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Archive for October, 2012

This was our second year on camping the weekend before Samhain, and it was a doozy. Last year we were so exhausted from Pagan Pride Day that despite our best intentions we basically just sat around the fire chatting relaxing and drinking.  This year our fearless leader Brighid would had none of it.

No, not only would we have a main ritual, but Friday night she and our other local warriors would hold space and allow for people to do small private rituals, and then we would switch and hold space while the warriors let down their shields and held a ritual.  Which worked well for some, but we only had an our to work our ritual and I wasn’t able to get much of anything done (except lose my shawl pin).  Still the warriors needed that time and I’m glad we were able to provide it. 

I stayed up very late that night after most had gone to bed…I wandered away for a small while, experiencing the bitterly cold clear starry night by the lake.  When I came back there were some others still by the fire, and I was kept by good conversation until the nearly full moon had made most of its trek acrost the sky.

Woken far too early the next morning, it was a fulfilling day of hiking and mulled cider and drumming and dancing and laughter and campfire and toasted marshmallows–so wonderful!!  The wood was in its full glory. I may be a model now–there was a photographer who joined us, and at one point asked if someone would be interested to model in a couple pictures.  I volunteered, and he liked it so much he’s asked me to model for him again! Most of them are still in the editing phase, but here are a couple teasers. 😉Image

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Then it was time for group ritual, and Brighid asked me to perform the role of High Priestess while she and Baka invoked Hecate and Death, respectively.  I claimed that clearing as my territory for the night, stalked its bounds called up spirits of the beloved and forgotten dead to guide and gaurd as the trees stood silent sentinel. I led my wards to the fire and told them the story of Persephone and her torch-bearing sister, Hecate.  It was not long before Death stole in among the group and began to spirit people away, as they sat in quiet contemplation by the fire.  One by one I stood witness to their deaths, and one by one I stood and reached out a silent welcoming hand as they returned through the dark wood alone, until at last it was my turn.  “Death comes for us all–and not even I may linger.”

Hecate had lessons for us all that night….as Brighid said much later once the tears had subsided “we got our butts soundly kicked and handed back to us!”  But it was not brutal, indeed it was gentle and comforting….though that did little to alleviate the impact the messages had for us.  Some time after the main group had returned to our camp we trudged in exhausted, and I succumbed to sleep very early that night drifting between dream and sounds of revelry.

All in all a very productive and rejuvinating weekend, and I know now what I must focus on this Samhain…a Blessed New Year to you all, may your divinations be joyful and your time magickal!

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In Guidance

I’ve been having a conversation with a friend of mine over the past few months. She says she is in the “unwilling agnostic” camp.  She WANTS to have a religion, a faith, but she doesn’t want it to be one someone tells her to follow, and she doesn’t want to just choose one–she wants it to be undeniable, truly hers.  She wants the God/religion to choose her.  That way she knows it’s her “true” religion.

She’s had some brushes with Deity, an experience that might not be “just in her head”, but nothing she considers solid enough proof. She’s open, and she wants there to be something…so she’s opened up to trying things.  She came with on our group’s Samhain camping trip this past weekend (which I’ll be writing about in a bit) and had an experience at our ritual. She’s still skeptical that what she experienced was “real” but she at least “heard what she needed to”…and is even going to far as to suspend disbelief about the dream she had that night. Willing to temporarily think that it might be more than just her brain regurgitating what it had processed that day.

And thus we come to this crossroads. This Samhain she will be performing a ritual to contact deity.  I felt called as a result of our conversations to write one for her as a guide, and have received her permission to share it here. If there are any readers who would like to chip in advice, I’m sure we would both appreciate it! 🙂

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This can be performed anywhere you want, indoors or out.  If indoors, arrange your space how you want it for the ritual–the concept here is to make a welcoming space for any deities that may respond, like you’re welcoming guests into your home.  Decorate, have some food ready, whatever feels right to you.  As mentioned previously its probably a good idea to have items associated with particular deities that you are trying to contact. 
 
