Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The First Gate of the Underworld

Having spent over a year in forgiveness, patience, and being gentle with myself, I have started to ask myself the harder questions.  Little by little I have rebuilt and art practice, and yet, I am terrified to take on the big projects, the scary dreams.  I am afraid to raise the stakes.  I am afraid of the terrible purpose that guides me that compels me to paint and write and find out what remains after the fear has passed. 

What remains looks something like this.  Would you read a book written in such a way?





Madness.  It isn’t alluring in it’s macabre strangeness.  It is no gothic, romantic prison.  Madness is a wretched oubliette with no center of gravity, no compass, and no map.

Losing your mind, however, is seductive.  What is titillating and different, dangerous is captivating.  But it bend you, little by little, warping your mind out of shape, pushing you further and further away from the normal safe reality you once trusted and depended on.  With pain, excitement, and fear, you lose yourself step by step in the unfamiliar, the strange, dark forest.  The curious abnormalities push you further away from your solar center and further towards the outer reaches of your reality.  You shift, infinitesimally, moment and moment, day by day, until you grow accustomed to the eccentricities and the peculiarities.  Month by month polar north shifts until unperceivably, the world has flipped upside down upon its axis.  You don’t feel the earth turning, do you?

There you find the uncontrollable forces of the Old Gods.  There, in the hopeless solitude of maladaptation, you find Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto.  There you drown in the ocean’s salty tears of uncontrollable emotion, the riptide and tsunami of outer poles of melancholy and mania.  You think you have stretched to the outer limits of heaven, and, in fact you have.  But here there is no light and beneficent bearded father with angels in unending exultation.  Instead, as if by bait and switch, here in the edges at the beginning of time, you meet Oranos, the monstrous Titan father who devours his children.  Feeling betrayed in your shredded, masticated state, you sink deeper, into the cold waters of isolation and despair.  Here you meet, the terrible, the notorious, Lord of the dead.  You meet the abductor, the rapist, the end.  Here stands Hades, God of the Underworld.

Once having crossed the river Styx there is no turning back.  You have taken the oath, drank the draught of life and death.  By your will alone, you stepped on the ferryman's boat.  Here, in the underworld, your initiation begins . . . begins with death. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gifts and gratitude


Getting home from my latest trip, I've been thinking about a few things. I've got a cold, so normally, I'd expect myself to be depressed, but I'm not. Normally I'd be crashing into the energy drop associated with the letdown of a social function with magickal people, but I'm not. Even my odd dreams make more sense. I have context to see them as creative rather than sexual, inner polarities rather than embarrassments.

I was bored today.  I am congested, so I didn't want to use my brain or hurt my eyes with reading a whole lot, so I went inward. 

For my Assisi Institute class I'm reading a wonderful book called the Gift by Lewis Hyde. It got me to thinking about the difference between selling and making art. I love making art.  I am sad when it sits around my house collecting dust after it's finished. I can engage in art and enjoy the process and give it away. I can find shows to participate in and do fund raising with it. I can share my art with others.  I am financially comfortable and can do art for enjoyment. 

I love teaching. I'm good at it. I don't get nervous about it and my audience gets something out of it too. Richard Tarnas spoke about choosing your audience and not writing for a watered down audience to be broadly accepted or be popular. Just because there isn't a market, doesn't mean you quit creating, you quit putting yourself out there.  I have a calling, a sacred charge, to share my perspective and insights.  I won't ever really know anything. I do have know the game that's being played but I don't have to play. 

To keep my mind alive, and my spirit engaged in the work of making art is enough. That will spill out in gratitude and abundance. Art making, rituals, teaching, relationships-- all of these things will fill my life with blessings. I look forward to the journey that make one's life work.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stepping off the Bridge

Last year I felt like I fell off the earth. It was like the ground collapsed dermis in a rock slide and I tumbled into a frothing river. At times I had wondered if I was going to, or had already drowned. Sooner or later, I quit crying (like Alice) and dried myself off. Hopefully, unlike 
Alice, I wasn't running around in circles with a dodo. I walked along the bank, and through the mud, and climbed onto a bridge that would carry me over to a new shore. In the past year I have been traveling over the bridge. Now is the time to step off the bridge. I finally can see the new world awaiting me over the bank. I know that moving into the new possibilities means that I no longer live in the past. So, this is good bye. I can't start to till and plant new land until I leave the old one. 

