PBP – Longing for the Divine

The Soul of the Rose - John William Waterhouse 1908

The Soul of the Rose – John William Waterhouse 1908

This is why we search, why we struggle, why we (sometimes) leave what others have told us is the right way, to sometimes push those people away. There is a longing, and it brings us to a journey that not many will understand. We need to connect with the divine, to know the Gods, however we see them, to know the spirits of all the things that surround us.

I’m writing this because I recognize after all this time on my path, I still long, I still yearn for a life ever more so entwined with the divine, to live an enchanted life. It hasn’t waned at all over the years, in fact, each day it grows stronger. This burning desire pushes me forward, has kept my mind day in and day out ever on the fact that all of this life I am living is touched and woven with magic, with love, with Gods and Spirits; nothing is devoid of the spiritual, though we try really hard to drown it out with constant visual and audio distraction.

Each day I try to think of all the ways in which I could be strengthening this or that connection, and yet… and yet I keep being told that it all lies within my voice, within music for me.

Perhaps it is this terrible consumer culture I’ve grown up in that keeps leading me to want to have all the tools (more on the spiritual side than the physical, tangible tools), but I’ve spent basically my whole life honing this voice. That is my tool. I understand sometimes we need to step back, and for the last while, I really needed to. Now, there’s such a push, and each time I sing, each time I create a song or a chant, I am brought closer to Them. It reignites my longing over and over for the Divine.

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PBP – Journeying & Validation

Peggy's Cove - Miaerowyn © 2014

Peggy’s Cove – Miaerowyn © 2014

Lately a lot of what’s been on my mind has been the peculiar need for validation, especially when it comes to the experience of communicating with Gods and Spirits of all sorts. As an aside, communicating can take any form, it’s not all about just words or visions.

Journeying has become a big part of my own practice, even though I know I’ve barely scratched the surface. At first, like anything, I was unsure of what I was experiencing, if it was just the sock puppets I have created in my own mind when it came to encountering entities. As time goes by, I recognize more easily when I am playing with those mental sock puppets, and when I am actually communicating with an entity. I recognize as well when I am creating something that I ‘see’, and when I am actually encountering a landscape and entity that is a genuine communication.

Discerning between the two can be very difficult, and I admit sometimes to over-thinking it and disbelieving that it was ‘real’. However, I have been Told that whether it is ‘real’ or is not ‘real’ doesn’t really matter, as long as it nourishes me in the way that I seek. I stick to that idea, because just meandering around in my own inner landscape is beneficial, I do self work in there, and that’s a wonderful thing. A lot of the time, it is relaxing, and inspiring, it recharges my batteries. But when Something outside of myself presents something to me, it nourishes in another way, not greater or lesser than doing my own inner work. It is simply a communication from Someone that spurs me towards something They wish me to pursue, with the added benefit of confirming my path and rendering me in awe.

From the past few posts I’ve written, you can see I’m not one for relying on others and their opinions much. I do find myself sometimes very much in need some sort of validation (just like everyone) of if the things I am doing are right, or if the things I am experiencing are real. As far as experiences go, no one else can tell me that they are real. I have learned not to put stock into ‘realness’, but to place it in the value I find, the lessons, the knowledge, the wisdom, the comfort, and even the discomfort. Nothing else matters, and the more I continue to hone my skills, the more I know I will get from it, as I hope to find focus in what I need to be giving in return for the wonder and fulfillment that is having relationships, or even just brief moments of contact with Them. I understand seeking advice and validation from other humans, however, no other human can verify that where your path is leading you is correct in any which way, or that Who you might end up meeting and interacting with is ‘real’ or correct to their vision of said Being.

To elaborate on the Who bit, in terms of the Gods, especially ones who are known for donning many masks, another human who interacts with the same God cannot possibly tell you that the mask you see isn’t valid. I would question someone who seems to just want to say “well my God communication penis is bigger than yours,” and generally just wants to show off about how much more magical and pagan and witchy and amazing they are, otherwise, I believe the Gods appear to us as we need Them to be. The way in which Odin has come to me is not in a way I have ever seen depicted anywhere, and yet, I know it is Him. He has even appeared in a few different guises, yet in each one, He is Odin.

