8/9/13

New Moon Musings

Waxing Corn Moon (Age: 2 Days)
Sign: Virgo, void of course @ 7 pm
Weather: Cloudy, rainy
~*~*~*~*~*~
I missed the exact date of the New Moon, but I am still going to do my monthly ramble. I sit here with a legacy of my deceased Aunt Shawn on. I can feel her with me. She has no commentary or anything to share, but her presence is a comfort. I keep looking at the ring and wishing that I hadn't pushed her away from me during the last year of her life.

I think back to when I was younger and I see a mixture of good and bad memories. I reflect on the past and I try to keep up this practicing of mindful kindness towards myself. Aunt Shawn was a big part of my life. I loved her deeply and I still do. I think she's proud of what I have done with my life. I think that she would have seen the kind of mother I am and been pleased with what I am doing. I am more then a little bit certain that she is would be proud of what I have accomplished with my education and my spiritual growth. 

I try to spend a little time during the New Moon reconnecting with the beloved Dead from my life. Today, I sit here drinking Red Rose tea with heaps of sugar in it, like I had when I was younger and visiting her and my Auntie Adrian. I'm wearing her ring on my first finger of my right hand, just as she wore it on hers. Sometimes, reminiscing and sharing the company of the Dead is a stronger way to reconnect then all the fancy rituals you can think of.

Hail to the Dead! May you find peace in your repose. May your memory be praised and loved.

8/5/13

Make every action a prayer.

Waning Hay Moon (age: 28 days)
Sign: Leo
Weather: Cool, fair skies
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It has been rather busy around here. This is literally the first opportunity I have had to post anything here. I have been engaged in a lot of prayer over the last month. Health issues lead to a period of convalescence in a hospital in July. During this time, I spent a great deal of effort in prayer. As I get life back to normal around home, the focus on prayer has not shifted.

Indeed, I have moved from quietly murmuring something as I moved about the room to keeping a prayerful mind as I engaged in my tasks during the day. It was a comforting counterpoint and change from the habit of worry.  It was surprisingly easy to dedicate my efforts towards the Divine. Even when I was engaged in serious introspection this afternoon, I took a moment to dedicate those efforts to the Gods.

It may seem a bit silly to some and overly pious to others. After all, something as mundane as washing dishes is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of a contemplative prayer. Most people think of a monk or a similar person cloistered in a still, silent location with all of their focus on the Divine. While there is a place for such devotional activities, most of us don't have that luxury of freedom from distractions. 

This is where I draw inspiration from *gasp* the Catholic St. Therese of Lisieux. She taught and practiced what she called the Little Way. It was by small, daily acts of kindness and compassion to all about her that St. Therese developed herself spiritually. If something as simple as taking the cracked cup that others didn't want could build such a wise soul, surely it can prove of equal use in honoring the Divine. I have read her autobiography several times and I highly recommend it.

I confess, I draw a great deal of inspiration from medieval Catholicism. I find comfort in doing my best to pray every day at all times. I can not always sing chants in honor of the deities I follow. I can, however, dedicate what work I do to them. Thus, I strive to build a devotional relationship that will sustain me during the times of difficulty that come. 

It is this relationship that I find comfort in when nothing else can sooth my troubled heart. For, in putting daily effort into devotional activity, I open up a channel whereby the Divine may return the contact. I am honestly confused by how others can subsist on limited weekly contact. I look at that type of life and I am confused. To live with such a meager amount of conscious exchange with the Divine seems to me torment.

The Divine is all about me. Everything I encounter and experience is an aspect of it. Even that which most others would term as 'evil' is a piece of the Divine. All things flow from this source and remain part of it. To shut my eyes to this is foolish, for even in the darkness behind my lids, the Divine is still present. Thus, I do my best to deeply engage in worship, so that I may be better attuned to the flow of the will of the Divine. In such attunement, I have found nothing less then pure ecstasy and a peace that I can not express in words.

7/25/13

Devotional for Loki.

Waning Thunder Moon (Age: 18 days)
Sign: Pisces
Weather: Cool, fair skies
~*~*~*~*~
I am unsure what to write. I am a bit late to the Month of Devotionals for Loki party. Life and my disabilities conspired to have me at a point where I wasn't able to do anything on this front until now. Looking over the last few weeks, I am at an utter loss for what I should write. I found myself getting a very direct and personal view of the world with World-Breaker in his mad aspect. It was more than a little disconcerting in the hospital.

At the same time, I refused to fear him. Did I fear the people around me? Yes. There were people who left me a whimpering, terrified wreck that I had to deal with. But, I did not fear Loki. Not even when he gave me a manic grin and asked questions that triggered my PTSD or pushed the issue regarding my social phobia. Oddly, he didn't push the points that were fragile. 

He didn't probe or challenge the depression matter or the psychotic symptoms that resulted from it. I knew that he was watching me and taking my measure, weighing something about me against something else, something I don't begin to have a clue what it could be. As I started to turn the proverbial corner on dealing with these two crucial issues, Loki seemed to redouble his press on the other points. I found myself walking around half-triggered for panic attacks most of my stay at the hospital. They happened a plenty. Loki just kept going 'Well, where's your self control? Where's your iron will, valkyrie? Stand.'

So, I dug in deep into myself and I struggled mightily to pit my will against my symptoms. As my buttons kept getting pushed, I found it harder and harder to hold out. Then, one day, World-Breaker opened his hand and set it upon me. That day was the hardest of them because my PTSD was triggered all day and the triggering events kept becoming progressively more and more extreme. Then, just as I thought I couldn't bear any more, he gave me a means of escape.

The room that I was in, that evening, erupted into utter chaos. People screamed. Someone jumped another person and smacked the hell out of them. Another person threw a chair. I cowered in the corner, praying that they wouldn't hurt me. Things calmed for a moment and I seized that moment and fled. As I resisted the urge to run with a wail of terror, I could feel Flamehair watching me. I moved swiftly, quietly, and with an outward appearance of mild distress out of the room and down the hall to where my assigned room was.

