Feeds:
Posts
Comments
Image of a medical lab coat with a stethoscope and several pens.

Oh Thracian Physicians – you healers among the gods, you who operate and cure, you who take in the sick and injured – I call to you today. Bless all those who need healing, that they may be delivered from their suffering. I make due offering to you, and await the results of your work, knowing full well your power and prestige as healers. So be it!

Image from Pixabay

November 3 – Democracy

Image of SCRABBLE tiles that spell VOTE.

Today, I will make my voice heard.
Today, I will let my vote be counted.
Today, I participate in Democracy.
Hear me Columbia. Hear me Libertas. Hear me Themis.

Image from Pixabay.
An image of teabags hanging on a black background.
Text reads: Oh tea spirits, warming, soothing, clearing, calming, awakening, and relaxing. I call to you as I boil the water. I remember you as I measure each teaspoon. I thank you as I set the timer. I inhale your warmth and sip your blessings into my soul.
Tea spirits, I honor you.
Picture by Skitterphoto on Pixabay

Each year in November, organized by Rev. Jan Avende, a group of folks from multiple spiritual traditions gets together to write prayers. This is largely organized on Facebook through a group, and then Jan curates the FB page to post highlights each day. Some days there are tons of prayers and other days are lighter, but we’re all seeking to write 30 prayers in November.

I make my prayers into graphics, using Adobe Spark Post, but that’s NOT necessary to participate. Any prayer is fine, public or private, written or made into a graphic. It’s all totally up to you how you want to do this challenge.

I usually try to post mine here, but fizzle out partway through. We’ll see how this year goes.

But here’s today’s. I’m less confident than I usually am about finishing this year, but I can only control today, and today I am writing a prayer.

An image of a black dog on a black background.

On this day of new beginnings, I find myself hounded by the events and fears and woes and trials of this year. Walking the Black Dog is never easy – trying to be creative while doing so is harder. But life is about taking risks, even when I am not sure I will complete them. Today, spirits of perseverance, I ask you to bless this work of November. May I, with your help, write these prayers for myself and for others, and may they bring light into a dark time. So be it.

Photo from Pixabay, image made in Adobe Spark Post.

Spiritual Snacks

I’d like to invite you to join me over on Facebook, where I’ve started a series of FB Live videos called Spiritual Snacks. These not-quite-daily (but hopefully frequent) little videos are 2-4 minutes long, and feature me talking about an aspect of spirituality and religious life that is relevant to my life and hopefully to yours as well.

You’re welcome to add me as a friend (though if we don’t have friends in common, please send me a message with who you are), or to just follow my profile, as the videos will be publicly shareable.

I have three done so far, and I’m enjoying getting to speak to the challenges and joys of my spiritual life right now.

I hope you’ll listen in, and I hope you find them nourishing – like any good snack should be.

Gift of the Grain God,  Holy Harvest Making
Earth rising upward, blessing of the reaping
Ground flour formed, work of the shaping
Yeast spirits give life, time of the resting
Sacred making flame, all things transforming.

The seed sprouting
The plant growing
The farmer weeding
The harvest reaping
The village milling
The dough baking
This is the cycle of creation
This is a prayer of life.

May our communities be strong together.
May our lives be filled with good work.
May the land we live on be green with life.

Blessings to the farmers market.
Blessings to the small business.
Blessings to the home baker.
Blessing to all the makers.
Blessings to the caregivers.
Blessings to the truth-tellers.
Blessings to those who need healing.
Blessings to the land
to the land
to the land.
Blessing, always blessings, to the land.

From Dandelion Lady on Patheos

hecatedemeter

fresh_future_farm-0219

This is a prayer for Lughnasadh.  This is a prayer for the Resistance.  Lughnasadh is a fire festival, the first harvest, the beginning of our look towards the dark.  Lughnasadh is the time of plenty, the time to gather in, the time to store what we have.  Lughnasadh is a prayer for the Resistance.

This is a prayer for hopeful people who plant saved seeds in the chilly ground, in the February dark, charging the seeds and calling Ceres — people who want a clean harvest.  This is a prayer for the Resistance.

This is a prayer for mothers bearing children, poets birthing poems, engineers who see how to strengthen a bridge.  This is a prayer for the Resistance.

Lughnasadh is a fire festival, the first harvest, the beginning of our look towards the dark.  Lughnasadh is the time of plenty, the time to gather in, the time to store…

View original post 419 more words

A Solitary Priest

Rev. Jan Avende is working on a Unity Rite for Summerlands Online Festival this year (where I am doing a presentation slot called And Now What: Exploring Pagan Discernment). For that, she’s requested that all of the solitaries of ADF who wish to be included to take a photo of themselves that represents them and their spiritual journey, and to send it to her for compilation.

Here’s mine:

A Solitary Priest at her Altar

Because of camera angles, you could see the flame, or you could see the World Tree, and I chose to have the cosmos sigil there represented, since it’s such a profound symbol for me as an ADF Priest.

Also, this is the first picture I’ve taken of me in my stole that has my Nine Waves pin on it. It makes me a lot sad to not be part of that group anymore, so I’m glad to have a pin to mark my time having founded and built the group over the last eight years.

Image by annca from Pixabay

30 minute trance practice as part of a course I’m doing for the next 16 weeks called Practical Animism – today’s exercise was around meeting a person/relative that I consume on a regular basis, and exploring that relationship as one that acknowledges the personhood of the plants and animals that I eat.

I actually had some trouble deciding on a food-source that I wanted to reach out to, not because I wanted to pick the “right” one but because so many came to mind that I wanted to approach. I ultimately ended up settling on Rooster and Hen, because I do eat a lot of chicken, and I was pleased with the interaction. I’ve never been particularly distanced from my food – I was raised to thank the food (despite being Christian!) and to thank the Gods (or God) for my food, and so it felt very natural to enter into a conversation with Rooster and Hen about the fact that they sacrifice their lives for me to continue living. I ended up feeling very much called to raise my own chickens, which is not possible right now (community code violation unfortunately) but I think will be something that I do as soon as I’m in a place to legally do so.

