Keeping It Real — coming back to good. Again.

These moments sneak up on me so  easily,  I almost never notice them before it’s too late. Stress from the day job (managerial re-arrangement, one coworker going out on medical leave, one coworker giving notice, and then there were four) combined with a work week of eight consecutive days while schedules got rearranged to create  enough stress to send me into overload mode. Toss in an injury that I’m trying to pamper, not enough food in the house due to   inadequate shopping plans, two nights of take-out, and a writing project I haven’t touched in five weeks, and you’ve got a Jo who is overwhelmed to the point of despair.

I greatly admire people, like Beth, who can take that stress and use it to barrel on through. I  try to use her as a role model. I try to  do that, myself, and with the minor things, I manage. With the small things, I can more often than not psyche myself up to Do The Things. With these moments that sneak up on me and create a mountain?

And they  do sneak up. I was excited. I was learning new things. I have my stack of nonfiction Hinduism books to read, and I want to read them. I have the ADF material to keep going through, and I want to read those things, too. Except now reading has become homework, and that’s not fun, and I’m not writing, and, and, and.

I made my video for next week’s prompt.

I caught my two dropped stitches, and shimmied them up the three rows they’d fallen down through.

I’ve made a list of the top three project-and-chore priorities that will be tackled in the next week, and I’ve got plans for getting back on track with the WIP in place.

It was getting the knitting fixed that gave me the sense that I could do this, if I could just stop and breathe.

I feel better now. I’m also setting aside the nonfiction for when I’m in a nonfiction mood. Generally that’s my before  bed study.  And I’ll admit it, I prefer my nonfiction read to me or spoken to me these days. So , I need to find some podcasts to knit to.

I’m exhausted today, but I rested my knee. I  stayed in comfy clothes, and pulled in tight, and nested, and tomorrow I’ll be better.

 

 

Inclusion, citation, love-affairs with mythic past; more ADF-inspired musing

I’ve made more progress in reading through the DP manual — I should have the finished tonight/tomorrow, and I’ll move on to supplemental material. I want to make it perfectly clear: I am already finding much of value in the material, and I’m not knocking anyone’s approach. I’ve interacted with people in the ADF before now, and I really have nothing to complain about. This, so far, is proving to be a useful exercise in re-evaluating where I am.

I hit the section dealing with hearth cultures last night, and I read some more of their sample rituals. I found the later ones to be better in that they seem a bit less ‘here, I’m giving to you so now gimme!!’, and there was fewer instances of problematic-for-me language when it came to dealing with the Deep and what its treasures are. I still think that, as a primer for new-to-paganism in general, more time could be spent on why we might interact with the Powers, and why relationships being maintained for their own good might be useful and desirable. Maybe it’s my background. Maybe it’s my retail history. Maybe it’s my aversion to the way we are consumers in the world, but I really want more substance on this topic. I can get behind people being in need of help and having nowhere else to turn — Poseidon came into my life when I needed the help, and He gave that to me before anything else was exchanged; I’m not knocking that we gain from Them and that They seem willing to give. I just . . . want more substance about how relationships can be, in a primer that is for new-to-paganism folks.

I also want citations. When I reached the part dealing with the Proto-Indo-European hearth culture, I stumbled. So, I’m all for being inspired by the past, and I’m all for creating anew upon the bones of the past, and so I’m not knocking that. But the manual asserts that ‘Spring was a very busy time for the Proto-Indo-Europeans. It began with the Spring Equinox, which was the New Year (the beginning of the year, not the end). Associated with Xáusōs and Diwós Sunú (“Sons of the God”). The return of Light.’ Citations for the curious, please? Because if they don’t exist, that’s fine, but say so, and stop this need to root *everything* in the past like this. And if they do exist, gimme because I want to see the source material for myself, because context matters to me and I need to see it for myself. (Context matters. It’s why I don’t understand how the bit about Poseidon Asphaleios wound up being about Him holding the earth steady, when the reference in Pausanias is all about commerce and the marketplace. I want to know how Burkhert made that jump; I want to know what he knew that I don’t.)

