Posted by: naiadis | August 25, 2014

Where’s the Support?

naiadis:

Reblogging this because Columbine sums it up better than I could hope to. Those who fought before us so that we could even get this far may not have been on the exact same path, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t reaping those benefits. Just so, we need not be on the exact same path to support those whose paths are parallel to our own. I do not see myself ever hoping to have a public temple like this — my talents, passions, and skill sets do not lie in that direction — but that does not mean that this outcome doesn’t effect me, isn’t important to me.

The dominant religious groups _cannot_ be allowed to decide for everyone what does or does not make a valid religion or religious group, what constitutes a legitimate place of worship. There are at least 10,000 pagans in the US. Every dollar helps. Don’t be the person who decides that your dollar won’t be missed. I’ve donated — have you?

Originally posted on Queen of the Waiting Ones:

So, I’m curious and have a question for all the super serious Pagans, Polytheists and other Alternative Religious folks out there who so often proclaim that they are all about founding new temples and other types of religious worship areas for those of our kind.  Where exactly, is your support for the Maetreum of Cybele?

I know most of you have read the recent Wild Hunt article detailing the Maetreum’s struggle against the Town of Catskill, NY, where government officials there have vowed to spend the Maetreum into bankruptcy, despite the Town’s losses in court.  Is it because you are tired of hearing about the priestesses’ plight?  If so, why haven’t you donated anything to help ease their burden?  This lawsuit has been going on for several years, and if you think you are tired and burnt out with it, just imagine if you were one of the priestesses.  Priestesses…

View original 333 more words

Posted by: naiadis | August 18, 2014

Poseidon Hippios

IMG_20140818_105906

Poseidon Hippios is a festival I hold in honor of er, Poseidon Hippios, every year. Recently I’ve had the occasion to sit and think back, and I’m realizing that I’ve held this holiday for Poseidon, in one form or another, going back thirteen years although I’ve only been holding it continuously for nine. It is the longest running of my various Poseidon holy days. Like with pretty much all of them, this one is something of a working ritual as well. There are no horse sacrifices or mock-sacrifices held in His honor; instead there is petition prayers for the well being of our equine cousins. There is energy work. There is a reminder of the horrors that are committed against those who are denied sovereignty over their lives, and, as alway, there’s a reminder as to why, again and again, I find myself compelled toward a vegetarian default with a heavy emphasis on ethical meat consumption and consumerism. I fail at this much more than I succeed, because our world is not set up for this to be embraced nearly as much as I’d like it to be. It’s not enough, in my mind, to replace animal made products with synthetic alternatives whose creation destroys as much as it saves, and so I struggle. A lot. And I fail, all the time.

I’ve talked about it before, how for a while I was one of those holier-than-thou pagan types, in my food consumption if nothing else. I ate locally and organically. The meat I consumed was raised within a hundred miles of where I live, if not closer, and it was slaughtered humanely. We spent a fortune on our food, and we felt good about ourselves . . . but we can no longer do that and provide for our own needs. We have an increasingly expensive dog and one cat with medical needs as well. We have a tighter income than we used to have. The produce I buy comes from all over the world, though I still try to eat to match our local seasons, but that’s not based on what I can get, that’s purely aesthetics. We’re easing into eating more meat again (we lighten it for summer, eat more of it during the Hunt Season) and while we always endeavor to purchase meat that was raised ethically and treated humanely up through the end process, we don’t always stick to that. There are times when I am exhausted by having to be so focused all the time, when I can’t muster up the wherewithal to be so damned conscientious.

Because we’re not set up for it, in this culture. Because sometimes there are no options available that meet our ideals. Because sometimes we simply can’t afford it, and if I can spend $40 on groceries to see Beth and I through a week, or $40 on groceries that won’t take us more than three days, you can guess which one I’m picking. This stumbling has taught me, continues to teach me compassion, and humility. It reminds me, constantly, to keep it real.

So, too, does it remind me to keep my practice real. Once upon a time, this meager spread would have embarrassed me. Despite Poseidon’s insistence that He does not desire Stuff. This has historically been a simple affair — generally sugarcubes and apples, carrots, oatcakes if I though of them enough ahead to make them. A prayer to Pegasos, to Sleipnir, to Poseidon. Some wine. Fancy fairtrade sugarcubes. Organic apples and carrots, locally made wine. Only the best, right?

Today there were no apples, no sugarcubes, no oatcakes. Hell, no wine. There was incense, and carrots – baby carrots, even, with no tops — from Winco. They came from a bag, not from the soil to the market to me. Who knows where they came from? A candle burning that I know is not beeswax. These are the things I have in my house. These are the things I can afford right now, and of them all, all Poseidon desires of me is my time. The energy work.

