I kept a stone on my tongue most of the weekend so my ears had little competition and now it’s acting like a toddler

The Pagan Blog project, March, Wk 2- Mar. 9- As Above, So Below What do you seek from the Divine? How is that reflected in the mundane? Where do you find your place of synthesis?

I kept a stone on my tongue most of the weekend so my ears had little competition and now it’s acting like a toddler.

I wrote this in a reply to one of my Facebook posts and as I wrote it I realized how very true it was. I was at a spiritual intensive and my part was to support, observe, and not lead or do the talky bits or in any way step into center. I relaxed into my role. I really leaned into that role because frankly, if you’ve stood in leadership in community, stepping back and not leading can be the equivalent of a week long rest for the soul.

Part of this stepping back for me involves pulling my aura in just a bit because my presence can be a distraction. I am a transition priestess; a border-walking, dead-talking priestess. When one walks with the Dust of the Dead in a cloud around one’s feet (picture Pigpen from the Peanuts™ comic strip), well it can be a distraction.

Another part is I am a very verbal person. It is a gift to be so and not so much the curse I, until recently, believed it to be. (Some other blog post I’ll talk about why I thought it a curse.) Being so verbal is not always appropriate so I’ve learned to curb it for periods of time. Here’s the thing, though. It is a key piece of Who I Am. When I curb it I have to later let it loose. If I don’t pay attention to the loosening it is indeed unruly and loud like a toddler. And thus the sentence came out: I kept a stone on my tongue most of the weekend so my ears had little competition and now it’s acting like a toddler.

It reminded me that “As above, so below”. It reminded me that we are exactly who we are and if we push too hard to be other, it squishes out the other direction. It reminded me that we are reflections of the curved black mirror of space, sometimes squished and pulled, but always always reflections of the divine, and always always ourselves.

After all: it’s just a fun house mirror.

As above, so below.

The Pagan Experience; March wk 1; Words!

Knowledge, Wisdom and Gnosis – What do these words mean to you? How do express these principles in your spiritual work? Is any one more important than the other? Why?

I am fairly loose in the definitions of these words and straightforward.

Knowledge: what you know, not to be confused with Truth. Knowledge can be be “book learnin'” (possibly true) or knowing in your core (true). I don’t try to guess what lives in other people’s core. I concern myself with my own. Especially when I am in teacher/facilitator mode. Role modeling awareness of my truth is the most (best?) I can do.

Wisdom: I don’t claim it, though I think we all have at least some of it. It’s not a label I’m going to be comfortable bestowing on myself, “wise one”. Not because I think it is untrue, but it hits in a weird place like self-proclaiming the label of “elder” – some labels are best conferred, not claimed.

Gnosis: I skip right to UPG (unverified personal gnosis). Love it! Unverified and unverifiable to anyone except me, knowing. This is the liminal space where I meet my Gods, where everyone meets their God/s. That is as it should be. These relationships are personal, private dialogues between us and Them, unfettered by societal constraints of what is supposed to be possible and true. When I step between the worlds, I find it. When I speak to the Spirit House, I find it. When I drop into trance, I find it. I can share it partially within the limitations of speech and written word, but UPG is a thing that is more for me and less for the world. I am quite happy with that.

Importance of each – well, that varies on situation, the Work at the time, and what needs to be done with the knowledge, wisdom, or gnosis gained. It is not an even split and the percentage of each changes as needed.  The ties between them are close and they play off of each other in the creation that is my religious path. Too much of one all the time would reduce all of it. So I think an ever changing goodly mix of the three provides the most long term stability. A stable flexible path is what I strive for and generally accomplish. Go me! 😉

The Pagan Experience; Feb., wk 4; calling the Work into the world

Wk 4- Feb. 23- Any writing for the letters C or – I am keeping this familiar format on week 4 for those who have joined me from the Pagan Blog Project.

C: Calling

I attended Winter Witchcamp this year. It is held on a magical isle on a frozen lake in Wisconsin. I am not a fan of winter, but this place was beautiful.

One night for ritual we called a bind rune into being. Actually called it, rune piece by rune piece, with intent, purpose, and ecstatic voices. We called across the camp, 3 layers, 3 runes, over and over and over again, until its magic was formed, its energy as clear and bold as the brisk night air.

The ritual started in 3 separate places: on the frozen lake, on the deck of the ritual hall with a fire blazing, and inside the ritual room. It was so cold that evening and my back ached with the frigid temperatures, but the frozen lake siren-sang my name so I bundled and wrapped and layered, and chose it, as much as it chose me, to start the ritual.

I arrived at the lake, walking on its icy hardness, to a straight line of coloured faerie lights stuck deep into the ice. Our group split on either side of this rainbow rendition of Isa in the ice, raised our voices, and began. “Eeeesaah” we chanted, just slowly enough to feel the vowels fully in our throats before we took a breath. The deck group immediately followed with “Naaauuthiiiz”, and right after we could hear the faint whisper through the air of “Laaayguuz”.

