cedar_grove: (Default)

Fresh as dew, our Perperia,
goddess of the plants and herbs,
washes all the land with rain:

Vines burst out in heavy blossom,
tree boughs groan with blushing fruit,
fields grow lush with ripening grain.

--Macedonian folksong

Even in winter the dark sky carries the bright stars above our protective atmosphere, and the moon sways the deep ocean's tides.

And Venus moves across the sun and makes soothing, though strange music...

No... I realise this is not at all what this post was supposed to be about, but after yesterday, and all the excitement of the Transit of Venus, it made me think about this - about the sights and sounds of the cosmos... about what Earth sounds like from far distant space. Of course these are questions that I can't really answer, being Earthbound here - but I got a taste of the possibility yesterday while listening to venus. I could have listened all night - it was bizarrely soothing.
cedar_grove: (Still life)

The forest is beyond my strength.
My rose is hidden far from me.
If the wood were less in length
My rose would be less far from me.

If I could have my precious rose,
I'd live in love forever.
If I knew what Shekinah knows
My exile would be shorter.

--Song of Rabbi Isaac of Laig

Like the rose-windows that shone in medieval cathedrals, the rose shines forth from spiritual poetry, embodying profound spiritual meaning.

I've always been attracted to roses, though not necessarily as a symbol of wisdom. I like the aesthetic shape of them, their scent... to think of them as a symbol of wisdom and to link them with spiritual poetry - that's new for me.

I suppose it shouldn't be, though I don't know why.

It may be because my experience of writing poetry has always been more of an emotional one than a 'spiritual' one. I've only written one with a specific spiritual bent, and that was a prose poem that I'm sure I've posted onto LJ before at some point... concerning the creation of life and the world through the love of the Lord and Lady of life. The rest of the time the poetry I've written has been an outlet for my emotions, and usually at a time when those emotions were stormy or intense

That is what feels 'normal' to me for the writing of poetry.. so am I sitting here now thinking that I should be writing poetry of a more spiritual bent? No, I don't think so. I just find it curious that I should have gone down this avenue of thought when beginning at the rose.

Taking the rose as a symbol of wisdom... deconstructing that symbol through meditation has been interesting - with the outer petals that are the simple, easy to access and understand wisdoms of every day life. They are soft, they are beautiful and we can smell the fragrance of the rose, but know instinctively that the greater scent and deeper wisdoms are coming from within... so we look harder, and we breath deeper, and the closer, more tightly budded petals of the mid and inner parts of the rose are revealed, slowy as the outer open to us, fall away for us to see - to understand the inner. This is the process by which we acquire our wisdom, through patience, watching and waiting, and living beyond the unfolded softness of those outer petals of the world.

We listen to... we see and seek, and breath the inner core of the rose.
cedar_grove: (All faiths)

It is pleasant, it is finally pleasant,
this world, this great world.

It is pleasant, it is finally pleasant,
this great world when the caribou come.

It is pleasant, it is finally pleasant,
this great world when it is summer at last.

--Eskimo summer song

No matter how difficult matters may seem, we can always find solace in awareness of the cyclical truth of all life.

As pagans this is something that is... almost overly emphasised in various aspects of our faith: the belief in reincarnation; the 'Wheel of the year' that governs the festivals and the march of the seasons; the law of return - the whole notion of kharma... what goes around comes around; the cycle of the moon as she waxes and wanes.

All of these things, an more, manifest themselves in our hearts, even when we do not truly or fully understand them or their full implications. Does it make us better people or better pagans to remember these things so to adjust the way we touch the world as acccording to these cycles? I don't necessarily think that it does.

Thinking about all of these things in the light of some discussions that have been floating around on Facebook recently, about extremists of any religion... I come to the conclusion that, depending on motivation, it is just as easy to become a radical pagan - or an evangelical pagan - just as it is for any other religion.

Okay, I will accept that living by the understandings and the tennets of one faith doesn't necessarily make you into a fundamentalist Christian, or an Islamic extremist, or an evangeical pagan... or whatever faith you call your own, there has to be that extra step, the idea of pushing what you believe onto others, and to me that means not necessarily standing there and trying to 'convert' people, but it also mean being open and vocal about what you believe without invitation.

Many of us jest sometimes, with phrases like "I might have been really bad in a former life..." when something goes wrong or whatever. Me, I try not to make comments like that, partly because I don't think they're funny, partly because it is like abrogating responsibility for something difficult that is happening in your life, but mosty because, to me, it draws attention to (evangalises) that particular pagan tennet. I realise also that it's a fine line.

