4/22/12

Pagan Blog Project: I - Incubate

Incubate is an interesting word. It comes from Latin and is used mainly to discuss the development of something. It was originally used to discuss the process of hatching eggs. It's synonyms include the word brood.

Why am I discussing the word incubate? Well, partly because I couldn't think of a good 'i' word. Partly because it is an interesting little concept. Incubation, germination, growth. They're all very powerful concepts. We invoke them regularly. We lie metaphorically in the state of contemplation and consideration of things when we are 'hatching' an idea.

Incubate is a word that was used in the deep past mostly with respect to birds hatching eggs. Birds are almost universally considered 'Air' oriented. They are possessed of the inspiring ability of flight. Their song greets us in the morning and sends off the day at dusk. Ideas are often described as having wings. Thoughts are often described by poets as feathered things that flit and flirt about like their avian counterparts.

It is an interesting little flight of fancy. And it all started with the word incubate. Makes you wonder just how many other things can take wing and become their own song with a little ingenuity and imagination.

Pagan Blog Project: H - Handfasting

Unlike my last Pagan Blog Project entry, I'm not going to get ahead of myself and say that I'll be posting multiple entries. It is my hope to get caught up letter wise and let the blog posting count take care of itself. Life has been really busy of late and I haven't had the opportunity to sit down and post much of anything in any of my blogs. I'm lucky if I get my three pages written in my daily journal. Rambling aside, thank you, dear Reader, for being so patient and waiting for me to post. I deeply appreciate it.

Tonight, I am writing about handfasting. Some traditions call this a 'trial marriage' that is expected to last for a limited period of time. In many ways, it serves the role of engagement. We, however, don't tend to consider such things in our culture at large. Engagement is prelude to marriage and handfasting is largely unknown. In the writings of the early modern witches, handfasting was an obliquely touched upon matter. More emphasis was place upon developing liturgy and defining the relationship between witch and deity.

In my own tradition, handfasting is synonymous with marriage. There is no 'trial' aspect to it. One can have the relationship last for a predetermined period of time (such as the famous 'year and a day' period) or one can leave it as a life long commitment. Or some variation of the above. The important part of handfasting is the fact that these people are entering a solemn commitment to each other, witnessed by the divine and all of life. Oaths (an entirely different topic) are weighty things and when affirmed in such a ceremony, it is my belief that they take on greater importance.

The legal matters of recognizing a handfasting as a marriage, in my opinion, is simply a matter of paperwork. The swearing of oaths and calling upon the divine and all life to witness it is a far greater thing. Such an oath carries a deep karmic impact that can last throughout one's lifetime. It should be approached with great care and consideration. The contract between the ones who are to be wed should be carefully worded with provisions made for future concerns.

When we look at ancient marriage contracts, we find them resembling prenuptial agreements. The union made is built with considerations for offspring, financial matters, and the possible dissolution of the union. I think it is highly important that such considerations return to the discussion of handfasting (and marriages of any sort, even civil/secular ones). As romantic as the idea of 'till death do we part' sounds, there is a greater likelihood of other matters arising and creating a rift in the union. Taking time to plan for how to approach such a possible rift before it happens gives greater peace to the people who are dealing with it.

I have seen too many ugly divorces where people focused more on engaging in emotional warfare then upon peaceably dissolving the contract between them. I've seen too many situations where the children of a now loveless union become pawns in said emotional warfare, leading to deep emotional scars upon everyone involved. (It is my opinion that such behavior is emotional and psychological abuse of the children and should NEVER be tolerated.) Taking the time before one enters into marriage to consider the possible dissolution and how to make it as amicable as possible is not just wise.

It is a statement of love. It is a statement of respect for the people in the marriage and any children who may be born of it. It says 'I care enough about you to provide a respectable means to conclude this union if we find that we can not continue it later.' It is an act of compassion. And it makes me sad to see people who failed to consider such things allow the ugliness of the moment of their divorce burn away the happiness that was there with the memories of their marriage. It is a sorrowful thing and I suspect that their past selves would have been heartbroken and horrified to see it.

4/14/12

Weaving, spinning, and purging poisons.

Waning Worm Moon (Age: 23 days)
Sign: Aquarius
Weather: cloudy, warm, with rain expected later
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For a few days now, I have been having dreams of Sigyn. Some of them are very straight forward and have content that I am not permitted to share except with a very small number of people. And in these dreams, Sigyn has given me work to do.

She wants me to continue my efforts to get better at spinning. She has told me that this is to be an important part of my life as time progresses forward. Sigyn has told me that I must learn to be better at weaving. I will be making something for her, though she hasn't told me what. And then there is the third task that I was given in my dreams last night.

In my dream, Sigyn placed a small stone bowl in my hand. She told me that I was to fill it with poisons. I was confused and she clarified. All of the unhealthful thinking and habits that I have acquired are to be purged. I don't know how I will fill this bowl and it seems terribly small for such a large task. Sigyn tells me that I will receive the physical vessel soon. The substitute vessel needs to be something strong and has the capacity to contain magic.