Over and over, timed and methodical like music, emotion-filled and full-bodied like prayer. Eeeesaah …….Naaauthiiz …….Laaayguuz. Over and over, then faster and faster, our frost nipped faces turned upwards to a brilliantly clear starry heaven, chant-calling our bind rune into existence.

Once the island was swollen with our conviction we fell silent.

The three groups gathered in the ritual room and we completed the working.

Isa/Nauthiz/Laguz; the energy bound that evening is carried within all of us who were there, stretching out in our world as we move forward with this Work.


The Pagan Experience, Feb. wk 3, work smart, don’t work everywhere

Wk 3- Feb. 16- Deity and the Divine This will be the third week’s topic every month and an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you.

Some sort of shenanigans happened on my blog (I’m looking at you, Loki of the missing socks) when a draft managed to published itself with only the description of the prompt and the word “Hel”. I find this hilarious. But here’s my late post anyway.

I’m pretty tapped out ATM with SJ conversations that feel like they have never moved beyond the 101 level in spiritual spaces where I hold a high expectation of awareness + openness + growth. But, I am in the trad that I am for a reason. That said, while I understand how this can be a call to arms for some, for me it’s like someone nicked my jugular and I’m not gonna bleed out to create a fountain for the racists to quench their thirst.

This sentiment is prompted by incidents at this year’s Pantheacon, but P-Con is far from the only offender. (Oh if it were!) My Gods however like to take long term views of the humans and their flaws. And They’re pretty brilliant at that. Along with all the other directives and instructions and “Hey, why don’t you do this now!!”s there has always been an emphasis on work hard, but work smart. This has come in messages since I was a kid and the onus has been on me to work diligently in my corner of the world because the “It’s not fair!!” that rises in me at global injustice overwhelms to paralysis. This if course does not mean I get to stick my head in the sand, or ignore injustices elsewhere, but when it comes to parsing my energy and finances, do the most good often translates to places that don’t me a couple of grand to get to. (If I ever get to a place of financial security where a couple grand every month is doable – go me! – I’ll reassess.)

And right now I’m bone tired of my spiritual community having not progressed farther in the fight against privileges and abuse issues than society at large. Really? FuckThatShit. (“Really”, whisper the Gods.) They remain steadfast in their insistence that “work hard, but work smart, go where you’ll do the most good” is an oath I should continue to hold. They all deeply value self care, too. Hel, Poseidon, Yemaya, Kuan Yin, Papa Legba, and Cerridwen -so say all. So I shall.

The Pagan Experience; Feb., wk 2

Wk 2- Feb. 9- Earth– The word “earth” has multiple meanings. What does it mean to you? How do you use its definitions to support your work?

This is a tough one. I don’t center the earth in my practice or on my path. I center beings, of all kinds. I admire and am grateful for the earth. I enjoy its steady support, its unemotional destructive forces, its beauty, and its mayhem. I can hear the trees whisper and the sea sing the songs of my soul. I adore its bright colours, birds, and animals. And still I do and feel and reference all of this from the place of human, through my filters.

I can go days without thinking of it or appreciating it still being under my feet. I can fold in on myself and ignore all outside my home. I try not to, because keeping connected to the earth is part of connecting to All That Is. When I become too internalized in focus and open back up to the world I always notice how very much I have missed it.

This earth may be nothing more than our collective co-created illusion, but what a beautiful illusion it is.

The Pagan Experience Blog Project; Feb. wk 1

WK 1- Feb. 2- Humanity– How do you define “humanity”? What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?

I define humanity as all of the humans, collectively, and all of the sparks of spirit within the humans, that create “us as a whole” in theory and in practice. In this way I can become discouraged with “the humans”, but still hold humanity with hope. I see “we as a whole” with potential for great good and love. I see we as individuals humans sometimes achieving that and other times falling so far short I grieve deeply. Holding both of these perspectives allows me to not fall into despair while keeping grounded in the reality.

My contribution? A drop in an ocean. Important to the drops around it, I suppose, and necessary to the whole in a way, but easily removed without notice.

My path allows this to be so without resentment, by acknowledging the necessity of all the humans to create humanity as a whole, while not being filled with so much ego that I find myself to be the only, or one of the few important ones. So, the rituals, practices, and collective non-hierarchal nature of my path keep the tendency of humans to feel self-important and indispensable in check. It allows space for everyone’s experience, while not diminishing one’s own. My path also has ideas of self responsibility around it that hold folks accountable for their actions while also encouraging people to be free to call someone on their behaviour if they are being inauthentic or damaging to those around them. This is a form of community (humanity as community) Love that may be hard to grasp for those not walking this path. Sometimes it is hard even for those that are. And my words may not be explaining it well since many books have been written addressing this topic and I am writing a blog post. Ah well, this is as coherent as I can be this Monday morning.

