As the Wheel Turns

 

nature-3151869_960_720It’s been over 4 years since I felt the ship sink from under me.  It’s been 3 years since I started this blog.  In these years, I have questioned a lot, cried a lot, talked a lot, meditated and prayed a lot, read a lot, sought my spirit a lot, walked in nature a lot.  It’s not like I’ve not tried.  I have.  Still, some days I believe, most days I don’t.

Some things I am certain of.  As I’ve said before, I still find magic and spirit in the natural world and the animal kingdom.  Deity in any form remains shrouded in mist and uncertainty.

I have no faith.

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox and as I contemplated this turning point in the year, I thought about Goddess and my vows as a priestess.  I gave my life to her, in service to her.  But as I thought about it this morning, I thought that perhaps the most important vow I can make now is to myself.  I still think of myself as a Priestess of the Goddess, only the Goddess is me.

I’m not sure where my path is going at present.  Life is transitioning at the moment so my focus is on survival.  Maybe one day I will figure it out again and find renewed faith.  For now, I simply take a simple pleasure in the shifting season.

Imbolc

aaron-burden-229829-unsplashImbolc is a time of year I used to look forward to.  It brought an air of hope as the days continued to lengthen and the snowdrops gave hope of the spring to come, a celebration of the maiden goddess returning to the land.

These days, I wonder what it means to me any more, if anything.  For the past several years, the festivals of the year slip by without much fanfare for me.  A simple “Happy (insert-festival-here)” on social media is about the extent of it.  Sometimes I light a candle, although why, I don’t really know.

As mentioned in a previous post, some things I feel clear on, and one is that I find more depth and meaning in the solstices and equinoxes, perhaps because these are planetary/seasonal happenings that aren’t reliant upon folklore for explanation.

The Celtic festivals though are another matter and often deities and ancient folklore are heavily associated with each.  As my belief in deities is tenuous to non-existent right now, it becomes a challenge to consider what those festivals mean to me, if anything at all.  I feel taking the role of a seeker once again and doing some reading and research may be helpful and perhaps meditating on what was and what is now.   Holidays often start having one particular meaning and as decades and centuries go by, the meaning changes or gets lost entirely.  I have often felt this is the case with the wheel of the year festivals.  They all seemed to be steeped in superstition that centres on ensuring strong healthy herds and bountiful harvests during a time when people didn’t have the scientific knowledge and understanding of the world that we do today.  These days, it’s less about those things and more the symbolic meanings we derive from these festivals and how we ascribe them to our lives.  This brings me back to the original point of what these festivals mean to me any more.  Something to sit with.

A Laying on of Hands

joshua-fuller-625458-unsplashi waz missing somethin
somethin so important
somethin promised
a layin on of hands
fingers near my forehead
strong
cool
movin
makin me whole
sense pure
all the gods comin into me
layin me open to myself
i waz missing somethin
somethin promised
somethin free
a layin on of hands
i know bout / layin on bodies / layin outta man
bringin him alla my fleshy self & some of my pleasure
bein taken full eager wet like i get sometimes
i waz missing somethin
a layin on of hands
not a man
layin on
not my mama / holdin me tight sayin
i’m always gonna be her girl
not a layin on of bosom and womb
a layin on of hands
the holiness of myself released

i sat up one nite walkin a boardin house
screamin / cryin / the ghost of another woman
who waz missin what i waz missin
i wanted to jump up outta my bones
& be done wit myself
leave me alone
& go on in the wind
it waz too much
i fell into a numbness
til the only tree i cd see
took me up in her branches
held me in the breeze
made me dawn dew
that chill at daybreak
the sun wrapped me up swingin rose light everywhere
the sky laid over me like a million men
i waz cold / i waz burnin up / a child
& endlessly weavin garments for the moon
wit my tears
i found god in myself
& i loved her / i loved her fiercely

~Ntozake Shange

From For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.  This poem expresses my feelings better than I ever could.

Of Community and Camera Lenses

This time of year is a reminder of the spiritual community I have left behind.  As a whole, I do not mourn its loss.  I was glad to cut ties with it and the incredible amount of negativity that came with it, which included a lot of really poor behaviour by a great many individuals under the banner of “love and light”.

Last year, I witnessed an encounter between a woman and a waitress in a cafe that highlighted just this sort of behaviour I have come to abhor.  The woman came in to the cafe with a friend, speaking in the low dulcet tones one often hears from “new age” people, saying how she’s very guarded with her energy and doesn’t let too many people in because she doesn’t want to take on their negative energy.  About ten minutes later, she had a go at the waitress who brought her order, saying it wasn’t she ordered.    So much for keeping it positive.

This sort of passive-aggressive behaviour  pervaded the communities I belonged to, and even ones I didn’t.  A few years ago, when visiting a sacred site, a woman I didn’t know had a go at me for the crime of sitting down because she had decidedly claimed the area where I sat as hers for the purpose attracting wildlife, even though it was a public place open to all.

These sorts of experiences are not isolated.  They happen more often than not.  I cringe to think I’ve probably been just as guilty of such behaviour.  I guess I have learned, while others have yet to.

So, I don’t mourn the communities I left, and mostly, I have been happy to be a lone wolf.  Sometimes though, I still wish there were people to connect with, a tribe of some sort, someone who understands.  It is said that humans need community and to feel they belong.  I suppose this is what spiritual communities do.

However, I still don’t know where I belong.  Like a camera lens, every time things start to come into focus and become clearer, something takes it out of focus again.  I’ve done a lot of soul searching on what I believe in my heart and what feels right and on some things I’m very clear.  On others, the lens is still shifting and trying to clarify the image.

