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.