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Archive for May, 2011

Realizations

I have discovered one of the reasons I can’t remember my dreams.  When I was younger, when the alarm would go off I would *snap* awake.  Then during college I developed the ability to only wake up partly and hold on to remnants of sleep with all my might–otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten enough sleep. 

Drifting back to sleep from that however results in a non-dreaming sleep, and I subsequently lose memory of any dreams before.  So, when I wake up partly I should wake up fully in order to remember my dream.  Application may be more difficult than statement, however.

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Ooooh…this is gonna be a good one… 😀

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Into the Underworld

This is a ‘meditation’ that I did some months ago, either in January or February…though looking back, now I wonder if I didn’t do a small bit of hedgecrossing?

Kestal (my fiancee) and I were taking a friend home.  I was upset with Kestal about something, and asked to be left alone so I may meditate in the backseat.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to meditate about, but I went ahead and slid, slid, slid down the roots of the world tree.  After all, I wasn’t actually trancing, but simply meditating, so it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.  I found myself in a marshy forest at night.  Cries came from a nearby pond, and I paused in bliss as I listened to the calls, for I recognized these strange wails echoing through the woods from my childhood.  There was a loon on the pond.  Feet sinking into the muck, I used tree branches to make my way to the edge of the water.

He was waiting for me there.  His red eyes stared up into mine, and he spoke, but I cannot remember what he said.  I was surprised to find a loon there to guide me–I knew owl and raven as guides, but had not thought of a loon as one.  Now I know not whether loon will stay with me as a guide, or if that was a one-time thing.  I suppose we shall see.  Looking to my right I could see light, and decided to go in that direction.  My guide came with me, swimming through water and land alike, as I made my way to the light I saw shining through the trees.

I came upon a rock face with a cleft in it, and into the cleft had been set a wooden door.  Firelight flickered through the small window and the cracks between the wooden boards, and I peered in to see what lay beyond.

Cerridwen stood at the fire, back hunched, grey/white hair tangled as she stirred the contents of her cauldron.  Taking a step back, I considered the rudeness of peering in at her without invitation, but decided to proceed in any case.  It would likely be ruder to spy her without properly presenting myself at all than to leave without disturbing her.

Looking at my guide, he only watched me silently, so I took a deep breath and knocked at the door.  “Enter” came the sharp rasp, and I did so, struggling with the door a bit to get it open.  It was smoky inside the stone home and my eyes stung and watered as I stumbled over the wet stone floor to stand by the fire.  “Hail lady,” I began respectfully.

“I am no ‘lady’, child, you have eyes to see that well enough for yourself.” came the sharp reply. “Now tell me why you have come to my home.”  As I opened my mouth to reply words suddenly intrude into my mind, men’s voices arguing tabletop game mechanics.  My eyelids flutter as I hear them discuss a d20 vs. d10 system.  The sharp rap of wooden spoon on cauldron snaps me back into my mind.  “Child, are you here or there?” Cerridwen demanded, eyes boring into me.  I swallowed uncomfortably, knowing I had disrespected her.  “I–”

Again the men’s voices intrude and I lose focus, struggling between the world around me and the world within.  I see Cerridwen turn sharply back to her cauldron dismissing me as my cracked eyelids register the glow from the dashboard.  My guide lets out a harsh hoot, launching itself upwards at me.  I feel the pain in my wrist as his beak digs in, tearing arteries from their moors in my flesh to hang, pumping, into air.  Drip, drip, drip, my blood upon her floor.  I stare at the red strings, acknowledging my punishment for this trespass.  “You will not be able to return here until you have healed that wound.”  Cerridwen intoned, not turning from her stirring.  “Leave.”

I look from her to my guide, his red eyes boring into mine, to the red ribbons of blood about my wrist.  Bowing, I allow the world around me to fade to darkness as I again register the glow from the dashboard and the men’s voices, soft once more.  I sigh and shift about in my seat, feeling my body’s complaints from sitting slumped in one position for so long.

Moral #1: If you’re going to the underworld, make sure you won’t get interrupted.  Moral #2: if you’re just trying to meditate, don’t go to the bloody underworld.

It has taken me some time to consider the significance of a Loon appearing as my guide.  It was only recently thinking back on it that I realized there might be some significance to it.  Thus I began my research, and here is what I have found:  “For those with the loon as a totem, the imagination and dreaming abilities (while awake or asleep) are powerful.  Images and visions will always be very lifelike, and the individual may have difficulty separating the real from the unreal.” (Ted Andrews, Animal-speak: the spiritual & magical powers of creatures great & small p. 164)  Umm, yes.  Yes, yes, yes.  That is very much me.  Difficulty differentiating between the real and unreal, what?  Well.  We’ll see where this little adventure leads.