Ideals are wonderful things to have. Don’t let them turn you into an unbending, uncompassionate pagan. Do not let them make you miserable. Do not let them keep you from your altar, from your gods, from your devotion. Our gods want us there. They want our attention and our love, our time. They want us sharing our lives with them. Strive for your ideals, by all means, but do not be caged in by them. Do not let them render you too afraid to move, for fear of moving wrong, for fear of stumbling.

Giving these offerings to Poseidon should not have been the self-inflicted guilt trip I inevitably make it be. Do not be like me, in this.

IMG_20140818_105855

First: Beth’s got some new, elemental ritual cords up for sale — do yourself a favor and check those out! Hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-sewn beauties! Her ritual cords are one of her most popular items, and for good reason! I love watching these things come into creation.

Also blog- and vlogospheres:

I came across this touching blog post that reminds me, as I think of the troubles half the world away, in Gaza, in Iraq, in Nigeria — or even the troubles closer to home (I’m looking at you, Ferguson, but Detroit, you’re not that far behind) — that there are people in this world who get it, regardless of what their faith may be, regardless of what path they walk and which gods walk with them. It reminds me to be compassionate, and gives me something to cling to. As I pray my nightly prayers for oh-too-many who are suffering, as I purposefully expand outside of my bubble, this is the tool I use to keep myself from embracing apathy and despair, and I will take whatever tool I can find to fight that battle.

Another blogpost that’s stuck with me this week has been Heather’s post regarding the concept of community worker as a default setting for any and all spirit workers and/or people involved with the spirits. Beth’s reblog commentary is also worth a read. Let me add to this: I know all too well how caught up in the idea of The Work we can get, especially when others are talking about their Work. My “Work” with Poseidon has always, always been about healing, both self-healing and other-healing. What it’s never really been about has been human-healing. I do have Reiki as part of my particular skill set, and that is human-healing that I do offer, but I do not go out of my way to offer Reiki sessions to people in general. I do semi-regularly offering Reiki sessions to various Other Folk, but if I could be accused of serving a community at Poseidon’s behest, it has never been one that is human-centric. Even when I was doing these offerings four times a month (I had them tied to the moon phases, but that is too much and it fell to the wayside for me) it was something I wanted to do, not something He decided I had to do. I wanted to do something Meaningful(tm) with my life, and if I wasn’t going to go to school to be a vet tech or to help with people, by golly I could do this little thing. At the end of the day, though? I want to write stories. The healing work that I do it by and large for me, and it involves Others, but not other people much, and that’s fine. And it’s stuff I’ve instigated, not stuff Poseidon has wanted me to do, or ordered me to do. They can. They do — I’m not saying it won’t be about the Work, for some. And, it is for me, too — but my Work is writing my stories. It’s sharing the parts of my religious life that I’m (mostly) (more or less) comfortable sharing. It’s living my pagan, polytheistic, married-to-a-god, bound-to-another god life somewhat openly, because in this part of the country that I live I can do so without many negative ramifications. That is my activisim. To live visible all the fringe-ish parts of my life, so that we are not in the shadows, so that we are not pushed back into the darkness, so that those who come after us can live openly, too. They won’t be my daughters or my sons through blood, but they will be, at least in spirit.

I believe that the Gods can get Their messages across without us. How many years of monotheistic tradition has separated us from our pagan ancestors, and look, we are calling the Gods back, more and more and more. No, I don’t believe the Gods need us in order to connect with our descendants five centuries from now . . . but how great will it be for those descendants to not have to do the work we’ve had to do to get as far as we’ve gotten. So, the Gods can do it without us . . . but should They have to?

Speaking of living, breathing traditions, I’ve watched some neat videos this week, as well. (And made some!)

Here’s a glimpse of our Poseidon shrine here at the Nunnery. Hail Poseidon!

Silence has posted a tour of one of his shrines, which of course you should check out. (Watch the rest while you’re there!)

Miaerowyn recorded a response to the 7 Witchy Questions tag, and I’m so glad that she did!

And last, but not least, Beth’s made a tour of our Odin shrine, which you can watch:

Posted by: naiadis | August 13, 2014

Book videos!

I’m not sure why I’m so late jumping onto the Youtube bandwagon. I could hardly sleep last night, for all the ideas of videos I wanted to make. (And possibly equally due to the fever I was experiencing).

Here’s Beth’s video about her recent (library) book haul. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksWCJqHnaXA

And here is Silence’s response! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMBy_-VoyxM

You know, books are pretty awesome. What are you guys reading right now?

