Monday, January 19, 2015

Panthers and mysteries

Once, a long time ago, Gods roamed the land.  They claimed the sky worlds and they stalked the Underworld.  The Sun, Moon, Morning Star and the Thunderers kept the stability and order while the creative, fertile, yet chaotic forces charged up from the Underworld from the Corn Mother and beings like the underwater panther.  We humans lived in a liminal place - the Middle world, full of beings in its own right: Hawk, the Horned Serpent, and the spirits of plants, trees, and rocks.

Of course, as a Pagan, I know this is still true.  Gods and spirits abound.   

I had a dream not long after I moved into this house.  I was walking on a high bank along a shallow creek on a bright sunny day.  I was fascinated by the water - it was so clear, I had no trouble seeing each and every rock on the bottom as if I held them in my hands.  Suddenly, I saw something moving beneath the water, a mountain lion.  I was seeing the top of its head and back, even though the water was only a few inches deep.   It stalked along the creek bottom until suddenly it launched itself straight up and right at me.  Its claws and teeth missed me by mere inches as I jerked backwards in surprise and it fell back into the creek bed.  This was no flesh and blood feline.  It was composed entirely of water.

The underwater panther is a figure from a group of peoples archeologists once called the South Eastern Ceremonial Complex.  They were also moundbuilders.  In some surviving stories from later peoples, it is said that a meeting with such a being will either heal you or kill you.  I'm not sure what that says about mine.  I only know that I had never heard about any such things before the dream.  The dream was so vivid and I could hear the sound of the water as it rippled through the bed as well the crash it made as when the cat fell back into the creek.  Was it just a dream?  I'm not so sure.  It is something I still ponder to this day. 

I had intended to write about some of the deities I work with today but sometimes, the muse has other ideas.  I asked myself if this fulfills the prompt for this week: "an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you."  I'm not entirely sure it does, not in the strict deity/divine way.  Still, sometimes it's the mystery of a thing that is the inspiration.  No one ever started out on a quest because they had all the answers.    

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Things I do

I don't know why I am drawn to do this entry.  Check that, I guess I do.  I started blogging all those years ago because I needed an outlet that allowed me to open up and speak my mind.  It was a way to build confidence.  I find myself needing it again.  Despite appearances on Facebook, I feel I have been saying less and less.  At least, I feel I have been speaking with less...substance.  It's time to change that.  What better way to begin than to write about my Pagan experiences? 

In many ways, it seems to be too personal, too private to speak of my spirituality or my practice.  Plus, right now I don't have any one daily practice, although I do catch myself looking at a certain plaque I sculpted and just talking to the one it represents.  More often or not, I talk to Him almost as if He were a hennish best friend (as embarrassing as it is to admit that,) but it suits Him.  I do talk to Him more seriously at times but I can't stay serious for long.

I used to have a more witchy practice - the candles, the incense, the circles and spells.  I still enjoy many of those things.  I love how centering it is to sit and recite a rosary to the Star Goddess or to gaze into a candle's flame.  I still sometimes draw sigils and give offerings, whether it is in return for something done or just because I want to do so.  Lately, however, I have been going a more shamanic route. 

I took some classes in Core Shamanism many years ago from a student of Michael Harner but they fell apart when we couldn't keep a decent number of people in our drumming circle.  While I later read books like Harner's and Caitlin Matthews' Singing the Soul Back Home, the lessons I learned then didn't stick until all these years later.   

I won't do it every day but I try to journey at least once a week.  I love the feeling I get from riding the drumbeat through the worlds.  I love the exploration and the feeling of cooperation and connectedness I feel throughout (well, with the exception of that one flower.  It let me know in no uncertain terms what it thought of humans but I have to admit I liked its grumpy, cantankerous self.)   I also try to leave room afterward to let my experiences percolate through my brain.  I feel that to do it more often, especially without reflection and that percolation, is to risk becoming something of an Otherworlds Tourist, tripping through Worlds and not getting anything much of worth out of the experience.  I will not do that to my Gods and my allies.      

