From My Zany Brain to Yours

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As promised, I must tell you more about my take on things- how I do the ‘rainbow induction’ and about my monkeys, and I’ll expand on this to how I do magic.

How’s that for an odd start to a blog. Haha.

And to make it even stranger, I type this with the background music of old Swedish music, accordion accompaniment and all.  If you wish to join in the fun, tune in to this YouTube playlist and listen along as you read.  (By the time I’ve finished this blog and edited it, I got really tired of this music and had to stop it to have some peace!)

I feel that I must first explain the odd choice in music.  I have been looking for a video clip of the old Pippi Longstocking singing her summer song while riding on top of a train with Annika and Tommy.  I have been looking for it for a few days!  Why so obsessed? I have no idea- probably my recent happiness, and my love of summer.  The slower versions I’m finding everywhere aren’t doing it for me.  I looked up the first line to the lyrics, “och nu så vill jag sjunga,” and came across this interesting playlist!  And I’m in just the right zany mood, oddly, to enjoy it.  (Incidentally, Pippi has a pet monkey, and I think it’s cool that I’m about to talk about my monkeys later in this post!)

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A clip from the film ‘Pa Rymmen’ (I’m not sure what the movie is called in English, but it means to run away from home). Pippi sings about all the things she loves about summer on top of the train.

Back to the purpose of this post!

I would like to take you through my evolution of how I’ve done things with my pagan religion up to present times, if you’re game.

When I first started being a pagan, and figuring out what I believe, including what I believe about how things work on a metaphysical level, I read some, and tried some, and thought a lot.  I have always been very eclectic, and it seems that just about every pagan I know says the same thing!  We’re like cats, you can’t tell us exactly how to do something.  We’ll stare at you, lift up our leg, and lick our butt in your general direction, just to defy you if you tell us what to do.

I took bits and peices of what I liked.  I thought about that ‘protective circle’ you read about it many books- the traditional thing is to draw or imagine “Blue Fire” (why blue? why fire? why why why?) coming from a wand or finger and you draw a circle around you, and some people are very specific about this circle.  I thought, it’s two dimensional, how in the heck does that protect you?  Crowley talked of a cone of power- not that it’s the same thing as the protective circle, but it got me thinking.  I tweaked that into a protective sphere around me.  This was all in what I was doing with my mind, tuning into that psychic channel, like I spoke of in a previous blog.  I did this for a while, and that was good.  Sometimes I put it around my car, then my brain would go ‘uh wait can it move with me?’ ‘Why yes it can!’ Why not?

I took a Druidry class online, which also involved reading Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein.  I happened to have the extended version, given to me by a fellow bibliophile.  I hadn’t read through the whole thing yet, but I did for the class.  That was transformative for me because it expanded my thoughts on metaphysics and how they work, and how much we can control of our reality, possibly.  I realize it’s a work of fiction, but it helped me get my brain juices going.  Also, the druidry class had us practicing protective spheres.  That also expanded the possibilities:  invisibility cloak?  Titanium sphere rather than clear, segmented like an aardvark or roly-poly?  I have always been extremely visual and imaginative.  I tend to think in symbolic, visual metaphors and this was right up my alley.

Nowadays, the sphere has become an egg shape, because the shape of an egg is an extremely strong shape.  This shape really lends to what I do with it, too.  More on that in a bit.

I have also been very flexible with the cardinal directions and corresponding elements.  I don’t hold to one way of doing it (Earth in North, etc.), but I do believe in the power that goes behind years and years of many people doing something the same way and believing the same way.  I just don’t know that witches have always had Earth in the North; Wicca is a relatively new religion based on old ideas as we understand them.  If there is something people have believed, for sure, for millennia, I take it seriously.  Jumping over a bonfire or touching the maypole?  Not me!  No preggers for me, thankyouverymuch!

Back to the elements, I really like the logic behind the creative cycle and destructive cycle in Feng Shui.  I had my altar set up with that for a while.  I also called in ‘the guardians of the elements’ for a while, but then I questioned who or what these entities were.  Now, I believe that we are always in sacred space, if you believe that nature is sacred.  Being respectful of, and to commune with the ‘heart’ in nature (as the Hopi believe) is quintessential to being pagan.  So, nowadays, I personally don’t find a need to invite these entities in, since they are already there and always there.  I do acknowledge their presence, though.  Now, in a group, I do as the group does so as not to mess with the energy of the group.

To the ‘rainbow induction.’  I was part of a little group of women here in Colorado who met and did witchy things together.  We weren’t a coven in the traditional sense, but essentially, we were close and did some powerful things together, and supported each other.  We were going through the book The Twelve Wild Swans, by Starhawk.  In it, she describes a way to go deeper in consciousness while meditating and since it’s so visual, it has really helped me.  How it’s described in the book, is you go through the rainbow colors from red to indigo, and when you reach indigo you should be deeper in consciousness for meditation.  As you go through each color, you become that color, are wearing that color, ‘you are the red woman,’ for example.  For each color, you also sink deeper downward.  Once you truly feel like you are that color, you move to the next one, and so on.  For me, currently, this has evolved to the point of sitting in an antique-looking, kindof steampunkish, chaise lounge, that also changes colors.  Maybe it’s the Cancerian part of me that likes the comfortable image, or my inner child that just thinks it’s cool.  It puts me in my happy place and that’s what counts.  Also, I add more colors at the end:  after purple, it turns to brown, then black, then white.  By the time I start walking to my place of power in my meditation, I’m wearing white.

Incidentally, the way I ground comes from Starhawk’s book, The Fifth Sacred Thingwhich involves thinking like you are a tree, and your roots go down deep into the earth; I like to add aquifers and earth and the magma of the center (or molten iron?) and air from worms that bring in the air to the roots to include all the elements; all the elements bathing the trunk with the sun and wind and rain and nourishment from the soil, with limbs stretching up.  Sometimes I use imagery from a book on meditation with the chakras (if I find it, I’ll update this post with its actual title and author- I think it’s Your Aura and Your Chakras, by Karla McLaren), that describes a cord coming from your lower chakra, and from there I have tweaked it into an umbilical cord, that is extremely strong like a cable, going down, and sometimes it’s an anchor or has a hook that latches onto something.  That’s when I really need grounding, that I go to extreme measures.

Now, my power place, that I go to when I meditate to either ponder something, do magical work, or meet with deity, started with the same book about meditating with the chakras, and was at first a small cave.  That book described this place being in the spiritual chakra- the third eye, and it being in the head; this was a little weird for me, so it’s just a place I’m in, not in my head (for the location).  At first it was a cave right by water, and was very cozy.  This might also come from my love of the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jane Auel, and the cave that Ayla lived in for several years (which wasn’t by the water, though).  I have always thought of Ayla as a powerful, independent woman and identified with her in some respects, especially with her creativity.  I was briefly part of a very small group in Des Moines, IA when I lived there, and we had a guided meditation where we went to our power place; this time it was large and cavernous, with stalagmites and stalactites, some water here and there. Currently, when I meditate, it looks much like Red Rocks here in Colorado or the rock formations in Utah.

And, finally, my monkeys.  The whole notion that I have spirit monkeys started when I lived in Des Moines.  I was part of another lovely group there, which met in a local witchy shop, that we called our own ‘Diagon Alley.’  Sometimes the group went to some land one of the ladies owned, and camped or did an evening ritual there.  On one such camping trip, several women did different kinds of readings for others.  One woman, the woman who owned the land, did a kind of reading called automatic writing.  I had played with that kind of thing in high school, and I had the attitude that it was just high school-ish, silly, stuff, and tried to keep an open mind anyway.  (Automatic writing is where a person lets a spirit helper or similar entity take over the pen and write messages to the person receiving the reading.)  The woman spoke of a ghost that lived in my home, and that I had monkeys in my car.  13 monkeys, to be exact.  When I looked at her dumbfounded, she said, ‘haven’t you felt them?’

