Wednesday, September 09, 2015


I know you are as tired of the whole Kim Davis thing as I am but it looks like it isn't going to go away anytime soon.  I only have one more thing to say about it that no one really seems to be mentioning. 

This whole thing isn't only about equality.  Not really.  It's about privilege. 

Before this situation came up, there was a lot of chatter from people who denied there is any privilege to be had. Funny enough, they are the very ones who get the most from this privilege.  These people are straight, white and usually fundamentalist. 

Don't get me wrong.  I don't care what religion a person practices or even if they practice.  The problem is when asshats like Kim Davis starts defying law and common sense by forcing her views on the public at large, then she and Mike Huckabee start yelling 'We're being oppressed!!  Christianity is under attack!!" because Davis is rightfully jailed for not following a judge's orders. 

If you want to argue what privilege has to do with this, ask yourself this: what would have happened if it wasn't Davis pushing her beliefs on everyone?  What if it were a black woman?  A black man?  What if the person refusing to give out licenses were of a faith other than Christianity?  That person would have been in jail by the end of the week, if not sooner and they'd still be there.  They would also be out of a job faster than you can say "nut" and the same people claiming oppression would be saying good riddance.
So yes, despite of her grandstanding and attempts to prolong her 15 minutes, Davis has received the benefits of privilege.  First of all, there is the fact that she was allowed to do all that grandstanding and prolonging.  She was - and is - allowed to stay in the office long after lawsuits were filed and as far as I know, no actions to impeach her have even been entertained.  The Governor has refused to step in.  She was given multiple chances to act differently.  She was even given the soft shoe treatment when she was let out of jail: you can go back to work but don't interfere. 

We can see how this is going to go.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

As for their argument, there is no oppression of believers, nor is Christianity under attack.  It isn't going anywhere either.  The problem stems from the fact that times have changed.  This isn't the 1950s anymore, nor is this a Christian country.

Despite what people like Kim Davis say, there is no template for what an American should be, other than that pesky edict to follow the laws of the land.  White, black, red, brown.  Gay, straight, pan- or asexual.  Christian, Pagan, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist.  It doesn't matter.  This country is more of a melting pot than ever and we're all Americans.  Our very diversity should be one of our greatest assets, not a reason to act like asshats. 

Friday, September 04, 2015

Dear Self:

It's been one heck of a ride these last two months, hasn't it?  It's also brought up a few issues, hasn't it?  You haven't been feeling the most confident about your art, have you?  That fear of the Art Police has been rather entrenched as well, hasn't it? 

Here's some advice:  Shut up. 

Let's look at this.  Since July, you have started how many paintings?  Two carnival poster paintings; one orange slice ferris wheel, several tomatoes on the vine with tentacles, two with fruit and dinosaurs, one medium sized one where the tomatoes are getting revenge on a cutworm, a series of four smaller ones of them getting revenge on other insects, one of a kitsune, one 'inner self  portrait,' and another series of four of various critters wearing top hats, bowlers and bow ties.  Of these, three are still in progress; two were painted over and the rest went to the gallery. 

Of the gallery paintings, two have sold; three have come home, two stayed in the gallery and four were delivered today.  That's seventeen paintings in two months and eleven of them ended up in the gallery.  That sounds like a good record to me. 

So...shut up.  Paint.  If the Art Police show up, just pretend that It's 106 miles to Chicago, you've  got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and you're wearing sunglasses.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dreams and Calendars

Tired.  I got to work on two of the four inch paintings today.  It went fairly well.  I think I need to make the bugs a little more prominent.  After all, they're the reason why the tomatoes are getting revenge!

I painted for several hours, beginning around 9:30 or so.  No wonder I was ready to take a nap around 3:30, which is exactly what I did while a storm came in.  I only slept for about fifteen minutes but it was interesting.  I had one of those rare dreams where I knew I wasn't too far asleep and I was talking to someone.  I don't remember who or what was being said this time but I felt calm and fairly peaceful when I woke.  I had the feeling that I had gotten some good encouragement somehow. 