I’m considering making a physical representation of my wrist wound.  It could be as simple as a red ribbon tied about it, it could be a crocheted lace bracelet with ties hanging down, I’m not sure.  I’ll have to ponder on it some more.

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Challenges

There are two things I know I must improve in order to start treading this path.  Growth, personality issues?  That’s not quite what I’m talking about.  There are two skills I must first improve to make this whole thing possible: first, I must start meditating regularly, improve my focus and visualization.  Second, I need to start re-remembering my dreams.  Growing up my dreams were always very vivid, colorful stories fresh in my mind when I woke.  This continued through most of college, but then gradually I stopped remembering them as I woke.  It seems anymore that I simply wake from blackness.  Was it the stress of real life?  Possibly, I’ve heard this effects one remembering their dreams, and real life has been rather stressful since college.  I’ve had to figure out how to live in the real world, which is not something I’d ever learned how to do.  But, back to my dilemma.

I’ve read techniques before to start remembering your dreams, largely from dream interpretation books, techniques like “drink lots of water before you go to bed so you’ll have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom–interrupted dreams are easier to remember!”  Which they were, back when I still remembered my dreams.  Now though I wake to go to the bathroom, and aside from brief lucid moments in which I try to wake myself up in order to go, the dream before is entirely forgotten.

I suspect it’s possible that forgetting my dream is part of my waking up…allow me to elaborate.  After waking, try as I might, I cannot recall what I dreamed of.  This morning, however, was different.  I woke, tried to remember my dream, gave up and started slipping back into sleep.  The instant I hit that point of half asleep, half awake , my imagination waiting for the opportunity again took control of my sight, and I started to half-dream.  In that half-dreaming the material of my previous dreaming that night was partly remembered and I snapped to waking, struggling to remember more, to bring it into focus.  Alas, what follows is all I was able to recover.

This dream was something about…collecting items/information?  I know I had to go to different places and interact with those there, and I think some/most had an attitude of “git ye gone” so I had to placate them at least inasmuch as I had to accomplish what I was there for.  There were four or five other people in my party, one possibly my younger sister (she stood apart, closer to me, someone I trusted).  Once things were collected we had to go…’back to base’ (?) as it were…we climbed a ladder (the rungs round, smooth, shiny metal set in wood mounted to the wall) up to…an ‘amphitheatre’, there were 3 walls with the last, also where the ladder is, completely open air.  Almost like a landing bay.  Very big, open.  There was a table with a bowl on it with…something? The things I had collected?  I knew I didn’t want to go through the door on my right, it was a trap?  something about changing the color of my cloak….which I wasn’t wearing, but it would have manifested, changed color, and dissapeared again.  Through that door there was either a ladder or a stairwell leading down into an enclosed place, and at the top heading down my cloak would change.  There was also a place further up, a….fortune-teller’s parlor, or some such comforting safeplace, where information/wisdom could be had.  Only go there with very good reason though, as much as you like it.  This is where the dream ended, and these vague tidbits all I was able to recover.  What was my purpose?  What was I trying to accomplish? unknown.

This is the tale-end of the dream, everything pertaining to what I had been doing/thinking of at the time of ending.  Looking back on my writing though, perhaps I am trying too hard? *sigh* I don’t know.  The ‘relax and just let it happen’ technique provides only the blackness.  Actively trying to remember seems equally as fruitless.  Do I really need to be part asleep in order to remember my dreams?  Why does my dreaming mind not communicate with my waking one?  Well, aside from daydreams…those happen a lot.

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Hello, readers old and new…of which I doubt there are many new readers,this being the first post, but welcome just the same.  I started this blog, as opposed to simply continuing my previous blog (www.confessionsofacraftywitch.blogspot.com) because I felt I needed a new start.  Allow me to elaborate….by giving you my entire life’s story, apparently.

Around the age of 9 (I think) I discovered that reading could be enjoyable.  I discovered this through re-reading a book my Mother had once read to me, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I lamented finishing it all too soon.  Then a few months later I discovered that its sequels not only continued the story, but were equally enjoyable.  From there my deep thirst for Fantasy began (of which I was pre-disposed to; Mother Goose tales are quite fantastical in their own right).

I became quite the avid reader, devouring books within days of discovering them.  I read in class and simply taught myself the lessons in a few hours after school, I learned to navigate through crowded hallways with my nose firmly planted in a book, and I easily earned the stigma “that weird girl in the corner reading a book”.  For the most part books were my friends, and when I wasn’t living in a fantasy world where magic was real and heroes fought against nigh-impossible odds, I was studying ghosts, ghost-hunting, and famous hauntings (really, the paranormal fits right in with fantasy).  I longed for magic to be real, to be able to live in a magical world like in my books, to be able to cast spells.  Nothing seemed more wondrous.