Perusing the Hellenic hearth culture and their High Days, I had to walk away. The two suggestions for the Winter Solstice were Dionysos festivals, and while I get it, Dionysos is the shit, it grated. I understand that we build our own tradition within the ADF format, and so obviously mine will be heavily slanted toward Poseidon — but come on. THE MONTH WAS NAMED FOR POSEIDON in Athens. There is historical evidence of His festival falling on or near the Solstice in various parts of the Hellenic world. /rant. That’s my own peeve, and I admit that.

I’m still sitting with the IE focus. Groups can decide how they want to be, and I won’t be a poor guest by demanding otherwise. I’m finding it interesting how much my time within the heathen community and having Poseidon worship excluded solidified within me a reluctance toward similar exclusion, in general. It was formative, for sure. “Come worship with us, honor the gods, stand with us in community and frith — but we don’t want this very central part of who you are, it has no place with us.” It gives me the smallest insight into how people who fall outside our expected norms of various issues — religious, race, gender, sexuality, ways of being in and experiencing the world, might maybe feel when they are excluded, and it makes me extremely reluctant to be a person who endorses that exclusion. Yes, both Poseidon and Odin fall under the umbrella . . . but I also feel a bit disingenuous, being someone living in a land that is not European, and seeking to find my gods is this place. I do seek out Others — the landspirits here have run the gamut between being flexible with whatever form I use to approach them to being outright demanding in dictating how it will be, based on Their established preferences, and I will not do anything other than stay open to Their input. I honor Poseidon when the rains return, but I honor Poseidon and the Rainmakers; I’m inclusive to those Who are here, and I think we need to be, and I think, with those of us on occupied land, that’s going to be tricky, and important.

I realize, as I study, and ponder, what I want is modern polytheism to be inclusive. I want space at the table for all sorts of polytheists with all sorts of cultural influences. I want the uniting factor to be respect, to be hospitality given and received. I want us to be good hosts and good guests. I want that to be the common ground, and maybe not what our rituals and worship look like.

A need to have our praxis look the same, or even similar, is a hold-over from monotheism, and it’s a need that has to go.

These are my thoughts this morning.

Now for chores!

“Give this to Me”

This. This is what I want as a gift. I want this surrender. I want the last conviction of unworth.

I’m reading through the section on ritual poise, and I’m contemplating how I’ve been in public ritual verses how I am in private. I’m reflecting on confidence and the irrelevancy of concepts of unworth — because worthy or no, I’m doing the things, damn it.

I want this, this.  You will speak of your sense of unworth in past tense, henceforth. You will give this to Me for good.

There is such press, such Presence, such love. Oh, my Beloved.

Happy Anniversary to me and w/We!

This morning, I’m actually quite displeased with myself, enough so that I believe this will be the last time that I fail to take the time off from work. I realized last year, finally, that I also really prefer to not work on my birthday, and I’ve already got that date jotted down on our work calendar.  Today is day eight of an eight consecutive work day stretch, and I do. not. want. I want to stay home and immerse myself in the presence of my Beloved. I want to walk to the river (which wouldn’t happen today even if I was staying home, thanks to a pulled and pissed off knee). I want to write letters, I want to write crappy poetry, I want to read bits about Him that I’ve written, and that others have written. I want to bask.

Instead, I’ll go and put stock away. *sigh*

I’ll drink copious amounts of caffeine. I’ll maybe write a bit when I get home. Certainly I’ll spend some extra time in meditation. I’ll rest my knee, so that it does not set off the sciatica — oh, you jealous nerve, how you want in on all the pain action! I felt those twinges last night! —  Tomorrow I will attend to chores and rest some more, and enjoy the time off. I will take to heart how much I want this time off next year, and maybe I’ll remember to plan for it.

