Saturday, August 25, 2007

Contemplation on Meaning

Life is not fair. Fair is a human concept and the cosmos doesn’t give one whit about it. Life straight up flat out is not fair. But it is purposeful and therefore, it is possible to both discover and create meaning in it. This is the purpose of humanity. We are the meaning-makers of creation. Human beings are resilient. We can survive almost anything except for meaninglessness. This kills our spirit. And when we live in a meaningless world it is because we have not exercised our Divinely gifted creative power, which is to forge meaning from purpose. This is the purpose itself of our Free Will. So that when the One looks at itself in the mirror that is our world of Creation, its reflection is not just a bunch of images—it’s a story.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lammas Reflections

I know this is all so very late...but I do have some reflections coming from Lammas. Basically, it is this...

Back in Ye Olden Days...when things were not so good with a drought or the harvest (such as now) we might sacrifice a "king" in order to be an intercessor for us in the spiritual world. Willing sacrifice...not murder. And a connection was kept...tied to the community...I think through whoever his lover was. That's my feeling or intuition. This is an idea that is really not understood now. I think it's weird how people get totally freaked out by the idea that we would have someone who might sacrifice himself willingly to be an intercessor and save his people from starvation, but don't think it's weird at all for soldiers to "sacrifice" themselves by killing others and dying in violence. Society is strange.

So, this Lammas, before I could even understand the words (it took me a while to figure them out) I was compelled to learn "The Maid She Sat a Weeping." And then I was thinking about this and I was thinking that this is probably about the intercessory sacrifice. That's my feeling about it.

Steeleye Span has a lovely version...I think it's called "Once I had a true love." But they have some later verses and I think the first three are the only real ones that show up in most if not all of the versions.

The Maid She Sat a Weeping

Once I had a true love, but now I have none
Once I had a true love, but now I have none
He has gone and left me, gone and left me
Gone and left me in sorrow to mourn

Last night in sweet slumber, I dreamed I did see
Last night in sweet slumber, I dreamed I did see
My own darling jewel sat smiling by me
My own darling jewel sat smiling by me

But when I awakened, I found it not so
Yes when I awakened, I found it not so
My eyes, like some fountain, with tears overflowed
My eyes, like some fountain, with tears overflowed

Done is Good

As of today, I am Dr. Hermione. WOO HOO!!! Sorry it has been a while since I have posted, but I have been very focused on becoming Dr. Hermione and finishing things up. What I have to say is: Done is Good. This has been my motto throughout.

There has been a certain amount of hurry up and wait, but I've been pushing hard. Now...on to the next adventure. I will be spending the next year trying to determine what I should be doing. I have been telling myself I wasn't going to worry about it until "IT" was DONE. Now that I am Dr. Hermione, Occult Librarian, I can begin this next academic year of thinking about what I am going to do.

So many, many possibilities. I am trying to figure out how to best be of service. What can I do to me of most use to the gods and the world(s). After all, there are many planes and many lives that we are interconnected with that are not necessarily apparent, but that we should be working with. We humans are "The Distracted Ones," as apparently we are known to some of the Fey. I think that is really, really funny. I think the most important use of our mental powers of discernment is to distinguish the Important from the Trivial. I know everyone always says to know the Apparent from the Real...but I think the other encompasses that as well. By the way, it isn't that I do this myself so well...but I am trying.

Here are some of the possibilities:
1. Stay at my current job where I have a decent salary, tenure, and can basically contain it to 40 hours a week and spend the rest of my time on spiritual activities including maybe publishing because I LOVE to write.

2. Try to swing a different position where I set up a Waldorf teacher training center within the context of a university specifically geared towards training PUBLIC school teachers in Waldorf style education and methods. Maybe an additional certificate or something.

3. Maybe with #2 or maybe not...try to establish a Waldorf Charter School in my area. We have broad choice rules and a lot of disadvantaged students.

4. Set up a parochial school for Witches based on a Waldorf model. That would be SO fun and is really tempting...but I'm not sure that there are really enough of us in this area to be able to support such a school. Wouldn't that be fun, though? A real education and a spiritual education for witches or maybe for pagans? Broaden it out.