As I continue down the path of murkiness, I accept that this is my path for the time being.  It has been a number of years already and it’s likely to be more years before I feel confident in my spirituality again, if I am ever.

Unpacking

gary-bendig-174328.jpgSpring has been quite wonderful for me this year.  I’ve been able to shake off the dark mantle of winter and depression and feel alive once again.  The returning sun has quickened me and I’ve delighted in the green grass, the budding trees and the colourful flowers.  It feels good to feel good.

Perhaps these good vibrations were necessary to support me in facing some of the heavier spiritual matters that continue to cast shadows of doubt and uncertainty.  I’ve taken tentative steps in being social in my spiritual community, which weren’t easy steps to take.  So far, I’ve felt very fortunate to receive clearly expressed support.  It’s been interesting to learn how other priestesses have faced similar challenges.

It also meant facing what I call “the beautiful lie”, which happened this past week.  The beautiful lie – the fantasy I spoke about in my initial post, the ideas, beliefs, and, dare I say, dogma that infiltrate it all.

This is something I’m still unpacking and processing.  I did not experience anything overtly negative, but it was facing a communal ideology that I’ve determined no longer entirely fits.  This leaves me with a lot of deep questions that still have no answers and likely won’t for a while longer, if they ever do.

Ebb and Flow

jcwithc5opi-anna-popovic.jpgAutumn turned to winter.  Samhain came with a sense of dread for that dead time of the year.  The darkness took over, along with my continued apathy for anything spiritual.  Oh, I tried, but I felt nothing, so I let it consume me.

And then the calendar turned to December and I felt the stirring of re-birth in my soul.  I began connecting with ideas and philosophies that sparked my interest and quickened my heart.  As I undertook to learn something new, other things began to happen – people began acknowledging me as priestess once again, synchronicities happened,  I felt magic move through me and my life again.  Could it be that I was finally coming through this spiritual void?

The answer is – maybe.

I honoured the winter solstice by watching the sun rise that morning.  I passively participated in an online ritual about a week later.  I gained more from watching the sun rise than the ritual.  I realised once again, it’s the simple things rather than the ritual things.

I continue to question the existence of Goddess and God, even though I continue to light candles and give thanks to them.  Everything I read these days says that I am my own divine and everything is up to me.  However, a recent conversation with someone who experienced me as Goddess in a ritual reminded me that there is something that comes through when I call upon it.  This person commented on how powerful it was and how it changed things in their life.   I cannot disregard this.

So, I ebb and flow, back and forth, between feeling I am returning to a spiritual life and still deeply questioning the validity of old ideologies and beliefs.

 

 

These Magic Moments

photo-1441205400075-68a01d4c5108.jpgThe calendar flips to September, the kids are back in school and everyone says, “Autumn is here!”

Summer, however, is not going quietly as we’re having unusual-for-this-area-at-this-time-of-year heatwaves and humidity which are quashing any autumnal notions.  Still, there are moments when the temperature dips, the clouds blanket the sky and I look out over the garden and notice how the leaves on the trees are turning gold and brown and I feel autumn creeping in and the exhilaration it brings.

It’s been a quiet summer, which was welcome.  I’ve been talking to Goddess and God again and doing more to honour them.  Our relationships are still uneasy at times and my faith in them shaky.  I still have days where I don’t believe in much, let alone the gods.  Then something happens – a synchronicity, an appropriate message received, an influx of energy that washes through me, seeing the seasons change – and I remember that I am definitely connected to something greater than myself and it moves through me and my life whether I acknowledge it or not.  These magic moments are what keep me going.

Fields of Gold

wheatfield.jpgIs there a Goddess or God?  What evidence do I have of their existence?  What do I believe?  Do I believe anything at all?

These questions have been floating around in my mind for months with no discernible answer.

But this week, as I passed over the roads I travel on a regular basis, I noticed the colour of the wheat fields turning from green to gold in the heat of the summer sun and something stirred within me.

Lammas is approaching, the first harvest festival of the year.  A time for baking bread and sharing in the abundance and blessings of the land.  Even if my faith in Goddess is uncertain at the moment, of one thing I am sure – the cycle of the seasons, the elements, nature in all its grandeur – they still move me.  And in them, I feel something powerful, awesome and inspiring.

New Moon

I’m not sure when the interruption began.  The past couple years have been like being on a ship tossed about in a stormy sea.  Sometimes the sailing was smooth and trouble free, but more often the sailing was rough going, choppy and harrowing.  I’d seek solace in the arms of the Goddess and listen to her words of wisdom.  I’d do my best to heed her words and follow her guidance.  But after a while, I felt like I was being guided by a broken compass that time and again took me in the wrong direction.  Eventually, lightening struck, the ship sank and I was drowning with no one to save me.

Somehow, I survived.

But when you experience something so traumatic, when you come face to face with yourself, your mortality, the mistakes you made that led you to this point, well, everything changes.  Nothing is as clear as it once was.  The reality of the path you’ve been on starts to look very different from how you once perceived it.  Everything is questioned, scrutinised, even chastised and there don’t seem to be any easy answers.  Did I confuse visions with reality?  Did I misunderstand the map I was given?

I never felt more alone than in those initial moments.  I began to believe that my whole spiritual life was a lie.  Maybe I had been sold a beautiful fantasy.  Or maybe I was deluded and crazy.  Maybe I was.

Or maybe, I was just a priestess, interrupted.

new_moon