I dismissed it, though I did love this woman as a sister, and respect her, but thought it was just strange and silly.  Later on, on another night in the ‘Diagon Alley’ store (not its true name), we had a tarot/divination card night.  One of the card decks had spirit animals.  Guess which card I pulled.  Yes, the monkey.  Maybe part of my dismissal of the idea from before was that monkeys, in my mind, are associated with silliness, with circuses and the like. The card said that monkey spirits can see into the future, and have a wider perspective on situations, just like monkeys can swing tree to tree and see from above.  This gave me a new respect for the situation, plus being a teeny bit of added evidence that it was true that I had monkey spirits around me.

Later, I moved back to Colorado.  In the move I lost the title to my car, so I had to go through a very long (years long) process to get a new title for the car.  In the meantime, I couldn’t renew the plates for Colorado until I had it, so I was driving illegally (Shh! don’t tell anyone! I do try to be a good girl!).  So, for some added magical umph to my ‘don’t notice me, cops, I’m a good girl, I’m a good girl’ protective bubble around my car, which I sometimes pictured with angel wings and a halo, I tuned my psychic channel to my monkeys, just to see what I would ‘see’ in my mind’s eye.  I wasn’t sure if I was just being creative or imaginative or if I sensed something truly there, or not.  And frankly I didn’t care, and still don’t.  When I tuned my mind to them, I saw that there were three: a mother who was closest to me, by my lap; a younger male, and an old male.  They were tawny colored, and longer haired (like the monkeys in India).

Photo Credit: http://www.astrologyofindia.com, found on Panoramio. North Indian Monkey

I remember way back in high school, I went to a summer camp for gifted kids (I barely made the ‘cut’ of being gifted with my IQ on the higher end but not really in genius-land), and for a creative writing class, we meditated and attempted to meet our spirit guide, which was supposed to help us get past writer’s block.  (Looking back this was kindof odd, but that’s O.K.) I never could get a good look at my spirit guide- I thought it was because I couldn’t stay in the mental state very well; it was tawny and blurry and shorter than me, and I thought, ‘surely that’s not right.’  It could be that it was this mother monkey spirit!

Since then, I have tuned my channel to them, ‘fed’ them bananas (which I ate afterwards), discovered they like heavy metal and dance to it when I play it in my car, and sometimes they pile up, one on each of my shoulders and one on my head.  Once, they have appeared as a whole horde like a bunch of bumblebees, and then returning to the three, as if to signify that the three actually represent a lot of beings.  Sometimes I send a monkey to a car in front of me for a driver that seems inebriated or not paying attention, to get the driver to speed up or pay attention to the road, and then bring the monkey back.  I’ve also sent a monkey in spiritual work to guard over a home, and having them alternate, then brought them back when I felt that the house was safe for my friend.  I’ve also asked them yes/no or choice questions, and they have always been right.  Since I’ve recognized them and tune in to them, and appreciated them, I find that I am also much more intuitive and my magic seems stronger; I can concentrate in ritual and magical workings better, as well.

There have been some more evidences for my monkeys; so far, three.  I was taking another meditation class that focused on the elements, and after we had meditated and were mellow-ly hanging out, another woman I had just met said, ‘I could have sworn I saw a monkey zip by that far wall.’  I told her about my monkeys… and I hope I didn’t freak her out.  She was new to paganism and probably new to weird ideas like this.  Another time, I was teaching a class of Special Ed students (I was a Deaf Ed teacher but I also taught hearing Special Ed), and one of the students (a very sweet Native American boy with the diagnosis of Learning Disability) said he saw a monkey.  I had to keep teaching with a poker face, and didn’t criticize him for saying it.  And more recently, another person said she thought she had seen a monkey from the corner of her eye.

Currently, I invite my monkeys to ritual (well really, acknowledge and appreciate their presence), and often invite my grandmothers as well, since they are near and dear to my heart.  When I dance around the fire, I acknowledge my monkeys and tune in to what they’re doing, and have them dance on me or they dance around the circle (they’re not really at my beck and call, though they usually do what I ask when I ask them to do it).

And currently, when I send energy (which is like a pagan prayer, involving ones’ own energy, which I include a request from deity for their energy as well), this is what I do:

I ground, usually with tree roots going down (nowadays this takes only a few seconds usually), and form the egg shape of protection around me.  Sometimes it’s a very large egg and I’m lying at the bottom of it and sometimes it’s just small; the roots go down out of it.  The top of the egg opens (like the mouth of the creature in Dune) to let in the kind of energy I’m requesting from deity.  I’ve come to think of deity in many different images; female or male, or a couple- cosmic mother and father (I get this idea from the Gnostic gospel of Thomas- the true mother and father) or just a general cosmic force.  Usually I need healing energy but sometimes I need some loving or happy energy, for example. I usually visualize this as a color.  I send it in the direction I’m placing that person in my mind, say they live to the North East of me, then I send it North East until I feel like they have received it.  Sometimes I picture the person receiving it, perhaps if I can figure out what body part needs the healing, for example.  I have nearly always found out I was correct (for a body part or what was going on with the person), which really speaks to an evidence, for me, of deity.  Once I feel that the working is done, I send back out the top opening something to thank deity with, and this is spontaneously decided upon, depending on my mood.  Sometimes it’s roses (like roses are thrown down for olympic figure skaters), or butterflies, sometimes it’s chocolate, once it was stars, sometimes it’s simply my gratitude and love, sometimes it’s a hug, and so forth.  Then I close up the top, then disintegrate the protective egg bubble, and let myself come back to manifest reality.

And there you have it.  From my zany brain to yours.  Do you think I’m nuts?  I don’t care.  I manage just fine, thank you, and it works wonderfully for me.  Said with a smile!

I would love to hear from you- what do you do, in your mind, when you do magical workings or meditate?

 

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We are Opening

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A year ago, I posted about the most wonderful experience I had ever had worshiping the divine.  This time around, it was just as wonderful, but in a different way.  The one experience doesn’t top the other, they are equally wonderful.  I believe from now on, Litha will be my most favorite pagan sabbat.

It took place in the mountains of Colorado, just like it did last year.  Many of the same people were there, some new, and some people from last year weren’t there.  But, just like last year, all of the people who were there are grounded, sane (for the most part!), and good people at heart.  I believe that’s the most important thing.  Just like last year, those who wished to do so planned the ritual.  The gentle man (no longer part of a couple) brought his tipi, just like last year.  The weather was beautiful, the nature was beautiful, and so were the people.

There were are few differences from last year: more people joined the ‘collaborative planning’ part of the ritual (which follows a specific process so that one voice is not heard more than other voices, it’s very nice).  Instead of many butterflies flittering about, we had more mosquitos, but in my experience anyway, they weren’t so bad.  We didn’t have someone so drunk that they fell into the fire.  A few were a little stumbly, but not out of control.

I came up a day earlier than I did last year, a day before the ritual.  I set up my tent, with a little help from a friend (that one part where it’s supposed to pop up but it doesn’t quite want to pop up), set up my hammock that I’ve been using lately (oooh yeah baby), and then relaxed.  I hula hooped, the kids hula hooped, I nalbound (an ancient pre-knitting technique I do sometimes), and lay in my hammock.  Then I took a little walk.  Just barely about 10 minutes away there was a grove of aspen trees, and it’s so beautiful.  I stopped there to meditate.  Here’s a picture from that area:

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Aspen grove where I meditated (original photo)

I didn’t get as deep in consciousness as I usually do- I was too wiggy about mosquitos.  Using the rainbow induction by Starhawk (I really will blog about that soon!), and getting down to the last color: white (a white woman, all white, wearing white), instead of walking or running down the path to my little cave (which has started to look like rock formations from a place like Red Rocks or Utah), where I meet with the divine and come to my own power- I floated like a feather.  That was nice.