So... yesterday I found myself getting... defensive and annoyed on behalf of Muslims, who yet again are being tarred and feathered with the same brush because of the loud voices of their extremists - with the voices of their prejudice and bigotted patriarchs - who have probably, and very sadly, irrevocably damaged Islam worldwide.

Who among us outside of Islam have actually read, and interpretted for ourselves, and without prejudice, the words written in the Koran. (Q'ran, however you wish to spell that particular holy book). Similarly though who among us outside of Christianity have read the bible and done the same? I must confess to having read neither from beginning to end... but then again, nor have I read other holy books and writings.

Perhaps we all should before we judge a religion - or a faith - by the loudest, and not always best, voices.
cedar_grove: (Default)

I left her at the garden gateway,
my jewel, my fairy lover,
eyes like stars, lips like berries,
voice like a gentle harp.
I left her in the cattle-meadow,
my brown-haired fairy lover,
eyes like stars, cheeks like roses.
When I kissed her, I tasted pears.

--Irish song to the Leanan Sidhe, the fairy lover

The Irish believe that spirits inhabit the land around us - spirits who sometimes fall in love with human beings and lure them away from ordinary life.

I don't deny the Irish their beliefs. I'll say that from the onset. Nor do I deny the existance of the Sidhe, or nature spirits - the spirits from which the sanitized idea of the 'fairy' came from. That's the thing about many of the pagan ideas though - invading faiths came in and sanitized (or demonised, in some cases a bit of both) the old. In a lot of cases that still happens between one faith and another... but that's a digression and an argument for another time and place, (and as I type this up, Facebook seems to be the place for a raging debate between radical Islamist rhetoric and Christian edicts).

Anyway - the old spirits of the land, and their infatuation with human kind and luring them away... um... yeah-no. Yes, I'm aware there are many traditional folk songs about just such a thing - Thomas the Rhymer being one of them... and even many folk stories about such things occurring... but I can't help but feel that these are a case of the new wanting to make the old seem bad, so... lets first of all demonise the spritual-sexual connection inherent in nature based faiths, and second of all relegate their symbols and icons to something that is somehow... less.

Consider the dryad for example - the spirit of a tree. The energy and living essence of one of the life giving 'children' of the gods. Most consider dryads to be beautiful women who come out of the spirit of the tree to seduce mortal men and keep them for eternity. If such were true... what about all the 'tree hugging hippies' (no that's not meant as a derogatory term at all, it's why it's in quotation marks). Have they all been seduced and captivated by such beautiful creatures, or are they simply feeling the spirit and energies of the trees themselves. That nature spirit that dwells within them?
cedar_grove: (Default)

May earth, goddess of all creation,
mother of all that is and will be,
may she give us a great land.

May earth, with her mountains and plains,
her slopes and her peaks, may she open
herself to our needs.

May earth, with her rivers and waters,
may she give us enough to drink.
May she pour herself upon us.

--Hindu hymn to goddess of earth, Atharva Veda

Today, too, clearly articulating needs is the first step toward having them met. yes the expression of such needs is often me with reproach.

My greatest needs are emotional ones - right now at least. The need to feel valued, the need to feel validated and the need to feel needed and loved.

For the most part, those needs are met in that my wonderful guy gives all of these to me, and more... even when I don't express them. But frustrations, both those that I suffer from, and those of others, sometimes even my guy, can from time to time lead me not to feel such things. Lately I've been strugging with feelings of worthlessness.

On reflection I think a lot of it is tiredness. The end of a long school year with so much still to do that I'm falling behind on everything else that I want to be doing. But the argument goes that: should it really be something that I want to be doing I'd just go and do it. I would make time... put aside other things in order to have that time for things I want to do. After all I have so many hours after school in which to read, to write, to type up the notes from my daily meditations which I have at least managed to continue with - and notes for which I have many days worth of writing. The fact of the matter is that I'm bringing so much work home, assessments to mark, class work to mark, lessons to plan. Allowing the fact that I don't go out anywhere after school - or rarely anyway - to completely scew my work/life balance. There is no balance. I'm not alone in this.

So... no, the workload from work has not eased at all, but I have decided that enough is enough. Where did this come from? Two people, both very dear to my heart. First, (though someone Indirectly), from my wonderful guy... and secondly from my still tenuous, but growing connection with My Lady. My own needs, combined with those of my guys led me to partition the Lady for help in getting off my overworked hands and putting those hands to work in catching up with the things I want to do.

