Wednesday, January 19, 2011


First Lenaia celebrated.  Not over several days, not how the ancients did it, not scripted or planned. 

After 12 hours of work, in the liminal time between the setting full moon and rising sun, I light the altar candles and kyphi, strip off my clothes, put on a record of whimsical music, grab my thyrsus from the altar, and dance.  Sometimes graceful, sometimes not.  I laugh at myself, I writhe and twirl in the tight spaces of my bedroom.  I throw my head back, reverent and irreverent, touch my tongue to the pine cone, raise the thyrsus high.  Rise and come, Dionysos!  Born from Semele, from Persephone, from the thigh of Zeus!  Light in the dark!  I call in many ways.  I kneel with a bottle of wine, a chalice of water, a mixing bowl.  I accidentally pierced my hand with a wine opener.  Now it knows both of our blood!  Water to wine.  I bask in Your presence, speak of innermost feelings, maenad to god, woman to lover.  I mix my tears in the bowl.  Every sip of wine brings a new eruption of goosebumps on my skin as You wash over and through me.  I thank, I offer, kiss the surface of the wine with my lips, and pour out the libation.  I think, "To love Dionysos is to be in love with life itself."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Heart Protected, Muses Neglected

I am a daydreamer.  I daydream scenarios both good and bad, impossible and probable.  I've been trying to master this more, particularly the negative ones, for I know part of it stems from my need to feel in control by working through all possible situations ahead of time.  (That whole statement doesn't work does it?  Damn.  Back to square one.  Well let's just say I'm trying to be more aware of how I focus my energy.)  Nevertheless, the more constructive daydreams become, essentially, a conversation with myself.  Sometimes they are illuminating ones, as far as facing my own fears and motivations goes.

In this way, I realized today (not for the first time) that I am holding back.  I am afraid of simply being happy sometimes, of letting go and appreciating the moment.  This manifests in particular ways, ways that are fucking sneaky sometimes... where I can easily justify to myself that I am simply being practical or protecting my heart.  But those are just excuses. The past is no excuse either, even less so.

How simple it is to be sad, to surrender, risk nothing.

I would have said this holding back has only been occasional and I've been fine on the whole, except for one thing that struck me today: I have not written any poetry in months.

I can't even remember the last.  Sometime before October?  Perhaps even longer ago than I think.  To me, this is very significant: both the fact itself and that it took me so long to take note.

I DO remember having ideas and being in poetic moods.  I have had no shortage of inspiration and experiences to draw from.  I also remember, further back along this time-line, thinking "I don't have the heart to write right now..."  And slowly that excuse morphed into something else, this vaguest sense of bottling up and redirecting, that I did without even thinking about it.

I don't think this is a wall I can batter down between phone calls at work, but it's a wall I don't want to ignore anymore either.  The more I think about it the more I see other ways it's manifesting.

For instance, last Thursday was the day I had planned my devotional day for the Muses.  It coincided, coincidentally, with a lecture at the art museum that I wanted to see about "goddesses" (talented actresses) in the golden age of film.  This is a topic I am both interested in and know little about, so it was very enjoyable.  That was followed by a walk around the art museum to see some favorite pieces and sections.  All in all, a lovely day, and very much in line with their realm. 

However, I must admit that my last 2 devotional days for the Muses included no actual creative work done by myself, which I would have thought would be my main focus on these days. 

Not to mention that I'm a musician whose instruments are no doubt feeling seriously neglected of late. 

That probably sounds like a morose note to end on, but hey, I'm a fan of the minor keys.  One way or another, it's time for a time out, for barrier-breaking and becoming creative again.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Daemonia Nymphe

How did I not know about this band?? I will definitely be obtaining some of their music SOON...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dancing in the New Year

On the night of New Year's Day, I had what is, up until this point, THE most spiritual experience I've ever had while dancing.

(My previous plans for New Year's Eve had been botched due to being forced to work overtime that night.  So I went out on the New Year's Day instead.)

There are some important things leading up to this.  Including my experiences the last time I went dancing, which I blogged about a little.  Also, yesterday morning I woke from a dream about one of my favorite musicians, Owen Pallett.  I was left, upon waking, with a desire to listen to one of his songs.  I did so, and immediately something "clicked" for me.  I realized the source of some of my shadow issues that cropped up the last time I went dancing, and that had been bothering me since.  Although realizing is not the same as solving or facing, by any means, naming it is certainly a vital first step.

