I looked it up. Since 1999, when I started my drawing my "card of the day" I have never, ever pulled The Fool. Today, was the second time this week that I drew this card. And, before anyone (if there is anyone out there reading) says "well maybe you didn't shuffle the deck very well," I knocked the deck off the table the day after the first time I drew card 0, and the cards were scattered everwhere. What are the odds?
I am now working on chapter 3 of JM Greers "Learning Ritual Magic" which is where the LRBP is introduced (yes, I know I've been calling the Quarters and creating Circles for years, it is the same thing, and yet it is very different, trust me, Witchy Friends).
My first attempt was so clumsy that I embarrassed myself-and I was alone. (I had no trouble seeing the pentagrams or the line connecting them, but then, I've been doing that for years.) I finished that evenings ritual spacey and ungrounded in the extreme. I had nightmares all night. The Greer book says (at least in chapter 3) to do the LRBP once, every day, but every other source that I could lay eyes on, suggested doing it more often than that, so the next day, I did it twice. I found that I didn't need the script the second time, that day. I slept very well that night-with the sensation that I was sleeping within the ritual, itself.
My study partner (whom I know only via email. One day I will throw a party and invite all my email and internet associates, it should be a very interesting gathering!) was having similar visualization issues. He sent me a color chart, with the appropriate colors for each Archangel, to use as a visual aid. Alas, it didn't help me, and that mornings attempt was very nearly as clumsy as the first.
And then, yesterday. No script. No visual aid. No trying to create images in my head of celestial beings that do not call this plane home, nor exist in human bodies. After seeing the pentagram in the north connect with the one in the east, I closed my eyes. Lo and behold, as I called each name, I saw a flame spring into existence in each of the proper places. No special colors of attribution-just fire. I could even see Gabriel's fire behind me, behind my head, as if I had 360 degree vision. My first reaction was a sense of awe, such as I have not felt in a year (and those of you who know me, know what kind of year I've had). And after the closing gestures, awe and glee. (and relief from the intense questioning of my own abilities for the first time in a long while, too).
Sometimes, making soup is magic, alchemy, really. There is the gathering and the measuring of the appropriate materials, and the guiding them through change states via the addition of liquid, heat, time. The results can be gustatory gold-even golden, if I've made chicken soup. With biscuits warm from the oven, or a loaf of homemade bread, we have a meal that is the New Jersey winter version of ambrosia.
Then, there are times when I catch myself slipping into that American, post industrial, market economy mindset. I find that I am wondering why I spend my time doing something so "unimportant" when I could be out participating in society. In other words, making money and then spending it (and a whole lot more besides, most likely) before it gets comfortable in my wallet. It is hard to not get swallowed by the cultural zeitgeist, to not throw up my hands in surrender and just open a can or two or live off of take out foods.
If I did that-there would be no pots to wash, no stove to clean, no invisible-unless-it-isn't-done drudgery. But there would also be no wonderful smells permeating the house, no sense of satisfaction at sitting down to eat, no "oohs" of appreciation from family members, no left-overs. And we would probably all be fatter and poorer.
There are other issues, of course. There is the need for human interaction, the need for intellectual stimulation, friendship, conversation. The era of housewives (how I hate that word; I didn't marry a house, I married a man) having coffee together or chatting over the back fence is gone. In any case, there was never any guarantee that you would find a neighbor whose interests paralleled yours. Email and instant messaging, although useful, is no where near as satisfying as face to face contact-especially if one doesn't work, sitting at a computer.
Today, I am making soup. The aromatics are simmering in the pot, part way to their dissolving and the transformation into a brown gold broth. Later, the rest of the ingredients will go in. Overnight, it will rest, while the flavors meld.
Tomorrow, I will participate in modern American society. I will get up far too early for my body clock. I will put on business clothes and go to my pre-breakfast networking meeting. I will make, and attend business appointments. And tomorrow evening, I will make a batch of biscuits, and while they are baking, I will gently heat up the soup, and we will dine.
To my wonderful DH, who, when I am feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by the immense amount of new knowledge and technique that I am trying to absorb, will remind me that it is only the system that is new to me, a new language, if you will.
