Beltane and the full Leaf Moon have happened over the same weekend. We slept with the bedroom window open (a bit) last night, and the furnace is officially off. The garden is planted with red russian kale, various rainbow chards, fava beans, cilantro, and a couple of kinds of peas. It’s warm enough that I’m inclined to push a few squash seeds into the soil and see if they’ll wake up along with everybody else (although I think it would be wise to hold off on that for at least a week, so that the leafy greens and so-on have a head start on the Butternuts and Pumpkins that can, and will, eat every available patch of earth aforded them).
I’m excited about growing my own food, in (hopefully!) actual significant quantities, again! I’m hopeful about being able to can tomatoes and freeze greens from my own garden (as well as from the farmer’s market, but still).
I also (finally, after years of intending to do so) placed an order for half a pig. I opted for half a pig instead of the equivalent in pounds-of-meat (but including beef and chicken as well) because, frankly, it’s about $400 less expensive which, in and of itself, will make doing this again next year a LOT more possible. It still only works out to about 1.5lbs of meat (not including stuff like bones and leaf lard) per week, and I’ll be suplementing that with not-nearly-so-ethical stuff like Traditionally Raised and/or Free From goodies from the grocery store, or definitely ethical stuff like the meat at Seed To Sausage (which is actually a lot more expensive than my half-pig price per pound, but whatever – ther apple-and-sage AND their red-wine-and-garlic sausages are both outstanding, so).
So that’s where things are at on the food front.
The magnolias bloomed on Beltane. I cna’t tell you how happy this makes me. 😉
And both the lilacs and serviceberries are getting ready to go any day now. Apples, I suspect, will take a little bit longer. I have tiny flowers in my front yard (which is shady most of the day, otherwise I might have tulips blooming by now, too) and other bulbs coming up and getting (slowly) ready to bloom. I have PLANS to add morning glories, flax, phlox, columbines, and campanels, and other shade-friendly/tollerant/loving flowers – and a lot of fancy garden soil for top-dressing – to the front yard as well. 🙂 That may be an activity for this afternoon. 😉
I’m looking at attending this event this year. I’m a little nervous, as I’ve never done this kind of a ritual before, but it also sounds pretty far up my alley. It doesn’t quite have copies of my house keys, but it could, if you know what I’m saying. So, provided I can find transportation, I’m going to get myself registered and give this a whirl. O.O
Anyway. There’s bread to make, candles to (finally, eugh) light, seeds to plant, and garden beds to water (although possibly not until after 6pm on that last one – don’t need it all to evaporate on me, right?) so I’m going to skedaddle.
Roll on, Summer! 😀
Melaid the Birch Maiden.
As I’m writing this, people I care about are making their way towards my city (and, in a couple of case, my house) for a Leather Family Reunion of sorts. I’ll be bringing my handspinning with me (again, and along with a couple of big vats of food because: this is me we’re talking about) in order to soak up some of The Fam into the yarn I’m spinning (and spinning, and spinning… I’ve been doing this for most of a year now and, possibly because I’ve been deliberately felting the yearn when I wash it, I’m still not finished my various shawl stripes and keep needing to generate more yarn to get the lengths right…).
For a brief little bit (like a couple of hours – there was, to my relief, a bit of a crossed wire there) I was on the hook for a short-notice workshop/craft-and-chatter-session about the work of one’s hands and how it relates to Power (in the kink sense) and also Power (in the spirituality sense).
My personal unified theory of How I Function Best has a lot to do with how (and if) I move around. Given that I spend a tonne of my time ensconsed on a couch, or in a chair (less frequently), typing away at All The Things, this may explain why it’s so easy for me to become despondent and generally get bogged down the Swamp of the Psyche (if you’re familiar with Brene Brown, you will probably alreqdy know that this means Shame).
Doing things with my hands – and, more generally, working my body – is a way to combat/avoid this, yes. But It’s the WHY of it that gets my attention from a Witchy perspective. Dancing, singing, blending yin and yang (hatha) yoga, going walking, working in the garden, doing handicrafts, doing the chopping/kneading/general-prep of a slow-cooking meal, even hand-cranking our little, borrowed laundry pod… all of that stuff helps to get my Energy moving freely. No blockages. It shakes off the random, yet never-ending, tiredness. It helps me direct my own energy (practically and magically) towards whatever goals I happen to be wrestling with at the time.