While I am so lucky and happy to be able to communicate now (I think Odin had a hand in opening my head up), it wasn’t always so. I’ve been on this path for 14 years now, and have only in the last year been able to connect. I know if things were different and I was still unable, my faith and belief in Deities and Spirits would be there yet. It’s a comforting thought that shows me my spirituality does not rely on any one other than myself, and that seems right to me as each individual person’s experience of spirituality is quite different from the next.

So seek out the techniques and the advice on how to perform them, as many of them are ancient and have worked for thousands of years; seek community with those who are on similar paths, but know that at the end of the day, we are experiencing different things from one person to the next.

PBP – In The Broom Closet

The Crystal Ball - John William Waterhouse

The Crystal Ball – John William Waterhouse

Moving back to a rural farming town in Ontario, where most people are some form of Christian, or at the very least, haven’t had much exposure to other non-monotheistic religions (not even mentioning anything that lies under the pagan umbrella), I’ve had a while to think about how being of a completely different, non-mainstream religion will affect me and the people I am in contact with.

As much as I find so much joy in my path, so much spiritual nourishment, it’s not something I will likely be shouting out to anyone in earshot. That’s not to say no one knows, that people who are not in any way pagan don’t know, they do. I am in the closet, but the door is wide open. In fact, there’s a window in here, and actually, I wouldn’t call it a closet, more like a huge room brightly lit and full of talismans, herbs, trinkets and many a witchy thing. It comes down to being very selective of who gets to really know about it. As much as I am a performer (hello, wanted to be an opera lady), I am such an introvert and non-people person. In fact, I would say I generally don’t like most people, and that’s fine with me as it takes way too much time away from things I’d rather be doing than if I were trying to be friends with everyone I meet. I am a lady who just wants to go outside and do things quietly, well, I may be singing while I do it, but very much alone. That’s kind of how it’s always been for me. I was a kid who would spend most daylight hours out in the woods alone, apart from when my sister would want to come and play, exploring, finding things to collect, climbing trees, getting sap in my hair. And that just suits me fine.

I have loved being part of a group, and I suspect I will be doing that again when opportunity and time to devote to it arises. But I doubt you’ll find me leading a local ritual open to the public. I’m a person who does not like to bother others as I wish not to be bothered. I also like the idea of people going by my house maybe seeing me do something “weird” (possibly could be referring to wyrd) in the garden, and wonder what that’s about… I like that mystery. Mystery is good. Mystery is part of my path. To outsiders, why shouldn’t I be mysterious? Those who know what to look for will spot the clues.

Writing here, although it hasn’t been incredibly revealing of even my specific beliefs or practices, is my little soap box, I guess. But really, it’s more about documenting things that pique my interest, or a revelation I’ve had (albeit in vague ways). I am not really about human validation of my spirituality. I listen to my Gods, my Ancestors, and Others Who I continue to build relationships with; I ask Them for guidance, for Their insights, for Their needs to direct my actions. Basically, I’m just going about my own business, I know what I’m doing, and when I swerve a little, They help to put me aright, even if I’m oblivious that I’m walking the wrong way. And who’s to say that there is a wrong way? But I digress.

 

Thankfully, in the end, I’m not keeping myself out of sight in that capacity because I fear for myself or loved ones should people find out about it. Generally, those who find out have been quite blaze really about it. People my age (and younger I’ll assume)  tend to be more of a “whatever” attitude when it comes to those things because it doesn’t affect them. It’s kind of an interesting thing when you get a lot of people who are generally super self-absorbed that they just don’t really care what others are doing around them. I’m cool with that.

As for older than me folk (especially old enough to be my parent and beyond), it’s not something I bring up. Especially when I know they’re pretty into their own faith (which is most likely the one that thinks all others are misguided).

I suppose you could say it’s sad that they are allowed to be passionate and speak about their faith, but that someone like me who doesn’t follow that mainstream spirituality has to be on the quiet side if they don’t want any trouble from others about it. I could be loud and out there about it, sure. But I don’t believe that’s my spiritual work. Sure I get upset at the ignorance people more often than not show, but I am not a confrontational person. You can’t teach someone about things grander than their own narrow world view when what they’ve been taught is to be unaccepting, or intolerant at the very least, of views that are so different from their own. It’s my way or the highway.

