Archive for September 2016

Cultus crisis   10 comments

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One really tries to remain open and receptive, to keep the cultus fresh and alive and vibrant. So when things get unexpectedly wonky, it really shouldn’t be unexpected, I guess. But sometimes it still knocks you sideways.

I was cleaning my Apollon shrine on the 7th of Boidromion, as one does. I confess I don’t always get to the shrines on exactly their correct day, although they do all get cleaned every moon phase, but I was on target this day and just lumping along happily and not one bit attuned to any thunderclouds. I did, in retrospect, have a moment of ‘This may not be too bright’ as I set the statues of Apollon and Dionysos on the weight bench, but I waggled them and they seemed steady enough, and hey, I was only going to be gone a second to grab the furniture polish and cloth.

On my way back in I saw a bigass spider scuttling across the floor, as it happens right in front of the Athena shrine. The cats were perking up, so I ran to get the humane catcher, and I guess the vibrations of my large-ish self thumping on the floor was enough to do it. The statues both crashed to the floor. Dionysos doesn’t have a scratch on him. But my beautiful, beloved statue of Apollon shattered beyond any hope of repair.

I got the spider outside and then sat for a while among the wreckage, too stunned to react. Finally I got the broom, and as I was sweeping, realized the shield was still intact. I picked it up and put in on the shrine, wondering if it could stay there as a remnant of the beauty that was now in shards all around me. I noticed the hand was still attached, and picked it up to take a closer look. It slipped out of my hands and crashed, hard, onto the piano keys, with more force than seemed possible.

Okay, so no.

As omens go, this is about as dire as it gets.

Being way too close, and too shaken, I didn’t even try to divineĀ this one myself, and called on a mantis whom I trust, and the response was less awful than I feared.

But you don’t take this kind of portent lightly, if you’re a portent-heeding sort, and I am. So I’m taking a lot more notes than usual, in addition to this less detailed more public blogging thing, and proceeding a lot more mindfully.

I’ve got a gorgeous cut-glass lotus where the statue used to stand. Dio is elsewhere. Artemis is still there. The shrine is still beautiful, but the absence of that statue hits me like a hard slap every single time I approach it.

I’m sorry I listen so poorly that He had to do something like that to get me to pay better attention.

As a lead-in to the Mysteries, which start later this week, and will this year be deeply focused on cleansing, purity and protection, it’s a big Slap Yo Priestess and Get Her Focused moment.

A big hawk flew over me and my coffee this morning, crying loudly and repeatedly. Still pondering that one. Any ornithomancers who might like to chime in will be heeded carefully.

Khairete

Suz

 

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Posted September 13, 2016 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Deipnon, Boidromion ’16   1 comment

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The always wonderful Dver has challenged us to spend the next month writing about devotional activities instead of the latest flavor of Polytheist Drama. Since I’m completely at sea about the latest drama (other than it involves fascism, racism and other nasty isms), this is a great opportunity to a) continue to stay out of the online polytheist dramas and b) spend time writing about devotional activities.

It’s sadly true that devotional activities don’t create much of a stir in the blogosphere, but that’s okay. It’s still great stuff to write about, and I know that I, for one, am often inspired, titillated and humbled by what other polytheists are willing to share about their experiences. And my blog has been getting dusty. And it’s good to write about things other than the book (which is finished! SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!! Now in the editing phase before it goes to the aforementioned fabulous Dver for formatting and whatever editing I can coax her into doing) and rants.

So, it’s Boidromion, always a bittersweet month for me. It’s so hard to let go of summer, and this summer was so fast that I’m even more whiny than usual about losing it. It was a great summer, mind you, and time always speeds up as one ages, and I’m on the topside of middle age now. It’s required for crones to make creaky depressing noises about the passage of time. This autumn is coming early. On September 1st it was cool, with crickets drowning out the cicada song, and a flutter of gold leaves down the lane. The pool is still swimmable, but getting alarmingly chilly, even though the daytime sun is still hot. The mares are starting to get thicker coats. The herb garden is exploding in a glory of orange and red.

Honestly, if autumn weren’t so glorious, I’d never survive summer’s passing. The Gods are good to arrange seasons thus.

So this Deipnon I did the usual stuff. I swept the floors during the bright afternoon, and took the detritus to the Hekate area at the end of the driveway, the 3-way crossroads. I didn’t fast- haven’t for a long time now. I should get back to it. It was a really really good devotional activity, physically and spiritually.

Later in the evening I washed meticulously, cleaned the shrine with love, and burned two incenses- sapphire for devotion, and a coneĀ of Dver’s Dark Woods which is awesome. Then I trudged out into the moondark night with my offerings of an ear of corn, buttered and salted, 3 of the prettiest organic strawberries I could find, 3 pomegranate dark chocolates, and some wine. Now, I rarely offer wine on the Deipnon. I celebrate it as a kthonic event, Hekate wearing a variety of masks but primarily as the Guide of the Dead, and Goddess of ghosts and magic. I love to offer raw milk, but don’t get up to PA as often as I used to, so usually offer plain water from my good well (and its good well wight.) But tonight I felt nudged to go with the wine I bought to offer to both Demeter and Hermes for completing the book (Stampede, by 14 Hands Winery with its beautiful label of horses.) Dithered over what chalice to use, and was rather strongly guided to the pottery cup with an owl on it.