I’m not sure when it happened, but anniversaries matter to me now, and I’ll start marking them.

 

So — ADF material? Also, a neat series.

I’m not all the way through Our Druidry as yet, but I’ll admit to skipping around a bit. (Today is day 6 of an 8 day work week; I’m cutting myself so much slack, everyone, it’s amazing.) I’m already having a ton of thoughts, and some are inspiring crankiness, and I want to write about these things in a place where I can revisit them as I go. Obviously, I’m not going to be sharing their members-only material, but I will be sharing my thoughts and commentary on it. I find myself wishing to print it out simply so I can write in the margins, which is so not like me, but I may end up doing it. Who knows? I don’t know if I’ll keep those posts public or possibly password protected, and possibly just private.

An example: reading through I’ve come across a thing I really, really like, a thing that bothered me deeply on Others behalf, and a thing that I just hadn’t realized and maybe if I had would have stopped me from joining.

The thing I really like? At one point, the manual stresses that the cosmology ADF uses ‘was created for us–the people of today. We have not attempted to re-create ancient religions because we are not ancient peoples.’  This is a hook that is sure to get me in. I respect that, at least as far as the manual goes (and as far as my experience goes with people in ADF) research is valued and important, but so is experience, and not one placed above the other. I am not a reconstructionist. I do not want to build a bridge to the societies of the past that worshiped the gods I worship in an effort to bring them forward — the societies that worshiped my Beloved would relegate me to a subhuman due to my gender. Reaaaaally not interested in bringing that back, thanks. I want to take where we are now as far as civil rights go. I want to make our would better regarding those civil rights (make them, you know,  something that isn’t just on paper), and I want to bring the gods (or the possibility of the gods) back into human consciousness at large.   I want to see a polytheism (or, polytheisms) is our world as our world is now. I don’t want to erase our history that has created the culture we now live in, because that’s an impossible task, and I’d rather deal with where we are now, and deal with going forward. So, this appealed to me.

One of the first suggested ritual is a basic one to confirm one’s intention upon the path, and to ask for a blessing from the Powers. Now, I like the triad of worlds representations — despite feeling at home in the Scandinavian cosmology of nine worlds,  the triad of Ancestors, Gods, and Nature Spirits really sums up  the division of beings that we deal with — even if I think those divisions are more for us than anything else. I like that. But, the text of the ritual made me cranky, and they lost me at the very beginning, whereupon they suggest that you place a piece of silver into the bowl of water (for the Well) to represent the bounty of the Deep.

The bounty of the Deep is the Deep itself, as far as I’m concerned, and not the shiny thing that it might offer that we decide to value. There is, at least to my mind, an implicit ‘this is what it gives us and thus it is important because of what it gives us,’ in this sort of symbolism that gets my hackles up. The worth of something  because of what it can do for us — this is animal, it is base, and to a point it is unavoidable, but it needs to be balanced if we’re going to pretend that we are not ruled by our instincts, if we are going to continue to pretend that we are creatures who can  grow beyond that. So maybe the silver is a symbol for the knowledge that we can glean by going deep, and maybe those symbols are necessary for some, and maybe they are not for others, but the Deep is valuable, is a treasure, by Its very existence, not because of what It may give to us, but because of how wretched we would be without It, period. We are the center of our world; we are not the center of the everything, and the implicit entitlement that is part of that way of thinking catches me up and leaves a sour taste in my mouth. So there’s that.

The bit that I didn’t realize is the IE focus that ADF has. Now, at a glance, that’s not a problem — my main Powers fall under the IE umbrella. But I dealt with Poseidon’s exclusion in community worship enough to know that the idea of excluding based on arbitrary lines bothers the fuck out of me, so we’ll see how that goes.