Unfortunately the whole two sided, good vs evil, black vs white, right vs wrong  is still too dominant in the mindset that’s been brewing, at least here in North America. I’d rather just putter away in my garden, making magick, offering to the Gods, Ancestors, and Spirits, perform my rituals and nourish my spirituality and spiritual relationships than worry about other humans who should be figuring things out for themselves rather than making it all about everyone other than themselves by judging everyone else and seeking constant validation.

PBP – Heather

 

Image from grow.ars-informatica.ca

Image from grow.ars-informatica.ca

 

Latin Name:
Calluna Vulgaris

Common Names:
Heather, Heath, Scot’s Heather, Scotch Heather, Froach, Ling

Parts Used:
Flowering shoots

Image from Wikimedia

Image from Wikimedia

Medicinal Properties:
Heather has been used for insomnia, migraines, stomach pain, skin problems, and coughs, and problems that are connected to menstruation. It is considered a mild diuretic, and has antiseptic qualities.
Its use strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure slightly, and has been used to treat heart palpitations.
Used fresh or dry, you can make a heather tea to access its benefits by simmering 4 teaspoons to a cup of water. The dose is a half of a cup per day if drunk.
The flowering shoots can also be added to a bath to tone muscles and sooth rheumatic issues.

Magickal Associations:
The planet Venus, Water, garnet, red, white, Red Grouse, Uroica, Venus, Aphrodite, Erycina, Cybele, Isis, wild passions and their consequences

Magickal Properties:
An flower of the Goddess, it is sacred to Isis. Heather is carried for protection against violent crimes, especially of rape (white heather provides the strongest protection), and for general good luck.

White heather is often used in cases where one is presented with overly passionate, and ultimately unwanted suitors.
Red heather, in turn, aids to stir up the passions, or to begin or end an affair.
Purple is often used for spiritual development.

Sleeping on a pillow stuffed with heather can bring about foretelling dreams of good fortune.

Burning heather and fern together outdoors brings rain.

It is a flower that can open portals between this and the world of the Fae. The Fae of this flower are also especially attracted to people who are shy. It can also be used to conjure the spirits of the dead.

Lastly, it is helpful for those who shape shift, as well as protects against shifters who would cause you harm.

Image from guim.co.uk

Image from guim.co.uk

Pagan Blog Project – W is for The Wild Hunt

Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

The Wild Hunt

written by Miaerowyn

My God is out hunting, He yearns for the kill
Howling and thundering upon the stormy gale
My God is out hunting, only death will make Him still

In darkest wood, blustering field and wind-torn hill
His host searches for His unwilling prey
My God is out hunting, He yearns for the kill

The scent is caught, His wolves close in at will
Hunger glowing in their dark eyes, they will not fail
My God is out hunting, only death will make Him still

Long moments pass, then all becomes still
A breath is taken, the prey yet whole and hale
My God is out hunting, He yearns for the kill

Silent in turning to move from the dread chill
Directly into His figure the prey jumps with a wail
My God is out hunting, only death will make Him still

A spear through the heart, He cries out at the thrill
The prey carried to His hall to be devoured with ale
My God is out hunting, He yearns for the kill
My God is out hunting, only death will make him still

Pagan Blog Project – S is for Skyclad

Luis Falero - "The Witches Sabbath" 1880

Luis Falero – “The Witches Sabbath” 1880

 

Going to the Sabbat and getting skyclad is still something some witches fear. We have a very odd way of hating the human body, and enforcing that with all the ads of Photoshopped images everywhere of what the “perfect” body is.

However, whether or not you choose to keep your robes on in group settings, even if you’re just alone, there’s something to be said for the feel of the candles’ warmth, or the almost static of your sacred circle lifting the hairs all over your body, and the fact that you are in that moment, just yourself with none of the cultural and social expectations of what you should look like; it’s all very freeing.