I left the old dog in, to his disappointment, as I don’t think the chocolates would be good for his old self, but both my girl cats came out with me. They love ritual. It was a strange night. There was a light veil of thin cloud drawn over the glittering sky, and it seemed to catch an awful lot of light. I live in a formerly rural area, which still looks rural from my place but is becoming increasingly surrounded with civilization, including several towns and a big prison less than 10 miles away, all of which emit too much ambient light. It all seemed to get caught up in the clouds, so over the dark, star-studded night was this strange glowing skein of light.

I bypassed Tyr, standing sentinel in the corner of the orchard, and opted to enter it by way of the Gates of Avalon, two apple trees which gave up the ghost this past winter, standing bare and forlorn. We’re going to have to take them down, which makes me sad. As I passed between them, one of them reached out with its bonefinger and flicked me in the face, hard. I needed it. I was going into the sacred space with too much monkey brain chatter, not the calm, clear, receptive mindset required. I stopped in the middle of the orchard and spent some time just breathing, letting go all the mundane thoughts, letting the sky and trees and loud cricket song take over. When I was ready I went the rest of the way down the driveway.

In the grass, right before the place where I lay the offerings, there was a light slowly brightening and dimming, over and over. A firefly, bravely pushing back against death, sending its message of light into the world defiantly with its last bit of energy. How perfect for the night of Hekate Phosphoros, with Her torches held high. He guided me right in.

I’ve spent a lot of time during the last year trying to dig down into Gnothi Seaton, really Knowing Myself. Who is my true self, and does that self have anything at all to do with the Suz I’ve been becoming for almost 6 decades now? It’s a much harder question than I thought it would be when I was a young woman. What I keep coming back to is the thrumming, expansive feeling of ekstasis I get when I’m in ritual. Not always. Not even most of the time. But sometimes, and as time goes by, it happens more. That singing jolt of connection that dissolves the barriers, and lets Them all the way in.

It didn’t happen for long during this Deipnon ritual, but even a few seconds is enough to keep the current active, and deepening. I poured my heart out to the Goddess, so much thanks and praise, gratitude and love, worship and ongoing devotion. Ivy was at my feet, crying so sweetly that it sounded like a song. I think she was offering praise too. I so love Hekate. I hold to the ancient proscriptions about lingering after laying down the offering, and not looking back, so after I finished thanking Her I set down her meal, and left. But I paused back in the middle of the orchard, and there it was, the ecstasy. Just for a bit. Then Marley wrapped herself around my ankles, and we all went companionably back to the house.

It’s strange how I live for those moments of connection, but can’t yet live in them. Maybe it’s a mortal thing. I never know when I’m going to hit it. It’s usually at night, and I tend to associate it with the numinous places on my farm because that’s where I spend so much time, but it’s also happened at the beach, and in the mountains, and in the desert. And during the day. Earlier this year, and I can’t even remember what festival I was celebrating, but damn, it was thrilling. I was cutting irises to give as an offering, and there, under the golden sunshine of the early afternoon, my arms filled with fragrant purple blooms, I was bathed in so much divine love that I could feel my outlines blurring and softening, the magnetic force that holds my cells in Suz shape starting to let go, dissolving me into a blinding shaft of unity that made my blood sing. And it went on and on, way longer than I usually get. It was amazing. I live for those moments.

And yet in a way, I don’t. Maybe that’s a mortal thing too, the fact that we get such a relatively short time to taste and wallow in the specific tactile pleasures (and challenges) of being a mortal with a mortal lifespan, and if we spent too much time disappearing into one god or other, we would just let go. I hit these heights, and then come thumping back to earth with a bubble bath, a book, chocolate, stream some Firefly or Dr. Who. It’s wonderful too, the coming back to earth, but I’m puzzled sometimes at how I soar, then flee to a small, comfortable, manageable joy. Maybe on some level I’m reasserting my place as a still-living servant of the Gods, and distancing myself from the rapture that dissolves.

So, that was Deipnon. This is a big month for me. Even though I’m not teaching this year, there’s the autumn work of getting the barn filled with hay, the wood room stacked with (non-spidery, please gods) wood, getting ready for my Utah trip, training for the run, planning Mabon with Gabs, starting to put the gardens to bed, and most of all, planning this year’s Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, one of the high points and most involved, deep rituals of my annual festival cycle. Now it’s time to go let the mares out, and hit the bubble bath.

Maybe spend some quality time in the orchard, under the stars, and see if I can tap in to the Noumenia energy.

I’d link Dver’s blog post but as usual I’m too technodeficient to figure out how to do it on WordPress. Copying and pasting the link doesn’t do anything. Heh.

 

 

 

Posted September 3, 2016 by suzmuse in Uncategorized