Thursday, December 29, 2011

A third of the way around the Temple of Saturn

Around this time of year I look back at what came of the previous year and see how I feel going forward into a new one. This past year was a whirlwind of things changing, coming to fruition and reorientations to my place in the world. On the last day of the year, I have one more celebration, my 30th birthday party, to usher in the New Year, and a new stage in my life.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but I got more than whatever that was; 3rd degree initiation, introduction into leadership in the Assembly, a new coven of 13 and growing, my hand fasting, the larger role of featured presenter at Fall Frolic, and my first book published.

One thing about getting older that I’ve really enjoyed so far is that even though bad times and heart ache happen, it’s not as acutely painful. You’ve been down that road before and life moves on, time heals, and you learn from your mistakes, hopefully. I knew, even as a teenager, that when I gained independence that life would be more reasonable. Being able to organize my life and friends as I wished and conduct my household according to my own sense of propriety has been an on-going learning opportunity but a relief as well. For example, I found that my childhood’s home household cleaners, and Eastern Shore mold, corn and pine pollen, were the main source of my allergies. The more time that passes, the better I am able to understand the difference between what people say and their actual underlying impulses that make up their motivations.
Starting this summer, (or was it earlier?) I found myself lacking luster for my life, going through the motions and reaching for a helping hand that just never seemed to be there. Life the Ace cards in the tarot, I kept expecting that hand to appear out of nowhere and help me up, instead I kept treading water and waiting as land didn’t seem to be in sight. It’s been like a dream though. Just when I lose sight of what to do, knowing that I can’t tread water forever, a different level of consciousness takes over and a new dream starts. There isn’t resolution to the old dream but I have a moment of rest and don’t have to despair in the last dream’s moment.
The Goddesses I worked with this fall gave me enlightening and productive experiences. Modron helped me to let go of other people’s drama. I have to live my life and walk my path. I have my own burdens and she reminded me that other people’s issues are their problems, and not my burden to bear. The best any of us can do is live by our own ideals with honor and integrity and let the rest of the world make their own choices.

Hecate gave me a new perspective on the pathways through the underworld. I enjoyed donning the cloak of the light in the darkness rather than wandering through the dark. I also realized that I had shifted fully into the Mother aspect in my life and am no longer “maiden”. I enjoyed revisiting the surge of ferocity of the Maiden. It’s funny how high school and early twenties can be so harsh and austere. At least that was my experience of it. Now, I am starting to have a little more understanding of the way things work, which are never fair, but are often predictable.

So many of the songs I’ve been hearing on the radio lately talk of the gentle spring/summer of childhood (Adele Someone Like You) or Green Day’s When September Ends. Maybe different people have a different experience. I can’t say my childhood itself was all that bad, but my acclimation to the world was not a comfortable one. Maybe my experience was more like the Cruxshadow’s Winterborn, or a Celtic tale of the stolen child hidden in shadow in the underworld until they came into their power in full adulthood.
Life is what you make of it, but if you haven’t noticed, fairy tales are pretty dark too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The back cover


Ever finished a long classic book, closed the book and then wondered, "wow it's over, now what?"
I feel like I just finished volume one of my life. Now I'm sitting here waiting for the next episode. It's a strange feeling. I like closure in general, but I've worked so hard this tome, I'm reeling and sort of stunned. Blinking, I'll step back out of the theater and into a bright day. I'm looking forward to a new plot line.

Monday, October 10, 2011

How to totally overachieve your Saturn's Return

Change your hormone therapy, twice
Initiate as a 3rd degree.

Get married – and organize the whole thing without bridesmaids, a wedding planner, or a caterer, over 150 miles from where you live.

(unfortunately all of that happened while both bride and groom were sick and the groom had emergency abdominal surgery earlier that week)

Propose to start a coven, lead a study group, host public and private rituals and workshops, interview 12 people, and finally, dedicate the aforementioned coven.

present at a Pagan Pride Day.
present at a festival as their featured presenter.
publish a book.
Join a new gym.
Throw a public Samhain overnight intensive at a local camp.
Go to New Orleans for Halloween.
Throw a pumpkin carving party for your kids for Halloween.
Have a coven field trip for a sweat lodge over 200 miles away
have your house foreclose after being vacant and on the market for over 3 years.
Teach at Autumn magick and aspect Hecate.

Finally Turn 30 and find yourself feeling, for some unknown reason, really tired!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beyond the Fluff

I have a new article up on witchvox. http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usnj&c=words&id=14723

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Martial Magick

I have been thinking about how my experiences with the martials arts has affected my magickal work and vice versa.  The karate school I trained in did not focus on the philosophy or the spiritual aspects of the way as much as they did on the mental and physical.  It was as if they didn't know what to say or just weren't spiritually minded people.  You were given titles of the classic books if you wanted to persue that aspect further.  We didn't meditate in the dojo though. 

On the other hand, I integrated much of the magickal lessons I had been struggling with while I was in the dojo.  Shadow boxing, learning perseverence in the face of not being able to control my body or quiet my mind.  These lessons that I needed for my magickal training I integrated during karate sessions. 

My husband came to the martial arts first in a much more traditional school.  Once he had experienced the Western way, he then switched over to discover what the Western world's magickal tradition was all about. 

We both use skills that we learned both in martial training as well as magickal training simultaneously now.  I don't think about where the stance, breathing technique, or energy manipulation technique was learned from.  How I use both Western and Eastern techniques are about the tools being used and the techniques.  This is similar to how shamanism techiques are utilized in Pagan practices for the most part as well. 