It was somewhat like the dream I had not long after Granny died.  We hadn't gotten along in a long while but in this dream, we settled things.  Like today's dream, I don't remember much about what was said.  I do remember very clearly standing in the kitchen, like we always did.  I was leaning against the stove, cup of tea in hand.  She was making biscuits and we finished our conversation before she got out her 'biscuit cutter,' which was a small, old tin can with both ends cut out.  It was like those tins blueberries used to come in with the blueberry pancake mix. 

Lammas is coming up on August 1, or Lughnasadh, if you prefer.  I really need to find something more meaningful to me.  I've stuck with this Celtic calendar...for convenience, I suppose, or laziness.  I have tried over the years to make peace with it (no one can call me a quitter) but it just doesn't resonate with me.  I may come from a line of farmers - two! - but I'm not one.  No matter how it's dressed up, it's still an agrarian calendar.  Outside of Samhain and Yule, it just doesn't cut it. 

Plus, it's a Celtic thing.  I come from Celtic stock but the calendar and mythology just doesn't resonate either.  According to the origins of my last name, there may also be Anglo Saxon as well too but a lot of that leaves me cold too. 

I do love Egyptian mythology but I'm not sure of the calendar.  It seems to be lunar based or something because it doesn't seem to be like Western calendars and the holidays wander.  I need to look into that.  Maybe. 

I know, I need to just get off my ass and figure this out.  Of course, now that the month and NaJoWriMo is nearly over, that's when I finally start getting down to the heart of things.   

Monday, July 27, 2015

Creating the Big A...or Not

Geez, it's hot in here today.  I guess it's no surprise.  I looked up the temps a little while ago and it was 86, with a heat index of 96.  Phew!

Today was spent in one of my favorite ways - building supports for the birch boards.  The gallery owner gave me an idea based on the Revenge painting and said I could have a week or so to do more paintings before the show became too hard to rearrange, so...

I came home yesterday and did my research on tomato pests.   Today, I made the supports and got them gessoed.  I thought about working on the painting on the easel while the glue dried and I had used all my clamps (I really need to replace some and add to the collection.  Like brushes, one can never have enough clamps.) but it took much effort than I was willing to put in after several hours of measuring and sawing to switch back and forth between 'building' brain and 'painting' brain.

Someone told me yesterday that she hadn't painted in fifteen years but has been getting the calling to pick up the brushes again and it's scary.  We agreed that on one hand, it could be a freeing thing - she doesn't have all that academic stuff in her head and she can just play.  Then she said an interesting thing: "Well, plus I finally realized I'm not going to make some Big Art.  I think we all through that at some point."

It's true.  There used to be that little voice at the back of my head.  It said that the art had to be Good - a Masterpiece - that could  hold up against Masters of Art: Dali, Miro, Warhol...of course, I would do it all my own way too. 

I wonder why we think that?  Is it more than just artists that go through this?  Is it just one of those engrained childhood things?  I mean, don't most parents say their kid is going to do Big Things?  "My kid's going to be a Doctor!  A Lawyer!  The PRESIDENT!"  I know it's a good thing meat to be positive thoughts for the future but I just wonder.  Maybe I'm just warped.

One thing to remember is that Van Gogh sold just one painting during his lifetime.  It also strikes me as a lot of trouble to have so much attention on your work.  I read somewhere about an artist (I can't remember his name) who got so popular that the business side of things took up so much of his time that he had two hours a week in  which to paint. 

I have ideas of how I want my art career to go from here, plus I have a standing invite for the gallery as well (that will and can be a post all in itself.)  I may as well get off my ass and do it.  It's not going to make itself. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Shop Talk

The paintings for the Tomato Art Fest are done!  Yay!  All that's left is to put the info on the back of them (title, medium, contact info, etc.) and delivering them tomorrow.  I do wish I hadn't obsessed so much on the carnival theme.  I would have gotten more paintings finished.  C'est la vie. 

I hope the caterpillar painting's photo is okay - it was a bitch to photograph. Then again, I didn't have the greatest equipment for the job.

I also went ahead and got another painting started.  This one has been floating around my head for about four years and I guess it decided it was time to come into the world.  It pretty much put itself on the board when it came to sketch it out and block in the colors (or rather, block in *some* colors.)