1. You never really get to appreciate the energies and atmosphere of you own home, until you try to work magic and ritual somewhere else. The air in my MIL's house felt dead and unmoving-like the air inside the parabolic telescope at Arecibo (yes, I was in there, once). After 4 days, the room I was in felt a little bit better, a little bit alive. But what a relief to be home and to not feel that the room itself is trying to suck life out of me. (and yes, when we went visiting, the feel of THAT house was entirely different from the MIL's)
2. There are some people in Florida, who are very glad that I have left. The wonderful homecare aide, that helped to take care of DH's grandmother, for example. After spending several days with her, on the very last day, as we were saying farewell, after the repast, after the funeral, after the viewing, she noticed my pendant. She picked it up (and mind you, I was wearing it at the time) and stared at it, intently. She said "that's very interesting." (and in a very disapproving tone). I said "DH made it for me." She said "lucky." dropped the necklace, turned and walked away, with not even a goodbye. I wonder if she figured I was worth praying for, or whether she felt that she needed praying over, considering that she had spend several days in my presence.
And then, there was the airport. For the first time ever, I had my bag searched. (these middle aged women with the greying hair are huge threats!). The first thing that security pulled out was a bag full of tampons. Those were very quickly shoved back in the bag, with the comment "we are certainly not looking for those" (well now there is a relief), but the next thing pulled out was my tarot deck. The woman looked at the box and dropped it back in my bag, as if it burned her hands. I don't think I have ever seen any zipper closed up as fast as she closed that bag. It was practically shoved into my hands with a "have a nice flight."
Yes, I was definitely a threat to certain segments of Florida.
I started this before the trip to Florida. (I wish the pictures came out better, the pencil on paper is much darker and sharper than they look, here. Also, please excuse the erasure crumbles on the first picture). I found working on this to be really soothing-a sutra, a physical meditation. Before the trip, I had gotten as far as drawing all sephiroth, and the lowest 5 paths. Today, I finished the paths, and drew the interior circles for filling in information. When I get that far, I will also color them, and the paths in (I bought a nice, new, large and shiny box of colored pencils, just for this project). The paper is 14 inches, by 22 inches, and when I started, I thought that it was going to be BIG. But I am already thinking of doing this again (I can't wait to work on it, and dread finishing it), with even bigger paper and a bigger tree.
And I am absolutely convinced that American-Christian death/funerial rites are among the cruelest events that I have ever participated in. My husbands grandmother died last Saturday. The family gathered on Sunday. Monday was spent making "arrangments. The "viewing" was Tuesday, which meant that we sat in a funeral home, with the body on display and hosted, while people came in and said "she looks so peaceful." Excuse me, she is dead-and pumped full of chemicals and fully made up! Plus she doesn't have to listen to all these inane comments-of course she looks peaceful! (in a more somber note-it was a long drawn out death, no matter what you believe comes afterwards-she is better off now than she was 2 weeks ago). Wednesday was the church service funeral, with luncheon to follow. Yesterday, we all flew north, to New Jersey. Today, another viewing and "small" service. and then the burial. (and meal for everyone who attends).
As all this was going on, and I was playing support staff and pit crew, I just kept repeating how grateful I was for Jewish death and mourning traditions.
Some years ago, my Grandmother went to visit her mother, my Great-Grandmother. My Grandmother was in her 50's at this point, so my Great-Grandmother was somewhere in around 85-86 years old. My Great-Grandmother was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor. Exclaimed my Grandmother, "Ma, what are you doing?" My Great-Grandmother replied that "tomorrow is yontif." (yontif being yiddish for Jewish holiday.) My Grandmother: "but Ma, you don't believe."
My Great-Grandmother: "What does that have to do with it?"
Sometimes, the original reasons for doing something are no longer enough, or no longer existant. Traditions and ritual can become important when the backing reason are less important than the actions itself. I can't imagine ever finding transcendence in scrubbing the kitchen floor, but the lesson is there, and can be applied to so much we do, whether it is a Church reading for a family member, or kashering the kitchen once a year. The being aware of why we do something, the awareness that my Great-Grandmother possessed, that is precious.
We are in Florida this week, due to a (long expected) death in my husbands family. Doing lots of family/death stuff (little of this is familiar to me-the Jewish traditions that I am familiar with are very different from this).
But last night, DH and I got a chance to get away for a bit. He introduced me to, and we got to spend the evening with Chic and Tabatha Cicero. They were fun people to spend the evening with, plus I got to learn alot. I had many of my questions answered, all without actually even needing the chance to ask. Plus, they were just good to spend time with. And, I left their house with much, much, much to think about. In fact, ended up not really sleeping, because there was so much activity in my head, just out of reach of conscious thought.