The answer came in somewhat of a surprising form... in a dream... (that's not the surprising bit - quite common actually)... it was a dream in which I was in an office in school, arguing with the head teacher, and the owner of the school. They were arguing with me about loyalty, and I was standing up to them and telling them that no matter how hard I work for them my first loyalty is to my family - to my husband, and the life we have together, the things we do and share, and then second to the families of the school. That nothing that they could say would change that, because that was the way it was, and should be. It was a very unsettling dream, but also in a way very empowering.

The upshot of it all is that yes - if these things are important to me, which they are, then I will adjust the balance of work, and my own things to so that I don't keep constantly flailing, and failing to do the things I want to do, and have said I am going to do.

Perhaps then I will learn to validate and love myself again (I don't like myself very much right now), and feeling it from myself might help me to feel it period.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Mother, you carried me
for nine long months.

Mother, you carried me
for nine long months
and gave birth in an hour.

Mother, you carried me
for nine long months
and bore me and raised me
to be kind and fair and generous.

Mother, you carried me
for nine long months
and bore me and raised me
to be kind and fair and generous
just like you. Just like you.

--Siberian folksong

We throw away, without recognising that it is our Mother earth who must attend to our refuse, just as our individual mothers picked up our toys in distant childhood.

During my lifetime I have seen the way we deal with rubbish (trash/garbage, call it what you will) change dramatically. When I was little, everything went in the trash. It didn't matter what it was made of, it got put in the trash and carted off by the men that worked the dustbin lorry - and incidentally, my granfather John Tanner used to be a refuse collector. Then some people... real hippies they were, (not) that I knew started making their own compost... it kind of caught on and almost everyone owned a compost bin. So... trash got sorted into things that would compost.. and stuff that still had to be thrown into the trash. That lasted for a long, long time...

Then came along this wonderful new idea - recycling. At first it was just bottles and cans, then slowly paper and cardboard... then plastic and now, all the trash gets sorted out and you'd think there wouldn't be any trash any more? Right? Things that make you go hmmmm.

So then I moved here - to Egypt - to work... my heart breaks, because here is what was everywhere else all those many years ago - no recycling, everything is trash. And the streets are literally overflowing with it. Even at school, everything was trash. Of course there are some of us that try to reduce that - we reuse the backs of pieces of paper we've had to print out for scrap paper, messages, kids to draw on etc... try to reuse boxes, and bottles... and joy of joys, our nursery is going to make a greenhouse out of plastic water bottles, and believe me, Egypt has a lot of those!

Mir and I have often talked about getting a compost bin... and maybe this summer would be a good time to do that if we get the chance. If we could do that, the actual trash in the house would be significantly lower. We'd compost the vegetable waste, be burning the rat litter, (and maybe adding those ashes to the compost, or keeping a separate ash pile), continuing to recyle as we do... then... what's left to trash - to go to the landifill? The thought is quite exciting really.

Just one small thing we can do for Mother Earth.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Mother of divinity,
face of infinity,
shine forth upon me.

Shine forth upon my prayer,
you who makes all things fair.
shine forth upon me.

Make me a fertile field.
Let all my projects yield.
Shine forth upon me.

Give me this dawn's rewards
Knnow you are well adored.
Shine forth upon me.

--Invocation from the Indian Rig Veda

Even as we acknowledge the incomprehensibility of life, the goddess provokes us to attempt to understand.

There are some things that defy explanation. Like is rich and varied, sure, and each new experience we have teaches us something; makes us a stronger person; gives us a perspective that we didn't have before. I know there must be dark to appreciate light, and I know that the act of making light casts a shadow... there must be balance in all things, but what do we do when everything seems completely out of balance?

Violence, poverty, disease, protest, corruption... and that's just here. Each one I'm sure is a syptom of the others, and until balance is restored somewhere, somehow, how can anything get better?

I'm keeping this deliberately short today... trying not to say anything any more negative than I already have.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Moon and sun rule the sky above.
Here on earth, the goddess rules.
Here on earth, the seven goddesses.
O goddess, pure and cherished one!

We sing sweet songs over and over,
inventing pleasing rhymes for her.
Oh, our songs are so sweet that she
forgives us anything to keep us singing.

--Sri Lankan song

We must let go of judging this world if we are to truly understand the goddess' truth. We cannot pick and choose, controlling life so that we only see what is pleasant to our prejudices.