I was facing a decision, and, like always, seem to get the same answer over and over, in card readings or otherwise, and my meeting with the Goddess was the same, though she clarified it.  I was a little confused by the answers I had been getting, which was a lot like ‘do what you will, just don’t hurt anyone,’ (like the Wiccan Rede).  To me that wasn’t clear enough.  This time it was about the same, but a sense of ‘have an open heart and open mind’ (emphasis on the open heart).  Let what will happen, happen.  It will be alright.  Don’t worry so much.  (I get this message a lot- can you tell I have an issue with worrying?)

More about the decision I was facing:  I was wondering whether to say anything about this because it’s pretty new and personal, but I met- well really re-met- a man at Beltane, at the Spring festival that I go to every year.  We both felt attracted to each other.  He has some similarities to me as well that I hadn’t realized before- he’s teaching middle schoolers, which is something I used to do.  Someone who can appreciate middle schoolers can easily take a big step towards being in my heart!  He also enjoys making artwork, which is something I love.  Then there’s the way he smiled at me, warmth coming from his eyes.  And I can sense that he’s a good, stable person.

Later (at the Spring festival) we both danced around the fire- and both of us stripped off clothes- though I hadn’t all the way- and it was really nice and freeing to dance like that and symbolically release and give up to deity and honor deity.  Sometimes I got tired and sat down, and he came around and pulled me back up, beckoning me to dance in a very sexy way.  It was very flattering that he wanted to dance with me around the fire, a handsome, nice, charming pagan man at that.  At the end of the dancing, we walked together and talked some, kissed some, then… he told me he has some issues he’s dealing with in his life and it ended there, pretty much.  I resolved to be his friend and that was all.

Since then, I had a very strange and quick romance where another (seemingly pagan- I’m doubting some of the things he told me now, though he may have been telling the truth) man, who seemed extremely wonderful and a lot like me in the beginning, then it crashed and burned within a week when he became controlling, jealous, paranoid, thinking I was cheating on him with a male friend (or friends plural- it expanded from one friend to several in his mind), to the point where if I smiled a polite smile that lasted a millisecond at a guy, he wigged out and wanted to know what that was all about.  I can’t be with a guy that is like that and ended it there.  I almost gave him another chance, but when I wanted to spend the night by myself, he wigged out again, insinuating I was cheating and broke it off.  Reminded me of my first husband, though thankfully not as bad, since he didn’t stalk me afterwards, and I realized that I’m so much stronger than I used to be, to be able to end it right there and hold to a boundary that I won’t cross again.

After that, the guy I had re-met at Beltane and I started chatting on Facebook.  I got to know him pretty well, and he has a lot of really great traits: he had been in the military, doing good things in other countries, and now he’s off active duty, working on getting a good job where his heart is:  outdoor education. And I love his sense of humor, he’s smart, and we talk very naturally with each other.  I was excited that he would be at this Litha event, but I was on the fence about being more than friends, especially after the recent crash and burn, though my heart wanted more than friendship, because he was turning out to be a very awesome guy as I got to know him better.

Back to my meditation:  as I always do, I give a thanks of some sort to the Goddess and cosmic mother and father (again, more on that later), and I visualized the beauty of nature showering out to them.  If it were possible to share with them the beauty of nature!  Along my walk to that spot and the walk back, I felt very nice and calm, and happy in the beauty all around me:  yellow flowers everywhere, some white or blue or orange as well, a crow in a field, aspens, and beautiful large smooth rocks.

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Original photo

Later, in the evening, people sang and chanted around a fire, and I joined a few people in the tipi and we also sang and chanted, and chatted.  It was lovely to be in the tipi again, among people who have beautiful hearts, and joining together in song.

The next day, we got together to collaboratively plan, a group of wonderful people, sitting in a circle, respecting each other and what we all had to say.  Many of us felt a need for wisdom or advice with decision making, so Hekate was a natural choice in a goddess to call to our circle to aid us.  As that was mentioned, one person who was there for the first time said that he has been a ‘son of Hekate’ for a long time.  And later after the ritual, another person who hadn’t been part of the planning said she was very happy that we had called Hekate; that goddess was special to her.  So it really seemed fitting to those who attended to call Hekate, even though traditionally, people call for her wisdom around Samhain (in October).  Hekate stands at the crossroads,  holding a light, guiding the way to go; the one who was a ‘son of Hekate’ said that if you ask her advice, then go against it, you’ll get smacked upside the head by her.  (smile)  She’s not a Goddess to take lightly, but then again, who is?

Last year, we had called Pan and forgotten to say goodbye to him- I suggested we do the same this year (jokingly).  And this part is kind of funny- I think Pan really wanted to be invited, because Pan was mentioned again in the planning, but people said, ‘let’s just say whatever god you want to call in.’  The priest was confused about what we had decided and we reiterated what we had decided.  But, as we did the ritual later, he called Pan… and then added ‘or whatever form the god of summer is for you,’ (something like that).  I just had to smile at that point!  It was fitting that he was called, in my opinion.

Something else was pretty special:  there was a woman with a hearing loss there.  She said she gets confused when she doesn’t know the lyrics.  That’s something several people may feel, but with a hearing loss, I can really understand this.  Some of us were going to practice the lyrics after the planning (since some of us were going to sing during the ritual, myself included).  We invited her to join us to learn the lyrics.  After the ritual, she thanked us for including her.  She seems like a very sweet person, always wanting to help.

We had our lovely ritual, during which we put something natural in the fire that represented a gift we had been given.  I waited and wasn’t sure why I was waiting, then finally stepped forward when it was clear- and the guy I was talking about stepped in the same time!  Not sure if he waited for me to step in (I doubt it, it was almost literally the same time), but I thought it was cool, since my gift was related to him:  an open mind and heart, which I already felt opening, and no worries, as well as my sign language skills which are improving and working towards becoming a sign language interpreter, which I had mentioned wanting to do last year at the last Litha.  And now it’s coming to ‘fruition,’  which is a very nice Litha-like word.

After that part of the ritual, many of us shared what our gift had been; some had turned it into requests which was fine.  I didn’t share my own, it felt a little too near and dear to me.  The fact that some people misunderstood the intent of that part, and that it was fine- was wonderful. I love this about this group- they are flexible, so that whatever needs to happen is recognized and appreciated.  For the priest and priestess, it’s not their way or the highway.  They let us collaboratively make the ritual with them, and it is so deeply personal and special, and therefore powerful.

During the ritual, we had invited in our ancestors.  I tend to especially invite in my grandmas, since I was closer to them, but I also thought of a grandpa I had known a little bit, as well as people further back I hadn’t met.  After we gave our gift to the fire, we meditated for guidance.  I had already received my message for my open heart mind, and was also confirmed I’m on the right path with interpreting.  At the end of the guided meditation (or this may have happened later in the ritual), our priestess said for us to thank our ancestors.  Upon thinking about things that they would like as gifts of thanks, it made me really miss my grandmas and I cried.  I thought of giving my mom’s mom some grated carrots and garlic, since she seemed to love eating that, and a hug.  It was always so nice to hug her.  For my dad’s mom I gave her some cross stitch type of thing- something flowery, since she loved to work on that kind of thing, and a hug.  When she hugged, you got enveloped in her softness, which was so nice.