Once you are finished setting everything up, take a shower or a bath (if performing an outdoor ritual reverse the cleansing and setup, for obvious reasons. 😉 ). The idea here is to ‘cleanse’, but while it is important to clean the body, this is also to cleanse the whole self–take this time to meditate, go over the day’s events so they won’t be bothering you later, generally let the kinks and tension ease and “wash away”.
 
When you are done with this, take some time to prepare yourself. How do you want to present yourself? Want to doll yourself up like for a date? Want to be comfortable? Want nothin’ but what you had the day you were born? Whatever is right for YOU, because YOU are the person entering into a relationship here.  Once done go back out to your ritual space, maybe light some candles (hey, its great mood lighting–it works for dates, why not this? And depending on how far you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, watching the candle flame can be indicative of spirit presence. Anything out of the ordinary from how the flame usually behaves…if it flickers a lot but is suddenly smooth and steady, or vice-versa, the point is spirits will create a change to get attention.).
 
Now we come to the mental gear-up. Sit for a little while, taking in what you’ve done for this.  The preparations you’ve made. This is something for you to value too.  When you feel comfortable in the space speak ALOUD.  Sorry, I’m not giving you a script here because the most important part is that it comes from your heart and is totally honest.  Call out to the Gods, invite them–this can be along the lines of  “Anyone who is interested” to naming specific deities (or both). If you call on particular deities, don’t just name them, name what makes them up–details of their mythos that they would recognize.  It helps you BOTH get a clearer picture of who you’re trying to contact.  Its a good idea to specify that you don’t want any with ill intent (because spirits be trollin’ yo).  Put as much emotion as you can into this…your hope, fear, desire, hurt, joy….you want to be HEARD dammit.  (But remember to be polite, we don’t want to devolve into provocation.)  
 
Let the silence ring for a bit, note any changes in yourself and surroundings. Don’t expect it to happen, just be open if it does…a change in the candle flame, goosebumps, light-headedness, a sudden change in emotions, or feeling like there’s a static charge or a change in air pressure or temperature. (these are things I have noted, it may be different for you.)
 
Now that you’ve gotten their attention, its time to introduce yourself. Don’t expect them to KNOW…do YOU fully know yourself?  This part is as much for you as it is them: it is a declaration of self and intentions.  Think about what you want to achieve and WHY. Go over every reason you can think of–why do you want this? Why is it important to you? What would this mean for your life?  Make sure you’re saying this out loud…you don’t have to shout it, though that helps to reinforce you putting your will and desire behind it.  Yes, you may feel silly, but if possible put that emotion aside.  It only hinders what you’re doing, you want to fully live all the emotions that have led you up to this point.  If it helps to recount your steps on your path so far, do so.  Get INVESTED. FEEL.  Let this go on for as long as it feels right to, its even fine if you work yourself up into a tizzy.  Call out particular gods, if you have them (This especially helps to keep them interested and paying attention).  State what you want from them.  State what you’re willing to give them in return.  Highlight the good points, but be honest. Repetition does not matter, at some point coherence may not even matter.  Keep the emotions flowing–let it all out.  Most of all, let your desire RING.
 
At some point, this will stop.  It may be that you’ve simply spent your anger, maybe you’ve suddenly slowed and stopped but can’t quite figure out why, maybe in the middle of a big long desperate rant you suddenly get derailed and thrown into this sensation of wonder.  I can’t say how it will manifest for you…and honestly, this is as far as I can take you.  This is me showing you the door…you have to take it upon yourself to walk through.  Be open, don’t set expectations…just let whatever happens happen, and let your critical mind think about it LATER.  I know this is easier said than done.  Good luck!
 
(PS—silence does NOT mean there is no response!  Gods (and spirits in general) get your attention by creating change, and what is easier to change than chaotic human emotion?  A sudden sense of peace descending (or joy, or anything ABRUPT and OTHER) is just as much an answer!)

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