I accidentally got an oak board when I bought
supplies a while back.  I wasn't sure about it when I framed and gessoed it.  The grain is much different to what I'm used to - it is very deep, compared to poplar, and textural.  I want to play with it now with dry brush and building the colors with the base color in the grain and just dragging the other colors on top of that grain. 

I want to advance my skills and damn it, I'm going to do it!  My paintings need a bit more...what's the word?  Sophistication.  Keep the whimsy and odd but advance the techniques. 

My re-ment came on Thursday!  I ordered some loaves of bread and ceramic plates to put them on.  They're so tiny, yet detailed!  The plates are about an inch square and the loaves are about as long.  They even have the cuts in them so they could 'expand' as they 'baked.' 

I see why so many people get hooked on collecting the stuff!  I want a few more things, lettuce being in the mix, of course. 

This means I need to properly set up the shrine.  Altars, I'm used  to having but this is a new thing for me.  For one, I'm not used to having a deity take so much interest in me.  I've had a few that asked me to do things for them but not *this.*  Then again, there haven't been that many I would even consider setting up a shrine for.  I mean, there hasn't been any I really considered cultivating a relationship with. 

This is new alright.  I've resisted the whole deity thing from the beginning.  When I first became Pagan, way back in :::coughcoughmumblemumblecough,::: everyone was insistent on two things: everyone had to become clergy as soon as possible and everyone needed patron deities.

I never was very good at following the crowd or the rules but look at me now...and I can't figure out way a god of chaos is interested in me.  :-D

Saturday, July 18, 2015


I think I will come back to water after I'm finished with the paintings for the Tomato Art Fest.  For some reason, it's hard to write about water - I didn't realize I was so rusty on it!

Another question came up while I had the podcasts going as I painted.  I think it was an older New World Witchery podcast and they were talking about offerings - especially food offerings.  How to deal with them?  Do you leave them for awhile and eat them yourself at a later time?  Do you throw it out when they're 'done'?  (Wait...was it The Jaguar and The Owl podcast?  One of those two.)

I still have conflicted feelings about it, even after all this time.  On the one hand, it feels rude to put out food, only to come back later and take it away to eat it myself.  One of the guests made the observation: "You don't invite family over and let them fill their plates, only to have it taken away and eaten by someone else."

However, it feels quite companionable sometimes to have something like a burger or a snack to share with Them.  It's a little like sharing the popcorn at a movie.  I also like to sit down and offer a cup of tea.  It doesn't seem so...wasteful that way.

That is the crux of the thing, right there.  I am the granddaughter of people who lived through the Depression.  My paternal grandparents never talked about it but there was always plenty of food stored away in the root cellar - all things canned by grandmother out of the garden.  My maternal grandmother rarely talked about the Depression but she had a lingering distaste for macaroni and tomatoes because many times, that was all there was to eat.  (It was just cooked macaroni with canned tomatoes added to it, juice and all.)

So it is almost an ingrained thing for me.  You just do not waste food, no matter what.

I came across a blog (was it Devo's?) that explained the shrine they had set up.  What surprised me was the use of re-ment - in this case, good quality 1/12 scale food, plates and even beer.  They talked about how they had enough to switch out 'meals' fairly often.  The author of The Twisted Rope blog points out that is is not only the food (or spirit of food) that feeds the gods, but also the ritual, the words we say - the entire act of spending time with the gods that nourished Them.  Granted, re-ment may not work in every situation but it still seems like a viable option in a shrine.  It definitely looks like an easier option than paper things that is so popular in some Asian ceremonies, where they are burned to send the spirit of the things to the spirits. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Moving around the Septagram - the Land

So the second point on the septagram is the Land - Earth.  Before I go much further, I'll add the mystical aspects first, since I didn't feel that I covered much of it for the Sun.

The Earth, for me, is a steadying influence.  It is very much the foundation.  That foundation can be a very solid thing - like the limestone deposits that underlie much of this part of Tennessee.  The thing to remember is that sometimes, that limestone is dissolved away by the action of rainwater.  The rain washes the pollution out of the air - excess carbon dioxide, stuff from fossil fuels, etc. - and this creates a slightly acidic solution. It dissolves the limestone and after a while, BOOM!  What looked like solid ground is now a sinkhole. 

