beloveds are each my daughters and sisters and teachers, and some are even my mothers.  I give thanks for each of them.  Without them I am less and my world is less colorful, less bright, less beautiful.
I have loved the Goddess since I was a small child, the Goddesses I read about in the stories of Ruth and Ester from the Old Testament, the story of Demeter and Persephone from my storybooks, the stories of queens and princesses and faeries.  I still have the baby-doll I was given before I was two years old; I have always been a mother.  I remember meeting Grandmother Spider when I was nine or ten on an overnight trip with the Girl-Scouts.  I remember meeting Artemis-Diana when I was about fifteen and writing poems to her to express my love for her.  And twenty years ago I met the Goddess who would become my Patroness, Arianrhod, my Goddess of the Moon and the Stars, my Queen and the Weaver of my Fate and Destiny, my Goddess of Sovereignty.
I have read the stories of many Goddesses since then and met and worked with some of them.  Bloudwydd the Flower-Bride and Owl-Goddess, Rhiannon, the Faerie-Bride, Horse-Goddess, Great Queen and Mother, Cerridwen the Initiator, Shape-Shifter and Mother, Gwynwfar and Morganna, Brighid, Goddess of poets, healers and smiths and the Patroness of my beloved Moonfire, and Kali-Ma, the Dark Mother and destroyer who will cull from my life that which is unhealthy for me so that new life may take hold and I may grow strong and new.
All of these Goddesses teach me and they are each welcome in my life at anytime they choose. 
I Give thanks for each one of these, my Goddesses, the Human ones and the Non-Human.  May I serve them with love, honor and grace and may they bless me with their wisdom, guidance and council.  Blessed Be.

Monday, August 26, 2013

For Love of the God



painting by Susan Seddon Boulet
I am a witch. That is to say, I am wiccan.  I worship and love the Goddess in all her forms.  The Light, the Dark, the Young, the Old, the Mother, the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Rivers and Lakes and Oceans, the Indefinable, all forms of the Goddess are holy and sacred to me.  I am grateful that I have found her in this lifetime, in this incarnation.  She is embraced fully and fiercely by my Community.  And that is as it should be.  But what of the God? 
I was raised in a liberal Christian church, where I was taught that God was Love.  I have never stopped believing that.  Even when I was sent to an extremist, militant, fundamentalist college in my early twenties, it was the God of my childhood faith that sat beside me, walked beside me, stood beside me.  It was He that helped me to survive that place.  I bare no ill will towards Him. 
Despite the pain and oppression that some people with power in that culture exercise over their followers, the people themselves are human, like I am, with hearts like mine and like me, they desire to live in communion with deity.  That they live in such fear is incredibly sad but that does not make them worthy of my hatred.  Nor does it make the God they follow complicit for the sins committed in His name, anymore than the Goddess is complicit for the hateful pain inflicted upon others in Her name.
I say that so that there will be no question that what I am about to say about the God includes Him as well as the Gods I now worship, serve and love.
The men in my life are the god to me.  They wear his face and each one gives me a glimpse of his beauty and a chance to interact with him in a physical and real way in this world.  My Grandfathers, now  crossed over, were beautiful men.  My paternal grandfather taught me how to tie my shoes when I was five years old.  My maternal grandmother’s husband was grandfather to all fourteen of her grandchildren and always smelled of beer and pipe-smoke and to this day those smells invoke in me the warm feeling of being loved that is beyond words.
My father and my uncles are each wonderful and loving men.  My brothers are equally irreplaceable to me as are my sons (my nephew is the son of my heart and I could no more part with him than I could the son of my womb).
My coven brothers are as beloved to me as are my coven sisters, and while my High-Priestess  lacks in nothing in leading and caring for our beloved Coven, the Priests and Elders of my Tradition are men of warmth, strength, honor, and grace. 
All of these men are human and as such they are not transcended beings without shadow or weakness but, they are beautiful and their ethics, honor and service are beyond reproach.  They serve out of love and while they may sometimes be wrong, it is never for lack of striving to live lives of service to their community or their families.
As it may be clear to you by now, I have been blessed with the privilege of knowing many beautiful men and so, while I am aware that men can commit dreadful acts of violence, I believe that is the result of their human failings and not their maleness (women too are capable of horrific violence) . The entire gender may not be painted with the same brush.  Men are individual beings and as such deserve to be honored and loved and appreciated and even hated for “the content of their character”  to paraphrase Dr. King, and not for their anatomy.
I have been happily and blissfully isolated in most of my time on this path.  I have only recently truly become aware of the controversies that plague our greater community.  I am a simple witch who practices quietly and until recently I have not made myself aware of much of the larger pagan discourse.  So take what I have to say and ignore it or discount it as you please but, I feel the need to say it.
I want the men in my life to know that they are valued, trusted and loved.  I want the men in my community to know that they are welcomed, embraced and equally beautiful and needed.  Gay, straight, bi-sexual, asexual, androgynous, transgendered, transvestite or nudist, I don’t care what labels someone else puts on you, or if you choose to identify yourself by any label at all.  You are irreplaceable in my world.  I need all of my gods. 
The God, the Gods who are not of this world, are necessary to me as well.   They are a part of me and they teach me and guide me and they help me to understand myself as a woman, as much as the Goddess does.  Not one of the Gods has ever harmed me.  Not even the God of those poor frightened souls in Indiana.  What some human does in the name of God is not His responsibility.  Many people over the history of our human race have committed great evil in the name of religion, and many still do.  But I would not turn my back on that which to me is my most human need.  Religion is a human expression of a human need to unite with deity and the diversity of that expression is a testament to the beauty of the diversity of our humanity.
I want to say to my sisters who have had to fight and struggle in order to claim their womanhood, you are Priestess and Sister.  You are beautiful and needed and valued and embraced.   You are Goddess and I need you too.
I want to share a blog that I have only discovered the past few days.  It is written by a man who works with the Goddess and it is inspiring to me.  I spent every free moment reading every post since I found it and he is part of the inspiration for these thoughts.

