Never Alone

Tonight was one of those peculiar, unforgettable nights.

I had a pretty rough afternoon emotionally. I found myself overly stressed and overwhelmed with negative stimulus and thus barely managed to get through the bare minimum errands I needed to do.

Faced still with pressure to study anything/everything for DP work and this weekend’s ritual I kinda fried a little bit, not to mention feeling some intense pain in my leg to boot. Things were going kind of rough. I got home, had a bit of a lie down, and did a tiny bit of reading.

After a thirty minute or so rest I got up, sat at my desk, and opened up some windows and devices to tackle a little more reading/writing/studying. At some point I remembered a video put up on YouTube not long ago, a talk by Rev. Dangler, that I had meant to watch but hadn’t made the time. I set down my (barely utilized) tools feeling rather frustrated by my inability to focus and digest, and turned on the video. I intended to sort of listen to it in the background as I worked but I found myself tabbing back to it and rewinding to catch little bits my ears had glanced and my brain had missed.

Eventually I submitted and just placed my full attention on the video.

If you would like to watch it I recommend it. As a matter of fact I would suggest watching it in it’s entirety before you read further, for the reason for this article was indeed the result of a surprise buried in this talk.

Back with me?

Alright.

So I’m watching the presentation and slowly losing myself inside. I’m seeing warm, familiar faces from Three Cranes. I’m hearing Kirk’s unmistakable voice. I’m enjoying the stories and the curiosities from those gathered. Then mention of a small ritual arises. Michael asks if those in attendance brought the stones that were suggested.

Now of course I’m watching a video recording of an event from a festival and, as such, came unprepared. I didn’t even prepare to be unprepared! But the inertia is there.

Oh. And I totally felt a convergence of realms, like, minutes before. I felt a tremor of power rip through me. I felt and saw an arc of flame that took the shape of a galloping horse. Yeah. I see you. Welcome back. I missed you!

So there I am, feeling somewhat as if in a grade-school nightmare, as Michael explains they will do a small ritual and some magical work on a sort of talisman to aid them in need.

Michael told a story about how, through some circumstance, his stole became inhabited by a living energy. There was life in that cloth. I know well the magic of Things that have Life. So many objects, otherwise cold and inert, possess the energy of history and memory and all that have touched or spoken of or thought on them. Some might consider it a sort of sentimentality, but I’ve so often seen it as so much more.

So I full well know the power and importance of Things That Have Life. But I also so easily forget. Depending on the eyes and ears you are wearing in that moment a ring could just be a ring… Or it could be a font of energy filled by every living ancestor that has ever slipped it ’round their finger. It could be a circle of tarnished metal or several hundred years of strength and wisdom.

In my moments of weakness I often feel alone and overwhelmed. There are few moments of weakness that I can recall more vividly than my ongoing struggle with study. Whether my brain be addled from age and injury or other things I find myself often struggling not only with patience and lack of focus but just the sheer vortex of too-much-information and not-enough-information and retaining it.

But in all my struggles, though I timidly throw casual questions to young coworkers about “How do study plz?” I so rarely sought help from those whom my studies would directly influence relations with. Not once had I made offering or prayed or meditated on learning or study.

So as Michael spoke further on making good relationships with good allies and then came to the surprise ritual and work towards the end… Well… I think I’ve spoken before about what magic is to me. Something about getting smacked in the face with “Surprise! It’s ritual and magic work right now right now!” is another one of those sparks. That sudden clash of opportunity and moment and lack of preparedness. That’s a spark. It lit a fire in me.

I could not find a stone that would take ink (or was otherwise occupied) but I still had several twigs gathered from travels sitting on my altar. I took one that called to me and submitted my full attention to the ritual. There’s something powerful about just being “there” through even a recorded medium. Despite the living magic having occurred elsewhere some time ago it felt no less warm and active and real. Perhaps that is a thought for another writing, however.

With the galloping horse still fresh in my mind my initial reaction was to ink some sort of horse icon on the little stick and… I don’t know. But then Michael began to offer suggestions. Simple symbols to represent strength or wisdom or else.