At the end of the ritual, the ancestors, deity, and all the elements were duly released.  Pan was as well, though I silently thought ‘Though you are welcome to stay if you like!’

After the ritual came the drumming and dancing around the fire- and it was wild and wonderful!  Several of us got completely or partly naked (guess which I was! Yes, for the first time in ritual!), we drummed, I danced with my spirit monkeys which are always present (yes, yes, I know I promised to blog about that too, I will, I will!), we sang, honored each other and the divine, and it was beautiful.  Last year was powerful and loving and beautiful; this year it was powerful, loving, beautiful and wild.

One of the songs we sang really reflected what I had personally been working on, and I believe some others there as well.  It goes like this:

We are opening up in sweet surrender to the luminous love-light of the One,

We are opening up in sweet surrender to the luminous love-light of the One.

We are opening, we are opening, we are opening, we are opening.

(repeat and add whatever you wish)

The guy I’ve been talking about (he really needs a pseudonym, doesn’t he?) sat next to me to drum, and at one point we kissed.  Well, at several points!  🙂 Our sweet priestess told me later it was the most romantic kiss she’d ever seen.  I certainly enjoyed it very much!  And afterward, we had a lovely time.  We are still exploring to see where it will go.  This morning, I talked with a friend about it, and she mentioned working on living in the present in her own life.  I said that would be a good way for me to just chill and enjoy, whatever happens, and not try to nail down the future.  What will be, will be, and I can’t help but hope that it will be beautiful.

May you lovely readers be open and willing to surrender your fears of the past and future (and myself as well).  And free yourself to enjoy what nature has given.

So mote it be.

 

Living Again as a Single Pagan Woman

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About a month ago, I broke up with the boyfriend that I’ve been more recently referring to in my blogs.  He’s the one that is Catholic and with whom I decorated his home for Christmas. This blog isn’t about the personal details between us, but about my own thought process regarding this relationship in general. I hadn’t dated anyone who didn’t at least have a similar religious path as mine for quite a while before this.  Our differences were striking to me; I think they were more striking to me than they were for him, but I could be wrong about that.

There’s a kind of mentality you get used to as a Pagan person, that, when you encounter the worldview of a “normal person,” or what I like to call Muggle in reference to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, it can be strange and disconcerting.  By the way, I don’t use the term Muggle to mean anything derogatory, I use the term for people who are ‘normal’ and don’t live magical lives (or with the worldview of living such a life) like Pagans do.

I’m used to thinking of people as just people, and I know so many different people and I’ve become used to a variety of people so that it’s become my normal world.  I forget sometimes that other people aren’t used to ‘odd’ people who stray away from their ‘normal’ lens.  I know people of all sorts of ways of being- transgender, non-traditional couples, lesbians, gays, poly, people who are suburban yet believe in Native American, shamanistic beliefs; I know Messianic Jews, Jews, Atheists and Muslims.  I know people from lots of different places in the world, cultures, Deaf people and ‘hearie-heads.’  I know a man who wears dresses, and a woman who shaves her head.  And some Muggles would faint at the fact that someone wears frankincense in a vial dangling from a necklace!  At a tiny thing like that!

And since people are just people, we walk around as such whether or not we have clothes on.  Clothes are just something that we cover ourselves with, keep us warm, make us look good or blend in.  When you get used to people who also think this way, and go to places where clothing is optional, that also becomes the new kind of normal.  It’s a little odd at first even for us who are more used to it, because in our every day lives we wear clothes all the time, but when you go to a pagan festival or a clothing optional hot springs, or beach in Italy for example, once everyone doesn’t mind, then it’s fine.  It’s not deranged or perverse, it just is.  Nudity has as much to do with sex as beds do.

Not that all Pagans are nudists.  But many are.  And it’s not like at these festivals, that people are walking around naked all the time. It’s whatever people feel like, which usually means once in a while some clothing comes off, then goes back on, and only in areas where everyone is an adult. Diverse people and nudity are examples, of many, of the culture that is Paganism.  And just like with any culture, we’re not all the same.

Another example of this Pagan culture is that when we break up with someone, we are often still friends with that person, even hang out with that person.  Not always, but I would guess that it’s much more of a phenomenon with Pagans than with Muggles.  I have maintained friendships with the two guys I dated that are pagan or pagan friendly- well, one is definitely a Pagan and the other is Gnostic.  I still talk with them, sometimes hang out with them (one much more so than the other), and we really are just friends.

These three examples of the way that Pagans  look at life and live life were things that my most recent ex boyfriend couldn’t understand while we were dating, and I don’t believe he will anytime soon.  And, after a month, I have finally let go of the idea of holding on to the wonderful friendship that we had.  While I don’t think he completely understood me, as friends, we joked and talked with each other every day, mostly on Facebook.  I feel like I came to know him pretty well, and that he came to know me pretty well, too.  It was nice talking with him.  But that’s over now, and I think I’ve finally stopped shedding tears over that fact.

Bonds with people are very important to me.  I take a very long time to let go, a while after the other person has already let go, sometimes it takes a while before I realize that I’m holding on to thin air.  And severing bonds is painful.  It’s like I’ve formed the bond with my own umbilical cord or something.  Or sometimes maybe the bond is more fragile to begin with, in which case it’s easier to sever the bond, but it still hurts.  I regret not being friends, when, in my mind, why can’t we be?

Again, it’s that different way of looking at things and perhaps a different way of feeling about things.  He says I broke his heart, but in my mind I only stopped the romantic part of our relationship, and truly wanted to continue the friendship; I rejected one part of our relationship, and he rejected the whole thing in return.  To me, our friendship was so much stronger than the romantic part of our relationship ever was.  And I truly did love him and want the romantic part to work.  We are just different people who show our love in different ways, and that caused conflict and friction.

What I’m really sorry for is hurting his feelings, and letting the relationship (as a romantic one) drag out as long as it did.  I really wanted it to work, so it’s almost like I was trying to force it, when that personality conflict was there, really the whole time, causing me grief in the midst of my happiness. Now, the bond severed and my heart being O.K. with it (at least today it is), I’m not looking to the recent past any more.  I can’t grieve any more about something that can’t be fixed.  I have to focus on my life and the people who choose to be in it, and move on. I may have up and down days, but I hope my emotional path smooths out from now on so that I can continue to enjoy life again. It feels smooth today.

Nature is so healing- everything around me is turning green, trees budding and blooming, smelling so wonderful, and animals are moving about again.  Rabbits are hopping around each other and grazing in yards, crows and red tailed hawks are flying about. Seeing all these things reminds me that life is meant to be lived, and I’ve got to get on with living it.  And not just live it:  I need to let my heart soar with the happiness vibrating from the very core of nature. So mote it be.

Bonding under a Black Moon

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Yesterday was the second, and last, Black Moon of the year.  I hadn’t heard about Black Moons until recently.  A Black Moon (which seems important enough to capitalize) is the second new moon within a month.  January had one and March has one, this year.

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I love the Sci Fi show Fringe- this image is a ‘glyph’ from that show, part of a code used to spell words. For once, not my original artwork! This is a wallpaper picture that was distributed for free. I think it’s a great picture for the butterfly theme I had in my life, and connecting with inner, dark workings. The moon-like symbol at the top is great, too! 2 new moons!