Once in there, I moved to the one position in the room that I could not be easily viewed from the door and I waited. I watched. I listened to the nurses scrambling to get the situation under control. And when all was quiet again, I pushed aside my terror and ventured back out in to the common milieu of the ward. I continued to push my terror aside over the next three days as things escalated quickly and had the awful potential for violence like a supercell for tornadoes. And I am certain that Loki was testing me, even certain that he had drop kicked me into there to get my situation handled.

I hope that I had passed my test. I learned the value of a tactical withdrawal and of a well placed lie. 

I know it's not the flaming glory covered writing that others are probably going to pen in Loki's honor. It is, however, the best I can do at this time. Even in the midst of chaos and danger, I will continue to put my trust into Loki. What ever comes, I will trust him. I don't know how that changes anything, if it changes anything at all. I only know that I will walk forward with faith, even if I am just this side of pissing myself in terror.

6/18/13

Wedding Vows for ceremony 6/19/13

Love is the prime mover of all things. It is Love that hols the stars within their courses, and all the worlds of the immeasurable cosmos within the harmony of the celestial music. Love is the soul of harmony by which all existence is made possible. And it is for Love's sake that we have gathered today to witness the union of these two people, (Bride) and (Groom).

Who gives away this woman into the bonds of matrimony?

[reply]

Do you, (Bride), take this person, (Groom), as your lawfully wedded spouse? Do you solemnly vow to cherish (Groom) at all times, in sickness and health, in joy and sorrow, and in all other things that come to pass? Do you solemnly vow to protect (Groom) in times of weakness and celebrate him in time of happiness?

[reply]

Do you, (Groom), take this person, (Bride), as your lawfully wedded spouse? Do you solemnly vow to cherish (Bride) at all times, in sickness and health, in joy and sorrow, and in all other things that come to pass? Do you solemnly vow to protect (Bride), and her son, (name), in times of weakness and celebrate them in times of happiness?

[reply]

Do you, the gathered, witness this exchanging of vows?

[reply]

The rings, please.

(Bride), please repeat after me: With this ring, I take thou as mine own, uniting us and adding to my family.

(Groom), please repeat after me: With this ring, I take thou as mine own, uniting us and adding to my family.

It is by the power vested in me by the State of New York, I pronounce (Groom) and (Bride) as husband and wife.

6/4/13

Theological Consideration: Death, Afterlife, & Reincarnation

Before we continue our discussion of magical practices, let us pause to briefly consider the age old question of death. In many different sects of Wicca, death is viewed as a transition to an afterlife in a location known as the Summerlands. The Summerlands are a place of rest and respite for the soul. Reunion with beloved dead who had passed before you is considered a common element of one's passage to the Summerlands. It is also believed that all forms of life pass on to the Summerlands when they die.

The most predominant belief in modern Wicca is that reincarnation is possible and happens fairly regularly. This, in conjunction with the belief in the Summerlands (or something similar) provides the theological foundation of how modern Wicca approaches death. It is, in short, a natural transition to another phase in life that is no more fearful then birth or growing older.

Within my tradition of witchcraft, it is a touch more complex then this. Reincarnation is possible and does happen. It is also equally likely that one will choose to remain within the spiritual realms. A phenomenon which I refer to as the Veil acts as a subtle barrier between the living and the dead. The Veil tend to be more resistant to penetration in locations where there is a great deal of live activity. Places traditionally associated with the dead are places more permeable because there is a greater concentration of this energy in conjunction with the thoughtforms that associate the dead with this location. As such, the Veil is thinned and communication with the dead or other spiritual beings is easier.

If one chooses not to reincarnate upon their passage to the spiritual side of things, they have their choice of places of rest and habitation. Some choose to remain close to the physical world, thus there are hauntings and people who have spirits about them. Others move to places traditionally associated with the dead, for the thoughtforms are far more cemented and 'physical' in the spiritual realm.

There is not strictly only Heaven or Hell for where the dead might go. There are many, many different locations. Every spiritual abode of the dead that has been conceptualized exists in the spiritual realms. In my practice, I have traveled to several different locations by way of a trance journey. (The general response to a living soul visiting is one of pleasant surprise. In a few locations I was firmly invited to leave.) The thing that I find is the most consistent with all of the locations I have traveled to is that those who had lived a life that was virtuous and in accordance with the beliefs of their chosen faith were treated well. Those who had especially proven to be outstanding examples of such traits were held with honor and had a higher status among the others.

Those who failed to do so were of lower status and, when applicable, punished in accordance with the traditions of their faith. The most telling thing about this arrangement was that there were many people who chose to put themselves into the lower status conditions because they had felt that they deserved them. It was an interesting discovery, to be perfectly frank. Some, however, were not permitted to take on lower status then what they had earned. These spirits were frequently bewildered by their good fortune. It was explained to me that it took a measure of time for these souls to acclimate to their surroundings and unlearn the habits of self criticism. Some may ask, how do people who operate in a mixed religion situation fare upon death. In this, I have found that they spend time in the places accorded to them by their mixed religions with a portion of time for each location.

The many deities of death are varied and of different minds with respect to their charges and of visitors. If one wishes to trance journey to a specific spiritual realm, it is wise to study the mythology and lore of that realm. This helps to make one familiar with the 'architecture' of the realm and makes it easier for them to interact with the denizens of those locations. I also advise to leave an offering for all deities and spiritual beings involved in the trance journey. It is simply a matter of good manners to express your gratitude for their assistance.

5/31/13

Vows for future service.

Love is the prime mover of all things. And it is for Love's sake that we have gathered today to witness the union of these two people (Name) and (Name). Do you (Name) take this person, (Name) as your lawfully wedded spouse?  Do you (Name) take this person, (Name) as your lawfully wedded spouse? Do you, the gathered, witness this exchanging of vows?