Thank you Erick Dupree  You are beautiful!

http://www.aloneinherpresence.com/

Monday, August 12, 2013

Freedom



Life has been good this past week, settling into a happy balance and plans for new adventures.  The transformation I have felt has had the surprising affects of new perceptions as well as changes in my internal structures and the way in which I function.  There has been a real change not only in my perspective of who I am but, a freedom that I have never experienced before.  Most notably, I have experienced an inspiration that is far greater in scope than I have ever had. 
At work this past Friday, in a moment of quiet, I wrote on a blank piece of paper the name of my Coven.
The Weavers of the Moonfire
I looked at it and saw the faces of my coven-mates.  As I continued to look at the words and admire how beautiful they are, I saw the title of a novel.  Not only that but, I saw the world in which it takes place, the characters, the plot and the vision that I want to share.
In the past I have written poetry, character sketches and short stories.  Some of which I am quite proud of.  I have tried to write longer pieces of fiction as well but, the stories have always died within the first few pages. The larger work of imagination has always eluded me, until now.
 I think that stories have to tell themselves and the writer is a conduit first, then a craftsman.  I have always been so focused on the responsibility of crafting something of value, and crafting it well, that I have not been able to let the process, the story itself, take on a life first. 
In the past, I have felt the need to constrain, analyze and construct.  In the past few days I have been able to let the secrets of the story remain hidden until they present themselves to me through the act of writing.  I can see glimpses of them in my peripheral thoughts but, I do not feel compelled to catch them and examine them in bright light under a glass in detail.  I can allow them to remain hidden until they are ready to become seen.  And I am enjoying the adventure and the discovery immensely.
It is the difference between wandering in the woods or sitting alone in the windowless silent room in the second grade doing multiplication, because my teacher felt that I was distracted,   (she didn’t understand that I could daydream anywhere and that quiet, gray prison created a stronger need to do so than the classroom…she meant well but, an abacus would have been more helpful).
I am enjoying the feeling of living without chains, or cages, or locked doors.  I am enjoying the freedom of life without constrains.

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Perspectives


The past ten days have been very positive for me.  The healing and learning that I was able to experience have allowed me to feel rejuvenated and re-energized in every aspect of my life.  I have returned to work, but in a positive and healthy situation, and I am enjoying being productive and useful again.  I have been able to re-establish a healthy balance of work and life and my physical health has returned as well.  I am sleeping well and eating well and I go to work and return home feeling happy and alive.

This has resulted in a renewed ability to engage with my loved ones, my purpose and artistic expression, all of which are necessary for me to be happy.  I have been able to spend time in the natural world, reconnecting with the magick around me.  I have been able to spend time with my Beloveds and time playing with my Pwca.  I have been able to dream and to imagine and to engage more fully in my daily practice.  All of which has been about regaining that which I had lost during the time that I was struggling but, there have also been new perspectives, new ideas and new plans. 

I have committed to joining a local women’s business forum.  I will be participating in a local writers group to gain feedback and motivation to finish my book projects that have lost momentum.  I will be actively practicing massage again and riding horses at a local barn.  And I will be seeking out opportunities to experiment with other forms of expression, pottery, painting, stained glass and dance.  I will be engaging more with all of those things that inspire my passions and engage my mind, heart, soul, body and spirit, and in ways that I never have before.