A friend and I went to the club together.  We drank a generous amount of wine in the parking lot.  (Hey, buying drinks is expensive.  Also, we had better wine than the bars serve.)  I blessed some of it, we  toasted Dionysos.  I also used some of the marvelous Aves salve (flying ointment) I'd purchased from The Forest Grove Botanica.  I will definitely be using this combination again...

What I'm ABLE to describe now is only a fraction of what I experienced.  But such is the paradoxical nature of not only trying to recall things experienced in an altered, ecstatic state, but even of trying to translate it into words. 

The 2nd or 3rd song I danced to is where it really kicked in.  The song was a slower, sultry one - a familiar staple of the club, but one which I sadly do not know the name of.  I remember thinking "Gypsy songs are dangerous..."  (Meaning, I think, songs which make me move my hips a lot...)  More than ever, I was not in control of my dancing... my dancing was an expression, and one that I could even step outside myself and marvel at the ways that my body was choosing to manifest the music.

I was, for the first time, flirting with my god.  This sounds funny, probably, but how else to explain?  Flirting is a two way communication of subtleties.  And most significantly, He was *there* to flirt with, and flirt back -- I can't really describe how astounding that was.

There were conversations... whole conversations.  I went ELSEWHERE.  I dance with my eyes closed usually.  But I remember opening my eyes at the end of a song, and being, not surprised exactly, but AWARE of how displaced I had been.  I had not been dancing on just that dance floor.

I asked a gift of Him, and I felt that he made me a promise.  It is far too personal to share, and I will never be able to tell you if he grants it, but it is enough for me to feel that promise.

This was one of my favorite parts... which again, may sound strange and I even hesitate to share it.  I mentioned before the idea of flirting, and that I do not control my dancing (to a large degree, depending on the trance state).  One of the "gifts" given me that night, while dancing with the god, was that he would catch me.  SO many times.  Dancing, twirling, writhing, almost always with my eyes closed - if I ever was on the verge of losing my balance, there was an opposing force righting me before it could happen.  How many times did I murmur, "thank you" for this?  Too many to count!!  Also (and I nearly swoon to think of it) there were a couple instances, where my own hand was "brought" to my face, the way that one might caress the cheek of a lover.  Oh, my Lord...

I've aspired to be his, to be as a maenad, and dare I say that I crossed into that realm that night?  I can't deny the power of what I felt, and the communion and intimacy.  And yet there's a strong sense of, not ending or accomplishment, so much as beginning and initiation.

I think it will be an interesting year.

iPod Augury for 2011

I like doing divination for the new year.  Tarot is my tool of choice, but I've also developed a way of using a shuffle or random setting on an mp3 player to imitate a 10 card Celtic Cross spread.  Especially useful if you're "on the go", or have a long car ride ahead of you...

If you wish to do this, here are some helpful things to think about...  Think, what suit does this song sound like (wands, swords, cups, pentacles)? What are the main instruments?  What is the mood?  If it's by your favorite band, perhaps this is the equivalent of a "major arcana" card for you.  What does an instrumental song indicate to you?  How about a remix?  Consider the lyrics as well as the song and even album titles.  Consider previous associations with the song.  Pay attention to the literal, it's sometimes surprising!  There's so much more you can consider, but that's definitely plenty to get started with.  (And of course, there's no reason you couldn't adapt this to another system, I'm just more familiar with tarot so it works for me.)

In order to get things rolling, I had to pick a song to start with and then hit "random" on my stereo.  This is much like deliberately choosing a querent card for myself, so it suited me just fine.  I chose a song that has been resonating strongly with me today and yesterday - "Many Lives for 49MP" by Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett).  Here are the songs that followed:

1) Return (Coming Home) Dreamside remix Part II - The Cruxshadows
2) Scatterbrain (As Dead as Leaves) - Radiohead
3) Cry Little Sister (2008 Caveclub remix) - G Tom Mac
4) Headphones (0 remix) - Bjork
5) The Tragic Events of September Part I - Evelyn Evelyn
6) Nerotia Hazaruri (Little Candles) - Sofia Run
7) Red Sun No. 5 - Owen Pallett
8) A Walk in the Woods - Audra
9) Anyone's Ghost - The National
10) Last Breath - The Cruxshadows