It is by the power vested in me by the State of New York and the authority of the Church of Ancient Paths, I pronounce (Name) and (Name) as husband and wife/wife and husband/husband and husband/wife and wife.

5/8/13

God's got my back.

Waning Pink Moon (Age: 28 days)
Sign: Taurus
Weather: Seasonable, cloudy with 
intermittent rain
~*~*~*~*~*~
I didn't sleep well last night. It happens some times. The thing that makes this notable isn't my poor sleep last night but how I woke from my nap this morning. I was having horrific nightmares. I kept trying to wake myself from them and failing. Then, as I was having a nightmare of being trapped in an office fending off some violent people with a pistol (for all my gamer friends & readers, I was taking only headshots and succeeding but it was like the zombie outbreak from hell), Frey sent in people to pull me out of it.

I went from crouching at a door, desperately conserving ammo and doing my best to aim to watching as a group of special forces operatives mowed down the people amassed against me. When I looked at them, their clothes and appearances shifted. In one glance, they looked like U.S. special ops. In the next, they looked like vikings. They kept moving back and forth between these two groups as they cut their way through the swath of foes. 

When they reached me, the leader of the group said "Frey sent me." but I heard at the same time "Seal team six." As soon has he put a hand on my wrist, the tableaux changed and I was in the dance studio that served as Sensei Cathy's dojo. Frey was there, even as I was struggling to break myself free from a wrist hold that I was in with a very tall man and beginning to panic.

Frey walked up and said "Time to wake up." And then I felt like I was pulled up out of deep water. I woke with a gasp for air, even as the lingering, creeping feeling of terror was still settled over me. I lay for a few minutes under the covers, looking around the room and reassuring myself that I was awake. It took me a little bit.

I was still feeling terribly unsettled when I sat down at the computer. Then Frey helped me again. He pointed out a song that Beloved has on here. As I listened to it, I was moved to tears because I realized it was a song that reminded him of me. Frey quietly said to me "You need to remember what is real."

Sometimes, my greatest foe is not outside of my head. Sometimes, it is my very active imagination and past trauma. It may sound a little strange to say that a nightmare of fending off terrorists (?) is related to past trauma, but in the snarled web of my mind, it does make sense. I had been struggling with a blurring of the present and the past, with only a brief respite when Beloved and I had sex last night. 

Frey grabbed hold of me and dragged me back into the present even as he ripped me out of my nightmares. I know it doesn't sound like much for a 'theological' musing, but I feel that this fits the theme. It's not everyday that you get a very direct reminder that gods are here to help you. Well, in my cause, I guess it should say it's not everyday that I need a clue by four to the head on that one. Either way, I am thankful to him.

I still feel a bit off, but nothing like what I would have been like with out his help.

4/26/13

Full Pink Moon Ramblings

Full Pink Moon (Age: 16 days)
Sign: Scorpio
Weather: Fair skies, seasonable
~*~*~*~*~*~
Tonight, I didn't do a ritual. The day was simply too wacky for me to get all of my proverbial ducks into a row. I've lit the candles on my altar and put out an offering for the gods, my ancestors, and the house spirits. I made a point of getting something alcoholic because it's good to give them something special from time to time.

This, combined with my offering some of my meal, has composed the predominant 'body' of my observances for this month. Friends of mine are observing Beltane this weekend. I wish them great happiness and joy. I will be observing it on the first of May before going to the art show opening. It is my hope that this celebration will be the first of many.

I am still striving to continue to pray the Filianic rosary every Monday morning. It is a little practice that makes me feel closer to Dea. In its own way, I am finding myself drawn back to the Wiccan Lady by way of Dea. It is a somewhat confusing thing. It seems that everything moves in circles, somehow. I am drawn back to the practices that I had towards the beginning of this 'journey.'

Dea simply smiles at my bewilderment. She smiles at so much that I do. It is a wonderful thing. I am deeply grateful for this. It tells me that I am doing the right thing. It is, I confess, an awkward thing for me to both have Dea as the Filianic goddess and the myriad of goddesses that I follow. 

And beneath these different forms, there is something older. It is something that moves as the manifest, the particle, and the 'real' aspect of the Universe. It's twin is there beneath the different forms of the gods that I follow. The potential, the energy, and the 'imagined' aspect of the Universe. These are not separate but they are distinct. Male versus female is only for the sake of my limited language. They are. And together, they make the whole, indescribable and vast.

That whole, as distant and unfeeling as it seems on my bad days, is there and constantly with me. I will never be alone. I am not only accompanied by the Divine, I am a part of it. It is an awe inspiring thing. It is also incredibly humbling. And that is what I find myself thinking about this evening.

4/16/13

Publication? Don't mind if I do!

UPDATE!

I just got published! Here's a link to the book. It is under one of my oldest pen names, Lady Brythwen Sinclair. Please consider purchasing this little book of prayers. While they are written for the Filianic faith, they are equally applicable for goddess worship.

4/2/13

In the Shadow of Spirit

In the Shadow of Spirit: Personal Glimpses of Spirit in Depression
(Dated: Spg. 2001)

As a woman, as a witch, this is alien ground for me. I am here studying at a Catholic college, a place where a faith unfamiliar to me is upheld as the moral guide and standard. When in need of solace, a student is advised to pray or to speak with their spiritual councilor, usually their minister or priest. The language used here speaks of the Christian God, the triune God that is embodied for that Catholic faith in God the Father; God the Son, or Jesus Christ, the Savior; and the Holy Spirit of GOd.

The rituals and practices of Catholicism are woven into the spirit of the college like a subtle gossamer thread that binds the disparate students to the faculty, and these lay people to the Convent and the clergy present here. They do their best to welcome all to their worship services, making them very public and open. All they ask of a visitor of another faith is respect and understanding. Most of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, if not all, I have found give the same respect and understanding to other faiths that have been encountered on campus.

