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