Going along hand in hand with viewing things negatively, which I was speaking on yesterday, is the tendency to judge what we see... who we see... and apply our own prejudices to those things and people whose existance and whose lives touch ours. This one is a hard one... as passing judgement on all that we see is far too easy. Passing judgement on other people is something that we are in many respects taught and expected to do... mostly by our peers if not our parents, and the communities we move in.

How do we resist the temptation - curb the urge to jdge others by our standards and accept others, and their actions for what they are; to show compassion and understanding? And how does this change us as a person?

I suppose the easiest way to do that is to put yourself in their shoes... at least as best you can. It's what I try to do, but then to do that you also have to be able to use empathy, and let go of the very prejudices you're trying to avoid. It's... a bit of a minefield. There's a certain abandonment of self, I think, required.

A bigger question perhaps is how far should you take this non-judgementalism? I remember some time ago being extremely worried about what I would do, how I would manage if I were ever called for jury service. I always had the question in my mind: Who am I to judge another person? Well of course the inevitable happened, and I was called for jury service, and ended up sitting on two cases, one of Child Abuse, the other, picked at the last moment, which extended my service, was a murder trial. Think maybe the universe was trying to teach me something?

Am I still uncomfortable - yes, I suppose a little, but I think I learned that one can still be compassionate toward others even when they have committed crimes that have hurt someone... that it is the behaviour you condemn, not the person. That you seen to help the person by providing opportunities for them to make restitution, even if only in their soul or character. Of course this is the ideal, and sounds kind of fluffy to me even as I write it... The reality is those offenders probably would not have reformed in Britain's prison system, few do... and yes, I know that they too are judgements I am making - sweeping statements, though sadly the truth. Still the advice to 'criticise the behaviour, not the child/person' is the best way to deal with being as non-judgmental or compassionate as you can.

On a not entirely flippant note: I can't help but think of Michael Kenmore in all of this, from Stargate: Atlantis, and that adds a whole other dimension to all of this, that I'm not even going to go in to here... just that I couldn't help but think of him, as I'm typing up my notes.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Little May Rose,
turn around, turn around!
Little May Rose,
We watch you turn round!

Rose of the May,
come away, come away,
Rose of the May,
to the woods, come away.

How merry we are,
as the season closes,
how marry we go
from May to the roses.

--Alsacian folksong of spring

We can either mourn constantly for our losses, or praise the goddess for the brief beauties that flower in our lives.

Before I start - may I express my absolute annoyance at this whole "Star Wars Day" thing that everyone has going on today. I mean, I suppose I should be happy that something as Pop-culture in a sci-fi sort of way has caught on the way the whole May the fourth be with you thing has... but, p-lease... it was funny once upon a time... Not so funny now.

Then again... isn't this, in a bizzare sort of way exactly what today's meditation is about? The choice between mourning something (viewing something negatively) and celebrating the positive in it? Given the choice between two outlooks, is your cup half full, or half empty?

For the longest time.. far too long, I was looking at everything from the bottom of a half empty cup. It coloured everything I said and did, and I ended up dragging everything and everyone down into the depths with me. It was pointed out to me, none too gently, and yet with love, that this was what I was doing. I thought about it. I cried about it. and then I did something about it.

I try to be more positive now... and I recognise that I don't always manage that. Sometimes the stresses are very much and I succumb. But I have found, on the whole that keeping the cup half full works for me most of the time. It keeps the energy higher, the spirits up, and gives me a different perspective on many thing. It also makes me a kinder person... more compassionate, more patient...

Except, I have found an interesting thing, that is true in many other situations (like with ex-smokers), and that is that I find myself less tollerant with people who are 'negative' or 'moaning' or such. Sure I try to be supportive of their woes, but when they rejects my attempt at giving them an out - a positive spin - a way to see past what worries them etc, they reject the attempt and continue to batter all and sundry with their negativity - and it makes me ashamed that I also used to be that way.
cedar_grove: (Default)

We have been rambling through the night,
until the break of day;
and now we have come back again,
and bring this garland gay.

We bring this garland gay to you,
as at your door we stand;
it is a sprout well budded out,
from he touch of her sweet hand.

--Folksong from Berkshire, England

Similarly, there is that within each of us that buds and blossoms only when encouraged by a kind word or a loving gesture.

I must confess that I am terrible for this. There are many things within me that only blossom when they are encouraged by a kind word or loving gesture, or a loving word and kind gesture, either way... I recognise it as a failing in myself that I feel despondent far too easily if someone has been short with me - or has not spoken softly/kindly, or whose silence or words I have interpreted as disapproval, or similar. I am far too dependent on hearing those things that, perversely, I often do not recognise when they have come in the form of a gesture or action instead of words. Perhaps I simply need to learn to listen much better than I do.