The warmth and kindness that I have seen here has proven to be a reversal of my fears and expectations. Many in my faith are taught that witches and those who were like us were and still are persecuted with prejudice by all Christians, with special emphasis placed on Catholics. Yet, here, on this small, intimate campus, I find myself surrounded with the warm and loving embrace of common humanity and a special sense of sisterhood with the nuns here. They have encouraged my growth and study of my faith, in many respects they have offered guidance to me in my study.

In my hours of darkness, which sadly have been many, I have found myself reminded of the unfamiliar ground that I tread here. The gentle love for their fellow humanity and the motherly wisdom of the Sisters has been a support for me, but it can only sustain me for a limited point. I find myself facing questions, questions that not even their kind guidance and suggestions can help me answer. These are questions of spirit and of faith, which are sadly of a different spiritual language then that of Catholicism or Christianity.

I have often struggled in facing my womanhood; the focus of this struggle has often been on the after effects of being sexually assaulted and raped at one point in my past. The answers that have been suggested for the question of 'why' have ranged from "God working in mysterious ways" to "having the experiences to teach others how to be safe." In counseling and through my study of the psychology of survivors, the horrific randomness and senselessness of the violence perpetrated on me cuts through these potentially soothing answers. Thus, I am left with no spiritual support on which I can lean when I find my wounds bleed too heavily for me to lift my head, let alone walk through life with the strength to carry my own weight and that of my history.

The bleeding of these psychic wounds, wounds to my memory and spirit, manifests in my problems with depression. They are aggravated by the blows and challenges I encounter in my life and world, at times simply oozing proverbial blood and others bleeding heavily and full of the foul stench of putrefaction. I have often yearned simply to lay down, to let myself succumb to the desires to do away with myself or let my situations continue to abuse me, thereby obliterating any sense of self that would need protection or care.

This yearning is an expression of the deep exhaustion I feel, for the fight has been long and hard. When misery casts its hand over me, I find that I stumble into a shadowed place where spiritual strength is hidden from me. It is then that I wish for the sleep of death, and the rest that would come to my spirit in the other world that it journey to, be it the Heaven of my Catholic sisters or the Tir NanOG of my own path.

In these times of darkness and the desire for sleep, something pricks me and keeps me fighting. It ranges from anger to love to something unnameable. It is this nameless force that has given me to believe that perhaps a spiritual answer is in my own faith for what happens to us when we suffer, even if there may not be a higher cause of it. Each fleeting contact with this nameless force, I find myself aware of the large breadth of suffering in the world, if not the Universe. It was a meditation on the cross and the Passion of Jesus Christ that brought me awareness of what this nameless force could most likely be.

Often, it is taught that Jesus suffered on the cross for the sins of the world, to place his blood between the hard gaze of God and the world. In this ultimate sacrifice, the Son of God mediated for the well being of his breathren humanity. I see many expressing this Christian mystery in the words "Jesus suffered for you" on everything from jewelery to bumper stickers. This mystery begs a question, though. If a relationship with anyone is reciprocal, would your suffering, in any form, be for Jesus?

As I continued with this thought, it came to me in a sudden flash of inspiration that when we suffer, we do not suffer alone. Not only is their solidarity in our fellow humanity, who in many circumstances would suffer with us, but we can find that the unnameable higher power that is called God by the Christians, or Goddess by witches like myself, suffers with us. Some would argue that suffering must be exalted, for some noble cause or religious reason, for this to be true. I can not honesty say this, because in the use of the expression "Jesus suffered for you" it becomes possible to say that Jesus suffered with hunger, insult, or even mild discomfort for our sakes, because the statement does not specify the cause of his suffering.

In my own faith, we are taught that the Goddess is within us and that we are a part of her. This makes it a very real teaching for one to say that the Goddess suffers with us when we are harmed. When we suffer moments of weakness, so too does the Goddess. Arguing that the higher aspect or power of the Universe can only feel positive emotions or "righteous" emotions is foolish. Who are we to know the mind of God or Goddess or whatever name you call this higher power by?

We barely know our own mind and nothing about the mind of other humans. We have not yet begun to truly know anything about the workings of the world, let alone the mind of the world. And yet many would dare to say that the Divine mind is not touched by feelings of sorrow or other 'base' emotions. Our ignorance is a blessing and a curse. It shields us from truths that we are not ready to know and it constrains us to learn through trial and error about the Divine. In my times of depression and sorrow, I often find that I reflect on the fact that we cannot know everything about the higher aspect of the Universe.

This mystery frightens me, because it is the unknown. Perhaps some day, this fear will fade from my heart, because there is much about myself that is unknown and I do not fear myself. In the end, the advise of the Sisters lead me to this revelation. It was through their own religion that I came to a truism about mine. Our spiritual languages may be different, but perhaps our problems of spirit are the same. I can say that through each moment of darkness and spiritual weariness, I have learned something of my faith and myself.

