Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Solstice 2008

I feel like I really ought to write about the summer solstice. I should discuss the ritual I attended and abandoned halfway through, or reflect on how odd it is that a holiday which marks the beginning of the summer is sometimes referred to as 'Midsummer', or even discuss the solitary ritual I ended up doing on my own by the fairy shrine in my backyard. But really, the only thing I have to say is that I have decided that this is not the high point of summer, as all the pagan authors would have my believe. It may be the longest day of the year, and peak of the suns journey, but things are not yet coming to fruition. This is the time to pause, reflect, and enjoy the beginning ripeness of the earth before the harvest begins in earnest in a few months.

And that's all I have to say about the summer solstice.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The difficulty of stories, and re-enchanting the landscape

It's so difficult to write about spiritual, magical experiences. If you couch it in too much mystery, you sound corny. If you make it too straightforward you sound like you live in a bad fantasy novel. Either way, you haven't conveyed the experience.

And where do you begin? The magnificent always flows out of the mundane. So where does the story begin? Without any context, a mystical experience loses some of its meaning, but too much backstory can rob the share experience of immediacy.

Not to mention the ongoing fear of sounding a complete nutjob, which is always a risk with this sort of story.

* * * * *

This week-end, I had such an experience. No angelic trumpets, no solution to all of life's mysteries; just a few moments of clarity, gifted by the earth and water, a moment of understanding that may (or may not - it's too soon to tell) lead to a subtle shift in direction, leading me towards a purpose previously unglimpsed. I want to share that with you all, describe the experience, but I feel like I can't. No words I can conjure will convey my meaning. But I will try.

Feeling drained, restless, and chronically lacking in spiritual nourishment, I walked out to a waterfall, one of those hidden treasures. A stream that cuts down a rock face and has carved out a perfect hidden pool beneath, demonstrating the power of waters sheer perseverance. I wish I had a picture to show you, but I don't.

I went there trying to cleanse myself, somehow. I waded in on the rock shelf that lets me get in up to my ankles. It was pleasant, but not lifting my spirit like I needed. I tried grounding into the gently running water, but that didn't work either. For awhile, I moved from spot to spot in the water and on the rocks, like a restless sleeper who just can't find a comfortable position. I knew that what I needed could be found here, but where? Where?

Eventually, I found myself crouching on the smooth rock at the top of the waterfall, with my left hand trailing in the water. I felt the flowing energy seep into me, and I felt myself ground deep into the rock. Almost without conscious thought, a question wrung out of me and I asked "What is the meaning of my life?"

Perhaps not surprisingly, I got an answer: re-enchant the landscape.

I've been pondering that ever since. What does it mean to re-enchant the landscape? I don't think it is one thing at all, but a constellation of attitudes and actions, ranging from learning more about the natural world around me and interacting with it in more deliberate ways, to creating art and writing which reflects the spiritual element of the earth, sky, and water. The labyrinth I walked last night an the outdoor faery altar I began today both fit that description. I bought a book on reading the forests around here, which I hope will help me in the practical aspects of this calling. I also have a book about the natural history of water which I hope is still sitting on a shelf somewhere.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Divination as spritual anchor

With spring and now early summer pulling me every which way, I've been having some trouble staying spiritually centered. I want to go out there and *do* things, and there is so much to do! But I know that I need to maintain some sense of internal reflection, as well. To that end I find myself doing far more divination than usual.

I find divination to be very centering. It forces me to sit down and think about a question. Then there is the wonderful tactile sensation as my hand swims through the runes, churning that ancient mystery of wonder. Once the tiles are cast, I have to look at the patterns and look within, to see how they correspond to where I am as the querrant. Do they tell me something I already know, deep down? Perhaps they reveal a new way of looking at the issue. Or sometimes they are simply a mystery, which I interpret to mean that I either asked the wrong question, or am not meant to know the answer.

Lately, the runes have been confirming my suspicions. Now I just need to put that knowledge into practice!