I got started on thinking of doing something for Dark Moon (a witchy term for the period of time that the moon is darkest, no sliver to be seen at all), because a friend said she was going to a Dark Moon ritual for last Friday, which turned out to be inexplicably canceled.  She and another friend are going to use my extra-sturdy merchant tent (technically a storage/garage tent, the kind you screw together) for an upcoming pagan Spring festival.  Our original plan was that I was going to bring the tent to the ritual, we’d put it in her car, and I would possibly join the Dark Moon ritual.  But, as it was canceled, I brought it to her home, then we went out for Chinese food.  We chatted and it was so nice to connect with her.  I have a lot of respect for her; she’s a good friend, a woman just coming into her Crone aspect (wise old woman part of life), and her soul is just beautiful.  And she’s so knowledgeable. Anyway, afterward, we parted ways, each with our own plan to do solitary witchy work for the Dark Moon that night.

Technically, the Dark/Black Moon was yesterday, but I was already feeling the energies of it last Friday.  I read online that the Black Moon is great for oracle readings and magic or psychic work, and I already knew that Dark Moon is great for past life work, working with past pains and wounds, a magical/psychological work that can be intense.  I didn’t get into painful past memories, but I did do some tarot readings and faced something that’s been paining my heart lately.  The reading really just echoed what I already knew, which is alright, it’s good to have support from what I feel is beyond myself.  After the reading, I focused on what I want to change, and made some artwork while trancing a little bit.  My mood was mostly just calm and happy, while still a little pained.  (Typical Cancerian me- always a mix of feelings!) DSC03472 The artwork isn’t spectacular, but it was more of a tool to focus my soul energy.  It was on brown construction paper, with paint pens (fun to work with!) and glitter pens (also fun!).  My inner child was happy while doing this, too.  I picked colors that either called to me or symbolized something to me as I worked/played.  Though I want to keep what pained me private, I will say that I was working toward opening my heart and anothers’ heart for full communication and connection.  There was more to it, but I’ll keep that to myself. I listened to S.J. Tucker’s Mischief and Tricky Pixie’s Mythcreants Albums while doing this.  I lit a candle and had some items nearby that emphasized what I was focusing on.  While I don’t feel like my work was that powerful (though sometimes it can be more powerful than it seems), I feel like I healed a little part of myself that night.  And, it turns out, I started a wheel turning in my life again that had been stuck in the mud for a while: connections with people.

The next day, Saturday, I started the day in a very prickly mood.  I was angry at small things my friends did, which seemed to represent to me that they didn’t care about me, or saw me as someone they could order around, probably because I’m so easy going and say ‘sure I’ll do that’ to almost everything.  I’m like a really flexible tree, bending this way and that for others.  So I was a little mad at myself for creating the situation, but also aware that others may subconsciously – not purposefully – think that they can just tell me to do something and I’ll follow their orders, as if they’re my boss!  It was just in the wording of how they said things, not really their intention, and I knew that; it made me angry nevertheless.  I was tired of always seeming to be the one who works to get things done.  And I was fed up that friends wouldn’t ask how I’m doing as we converse, they talk all about their lives, and I respond, focusing on their lives, but they almost never stop to ask about mine.  And then there’s the other painful thing on my mind.  All of that made me jumpy and driven.  I had to force myself to breathe, calm down and enjoy the day.

It turned out to be a day of unexpected pleasantness.  That morning, I talked with a friend on the phone that I haven’t seen for almost a year.  I’ve missed her and we had recently reconnected.  It was SO GOOD to truly connect with a person again.  I have felt SO disconnected from people lately, which made me feel lonely.  Sure, I go about my day, and I usually talk and converse with people, but I didn’t feel the *connection.*  Talking with this friend as just SO heart-fulfilling.  Her loving and caring attitude made me tear up at the end. Later that day, I went to the art museum with my mom and sister, and it was filled with calm mutual enjoyment of artwork and mutual laughter.

Later at night, I met two of my witchy friends that I haven’t seen for a long time.  We hung out at the new apartment of one of the friends, occasionally being interrupted (though pleasantly) by her two sweet little daughters.  At first, again, I was prickly.  Would these friends ask how I was?  Would they be interested in what I had to say?  I was like a porcupine, having my quills partway out but not totally.  Over the course of the evening, the quills got smoothed down, and by the end of the evening, the quills disappeared as the three of us all relaxed and got a little goofy, even.  It was so good to feel the friendship with these two lovely ladies again, and truly connect with them. We did readings for each other.  One friend had brought her card decks, and we all chose to use cards from a beautiful deck:  The Enchanted Map Oracle.  It was neat to see how we all interacted during the readings:  each of us saying what we saw in the cards, tuning ourselves to that psychic channel and really listening to that channel, and naturally bonding with each other like we hadn’t done in a long time.  It was beautiful.  Each reading had a deeply powerful message for each of us.

My own reading focused on my life in general and career/education path that I’m on for the coming seasons.  Each of our readings naturally evolved into a similar setup of cards:  a card representing the person being read for in the center ‘as we are now,’ with the next few weeks/this season above us, then going around clockwise with Summer, then Fall.  Some of us continued the year with more cards, and one person had one more card for ‘other opportunities.’  For myself, it felt right to have Spring (above ‘my’ card), Summer, Fall, Winter, and ending with next Spring. ‘My’ card was “Peaks of Joy.”  It depicted a woman leaping gracefully, partly flying, among clouds, with a butterfly in the clouds with her.  This felt true for me now. I do have peaks of joy that are keeping me going, I have felt ungrounded, but it also mirrors my whole ‘jumping jumping’ into the abyss symbolism I had going on last year.

Above me, Spring, was the card “Intention.”  It had a lovely owl on top of a large egg, with a dandelion poof in its beak.  There was a field of dandelion poofs in the background.  I love dandelion poofs! I love blowing and wishing things, this is so *me.*  And yes, I’m wishing for things to come true right now, and setting intention.  This card is so appropriate.

Next, the Summer card was called “Heal the ‘Ouch’.”  It was cute:  a little raccoon in a nurse’s cap was tending to a wound of a fox, which had a hot-water bag on its head.  There were small candles all about them and they were in a little clearing in the woods.  I would get the healing I need, so I won’t repeat mistakes I make in relationships- is what my friends saw in this card.

Fall was represented by the “Golden Palace” card.  This was a Taj Mahal type palace on hill, steep on all sides.  There was a shape in the roots near the bottom and I felt that the shape was me, a witchy woman at the bottom.  Next Fall, I plan to continue in the Interpreter Preparation Program at a community college.  My friends read this as: after a Spring and Summer of healing what I need to, it will be time to get back to business of meeting my goal.  I felt that the castle looked secure (Cancerian of me).  Also it’ll be time to ground.  Also, it may be a lot of work I need to do to reach my goal, or there may be a path going around the back of the hill that we can’t see in the picture; it may be easier than it looks.

“Slow and Steady” was the next card, for Winter.  It was a woman with the lower part of her body in a snail shell.  She was going steadfastly forward, hair tendrils wafting backward, more likely from wind than from her own speed.  This card really seemed to match what I would surmise would happen this Winter.  I will need to keep at it.  One of my friends pointed out that the shell is there; I will have my security, so that I’m free to pursue my goal.

For next Spring, the card was “Magical Map Shifter.”  This is of a man who is blindfolded, and juggling wondrous items- a rocking horse, a beetle, a fish, and before him lay a bloody heart on a scroll.  The man is confident in his skills.  To me, the way the man held his hands and arms looked like sign language.  My friends interpreted this card to mean that I will become a Master of Signing, which sounds wonderful, but I’m sure it would be too early for the Master level!  At least, I may be confident in my skills as a signer by next Spring.  That would be awesome.  One friend said this card deserves more thought about its meaning, and I agree.

The re-connections keep on happening.  Yesterday, I met with a friend I haven’t seen for two months.  It was so good to see her again and to reaffirm our friendship.  We hung out and talked for a long time.  It was really good.  This reunion was especially touching because we both thought we had lost each other as friends (or were on our way to losing each other.) We hadn’t; we had been a little bit silly in thinking so.