When I emerge from them, I am transformed and I find that I am perhaps stronger, or my own strength has been proven to me. In this respect, suffering is a blessing to be welcomed into our lives. But suffering is not joy, and I suspect that joyful suffering can not exist. Suffering is pain, and while pain is perhaps the greatest teacher, it is not to be trifled with. For even when our spirits yearn to rest, we are still challenged by the shadows of spirit even as we are challenged by the light of its wisdom.


~~~~

Addendum:  This was written while I was still learning the deeper theology of my faith. My position upon the matter of suffering has evolved greatly. I feel, however, that it is important to present this to show how my understanding has evolved and developed.

3/20/13

Ostara 2013 & Easter

Blessed Ostara everyone.

To my sisters in the Filianic faith, I wish you all a most blessed Easter. I sit here on the day of the Equinox and I look at my life. I think about the promise of the season and the good that I have. The wheel of life turns and we march forward towards that warmth and abundance, even despite the snow flying through the air in my neck of the woods today. Soon, it will be the time of the Christian celebration of Easter and the other spring season celebrations (Jewish Passover, Holi, etc.) of the world.

While I sit here yearning for green things, I pause a moment to consider the rites of this season. The Blessed Daughter, Inanna/Anna goes down into the land of the dead. I penned the following prayer/poem upon this very matter.

Lo, lament my sisters
For Dea's sorrow is upon us
The silver moon wanes
The seas hath swallowed the rivers
And all life has gone still
Darkness descends
And the stars have gone dark
Cover your faces and weep
For the light has gone out of the world
No fire may be kindled
No arms embrace in love
All is drowned in darkness and sorrow
Let us mourn
For She has gone from us
Into the lands of Death
Were no joy may follow
Weep, my sisters,
Inanna hath gone down into Hel
To the cold queen's hall
Where none may escape

Oddly enough, I feel that the death of Inanna is not contrary to the mythos of the Norse/Teutonic deities. It is simply another story that touches upon the tangled skein of the fates of the Nine Worlds. I am also of the mind that there are more then Nine Worlds, but it's a topic for a different day. Where the Filianic description of Hel is different then the Norse/Teutonic, it is merely a different version of the old stories where one dies and then is reborn.

Ing has died and now he is to rise up reborn with the grain. New shoots of life will rise up from the fertile soil. We turn from the death that has laid low the Blessed Ones to the new life that comes of that death. I truly believe that with that new life, there is the promise of reincarnation. Fertile fields will be ploughed and seed will be cast into them. Birds will produce eggs and animals will bear young. Life will rise triumphant over adversity.

In this, I find hope.  And so, I share this prayer/poem with you as well.

Lift up your voices in song!
Give praise for the day!
Our Lady liveth
And hath set all to right in the world!
The stream runneth to the sea
And the stars chart their courses in the sky.
Angels sing glories
As the birds wing on high!
All of nature proclaims her
Queen of All Eternity.
Our Lady's Mother on high!
Let us give praise.
Let us raise our voices in joyous cry!
All praise to Our Lady
And her thrice blessed Mother!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
These prayers are part of a manuscript soon to be published. I will make note of the details of this publication in the immediate future. Until then, blessed be! <3 br="">

3/17/13

Honoring my Ancestors.

Waxing Sap Moon (Age: 5 Days)
Sign: Gemini
Weather: Cold, partly cloudy
~*~*~*~*~*~
I seek to honor my ancestors. They are important to me because they are my heritage and because if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be walking the green Earth today. I started out thinking that if I remembered them at special occasions that it would be appropriate. Simple little things, like lighting a candle and saying a prayer for their well being, seemed to be a good thing to do.

Then, things began to change in my life. I found myself drawn to things like spinning and knitting. I realized that it wasn't just my curiosity or something similar prompting me to do these things. It was a keen desire to understand what my forefathers and foremothers did. One thing lead to another and now I find myself working to master handcrafts that were the cornerstone of their households.

I am drawn to 'heritage' cooking techniques (food preservation techniques, bread making skills, and old recipes from before WWI, for example). I am increasingly looking to simplify and be come more efficient as a housewife. I am actively moving towards incorporating homeschooling in my children's education. I have started attempting to keep a garden (as best I can manage in pots right now) and I am actively learning more about the plants in my area.

I'm not just doing this because I want to learn more (though that is part of my draw here). I am doing this in the attempt to preserve the knowledge that built my family. I want to make sure that I pass down to the next generations how to do things like make their own bread and what is the best way to mend old socks. Because I feel it is important that they have a sense of their roots.

It's not just a genealogy chart to look at or a coat of arms to hang on the wall. It's a living thing that is precious and must be cherished, lest this wonderful thing be lost. Family is more then the people who you are related to. It is the old stories passed down, the lullaby that has been sung to seven generations of children, the apple pie recipe that won the ribbon at the county fair in 1943. It is also what we do today to make our families stronger. 

Someday, I will be one of the foremothers of the family. I want to make sure that what I pass down is worthy of that special honor. Thus, I cultivate my strengths, preserve the wisdom of the family, and attempt to forge new traditions that will continue to keep my kinsmen in health and wellness.

2/26/13

Witchlings and kidlets.

Full Candles Moon (Age: 15 days)
Sign: Virgo
Weather: Unseasonably warm, cloudy, 
coming winter storm
~*~*~*~*~*~
It is a challenging thing to engage my two boys in spiritual education. A part of me says that they're too young to be learning about such things. Another part of me says that they would benefit from the lessons in self awareness and ecology that comes with a pagan upbringing. When these two parts get into conflict, the result is one very frustrated Momma witch. 

I look at what other pagan parents are doing and I confess a touch of envy. Their children are doing little projects and crafty things. Getting my boys to sit down long enough to read a story is a task and a half. They just barely held their interest long enough to participate in the 'wishing candle' that we did last month. It is a struggle to tailor everything to their unique learning needs.

I'm desperately thankful for the fact that they've got professionals assisting them at school and for the progress they are making. I am striving to do the 'child lead' learning thing on this front but it is difficult. I'm attempting to resolve this with working on some child friendly books but I don't know how well they're going to go over with the boys. Not being sure how your audience will receive something is a rather awful feeling for any kind of artist.

