cedar_grove: (Storm)
I have spent several weeks in contemplation of when, for me, the new year should begin, or perhaps has already begun. I tell myself this, and not that it is procrastination against the beginning of an undertaking, or perhaps the opposite, a wish for a precipitous beginning of said undertaking. The fact remains, I have questioned, and still question when a new year begins for an individual. When does it begin for me?


As a Wiccan, should my new year have begun in November, as Samhain passed us into the gathering season of winter, or did my new year begin almost a month later with the start of a journey that has led me to the threshold upon which I now stand – or may even have unknowingly passed beyond already? Did my personal new year begin as a new year of my life began with my birthday on December 11th or with the new solar year, and returning light at Yule? Or should I simply do as most folk seem to do and say my new undertaking will begin with the new calendar year as 2016 gives way to 2017?


There are so many conventions that we follow, cultural and religious, and some that fall into both categories. The notion of the ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ have never appealed to me, and not just because many (if not most of the people I personally know) give up on those resolutions soon after making them – myself included in the past. Perhaps that’s why, through this soul searching, I have shied away from that option, and why I questioned in the first place.


Through my introspection, not just of recent days, but of many months, perhaps even years – and extrospection (though Google tells me that even though technically this is the anonym of introspection, it is rarely used), I have discovered a thing or two. This is the point at which I feel I must type the disclaimer that, if you think this part of my journal entry is about you, well… that’s your prerogative, I suppose, but this is my journal, and these are my observations. However, as the saying goes, if the cap fits… or the shoe fits, then… be Cinderella if you must.


There are too many people out there who can’t, or perhaps worse, refuse to see past the end of their own garden path. Such people trap themselves in their own misery, and as prisoners lash out at those around them, transferring their misery and negativity to people who are merely trying to help them realize their own state of being. I’ve been an enabler of such behaviors for the sake of a quiet life, because the gods know that when I’ve tried to do otherwise, all holy hell has broken loose.


Loyalty, like charity, must begin at home. Blind loyalty to other people or beliefs or any other thing that one can be loyal to is often self-destructive. Loyalty to someone or something that reinforces or promotes self-deprecation or a negative self-image, no matter who or what that someone or something is; what part that person or something else plays in your life, is an act of cowardice, not loyalty, and ultimately damaging for you and for others in your life.  As with love, if you cannot love yourself, you cannot properly love others – if you cannot be loyal to yourself, then your loyalty to others is misguided at best.


Ignoring the wise words of good friends and loved ones is just plain stupid and can only lead to trouble and pain. You might think your reasons for arguing the point (inwardly or outwardly) are good and valid reasons, but experience and hindsight will always come around like a two-headed dog to bite you on the ass. When that happens, you know the people that had your best interests at heart when they spoke the advice because, while they might remind you of what they said, they’ll never say, “I told you so,” and will just be there in quiet support while you find your feet after being knocked on your smarting backside.


There’s great sadness in the realization that sometimes, people will – by their own thoughts and actions – disqualify themselves from certain parts they have played in your life, and you can fight and flail all you like to keep them there because you want them there, but if that want isn’t truly and unconditionally matched, there’s little you can do but create a negative and toxic situation for the both of you that is ultimately damaging. Conversely, people can sometimes surprise you. When you least expect it, with a single word, or a short message, people you might have once been close to, that you didn’t even realize you missed, can give you a boost when you’re at your lowest ebb, and remind you that they’re still there.


In all of the above, I’m drawn to, and feel the need to also share a story that was given to me as a ‘lesson’ by one of those wise friends many, many years ago - a wonderful man by the name of Alawn Tickhill - who told me the Story of the Sparrow – and you can find it here.


So… anyway, the conclusion I came to, is that really and ultimately, when and why I start the undertaking is entirely up to me. Also, it’s no big secret what the undertaking is.  It’s just that I’ve been wanting to do more journal writing for a very long time now, and I thought, well, with a new year, it might be time to start this journaling journey.  I’d like to say I’ll write every day. Even though that might be my intent, I know that sometimes life is going to get in the way. I also know that’s perfectly fine.


What I write, how often I write, and why I write – well, those things are my prerogative and my responsibility too.
cedar_grove: (Eirian with a smile)

I don't like schedules. They deny spontaneity and stifle flexibility if you stick to them, and if you don't,  what’s the point of having one? The other problem I have with schedules is that it's rare that life, the universe in particular, rarely respects the orderly progression of tasks that you’ve so carefully laid out so that everything gets done in a timely manner. This can manifest in things not working out the way you intended, or other people asking things of you that mean adjustments be made, and if you’re anything like me you’ll put whatever it is that has been asked of you ahead of your schedule, ahead of the things you’ve planned (read want) to do after you’re done with the chores on your list of things that must be done.