Posted by: naiadis | August 13, 2014

7 Witchy (Pagan/Polytheist) Questions

naiadis:

Beth and I made a video! Together! So that was fun. Corbie makes an appearance and Neech (sort of) does as well!

Originally posted on Wytch of the North:

This is a meme started by Ember HoneyRaven on You-Tube that Jo and I decided to answer together. If you enjoy making videos too, or would prefer to answer in your blog–consider yourself tagged!

View original

When I see photos or videos of other people’s witchy spaces and shrine spaces, when they are wall to wall bookshelves with shrine spaces tucked into shelves, I envy both their abundance of books and their abundance of bookshelves. We are currently not set up to have that, and I go back and forth anyway, with whether I want more table top shrine spaces or spaces tucked into shelves. The only downside to having them in shelves, far as I can see, is it limits one’s candle-burning options. If the upper shelf is to close to the open flame, bad things happen. I’m comtemplating a book purge anyway, because there are books I haven’t touched in ages and I have a strict “if I don’t reread it/am not sentimentally attached to it/if I don’t reference it for a number of years, it must go,” rule. There are books that will never go, even if I don’t read them again, but then there are books that could be given away to make room for new books.

Yesterday I rearranged the shelves that hold our beloved animal dead. I’m thinking about additional spacing for shrines in general mostly due to realizing that, with the next few passings, we are going to need more room. Since our last move, the remains had been sitting on the top shelf of one of our taller book cases, with our beautiful statue of Bast on the top of the actual bookcase, presiding over the whole room. We liked the feel of that statue being up there, above all of us — it touched nicely upon the position our four legged companions have in our household and our hearts. It also, unfortunately, meant climbing upon a chair every time I wanted to leave Her an offering. Between that and Angel making general unsettled/unhappy comments and impressions, I figured it was time to change things a bit. So I flipped the shelf of books that is at about eye level with the shelf that had the remains, and I pulled the Bast statue down to reside on that shelf. The result is a better feel over all, but also heartbreaking. It brings them — Sassy and Orion, Princess and Angel and Amadeus — more obviously into our living quarters, and reminds us both of the loss of their physical presence and of their continued presences and influence in our lives. It’s a good heartbreak, if that makes sense.

I rearranged the Poseidon shrine a few days ago, and I keep trying to make a video of that so I can share, but our lighting sucks in our house, and the shrine is against a dark wall, and it’s impossible to see. I’m going to try again, because I want to share, because I want there to be Poseidon-specific content videos up on my channel, damn it, but I just need to figure out some lighting options.

In other news — August is the month that I typically hold my Poseidon of the Ponds ritual. I also typically aim to have that happen somewhere around the 8th of the month. This year, instead, there was back issues. It’s been a weird August here in that there has been rain. Not a lot, but there’ve been days when I’ve woken up to wet ground outside, so that’s been both neat and a tad unsettling. Funny, how we get used to specific patterns and when they’re broken, we’re all, “Buh?” I’m planning on heading over to Delta Ponds (my original site for this ritual, though I’ve been sticking closer to home the last few years) next Sunday or Monday, providing that my back continues to heal as it’s been doing. There may even be pictures! (From my phone. Let’s not get too excited.)

Writing is happening, on a consistent basis. I haven’t really stopped writing since I started last year. The one story I’ve been working on since April is a few hundred words from being finished. It should end up around 45k. I have three stories planned to follow. My writing is paying a bill, right now. I’m not living off it, I can’t quit my day job to stay home to write, but it’s paying a bill. Consistently. That’s sort of surreal to me, still. What’s annoying about this is I am finally, finally able to, unapologetically, put a priority on my writing when it comes to other, outside commitments, without feeling guilty. This is annoying, because why was that so hard to do before? Writing has always been this important to me. Why does outside, objective –albeit small — success lend credibility? It should be enough that what I want to do with my free time is usually write. Why are we so silly sometimes?

Posted by: naiadis | August 11, 2014

A book video.

So, I did a book haul video. It’s a temporary haul, because they’re library books, but it’s what I’ve got. Enjoy!

Posted by: naiadis | August 7, 2014

Hail my god, my King. Hail, Odin!

One particular struggle that I have is maintaining boundaries with people. I have this savior complex when it comes to some, and helps me be utterly stupid with the boundaries I need to maintain.

Last night my gods decided enough was enough. We sat down, and we started a working on it. I won’t go into the details here because that’s not how we do, but I will say that I reached a point of enough is enough. That is, I reached a point where They said enough is enough. Why? Because I began making it seem like I was willing to risk worsening my back injury (strained it last week, and thanks to last October, straining it even just a bit equals pissed of sciatic nerve) to help someone move. When I began making noise about how I couldn’t, I earned the silent treatment, and began wondering, well, maybe I can do this or that to help.