I will have to insert a caveat that I am not a "harm none" aka the Wiccan rede kinda gal.  The Thelemic tenent of "Do what thou Will be the whole of the law, Love under Will" works a lot better for me.  I believe in self defense and strength.  I don't believe in neutering myself magickally by tying my hands or my power or physically.  If my person, home, or family were threatened, you better believe I'd fight to protect them. Its also worth noting that the Wiccan tools were commonly called weapons in classic occult literature.  My lifestyle and martial philosophies have to fit with my magickal beliefs and practices as well.  I don't believe in the watering down of magick, ritual, and practice to make it more sanitized for the publishing industries or the masses. 
I look to the next few years, as I plan my personal training program.  It seems that several people are interested in persuing Tai Chi or similar practice as well in an effort to keep their energetic, physical, martial, and magickal skills keen.  One informs the other, so I cannot ignore this piece of my training, however it fits in. 

I am choosing to no longer participate in hard martial forms.  My body has already suffered permanent injuries from these practicies and I am not interested in further head injuries, etc.  I need my body to last for me! 

Maybe tai chi it is?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Succumbing to Rest

I have always set impossible, perfectionist standards for myself.  That's part of my baggage whether it be in my birthchart, part of my upbringing, or the childhood fixation with trying to be more like Jesus.  I have worked in the past 10 years on allowing myself to play.  I don't enjoy past-times for the most part unless I feel they have a beneficial outcome like growing my relationships, making me physically healthier, or learning something. 

In the past few years I have been so close to so major life goals that I have been driven into hyper drive.  I have enjoyed the adventure with my partner of the past 4 years as we pushed each other and our limits to strive forward.  I have noticed that there is a cycle after big rituals and intensive weekends where 2 days later  I would mentally and emotionally crash.  I have had to start allowing myself the murky low of dropping off of the ecstatic joy of the weekend.  I try not to plan anything during that day, get more sleep, and excuse my blue mood.  When I started to take this approached, it no longer seemed like something was wrong.

Much of my internal dialog during these lows would seem along the lines of "I'm so depressed!  What's wrong with me?  I can't do this!"  I have started to be able to tell this voice, "you are just tired, and that is okay.  Be gentle!"  So now, instead of "what is wrong with me?"  I now am able to discern, that this is what tired feels like and it can be grumpy and blue.  Its okay not to be productive when I'm tired.  I need rest in these instances.  I was reminded of a song that I heard when I was a teenager.  This song allowed me to give words to a need to be alone and recharge.  It gave me words to permit myself to not always be on my "A" game.



This type of self-care led to an epiphany this weekend.  Underlying my activities, studies, my achievements was a small voice that wondered during the winter, in the darkness, "What's wrong with me?"  This voice wondered with all the discipline, practice, and spiritual endeavors, why did I feel that deep down inside, there was something broken.  I was reminded of the words of Frank MacEowen, that that deep urge inside is the spiritual longing for connection.  This weekend, I connected with a deeper understanding of the Qabalistic Fall.  The fall, the disconnect is not personal, its a human condition.  It is not something that is wrong with me, its that seed of discontent and the urge of connection within every human on this planet. 

I don't have to sit and examine my wound and forever focus on how or why I have the hangups I do.  I am excited to have one more tool to soothe when I'm tired, when I feel alone, when I am grumpy.  I am surrounded by strong, incredible people that all seek connection and evolution as well.  We are aware and yet allow us to be gentle with ourselves, without excuses.

Blessed be.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book available for Pre-Order


My first book, Ecstasy in Shadow is now available for pre-order.  If you are interested in reading my book, consisting of 32 short poems and an essay or magick and ritual in the magickal community, then please do pre-order.  100 pre-order is the goal and it will make possible the first publishing run of books. 

The release date is 10/15/11

$12 plus $3 shipping and handling.  paypal to maggisetti@gmail.com.  If you don't do paypal, email me and I'll give you an address for checks.

cheers!

Monday, August 15, 2011

changing our relationship to our thoughts

I've had a doosey of a Mercury retro grade during the past two weeks.  The first thing that happened wound up being good for me though.  There was a fire in my 10 story office building on Sunday and I got to work remotely from home all week.  During this week I was able to stay home, in the quiet solitude, while still taking care of my normal job functions, taking calls on my cellphone, and for my clients, they would not have been able to tell that there was any difference.

During this time, I enjoyed not having a managerial hawking eye watching over me and not being micro managed.  I'm not sure my bossed worked much and I suspect he played a lot of tennis.  Good for him.  Even better he's on vacation this week.  The absense of my boss, a couple of negative co-workers, and the comfort of home lifted a lot of stress and I found my relationship to work changing.  Was work the office?  No.  Work was my book of business and my responsibilities to my clients and to be a good employee.  I solved problems and did analysis that needed to be done.  All of this I did without a sense of pressure or worry.  Old shells left from the unhealthy, disfuctional environment of my last job finally crumbled away. 

I am interested to see how this fresh perspective will interact whenever I do get back into the office.  I have been at this job for over a year now.  I am greatful for this environment and my ability to change my relationship to it.  I am going to start looking at a few other things to see what would benefit from me changing my perspective.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My political druthers

The start of the debate was that people my age aren’t willing to step up, and do their civil duty by forcing the government to change by participating in protests. My point was that the issues that matter to me aren’t like abortion/no abortion, war/no war, cut and dry issues. The issues I feel passionate about are bigger than the understanding of the general public or possibly anyone. The systems are baffling economists, stock market analysts, and those involved in social programming planning.




I feel the whole system doesn’t make any sense and I don’t feel like there is a way other than the ways that I am involved in my community to make a difference. I think the work I do with people on a personal level will make a whole hell of a lot of difference to people’s wellbeing and happiness than picketing (losing my job, and going to jail) ever could. If I don’t know where I want the government to go other than “You poopy-heads are being greedy, stop it” how do I tell them what to do? That’s what I mean by personal responsibility. It has to be for the people that are in charge as well.