The lesson in this is that it is important to examine our foundations from time to time, so that we're standing on a firm foundation instead of having some insidious thoughts or beliefs dissolving it out from under us.
Not only is the Land a foundation but we depend on it for our very existence.  Our food grows in it.  Some animals eat the things that grow in it and we eat them.  It is also symbolic of the material world - where we live.  Abundance.  Security.  Health.  Our very bodies...

One of the first things I learned in Sunday school was that we were made from dust.  Clay.  This is true - many of the elements in our bodies is found in the environment.  Carbon.  Iron.  Traces of gold.  If we go further, each and every one of the elements on the planet were forged in the heart of an ancient star.  This is another mystery to ponder. 

The colors of the Land include all the colors of Earth - browns, ochres, black - but also the colors of the natural world throughout the seasons.  There are the bright greens of Spring and the whites and pinks (Ew. Sorry.) of the new blossoms; the darker greens and brighter colors of the Summer flowers, the muted reds, oranges and yellows of Fall and cold whites, blues, greys and purples for Winter. 

In some ways, the Land - Earth - is one of the most frightening things some can think of.  After all, we all die.  May people are put into the ground - dust to dust.  Some transforming, yet frightening stories involve going underground - Orpheus going to Hades to bring back Eurydice; Dante's Inferno.  Even stories about the Faery world involve mounds and underground courts.

Freya has a very earthy aspect.  Not only is she known for her 'earthy' attitudes (she certainly isn't ashamed of her body and knows how to use it for pleasure - both hers and one can assume, her partner as well) but she traveled to the underground realm of the Dwarves.  There she bartered a night with each of four Dwarves for her amber and gold necklace, Brisingamen.

Of course, the Land above isn't as tames as it seems.  Sometimes, it shakes.  There are animals - and other things - that remind us of its primal wildness.  Cernunnos can roam the land, sometimes inspiring wild, primal urges - to run!  To dance!  To have mad, passionate sex!  Other times, He can inspire the exact opposite.  Madness and fear follows when He leads the Wild Hunt. 

Pan can inspire the same feelings - after all, he is forever chasing nymphs in the Greek myths.  Yet He also lent his name to the words PANdemonium and PANic. 

Artemis can also be included here.  She is ofter in the forest, surrounded by Her Little Bears, free to roam.  She can be just as ferocious as a bear when they are bothered. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Moving around the septagram - The Sun

Since I skipped last night from being absolutely brain fried, I suppose I should jump straight into it.  I've tried writing about the septagram before but I don't think I've actually written about why it resonates with me so much. 

I came across this particular set of what the points mean years ago, I don't even remember where.  I don't even remember there being any explanations, other than the labels on the points.  The definitions have come along over the years, but I'm not sure anyone could ever be finished plumbing the meanings of each point. 

It's said that the septagram first appeared in Hellenic Greece, when a seven day week was adopted.  Since then, it has appeared in quite a few places - alchemy, various forms of witchcraft and Wicca, math...

For me, the seven points represent, in a clockwise direction from the upper right: 1.) the Sun, 2.) The Land, 3.) the Waters, 4.) the Magics, 5.) the Winds, 6.) the Moon and 7.) the Connection that binds all the other points together. 

The Sun: It is our closest star, at 93 million miles away from the Earth.  It can also be said to be the creator of our solar system, when something billions of years ago set off a chain reaction that began with a nebulous cloud of dust compressing and catching fire.  That single little proto-star set into motion the dust around it, where it whirled and whirled; crashed and crumbled, until the planets formed and settled into their orbits.

(I'll take that creation story any day, although Dave Sobel can tell it much more poetically than I in The Planets.)

Of course, in Egyptian mythology, the sun can be Ra, or Aten, Horus or Set (there He is again!)  Ra or Aten is the sun; Horus is the rising sun while Set is sometimes the setting sun although Horus' epithet of 'God of the Two Horizons' (under his guise as Horakhty) makes Him the god of the setting sun as well.

