Sunday, May 30, 2010

All things

This post is going to sound fairly quantum (as far as I understand quantum based on certain aspects of Terry Pratchett's Disc World and other popular media that I've gleaned here and there)

This week I went back to Starhawk again, and put my focus on the idea of patterns and relationships in respect to the idea of magical workings; which if we're going to be honest, is probably what draws most people to the craft to begin with. Casting spells by the light of the full moon and candle or firelight is a romantic notion that was (and is) one that drew my attention, when I first started investigating Wicca and Paganism as a spiritual path.

Ultimately creating magic is all about sending your will, your intentions, your wishes out into the universe. It is about changing your consciousness at will. It is about seeing the world in respect to patterns of energy, of cause and effect, light and dark... Looking at the world with a heightened awareness. This way of looking at the world is one that artists often find themselves using; which sets them apart from mainstream society; and is another connection between creativity and the divine.

It's about sending what you want out into the universe so that the universe will toss it right back to you; because; with sending out the intention, you are also working towards that goal as well.

I'm not quite finished the chapter I've been reading. There are some exercises in this chapter that I want to do in addition to the exercises in another book I am reading that I feel will be a great introduction to Starhawk's activities. My next post will be about those as well as any other thoughts that come up as I finish the chapter.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

I wanted to write that sometimes I'm surprised at how children see the world but really what I mean is that I am amazed and in awe at how much truth they see and how they cut to the heart of the matter so elegantly. I read Any Mommy all the time. Her posts have opened my eyes to any number of hard, painful and beautiful things, also; she has the ability to make me laugh and cry in a single post.

Recently she posted a conversation she had with one of her children about what I refer to as Deity since I believe in more than one aspect of the divine and what she refers to as God. In the conversation she asked her son what he thought God was, his answer gave me chills with it's beautiful simplicity. It is the answer I would like to give to any one who ever asks me what I think Deity is. You can read it here:
Is There Any Mommy Out There?: Tell me all your thoughts on God

Talking religion and faith is a touchy subject, one that I rarely get into with people who don't know where my faith lies. In the case of talking to children about faith and religion, the subject itself is so immense it's hard to know where to start, how much to impart, what to leave alone. I come from a family that didn't really observe religion beyond Christmas and Easter and Church was never a part of those holidays for us. I want to raise my daughter to respect all aspects of the earth, her community and the divine. I'm doing this, as I do most things in baby steps, a little here and there, adding to our family practice as she grows older. We started with a night time prayer to the moon, an aspect of Deity that I feel strongly about. We've moved on to celebrating each Sabbat and Esbat in simple and fun ways. As we move onward we'll add more.

I believe, as I do with anything that has to do with parenting; that whatever is working for you and your family is the best thing for you to be doing. Taking into account the idea that no harm is being done of course.

It's all good, or not as bad as I thought it would be

My last post.
Of the things I've learned from this; that I am no longer willing to let things slide because there is calm after a storm is top of the list. Enough is enough. Storms should not be a regular part of life, life should not have to tip toe around in fear of starting a new one. We are moving forward and it's a long road ahead, but we are moving forward together and along the same road.

I've been reading some, and allowing myself some time to create a little each day. I'm coming across some glitches with my BOS pages but I will be able to clear these up with some problem solving. Once I've done that I'll share them here.

I'll post a little bit about what I've been reading in the few days and what my thoughts are about it all.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mirror Moments

This has turned out to be so challenging; so much sooner than I thought it would happen.

When I made the choice to honour the divine, to follow my own path towards Goddess spirituality; I made it knowing that I was going to have to face things about myself and my life that would feel uncomfortable about. That I would have to face, head on, painful moments and choices. I knew going in, that I would be looking into a mirror at times and that what I would see would be the truth and that I might not like what it was I was seeing.

We live far from family, what friends I have where we live have busy family lives and see mostly what I let them see. It's a hard thing to face the humiliation of having people see that your life is not picture perfect. It's also one of those mirror moments, when you see what your life is like through the eyes of others. What I've been living with, overlooking and letting fester was put under a magnifying glass and it was uncomfortable, it was painful. Excruciating. And I fought against it right up until it was laid bare to me by the ones who love us all the most.

I took the first step towards making a major change, towards a better life for myself, for my husband and mostly and most importantly for our daughter. I took that first step and my whole body shook, my face was flushed so badly that I felt as though I had been standing with my face turned towards the desert sun for a 12 hour day, my heart was pounding. I took the first step and it was hard and the next is going to be so much harder to take because I take it alone, I take it without those people standing beside me, or behind me or in front of me, and I can't afford to let things slide anymore. Changes have to be made and I have to back up that first step, make sure that the work gets done and if not; make a decision that I don't want to make but will.

