Friday, December 31, 2010

Insobriety & Shadows

Last night, I went dancing.

Drinking is a required precursor.  I would like to get to the point where it's optional and I can get into an altered state for dancing without it.  But for now, it's simpler.  It allows me to trance out... it allows me to not dance TO the music, but let the music dance through me.  The experience is ecstatic and sacred to me.  I'll often say a short prayer ahead of time to Dionysos, dedicating my dancing to Him.

The drinks were really slow to kick in, though, which is what led to me going a bit overboard.  It's hard to keep a delicate balance with this sort of thing, which is sort of the point I suppose.  But I had a couple very interesting moments.  While I had my first couple drinks and just observed - myself, the music, the dance floor - I was able to feel the exact moment when my mind felt altered.  The sound of the music shifted subtley but suddenly.  (It actually sounded different in my ears.)  Or more accurately, I shifted into the music.  The feeling was "Oh, there it is..."

At another point, I was just listening while taking a break from dancing, and I felt as if I could hear the music beneath the music.  My senses could travel through the sound and noise and beat to the strains beneath, humming with the universe itself.  It was music broken down to its paradigm, not just sound but sound married to feeling and movement, and I named it automatically with a marveled recognition... I think I even whispered it outloud -- "longing".

I also remembered how I used to be so much more about the Goddess rather than the God.  I used to even feel trepidation about calling on or worshipping a "male" deity.  I thought, when did that change?  How did I get here?  When now it is nearly all about the God, or a certain god at least.  That may be an interesting topic for another blog.

I will not even try to describe the experience of dancing itself, I do not think I could.

I met some interesting people, though socializing is never a priority.  One interesting soul was not only well versed with my favorite bands, but was also pagan and devoted to Hecate.

Maybe Hecate herself even stepped in, because I ran into my shadow later at home -- and though I'm blessed to never have hangovers, I'm still recovering emotionally from that.  I'm not even sure how to begin integrating that experience, although there has to be something important there.  And even as I'm writing this, I find out that the one actual person that if I did meet would be like meeting my shadow (not by her nature but from a long, complex history of negative association), actually saw me at the club last night, though I did not see her.  What is the universe trying to tell me?  Or more importantly, what am I trying to tell myself? 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Your Joy is your Sorrow unmasked"

^ One of my favorite Gibran quotes.

Solstice did not go as planned.  And although it was out of my control, I still find ways to criticize myself.  I should have planned better, had back up plans, had a focus that didn't depend so much on one variable...  Or if I'm not criticizing myself, I'm trying to put some meaning to it.  Did I do something wrong, practically or cosmically?  Is there some lesson or message in my plans going awry?  But I recognize myself doing this, and just try to take a deep breath and move forward.  Mercury is in retrograde, after all.

These last couple months I've been "living close to my emotions".  It's a phrase I keep coming back to because I don't know how else to describe it.  As a result, I experience many more moments of peace, wonder, gratitude and happiness.  But nearly as often, I will suddenly feel this overwhelming sadness.  Sometimes in the same day, sometimes for all the same reasons.  I feel that it's a result of trying to remain connected and stay true to my Self and my path.  I'm not bottling up or dismissing anything.  And more significantly, trying to follow your bliss is damn difficult.  It's an emotional tight-rope walk in the nude. 

In rereading The Secret Magdalene, Yeshua's description of gnosis stirs up this desire in me, and a struggle.  My own path is a paradox -- believing we are all One, we are all God, while worshipping very specific gods as individual entities.  This is quite reconcileable, in the end.  The gods are individuals as we are, which is to say we are but aren't.  And I feel that Oneness is the end result/goal regardless of the tradition, religion or practice.  But is focusing on the separateness to get to the path of Oneness just making things more difficult for myself?  And yet through cultivating relationships with certain gods, we can get closer to that god, and therefore to the All.  The maenad versus the bodhisattva.  Sometimes I feel I must be a maenad, dancing and raving my barriers down before I can be bodhisattva -- an embodiment of divinity that is calmer and more giving.  Like I must first lose myself to become selfless.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Eclipse

I had only 40 minutes to spend outside on my lunch break at work to try and see the eclipse.  My coworkers say there is too much cloud cover.  I say "It will peak through eventually."  When I go out, there are only clouds.  But I had felt the energy building all evening, so I sit down to take advantage of this quiet time to soak it in and listen.

Between the sun and the moon.  The gods are talking.  Everything seems amplified.  I open my chakras, ask for my blocks to be torn down, for what no longer serves me to be stripped away.  I ask for my true self and purpose to shine through.

A desire rose up in me, and formed a single statement...  I want to be a shaman for this age.

The statement was acknowledged.  "It is in you but there is work to do, even as it is being done now."

Should I worry about ego, about my motivation?  "When you continue down the right path, the question of ego is a circular thing.  Once you are there, to be selfish IS to care for the others that are you, it becomes the same."

