Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Forward

In comparison to where I was this time last year, I am doing quite well emotionally. That isn't to say that I'm in a cheery and expansive sort of mood (when am I ever?), but that I am standing on firm ground rather than sinking into the mire, even if that firm ground is in somewhat of a lowland. Rather than the despair and near frantic clinging to any scrap of hope I could reach, I find myself able to take a careful look at my life, assessing where I am and what I need, and making decisions about where to go next. These aren't grand decisions or fantastical plans, much though I wish they were, but are instead small steps to help myself get to the point where I may be able to answer the Big Question (what am I meant to do with my life?) with more self knowledge. I have ordered a book which I think may aid me in this endeavor – Kissing the Limitless by T. Thorn Coyle. According to the reviews I have read, as well as the sample I was able to glean from Amazon, it seems like a down to earth book about integrating the Self in preparation for deeper magical work. This fits in perfectly, both with where I am in my life in general and on the Faery Seership path.

As part of this process I am setting goals and intentions for the coming year. I plan to do a ritual during the full moon on New Year's Eve (inspired by this blog post) setting those intentions. So far the process of figuring what I want to do and where I want to go has been a lot of fun -- I just hope that I'm able to maintain this level of enthusiasm as the year progresses! I do worry that I'm not setting the "right" goals or that I'm either being over ambitious or not ambitious enough or possibly both, but I'm trying to be patient with myself. If I decide that I need to shift my goals after a month or two, or even after a week, that's ok. As long as I don't stray from my central idea for the year (engaging more actively with my life), then any changes I decide I need will only show that I'm making progress towards becoming the person I'm meant to be.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dark Air

I was feeling the call to do some sort of spiritual exercises tonight, but couldn't think of anything off hand, so I decided to flip through one of my go to books -- Witch Crafting by Phyllis Curott. It's not my favorite, but it has an abundance of good quality exercises for those times when I want to do something witchy, but I don't know what. Tonight, however, I ran across an absolutely (unintentionally) hilarious exercise. It's about connecting with air magic, and talks about smelling the flowers, and trees dancing in the breeze. I think it even mentions children laughing. Sweet stuff, really. What makes it hilarious is that today had a high of 20 degrees Fahrenheit and winds gusting at Gods-only-know miles per hour. Today is certainly a day for air to come into it's own, but it's not a smiles and daffodils kind of air. This is the dark side of air, which I feel is frequently forgotten. We are much more likely to acknowledge the dark side of fire (it burns!), water (it drowns!), or even earth (in this culture we're buried in it, after all). But air is always childlike innocence, sweetness, and light. But it's not true! Air can be just as dark, just as deadly. I've always connected to air as more of a desolate clifftop with eagles wheeling in the rarefied air than gentle meadow breezes anyway. But air kills! In winter, it's the wind that cuts through your warm coat like a knife.

I find myself wondering if I should go outside to consciously experience the wild fervor of today's wind, or if the core lesson is just to avoid it. Not every aspect of nature needs to be explored in depth. But then, I'm not suggesting a hike in the wilderness – I'm not going to freeze to death in my own yard. Maybe I should step outside for a minute or two to connect with the cold. Then I can come inside and connect with a nice cup of tea.

So I do that. I go outside. It's a beautiful winter night with everything crisp around the edges and a nearly full moon in the clear sky. It's also bug fucking A cold out. I'm able to absorb a sense of peacefulness, but that's it. Since we haven't closed up the front porch yet, I may go out there later (bundled up, of course!) to look at the moon some more. That ought to provide at least a barrier between me and the howling wind. I'm not sure exactly what I am looking for -- that same barrier that keeps me from freezing will also keep me from fully experiencing the elements. Maybe I just want a little bit more of that peacefulness.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Can I never take the easy way? Obviously not.

I hope that in my last post I did not give the impression that my battle with the depression demons was over. While things are looking much better, I'm still struggling with the ennui that comes with these episodes. I intermittently feel like my head has been replaced by cotton candy and my motivation kidnapped and taken to Guam.