I confess this is a short entry today... but lately I have not been sleeping due to worry, and due to the sense of self deprecation that I have slipped into due, for the most part, to the exact same thing I was speaking of in the entry today. Sometimes life just doesn't give you enough pick-me-up juice in your batteries. That's right where I am just now.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Summer! Summer! The cow's mild milk
and the goddess with summer within her,
and the yellow summer, and the white daisies,
and the goddess with summer within her.

--Irish May Day song

No longer the maiden, she is now the blooming young mother, giving birth to her innumerable children.

No longer the maiden...

Maiden, Mother, crone... White, Red, Black.. Green, Gold, White...

I remember, a time ago now, when there was great debate among the pagan communities and circles in which I moved, about which were the appropriate colours to represent the goddess in her various aspects. Those that argued against white for the maiden claimed that it supported the Christian view of a maiden as a pure (as in virginal) state of being, rather than an independent young woman, who is nubile and fertile, as seen in the green of the GGW crowd. It was a debate that raged at many meetings, sometimes literally... and looking back was really quite funny and worrying, both at the same time.

Funny, because, well... what a thing to worry about - you as a practitioner, use whatever colours work for you no matter what the reason. You use whatever speaks to your heart. And worrying because, well, if we get bogged down arguing about such things and trying to impose our will (of colours) on others, does that not paint us with the same brush as other religions whose 'one way' is the 'only/right way'?

For me, I have used (and sometimes still do use) both. I was taugt to use White, Red, Black, because... well that's what I was taught and I was young enough in the Craefte not to know anything to use as an alternative. Then I was introduced to the idea or Green, Gold, White... and I liked it... it worked for me. It spoke to my heart, because of my association with the goddess' fouth face. I figured if I was going to have a colour for the three main aspects of the goddess, then I wanted one for the Fourth Face of the Lady also... for which I chose Midnight Blue.

I can almost hear people asking, why not black... black would seem appropriate - the dark of the moon, when we cannot see her face but feel her influence in our blood, and bodies... Mistress of Magic. For me, black is absence... absence of light... it is empty (in spite of being what you get if you mix all pigments together), and the Lady is never that. But there is a certain darkness - a mystery - like the sky at Midnight that draws us to the Lady in her Fourth Aspect... and that is why I chose the Midnight Blue.

As I always have, I took what spoke, and speaks to the wisom inside my heart, and used what feels right as my signs and symbols. It is, I believe, called eclecticism... and I'm nothing if not eclectic.
cedar_grove: (Isis)

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the angels, Queen of the May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the angels, Queen of the May.

--Catholic song to the Virgin on May Day

With the coming of Christianity, the old festival was discouraged, especially in the light of its highly sexual content... But the ancient symbolism held fast, though hidden...

As I was reading through this meditation guidance, and thinking on the festival of Bealtainne, I could not help but bring to mind last year (2011). We were sitting outside, Mir and I, with a fire in the old fire pit, when suddenly something Mir said made me realise that it was Bealtainne, we had a fire, and I could darn well jump it if I liked. Then again, I also remembered earlier in this year, when Mir and I had to get the new, metal, fire pit, because the old one finally broke. I remember sitting there with the new pit and thinking what it would be like to try jumping the fire over that one. I don't know why I should have thought that, but I distinctly remember the thought.

Fire and sexuality always go hand in hand for me. A bit of a chicken and egg question really is: which came first, my paganism or my association with fire and shared intimacy. Even I'm not sure, but definitely - each goes hand in hand with the other.

I guess I've digressed a little bit... as the initial quote was about how Christianity subsumed and then sanitised the Old Ways - the Old Festivals and the Old Gods. And it got me to thinking about impossible to answer questions... why is it that we, as a people, are so afraid of our own sexuality - afraid of it to such an extent that we use it, and allow it to be used against us, as a weapon? Why should it be wrong for such a devotional practise, (and I've spoken elsewhere in this journal about the sanctity of sexual intimacy, to be a part of faith, worship and the mythology of any religion, be that Christianity or any other for that matter? Why view Jesus, God, etc. as sexless and make the intimate sharing of ones body with another whom you love into something dirty, something that should be considered wrong - to be hidden away at all costs? It's very hurtful, to think about it logically, to reject something as life affirming as sexuality. After all, what brings new life if not the union of the masculine in nature, with the feminine, male and female, man and woman? Hurtful and confusing.