Though yesterday was the true Black Moon, I feel satisfied with the magic work I’ve experienced the last two nights.  I’m grateful that my wish for a stronger connection with others and a open heart from myself and others is coming true.  This has healed the part of me that had started to despair of ever feeling that connection with others again.  The possibility was always there, but I was feeling frustrated in myself and with others.  I’m so glad it’s possible, and so grateful for my friends and family who truly do care as much as I do for them.

BooYah! I’ve Got the Powah!

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I just woke up from an empowering dream.  In it, I confronted my ex-husband (my more recent ex– I have two exes, which is not so fun to admit).  It felt so good.  As I woke up, though, while basking in the feeling, I realized that what I had said to him in the dream wasn’t completely true.  It would just be wonderful if it was.  Instead, a lesson waited for me to discover it.

In this dream, while not painting my ex as a monster, it wasn’t him at his best, either.  First of all, he had the bad version of the Simon Le Bon (from Duran-Duran) hairstyle:  longer hair sticking up in front, short sides, long to the nape of the neck- an 80’s mullet.  In real life, I’m guessing he would never have had that hair.  Who knows though, maybe I was being psychic.  I haven’t seen him since he moved out from where we lived in 2009, five years ago.

In the dream, we lived in a large house and I had just recently separated from him, though for some reason I was still in the house. He had two ‘Gal-pals’ who were working for him.  While I was in the dream, I didn’t know or care if they were being paid, but I knew they were his lovers in some capacity, though using the word ‘love’ for what was going on is an insult to the word.  And I’m not saying that because there were two of them, just to be clear.  They seemed completely content, but unaware of their true situation.  (And by the way, as far as I know, him being poly is also out of character for him. I think he could get people to do things for him, but this whole thing was too unsavory even for him.  Maybe I’m giving him too much credit, though, who knows.  I suspect that there were things going on while we were married, of which I was unaware.) So… I really have no idea what that symbolism is about!

Anyway, to get to the confrontation– the ‘juicy part’ of the dream.  He said, “Since I no longer have your obedience,…” (which is something he never would have articulated) and I interrupted (which is not like me) and said “You NEVER had my obedience!”  I have a feeling I ranted at him some more after that, but I don’t remember what I said exactly.  Upon waking, though, after thinking about it, I have to admit that he did have my obedience.   There were many things he did that got under my skin, but I never told him about it.  Though, I wasn’t his little servant, to be clear.  I had my own life and opinions.

Mercury’s in retrograde, which is a wonderful time to think back on past issues and resolve them.  To explain my pagany jargon to those not in on the lingo, in astrology, Mercury influences communication, clear thought, and transportation.  I would personally include technology in with Mercury’s influence.  My theory on including technology in Mercury’s influence is *because* we use technology for communication and transportation, much of the time.  Mercury’s orbit appears to move forward, then backward, then forward, then backward, and moves quickly. This is because when Mercury passes our Earth, our own orbit’s speed makes it seem like Mercury is moving backward.  From astrologers’ (and many pagans’) point of view, this causes communication breakdowns and misunderstandings, transportation issues, and technology to have fits.  It’s like this cosmic force *wants* us to stay home and not communicate a lot with others, because it’s time to go backwards ourselves in time; to reminisce, to delve into what makes us tick, or doesn’t make us tick.

So, this morning I feel great, because I’m doing just that: delving- but I’m also thinking how I can be more assertive in the future. This is an ongoing issue with me- to speak up, especially to close friends and lovers.  As I lay awake thinking of all this, I remembered how my Swedish culture and his American culture conflicted.  Americans are much more lax about greetings.  When someone comes home, in my experience, most people are like ‘eh you’re home.’  In my family, when we visit each other, or if we live together and one person has been gone on a trip and comes home, we always greet each other with a hug.  With my cousins in Sweden, whom we don’t know as well, we shake hands as we enter their home.  This has an underlying message (in my mind) of “You are important to me.  Important enough to greet you in this special way as you enter my home.”  Now, I want to be clear that in my experience with pagans, they are the same way: we often greet each other with a hug.  Most Americans I know (among the muggles) don’t really do this.  You might get a ‘Hi,’ as you walk in from someone sitting on a couch, who continues watching TV (and you might or might not get this ‘Hi’ accompanied with eye contact), and you might on rarer occasions actually have someone greet you at the door, but even then, it’s usually very casual and nothing too special.

I’ve been offended by that behavior in the past, but lately I’ve realized that this is not carrying a message of “You’re not important to me, I really don’t care whether or not you’re here;” it’s really carrying a message of “Come on in, make yourself at home.”  That ‘make yourself at home’ is truly an American concept.  Many of my friends take this literally- you serve yourself, you go into their cupboards and find yourself a glass and fill it with water yourself, and so on.  This is SO not a Swedish concept.

Anyway, this got under my skin in a big way when I was married to my ex.  He wouldn’t greet my friends at the door, he didn’t even show that he wanted to know who they were.  Now that is probably rude, also, in American culture- but that’s just my guess.  I felt offended for my friends’ sake, though I don’t know how they felt.  At that time, I should have made my friend comfortable, then gone down to the basement (where my husband seemed to love being) and told him, gently but assertively, that I wanted him to greet my friends.  I wanted him to get up off his lazy (or shy?) ass and walk his legs up the stairs and say ‘Hi. I’m (name).  What’s your name?’ and chat just a wee bit, before sinking back into his man cave.

This blog isn’t meant to rant about my ex- but my point is I should have spoken up.  I should have stood strong and respected my own feelings about soooo many things that irked me.  And the lesson I’m taking from this is to speak up about things that bother me with my current boyfriend and friends.

In my current relationship, I have been doing this, a little bit.  I really should do it more.  And the fact that I’m releasing myself to express myself more freely makes me feel strong!  I’ve got the powah!  BooYah!

On Being Zen and the Not-So-Thick Veil

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As I’ve been living my pagan/mundane life, walking my path in ‘this’ reality with most of my being, and walking in the magical realm with one foot, or, more often, just a few toes or a pinky finger trailing in the  mist, I’ve been at a bit of a loss for what gems of ideas to share on this blog.  I’ve had a few ideas here and there, but nothing really grabbed me, until today.  Part of the reason for my state of cat-caught-the-tongue is something that touched me deeply:  a friend of a nearly mutual faith has recently passed.  Before she passed, since her eyesight was failing, her daughter read my blogs (few as they are) to her.  I can’t help but be thankful that my last ‘gem’ revolved around the reassuring message from two faces of the goddess.  One of those faces was a Norn, the message from which hopefully brought a message of comfort to my friend in her last days of life here, because she is (was) Asatru:  a person who follows the ancient faith of Scandinavia.

The reason I’m writing today is just to share the lessons I’ve learned the last few months.  These lessons have been simple and profound for myself.  They may or may not have come from an ‘otherworldly’ source, but then again, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the blurry line between the worlds is a lot more blurry than we would like to believe.  Most people fear the world of the mystical, but I’m coming to believe that the mystical is really more homey and real than most want to believe.  Yes, the ‘veil’ is thinner around Samhain (Halloween), but in my opinion, the veil isn’t all that thick at all other times.  (Also, why would the ‘veil’ be thinner at Samhain for those who believe it so for that time of year, and be thinner for Chinese people at their New Year, which tends be around our Imbolc/Candlemass time around February 2nd? How can ‘the veil’ change in how thick or thin it is according to where and when you live in the world? Who decides how thin it is- do we and our cultural norms, or do forces beyond us? I digress.) So, lessons we learn may seem to be pretty mundane, when they may actually come from a source much deeper and divine.