It wasn’t enough that Beth said not to do it. It wasn’t enough that I’m terrified of getting incapacitated again. Wasn’t enough that I’d be out a week’s pay, and on and on and on. It took Them putting Their feet down. “This is the line. You do not cross this line.”

I spent some good time with Odin last night, with Him essentially reaming me out. I will say that He paused long enough beforehand to allow me to get a good, firm grasp on Who He Is, who I am in relation to Him, and to feel His love and caring for me before He totally laid into me. In fact, He made me speak it. “Who am I? What right do you have, to ask for My aid and guidance in this?”

And then there was a litany of who I owe obligations to. Again and again and again and again, in order of said obligation. There was a reminder of surrendering my life to His control, which I have done, but which I don’t pay enough attention to, because Poseidon’s control of my life is so much more tangible and constant and *there*. But then, it would be.

It was so very, very needed, and so very, very good. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done anything quite as formal as last night, and it touched places that have been neglected.

Maintaining boundaries, because I’m obliged toward people, toward particular people, and I need to be ever mindful of that. This will be an ongoing project, and it’s going to make situations uncomfortable, but there are people and spirits I owe my time to, and they have dominant claim. How do I forget that? How does neglect slip in so readily?

A back injury is not an excuse to get out of helping some one. If that cannot be respected, I do not need to respect said person. My obligation is to keep well enough to go to my job to get my paycheck to help pay for shelter and food and medications for everyone, in this case. I don’t have any assurances that simply riding the bus to work and home won’t make my back worse. Hefting boxes certainly will. Obligations. And it’s my own fault for not keeping those obligations (or more likely, for not connecting all these factors in my mind, for, ahem, not being mindful) that the situation is uncomfortable. But, oh well. My shit to deal with and if I’d keep those boundaries in the first place, I wouldn’t be here. Suck it up, Jo.

Keeping it real, here. Also, compassion must be maintained, even self-compassion. I fucked up. I’m fixing it. I’ve already been reamed out, and now we’re moving on. I don’t get to ream myself out constantly. I’m not the boss of me.

Posted by: naiadis | July 24, 2014

On spirits and spirit companions

Once upon a time, there was Angel.

Angel was a small, bounding ball of blond (blond, not white*) of fluff that came into my life when I was 15. Angel predates Poseidon in my life. We were a no dogs! household, until my mother started dating — er, I hesitate to call him a man — who’s sole good contribution, far as I’m concerned, was to bring Angel into our lives. The story went: he and his son found Angel out in the streets one snowy night and rescued him. Four or five years later I would learn that that’s not exactly how that went down, but I had no way of finding the people Angel previously belonged to (“man” was already out of our lives by then, and good riddance) and Angel and I were inseparable by that point. Let me be honest: I wasn’t interested in trying too hard to locate these people in the second largest city in New England.

We didn’t want to name him Angel, but Mum insisted. He was the “don’t get too attached, he’s not staying,” dog. He took to sleeping with Kevin right away, and he would mimic Kev’s sleeping patterns and positions, which was adorable to watch. They’d share the pillow. Once, when Mum went to wake Kevin up to go to school, Angel chased her away. Once, when Angel was running downstairs for something or other and he realized he’d forgotten his chewy upstairs, he made a very human sighing-in-exasperation sound and turned around to go get it. Angel was as much cat-like as he was dog. He’s the dog that got me over my small dog snobbery. He had all my cat-loving friends fawning over him. He was pretty, and he was wicked in the way that spitz breeds are, with that shit-eating grin, and that devilish gleam in his eyes. He was friendly with almost everyone, in a somewhat atypical Pomeranian way, though he especially loved Kevin, and he was utterly, utterly stupid about me. A house full of people, and if I simply looked at him he’d be on my lap in an instant. No command, no signal, nothing beyond a look.

The feeling was mutual. I lived, I think maybe a year, possibly not even that long, after I moved out of my mother’s house, without him, until I got permission from the landlady to bring him with us. I saw him a lot, even then, but oh, getting him to live with me again was just . . . that dog. That dog. He loved everyone, but he was mine.

I stayed with my ex longer, after it became clear that the relationship was doomed, because I didn’t want to take Angel away from him; they were close, too. But when I moved out of the bedroom, he came with me on his own accord. When we moved in with Beth, he slept for the first month by my head, with his paws on my face. When I was afraid that Beth’s Orion (a Keeshund) would bully Angel, Angel showed me that, no, the seven pound dog was going to be the boss of the house (or, second boss, after Sassy). He took the influx of cats with stride, even when baby Neech decided that Angel would make the *best* pillow (I have pictures!) When Corbie came to live with us, Angel showed him the ropes, and for six glorious, glorious months, we were flush with dogs, and it was wonderful.

