Tag Archives: Starhawk

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!)

parymmen2

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:

Summer Solstice 2014 (16)

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.

Summer Solstice 2014 (6)

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.