Case in point: for the past five years I have traditionally observed "pagan lent," meaning that I give something (generally a food item) up between Samhain and Yule. I usually obsess over the decision of what to give up for most of October. This year I completely forgot. I honestly didn't remember the practice until today, when it is too late to start something. I'm not sure what to do about this. On the one hand, Pagan Lent is a practice that makes me feel closer to my spirituality, which is something I could use right now. On the other hand, I've already missed five days and don't have any idea of what to give up this year. Maybe the right thing for me to do is to focus on getting myself better? With the new light box I feel like I might have a chance of making it through the dark season with a modicum of grace. And I'm not exactly a useful conduit for spirit when I'm feeling broken inside. Perhaps the best offering I could make right now would be to start putting aside the habitual trappings of depression and making myself healthier. Though honestly, giving up salty snack food would be a whole lot easier....

If that is the case (and I feel that it very well may be), I need to figure out what concrete steps I should be taking. Do I set up a daily schedule for myself to be more productive? Install moments throughout the day to recharge myself? Yes, and yes. This is going to be a hell of a lot harder than I would like, but if it works it will also be a hell of a lot more rewarding.

Monday, November 2, 2009

October: a mixed bag

This past month has been mixed, spiritually speaking. I was hit hard by the depression demons, which was rough, but had the benefit of helping me to realize that there is a major seasonal component to my depression. This motivated me to buy a light box, which has helped enormously. I'm still feeling somewhat sluggish, but am feeling significantly better than I did even a two weeks ago! But struggling with mental health issues does not really lead to in-depth spiritual practice, contrary to certain popular ideas.

On the upside, the month of October included Twilight Covening. This year was not as intense an experience for me as last year, but I think that the energy ran just as deep, if not deeper, and that the coming year will be productive. It seems that my work for this year is to step up into having a more fully participatory role in a number of areas of my life, and that can only be a good thing.

And because it would be remiss of me not to mention Samhain, the most popular of all pagan holidays, I will mention that I attended Earthspirit's Open Samhain East on Saturday, that it was as deep and rich as I have come to expect (anticipate?) from their rituals. It was the perfect way for me to observe the latest turning of the wheel.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Unrest" by Don Marquis

There is a (completely non-required) book that goes along with the Faery Seership program I've been talking about. My copy arrived in the mail this morning, and I am in love with the poem which was chosen to open the whole thing. I've reread it 3 times already, and I get chills every time.

Here it is: "Unrest" by Don Marquis (1878-1937)

A fierce unrest seethes at the core
Of all existing things:
It was the eager wish to soar
That gave the gods their wings.

From what flat wastes of cosmic slime,
And stung by what quick fire,
Sunward the restless races climb!--
Men risen out of mire!

There throbs through all the worlds that are
This heart-beat hot and strong,
And shaken systems, star by star,
Awake and glow in song.

But for the urge of this unrest
These joyous spheres were mute;
But for the rebel in his breast
Had man remained a brute.

When baffled lips demanded speech,
Speech trembled into birth--
(One day the lyric world shall reach
From earth to laughing earth)--
When man's dim eyes demanded light
The light he sought was born--
His wish, a Titan, scaled the height
And flung him back the morn!

From deed to dream, from dream to deed,
From daring hope to hope,
The restless wish, the instant need,
Still lashed him up the slope!

I sing no governed firmament,
Cold, ordered, regular--
I sing the stinging discontent
That leaps from star to star!

Do you feel the power in that?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Faery Seership 1

As it turns out, the spiritual ennui which I complained about in my last post was not accidental. It was my spirit clearing the way to embrace something new. I'm sure that I will pick up pieces of my old daily practice eventually, but for now I am free to throw myself whole heartedly into a new system of practice.

You see, this week-end I completed the first intensive of the faery seership program I posted about in April. It was a great experience and has left me with a plethora of new tools to learn and work with.