5. Stay in my current field but pursue a higher level position. The danger there is that I will lose containment just isn't my bliss.

So, those are the five options I'm kind of thinking about right now. I guess there is also the possibility of staying in my current job but teaching as an adjunct in another field...again, we would lose containment and I do need time to focus on my spiritual endeavors. What I really want to do is to have a job that directly supports my spiritual activities and where I can be of use. What I have right now doesn't get in the way of them...except for the time that it takes and, as a librarian, I have access to all the research materials I could want...but it also doesn't directly support it. We shall see.

So, that is my thinking of the moment. On to The Next Adventure!!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Theological Summary

I just wrote a quick theological summary for a friend that I thought maybe I would share here. Very basic.

At the ultimate level, I am monist (believe in monism). Monism is the belief that at the highest level, all are one. All divisions are ultimately illusions. We are all drops in this mighty ocean. This is the level of the highest divine that is neither being nor non-being, has no attributes, and transcends time and space. In other words, ultimately transcendent and ultimately immanent. The Source of all that is ALL. Part of the philosophical understanding of this ultimate level of divinity is that once you say that something has attributes, then it is limited, and the Divine is not limited. Therefore I am not a monoTHEIST, because as soon as we say that this is a being, then it has boundaries and is not the ultimate. Paul Tillich called this level of the Divine the Godhead, as opposed to God. This is also the level of the Divine that the mystics from all traditions speak about when they say that they "lose themselves" and enter fully into other words they experience their true and highest self as one and undifferentiated from the ultimate divine.

Now, once we are talking about manifestation - the world of differentiated awareness--then we say that the Divine is IN everything in Nature (Pantheism) and that everything in the world is alive, has a type of consciousness (although maybe quite different than human consciousness) and is, therefore, holy (Animism). Finally, although the Divine is in All and is ALL, there are many levels of beings, including beings (differentated beings that are have individual identity) that are more developed than humanity and that are more fully aligned with and manifesting the Divine within than we are. These beings we can call the gods (Polytheism). If you want to, though, you could call them angels or saints or whatever. The idea is that these are spiritual beings that we can relate to more easily since they are not so abstract. Furthermore, being spiritual and compassionate, they often do participate actively in the world as teachers, guides, and helpers for both humanity and other aspects of reality. I mean, we aren't necessarily aware of the gods/angels that are looking out for and trying to protect and guide various of the animal "tribes" or particular environments, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

That would be my breakdown. I don't know if that makes sense or not...but there it is. This is the way I look at any religion. We, as humans, are not at this moment we're going to make mistakes, by definition. So, given that we are incapable of knowing everything, how can we determine what we should do and what our beliefs should be? I think you have to look at the effects of your beliefs and your actions on your own conscience and being.

Does it [action or belief] make you more loving, more tolerant, more kind? Does it give you strength so that you can face your challenges with greater equanamity and patience, again enabling you to be more loving, tolerant and kind? The same belief or action can be good for one person and bad for another...whatever that belief or action is. So, I think that evaluative decisions, given our limitations, have to be relative, but that there are some principles that guide them...the principles being "love, tolerance, kindness." I think that if we all though like this, the world would be a kinder place and that we wouldn't get so upset over a lot that is, in the end, quite trivial.

Perhaps the most important form of discernment is to be able to tell what is important.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Onion Test

I am thinking a lot about the vegetable kingdom these days. The vegetable kingdom, in so many ways, embodies the reality of loving sacrifice. The spirits of the vegetable kingdom love to give of themselves and are amazing teachers.

One of the plants that we may overlook is the onion. Onions are FANTASTIC for absorbing "bad vibes." They can clean up the astral conditions in your home. I've been doing the "onion test" for a few days now. Basically, cut an onion in half and leave it out. It will absorb any negativity. You can tell how much there is in your place by how funky it gets. Fortunately, mine isn't too bad. It's probably a good thing to do on a semi-regular basis. YAY ONIONS!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Love Crows

This past few weeks have been unusually hectic, leaving me no time to myself. But I have noticed one really happy change since I last wrote.

For those who do not know, West Nile Virus has been decimating the crow population. I believe Washington, DC, where I live, may be the hardest hit as 90% of the crows have died. This is a full blown crow holocaust.