I’m not suggesting socialism. I don’t think the answers are financially feasible though. In the case of the taking the train, the public transit system is inadequate. It is there, but only worth using if you have no choice. As far as pay cuts go, in the current “state of affairs” I moved to a place in the country where my grocery bill doubled, housing quintupled, property taxes quintupled (at least), and my pay? Flat lined. I understand your mentioning most of the world where they make all of $50 a year and no healthcare.



It will take running out of fossil fuels completely and global economic collapse to motivate the type of ideology shifts needed to take care of an interconnected global system. We need a lot more international government. I’m not saying national government will no longer exist, but it isn’t the end all. In the next 50 to 100 years there is going to be massive change. Maybe it will mean that we no longer have access to fossil fuels, beef, and fancy technological conveniences. The path to that change does not look pretty to me.



In the past 3 years, as I watched the economy dwindle and got used to much more constrained resources, I have shifted my focus toward the pursuit of happiness and spiritual solace despite the mess of the world. People are always repeating the Chinese curse, “We live in interesting times”. Do I live in anger, fear, and paranoia? Do I rail against the government to my own detriment? Or do I hold close to my family and create a life full of experiences, love, magick, and intimacy, and keep my priorities so that I can make the rest of the struggle of life worth it?



Maybe people my age don’t know any better. Maybe I’m not smart enough to have this conversation, that’s very possible. I know this much, the ideological debating of one side or the other of current bi-partisanism makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me. That system has lost perspective. I don’t want to go into politics to change it. I’m not cut out for that type of warring. When I do have answers, I’ll let the government know.

Waiting on the World to Change

This is why I don’t have political discussions. I feel that especially older people are so ingrained with their way of doing things that when I do speak up with my measly personal opinions, all they hear is “Blah, blah, kavetch, whine!” Why am I going to even try to develop opinions where there is no interplay or actual discussion. Where there is no forum for debate and anything I believe is automatically wrong. Obviously what is wrong with the youth is that they aren’t doing anything the way it was done 50 years ago? Right…



What motivation do I have when the people in charge are selfish, corrupt, self-serving, power mongering tyrants? Why am I going to protest social security when if I do, my parents lose their income? I have been writing my representatives and congressmen about the abysmal state of the mortgage industry and the personal strive the market is causing me. But why? When the government bails super banks out of bankruptcy, doesn’t regulate their use of that money, and then the same government is at risk of defaulting on its own obligations. The bailout, the budget, regulations, social programing is all a ridiculous game for the insincere. Why should I support welfare where there are enough loopholes that it encourages poor mothers to have even more children and I won’t have children because I can’t afford to stay home with them? Do you expect me to support public transporation when a 2.5 hour drive becomes a 6 hour trip on 3 trains and costs me more? And you expect me to protest antiabortion demonstrators?



Please listen to John Meyer’s song, Waiting on the World to Change. He’s singing my generational anthem.



I’ve been debating abortion with a lot of people lately, such a hot topic. My point is that in the big scheme of things, it’s such a small topic, it doesn’t matter. My husband always reminds me that it is a hot topic because it’s easily definable.



I listened to my elderly neighbor the other day commiserate with his sister about how the government isn’t take care of him because he barely has enough social security or medicare to take care of himself. He wants the government to just take care of everything, like it’s a simple thing. I doubt he has ever read what an actual bill looks like or has thought about the many layers of deliberation, debate, or negotiating that goes into passing a bill. It’s just not that easy.



I feel that we are at a point very similar to the fall of Rome. The large empires (nations) are falling. The old ways don’t work and until we are willing to work together as a global world view, economy, and government, things will continue to crumble. I can talk to anyone in the world, buy things anywhere in the world. I have a global worldview, not a national one.



After 9/11, everyone in my area started putting flags on their cars and talked about supporting the president (blindly). I put a sticker on my car that was a quote from Thomas Jefferson, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”. The founding fathers assumed that every 300 to 400 years the government would need to be overthrown for a new one. The problem is, that overthrowing the US government would only be a piece of the world’s problem. I don’t live in a nation. I live on Earth.

New modes for a new aon

I found a very interesting this morning that discussion on Facebook when people were talking about an article that had been written about today's youth, specifically people in their 20's to people that are 34.http://www.alternet.org/vision/151850/8_reasons_young_americans_don%27t_fight_back%3A_how_the_us_crushed_youth_resistance/?page=entire All of the people that were discussing this were in the 50s and 60s. So, since I was in the age range that the article was discussing I decided to chime in. Specifically, the article was discussing the American youth's lack of the willingness to be defiant and protest. It stated that the youth had been battered into submissiveness. The article stated that large school loans, responsibilities, TV, psychiatric drugs, and poor diet choices were the reasons that youth didn't have any motivation to create change or stand up for themselves.

I have many bits of this article to reflect on one was I did have school loans when I graduated college and pick up for them to or is that I've never found protests actually get anything done I recalled a protest that it happened when I was in high school and how many of the students in our county got suspended many of the students had a harder time getting into college because of the suspensions on the records and many of Sindbads zeros on tests that day hurting their GPAs. the parents were furious! it caused more division between youth and the people in charge running the school board running our government. there was no understanding or change that resulted. Protest is not my way. I mentioned that building rapport understanding remaining calm builds more true dialogue and understanding.

I find it funny that the responses I caught where that I I wasn't approaching things the way they did in the 60s that I didn't understand the meaning of protested I wasn't protesting correctly and a.com world with social networking blogging no company loyalty, the world where what was is no longer,why would methods from 50 years ago work now?

What works now is going viral online. don't you remember the campaign right after all of this gay suicides. Then everyone started standing up and speaking for those people to give them solidarity. How many states since then have passed marriage laws for gays? that's what works.