For the last several years I have had a fairly consistent Mabon ritual. I did not perform that ritual today. Instead, I took the most important part (offering up seasonal foods) and kept that. I placed the offering at the base of the apple tree which has shown interest in me this past season. Then I performed several of the techniques which I learned this week-end, which are designed to help one to attune to the elemental forces of the land. It was a good experience and left me feeling energized and open. I'm very excited about this new direction!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daily Practice Ennui

I would like to blame my lack of spiritual pursuits (and thus my absence from this blog) on the construction which forced me to dismantle my altar for nearly a month. However, that is just an excuse. I could have set it up again in my living room, but I didn't. And even now that my front porch is open again and my altar has been restored to its rightful position I'm still not doing much of anything.

It's been tough even to motivate to do my morning devotions, which is surprising. I usually find them very rewarding, but lately they've been leaving me feeling flat and empty. I don't feel depressed, so I have to guess that the problem is simply that this routine no longer works for me. I'm sad, but I'll just have to find a new morning practice that does work for me, where I am right now.

I did acquire a new tarot deck recently (the Paulina Tarot: check it out!) of which I have grown intensely fond in the past week or so. Perhaps I should look to it for guidance on this issue, or integrate it into my new morning practice. I've always wanted to try pulling a rune a day, but never got around to it. Maybe I should do a rune and a tarot card? I'll see what presents itself in the morning.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The runes, they guide me well today

It's amazing how calming an accurate divination can be. I was stressed about an upcoming vacation, plans with friends, my etsy store, and 42 million other things that were pulling me in a million directions and had me running around like a crazy person. Then I stalked out to my altar and pulled runes, asking "What do I need to focus on today?"

The result:
Nauthiz: rune of constraint, necessity, hardship
Gebo: rune of partnership, gifts
Thurisaz: run of conflict, challenge, self discipline

My interpretation:
While it's not a cheery bunch of runes, it does help me to focus. Nauthiz and Thurisaz tell me that I need to eliminate the things that are not necessary right this minute, no matter how tempting, and focus on what must be done. I'm not quite sure what Gebo is telling me in this context. Possibly, it is just reminding me that if I want to get anything out of a situation/opportunity, I must first put an equal amount into it.

Although it's not an upbeat reading, it is certainly what I needed to hear, because I'm feeling much more focused and calm. Has anybody else had a similar experience with divination?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Creativity Altar

I mentioned in my last post that the first condition which was placed on me for getting some spirit help with my writing was that I redo my creativity altar. I originally set this up a couple of years ago on the top shelf of the tower that holds my computer, but I dismantled it in favor of Yule decorations. Once Yule was over (and I finally decided to take down the decorations -- they were pretty!), the space ended up covered in random tidbits before I could set the altar up again.

Well, over the week-end I finally got it set up again! The figurine (which I probably should have dusted) represents my creative spirit. See how she's holding a book and dressed partially in flower petals? The sunflowers -- one fake and one dried -- are there because I have always found sunflowers to be magnificent expressions of joy and the creative spirit. The lavender plaque contains a hilariously bad invocation of the muse which I created, and the quartz point is there because it seemed to belong there.

I would like to use a tea light powered oil diffuser instead of the candle, but this will do until I find one which is suitable. If I find a diffuser with a bear theme, that would be ideal, but I want to stay open to whatever the universe sees fit to send my way.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Back in the Saddle

After not doing much of anything spiritual for a month, I attended shamanic circle on Friday. It was really great to be engaging spiritually again, and I had two interesting and productive journeys.

First, we did a group journey on travel and transitions (those being common themes for the 5 people present this week). When I arrived in my usual starting location -- a clearing behind a river and in front of a large tree, a most unexpected figure stepped out from behind the tree: The Wild God, a green man figure with antlers. I haven't worked with him in ages, but apparently he is still interested in me. As we walked further into the woods, he began to talk.

In winter, I am Lord of the Animals; in summer, Lord of the Vegetation. But in each aspect I carry the other within me. So too do you carry all of your identities within you, no matter what you are engaged with. You would do well to remind yourself of them. Not only do you carry your past identities, but also future.

He then suggested that I allow the sound of the drumming to vibrate through me and carry away anything not belonging to me. So I spent the last five minutes or so lying in a forest in the Underworld, letting the drumming from the physical world flow through me. It was quite healing.