This has been really upsetting to me (as well as even more upsetting to the crows). I used to have two crows that lived in the tree right outside my window and they would wake me up really early every morning. And I would get mad at them and tell them to go away. And then one day, right when West Nile began to hit and I didn't even know about it yet, my crows weren't there in the morning and I got really worried about them. I think they probably died and I was so sad that I had been mad at the crows and I want them to come back. They can wake me up whenever they want.

Crows can live for a very long time and are extremely smart. I had not seen a single crow in the District for a couple of years, where they used to be all over the place. About a month and a half ago, I started trying to think information about West Nile Virus from my research towards the crows...or, more accurately, towards the spirit of "Crow" but mostly I have just been trying to intensely wish that the crows will be okay and safe from West Nile and come back to the District and flourish.

Since the last time I wrote, I have seen or heard four crows. This makes me so happy. I love crows. So, if anyone else sees this and wants to think good thoughts towards crows, that would be great. While you're at it, think good thoughts towards the bluebirds (also being hit by West Nile) and polar bears who need more ice.

This is an important polar bear picture that I want to print out and put by every light switch.
Polar Bear Picture

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Exploring Elementals by Painting

In DC we have several of those "paint your own pottery" places. I'm sure they are all over the country now. Anyway, I am in the midst of a project to explore the nature of the elemental spirits through painting pottery. Now, I am not particularly artistic, but I am playing around using some techniques that I learned at Rudolf Steiner College.

The nice thing about the pottery places is that it's pretty close to wet on wet water colors...a VERY forgiving medium. If you do something you don't like, just paint over it. So, each week for the past three weeks I have been going and painting a plate and trying to experience the essence of the elementals through the colors.

The main guidance that I got from my painting class at RSC is to trust the colors. Perfect Love and Pefect Trust. Trust the colors. You just start laying them on and see what arises. Once you see it, all you do is to to work with it.

So far, I've done a Salamander...not the amphibian, but the man of fire. I painted some fire and then a man of flames kind of came out of it. He really kind of formed himself. And then I did Sylphs...white forms on blue background. Here's the wildest thing about those. There is one that as I just splashed the brush down carelessly, a very delicate fully formed face was there. I certainly didn't make it. I don't have that kind of skill. The one I made looks like I made it. But there on this plate is a little Sylph with a fully formed beautiful face made up from how the background blue happens to show through the white. I also did an Undine that I have yet to see how she came out. She will be fired this week. Next week, gnomes.

My recommendation is that others should try this. It's fun and in both the Salamander and the Sylph, things came out of the process that I certainly didn't consciously intend, they were just there. They arose. It was a cool form of meditation.

Trust the colors.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Project Tagback

Okay, so let's talk music. I was thinking about music and I was thinking about how sometimes those who visited Faery would bring back songs with them. Anyone who has the fey sensibilities knows what I'm talking about. There are some songs that are brought through across the veil and...they just ARE. There's something about them that is a little (or a lot) dangerous and sublime and definitely immortal. They're discovered or caught more than written. This is that musician as shaman thing. All hail the Bardic Arts!

And it's always the music. The music is the immortal part. The person may give them words, but the words are ours...they're mortal. They will die and be reborn in another form. So, here's what I'm thinking.

One of the places where you find some of these immortal songs is in sacred music. Some of the tunes are ancient, but a lot of them now have Christian words that have been layered on top of them. As mentioned, the words are the mortal part. They will die and be reborn in different forms over and over again and that's all good. I say, we should find these faery gifts and take them back. Hence...Project Tagback.

My theory here is that if we can identify these songs, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out from which faery kingdom they derive and we should be able to take them back without a whole lot of difficulty and maybe with minimal changes.

Here's my first contribution. The Hymn "Ecstasy," sometimes called "Oh when will I see Jesus?" Now...I think that this is probably a gift from the Sylphs. It feels like it is from them to me. And it doesn't need much modification. If you don't know that song, Sally Rogers has a great version.