I am willing and ready.  The old, dead tree has fallen to make the soil rich in its decay. I will not deny my destiny. I hear it calling and I follow, eyes open. 

Part of becoming the wounded healer means I must have the wise wound first. Art calls me, healing calls me, destiny calls me. I dare to dream big dreams as well as will to the passionate work to make them manifest. 

I love the vigilance my cat keeps over me.  Sometimes human touch would be good too. I carry my loneliness with me. Last night I told myself that I should get a big dog and call it a day. Ha!

I care for my family and tend the garden. I paint and dream and nurture the seeds of hope for the future. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Holding the Helm


This weekend I tended; the laundry, mopping, dishes, cooking, grocery shopping, weeding.  I listened and visited.  I know this plain, holding of space is soul work.  It is a group effort, a family project. We are all having tough moments. We try, forgive, appologize, and make the effort again. In this humble togetherness, we hold each other.  In grief, in laugher, in anger, in fatigue, and in fear, we witness. 

In gratitude, I remain- fully alive.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Traditions and magickal practice

R.O's playful jabbing at the Golden Dawn, and other Traditions got me thinking.  When we mix socially in magickal groups and meet people, a lot of assumptions are made based on what kind of magickal leaning you have.   

When I was hanging out with the OTO in 2008-2009, it was fun to learn about a different magickal school system and geek out on Qabala with people who were interested in such arcane systems.   Many times Pagans are not interested or aware of their magickal roots. One guy, after observing me for a while asked me,  "what are you?  I thought you were Wiccan, but now I'm not sure."  I laughed, enjoying the effects of the glamories I was trying that day, and told him,  "Wiccan....well, from a tradition that takes a lot from ceremonial magick and the lodge systems."

After going through a Minerval initiation and a class on Minerval symbolism, I decided that the OTO was not my thing. It didn't help that every time i attended something someone asked me, letcherously, when i would be the priestess for the Mass.  I threw myself deeply into my own Tradition, gaining a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose there. 

Now that I am no longer a member of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, I find myself, a 3rd degree, trained in a system of which I am no longer a member, from a stream of magick I can no longer access.  Yes I am Wiccan, technically.   I am much more interested in high ritual magick than I am in ecstatic witchcraft.  I have just about nothing in common with most Pagans.  I could care less that this month's full moon is on a Friday the 13th.   That smacks of superstition with no basic in magickal theory. 

Where does that leave me?  If I form a coven or lodge, then I will be starting with no lineage or informed school of magick.  That is the Pagan way, but seems to do a disservice to the initiatory mysteries from how I see it.  I could join another school, and learn a new system, but that seems unnecessary.  I also fear following any leader or system blindly or fanatically as I had done before. I have also seen what Tradition hopping does to people.  The answer is not outside of me.  It is within.  

All in all, I don't know what I want.  How do you do anything if you don't know your Will?  So far I have tried to be patient and been following my nose.  Healing takes time, self-care, and all that rot.   I know pushing too hard and too fast is actually perfectionism or a form of self-hatred.  It can also be laziness. I finish a new book proposal and decided not to submit it. I am teaching and leading Wiccan rituals but am mainly enjoying the friendship rather than the ritual or magickal engagement. I am loosing my religion is some ways. And in some ways, that particular religious path is completely over for me. 

I started this to find truth and to find peace with God.  I found that and still have it.  Magick gave me confidence and the ability to get results when I am so motivated.  I still have that too.  What I don't have is a great sense of purpose anymore. Ego death is good.  So is leaving the guilt, obligations, the oaths and oath breaking. 