A week or two before starting highschool I discovered my first inkling that my dreams just might be possible: I found a friend reading Scott Cunningham’s Earth Power.  I only had access to it for the weekend (at least at that point), but in the course of that weekend I found a small fossil, likely coral, on the beach of the lake we were at.  Using that fossil and using the book as a guide, I did my first bit of magick:  a Guardian Stone.  That’s right, I completely ignored the love spells and went straight to the protectives!  From that point, that first moment of sensing energy emanating from this small (some would say ugly) fossil, I looked in the rearview mirror at myself and was hooked.

Did I know anything about Paganism or witchcraft? No, and I didn’t find out anything about it for another three years either.  Did I search out other magick books?  No, nor did I think there really were any for a good long time.  Instead I experimented with newfound friends in highschool, most of which WAS complete fantasy–with all the over-excited enthusiasm a young teenage newbie can bring to bear.

Well, most of us know that can only last for so long, and when I crashed I crashed HARD.  For a while I had no idea what to believe, so I turned to the best guidance I knew at the time: the Bible.  Well, the Bible really doesn’t have many good things to say about witches and magick practitioners.  Realizing that I would go to Hell because of this beautiful, wonderful, magical thing, I became very, very depressed and this coupled with other factors led me to suicidal thoughts.  I was going to Hell anyway, I may as well not have to suffer through growing up (which I dreaded) and having to learn about taxes and rent and money and the world which I had been ‘protected’ from.

Then one of those wonderful little ‘coincidences’ occurred–on vacation in Hayward WI, at “The Legend of the Celts” store, I found a colorful little book entitled Maiden Magick by C.C. Brondwin.  Firmly in the neopagan genre and a bit fluffy, this book introduced me to the concept of religions outside of Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism (which were the only 3 I really knew anything about) and more importantly, to the concept of a religion that allows magick.  Not just allows magick, but embraces it!  It was like a miracle…oops, I mean ‘like magic’. 😉

From there my research began.  I wasn’t able to do much, and being firmly in the broomcloset I was TERRIFIED of the mere thought of my parents finding out.  Thus I slowly accumulated knowledge of Wicca, Neo-Pagansism, and Pagan culture over the course of several years as I covertly went about my research.  Hitting college was a huge help as I slowly began to develop into my own person, had the freedom the internet granted (my parents only got internet AFTER I had graduated highschool) and kicked my amalgamation of magick knowledge into overdrive.

My freshman year I was getting over a bad breakup (from an abusive boyfriend) and for the first time I considered performing a love spell–really aside from some Stone and Weather magick the first actual spell I cast–and I asked for a guy who was a complimentary astrological sign, who would simply love me for me, and above all who would accept my religion and magick.  Two weeks later I met him, a week after that he asked me out, and five years after that (this past January, actually) he asked me to marry him.  ^_^

The impetus for my ‘new start’ is this: as I’ve come to learn who I am, and as I’ve delved into the history of witchcraft more and more, I’ve slowly…lost touch…with Neo-Paganism, and also with magick.  In fact for several months recently I’d just been wandering aimlessly in that realm, dissatisfied but now knowing what to do.  I still loved magick, but…this popular Pagan culture, all the books on the shelves at bookstores…something was missing.  I had changed too much.  I was Darker, and I no longer ‘fit’.  What’s a Kage (an old nickname, Japanese for ‘Shadow’) to do?

Well…I may have found my answer, and I’m really hoping this isn’t just an impetuous decision: hedgecrossing, or something akin to a more traditional (and also darker) approach to the craft.  I admit that my reason for first checking it out more was a bit self-involved–I wanted to learn to fly.  Not just fly, but be able to move about outside my body.  See, I’m 24 years old and walking with a cane (don’t start your kids in dance when they’re only 3).  I’ve had problems with my right ankle since I was twelve (which doctors have never been able to tell me just what’s wrong) and now something’s wrong with my left knee.  But my desire was for free movement uninhibited by my body’s shortcomings, and in the process I may have found what I’ve been looking for.  We’ll see.  I don’t like jumping to conclusions, but this…feels right.  Here’s hoping, at least.

So I invite you, dear readers all, to witness my stumbling, bumbling explorations into this new (yet so old) world as I wander the Labyrinth.  (I know, I KNOW it’s from Greco-Roman culture, but a Labyrinth is the most effective way for me to meditate!  Yeesh, you traditionalists can get so picky… 😉 )

((Title quote from the Japanese anime .hack//SIGN .  It is referencing a fiction novel in the series that I believe is made up titled Annwn.  Japanese pop culture referencing Welsh myth…LOVE it. XD))

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