I suspect that this may be one of the tiny ritual cauldrons that I own. I'm not entirely sure how comfortable I am with this process. It is, however, one of the ones that has been set before me to do as a priestess. I don't know if I am supposed to write things down on slips of paper or impress the psychic energy of the thought into a stone and place it in the bowl. Sigyn hasn't answered me on this one. I think that's because she is confident that I will figure out the best method for me to use.

I may, in the midst of this, restart my worry jar. I had one at one point. Somewhere in the midst of the last move it went missing. Oddly enough, I don't even remember what was in that jar. So, I guess it did it's thing. Right now, I just feel a powerful call to go out for a walk. Maybe, I'll do just that. It's not a bad way to end the evening.

4/7/12

Pagan Blog Project: G - Goddess Centered Life Goals

I'm going to type up two 'G' entries tonight. To my readers, I apologize that I forgot to post on this last week. I've been running in circles trying to keep up with the kids. I must first make a confession before I proceed to write upon this topic. I am not very good at keeping focus upon the Goddess. I've had many traumatic experiences revolving around maternal influences that make it very challenging for me to engage the Goddess on a deep level. Please forgive if any of this sounds awkward. I am foraging ahead on some new (to me) ground here.

It may be a mouthful but 'Goddess Centered Life Goals' is actually a new focus of mine. In some ways it is a return to a previous position with deeper self knowledge. When I was a neophyte, I was exceptionally starry eyed about the idea of a deity that had some kind of resemblance to myself. As I moved from soft polytheism into harder polytheism, I moved away from the Great Goddess of Wicca and into more focused relationships with specific deities. I'm not saying that one was better then the other, it was just what happened.

After Samhain last year, I realized that I needed to built up my relationship with the Great Goddess. It was then that I sat down and looked at some of my life goals. How can these life goals be viewed in the context of my relationship with the Goddess? It was a question that felt strange and uncomfortable. I kept asking myself until I began to sense I had some kind of an answer. (Relentless self-examination is always part of the key to personal gnosis, in my opinion.)

I looked at myself and where I stand in this journey called my life. I saw that my faith played a very large role. I saw that my life as a mother was extremely important. My life as a wife and helpmate was extremely important. And it suddenly occurred to me, this is part of how the Great Goddess manifests. It was profound in its simplicity.

Then I went back to the myths that formed the framework of the Wiccan relationship with the Great Goddess. I studied them and looked at my life. I asked myself, how can I understand my life in terms of the mythology of the Great Goddess? I asked, what is the way that the Great Goddess has manifested in me?

I'll be honest, I don't have answers to those questions. I'm still doing research and engaged in contemplation on the matter. I think, however, that as I consider my relationship with the Great Goddess it will be come clear to me just how I am one of her faces. And I think that it will not only manifest itself in my life goals but in my relationships. And I think that it will be incredibly empowering when it happens.

Until then, however, I'll do as the Buddhist monk: chop wood and carry water.

4/1/12

Plant magic & gardening

Waxing Gibbous Worm Moon (Age: 9 days)
Sign: Leo
Weather: Cloudy, cold and light breezes
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I have started my gardening efforts a tad early. As a result, I recycled several plastic bottles to serve as mini-greenhouses during this cold snap. It is my hope that they did what I needed them to and helped my seedlings survive. Much of what I have planted so far hasn't been with emphasis upon magical uses. It has been more to accommodate the growing conditions and my deep desire to have flowers. While there is nothing wrong with this emphasis, I am going to transition my next plans for planting more along the magical, medicinal, and edible lines.

There will be a large circular bed that I will be planting soon. I need to thin out a flowerbed that is overstuffed with day lilies and I think I will be taking the square area that is filled with stone and putting something there that is pleasant and can bear partial to deep shade. I have a good deal of plants in pots and there will be many more.

In my efforts, I hope to have some sort of way to encourage my children to get excited about gardening. I may be putting aside a pot of soil just for them. I'm still considering my options. My youngest is 2 1/2 years old so he's not going to be as focused on the new experience as his 4 1/2 years old brother. Either way, however, I want them to learn that plants are also living creatures that we should be respectful of. I really don't like how the other children that they play with wantonly rip leaves and twigs off of plants.

Speaking of twigs, it is my hope that the maple twig that I have in a vase of water will put out some roots. If I am lucky and can get it to do so, I will be putting it into a nice little pot and keeping it in the house. I love the idea of growing a tree. And it is my hope that our next move will be to a place where we can 'put down roots'. My dream is to do so by planting a few trees to grow with our family in our permanent home.

I know that plenty of people live in apartments and are quite happy with them. It has always been my dream to have a house with a big yard and a garden. As part of my efforts to support this dream, I am going to attempt to coax this twig into rooting and putting it into a pot. There's lots of people who have grown trees in pots. I like the idea of doing so until we have ourselves a house with a bit of property.

I think that my garden and plants will reflect the health of my home. As such, caring for them is a manifestation of how I am caring for my family. And where some people call their pets their 'fur babies' I tend to call my plants my 'green babies.' I love the idea that my 'green babies' can grow and bring fulfillment and blessings to my home.