He was always being mistaken for a younger dog. Aside from his spastic trachea he really had no health problems. And, one day, he developed a cough. A month later he was dead, having died a horrible, horrible death that I will never, ever, so help me, let any of my family suffer through again. (I maintain that he wanted it that way. He totally hid how bad it was, and that last day he was walking around on his own, navigating the stairs, hanging with us like he hadn’t done since we started medication, played “hunt” with some food I tried to get him to eat, even ate some of the food. He watched TV with us. He was downright perky — and once we called it a night, it all went to to hell.)

It shouldn’t be surprising that Angel’s on my mind a lot, with CHF that Corbie’s dealing with. Corbie presented symptoms much earlier, is responding to treatment, is likely not as old as Angel was when Angel got sick (I have the joy of not knowing exactly how old most of my animal companions are, and with Corbie, as with Angel, we don’t even know which year). But he is still on my mind, a ton.

In my spiritual landscape, family is family, and my gods care about my family regardless of species. Poseidon especially has a healthy respect for the importance of small dogs in my life, which renders them important to Him. (I balked at this, at first; I don’t any more. The whole point of marriage, of this sort of union, is, well, union, right? What matters to Him matters to me; why shouldn’t those things that matter to me matter to Him, as well? That’s not hubris; that’s marriage.) Much as I adore Him, He is not the psychopomp figure in my life. That is Odin. And Odin assured me before Angel even passed that he had a place within Odin’s Hunt, should he want it.

Angel was not one of those dog-dogs. I don’t know how to explain it, really. Many people commented that he did not strike them as a dog so much as someone who was currently in a dog form. What really matters is, I knew that when he died, he wouldn’t leave. I knew that he had no intention of moving on, that our friendship was not going to end simply because he was no longer incarnate. He left for a small while, tucking his presence away from my awareness, because I did not handle that transition well at all, but he came back and when he did it was clear that he was getting a great handle on this whole spirit-being thing. He was only sometimes a dog. He was very cozy with Odin and, more, with Bestla. I did not see that coming. Bestla is one of Beth’s important kin, and She’s important to Odin but I don’t really have a lot of direct contact with Her, so, yeah, pretty humbled by that.

Now and again I make attempts to involve Angel in my spiritual life, but it hurts, still, so it’s not something I do regularly enough. He gets honored during the Festival of Treats, and when his presence is near-tangible I speak with him, but I don’t seek him out.

He showed up on Tuesday. He shared a desire to explore other areas, a desire of moving on. He made it clear that his preference was to stay around, that our relationship mattered more to him than moving on, but that he is pretty much spinning his wheels due to my lack of attention. He was the least canine like I’ve experienced him. And, I feel like an ass, because he is so very important to me. I don’t want to hold him back, but I also don’t want him to go. I’m not ready for him to move on yet — except, if it was just that, I would say, go, do what you are moved to do, I’m not going to be selfish and make you stay. It’s not just that — the moving on, the exploring other things is a second choice. There’s plenty he’s still got to explore without making any more permanent decisions. I just need to let him back into my life again. He was a constant companion and my best friend for fifteen years — for nearly half my life. And the feeling was so very mutual. So what the heck, Jo?

Sometimes we just fail at things, even when we allegedly know what we’re doing.

* He was often mistaken for white, as he was that bleach blond color. Dorkily enough I know that white Poms are more uncommon, and some say that this is because the white gene is connected to the size gene in some manner, so the smaller the Pom, the less likely they are to be actually white. Is this true? Unsure. What I am sure about is that he was blond.

naiadis:

A reminder that you can still get involved!

Originally posted on The Saturated Page:

But that’s not keeping me from continuing with it! This poor neglected blog is really suffering from both my new part time job writing (thanks to YOU!) and my spending way too much time at the day job of late! Hopefully that will be changing soon (there are books I want to talk about, writers I want to talk about, things to talk about!) In the meantime, however, I am going to remind folks that it’s not too late to sign up for this story subscription project.

A brief rundown: this is a pay what you want, $5 minimum offer, for which you will receive (in either .EPUB, .MOBI, or text) a story or story installment of at least 4,000 words. (This is roughly 8 pages). These are original, previously unpublished stories that you get to see first. The first four installments are part of a novella, primarily because I…

View original 291 more words

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 186 other followers