I know the simple answer to the question is, of course, control. For a church (or religious institution/body if you'd rather), to say how, and with whom on may legitimately share oneself gives that body an enormous amount of power over the individual, and the family, and thus the community - so I suppose that answers my questions quite admirably really... but I think there is more to it than just that, or else the Goddess lore, the old thoughts and symbols that have survived, albeit disguised, would not have done so, and we would all be living in a sexless world. But survive they had, deep in our innermost hearts, we recognise the sacredness of sex, and cling to that apron string of our Eternal Mother who bids us remember from whence we came.
cedar_grove: (Dawning)

There is a small black bee, which is my mind.
There is a blue lotus flower, which is the goddess.
Watch the bee fly straight into the flower!

The goddess' feet are black, just like the bee.
Black is joined to black! Mind to greater mind!
The bee finds tasteless any other flower.

This much I can apprehend. But here my senses
fail. I can see nothing more. She is such mystery!
Thinking of her, I dive into the sea of bliss!

--Indian poet Ramakrishna, to the goddess Kali

Seeking to think one's way to the goddess is like trying to walk to the moon. It cannot be done. But we can reach her nonetheless, transported by our inner wisdom.

For a moment, I must confess, I worried when I read this entry in preparation for today's meditations. My thinking began something like this: Isn't that exactly what I'm doing? Trying to think my way to the goddess?

After a long time of soul searching - of meditation on my meditations, I think I reached a sense of peace that no, this isn't what I'm trying to do. What I am trying to do is to find myself and to find a way to express my thoughts and feelings on the various aspects of the goddess, thoughts and feelings that I already carry inside of my heart and my head, and need to express to better understand.

They do say that by explaining something to someone else, you come to understand things better. This then is what I am trying to do - to express and understand my inner wisdom.
cedar_grove: (Resting Safe)

Too much love can ruin us.
But if you come with grace, dear goddess,
there is nothing so sweet and pleasing.

Let me be wise in love!
It is your best gift, mighty goddess,
unerring archer of desire.

Let my love be gentle.
Let there be no war of words, dear one,
or relentless anger in my bed.

--Greek dramatist Euripides, Medea

Love, the joining of one being to another in indeed the best gift of the goddess

Songs, films, novels, all cultural media has something to say about love, about joining with another person and the joys and happinesses - the gift that it is... and I'm not arguing that fact... not at all, because it's true. But like any gift it has to be looked after... nurtured, cared for... and most of all appreciated for the gift it is.

I think too many people forget that... and that's part of why the world is in such as state as it is, with people's relationships falling apart left and right - because people expect that just because they 'love' one another, they don't have to do anything to sustain it. So not true.

Working with your love for someone and they for you can be one of the most uplifting and strengthening powers in your life - it certainly has for me. It's certainly the strongest. Sometimes I will confess it's a bit of a bumpy walk/ride along the road, but that's why I remember the love, the gift, and then work at clearing away the issues. Because love is important... love is everything, and it is a journey.

A beautiful, wonderful, exhillarating, enthralling, peaceful, supportive, gentle, vital, uplifting, calming... life-affirming journey.

For me, there is nothing and no one with whom I would rather share this journey than my guy! I want for nothing inthe love we share, and I am incredibly blessed to have Mir in my life.
cedar_grove: (Default)

He laid his hands upon me, my shepherd.
He stroked my curly hair.
He poured himself like milk on me.
He filled me with his cream.

Now I caress him back, my shepherd.
Now I caress his curly hair.
Now I caress my faithful one.
Now I grant him a happy future.

--Hymn to Inanna, 2000 BCE

The literature of the goddess can do much to restore the sense of sexuality's true sacredness.

You see, this is something that I have always believed... in the sacred nature of sex and sexuality. For me that kind of interaction, that kind of relationship with another human being has always held a spiritual dimension that makes it holy or special, that makes it more than just the lust enacted between two physical bodies.

For me it is a connection between me and the divine self within me... and within that of my beloved also. I don't think anyone has ever managed to convince me otherwise than this.

That's not to say it needs must always be something with great solemnity and ritual... far from it... for all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. So says the Goddess in the Charge, but that, at the heart of it - at the core, two people sharing together the kinds of connections that such a thing brings - that's something special.

Casual sex is, to me, an oxymoron.

It therefore troubles me somewhat the number of people who throw themselves into that kind of relationship without thought to their kharma, their spiritual connections, their ongoing journey. There is little that can link two souls like the joining of two bodies: give birth to someone, take someone's life, give yourself to another physically.