I realize that this probably sounds pretty Artists-Way-y, but there it is. Move your body, make things with your hands, and you (or at least I) will find it easier to make things (create things, create changes, make things happen) with your mind and your magic.
Knowledge, Wisdom, and Gnosis… They’re all different things, aren’t they. Knowledge can sometimes feel like theory, like book-learning, a fairly typical definition of what you accumulate while Getting An Education. the other two are… maybe more experiential? Maybe? It’s funny. “Wisdom” tends to show up, in my head, like “something you accumulate over years and years of experience”. It’s not formal learning, it’s “Street smarts”, and it’s usually the kind that you accumulate through learning from your own mistakes rather than from someone else’s. At this point, I don’t have much of that. A little bit, maybe, but I could be just confusing it for, like, Being Tired and Feeling Old more than anything else.
Knowledge is knowing which plants are safe to eat because you read about them in a (reliable) book or website or what-have-you.
Wisdom is knowing which plants are safe to eat because you’ve actually eaten them yourself and you know how to prepare them to neutralize the oxalis (or whatever) so that nobody gets sick to their stomaches and so that the plants actually taste good when you eat them.
Gnosis is… Gnosis is knowing which plants are safe to eat because they straight up told you themselves and you had the where-with-all to hear and understand.
Gnosis doesn’t happen much for me. I’m what sometimes gets called a “cement head” or, alternatively, a “natural ground”. I can bring people home when they get lost, bring them back to earth when they’re spiraling and can’t find their feet… but my radio signal is Not Receiving most of the time.
I do get this sometimes. Sometimes, my Intuition talks loudly enough for me to listen (this is usually within the context of modeling, where I’ve learned to listen to that little voice that raises the hairs on my neck). Sometimes I can feel the change in air-consistency that means a big heap of energy – whether we’re talking a wave or a non-corporial Person – is moving through or in. Sometimes I can actually hear the Gods & Ancestors talking to me – or at least pointing me towards The Thing (like it or not). But most of the time? Most of the time, I’m going on Knowledge, Wisdom, and Faith.
Wish me luck with that. 😉
So I’ve been reading Radical Ecstasy (off and on) for a little while now, as well as paging through Barbara Carellas’ Ecstasy is Neccessary. In part, I’m trying to sort out what “ecstasy” means, as a term, when applied to sex.
When I use it, I’m talking in part about the “rush” that comes when you and anyone you’re involved with are really hitting your flow, sexually. I’m talking in part about when muscle movement takes over and… the engine catches, if you will. But I’m also talking about sex as magic – that whole “S/M = Sacred Mystery” kind of thing.
It’s funny. Because I tend to top, even vanilla-wise, I tend to think of “sexual ecstasy” as being something that I facilitate in order for my partner (in theory) to experience it. the few times I’ve gone flying, have been outliers – the exception rather than the rule – a “domme space” where I feel like I can contain the whole universe (or, at the very least, a whole galaxy). Bigger than my physical body by a significant margin. And I don’t know whether that feeling is “ecstasy” or if it’s something else.
I miss that feeling of flight. I’ve written a little bit about it over here, but it’s not just a sexual thing. It comes from singing, too. I wonder if I’m not confusing/conflaiting ecstasy with “flow state” – that point where the challenge of what you’re doing is equal to your level of skill, so you can be fully immersed in the activity rather than either (a) getting bored or (b) having to direct most of your focus towards Not Screwing Up and, thus, can’t really get into any kind of a Zone.
So what does this have to do with Paganism?
Partly, it’s the idea of ecstatic states being trance states, and my interest in being able to step in and out of trance when it’s appropriate to do so. I… suspect (’cause I’m not totally sure) that when I do that energy-vampire thing where I’m on a crowded dance floor and can just go for hours because I’m cycling the free-flowing energy through my body and out again, that I’m both (a) in, or near, a trance state, but also (b) I’m approaching something ecstatic.
I don’t reeeeeeeeally have a clue on that front, but it seems like that might be the case, like they might be connected in some way.
The other part is that I’m wondering if drawing on/in ecstatic experience would be a way to attain more Meaning in ritual (for example) or deeper connection in sex/scene experiences. I’d like to know how to get myself there, and how to get someone else into that zone as well. A handy tool in my ritualist’s/top’s toolkit, so to speak.