I found some good ideas on About.com and I like the concept of getting the kids involved with rituals. They're very concrete in their thinking right now. Gods are a rather abstract concept. I'm striving to teach them to be gentle with plants and respectful of animals. I'd like to do a ritual but I don't know where to start. Looking at all of these wonderful ideas that other pagan parents have posted and I get frustrated.

Most of the ideas are great for children who are a bit more complex in their thinking then my boys. I want to get the involved but I don't know how. Add to this I am not sure how to approach the current 'Filianic Lent' season. I'm trying to pare down that which is not essential to my life and purify myself of unhealthy thought forms. I'm doing my best to wrap up the 'old business' from the last season. 

My book of prayers for Dea is closer to being ready for publication. My children's manuscript of myths is in the final organization state. I start writing in the immediate future. I have various handcraft projects that I'm finishing up and generally doing my best to get everything ready for spring. I'm not sure how much else I'm going to find myself doing between now and the Equinox. I do what I can with what I have.

2/14/13

PBP: Week 7: C - Contemplation

I just realized I mixed up the letters for the two weeks. I don't think that makes too big of a difference, however. After all, I am the only one keeping score on that front.

Contemplation is the other half of prayer. Prayer is vocalization of what we wish to express to the Divine. It is also the ability to 'listen' for their response. Deep consideration of what our intuition tells us, coincidental events in our lives, and the general chain of causality that follows on the heels of our prayer is what is known as contemplation. I strongly urge any and everyone to engage in it. Sometimes it helps us to find the answers to the questions we have and sometimes it helps us to find the hand of the Divine in our lives.

PBP: Week 6: D - Determination

Determination is the ability to dig your heels in and stick with what you have chosen to do. It is 'keeping your shield up' and pushing forward through adversity. Not enough people are willing to recognize the power in such a simple thing as determination. It is what makes the world keep going.

1 Year Covered!

Waxing Candles Moon (Age: 4 days)
Sign: Ares
Weather: Unseasonably warm, fair/partly cloudy skies
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So, it occurred to me today, this month marks the end of a full year of wearing a head covering. Looking back over the year, I've come to a few conclusions.

  1. Tichel styles are easy and look fantastic, with the right kind of scarf. Pashmina scarves do NOT work well for this type of look. And most of the square scarves I own are just shy of the right size to use for this. I need to correct this at some point in time.
  2. Hijab-ish styles are easier then they look. They are exceptionally comfortable. Also, people in my area do not have as negative of a reaction to it as I had expected. There were some asshats (as there always are) but people have generally raised an eyebrow at most.
  3. I need to wear something with a bit of height to it or I come out looking like a cancer patient. 
  4. I have an almost unholy love of pashminas. Adapting tichel styles for use with them is NOT easy, but I am going to find away to do some of the tichel styles I love and flatter me!
  5. Having my head covered has proven quite soothing in the face of anxiety and social phobia. I have also found that this is most effective with scarves tied relatively snug and layers. Hats, on the other hand, are not as much my style.
  6. I do not feel right unless I have 90% of my hair covered when out in public.
I've reached the end of a year of head covering and I still feel pulled to do so. I wasn't sure if this was going to last a few months, let alone a year. Since engaging on this journey, I have found that covering my hair has served to help me focus and to give me something of a sense of protection when I go into unfamiliar places. This was not something that I had expected either.

I have also found that in taking this step, I have given myself permission to explore other aspects of my spirituality. I am also finding that I have a great deal more confidence in myself and what my intuition tells me. It has lead to deeper and more profound (and productive) spiritual contact with the deities I follow. On the whole, this has brought me health, happiness, and general well being. It has been a change for the better and I am going to stick with it.

2/2/13

An Invocation for Imbolc

This is also from the late 1990s.

Thrice blessed are you, Wise Brigid
Oh you, who granted the Bard his song
Oh you, who gifted the Druid his potent medicine
Oh you who has given the Smith his art
Keeper of the cauldron of knowledge
Guide my hand, oh Wise Brigid
Let my words be wise and true
Fill me with the blessed fire of inspiration
Aid me, Blessed Brigid, so I may learn the sacred mysteries of Truth

Channeled wisdom.

A collection of channeled material from 1997-1999.

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A sound body and mind lends itself to a sound spirit. A sound body is healthy, clean, and strong. A sound mind is free from the doubts that encourage self harm, hungers for knowledge, and filled with creative fire. From these elements is a sound spirit forged.

Greet the day with joy and gratitude. Greet the night with tranquility and reflection. By this way do you begin to have peace. Live your life with a sense of wonder and a keen knowledge of the joys given to you. Even the smallest thing is a magical wonder to treasure.

Self-empowerment comes in many forms. Complete the smallest task in your day and take pride in the work, and that you performed to the best of your ability. You shall quickly find that by doing this the largest of tasks are the easiest and you can succeed despite any odds.

Every day, set a challenge and meet it. Each day, take time to remember your past. And each day, plan for tomorrow. Always grow and make time every day to learn something new. Constructive imbalance moves the wheel forward, destructive imbalance moves it back.

Magic is a way of thought, action, and worship. Everything within and about you is magic. Rejoice in the quickening of life in all points, even in death.

To heal, one must hold the will to survive and life. To hold the will, one must have a reason within themselves. That reason is courage; think as a warrior, live with courage.

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is in the soul and it radiates outward, reflected in form and grace. It captivates the eye, mind, and heart of the beloved more certainly then any spell craft. From this captivation grows love. Love is its own magic, its own way. It has always been with you and yet it is always newly discovered. Such is the way of true magic, both simple and complex. Love is truth in its infinite reflections. Fear not its might, for it protects you from the harshest of blows.

Speak truth of your hear with out far. Truth shall shelter and protect you from harm. With simple words and honest ways, all things can be righted and the balance restored. At the end of it all, great things will have been achieved with out effort.

Follow your joy as you do your passion. Return to your place of power and find your joy. Cling to it as you would to a plank in the ocean. Let the truth's currents shape your path. They shall aid you in your joy and destiny. Fate's price has been paid.

Magic is the art of transformation.