It has now been a full week since I have added the Qabalistic Cross (and I am still not used to spelling it that way) to my otherwise witchy-pagan evening ritual. I don't know what I expected before I started, but I will admit to surprise. The QC itself, feels like a nothing, although I have no problem with visualizing it. I do it and and its "well, ok." But then, I go on to do the rest of the ritual, and then its "WHOA!" Every else that follows is deeper and richer and headier. There have been a few unplanned changes in the ritual as well. At least one change, I intend to keep. All in all, certainly promising enough to keep me on this new path.
Entry for January 22, 2007 We did another Past Lives Regression Trance in class tonight. I haven't figured out any of this yet. But at least I got "something." I don't know the where or the when of what I experienced. I was "me," though, and female. I was on my back floating in warm water, with the sun on my face. The water could have been a pond or a lake or a lagoon or a protected bay or inlet of the ocean, I don't know. But there were only tiny ripples in the water, ripples that I could see and hear and feel against me. The sun was hot against my face. The "beach" was very narrow, the grass came almost to the water, and there was a brown horse with black mane and tail running on the grass. I lay floating in the water calmly, but I felt that I was expecting something. The moon covered the sun in an eclipse, but it didn't surprise, startle or frighten me. I think that I was expecting it, and it satisfied me when it happened. When the sun was covered, my face got cool without the sunlight, but the water stayed warm. Then, the moon started to move away from the sun. At that point, Carter started taking us up out of the trance.
Entry for January 23, 2007 And more interesting, yet. Last night I dreamed that I was in the same place that I visited in the trance, yesterday. (see yesterdays post) but I was walking in the grass. Still warm, still sunny. I came upon what I thought was a group of hunters, but they were about to hang a man from a tree. I objected. One of the men started to put another noose around my neck and prepared to throw the other end over another branch of the tree. For some reason, I wasn't frightened at all. Right before the man threw the rope over the tree branch we were rushed by wild pigs. I backed up against the trunk of the tree and stayed out of the way. The pigs chased the men off. And I couldn't tell you a thing about clothing or weaponry or anything else that might place this in time or space. Just no clue at all.
And, now for this year. Last night I had a dream (January 15, 2008, nearly a full year since the last 2 paragraphs occurred). I am standing infront of 2 people; (Gods?) and they are each astride large gold pigs. Nothing is said, but I feel that I am being told to pay attention.
Freyr and Freyja? Are the pigs that saved me in my dream of a year ago the boars that the Vanir rode into battle? Sacrifices to Odin were done by hanging, which I interferred with in the dream. What have I not been paying attention to, in the last year? (actually, I can think of a lot of stuff I haven't been paying attention to, in the last year)
Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who was the center of the Universe. Or at least, that was how it seemed to her. She lived in the midst of a large, close family. She was the first child of her parents. The first grandchild. The first great-grandchild. She was loved and cosseted and told how smart and beautiful she was. And, she was smart and beautiful, because the people she loved told her so, and she believed them.
Then, one day, her parents had another baby. Suddenly, the little girl wasn’t the first anymore, she was just the older one. Her parents, her grandparents, her great grandparents coo-ed and oohed and aahed over the new baby, who became the center of the Universe. The little girl felt replaced, her position usurped. She was no longer as interesting and was told to “hush” because the baby was sleeping. Or much later, “hush, we know you can read, we want to hear your sister.” The now, not so little, girl felt that she was no longer good enough. Smart enough. Beautiful enough.
But, she grew up, anyway. Forgave her sister her very existence (and they became best friends). But deep in her heart, deep in her psyche, she had become convinced that she could expect imminent replacement. No matter how good she was, no matter how smart, how beautiful, how loving, there remained always, the very good chance that those she loved would replace her, find someone else more smart more beautiful more loving. And when something would happen that pried open those deep, hidden places in her heart and psyche, her fear, and her anguish knew no bounds.
Its the beginning of a new year, or at least one of the beginnings of one of the new years within the cycle, and I am starting on a new learning process, new subject matter and new (or very old) mysteries. (I know, we are a week into the year-I'm not good with mornings-alright?)
While I love clean slates and new starts, in many ways this is very, very hard for me. I hate feeling uneducated, and if not exactly stupid (because I know I am not stupid, just new and unlearned), then inexpert and clumsy. And this is a somewhat public (somewhat, in that wonderful world of the world wide web) journey...
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