Coming out of this I will be a stronger woman. Confronting a weakness and overcoming it is a part of facing the darkness and passing through it. It's not meant to be easy, nothing worthwhile ever is.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kitty Love

So far this trip: A lot of kitty love. Pictures to follow

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Wiccan Rede

One of the first things I learned when I began to research Goddess Religion was the Wiccan Rede. Essentially the one common law that all Wiccans follow:

An ye harm none; do as thou wilt.

I've said before that my belief is that all Deities are part of a whole. Each Goddess and God a separate aspect of that powerful energy that includes all living things, and all forces. We are one with the Goddess, one with the God, one with where we live, one with our environment, with our neighbors. It only makes sense that we should consider each of our actions and how they will affect ourselves, those around us, our Earth.

Will something as simple as which apple I buy at the market cause any harm? If so, picking up an organically grown apple; instead of the first one I pass by, or even growing my own would be that much better. If I need new clothes do I buy the super inexpensive clothes that may have been created in a sweat shop or do I purchase from a consignment store, or better yet a consignment store where the proceeds go to a worthy charity?

There are a million choices like this that need to be made each day, each hour. It kind of makes living life, just going from minute to minute a spiritual act.

Of course the easiest choices are not always those that will cause the least amount of harm. Sometimes things like cash flow or not knowing that there is another choice can get in the way.

Changing our habits towards lowering our carbon foot print can be done by making one small change and then another and another and another; following the Rede can be done the same way a single step at a time.

I've been working on a page in my Book Of Shadows for the Rede. The whole poem which contains so much information about the wheel of the year, the moon phases, the rule of three... I can't imagine a better addition early in the book.

Once it's done I'll include some images.

In other news: It's my Grandma's 91st birthday next week so we'll be off celebrating with her. My posts may be few and far between until we return, I'm taking my new book with me and my sketchbook to jot down ideas and thoughts.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lavendar, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary and Basil

My Mother's Day weekend was full of delightful moments and quality time with the family. My husband and daughter took me to the garden center where I picked out two lovely English Lavender plants to go with my fledgling herb garden.

I've chosen herbs that I can use both for cooking and for spell crafting. I've started some of the plants from seeds and others are from seedlings that I've picked up at the garden centre and the grocery store.

Spending time in the garden is turning out to be enjoyable and an act of meditation and a practice in patience. In short a beautiful way to honour the Goddess and Mother Earth.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Witchcraft as Goddess Religion Part 2

I'm reading and re-reading and wanted to follow up on the last post. One of the side effects of doing all the reading is that I'm starting to think critically about what I'm reading and about this whole journey. Ideally a year and a day is just the beginning of the journey, the whole point is that I'm not following blindly the path that is set out but that I am creating my own road, sometimes or most of the time it will run parallel to other paths but it will be cleared by me. It's hard work but good work.

I'm not wanting to get preachy with posts based on what I've been reading. Writing down my thoughts about what is in a book is the best way for me to absorb it. Some of the ideas are new insights for me; others build upon how I think already. In the end what I'm getting from my reading of this chapter is a framework for what a Goddess religion is and how it differs from a patriarchal framework.

Thoughts on the chapter:

The inquisition: the degeneration of early Christian Asceticism (turning it's back on the world of the flesh in order to become closer to God) into misogyny. Those who were/are identified with the flesh, with sexuality (women) were/are equated with evil. Ultimately the Inquisition was a power play. A way to take away the power perceived to be held by Witches (midwives, herbalists, mothers) and put it into the hands of men. In today's world, to come out of the Broom closet is to reclaim the right for women to be as powerful as men. to accept and honour the feminine within all of us (men and women) as a part of the divine.

Like the feminist movement, the Goddess religions seek to bring equality of power. The main thing to recognize about equality of power is that giving equal power to minorities (and by minorities I include anyone who feels that they are not a part of the majority due to religious, cultural, sex, sexual orientation...) does not take power away. It's a tough one to wrap your (my) head around because most people consider power as a way to control.

The Symbolism of the Goddess is not equal to that of the symbolism of God the Father: An extension to my last thoughts, the male God rules from the outside; legitimizing male control of social institutions and over others. The God rules the world in a Patriarch. The Goddess is the world.

In Witchcraft each of s must reveal our own truth, Deity is in our own forms, whether female or male, because the Goddess has her male aspect... Religion is a matter of relinking, with the divine within and with her outer manifestations in all of the human and natural world - Starhawk The Spiral Dance.