Paula Gunn Allen calls our sun Sutalidihi, Sixkiller.  Not only is She the lifegiver of the planet, but she is also a deadly thing, as deadly as an atomic bomb.  There is also a Cherokee story about how the Sun was once too close to the Earth, making all its inhabitants suffer.  The sorcerers tried to move it and it took four tries to get it far enough away. 

We can all see this dangerous side of the Sun when we're not careful.  Things left too long on the clothesline fade.  Too much exposure burns us, which can lead to other, nastier things. 

However, without the Sun, there wouldn't be any life.  The action of the Sun's warmth at the equator causes the atmosphere to expand and move and circulate around the planet.  It also feeds plants and trees, when they convert the sunlight to sugar via photosynthesis. 

The Sun has its obvious associations with fire - after all, it is a big, roiling ball of nuclear energy.   It is the symbol of all that is known, or out in the open, hence the saying, "Bringing it out into the light of day."  It can power spells and cleanse magical objects and stones.  It is symbolic of action, of power, of passion.  Yellows, reds and white are its colors.  It is a very powerful energy - so powerful, I've had people tell me that if you draw it down and channel its energy, it will poison you.  (I haven't had any bad experiences with it though.)

Friday, July 10, 2015

A post about painting and Egyptian Gods in which Star Wars references were NOT made...

I was seriously considering blowing off tonight's entry.  Sleep will not be long in coming tonight, I hope.  I worked about six hours on a painting today and when I say six hours, I mean "turned on the podcasts and off I went without a break."  I listened to some old Snap Judgement Spook episodes and Dreamland, plus one interview with Brian Cox that I completely forgot I had. 

The painting ended up being redone from yesterday, but I was prepared for that.  I'm not entirely in the love with the background - mostly the purple left from the previous composition. 

I hope the painting will be fine.  After I finished for today, I hung it on the porch in the usual place by the door for the night.  A storm blew up and it was a strong one.  The wind blew the rain in horizontally...all the way to the front door and the painting.  Hopefully, it will dry without any spotting. 

All this work today...I suppose some people will be disappointed to find out it is the third composition for that board.  I finally just painted over the ferris wheel.  It just wasn't working and it was a chore to work on - hell, to look at again.  I had forgotten my rule of thumb: if it doesn't make me smile or chuckle, then it needs to be gone.  It's a lesson I've been relearning on several fronts lately. 

Perhaps that is why Set is back, perhaps He was never gone and I was just not in shape to perceive Him (hell, I could barely perceive the mundane there for a while.)


He's been on my mind a lot lately.  A friend posted in her blog night before last about the Furies and mentioned how they have been maligned in modern times and how they were originally storm gods.

The same could be for Set.  I'm not saying He has a completely undeserved reputation and He is all puppies and ice cream (heh.)  It simply isn't the whole picture. 

He is one of the oldest gods in the Egyptian pantheon.  Of course, one the best known stories about Set is the one involving Osiris.  You know: family squabble, Osiris gets murdered (there are two different stories about how it came about) and it's all because of jealousy.

But was it?  Really?

The thing about mythology is it sometimes get influenced by whoever is in charge.  In the older stories, Set is simply the opposite of Horus.  He was Night to Horus' Day and they were equals - more like yin and yang.  Some say this is because the lands were in peace, Set's North and Horus' South.  Somewhere along the line, the South may have gained more power, hence Set being maligned. 

What does this have to do with Osiris?  If you look at the stories, in the beginning, Osiris was a vegetation god.  That's it.  But once Set got a hold of Him, Osiris descended to the underworld...and became Lord of it and of resurrection.  In other words, He went from being a vegetation god to being a Big Deal.  Without Set's actions, He may have never risen (pun intended) within the pantheon.  I suppose it could even be seen as an initiation. 

I could make a comparison to Darth Vader and Obi Wan but I'll refrain.

Coming back to today's painting, destruction was certainly the name of the game.  Hopefully, this comp is infinitely better than the other one with the ferris wheel.  I had wanted to do something different but I don't know.  It just wasn't working.  Perhaps the idea just needed time to go to ground and come back bigger and better.   

Monday, July 06, 2015

Why honor the savage gods?