Both lessons have roots in my new loving relationship.  This new loving experience I’m having is different than all the other ones I’ve had.  Of course, each one has been different from all others, but this one seems to be unique in that it is full of genuine love.  I’m realizing a few things about myself, that I need to keep in check or to improve on psychologically, in order to fully embrace this man and this relationship.  The first lesson is to be more zen and to trust, which is a recurring theme for me, as I tend to be a ‘worry wart’ and anxious about the silliest things.  However, I didn’t expect this lesson to surface from experiences in this relationship.  

The reason why I should be zen and to trust is because I am truly loved.  I can never really reach into someone else and pull out their innermost feelings and thoughts and examine them closely, so I need to trust that this is true.  I hadn’t realized this until recently, but in all my previous relationships, I assumed I wasn’t loved (I didn’t trust), and did everything I could so that I could be loved, or continue to be loved.  I just falsely knew without being aware of it, as much as I knew my own face, that I couldn’t just be simply loved for no explainable reason. Or, if I was loved, it wasn’t a true love that would last- it was a flimsy love that would easily disintegrate unless I did whatever I could to be some kind of super-pleaser.  I still had that attitude in this relationship and it was driving me nuts with anxiety, until I realized that he still loved me, with a simple, earthy grounded assurance.  

It’s quite a different experience to relax and enjoy a wonderful, simple gift that has been given, without any work to try to keep it in place, when I’m so used to all that work and stress.  It’s as if I am seeing a beautiful mountain range for the first time, and realizing that it’s not going to melt away the next day or the next; it’s still going to be there, just as strong as the days and years and millennia before.  And I don’t have to keep on painting it or molding the vista (or even assume I can) to make it real.  While I’ve come to an awareness about this lesson, I’m still learning it, and many times I’ve needed to tell myself to stop building whatever scaffolds and walls or worry about whether this is going to continue, because of silly little things, like wrinkles on my face I hadn’t noticed before – that he’ll notice them and suddenly not be into me anymore – or countless other little shallow things that can easily draw me into a place of worry.  

That place of worry and anxiety is the antithesis of living in power.  Being zen and trusting also comes from a state of letting go of things I really don’t have control over, but would like to have an effect on.  Once I can be in that state, I am calm, it is easier for me to live in a state of loving, and I feel more confident. I also love myself more.  The trick is staying in that state and not sliding back into worry again!  I’ll get there and stay up on that rocky ridge and not lose my footing, I hope!  Maybe sliding back is just a part of being human.

Another lesson that might not be quite as profound is that, while our faiths seem to be fundamentally opposites (he is Catholic and I’m rather obviously pagan), the faiths haven’t clashed, yet.  Yesterday, we decorated his Christmas tree (a pagan activity, though this wasn’t really labeled as such as we did it, and it was a bit Christianized with some of his ornaments being angels and a cross) and set up his nativity scene, a decidedly Christian activity.  If he had been the sort of Christian that would believe that because I am ‘pagan,’ that means I’m a devil-worshiper or demon possessed, he would have been surprised that I didn’t have had some kind of fit from The Exorcist as we put up his nativity scene, or hissed like a vampire as I touched the cross ornament!  Of course none of that happened and it was a happy and peaceful thing that we did together.  It’s just kind of a funny thought, and I’m glad he’s not the sort of person that would believe that kind of thing!

If this was about, oh, six or seven years ago, I would have felt internally conflicted at setting up a nativity scene, even if it was owned by someone else.  About ten to fifteen years ago, I was just starting on the pagan path, and shunning my past faith which was Christianity.  For several years, I was angry at the Judeo/Christian G-d (angry at both G-ds, from the Old and from the New Testament of the Bible- they do seem to have different personalities), because if he was as powerful and as loving as many parts of that book makes him seem to be, why did he allow horrible abuses to happen to his ‘children’?  Even as I turned away and believed he didn’t exist, I ironically was also angry at him.  So, I fed the fires of his existence with my anger at his existence, while believing he didn’t exist… ya dig?

Over the years, I’ve mellowed a lot about that Christian G-d (which I’m spelling that way to please those who believe in him).  I still believe that the G-d of the Old and the New Testaments wouldn’t be a god that I would follow or revere, but I now accept that loving, good people believe and worship that god.  I’ve let go of my anger concerning him, in coming to know other faces of the divine that I feel that I can follow and revere.  And in doing so, that part of me has relaxed, become more zen and trusting, and a stronger love for others, no matter what faith they have, has sprouted as a result.

I didn’t really see until I wrote this that the two lessons are connected, coming from the same root lesson.  Be zen, trust in love – both divine and mundane – and let go. Let go, of anger and the false assumption that you can control and have an influence over that beautiful love. Instead, embrace the existence of the solid rock of millennia, that simple, unconditional (in every sense of the word) love, and that it will continue to exist beyond time.

My Ravens Will Remind You of This

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My life the last few months has been so different than the last many, many years.  My stress level is so much lower, things are going great, and I haven’t wanted for anything.  I even have a new boyfriend, and that relationship is going very well.

After all of that hemming and hawing and riding the fence and ‘camping out’ at the ledge, now that I’m living the life on my new road of learning to become a sign language interpreter, life is great!  I *can* imagine what I was afraid of, but the reality is so much better.

The major message I have received from deity is “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”  I have discovered what a worry-wart I can be, and it keeps me from living life.  And it keeps me from being happy about my lovely life.  It’s pretty cool how deity has spoken to me, and how messages coincide with each other to reinforce that ‘this is real, believe it.’

Besides all the supportive readings and messages I had *before* I made my decision, I continue to have this message (‘I got this’) after my decision as well.  The first message came through an experience I will never forget.

I went to another pagan festival, which is a pagan (they call it ‘spiritual retreat’ to open it up to other religions, but really, in my mind, it’s pagan) retreat in the mountains of Colorado in August.  One tradition that they always have at this festival is “Drawing Down.”  This means that priests and priestesses allow themselves to be vessels for a god or goddess, so that those seeking a message from deity can communicate with deity through that person.  I have been secretly wigged out (and at the same time, morbidly fascinated) by this concept.  It sounds like possession and it *is,* but by deity; it’s not demonic.  People who care about me, who don’t understand this, would say “how do you know?”  You know.  You really just know.  I would retort, “How do you know that when you pray to God, that He is the one to whom you are speaking?”

One person described opening ones’ brain to channeling messages (not to the extent of embodying deity but even just channeling) as turning a radio dial in the brain to the psychic channel.  I actually hadn’t made the connection to the word ‘channel’ until now, I may have just made a pagan pun actually!  That idea has helped me when I ‘channel,’ myself, because it is a kind of mental feeling that you know a certain thing, that something is right and not scary-bad.

Anyway, my experience with Drawing Down was the real deal and not demonic.  I don’t really believe in demons, but I do believe in bad spirits, or spirits that were messed up when they were alive and continue to be in the afterlife.   There are also fae spirits that don’t always have our best in mind.  It’s probably just semantics, just as different aspects of deity are just ways we as humans try to describe deity, when deity really is just indescribable to begin with.  This did not involve any malevolent spirits.  There are ways to safeguard against them, and I believe the people involved in this event at the festival had taken those precautions.

That said, I felt like I was being called to go to this event.  So, despite my little worries, I did.  Before I did this, I had participated in a rebirthing ceremony, which probably deserves its own blog post.  That experience was very special.  So this time around at festival, I was already opening myself up to deeper internal work than I usually do at this fest.  Two different people had asked if I was going to this event, and this time around, I felt a little response within me, saying, ‘Yes. You should go to this.’