The second journey of the evening was individual. I have recently started taking a writing class, and have been struggling for sometime with the proper role of writing in my life. Do I even want to write anymore, or is it just a leftover dream that no longer resonates for me? Does it matter if I am never published? What do I actually need from writing? So I journeyed on that question. Though it was an interesting and fruitful journey, I didn't receive much in the way of productive advice. I was led to an animal ally who is interested in assisting me though, and she suggested that a good first step would be to set up my creativity altar again. I am in the process of doing so. The first step was clearing all of the junk off of the space that it was previously in!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So tired

From Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology for this week:
CANCER (June 21-July 22): "His heart was growing full of broken wings and artificial flowers," wrote poet Federico Garcia Lorca. "In his mouth, just one small word was left." There were times during the first half of June when I was tempted to borrow those words to describe you, Cancerian. Now, thankfully, you're moving into a much brighter phase. The buds that are about to bloom in your heart are very much alive, not artificial, and your wings, while not fully restored to strength, are healing. Meanwhile, your mouth is even now being replenished with a fresh supply of many vivid words.

With luck, I will soon find the time and energy to not only update one or both of my blogs, but to have done something worth writing about.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Some weeks just aren't very spiritual....

Since starting my new temp job, I have not done a single spiritual activity beyond my morning devotions. Zilch. Nada. Nothin' at all. I'm not happy about this, but am trying to put it into perspective. I've had a major change in my schedule, which is obviously going to shake things up a bit, and I am currently deeply involved in several craft projects and in biking, which means that my limited time is going to end up funneled into those activities, but I still feel like a failure for slacking off so much with the spiritual pursuits. To remedy this, I am going to try to set up another daily ritual. My new pattern for when I get home from work will be to eat a snack and then sit down at my altar to meditate briefly. That should be open ended enough to let me adjust for my needs yet concrete enough to get me to sit down and do it.

That said, it looks like I may not have much to say here for the next month. If you want to keep up with me, I suggest taking a look at my other blog, Long and Crafty Road. Since I'm in a serious crafting phase, it seems like I may have more to say over there.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pronoia and a new job

My experiment in incubating ideas was a success. I spent an hour on Monday sitting outside thinking, and came up with a good idea for how to fit all of my interests into a limited amount of time. Which is good, because I will be rejoining the ranks of the employed, at least until June 30. Considering all of my side projects, time may be tight during that period, but I think it'll all be ok.


I've been thinking about the idea of pronoia lately. A term coined by Rob Brezsny, it is the opposite of paranoia (the belief that the world is out to get you) and refers to the idea that the world is actually conspiring to shower you with blessings. On the surface, this doesn't seem like a revolutionary idea - he is far from the first person to suggest that the world is a good place and that universe (or God) is looking after you. But it's more than that, or maybe his book on the subject is just the first thing that has inspired me to think deeply about it. If I am practicing pronoia, then I don't have to constantly analyze every decision. If circumstances lead me to a situation (say, this new job), and I accept it, then clearly it is a good thing for me. And had I chosen not to accept it, then other opportunities would have presented themselves. It means that there was no wrong decision -- each fork simply offers different gifts.

I expect some people to say that this a cop-out. After all, isn't that abdicating responsibility? But I don't think it is. At least not the way in which I mean it. I'm still responsible for my choices, but this philosophy states that on the whole those choices will bring me more blessings than curses. I think it's more a state of mind than anything else -- if I expect to see blessings as a result of my choices, then that is what I will see. If, on the other hand, I give in to my natural temptations towards over thinking, I will always pick things apart and see the bad.

Life is fundamentally good. Most opportunities do bring blessings. Heck, most *days* bring blessings, if you both to look for them. Why not focus on that?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Divine Inspiration

In high school my teachers always told us that we should start our assignments early, because you couldn't sit around waiting for divine inspiration to strike. In college, I proved them wrong.

Whenever I had a paper assigned and no idea what to write about I would gather together all of the relevant books, plus my notebook for that class, and spend an evening at the library. Once there, I walked up to the second floor and sat down in one of the easy chairs facing the giant windows and pulled up footstool. I made a neat pile of the books next to me, and then started to think.