The Goddess symbolizes the egos creativity which is the definition of the Divine Feminine

The Divine Feminine uses Goddess symbolism to describe the ego's creativity; an ever changing energy. She is inspiration, She sparks creativity. She creates fertility of both mind and spirit. The balanced harmony of all of the things that make up our world, plant/animal/people/divine is not automatic it needs to be constantly renewed which is what Craft rituals are for. The guiding principle of practicing the Craft is Honour, through realizing oneself. To love and honour yourself is to love and honour the Goddess, To love and honour our planet, the animals, our neighbors... the list could go on and on... is to love and honour the Goddess.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Witchcraft as Goddess Religion

One of my re-reads on this path is Starhawk's The Spiral Dance. I bought it when I took the Elemental Workshop that I mentioned in my last post as part of the mandatory reading material.

I love reading, it's a major part of who I am, I often have one or more books on the go at any one time. A lot of the books I read are fiction, every now and then I'll pick up something with more intellectual weight. I'll be completely honest with you though. I sometimes have difficulty absorbing the information. What I mean, is that while I am reading I get what is being discussed, I understand the material. When I am no longer reading, sometimes the information that I have just finished reading seems to melt out of my head. It's a bit frustrating and one of the reasons that I started to take notes when reading so that I could go back and read my thoughts on the text and hopefully have it stick. Sometimes this works and others not so much... often what I'm left with is the gist, which is often enough and not so rarely not enough.

The point of this post then:
I'm re-reading The Spiral Dance and these are my thoughts so far on the chapter that I've been reading today; Witchcraft as Goddess Religion. It's a chapter that speaks to the legend of witchcraft's history being careful not to erroneously call the legend historic fact which would call down the wrath of the intellectual community. It is a full legend, lush with hypothetical assumptions based on what could have been truths if there were any documentation to back them up. Happily, the thing about faith is that it doesn't rely on facts but on belief. Whether the Goddess religion is more than 35,000 years old or new to this century is not relevant, nor should it be. What is important that it makes spiritual sense to those who follow it.

Witchcraft takes it's teachings from nature and reads inspiration in the movements of the sun, moon and stars, the flight of birds, the slow growth of trees and the cycles of the seasons-Starhawk, The Spiral Dance

Ultimately; for me, the Divine springs from a universal place. The Christian God is just a different aspect of that ultimate force. Ditto for Hindu, Islam, Buddhism and any other Deity out there.

With this reading, the idea that poetry and not theology is what Witchcraft is built on is sticking in my thoughts as I consider what I've read. And it makes sense, I've called on the Elements breathing in the scent of fresh earth, blowing soap bubbles, dancing like a flame in a campfire and imaging ocean waves crashing into the sand. I've welcomed the Goddess and the God into my circle with a simple song, there is not one single way to practice a Pagan religion...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Things happen for a reason

One of the great things about going to the library or a book store is that I always end up finding something that ends up being what I need to find, as opposed to what I went there to find in the first place. I took some time yesterday and went to the book store to look for a book I've seen online that I thought would fit right in with what I am hoping to accomplish.

Heading out, I knew that there was a possibility that the book I wanted would not be in stock. It wasn't.

Instead; as is the case when you open yourself up to the universe, the right book was. It is important to me that my spirituality is combined with creativity simply because I feel closer to the divine when I am being creative. The Divine Feminine Fire by Teri Degler was sitting on the where the book I was looking for wasn't. It's all about making creativity an integral part of the creative path and learning how to connect to the divine feminine through creativity; which is, as I've mentioned before, exactly the book I needed to find.

I have always felt that the the one element that I relate to best is the water element. eight years ago I took part in a series of classes held by the local Reclaiming Tradition on the elements of magic. I went into the class feeling that the element I would feel most at home with was going to be Water. And I didn't expect that the evening would be a simple one, just one that I would feel most at home with.

I was amazed that the class that focused on Fire left such a lasting impression on me. In hindsight, this shouldn't have been so surprising to me considering that fire is associated so closely with creation and artistry. It was in fact one of the most powerful workings I have ever done.

So in honour of the marriage of creation and the Divine I worked on the cover page of the Book of Shadows that will be the focus of this journey for me.

Beltane: observance of each spoke in the wheel of the year are and have been low key in our house. I try to do one or two things that have some significance to the holiday with an eye to expanding our family rituals as time, money and the Peanut's attention span allows. This year for Beltane the Peanut and I went into the back yard and washed our faces with the morning dew (which if we are going to be honest was probably 50% rain).

We also dressed in our finest dresses, tiptoed with tinkling bells into the back yard with an offering of bread and honey for the fairies in our garden. The offering was happily accepted and now we'll be on the look out for the fey when we cloud glaze in the back yard.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Crossing the Threshold


Once the Peanut has drifted off to sleep and the Husband has headed out for a night of testosterone with his buddies I will bathe myself and then sit in the dark and the quiet. I will light a candle and call upon the powers of the Earth, Air, Fire and Water, I will call upon the Goddess and a circle will be cast.

I will speak to her from my heart. I will lay clear my intentions and cross over leaving my old self behind, stepping toward the new.