What's next?  The end of desire. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Walking in the Now

I haven't been posting much.  I've had a lot of vacillations lately as I've been building a new life for myself and have been spending less time ruminating over the past.   I've felt very grateful for the challenges and changes I've made as I become comfortable with a new way of walking in the world.   

I have found that I am less invested in interactions, in a healthy way.  I can maintain my boundaries with confrontation, getting bent out of shape, or even needing to explain myself.   Recently I had a flat conversation with someone that ended with me knowing my message was not heard, possibly not even my words remembered or processed consciously at all.  At first, I felt guilty for not trying harder to communicate and make sure I my meaning was understood.  Then I was able to release it, step back from it, and realize that those who are not listening, will never hear you.   Those who have not ears to hear....   I decided I was not responsible for their process, what they think they heard or wanted to hear instead.   It completely wasn't my problem.  Or as Jeff, my therapist would have said, NMFP (not my f-ing problem).  This realization that not only did I understand but was able to put into action, not reaction, was like releasing one of Jacob Marley's shackles.  This has been an ongoing struggle for me in my life.  Several instances of this issue have surfaced in the past month for me with various people. 

I don't need anyone to agree with me, understand me, listen to me.  I've seen people react to me who practice this energy.  It used to unnerve me and I would misread it.  I get it now.   

I have no idea what I'll be doing 5 years from now.  So much is changing.   Being a witch is in my bones, that is part of me no matter what form my practice takes.  I am creative and am overjoyed with the creative process that is rising from the ashes this year.  I am thrilled with the Educational endeavor I am on with the Assisi Institute.    As I go to new places and meet new people, I am finding that social anxiety is not going with me. I am not trying to make grand plans for the future but follow my bliss and follow the energy of creating presence-- the joy that unfolds when you are engaged in purpose.  

There are a few things guiding me along the way:

I am patient and gentle with myself
Am I being mindful? Am I fully present?
Am I breathing?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On Coming Out

Last night I participated in one of those silly Facebook tag games where if you comment on somebody's fabricated status, then you have to choose an option and put it on your status.  So, being a good sport, I posted that I am gay. 175 likes and comments later I feel bad, because I'm not gay.  In fact, I had people telling me they knew I've alway been gay and glad I decided to come out.   I feel like that kid in the Goonies that played the prank in the theater. So, instead of freaking out, I've decided to make lemonade out of lemons. 

I've always openly been bisexual.   I've never been in the closet about anything.  Well there was this one time in middle school, but I digress.  It hit me last night why this isn't accurate that I'm straight, gay, or bi.  As a kid, I was an uber tomboy.  I wanted to be male.  I self-identified as male until I hit puberty.  It became a little impossible what biological gender I was at that point.  Much of my path into Paganism has been about letting go of Patricarchal religious view such as being the lesser sex, women being the originators of sin, or even always being told to "be ladylike".  So, I have accepted I am biologically female and have lady parts.  Penis envy will just be a part of life for me. It helped me deal with the confusion and the pain of being gender queer. However, psychologically, I have some masculine aspects and still inside wish I had been born male. Paganism gave me new archetypes to incorporate female power and deal with gender roles, expectations, and expressions.  It gave me an opportunity not to accept whole hog what a "normal" woman is in society today.  Gender will always be something that I think about and to some extend wrestle with.  

Gender identification is not the same thing as sexual orientation.  However, to be straight or gay implies that you are one gender and are making an absolute statement about which binary gender you are attracted to. While I could name qualities of someone who is my "type", gender just isn't on the list.  I would have to be hard nosed about my own gender for that to make sense. 

So, my gender is somewhere in the non-binary middle and so is my sexual orientation. Nothing new there. So I'll indentify as pansexual.   Pansexual includes all gender identities.  In my case I just don't care about someone's gender, so rather than "all of the above". It's more like non-applicable to me. 

Pansexual, polyamorous, polytheistic...why choice one when you can have the buffet?