In the place of my self in my current situation - "Return (Coming Home) Dreamside Remix Part II", by the Cruxshadows.  A song about going home after a long battle (subtle references to Odysseus.) The idea that I am returning to what is important to me (my "dreams"), but with a new approach (remix).  That this position is a Cruxshadows song (my favorite band) indicates a sense of rightness of where I am and what I am doing, as well as the import of it.  Also, amusingly, I was physically driving home at the time of this augury.

In place of my crossing, what helps or hinders me, is "Scatterbrain (As Dead as Leaves)" by Radiohead.  I had a good laugh at this.  I am definitely a scatterbrain, and it is a major hindrance to me as I try to be more dedicated and organized to my goals.  This lyrics stands out to me - "Any fool can easy pick a hole I only wish I could fall in.../ Somewhere I'm not / Scatterbrain"

In the position of what crowns me, the surface of the situation, is "Cry Little Sister (2008 CaveClub remix)" by G Tom Mac.  In the literal sense, I have been more emotional than usual lately.  The original song is one of my favorites of all time, and to me it is very moving and passionate - I am bringing my passions to the surface and redefining them.  It also reminds me of Dionysos more than a little, especially the incredible experience I had of Him last night!

"Cry, little sister! (Thou shalt not fall)
Come, come to your brother! (Thou shalt not die)
Unchain me, sister! (Thou shalt not fear)
Love is with your brother! (Thou shalt not kill)"

In the position of what is below me, the underlying currents and subconscious, is "Headphones (0 remix)" by Bjork.  Very appropriate in this position.  This has a serious bass beat that is very primal.  "It lulled me to sleep / Nothing will be the same / I'm fast asleep / I like this resonance / It elevates me / I don't recognize myself / This is very interesting..."  I do feel like I'm tapping into my own subconscious more, learning new things about myself.  The title indicates that I'm tapped into something specific right now, I'm listening and paying attention.

In the position of the past is "The Tragic Events of September Part I" by Evelyn Evelyn.  Wow wow wow.  Although the lyrics themselves have little relevance to me, the title very much does and the personal meaning of the song as well.  There are certain "tragic" events that have definitely brought me to where I am.

In the position of the future is "Nerotia Hazarurim (Little Candles)" by Sofia Run.  This is a holiday song, Jewish I think?  It's on a gothic compilation of Christmas-y songs I have.  It is not in English.  I cannot find lyrics to this, but what I take from it intuitively is the idea that I will be taking from and learning from old paths or traditions but it will be something that is new or unfamiliar to me.  Also, I need to take with me into the next year the things I have learned this December, because it has been an incredibly important month, and these lessons will build into something greater.

In the position of my psychological state and attitudes is "Red Sun No. 5" by Owen Pallett.  This is significant because it's by the same artist as my chosen querent song.  And it's such a complex song off of a complex narrative album, I couldn't possibly go into all the implications.  In this song, Lewis realizes "I am not a father / I am not a farmer", realizes his own mortality, and knows what his destiny is - to face his god/maker.  I am realizing new facets of myself, I am becoming more than what my job, relationships or environment defines me as.  I am being called to a spiritual life.

In the position of outside influences, "A Walk in the Woods" by Audra.  I don't have the full lyrics at hand.  But intuitively, this tells me to pay attention to symbols, omens and my natural environment.  There seems to be something important to the repeated lyric "Don't leave us, don't leave us..."  Still contemplating.

In the position of my hopes and fears is "Anyone's Ghost" by The National.  This really speaks to me, and some realizations I've had in the past few days.  Generally, of the emotional paradoxes involved in moving forward while still holding things from the past as sacred.

Final Outcome: "Last Breath" by The Cruxshadows.  You can't equate every song to a tarot card, but to me, this is The Death card, at least for this reading.  The Death card is also my card for 2011, based on numerology, so that makes it even more appropriate.  There is a lot of change and transition I need to make, that I will inevitably make. 

"Her lips are cold like death
And she steals away my last breath
As I reach into her soul
And coldly let her go
I let her go..."