I have heard people ask and I have asked the question myself, "Are the things that happen during journeys real?"  My teacher's answer was that if you get something good out of it, does it matter if it's real or not?  I have to admit, it is a good answer.  Then again, there are the times I got some bit of information on a journey and it turned out to be right on target.  I also remember picking Michael Harner's book Cave and Cosmos and as I flipped through it, seeing a hand drawn map showing a place I had visited in my journeys and never mentioned to anyone.  There were other accounts of people having very similar experiences to mine.   

I think I have my answer on that score.  Something is certainly going on the 'is it real' front.   

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Test, test, test

Let's see how this app works, shall we?  I like the idea of being able to blog from my phone. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

This May - Or May Not - Have Happened.

Here I am, walking through another endless antique mall as the folks look for yet another obscure piece of glassware.  At least it's one of the more interesting malls.  It's a little junky, which means I might have a shot at finding something really quirky and neat. 

I see an old, black rotary phone sitting all alone on a table a few booths ahead.  I have to admit to a bit of nostalgia when I see it.  We had a rotary wall phone when I was a kid - complete with the party line we could hardly ever use because of old Ms. Carr constantly gossiping to her friends.  I see this phone doesn't have the phone line that connected it to the wall jack.   

I walk closer to the phone, curious about the price.  Just as I reach for the tag, imagine my surprise when the thing rings.  Out of curosity, I can't resist answering it. 


I hear a deep, ominious voice on the other end.  "You better watch your back." it says.  I'm so startled, I don't know what to say.
"I know what you've done.  Did you think you could commit such a blaphesmy and not be noticed?  You can't hide from me, much less the entire celestial army.  I will make damn sure you will burn in the deepest depths of hell for this travesty, Leonard Trapaski."

Are you kidding me?  I get a phantom phone call and it's a wrong number?  I finally find my voice and say, "Who?!"

There is a startled silence on the other end of the phone.  "Who is this?"

"Definitely not Leonard Trapaski," I say in my unmistakable for anything but feminine voice.

More startled silence. 

" bad. a...uh...haveaniceday."

I hear a click and then the silence of a dead phone.  I find myself looking at the handset, down the phone and back to the handset before I put it back into the cradle.  Maybe I'm not as interested in the old phone as I thought.  Of course, now I'm wondering why exactly Leonard Trapasky has an entire celestial army of angels after him. 

Perhaps I'll just let that one pass.  Who knows who - or what - will be calling next.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Drunken Chaos Reigns in Sumner County

Joannie Higgenbotham, Staff Writer

Firefighters and Emergency Rescue were called to a residence outside of Portland today.  What they found when they arrived was unexpected and put several of the respondents lives in danger, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

T. Phineas Rex, of Portland, had been drinking when he fell off the table he had been using as a sundeck.  Mr. Rex fell two feet, injuring his left arm.  When Emergency rescue arrived, Mr. Rex was in a drunken rage, yelling "It's the extinction all over again, man!"  He then proceeded to lunge at EMTs and firefighters while claiming they were "out to get him."  During the melee, Mr. Rex snapped his teeth and swiped his tail at those present, knocking down one EMT and ripping the coat of a firefighter.

Mr. Rex then entered a neighbor's yard where he proceeded to climb onto a dog and ride it as it ran, frightened, around the neighborhood.  After several minutes, Mr. Rex fell off the dog and passed out in a nearby yard.             

One of Mr. Rex's neighbors, who would only identify herself as Azra, witnessed the episode.  All she would say about the incident was, "Been hitting the cider again, has he?" 

Mr. Rex is now resting at home.  No one was injured but charges of Public Intoxication and Endangerment are pending. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

30 Days (or so) meme: Why I am Pagan

Well, I figured it's high time I joined in the 30 Days meme.  That's me - join in after everyone else had done it and moved on.   Plus, it's hard for me to talk about my beliefs.  Faith is such a personal, private thing. 

So...I've got the headphones on and Voltaire's singing Oh Lord.  Let's rock this thing, shall we?      