Also, I explored the nature of the relationship of Humanity to Chickens – as the domesticator and domesticated relationship progressed, which I didn’t connect to as strongly as I did just to the animals themselves.

I did go back and repeat the exercise with corn – especially as I’m cooking corn this afternoon (charring it on the cob to make Elotes Pasta Salad for a dinner tomorrow). I eat a lot of corn, and it’s a plant with a long and sacred history that I’ve tried to respect. It was easier to talk to Rooster than it was to talk to Corn, probably because Rooster has body language I understand better than Plant Language. But I did get a sense that Corn was, at least at one point in time, honored by its connection to humans – and is now very troubled by mass monocrop farming. Cornfields used to be sacred places, and now they are sterile, machine-driven ones, and that’s maybe not actually a step in the right direction.

I have attempted (unsuccessfully) to grow corn in the past, and could not grow it now even if I had room for it – my yard is in the shade of three huge pecan trees, and so I cannot grow vegetables here. But I feel like I can honor the spirit of that plant, which is so sacred to the land on which I live, even if I don’t grow it myself.

All in all, a very thought provoking set of trance journeys today, and ones I think I will repeat as I go deeper into my practice of Animism. I’m noticing as I sit with this, and am processing the work I did, that I feel almost unsettled – not because I did something wrong or feel guilty about eating plants and animals, but because I feel like I *should* have strong feelings about the fact that I eat plants and animals. I’ve often grown my own food, though never as my main food source, and as much as those plants were persons that I treasured, they were still there to make sure I continued to exist. I kinda wonder if folks in subsistence farming environments, or in hunter-gatherer ones, feel that way – I know many indigenous groups sacralize the harvest (of both plants and animals) and a great deal of paganism is about the sacredness of the harvest cycle at least as it was celebrated in northwest Europe. It feels as though I’m cheating, I guess, for how easy it is for me to get the food I need, and how disconnected I can be from the process of life-giving that happens for me to go to the grocery store and buy six ears of corn to roast for dinner.

(I do not go into or explain the background of this in my journal, and think that it stands well without a lot of filler. If you are interested in animism as a spiritual practice that complements polytheism, let me know and I’ll speak more to that in a more expository post. This is simply a reflection and a direct excerpt from my journaling.)

Image by Amber Avalona from Pixabay

So I’m working on my journal for Initiates Magical Practice, and I’m realizing something very very odd.

I have never, in my life, written magic down with the intent that anyone else would ever read it, let alone look at it and analyze it.

One of the very first things I learned, back when I was a baby witch and a seeker and before druidry had even entered my radar, was the Witches Pyramid. Jason Mankey discusses its history here – but suffice to say it predates modern witchcraft significantly. It’s an adage repeated over and over to magical practitioners and students of the occult as the foundation of how to do magic:

  • To Know
  • To Dare
  • To Will
  • To Be Silent

(Or, as my first HPS used to say; to know, to will, to dare, and to shut the fuck up.)

I don’t do a ton of magic, and what I do is usually spirit work or energy work, though I have branched out into candle magic, talismans and amulets, and spell jars for my Magical Practice course. Over the last three months I think I’ve done more magic than I’ve done in the last three years combined.

This is helped in large part by John Beckett’s excellent Operative Magic course, that is ongoing right now. John is a good friend and co-religionist, and I’m pleased to be able to support his work, as well as to learn from him. And I have learned a lot!

But now I’ve got a magical journal. I wrote my trance journal and submitted the whole thing for both Trance 1 for Priests and Initiate Trance 1. That was scary, but not really unsettling. It was soul-baring in a way, to have my intimate trance experiences put on display for someone else, but that even was different than how I’m working with magic now. I’m happy to share that journal with CTP students who are struggling with Trance because it shows a great deal about the struggles I had – it’s private, but it’s not secret.

I keep backups of all of my journals on Google Drive (because I am both a calligrapher and a techno-druid). My journals are all in text format on the computer because I can’t write as fast as I can think, and I get much closer as a typist – and because as a calligrapher I’m always too angry with how my journals LOOK to really be good at handwriting them. That’s why I’ve always been a blogger – if you’ve been around awhile, you’ve seen my journals from my dedicant work were all published here, as were my Liturgy Practicum 1 for Priests journals. Now I’ve shared that backup journal with three initiates that I’m hoping to work more closely with over the next several months, with the goal of seeing if I’d like them to be my initiators.

And I’m not just planning, executing, evaluating, and then perfecting my magical practice… I’m going to submit it to ADF and a reviewer, who is possibly someone I have never met, and quite possibly someone who has preconceived notions about me, is going to grade that journal and my experience of magical practice. That is a very strange feeling indeed. I can, of course, censor what I’m writing – or what I turn in at least. But I have to leave enough of the details so that someone who doesn’t know me in the slightest will believe that I actually did the working.

Which feels an awful lot like breaking the “and shut the fuck up” part of the pyramid. I know WHY they need to know that I can do magic – it’s part of being an initiate. And were I in a giant working group of other students and initiates, we could discuss and learn together over time and the folks initiating me would not need a journal to judge my work, but I’m not – my Initiate work is being done solo, and my learning is all self directed. I have a mentor (several of them), but this work is being done on my time and my schedule.

So someone has to know what I am and am not willing to do, and how I do the magic I have experience with. Then, at my ordeals, I will have to defend questions about those magical workings, especially about my magical ethics. In public!

I absolutely understand why this is necessary.

It still feels weird though.