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.