I tend to be someone who balks at the obsession people have with appearing perfect all the time, and I relish the time spent in my circles where I can just throw away what the worry for clothing that will “flatter my shape”, make me sexy, make me demure, etc. It’s a time to adorn yourself with jewels that connect you with their purpose, or scents that resonate with your magic to be worked. You can even paint your body with images that will help you manifest the things you want in yourself, or help energy to move through and within you more effectively.

When the skin is involved in sensing the energies being roused in circle, it can help to solidify the effectiveness of what you are doing, and even intensify it. It’s completely sensual, and allows for us to get out of our heads and physically experience what we are doing magically.

I’m thinking you can probably tell by now that I enjoy working skyclad. If you’re shy about it, try it alone, try it a few times. You never have to do it with a group, but being skyclad is most definitely a powerful tool for witches.

Pagan Blog Project – Q is for the Quill

IlluminatedManuscript

Q seems to be a letter of communication for me, as it has again brought me a subject that requires words. Writing is a most important human development, allowing for our ancestors to speak to us through the ages, so long as their etchings have not been destroyed with time, or by others.

The act of writing, especially on paper, forces us to slow our minds, slow our thoughts, and ensures we take the time to write out what we really mean. This is part of the reason why I journal in a paper and pen way, as well as write out rituals or spells. I don’t want to rush through the processes, and as far as ritual or spellwork, I don’t want to be able to easily Google something and copy and paste. That doesn’t make for good magic, even if I do put a lot of effort into the act of it.  Finding your own words, your own rhythms, adds another layer to your magic weaving as you take out the time to focus on the precise words that convey the thing that you would make manifest.

The other part I adore about writing with pen and paper is the fact that it’s meditative, introspective; the movements of the pen soothing. It allows for me to let out ick energies, running from my mind, through my head, neck, arm, hand, fingers, and through the tip of a pen. I send out the jumbled thoughts in my head, where I can re-read it later and sort it out. I can realize that I don’t really feel the way I did in that moment, or that I don’t want to feel that particular way, so I get to think about it, look at it from a different perspective, and change it.

Pagan Blog Project – P is for Prayer

prayer

noun

1.

a devout petition to God or an object of worship.
2.

a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.
3.

the act or practice of praying to God or an object of worship.
4.

a formula or sequence of words used in or appointed for praying: the Lord’s Prayer.
5.

prayers, a religious observance, either public or private, consisting wholly or mainly of prayer.
The above was copied from dictionary.com
Obviously the meanings that are written above are written in a more Christian fashion, seeing as apparently other Gods are “objects of worship”. However, that’s not what this post is about.
What I wanted to talk about is why prayer is important for me. Every night before I go to sleep, I thank Them and my ancestors for all that has been provided for me during that day, because I am incredibly grateful that I have a home, and food, and family and friends who are amazing and provide me with lots of love. I want Them to know that I appreciate the life I’ve been given and the relative ease with which I am living it. I clearly have some issues with things, as all of us do, but I am taken care of, and have the things that are really important.
I did at one point try to use nightly prayers based on old poems and hymns written for Them, it seems that doesn’t work for me as my mind wanders as I read the words. I understand that having the words said over and over provides power to those words, weaves energy within them, but I don’t think that’s where I’m at yet. I have a short prayer I made up that allows me to focus and really put meaning into it, instead of mindlessly reading words that are holding no meaning for me because again, my brain wanders.
I have written a few songs to use as prayers, in fact, I forgot that I had until now, lol. I shall sing them. Obviously as a singer, there is magic in that for me, the power of my voice, and the words I wrote myself. The melody, the intervals of the notes… “Music is the ritual” that’s what They keep whispering into my heart, and I know it’s true. This is one of my truths. And now this post turns into self-revelation. Not a bad thing.
Back to praying… I like that it ties my days together, and that if I don’t end up really interacting with Them, at the end of my day, I get to focus on Them for at least a few moments before sleep. I do worship Them after all, and prayer is an integral part of worship.

Pagan Blog Project – N is for New Perspective

image

The last few weeks has been full of preparations to attend the Sunwheel Pagan Arts Fest in Alberta, and helping some friends during an emergency. In the past few weeks of finishing the blanket, I had contemplated selling pagan themed knit blankets online.