Of course this makes sexual violence against women and men into a much more serious violation in my eyes... because it becomes not a physical crime, but also a spiritual one, and that's a pretty big jump in many people's opinions... since so many people live just making a division between the two. I cannot.
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When in my turn I dance in your power
Aida Wedo se bon se bon
When inmy dance I turn to your power
Aida Wedo se bon se bon
When in my turn I enter your trance
Aida Wedo se bon se bon
Then I will see who will smile tomorrow
Aida Wedo se bon se bon
Then I will see who will cry tomorrow
Aida Wedo se bon se bon
Then I will see who will die tomorrow
Aida Wedo se bon se bon

--Haitian voudoun song to the goddess

The great force of the feminine acts through us, whether we desire it or not. Embracing that knowledge will not change us into someone else. It will simply let us become more truly ourselves.

I know this is true, and this is one of the reasons that I am working so hard to find my path again. There are days when I find it easier to embrace the truth of that than others. I'm all too often a shrinking violet, which is not at all a divine feminine trait, and this makes me wonder just how it is that the goddess can be working through me at such times. I cannot think of any goddess of any pantheon who could be described as such.

Is my own perception of myself then flawed? Should I be thinking not in term that are negatively passive and week, but suggesting perhaps that I am bending like the willow in order to avoid snapping like the oak, at those times when I do not stand up for myself quite as I should. How can I reconcile the way I judge myself, and the knowledge that the divine feminine works through me?

There are other times when I do feel the goddess at work in me and through me. Times when I feel I am being particularly strong, or times when I am being particularly maternal or loving. These are the stereotypical images of the Great Mother though, and I would hate to think that my own perception of Her has been reduced to such a narrow, shallow focus. She is and always will be such a rich tapestry of different strengths and intelligences, of many influences. Intellectually I know this - notI need to recognise those things in my heart.
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Here are some little trinkets, goddess, because
I know you love baubles, and I want you to smile.

Here are some cakes, Aphrodite, sweet ones
for a sweet goddess. I hope these make you happy.

And me? Oh, I want little in return: only your gaze,
Watching me as I travel to my lover. Only your gaze,

shining like a star or the sun on my path, as I move
between ports through my life, searching for love.

--Greek offering prayer to Aphrodite

The goddess is within you as well as all around you. She is your witness as you move toward your destiny.

Sometimes, feeling your own divinity, your own connection with godhood is certainly not an easy thing. It's easier, I guess, when everything is going right, but when everything is going wrong, and you feel like - no matter the fact that there is nothing you can do to change the circumstances - everything is your fault, or that you are responsible for it all, then suddenly feeling your own godliness is kind of not an option.

I've tried to stop doing what I'm about to do, since it was pointed out to me how negative I was being a while back, and that I wasn't using these meditations as they are supposed to be used - to reconnect me with my pagan/wiccan heart, but I have reached the point, (actually reached it a while ago, but have been trying to work through it), where I'm just a wreck over everything that's going on, and it's just getting worse, day by day, because I can't think of how to take care of the problems. I despair.

I know it will get better - sure - I know there will be a time when I will once more say and do the right thing by the people I love and for the on that is everythng to me... but right now all that is happening is that I'm getting it wrong, wrong WRONG.

Yes, I know, 'Woe is me...' and I'm sorry for that, but I just can't keep pushing my feelings away. I'm not sleeping properly through worrying about everything. I'm sick, but I'm ignoring that because other peoples needs are greater than mine, and I feel so bad about what I fail and failed to do that I'll happily confess and accept the blame for everything right now if people asked me to.

So, no... not feeling that inner divinity at all right now.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Goddess, we know you by so many names:
Ceres, mother of the harvest, you who in the joy
of finding your lost daughter gave a new diet
to our forebears, no longer acorns to eat but
nourishing bread raised in fertile soil; and Venus,
inventor of that clever way of luring us to procreation;
and Artemis, the physician who eases women's birthing pains;
and Proserpine to whom the owl cries in the night.
We have many names for you, and all
are your true names. We have many rituals
for you, and all are your true rituals.
There is no end to you, goddess, heaven's queen.

--Apuleius, The Golden Ass

The goddess, who could turn a deaf ear to her children's cries, had to be encouraged to show her more beneficent side.

This is something that bugs the ever living doo out of me... not just with Goddess spirituality, but with any maybe even every spirituality. This notion that the divine power turns deaf to the pleas of his or her children, and must therefore be placated with prayers and supplications to make him or her comply with our needs.