Inevitably, those desired activities/tasks remain unfulfilled, initiating a stress response, leading into a spiral of negativity and resentment - unless you’re able to embrace true selflessness… a fully enlightened state of being that few of us, myself included, reach in our lifetime.

So what’s the solution? What are  the answers or the steps to strive for at the beginning of our golden solar path? I believe it’s a matter of learning how and when to say, “no” or, “not right now,” and not being afraid to take care of self while adhering to the schedule you made; recognizing when you need a moment of and for you, and not feeling guilty for doing so.

cedar_grove: (Eirian with a smile)
As I sit here, trying to think how I should begin, to find the start of my path for the coming solar year, the rain outside is soaking the ground, the sky overhead is grumbling with thunder. The saying over here is that if there is thunder in the winter time, there will be snow a Tenday later, yet we are currently 'enjoying' record temperatures. There is something wrong with that – it's called Climate Change, and yes, it does exist.

Day before yesterday was the Winter Solstice. Mir and I were travelling on that day, back from New York City where we'd been visiting with good friends, and stopped in on the National Museum of the Marine Corp on the way back to visit the statue of Sergeant Reckless. We were surprised also to see a piece of the WTC that we'd seen transported to the museum along the New Jersey Turnpike a long while past now… and remembered the Firefighters on the bridges paying their respects as it passed. To lay my hand upon the concrete and steel was a profound moment… one right for the introspection the Solstice and winter season invokes into a life.

Perhaps that's where my coming journey begins… like a seed, buried in the dark earth, sheltered from the cold and the wet and the external pressures latent in the unfolding year, held together by the protective pressures of my own internal thoughts, like the arms of Mother, holding Her child, who has wandered.
cedar_grove: (Isis)
Happy New Year! 2012 is upon us, and with the first of the year comes the first of the meditations and thoughts I will be sharing while working with the Goddesses in the book that Mir gave to me as a birthday gift: Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on the Goddess.

There is one who rules us all. Her name is Fortune.
She can raise the lowest to the pinnacle of success,
or turn a parade into a funeral just like that!
Everyone calls upon her: the poorest farmer

sends up troubled prayers, sailors on dark seas
call out her name, even tyrants pray to her
to keep their spoils. Nomads and high queens
and townsfolk all invoke her with the same words:

Harsh Necessity is your companion, Fortune,
you of the brass hands, you who join and shape
our lives on earth, you of the forge and anvil:
we pledge never to forget your strict claims upon us.

But Hope walks with you too, and Loyalty,
those white-robed goddesses, dear to you
and dear to us. Fortune, we beg of you:
lift up our timebound lives to your Eternal breast.


--Roman poet Horace



The only truth in life is this: that change will come. We cannot know when Fortuna will next turn her wheel, or in what direction she will push us. We can, however, life fully in the present, thanking the universe for what it provides us, finding joy in each moment of this lovely, transitory life.

What a way to start out a book of meditations... with an invocation to the Roman Goddess of Change. All sound very dramatic, very... violent almost as if sweeping in the new year with the roar of a lion, or maybe dragon - some spirit animal, and expression of the inner 'beginning' that many associate with the turning of the calendar.

My meditation on this - on change - came while I was outside in the yard, blowing leaves away from where they have blanketed the yard for far too long. A change occuring before my eyes from the brown, messy blanketed woodland yard full of leaves to the loamy soil beneath, with its occasional promise of new life in the green shoots of grass. I've noticed too, the other day as a matter of fact, that the days are getting longer... it's lighter later.

Meditating on all of this as we worked on the yard, I realise that this is a bit the way I feel... as if I've been blanketed by years worth of leaves, Leaves which haven't broken down to provide nourishment for inner or outer growth, in fact they've perhaps been smothering and stilfling, especially on an inner level - but there is hope. As they are cleared away - blown away on the winds of change that inevitably blow in the New Year, as so many souls around the world who recognise the turning of the year at this moment, create and stir the thought form of such winds - so as they are blown away, I see the green shoots of the lush 'self-grass' beneath. I know the promise is there, waiting to be nurtured and encouraged to grow.

May the touch of the goddesses I work with through working with this book this year assist in that growth, that development and change on and inner level that will affect the outer, rather than, as I fear has been, the other way around. I realise one cannot happen without the other, but I feel change that begins inside of me will be more beneficial to the change, visible and otherwise, on the outside. Yes, I realise that this change is something that could have begun at the turning of the Celtic year, but then I was still covered with the many layers of leaves, but now, liberated and freed from their shroud, I feel I can finally begin.

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