Trance writings circa 1997

I don't even remember writing this. I found it in with some old sketches from high school. I think this is from 1997, but I'm not entirely sure. Either way, I'm slapping it up here. Tranced writing sometimes is interesting and sometimes it is bland.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I am the Mother. My names are infinite, but always, I am the Mother eternal. All that is and ever shall exist are a part of Me. The universe is bound to Me as an infant who is growing within the womb. To some, I was impregnated by a consort. To others, I birthed myself through will and by this did I birth the universe. Both of these are true.

I am the Maiden, my heart trembling with emotion and I am a mystery to all who seek me. I am the child born of myself. I am the newborn psyche and the developed psyche before conceiving the child. To some, I am the laughing girl-child of Spring. To others, I am the chaste huntress of my mate. Either of these can be true, for I am both the child and mother.

I am the Crone. I am the bone-mother and iniatrix. I am the midwife of the mother, the teacher of the maiden, and the mother after birthing her child. I am the fairy maiden, youthful of form and ageless in spirit. All know me in names whispered, most powerful and enigmatic is that of death. All who fear me fail to see me as I am. For in transformation, I am the mother.

There are many who say that I am not the creatrix. Some believe that all that exist is a result of a creator. I am sorrowed for them because they fail to see that I show myself to the universe in many guises. My true form is so vast that not the greatest of minds and spirits can comprehend its way. To do so it to know the eternal ways and forms of the universe, a matter that is continually changing for I am the mother. I always birth new life into the universe.

Many of my children seek to know me as the mother. They look for me in many places but fail to see that they are but a part of me and that they have known me for all their lives. As the Wiccians have said, "Seek me within for I have been with you always and I shall be attained at the end of desire."

There are lessons that many forget because they are quite simple lessons. The mind often is so entrapped with complexities in this age that it dismisses the simple as unimportant. It is vital to embrace a simple path of life for it frees the mind to play in its puzzles and to celebrate life in simple joy.

Because my children are in need, I shall guide them. While these are the words of a woman, I impart my lesson through her. She is a teacher who brings my schooling to all who would listen.

1/28/13

PBP: Week 5: C - Compassion

Tying into the post for last week's theme, I'd like to talk about compassion. Compassion means to 'suffer with' another. It has come to be understood as kind acts towards other people (and beings). If you have seen some of my other posts, you will recognize that I feel that kindness is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.

Kindness is not limited to human. Studies have been done and observations have been made that animals exhibit kindness/compassion. At times going outside of their own species.

There are countless cases of dogs and cats adopting other dogs or cats young when rejected by their parent. There are also recorded cases of them adopting outside of their species. This is part of what is behind the concept of a 'feral child.'

 If we can have compassion seen in the 'lower' animals of the world, then humanity must get over their egoism and extend it to all the world. It doesn't require some sort of grand gesture. It can be as simple as lending a bit of time and willingness to hear another person's story. It can be picking up refuse that is left along the roadside. It can be pulling weeds from a flowerbed or making a feral cat shelter from spare materials.

I sincerely believe that each act of kindness is blessed.

PBP: Week 4, B - Beautiful

Beauty can be seen in many places. People forget, however, that their perspective of beauty is not the absolute. One could wax on and on about what is beautiful and what is not, in their own perspective. It is my opinion that to the gods we are ALL beautiful. All that exists, down to the most miniscule and grotesque thing, is beautiful in their eyes. Because what is existence if not their beloved children. We should keep this little thought in mind as we go through our world. Find beauty where it lies, treasure it, and realized that all are beloved.

1/26/13

First Ritual of the Year

Full Ice Moon (Age: 14 days)
Sign: Cancer
Weather: Some lake effect, high clouds, 
and bitter cold
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It was a very simple little ritual with the boys. I took a birthday cake candle and put it in its own special holder. I then lit it. I brought it before the boys and told them that this was their wishing candle. And that they were to make a wish before blowing it out. After they blew the candle out, I put it on the altar and explained that their wish may come true by the next full moon. They were excited about that. They told me that their wishes were to get trains and to watch trains. Two very easy things for a crafty witchy Mom to make happen.

That business done, I put a few offerings up for the gods, the wights, and the dead. I also am using our oil diffuser to put a bit of rose essential oil into the air. I put the statuary back on the altar. It looks a bit more crowded now, but it feels more correct. Tomorrow, I will put the offerings outside in a hidden spot.
 
I hope that the gods, the wights, and the dead enjoy my offerings tonight. It was a bit of special fudge that I bought at the store to treat myself and some vodka. I plan on making another bottle of infused vodka over the next few months. I think I know what I'm going to infuse into it. I received a box of oranges from my maternal grandmother this week. I think I am going to take the peel from some of the oranges and use that to make orange infused vodka.
 
I think it will make something nice to give in offering. I have a jar of boozy peaches that I am considering decanting some of the liquor off to use for offerings. Again, I'm not entirely decided on how to approach that. I feel the urge to do more baking. I think when February's full moon comes, we'll do something with cakes and juice. If I do it right, I can ease the boys into a full ritual, possibly by the time Litha comes.

1/21/13

Entitlement.

Waxing Ice Moon ( 9 Days old)
Sign: Taurus
Weather: exceptionally cold (arctic temps), 
overcast with moderate lake effect

I am going to do something that I don't usually do here and talk a bit about a social problem that pops up everywhere of late it seems. If you listen to the politicians and their associated talking heads, you have a lot of nattering on about people who have an entitlement attitude. If you listen to the social commentators around, they go on about how people 'deserve' things. And then you have the endless advertisements that go on about stuff like 'get the credit you deserve'. There's also the subtle version of that 'get what you really wanted.'

Entitlement has several definitions. I'd like to think that the politicians are talking strictly about that third definition that has to do with benefits from government programs. I get the terrible feeling that they are actually talking about one having grounds to make claim of something. And that all of the arguments are over what people seem to opine are the legitimacy of others to things. Throw in a bit of confusion over what precisely those 'things' are and some sloppy word play... Well, you wind up with a mess.