Politicians at this point don't have any sense of honor or nobility. the people in charge are there because they have so much money they have all the power. My hope is that we can build ideologies we believe in so much the people start to take responsibility in themselves and each other that we can build a new way to think, and a new way to live. We cannot go back to old ways, butmust move into a more useful, healthier paradigm at this down of the new era.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The telling of our lives-- storytelling


I've always wondered if storytelling becomes more real than our reality. That we are able to connect with the lives, the thoughts, the motivations of fictional characters so that they exaggerate in such a way that they become more real. We can then empathize, and live and learn, and gain wisdom from characters that exist only in our minds. Such worlds, in science-fiction and fantasy seems so real to the touch, high definition, saturated hues of color. Emotions prick you and send your skin searing-alive, and yet, isn't it just human reality we were trying to explain? For trying to connect with, and fully grasp ahold of, and relate to someone else what life is?

What is the experience of a spiritual being living in a physical form, and finite time, and walking through this physical plane? Reality is some of those ideas and is the core concept of the life experience. But, if it hadn't been through the reading of stories as a small child, i wouldn't have know how lush life could be. Now, I find myself mostly frustrated, disconnected, and not understanding the games, and the basal realities, and the primal urges. It is in those basal urges that drag us downwards. Down under the current of the riptides and into the darkness. There, you scrape your skin against the sands of the bottoms of the shoreline. We exist there, at the bottom of the waves churning in dirt and saltwater. We lay unaware, bumping along, and unable to see, and sometimes, even forgetting which way is up.

That doesn't have to be the case though there's an opportunity for calling a calling in the dark like a lighthouse asking us to move away from the turbulence or not hit ourselves Montse rock cracking up in our heads and spilling forth your life force. This is such a waste! A waste in pure agony, useless and unplanned. That opportunity, that calling, that lighthouse in the dark, it's a pathway to connection. It's a pathway to personal gnosis. It's a pathway to spiritual evolution. I for one am grateful for the authors that were willing to send their mind on trips into the future, into the past, into their own psyches. They were willing to spill it forth for all of us to read its benefits. Without them, I would've been alone with no guidepost, no lighthouse, no guiding light, no hope to move toward the future. And yet, I was able to hold onto the future, knowing that it was waiting for me. I get a thrill every moment, every waking day. Finding myself thrown in the midst of a complex story with complex characters, with magic, with purpose, with love, and connection! All of those past stories are more than just stories. They were a promise of what fully actualized, adult, responsible, and independent life could be.

At the same time, I feel an undeniable urge to continue to pick the brain of those authors so that I can learn how to fully illustrate and convey my life experiences. I must relay them in a way that might get someone else that same sense of spiritual ecstatic, that connection. In my own story, my biggest fear is not share the searing depths of that story. It is to run out of time, or lose my focus, and lose my way. Down that solitary, shadowy path is the fear that my life could be personal mythos hidden under a rock in the dark with roly-poly's the worms, and the centipedes, and shared with another soul in the light of day. This fate cannot become!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Find and supporting Quality towards Preserving the Future for Paganism

I have to say that today I was really inspired by the activity that Raven Grimassi posted on his blog. I noticed the post as my local shop owner reposted a link. Karen, the owner of Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe has been instrumental in supporting my foray into public Pagan teaching. Here is Raven’s post: Raven Grimassi "How Did it Come to This?"


Here is my response to Mr. Grimassi’s post:


Having a decline in the publishing of the same, badly researched, and often misinformed material might be a good thing. I have found that many people that pass my way are specifically looking for hands-on, informed training. They want guidance to navigate through the sea of fluff. Not much has changed in that way. Before, materials were hard to find. Now the good materials are hard to find. At least we do have the broom closet and witchvox to network and find our local groups and stores. I believe we are in the process of a consolidation as we grow to the next cycle. The laity will always outnumber the priesthood now. How do we disseminate quality training to that growing population? We need local stores as community centers, and we need to be approachable and public as we crystalize the next growth stage for the development of Paganism.

And here is a response to the post that really hit home for me. Brendan Myers discusses some philosophical issues of what needs to be written about and how to go about both writing such material and supporting the authors that are already writing the in-depth books about the real issues. http://www.brendanmyers.net/blog/2011/07/supporting-your-beyond-101-writers/


With Myer’s blog post in mind, I am going to start regularly reviewing my favorite books and Pagan authors on my blog. I’m going to try to focus on currently writing authors rather than deceased Victorian authors. (My favorite classic occult authors include; Dion Fortune, Paul Foster Case, Aleister Crowley, and Sri Aubindo)

Right off the bat I would recommend the following authors:

Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki
Thorn Coyle
Ivo Dominguez Jr.
Jason Miller
Lon Milo DuQuette
Alan Richardson

There are lots of other books I love, but I have never been disappointed with any books I’ve bought from the above authors. Expect to see individual book reviews soon..

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A New Nobility Part II

I spoke earlier about how we need to be able to look out for the good of ourselves, others around us, and our society. The ideas of charity and liberty are some of the ideals upon which our country was originally founded. Such ideals are not new at all, but call for the rebirth and reinstatement of many of the tenants held by the Enlightenment movement and our founding fathers.

I have a bumper sticker that I put on my car in response to many people blindly supporting our government and having pride in the flag but expecting everyone to support whatever the government does without question. The bumper sticker says “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” It is a quote by Thomas Jefferson. For the most part I don’t get involved in politics or in activism. I have been of the mind to work with people one on one, in personal ways. That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions though.


I don’t feel that there is one right way, for just about anything. I am a quintessential Capricorn and I see things much differently than my Pieces sister or my Leo mother or my Cancer grandmother or my Gemini bosses, etc. I think that is why I have never wanted to get up in arms about differences of opinions. The issues that reach everyone across the board are complex and difficult to solve.