In other news: I’m really enjoying this series of articles over at Humanist Pagan. Michele Briere writes about non-theistic paganism, so far in three parts. Now, I’m clearly a theistic pagan, so why do I like these? Because, damn it, I find hospitality to be important, because we have a huge fight ahead of us, we minority religions within the US, and because we cannot really afford to fight it alone. Because interfaith discussion is valuable, because coming across ideas that we don’t necessarily agree with makes us more empathetic, or at least more exposed to other ways of thinking. Primarily, I am not threatened by other ways of thinking, and people are fascinating.

So, I joined ADF

I’m having waaaaay too much fun with, “I’m a druid now!”

I have conflicting feelings about having joined groups only to leave, later on. The Troth, the Aeldriht, the coven we were in (which, arguably, we’d still be in if we hadn’t moved), Anni’s Season of the Seeker program. I shouldn’t feel conflicted; I should feel like Odin’s daughter, for I am.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I learn about myself on this particular venture. Their Dedicant Program is set up primarily for people who are utterly new to paganism, so much of this is going to be revisiting for me, which is fine. At the end of it all, I may discover this isn’t for me, but I find myself eating on my own words (“I’m not trying to build a tradition for others!!”)  (mmm, tasty words). I’m not sure that I *am* trying to build a tradition for others, but I am sure there are things I want to do that would be so much easier not building from the ground up, and if all I get from this is more exposure to different ways people are, and more exposure to skillsets that might serve me well, it’ll be good.

Time and again, I’ve said I’m not a recon, and I’m not. Inspired by the past and cultural context? Yes! Hell, yes. I’m also not a dual-trad person, and as I’m eyeballing Hinduism (Hey, Vishnu, ‘sup?) the idea of multi-trad-hood is utterly daunting and somewhat unwieldy. I’m a modern polytheist living now. So, the seeming emphasis on history and lived experience (and not racism, can I stress that enough, no I cannot) is/are all very appealing.

I came across a phrase in their DP material yesterday that I wanted to share, one sentence, but damned if I can find it now. It was about not trying to recreate, but rather to build new, to be pagan, to bring the gods into the world now. I wish I could find it, it was better than that.

Waffling re: journaling here, which means that my Libra and my Virgo are conspiring to want to have a separate journal, and They’re all, “Yes, because that always works so well for you.” so I’ll be making a category for that here, if people want to read along.

And maybe there will be videos. Who knows.

For right now? Right now I’m on day five of my eight day work week, and I’ve got a deadline for Wednesday for writing work, so I may be scarce until after.

Also, I dropped two stitches, and my sock progress is on hold until I can find a hook to fix that problem. I made it worse trying to fix it on the way home yesterday. Using knitting needles to fix  a ladder on bulky yarn is totally easy! Doing the same thing on sock weight?  Yeah, no.

Come with me to the sea . . .

Dreams last night involved being dragged out to see by the undertow. The beach was a familiar one, (and importantly, a lake and not the actual sea–many of my Poseidon dreams take place here). There was warnings of big waves, and there was a storm, and so naturally I was there. The water was all grabby hands and sentient enough to seek my out and drag me down down down.

Is it wrong that this makes me feel loved? This is a huge, huge part of why dream symbolism is so specific to the person. Dreaming of an aggressive sea, and being pulled under the waves, should be terrifying, and in the dream, the actual transition was terrifying. But once under the water, I was introduced to a whole society of People, who spoke to how important the violent water was, from time to time. Dreaming of drowning makes me feel sought out, chosen, held close, beloved, etc.

Much as I’ve enjoyed having dream-Poseidon show up all anthropomorphic in my dreams, dreaming of Him as the sea, as the water, as something that’s not remotely human or even human-seeming, has been comforting in a way that dreaming of Him embodied never is.

A few days ago, when considering the incense holder issue all over again, a solution was found by re-using a baby food jar and some sand, and it become about re-using instead of buying something new, and that was equally comforting. I realized that the ease on my buying-new-and-mass-made-statuary taboo was discomforting, and I don’t like it. I haven’t taken Him up on that; I bought prints, but those have never been off-limits.