I'm going to play out here an idea. If you agree with me, let me know. If you disagree, let me know. I would be *really* excited to see some discussion going on in the comments. :)

My idea:

What all people have a legitimate claim to (regardless of race, age, social status, nationality, creed, or any other distinguishing factors)

  1. To live unmolested and in a fashion that is conducive to their well being
  2. To have access to clean water, food, shelter, and other basic necessities of life
  3. To be able to raise their children in accordance with their beliefs (whilst adhering to points number one and two in the case of their dependents)
  4. To practice their chosen belief system (whilst adhering to prior points in all interactions with others)
  5. To have free expression of their thoughts via what ever medium they wish to exercise (while... you know)
  6. To have freedom of thought wherein they are not punished or penalized for their ideas, beliefs, or other thoughts even if they go against the majority - a person's mind is their kingdom and sacred ground that must be respected for it is the source of all autonomy


Here's what I think is not on the list:

  1. A big house, fancy cars, or other trappings of wealth. Nice to have but you earn them and create them.
  2. Power over other people. Dependents are a trust that belongs to future generations. They must be handled with care and dignity, for you are literally shaping the future in how you treat them.
I know that there's a lot that I didn't cover. If you feel that there is something that must be added, put it in the comments. If you feel that I was wrong about one of my points, let me know. I recognize society creates systems that control and manipulate all of these things. I also am of the opinion that society must be constantly subjected to a critical examination to determine if it is working for the good of all parties and enabling all people to live as genuinely as the possibly can.

1/18/13

PBP 2013: wk 3: B - Blessing

Blessings are not always the wonderful flowery things that people describe. Sometimes it is a roof over head, food in the belly, and dry clothes to wear. Sometimes it is a fire to drive back the cold. Sometimes it is have all the fingers and toes you were born with. And sometimes it is having a prosthetic to replace the ones that you lost.

Blessings are easy to find if you keep a grateful heart.

1/14/13

New Moon, new altar.

Waxing Moon (3 Days)
Sign: Pisces
Weather: Unusually warm, cloudy skies with threat of rain
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A decision that I made is to observe the new moon by reshuffling my altar. It is my goal to keep up with this for every new moon as part of my effort to get back to being more consistent in my ritual observances. I still have a fair amount of my altar furnishings put away. This slick, trimmed back altar is a function of necessity rather then desire. 

My children are fascinated with the altar and have decided it would be a lovely thing to play with. I'm still in the midst of teaching them what it means. I think it's going to be a few months before they've figured out enough not to play with it.

That said, here is January's New Moon Altar pic!




Loki said he wanted one of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I was having for lunch, so I gave him one. In the cup is the last of my Jameson whiskey. The little boat figurine is for Narvi. The crochet baggie beside it holds some other small offerings for Loki. In the silver bowl is a stone with a drawing on it that I am giving to the gods. Before the boat figurine is a stone that Cuddle Bear decided he was going to give to the gods. Away as the far left of the picture is one other offering that I honestly don't know what to do with it now. I made a crochet rose for Dea.

As I give more offering that are less food oriented or easily scattered for the wildlife, I don't know what I am going to do with it. I am considering a box for those things to go into. I don't know if that would be appropriate or not. I am sure that the gods will let me know how they want me to handle these things.

1/12/13

PBP 2013: week 2: A - Anger

Lots of people talk about anger. Lots of people have really insightful things to say on this topic. I'm not sure if my addition to the countless plethora of blog posts and articles is going to make much of an impact. It is, however, my deepest thoughts on something that I have found challenging for years.

Anger is a harsh emotion. It has the sharpness of a blade and can be used as such a tool. When used in a healthful fashion, it can be the surgeon's scalpel that excises illness from our souls. When used in an unhealthful fashion, it becomes the common thug's switchblade that is used to extort others or force them into acting against the validity of their own souls. Anger itself is a morally neutral thing.

I struggle with anger. The popular opinion that anger is a dangerous emotion has crept into my life and puts it into the realm of something to be controlled and withheld from view, lest it prove something too disruptive for others. Oft quoted aphorisms that talk about how anger is something we are supposed to remove from ourselves tend to pop up a lot on my Facebook feed and meet me on a regular basis when I am looking at how to best manage my illnesses.*

The real struggle that I face when encountering anger is not that wild, uncontrollable sense of anger that people talk about. It is owning my anger and embracing it when it is valid. We should not be a culture that decries any emotion. Emotions happen. They're our response to the world around us. We should be embracing them and upholding them as valuable.

Anger is what motivates me to act against injustice. Anger is what motivates me to speak up when I see someone being needlessly cruel. Anger is what pushes me forward when I find that my depression has overwhelmed me. Anger is not our enemy. Anger is as much our friend as pain. It tells us when something is wrong. It gives us the strength to fight for what is right. It is the voice that says "You will not ignore me. I am am a vaild human being. You WILL respect me."

I'm working to embrace that healthy aspect of anger. And I sincerely hope that others shall do so as well.

~*~*~*~*~

* I will be talking a bit more about mental illness and my own faith later this week. I'll be posting a link to that entry here in the foot notes.

1/5/13

PBP: Week 1: A - Absolutism.

Absolutism is the enemy of reasoned discussion. When one orients themselves to a fixed point and refuses to consider any others, even as an intellectual exercise, they stagnate in their ideas and concepts. Their brain becomes increasingly rigid and less adaptable to new input.

The pagan religions are coming close to their half century mark of renewed practice. In this time, the beginning of orthodoxy are starting to show its heads. (And I truly believe that a hydra is the best metaphor for this collection of ideas and its pervasiveness.) Mere superstition has come to replace theological exploration. Absolutism is making its presence known.

It is a seductive concept. We find comfort in things established as 'fact' and practices with a measure of 'history' behind them. We must not allow our desire for comfort to make us complacent in our spiritual efforts. We must continue to be the bold explorers that we started out as.

With out the quest for growth, we will die a slow death. Absolutism is poison and we must resist its siren song.