The Pagan Experience, blog project, wk 4, alphabet letters

Prompt from The Pagan Experience: Any writing for the letters A or B– I am keeping this familiar format on week 4 of each month for those who have joined me from the Pagan Blog Project.

My word is assumptions. (No, I’m not going to pull out the old ass-u-me thing because I think that is bogus based on how the human brain works when trying to sort things quickly.) Assumptions that are not checked against reality, or no effort is put forth to see if the assumption is correct or incorrect, that is the thorn in my lovely aching side. Lazy assumptions, because it’s easier than wrangling difficult or new-to-you concepts. I’ve had it with all of them.

Pagans who’ve glommed on to the New Age movement are especially adept at assumptions of “how people should behave” and at what empathy, compassion, kindness, and love look like. They create tiny boxes. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, those boxes hold all the things that are familiar to them and all the things that are exact replicas of how they do those things.

This is the easy way out of truly getting to know the variety that makes up humanity. It is a way of avoiding the difficult work of learning nuances and shades of presentation by dismissing anything and anyone that doesn’t fit neatly into your box. All done while claiming to be Super Spiritual™ themselves and Doing the Hard Work™.

Hey there box person. You missed a step.

Maybe even several steps.

The Pagan Experience blog project, wk 3, Deity and the Divine – Art for the Gods

Deity and the DivineThis will be the third week’s topic every month in this project so there will be ample time to cover all of the patrons in various fashions. This one, though, goes out to Yemaya and Poseidon. I embarked on a mixed media art piece a bit over a year ago and completed it recently. It is named _At the Beach_ and it represents my core deep love of the sea and it is also a devotional piece to my sea Deities.

You’d think with that kind of time it would look a lot more full. Ha! No. There was a large spiking learning curve involved. I put on and removed more things than it ended up having on it. Attaching heavy items to muslin, painting on muslin (which originally was pastels and fixative – pro tip, that doesn’t work on muslin), fishing line and thread, and making and ditching various forms of netting that eventually were ditched for fishing net actually made for the purpose.

I learned after the first six months where I pulled 10’s of things back off it to add a wee piece, look at it, stand back to see the whole, and then walk away for a day or so to see if I was still keen on it. This added bunches of time. As did walking away from it completely in a fit of frustration last summer and not returning to it until this past Autumn.

It is about  2 yards of fabric, measuring 43″ across and 33″ high, doubled and tripled in places. It has glass beads, buttons, hand sewn fabric pieces, an abundance of yarn, sequins, seashells that I collected at the beach, a sand dollar a friend collected from her West Coast beach, gifted shells from another friend, sand from my favourite beach in Delaware, a few beads gifted to me at my Feri initiation, along with the painted water. I adore it. And I adore it in spite of others likely looking at it and going, “buh?” It fills my heart with such Joy!

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The Pagan Experience blog project – week 2 – spiritual practice

Wk 2- Jan. 12- Personal Practice– Share your favorite spiritual/magickal practices.

I’m going to share one of my current favourites which happens to be the new one implemented this year and lines up with my intention mentioned in the first project post. I am chanting or singing each morning. I wrote a chant that uses words from the flower prayer by Victor Anderson:

Who is the flower above me?
And what is the work of this god?
I would know myself in all my parts.

I quite like it, but I have switched to another because I am going to Winter Witchcamp in February. I want to be fully present in their community and I want to prep for that in ways more than packing up my stuff. Since 2006 this camp has opened and closed camp with a prayer bead set that they crafted and wrote words for as a community. It is long. I have it printed out. It takes me about 15 minutes to do it. I read the the parts and sing the repeating 3 lines that are like a refrain. Some days I sing parts that I might speak in addition to the refrain, but I like how the spoken word flows into singing the repeating three lines. This sets the tone for my day of doing something I love doing that lightens me (fulfilling the 2015 intention) and it connects me to the earth and the Divine with myself as the connector.

The whole prayer in pdf format can be found here.

The Pagan Experience blog project – week 1 – intentions for 2015

I am joining (a bit late) and we’ll see how it goes, yes? A prompt is offered for the beginning of each week and you write a post about the prompt. My first couple of posts will be decidedly short as I catch up, and the subjects don’t really need a lot of words, even for me.

WK 1- Jan. 5- Resolutions– What are your intentions for this new year? How will you find the resolve to bring them into your manifest life?

My intentions are to remain as present and conscious as possible to what I am filling my time and therefore myself with. I want to devote the extra time I have to things that make me lighter instead of heavier. Things that will bring Joy and not feel like a burden. I will have a morning practice that I do after coffee, but before the internet time suck happens. I will make sure of this by setting a timer that will remind me. That practice may change shape over time and more might be added, but the first one must be something that lightens my spirit.