One of the most significant changes has been my perspective on who I am, of how I see my own identity, both magickally and in my mundane existence.  I am a strong person.  I am intelligent, opinionated, knowledgeable and curious.  I have valuable gifts, talents and skills.  I have a wealth of light and shadows and compassion and the capacity to recognize and appreciate those in others. 

I am beginning to see myself more accurately, more clearly.  I am beginning to recognize that I have much of value to offer.  I can learn and improve upon those skills that I have not yet mastered.  I can ask those who know more than I to teach me. I am a deserving student, worthy of a teacher’s time and effort.  This is a very new realization for me and it is a necessary one if I am to serve my Beloveds, my Gods, my Ancestors, my Allies, my Community and my World.

I look forward with anticipation and enthusiasm to the renewed journey and to the many new lessons and opportunities to be discovered.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Side Trips and the Things We Learn from Them...



I sat in an exit interview today and when I had finished saying what honor required, I was asked to rescind my resignation and remain with the bank in a position outside of the situation that I left.  I was told that I was needed.  It is nice to be valued and appreciated.  It also feels good to be going back to work next week.  I dislike being a “quitter” and I need to work.

So what was all of this for?  Was it all a waste of time if I am simply going back?  No.  It was not a waste.  It was one of the most important learning experiences I have ever had.  I learned things that I would never have learned unless I had experienced these past few weeks.

I learned to respect my own gifts and talents and to access my own strength and light.  I learned to listen to my inner voice, instincts and intuitions, and to act on them. I learned to trust in my own wisdom and hard work.  I learned to really look at the rules that I live my life by and recognize where they come from and let go of the ones that do not come from my own inner truth.  I learned to sit with the unknown, with no plan, and not panic.

Each step of the way I learned things that, if I had not taken each step, I could not have learned.  Some things have to be experienced.  Sometimes it is necessary to step off the path and take a side trip even if it seems to lead nowhere, to “a place that is not a place and a time that is not a time” even if you need to return to the path exactly where you left it.  It may seem that you have gained no ground and that you have only wasted time but that is not the case.  You return to the path with clearer sight, better understanding and sometimes even happier circumstances.  It has cost you time but, what you have gained is of greater value than what you have sacrificed.

I am amazed and grateful for the side trip and for the lessons.  I am also grateful for the opportunity to go forward and to get back to work. And for the freedom from fear that those lessons have provided to me. I Give Thanks.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Epiphany



Having left my job without another secured, I have been searching actively every day.  I spend a lot of time looking for jobs to apply to. I have also been fighting against the feeling that I should feel guilty and miserable and do nothing except job search until I secure the ONE position that will absolve me of my “sin”. 

A full-time, day-shift, office job that pays enough to meet my obligations.  Some of the parameters I have placed on it are mine.  No Sales, close to home.  But a lot of the “rules” do not come from me; they come from someone else who gave me the rules years ago.  I am still trying to comply with someone else’s idea of what my life needs to look like.   

Finally, yesterday after a very vivid dream that began the process, a conversation with my ex-husband (the source of some of the original “rules”), a conversation with my High Priestess’ youngest son (who is currently in college) and a few hours spent with a wolf-pup (all dogs are wolves), I had an epiphany. 

I live alone, with just my Pwca (and he cannot tell time).  I am not a morning person.  I like a lot of different things and can do a lot of different things.  I really miss actively practicing massage.  I don’t like being constrained, or having all of my “eggs in one basket”.  I like structure and I crave freedom.  I am capable of creating the structure I need.

It finally occurred to me that I can build the life I want to build.  It can look the way I want it to.  I do not have to please anyone but me and Pwca and all he cares about is that I am happy and healthy and home regularly.  He has finally begun to play again.  I had been very concerned for his welfare lately as he has been lethargic (reflecting my ill health).

So I have been daydreaming and imagining what I WANT my life to be.  I am continuing to search in the traditional way but I am considering part-time jobs, evening shifts, and doing many things at many places.  Meeting new people, becoming a part of my mundane community, and having fun.  A few shifts at one place doing one type of work, a shift here and a shift there doing different things in different places.  Having time to give a massage to someone once in a while, having time to write and of course having time to spend with my Moonfire, my community, my family and friends.


Having faith in myself, in my Gods, Ancestors and Guides.  Having faith in my abilities and my own hard work.  Living in faith and not in fear.  Living out loud, without the need for an escape route.   I have always wanted to be that person.  And yes, it helps immensely to know that my family and friends have my back, that failure will not be catastrophic.  That Pwca and I will never be homeless or starving (or separated). 

But I am not so focused on the possibility of failure; fear is not the overriding principle in my life.  I want to remain in my treehouse and if I can build my life the way I want, I will.  The future is as yet unknown and unwritten, but I am finally able to imagine it like I never have before.  I am not afraid.  I can create that which I dream.  I can build the life I truly want.