Black Cat's radar is in working order.  More times than not, I sit down to write and he's right here, looking to see if there are any edibles - and to look at me as if he is a poor, Dickensian starving waif asking, "Please, Ma'am.  A scrap, a morsel of food is all I ask..."
Now that it's a bit later and Black Cat has found a scrap of food in Kuma's bowl (read: it was half full,) I guess I can write.

John Beckett and Galina Krasskova had articles today about honoring and loving fearsome and savage gods.  They ask why anyone would want to do so - why not just focus on the positive and beautiful aspects. 

I agree with their reasons.  When we reject certain aspects because they make us uncomfortable, it stunts our relationship with Them.  That's not to say it's not terrifying when our gods show their more awesome sides.  It most definitely is.  Sometimes it comes, not in a big act, but in the smallest thing.

I lost my great aunt in a tornado several years ago.  It was truly a terrible storm and it could have well earned the epithet 'Eye of Set' (in fact, one man who survived the storm with a broken leg was quoted, "The Lord grabbed my leg and kicked my ass.")

It was hard for me to believe that this wonderful, funny woman had died in such a horrible, terrifying way.  In my grief, I asked Set that night why - why did this happen to her?

I'm not entirely sure what I was looking for but if I was looking for comfort, I didn't get it.  I was deeply grieving my loss but in response to my question was the completely dispassionate, what-the-fuck-is-it-any-of-my-concern answer, "Sometimes, things just are."

It was one of the few times I understood the phrase, "my blood ran cold."  It was a reminder that the gods are not human, even if they can sometimes pass.  We humans also forget ourselves and act like we are the end all, be all and occasionally we need reminders that we are so not.

After I began to get over my grief and think about the answer I received, plus my daring to ask a storm god why a storm took my loved one, I started to respect Set even more.  In that one, toss-away answer, I caught a glimpse of the terrible awesomeness of this god.  Plus, there are multiple layers in that one answer.  Sometimes, it is the direct answer that is the most helpful, more than any platitude, no matter how well meaning it is. 

Getting back to the original point of all this, why not just focus on the positive and beautiful?  Because when you reject the parts you don't like, you saying that you can't accept that deity in totality, or at least as much totality as we measly humans can comprehend.)

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Sovereignty vs. freedom

Happy Independence Day!

Sumner County is appropriately spook free tonight, as per Chinese custom.  Unfortunately, about the time I decided everyone was done for the night and got the food put out for the cats, the neighbors on the other side of the cemetery began shooting the loudest fireworks yet.  They put on a good, brave front but even Arlo gave up after eating a good deal of his food.  Black cat was the first to head back to the house, followed by Kuma.  Like I said, Arlo was last.  It was as if he was saying, "I don't care.  I got my food." 

I ended up bringing the most of the food to the porch.  Black Cat was happier with that idea. 

I was going to use question #2 in chapter one of The Circle Within but I think I will use the day to write about sovereignty. 

sovereignty: * supreme power or authority,
                          * The authority of a state to govern itself or another state
                           synonyms: autonomy, independence, freedom, self rule
                          * A self governing state

freedom: The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint

independence: Not influenced or controlled by other in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself      

Many times, it seems that sovereignty and freedom are used interchangeably and in some situations, I don't believe there is a problem in that.  Is there a difference when it comes to our path and religion?

Freedom is something we have from the beginning - we have the freedom to choose.  Do we stay with our birth religion; seek out another path or do away with spirituality altogether?  We are also free to do as we please once that decision is made, whether it is to show up for appearances, or to dive into the lessons the path has to offer. 

Sovereignty, on the other hand, is earned.  We have very little sovereignty when we begin.  Some people are happy not gaining much more sovereignty and simply going along with the masses.  Others have a need - a drive - to go deeper, to make the connections and create a wide ranging base of knowledge to stand on as a foundation.  With this foundation, they can build on their ability to decide for themselves what is right - their ability to govern themselves instead of going with the masses. 

It seems to me that sovereignty is the harder road, involving a great deal of hard work and not much room for slacking off.  In the end, however, it seems to also be the much more satisfying way to go.  

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.