A quill. For study. For writing. A quill.

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And so I inked a tiny quill on this little twig and joined the circle in working the magic.

So now, even when I am venturing deep into the darkness of my own frustration and despair, I too have a sword. I need not be alone, for we worked the magic together and now we will do this work together, my allies and me.

 

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Things Are Starting To Come Together…

So my Grove pulls me to organize and lead our Autumnal Equinox ritual.

I get very nervous.

Time passes.

My nerves begin to settle as the planning meeting draws near.

I have a sudden encounter with Epona.

This thing with Epona starts to become a Really Big Deal.

I discover through deeper research that the Autumn Equinox was known to be associated with Epona.

Well my mind is blown. Time for bed.

In The Colorless Car, Out In Fields of Fête

Last night I had a peculiar dream.

I found myself in a small two door car. It was early morning or late afternoon, dark and raining outside. I was preparing to sleep. I slept in this car regularly and it was home to me. It felt very cozy even though I well acknowledged how unusual and awkward it was. I was also aware of the danger, being as exposed as I was.

The car was shades of grey and black, all color especially washed out by the pitter patter of ash gray rain. The only colors that jumped out were the yellow lights on the dash and the red lights on the door locks. I folded back a seat and put my head down.

I next found myself at some sort of outdoor festival. There were many tables and booths set up all over large rolling green hills. A pair of young women approached me and told me they wanted to “see the artist draw”. I was hesitant at first, turning my attention to research on my phone instead (it was Wikipedia if I properly recall) but eventually I agreed and started to plan out what I would put to paper. Instead of staying around the two women just turned and walked away. I watched them, puzzled, and they just vanished into the air at about 30 feet away or so. Just faded away.

So I closed my sketchbook, which I now realized was lined and rather full, and made my way to the stands and booths to perhaps buy a new sketchbook. There were many lovely stalls all with rustic handmade books but I never did make a purchase.

And that was the entirety of it as I can remember.

Let’s Talk A Little About That Eclipse

The “Great American Eclipse” occurred today. Some areas were able to experience a total eclipse of Moon passing over Sun and experienced the full marvel of such a rare event. Some areas like mine saw a far less drastic celestial shift. Still though, it was truly a rare event and the first of it’s kind for many.

I thought about writing something eclipsey all day since it occured, since the world around us turned a strange shade and, for a moment in time, the entire nation was transfixed on living magic. I initially thought to piece something together alluding to how love can eclipse hate or something like that, particularly considering some of the horrific recent events in America. I had serious reservations, however. While it is effortless for me to attribute love and care to our Moon I have a difficult time carelessly associating hatred and bigotry with He who is Sun. So no, that wouldn’t work for me at all.

So let’s discuss how an eclipse can lead one to rediscover magic around them. If asked to define what a magical work might be I would likely attempt to describe it as taking a moment of wild rarity: coincidence or happenstance or a flash of this or that, and knowing better how to guide it to you. Each and every time I commune with the Gods in my Inner Grove, or feel their touch in a moment of prayer or meditation, I feel that magic. I actually feel the energy in my skin and bones and blood and hair. It’s the feeling of a good twist in a film, or seeing something unbelievably beautiful. It’s a fleeting moment. It’s a fleeting moment I feel every time.

When I take omens at the altar, I too experience sensations that would otherwise feel random and fleeting. I feel sparks of inspiration. I feel calm and grounded. I fly or I fall as if in a dream. I see pieces and then a picture. This, too, is magic. This, too is that rare feeling.

Let’s not even talk about high day rituals and the symphony of sensations that erupt from there. When one person has the fleeting, sure. When forty have the fleeting sparks, whoa.

So that eclipse, right? It was a pretty big deal. Vendors were capitalizing on the craze, people were packing up cars and driving to other states to witness the full majesty of the event, people were going on and on about it on social media. It warmed my heart to see so many people around me legitimately psyched about such a rare celestial occurrence. And you know what? That’s magic. Even if you didn’t cook up a spell or plan a ritual or specifically send a prayer or song or kind word to She and He as They touched for that rare moment in so many years, even if you did none of that you got to experience true magic of life, of the earth, of the stars.