Drawing Down began with those of us seeking a message from deity sitting quietly in a grassy waiting area.  We were surrounded by aspens and wildflowers.  It was pre-twilight.  Each person ‘drawing down’ a deity had their own tent or canopy about a two minute walk away from the waiting area, and attendants to that deity came to us in the waiting area and picked out those they felt called to pick.  When ‘my’ attendant came, I knew she was going to pick me before she even got to me.  Our eyes locked and she knew it too.  She led me to The Morrighan.  I don’t know much about this deity, but this is what I already knew before my meeting with her:  she is a triple goddess.  Some people think of her as maiden/mother/crone.  One aspect of her is that she, like the valkyries, helps bring the spirits of the dead to the afterlife.  Her ravens help her to do this.  I also think of ravens in connection with bringing messages to those who have passed, because of Huginn and Muninn who serve Odin (of the ancient Norse belief).  The Morrighan is a Celtic goddess, or more accurately, a triple goddess or group of goddesses that work together and are somewhat a part of each other.

Before leading me to The Morrighan, her attendant, who was a pretty young woman probably around 18 years old, told me that I was going to see The Morrighan and that she can be ‘pretty intense,’ but not to worry.  She brought me to the tent.  Inside the tent, there were three people seated in chairs; a woman who sat in the middle with a fierce gaze and queen-like demeanor, and a person sitting on either side.  A man sat on one side and woman on the other; the man had green and yellow makeup in a diamond pattern on his face.  The man and woman on either side sat, watching, and not saying anything.

The Morrighan motioned me in and indicated that her attendant should leave.  I knelt in front of her.  She got right in my face, though not too close, and looked straight in my eyes from every angle, her head moving like a snakes’.  She asked me what my question was and I said, rather timidly, “Will I be O.K. for the next 3 years? Will I have enough to live on?”  She sat back and said that she saw that I’m going through a transformation, and I will get what I need, but only if I let go of something that I’m allowing to block me.  “You know what this is.”  (I’m still not quite sure what it is, perhaps my fear?)  She said I will learn a lot.  She asked what I’m afraid of, in a tone that indicated that the fear is unwarranted.  I can’t remember exactly what my reply was.  I think I said I have a fear that I can’t accomplish it.  She said, “Do you want my blessing?” I said yes.  She said:

“Know this.  I am to the right of you.  I am to the left of you.  I am before you and behind you.  I am always all around you.  My ravens will remind you of this.”  

Those words still give me chills.  It was done.  I thanked her and left.

The next day at the festival, I had an experience that reinforced the idea that The Morrighan (or that aspect of the goddess deity) is with me.  I went to a ritual about the Norns.  Through this experience, I found out that I had already received the message I needed, and although I probably didn’t need the message again, it was a beautiful experience.  I went because I love the idea of Norns from the ancient Norse belief.  The Norns are the three goddesses at Yggdrasil, which is the tree of life.  One of the Norns measures our life thread, one spins it, and one cuts it.  I’ve always thought of these Norns like The Morrighan, because they are maiden/mother/crone, though they feel a little more like home and less scary to me.  Since my own culture is Swedish-American, I feel a strong link to Norse things.  And, I love working with fibers, so both of those aspects of myself finds a kinship of sorts with the Norns.

There was a whole bit of closing the circle and some personal thought about our life thread beforehand, but I’m itching to skip to the juicy part: the guided meditation.  Western style guided meditations tend to include a way to come ‘down’ to a lower meditative state using imagery.  In this meditation, our guide used the image of a tree, and we went down the inside of the tree (which represented ourselves) and out a door at the bottom.  I didn’t feel the right mental state through this imagery, so I added my own take on Starhawk’s Rainbow Induction as described in her book The Twelve Wild Swans.  I could do yet another blog just describing it.  I’ve found it very helpful in grounding and getting at lower consciousness levels for meditation.

The rainbow induction goes through the rainbow colors as you descend downwards in elevation, and you are those colors and are dressed in those colors.  I include non rainbow colors of brown, black and white at the end.  So, when I walked out of my life-tree, I was wearing white.  Our guide told us that hanging on the tree was our life thread, woven into the tree.  Since I like to make things with fibers, I pictured a beautiful weaving, almost like a spiderweb, entwined in the branches.  The weaving had tendrils of gauzy thread hanging from it.  One of the threads was long and led off into the distance.  She had us follow our life thread until we came to Yggdrasil, the tree of life.  She called it the World Tree.  It had all our threads leading to it.  To the left of the tree was a lake.  As soon as our guide said that, my spirit lept into the lake!  (My inner child is alive and well!) Now, with my white dress on, it seemed a bit like a baptism.

Our guide told us that at one end of the lake there were grottos; three little caves leading from the water.  In each cave stood one of the Norns.  As is done in many of this kind of meditation, we were to speak with one of the goddesses and receive a message, at which point our guide stopped talking to give us time to do this.  I used to get anxious during these meditations, that I was not keeping up, but I’ve learned that you can listen and let the meditation take its course.  Sometimes your own meditation follows along at the same pace, and sometimes your own meditation has its own take on things.  If the guide goes on, don’t panic; just listen, and know you’ll catch up or make your own way at the correct time.

Original Artwork

Original Artwork

At this point, I was in the middle of the lake.  The Norns were standing at the other end, each in her own cave.  In my meditation, the left-most Norn was the one with a spindle, spinning thread.  The one in the middle was measuring and holding the thread that the left-most one spun, and the one on the farthest right was cutting the threads that the middle one held.  As I swam, I felt The Morrighan (but just the aspect I spoke to the day before) behind me.  Incidentally, she didn’t look like the woman who had lent her body to the goddess, who is beautiful in her own way.  The Morrighan was regal and beautiful.  She walked at the edge of the lake with long strides, slowly and serenely, towards the Norn with the spindle.  The spinner said that The Morrighan was vying for my attention, with amusement in her voice.  I couldn’t turn my back and ignore her (since that would be disrespectful), so I accepted her presence.  She reached the spinner and held her hand, her hand held out like a queen, palm down, the spinner holding her hand up, so that their clasped hands were like yin and yang.  I felt that they were indicating that they are the same, while having their own different personalities, and that they were giving the message in tandem.

The spinning Norn seemed to get a silent message from The Morrighan and spoke to me, saying “You doubt that I’m good at what I do?” implying that my tendency to worry about the future was an insult to her.  That was my message:  to trust that the Spinner knows what she’s doing.  I mentally searched the other two Norns but they didn’t communicate with me.  The one with the shears put them behind her back, which was reassuring.

So that was it.  We were led back to the World Tree, and back from there to our own tree-selves, and back up it into our own bodies.  Again, I added the reverse of the Rainbow Induction to help myself back to the waking mental state.

We ended the ritual with vanilla wafer crackers and water that was passed around the circle, and I went back to my tent afterwards.  The rest of the festival was lovely, and I drove home, full of a secure feeling of being loved by deity and by good friends.  As I arrived home, there were three large ravens flying to a tree and lamp post in the parking lot.  We see crows a lot and ravens occasionally; ravens are much more rare.  They were cawing loudly as if to say, “She said we’d come, and we’re here; don’t forget!”

My most recent sighting of a raven was on a card from a divinatory playing card deck I have.  I had not even started my card reading when it fell out.  Again, reassuring me that all will be well.  In this season of thanks, I thank The Morrighan and Spinner-Norn (and I’ve seen her referred to as the weaver) Verdandi, for the continual reassurances that all will be well, and as Matthew wrote in his Gospel, to be like the birds who don’t worry about a thing, knowing that their needs will be met.