Grrrr. Just grrrr! As a part of life we do not see the bigger picture. It is therefore somewhat selfish to assume that our wants and our needs should be catered for, just because we want that... or maybe not selfish, but self centered... like the children that we are, I suppose. Okay I can go along with that... I can calm down with that one a little bit, but still... if we cannot see the bigger picture we cannot see the piece of the Universal puzzle that we are that might require that we face x, y and z in order to reach a once more - since all life happens in a circle.

No it doesn't necessarily mean that I find it any easier than the next person facing all the things that life sends my way. Doesn't mean I don't have those moment of 'why me' that people get, or moments of, 'I deserve this because of how I have been.' All of these things still are a part of me, because hey, I'm only human, but maybe knowing that everything that happens is part of a bigger picture helps to give me strength to know that it will all be all right in the end... maybe?

Maybe... but not right now.

Right now I'm suffering a moment of being very very human and railing against everything that is going on in my life, and in the lives of those around me whom I love and care for. If this makes me hypocritical then so be it.
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What greater praise can I give you than to call you green? Green, rooted in light, shining like the sun that pours riches on the wheeling earth; incomprehensible green, divinely mysterious green, comforting arms of divine green protecting us in their powerful circle. And yet, lady, you are more than ever the noblest green, for you glow red as breaking dawn, you shine whte as the incandescent sun. Splendid virgin, none of our physical senses can explain or comprehend you.

--Christian poet Hildegarde of Bingin, Item de Virginibus

...this world's beauty is not antithetical to the spiritual life, but rather enhances and expresses it.

It is all too easy to sit here and say that this is obvious. How can I live a full and balanced spiritual life if I am going around with my eyes closed on the physical world. It would be just the same as trying to live in the real world while all the time dwelling in the spiritual.

I've made that mistake... more times than I should. More times than I care to remember. Trying to live more in one realm than the other - usually trying to live more spiritually, which really doesn't work. I suppose, means that I haven't learned that lesson very well - that balance is paramount.

Intellectually, perhaps, I have - I'm reciting it here as advice, am I not? But that doesn't mean that I live what I preach. I know that the best kind of life it one in which you life fully in the physical world while maintaining an open awareness of the spiritual. In other words, by being fully present in my life I am able to enhance my spiritual world. I must be present in both.

In practise I swing between struggling to live in either. Lately I feel as if I'm feeling the effects of that and so need to find a balance. Time to put my conviction where my words are... in more things that this, in more ways than one.
cedar_grove: (Default)

And I, Wisdom, will come to you
a second time, and this time
in the form of woman. And I will
speak with you then, instructing you
about the coming times, about
the end of things and the beginning of things
which are the same, which occur
at the same time. I will tell you then
about the new time coming
when all will be changeless and good:
thus I, Wisdom, will tell you.

--Gnostic text, The Prophecy of Sophia

However she appears, you can recognize her, for your heart and soul respond immediately when you are in her presence. Hear her message today, and act upon it.

Your heart and soul respond immediately... hmmm. If this is the case - and I'm not saying that it is not - then how come so many of us, so often, (myself included), fail to recognise Her?

And then there is the second part of that also... having recognised Wisdom, why, and /how/ can we simply not act? It baffles me, but we often don't. We can sit and think... It would be wise if I ______, having recognised the touch of Lady Wisdom in our lives, and yet we still do not act... or the direct inverse, acting when we know what we do is not wise.

Are we truly so deaf, so blind, so ignorant? Or is it that we truly know ourselves so little that when our heart and soul respond we do not recognise it for what it is? Or is it the dreaded Free Will? (I know it's wise to _______ but I don't like that so I'll ________.)

You know... I've just noticed that more often than not, these meditations raise or are at least phrased more in questions than in answers. Is this because I don't wish to impose my thinking on others, so rather than make statements, I turn the statements around and phrase them as questions? Do I question in order to be humble or do I simply remain in a state of bafflement as to the answers?

I believe that it's because we're all still Her children... and like children we do not always listen...we do not always act on what we know is best. There is always a part of us that thinks we know better... and we get ourselves into trouble. There is also in some, an arrogance, not an ignorance, that goes along with that 'knowing better' - and inthose people the ignorance of Wisdom's voice is a crying shame.

I've been one of those people from time to time, and I regret it, and have regretted it every single time. They physical hurts are easy to deal with - it's the emotional ones that scar.


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