I urge you. If you acknowledged that moment of magic, hold it dear inside you. Find a way to expand on it or celebrate it going forward. Moments of true magic and hope and joy are not always in abundance and even if you feel truly overfull of blessings it would be so very kind of you to guard that glittering seed of magic and plant it somewhere so that others may prosper.

And if by chance you may have not noticed that fleeting spark, not felt that telltale shiver of great power, of that rare moment, perhaps look back and remember the moment while it is still fresh. Go back in your mind’s eye and see if you can find it, now that you’re looking for it. Magic has a funny way of poking holes in time.

Go. Seek magic. Do good. Love and honor life. This I ask of you.

 

Adder, Horse, and Wren Indeed

Well this morning brought a surprise. Through inspiration and vision I found myself to have come across Epona, Goddess of Horses, the great Mother of Gaul, protector of animal companions. Our meeting was sudden (at least to me) and brief but She has been well on my mind all day since. Her hooves beat gently in the back of my mind, the very thought of Her sending those telltale shivers through my body.

It breathes new context into last night’s omens. A change, a bolt from the sky, and Horse of course.

It is beyond thrilling to know a new friend has crossed my path. I hope I can make Her visit worthwhile.

A Return To The Altar, A Return To A Dialogue, A Return To The Dedicant Path

It has been too long.

I found myself drawn to my altar, now smaller in size than it once was, calling to The Kindreds initially out of personal obligation, a desire to return to a regular routine. Unsurprisingly this little sit with the dishes, stones, sticks and lights snowballed into a dialogue. I find myself once again embarking on the Dedicant Path. My calling echoing once again, the sound of it pounding against excuses and the strangeness that is Life As It Happens.

So I felt a need to draw omens. The Oracle hummed at me. I took the deck and held it against my breast. It had grown cold where it sat. I wanted it to be warm again. I turned it and shuffled it and rubbed it and smelled it until I knew there were words to be said and turned cards.

For some funny reason in my head I ended up drawing for Ancestors, then Shining Ones, then Nature Spirits. But that’s what happened. The Honored Dead brought to me the Adder. The Gods brought to me Wren, reversed. The spirits of Earth brought me Horse, reversed.

The message was pretty clear. I was experiencing a transformation. My journey was not going smoothly. My wit and my bond to the Gods was lacking, being wasted.

The first omen is pleasant to hear, I suppose. I have a difficult relationship with change. Perhaps how I see myself changing is experiencing a change. I would happily molt away that old skin. The second omen is something that, on the surface level, I want to say “Yeah, no shit.” but the creatures of the land see and hear far more than I could ever hope. I suppose it would behoove me to keep my ears open extra wide for the foreseeable future, lest I tumble into a ravine.

The Wren however… I mean, I get it. I haven’t sat at the altar earnestly in a very long time. I haven’t updated the journal since, like, March. And to a less patient Mother Bear my third crack at the DP would probably be an eye-roll. It’s also very, very easy to convince myself that some of the people in my life with whom I share my spiritual journey are little more than disappointed and irritated with me. I very well understand that there is waste.

So I dared to ask a follow up, directly to Dea Artio herself: What can I do to remedy that? How can I find the Wren’s lightning once more? To find that electric bond between my heart and the Gods?

The answer came as runes: Naudiz and Gebo. Continue to learn, engage in reciprocity.

I am literally the worst child. I whine and sigh and dramatize at how I’m doing poorly in school and I get in response “Just keep doing your work, you doofus.”

But it doesn’t matter does it? It never feels like my work is good enough. I’ll never be as good as him or her or be as smart as them or have the insight they do.

Yes, yes. I know I know. You’re not doing it wrong. You’re good the way you are. I’ve heard it. Why is it so damn hard to just… Accept and comprehend it?