The weekend and few days before travelling to the Fest, I had fallen in a terrible dark place that I couldn’t seem to climb out of. Something became clear from it, yet even after that realization, I still was full of despair.

I was hoping for lots of sun in Alberta, and boy did I get it! It was very hot, and the moment you began to move, you broke out in sweat. But I asked for it. The very first night, I walked on glass then fire. Being told to write down something that we wished to walk over through fire, it took me a minute to realize the all encompasing problem I’ve had the past 9 months… fear. It was at first fear of death, which mellowed into just an overall fear.

Well, I walked some of it out over the fire… then I sweat it out over the weekend, enduring the fire of the sun, and the fire of alcohol. As much as I was dreading going the day before, I am so thankful for having gone with some of my trad and coven mates, and making friends with fabulous people.

So, what’s this new perspective? It’s this: I need to sing. I have to drop all of these other ideas of doing something else for a living/career. There’s a reason why nothing else sticks. Being surrounded by amazing and talented people like Chalice and Blade (who also happen to be friends), Heather Dale and Ben, Sharon Knoght and Winter, and Vanessa Cardui along with her posse…. I realized in creating and performing my music in a pagan sphere will give me what I need as a performer (the ability to control my schedule), and as someone who wants a house, a garden, and children one day in the not so distant future.
I’m not going to have to worry about some other prima donna soprano ready to take my place every time I need quiet and home, and having a very difficult time trying to find a spot in an opera when I’m ready to go back in.

Now I’m writing these songs that have broke through the distraction of fear, and researching how to do what needs doing leading up to being a pagan musician.

Hail the Sun!

Pagan Blog Project – L is for Love

This is sort of in lieu of the post I reblogged: “Why I stay a Pagan”.

I’m obviously not part of all this heated debate and subsequent schoolyard behaviour that tends to happen when things that are near and dear to our hearts are discussed, religious or otherwise. I tend to be of a mind that if it’s heading towards misunderstanding, anger, and then the nasty bits, I stay faaaaar away. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I suppose no matter what subject comes up, there will always be those who resort to bullying, which generally has nothing to do with the subject at hand. While there are definitely those capable of having a heated debate without loosing their heads, for the most part, I feel like those people aren’t as loud as those who tend to hate anything that’s different, to hate that their opinion isn’t right for everyone else. I think as a Pagan, or someone not of one of the big book religions, this is a funny thought pattern to have.

What’s right for me could in no way possible be right for the over 7 billion people in the world, much less all of the Pagans. However we are taught in our North American culture, and I’m sure it’s elsewhere in the world as well, that being wrong is basically a sin. I feel it comes with the good/evil, black/white we’ve seen so long with the big book religions. That and the fact that those religions bombard us with the fact that theirs is the ONLY TRUE WAY. For everyone. Period.

I feel like a lot of people, especially those who tend to get angry and upset and downright hateful and threatening, need to understand that they cannot say that what the Gods have deigned to share with one person on how they should worship, and how to believe, is wrong just because the Gods have not shared that with them. Each of us is here in different lives, with different experiences to pull from. Each of our souls, and thinking minds have been shaped differently by those experiences, and through the time we spend reflecting and going deeper to understanding ourselves, along with the universe and the Gods.
So as similar as our lives can be to others’, the Gods know what is going to pull at our individual hearts, They know what knowledge to bestow upon each of us when, and They know how Their relationships with us changes us.

I think people need to learn to understand, and accept, that ultimately, we are all on our spiritual paths alone. That we come to conclusions that make sense for us as an individual, not thinking for a large group of people. Yes, the things that you have discovered can help inspire others, helping them to delve deeper into their own spirituality. Sometimes they do believe what you do in the end, sometimes it leads them to uncover what is true for them alone.
We need to stay away from thinking that each “sect”, for lack of better word, of paganism has followers that believe in exactly the same things, and worship in exactly the same ways. As a whole. I think all people fit loosely into whatever communal path they’re following, but in the end, our experiences with the Gods are pretty much as different as snowflakes from each other. Specially tailored to resonate at the highest frequency with the one who is doing the experiencing in that moment.

 

We should do what we do for the love of the Gods, not for validation, or “my witch phallus is bigger than your witch phallus”.