I was listening to an elderly neighbor the other day complain to his sister about the state of the economy, health care, and the government’s role in governing the people. He had a very simple view of how the government should work. He did not feel responsible. He felt that “Big Brother” was supposed to take care of the people and provide for everyone. He didn’t think about government funding or the complex nature of economics in a free market. He wanted Mommy/Daddy government to just make it better. Wow, that’s a nice fantasy world! I would love to live in a world like that.

I am glad to have freedom of speech and privacy in my home. I am glad that I have freedom to my religion and the right to the pursuit of happiness. All of those rights are for me to be able to pursue however I define those philosophies. Our constitutional rights allow us to seek self-definition and allow us to disagree. The system was designed to expect, and make room for disagreement. The system never expected a common religious philosophy or cookie cutter code of morality. I may not agree with how you run your life or your belief structure in God or vice versa. The government just wants to make sure that we aren’t stealing, raping, killing, or otherwise putting each other or our society in adverse physical danger. I am happy that people are allowed to disagree and live their lives differently. We all place different value on aspects of life. I care a lot about spirituality, the pursuit of knowledge, and food (hehe, well I do!). You may care more about knowing a lot of people and having lots of time for social events and expressing your fondness for them. Great! Not my cup of tea, hey, and for that matter, my husband prefers coffee altogether over tea. I don’t have to live my life or even always agree with my husband for that matter either. That makes for diversity, and lively, stimulating dinner conversation.

My point is that the world will never agree. There isn’t a right and wrong way. What works is personal. The government should be there to regulate the people so that they don’t take advantage and cause harm to one another. People seem to assume that their way is right because it works for them. In a world with so much diversity, isn’t it possible there are many right ways? Let’s figure out ways to help others live their way while we seek our personal truths.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shadow Boxing

 While I was taking martial arts, one of the main ways we practiced on our own was through shadow boxing.  You pretended that your mirror image was your opponent and you tried to outsmart and out fight your reflection.  Its a good way to see if your form or combinations make sense and improve them. 

I found that for a couple of years, my biggest obstacle was the internal struggle I had with my emotions.  The physical fighting, the physical strain of maintaining a posture or controlling my body, allowed a panic and turmoil within me to boil out.  Sometimes it won.  My fellows in the dojo certainly didn't understand.  Sometimes when the shadow self won, they saw me giving up or not trying.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.

And yet, during this time I learned things my High Priest had been trying to teach me for years.  I didn't understand the context of what I needed to integrate.  Now, in the role of mother and High Priestess, I want to be able to fix that struggle for others, and yet I know, like my struggles in the dojo, I can't fight for them.  I can provide the mirrors, the dojo, the classes, the rituals, but they have to fight their reflections. 

I started struggling with depression when I was 8.  It is possible that although I will get better at it, I may always deal with the slipping away from the sun into solitary darkness.  I learn many lessons here.  I have more active, caring support than I ever did before, so hopefully, I'll be able to keep a better perspective on things from now on. 

I look at 2009 and 2010 with gratitude.  I lost my struggle with the dark during this time.  I was abducted and at the mercy of Hades for a time.  Without losing the battle temporarily, I would not have had the compassion, empathy, or understanding of others in their struggle.  When it was time, I was able to return to the land of the sun.  No trial ever lasts forever.  We always have the chance to endure, change, rearrange, and make something new of ourselves and our lives.  I am grateful for the challenges that have made me stronger, tempered my will, and helped me know myself. 

The darkness will come again, and in that night, I will be able to see that which is hidden in the light of day.  When the dawn comes, I will walk into the new day, with new wisdom and new insight. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Remembering Dorthea - my grandmother

This weekend I pulled out a church cookbook from a plastic bag. It was yellowed, stained, and falling apart. It was my paternal grandmother’s cookbook from 1937. Within its aged pages, it contains regional recipes from the eastern shore of Maryland.

I am very grateful for the relationship I had as a small child with my father’s mother. My mommom, was a simple, gentle woman. She was very patient and caring. She worked in a factory in the town she grew up in sewing on shirt cuffs. Her husband was a blacksmith. Dorthea only read at a 3rd grade reading level. She was my daycare as a youngster and I remember many days walking with her in the back yard to look at the blooming jonquils and lilacs and picking up fallen sticks after a storm. On hot afternoons we would sit on the front porch and watch different cars drive down the neighborhood. Once a week we’d walk down to the corner where she got her hair fixed. I would help her in the kitchen doing the dishes and watching her make wet dumplin’s, or little burgers she called “hamburg”.

It is these simple, quiet routines that I have been thinking about lately. I have recently changed my diet to be vegetarian as my stomach was requiring a much lower fat diet. This change in awareness has made me start to change my focus about food, cooking, and how emotionally attached I am to the “family meal”. During this re-evaluation process, I find that I am getting closer to what I want to cultivate for myself as a family and home.

Stuck in traffic the other day I realized that Mommom would not have understood the craziness of the congested area live in. The busy rushing of the greater NYC area would have stressed her. Regularly I find myself homesick. It has taken a long time to get closer to what exactly I have been homesick for. I am not homesick for my parents or the life I had as a child. Being the stereotypical Capricorn, I didn’t really enjoy being dependent as a kid and childhood was not really my idea of a good time. I couldn’t wait to grow up and I was right about that. I don’t miss the old family unit. I am married and have part time stepkids. I am very close to my in-laws. I miss the small town mindset.

I miss the focus of carefully planned meals and regular garden work. I miss long evenings on the front or back porch, watching the fireflies and just sitting with loved ones. I miss evening noises being cicadas and crickets. Now the evening noises are radios, teenagers yelling, the metal band practicing in the garage next door, trains, ambulances, the highways, and planes taking off at the airport nearby. There is no still lushness. The air is congested with noise and smog. The houses are too close together so that you don’t get any breeze through the house in the evening. Even the land seems to cringe inward not flowing and in a coma against the screech of activity and overpopulation.