I contemplate this sameness.  I have a conversation with the universe about divine love.

I look at the time.  Ten more minutes.

I look up, and the constantly shifting clouds finally reveal Her.  Like a glimmering eye, a crescent sliver, being birthed before my eyes.  I cannot touch her with my hands any more than I can my own heart, but She feels just as close.  There are no more words. 

Just... faith.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cup of tea

In trying to integrate daily meditation into my routine, I've realized that it's not so much about good intention, as it is about figuring out what works.  I can *intend* to do it sometimes between when I wake up and leave for work, or even sometime between when I wake up and go to bed, but in the endless list of mundane things "to do", it is not likely.  So what works?  For now at least, I need routine.  And just after waking up seems the best way to make it a priority.  So I'm now allowing myself a cup of tea and the time it takes to write down my dreams upon waking, but no computer or other distractions until later.

I meditated for 15 minutes, which I was surprised to find that it was not nearly as long as I'd have liked even though I'm out of practice.  Going to try for 25-30 minutes a day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

love is the every only god

Thursday I had set aside as a devotional day for Aphrodite.  Somewhat unplanned, I ended up spending the whole day with someone I love very dearly, and we had some very intense and heartfelt conversation.  Even looking back on the conversation itself, there is an air of something incredibly sacred about it. 
So was the intention of having this devotional day ahead of time part of how it turned out, very much a day devoted to Her, though not the way I planned?  Is it simply synchronous?    I had in the back of my mind a bit of guilt that I hadn't meditated for the goddess specifically, hadn't done any of the solitary things I had planned.  I didn't even give her offerings until Friday.  But would She mind, considering how it went?  A interesting lesson in what devotion is - not always what is planned, and that the spontaneous participation in life and its synchronicities can be even more powerful.
I am so filled to the brim with gratitude to Aphrodite and Dionysos and the immanent Divine for the gifts I've been given (and just as importantly, the knowledge to see these gifts with clarity) that I'm not sure how to express or repay it sufficiently.  I am blessed.  But how could I not be?  I am god, as are You.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Picking up the Thread, Again

Noumenia was on Monday.  I smudged my apartment, poured out libations of milk and honey to the gods, read an Orphic hymn and meditated for a little while.  I also stated my renewed commitment to my spiritual path before the gods.  No epiphanies or fireworks, not that I was expecting any, and yet I felt invigorated by it - it all felt good and right - and I was able to do this even on a work day.

I've been paying more attention to omens and synchronicities.  Recently, I saw a crow on an adjacent building in my complex - the first I've ever seen in the city.  If there was any doubt about it being a crow and not some other large black bird, the ruckus it was making was telling enough!  And then a few days later, I saw a coyote in broad daylight by the library.  Both trickster spirits.  I thought the crow was reminding me about the role of a trickster in my life, and now I'm wondering if maybe that role is not just present through others but maybe something I'm meant to embody *for* others as well?  This has been on my mind -- the role of a modern shaman to shake up people's perceptions of the everyday.  I'm still contemplating this, although a conversation with a friend gave me one possible idea.  I'm still working on this so don't wish to say too much, except that it will incorporate art, divination, poetry and trickstering (I'm trying to find a better word, I promise.)  I'd love to be part of those groups who do random theatrical stunts in public, crowded settings -- how much more Dionysian can you get??  I'm not nearly outgoing enough to do something like that on my own, however.  (Or am I?)

There have been other synchronicities -- a friend quoting a part of a book discussing the eidelon and the daemon on the 2nd day of the lunar month which is dedicated to the Agathos Daemon.  This was very timely, as I was trying to integrate my intuitive idea of the daemon as the higher self with only the vaguest of references on the net to go on, usually referring to it as a god, guardian or ancestral spirit.  This quote specifically names the daemon as the higher self, which I took to mean I was on the right track. 
Things I have planned:  a devotional day each for Aphrodite, The Muses, and Dionysos.  (An idea I borrowed from Sannion because it resonates with me strongly.)  I also plan to include a pilgrimage out of the city each month, whether in conjunction with a devotional day, other festival, or on its own.  This month I'm planning to combine it with my Dionysos day and I'm very excited about it.  I'm also planning on doing something intense to take avantage of the combined solstice/eclipse energy on the 21st.  The Haloa (a festival for Dionysos and Demeter) falls on New Year's Eve... I'm not sure yet what I will do for the beginning of the day, but it will end up with drinking and dancing at a local venue hosting a masquarade, burlesque show and rockabilly band.  

On top of that, I'm trying to incorporate daily prayer and meditation as much as possible.  This is harder to do during my work week of 12 hour shifts.  But I know it's simply a matter of habit, priority and not letting myself sleep in til the last minute -- the daily commitment is going to be hardest for me. 

It occurs to me that it's ironic I chose December as the month to renew my spiritual commitments, as busy as the month is on its own!  But, "chose" isn't the right word, any more than "fate" or "necessity"... it just is and it's right.