I didn't think about the paper, or even the class. I just stared outside as dusk faded into dark and let my mind wander wherever it would. Within two or three hours I would not only have an idea for the paper, but a fully written introduction and conclusion which I couldn't get onto paper fast enough, as well as a rough outline for the rest of the paper. These were invariably my best essays.

In retrospect, I think that this was a form of magic. The books and paper set my intention, and I placed myself in an area free of distractions in which I could let my mind wander until the desired end was conjured up from the ether. By setting an intention and letting my mind drift, I had my best ideas. But how do I apply this to life outside of school? I was clearly onto something, at least about how my mind works. If I spent more undirected time away from the distractions of books and the internet, would I be able to come up with brilliant solutions to my problems, or does it just work for writing? And even if it does only work for writing, why am I not using it for that, at least?

This is my new goal for the coming week: two allocate time for at least 2 such sessions, one for writing and one for solving a problem. If possible, I'll fit in a third for a craft related project. And I'll report on my results back here! With luck, at least one of them will work and I'll have a better idea of how I can effectively use this technique in the future.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Keeping House

Upon the urgings of a tree spirit I recently began working with, I have turned my attention to a new and perhaps unusual spiritual pursuit: keeping house. I've always known that tending the hearth could be taken a spiritual activity, have even been tempted to look into it, but my inherent antipathy towards cleaning and ennui in regards to clutter kept me from giving it a try. Now I'm being told to try.

Cleaning with intention does seem to help me somewhat. Thus far my intention is very simply to make our home a more comfortable place for my husband. He is much more sensitive to clutter and mess, but I am the one with more free time. It's so easy for me to ignore the messes that I honestly don't see them, but he does, and that's not fair. So I'm trying. And it really has been easier to see the clutter since I took this up. I'm still not very good at cleaning, but I'm getting better.

Eventually, I think I would like to try to incorporate more complicated intentions, such as cleansing the house of negativity while I clean or infusing it love, or perhaps just add more ritual to the activities. But for now I will focus on straightening up as a way to take care of my husband. I think that's enough for now.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Beltaine 2009

Last year, I had trouble connecting to the energy of Beltaine. I thought that I needed to be in a passionate fervor, and it just wasn't happening. This year I am also lacking in energetic enthusiasm, but I feel Beltaine around me and through me nonetheless. It's a gentle sort of energy, loving and enveloping without being insistent or cloying. No demands, just the offer of love and support. I didn't know that Beltaine could have this sort of energy, but I suppose it makes sense. Sex isn't just about wild animal passion. It encompasses tender lovemaking as much as monkey lovin'.

I just had a quiet ritual on the wet concrete of my backyard, surrounded by overgrown gardens, chattering birds, and the caress of gentle breezes. A loving voice told me that I am held back by my fear -- a fear of not being worthy and of not fully engaging in life. That is why I feel unworthy and why I do not fully engage in life. Complex and circular, but ultimately true. The only solution is to take baby steps. And that is why Beltaine is quiet for me; because I need support in order to grow right now, and not a wild dance of color and light. There will be plenty of time for that later.

May you all be blessed by a wonderful Beltaine!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bi-annual Moving of the Altar

Today was my bi-annual moving of the altar. I decreed that it is finally reliably nice enough out for my altar to go into the enclosed front porch. It's so much nicer than having it indoors; I can see the moon at night, hear the outside noises, and feel a bit more isolated from the mundane concerns of my apartment. I would love to keep it out there year round, but it just gets too cold.

Although I've done this move a few times already, this was a day of firsts. Before dragging the altar table out there, I actually vacuumed! I never think to vacuum, but the carpet out there was covered in splintered wood, embroidery threads, and a random pile of dirt, and I thought that my altar deserved better than that. Once the table was situated and I began ferrying supplies, I embarked upon another shocking departure from tradition. As I placed the central item of my altar -- what I consider to be the heart of the altar and which I always place in the center before I move anything else over -- it just didn't feel right. So I took the two necklaces that drape over said item and used them to demarkate specific areas. One now surrounds the central pentacle, and the other has my representation of Freya within it's circle. This represents part of the most radical redesign of my altar in years. I made a few changes following Twilight Covening this autumn, but this is far more involved. I'll try to take a picture to show you all of the differences.