There are two answers; 1 move, or 2 turn inward and upward. There is human connection that can harness the human stream of activity all around. The spirit planes are still available and are still quiet and active in order and flow. I find the stillness of quiet within and try to start from there every day. I find connection in other people and have my own flow connect with the healthy flow of life and humanity but not the frantic panic of craziness all around. I remember the slower time as I tend my flowers. I hope for a day where I live in a place where the air is cleaner and quieter. For now though, I cook with my Mommom’s cookbook, feeding my family, and do my best to be a conscious, honorable person, doing God’s work—just like Mommom would!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The current age, and my place in it

I’m extra tired today and for some reason that also sets up a mood where my thoughts turn to theology and the nature of the universe and our place in it. It seems that when I am stressed, overstimulated, or tired, my thoughts connect with the rest of reality more than usual.
Today, I was thinking about how many fantasy movies talk about the days of yore and the ol’ age of dragon or the age of the Gods and how we are now in the age of man. I wonder, concerned, if being in the age of man means that the Gods are further away than they used to be and so much of magick has been lost and forgotten. Are we awakening into a new age of new consciousness and magick or are we on the cusp of losing our capacity for magick and psychic abilities completely? Is this a dawn of an age or the plummet off the precipice into a new dark age? Is it both? The quaking fear inside me murmurs “yes”, on both accounts.

That makes me think about pyramid schemes and network marketing. I know that my purpose and path is real and clear. Too many things are too synchronistic and I experience the Gods and magick too often for my faith to be disrupted. On one hand hand, am I bailing out a ship with a bucket when the ship will go down anyway? Possibly, but on the other hand, if I show 2 friends magick in a way that they have their faith restored and they share magick with 2 others and so on, it would make a big difference. I’ll just keep carrying water. That way, moment by moment, a bucketful at a time, my efforts will become a lifelong chain of triumphs and positive moments of love and hope. Is failure really an option? Struggle, victory, moments of beauty and rapport, and hope, or giving up and giving in to despair. The rewards far out way to struggle.

In all of our searching, the hustle and bustle, and all of our efforts, ask yourself, are you making a difference? What impact did you make today? Are your hoarding your personal gnosis to take with you to the grave, or are you reaching out with an open hand? For me, I come bearing no weapons, only my open hands.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A New Nobility

Responsibility is not just for self, but for others. We need each other, not just to take care of ourselves, and our own self-interest but to help one another as well. Many are not able to care for themselves. This can be obvious, in the case of the handicapped, but what about those with abusive upbringing, poor education, no access to healthcare, mental illness, addiction running in the family? Is the answer buck up? Imagine how many resources and you needed through 20 years of growing up; friends, family, teachers, money, physical resources. How many of those resources were particular to you? I would say that in many of our darkest moments, what was worth the most was the person who went out of their way to help, not out of self-interest, but out of love, compassion, or a pay-it-forward attitude. Do you wish for the world to be a place of teamwork, family, and the tribe working together? The alternative is a dog eat dog world and the devolution of the human race, our environment, and our planet.

I read Frank Herbert's Dune for the first time earlier this year and really enjoyed some of its points. One is the test of the Gom Jabbar, a test involving fear, pain, courage, and self-control. In the book this test is said to test the difference between the animals and the humans. If you are able to subvert your fear and pain, then you are human and are above your animal nature. This concept can be applied in so many ways. How often do you react without thinking? How often do you let your animal nature/fears/pain control you? Where are your motivations coming from?

There are two ways to look at the word nobility. One way is the equate it with the ruling class as in lords and nobles. The other way would to be to delve into the romantic world of chivalry and upstanding moral character. In this way, nobility would be about regard for the other humans you come across in your life and taking responsibility for yourself and others. When you have the ability to step up and say something do. When you make a difference and reach out you do. If we were all looking out for each other and guarding each other's backs, how different would the world be? Action should not be motivated out of distrust or fear, but originating from a deep faith within that humanity matters and that every action you take has the ability to make an impact.

How do you wish to impact the world today? Today I seek nobility.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why its worth it

We all go through our anxieties, our moments of weariness where we don't want to continue and just throw in the towel.  I'd had a tired week or two, fighting my inner demons and questioning why the path is worth all the struggle.  I also think its good to play our own devil's advocate to make sure that we know our motives for the work that we do.

This weekend I had a major "ah-ha" moment that reminded me of why all the struggle, discipline, perseverance, and will-power is worth it.  I was attending a weekend intensive that was a series of 3 weekends on ritual writing.  Ivo Dominguez Jr, one of the elders in my Tradition and the lecturer for the series, mentioned how our goal in life and even in many lives is to evolve into a God or Goddess, to become ourselves so much that we are acting in our higher power and guided nature all the time.  I had heard this in many ways many times before, but this time, something went "ka-chink" and the key locked into the lock in a way that it had never quite fit before and the door in my mind opened. 

All the struggle in the world is worth me doing my highest will, and making the biggest difference in this world.  The more I can hold onto that ephiphany at all times, the more synchronistic opportunties will avail themselves for me to connect and do my work. 

I've had lots of ideas that have congealed into whole commentary lately.  I am excited that  I am at the beginning of a creative, productive period. 

