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:
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.
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.