Ecstasy Project Tagback Version
May I seek the holy mother
Below and high above
And from the flowing fountain
Drink ever-lasting love
O' had I wings I would fly away and be at rest
And I praise her in her bright abode

When e're you meet with troubles
Or trials on your way
Then cast your thoughts to her
And don't forget to pray
O' had I wings I would fly away and be at rest
And I praise her in her bright abode

Gird on the mighty armour
Of trust and hope and love
And when the conflict comes
It will carry you above
O' had I wings I would fly away and be at rest
And I praise her in her bright abode

Tag back

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Communication Blessing

I am preparing for the full moon next Thursday, May 31 (9:00 PM EST). One spell that I need to do is a communication blessing. I have my dissertation defense coming up soon and it will probably happen when Mercury is retrograde, so I'll need to work to offset that.

I am currently planning on making a philtre. Mercury rules 7:00 PM on Thursday, so that's what I will be aiming for.

Main ingredient is slippery elm powder: Mercury and Uranus, for a pleasing voice and the right words to say at the right time to say them.

Supported by:
Chervil Leaf: Mercury and Lunar, for clear thoughts with that kind of lunar intuitive aspect.

Eyebright: Mercury and Solar, for clear thoughts with that kind of solar/Apollonine prophetic aspect.

Laurel Leaf: Earth and Jupiter, Kick up the Apollonine influence - bay leaves are about Truth coming out, especially through words. Everyone always thinks of it in terms of blessings for court, but it is the leaf of Apollo, who is the voice of Truth, which, theoretically, is what the Justice system is supposed to be discovering and upholding. The Pythia (Priestess who was the Delphic Oracle) chewed on a laurel leaf as she went into trance. SO...I think that energy would be good to add since I want my work to support Truth and I want my words to support Truth.

Citrine Stone: Mercury. It can be good to have a stone in a philtre. Stones tend to have more stable vibrations. A piece of citrine can hold the specific programming of the intentions and keep that stability in the herbal mix.

As a philtre, I will wrap this all in orange silk or cotton (I need to get some) and then I will keep it with me when I go to defend my dissertation.

This should help me in other ways, too. Clear communication that articulates insights from the lunar and solar realms and is in service of Truth can't help but be good in many ways. I try to live by the maxim that all my words should be True, Kind, and Useful. I often fail, but I am trying.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Traffic Alchemy

So, for anyone who doesn't live in the Washingon, DC area, allow me to tell you how utterly horrifying our traffic is. You have been warned. Know this when you come to visit. And, I hasten to note, that I am not some naive small town Midwesterner who has just moved to the big city and is blowing our traffic woes out of proportion...although I am originally from the Midwest. No, that is not the case. I have lived in Southern California and battled Los Angeles traffic. I have lived in Salem, Mass and miraculously survived Boston traffic. This area is truly bad.

Most people in Washington are from somewhere else and they bring their local bad driving habits with them. Also, this is a city filled with lawyers and lobbyists and they take that aggression and sense that what they are doing is IMPORTANT right out with them onto the road. Bad, bad, bad. It's enough to break almost anyone's serenity. But, I have created a game that I play with myself that makes it better and that's what I want to share.

Obviously, getting upset at the drivers around you does no good and only serves to make you more tense and unhappy. Mostly, when somebody does something reckless and selfish in the car, it is upsetting for a couple of reasons.
1. The reckless stuff is truly unnerving. You see how you could have been hurt or someone else could have been hurt. It's hard not to be a little scared and then mad at whoever made you scared through a stupid risk.
2. Who the heck does that person think s/he is? It's not like they are the most important person on the planet. Honestly. Selfish bastard.

But how different would we feel if we knew that the person who just tailgated us, swerved around us, and was really impatient, reckless and all of that had just received a call that their child was in an emergency room across town? It's still bad, but a lot of the sting is gone and instead you're wishing them well.

Now, here's my game. I don't know that this person IS NOT going through a scenario like the one just mentioned. So, I just decide to interpret it as though they are. This let's me wish them well on their way and just throw out to the cosmos that I hope that they get where they need to go safely, that everyone around them is safe, and that things will be okay for them. So, the effect ON ME is that I'm not as tense and angry and instead I'm practicing compassion and sending out blessings. Overall, I think that is much better.

My attempts at internal Traffic Alchemy. Just thought I would share.