While moving altar items over, I saw that I had been careless with my cauldron and not cleaned it out after it's last use, so I took it into the kitchen to wipe the sooty remains of some long forgotten ritual from it. Except that the remains weren't budging. I suddenly remembered that I had used the cauldron twice without cleaning it out, which I never do. It really shows how careless I had become about spirituality. Because I burn an herb mixture coated in wax, the double use had fused the older remains to the bottom of the cauldron. To get it clean I set it down in a pot of boiling water until enough of the wax had melted that I could easily wipe it clean. This is probably the cleanest it's been in years! I hope I never let it get that bad again. And it was so hot when I took it out that the water immediately evaporated from the cast iron, which is convenient - I'd been worried about it rusting if I didn't get it dry quickly.

In a little while, I will sit down for the first time at my newly redesigned, newly relocated altar to perform a new moon ritual.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Picking Up the Trash

I love sunny days. Here in New England it feels like we get precious few of them, so I try to cherish those that I can by spending time outside, preferable on the local conservation land.

I was happy to be able to ride my 5-speed bicycle. My husband has been slowly renovating it, and it's not quite ready for large, steep hills yet, but the conservation area isn't far. It's so much more fun to ride than my regular hybrid frame! I'm amused that my "new" bike is actually older than I am (it's a Raleigh Superbe from the 70's), but it's really perfect for me.

Once I had locked my bike up and started walking down the path I saw garbage absolutely everywhere, and berated myself for not thinking to bring a bag to pick trash up. I used to be in the habit of always doing that -- heck, in collage that was one of my favorite things to do! Some friends and I would go into the woods on our campus and pick up as much of the trash left by generations of frat boys as we could. We considered it something of a spiritual act - giving back to the land and all that. After 9/11, we worked for some sort of peace by cleaning up the woods with intention. It's a time honored task -- not only does it provide a public service (cleaner wooded areas), but it also forces me to pay more attention to the land, rather than letting myself get lost in my own thoughts.

Lucky for me, it didn't take long before I found a discarded plastic grocery bag, and I began collecting trash. Most of it was the standard assortment of plastic wrappers from junk food, cans and bottles, but I was surprised to find an old rusted screwdriver.

I spent some time sitting by the waterfall, which is a favorite spot of mine. There's a rocky ledge halfway down that can be gotten to pretty easily if you don't mind straying from the path, and from there the roar of the water drowns out the nearby cars (it's not a large conservation area). I love watching the water rushing down and into the meandering stream below. I spent quite some time communing with the land there.

I disposed of most of the collected trash before leaving, but as there was not a separate recycling container I decided to ride home with a doubled up plastic bag full of broken glass bottles and cans dangling from my handlebars. Probably not my best idea, but it seemed wrong to go through all that trouble to clean the woods up and then not recycled what could be recycled.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Not dead, only hibernating

Ok, so maybe hibernating is a strong word for it, but I have been rather distracted for awhile now, both from spiritual pursuits in general and this blog in particular. Some of that was mid-winter depression (which is still hanging around), some genuine busy-ness, and some the simple fact that I am easily distracted, even from things that are important to me.

That said, I am back now. A few weeks ago, a friend mentioned that a faery seership program would likely be starting up in my area soon (well, soon-ish. Someday, at any rate). I happen to have heard the figure in question speak a few years ago, and purchased his book. At the time, I wasn't sure what I thought of him -- his words were compelling, but I had some misgivings. Reading his book didn't help me clarify my feelings, and I had completely forgotten about him. With my friend's news, however, I decided to go back and look at the book again, to see if the intervening 2-3 years might have changed how I responded. And they had -- now I am fairly certain that I am interested in this program. I still find some of his assertions questionable, but I think that his teachings on the whole are likely a good fit for me. In the meantime, I am rereading his first book and actually doing the exercises. This is a rare thing for me! I know that you don't get as much out of a pagan book without doing those, but I rarely manage it. But this time I'm really doing them! I'm finding that not reading the whole book at once helps -- by not getting too far ahead of the last exercise I did, I seem to be more able to keep up.