Blessed be

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Article featured on Pagan Magic

 I'm very excited to share that my article on gender in Paganism was featured at the UK online pagan store:  Pagan Magic.

http://www.pagan-magic.co.uk/shop/making-room-genders-paganism-a-1135.html

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Capricorn - A Victorian Daydream

This weekend I attended the Steam Punk World Fair. It was a total blast with a lot of good hearted, jovial fun for all. Steampunk seems to have such a friendly, good-looking, young crowd. Everyone is unique and off the wall and we all seem to match in that way. The nostalgic salute to the Victorian era got me to thinking about some daydreams I had a kid.
When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of CS Lewis and Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). I had a fondness for Mark Twain’s sharp wit as well as his customary linen suit, Panama hat, and pipe. I enjoyed the character of the Uncle in the CS Lewis’s Magician’s nephew. I started collecting magazine cutouts of my ideal, romanticized life. I wanted to learn Greek and Latin and be versed in Greek and Renaissance scholarship. I wanted to be able to mix my own pigments and to paint and to know the sciences like Leonardo Di Vinci.

It was as if I had the uncle’s attic study somewhere in the attic of my head. I would have proper tea at tea time, just like Jean Luc Picard. There would be a full tea service on some side table next to my red leather wingback chair. A great, gentle beast of a dog, an Irish wolfhound would sit at my feet next to a fireplace while I studied or wrote with a fountain pen in a leather bound journal of fine, creamy paper. Surrounding me would be insects pinned in frames, and large mineral and fossil specimens, among the shelves of oh so many classical books with gilded pages. There would be an Indian rug underfoot. Much of the furniture would be dark, ornately carved feet holding crystal balls in their talons and cherubs and mythological creatures winding up scrolling bookcases. The room would have the earthy smells of tea, wood burning in the fireplace, leather, books, and a smoldering pipe.

The house itself would be a small, Tudor style cottage surrounded by walls of roses and a proper English cottage garden. A bicycle, canoe, and kayak would be waiting in the shed for the next outing.

I always wanted to wear a white linen suit and matching white Panama hat and white loafers with a classic, neat leather bag for plein aire excursions.
The last time I thought about this particular dream, I had mentioned to David that his house with prized Irises and many bookshelves adorned in such a classic, lush style reminded me of that Renaissance man I had wished to be. He told me then, “What’s keeping you from being that person now?” I’m not sure what my excuse was then, but I think that I feared some of those qualities were just too much of an expression of classy masculinity and I would not be able to express these things without being a clownish characterization of those things that made my sense of esthetics sing.

Why am I bringing this up? Because after the Fair, I feel that I could express myself in such a way that is uniquely my own, rich, and appealing all in its own way. It might wind up seeming idiosyncratic or eccentric, but maybe, since Steampunk is showing me there is a place for everyone’s romantic whimsy, I might be able to find a way to express the essence of these things in a genuine way.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Birthing

Amber and Celtic shields, put on without even conscious thought.

The wings stay, forever.
This time there was no pain with death, just transition.
The Raven Lady with me always.

A blue bird alighted in the wet spring morning.
Things fall into place
Water rushing down from the mountains.
The Fair ones sing.

Everything is moving at its natural pace.
I am at peace.
The thundering has quieted.
The Now is still.

There are no wrong answers?
That burden left behind,
I am human, these bonds chosen
The future is bright.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menarche – the Threshold of the Maiden

I had a couple of experiences this weekend that gave me an ephiphany about the nature of the Maiden phase/face of the Goddess as well as Maiden as a phase in a woman's life. A girl in my family crossed the threshold of Menarche last week. Menarche is the onset of menses, a girl's first period. I have not been close to a girl of this age before other than myself so it has been an interesting process to watch. I saw her two days after the big event and found that her energy had completely changed. I looked at her as saw a blossoming young woman rather than a child. Her growing awareness, poise, stature, sensibilities all seemed to have congealed at the same moment into the qualities we typify with the Maiden. She turns inward to dream and learn about the world, she is headstrong, and trying to figure out people, question conflicting messages the society and family members give her. She is very smart and uses her mentality and physical strength to push forward through challenges. From the glow about her skin to the hopes and fears that she had on becoming an adult all seem to swirl around her.

The other experience I had this weekend was priestessing in the role of the Maiden for a triple priestess polarity working in the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel's annual ritual for the Stag God Cernunous. I spent a lot of time thinking in the past week as I got ready for this role. I found some of the typical “maiden-style” dresses are no longer cute and comely on my maturing figure.
I have been spending the past year or so transitioning into the “Mother” phase in my life. I am turning 30 this year. I am no longer an innocent slip of a young woman. I have transitioned to roles of teacher, wife, stepmother, Priestess, and am entrusted with overseeing the growth of my students who circle with me. Hopefully I will be birthing a coven in the near future. In those ways, I am an expecting mother. And yet, to many an eye, I am seen as one of the young ones in my tradition. Like all of us in this culture that mortalizes youth, I hope to hold onto the physical attributes of the energy and health of youth as long as possible. I wash the gray out of my hair and am flattered on the rare occassions when I get carded. My 9 year old stepson jested with me a while ago that since I am in my 29th year, that I should enjoy the last days of my youth that I have left. All of these things were swirling through my head as I got ready to embody the aspects of Maiden in this rite.

So, in order not to look like a tart, I found an appropriate dress that was pretty and not to showy for my figure, and then I went barefoot! I invoked the verile Stag god with every molecule of my being. Then I danced and sang, clapped and stomped. I stirred up all of the carefree joy and sense of play and newness rushing of life that is the quick heartbeat of ripening.
The best thing about working with the phases of Maiden, Mother, Crone, Youth, Father, Sage in our lives is that all of the aspects are swirling and dancing around us at all times. We just have to call them forth from the DNA within us. Then we can be Maiden, Mother, or Crone, or subaspects of more than one at any time that we take the time to stir them up into our beings.

Blessed be.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hum of the Engines

I found boot up a little difficult today, so I gave it more conscious time for all of my pieces to get up and running, and man I am running at fuller capacity today.  Here's just one of my morning muses.