Day 1 - Why Paganism?

Short answer?  It's one of the few faiths I explored that allowed me to be myself.  It also allows for the mystery of the world to be real, without excusing it as simply being an illusion. 

When I was a kid, we went a nearby Cumberland Presbyterian church.  Except for my grandmother, we weren't a very religious bunch.  Church was just Something You Did.  I remember Sunday School could be interesting - the older kids would start talking to the teacher about the latest horror movies they've seen or something they did during the week.  Surely, we worked through the lessons but I don't remember them.
I do remember some of the mystery of the church.  I remember at Easter when the "juice and crackers" were passed around.  The preacher would talk about how they were the body and blood of Jesus but whenever I saw them, they'd change back into crackers and grape juice.  I also remember constantly looking up at the sky because I had been told "God is watching you!"  It was like always being under the gaze of a third parent was way more stern than my mom or dad.  He'd send me away forever just because he didn't like something I did.
When I hear about seeing the world as a child would, this is what I think about.  Never did catch a glimpse of that guy that was always watching, either.

I started questioning things when I was about twelve.  My parents had divorced two years before and my dad was going to a Southern Baptist church.  I did. Not.  Like. It.  AT ALL.  There was no mystery.  No wonder.  Just a bunch of people who came to See and Be Seen.  Oh yeah, there was some guy standing up front talking about how we were all wrong too. 

This was also about the time I began walking the woods behind our house after school.  I couldn't wait to get home every day because I had a good three hours before my got home from work and I could go looking for a mystery.  I would have at least one cat journeying with me, usually more.  The trees were my friends.  I once followed the path of a turkey vulture flying overhead and found a spot I had never visited that was very sacred and magical.  The pawpaw tree growing through a pile of rocks was a faery mound.  Where did the water in the spring come from and were there caves in the bluffs at the top of the hill?  Where would they go if I found them?  What lived in the woods besides the cows and deer?  (I longed to catch a glimpse of Bigfoot but hoped I wouldn't too.)  The world was alive and full of joy.        

This is why I'm Pagan.  Now, not only the world but the universe is alive and full of joy.  The sky is full of bright, distant stars but it is part of the body of Her as well.  The sun is not simply a flaming ball of gas but it is also Ra on His Barque, protected by Set and Khnum as it travels through the Underworld at the end of the day.  At the same time, I sit vigil every Yule so the Sun will rise. 

Someone has to.  If the world forgets its stories, it forgets its reasons for being alive.  Life just becomes drudgery, a ceaseless routine of colorless chores.  I don't want that to happen on my watch, mister.                    

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A little helpless...

Yesterday, upper Sumner County and parts of Allen and Simpson Counties in Kentucky were under the gun.  Tornado warnings lit up the map.  I was sitting with the kids when I heard those words no one ever wants to hear:  "The rotation is right over (the road I was on) so if you're in that area, you want to get to your safe area right now."

 I stood in the front door at the one point and said a small prayer: "Oh, Set.  Turn Your Eye away from here."  I had to wonder too if we had time to get to the neighbors - there was no way I wanted any of us to be a cliche.  "All those houses and that thing went straight for the trailer!"  Been there, done that.    

Once again, I found myself feeling a little helpless.   The oldest kid started getting scared and wanted the two of us to go hide from the storm.  Apparently, he felt his little brother could fend for himself (then again, he wasn't even fazed.  He put his shoes on and wanted outside to play before he got distracted by a video game.)  I've tried to help this kid deal with his fears in the past but it hasn't stuck.  I'm not even sure I know what I'm doing anyway plus they get such conflicting messages from their parents.
I know he's four years old.  I know he's not capable of understanding things like an adult would.  I also remember being terrified myself when a storm would blow up because of the tornado that blew away our trailer when I was four.  I would nearly wear the floors out where I would walk from window to window, trying to keep watch so the tornado wouldn't sneak up on me.  I wasn't able to deal with the fear until I was in my 20's and I would hate to see him having to do the same thing.  I would hate it even more if he stayed terrified for his entire life.