Hours at my day job have increased back to 40, and I’m finding that I have less time to write and less inclination to write (fiction) during the week. (Well, what passes for the week for me). So I guess I’m going to be going back to my writing on the weekend* schedule, and that’s going to be good.

I’m knitting socks with some delicious BFL mix in a gorgeous dark blue.

Things are good.

 

 

Offerings to Vishnu, ADF babble, and a Tarot video!

With the set up of the extended shrine space,  I’ve turned my mind toward offerings to Vishnu-without-Poseidon, Lakshmi, Durga, and Ganesh. I’m still at a wordless offering place — incense, and non-verbal touching in. Part of that is the offerings happen first thing in the morning, and I’m not a person who words easily first thing in the morning.

Words will be incorporated at some point — maybe. Regularly? That’s less clear. Words tend to be, for me, about community-with-humans, not so much community-with-Powers. They don’t need my words, but the world might. So, we’ll see?

Two sticks in the morning is the limit for me, for what my delicate nose can tolerate, so Poseidon gets one, and the rest share the other, and so far so good with that. May incorporate drink offerings for Them to all get individualized hospitality and attention.

Part of why I’m eyeballing ADF is an attraction to a ritual format (or even ritual tradition) that is utilized by many to fit a variety of ‘hearth cultures’ that can serve as a common language. This may be silly — surely I can figure that out on my own, and in fact,  I have — but it’s only one part of my eyeballing joining ADF. This is a reoccurring idea of mine, and I’m going to do it if for no other reason than to finally put that idea to bed. The more I read about Hinduism, the more and more  I’m reminded that worship is about extending hospitality and expressing gratitude. This seems to be true across the board. Keeping in right relationship with the Powers.

As I ponder and as I write and as I pray, I come back to balking about adopting a Hindu form of worship. I’m about as Hindu as I am Hellenic; I’m not. And I tend to tie myself up in knots, a lot, when I’m in study mode. So maybe joining ADF and working through their Dedicant Program while studying Hinduism and its history, might be the thing I need to remember that there are other ways of approaching Them, if They find it agreeable.

Poseidon’s been trying to get me to leave off from Hellas in my mind, of associating Him so much with Hellas, that He’s all for this.

And, for something completely different, I made a tarot deck flip-through video. Luna added her commentary, and the last minute had me in tears when I watched it before uploading it. Just sayin’.

The “C” Word

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve struggled with the cis prefix since I became aware of it, not from a desire to decide that, as a cisgendered person, that I was normal and should then not need a prefix. I see the problem with how we as a society understand things like gender and identity and autonomy, so I’ve been all for better terms to foster understanding and communication. I’m a write above all; I want clarity and precision with written communication.

No, what I struggled with was the newness of the term (to me) and my apparent bias against inventing words to fill a need.

I had no idea it came to us via science terms. This is totally cool. Maybe it shouldn’t make a difference, but it helps me not be distracted by “but why ‘cis’?? What does it even mean? Why those letters, and how?” because that’s really not what’s important. So, thank you for this post. And I’m sharing. So there.

Busy Nurse Research

Probably not the one you’re thinking of.

I got into a conversation of Facebook about the use of the term “cis.”  Some page that I follow had posted a comic strip illustrating how things said by well-meaning non-transgender allies often sound to transgender people.  Normally, I avoid the comments.  (Actually, normally, I avoid Facebook, but my niece was in labor and Facebook was the means she and her fiance would be using to tell as many of us as possible when the wee one arrived*, so there I was.)  So anyway, yes, I read the comments, and sure enough, someone was very upset over the word (or rather, prefix) “cis.”

Here’s the thing.   Coming from a scientific background as a nurse, I found that it took about two seconds from the first time I heard the term used to figure it out.  Just like with molecules, where some are…

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