When I was a child, I always wondered why the Greek Gods were seen as playing chess with the human race.  I thought it was a insensitive take on our interactions.  This morning I was meditating on the myths of Ouranos and of Prometheus.  I started looking at the influences of Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus in my life right now.  They all influence us differently and via for power and control.  Those measley humans at the bottom them seek the balance of all of those influences and exercise theirown will to mitigate a messy game of chess turned rugby. 

I turn to the Sun in the center, seeking balance and harmony of the other spheres.  Those spheres turn in an ever shifting, ever unique dance.  I walk the star road ever a different path.  May my silver sandles not wear out and my my vision be forever in starlight. 

Blessings

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Becoming the main character of our personal mythos


When I was a child, my favorite game was one where I was the young princess of a magickal land. In this game, I saved the kingdom, treated the people fairly, and fought off magickal disaster numerous times. As I grew older, I looked to other archetypes to fall into and found many of them to be lacking. Once I discovered Paganism though, I started to purposefully cultivate archetypes within myself such as Artemis –strong, independent, just. The idea of being the main character in one’s personal myth was very appealing. Whether we actively believe this or not, we are creating our story through the years of our life. If the story has plot lines, morals, and gains momentum or gets lost without a plot is up to us.

Monday, March 7, 2011

just before dawn


It is just before dawn in the Northern lands. Morgan waits, yet the waiting does not imply patience. The waiting is a quiet, dull boredom that isn't yet excited. The dawn chorus has not arrived and there is not tense anticipation for the explosion of the day. All she feels is an anxious annoyance at being awake, still, and waiting, for the dawning of just a normal day.


Morgan knows she has made progress, no longer in the still, dead, timelessness of the Temple of Saturn. Yet, the experience gained seems to resemble more jadeness and weariness than it does experience or wisdom. Soon, the dawn will start and the day will take over. The machinations of daily life will stir and the gears of progress will leave such doubts behind. But for now, there is nothing but the stillness and the churnings of her fretting.


Day by day, petals fall from the stem, leaving an ever unfolding bud that opens in fullness. The frustrated impatience is a choice she has made. She strains to hear the first bird start its song and wonders in the solitude, what colors the clouds are turning. Those hues of orange, magenta, and impossible pinks burn out the mists of the dreams still clinging to the edges of her vision. A scraggly owl tries to shake off the evening rains to get some sleep. Charon has already stayed the mooring pole against the bank, not turning back now. It doesn't matter, Morgan thinks to herself as she shakes off the draught of sleep. Cronos will take his due. It is another day, Sol rises and there is work to be done.


Why?! The constant crowing echos in the back of her brain. She offers no answer for the eternal hypothical question. Clothes, coifed hair, the mask is assembled, piece by carefully chosen piece. Silence, methodical rhythm of unquestioning traditional practice. Work, this is life, the push forward in undeniable.


"Sigh, leisure is not my lot." Thus it has always been, and that's okay. The work of today will turn into the fortress of tomorrow. That time is not now. Tears now brushed aside, she takes up her sword, her bow, boots and assundry sachels.


"Why!?" calls the voice, quiet and lingering.


"Because I am aware of the truth. It gives me no other choice but to live up to it. Every step in this life I walk as an ox pulls its burden forward. It is the ox's place and this is my lot. I can only change my fortune by each day, and today is my day in this life. It's not all bad..." she finishes as if she'd truncated herself.


"...just wish I didn't feel so alone."



Monday, February 21, 2011

but beneath it all...


I've been meditating on the Strength card, the Empress, and the Magician during the past few days. I am so weary of winter, waiting for some new life pulse of the fresh new season to overpower it. Yet, within the wet snowfall of the morning, I saw the pure beauty of the bright whitenesss covering everything in transformation. The snowstorm did so immediately and instantly.

Between mundane and spiritual projects, tippety-type, day after day, careful planning and tending to those little sprouts I wish that one day may grown into trees, I am weary. Such projects are both tedious, trying, sometimes boring, and tiring. Just like the snow though, there is a connective cellular tissue beneath everything. Crystaline strutures creating fractal patterns reminding me "everything is connected to the spark of the divine in everything else". The infinity symbols hanging over both the Empress within the Strength card and the Magician remind me, yes this is the point. This is the height of our being that if we allow ourselves to connect to our higher nature, then we are allowing suplication, trust, and faith to connect to the divine, to our personal divine, to the rest of the universe, and on a human level, to each other.

My favorite tree as a child was the willow. I seek now to be the willow, reaching for water, persistant, strong and flexible. The strength of the willow is not the strength of the oak. The willow does not tower, but bends. adapts and flows, connecting with wind, sky, earth, and water. The cow's horns over my head reflect the light shone upon it. My toes are within the earth and my crown seeks connect with all. I pray not casting my gaze downward, but to the vastness of the stars. I hear the pulse of life beneath the sunrise and sunset of every day.

The fluxuation is constant, though I may not be able to keep the meter unassisted. The light within is eternal. I am Saturn's daughter, within his temple, I keep time. Within and beyond that pulse is the glory and victory triumphant.

For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours should you dare. Look within, the spark is there.

Blessed be.

Monday, February 7, 2011

missing in action


Sorry I haven't been posting a whole lot lately. Each time I sit down to write a new post or article it doesn't quite convey what I want it too. So, I'll have to say that for now, I am cooking a lot of things and they need time to rise, set, and rest.
This may be a bit of a trend as I prepare for my next transition. In early January, I passed my 3rd degree interview with all of the 3rd and 4th degrees of my tradition. In a couple months I will receive my 3rd degree initiation, and gain the mantle of all the responsibility that goes along with that degree. I have expected magickal shifts, but I am also adjusting to some of the other, more mundane shiftings that go along with change. I'm going to leave off there.
Blessed be.