So here I am, chasing that feeling and wondering if I can find my way to it again or at all.
Yes, I’ve been watching “Rent” a lot lately. How did you know?
I had a discussion with my brother the other day about “free will” and how, it became clear over the course fo the conversation, my brother seems to believe that “free will”, if it exists, must be connected to the conscious mind’s ability to make (or not make) decisions. If the decision isn’t made on a conscious level (or is made on a conscious level only after it’s been made on an unconscious level – there was some study he read in some medical journal?) it doesn’t count as “free” will.
I’m of a differing oppinion as, I’m sure, will come as no surprise to you.
I think that reality is much, much bigger than what our conscious minds are aware of. And I think that our unconscious minds area lot more up on What’s Going On – both interms of what’s going on inside us (are we getting sick, what kind of emotional baggage is at play in Situation X, whether or not so-and-so is really all that good for us, you name it) and in terms of the more complext nature of the cosmos in general.
I like to use tarot cards to try and sort out what’s up with me, sometimes, because it’s a way for my unconscious mind (which speakis in pictures and metaphor, but that also tends to know what’s really going on) to communicate effectively with my conscious mind (which speaks in words, but is really good a lying to itself).
Now… maybe it’s my “listen to your heart” tendencies, but I do think that our unconscious minds, well, (a) have free will but (b) are a lot more in touch with our Wills than our conscious minds are. That’s why Starhawk’s techniques are all about getting your head out of “talking self” space and into “deep self” space via methods that let the two talk to each other.
Our unconscious is where (and how) we can work magic. It’s the seat of our freest Will.
Last post for this round of The Pagan Blog Project.
In my previous post (officially done to complete the 2012 series of prompts… better late than never), I briefly touched on some (very) new additions to my practice.
For the most part (possibly the entire part?) my new additions – both the ritual group and the tantric stuff with my wife, plus the course I’m taking with Del – are not solitary practices. This is a bit of a New Thing for me, as I’ve done solitary practice for pretty much the entire time I’ve been IDing as Pagan. (I attended a monthly goddess group for a year and a half, and did a few rituals with friends back in 2002, but that’s about it). But I’ve been feeling like I needed a “buddy” or something for some time, particularly after some of what I picked up on during my (not all that frequent) trips to my personal Inner Landscape and my wife’s admonition of “I don’t want to come home to Crazy Wife” which, while I don’t think I’m likely to head down the madness path because of anything I find in my own head… I can’t actually guarantee that. I want to have some kind of a life-line so that I can be pulled out if need be. :-\
So: Buddy System (or group ritual, or guided meditation with something that is not a tape-player doing the guiding, or, or, or) it is. 🙂
But why talk about this in a post called “Zero to Zenith”?
Well… Okay. Let’s haul another Z word into this: Zodiac. We’re about to flip into 2014, and my We’Moon horoscopes have been saying “explore sacred sexuality” for a couple of years now. I’ve got no idea if this is My Path, but there are so many corelations and similarities between various bits and pieces of Stuff That I Do, that it seems like I’d be a twit not to take a look and try to get some education and experience in this end of the world.
So, if I’m starting… pretty close to zero in terms of experiences and know-how, while I’m cocky enough to presume I’ll become some kind of an expert or whatever in the space of a year, I’m hoping to get a few steps up that mountain and develope the techniques and skills I’ll need to keep climbing. 🙂
Base camp, here we come. O.O
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
So… I did a thing.
Or, more accurately, I signed up for a thing that will start in the new year.
I signed up for Del’s Spirit Work 101 course.
The course is $45. Which seems like a lot for once-a-month emails and a couple of skype sessions.
Would I pay that much for a subscription to Wiccan Candles or PanGaia? Not a chance. Not even if either of them sent out 12 issues a year.
But I have paid $100 for a year’s subscription to The Omikuji Project – which is twelve stories (hard copy form) per year, and no google-chats or, like, writing techniques.
So it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Besides… If someone like Del (or Lee or Winter or anyone from Circles of Kink) turned up in my neck of the woods and offered three workshops through Venus Envy for $15 admission each? I’d be there in the front row. In a heartbeat.
So I figure I’ll give this a go.