I'm feeling good about the work I've been doing. I think that early spring is an excellent time for it. Many of the practices need to be done outside, and right now it is just getting to be nice again. And the atmosphere of fledgling growth is a pleasant one to work in, especially while I'm working through yet another bout of depression.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Unseasonable late Imbolc

Here in good old New England we've been having an unseasonably warm spell -- as in it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday. I rode my bike to the grocery store in a t-shirt and enjoyed it, which may be a sign of the apocolypse, but it's a rather enjoyable one.

I usually hate the month of February. The Wheel of the Year promises that Imbolc is the start of a shift in seasons, but the cold and ice that still hold sway would seem to contradict that. However, this warm snap is making it much easier to believe that spring will come. I know that this won't last -- unseasonable weather never does -- but this early taste has reminded me that winter will end. It always does. And in the meantime I will try to appreciate this gift while it lasts!

As a side note, I checked the apple tree in my yard and it is starting to bud. Perhaps Imbolc represents a real shift in the seasons after all!

Monday, January 26, 2009

January 2009 New Moon

I'm feeling a bit better, depression wise -- fish oil and making sure to get 20 minutes of prime sunlight a day seem to be making a difference, amazingly enough. I was not terribly optimistic about them, and really thought that I would have to switch antidepressants yet again. I'm glad I listened to my gut and tried these first! That said, I'm still not exactly filled with feelings of joy and well being. Alas, alack.

I did manage to a new moon house cleansing, the first since Sacred Susie's group cleanse in November. It followed almost exactly the same format as last time (you can read more about that cleanse here), except that I skipped the sun water. Since I'm not feeling terribly sunny myself*, I doubted my ability to imbue the apartment with that kind of energy. The extent to which simply smelling the sage smoke brings me back to a centered state surprised me. I knew that the sage smoke had some effect on me, but this more profound than I had realized. It's nice to know.

Do any of you have regular spiritual cleansings (of your home or your person), gentle readers?

*I've actually taken to visualizing myself bathed in sunlight every morning when I do my daily ritual, in order to combat that problem

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Depression owns my ass

Depression has been kicking my ass these past weeks, and I haven't had the energy to do much of anything, including spiritual pursuits. Even though I know that spending time at my altar would likely help, it's hard to force myself to do it. That said, I did manage to do some journeying today and consult my spirit guides. I spoke with Bactrian Camel, who offered to help me through rough patches, and s/he was welcoming and open to renewing our relationship. I know that I would do well to try to have some contact with my spirit friends every day, particularly during this dark time. I'll do the best I can -- even if I can't manage daily contact.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lights in the dark

Lights in the dark. That's the heart of our seasonal celebrations, and that's why I feel that our festivities are ill-timed. The solstice may be the longest night, but I'm not sure that it's the darkest. The colder it gets, the darker darkness becomes, and we won't reach the coldest part of winter for at least another handfull of weeks. That's why I feel that the entire period between the solstice and Imbolc (at least) should be dedicated to lights. Big lights, small lights, twinkly lights, steady beacons of light -- we need them now.

I particularly need them. My depression is rearing its ugly tentacles again, and lights in the dark are all that I have to keep me going. Lights in the dark may not make the darkness go away, but they give us hope. They give me hope, something to tie a string around to carry me through the night. And I need that. My soul weeps for some light, some hope, but I can't find any in myself right now. All I can do is try to set my internal rudder by the compass of those lights which I can find outside. For that reason, I think I will try to leave up those Yule decorations which give off light. Perhaps bringing more lights into my living space will help.

There are metaphorical lights in the dark, too: my husband, music (and singing along therewith), any crafting I can manage. Creating things always serves to shed light, but it is difficult to draw forth from myself anything that feels worthwhile when I can't seem to find anything worthwhile inside myself. Dragging anything up from the depths when I feel like this is like pouring molasses -- sticky and slow and I'm not sure if I'll ever be clean again when I'm done. But in the end, it's worth it. Without molasses you can't make gingerbread cookies, and without excavating beauty from the depression, how can I ever make sense of it to find my way out again?